Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Others have talked about electronic readers, some with enthusiasm and some without.  I was slow warming up to the concept, but eventually I could see where one would be an advantage in some situations.  Then my husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas.  The tiny keyboard drives me nuts and I'm much too slow looking up references I can flip to in seconds in a paper book.  From a reader's point of view, I'll admit I prefer holding a real book in my hands, but I've learned to love my Kindle.

It's definitely nice to slip my e-reader into my purse before a trip to the doctor's office, my hairdresser, or any of those places where I may be stuck with an indeterminate wait.  No more leafing through boring old magazines!

I think I've been a judge in some category for the Whitneys since the awards academy was started. It was nice this year to be able to read so many of the nominees on my small light-weight e-reader in an easy chair with my feet up instead of being trapped at my computer to read the electronic submissions. 

Our family has a favorite vacation spot high in the mountains in Idaho.  Unfortunately the only wifi connection is in the ranch house and I dislike hauling around a stack of books along with all of our vacation gear---but I like to read while on vacation.  This year I'll take along my Kindle, all preloaded with books, to read wherever I like. 

As a writer, I was leery of having my books posted on an e-reader site.  Because books are generally cheaper there, I worried my royalties would drop.  Not so.  I've found my royalties are just fine.  It's true my publisher gets a larger cut than I do for my books they post, but my share is comparable to my print royalties.  For my oldest books, which I'm posting myself since they're no longer in print and my publisher has returned the rights to me, my royalties are wonderful.  Without the e-reader market, I'd be earning nothing on these older, out-of-print books.

One of the nicest bonuses for readers and writers with the proliferation of e-readers is the availability of books which are not carried in local bookstores.  The difficulty of members of the LDS Church, who live outside of the areas served by LDS bookstores, finding affordable LDS books has long been a problem.  Now with e-readers these people, whether they live in Maine or Hong Kong, have access to the new LDS books as fast as those who live along the Wasatch front without paying horrendous postage costs.

I'm not an all or nothing person when it comes to e-readers versus print.  I'll cheerfully take both.

(This month's Wish List contest ends Monday!)

Monday, April 23, 2012


The last two weeks have been on the crazy side. I've hardly had time to catch my breath.  First there was the convention and I'm happy to say most of my candidates made it, though some still face a primary.  Leading up to the  convention I did a lot of background checking, record checking, emptying my mailbox, and gritting my teeth while listening politely to phone call after phone call. I was once a  believer in the caucus/convention system in Utah and I'm a firm believer in representative government, but frankly there were a few delegates at that convention I wouldn't care to think represent me.  It was long, exhausting, and not run as well as conventions I remember in the past, but I survived. 

I taught a class last Saturday--three times.  By the time I got to the third session I couldn't remember what I'd covered and what I hadn't.  The class was on selecting books and media.  Music and movies are definitely not my area of expertise, but I had a lot of fun with books. The class was well attended all three times and I gave away about sixty books, some by me, but mostly ones I've reviewed or considered for review.  I accumulate so many more books than I can possibly keep or give away on this blog.  I usually give some to local charities, but the class seemed like a good opportunity to introduce a large number of women to LDS fiction.  I'll admit I hesitated before giving away some that I particularly enjoyed. 

Today was Grandparents Day at my eight-year-old grandson's school.  It was a lot of fun and very crowded.  Signing in and waiting for some of the activities required a lot of waiting in line.  I think far more grandparents came than had been anticipated.  One activity was a big world map; everyone was invited to place a star on the map representing the place where he or she was born. Looking at that map I decided my grandson's classmates are a mini United Nations.  Growing up, I complained a lot about school lunches, but we certainly had better lunches than today's kids.  My grandson had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a tiny carton of chocolate milk, a pile of pickles, and an apple (it was a cooking variety, not an eating apple!)  He could have had a dollar size hamburger instead of the PB&J sandwich.  It took him about five minutes to eat his lunch, then I think he'd had enough of grandparents, and was more interested in playing soccer with his best friend, Madelyn. Madelyn is a great best friend; she's not only the prettiest second grade girl in the school, but the toughest kid too.  Heaven help any kid, boy or girl, who thinks they can push her or her friends around! 

I've grabbed any minute I could to work in my badly neglected garden, there's been my days at the temple, grocery shopping, laundry, books to read and review, a couple of days tending my little granddaughter, and on and on. 

So what's the connection between these events other than they kept me from blogging?  I could say that as a writer they are all tiny slices of life that enhance my ability to create realistic characters and scenes, but there's something more.  On Easter I roasted a turkey and baked a ham.  I loaded the counter with all kinds of toppings, cheese, and vegies to make great hoagie sandwiches. At one point I looked over at a table where our five youngest grandsons sat.  They'd fixed their own hoagies.  One filled his bun with corn chips, one sported two slices of cheese, one had a lettuce and Miracle Whip sandwich,  one was eating just the plain bun with no filling, and the last one had lined up a row of jelly beans in his. Life is like that.  It seldom goes as planned and for each of us it's different. We each get a giant heaping of both good and bad, along with a lot of so-so days.  Some days we just need a jelly bean sandwich.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blogging and Priorities

 Excuse time again!My blogging has been a bit nonexistent the past week.I've been kind of busy. First there was Ladies Night at Deseret Book and Conference.) Thanks to all of you who came to see me at the book signing.)Then my allergies led to a sore throat and ear ache. I had some getting ready for Easter and Easter which took some time, but it was so fun to have all of my kids and grandkids here for supper and an egg hunt for the little ones.Best of all was the news that my son and daughter-in-law who have been wanting a baby for fifteen years are finally expecting and if that isn't enough surprise, the baby is due in three months! I'm afraid blogging slid down a few points on my priority scale.  

 Speaking of priorities, I'm a firm believer in setting priorities in our lives. For me family, Church, and country rank right up at the top.  But each day is filled with priorities.  On arising most of us have a rough list of things to get done that day.  Some people prepare a written "to do" list. Others of us have a list in our heads, and some of us muddle through each day flitting from crisis to crisis.  All of us do a bit of shifting our priorities to deal with emergencies.

Some years ago a very wise lady taught me something about setting priorities when my "to do" list begins to feel insurmountable.  She said I should look at each task in my life and ask four questions 1) Is it my responsibility?  2) Can it be done by someone else?  3) Is it important to me or to someone I care about? 4) Does it have to be done right now?  It's funny how those four simple questions can put my "to do" list in perspective. 

Right now I have two big items on my calendar that are consuming a great deal of time. I'm a delegate to the County Convention this Saturday and I'm teaching a Women's Conference class In the Kearns West Stake the following Saturday. However I consider them both very important.  That means I won't be reading as many books in the coming two weeks as I usually do, I won't be on face book much, I'll shift some tasks to my husband who is a good sport when it comes to helping me accomplish difficult or time consuming projects, and my house won't get the cleaning attention it would otherwise. Some things such as my two days serving at the temple, being on call if necessary to pick up a grandchild who suddenly becomes ill or tend my one-year-old granddaughter as needed, and take care of my weekly Meridian column can't be set aside. Blogs may be few and far between for awhile (I'll entertain the possibility of a guest blog if anyone wishes to volunteer). 

Right now the leftovers from Easter dinner are my priority.  Talk to you later.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Time to Announce the Winners

Melanie Jacobson and Megan are the winners of my March give away contest.  They will each receive a copy of my new book, The Heirs of Southbridge.  Congratulations!  I appreciate all of you who commented this past month.  It was fun to get your views of some of the Whitney finalists. I've already turned my ballot in and will be anxious to hear which books get the final nod.  Megan and Melanie, please contact me at bhansen22 at msn dot com before April 7.   I need a mailing address to send you your prize. Prizes that aren't claimed will go to the next name I draw from March's entries.

A new Wish List contest will begin immediately.  Prizes (2) will be books I have reviewed on Meridian, discussed here, or will review or discuss this month.  I have many, but not all, of the Whitney finalists and nominees; they are up for grabs too.  To enter comment on any or every blog or review I write this month. Previous winners are eligible. Any thoughtful comment will count.  (Crude or tasteless comments will be tossed).