Tag Archives: New Year’s resolutions

The Mystery of Love by Sherrie Hansen

The New Year is traditionally a time to set your eyes on new endeavors and shake things up a bit. Some think of it as being a time to start out with a clean slate, but to do that, the old slate has to be wiped clean, an idea that’s always been very distasteful to me.

Dad - creek

I may as well admit that I’m one of those persons who likes to stay friends with my old boyfriends. Even when I found myself divorced and single once again back in the 1980s, I didn’t want to forget about the years I was married. Yes, things ended badly. Since we had no children when we went our separate ways, I had the opportunity to put the past completely behind me.  At one point, when my ex-husband wanted to get married again -this time to a devote Catholic woman, I got a call from a priest offering to annul my marriage. But saying that it never happened would have meant forgetting about all the wonderful friends I made in Germany, Oklahoma and Colorado Springs during the years we were married.  Wiping the slate clean would have minimized the impact of the adventures we shared and the unique places we explored while living in Europe. It would have meant turning my back on my ex-husband’s family, who I dearly loved. It would have meant forgetting about the lessons I’d learned and the woman I had become while going through the good and bad of our marriage. I didn’t want to do it.


Now, I’m facing another metamorphosis – not nearly as life changing as a divorce, but a fairly significant event in my life.  After writing romantic suspense for a publishing house for the last several years, I’ve released an independently published mystery, Seaside Daisy. It’s a change, and one I’m very excited about. In addition to getting the knack of writing mysteries, I’ve also had to get acquainted with the mysteries of publishing, designing covers, and formatting text for Kindle and paperback books. It’s been a little daunting to say the least!

Seaside Daisy Front Cover 10-17

So, the owner of a bookstore that carries my books contacted me today and wanted to put an ad in the paper advertising an event in February. The headline referred to me as the “Queen of Romance.” I don’t see myself that way, and at this point, I really don’t want to be viewed that way. I’m trying to appeal to a new group of readers who may not like romance, but who do like mysteries. I’m having fun exploring a new genre, and learning and growing by using a new set of building blocks to shape mysteries.

Scot - Uig sunset stones

I feel this way for a couple of reasons. First, my romance novels never fell into the mold of typical romances anyway. My characters are a bit older than normal and many were second chance at love stories rather than first loves. Many contain steamy scenes side by side with struggles of faith and family. My novels are character-driven and unique rather than formulaic or predictable. I loved being published by a mid-sized press who cared more for distinctiveness than being a match with a specific genre. One reviewer called my novels “the thinking woman’s romance,” but in fact, many men enjoy reading them, too. I think calling my novels romance novels hurt me in many circles, when in reality, they are far more than that.

Daybreak - N&D

In some ways, I think I’ve been writing mysteries all along — the mystery of why Jensen’s great grandparents immigrated from Denmark to Minnesota in Night and Day, the mystery of the who’s trying to recover the centuries-old gold buried in Tobermory Bay in Blue Belle, in Golden Rod, the mystery of how two, 500-year-old ghosts can break a curse and save Lachlan Castle and Rod’s beautiful gardens from being razed to make room for a golf course… And then, there’s the mystery of love – how two people so very different from one another, each with their own lives, foibles, and passions can come together and forge a new life as one.

Wildflowers - Stripes.jpg

I’m not embarrassed to have written my romance novels – as I’ve republished each of them under my own name, rereading sections and looking at the reviews that have been posted over the years, I feel exceedingly proud of every one of them.  The characters still call out to me. Rose and Ian, Jake and Michelle, William and Lyndsie, Hope and Tommy Love, Rod and Katelyn – they still have the power to make me smile and bring me to tears. They were good books, with complex characters and intricate plots, when I wrote them, and they’ve stood the test of time. I don’t want to leave the past in the past and move on. I love the memories and meaningful images surrounding each of my “old” books. I would be losing so much if I were to ignore the part they’ve played in my life. But I’m ready to take my writing in a different direction to try to expand my readership. It’s fun and exciting, and it stretches me as a writer and as a person.

Czechia - Cesky Krumlov

I hope that no matter what kind of books you like to read, you can relate to my new “brand” — Explore the Mystery of Love with Author Sherrie Hansen. I think the Mystery of Love fits both my older novels and my new. If you haven’t already given them a try, I hope you will. As always, I love to get honest reviews in one or more of the many places you can post them – Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub to name a few. I’ve also received private messages with feedback from people who have shared emotions evoked by my books. I love it when those kind of connections are made. It’s a true honor when I discover that my fiction is someone’s reality.

Romania - woman in window

So – no matter what your “old year” has been about, or what your “new year” might bring, I wish you the best in your future endeavors.  I’ll be starting out the year with the first time performance of a new murder mystery over dinner on New Year’s Eve. Next on my list is finishing my work in progress, Plum Tart Iris, a Wildflowers of Czechia Mystery.

Czechia - Loket

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you!



Filed under photographs, Sherrie Hansen, writing

The Girl Who Couldn’t Learn Football

I’ve never been a football fan. Truth be told, I’ve never understood the sport at all. Keep in mind that despite cheering for the sport for a number of years in my youth, I’ve never been able to learn more than what a first down is and a hand signal or two. Basically, I know the sign for ‘holding’ and ‘touchdown.’

I know, sad.

Over the holiday break, I drove to Massachusetts to visit my family. During my vacation, I spent a couple of days visiting my sister in New Hampshire. One night, the Patriots game was on the television and I made the mistake of thinking my sister and I were spending quality time with each other. Imagine my surprise when she looked at the screen and hollared, “YOU GOTTA CATCH THOSE!!!”

Shortly after that, she began to scream at the ref in much the same manner as any man might do when watching the game with his buddies. I said to her what I’ve said to those men: “You do realize they can’t hear you, right?”

And yes, I received the same look of exasperation from her that I’ve received from men in the past.

In all fairness, I have tried on several occasions to learn the sport. I would ask questions while watching the game but soon realized that my questions that sounded something like, “So the guy in the blue shirt is the quarterback, right?” or “Which direction are they going in?” or “Why are they playing in the rain? Aren’t they cold?” were not as well received as I would have liked.

So why, despite my trying to learn the sport, am I unable to do so? I am a fairly intelligent person. I’m college educated and have been able to hold down a job since graduation. I speak grammatically correct, can make change without a calculator and can read instructions in order to assemble any number of household items. Why, I ask, does this football thing escape me? Why do I find it nearly impossible to keep track of who’s in what place or who is trying to get to which goal? And never mind which player ran so many yards in a game in 1973. Do we really care about this? Yeah, yeah, I know some of you do.

The thing is; football is great! If i were to watch any sport, football would be it. I love the crashing into one another, the die hard play-in-any-type-of-weather mentality, and let’s face it, the tight pants aren’t all that bad either.

So here is my New Year’s resolution: This is the year I will learn the fundamentals of football. I will learn the proper way to tackle someone without getting a penalty, I will learn what causes a penalty and perhaps even a play or two. I will learn all the positions as well as the qualities that are best suited for those positions. (Currently, I only know that typically, a big, burly guy is the center and a quick, smaller guy is a running back. But that’s two positions down! How many to go?)

In addition, I will follow a team through the season and cheer them on. I will make an effort to watch every game they play, even if it means I miss an outing with a girlfriend.

Now, who’s going to teach me the game?

Donna Small is the author of two novels: Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water. Both are from Second Wind Publishing.


Filed under writing

The Newness of a New Day by Pat Bertram

champagneI’ve never put emphasis on a new year because it’s an arbitrary date. The calendar numbers change, but that’s all. It’s not even a universal new beginning. The Chinese New Year this year is on February 10, the Jewish New Year is on September 4, the Persian New Year is March 21, the Korean New Year is February 2, the Tibetan New Year begins on March 5, and various communities in the Hindu religion have different dates —March 22, April 13, April 14, April 15, August 17, October 18.

January 1 is not even the beginning of a new seasonal cycle. And it doesn’t begin at the same time for all people. (So when did my New Year begin? At midnight in the city of my birth, or midnight in the city where I am presently residing?) Nor is there any personal demarcation — no black line separates the old from the new. You carry the old year with you because you have the same problems, sadnesses, hopes, fears. In other words, you are still you.

There is a newness to January 1, though, and that is the newness of a new day. Unlike the year, each day truly is a new beginning. You wake up, and for a second everything is untouched — like new-fallen snow — and you almost believe you can be anyone you want to be, do anything you want to do. Then the truth hits you.

Still, there’s hope, so I make daily resolutions instead of yearly ones. I have a list of a dozen do’s and don’ts that I would follow in a perfect world. I’m lucky to do about half of them each day, but it varies. Two days ago I did only a couple. Yesterday I did all but two. Today, of course, I resolve to follow everything on my list. The list includes such things as weight lifting and stretching, walking, writing, blogging, promoting, eating a big salad, drinking lots of water, staying away from sugar and wheat. As I said, in a perfect world . . .

Despite that, I did toast this New Year, more as a symbol of newness than the reality of it. I’ve learned that I have to make something important every day. And toasting the New Year seemed as good as anything to importantize. (Yeah, I know — there’s no such word as importantize, but just for today — this new day — there is.)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”


Filed under life, musings, Pat Bertram

Spread the magic…

Do you know what I like the most about this time of year?  It’s not the food, though that’s usually really good.  And it isn’t the gifts, though I got some great ones this year.  What I like most about this time of year is that we all—adults and children, alike—are more than willing to believe in a little magic.

We, as a culture, encourage the idea of Santa Claus.  Really?  A big guy who can swoosh down your chimney with a bag full of presents?  Who has flying reindeer?  And survives on a diet of milk and cookies?  Come on!  There’s a little magic in that.

But I think there’s more than that.  I think the magic of Christmas is more than the commercial idea of Santa.  To me, there is magic in the bells.  Yes, the church bells, but also the Salvation Army bell ringers.  I know those ringers are freezing their fingers off to remind shoppers that there are less fortunate ones out there.  And most people give.  Maybe only a few cents—the change in their pocket—but something. Then there are the people who don’t have much, but give to the Angel Trees, or knit scarves for the homeless, or donate a few extra cans to the food bank.

To me, that is the magic of Christmas.  When people help each other without looking for any kind of reward or even a “thank you.”  Those opportunities for random acts of kindness are just more prevalent during the holidays then any other time of year.

But magic should be spread.  So I plan to look for one of those opportunities each and every month in 2011.  I want to make this year a year of kindness.  Because, really, don’t we all need a little more kindness, a little more magic, in our lives?




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Filed under writing

New Year’s Non-Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. For the most part, I make nightly resolutions in the belief that each day starts a new year. Every night I resolve that I will exercise, take a walk, eat breakfast, eat lots of vegetables, take my vitamins, don’t stay up late, get up earlier, and spend less time on the Internet, though now I have to resolve to spend more time online — all of a sudden, I’ve been forgetting to log on for days on end. So much for my Internet addiction! And I resolve to write a page a night. For some reason, my addiction to writing also simply disappeared. Usually I keep about two of those resolutions each day — I write my page a day and take a walk, or I write my page a day and eat a big raw vegetable salad. Or write my pate and follow through on one of my numerous other resolutions.

Still, even though New Year’s Day is just another day for me, I do have a New Year’s ritual: I try to do that day what I would like to do every day for the rest of the year in the hopes that whatever I do, I will continue to do. So, in that spirit, yesterday I woke relatively early, lifted a few weights, did a bit of air bicycling, took my food supplements, went for a short walk, ate a lot of vegetables, did a bit of unplanned housecleaning (and I do mean just a bit), wrote my page. Whew! Good thing New Year’s only comes once a year. I’m exhausted!


Pat Bertram is the author of Daughter Am IMore Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.


Filed under life, writing

More resolutions

It’s that time of year. Many people want to make a fresh start for the New Year, including me. In writing down my resolutions and hopes for the year in this blog, I hope that they will become more permanently fixed in my head. I’ll refrain from stating the generic ones like exercising more and eating better, which are a given (to me, at least):

First things first! Resolution #1: Love Trumps Logic WILL be available for sale soon! Edits are just about done & it’s a matter of letting go at this point. This release is tougher than seeing my children off to kindergarten for the first time, because my baby isn’t just going to a classroom, it’s going on the World Wide Web.

2) Finish my next Second Wind Publishing book. I have plans to “dust off” the first book I wrote, which is a sequel to Love Trumps Logic. It’s all about Lord Albert Beaumont’s younger brother Michael, the one who is an incredible archer and artist. I’ll incorporate all the things I learned in the process of writing and editing Love Trumps Logic into it, to make it the best it can be.

3) Finish writing my young adult book.

4) Reupholster my dining room chair cushions. I’ve been told (by Google) that it’s a good place to start if you’re a novice upholsterer. I started to do it before my Christmas guests came into town this year, but the volume of staples that needed removing overwhelmed me. I’ll definitely be buying a heavy duty staple remover and staple gun.

5) Carve out more time to study homeopathy. I’m almost as much a fanatic as Lord Featherstone is (in Love Trumps Logic).

And now for some positive thoughts for the New Year…

1) I pray that the friends I have who are struggling with cancer will beat it. Heck, let’s hope that scientists will find a cure this year!

2) I pray that my family member who is struggling to find a job will find one. (And let’s hope it’s in a community college and not a public school, for mental health’s sake).

3) I pray that my husband, who is working halfway around the world in Singapore, will find a way to spend more time with us throughout the year. For all our sakes, especially his.

4) I pray that my elderly aunt who has headaches will find out it’s nothing when she sees the doctor next week.

5) I wish Second Wind Publishing the best of luck with all their new endeavors in the New Year. I’m not sure I can say anything more, so I’ll stop there.

The list could go on and on, but I don’t want to restrict myself by thinking that this is my only chance in 2010 to make goals or have hopes or say prayers. I’ll continue those throughout the year.

Would you like to share some of your resolutions? I’d love to hear … and get inspired in the process!

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

Available for sale from Second Wind Publishing in January 2010 J


Filed under writing