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Wild Rose has arrived!
Exciting news! Wild Rose, the first of my Wildflowers of Scotland novels, is now available in paperback at http://amzn.com/1938101421 and as an ebook at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/315638. You can also buy my books directly from http://www.SecondWindPublishing.com. I will have copies for sale at the Blue Belle Inn in about 10 days.
The prequel, my novella, Thistle Down, the intro to my Wildflowers of Scotland novels, and the first scene of my upcoming release, Wild Rose, are still FREE at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310079, and 99 cents for your Nook at B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thistle-down-sherrie-hansen/1115202229?ean=2 or for your Kindle at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Thistle%20Down%20by%20Sherrie%20Hansen%20Kindle
Download away! Thank you.
Back Cover Blurb for Wild Rose: When Ian MacCraig tries to capture the thief who is stealing artifacts from his kirk in Loch Awe, Scotland, the last thing he expects to find on his video is a woman engaging in a passionate romp under the flying buttresses. Rose Wilson is mortified to learn that Digby, the online friend she met for what she thought was a harmless rendezvous, is a common criminal.
Now that Ian, the board of Wilson Enterprises, the constable, and half the town have had a glimpse of Rose in all her naked glory, it seems even her family looks at her differently. What remains to be seen is how far Ian will go to defend Rose’s honor and if the church ladies will forgive Rose now that they know who she really is… and if Rose can believe she’s worthy of someone as good and kind as Ian MacCraig.
Wild Rose and Pastor Ian MacCraig… a match made in heaven or one hell of a predicament?
Back Cover Blurb for Thistle Down: Can tenderhearted Pastor Ian MacCraig keep a pair of prickly sisters from marrying the wrong men? Emily Downey has found the perfect groom. If only she loved the man… Chelsea Downey is wild about her boyfriend. Trouble is, he’s two-timing her and everyone sees it but her.
Their thorny situation gets even stickier when the church ladies come up with a plan.
Can Pastor Ian MacCraig weed out the thistles and get to the heart of the matter in time to save the day?
If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’ve had a whirlwind blog tour going on in honor of the June release of my first inspirational novel, LOVE NOTES. I’ve posted the links to each article below. If you haven’t already, please join me! (For your reading enjoyment, I worked very hard to make sure each article is different.)
Interview about how Maud Hart Lovelace (author of the Betsy Tacy books) and Madeleine L’Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time) influenced my writing at Pat Bertram’s blog
A devotional about hope at Phyllis Wheeler’s blog
My ‘Second Chance at Love story at Shannon Taylor Vannatter’s blog
Sandra Robbins interviewed me about Tommy Love and Hope Anderson at the Borrowed Book blog
I blogged about Looking for Hope, Joy, Peace and Love in All the Wrong Places at Second Wind Publishing’s blog
I posted a video of me playing the melody for the song, Hope, Joy, Peace, Love (written by ‘Tommy Love’ for LOVE NOTES) on the piano at Gather.com.
I was going through some old photos recently and came upon a photo of me taken back in the late 80′s while I was climbing Pikes Peak. For those of you who know me as a now silver-haired, overweight, 55 year old with achy knees and hips who will do most anything to avoid stairs, yes, I really did climb Pikes Peak. This is not another work of fiction. I really did it.
I lived in Colorado Springs at the time, and was acclimated to the altitude. I had walked 3 or 4 miles a day for months before attempting my trek so get in shape. My friend, Karen (the cute, naturally slender one on the left), coached and encouraged me to the top. If not for her, I might still be sitting in the midst of a boulder field, too tired and short of air to make it to the top, and too tired and sore to make it back down to the base. I probably would have been devoured by coyotes or pummeled to death by a hailstorm by morning, as we climbed the mountain in early October, when there was barely enough hours of daylight to make it to the top. I don’t have a photo of me at the very top of the mountain, because we barely made to the top in time to get our tickets and jump on the last cog train of the day for the trip back home. If we hadn’t caught the last train, we would have had to spend the night on the mountain. Not a good thing, although there are a few little cabins along the path for folks who do get stranded or need to take shelter.
Pikes Peak is over 14,000 feet high. It’s almost unimaginable – even to me – that I ever lugged my tired old body up such a steep incline. But isn’t that always the way it is when you’re down in the valley? Life has a way of beating your down sometimes, and when you’re in the basement, it seems like you’re never even going to make it up to the first floor, say nothing about soaring to the top of a massive mountain. Maybe that’s why I love it when my characters are surprised by joy, when they find hope, that moment when they see a pinprick of light in the far distance, shining through the darkness.
When Hope Anderson meets Tommy Love in my new book, Love Notes, she’s understandably cautious, even cynical. Tommy is downright jaded, and has long given up on finding true love. They both believe in a God of miracles – in theory… but which of us really believes that God is going to work a miracle in our lives?
Maybe it’s because He did, in my life, when I met my husband of 8 years – my real life romance – that I like to write about hope.
So if you find yourself down in the valley, a place I’m very well acquainted with – for whatever reason – think about being on top of Pikes Peak. It’s not an easy climb, but it’s definitely doable. It could happen. It did happen to me, and I’m here to tell you that the view is great from the top. You can see forever. So keep believing. You never know what God has in store for you…
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
LOVE NOTES (Coming on June 4th from Second Wind Publishing)
Hope Anderson’s heart is finally starting to thaw.
Even Tommy Love’s is melting around the edges.
But they both want Rainbow Lake Lodge. Only one of them can have it.
For Hope, recreating the past - reopening the lodge and seeing it bubbling with families, children, and laughter again – means new life. It’s the only way she can honor her late husband's legacy.
For Tommy Lubinski of Tommy Love and the Love Notes fame, Rainbow Lake means coming home - peace, quiet, seclusion - and a second chance at stardom. Once he’s bulldozed the lodge and built his dream house overlooking the lake, everything will be perfect.
Hope is sinking fast, but she’ll be fine if she can just keep her head above water until spring. Tommy’s troubles run a little deeper, but there’s no need to worry for now… Rainbow Lake is frozen solid. Or is it?
My blog tour for Love Notes begins today at The Literary Mom, http://www.preslaysa.com/. The release date for my first Christian inspirational novel, Love Notes, is set for later this month. Please subscribe to my blog for further updates!
Some people call it “going through a rough patch”. Others, ” a bout of the blues”.
Last year, my life was a frozen tundra of bitter winds, harsh realities, and frosty receptions. My soul got nipped by the frost. The edges of my green things shriveled.
You’ve seen it just like I have – the weather is warm and springlike, so you poke your head out and let yourself grow.
You start to blossom, and then, when you’re basking in the crisp, clear sunlight of spring wonderfulness, you hear the forecast – or not. A freeze warning. You try to cover yourself, but when it suddenly gets cold – unexpectedly so – there is going to be some damage to your fragile blossoms no matter what you do.
When we go through extended periods of ungodly, cold temperatures, our soft, warm, trusting hearts can turn to ice. We stop feeling, stop caring, stop hoping. The concept of spring is inconceivable when you’re an ice sculpture.
And then, something or someone brings about a thaw. It always seems to happen – eventually, usually when you have given up hope of ever feeling warm, ever again.
Don’t get me wrong… a spring thaw can be a wonderful thing, but please beware of muddy puddles and and thin crusts of ice that look deceivingly strong, but won’t support your weight. There is a danger, if a spring thaw comes too fast – before you are ready – that you will fall through the ice and drown.
My new novel, Love Notes, will be blossoming sometime soon. Hope Anderson is trying to bring Rainbow Lake Lodge back to life again. It’s the only way she feels she can honor her late husband’s legacy.
She’s starting to thaw, painting cabins, sewing quilts and planting tulips, dreaming of spring, when an unexpected frost catches her off guard… a banker with evil intentions, a supposed friend with a secret… ice everywhere. Slippery, cold, ice.
Tommy Love of Tommy Love and the Love Notes fame has everything money can buy, and nothing that really matters. His heart has been an ice cube for so long that it may never thaw. Then, he meets Hope, and gets reacquainted with God. Will his new-found faith cause a heat wave? Will Tommy give up everything he thinks he wants to find the only thing he has ever really wanted?
So bloom where you are planted. Let your blossoms shine in the sunlight. It’s always the right thing to do.
But never trust the weather.
It can change in an instant.
I hate thinking of myself or the romances I write as middle-aged. In many ways, I still think of myself as being young. Besides, age is relative. When my mom had my baby brother at age 37, I was mortified. To a sixteen year old girl, she seemed ancient – way too old to be having sex. At 54, I realize the error of my thinking.
When I was a young girl, the church I grew up in talked about something called God’s Perfect Will for Your Life. When I married the wrong man at age 20 and got divorced at age 27, I figured I’d missed the boat for good, and that whatever awful fate befell me from that point on was no one’s fault but my own.
Popular culture sent the same message. In Donna Summer’s hit song, “Last Dance”, she sings, “Last dance, last chance for love. Yes it’s my last chance for romance tonight.” Grab it now, while you can, when you’re young, in the prime of your life – or you may never have a second chance.
But our God is a God who forgives, who gives second chances, in His time… a God who promises, “All things work together for good to those who love God.” Even when things go awry along the way. Even when the unthinkable has happened.
There’s something sweet and magical about the naivety of our first love. But there’s also something rich and particularly satisfying about a second chance at love.
I wrote several novels about falling in love – fantasies all – while waiting for a second chance at real-life romance. It was hard to be patient. It was tempting to grab on to the first man who came along. Anything had to be better than being single, didn’t it? But eventually, with the council of many wise friends, I could admit that it was far better to be alone than to be married to the wrong man.
There was a song we used to sing in The Growing Edge, the Sunday School class for single adults aged 25 to 4o that I attended at First Pres in Colorado Springs, called “In His Time.”
IN HIS TIME, IN HIS TIME
HE MAKES ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME
LORD, PLEASE SHOW ME EVERYDAY
AS YOU’RE TEACHING ME YOUR WAY
THAT YOU DO JUST WHAT YOU SAY
IN YOUR TIME.
IN YOUR TIME, IN YOUR TIME
YOU MAKE ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR TIME
LORD, MY LIFE TO YOU I BRING
MAY EACH SONG I HAVE TO SING
BE TO YOU A LOVELY THING
IN YOUR TIME.
There were times that I was so tired of waiting, so frustrated with my circumstances, that I could barely make it through the song without crying – or feeling downright mad at God. I wanted to be in love, I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be married, to have a family before it was too late.
Almost 20 long years after my divorce, I was still waiting. I’d had a handful of relationships that weren’t meant to be for one reason or another, a couple of broken hearts, and a couple of terrifying near misses that – thank the Lord – never came to fruition.
I thought I’d missed my chance. The odds against a woman in her late forties finding love and remarrying were staggering, and I knew it.
And then one day, a nice (and very handsome) man asked me out on a date. He was a pastor. After our second or third date, he asked me to come to the church where he is a pastor, to hear him preach. Obviously, if our relationship was to progress, I had to be comfortable with his calling.
I drove an hour that Sunday to attend his church. When I entered the sanctuary the organist was playing the song… IN HIS TIME.
Yes, there is something very satisfying about a second chance at love. When you find love after 40, there’s a greater appreciation, a deeper joy, a more wonderful than ever love that envelops you – heart, soul, mind and body. When a man can love you when you’re – yes, I’ll say it – middle aged – with all the “imperfections” and attitudes that come along with living 4 or more decades, when you’re not nearly as cute and perky as you were at 20, it’s a joyous surprise, maybe even a miracle.
And that’s why I write books about second chances. That’s why Jensen in “Night and Day”, Rachael in “Stormy Weather”, Michelle in “Water Lily” and Tracy in “Merry Go Round” are all approaching 40. That’s why some of my heroines have been married and divorced, some are “old maids”, and one, Hope Anderson, in an upcoming novel, Love Notes, is widowed. That’s why some have baggage, one has a complex, and another, a huge chip on her shoulder. That’s why they’re tarnished and even a bit tattered.
The heroes of my novels are also older. Like my leading ladies, Anders, Mac, Jake, and Clay have lived, they’ve loved, they’ve lost, they’ve been crushed, and heartbroken and devastated. And they’ve survived. And because they’ve lived through the pain of life, they’re richer and more sensitive, and infinitely more loveable.
Here’s to second chances…
(Written by Sherrie Hansen, who lives in a 116 year old house who, just like her, got a second chance when she rescued it from the bulldozers grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast.)
Have you ever felt like you were going in circles? We all have highs and lows in our lives, valleys and mountain-top experiences, periods of relative calm followed by turbulent times. We expect ups and downs to be part of our lives.
But sometimes I have a great sense of deja vu, a feeling that I have been here or there before, that even with all the maturity and wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years that I’m right back where I started from. Gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight. Making money, losing money. Finally outgrowing teenage hormones only to get hit by menopausal hormones. Firing one employee and hiring another, divorcing one husband and marrying another, only to come full cycle and discover that the same old problems persist – despite the fact that the faces and names have changed.
It’s discouraging. It’s frustrating! Like one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek, Next Generation, it’s like being caught in a time warp, living the same few minutes or days of your life, over and over again, and not being able to escape.
And then, every once in a great while (or sometimes, in alarmingly frequent succession), we get thrown out of our established, comfortable orbit. Our socks are knocked off. We’re thrown for a loop. Something catastrophic and life-altering happens. We’re permanently kicked out of our circular, holding patterns and forced to take a new look at life.
Riding the merry-go-round of life can be a delightful experience. Coming around the bend, making a full circle, and seeing those familiar, once-per-revolution sights can be heart-warming and comfortingly familiar. Yet I pray I will never be lulled into such complacency that all I do is go in circles.
My new release, Merry Go Round, scheduled to be out later this month or first thing next, has made me examine my life. There are some circular ruts that I need to break out of. There are some new, unexplored paths I need to explore. There are some old habits that I need to shed – permanently. There is a whole new world waiting to be experienced.
Maybe someday, I’ll move to France. I’ve heard they like carousels there – and that the lingerie is very pretty. And that the food is quite delicious.
Tracy’s supposedly perfect life as a pastor’s wife and mother of three is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for a man.
Clay Alexander’s charmed life starts spinning out of control when his father threatens to shut down Maple Valley’s woolen mill – unless Clay turns his back on everything he believes in.
Is Tracy and Clay’s love meant to be, or will they always be caught in the chaos of other people’s expectations, riding up and down and round and round on opposite sides of the merry-go-round?
Her children. His parents. Her pride. His honor. The welfare of an entire town.
MERRY GO ROUND… Hang on for dear life.
Coming soon from http://www.SecondWindPublishing.com
At my bed and breakfast, the Blue Belle Inn B&B and Tea House, each of our guest rooms is named after a children’s storybook. In the main house, we have On the Banks of Plum Creek, one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series, NeverNeverland from Peter Pan, Sherwood Forest from Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Secret Garden, and Heaven to Betsy, from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Tacy series.
We call the circa 1951 cottage where my husband and I live A Wrinkle in Time, after Madeleine L’Engle’s classic, because it is sandwiched between a Victorian house (The Blue Belle Inn), built in 1895, and a giant arts and crafts built in the 1920s. Four years ago, when we bought and renovated a new little house just to the north of the Blue Belle, we christened it Anne’s House of Dreams, from the Anne of Green Gables series. Upstairs is Green Gables and downstairs is Four Winds.
The theme of each room is loosely in keeping with the theme of the book it is named after, with a lot of whimsy thrown in for good measure.
In the case of Four Winds, part of that theme is a staircase that quotes John 8:32 – The truth shall set you free, with one word painted on each step as you climb upward.
If you’ve read Anne’s House of Dreams, you know that there are several characters in the book who are keeping secrets. The offending characters think they have very good reasons for keeping their secrets to themselves and hiding the truth, but in the end, we learn that as long as duplicity is present, there can be no resolution, no contentment, no fulfillment, and no happy ending.
The truth shall set you free. Falsehoods, no matter how nobly intended, create a prison that binds you.
In my new book, Merry Go Round, slated for a late April release, the characters have a few secrets of their own. Trevor has kept the fact that he is gay a secret for almost 20 years. His duplicity and belated honesty have impacted his wife’s life in many ways. And because Tracy is determined that no one else learn the truth (especially not her children), she is left without a way to process the ramifications of those events. Because she’s chosen not to reveal Trevor’s sexual orientation, she’s cheated herself out of the listening ears and supportive arms she would otherwise have had.
Like a bottle of a champagne with a firmly plugged top, the pressure is mounting on the inside, and you know that eventually, someone is going to come uncorked. Things are going to blow up in your face.
But as much as we may believe in our heads that “The truth shall set you free”, many of us grew up in stoical northern European homes where we were taught to keep our thoughts to ourselves, and hide our true feelings lest we offend or make everyone uncomfortable.
In her song, Don’t Cry Out Loud, Rita Coolidge sings:
Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all.
If the truth intrigues you – the wisdom of sometimes withholding it, and sometimes, conversely, letting it all hang out – I encourage you to read Merry Go Round when it comes out later this spring. It’s easy to think that we should always tell the truth – until you know what’s at stake. Only then can you know what you would do. Are some secrets worth keeping? If so, to what lengths would you go to camouflage the real story? Or is honesty always the best policy?
“I can’t keep living a lie.” Trevor’s voice sounded far away and tinny, maybe because her cell phone was the cheapest model on the market, and maybe because he was calling from California. Regardless, it didn’t dampen the impact of his words.
It had been almost three years since Trevor had told her the truth, and she still had a hard time believing it.
“I can’t keep pretending I’m someone who I’m not,” Trevor said.
“You most certainly can. You have to.” She lowered her voice for fear of waking the children. “If you can’t do it for me, then do it for them.”
from Merry Go Round, by Sherrie Hansen
Someone recently asked me how I started to write.
I was already a night owl before I opened the Blue Belle Inn B&B and Tea House almost 20 years ago. Opening the Inn had been precipitated by a move “back home” to a town of 1000 people after 11 years in bustling Colorado Springs, CO.
Opening the Inn, establishing a business, training new employees, sustaining financial credibility, and everything else that went along with being a first time business owner sapped my strength, sucked the life out of my relationships, and took 16 out of every 24 hours. I loved what I was doing, there was just no time for anything else.
I was working every night until 10 pm – my night owl tendency’s worsened. Probably not a good thing for the owner of a bed and BREAKFAST. I was soon exhausted – between checking in honeymooners at 2 am and serving breakfast to business travelers at 6 am.
My “home” was in the basement of the Blue Belle, so I never really went home from work, but when I went downstairs at the end of the night, I was tired. But just because it was bedtime didn’t mean I could go to sleep. Like anyone, I came home from work pumped up with adrenalin, sometimes frustrated, sometimes happy, charged and ready to go after flying around, being busy for hours – I needed to talk to someone, to vent, to spend a few hours unwinding before I could go to sleep.
Problem is, who do you call to talk to at that time of night? (No one – they’re all asleep.) Where do you go if you feel like doing something, or need to run errands (Nowhere – everything is closed.) So what’s a person to do? Sometimes life thrusts you into situations where you’re forced to to adapt. I did. I started writing. Late into the night.
My first published book, Night and Day (it’s midnight in Minnesota and daybreak in Denmark), was no mistake.
When the internet caught on, I made friends in every corner of the world – friends who were on the same schedule I was. While my real-life friends and family slept, I carried on a “imaginary life” with my online friends. And I wrote. In essence, I made up a few dozen “imaginary friends” and started writing about what was going on in their lives, weaving them together into relationships, imagining “what if” – and writing about it.
A friend of mine, Deborah Scafferi Rohne, writes a blog called “Life Is Too Short to Fold Underwear”. In her latest entry, she writes that life is too short to sleep when everyone else is awake. Her theory is that you miss out on too much when your schedule is contrary to the rest of the world’s. She is absolutely right. In my case, however, I wasn’t sleeping when everyone else was awake, I was working. And when everyone else was asleep, I was living – and writing – and engaging and interacting with my imaginary friends.
In my case, my imaginary, after-hours, everybody-else-I-know-is-sound-asleep world changed my real life.
And twenty years later? I work less (well, sometimes), play more (okay, occasionally), and have better relationship in the real world (with at least a few people – I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 7 years now). I still have many friends online who inspire, encourage, and cheer me on. I try to find a good balance, which is probably the key to everything in life.
And then, irony of ironies, when I hit 51, my body clock started to change. Suddenly, I found myself falling asleep in front of my computer at 9 pm. My most prolific hours – 10 pm to 2 pm, found me zombie-like and bobbing my head in front of the words on my screen. After finally giving up and succumbing to sleep, I would wake up at 6 am. But I wasn’t productive, I was crabby.
So. . . such is life. I’m trying to adapt – again, carve out a new niche in my busy schedule for my writing, make time for me and my imaginary friends, and still get a good night’s sleep! And guess when this was written? 6:30 am.