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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?
In the little town of Saint Ansgar, Iowa, where I’ve lived for 20 years, a conscientious Christian has posted a sign on the way into town that announces “The wages of sin is death.” Not exactly the greeting you might expect…
On the back of the sign, which you can’t possibly see until you leave town (unless you can spin your head around and drive at the same time – I can’t), is the rest of the story: “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord.”
The Bible verse (Romans 3:23) is one of my favorites. When read in its entirety, it has a beautiful message. But I hate the way the sign leaves me dangling. What if I don’t leave town for several days, two weeks, or a month? What if I leave town by a different route? What if it’s dark? I might never get to the good part. I might never know the rest of the story.
As a reader – of signs and books, I don’t like to be kept waiting too long. If the beginning of a book is too depressing or slow-paced, I might not keep reading long enough to get to the good part. If a climax builds too slowly or drags on for too long, I might stop caring before I get there. If a book contains too many cliff hangers, I’m going to be very frustrated, especially if I have to wait a year or two to finally find out what happens. Even in a series where each book comes to a complete end, with the next installment starting up with a new character or generation of the same family, I don’t like to be kept waiting too long. I forget pertinent details, names and relationships and connections between characters.
And what about those books that have multiple story lines about several different characters and so many sub-plots going all at once that by the time you get six chapters down the road and are finally taken back to the main storyline, you can’t even remember what was going on? Next time I pick one of them up, I’m going to read Chapters 1, 5, 9, 13, 17 and 21, then go back and hit Chapters 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, and 22… and so on. It’ll be much less irritating.
Am I the only one who gets impatient if I’m left dangling too long?
The third and final book in my Maple Valley Trilogy, Merry Go Round, was released about a month ago, and it’s been surprising to me how many people have bought all three books at once. “We’ve been waiting until the trilogy was complete”, they’ve claimed. “We hate having to wait between books, so we don’t even start a series until we can read the whole thing from start to finish.”
I wrote as fast as I could when I was working on Stormy Weather, Water Lily, and Merry Go Round, knowing that those who had started the series were clamoring for the next in line. My publisher worked with me as much as possible to get each subsequent book out quickly. I do understand where those readers were coming from, and am glad I could oblige without leaving anybody waiting for too long.
If the owner of the “Wages of Sin is Death” message is reading this, my advice is to get a second banner and post them like the old-fashioned Burma Shave signs… “The wages of sin is death,” and then a few yards up the road, a second sign with the hope-filled conclusion, “The gift of God is eternal life…” I don’t mind being left hanging for a few yards, but I don’t like to be left waiting for too terribly long, or the point is lost on me.
A little suspense is great, but don’t keep me on the edge of my seat forever. A nice, slow build up to a tender love scene is very sensual, but don’t dash my hopes too many times or I may not even enjoy the happy ending when it comes. As a reader and a writer, my opinion is that once you have the momentum going, it’s best to keep on climbing at as brisk a pace as you can manage.
And as for my neighbor, if you’re going to tell me the bad news, you’d better find a way to share the good news now – not later!
The long awaited “Water Lily” is now available on Amazon.com! I should have copies soon, too. When you get to Amazon, search for Water Lily by Sherrie Hansen. Make sure you’ve read Stormy Weather first! While each book stands alone, Water Lily is the second in the Maple Valley trilogy, and may “spoil” Stormy Weather for you if you don’t read it first.
Splish Splash, I was taking a bath…
Water has inundated my summer…
Remembering to drink enough of it…
Watering drooping plants that need more of it, hiding those that have had too much of it from the over-zealous helpers who think that my poor geraniums are yellow from want of water – when the opposite is true.
My geraniums aren’t the only thing that inadvertently got too much water. The dishwashing room in my tea house has a rotten floor and soggy cupboards thanks to a leaky value that escaped notice. Plumbers, carpenters, salesmen, construction woes, doing dishes by hand… Water. Too much of it, in the wrong place, is not good.
Not enough of it can cause problems, too. It is easy to get dehydrated in this heat. I drank a lot of water yesterday, but I was so busy, so on-the-go, that I barely had time to use the ladies’ room. This is a problem!
Too much water. Not enough water. My life revolves around water.
It is so hot, so humid, that there is water dripping down my back, sliding down the trough in the hollow between my shoulder blades. Sweaty forehead, hot kitchen, food, food, more food. Add some water to the chicken on the stove and turn it on low so it doesn’t dry out… Steam rising from the new commercial dishwasher. It will feel good this winter, but now, I want cool water, not hot!
Unless it is in my basement. Six inches of cool water we so did not want. Boxes floating, hitting walls, tipping over, bursting open. Waders salvaging, saving. Pumps working overtime, now that the power is back on. Damp, musty, mold born of water… Need to bleach. Need a dumpster… Water is not always good.
Last night a storm pounded heavy rain into the ground, turning dirt to mud, streams into torrents. Lightening, thunder. It is dark, so there will not be a rainbow. When the sun comes, the soaked ground emits humidity – rank, sopping wet, steamy, damp. Too much water all at once. The corn likes the hot and muggy weather. I do not. But there are farmers that I love. I try to be happy and stay indoors with the air conditioner on high.
I bet they would give anything for some of this water in Death Valley right now.
A swimming pool filled with water. My nieces love to splash. They are never so happy as when they are playing in their pool. I watch, still not comfortable about swimming suits. Maybe in another 40 pounds.
Water makes things green. I must remember that. I like green. Villiam is visiting from Denmark, and spent a few weeks in California before coming to the Midwest. It is brown in California.
Water… it is life-giving.
We are born in a splash of it, baptized in a pond of it. It can be so calming, so restorative, so severe, so threatening. It can kill. Don’t even get me talking about “frozen water”.
My water lilies thrive in water – floating in a pond of it, droplets raining down on them, they poke their heads up from their watery lairs and sing. Beauty born of water.
I received my proof copy of Water Lily yesterday! It’s a beautiful book. If I were not the author, I would buy a copy simply because the cover is so beautiful. I hope what is inside is just as lovely to those who read it. That is after all, what the book is about. Inner Beauty. Outer Beauty. Which do you have? Which do you wish you had? The beautiful water lily, born of the murky waters of the past.
Water, in the right amount, is a beautiful thing.
Splish, splash. Speaking of, I need to jump in the shower.
More Stormy Weather?
In the literal sense, I hope not!
In the literary sense, I hope so!
Most of you know that my latest novel, Stormy Weather, came out in late November, right about the time we started upon the stormiest winter we’ve had in years. With all the stormy weather impacting travel plans and business at my B&B and tea house, it has been a slow winter.
The good news is, we are all looking forward to spring! Although people keep reminding me that the month of March can account for our highest snowfalls of the winter (I hope not, since we already have several feet on the ground), we in Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota have decided to think optimistically and assume that these book signings and speaking engagements will all happen as planned!
If you’re anywhere near these locations, I’d love to see you! If not, you can order both Stormy Weather and Night and Day by calling the Blue Belle Inn B&B and Tea House at 641-713-3113 (we accept MC, Visa, Discover and Am Ex) or by visiting www.SecondWindPublishing, or http://www.Amazon.com.
More Exciting News!
KSMQ (Minnesota Public Television, Channel 15 in Austin, MN) will be taping a segment of Cities on the Move from the Blue Belle Inn B&B and Tea House on Monday, March 8th. Stephanie will be interviewing Sherrie about her books and the B&B. We’ll let you know an air date as soon as we find out when it will be broadcast!
Book Signings, Speaking Engagements & Interviews
Charles City Women’s Club, Trinity Methodist Church, Charles City, IA – March 2nd at 1:30 pm
Nissen Library, St. Ansgar, IA - March 6 at 2 pm
Live Author Chat with Connie C. at www.gather.com – March 11 at 8 pm
Joice Public Library 22nd Annual Omelet Breakfast Fundraiser and 7th Author Invitational, Bethany Lutheran Church, Joice, IA - Saturday, March 13 from 8 – 11 am
Iowa Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Assn Conference, Okoboji, IA – Sunday, March 21 – 3 pm
Thompson Public Library, Thompson, IA - March 30 from 3 – 5 pm (Rescheduled due to stormy weather.) :-)
Danish American Center, Minneapolis, MN - Sunday, May 23 at 3 pm
Purchase your copy of Stormy Weather or Night and Day at the Blue Belle Inn
or any of the following locations:
Hy-Vee West, Mason City
Hy-Vee, Austin, MN
Hy-Vee, Albert Lea, MN
Main Street, Austin, MN
Larsen’s Food Pride, Osage, IA
Sweeney’s on Main, Osage, IA
Saintly Stitches, St. Ansgar and Mason City, IA
Home Sweet Home and Thymeless Treasures, St. Ansgar, IA
Valhallas, Visalia, CA
The Book Loft, Solvang, CA
For more information, please visit www.BlueBelleBooks.com
Just wanted to let you know that I’m in the spotlight at Amy De Trempe’s blog, Timeless Romance, today. If you make a comment sometime between now and Saturday night, you could win a copy of my new book, Stormy Weather.
(Just want to make sure everyone understands that to be entered in the contest for the free copy of Stormy Weather, you must leave a comment on Amy DeTrempe’s Timeless Romance blog.)
I love seeing your comments here, too, but also hope to see you there!
You can also buy both Night and Day and Stormy Weather as a paperback, an e-book, or in Kindle version at http://www.amazon.com, Second Wind Publishing, or by calling me at the Blue Belle Inn (641-713-3113).
Thanks to all of you who have purchased and read Night and Day – I appreciate your good comments, and hope you like Stormy Weather just as well!
In my newly released book, Stormy Weather, several pivotal storms wreak havoc in the lives of the main characters, Rae, Luke, and Mac, both literally and figuratively. Stormy Weather is a romance, so it will come as no surprise that it has a happy ending – the sunshine and joy after the rain, to quote the words of an old song, or if you prefer, the rainbow after the storm.
Anyone who saw “The Wizard of Oz” knows that “somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.” Had it not been for the tornado that hit Dorothy’s drab, Kansas world, she never would have traveled to the wonderful land of Oz, nor learned to appreciate her precious Auntie Em’s love, or that there’s “no place like home.”
Like everyone, my life has had many bittersweet moments. The very day my first book, Night and Day, was released, I had surgery to remove a recurrence of skin cancer and ended up with a 4″ scar on my neck that left my head cocked to one side for about three weeks. One of the proudest and most exciting moments of my life; and I looked and felt so terrible that I wasn’t able to celebrate or promote the book until some time later. On top of that, the recession had finally come to the Midwest, and I was tense and worried about the repercussions to my business and those of friends and family.
Two other times in my life come to mind as well… on my wedding day, almost 6 years ago, my back was out, and I was so stiff and sore that my friend had to lift my feet into the car to drive me to the church. Due to another medical condition, I was in excruciating pain during much of our dream vacation to Scotland 3 years ago. The term “grin and bear” it took on a whole new meaning.
These incidents are nothing compared to the heartbreak many of you have endured or are going though right now.
Yet, much as these temporary storms may have marred or impeded my enjoyment of some of the most precious and pleasurable days of my life, as always, clouds do dissipate, sunshine reappears, and joy is to be found on the other side of the rainbow. My husband, the pastor, is quick to add that a house built of the solid rock of Jesus Christ will withstand the worst of storms.
Is there a time in your life that you’ve experience joy in the midst of a storm? Sunshine after the rain? A rainbow so unexpected and lovely that you find yourself thinking the fray was almost worth it just to have experience that one blessed moment in time?
You’ll have to read Stormy Weather to experience the moment when Rae’s worst nightmare coincides with an event so profound that it will change her entire life.
I hope, as you read about what happens to Rae, that your faith will be restored – that you will be able to see through the wind and rain and sleet and snow that’s pommeling you to the blue skies on the other side of the rainbow, to experience the sunshine and joy awaiting you.
I hope to see you there!
My wonderful webmaster, George Rezak, has just told me that my new website, http://www.BlueBelleBooks.com, is up and running. Please check it out and add it to your favorites!
I’ve approved the cover art for my next release, Stormy Weather, and I’m thrilled with the artwork, thanks to the patient efforts of Stacy at Second Wind Publishing. I sewed the quilt block and my husband, Mark, took the photo, but she put it all together. Didn’t she do a great job?
November 15th is the tentative release date, but I scheduled my first book signing for November 28 to allow time for the first shipment to arrive.
Saturday, November 28, 11:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Sherrie will be reading aloud and signing copies of her newly released book – Stormy Weather – at a holiday luncheon.
“A storm is brewing, and as usual, Rachael Jones is in the middle of the fray.
If the local banker succeeds in bulldozing the Victorian houses she’s trying to save, she’s in for yet another rough time before the skies clear.
The only bright spots on the horizon are her friendship with Luke… and her secret rendezvous with Mac…
Is Rachael meant to weather the storm with Luke, who touches her heart and soul so intimately, or with Mac, who knows each sweet secret of her body?
STORMY WEATHER… Stay tuned for the latest forecast!”
When I was 10 or 11, my parents decided to sell the tent-top camper we’d had for a number of years and buy a bigger one. They put an ad in the paper and had a few responses, but no buyer. Then, one Saturday, while the ad was still running, they had to go somewhere. I was the oldest child in our family, so before they left, they said, “If anyone calls about the camper, tell them we want $500 for it.”
I was in awe. That was a lot of money back in 1967.
Well, wouldn’t you know, an hour after they left, the phone rang – someone had seen the ad and was interested in the camper. I told them the price, answered some questions, and told them where we lived so they could come and see it. A short time later, the phone rang again – someone else wanted to come and see the camper. I gave them directions to get to our house (which was 6 miles from town, on a gravel road) and went back to my other job, which was to make sure my younger brothers and sisters weren’t wrecking the house.
An hour later, I was standing in the yard, showing the camper to both couples, who had coincidentally arrived within minutes of each other. After looking the camper over and asking a few questions, the first couple offered me $450. The other couple jumped in and offered $500, the asking price set by my dad. The first couple was still hanging around, so instead of saying yes, I told a little story about one of our camping trips and how much our family had enjoyed the state park where we’d camped.
The first couple countered with an offer of $550. I mentioned how easy the camper was to put up and tear down. Working together, my dad, my sister and I could do it in 10 minutes flat. The second couple offered $600. I showed them how the table could be folded down and made into a bed. The first couple upped their bid to $650. That was more money than the second couple had, or was willing to offer.
I pronounced the camper SOLD, got $650 cash from the winning bidders, wrote them a receipt, and waved goodbye as they drove down the road, pulling the camper behind. You can imagine my parent’s shock and glee when they came home and I handed them $650.
It was at that moment that I first experienced the joy and exhilaration of selling something. As writers, pitching, or trying to sell our books may or may not be part of our comfort zone. But like it or not, published or unpublished, if you’re a writer, you have something to sell, and you need to pitch your book, not just once, but over and over again. Selling yourself, and your book, is an important part of being an author… the difference between being published or unpublished… the difference between success and failure.
When I made the decision to go with a small, independent press (Second Wind Publishing) for my book, Night and Day, it was in part because I own a bed and breakfast and tea house and knew that I had a built-in venue for selling my book. Each day, 4 – 40 people walk in the door – all potential buyers. Still, a stack of nice, new books sitting on a table with a cute little sign rarely sell themselves. Neither will a bump on a log at a book signing.
What does sell my books is me. I pitch my book once or twice every day – sometimes ten or twelve – to each and every guest who walks in the door. As you might guess – I’ve got my pitch down – and I have sold about 300 books in the last 3 1/2 months. I sold 8 over the lunch hour just yesterday.
That doesn’t mean everyone who walks in the door buys a book. Some are not interested. I can see their eyes glazing over 10 seconds into my pitch. Some look excited until I mention the words “internet romance”. Perhaps they’ve been burned by an online lover – perhaps their spouse has had an online dalliance – maybe they think computers are for the birds. Whatever the case, when you try to sell something, you have to be ready for rejection – and then, you have to pick yourself up and keep trying.
“It’s midnight in Minnesota and daybreak in Denmark…” I regularly vary my pitch depending on who I’m talking to – young, old, someone I know, a stranger. The important thing is that I believe in my book. I love my characters and am convinced people will enjoy reading Night and Day.
I live for those moments when I connect with a reader, when we strike common ground, when their faces light up. Sometimes it’s when they see the log-cabin quilt on the cover of Night and Day, sometimes it’s when they hear the words Danish, “junk in the attic”, or bonfire. And when I take their $15 and autograph their book, it’s just as exciting as selling that camper for my parents when I was 11 years old.
Selling is hard. Whether you’re pitching your book or telling someone about your story at a writing conference, talking to guests at a book signing, or asking the manager of your local grocery store if they would consider stocking your book, you will feel naked at times. Intimidated. Daunted. Unsure.
But there comes a moment, when someone wants to buys your book, when you find a common chord with an editor, the owner of a shop, a librarian, or a potential reader, and make the sale, that you will know it was all worth it.
Find the courage to try, and keep trying.
Don’t ever sell yourself short. Sell yourself and you will sell your book!
A week or two ago, I wrote an article entitled Reading… A Waste of Time, or a Good Investment?
In the blog, I spoke to my Dad’s philosophy – working hard to get the work done you did something relaxing or fun like reading a book, and how it often clashed with my desire to read (or play the piano) every second of every day.
On Sunday, May 17, the Austin Daily Herald published a story about the release of my new book, Night and Day, where they quoted me discussing the same subject.
What didn’t get said in that article, follows… the rest of the story, if you will.
I’ll freely admit that I was not a good candidate for a farmer’s daughter. How my hard-working Dad and Mom ended up with a child like me, who was allergic to being outdoors, hated big trucks and farm equipment, and wanted to read all the time, is still a mystery to me. When I was about twelve, I became convinced I was adopted. I was just so different than the rest of my family. (This strikes me as extremely funny now that I am older, look like both my Mom and Dad, and am like them in countless ways.)
One thing I should have seen, even then, was that we shared a certain “stubborn” gene. Even as a child, it was impossible to get me to do anything I didn’t want to do. When my Dad tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift so I could drive tractor, the pick-up, or his truck, I would act dumb, grind the gears, and generally be a pain in the butt until he got irritated with me, gave up, and sent me back inside – where I went to my room and opened whatever book I was reading.
I did cook, help with the laundry, clean, and baby-sit my younger brothers and sisters so my mom could drive tractor – usually with a book in one hand. Later on, I learned bookkeeping and did the books for the farm business. But contrary to the article in the Austin Daily Herald, I very rarely did anything farming related. Like Jensen’s parents in my book, my Mom and Dad worked sun up to sun down. I did not. I read at least one book every night of my life through junior high.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I gave up reading, in part, because I was busy with classes, and being yearbook editor, and yes, in part because at that age, my parents felt like I should be helping on the farm or around the house instead of reading all the time, like I always had. My reading was a bone of contention at times, yes, but what little I did around the farm didn’t prevent me from reading.
I’m sure, if any of my brothers and sisters read the article, they chuckled when it implied that I worked on the farm at all.
But that is beside the point. The important thing that I think needs to be mentioned is that, looking back, I am eternally thankful that I was raised to appreciate the value of hard work, and the importance of getting the work done first, before I played. Why? Because writing a book is very, very hard work.
If it weren’t for my parents instilling their work ethic in me, I’d
still be one of those creative persons who has always said, and probably will say to their dying day, “I should write a book someday.” Because of my parents, I did it. I worked and worked until it was finished, and then I worked some more, making it better and better, until it was ready to publish, and then I worked and worked to get it in front of editors and agents and publishers. When I got a rejection, I worked even harder to make the book even better, until I got an offer. And now, I’m working hard to promote and market it.
While the article touched on this, my parents weren’t given credit, and I really think they deserve it, for teaching me persistence and determination, and the value of hard work.
I know many an artist, musician, writer, craftsperson, who although talented beyond words, can’t earn a living doing what they love and are gifted at because they don’t have a clue how to finish what they start, or keep at it until the job is done, say nothing about marketing themselves, selling themselves, or running a business.
Looking back on my farm experience, I feel passionate about the fact that my upbringing empowered me to be the person I am today, both innkeeper and author… because like it or not, my Dad taught me the value of hard work… an essential ingredient in the journey to getting published.