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So, having seen that I’ve just written a new book titled Ragged Robin, you might be wondering, what is a Ragged Robin?

Ragged Robin by Sherrie Hansen

Depending on where you look, you might find your search for Ragged Robin to include a tiny seaside gift shop, a flute and harp duo that plays Irish traditional music, a nutty, time-traveling cartoon character from the Invisibles, a carnival glass pattern, a quaint café in Australia, a niche jewelry shop, a British landscaping, floral or wreath-making shop, a unique line of designer clothing,  an Etsy shoppe filled wth handmade, heartfilled products for your nest, a book of poetry, or one of Cicely M. Barker’s’s fairy flower illustrations.  

But because you know me and my penchant for writing books about windflowers, in this case, you would look to marshy places, damp meadows, marshes, fens and wet woods–in Scotland.

In wet marshy meadows
A tattered piper strays—
Ragged, ragged Robin;
On thin reeds he plays.

He asks for no payment;
He plays, for delight,
A tune for the fairies
To dance to, at night.

They nod and they whisper,
And say, looking wise,
“A princeling is Robin,
For all his disguise!”

Poem by Cicely M. Barker

(Except my Robin would be playing a tune for the Selkies to dance to on midsummer’s night. Now you might be wondering, what is a Selkie? But that’s a tale for another day.)

Now, back to Ragged Robin, the wildflower… With much-divided petals of lavender-pink, this robust, disheveled beauty of a wildflower might be a bit ragged around the edges, but its delicately-fringed, ragged blossoms are perfect to withstand windy weather. Known for its deeply cleft, feathery petals, ragged robin flowers from late May to early August, and is one of the prettiest to be found in boggy ground, transforming the flat brown bog in early summer.

Much-loved by bees and butterflies, it is dedicated to St. Barnabas because hay-making took place around his Feast Day on June 11 and Ragged Robin could be found amongst the hay. In Shakespeare’s time it was known as Crowflower and is one of the flowers in Ophelia’s garland. In the Victorian language of flowers, it symbolizes ardour, aversion, and wit.

In an ironic twist given the seaside setting of my book, Ragged Robin, the plant contains saponins, a soap substitute that can be used for washing clothes, hair etc. Although generally not harmful to humans, saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and pose a potential danger to aquatic life. (Just one small example of how my Robin was misunderstood by his family…) Hunting tribes in days of old were even known to put large quantities of the flowers in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill fish. (Sounds like shades of Die Droge to me… And now, you might be wondering what is Die Droge? To find out, you will have to read Ragged Robin.)

Another feature of the wildflower, be it good or bad, is that Ragged Robin can be very hard to keep down. If you want to rid an area of ragged robin for good, it will require patience and determination and will require removing all traces of the plant matter, since any plant matter missed will result in new growth. Missed plant matter can sprout months after you thought you removed the ragged robin. (Springs back from adversity– just one trait my readers will love about Ragged Robin.)

So, if you like a man known for his ardour, and his aversion to evil, lies and injustice, with a good dose of wit about him, you’ll love Ragged Robin. Available now in paperback, Kindle, or Kindle Unlimited versions from Amazon. Just click on Ragged Robin. I’ll have copies at the Blue Belle Inn the first week of June.

RAGGED ROBIN…When a deadly virus ravages the seafood population off the coast of Scotland, the townsfolk of Portree, Isle of Skye, are devastated. Charter boat captain Robin Murphy and café owner Becca Ronan stumble upon evidence that ties the contamination to a pharmaceutical company, thrusting them into a tangled net of mystery. Robin fears—Becca hopes—the Selkies, if they’re real, hold the key. Robin says his priority is finding a cure, but the seal folk he’s befriended on his getaway isle have stolen his heart. Becca’s long-lost father and free-spirited mother may save the day…or bring down the ship. As Robin and Becca search for the truth and struggle to keep their businesses afloat, everything is at risk–their love, their beliefs–even their lives.

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.

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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!

believe

 

 

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RAGGED ROBIN – New Release

PLUM TART IRIS – New Release

Seaside Daisy

NEW RELEASE!

Daybreak (Sequel to Night & Day)

Night and Day

Golden Rod

Sweet William

Shy Violet

Blue Belle

Wild Rose

Thistle Down

Love Notes

Stormy Weather

Water Lily

Merry Go Round

What You’ve Missed

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