Her story is ripped from the headlines....
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Monday, October 12, 2020
It’s October already! It's time for apple cider and pumpkin-spice everything, to be immediately followed by Thanksgiving--and I expect there are already Christmas trees in the stores. Many of us will be glad to say adios to 2020 and move on. It's been a year we wish we could forget, but we had to live it to the best of our abilities and keep going.
I wrote and published two books this year, though I'd wanted to complete three. I'm not kicking myself however. I've given myself permission to take self-care days when I need them.
During the year I often encourage followers to check back over their goal lists and see if they’re where they want to be. A lot of times when the excitement has drained from our writing or when we’re bored with the tedium of work and responsibilities, it’s because we’ve forgotten our dreams--or we've allowed other things to gain more importance. The distractions that monopolize our time aren't necessarily bad things; plenty of them are perfectly justified or necessary, rewarding even.
Of course there are mortgages to pay and kids to raise and groceries to buy and dinners to prepare, but tucking away our aspirations at the expense of our personal well-being isn’t healthy. Eventually we resent the things that are robbing us of personal fulfilment, instead of enjoying each facet for the richness it brings. Certainly there is joy to be found in the treasure of children in the dream of your own home and, but sometimes we pause in the midst of all that busyness to wonder, “Is this all there is?” There has to be more, and we yearn to find fulfillment within ourselves. That’s most often the time to reprioritize our busy schedules.
Often, sacrifices must be made to accomplish the things most important to us. It's up to you to identify what those sacrifices are and decide whether or not your goals are worth them.
“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Sit down and write five things that you dream of doing. Divide them into categories if you like: Family, Professional, Writing, Spiritual or Just for Me. Now select one that you will work on before the end of the year.
Make another list of the steps you will take to see that accomplishment come to pass. Now take those steps. Recapture your joy. We need to be participants in our lives, not spectators. We need to be passionate about our dreams. Sometimes simply revisiting our dreams is the kick we need to change our thinking and get us out of a rut.
Dream big and dream often.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” - C.S. Lewis
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. – Stephen King
Friday, October 09, 2020
I grew up watching the old television westerns, so those good-vs-evil and the-good-guy-wins stories appealed to me early on. I read extensively as a young adult, devouring Louis L’Amour and many other genres. The first two romances I read were by Lisa Gregory and LaVyrle Spencer—westerns with true romance! I was hooked.
When I really dug in and got serious about writing, I think my biggest hang-up was not thinking anyone would take me seriously. Who was I? I had a husband and four kids and wrote when they all went to bed at night. I had never taken a writing class, but I had read every out-of-date writing book in the public library. It was an immense joy to find the courage to join a group of writers and discover they were all people just like me, from all walks of life, and with a dream we shared.
I wrote Americana and westerns for Harlequin Historical for years, branching out into contemporaries for diversity and fun. After 25 years under contract, I gave myself a year-and-a-half hiatus. I promised myself from then on out I would only write stories I loved to write without the stress of contractual deadlines. I still write sweet westerns and contemporaries, and have most recently focused on the multi-author series Aspen Gold with my critique group. We’ve had great fun and have many more books planned.
I love an angsty story! The more angst and emotion, the better. If I don’t know how I will resolve the story people’s issues, then I know I’m on the right track—though I will want to pull my hair out at some point when all looks hopeless. I always figure it out.
My favorite thing is the ability to write books around the rest of my life without a daily 8-to-5 schedule. I’m able to have a full, busy life with family, friends and church and still write stories. If I want to go to lunch with a friend or take a day trip with my husband, I simply make up my pages on another day. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m pushing toward a book release, I write all day, every day—but that’s my choice and it’s rewarding.
It’s a joy to see an idea I came up with fleshed out, brought to life, sent out into the world and enjoyed by so many readers. I love hearing that what I’ve created brought pleasure to a reader, especially if the theme or the strength of a character spoke to them in a meaningful way. My stories are always about redemption and second chances, because that’s the cycle of life.
Monday, October 05, 2020
Want to hear the music that inspired me as I wrote my new book that releases tomorrow? Here's a LINK to the amazon music playlist for WHISPER MY NAME!
Saturday, October 03, 2020
WHISPER MY NAME
She watched, admiring how easy he made everything look. “The paper starts the sticks burning, and the sticks start the logs burning.”
“Exactly. Once the fire’s going well, you want to keep the screen in front of it, so sparks don’t fly out into the room.” He set the black screen in place.
At least she had an excuse for the warmth in her cheeks now. “That’s nice. Thanks for showing me.”
“You’re a quick learner.”
Now, with him looking at her and both of them kneeling before the fire, their nearness seemed awkwardly intimate. But what did she know? She felt awkward about everything, and yet this was the best awkwardness she’d ever experienced. He wasn’t looming over her or threatening in any way. He was one of the kindest, gentlest people she’d ever met, though she knew he was tough and aggressive at his job. That juxtaposition of strength and peace struck a chord and peeled away a papery layer of her fear and distrust.
She looked into his eyes. What did he think of her? The blaze now gave off enough light to highlight his features, the deep bow of his upper lip…the disquieting fullness of the lower one. He terrified her—or her reaction to him terrified her; in either case, her legs trembled, and she shifted her weight to rest with a hip solidly beneath her.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
“Do you really want to know?”
“I was thinking you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. Strong, but feminine. Smart.” His gaze took in her hair, her eyes, her mouth. “And now your question made me realize that you don’t play games.”
“You don’t flirt. You look directly at a person. You hold a lot inside, but what you do say is out there. No games.”
“Not the sort of woman you’re used to, I guess.”
“You’re like no one I’ve ever known, that’s for sure. And that’s a good thing.”
She raised her eyebrows. “It is?”
“It is. What were you thinking?”
She rubbed her thumbnail against her jeans. “I was…I was wondering what you were thinking about me. And now I know. Possibly.”
“What were you thinking about me?” he asked.
His steady gaze called her out, so she turned and looked at the fire. “I was remembering the night we were locked in at the Herald.”
He didn’t press her for more, but adjusted his weight to a sitting position.
“You really think I’m beautiful?”
“I thought it from the first time I saw you.”
A question was burning in her, the issue hotter than the fire. Her heart pounded, and she couldn’t believe she was going to say the words, but she couldn’t not. “Am I someone you would kiss?”
She made herself look at him to gauge his reaction.
His eyes seemed to darken even more, and the firelight reflected in their depths. “Seems like you’re fast becoming the only someone I want to kiss.”
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Friday, October 02, 2020
Writers: Do you have what it takes? What does it take?
"If you want confidence, act as if you already have - William James
Thursday, October 01, 2020
“I’m Sheriff Cavanaugh. Joe. I was on my way home and noticed the lights down here. The janitor was just leaving, and I asked him to hold the door so I could check out the place.” He jabbed a thumb over his shoulder. “I’m not suggesting you have to leave, but the storm is picking up out there.”
“There’s a storm?” She glanced up at the windows, and indeed flashes of lightning brightened the blackness. “I didn’t realize…I didn’t even know how late it was.” She gestured to the files open on the desktop computer and her stack of notes. She’d been researching in the basement morgue of the newspaper for hours. “I got lost in what I was doing.”
“You probably couldn’t hear the storm down here, could you?”
She shook her head. “No. I should be going.”
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Laurel. Spencer is a safe place, but if you’d like me to walk you to your car, I’d be—”
An ear-splitting crack and a bright flash of light cut him off. He turned toward the window, but she shrieked and backed up against the wall.
“It’s okay.” He held up his palm toward her. “Probably only a—”
The overhead lights flickered and went out, plunging them into darkness.
Laurel’s heart rate accelerated. “I have to get out of here.”
A loud hum sounded, followed by the creak of hinges and a solid snick as the door closed.
“Well, hell,” the sheriff said into the pitch black. The reconciled tone of his voice sent a shudder of apprehension along her spine.
‘Focus on the present, not the intimidating what-if possibilities.’ She was nowhere near step five of her therapy. The present was definitely intimidating. No amount of counting was going to settle her nerves at this point. “Wait. I have a key.”
She fumbled in her pocket and came up with the key the newspaper owner had given her. Groping the tabletop nearby, she found her phone, turned it on and used the light from the screen to make her way to the exit.
She stared at the door, ran her fingers over the surface. There was nowhere to insert a key. Frantic now, the key made a clink on the concrete floor as she yanked on the safety bar. She tried pushing it. The only portal out of this basement room was securely locked. She silently cursed wave after wave of internal trembling that took over her knees and made her hands quake. Flattening her palms on the cold steel, she gripped it in an attempt to steady the quakes.
“We’re locked in.”
Saturday, August 01, 2020
Friday, February 21, 2020
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Thank you, Cheryl, for inviting me to your Christmas Tree Tour, 2016.
Christmas is dear to my heart. Moving about as we have over the last 40+ years, decorating our homes invokes memories of Christmases past…from our childhoods, to our parenting days, to missing those who “have gone before us.” Our nest is empty now. We live 500 miles away from any family. It would be easy to not hang a single light or put up the tree because it’s just the two of us. However, I’ve come to realize decorating the house to celebrate Jesus is not for others, but for me, for my husband, for our hearts to remember. Mary treasured and pondered (Luke 2:19)
Most of my Christmas ornaments are memories. Some homemade by our children and grandchildren, some gifts from friends, and some from special times (places we’ve lived). In moving my elderly mother last year, I inherited (kept) a few cherished pieces from my childhood including plus a few of those glitter and glue ones, as well as my Grandmother’s homemade cardboard covered with aluminum foil tree-topper star! Wise men still follow the Star
My husband brought outdoor decorating into my life. Growing up, we never hung anything outside; maybe a string of lights on the inside of a window frame, but never actually outside. His tradition when our sons were young was to wait until the most ugly weather day – icy rainy ones were the usual. Age has taught him differently…along with not having his boys around to help. “Let your light so shine…” (Matthew 5:16)
Precious childhood memories… lying under the lighted tree peering up through the branches… driving my mom crazy as she tried to teach me how to apply tinsel… making ornaments with glitter and glue…receiving cards and letters from people I didn’t even know… my grandmother, my only living grandparent, coming to our house early Christmas morning… and singing…
Singing Christmas carols is my most cherished tradition… more treasured to me than any gifts received. Singing at school, for church programs, midnight cantatas, caroling… Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders (1 Chronicles 16:9)
Praising the LORD… celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world… “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
I leave you with glad tidings of comfort and joy…Good News of peace on Earth “…Remember Christ, our Savior, was born on Christmas day, to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray…” (God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen)
Merrie Hansen and her husband of 40+ years have called Nebraska, Texas, Alaska, Missouri, Kansas, Montana, and currently, Colorado home. It is from those moves and her experience as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend…singer, backpacker, roller skater, homeschool mom, volunteer...which she writes devotionals to challenge, encourage, & inspire others on their journey to Live-Out-Loud-for-Jesus.
Some of her work can be found in “The Secret Place,” “Just Between You & Me,” and CrossRiver Media’s devotional compilation books, “The Benefit Package” and “Abba’s Promise.”
Merrie can be found lettin’ the light of Jesus shine from her life at www.MerrieHansen.com or Facebook.com/MerrieHansen (Matthew 5:16)