Tag Archives: Jenny Hansen

If You’re Missed and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

(Do you know who those hands belong to? Is it a plea for help? Is someone missing? If so, could it be you or me? Thank you Lynn Kelley for volunteering this picture via WANA Commons.)

In any event, everyone Clap Your Hands!

Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t blog over the summer. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. I succumbed to burn-out, an aftershock from all the turmoil that happened over the last couple of years. I couldn’t move. Days would go by and I literally could not move.

Was I depressed? No, not really. More like exhausted. Beyond exhausted.

When you are deluged by difficulties that are out of your control, when necessary, you will rise to the occasion, then afterwards you collapse. I think it has something to do with that old adage, what goes up must come down. And I crashed. It’s just that simple.

At first I thought I’d take a month off. That sounded reasonable. With so many of you at home with your children or gone away on vacation, I would go unnoticed. Then another month went by and then another. It got easier not to blog. I mean, who would really miss me?

But I was wrong.

I tried to connect on Facebook because it’s a great way to stay in touch. Then, in mid-August, I saw a post on my feed that mentioned a WANA classmate who was recovering from major surgery. Don’t ya just love that about Facebook? It gives us an opportunity to support and root for our family and friends. The WANAite was none other than Anthony Tuscano. And he apparently had a serious issue that required major surgery.

Ding, ding, ding, off went my radar. I, of all people, know about the recovery process from major surgery. So I left a cheerful “Get Well” message amongst many others. Well, don’t you know, dear Anthony leaves me this reply, “Karen, I’ve missed reading your blog; and I miss you!”


I was taken aback by Anthony’s kind words knowing HE was the injured party. It was HE who no doubt suffered from major surgery. And he thought of me?

I clapped my hands.

At the beginning of September, I heard from another WANA classmate, Pat O’Dea Rosen. Do you see a trend here? Pat, it seems, has an art for direction. She, in her own gracious, complimentary manner, gave me a nudge. Why, this writer remembered the very first post I ever wrote. She, in a nutshell, told me that I had “set high standards and put too much pressure on myself.” Her comment actually mirrored something Jenny Hansen had said to me over a year ago.

Call me thick headed, but don’t you hate it when people are right? Did they nail me, or what? I have come to realize there is no hiding behind what you write. It’s there for all to see in black and white. But this was Pat’s way of telling me that I was missed.

I clapped my hands.

Then I thought about others who are struggling. Or those of you, who out of the kindness of your heart, come by and leave a comment on my blog. Do you know how much you’re missed? Yet, it is possible that many of us may feel like we are blogging out to the Universe and are never missed. Now, how sad would that be?

There’s been a lot going on over the past few months. Fires, tornadoes, floods, illness, yes, most of us are dealing with quite a number of challenging issues. Yet, we keep pressing on. Why not take a look around you. See who might be MIA and send them a message. You’d be surprised how little it takes to encourage another.

I leave you with this thought that came across my Facebook feed the other day…

“If you find someone who makes you smile, who checks on you often to see if you’re okay, who watches out for you and wants the very best for you, don’t let them go. Keep them close and don’t take them for granted. People like that are hard to find.” (Author unknown.)

So if you’re missed and you know it, Clap Your Hands!

Thank you so much for the encouragement Jenny, Pat and Anthony! Well all of you actually! 🙂

And we hope you have a speedy recovery Anthony!
So what do you think?

How did you enjoy your summer? Were you able to re-arrange your schedule and get some rest? Did you and your family get away on a much needed vacation? Were you affected by one of the crazy climatic disasters that have struck our globe? If so, I hope that you and your family are safe!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all your upbuilding comments!

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Let’s Whip Our Summer Into Shape!

(Huntington Beach, California)

Yes, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer are upon us.

For most of us, what does that mean?

For those of us that have children in the house it means school is out. That is a whole other subject altogether. Although I will say that may fall into the category of crazy, IYKWIM.

For those of us who fall into the other category, meaning, for whatever reason, there are no children to disrupt our daily activity, we have our own challenges. Not to take away from those parents who pull double duty mind you. We all have immense respect for you. Been there, done that. And may the force be with you.

Yet, it was brought to my attention the other day that summertime may cause a lazy haze to creep into our daily routine much like a fog bank makes its way onto shore. One minute we’re enjoying the warmth of the sun and then a climatic change threatens to rearrange our good intentions and before you know it, we can’t make our way through the all the minutiae.

But do we give ourselves the time to appreciate life’s little pleasures? Most of us have trained ourselves to be self-disciplined people. And as such, we make lists and schedules that do not allow us to take a break from our normal routine. I would venture to say that few of us ever accomplish what we set out to do on any particular day. Which keeps us in this vicious cycle of frustration and exhaustion knowing full well it is virtually impossible to get everything done.

So what to do?

Take a small break.

No, I’m not talking about cleaning a toilet, or fixing a meal, or doing a load of laundry, or catching up on all your emails. Over the years, I have found that for some reason, those things will still be there for you to do later. It’s called job security.

No, what I am proposing is to take a little break. For some of us, we may have a vacation planned on some exotic Island for all I know. Yet, what I’m suggesting does not require that drastic of a measure. Here’s what I propose:

Get out of the house!

Yes, get out!

Go for a walk and breathe in some fresh air. It can be around the block. Or at a beautiful park. Or at the ocean, that is, if you live near an ocean. As you can tell by the picture above, that is one of my personal favs. Even if you are living under a deluge of precipitation that measures in seismic proportions, go to a mall or some other indoor arena available to you and walk.

I know some of you are working out. You may be doing potty squats with Ginger Calem. Or Crossfit like Jenny Hansen. But that’s not what I’m talking about. We need to get out of our normal routine and change the scenery.

And the best part— it doesn’t cost us anything.

Well, maybe our time, which I know is a precious commodity. But you will not believe how stimulating it can be. It helps to clean out the cobwebs in our brain.

Have you had writer’s block lately? Has a figurative “fog bank” rolled in across the page?

Then take a walk.

And you will be surprised how fast you’ll Whip your WIP this Summer into shape!

So what do you think? Have any special plans for this summer? Do you like to exercise? Do you have a hard time allowing yourself to take the personal time needed to regain your creativity? What things do you like to do to help stimulate your mind and keep your sanity?
Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all your amazing comments!


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“K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour”


I cannot tell you how delighted I am! Not only do I have exciting news about Historical Mystery Novelist Kathy Owen, but I have been bestowed the title of “Mistress of Ceremonies.” I know. This is a huge honor! And I’ll be happy to tell you all why in just one moment.

For starters, I’d like to ask, who really is K.B. Owen?

Many of us know her through Twitter, Facebook, Mywana and through her blog. Yet, I am suspicious there is more to Kathy Owen than just meets the eye.

So the first thing I did was go to her website. It says that K.B. Owen resides in the beautiful east coast state of Virginia with her husband and three sons. That she loves gardening, Hummingbirds and has a special fondness for Tea and Cookies.

But then it goes on to say that Kathy taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in both Connecticut and Washington, D.C., and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.

Aha! That would explain her love for mystery and what helped her to create amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells!

Speaking of Professor Concordia Wells…

Today, as Mistress of Ceremonies, I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the launch of:

K.B. Owen’s…

“Dangerous and Unseemly” Mystery Book Tour!

If you enjoy curling up to a cozy historical mystery, you are going to be totally enthralled by K.B. Owen’s new novel!

Here’s the description:

It’s an unseemly lesson…in murder.
The year is 1896, and Professor Concordia Wells has her hands full: teaching classes, acting as live-in chaperone to a cottage of lively female students, and directing the student play, Macbeth.

But mystery and murder are not confined to the stage. Malicious pranks, arson, money troubles, and the apparent suicide of a college official create turmoil at the women’s college. For Concordia, it becomes personal when a family member dies of a mysterious illness, and her best friend is attacked and left for dead.

With her friend still in danger and her beloved school facing certain ruin, Concordia knows that she must act. But uncovering secrets is a dangerous business, and there are some who do not appreciate the unseemly inquiries and bold actions of the young lady professor. Can she discover the ones responsible…before she becomes the next target?

Okay Kathy, now we’re really hooked!

So what’s the catch?

Ah, that’s a good question. It turns out that Kathy has added a little Mystery and fun to her book launching tour. Plus a special Prize!

So do you want to play? Here’s how it works:

At each stop in “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour,” there will be a mystery question to answer. The correct answer has a corresponding letter. When you collect all the letters and unscramble them into sets of four, you’ll discover which ROOM, WEAPON, and SUSPECT. Then, at the end, you’ll email Kathy at kbowenwriter@gmail.com. It’s just that simple. I’ll be announcing the winner right here on my blog, at the last stop of her tour on Wednesday, April 3rd. What could you win? A free ebook copy of “Dangerous and Unseemly” and a $25 gift card of your choice to either Starbucks, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

Ooh Kathy, that sounds really cool!

Now if you run into a few stumpers, don’t worry! You’ll be able check out Kathy’s Mystery Quizz page at kbowenmysteries.com. It has Clue-type graphics and lays it out, step by step. And if you join us in the middle of the tour, the complete list of Book Tour hosts can be found here and at kbowenmysteries.com. The Email Deadline is Monday, April 1st. No foolin’! 🙂

And just so you can keep up with each clue, here’s Kathy’s scheduled date of appearances:

First stop Tomorrow, Feb 25 – Elizabeth Spann Craig – “The Butler Did It?”

Then Wednesday, Feb 27 – Janice Hamrick – “Fantastic Formula: the Perry Mason Series”

Friday, March 1 – Jill Edmondson – “What Nancy Drew and Scooby-Doo Taught Me About Writing Cozy Mysteries”

Tuesday, March 5- Margot Kinberg – “19th century Con Men – the Best Salesmen Ever”

Wednesday, March 6 – Nancy Lauzon – “Book Shower”

Friday, March 8 – Renee Schuls-Jacobson – “An Unusual Interview”

Wednesday, March 13 – Julie Glover – “The Language of 19th century Charlatans”

Thursday, March 14 – Jenny Hansen – “When You Gotta Go…in the 19th century”

Wednesday, March 20 – Rachel Funk Heller – “Skype Interview”

Monday, March 25 – Laird Sapir – “The Interview”

Friday, March 29 – Tiffany A. White – To be announced

Wednesday, April 3 – Karen McFarland (me!) – “Announcement of Winner and Tour Wrap-Up”

So please be sure to join in on all the fun!

“Dangerous and Unseemly” is available now at:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback (Amazon)

Barnes and Noble Nookbook





And please check out Kathy Owen’s website for more historical mystery at kbowenmysteries.com!

So what do you think? Are you ready for “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour?” Mark your calendars and bookmark this post! You all know how I love to give away prizes! And since I do happen to have some pull with the author, I’m working her over as we speak! So follow all the clues and you could be a winner!

Thank you everyone for stopping by and giving Kathy Owen all your support!


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ROW80: Alive and Kicking!

Today is 3/11…Wait… Isn’t that the name of a Reggae Rock band?
“Whoa, amber is the color of your energy.”
Oh I’m just being silly!
How was your week everyone? I was sick last week, so I didn’t check-in. Did ya miss me? Well I missed all of you! This week flew by fast. Unfortunately we are still dealing with Hubby’s back so that makes things a bit stressful around here, but life goes on.

And no I will not break into another song!

So are we ready? Okay, here we go…

The dreaded check-in

Let’s take a look at how I did last week, shall we?…

Goals for Round 1:

1- Work on my current WIP.
This really could be combined with goal number two. But I am in the process of moving forward with both WIPs and also plotting a new story for my third novel.
Yep, still plotting and developing character arcs.

2- Check in with Donna Newton at WWBC once a week.
Check. I did converse with Donna via email this week. As you know, Donna is now reading my number one WIP. She says she is a slow reader. LOL! So she is not finished yet. Hurry up Donna! I’m waiting here! Just sayin’. 🙂

3- Participate in my online class to help authors balance writing and business with Bob Mayer.
All done. 🙂

4- Blog at least once a week.
Yep, posted on Wednesday. I wrote a blog about how a horse can give us inspiration for our writing. Say what? I know it doesn’t any make sense, but go check is out. I guarantee you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself! I have to say that this once a week thing is working for me. I also think that it makes it easier for those who follow my blog to visit and comment. And I can’t thank you enough for all the support and wonderful comments that you leave on my site. You guys are awesome!

5- Visit and support 5 bloggers per day.
I am happy to say that I have read actually more than 5 bloggers per day. I have been reading them until my eyeballs fall out! And since I have now visited everyone from WANA1011, I thought it would be a good goal to try to go visit everyone from WANA112. Although I’m trying to figure out how to get a list of those bloggers. If anyone has a list or knows of a list, please let me know. Thanks!

6- Tweet at least once per day.
Yep, I was able to meet this goal and I’ve been busy all week tweeting to support others. And I would like to take this time to thank these awesome people for all their support and Twitter love!

@Angela_Peart @DianeCapri @_FabioBueno_@Judythe2 @DebraKristi @PrudenceMacleod @GeneLempp @DebraEve @jenjensen2 @ElaineSmothers @MarcyKennedy @MDragonwillow @SSchroeder @jenmariepowell @jhansenwrites @MelindaVan @crothhobsen @AugstMcLaughlin @BMcDowellOH @Suesan0814 @RickBylina @GingerCalem @DeborahJHughes @alanasaltz @MikeSchulenberg @RchelFunkHeller @JBLane @StacyGreen26 @MSMillerAU @AprilPlummer @SusieLindau @Ali__Dent @MerryFarmer20 @DebraEve

Thank you for your Tweets and Re-Tweets! I’m sending you all a big Hug!!!!

7- Exercise during the week.
Nope, I fell down on this one. I was sick at the beginning of the week and then, well, I just didn’t exercise. I have talked to Ginger Calem about this over at #writersbutt (I know, clever name eh?). Ginger said that she would partner up with me and kick my butt into gear. LOL! 🙂

So now I’m looking forward to a fresh new start to this week.

Oh, before you go be sure to check out these awesome blog posts from the past week that caught my eye:
Even though we all know that breaking up is hard to do, August McLaughlin put a new twist on this particular subject with her post, “Beautiful Breakups: What the Revision Process Can Teach Us.”

Rachel Funk Heller takes us all on a ride with her amazing post, “From Reader to Writer: The Driving Metaphor.” Rachel found that learning how to write is a lot like learning how to drive. Let’s just say that she’s giving us the spark that will start our engines so we can really go somewhere when writing our stories.

Then across the pond Jennifer Jensen take us for another ride. This time she’s “Driving on Irish Country Roads” with her family and it comes complete with a vlog of those perilous country roads. All I have to say is watch out for sheep and cows Jennifer! It’s all in great fun!

Now if you happen to have a techie question then Jenny Hansen’s your girl. She is a wiz on all things technical and last Tuesday she wrote a post on Linked-In called “Social Media Madness.” My sentiments exactly Jenny! It is madness, but thank you for talking some of us off the ledge!

And last but not least I want to include Donna Newton’s post “So You Want to be an Author?”—Part Two. In her post Donna helps break down the confusion by educating us on all the different genres that exist so we know where our writing fits in and what the rules are. Rules? I hate rules. But okay Donna, only because you say so. 🙂

Okay I did it. I got through another week and I’m not alone. There are others that are right beside me to help me along the way. So that I don’t irritate my wonderful supportive subscribers, feel free to delete my ROW80 posts if they start to irritate you. They probably won’t be all that interesting, unless…

Unless I can temp you all to join us over at the party at ROW80! Feel free to jump in anytime. See you there! 🙂

So what do you think? How did I do? I know I can still count on your support, right? Or you have my permission to come and give me a swift kick in the butt! Uh-oh, it looks like Ginger Calem has already beaten you to it! LOL! 🙂
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Thanks guys! I knew I could count on you!


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ROW80: Kicking and Screaming!

Why do I still say Kicking and Screaming?

Besides loving that caricature on the left,

I have never liked setting goals!

Someone last week encouraged me to keep putting myself out there. And as that person may not have been referring to my ROW80 goals, I think this is an essential way to move forward to meet that challenge. 🙂

So here we go…

The dreaded check-in

First I’d like to say a big thank you to all who have dropped by to support me with my ROW80 goals! You guys are fabulous! Really, I mean it! Since Jenny Hansen didn’t get a chance to stop by last week to kick my butt into gear because she is so super busy (No duh!), I kinda feel like I got away with something! But I can’t expect that to happen two weeks in a row! So I best get busy! LOL!

Let’s take a look at how I did last week, shall we?…

Goals for Round 1:
1- Work on my current WIP five days a week.
Uh, nope. Nothing happened again. Then I read Kristen Lamb’s post on Friday, which I must say was one of the best blogs she has ever written! “3 Steps to Freedom—Grab Hold of Your Brilliant Future!” I’m sure the post wasn’t written specifically just for me. I’m mean really who am I? But oh boy, did she ever make me think. Whew! I’ve been so overwhelmed with everything lately that I haven’t known where or what to start working on. Well let’s just say that her post really helped.
2- Check in with Donna Newton at WWBC once a week.
Yep, talked to Donna about my dilemma with my WIPs.
3- Participate in my online class to help authors balance writing and business with Bob Mayer.
This week Bob gave us an assignment that was an emotional brain burner. Really Bob, it took me days to get through it. I wanted to take my time and get the most out of the exercise. It was about our personality traits and how we can get in our own way and keep ourselves from succeeding. Amazing stuff.
4- Blog at least once a week.
Well what do you know? Yep, I posted on Wednesday and it was my very first Mash-Up! That seems to be a good day for me and I’ve received some awesome comments and support. Thank you all, I really appreciate it! 🙂
5- Visit and support 5 bloggers per day.
Check. Did that. There are some awesome blog posts out there. It’s nearly impossible to get to them all. So following Fabio Bueno’s advice, I set up a system. I took our WANA1011 class list with everybody’s blog site. I go down the list, one by one, and when I’ve finished reading a blog, I date it. That way I know when I last visited that blog. I’m trying to work through the entire list and visit everyone. Of course I’ve added others who were not in our class as I visit them.
6- Tweet at least once per day.
Check. Did that at least twice, if not three times per day. It doesn’t take that long. Ten minutes perhaps at a time. I like to skim through the columns to find tweets to RT. Again, it is my intention is to support others!

7- Exercise on my elliptical twice a week.
Well, uh…not much. I got on that thing on Monday and it felt great. Then the week fell apart. But at least I got on it last week, which is more than I can say about the week before. Baby steps. 🙂

So now I’m looking forward to a fresh new start to this week.

Whew, okay I did it. That wasn’t really so bad. And I’m not alone. There are others that are right beside me to help me along the way. So that I don’t irritate my wonderful supportive subscribers, feel free to delete my ROW80 posts if they start to irritate you. They probably won’t be all that interesting, unless…

Unless I can temp you all to join us over at the party at ROW80! Feel free to jump in anytime. See you there! 🙂

So what do you think? How did I do? I wasn’t able to meet all my goals, but are you all still behind me? Can I still count on your support?

Awe, thanks guys! I knew I could count on you!


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