Tag Archives: tribute

Author Anne George’s Vulcan

While looking through photos I took a few years ago of Eastern Europe, one in particular reminded me of a very special and favorite writer, Anne George. Anne was also the first writer I ever met and she, upon learning I was interested in becoming a writer myself, was full of enthusiasm and encouragement. I attended many of her book signings and fell in love with her Southern Sisters series of cozy mysteries. People often tended to be discouraging to the fledgling me, but not Anne. She may be a huge reason I am writing this blog today. I listened to her and she inspired me to stick with it until I was published.

Anne George

Anne George






This post is not about me, however. Anne’s Southern Sisters Series is about two sixty-something, totally opposite sisters who live in Birmingham, Alabama. The narrator, Patricia Anne, is petite, both in height and weight and is a retired school teacher who has been happily married to Fred for forty years. She tries to live a Southern Ladylike life, but it’s not easy to be prim and proper with a sister like hers who calls her, “Mouse.”

Mary Alice is five years older and admits to weighing 250 pounds and, as she says, “is five foot twelve inches tall.” She is known as “Sister” and has been married three times to incredibly wealthy and much older men, all of whom left her widowed, and who are all buried together in Elmwood Cemetery. Mary Alice is constantly on the lookout for a good time and invariably this causes trouble for them both—and hilarity for the reader.

Since the sisters live in Birmingham, Alabama, there are sites mentioned in the books that will be familiar to readers who know the city. But, I have spoken to readers who have visited Birmingham just so they could see those sites. One in particular, mentioned several times in various books is seen from Patricia Anne’s kitchen window; the bare backside of the god Vulcan, a towering monument to the iron and steel industry of the area, sculpted by Giuseppe Moretti in 1904. This sculpture is not fiction, it actually exists. The photo below was taken by Kent Russell and is on Flickr.







This brings me back to perusing my Eastern Europe photos. While in Belgrade, Serbia, I took a photo that reminded me immediately of Anne George’s Vulcan. I’m not meaning to make light of either of the monuments, it’s just the similarity is quite arresting. The Victor Monument in the Belgrade Fortress, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic (1928) was erected to celebrate the breakthrough of the Thessalonica front in WWI. But, the two sculptures resemble one another, and I couldn’t help smiling as I thought of my friend Anne George.

Serbian momument

Serbian momument






The Southern Sisters series consists of eight books. For those of you who have not read them, I heartily encourage you to give them a try. They are delightful. In addition, Anne, a poet of some renown, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a book of verse titled Some of It Is True. Sadly, she passed away in 2001 and I was never able to thank her for her inspiration and encouragement, but she and her books will live forever in my heart and on my bookshelves, and in many others’ as well.


Filed under books, fiction, fun, Humor, musings, photographs, Travel, writing

A Tribute to a True Storyteller by Sherrie Hansen

For 100 years, today was my Grandma Hansen’s birthday. She was born in 1900, and died in 2000, so there was never any doubt how old she was. Oh, the changes she saw in the 100 years she lived. As a child, I loved to listen to Grandma Hansen’s stories, both true and make-believe. She was a grand teller of fairy tales – The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk – and she loved to dramatically embellish stories of her younger years – from Indians, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and one room school houses to the tale of how she and Grandpa Hansen eloped to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. (They didn’t tell a soul they were married for months.) We were all mesmerized when Grandma started to spin a tale of days gone by.

So on this day of memories and love of country, my Grandma Hansen stands out in my mind as one of the individuals who truly made America great. She made my life pretty wonderful, too.  And she most certainly taught me how to tell a good story.

A Tribute to Grandma Hansen

 May 26th, 1990

 By Sherrie and Becky, her granddaughters, on her 90th Birthday


 Stepping back to yesterday –

 Daisies strewn along the way.

 Treasures in the chicken coop,

 Racing ‘round the driveway loop.

 Mousey ~ mousey’s in the house,

 Hankies stuck in Grandma’s blouse.

 Hanging clothes out on the line,

 Bleeding hearts and dandelions.

 Finding eggs beneath a hen,

 Memories from way back then.


 Grandma sitting on her stool

 Telling tales of teaching school,

 Peeling apples, scrubbing faces,

 Pansies put in little vases.

 Making dolls from hollyhocks,

 Darning all our worn out socks.

 Pin curls glistening in her hair,

 Corsets, baggy underwear.

 Raking leaves and burning piles –

 Memories of Grandma’s smiles


 Cousins staying overnight

 In Grandpa’s bed, all tucked in tight.

 Oatmeal, sweet dough, chicken pie,

 Hiding while the dishes dried.

 Silly plays between the trees,

 Picking berries, bumblebees.

 Stories told again and again

 “Who will help me?” said the Little Red Hen

 “The sky is falling” – the games we played,

 Memories of Grandma’s ways.


 Pictures on the piano top

 ~A growing family ~ a “bumper crop”.

 Her calloused hands and Godly heart

 Inspired us each, right from the start.

 Time goes on, and now it seems

 So long ago ~ those faded dreams

 But each fond memory has a place

 In every heart ~ in every face

 Our love for her ties us together –

Memories live on forever.

1 Comment

Filed under books, musings, Sherrie Hansen

Lazarus Barnhill’s Newsletter

            Years ago I had a friend who wrote an article once a month for his company’s newsletter.  And nobody read it.  Tony could write okay.  The problem was his regular piece was always full of nothing but “thank you’s” and “coming events”.  Anytime someone did something noteworthy, he recounted the deed with effusive praise.  Whenever future activities were planned, he would write about them extensively and encourage participation.  By his third newsletter, everyone was ignoring Tony’s articles.

            So as I write this blog entry, I do so with a certain amount of trepidation—because I want to say a big “thank you” to all the kind people who posted such wonderful comments as part of the “Lazarus Barnhill Tribute”.  I’d also like to thank my friends at Second Wind Publishing who promoted and carried this off without me knowing about it until it was at hand.  You’re all delightful and lovely people—in addition to be fine authors.  This is the first time I’ve ever experienced a tribute, and it’s a wonderful, heady experience.

            I must admit, however, there is a dark side to this of which most people aren’t aware.  In the service of full disclosure, I suppose I should be completely candid and say that, without telling our “blog guru” what I was doing, I snuck in and removed all the ugly, hostile comments some people left. . . .  Well, I suppose it’s the thought that counts.  Folks make their tributes in different ways.  As I’ve read and reread the questions and observations about me that I deleted, it dawned on me I should respond to them.  Yes, even warped internet flamers need love and attention from time to time.  So here are some of the less favorable comments and questions along with my personal responses:

            What was your mother thinking when she named her son Lazarus?  Was that lame name the same as your daddy’s?  KDB

            No, my father’s name is not Lazarus.  When Mom named me that she was more than a little cheesed at my father, who at the time of my birth was in the Navy sailing over to Korea to fight a war.  She wasn’t about to name me after him.  Laz is a name that’s appeared in various generations of my family for some time, always accompanied with the hope that the bearer will final achieve something worthwhile. . . .  Now that I think of it, KDB are my mom’s initials.

            You should stick either to romance or to crime/mystery.  Where’d you get the idea you could screw up two genres?  M. Douthit

            You should read more good books.  In fact, you need to visit the Second Wind site.  Many quality romances (like Safe Harbor, Badeaux Knights, Fate and Destiny and A Love Out of Time) have strong elements of mystery and crime in them.  And some outstanding crime books (like Carpet Ride and my own The Medicine People) are full of romantic elements.  It would difficult to find a more heartbreaking romance—with a hopeful ending—than the thriller False Positive.  Murder in Winnebago County actually has a love triangle in it so compelling that Chris Husom’s readers demanded she resolve it in her upcoming sequel Buried in Wolf Lake.  Even though she would deny it, Pat Bertram’s books, especially A Spark of Heavenly Fire, are loaded with complex romances.  It’s a great privilege for me to be published by Second Wind, where authors are not confined to a single genre—which is really just an acknowledgement that a good book may have love, death, laughter, adventure, crime and even the supernatural in it.

            You make fun of police officers in The Medicine People.  You should be ashamed of yourself!  Edna S.

            My uncle and great-uncle were policemen in the little country town where I grew up, Edna.  They used to follow me around to make sure I wasn’t getting into trouble (or giving them a bad name) and when I got my driver’s license they’d find an excuse to stop me once every week or two.  I’m just getting even with them.  Anyway, the hero of the book is a clever cop and he’s surrounded by smart, ethical policemen who are trying to do what’s right.  I happen to think The Medicine People is actually pretty realistic in its depiction of police.

            Your hero in Lacey Took a Holiday is a kidnapper.  He gives me the creeps.  And the girl who’s the main character is a hooker.  She’s not much better.  Nobody wants to read about people like that.  P.P.

            Don’t I remember you from the romance writing contest?  You really ought to do something about your initials.  Anyway, get the book and the read the whole story.  They both start out as “damaged goods” through no fault of their own (he is an embittered WWI vet whose wife and child died in childbirth; she ran away from home as a teenager after being sexually assaulted and then being blamed for it).  Lacey Took a Holiday is not so different from a lot of modern romances in that the main characters have had prior relationships and endured great pain.  I’ll admit the story is a little gritty and realistic.  Second Wind is thinking about moving it over and making it a mainstream title.

            I understand you removed some of the steamier love scenes of your first two books to make them more acceptable to your readers.  Soon you’ll have another novel, East Light, coming out.  Have you made certain the sexual content is acceptable?  KDB

            Dang it, Mom!  Quit posting on the blog.

            Anyway, thanks for all the good comments.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.  And now for some upcoming events . . .  —Laz Barnhill


Filed under books, fiction, Humor, Lazarus Barnhill, life, writing