Posted By Susan Bernhardt

A feeling of intense happiness and a sense of great comfort, invade my entire being, whenever I can escape into the wonderful world of fiction, where love flourishes, justice prevails, tolerance is encouraged, compassion is felt, mercy is recommended, good triumphs over evil, and a happily ever after is achieved...! :-)

The positive characters in these books become close friends. They touch me with their sincerity and kindness, delight me with their humour and decency, motivate me with their optimism and wisdom, inspire me with their faith and goodness, impress me with their courage and intelligence, reassure me with their weaknesses and eccentricities, and improve me with their principles and values.

Now, I would like to add, that the same feeling of immense happiness and a sense of well-being, prevails over me whenever I re-read one of my favourite books. 

In fact, re-reading a book actually seems to enhance the pleasure and increase the level of enjoyment :-) It's rather like revisiting someone who is a sincere and loyal friend, decent and compassionate person, and an interesting and entertaining companion. Moreover, I even get to learn something new each time I read a certain book again.

At this point, a confusion can arise, that how can new knowledge be gained from re-reading a book of which the story and it's conclusion is already known... unless maybe the reader is somewhat lacking in either concentration or memory that he or she keeps forgetting the contents of the book...!  

Well, I guess I should confess that this does happen to me sometimes...! :-) Especially if I am re-reading a book after more than five years of interval, and have read numerous other books in between.

However, my claim doesn't really pertain to learning new facts, instead it's more about understanding and appreciating the same old words of wisdom in a better manner.

As we go through life, we experience new events, encounter different people, and feel varying emotions. This process often results in our mental maturity, sometimes accompanied with wisdom, personality development, character strengthening, reinforced values, altered attitudes, added insight, fresh perceptions ...and though the book remains the same, we read it again as a different, and if we are fortunate, improved, person. 

Hence, at the various stages of our lives, every time we read the same book again, we usually manage to learn something new :-)

Now I would like to conclude by thanking Susan Bernhardt for providing with with an opportunity to share my feelings and thoughts on this topic is truly a great honour for me to contribute as a guest writer on her wonderful website :-) Also much thanks to everyone for their time and patience to read my post :-)

Those interested are welcome to visit my blogs:



Posted By Susan Bernhardt

I'd like to share my interview with Lorenzo Martinez, author and blogger.

Lorenzo: When and how did you decide to write a cozy versus another type of mystery? 

Susan: I decided to try my hand at writing a cozy mystery after I read two cozy series by M. C. Beaton. Everything about the cozy I liked, the amateur sleuth, the calm, small town setting that hid wickedly, intriguing secrets. The entanglements, the intricacies that lie in the undersurface of living in that small town, and the focus on the relationships.

Lorenzo: The Ginseng Conspiracy is the first mystery in the series. Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to turn your protagonist’s adventures into a series? 

Susan: I planned to have a Kay Driscoll mystery series from the start. When I love a book I never want it to end. And since there are so many means, motives, and opportunities to decrease a small town’s population, a series was inevitable.

Lorenzo: Your protagonist is a retired nurse who volunteers at a free clinic. Nursing was your chosen profession and you still volunteer at a free clinic. Besides the similarities in occupation, what other traits does your heroine share with you? 

Susan: Many traits are similar. Kay is down to earth. She’s persistent. She doesn’t give up when she wants something. She tries to be a good person and a good friend. She believes in justice: That right is right and wrong is wrong. No matter what, no matter who.

Lorenzo: Although your books are not memoirs, were you concerned how friends and family would react when they saw themselves fictionalized in your mysteries? You have borrowed from your own life, have you based some of the characters on people you know? 

Susan:  My family knows that Kay’s family is based on them. I don’t think they mind and may even like it. As far as friends, I get inspiration for my writing from real life. I draw from my own experiences and those around me. Whenever someone has a writer for a friend, there is always a possibility that the writer may be influenced by the person.

Lorenzo: What gave you the most pleasure writing?  

Susan: The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree are mysteries first and foremost but there is also a lot of humor throughout the books and that made them fun to write. I was also happy to include some of the things that I love in the stories such as art and music.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Lorenzo: What's the greatest reward you get from being a writer? Is your family impressed by your success? If so, how do they express it?  

Susan: Personal enjoyment and satisfaction is the greatest reward that I get. I started writing to challenge myself. And I love writing; creating a world that a reader becomes interested in and excited about. And I love it when people tell me that they enjoyed my book and write reviews.

I don't really think that my family is impressed by my being an author, although I did ask my husband when the question came up for this interview. He said he was impressed. :) Smart answer!

When my youngest son was reading The Ginseng Conspiracy , he said about half way through the novel, he stopped reading and thought, he couldn't believe that his mother wrote this book. I have supportive friends and family who have enjoyed the mystery and are happy and thrilled for me, but impressed?

Probably the only person who is impressed is myself. The novelty of being a published author still hasn't worn off and it has already been a year since my first mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy came out. I hope the novelty never wears off.

Lorenzo: Your second Kay Driscoll mystery takes place during the Christmas holidays. Your first cozy revolved around Halloween. Are you planning other books in the Kay Driscoll series around a holiday? If so, why do holidays intrigue you?

Susan: My third Kay Driscoll mystery, Murder by Fireworks which will be published this Fall takes place around the Fourth of July holiday.

The Ginseng Conspiracy takes place during Halloween. I've always loved Halloween as a kid with my friends and as a parent, making it a fun holiday for my children. I still celebrate the holiday with friends, such as going to a Witches' Tea or a Witches' Night Out or with my husband to Halloween parties and watching Halloween movies.

I came from a large family where holidays were important and we had many family traditions that went with each holiday. We would go home to my parents' for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and would know almost exactly what the activities would be for the entire weekend, extending even to the menu, and we loved all of it. I have many fond memories of holiday celebrations.

I just came back from a Caribbean cruise where I did research for a fourth Kay Driscoll. The fourth Kay Driscoll mystery, unlike the others, will not be holiday related.

Lorenzo: Susan's mysteries are excellent and enjoyable reads any time of year. Thank you so much for being my guest. I wish you the greatest success with your Kay Driscoll Mysteries.

Susan: Lorenzo, you're welcome. It's been a pleasure.

Amazon Links:

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1) -

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2) -

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

In a book that I read on mindfulness and meditation, I came across this analogy that I think ties well with the setting of your book. The renowned Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, says “if you look deeply at a flower, its beauty and its freshness, you will see that there is also compost in it, made of garbage. The gardener had the skill to transform this garbage into compost, and with this compost, he made a flower grow.”

By not being afraid of garbage, and by harnessing it, we have the power to convert this organic material into flowers, fruits, and vegetables. He says to apply the same idea to our sorrows, fears, and depression, and convert them into happiness. These bits of garbage are an organic part of real life, and instead of throwing them out of our life, look deeply at them and transform them into flowers of happiness.

Compassion and love are you, anger is also you. There can be no compassion without suffering, and no true love without compassion; so to hope for a life without suffering or pain is dangerous. But by cultivating the energy of mindfulness in us, and by accepting that both the positive and negative are in us, we can guide ourselves in the direction of the positive instead of struggling with the negatives, and bring out the flowers of peace, freedom, and happiness in our lives.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thank you, Reshma. Today marks the 10th anniversary of my Father's death. He was a cultivator of compassion and love, in addition to being an excellent gardener. :)

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

I know what love is, it is because of you. – Hermann Hesse

Valentine's Day is a great holiday for many reasons. It comes after all of the "good will towards men" has worn off. We take time to celebrate love. And love is love, right? Love is never wrong.

It's quite wonderful that we take a day to think about the people closest to us, that makes the other 364 days worth living. Love need not have words, only the beating of hearts. But the expression, "I love you," can send one flying high. There is no message more joyful then those three magical words.

Who, being loved, is poor? – Oscar Wilde

Happy Valentine's Day!




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