Break Out the Bubbly!!

(photo by ori2uru, CC 2.0 license, Wikimedia Commons)

(photo by ori2uru, CC 2.0, Wikimedia)


It’s time to break out the virtual bubbly again here
at misterio press because we have a BIG announce-

Drumroll, please… We are thrilled that a new
author, Vinnie Hansen, has joined our group!

Vinnie has some impressive credentials, including
a master’s degree in creative writing and a bunch
of literary awards. She’s led a checkered an
adventurous life, and we are tickled pink that she’s
landed with us here at misterio, bringing her
intrepid heroine, Carol Sabala, along with her.

We are also please to announce the re-release of
Murder, Honey (the first Carol Sabala book) under the misterio press imprint. Over the next year or so, the plan is to bring the whole series in under the misterio umbrella.

So grab a glass of virtual champagne and pull up a chair. Here’s Vinnie to give us a snapshot of her journey through the ups and downs of life and writing.

Take it away, Vinnie…


When I was a baby, the government built Highway 14 right through my parents’ shack. The family relocated to a house on the edge of tiny Philip, South Dakota, where I grew up with my nine brothers and sisters.

Vinnie Age 1 by dad's sign

Age 1, by one of my father’s signs. He painted signs for a living.


Vinnie Age 5 - Behind the house

Age 5 — already taking care of other creatures’ babies.

downtown Philip, SD

                                    Downtown Philip, SD

Starting at age ten, I was “farmed out” to my older siblings to take care of their babies.

This is how I came to be in Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park and Guerneville, California in 1967, 1969 and 1970. When I returned home wearing bellbottoms and a puffy shirt, my dad remarked that letting me go to California was “like turning a horse loose in an alkaline pasture.”

The day after I graduated from high school, I left South Dakota in a Woody, but the car threw a rod outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. I sold it and bought a bus ticket to L.A., arriving in the middle of the night. I hid from the pimps in the bathroom. My sister-in-law rescued me.

Even though I had been a valedictorian, no one had mentioned college. I had no plans beyond a summer exchange program in Switzerland. I owe my brother Wayne for turning me on to community college. My first night class was Creative Writing. I was hooked!

I eventually earned a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in English, the latter with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Flannery O’Connor was once asked if she thought universities stifled writers. She responded, “My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.”

I left college thinking I was hot stuff and set off to write The Great American Novel.

Up to that point, I had worked jobs from delivering newspapers to nude modeling. When I finally had to get serious about earning a living, I returned to school for a teaching credential.

Vinnie posing on the Watsonville High School signOn a Friday, I landed a job at Watsonville High School. I moved the 80 miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz during the weekend and started my new job on Monday—teaching four different courses in four different classrooms.

During my 27-year career, I was lucky enough to teach Creative Writing and to serve as advisor for the campus literary magazine. I continued to pursue my writing dream. My stories appeared in several literary and mystery magazines and my short story collection was a semi-finalist for the Iowa School of Letters Award.

In 1999, I started my Carol Sabala mystery series with Murder, Honey. The book was in first-person and set in Santa Cruz, but I didn’t want people to think the protagonist was me. (Silly me!)

Yet, the adage “write what you know” had been drilled into me. At the time, I was married to Mr. Wrong, a sous chef at an upscale Santa Cruz restaurant. So I made my heroine a baker/amateur sleuth at a swanky dining establishment.

When I got divorced, so did Carol Sabala. She moved on to new men and new venues. I liked that my main character was growing and changing over the years. Like me, as her knees gave out, she changed hobbies from volleyball to mountain biking. The ukulele band with which I play keyboard snuck its way into my latest mystery, Art, Wine & Bullets. I’m currently a yogini, but haven’t included yoga yet in a mystery.

Vinnie doing a yoga pose on the Santa Cruz dockMy series now contains seven books, one of which won a Best Book of Fiction of 2005 award (that was a great day!) and another was a 2013 Claymore Award Finalist.

In my work-in-progress, I come full circle, sending Carol Sabala to South Dakota.

I am thrilled to continue my literary journey with misterio press!

Kass here again. Please check out the new edition of Vinnie’s Murder, Honey, with updated text and its great new cover!  (Psst! I’ll also be celebrating the re-release of my first novel later this month.)

Murder, Honey book cover


When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. There is no shortage of suspects at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead, from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives. Even Carol had plotted his demise! 

Available on AMAZON for just $3.95  (It will be out in paperback very soon!) 

And pleased join me in welcoming Vinnie to misterio press!


We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

43 thoughts on “Break Out the Bubbly!!

  1. K.B. Owen

    Welcome, Vinnie! So great to have you here. Wow, what an interesting life you’ve led! You look so teacher-ish in that skirt in front of the school, LOL. 😉

  2. Debra Eve

    Welcome Vinnie! I familiar with most of your cohorts in crime here and look forward to discovering more about Carol. (I’m a native Californian with fond memories of Santa Cruz.)


    I was one of the babies Vinnie got farmed out to “nannie”…so now, when I miss her too badly, I either think about “the good ole days”, think through one of her books…or read one. agggh! look what you did! Created a read-aholic!

  4. Kassandra Lamb

    I think I need to take up yoga! If I tried to do that pose, Vinnie, I’d fall right in the harbor. 😀

    So glad to have you as part of our little tribe!!

  5. Deborah Martinez

    Thank you for taking us along on your journey through the ups and downs of life and writing. I enjoyed reading about you. Now I will have to read some of your books to make the journey complete!

  6. Shannon Esposito

    Wahoo! So glad we finally get to officially announce you! You have led an interesting life and I’m sure the adventures aren’t over yet. OH, and I love love love the new cover! Wow that is just spectacular.

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      I am so glad that we shared that cab at Killer Nashville, August! Thank you for leaving a comment.

      1. Kassandra Lamb

        Ack! Now I’m doubly green with envy, Vinnie. First the yoga pose and now I find out you’ve met the wonderful August McLaughlin in person!!

        Someday, August I’ll be out in California and I WILL track you down, uh, I mean look you up. Thanks for coming to our party, Lady!!

  7. Carin Hanna

    No virtual bubbly for me. I am off work early enjoying the real thing! Can’t wait to go to South Dakota with Carol S.
    Miss you at yoga – I’m at Pleasure Point Yoga now.
    Congratulations on your new publishing house.

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      That’s a good studio. Do you ever take Daniela? She teaches at the gym now, too. Thank you for dropping by, Carin!

  8. Karen McFarland

    Thank you Kassandra. As you know, I am quite fond of the bubbly. Welcome Vinnie! I know most of the gals around here. I wish you well with your new partnership. And much like Debra above, I too have a fondness for Santa Cruz. I’ve spent many vacations in the area. Yet, I can’t complain since I reside along the SoCal coastline. Although it cannot compete with your Red Woods. We are spoiled! 🙂

    1. Kassandra Lamb

      Don’t drink too much of the stuff, Karen! Those virtual hangovers are a bitch!

      I love California. It’s my second favorite place in the country, after Florida. 😀 Can’t wait until I can get out there again and meet up with all the California gals I know now. One of the great perks of my writing career has been connecting up with so many nice people like you!!

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      I’m so glad you made it by, Susan! I hope you drank some of that virtual bubbly on the way.

  9. Sue Titus

    Hi Vinnie
    Wicked proud of you!!!
    Looking forward to many, many good reads from you in the years to come–cheers

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      How lovely to hear from you, Sue! I still believe that I will get to Massachusetts some day. Did I ever tell you that my mother’s family arrived there in the 1500’s?

  10. usana arias

    I am so glad that Winnie Hansen’s books will be accessible.
    I have read her books and love them. My angst was not knowing where to send friends to purchase them so they could enjoy these wonderful books.
    Please keep me up with her new releases so I can purchase them hot off the press.
    Susana Arias

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      My favorite artist in Santa Cruz (after my husband, of course)! Thank you so much for all the support you’ve given me, Susana.

  11. Christine Finlayson

    Hi Vinnie, I loved reading about your path in life (wow!), and it tells me your Carol Sabala stories will be a fantastic read. I heard you speak about Misterio at Left Coast Crime, and I’m excited to read your re-released books. Best wishes for a wonderful launch week!

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      Thank you so much for visiting, Christine! I’m honored. I’ve been seeing your name via the Gup’s list for quite a while now. I just checked out your site. I’m going to put one of your books on my Goodreads’ To-Be-Read Shelf.

    1. Vinnie Hansen Post author

      Thanks, Richard! People are really responding to it, which is great.The cover establishes the look for the series.

  12. Carol Vogan

    Hugs, Dear Sister Vinnie!!
    I am immensely proud of you! And I love the paintings on Danny’s page. You two are on a roll! About writing what you know, does it help any to have your own personal burglar?
    I remember the summer Daddy sent you to take care of my kids in Sterling, Colorado. You were about 8 or maybe 10!! You are a wonderful little sister and I hope to see you this year!!


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