Posts Categorized: Books

8 Sinclair Sisters Gift Ideas

checkers

 “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” Unknown

We all know books make great gifts.

What makes an even better present?

A themed gift package centered around a book. In case you might like to “gift” my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books this Christmas, I decided to add to the fun and put together eight package gift ideas that would compliment the series. (more…)

Doc Susie & Book Giveaway

Doc Susie bag

You never know who you might meet in Cripple Creek, Colorado!

Mona with Hedy Boyce as Doc Susie

While I was in Cripple Creek in August to participate in the Gold Camp Days and Western Literature Festival, I made Wyatt Earp’s acquaintance through a program presented by his grandson, Wyatt Earp.

Then during a book signing at the Cripple Creek District Museum, I met Doc Susie, played by Hedy Boyce.

One thing is for certain, there’s never a dull moment in Cripple Creek. Even if after a full day of museum hopping and historical exploration, you’ve tuck yourself into your peaceful room at Carr Manor. The historic Cripple Creek High School repurposed as a lovely Bed & Breakfast is far too rich in history to be dull.

The Bride Wore Blue (2)What fun it was to meet Hedy and chat with her about Doc Susie, the real life woman I feature as a fictional secondary character in The Bride Wore Blue, Book 3 in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

I was excited when Hedy agreed to an interview, to share a bit about one of her favorite historical Cripple Creek characters–Dr. Susan Anderson. (more…)

The Quilted Heart Novellas, 3 in 1

The Quilted Heart Featured Pic

The Quilted Heart novellas only available as individual eBooks?

Not for long!

January 21st, WaterBrook Multnomah will release Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore as a print omnibus–three novellas in one thick book.

In 1999, I’d gone to St. Louis for a conference and a children’s book signing event. On a program-free afternoon, this Arizona girl decided to slide into her rental car and head out for an adventure. I ended up in St. Charles, Missouri. Immediately smitten by its historical Main Street and charming riverside perch, I dreamed of one day setting a story in Saint Charles.

(more…)

Reading with a Map and Making an Itinerary

Map of Cripple Creek Cropped

Charles and Clara Tanner are headed to Cripple Creek, Colorado, this month to visit the landmarks mentioned in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Sweet fans of my fiction, the couple gave me permission to share excerpts from their notes to me.

December 2012

Dear Mrs. Hodgson,

What a blessing the four books on the Sinclair sisters have been to myself and my wife…. We have cried and laugh, but more than anything else we have grown closer together. As we read out loud to each other, it seemed to draw us into the story, as if we were there living in the 1890’s and experiencing exactly what the characters were experiencing. Bringing God into the story along with Bible verses made it even more believable, as well as soul searching for each of us.

My wife and I are in our 70’s and we have been Christians all of our life. It has been difficult to find good fictional reading, in fact your book about the Sinclair sisters was the first fiction book I have read as I felt I could never get any value out of them and especially a blessing. … I felt it would be a waste of time reading something that could not add value to my life, but your books gave me as well as my wife new meaning to our lives. Don’t ever stop looking to God for a way to tell the stories in your books because if they have found a way into our hearts and lives, I am sure they have done the same to others.

(more…)

Leeverites, Do You Have Them?

Covered Wagon Int

I didn’t write this post from my home office. I was traveling, which required that I pack for another state, a higher elevation, and cooler temperatures. Before I left home, piles of clothes, shoes, and sweatshirts lie on the bed awaiting their fate, vying for room in a suitcase already spoken for by toiletries, a blow dryer, and a makeup case.

I awarded flat space to crucial outfits, the nooks and crannies to necessities like a sun hat, umbrella, and tennis shoes (since the impatients behind me in the airport security line would rather I quickly slip in and out of slides or flip flops, not concerned with the added weight and bulk in my suitcase).

Once the first stacks of necessities had made the cut, I pulled out a second suitcase. Now you know why I prefer to fly Southwest—two bags and a carry-on fly free. A big bonus when you don’t have the time or inclination to scrutinize every piece of cloth and plastic in your stacks on the bed, and a true gift to those of us who like options.

The above scenario is one of the reasons some family members find it amusing that I’m writing historical fiction, specifically, a wagon train series. (more…)

Guest Author: Lori Benton and Book Giveaway

Burning Sky Feature Image

The day I’ve been waiting for . . . Lori Benton is our guest!

  • Lori is a debut novelist whose work reads like that of a polished veteran storyteller.
  • Lori writes historical fiction set on the American Frontier.
  • Lori’s storytelling brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.
  • Lori’s milestone 30th birthday gave her a chilling and thrilling God-story to share.

And how about this 4 1/2 Star review from Romantic Times:

“…a haunting, moving and masterful story that … will linger in your heart for years to come.” RT Book Reviews Pick of the Month

(more…)

Sinclair Sisters Fun and Yum for Book Clubs

Essential Handbook for Victorian Etiquette

Do the members of your book club or reading group enjoy reading series and spending time with an ensemble cast? If so, the four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series might be a great fit. And I’m happy to say the 1890s Colorado mining camp series lends itself well to having fun with Victorian, Old West, Mining Camp flair.

Your group might want a themed meeting after each of the books, or may choose to save the party for after they’ve read Twice a Bride, the conclusion of the series. Either way, here are some meeting ideas and resources for a Sinclair Sisters celebration.

Sinclair Sisters Four

Decorations:

Decorate with Victorian flair–quilts, hats, checker boards, irons, phonograph, phonograph records, vintage books, etc.

Decorate with a sisters’ theme in mind–plaques, gift books, portraits, pictures that celebrate sisters, etc.

Decorate with Miss Hattie’s boardinghouse in mind. Perhaps things you might find in the parlor–settee, armed chair, phonograph, oil lamps, quilts, etc.

Decorate with a mining camp theme–headlamps, candle lanterns, gold mining pans, books on mining and miners, etc.

Miss Hattie's Phonograph Records?

Miss Hattie’s Phonograph Records?

Food:

Plan a tea party and serve Miss Hattie’s Lemon Scones or Miss Hattie’s Vanilla Pound Cake and Berry Sauce.

Prepare Nell Sinclair Archer’s Peanut Cabbage Salad for a luncheon.

lemon scones

Games and Activities:

A Checker’s Tournament, a favorite Sinclair family pastime.

Anyone in the group have Victorian costumes? Maybe a time period fashion show?

Has the group read all of the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels? If so, who are the members’ favorite heroines and heroes? Why?

Choose a favorite photo from my Cripple Creek Album to Share with the group or look at the album on a screen linking to it from my website: www.monahodgson.com.

Have someone share a devotional inspired by the book or series. Or read Got Laughter? A Twice a Bride devotional.

Have someone read a list of humorous or poignant Victorian Etiquette tips. The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette is a fun resource.

Essential Handbook for Victorian Etiquette

Costumes:

Encourage everyone to wear at least one “Victorian Era” clothing item to the meeting, could be fun too. For instance: A hat or lace gloves, a shawl or cape, a brooch or cameo pendant.

Book Signing at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs

Book Signing at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs

Author Participation:

If you’re reading a Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novel, I’d be honored to “attend” your book club meeting. In person, if I live within an hour of the group or if I’m going to be visiting the area. Otherwise, we could arrange a virtual meeting and chat via Skype, FaceTime, or speaker phone. If we schedule the virtual event far enough in advance (preferably at least a month or so ahead), I’ll mail you a Book Club Packet that includes bookmarks and/or recipe cards, flyers or brochures, and signed book plates for each member of our group.

Watch the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series Book Trailer

Discussion Questions for THE SINCLAIR SISTERS OF CRIPPLE CREEK BOOKS . . .

Two Brides Too Many

Too Rich for a Bride

The Bride Wore Blue

Twice a Bride

Twice-a-Bride_980x300

I’d love to hear your ideas. Does your book club enjoy themed meetings? What kinds of things does your reading group do to celebrate a good read? 

A Cripple Creek Tribute

Mt Pisgah Cemetary PicMonk

Research trips for my historical fiction takes me to museums, libraries, historical societies, archives . . . and old cemeteries. Like the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Veterans Memorial Section

Established in 1892, the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery is one of Cripple Creek’s oldest sites. Mt. Pisgah remains a natural setting with native plants and wildflowers. Depending upon the time of year, you might find wild iris, goldenrod, Indian paintbrush, bluebells, even raspberries and strawberries in mid-summer.

Why visit cemeteries as part of my research?

1. To find historically accurate names.

2. To discover ethnic names for that time and place.

3. To find common nicknames.

4. To learn about the average lifespan.

5. To discover typical causes of death.

6. To learn the language and syntax used.

7. To feel immersed in history.

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

In my four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books, I used real-life women who lived in Cripple Creek in the late 1890’s, my time period for the series. Both of the historical women I featured in The Bride Wore Blue are buried atop Mt. Pisgah.

Have you visited old cemeteries? Which ones have you visited, and why?

© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

In the Case of Sisters . . .

In the Case of Sisters Blog

 

In the Case of Sisters BlogThen God created sisters. And He blessed me with three.

I write. So it’s pretty easy to figure how what I’m wheeling around in my brown rolling case. A laptop computer, an AlphaSmart, and a USB cord.

For Sis Cindy, it’s either a tea set or painting supplies.

For Sis Tammy, it would be an otoscope and an audiometer since she’s a hearing specialist.

For Sis Linda, the case holds her sewing machine and all things having to do with stichery and quilting. The rolling case pictured above belongs to Linda, who put her quilting chops to good use for our celebration of the Saint Charles Quilting Circle in The Quilted Heart Novellas.

Linda Making Squares 1

Linda made four Civil War Era quilt squares. Gwen M. won a square in our celebration of Dandelions on the Wind. The second square went to Karen R. in our launch party for Bending Toward the Sun.

Crafted by Mona's SIster, Linda Gansberg Smith

Crafted by Mona’s Sister, Linda Gansberg Smith

And now we’re celebrating the May 21st release of Ripples Along the Shore with another Linda Smith Quilt Square giveaway. And because this is the third and final Quilted Heart novella, I’ve added a few other quilt-inspired goodies to the prize package.

The Quilted Heart Giveaway Package

The Quilted Heart Giveaway Package

Congratulations to Robyn Conners, the winner of the Quilter’s Prize Pack! Many thanks to all who entered!

 

The Quilted Heart Novella Series, Complete May 21st!

 

If you haven’t fed your eReader with Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, or Ripples Along the Shore, you can find them wherever eBooks are sold! And they’re only $1.99 each!

 

Do you have a sister? What might we find in her rolling case (assuming she has one)?

Castes of Yellow

Dandelion on the Wind Pic

Dandelion Novelists Story Titles

Where do novelists find a title for a work of fiction? Anywhere, and everywhere.

For Maren Jensen’s story, I drew inspiration for my book title from a favorite poem, Castes of Yellow by Viola Jacobson Berg.

Mrs. Berg’s two books on poetic forms–Pathways for the Poet and Poet’s Treasury: Second Book of All New Patterns have served as resources I used to teach myself how to write various poetry forms. When I first started teaching poetry at writers’ conferences, I had the joy of corresponding with Viola Jacobson Berg. She didn’t expect to teach anymore and sent me some of her teaching materials, along with permission to share her poems.

Here is the poem that inspired the title for Dandelions on the Wind, the first of The Quilted Heart novellas.

        Castes of Yellow

by Viola Jacobson Berg

I’m just a humble dandelion
Blooming in the grass,
Beaming cheer to one and all,
Smiling as they pass.

But something happened yesterday
Which made my gold heart bleed;
A buttercup informed me that
I’m really just a weed.

I cried at first, but then I knew
That I was not to blame;
So I’ll enjoy the sun and rain
And blossom, just the same.

When I considered my main character for the first of the three Quilted Heart novellas, the image of a dandelion viewed as a mere weed came to mind. The life Maren knew before she immigrated to America and the life any of her friends in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle knew before the Civil War ended, leaving them all feeling like Dandelions on the Wind.

Do you have a favorite poem that might inspire a book title?

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