Posts Categorized: Books

Make That 8 Sinclair Sisters Gift Ideas

fudge[1]

Can’t believe I’d forgotten #8 when I first made this list!

We all know books make great gifts. What makes an even better present? A themed gift package centered around a book. Since I’ve heard from a few folks who are gifting my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books this Christmas, I decided to add to the fun and put together seven gift package ideas that would compliment the series.

  1. A Checkers Game, a Sinclair Sisters favorite. I used a checkers tournament to first introduce the four Sinclair sisters in Two Brides Too Many.
  2. A Family Bible–like the one the Sinclair Family has, with pages for Family Records. Or simply a Bible that you can personalize for your sister, mom, daughter, or aunt. The Family Bible played a key role in Vivian Sinclair’s story in The Bride Wore Blue.
  3. First Congregational Church Cook Book with recipes from Cripple Creek folks at the time of the Sinclair Sisters series. Also, the First Congregational Church was Miss Hattie’s home church in Cripple Creek and where Tucker Raines from Too Rich for a Bride pastored.
  4. A camera (even just a good disposable one) in honor of Trenton Van Der Ver, the hero photographer in Twice a Bride.
  5. A journal, giving a nod to Kat Sinclair, who by the end of Two Brides Too Many has her first job as a “real” writer.
  6. A tin or box of tea. Peppermint was a Sinclair Sisters favorite, featured in Too RIch for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and in Twice a Bride. Camomille tea scented the parlor in Two Brides Too Many. Ginger tea was served in The Bride Wore Blue.
  7. Photo Credit: McFadden's Fabulous Fudge

    Photo Credit: McFadden’s Fabulous Fudge

    A copy of Harper’s Bazar, the magazine Kat Sinclair Cutshaw was writing for in Too Rich for a Bride. I had fun finding my copies of the magazine in antique stores and thrift shops.

  8. Fudge. Pecan fudge was a big deal in Cripple Creek in Twice a Bride.

You can purchase or order any of the four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels from your favorite bookseller, but here are some links, for your convenience.

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

What have you paired with a book in a gift package? Which book? What gift?

© 2012 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

A Devotional Book for Girls

Real Girls 31 Day

Before I began writing historical novels–The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek–for WaterBrook Press, I was writing children’s books for Zonderkidz.

A FaithGirlz Devotional

Featuring thirty-one women from both the Old and New Testaments—including Esther, Leah, Rhoda, Mary, Sarah, Ruth, Martha, Anna, and Elizabeth—each devotional centers around the woman’s faith-journey and includes a scripture verse, prayer, suggestions for further reading, and even an item called Body Talk intended to promote a godly self-image.

The text is sprinkled with Fun Facts (Miriam led the singing of the first song of worship ever recorded in Scripture!). In every story, girls see God’s holy character and glimpse their own potential in relationship with Him.

What Readers Have Said

“Real Girls of the Bible (A Devotioanl) is a HIT! I would love more of your books!” Samantha, Age 10, from Canada

“I am the children’s director at our church. We started using Real Girls of the Bible in our Girls Tween class in January. The girls are taking two of the Girls in the Bible a week and each girl “teaches” on this particular Girl in the Bible. I have talked to many of the moms who have said they do not have to remind the girls to do their study They are doing it on their own! Praise God they are developing ownership of their walk with Jesus! Thanks for writing this book. I have also enjoyed going through it and gleaning from it!” Jennifer

“We used REAL GIRLS OF THE BIBLE as our devotional presentation this week. The oldest girl in the group, age 16, gave the devotions and did a nice job.” Diana, Girls Club Leader 

While I wrote Real Girls of the Bible with girls ages 8 to 12 in mind, I’ve heard from both younger and older girls who enjoyed it, and from adult women who used Real GIrls of the Bible in their personal Bible study time.

Yes, Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional is also available as an eBook.

As you consider gifts for your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your neighbor children and the children in your church, please take a look at my children’s books.

Read about my Zonderkidz I Can Read Books here!

Are you looking for a place to buy a copy of Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional?

Christian Book

Amazon

Do you have a favorite Bible woman? Why is she your choice?

 

Bob’s Corner: Mining with a Steam Shovel

Bob Glen Eyrie

Howdy, and welcome back to Bob’s Corner!

Today, I thought we’d talk about another type of ore removal. Since a gold mine is normally thought of as a below-the-surface operation, we tend to think of mineshafts, elevators, and total darkness.

In reality, Cripple Creek District gold is just as likely to be found in surface material. Or, at least material that is easily collected at or near the surface. In Cripple Creek, the famous Molly Kathleen Mine, still in operation as a tourist attraction, began with a lump of Quartz found on the surface.

A lady named (are you ready for this?) Molly Kathleen Gortner went in search of the herd of elk her son had talked about. Stopping to rest, she looked at her feet and saw the rock. She knew enough about mining that if you found a piece of quartz that had shiny veins of gold running through it, you pick it up and stake a claim. She did, and soon became the richest woman in town.

The video shows a steam shovel (or bucket, depending on where you’re from) that was a tremendous improvement over backbreaking pick and shovel work of those early days in the 1890’s. It could be driven up to a hillside, and one person could move tons of material in no time. The equipment in the video is actually parked near the entrance to the Molly Kathleen Mine. From the looks of things, this steam shovel will still be there when you visit.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jQr4azp0qk&w=560&h=315]

 

The active mines in the area to this day have resorted to this Open Pit type of mining. There is no danger of cave-in or elevator malfunction. Modern techniques consist primarily of explosives to blast sections of rock, then mechanical shovels to load it into trucks that haul it to a crushing mill. It may take tons of ore to produce ounces of gold, but this keeps the expense down so the mine can actually be profitable.

What aspect of mining most fascinates you?

Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek RECIPES

Sinclair-Sisters-Oct2nd

I read fiction for a variety of reasons: compelling characters, fascinating settings, appealing hypotheses, historical information, a sense of community, spiritual nourishment, encouragement, distraction, insight, entertainment.

Oh, yes, and the food. My favorite stories often feature teatime or mealtime conversations. It’s no wonder then that my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels include dialogue centered around a supper table or a tray of goodies in a parlor.

Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride

Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride

I thought it’d be fun to celebrate the completion of the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series with three recipes from two of our beloved Cripple Creek women: Miss Hattie, the proprietor of Miss Hattie’s Boardinghouse, and Nell Sinclair Archer.

Miss Hattie’s Lemon Scones

Nell Sinclair Archer’s Peanut Cabbage Salad

Miss Hattie’s Vanilla Pound Cake with Berry Sauce

As Julia Child would’ve said, “Bon Appétit!”

Which recipe would you choose to make first?

 

If you do make one of the Sinclair Sisters Recipes, please take pictures and post them on Facebook–your page and mine at https://www.facebook.com/Author.Mona

 

 

 

Bob’s Corner: Mine Elevators and Ore Cars

Glen Eyrie Bob

Bob Hodgson

Bob here. Welcome back to my Corner.

Today, I want to share a little about the workings of a hard-rock gold mine at the end of the 19th century.

In the Cripple Creek District, the mines were mostly vertical shafts, blasted through solid granite. In a previous post, Headframes and Hoists, I explained that this had to do with the need to not trespass on another person’s claim. Folks were touchy about that.

Blasting a hole through rock requires a drill and explosives. The drill in this era was powered by steam, delivered through a cloth and rubber hose from the surface. Not a major feat when at or near the surface, but mighty noisy and claustrophobic as the shaft made its way down. And way down is where these shafts went. Some of the mines could reach 1500 feet.

As the depth increased, there were horizontal shafts cut to follow veins of gold-bearing ore. Each was carefully surveyed and monitored to avoid any encroachment of the surface measured claim. The court system at the time was glutted with accusations of trespassing, keeping a cadre of lawyers busy with suits and countersuits.

Headframe

About this time, you’re wondering how people got down into those holes to work, and how the ore got to the surface. Well, in the video titled “Mine Elevator,” you’ll see an example of a typical elevator of the time. This car would have been suspended by cable from the headframe, attached to the machinery we discussed in the earlier post, Headframes and Hoists. Each car pictured would hold six men, and these cars were stacked so that a team of twelve would be inserted into the shaft together. Six men over six men. In total darkness. Slowly lowered 1500 feet into the earth.  Some of the larger mines would have a double spool cable rig that would balance the work by bringing up an equal size crew at the same time. That’s twenty-four men suspended by cable in a completely dark tunnel, jerking and bouncing against the guiderails, for fifteen minutes or so, twice per shift. My commute to work suddenly seems tame.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQJI4CTy-JA&w=420&h=315]

Once the men were in place with their drills and shovels, they would proceed to drill into the rock face. The Powder Monkeys would then step in, to place dynamite charges into the holes and light the fuses. Employee safety was always a consideration. When the fuses were lit, the men would be herded into one of the aforementioned side tunnels to keep them from being injured by exploding rock. This kept the incidence of open wounds down, but the concussion must have been brutal.

Typical ore cars

The muckers would then follow with shovels, placing the broken ore into wheelbarrows and ore cars. There was a miniature rail system within the larger mines that allowed these ore cars to be pushed to the vertical shaft. The ore cars were tipped into a bucket that was attached to the same cable that deposited the men into the mine. This is seen in the video titled Ore Bucket. These buckets were also stacked to get the most material out as possible with each trip. Overzealous bucket loaders were frowned upon. Any ore that was loaded over the top of the bucket edge would have found its way back down the shaft. The hardhats of the day would have been of little use against a five pound rock falling 1500 feet.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WgnBOfyFng&w=420&h=315]

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Books for Children: My I Can Read Books

BestBreakfast_1_400

My historical novels–The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek–written for WaterBrook Press, weren’t my first published books. Actually, they are books 29, 30, 31, and 32.

My first books were written for emergent readers–children’s books. And although my Desert Critter Friends series of 12 books for early readers is out of print, I’ve written six I Can Read books for Zonderkidz. With school underway for most students, I wanted to let you know I’ve written readers for your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your neighbor children and the children in your church.

Desert Critter Books for Emergent Readers

Sixteen of my twenty-eight children’s books are stories set in the desert. I grew up in Southern California and have lived in the Arizona high desert for the past twenty-four years.

The Best Breakfast
A Lesson in Acceptance

Peck the quail wants to invite his friends to breakfast. But they’re all so different—and no one likes his pancakes. Will he be able to overcome his disappointment and discover what a truly best breakfast looks like?

Thank You, God, for Rain
A Lesson in Teamwork

Flash! Kaboom . . .
A summer storm is on its way. And all the desert creatures scurry to collect cool rainwater.

What do you think they’ll do with it?

The Princess Twins Books For Emergent Readers

The Sinclair Sisters aren’t the first sisters in my writings–meet the princess twins!

The Princess Twins and the Puppy

A Lesson in Trusting God.

Send out a search party for Puppy! Abby hears Puppy in the basement. But it is so dark down there.

Is Abby brave enough to rescue Puppy?

The Princess Twins and the Tea Party
A Lesson in Humility.

Emma wants the spring tea party to be perfect, even when Abby reminds her that only God is perfect. And just when the guests arrive, disaster strikes. Can Emma relax and enjoy the party?

The Princess Twins Play in the Garden
A Lesson in Inner Beauty.

Emma and Abby are playing with friends.

But Emma is more concerned with how she looks than having fun.

Will Emma learn what’s more important?

The Princess Twins and the Birthday Party
A Lesson in Kindness.

Emma and Abby are having a birthday party. They are dressed in their best clothes. One guest doesn’t have a fancy dress, but Emma wants her to come.

What can Emma do?

Find a complete listing of my available books and a Book Order Form on my Website. Go to Mona’s books page, then to children’s books.

Bob’s Corner: Headframes and Cable Hoist

Bob’s Corner Glen Eyrie Bob

The pursuit of riches drew tens of thousands of colorful characters to Cripple Creek in the 1890s. The boom town provided me a canvas on which to draw my stories in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Good news! My hubby Bob agreed to flesh out the workings of a gold mining camp in that era for us. Headframes and Cable Hoists is the first in the series of articles and videos by Bob.

AND NOW, BOB’S CORNER . . .

With a nod to Bullwinkle J. Moose, and his Bullwinkle’s Corner, I have agreed to share what I know about mining in the 1890’s with Mona’s readers. My hope is that I don’t come across as Mr. Know-It-All. (Another of Bullwinkle’s famous characters)

Today’s subject is the most visible part of hard-rock mining–the headframe and cable hoist.

When you drive through Cripple Creek, the first thing you notice on all of the hillsides are the piles of rock, looking like giant gopher holes. They are, indeed, circling holes that are dug straight down into the solid rock. A mining claim protected the owner from anyone encroaching on their ore. The claim was described as a certain surface area and down, literally to the center of the earth. If you had any hope of keeping any of the gold you recovered, you had to stay within your surface measured area.

Lawyers were kept busy protecting the claims from anyone cutting across underground and into your claim. It’s hard to believe, but a lawyer was a good thing at a time when Sam Colt’s famous invention was a more popular deterrent.

Which brings us to the headframe. In order to get men and equipment into the mine, they had to be lowered by cable. Likewise, any ore had to be lifted up and out. And some of the mines in the Cripple Creek District were more than 1000 feet deep.

Two styles of Headframe. The one in the foreground also has a cable hoist. Notice the spoked pulley at the top.

A steel structure was built over the opening, with a pulley at the top. The headframe was built tall enough to lift any elevators or ore buckets clear of the mine, and sometimes enough that a train could pull through, depositing the ore directly into the cars.

At one time, every one of the holes I mentioned had a headframe. If a mine failed to produce, the headframe was moved to the next hole. No effort was made to fill in the holes, so a night-time stroll on the hillsides is not recommended.

A cable was strung over the pulley, and down the shaft of the mine. This took a lot of cable, so it would be wound around the spool of a cable hoist. The cable hoist could be powered by electricity or steam at the time, but steam was a more reliable source of power. It would be extremely disconcerting if the local generator went out when you were at the bottom, or for that matter, anywhere along the way. More on the elevator situation in a later post.

In the video, you will see a steam cable hoist, with a description of it’s basic workings. Also, in the video, I refer to the ore buckets and elevators, and I promise I will show them to you next time. I felt it was more sensible to start at the top.

Click here for video.

Cripple Creek

Denver and Colorado Springs were popular towns in Colorado Territory, and have remained so since Colorado received statehood in 1876. Although Cripple Creek is often overlooked, the gold mining camp’s footprint is deep and widespread in Colorado’s historical soil.

Cripple Creek, nestled in a saddle valley on the southwestern slopes of Pikes Peak, became a booming gold mining camp in the 1890’s. At an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, just below timberline, the city’s history is one of highs and lows with fires, disease, outlaws, Indian wars, labor wars, and prostitution.

Here’s a peek at the Cripple Creek that inspired me as I wrote The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

  • Tens of thousands of men (and women) flocked to the rocky mountains of Colorado seeking gold.
  • Between 1890 and 1910 more than 22,000,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines in the Cripple Creek District, mainly Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor.
  • The Cripple Creek District produced more than thirty millionaires.
  • Many influential women made history in Cripple Creek. I feature and fictionalize at least of those women in each of the Sinclair sisters books. You’ll find more about them in future posts.
  • By the time the 1800’s game to a close, Cripple Creek had become a cultural destination, drawing the upper tens of Denver and Colorado Springs to its opera houses and ice cream parlors.
  • This rowdy but charming mountain home of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek now houses several engaging museums, including the Cripple Creek District  Museum, Pikes Peak Heritage Center, Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum, and the Old Homestead Parlour Museum.
  • The last full weekend of June each year, Cripple Creek pays homage to its historical, mining heritage in the Donkey Derby Days Festival. Bob and I participated this year. More about that in a future post.

I hope you’ll spend time in my fictional town of Cripple Creek with Kat, Nell, Ida, and Vivian Sinclair in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, and plan to visit the historic Cripple Creek one day soon.

 

Author Book Signings with a Twist

You may know you can find me on the worldwide web, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, and here on my Hindsight blog. You may even know you can connect with me through my quarterly e-newsletter update, but you may not have thought to look for me at a chuckwagon supper or at a carriage house.

Book 3 in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

Last month, Bob and I embarked on a Colorado Road Trip Book Tour for The Bride Wore Blue, the third book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Book signings give me the opportunity to connect with bookstore managers and staff as well as with readers. That’s all good! But since I was going to stack a few book signings back-to-back, I tapped my fingertip on my chin and set myself to thinking of ways I could mix it up a bit.

I don’t know that you’d necessarily consider my ideas brilliant, but they were definitely fun to instigate.

Play Dress-Up

I write western stories set in the 1800’s. Furthermore, my present series is set in the late 1890’s. While I feed stories into my computer, I try to bring my time period and characters to life for my readers. Why not do so during promotional events?

That question sent me on a search for period appropriate costumes. Gowns, day dresses, skirts, shirtwaists, petticoats, gloves, boots, and hats. No crinolines, corsets, or bustles for me. That decision saved us the trouble of having to haul around a fainting couch.

My sister, Cindy, the “tea party lady,” told me about www.recollections.com and the owner of a cowboy shop in Sedona told my hubby, Bob, about the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona. Both were much more reasonably priced than other resources I’d investigated.

Glen Eyrie

Several years ago, at Murdoch’s in Montrose, Colorado, I’d found a pair of brown lace-up boots. My sister, Linda, and I both bought a pair. When I bought a purple and black lace Victorian set from the Wild West Mercantile (www.wwmerc.com), I needed a pair of black boots. My hubby Bob found them at a yard sale in the color and size I needed. You can see more about Bob’s yard sale treasure hunts on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/monahodgson/bob-s-yard-sale-finds. And don’t miss the upcoming post that features Bob’s top tips for yard sale success.

Add a New Venue

I appreciate traditional bookstores and booksellers, and included several in my stops on the book tour. The staff and customers at Mardel Christian Store in Colorado Springs loved the costumes.

Flying W Ranch

As I planned this trip and thought about my particular target audience—the readers of historical fiction, I began to brainstorm venues that might hold special appeal for my particular audience. For its western theme, I came up with the Flying W Ranch. The chuckwagon supper and cowboy show was a bonus. For its historical appeal, the Glen Eyrie Bookstore, which is set in a carriage house. Glen Eyrie is the home of the Navigators and the grounds host many historical markers, including a castle. Both venues provided grist for this historical novelist’s idea mill.I’m making a list for additional pieces I’d like Bob to find for my costume wardrobe and I’m always on the lookout for book signing locations that offer a twist. Might you have ideas for out-of-the-ordinary venues for my book signings?Side note: I purchased the calico set from www.recollections.com and the purple and black lace Victorian dress at the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona (www.wwmerc.com).

Read Excerpt, The Bride Wore Blue.

What About Bob?

Glen Eyrie Bob

Bob looking dapper for a book signing at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs.

When the idea of writing for publication first flitted through my mind, my hubby Bob began encouraging me. “Well, you do like to write letters and you’re good at it,” he said. When I approached Bob about my desire to attend a writers’ conference, he began a long haul of personal sacrifice and made a way for me to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in 1988. Bob has made sure I had a space for my writing paraphernalia. First, a wall here, or a corner there. Now, I have a dedicated office.

Bob taught me how to boot my first computer, cut and paste, and how to load paper into a dot matrix printer. We’ve joked about his job description: “Everything Else.” But it’s no joke. He’s my computer tech, trouble-shooter for anything electronic, and website designer and guru. If I need business cards, flyers, posters, stickers, or address labels, I go to Bob.

I’m hearing from fans of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books who commend me for the authenticity in my settings and time-period details. Bob is due much of the credit. One, he is a walking database. For instance, the particulars, smells, and sounds of a narrow gauge locomotive. Two, he thrives on research. Everything from hats to photographic plates, and telephone switchboards to surreys.

If you enjoy historical fiction, you no doubt thrive on history and research. Good news! Bob’s going to share his wealth of knowledge in “Bob Features” on the blog. He’s taken fun photographs of historical items that he’ll talk about. He’s even shooting videos for us. So, stay tuned!

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