Posts Categorized: Historical Fiction

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Today, I’m featuring the two main characters in Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart. After you’ve read The Quilted Heart, read Prairie Song to spend more time with Garrett and Caroline.

MEET Garrett Cowlishaw

Garrett Cowlishaw  is the a friend of Rutherford Wainwright and is in St. Charles to recruit a band of people to travel west to the frontier.

MONA: How would you describe yourself? (more…)

Meet Elsa Brantenberg from The Quilted Heart

Meet Elsa Brantenberg from The Quilted Heart

If you’re familiar with my Historical Fiction, you know that my stories tend to feature a “Titus 2:3” type mentor as a secondary character. In The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, it was Miss Hattie, the proprietor of a boarding house. In The Quilted Heart novellas,the key woman of influence is Mrs. Brantenberg.

Meet Elsa Brantenberg, who owns the farm where the Saint Charles Quilting Circle meets in The Quilted Heart novellas. By the way, I borrowed my mother-in-law’s birth name for this character

1) How would you describe yourself to others?

A busy widow and Oma to my granddaughter, Gabi, with no time to fuss over what was or could have been.

2) Do you have any favorite pastimes or special skills?

I have lots of experience at running a farm and tending an apple orchard. Some say I’m a fine quilter. Actually talked me into starting a quilting circle and teaching quilting in my home. Most fun I’d had in a long spell.

3) How would the women in your quilting circle describe you?

I’m a hugger. No woman gets past my porch, either direction, without a hug.

4) What is most important to you?

That my sweet little Gabi girl, my granddaughter, grows up knowing she is loved. The assurance that you’re loved and cared for can carry you a long ways.

5) How do you face disappointments in life?

I grit my teeth. Probably stomp my foot. Whisper or  shout a prayer. Then I embroider a tea towel, make apple crisp, or finish a quilt and take it to someone who needs the encouragement even more than I do.

6)  What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Explaining to Gabi that the war has been over for several months, and that if her papa hasn’t returned by now, he is dead. Or alive without any intention of returning.

7) You buried your husband then your daughter, and lost your son-in-law to grief, how did you keep going?

I had a farm to run and a precious granddaughter to raise, and I knew the good Lord was at my side. Always is. It was after I buried Gretchen that I started the quilting circle out here on the farm. Many of those dear women are like daughters to me. A couple of them like sisters.

8) What is the thing you love most about Quilting Circle Thursdays?

The laughter and the tears. The smiles and the sighs. Hearing the other women grow in their confidence to share the Scripture with one another and their commitment to pray for one another.

9) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My emotions can swing like the pendulum on that fancy clock at the bank. If I could change, I would not be so passionate. I’d rather my emotions be steady, unwavering. At least, slow enough for my brain to catch up to them.

10) Do you have a life verse, a passage of Scripture that holds special significance to you?

Yes, from Psalm 119:104. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I may not always be able to trust my feelings and emotions, or anyone else’s for that matter, but the Word of the Lord is completely and consistently trustworthy.

Thy Word

If you’ve read The Quilted Heart novellas, you’d be doing me a huge favor, if you’d write a review on The Quilted Heart omnibus for amazon.comgoodreads.comchristianbook.combarnesandnoble.com, and novelcrossings.com, and any other outlets you’re familiar with.

Thank you! And Happy Reading.

A Novel Instrument ~ The Zither

Zither Cropped 2

Music played a key role in the 1800s. In patriotism and in the church. In the life of a community. And in family life. Such was the case for Elsa Brantenberg and her household in Dandelions on the Wind, the first novella in The Quilted Heart omnibus.

Sunday evenings after supper is set aside for family music time. Mrs. Brantenberg plays the piano. Her domestic, Maren Jensen, plays the flute and is teaching Elsa’s little granddaughter to play a recorder. But she still longs to hear the instrument left behind by her long-gone son-in-law. A zither. (more…)

A Civil War Bullet Hole at the Sandfort Farm

Barn graphic 2

I’ll get to the bullet hole story, but first, a bit about how I found the farm for Dandelions on the Wind, the first novella in The Quilted Heart omnibus.

What fun to return to the enchanting Historic Main Street District of Saint Charles, Missouri, in 2012 to conduct research for the three novellas in The Quilted Heart—Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore. One of my first tasks was to find a farm for Mrs. Brantenberg—Maren Jensen’s home.

Carol Felzien, Director of Communication, City of St. Charles, Missouri, was one of the first people I contacted in preparation for my research trip.

Mona: “I need a farm on which to set the first story in my book.” (more…)

Quilters and Quilts ~ Barn Quilts with Christina Turner

Christina Turner Banner

In this final week of our Quilters and Quilts Series, celebrating the release of The Quilted Heart novellas, we’ve taken a turn and headed to Canada for a look at Barn Quilts with my reader-friend, Christina Turner.

“Barn quilts are painted quilt squares-usually fashioned on boards and then mounted on a barn or other building. While cloth quilts are usually made up of a series of squares of the same pattern placed together, a barn quilt is almost always a single square.” Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement  (more…)

Legend of Lady Detectives & Book Giveaway

Sadie’s Secret Cropped

I’m excited to introduce my author-friend, Kathleen Y’Barbo, as my guest today. Kathleen is talking about Lady Detectives, a subject in her newest book, Sadie’s Secrets.

The Legend of Lady Detectives

by Kathleen Y’Barbo

When I set out to write a heroine equal to the task of catching the charming villain Will Tucker in Sadie’s Secrets, there was no doubt Sadie Callum, the well-bred Louisiana-born daughter of sugar cane planter, would be a Pinkerton agent. After all, what other nineteenth century organization allowed women not only to populate their ranks well before they could vote, but also made great use of their unique talents? (more…)

Civil War Stars Block Pattern

Civil War Stars Block Pattern

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but story research is so much fun!

Visiting a story setting, yes. But so is the nose-in-books research, which is what led me to The CIVIL WAR Sewing Circle by Kathleen Tracy. Better than a candy story for someone with a sweet tooth, Kathy’s book is full of quilts, patterns, and sewing accessories from the era of the American Civil War. Letters and stories, too! Such yummy stuff, and an important resource for this writer of Historical Fiction. (more…)

Story Inspiration for The Quilted Heart Novellas

Quilted Heart Women Banner

Happy Book Birthday to The Quilted Heart omnibus! I’m celebrating the release of Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples along the Shore–3 novellas in 1 book. Here’s a peek at the inspiration behind the stories.

Civil War Pic

 The American Civil War

  (more…)

Quilters and Quilts, Week 8 ~ Karen Powell

Karen Powell Wedding Ring Banner
Karen Powell is my guest today. Not only is Karen a reader-friend quilter, she is also the Assistant Manager at Crossroads Books and Coffee in Phoenix, Arizona. Last summer, for a book signing event for Prairie Song at Crossroads, Karen decorated the book table with period pieces including a beautiful quilt made by her grandmother. Our chat about quilting prompted me to invite Karen to participate in this Quilters and Quilts Series.
MONA: How old were you when you started quilting?

KAREN: I started sewing when I was ten, made first quilt when I was 20. 

MONA: Who influenced you to become a quilter?

KAREN: My grandmother taught me many things, among them was the ability to sew.

MONA: What was your first quilting project?

KAREN: A simple block pattern with yarn ties at the corners.

Karen Powel quilt circles in squares

MONA: How many quilts have you made?

KAREN: Nine.

MONA: Do you have a favorite pattern?

KAREN: Double Wedding Ring.

Karen Powell Green Wedding Ring

MONA: What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

KAREN: Pinning and stitching…makes for a nice time of prayer for the recipient of the quilt.

MONA: A double blessing. What do you do with most of the quilts you make?

 KAREN: Gifts, especially for weddings and babies.

Karen Powell Baby Quilt

MONA: Have you learned any life lessons from quilting?

KAREN: When we persevere in things and bring them to completion, others can be encouraged by our efforts. Also, I have learned to balance work and rest (for me quilting is a nice way to rest).

MONA: Good lessons. What bit of advice would you give someone who wants to start quilting?

KAREN: Give yourself grace and have fun.

Karen Powell Gl Pink circles

MONA: Good counsel, Karen. Thanks so much for sharing your quilting story.

Have you ever made a quilt for a wedding gift or baby gift? Or received a quilt as a wedding or baby gift? What pattern?

Book Signing Event for The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Small Quilted Heart Series Omni

 

WHERE: Crossroads Books & Coffee

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014; 10 a.m. to noon

GIVEAWAY: While supplies last, receive a FREE sampler quilt kit when you come to celebrate the release of THE QUILTED HEART novellas.

One-Room Schoolhouses, A Clean Slate, A New Year!

School Slate Banner

2013 has faded into the sunset and most of the year 2014 still stretches out before us, a clean slate.

I write historical fiction set in the 1800s, a time when one-room schoolhouses were common. Students of varying ages and stages of education would use a school slate, a piece of quarry slate framed with wood, and a slate pencil to form letters of the alphabet and to practice their sums.

The advantage of slates over paper was that they could be wiped clean. The historical novelist in me looks at a new year as a clean slate, which offers a fresh start. The year 2014 is fresh and presents us with an opportunity to write a new chapter in our lives. My novels and novellas celebrate fresh starts and new beginnings. Whether it is the Sinclair Sisters forced by their fathers to go west, the Saint Charles Quilting Circle facing the aftermath of the Civil War without the men they loved, or The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company traversing The Oregon Trail looking for a better life, my story characters find fresh starts. So do you and I. On a daily basis, because of God’s amazing, renewing grace. (more…)

Get to Know Mona

Stay Connected

Direct to your email inbox, receive Mona’s latest blog posts and her monthly newsletter containing an inspirational article, helpful links, and giveaways.


Let’s Open God’s Word Together

I’d delight in opening God’s Word with your audience. Encouraging and equipping sisters makes my heart sing.

Invite me to speak >

Connect with Mona on Facebook >