Posts Categorized: Historical Fiction

Happy Birthday, Daniel Boone!

Daniel Boone Home Sign Small

Daniel Boone.

What image does the name evoke? A mountain man wearing a beavertail?

If you answered, a mountain man wearing a beavertail cap, you’re likely a baby boomer or a fan of TV reruns.

Daniel Boone Framed

Daniel Boone’s pioneer exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. He was born on October 22, 1734 in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, lived in Kentucky, and then at the age of 65, he moved his wife and several children to Missouri.

The Daniel Boone TV ShowAmerican pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman inspired a TV show bearing his name. Fess Parker starred as Daniel Boone in the historical series that ran from 1963 to 1970, and now enjoys an audience of another generation or two through reruns.

I was a fan of the show, and so was my hubby. I had no idea how deep Bob’s fascination with Daniel Boone and the life of a frontiersman ran until March 2012 when he joined me in Saint Charles, Missouri. I was there researching the area for The Quilted Heart novellas and Prairie Song, Book 1 in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, when we discovered The Historic Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center in Defiance, about 25 miles west of Saint Charles. (more…)

Story Inspiration

Wagon women

What inspires a novelist to create characters, explore a setting, tell a story? For me, it’s often visual stimulus that stirs my imagination, sparks memories, and starts me spinning a tale of love and loss, loneliness and community, grace and second chances.

Story Inspiration Collage 1

DISCOVER

Prairie Song on PINTEREST

  

The Oregon Trail and Prairie Song

Halt of a wagon train cropped

The end of the American Civil War reopened the floodgates for humanity headed west. Men and women hungered for land and business opportunities to help them rebuild their war-torn lives and families.

Wagon train companies were typically a ragtag group of pioneers–families and individuals–fleeing their past, headed for a brighter future. Or so they hoped. A captain was usually hired to guide the caravan safely across rivers and the prairie, and over mountains to their destination of promise.

Prairie Song, the first book in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, chronicles the overland journey of the westbound Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company setting out on The Oregon Trail from Saint Charles, Missouri, in the spring of 1866. Here is a peek at the roster and some of the characters who are provisioning farm wagons and a Connestoga, selling off property, and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones for the Oregon Trail. (more…)

Prairie Song – In Search of a Promised Land

 

Now Available, Paperback or eBook!

Now Available, Paperback or eBook!

What would drive people from the familiar into the unknown? What would cause men to venture into a harsh wilderness, leaving their families behind? Or uprooting them?

For the Israelites, it was captivity in Egypt and the hope of freedom in a Promised Land that drove them from the prison they’d known for generations.

In the early 1840s, emigrants from the Eastern United States began traveling overland by covered wagon to escape grief, persecution, and poverty. Driven by desperation, curiosity, and greed, several hundred thousand people sold the bulk of their possessions, bid family and friends adieu, provisioned a covered wagon and took bold or timid steps toward what they hoped would be their promised land. A land of boundless opportunity. They’d heard stories of the wide open spaces, big forests, rivers and streams teeming with fish, flowers that bloomed all year, and abundant land for farming. Developing cities ripe for businesses. Gold, silver, and copper sat ready to be mined.

That is the backdrop for the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song, Book 1 in my new Hearts Seeking Home Series. The women in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle—from The Quilted Heart novellas—have been devastated by the War Between the States. From the youngest to the oldest, they’ve lost brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers. Not only were their plans changed, they were crushed under the heavy weight of endings, some gradual and some abrupt. But their faith is anchored in a faithful God. Fresh starts await them on the horizon.

Carrying their friendships in their hearts, some of the women will travel west to rebuild their lives, in search of home. (more…)

Prairie Song Campfire Supper

prairie-song-food-collage-blog

Boney’s turn to cook supper. A fact that has the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company captain, Garrett Cowlishaw, and the other four trail hands sticking close to camp. All the wagons are set in their curved line, the livestock graze hobbled in the meadow, and the company’s children haul buckets of water up from the creek. Men are greasing wheels and tending hooves while the women see to their families’ needs.

Outside the company’s chuck wagon, supper boils in an iron pot suspended over the campfire. The scraping of the wooden spoon along the sides of a tin bowl says mealtime won’t be long off now. (more…)

Wagon Train Overlanders Speak

gateway-wagon-blog-pic

Since I write women’s historical fiction, it makes sense that I’d want to hear from women and men from the time and period in which I’m setting my stories. For my Hearts Seeking Home Series, I turned to the diaries and journals of folks who had made the trek west by covered wagon. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation remains authentic, as found in the diary entry.

March 14, 1854 We picked out two other quilts with patterns Ann and I especially like: the Memory Block, made with bits of material from relatives’ clothing, and the appliqued Mountain Lily in bright colors. The Slave Chain quilt, stitched by our black mammy, we kept to remind us of the dear woman who took care of us when we were young. Trail of Thread – Historical Letters 1854-1855 by Linda K. Hubalek

(more…)

1920s Pharmacies and Soda Fountains

SodaSip[1]

While researching the 1920s for Mistaken, I was intrigued by the growing importance of the local pharmacy. When the neighborhood bars closed because of Prohibition, many people turned to the corner drugstore/soda fountain as the new gathering place, trading “hard” liquor for “soft” drinks—at least until the speakeasy opened.

The corner drugstore seemed like the perfect place for my characters to spend time. Four features made 1920s drugstores unique to the era.

Compounding prescriptions: In the 1920s, pharmacists were just beginning to order manufactured medications, but most prescriptions were still prepared by hand. It took careful precision to measure the ingredients and blend them into the proper formulas. Each pharmacy had its own methods, so potency, quality, and dosing varied. (more…)

19th Century Mercantiles

Carol Mercantile interior – AZ Historical Museum
Guest Author: Carol Cox

Guest Author: Carol Cox

19TH CENTURY MERCANTILES

Some of my earliest memories involve shopping trips with my mother, back in the . . . well, let’s just say it was a few decades ago. She’d make a list of all the places we had to go—the hardware store for the screws and bolts my dad needed for a project; the paint store for pink paint to touch up the wall in my bedroom; the drugstore, where we’d pick up a prescription for my grandmother—and maybe have time to cool off with an ice cream float at the soda fountain before heading on to the grocery store.

(more…)

Donkey Derby Days

Donkey Derby Sign

During my first research trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado, I met a couple of the town’s beloved residents–two donkeys that are a part of a herd of about a dozen that roam the city’s streets. When miners had to leave the area, often their donkeys were let loose. The several donkeys that roam the streets are believed to be descendants of those used to work the mines in the Cripple Creek and Victor gold camps.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Every June Cripple Creek celebrates its rich, historical heritage with Donkey Derby Days. Last summer when my hubby and I set out on a Book Tour Road Trip to celebrate the release of The Bride Wore Blue, Book 3 in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, we included participation in the annual Donkey Derby Days in our book launch activities.

Donkey Derby Sign

My participation in the celebration included several book signing events at the Cripple Creek District Museum and The Old Homestead Museum.

The 1890s Parlour featured in The Bride Wore Blue

The 1890s Parlour featured in The Bride Wore Blue

A parade is part of the Donkey Derby Days festivities, and the Gold Camp Victorian Society invited me to ride their float. So much fun.

Click here to learn more about the 82nd Donkey Derby Days,  June 29-30, 2013 in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Toasted Ravioli, Fife & Drum Corps, and Daniel Boone

Me and Carol in Granary

My March 2012 research trip for The Quilted Heart novellas returned me to a setting I first discovered in 1999–a charming riverside city that stirred my imagination and captured my heart.

Toured a historical farm that would inspire the farm setting in Dandelions on the Wind.

Bob and I with Bob Sandfort on the Sandfort Family Farm

Bob and I with Bob Sandfort on the Sandfort Family Farm

Savored toasted ravioli (twice) at Little Hills Restaurant and Winery.

Toasted Ravioli

Explored the city and the surrounding areas with Carol Felzien, Director of Communication, Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

Mona and Carol Felzien touring a granery

Mona and Carol Felzien touring a granery

Nibbled on the sweet treat that is Grandma’s Cookies on Main Street.

Grandma's Cookies, one of many fun stops on Historic Main Street

Grandma’s Cookies, one of many fun stops on Historic Main Street

Drove out to the Daniel Boone Home.

Daniel Boone's Last Home

Daniel Boone’s Last Home

Watched a Fife & Drum Corps practicing at Frontier Park.

Spent lots of time with Dorris Keeven-Franke, the archivist for the St. Charles County Historical Society.

Enjoyed sweet sleep in a bed chamber at the historic Boone’s Lick Inn.

Mona Hodgson at Boone's Lick Inn

Mona at Boone’s Lick Inn

Strolled beside the Missouri River, which plays a key role in Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore.

Missouri River at St. Charles

Met Vicki Erwin, the owner of Main Street Books, and we started plotting a book launch celebration!

Main Street Books

More details later, but please plan now to join me in the spring of 2014 for some historical, bookish fun in St. Charles, Missouri! I’ll be part of several events during the Lewis & Clark Heritage Days, May 18-19, 2014.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll wet your appetite for your visit to St. Charles by reading Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore–my Quilted Heart eBook Novellas, set along the Missouri River in 1865-1866, post Civil War.

Dandelions on the Wind

Bending Toward the Sun

Ripples Along the Shore

Have you ever visited the setting from a favorite book?

© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

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