Posts Categorized: Historical Fiction

Which Sinclair Sister Are You Most Like?

sinclair-sisters-group[1]

In celebration of the completion of my debut series: The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, I thought it’d be fun to hear which Sinclair Sister you identify with the most. So I created a poll. Two Brides Too Many features Kat and Nell Sinclair. Ida Sinclair stars in Too Rich for a BrideThe Bride Wore Blue shares Vivian Sinclair’s story. And Twice a Bride brings readers up to speed on the goings-on of all four Sinclair sisters.

Thanks for participating in the Sinclair Sisters poll!

[polldaddy poll=6469852]

Peace: Attainable or Illusive?

TBWB Pinwords

At one time or another, we’ve all been convinced that we’re the only one who can’t get it right. We have a kindred spirit in Vivian Sinclair.

The Bride Wore Blue, Book 3
The Sinclair SIsters of Cripple Creek series

“Vivian was nearly to the corner when she heard footsteps slapping the muddy road behind her. Her back and arms ached under the weight of her skirts as she forced a faster pace from her tired legs. Rain stung her eyes. A furious pulse pounded in her ears. Still she ran. How could she have been so stupid? So blinded?”

The youngest Sinclair sister arrived in Cripple Creek with a secret and felt unlovable, beyond God’s grace. The shame she carried pursued her.

Vivian made the suffocating mistake of measuring herself against the expectations of others and the appearance of those around her.

“God doesn’t list sins from the worst down to the slightest and judge a person accordingly. Only people do that.” Carter Alwyn in The Bride Wore Blue

HOPE FROM THE WORD

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ~Romans 5:1-2 KJV

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE READING

Romans 3:23-25
1 John 1:8-9
Ephesians 2:8-9
John 14:6
1 Corinthians 12:9J
1 Peter 5:10
2 Peter 3:18
Proverbs 3:34

TRUTH TO EMBRACE

Everyone needs forgiveness. Nothing we can do in and of ourselves can reconcile us to our Holy God. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, it is God’s free gift of amazing grace that bathes us in His forgiveness and washes us clean. And it’s the same for everyone. The natural response of someone bathed in God’s grace is to pour His grace onto others.

TALK IT OVER

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steafast spirit within me. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Thank You, Jesus, for being the Way to the Father; for being the Truth and the Life. Amen (Psalm 51:1,2,10,17 and John 14:6)

RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING

A Violent Grace by Michael Card
The Gift for All People by Max Lucado
Once Upon a Tree by Calvin Miller
The Color of Grace by Tonia Triebwasser
No Wonder They Call Him The Savior by Max Lucado

REFLECTION

Have you embraced God’s amazing grace?

The gift of God’s grace came at a price for the Father who gave His only Son Jesus as payment for our sin. What does God’s gift of grace say about how He views you?

Has God used someone in your life to demonstrate for you God’s grace?

© 2012 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

Heroes: What We Look For in Leading Men

sinclair-sisters-group

In novels, a hero is the central male character in a fictional tale. A leading man with admirable qualities. Although the hero’s positive traits may not be obvious in the introduction, he possesses characteristics that typically will serve him and the heroine (since I write love stories). That’s not to say those strengths won’t come into play as weaknesses or obstacles at some point in the plot.

Think about your favorite story heroes from the books and movies you love. Who comes to mind? What would you list as the leading man’s admirable characteristics?

I asked the fans of my Mona Hodgson Author Page on Facebook to list three traits every hero should possess. I grouped similar responses, choosing one common term. Then I had some fun considering the key traits of the heroes that populate my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels.

 

I’ve listed the fifteen desirable traits for leading men, starting with the most mentions at the top then descending to the least poplular ones:

Courage
Honesty
Humor
Compassion
Gentleness
Integrity
Wisdom
Perseverance
Humility
Strength
Love of God
God First, Family Second
Patient
Willingness to grow with the heroine
Peaceful

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series

Here are five characteristics you’ll find in my story heroes, along with his particular flaw or flaws:

1. A Deepening Faith in God (may start out as a seeker, but he moves forward on the continuum in his spiritual journey) as he grows in God’s Grace
2. Integrity
3. Conviction
4. Humor
5. Resourcefulness

What traits do you count most important in a story hero?

Sinclair Sisters Surprise: Book Trailer Unveiling & Mug Giveaway!

It’s Here! The Big Day of SINCLAIR SISTERS SURPRISES!

All week, I’m celebrating my debut series The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek with the Sinclair Sisters Book Trailer Unveiling and a Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

Sinclair Sisters Book Trailer

Here it is–the brand new book trailer for the whole series! What do you think? Does Nell Sinclair look like you’ve imagined? How about Vivian?

Book and Collectable Mug Giveaway

Win an early copy of Twice a Bride and/or a collectable Sinclair Sisters mug! I’ll be giving away 5 early copies of Twice a Bride and 3 special edition Sinclair Sisters mugs! 3 winners will receive the book and the mug full of Cerretas chocolates, and 2 winners will receive the book.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

A Special Thanks

Thank you, thank you to everyone who is celebrating this series alongside me! A very special thanks to the following bloggers, who have graciously posted the series book trailer on their sites, too!
(If you haven’t already, you need to visit these lovely bloggers and subscribe to their blogs, too.)

Kathi Macias: Easy Writer

Finding Hope Through Fiction

Kitty Bucholtz

Lane Hill House

Routines for Writers

The Book Club Network

The Write Life

On a Western Trail

Waterbrook Multnomah (my publisher!)

Colorado Book Trailer for the Sinclair Sisters Series AND a Giveaway!

WaterBrook Mug

All week, I’m celebrating my debut series The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek with the Sinclair Sisters Book Trailer Unveiling and a Giveaway! And lots of fun series-related posts. GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

Rocky Mountain Book Trailer for the Sinclair Sisters

While you check out the gorgeous Colorado scenery in series book trailer, you’ll meet the leading ladies of Twice a Bride.

Book and Collectable Mug Giveaway

Win an early copy of Twice a Bride and/or a collectable Sinclair Sisters mug full of chocolates!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

A Special Thanks

Thank you, thank you to my fabulous publishing team at Waterbrook Multnomah!

INTERVIEW WITH IDA SINCLAIR OF TOO RICH FOR A BRIDE

Too Rich for a Bride Pinwords

“Ah! A book I’ve been waiting for. Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson will charm your socks off. All the ups and downs of a romance with a delightful dose of history and characters who will sneak into your heart and take up residence. More, more, we want more.” —Lauraine Snelling author of No Distance Too Far and the Daughters of Blessing series

Book 2
The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

In preparation to write Too Rich for a Bride, Ida Sinclair’s story, I interviewed her. I thought you might like to glimpse of Ida before she left Portland, Maine to join her sisters Kat and Nell in Cripple Creek.

Mona: Who are you? 

Ida: I am the big sister, the oldest daughter, the responsible one. I’m the one who makes things happen for other people. Isn’t this what the first-born does?

Mona: What do you want?

Ida: I want to make things happen for myself. I want to be a successful businesswoman, respected for my abilities and my hard work.

Mona: You expect to do that in a mining town out West?

Ida: You think it’s wrong for me to want success in the world of business, to earn my own money?

Mona: No, but it’s certainly not going to be easy. I only wanted to clarify your intentions for your fans.

Ida: My fans?

Mona: Yes, the Sinclair sisters—each of you–have a following of readers who care about you and your journey. What has your life been like since your mother died?

Ida: The moon was high when I heard my father crying. I rushed into the hallway outside my parents’ bed chamber. Dr. Haufbauer stood there rocking back and forth, shaking his head and puffing his pipe. Ever since then, I’ve felt responsible for my father’s well-being and my sisters’ care. Now it’s time for me to follow my dream.

Mona: Have you left any room for romance in your plans? Do you believe in love?

Ida: Although I would like to eventually find love and wed, I’m not searching for a man. Right now romance would be a distraction I can’t afford. If I ever do decide to pursue love and marriage, it’ll be after I’ve found success in business.

Mona: What about your father’s wishes that you and your sisters find a man in Cripple Creek, Colorado who can provide for you?

Ida: Father isn’t in Cripple Creek. He’s busy working in Paris. Besides, I’m not one of the daughters he was worried about. He knows I can take care of myself. Soon, I’ll prove it to him.

Mona: What has your life been like since your father moved to Paris?

Ida: Focused and lonely. I take my business courses in the mornings and work in the school’s office in the afternoons. Aunt Alma’s house is comfortable, but cluttered. Vivian has a beau, but you don’t want to get me started on him. Anyway, between Vivian’s schooling and her fascination with Gregory, she’s too busy for much more than a Sunday checkers game with her big sister.

Mona: What one word would you use to describe the following people?

Ida: Kat – wordsmith; Nell – homemaker; Vivian – Vivacious; Father – Steady; Aunt Alma – Entertaining

Mona: What word would you use to describe yourself?

Ida: Resourceful.

Mona: What word would your sisters use to describe you?

Ida: Dependable.

Mona: What word would your father use to describe you?

Ida: Capable.

Mona: How would you describe your relationship with God?

Ida: It’s more a battle for control, than a relationship.

Mona: Ida, now that you’ve been in Cripple Creek for a while, has your perspective changed any?

Ida: One, you should know. You wrote the book. Two, my story says it all, and I don’t want to spoil the read for our Sinclair Sisters fans.

“A beautiful tale. Intriguing. Inviting. Inspiring.” -Cindy Woodsmall, author of The Hope of Refuge and When the Soul Mends

Read the first chapter of Too Rich for a Bride.

If you haven’t yet read Ida’s story, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve read Too Rich for a Bride, you’ll want to read it soon. A beloved secondary character in the book will be the main character in Twice a Bride.

Mollie O’Bryan

Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.

Under Mollie’s tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man’s world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family’s reservations about Mollie O’Bryan’s business practices. No matter how she tries, she can’t
ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher.

As you read in her interview, Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?

Checkers, Anyone?

Two Brides Too Many Slanted

A checkered board with rounded game pieces—here in the United States, we know it as checkers, a timeless table game.

While waiting to be seated at a restaurant in Phoenix, I watched a family of five gathered around a table. A father and daughter were engaged in a playful, but intense game of checkers. The opponent’s game pieces were being captured, kings were crowned and granted special battle privileges. All the while engaged family members sat on the sidelines cheering and advising.

Checkers is a game with roots that date back to Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the time of Queen Hatasu (1400 or 1500 BC). Kings and Pharaohs may have sat about the palace in royal garb engaged in a patteia competition, their version of draughts. Modern checkers dates back to 12th Century Europe. Today, checkers is still a game of choice in countries across the globe, as well as in the United States. However, outside the United States, you’re likely to hear the game referred to as draughts.

Stone Town, Zanzibar, East Africa

Two years ago, while walking the narrow, congested streets of Zanzibar, I encountered many sights that made my jaw drop and my eyes widen. Intricately carved wooden double doors with polished brass fitments and adornments. Portuguese castle walls, the remnants of the slave trade into Europe and Asia. The port filled with fishing dhows. The evening open air seafood grill stands and tables. But one sight in particular tickled me. Two Tanzanian Nationals seated on rough cast cement benches huddled over a cement table that held a thin wooden plank checkered by a felt marker. Coke and Fanta bottle caps served as their game pieces.The game of checkers was an Olympic sport at the 1896 games.

Book 1

In my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, set in the late 1890’s, checkers is a favorite pastime. A Sinclair family tradition, the sisters (and brothers-in-law now) engage in checkers tournaments on Sunday afternoons as part of their Sabbath rest.

The series opens with one such scene in the first chapter of Two Brides Too Many and the tournament thrives in the subsequent books—Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride.

Book 2

 

 

Book 3

Dr. Quinn Inspiration

DrQuinn

Remaining true to our annual tradition, the summer of 1996, my friend Shirley and I loaded the back of my Jeep and headed to a cabin in Northern Arizona. I would write and she would work on her music. That year, however, we encountered a big problem. No, it wasn’t a bear on the trail, the squirrels in the attic, the midnight mice, or a skunk on the porch.

Our two-day getaway to the cabin swallowed a Saturday. Saturday night was DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN night, and the modest cabin didn’t allow for TV viewing.

Don’t get me wrong—Shirley and I are all about retreating from noise, the hectic pace of small town life, and breathing in the pine-scented tranquility the mountains offer, but miss viewing Dr. Quinn (Jane Seymour) and Sully (Joe Lando) in “real time?” No way!

We had to find a place with good television reception. The nearest town was about thirty miles away. Never mind that we’d be driving back to the cabin in the dark, in the land of roaming bears and deer and elk.

This was before televisions lined the walls of most eateries. Where, oh where, could we go to catch up with the unstoppable Dr. Michaela “Mike” Quinn and mountain man Bryon Sully?  Department stores that sold televisions? Sports bars? Uh, not the kind of shows they broadcast.

Ah ha! Hospital rooms have televisions. Yep. Off we went to the hospital to search for an empty room with a TV. With no time to spare, we settled into the outpatient waiting room, and were swept away into historic Colorado Springs with the beloved cast of DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN.

Yes, it was a dreary day when that show was cancelled. But fast forward to 2012. I’m a historical novelist, writing Old West fiction for WaterBrook Press. I’m still fascinated with the role of female physicians in the 1800’s. It’s no wonder then that Colorado doctor, Susan Anderson known as Doc Susie, serves as my “real life” character in The Bride Wore Blue, Book Three in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Headed toward a fresh start but tethered by her past,
Vivian longs to break free, to find forgiveness and love.

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek
Book 3

At last, the sisters are reunited! The youngest Sinclair, the family “baby,” is moving from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado and joining Kat, Nell, and Ida. But Vivian is a young woman with a will of her own, and made some decisions back in Portland that have begun to haunt her. Will she be able to live up to the expectations of her three perfect and now happily-settled sisters?

The sisters warmly welcome Vivian to the mountain west, but the wild-and-woolly mining town isn’t ripe with opportunities for a respectable young woman. The youngest Sinclair sister is determined to make her own way, so when she’s offered a job as a hostess in a sporting house, she takes it, thinking the position is appropriate for a tainted, unlovable woman like herself. Although she’s convinced she’ll never be asked to entertain privately, Vivian keeps her employment a secret from her sisters, knowing they’d be mortified—as will Carter Alwyn, the kind and godly sheriff’s deputy who’s sweet on her.

Vivian is descending into a life of secrets, lying to the very people who love her and could help her heal from her mistakes. Will an outpouring of grace remind her that she is still God’s beloved and that her past can be washed as clean as Rocky Mountain snow?

So is it Vivian or Sheriff’s deputy Carter Alwyn who has need of the good Doc Susie’s services? And who is at fault?

Heroes: Matt Dillon Style

Any Gunsmoke fans out there?

Marshal Matt Dillon

James Arness played Matt Dillon in the longstanding TV series Gunsmoke. Marshal Matt Dillon’s larger-than-life persona kept me on the edge of the couch rooting for him. Apparently, I was one viewer among a throng who favored the Dodge City drama because Gunsmoke ran for twenty years with a whopping 635 episodes.

The appeal of an Old West lawman is no surprise. A modern day lawman had already captured my heart—my daddy, William “Bill” Gansberg. Daddy was a city policeman and later a California Highway Patrolman. The uniform and the means of transportation were different, but the ideals that made him strap on a gun and stand for justice were the same—good, out to overcome evil.

You may recognize facets of Gunsmoke characters in The Bride Wore Blue, the latest book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Book 3, The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

  • Sheriff’s Deputy Carter Alwyn has Marshal Matt Dillon’s chiseled good looks, integrity, compassion, and confident gait.
  • Vivian Sinclair doesn’t own a saloon, but it won’t take much stretch of your imagination to see a bit of Miss Kitty in her.
  • The wiry miner Boney Hughes definitely reflects some of Festus Haggen‘s backwoods charm.
  • Doc Susie displays the quiet conscience of Doc Adams.

Do you have a favorite character from TV westerns? Why is he or she a favorite?

Wanted: Mail-Order Bride Stories

letter

I had great fun living the life of a mail-order bride. Vicariously, that is, through the harrowing, humorous, and heart-warming experiences of Kat Sinclair and her sister Nell. Two sisters, two missing misters, and a shocking welcome to the Wild West.

What pulls you and I toward such an outrageous scenario as a woman leaving what she knows to step into the unknown with a man she doesn’t know?

Mail-order brides represent a stalwart breed of women who exude courage, strength, and a sense of adventure. They are women seeking a new beginning, opportunities, and financial security. We gravitate toward these stories because we like meeting a gutsy woman, young or old, who has a need to be married, but doesn’t have any promising prospects in her current circumstances. Their moxie might inspire us, but we’d happily do without the desperation that drives many of them west.

Usually, the heroine is connected to a possible mate through a response to some sort of advertisement.

Wanted: A single woman who is willing to walk away from the life she knows to travel across the country or even around the world and marry a stranger. She must be willing to bear his children and take care of their home, all while causing him to grow in his affection for her.

The mail-order bride plot line is typically one in which a man living in a western country, most commonly out west in the United States, marries a woman from a depressed or oppressed country or from the male-deprived eastern United States, sight unseen. Personal advertisements for matrimony served as the link between mail-order brides and the men who sent for them.

The fellow placing the ad or responding to an ad may end up being the one the heroine marries, but what if he isn’t? What if he isn’t who he is purported to be? Or maybe it’s the heroine who wears a façade. If so, why? And where does the misleading and misgivings take the characters? I loved finding that out in Stephen Bly’s Code of the West book, It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own.                     .

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is one of the most popular examples using the mail-order bride scenarios in fiction. Papa lost his wife and placed an ad in the newspaper. Easterner Sarah Elizabeth Wheaton responded, setting her adventure in the west with the widower and his two children in motion. The classic tale began as a children’s novel and emerged as a popular Hallmark television movie.

While the mail-order bride storyline is most commonly seen in historical fiction, the 1993 movie, “Sleepless in Seattle,” offered a contemporary twist on the classic story form. A motherless boy desperate to help his father find a new wife called into a radio show and told his father’s story of loss and loneliness. Letters flooded his father’s mailbox opening the door to a compelling and heart-warming romance.

Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series
Book 1

In Two Brides Too Many, two of four Sinclair sisters travel west and arrive at the depot in Cripple Creek, Colorado expecting to meet the men with whom they’d corresponded. But when the ladies disembark at the train depot, neither fiance’ awaits them. The well-bred Sinclair sisters find themselves alone in the wild, frontier town—a place where fire threatens to reduce the buildings to rubble, the working women strut the streets, rogues will gamble for the shoes on one’s feet, and grace is found among the most unlikely of folks.

If you share my delight in mail-order bride stories with a twist, I hope you’ll ask your favorite bookseller for a copy of Two Brides Too Many.

Read Chapter One.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZKhDmjbNhUU]

Do you have a favorite Mail-Order Bride story?

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