Posts Categorized: History

Secrets of a Charmed Life

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Meet Susan Meissner!

  • Susan is a multi-published author of seventeen books, including . . .
  • Her book, A Fall of Marigolds, was named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014.
  • Her story, The Shape of Mercy, was named one of the 100 Best Novels in 2008 by Publishers Weekly.
  • She’s a speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism.
  • She and her husband make their home in Southern California.
  • Susan will critique manuscripts, meet with writers, and teach a fiction workshop at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 27-31, 2015.

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Oklahoma Land Runs & Book Giveaway

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Bestselling author Vickie McDonough is launching a new Historical Fiction series ~ Land Rush Dreams! And we get to celebrate with her! Vickie is our Guest Author today and will be giving away a copy of Gabriel’s Atonement, Book 1 in her new series featuring the Oklahoma land runs.

Romantic Times Magazine gave Gabriel’s Atonement 4 ½ stars. Congratulations, Vickie! (more…)

World War ll Flight Nurses

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Author Sarah Sundin

Author Sarah Sundin

I’m excited to welcome our Guest Author, Sarah Sundin, to my blog today. Sarah has agreed to talk about some of the research she did for her latest historical novel, In Perfect Time. And she’s giving away a copy! But first, I’d like you to . . .

MEET SARAH!

Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014), plus a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

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War brings change.

The chaos and necessity of wartime spurs innovation and raises up pioneers. In my Wings of the Nightingale series, I highlight some pioneering women—the World War II flight nurses. (more…)

Wagon Train Quiz

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Ever watch the TV show, Wagon Train?

Just about any Western movie or TV show captured my attention, pulling me into the adventure and possibilities. Shows like Wagon Train led to my fascination with wagon train travel, which inspired Prairie Song. In Prairie Song that sense of adventure and the promise of possibilities compel the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company to roll out of St. Charles, Missouri, headed for a fresh start out west. The television and big screen depictions may have sparked my interest, but I couldn’t use those flawed Hollywood dramatizations after my research.

Sequel to The Quilted Heart novellas

Sequel to The Quilted Heart novellas

Test your knowledge of wagon train trivia.

1.  Horses were the preferred animal for pulling a covered wagon across the prairie. True or false?

False. While some folks did have horses pull their covered wagon, more chose burros or mules for the job. Most pioneers, however, yoked four or more oxen steer to their wagons because of the superior strength and stamina that allowed the oxen to pull the 2500 pounds or more. Besides, horses are more skittish and easily spooked. Which animal would you prefer to trust to ford a stream or descend a mountain with all of your earthly possessions?

2.  TV shows and movies depicted covered wagon overlanders riding on the wagon seat.

False. That was something that seldom happened. Would you want to sit on a narrow, hardwood seat suspended between side rails with no springs? Most trail conveyances were simple farm wagons with no thought given to comfort. The wagon beds rode on steel tires mounted on wooden wheels, on solid wood axles, for fifteen or so miles on a rutted road. That’d be quite the bone rattling ride. I’d rather walk, thank you.

Most travelers walked alongside the team of oxen or took shifts riding a horse.

3. Need some butter for the biscuits you plan to cook over the supper campfire? Just hang the milk on the wagon.

True. Milk the cow first thing in the morning then, before you set out for the day, secure the crock to a hook on the side of the wagon. All the jostling over rocks and through ruts will churn the butter for you.

4.  The TV screen and paintings of the period got it right when they showed wagons circled for defense against hostile Indians.   

False. The wagon companies didn’t typically circle their wagons. When they did, it was usually to corral the livestock. Most wagon train roads led through safe territory, and hostilities were rare. But if a caravan of wagons was attacked, they didn’t have time to find an area big enough to arrange the wagons.

5.  Wagons were covered, which made them into a 19th century recreational vehicle.

False. We’re talking about an eleven foot long by four foot wide, ten foot tall space crammed full of barrels, casks, trunks, and miscellaneous household items. Things the pioneers would need for the journey as well as items and heirlooms packed for their new home. Ready to curl up for the night in the covered wagon?

Most overlanders slept outdoors, on the ground, with or without a tent overhead, or in a hammock suspended between trees or between a tree and the wagon. Exceptions to that rule included travelers who were sick and sometimes children. Excessive rain might have warranted taking shelter inside of the wagon, but it would’ve been an uncomfortable night.

Reading Prairie Song, you’ll discover that I busted many of the perpetuated myths in my telling of an 1866 wagon train story.

Do you have a favorite wagon train novel, nonfiction, or movie?

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QUEEN ALEXANDRA NURSING CORPS

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Today, my Guest Author is Christine Lindsay, who has agreed to talk about the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps, part of the inspiration for Captured by Moonlight, her newest work of Historical Fiction. She’s giving away a signed copy too!

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Christine Lindsay

Christine Lindsay

In Captured by Moonlight, Book 2 of my Twilight of the British Raj series, I was like a kid in a candy store researching The Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Corps. Their gray ward dresses, starched white aprons and veils, and scarlet capes were the vision of hope to wounded soldiers. My fictional character, Laine Harkness in Captured by Moonlight, is one of those nurses decorated for bravery with the Royal Red Cross medallion. (more…)

Tea, Quilts, and Books in Saint Charles

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Today, I’m flying into Missouri. Here I come Saint Charles!

I’m excited to participate in several Author Events, May 14-18. I hope you’ll join me in St. Charles, the setting for The Quilted Heart, also the launch city for The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song. (more…)

Women’s History Month: Mary Easton Sibley

Mary Easton Sibley age 68

March is National Women’s History Month. Today, I’m celebrating the legacy of women in American History with a look at educator, Mary Easton Sibley. (more…)

Recipes Inspired by The Quilted Heart

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The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels and Prairie Song, Book 1 in the Hearts Seeking Home Series all feature fun foods and inspire recipes. The novellas, Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore are no different. Enjoy a meal with three recipes inspired by The Quilted Heart omnibus. (more…)

A Novel Instrument ~ The Zither

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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

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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…)

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