Posts Categorized: Writing

Story Building and Book Giveaway

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I’m excited to have bestselling author Lauraine Snelling with us today. How does a story present itself to an author? Where do the ideas come from?

You may Lauraine Snelling for her historical fiction, in particular, her Norwegian immigrant series. Here, Lauraine shares the story building process for her new contemporary novel, Heaven Sent Rain. And she’s giving away a copy! (more…)

St. Charles: Full Circle

St. Charles Full Cirle Blue

How does an Arizona author end up setting her newest works of Historical Fiction in Missouri? Saint Charles, Missouri, to be exact?

Enter . . . a children’s book illustrator named Chris Sharp. (more…)

Tea, Quilts, and Books in Saint Charles

Tea Time Gregory Frank Harris cropped

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…)

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.

The Birth of Book Ideas by Cara Putman

Shadowed by Grace Banner

Cara Putman

 

Today, our Guest Author is Cara Putman, who agreed to chat with us about The Birth of Book Ideas and share with us her creative process for her newest book, just released this month–Shadowed by Grace.

 

Shadowed by Grace, Monuments Men Series

Shadowed by Grace, Monuments Men

When a book is born, there’s a scary moment, hour, or week. As an author, I sit at the computer with the germ of an idea, a blank document page, and a blinking cursor. Somewhere, somehow, I have to find 90,000 words that will communicate a story that will captivate me…my editors…and eventually readers.

(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

  

Guest Author: Lori Benton and Book Giveaway

Burning Sky Feature Image

The day I’ve been waiting for . . . Lori Benton is our guest!

  • Lori is a debut novelist whose work reads like that of a polished veteran storyteller.
  • Lori writes historical fiction set on the American Frontier.
  • Lori’s storytelling brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.
  • Lori’s milestone 30th birthday gave her a chilling and thrilling God-story to share.

And how about this 4 1/2 Star review from Romantic Times:

“…a haunting, moving and masterful story that … will linger in your heart for years to come.” RT Book Reviews Pick of the Month

(more…)

A Cripple Creek Tribute

Mt Pisgah Cemetary PicMonk

Research trips for my historical fiction takes me to museums, libraries, historical societies, archives . . . and old cemeteries. Like the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

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Veterans Memorial Section

Established in 1892, the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery is one of Cripple Creek’s oldest sites. Mt. Pisgah remains a natural setting with native plants and wildflowers. Depending upon the time of year, you might find wild iris, goldenrod, Indian paintbrush, bluebells, even raspberries and strawberries in mid-summer.

Why visit cemeteries as part of my research?

1. To find historically accurate names.

2. To discover ethnic names for that time and place.

3. To find common nicknames.

4. To learn about the average lifespan.

5. To discover typical causes of death.

6. To learn the language and syntax used.

7. To feel immersed in history.

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

In my four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books, I used real-life women who lived in Cripple Creek in the late 1890’s, my time period for the series. Both of the historical women I featured in The Bride Wore Blue are buried atop Mt. Pisgah.

Have you visited old cemeteries? Which ones have you visited, and why?

© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

Castes of Yellow

Dandelion on the Wind Pic

Dandelion Novelists Story Titles

Where do novelists find a title for a work of fiction? Anywhere, and everywhere.

For Maren Jensen’s story, I drew inspiration for my book title from a favorite poem, Castes of Yellow by Viola Jacobson Berg.

Mrs. Berg’s two books on poetic forms–Pathways for the Poet and Poet’s Treasury: Second Book of All New Patterns have served as resources I used to teach myself how to write various poetry forms. When I first started teaching poetry at writers’ conferences, I had the joy of corresponding with Viola Jacobson Berg. She didn’t expect to teach anymore and sent me some of her teaching materials, along with permission to share her poems.

Here is the poem that inspired the title for Dandelions on the Wind, the first of The Quilted Heart novellas.

        Castes of Yellow

by Viola Jacobson Berg

I’m just a humble dandelion
Blooming in the grass,
Beaming cheer to one and all,
Smiling as they pass.

But something happened yesterday
Which made my gold heart bleed;
A buttercup informed me that
I’m really just a weed.

I cried at first, but then I knew
That I was not to blame;
So I’ll enjoy the sun and rain
And blossom, just the same.

When I considered my main character for the first of the three Quilted Heart novellas, the image of a dandelion viewed as a mere weed came to mind. The life Maren knew before she immigrated to America and the life any of her friends in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle knew before the Civil War ended, leaving them all feeling like Dandelions on the Wind.

Do you have a favorite poem that might inspire a book title?

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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