Posts Tagged: Colorado

A Christmas Story, Available Today!

Christmas holly banner 3

I think it was in 1990, that I stood in my great aunt’s farm kitchen in Gardnerville, Nevada. Ellen Gansberg loved to cook and she was an avid reader. I’d been writing for publication for a couple of years, and I’d sold several devotionals and short articles to various publications. Of course, Aunt Ellen was excited for me. Even seemed proud to know there was a real writer in the Gansberg family.

But there was that one point in the conversation, that she turned to me, wiped her hands on her apron, and got down to business. “Have you written for Guideposts?”

That’s when I noticed the Guideposts Magazine stack at the end of the counter top.

Gulp. (more…)

Doc Susie & Book Giveaway

Doc Susie bag

You never know who you might meet in Cripple Creek, Colorado!

Mona with Hedy Boyce as Doc Susie

While I was in Cripple Creek in August to participate in the Gold Camp Days and Western Literature Festival, I made Wyatt Earp’s acquaintance through a program presented by his grandson, Wyatt Earp.

Then during a book signing at the Cripple Creek District Museum, I met Doc Susie, played by Hedy Boyce.

One thing is for certain, there’s never a dull moment in Cripple Creek. Even if after a full day of museum hopping and historical exploration, you’ve tuck yourself into your peaceful room at Carr Manor. The historic Cripple Creek High School repurposed as a lovely Bed & Breakfast is far too rich in history to be dull.

The Bride Wore Blue (2)What fun it was to meet Hedy and chat with her about Doc Susie, the real life woman I feature as a fictional secondary character in The Bride Wore Blue, Book 3 in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

I was excited when Hedy agreed to an interview, to share a bit about one of her favorite historical Cripple Creek characters–Dr. Susan Anderson. (more…)

Reading with a Map and Making an Itinerary

Map of Cripple Creek Cropped

Charles and Clara Tanner are headed to Cripple Creek, Colorado, this month to visit the landmarks mentioned in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Sweet fans of my fiction, the couple gave me permission to share excerpts from their notes to me.

December 2012

Dear Mrs. Hodgson,

What a blessing the four books on the Sinclair sisters have been to myself and my wife…. We have cried and laugh, but more than anything else we have grown closer together. As we read out loud to each other, it seemed to draw us into the story, as if we were there living in the 1890’s and experiencing exactly what the characters were experiencing. Bringing God into the story along with Bible verses made it even more believable, as well as soul searching for each of us.

My wife and I are in our 70’s and we have been Christians all of our life. It has been difficult to find good fictional reading, in fact your book about the Sinclair sisters was the first fiction book I have read as I felt I could never get any value out of them and especially a blessing. … I felt it would be a waste of time reading something that could not add value to my life, but your books gave me as well as my wife new meaning to our lives. Don’t ever stop looking to God for a way to tell the stories in your books because if they have found a way into our hearts and lives, I am sure they have done the same to others.

(more…)

Sinclair Sisters Fun and Yum for Book Clubs

Essential Handbook for Victorian Etiquette

Do the members of your book club or reading group enjoy reading series and spending time with an ensemble cast? If so, the four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series might be a great fit. And I’m happy to say the 1890s Colorado mining camp series lends itself well to having fun with Victorian, Old West, Mining Camp flair.

Your group might want a themed meeting after each of the books, or may choose to save the party for after they’ve read Twice a Bride, the conclusion of the series. Either way, here are some meeting ideas and resources for a Sinclair Sisters celebration.

Sinclair Sisters Four

Decorations:

Decorate with Victorian flair–quilts, hats, checker boards, irons, phonograph, phonograph records, vintage books, etc.

Decorate with a sisters’ theme in mind–plaques, gift books, portraits, pictures that celebrate sisters, etc.

Decorate with Miss Hattie’s boardinghouse in mind. Perhaps things you might find in the parlor–settee, armed chair, phonograph, oil lamps, quilts, etc.

Decorate with a mining camp theme–headlamps, candle lanterns, gold mining pans, books on mining and miners, etc.

Miss Hattie's Phonograph Records?

Miss Hattie’s Phonograph Records?

Food:

Plan a tea party and serve Miss Hattie’s Lemon Scones or Miss Hattie’s Vanilla Pound Cake and Berry Sauce.

Prepare Nell Sinclair Archer’s Peanut Cabbage Salad for a luncheon.

lemon scones

Games and Activities:

A Checker’s Tournament, a favorite Sinclair family pastime.

Anyone in the group have Victorian costumes? Maybe a time period fashion show?

Has the group read all of the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels? If so, who are the members’ favorite heroines and heroes? Why?

Choose a favorite photo from my Cripple Creek Album to Share with the group or look at the album on a screen linking to it from my website: www.monahodgson.com.

Have someone share a devotional inspired by the book or series. Or read Got Laughter? A Twice a Bride devotional.

Have someone read a list of humorous or poignant Victorian Etiquette tips. The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette is a fun resource.

Essential Handbook for Victorian Etiquette

Costumes:

Encourage everyone to wear at least one “Victorian Era” clothing item to the meeting, could be fun too. For instance: A hat or lace gloves, a shawl or cape, a brooch or cameo pendant.

Book Signing at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs

Book Signing at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs

Author Participation:

If you’re reading a Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novel, I’d be honored to “attend” your book club meeting. In person, if I live within an hour of the group or if I’m going to be visiting the area. Otherwise, we could arrange a virtual meeting and chat via Skype, FaceTime, or speaker phone. If we schedule the virtual event far enough in advance (preferably at least a month or so ahead), I’ll mail you a Book Club Packet that includes bookmarks and/or recipe cards, flyers or brochures, and signed book plates for each member of our group.

Watch the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series Book Trailer

Discussion Questions for THE SINCLAIR SISTERS OF CRIPPLE CREEK BOOKS . . .

Two Brides Too Many

Too Rich for a Bride

The Bride Wore Blue

Twice a Bride

Twice-a-Bride_980x300

I’d love to hear your ideas. Does your book club enjoy themed meetings? What kinds of things does your reading group do to celebrate a good read? 

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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.

Writing Historical Fiction by the Cookbook

Cripple Creek Church History Cook Book

You’re not likely to find me flipping channels looking for the Food Network. Fact is, my hubby does most of the cooking and baking at our house. But don’t ask me to write about a new setting without a cookbook from the time period and location.

Cripple Creek Church History Cook Book
For The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, I pored over the Church History Cook Book from the First Congregational Church in Cripple Creek, Colorado. A yummy resource for time period dishes and recipes, listings of ingredients, people names from the time and place, and other juicy tidbits.
All four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, now available!

All four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, now available!

Here’s a fun tip offered by Mrs. J. S. Bates: “To keep apples from turning dark when peeled, use a silver knife.”

I can hear Ida Sinclair sharing that household hint with her younger sisters in Too Rich for a Bride.

Ginger Snaps with Mrs. Ira Hart and Mrs. Theodore Hartman
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger
1 level teaspoon soda
1 egg
Add flour to roll.
Bake in a quick oven.

Yep, I can see one of the Sinclair sisters nibbling a ginger snaps at Miss Hattie’s Boardinghouse in Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, or Twice a Bride.

St. Charles Celebrating Our Heritage Cookbook

For The Quilted Heart, three eBook novellas, Celebrating Our Heritage from the St. Charles German Heritage Club provided me with tasty recipes and fun tidbits.
Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore

Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore

Hunter’s Schnitzel from the German Club Archives

Pork or veal cutlets
Salt
Pepper
Brown sugar
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
Cream
Cooking sherry (if desired)
Crushed garlic (if desired)
Onions (if desired)
Butter for browning

Make sure the cutlets are thin. Wash the cutlets, dry with a paper towel and rub with pepper, salt and just a little brown sugar. Cook the cutlets on both sides in real butter in an open pan until the meat is done and takes on a nice brown color. Put the schnitzels in a serving dish and keep hot. In the meat juice left in the pan, cook fresh sliced mushrooms (about one pound for 2 schnitzels) until the liquid is mostly gone, adding pepper, salt and a touch of sugar to taste (not too much sugar or the mushrooms will be spoiled). Stir in fresh cream until you get a thick sauce. Pour on top of the schnitzels and serve with potato pancakes. Another variation is to add a little cooking sherry, onions and/or garlic to the mushroom gravy (the onions and garlic are cooked together with the mushrooms; the sherry is added with the cream).

Sounds to me like a “receipt” we could find in Emilie Heinrich’s kitchen in Bending Toward the Sun, a Quilted Heart novella.

Hunger ist der beste Koch. (Hunger is the best cook.) One of the many sayings I found in the German heritage cookbook, along with fascinating bits of history.

Oregon Trail Cookbook (2)I turned to The Oregon Trail Cookbook, A Historical View of Cooking, Traveling, and Surviving on the Trail for culinary inspiration and cultural tidbits for Hearts Seeking Home, my next series. Look for Prairie Song, Book 1, to release on August 6th!
Prairie Song

“Originally called ‘The Emigrant Road’ by the early pioneers, the route commonly became known as ‘The Oregon Trail’ and later as ‘The Overland Trail.’ Regardless of its name, emigrants always referred to it as ‘the road’ and not a ‘trail.’”

Sourdough Griddle Cakes

2 c. sourdough starter
4 c. warm water
4 T. oil
1 tsp. salt
4 T. sugar
5 c. flour
2 eggs
½ c. condensed milk

2 tsp. baking soda

Mix starter, flour and warm water the night before. Reserve 2-3 cups to replenish starter. To what is left, add eggs, oil and milk; over dough and gently fold in. Let rise 3-4 minutes. Fry on hot griddle. Serve immediately.

I can almost smell the griddle cakes Caroline Milburn will cook over the coals of a campfire out on the prairie in Prairie Song.

Read the prequel to Prairie Song in Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore.

Do you have a favorite regional cookbook?

© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

Women in History: Mary Claver Coleman

March is National Women of History Month. To join in the celebration, I’ve chosen to feature one of the “real life” women from my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series in today’s post.

Mary Claver Coleman was one of those wonderful finds during my research for Two Brides Too Many  My hero was a new doctor coming to Cripple Creek from Boston.

Miss Hattie Reminisces About Saint Charles

I suppose some folks might assume I’ve always lived in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Why, they might even figure I haven’t done anything but run Miss Hattie’s Boardinghouse on Golden Avenue. Truth is, I was once the age of our dear Sinclair Sisters. And younger.

Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride

Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride

My hair might have grayed on me, but you can be certain my Cripple Creek adventures won’t be my last. Nor were they my first.

The days of my childhood dawned not in a mining camp or anywhere in the mountains of Colorado, but in Saint Charles on the banks of the Missouri River. Oh, you might also like to know that’s where I first met Boney Hughes. Or as the Sinclair Sisters like to call him, Mr. Boney.

Remembering those bittersweet days, I can’t help but breathe a wistful sigh.

I was but fifteen years of age, quilting with Mother and my dear friends in Mrs. Brantenberg’s circle, when talk of the caravan going west first buzzed through Saint Charles like a restless bumblebee.

The Quilted Heart and Prairie Song 2

Maren, Emilie, and Caroline may not want to hear this, but I like to think of The Quilted Heart novellas as my stories too. After all, I was there with them.

© 2014 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

Vote for Your Favorite Sinclair Sister

While I’m putting the finishing touches on my next series, I’m still celebrating the completion of my debut series: The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek. 

Are you a Sinclair Sisters fan? While each of the sisters and their supporting characters sank deep into my heart, I have a favorite or two. I’m curious. What about you? Do you have a favorite Sinclair Sister? One you most identified with? Or one whose journey ministered most to you?

[polldaddy poll=6868714]

Which Sinclair sister (or sister-in-law) did you choose as your favorite? Why?

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 >