Posts Tagged: Fiction

Why the Jersey Shore? Why Seaside?

Gayle_Roper

I’m super excited to welcome today’s guest blogger — Gayle Roper! Gayle is one of my really-long-time writing buddies and one of my mentors, both in writing and in directing writers’ conferences.

Gayle has a new book out and we’re celebrating with a story behind the story and a book giveaway. Please welcome Gayle!

 

WHY THE JERSEY SHORE? WHY SEASIDE?

As I drive across the 9th Street Causeway into Ocean City, NJ, I take a great breath of the crisp sea air. I love coming here, and am glad for my high school class reunion lunch being held here. Any excuse to visit one of my favorite places. I will sit on the balcony of my hotel room, enjoy the sun, watch the ocean, walk the boardwalk, and buy some outstanding Johnson’s caramel popcorn.

When I was a kid, my maternal grandparents had a boarding house, the Brookburn, in Ocean City, and for years I spent every July with them. A family who had a daughter my age also spent July at the Brookburn, and I would go to the beach with them every day. I still remember the ditty the daughter made up about me.

Gayle the whale was very pale

Because she drank some ginger ale.

If I had been overweight, I’m sure I’d have been scarred for life, but I was a skinny kid. I could never decide if I should be honored to be the subject of her poetry or offended at the mockery in it.

When I was in college, I worked four summers in Ocean City as a waitress. I loved spending my free time at the beach or with the college age kids who gathered at the Baptist church in town. One Tuesday night a guy named Chuck Roper came to the group. Since I was going with someone at the time, it was a year and a half before he and I went out for the first time, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The wonderful coincidence to my meeting Chuck in Ocean City is that my mom met my father there too. She went on a date to dinner at a restaurant on the boardwalk that had live music. The trumpeter was a handsome guy who took one look at Mom and played his solo directly to her. The name of Mom’s date is unknown, but Mom came back every night to hear Dad as he played to her.

Is it any wonder I have set several of my novels in Seaside, my fictional version of Ocean City? Seaside Gifts, released in August, is a fun romance with a touch of mystery. It takes place in a boardwalk gift shop called Present Perfect. Someone keeps leaving valuable things at the shop, and Nan calls the police because she doesn’t know what to do with these things. Our hero Rog comes to her rescue.

I also visit Seaside in a novella called Special Delivery and found in The Boy Next Door, released in October. A package with the right address but the wrong name is delivered to Kelli who is spending her first Thanksgiving away from family. Dane helps her survive the holiday as well as find the proper recipient for the package.

If you’d like to visit Seaside with me, I would love to give an electronic copy of each book to two lucky people.

Have you ever been to the Jersey Shore? Ocean City? Seaside?

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Include your email address with your comment for easy notification. The drawing takes place Sunday, 11/8/2015, at midnight. Gayle is giving away an electronic copy of both Seaside Gifts and The Boy Next Door to the winner of the drawing. NOTE: Please include your email address with your comment on the post.

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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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…)

Civil War Stars Block Pattern

Civil War Stars Block Pattern

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but story research is so much fun!

Visiting a story setting, yes. But so is the nose-in-books research, which is what led me to The CIVIL WAR Sewing Circle by Kathleen Tracy. Better than a candy story for someone with a sweet tooth, Kathy’s book is full of quilts, patterns, and sewing accessories from the era of the American Civil War. Letters and stories, too! Such yummy stuff, and an important resource for this writer of Historical Fiction. (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.

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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

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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

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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

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