Posts Tagged: Historical

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…)

Endorsements for Sinclair Sisters Novels

sinclair-sisters-group[1]

The folks who write the enticing blurbs about a story for a book cover or a front page receive ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies) from a publisher to read ahead of a book’s release.

What a blessing it was to have so many well-respected authors read The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and offer endorsements! Gargantuan Thank You’s to each one of the authors listed below for reading the stories. And, of course, I’m thrilled they enjoyed the books!

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series (Waterbrook Press)

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series (Waterbrook Press)

“Spunky sisters, mail-order brides, a mining town full of men…but where are the right ones! I was captivated from the first page!” ~Lauraine Snelling, author of The Red River Series and Daughters of Blessing

“A beautiful tale! Intriguing. Inviting. Inspiring.” ~Cindy Woodsmall, best-selling author of When the Soul Mends, The Bridge of Peace, and The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

“Mona Hodgson has done it again. With deft storytelling and characters that leap off the page, Too Rich for a Bride is a book I won’t soon forget.” ~Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper and Anna Finch and the Hired Gun

Two Brides Too Many is one good book! Mona Hodgson sweeps the reader away with Sinclair sisters Nell and Kat an dnestles them in the majesty of Colorado, where a cast of characters eagerly await, to create a home. Hodgson leaves a tasty trail of breadcrumbs ready to lead us into the next story. Two more sisters…I can’t wait!” ~Allison Pittman, author of The Bridegrooms and Lilies in Moonlight

“Strong characters play out an intricately crafted story across a rich tapestry of setting. Not your usual mail-order bride story, and I loved the twists and turns. A real page-turner.” ~Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of Wild Prairie Roses and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“This is a story that lets us stand on the cusp of a great societal shift–the entrance of women into the business world…. Cripple Creek’s cast of colorful characters plays host to a new romance, as well as pulling back the curtain on a local family tragedy. This sequel revisits the characters we’ve already come to love and creates a complementary depth to an entertaining new tale.” ~Allison Pittman, author of Stealing Home and The Bridegrooms

“I love recommending this series when readers ask me who I read and what books I can rave about.” ~Lauraine Snelling, best-selling author of Valley of Dreams and the Blessing series

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOUR WHO WON A SINCLAIR SISTERS OF CRIPPLE CREEK NOVEL–Susan M, Linda M, GodBLessAmerica2, and Jasmine A!

 

  • Do you read book endorsements? Do endorsements influence you to purchase a book?

Got Laughter? A Twice a Bride Devotional

Hodg_TwiceABride_all_cvr_r1.indd

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 KJV

Book 4
The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

“Hattie covered her mouth, but the giggle escaped anyway. Boney Hughes lay under her kitchen sink, his upper body concealed by the cupboard. His legs sprawled over her linoleum flooring.

Boney scooted out from under the sink and peered up at her. ‘You think me rappin’ my old knuckles on these leaky pipes is funny?’

Unable to stifle her amusement, Hattie nodded. ‘You look like a . . .’ She fanned herself, trying to regain her composure while he stood. ‘Like a fish out of water.’

Boney’s winter-white eyebrows arched. ‘A big old river catfish?’

Giggling, Hattie studied him from his wiry beard to his worn boots. ‘A smaller fish perhaps, but surely one with a big heart.’”

The proprietor of Miss Hattie’s boardinghouse and Boney Hughes understand the gift of a merry heart.

TRUTH TO EMBRACE

Worry weights our spirit and robs us of the joy of the Lord. A joyful spirit is primed for praise and laughter.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy,  and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

TALK IT OVER

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of laughter. Help me rest in You, so my heart will be lighter and my spirit merry. Amen

Do you know someone whose laughter is contagious? What makes it irresistible?

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?

Cripple Creek

Denver and Colorado Springs were popular towns in Colorado Territory, and have remained so since Colorado received statehood in 1876. Although Cripple Creek is often overlooked, the gold mining camp’s footprint is deep and widespread in Colorado’s historical soil.

Cripple Creek, nestled in a saddle valley on the southwestern slopes of Pikes Peak, became a booming gold mining camp in the 1890’s. At an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, just below timberline, the city’s history is one of highs and lows with fires, disease, outlaws, Indian wars, labor wars, and prostitution.

Here’s a peek at the Cripple Creek that inspired me as I wrote The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

  • Tens of thousands of men (and women) flocked to the rocky mountains of Colorado seeking gold.
  • Between 1890 and 1910 more than 22,000,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines in the Cripple Creek District, mainly Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor.
  • The Cripple Creek District produced more than thirty millionaires.
  • Many influential women made history in Cripple Creek. I feature and fictionalize at least of those women in each of the Sinclair sisters books. You’ll find more about them in future posts.
  • By the time the 1800’s game to a close, Cripple Creek had become a cultural destination, drawing the upper tens of Denver and Colorado Springs to its opera houses and ice cream parlors.
  • This rowdy but charming mountain home of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek now houses several engaging museums, including the Cripple Creek District  Museum, Pikes Peak Heritage Center, Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum, and the Old Homestead Parlour Museum.
  • The last full weekend of June each year, Cripple Creek pays homage to its historical, mining heritage in the Donkey Derby Days Festival. Bob and I participated this year. More about that in a future post.

I hope you’ll spend time in my fictional town of Cripple Creek with Kat, Nell, Ida, and Vivian Sinclair in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, and plan to visit the historic Cripple Creek one day soon.

 

The Flying W Ranch

Flying W 60 Years-800

Twenty-two years ago, Bob and I went with my folks to Colorado. One of the highlights of the trip was our time at The Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs. The Old West town setting, the cowboy grub, and the western show was a feast for the eyes, the stomach, and the heart. My dad’s joy was infectious as his whole rocked with explosive laughter and tears ran down his face. Priceless memories.

While laying out our Road Trip Book Tour for The Bride Wore Blue, I decided Bob and I were past due for a return to The Flying W. When I let the owner, Terry Wolfe, know about my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series of historical novels and my upcoming trip to Colorado Springs, she welcomed the opportunity to host a book signing at the ranch.

Mona signing The Bride Wore Blue
Flying W Ranch, Cowboy Shop

On Saturday, June 16th, Bob and I returned to the Flying W Ranch in Old West costumes. Terry met us at the gate and walked us through the recreated western town to the Cowboy Shop, ushering in another fabulous evening at The Flying W Ranch.

My marketing and publicity team from WaterBrook Press (publisher of my historical fiction) joined me for the book signing and the chuckwagon supper and western show. As the wranglers stepped onto the stage, new strains of laughter mingled with the old in an evening brimming with new memories.

Days later, I was in Cripple Creek, poised to participate in Donkey Derby Days events, when I received word from my editor in Colorado Springs that the Waldo Canyon Fire had consumed The Flying W Ranch.

My heart ached for the families whose loved ones passed, for the more than 300 families who had lost their homes, for Terry Wolfe and her Flying W Ranch family, and for all who suffered in the path of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Imagine my excitement when I learned of the plans to rebuild The Flying W Ranch. I’m already looking forward to our next visit.

The pioneer spirit of Colorado lives on. Just like the people of Cripple Creek who rebuilt their town after the devastating fires of 1896, the folks of Colorado Springs are moving forward…rebuilding.

Godspeed, Colorado Springs!

How This Arizona Author Came to Write Colorado History

The Douglas Mansion

“Have you lived in Colorado?”

“No.”

“Then how did you end up writing stories set in Colorado?”

Many readers of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series assume I live in Cripple Creek or at least in Colorado. When they learn I live in Arizona, they invariably have questions.

In Arizona, I live at the base of Mingus Mountain, home to the most vertical town in the United States—Jerome. More than twenty years ago, when I first visited the Jerome State Historic Park, the Douglas Mansion, I became fascinated with the historic copper mining camp’s history and the romantic appeal of the late 1890’s. Soon thereafter, I entertained the idea of writing a historical novel set in Jerome during its boom town years in the late 1890s.

ACFW Conference, 2008
Minneapolis, MN

In 2008, I sent the first twenty pages of that endeavor to ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) as an entry in their Genesis contest for unpublished novelists. Later that year, my writing sample was awarded First Place in the Historical Fiction category at the annual ACFW conference.March 31, 2009 my agent called and asked if I was sitting down. She’d shown the proposal for the Jerome novel to several editors, and had heard back from one who was interested in publishing me.

In an out-of-the-ordinary situation, the editor, the brilliant Shannon Hill Marchese at WaterBrook Press, asked if I’d be willing to adapt my story premise and move it to Cripple Creek, Colorado. Still set in the late 1890’s. Still taking place in a mining camp, but gold instead of copper. Obviously, I said yes. And as they say, the rest is history. In the form of historical fiction.

My debut novel

When Shannon suggested a series that included four sisters coming west, she didn’t know, and neither did my agent, that I was one of four sisters. I leapt at the chance to write that story, incorporating a few of the characters and plot points from the Jerome novel. Dr. Morgan Cutshaw, Lewis P. Whibley, and a devastating fire all found their way into Two Brides Too Many, Book One in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

October 2nd, we launched Twice a Bride, the fourth and final book in the series. And… we have another series in the works. I’ll tell you more about that in a future post. So stay tuned!

Do you have a favorite destiniation in colorado?

Have you been to Cripple Creek?

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

History in Hindsight

Ta-da!

I am now a blogger. What excites me most about the new title is that writing a blog gives me another point of connection with you. Even better, this particular gathering place offers the opportunity to share more on a personal level than is possible on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, LinkedIn, or even in my quarterly e-Newsletter.

High School, my yellow phase.

Given my experience with high school history classes, it’s nothing short of amazing that I write historical fiction. Three memories of high school history class stand out. 1) My most memorable history teacher preferred his role as the basketball and baseball coach. 2) I recall a lot of doodling, which included hearts and arrows and the initials of one or more of the wanna-be jocks who sat in front of me. 3) I remember nodding off every time my teacher chased a basketball or baseball rabbit down a trail.

I don’t remember much real “history” being taught. Consequently, I didn’t assign value to much of anything that had occurred in the long-ago. How could the past be important while my present was being shaped by bucket loads of teenage angst? I finished my history studies with a quivering C, doing so on an auto-pilot that annulled most historical names, facts, and dates upon my high school graduation.

Then I met and married Bob Hodgson. He’d had a high school teacher dedicated to demonstrating the relevance of history. Bob thrived on anything related to science and history. Proof, opposites do attract.

Somewhere along the way, history began tickling my subconscious. Bob’s enthusiasm for history swayed me, I’m sure. So did the wistfulness and wonder that came with maturity. My interest in historical fiction grew as I pondered places and circumstances foreign to me. As I wrote nonfiction for adults and fiction for children, my curiosity took on a magnetism that pulled me into the 1800’s. I had to know more about history.

One of my favorite places: The St. Charles Historical Society

Today, I’m the one most eager to peruse history books, visit museums, and ponder archives. I’m now the author of four historical novels in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and two historical novellas. A mind-boggling fact that points to truth. Beyond our wildest imaginings, dreams, and abilities, God has a plan for you and I (Jeremiah 29:11).

Hindsight is about observation, retrospection, and perception after the fact. Thus, the name and focus of my blog.

I welcome your comments and suggestions as we connect on a more regular basis through Hindsight.

Mona

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