Posts Tagged: St. Charles

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…)

Book Club Fun to Celebrate The Quilted Heart

Sewing Circle by Howard Sanden Blog Banner

Do the members of your book club or reading group enjoy reading a series of novellas and spending time with an ensemble cast? If so, Elsa Brantenberg’s Quilting Circle in St. Charles, Missouri, might be a great fit. And I’m happy to say the 1860’s heartland setting lends itself well to having fun with historic Main Street and riverside flair.

For some book club fun, your group may want a themed meeting after each of the novellas, or may choose to save the party for after they have read Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart omnibus. Either way, here are some meeting ideas and resources for a Quilted Heart celebration. (more…)

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Today, I’m featuring the two main characters in Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart. After you’ve read The Quilted Heart, read Prairie Song to spend more time with Garrett and Caroline.

MEET Garrett Cowlishaw

Garrett Cowlishaw  is the a friend of Rutherford Wainwright and is in St. Charles to recruit a band of people to travel west to the frontier.

MONA: How would you describe yourself? (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…)

Story Inspiration for The Quilted Heart Novellas

Quilted Heart Women Banner

Happy Book Birthday to The Quilted Heart omnibus! I’m celebrating the release of Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples along the Shore–3 novellas in 1 book. Here’s a peek at the inspiration behind the stories.

Civil War Pic

 The American Civil War

  (more…)

Happy Birthday, Daniel Boone!

Daniel Boone Home Sign Small

Daniel Boone.

What image does the name evoke? A mountain man wearing a beavertail?

If you answered, a mountain man wearing a beavertail cap, you’re likely a baby boomer or a fan of TV reruns.

Daniel Boone Framed

Daniel Boone’s pioneer exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. He was born on October 22, 1734 in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, lived in Kentucky, and then at the age of 65, he moved his wife and several children to Missouri.

The Daniel Boone TV ShowAmerican pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman inspired a TV show bearing his name. Fess Parker starred as Daniel Boone in the historical series that ran from 1963 to 1970, and now enjoys an audience of another generation or two through reruns.

I was a fan of the show, and so was my hubby. I had no idea how deep Bob’s fascination with Daniel Boone and the life of a frontiersman ran until March 2012 when he joined me in Saint Charles, Missouri. I was there researching the area for The Quilted Heart novellas and Prairie Song, Book 1 in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, when we discovered The Historic Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center in Defiance, about 25 miles west of Saint Charles. (more…)

The Quilted Heart Novellas, 3 in 1

The Quilted Heart Featured Pic

The Quilted Heart novellas only available as individual eBooks?

Not for long!

January 21st, WaterBrook Multnomah will release Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore as a print omnibus–three novellas in one thick book.

In 1999, I’d gone to St. Louis for a conference and a children’s book signing event. On a program-free afternoon, this Arizona girl decided to slide into her rental car and head out for an adventure. I ended up in St. Charles, Missouri. Immediately smitten by its historical Main Street and charming riverside perch, I dreamed of one day setting a story in Saint Charles.

(more…)

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

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

Research Trip for The Quilted Heart: 1st Stop, Gateway Arch

Me in Arch

In March 2012, after thirteen years, I returned to St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri. This time, as a historical novelist writing for WaterBrook Multnomah, to do research for my new series, The Quilted Heart. The post Civil War mid-1860s provides the historical backdrop for my three Quilted Heart eBook novellas.

First stop: The Gateway Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion in St. Louis. Everything about the grounds and the Arch mesmorized me, but the museum…well, it was like a candy store with all my favorite sweets. Props from American history.

SL Arch in setting

The park at the Gateway Arch

Going Up inside the Gateway Arch

Going Up inside the Gateway Arch

Hubby Bob inside Gateway Arch

Hubby Bob inside Gateway Arch

SL Museum covered wagon

The Quilted Heart novellas, the Prequel to a wagon train series

Already daydreaming for the next series

Already daydreaming for the next series

Less than one year later, Dandelions on the Wind, the first of The Quilted Heart Novellas released, and is now available as an exclusive eBook.

1st of 3 Novellas in The Qilted Heart Series

Dandelions on the Wind

Bending Toward the Sun

Ripples Along the Shore

Do you have a favorite museum? Where is it?

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