Posts Tagged: Too RIch for a Bride

Heroes: What We Look For in Leading Men

sinclair-sisters-group

In novels, a hero is the central male character in a fictional tale. A leading man with admirable qualities. Although the hero’s positive traits may not be obvious in the introduction, he possesses characteristics that typically will serve him and the heroine (since I write love stories). That’s not to say those strengths won’t come into play as weaknesses or obstacles at some point in the plot.

Think about your favorite story heroes from the books and movies you love. Who comes to mind? What would you list as the leading man’s admirable characteristics?

I asked the fans of my Mona Hodgson Author Page on Facebook to list three traits every hero should possess. I grouped similar responses, choosing one common term. Then I had some fun considering the key traits of the heroes that populate my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels.

 

I’ve listed the fifteen desirable traits for leading men, starting with the most mentions at the top then descending to the least poplular ones:

Courage
Honesty
Humor
Compassion
Gentleness
Integrity
Wisdom
Perseverance
Humility
Strength
Love of God
God First, Family Second
Patient
Willingness to grow with the heroine
Peaceful

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series

Here are five characteristics you’ll find in my story heroes, along with his particular flaw or flaws:

1. A Deepening Faith in God (may start out as a seeker, but he moves forward on the continuum in his spiritual journey) as he grows in God’s Grace
2. Integrity
3. Conviction
4. Humor
5. Resourcefulness

What traits do you count most important in a story hero?

Colorado Book Trailer for the Sinclair Sisters Series AND a Giveaway!

WaterBrook Mug

All week, I’m celebrating my debut series The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek with the Sinclair Sisters Book Trailer Unveiling and a Giveaway! And lots of fun series-related posts. GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

Rocky Mountain Book Trailer for the Sinclair Sisters

While you check out the gorgeous Colorado scenery in series book trailer, you’ll meet the leading ladies of Twice a Bride.

Book and Collectable Mug Giveaway

Win an early copy of Twice a Bride and/or a collectable Sinclair Sisters mug full of chocolates!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

A Special Thanks

Thank you, thank you to my fabulous publishing team at Waterbrook Multnomah!

INTERVIEW WITH IDA SINCLAIR OF TOO RICH FOR A BRIDE

Too Rich for a Bride Pinwords

“Ah! A book I’ve been waiting for. Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson will charm your socks off. All the ups and downs of a romance with a delightful dose of history and characters who will sneak into your heart and take up residence. More, more, we want more.” —Lauraine Snelling author of No Distance Too Far and the Daughters of Blessing series

Book 2
The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

In preparation to write Too Rich for a Bride, Ida Sinclair’s story, I interviewed her. I thought you might like to glimpse of Ida before she left Portland, Maine to join her sisters Kat and Nell in Cripple Creek.

Mona: Who are you? 

Ida: I am the big sister, the oldest daughter, the responsible one. I’m the one who makes things happen for other people. Isn’t this what the first-born does?

Mona: What do you want?

Ida: I want to make things happen for myself. I want to be a successful businesswoman, respected for my abilities and my hard work.

Mona: You expect to do that in a mining town out West?

Ida: You think it’s wrong for me to want success in the world of business, to earn my own money?

Mona: No, but it’s certainly not going to be easy. I only wanted to clarify your intentions for your fans.

Ida: My fans?

Mona: Yes, the Sinclair sisters—each of you–have a following of readers who care about you and your journey. What has your life been like since your mother died?

Ida: The moon was high when I heard my father crying. I rushed into the hallway outside my parents’ bed chamber. Dr. Haufbauer stood there rocking back and forth, shaking his head and puffing his pipe. Ever since then, I’ve felt responsible for my father’s well-being and my sisters’ care. Now it’s time for me to follow my dream.

Mona: Have you left any room for romance in your plans? Do you believe in love?

Ida: Although I would like to eventually find love and wed, I’m not searching for a man. Right now romance would be a distraction I can’t afford. If I ever do decide to pursue love and marriage, it’ll be after I’ve found success in business.

Mona: What about your father’s wishes that you and your sisters find a man in Cripple Creek, Colorado who can provide for you?

Ida: Father isn’t in Cripple Creek. He’s busy working in Paris. Besides, I’m not one of the daughters he was worried about. He knows I can take care of myself. Soon, I’ll prove it to him.

Mona: What has your life been like since your father moved to Paris?

Ida: Focused and lonely. I take my business courses in the mornings and work in the school’s office in the afternoons. Aunt Alma’s house is comfortable, but cluttered. Vivian has a beau, but you don’t want to get me started on him. Anyway, between Vivian’s schooling and her fascination with Gregory, she’s too busy for much more than a Sunday checkers game with her big sister.

Mona: What one word would you use to describe the following people?

Ida: Kat – wordsmith; Nell – homemaker; Vivian – Vivacious; Father – Steady; Aunt Alma – Entertaining

Mona: What word would you use to describe yourself?

Ida: Resourceful.

Mona: What word would your sisters use to describe you?

Ida: Dependable.

Mona: What word would your father use to describe you?

Ida: Capable.

Mona: How would you describe your relationship with God?

Ida: It’s more a battle for control, than a relationship.

Mona: Ida, now that you’ve been in Cripple Creek for a while, has your perspective changed any?

Ida: One, you should know. You wrote the book. Two, my story says it all, and I don’t want to spoil the read for our Sinclair Sisters fans.

“A beautiful tale. Intriguing. Inviting. Inspiring.” -Cindy Woodsmall, author of The Hope of Refuge and When the Soul Mends

Read the first chapter of Too Rich for a Bride.

If you haven’t yet read Ida’s story, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve read Too Rich for a Bride, you’ll want to read it soon. A beloved secondary character in the book will be the main character in Twice a Bride.

Mollie O’Bryan

Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.

Under Mollie’s tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man’s world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family’s reservations about Mollie O’Bryan’s business practices. No matter how she tries, she can’t
ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher.

As you read in her interview, Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?

Bob’s Corner: Headframes and Cable Hoist

Bob’s Corner Glen Eyrie Bob

The pursuit of riches drew tens of thousands of colorful characters to Cripple Creek in the 1890s. The boom town provided me a canvas on which to draw my stories in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Good news! My hubby Bob agreed to flesh out the workings of a gold mining camp in that era for us. Headframes and Cable Hoists is the first in the series of articles and videos by Bob.

AND NOW, BOB’S CORNER . . .

With a nod to Bullwinkle J. Moose, and his Bullwinkle’s Corner, I have agreed to share what I know about mining in the 1890’s with Mona’s readers. My hope is that I don’t come across as Mr. Know-It-All. (Another of Bullwinkle’s famous characters)

Today’s subject is the most visible part of hard-rock mining–the headframe and cable hoist.

When you drive through Cripple Creek, the first thing you notice on all of the hillsides are the piles of rock, looking like giant gopher holes. They are, indeed, circling holes that are dug straight down into the solid rock. A mining claim protected the owner from anyone encroaching on their ore. The claim was described as a certain surface area and down, literally to the center of the earth. If you had any hope of keeping any of the gold you recovered, you had to stay within your surface measured area.

Lawyers were kept busy protecting the claims from anyone cutting across underground and into your claim. It’s hard to believe, but a lawyer was a good thing at a time when Sam Colt’s famous invention was a more popular deterrent.

Which brings us to the headframe. In order to get men and equipment into the mine, they had to be lowered by cable. Likewise, any ore had to be lifted up and out. And some of the mines in the Cripple Creek District were more than 1000 feet deep.

Two styles of Headframe. The one in the foreground also has a cable hoist. Notice the spoked pulley at the top.

A steel structure was built over the opening, with a pulley at the top. The headframe was built tall enough to lift any elevators or ore buckets clear of the mine, and sometimes enough that a train could pull through, depositing the ore directly into the cars.

At one time, every one of the holes I mentioned had a headframe. If a mine failed to produce, the headframe was moved to the next hole. No effort was made to fill in the holes, so a night-time stroll on the hillsides is not recommended.

A cable was strung over the pulley, and down the shaft of the mine. This took a lot of cable, so it would be wound around the spool of a cable hoist. The cable hoist could be powered by electricity or steam at the time, but steam was a more reliable source of power. It would be extremely disconcerting if the local generator went out when you were at the bottom, or for that matter, anywhere along the way. More on the elevator situation in a later post.

In the video, you will see a steam cable hoist, with a description of it’s basic workings. Also, in the video, I refer to the ore buckets and elevators, and I promise I will show them to you next time. I felt it was more sensible to start at the top.

Click here for video.

Checkers, Anyone?

Two Brides Too Many Slanted

A checkered board with rounded game pieces—here in the United States, we know it as checkers, a timeless table game.

While waiting to be seated at a restaurant in Phoenix, I watched a family of five gathered around a table. A father and daughter were engaged in a playful, but intense game of checkers. The opponent’s game pieces were being captured, kings were crowned and granted special battle privileges. All the while engaged family members sat on the sidelines cheering and advising.

Checkers is a game with roots that date back to Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the time of Queen Hatasu (1400 or 1500 BC). Kings and Pharaohs may have sat about the palace in royal garb engaged in a patteia competition, their version of draughts. Modern checkers dates back to 12th Century Europe. Today, checkers is still a game of choice in countries across the globe, as well as in the United States. However, outside the United States, you’re likely to hear the game referred to as draughts.

Stone Town, Zanzibar, East Africa

Two years ago, while walking the narrow, congested streets of Zanzibar, I encountered many sights that made my jaw drop and my eyes widen. Intricately carved wooden double doors with polished brass fitments and adornments. Portuguese castle walls, the remnants of the slave trade into Europe and Asia. The port filled with fishing dhows. The evening open air seafood grill stands and tables. But one sight in particular tickled me. Two Tanzanian Nationals seated on rough cast cement benches huddled over a cement table that held a thin wooden plank checkered by a felt marker. Coke and Fanta bottle caps served as their game pieces.The game of checkers was an Olympic sport at the 1896 games.

Book 1

In my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, set in the late 1890’s, checkers is a favorite pastime. A Sinclair family tradition, the sisters (and brothers-in-law now) engage in checkers tournaments on Sunday afternoons as part of their Sabbath rest.

The series opens with one such scene in the first chapter of Two Brides Too Many and the tournament thrives in the subsequent books—Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride.

Book 2

 

 

Book 3

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.

 

Author Book Signings with a Twist

You may know you can find me on the worldwide web, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, and here on my Hindsight blog. You may even know you can connect with me through my quarterly e-newsletter update, but you may not have thought to look for me at a chuckwagon supper or at a carriage house.

Book 3 in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

Last month, Bob and I embarked on a Colorado Road Trip Book Tour for The Bride Wore Blue, the third book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Book signings give me the opportunity to connect with bookstore managers and staff as well as with readers. That’s all good! But since I was going to stack a few book signings back-to-back, I tapped my fingertip on my chin and set myself to thinking of ways I could mix it up a bit.

I don’t know that you’d necessarily consider my ideas brilliant, but they were definitely fun to instigate.

Play Dress-Up

I write western stories set in the 1800’s. Furthermore, my present series is set in the late 1890’s. While I feed stories into my computer, I try to bring my time period and characters to life for my readers. Why not do so during promotional events?

That question sent me on a search for period appropriate costumes. Gowns, day dresses, skirts, shirtwaists, petticoats, gloves, boots, and hats. No crinolines, corsets, or bustles for me. That decision saved us the trouble of having to haul around a fainting couch.

My sister, Cindy, the “tea party lady,” told me about www.recollections.com and the owner of a cowboy shop in Sedona told my hubby, Bob, about the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona. Both were much more reasonably priced than other resources I’d investigated.

Glen Eyrie

Several years ago, at Murdoch’s in Montrose, Colorado, I’d found a pair of brown lace-up boots. My sister, Linda, and I both bought a pair. When I bought a purple and black lace Victorian set from the Wild West Mercantile (www.wwmerc.com), I needed a pair of black boots. My hubby Bob found them at a yard sale in the color and size I needed. You can see more about Bob’s yard sale treasure hunts on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/monahodgson/bob-s-yard-sale-finds. And don’t miss the upcoming post that features Bob’s top tips for yard sale success.

Add a New Venue

I appreciate traditional bookstores and booksellers, and included several in my stops on the book tour. The staff and customers at Mardel Christian Store in Colorado Springs loved the costumes.

Flying W Ranch

As I planned this trip and thought about my particular target audience—the readers of historical fiction, I began to brainstorm venues that might hold special appeal for my particular audience. For its western theme, I came up with the Flying W Ranch. The chuckwagon supper and cowboy show was a bonus. For its historical appeal, the Glen Eyrie Bookstore, which is set in a carriage house. Glen Eyrie is the home of the Navigators and the grounds host many historical markers, including a castle. Both venues provided grist for this historical novelist’s idea mill.I’m making a list for additional pieces I’d like Bob to find for my costume wardrobe and I’m always on the lookout for book signing locations that offer a twist. Might you have ideas for out-of-the-ordinary venues for my book signings?Side note: I purchased the calico set from www.recollections.com and the purple and black lace Victorian dress at the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona (www.wwmerc.com).

Read Excerpt, The Bride Wore Blue.

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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