Posts Tagged: WaterBrook Multnomah

Wagon Train Overlanders Speak

gateway-wagon-blog-pic

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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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

In the Case of Sisters . . .

In the Case of Sisters Blog

 

In the Case of Sisters BlogThen God created sisters. And He blessed me with three.

I write. So it’s pretty easy to figure how what I’m wheeling around in my brown rolling case. A laptop computer, an AlphaSmart, and a USB cord.

For Sis Cindy, it’s either a tea set or painting supplies.

For Sis Tammy, it would be an otoscope and an audiometer since she’s a hearing specialist.

For Sis Linda, the case holds her sewing machine and all things having to do with stichery and quilting. The rolling case pictured above belongs to Linda, who put her quilting chops to good use for our celebration of the Saint Charles Quilting Circle in The Quilted Heart Novellas.

Linda Making Squares 1

Linda made four Civil War Era quilt squares. Gwen M. won a square in our celebration of Dandelions on the Wind. The second square went to Karen R. in our launch party for Bending Toward the Sun.

Crafted by Mona's SIster, Linda Gansberg Smith

Crafted by Mona’s Sister, Linda Gansberg Smith

And now we’re celebrating the May 21st release of Ripples Along the Shore with another Linda Smith Quilt Square giveaway. And because this is the third and final Quilted Heart novella, I’ve added a few other quilt-inspired goodies to the prize package.

The Quilted Heart Giveaway Package

The Quilted Heart Giveaway Package

Congratulations to Robyn Conners, the winner of the Quilter’s Prize Pack! Many thanks to all who entered!

 

The Quilted Heart Novella Series, Complete May 21st!

 

If you haven’t fed your eReader with Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, or Ripples Along the Shore, you can find them wherever eBooks are sold! And they’re only $1.99 each!

 

Do you have a sister? What might we find in her rolling case (assuming she has one)?

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.

Castes of Yellow

Dandelion on the Wind Pic

Dandelion Novelists Story Titles

Where do novelists find a title for a work of fiction? Anywhere, and everywhere.

For Maren Jensen’s story, I drew inspiration for my book title from a favorite poem, Castes of Yellow by Viola Jacobson Berg.

Mrs. Berg’s two books on poetic forms–Pathways for the Poet and Poet’s Treasury: Second Book of All New Patterns have served as resources I used to teach myself how to write various poetry forms. When I first started teaching poetry at writers’ conferences, I had the joy of corresponding with Viola Jacobson Berg. She didn’t expect to teach anymore and sent me some of her teaching materials, along with permission to share her poems.

Here is the poem that inspired the title for Dandelions on the Wind, the first of The Quilted Heart novellas.

        Castes of Yellow

by Viola Jacobson Berg

I’m just a humble dandelion
Blooming in the grass,
Beaming cheer to one and all,
Smiling as they pass.

But something happened yesterday
Which made my gold heart bleed;
A buttercup informed me that
I’m really just a weed.

I cried at first, but then I knew
That I was not to blame;
So I’ll enjoy the sun and rain
And blossom, just the same.

When I considered my main character for the first of the three Quilted Heart novellas, the image of a dandelion viewed as a mere weed came to mind. The life Maren knew before she immigrated to America and the life any of her friends in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle knew before the Civil War ended, leaving them all feeling like Dandelions on the Wind.

Do you have a favorite poem that might inspire a book title?

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

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.

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?

My Favorite Dr. Suess Book

Oh the Thinks

In honor of Ted Geisel’s birthday on Saturday, March 2nd, I thought it’d be fun to share my favorite Dr. Suess book with you.

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

When I teach a Writing for Children course at a writers’ conference, my students can expect me to read Oh, The Thinks We Can Think!. The book embodies traits writers, especially those writing for children, should embrace.

Childlike wonder about the world around them. Engaging your imagination and dream. Playing with words and concepts. Embracing adventure and discovery.

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss Book?

What traits do you most appreciate in Dr. Seuss BookS?

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