Millie Marries a Marshal

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Brides with Grit series

Millie Marries a Marshal by Linda K. HubalekAlthough this scene from Millie Marries a Marshal (from the just released book two in the Brides with Grit series) is not a Christmas scene, it reminds me of my favorite Swedish cookie, “Kisslings”, which I’ve made every year for Christmas since I was in grade school.

I grew up near the Swedish settlement town of Lindsborg, Kansas, also known as “Little Sweden USA” so our Swedish heritage, and Christmas baking is an important to our community to this day.

Please enjoy this 1873 scene between town marshal Adam Wilerson, mail-order bride Millie Donovan and her two-year-old nephew, Tate—and try this simple cookie recipe too!

Millie Marries a Marshal

Millie heard Adam come in late last night, because she and Tate were in the room across the hall from his bedroom and she was wide-awake, still thinking about his statement that he wanted her “upstairs”…and how she wished she could be “upstairs” enjoying being his wife.

But then thoughts of why they were upstairs, because Tate was in danger, killed the mood. Now she had breakfast ready and he was stalling coming downstairs.

Millie heard Adam’s boot steps come down the steps and enter the room, but didn’t turn to look at him until Tate screaked in terror. She spun around then stopped, looking at Adam’s bruised chin. His face had been a target for someone’s fist last night.

“Tate, it’s okay, Adam just has a boo-boo on his face. He doesn’t even need a bandage.”

“Why is he so upset?” Adam asked above the child’s screams.

“Think about it, Adam…” Millie knew when Adam realized Tate had seen—and felt—bruises before.

Adam crouched down to Tate’s height at the high chair. “Oh, no. I’m okay, Sweet poo-Tater, I really am. Please don’t cry…”

Millie glanced at Adam, then Tate, wondering if her remedy for Tate’s “boo-boos” would calm the toddler down. “Tate. Tate, don’t you think Adam should have a ‘Baker’s Kiss’ on that boo-boo?”

“Huh?” Tate stopped his crying and looked between the adults. That caused Adam to look between her and Tate in confusion as well.

“What’s a Baker’s Kiss, Millie?” Adam asked warily.

Millie opened the pie cupboard and took out a little tin container and a larger one from a shelf, put them on the table in front of Tate, and took off the lids.

Millie smiled at Tate and asked sweetly, “Shall I give you a Baker’s Kiss first so Adam can see what they are? Where was your last boo-boo, Tate?”

Now Tate was excited, waving his left arm and pointing at it with his right hand. “Here, here!” The tot was transformed into an excited, happy child compared to the terrified boy of a minute ago.

“Okay. We take the special cookie, dip it in the special sugar, and pat the boo-boo. Then…” Millie paused to lick her tongue all over her lips, “you get the special Baker’s Kiss on your boo-boo.” She wet her lips again and carefully touched her puckered mouth on his skin, taking off a bit of sugar, leaving the imprint of a kiss on his arm.

Tate grinned in delight, then took the cookie from Millie’s palm and stuck it in his mouth, happily chewing on the shortbread cookie.

“No wonder the kitchen smells like cookies half the time, and my socks smell like sugar if I walk in stocking feet around the kitchen. Tate’s been having lots of boo-boos?” Adam quietly asked Millie.

“Oh yes, but it’s become a happy game and I’m fattening him up at the same time,” Millie whispered back.

“Adam’s turn! Gets a kiss from Illie!”

Millie sucked in a breath to fortify her intention. There was another reason she wanted to give Adam a kiss besides to calm Tate down. She wanted to announce her feelings to Adam.

She had formed small round shortbread cookies, and pinched up a bit of dough on top before she baked them to give a little handle for her to dip into the tin of fine sugar. Millie ground sugar with a mortar and pestle to make it very fine and added a little corn starch to make the sugar stick better to the skin.

“Sit down in the chair by Tate, Adam, so he can see your kiss. What’s the simple version of how you got your boo-boo, Adam?”

Millie took a cookie from the tin, dabbed it in the sugar tin, and carefully touched the bruise on Adam’s chin.

“I overreacted when Ralph Peters…uh yelled at his wife, and I got a boo-boo on my chin.”

“He hit you, just because of that?”

“Uh, I swung at him first without thinking and…Ida decked me.”

Millie giggled and touched his chin again because the sugar fell off when Adam talked.

“Ida is twice the size of Ralph, so I’m sure she can protect herself.”

“Yeah, I think of that every time I move my jaw.”

“Kiss! Kiss!” Millie licked her lips as Tate started chanting. She watched Adam stare at her lips as she slowly moved towards his face. She took a breath, then gave him a long, wet, kiss right in the middle of the sugar smear.

“I think you missed the exact spot,” Adam slowly smiled while looking at her sugar-covered lips.”

“Oh, I know I did,” Millie said as she dipped the cookie into the sugar mix and this time dabbed directly on his upturned lips. She put the cookie on the table and wrapped her arms around Adam’s shoulders before lowering her lips to zero in on her target.

(Excerpt from Millie Marries a Marshal © 2014 by Linda K. Hubalek)

Kisslings, A Swedish Christmas recipe, featuring in Egg Gravy by Linda Hubalek

1 ½ cups butter

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 c. finely chopped pecans (or almonds)

3 ½ cups flour

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together, then mix in rest of ingredients. Roll out dough on floured surface until a quarter inch thick. Cut the dough into “half moon” shapes using a small glass inverted to make the inside and outside of the cookie. (You can also make shapes with your choice of cookie cutters.) Move the shapes to an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Take the sheets out of the oven when the edges (not the whole cookie) turn golden brown. Immediately dip in powdered sugar while still hot, then move to cooling rack to cool. (The powdered sugar will “melt” and stick to the cookies.)

Enjoy these special cookies at Christmas—or any time!

New Book Release- Rania Ropes a Rancher

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Brides with Grit series, western romance

Rania Ropes a Rancher by Linda K. HubalekA new book, a new series, and new genre.

Rania Ropes a Rancher, the first book in my new historical western romance series, Brides with Grit, debuts at midnight tonight.

I smile every time I think “I just finished writing my twelfth book!”

It’s a long process for me to go from an idea to the finished book. I start writing the story—and the characters take over. Their dialogue continues in my brain during my dreams, on walks…and usually when I’m not right at my computer so I have to remember them later and try to reconstruct their conversations.

And then the editor makes some suggestions on her first read through…and the characters throw in another thought or two…but that’s the joy of creative writing, it just keeps flowing and adding to the story line.

I knew the series name I wanted to use, but the individual titles did not come to me until—crediting my editor again —she made a suggestion, which triggered my thoughts in a new direction.

If I change Greta’s name to Rania…the title could be Rania Ropes a Rancher.

So the first book in the Brides with Grit debuts tomorrow, and I have the titles and story lines for the next seven books outlined too. My mind has already written half of Millie Marries a Marshal. Now my fingers need to get busy typing Millie’s story.

Please download the ebook verison or order the paperback to start the story of the Wilerson and Hamner families. The year is 1873 and the setting is near the famous cowtown of Ellsworth, Kansas.

Enjoy my latest story about women living on the Kansas prairie!

20 years & Kindle Unlimited

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, western romance

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for your continual support of my writing. It’s been twenty years since I started Butterfield Books Inc., and I appreciate your support over two decades!

I have two series in the works right now that I want to tell you about.

Tying the Knot, the first book in the Kansas Quilter Series is already available, and there will be two more books in it. It’s about my great grandmother and her quilts.

Greta: Brides with Grit by Linda K. HubalekI’m also working on a new western romance series, tentatively titled Brides with Grit. This series features fictional characters ranching near cowtown Ellsworth, Kansas in 1873, and I’m having a blast writing the first book about Greta and Jacob. I’ll tell you more about the characters next month.

Here’s a photo taken from my great-grandparents album that I’m using as “Greta”. Of course there’s no name on the back of the actual photo…so I picked this one because both Greta (and her twin Gussie in book 3) have blonde braids.

Hopefully, these tidbits will keep you interested until my next books are available for you to enjoy!

Kindle Unlimited

The big news in the publishing industry is that Amazon recently started a ebook subscription called Kindle Unlimited- and I decided to be part of it. All Butterfield Books Inc. are in this program now. How does it work? The reader buys a monthly subscription for $9.99 (first month is free) then you can download ten books at a time, and enjoy reading.

The only catch for us authors is that the reader needs to read (or go through) 10% of the book for us to get paid, so please be sure to do that. We’ll all appreciate it!

Thanks! Linda Hubalek

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog, Butter in the Well book series, Kansas Quilter book series, Planting Dreams book series, western romance

Thanks to Terry Odell for invit­ing me to join in the Writ­ing Process Blog Tour, where writ­ers share their writ­ing processes. We were given four ques­tions to answer, so here are my responses.

What am I working on? Patching Home by Linda K. Hubalek

I’m working on Patching Home, the second book of the Kansas Quilter series, which is about my great grandmother Kizzie Pieratt’s trip to the Indian Territory. This will be my twelfth book about pioneer women who homesteaded in Kansas. All my books so far have been based on my ancestors, their original homesteads, and the communities that grew around them. And I’m also putting together the outline for an eight book western romance series, set in 1873 around the Ellsworth, Kansas area, a real cow town back in the cattle drive days. I wrote a short story, The Perfect Homestead Bride for the anthology book, Lassoing a Groom, and I’ll be expanding the theme, only with fictional characters this time instead of real people like past books. Although this anthology is full of lighthearted sweet romance stories, my western series be more in tune with the actual real-life drama pioneer women went through to find a husband and a safe home.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Butter in the Well by Linda K. Hubalek. Published by Butterfield Books Inc.My first dozen books were based on real people—most of them my direct ancestors—with added real and fiction stories to fill out the time frame these people lived in. My Butter in the Well series was written in the form or diary entries to tell the story of the Swedish immigrant woman that homesteaded the farm I actually grew up on. The Planting Dreams series told of my paternal ancestors’ journey and homesteading days. My Trail of Thread series, written in the form of letters written back to family, tells the story of my maternal ancestors’ wagon train trip to Kansas. The book series continue telling the Bleeding Kansas and Civil War stories that rocked the state and the nation in Thimble of Soil and Stitch of Courage. I’m sure other writers have done similar themes, but my books also include photos of the families and township maps of where they lived.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been curious about my Swedish ancestors, but I wanted to know more about them than just their birth and death dates. Why did they travel all the way from Sweden to the middle of the Kansas prairie? What did they think of the open plains when they first saw it? I wanted to learn about the actual person’s life, or dream of what it was like before my time. When I researched my next series I wanted to learn and tell how Kansans (and my relatives) were drawn into the Civil War even though all they wanted to do is build a new home for their families. I’ve been told I’m a good storyteller, even though my formal education wasn’t for writing. I guess I’m tying my agriculture degree with stories of pioneer women to fulfill the need of both writing and farming.

How does my writing process work?

Trail of Thread by Linda K. HubalekI have over twenty years of research material stashed in the basement, so I go through boxes and pull out files that I want to concentrate on. I put them in my desk drawer so I can easily look up facts and dates I want to add to the book I’m currently writing. Outlines scribbled on note pads become outlines typed up into a word document. Then I add more thoughts and facts, expanding the story line until they become scenes. Sometimes I know exactly where the story is going, and other times a scene might be moved into another book. And facts I find later may cause a story to change, mainly because my books were based on real people whose descendants are now reading the stories of their family, and I want the facts correct for them. I edit each time I read a section, but I like to wait a week or two between the second and third edit because by then I have moved on to other scenes and thoughts. When I read older work later I’m seeing it with a fresh mind again. All books are edited by a professional editor, and then I read them again before formatting  them into both digital and printed versions.  The books are published under Butterfield Books Inc.

Thank you, Terry Odell for including me in this blog tour. I appreciate the chance to connect with both current and future readers through this tour. Click­ing the link in Terry’s name will take you back to her stop on the tour, and you can go back or forward to read other author’s questions. Every author’s responses are unique, so please take a moment to read and enjoy them.

Lassoing a Groom

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, western romance

Lassoing a Groom- a western romance anthologyMy books about pioneer women tend to be quietly dramatic due to what life on the prairie was like for these women, so it was fun to write a sweet, humorous story for a western romance anthology, Lassoing a Groom that just came out by Prairie Rose Publications.

Here’s the theme for the six stories in the book.

How is a woman supposed to catch a husband? In the wild, wild west, she’s got to find a way to Lasso a Groom! Some of them are lawmen…some are outlaws. Ranchers and homesteaders are fair game, as well—none of ’em safe from love’s lariat, or the women who finally manage to rope ’em in!

Here’s the blurb about my story, The Perfect Homestead Bride.

Gussie Hamner paid cash for the abandoned Kansas prairie homestead near Ellsworth, Kansas with winnings her horse Nutcracker won against cowboys coming off the cattle trails. She plans to raise horses on her ranch, but disturbing happenings around the place and with her animals cause Gussie to worry about the safety of all that is dear to her.

Noah Wilerson left his sod house in Kansas to travel to Illinois, planning to marry and bring his sweetheart back to his new homestead. After finding his intended already married, Noah travels home to find it’s been taken over by a horsewoman in trousers.

Pushed together by well-meaning family, Gussie and Noah must work together to finish the homestead he started, but she bought to make into a perfect home and ranch for the future family she’s been dreaming of.  But danger lurking from the past may sabotage their work and lives now—and in the future.

Click now to read the start of The Perfect Homestead Bride. For more information on all the stories in Lassoing a Groom, go to Prairie Rose Publications too. Please enjoy these fun western romance stories. It was fun to participate in this book!

Planning a 90th Birthday Party

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Kansas Quilter book series

Cake stand-1949Even though my mom has a computer, she’s not savvy on it, so I think I’m safe to say me and my siblings are working on a picture book to celebrate her 90th birthday this month.

But don’t tell her because it’s a surprise…although dad got a book for his 90th birthday last year so I’m sure she’s expecting it…but doesn’t know the theme yet.

When going through old photos to put in this book, one thing that kept popping up was birthday photos. “Us kids” are standing by a frosted cake, usually on a particular glass cake stand. There are candles on each cake, and I’ve gotten my magnifying glass out to count them if there wasn’t a date on the photo. (Pictured here is my brother’s first birthday cake in 1949.)

There’s enough “cake” photos that it became the theme for the book—not only birthdays, but for anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and Mother’s and Father’s Day.

We all have our favorite kind of cake, so it will be an angel food cake on the cake stand when we celebrate mom’s birthday next week.

70th wedding anniversaryIt was also interesting that I found photos of my great grandparent’s Ira and Kizzie, celebrating their special days with a cake too—including their 70th wedding anniversary in 1964.

My Kansas Quilter series is about this special lady. The first book Tying the Knot is done and now I’m working on the next book Patching Home. Maybe I’ll work a birthday cake scene in this book since I’m putting together a 90th birthday party now…

Contests to win new book, Tying the Knot

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Kansas Quilter book series

Author Linda Hubalek and great grandmother

Kizzie Pieratt & Linda Hubalek, 1959

Enter contests for my new book Tying the Knot

Please enjoy my new book, post a review online somewhere, and tell your friends and family about it. I appreciate it!

AND, there are three places you can win free books.  I’m giving away three print copies of Tying the Knot at a Goodreads contest. If you want to win one of five ebook copies, either go on my author website or Facebook contest.

Who is in this photo with this blog? It’s me at age five with my great grandmother Kizzie, who was age 85 at the time, taken back in 1959. It’s hard to believe the influence she had on me at a young age, but I must have been impressed with her stories even back then.

Enjoy my new book from the Kansas prairie!

Tying the Knot is done!

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Kansas Quilter book series

Tying the Knot by Linda K. HubalekI wrote in my diary on April 24, 1982 that I wanted to write a book about my great grandmother Kizzie Pieratt and the many quilts she made. Although that idea started my writing career, I didn’t get around to starting on Kizzie’s book until 2003. Then other things in life took priority…

Now I’m proud to say the first book in my great grandmother’s story Tying the Knot is finally out this week! The Kansas Quilter series starts with my ancestor’s decision to leave their rented Kansas farm to move to the Indian Territory in 1902 (before Oklahoma became a state). Although the story line is fiction, I worked in facts and family photos as Kizzie prepares for their wagon trip. Some of the many quilts Kizzie made are woven into the story and I have photos of them in the book too.

I wonder what Kizzie would have thought of her quilts being featured in a book. Like most women, she probably be proud of some of her quilts, and wished I had left others out! But all these quilts are special to me, first when they kept me warm on winter nights as a child, and now as I write about them 50 years later.

If you’ve read my Trail of Thread series, this new series continues with Kizzie Pieratt, who would have been Maggie Kennedy Pieratt’s daughter-in-law. Maggie was featured in Stitch of Courage, and this is her grown childrens’ story.

 

Looking Back, Again

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Butter in the Well book series

Looking Back Audio BookMy book, Looking Back just became available as a downloadable audio book on Audible.com. I wrote this book in 1994 and it is the fourth book in the Butter in the Well series. The story is about the Swedish immigrant woman that homesteaded the farm that I grew up on in central Kansas. Kajsa Runeberg homesteaded the land in 1868, and moved off the farm and into town in 1919.

This book was easy to write emotions into because I slept in the bedrooms, ate meals in the kitchen, and roamed the same fields that Kajsa originally plowed. I poured my thoughts into Kajsa’s words, because I had also felt them being in the same place, although in a different century.

I wrote the whole book in six weeks because the story just flowed out of me as I put down the thoughts of living on the farm myself.

And now, twenty years later, I listened to the words I wrote back then, as I reviewed the narrator’s version of the book. Not only did I remember scenes of my childhood this time, but my life’s events twenty years ago when I wrote the book.

You might say I was “Looking Back” on my life too, and enjoyed it.

Kansas Snowstorm, Birds and Gray Cat

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

Birds during KS snowstormHello from snowy Kansas! We could get up to a foot of snow before this storm is over, but I’m staying warm and cozy in my office today. The electricity is still on and I’m typing away, while watching the snowy scene just outside my window.

I have three bird feeders right outside my office window. I took the window screens off, and have a bench right up against the window so my male cat, “Gray Cat” can sit and watch all the birds- while only being a few inches from the action.

Occasionally he’ll forget himself and lunges for a bird, but he usually just sits enthralled there for quite a while- until it’s time to take another nap.

Enjoy your day, whether your watching snow, birds or something else!

Gray Cat and birds

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