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.

The Loss of a Friend

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Planting Dreams book series

One of my grade school classmates died suddenly this week from some yet-unknown health issue. Eventually, after the autopsy is finished, family and friends will know what struck down the man liked by so many, but now all we can do is just wonder—and remember.

He was the class clown, often times the start of mischief in our boisterous large class of almost thirty students (all in one room those days).

In his adult life people knew him as a family man, auctioneer, their kid’s softball coach, and church leader who almost always had a smile on his face and a greeting on his lips.

At first, few in our community knew of his death because he did not live locally, then the news spread through phone calls, Facebook, etc.

While researching pioneers’ lives I’m come across situations like this where no one knows why a person died, or when it happened.

Unless it was an accident, or a known disease that was plaguing the community, an autopsy wasn’t performed on a deceased a century ago. The body was prepared for viewing at home, and then buried in a local cemetery. I found out it happened more than once to my ancestors while researching my Planting Dreams book series.

Can you imagine it happening to you along a wagon trail in the mid-1800s, with no time to stop and mourn, and knowing you would never visit that grave again?

Can you imagine receiving a black-edged envelope in the mail telling to you that your child or grandchild who immigrated to America, died months ago?

Sorrow for the one lost and the memories shared are the same whether a person died generations ago, or just recently.

It is just a sad fact of life…but at least today I can remember my friend’s smile…

Planting Dreams in Kansas Heat

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Planting Dreams book series

Planting Dreams book by Linda K. HubalekToday I’m thinking of those Swedish immigrant’s first summer in Kansas as our heat index is way over 100+ degrees again- like it has been for the whole month.

The women would have been wearing long-sleeved dresses, lots of yards of material, and sweat. Of course they’d be very sunburned if they weren’t covering all their skin….

Living in a handmade hole in the ground or flimsy wooden shack with a dirt floor…with mice, flies, snakes, ticks. No air conditioning. Just hope for a breeze.

Tired sweaty little kids…who hopefully are not sick…

Thirsty? How far do they need to walk to find water…which is probably scooped into a bucket directly out of a river or creek until they got a well dug.

Hungry? Where to find it, catch it, keep it safe to eat without a way to keep it below 40 degrees?

I know generations have grown up without air conditioning (as did I as a child) but it makes me real glad for modern times…and makes me admire the pioneer women that had to suffer through their first summer of Kansas heat. I think it would have been so different compared to a mild Swedish summer they would have been used to.

So you be cool today with climate controlled air, an iced drink, cold food, and hopefully doing an indoor activity.

Think about those first pioneer women and Kansas heat by reading the Planting Dreams series instead!

Planting Dreams: 
A Swedish Immigrant’s Journey to America, 1868-1869

Drought has scorched the farmland of Sweden and there is no harvest to feed families or livestock. Taxes are due and there is little money to pay them.

But there is a ship sailing for America, where the government is giving land to anyone who wants to claim a homestead.

So begins the migration out of Sweden to a new life on the Great Plains of America.

Can you imagine what life would have been like once they got to their new destination?

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Harvesting Faith

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Planting Dreams book series

Photo by Linda K. HubalekCombines are running full blast to get the wheat harvested before the next storm blows into the state. Rain is good for the row crops (milo, corn, and soybeans are grown in our area), but not when you need to get the wheat harvested.

Not only must the combines manuver through the field without being stuck in mud, big trucks must drive next to the combine in the field while the wheat seed is augured out of the combine bin into the truck’s bed.

Then what happens to this grain? The loaded truck drives to a nearby grain elevator to unload the wheat, and then back to the field for the next load. Eventually semi-trucks will move the wheat from the storage elevators to rail cars or ships to travel where it will be used. This Kansas wheat might be in your next loaf of bread or bowl of pasta, whether you live in the United States or overseas.

It takes a lot of hard and fast work—and faith—that you’ll get the wheat cut while it’s at the right ripe stage. Hail can break the straw stems so that it can’t be cut, or continuing rain can cause the wheat seed to sprout while the plants are still standing, and ruin it.

Farming is always a gamble but it seems to be intensified during wheat harvest. No forty-hour weeks now. The combine is running continually until the straw is too tough to cut—which could be anywhere from 6 pm to 1 am. During the downtime (early mornings) machinery needs to be repaired and maintained, besides whatever else needs to be done on the farm.

Uprooting their families and moving to Kansas was a gamble for the Swedish immigrants too, just like wheat harvest. The Planting Dreams series (with Harvesting Faith being the third book) is dedicated to the people that homesteaded on the Kansas prairie to make their living by farming.

After 142 years from my immigrant ancestor’s arrival, my family is still farming and harvesting wheat today.

Welcome Summer

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

Festival in Little Sweden USA- Lindsborg, KansasIt’s felt like summer for over a month with our high temperatures and Kansas winds sweeping across the Plains, but now it’s officially here. Thunderstorms are part of the season and they have already been a mainstay this month too. Luckily we’ve had rain, but no damage in our area.

Our little community of Lindsborg, Kansas (known as Little Sweden USA) celebrated the start of summer this last weekend with our 40th annual Midsummer’s Day Festival. The Smoky Valley region of Kansas was settled by Swedish immigrants in 1869 and the heritage of the original homesteaders is still honored in our area today.

Saturday’s celebration included the raising of the maypole, dancing, food, and heritage exhibit booths. We had a heck of a storm with hail, wind, and rain the night before, but Saturday was perfect weather for the festival.

I often wondered while researching and writing both the Butter in the Well and Planting Dreams series what the Swedish immigrants thought of their first full-blown thunderstorm while out in the middle of the Kansas prairie. It’s quite a sight as the clouds mushroom in the big sky and then grows black as it barrels toward you. That’s when a dugout would have been a good place to be….

Välkommen Till Kansas sommar!

Linda’s Books & Series

Hilda Hogties a Horseman

Autographed. Book 3, Brides with Grit series.
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

Planting Dreams

Autographed. Book 1, Planting Dreams Series
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

Darcie Desires a Drover

Autographed. Book 7, Brides with Grit Series.
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

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