Posts Tagged ‘historical fiction’

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!

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!

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.

 

The Woman’s Role in the Birth of Kansas

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

Kansas State Flag

Kansas State Flag

As the state of Kansas celebrates their 152nd birthday this week, one wonders why people decided to venture out into the open prairie of the Great Plains in the first place.

The answer was free land with the 1854 opening of the Territory of Kansas and Nebraska. A surge of settlers took that opportunity to move in, stake out land claims, and build brand new towns.

What role did the woman of the family have in the decision to move, and in the building of a new life out in the middle of nowhere?

While researching for my Trail of Thread book series, I was plagued with the questions the women would be asking of themselves and their husbands about the reason for the move, and how to prepare for it.

What were these women’s feelings when they were told they were moving to an open wilderness without family or towns nearby? How could they decide what to pack and what they must leave behind? At what point did these pioneer women feel they were making progress in starting a new state?

Unfortunately, after the early homesteaders settled in the new territory, the clashes between the free-state and proslavery forces made life hard for all. While the men were out fighting for their picked cause, the women were left at home to build and defend their new homesteads.

Even though women didn’t have a vote in what was going to happen to their state, it was often the women that were holding the state together and talking care of the farms- establishing the state and its future.

So, as the 34th state looks back on its history and ahead to its future, we say thanks to the pioneer women that made Kansas a state.

Review from Melissa’s Lilac Lane Blog

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series

Linda K. Hubalek’s second book in the Trail of Thread series is just as delightful as the first. Join Margaret Ralston Kennedy as she decides to give up a good life in Ohio to join her children in Kansas. You will find her facing droughts, freezing temperatures (it says -40 at one point!), and political upheaval. I really appreciated how strong pioneer women really were. To think of living in a drafty log cabin where you woke up with frost or ice on yourself every morning!

The book addresses Bloody Kansas as our state was torn between slavery and freedom in the mid 1850s. You will recognize characters such as John Brown. By the end of the book, we are on the verge of Civil War.

Thimble of Soil by Linda K. Hubalek.

There is also tons about starting a new household, gardening and of course quilting. I especially enjoyed a newspaper article included at the end of the book documenting Margaret who lived to be 87 years old.

I was touched by how frequently people were killed by plagues and yet, life went on. These women were tough, hardy pioneers who were thrown into a situation where they had to protect their families from raids and cold alike. And yet they stood for what they believed in.

Once again in the form of letters, it is a tale of survival, and you will enjoy it. For more information or to order the book, please visit Hubalek’s website at http://lindahubalek.com.

Reviewed by Melissa Stramel,
(Pattern Designer- enjoy her Etsy Site too!)

 

Welcoming the New Year

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

Author Linda Hubalek's great grandmother Kizzie Pieratt

Linda Hubalek’s great grandmother Kizzie Pieratt

The year 2012 went by fast for me as my husband and I built our own house, plus me taking care of my aging parents. Both “jobs” were filled with work, trauma, and joy. But, these were important things that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Now I’m starting the new year by moving into my new home office and planning my dad’s 90th birthday open house on Jan. 20th.

I’m enjoying a sunny winter snow scene from my office window and getting back in gear…and still wondering what I did with… where I put… certain files… that envelope of research photos, etc.

I wasn’t able to concentrate on my writing as I would have liked to last year, but now I’m working on my next book.

I have enough research done to start writing the story of my great grandmother, Kizzie Pieratt who was a spunky pioneer, and an avid quilter.

It’s going to be fun to write her story. Please keep tuned in to see how the new book progresses.

Butter in the Well Celebrates its 20th Anniversary during Family History Month

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

Butter in the Well by Linda K. Hubalek. Published by Butterfield Books Inc.Butterfield Books Inc. is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kansas author Linda K. Hubalek’s Butter in the Well book by releasing updated versions of all her books during Family History Month.

Lindsborg, Kansas (PRWEB) October 25, 2012

Butterfield Books Inc. is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Linda Hubalek’s Butter in the Well Series by releasing updated versions of all her books during Family History Month.
Family History Month promotes searching for one’s ancestors. A good way to understand the journey and homesteading of one’s family is to read Kansas author Linda K. Hubalek’s historical fiction book series. Hubalek has a knack of pulling readers into the story to feel the emotions, times and trials of the 1800s, which helps the person researching their ancestors to realize what their family’s life was like during that time frame.

The Butter in the Well books is based on the actual Swedish immigrant family that homesteaded the farm that the author grew up on. Used in schools for pioneer history studies, they are also enjoyed by readers of all ages who have kept the Butter in the Well book series in print for twenty years.

A reader on Amazon.com wrote about Butter in the Well: “One of the best “first settler” accounts I’ve ever read! Hubalek’s story of Swedish immigrant, Kajsa, who settled in Central Kansas, was riveting. I couldn’t put it down until I had read the whole book. Stories of rattlesnakes coming through the dugout ceiling, prairie fires, the joys of newborn babies and the heartaches of losing loved ones….Reading Linda Hubalek’s book shows that starting life as a homesteader was very tough, and the story was so real that I was working the sod right with her. Be sure to read the whole four-book series, and her other two series as well.”

These books are available in stores, or online at Amazon.com, ButterfieldBooks.com or LindaHubalek.com. Watch for free ebooks on Amazon.com this fall to celebrate the updated books.

Butter in the Well by Linda K. Hubalek is available as paperback: ISBN: 978-148004345 or EBook: ISBN: 978-1886653217.

About Butterfield Books Inc.: Founded in 1994, Butterfield Books Inc. publishes and promotes books about Kansas and its pioneer history. The company is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, known as “Little Sweden USA.”

About Linda K. Hubalek: Homesick for her Midwestern family community while temporarily in California for her husband’s job, Hubalek turned to writing about what she missed, which started a new career for her. Hubalek has written ten books, including the Trail of Thread and the Planting Dreams series about pioneer women that made Kansas their home.

White Dresses and Country Roads

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

Prairie Bloomin' by Linda K. HubalekI recently went through old photos of our family homestead to find new photos to revamp my book covers. (It’s been twenty years since I wrote Butter in the Well, my first book…so I thought it was time for updates.) Because these books are about the farm where I grew up, I looked for scenes with the house in the background.

This photo of the Runeberg girls in their white dresses in front of the house caught my eye. I thought it was perfect for the book, Prairie Bloomin’, the story of a Swedish immigrants daughter. (Please note, I changed the title from Prärieblomman to Prairie Bloomin’ with this update since few people could remember how to spell the Swedish word for prairie flower.)

So now looking at the photo again, I think —clean dresses, the hems touching the ground, hitched buggy ready to go down the dirt road…and how did they keep them clean? Well, scrubbing on Monday with lye soap and a scrub board actually…

So instead of worrying about doing your laundry by hand, please enjoy a free Kindle ebook of Prairie Bloomin’ today while your washing machine is making your clothes clean and white again. The ebook will also be available again for free next Friday, Oct. 26 too in case you read this blog later.

Enjoy your weekend!