Posts Tagged ‘historical fiction’

A Cup of Tea with a Trail of Thread

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

Pioneer woman's story by Linda K. Hubalek.Talk, gossip, laughter or tears—with a cup of tea or coffee—has been a comfort and need for women in any century.

These days it is easy for us to brew a quick cup of a hot drink, and hardly stop the flow of conversation. Even if it is just a cup of hot water heated up in the microware with a tea bag thrown in…it takes less than two minutes.

Back in the pioneer days—depending on if you were traveling or on the homestead—you’d have to gather the wood, start the fire, go outside to a well or creek to draw up a bucket of water, put an enamel pot over the fire to heat up the water, roast and grind the coffee beans, etc (sigh) before even thinking of savoring that hot cup of brew.

Thimble of Soil, Book 2 in the Trail of Thread book series.The time consuming work of getting meals—or even an afternoon cup of coffee on the trail—was very evident when I was researching and writing my Trail of Thread series.

For example, Deborah and John Pieratt, featured in the Trail of Thread, the first book of the Trail of Thread series left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed east for the promise of a new life. They had to gather wood for a fire for every cup of hot drink they made for three months. I’m sure conversations with other women they met along the trail were welcomed, but short, due to the groups moving on every day.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. She was dedicated to the cause of the North, and helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas. Did she brew and secretly give hot drinks to people hiding under her watch? Did Margaret have a chance to ask where her visitors were from let alone where they were headed?

Stitch of Courage, Book 3 in the Trail of Thread book series by Linda K. Hubalek.Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas looking for a better life as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. Again, think of the work it took to make a cup of coffee behind the battle lines, and how welcomed a normal conversation with someone from home would have been.

This series, written in the form of letters the women have written back home to loved ones portray the life and times of that generation. I wish I could have a cup of tea with one of my ancestors to get to know her, and her way of life.

I imagine there would be talk, gossip, laughter, and tears—with that cup of tea…

 

Books, Books the Magical Fruit Interview about Linda Hubalek

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

I enjoy book bloggers  interview questions, because they really come up with some good ones. Here’s some of my answers from a recent blog site called “Books, Books the Magical Fruit.” The blogger read and reviewed the book Trail of Thread too.

(Want to review or blog about my books for your blog? Please send me an email!)
Pioneer Writer, Linda K. Hubalek

Describe your book in five words or less.

Endearing Kansas pioneer women stories.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I started writing books in 1992 when my husband was transferred to California for a two-year engineering project. I was homesick for the Midwest and started writing about the Swedish immigrant woman that homesteaded our family farm.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What’s the easiest?

Hardest part? Getting started and staying focused. Easiest? I love the research and reading about that time period that my books are set in.

What’s next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

Currently I’m working on my fourth book series, the Kansas Quilter, featuring my great grandmother Kizzie (Hamman) Pieratt. Born in 1874, Kizzie grew up in a large family in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She married Ira Pieratt in 1894 and had eight children over a twenty-year span.

The Pieratt family was featured in my Trail of Thread series, so the Kansas Quilter series will continue their original story into the next generation of characters.

Kizzie was known for her quilting. I’m sure at first it was a necessity to keep her brood warm, but she also completed quilts for other people for an income. As I research and write this series I’m taking a closer look at the family quilts that my great grandmother made during her ninety-seven years.

I’ll piece together Kizzie’s stories and photos and post them in my blog and in the finished books. Look for the first book, tentatively titled Tying the Knot in the late fall of 2011.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

All my series have been based on real people, places and the events that went on during their lifetime. It’s a good way to get the research and story started, and it has become my chosen genre.

What’s it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book’s release date?

That’s what keeps me pumped up, knowing that someone out there appreciates the research and time put into writing my books. And it means I’ve touched their hearts with my words, and maybe lead them to understand the lives of their own ancestors too.

What is one question that you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

What does your family think of you writing books? Of course my family is proud that I’m a published author, but also proud of the ancestors and farms featured in my series. My parents still live on the original farm portrayed in my first series, Butter in the Well. Because I put township maps in the books (and the roads are still the same) they know when a reader has found their farm. A car slowly drives by to look at the old house and barn featured in the series.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Go through my website, www.LindaHubalek.com to find all the links for ebooks and print books.

Review for Trail of Thread: I have to say this was a wonderful book – Little House for grown-ups. The letters tell the story of leaving for the unknown prairie and what goes on. I found each letter more enticing than the last to see where the journey would take them. I like that there are quilts that help tell the story also. The patterns are part of what goes on and the materials used are always relevant to the purpose of the quilt.

I would definitely like to learn more about what goes on once they arrive. I see this as being a wonderful series of books. Write on!- Reviewer Sue Fitzpatrick

Rose of Sharon Quilt

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

www.prairiewildflowers.com

Prairie Wild Rose

One of my passions is flowers, especially the prairie flowers that grow on their own in pastures, just blooming for themselves. My college degree was in horticulture and I spent many years in the flower and plant research industry before “returning to the prairie” myself with my living and writing.

Wild flowers have grown across the Kansas prairie and the Great Plains of North America since the start of time. Dots of color from the prairie plants wave with the green sea of grass during spring and summer. Their seed pods turn color in the fall and disperse their seeds to start another cycle of colorful and useful flowers.

Pioneer women used the prairie flowers as an inspiration for their quilt patterns, and I’ve mentioned them in my historical fiction writing.

Here’s a quote from my Trail of Thread book:

“Ann has quilts tops and quilts of her own along. It’s customary to make a baker’s dozen of quilt tops for a young woman’s dower chest. When the wedding is about to take place, the neighborhood women get together and help finish them. Ann has gone ahead and quilted three of them since she’s nearing the spinster age, but she saved her appliqued Rose of Sharon top for her wedding bed, just in case she’s proposed to yet.”

Think of the ideas and color schemes the pioneer women would have seen as they walked along the trails. And, they would have varied from state to state and the time of year. I think it would help the walk to concentrate on the beauty of nature and how it could be used in a future quilt.

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!

When Family History Inspires You to Write Fiction

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

In 1990 my husband had a two-year engineering project that required us to move to the San Francisco area. I sold my wholesale horticulture business because it wasn’t something I could maintain from out of state.

Searching for what I wanted to do while in California, I decided to look into my ancestors past as a project to work on. I researched and found my family’s history, not only the important dates of their lives, but also their stories.

What I realized is that all my ancestors traveled from other places to settle in Kansas when the territory opened up in 1854, or shortly after the Civil War when land was available to homestead. They were from European countries, leaving family, community and the life they knew behind to start a new and hopefully better life In America.

The history that my family just happened into, because of the state and nation’s situation, inspired me to write the Trail of Thread series. To give them a personal feel, I wrote the stories in the form of letters sent back home to loved ones.

For example my ancestors Deborah and John Pieratt (with six children along), featured in the first book of the Trail of Thread series left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. My mother, uncle and I actually drove their trip—by car in a few days—to see what they would have seen in person.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features a great aunt Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. I found out by research that she helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas!

Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, my ancestor portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. She found love with Deborah Pieratt’s son and gave birth to the great grandfather I knew.

Not only did this information give me a look into my ancestors’ life and times, it inspired me to write books to give readers a “slice of life” of my ancestors, and all people that lived through this time period.

I hope you’ll read the Trail of Thread series to get an insight into your family’s history too.

Planning a Move in 1854

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

Pretend your husband—or father—decided to leave the home you’ve always known and you’ll be traveling through several states to a new territory he heard about. It’s the nineteenth century and you may not even a paper map to guide your family to this new free land—but he is determined to start a new farm in some wild land behold civilization.

My ancestors, John and Deborah Pieratt—with six young children along—left Kentucky in 1854 to move to the new Territory of Kansas. Their journey was the basis of my book Trail of Thread, which was written in the form of letters that Deborah wrote and mailed back to family in Kentucky. Deborah describes what she saw, and what their family experienced on their three-month journey.

The family had to carefully plan first so they would be prepared for the journey, and for the wilderness land they would eventually homestead on.

Pretend you want to prepare for this journey as a class or family project.

What—and how—do you pack in the four by ten foot wagon for a family of eight? (And what do you need for your trip to begin with?!) How much weight can the wagon hold and the oxen (or horses or mules) pull?

How long will the trip take? What will be your route? What roads (or rough trails) will you use and what towns will you be traveling through?

How will you cross rivers with your wagon? Is there any rough terrain along the way that may make the trip hard and dangerous?

How much food should you pack? How do you keep it from spoiling?

When you’re done researching the trip preparation and route, look for stories from old newspaper clippings of what was going on in the Territory of Kansas during 1854-1865. The Pieratts settled in an area and time frame known as the Bleeding Kansas conflicts due to the tension mounting about the slavery issue that exploded into the Civil War. (You can read more about these conflicts and how it affected the family by reading the rest of the Trail of Thread series, Thimble of Soil and Stitch of Courage.)

I brought the Pieratt’s story to life in the pages of Trail of Thread. Now can you plan your own trip in 1854?

The Meaning of Quilts

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

Thimble of Soil, Book 2 in the Trail of Thread book series.By definition, a quilt is a coverlet or blanket made of two layers of fabric with a layer of cotton, wool, feathers, or down in between, all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design. The top layer may be a single piece of fabric, or it may be a made from a variety of scraps of material that were pieced together to form blocks, that are then sewn together to make the top layer.

When one thinks of pieced quilts, pioneer women automatically come to mind. This group of women often had to move, start new households, and work with what they had on hand. Their quilts would have been used daily, made and patched to last through the rigors of pioneer life.

Pioneer woman's story by Linda K. Hubalek.For example Deborah and John Pieratt, featured in the first book of my Trail of Thread series, left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. Quilts would have been used for bedding—in the wagon or on the ground, as a hanging shelter, or as a partition for privacy. They were also used for burial of loved ones along the trail.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. She was dedicated to the cause of the North, and helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas. It is possible that some of the quilts she made had special blocks giving direction to runaway slaves.

Stitch of Courage, Book 3 in the Trail of Thread book series by Linda K. Hubalek.Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas looking for a better life as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. Women made and gave quilts for the soldiers to use during their journeys and battles.

What was the meaning for all these quilts? They were all just fabric to provide warmth and protection, but they also connected the hearts and souls of the past, present, and future.

The young woman on the trail packed quilts to use, but also to bring memories of her family left behind to her new frontier home.

The older woman—who stitched directions in her quilt that hung outside to air— gave freedom to people trying to escape a bad life.

The soldier wrapped in a dirty quilt, trying to keep warm and get a bit of sleep, was given the security of knowing that someone from home was thinking of him and waiting for his return.

Think of the countless hours of work and devotion it took to create these pioneer quilts. These finished masterpieces of the fingers gave a sense of accomplishment to the makers, and comfort and connection to the users.

Do you have a special quilt passed down through your family? What does it mean to you?

Author Interview by Caroline Clemmons

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

(Caroline Clemmons interviewed me for her book review blogspot. She posted an excerpt from my book, Trail of Thread too. Please enjoy both.)

Caroline: Readers love to get to know authors. Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

Linda: I grew up on a wheat farm in central Kansas. This farm was featured in my Butter in the Well series, and my parents still live there. I was a shy tomboy who preferred being outdoors, and working with animals, farming or gardening—rather than being inside doing housework and cooking. (And my husband would say I’m still that way.)

I have two older brothers and a younger sister and we were all involved in 4-H, church and community projects growing up. One brother now farms the family land and the other two live out of state. My husband and I have lived in three other states due to job careers, but then moved back to Kansas in the 1990s to be close to family.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Linda: When I read books, it’s right before bedtime so I want something fun, romantic, and not something that will give me nightmares. Right now I’m into contemporary western romances.

Caroline: How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

Linda: Depending on the time of year, I read from two to eight books a month. I seem to have a “Linda” theme at the moment…as I’ve been reading Linda Lael Miller’s and Linda Warren’s books.

Caroline: Can’t go wrong there. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Linda: Reading in a quiet room with a nice stash of chocolates…or out walking….off those chocolates…

Caroline: Can I stay behind with the book and chocolates? 😀 Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

Linda: Chocolates and chocolate ice cream is my guilty pleasure…for any reason!

Caroline: Me, too. How long have you been writing?

Linda: I started writing books in 1992 when my husband was transferred to California for a two-year engineering project. I was homesick for the Midwest and started writing about the Swedish immigrant woman that homesteaded our family farm.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Linda: I write in my office with my big computer monitor and curved keyboard attached to my laptop. It’s got to be absolute quiet for me to concentrate so nobody can be in the room with me.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Linda: Do I plan ahead or charge my way through life or writing? Depends on the day and the situation!

Caroline: I always ask here if you use real events or persons in your stories, but I know that you do.

Linda: All my series have been based on real people, places and the events that went on during their lifetime. It’s a good way to get the research and story started.

Caroline: I was impressed with evidence of your research for TRAIL OF THREAD. Do you research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Linda: I start out with lists of ideas first, then research, then outline, then start expanding the chapters—combining everything I’ve absorbed in the process.

Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Linda: My day depends on life…and aging parents’ doctor’s appointments right now. I don’t set goals like I used to as something unforeseen can change and then just makes life stressful. I write something every day and sometimes at night in my dreams too.

Caroline: Yes, family comes first. Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?

Linda: I’m just getting back to full-time writing. We started raising bison in the 1990s and we ended up opening a Visitor Center on our farm because we had so many people coming in for tours. But both us— and the buffalo herd—were getting tired of tourists and being open seven days a week, so we closed it last year to get our lives back to a more normal pace.

Caroline: I love that you use your ancestors as souces. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Linda: I hope my writing gives readers a sense of their ancestors’ lives, and to maybe search out their own ancestors’ stories.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Linda: Now you can publish your work by yourself on the internet if you don’t want to look for a publisher, but please be sure to protect your book as best you can with an ISBN, copyright date, etc. You can learn how to do all of this through the internet.

Caroline: Tell us about TRAIL OF THREAD.

Back cover blurb: Taste the dust of the road and feel the wind in your face as you travel with a Kentucky family by wagon trail to the new territory of Kansas in 1854. Find out what it was like for thousands of families who made the cross-country journey into the unknown.

In this first book of the TRAIL OF THREAD series, in the form of letters, Deborah Pieratt describes the scenery, the everyday events on the trail, and the task of taking care of her family. Stories of humor and despair, along with her ongoing remarks about camping, cooking and quilting make you feel as if you pulled up stakes and are traveling with the Pieratts too.

Excerpt from Trail of Thread: January 24, 1854 . . .

I don’t usually pay attention when the men talk about politics, but I automatically listened while I laid the dishes of food in front of them. They were discussing the new government bill that proposes to open up prairie Indian land, west of Missouri, to white settlement. A bill called the Territory of Platte failed last spring due to Southern opposition. Now an amended bill, breaking up the land into two sections, the Territory of Nebraska and the Territory of Kansas, is being discussed. Problems of slavery being legal in the new territories are being hotly debated between the Northern and Southern states. It sounds like the government has determined that the people who settle the territories can decide whether they want to allow slavery in their new states.

The traveler carefully pulled a folded newspaper clipping out of his front jacket and handed it to John. Holding it up to the candlelight, John read out loud that when the bill passes in the spring, as they predict it will, a man can claim whatever land he wants in these new territories for about a dollar an acre.

Kentucky was a wilderness in the early 1800’s, when John’s grandfather, Valentine Pieratt, moved his family from Maryland. He sailed across the sea in 1780 from France to fight in the Revolutionary War, decided to stay in the New World, and moved westward to a new wilderness whenever the area he lived in became populated.

Because land is getting scarce here for new generations, the idea of plenty of cheap land immediately stirred our men’s interest. I believe the adventure of their grandfather haunts their thinking, too.

When John finished reading that article and looked up into my eyes, I knew his mind was set to move as soon as possible. He wanted to blaze his own trail to the new territory and be ready to stake his claim when the land opened up. We are partners in life, but I knew I had no say in this move.

Today is my thirty-third birthday. Where will I be on the next? Will my children survive the trip and be around me to help celebrate it?”

Caroline: I love that–“partners but no say in this.” Where can readers find your books?

Linda: Go through my website to find all the links for book ebooks and print books.
Amazon.

Books are also available wholesale for stores, libraries and schools through http://www.butterfieldbooks.com/.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Website: http://www.lindahubalek.com/

Blog: www.LindaHubalek.com/feed/rss

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/lindahubalekbooks

Thanks so much for joining us today, Linda. Continued success with your books!

Guest Blog on the Quilting Gallery

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


Linda Hubalek

Hello from the Kansas prairie!

I’m pioneer writer Linda Hubalek, roaming the Internet—via my laptop—on a WOW! Book Blog Tour. Because my Trail of Thread book series weaves stories and quilts together, the Quilting Gallery is a perfect stop to tell you a little bit about the series.

I’ve written ten books about pioneers; about women that forged trails and built homesteads during the 1860s to the 1910s. These main characters were my ancestors who decided to make the Kansas frontier their home. A woven mixture of facts and fiction, you’ll be drawn into their pioneer stories.

Quilts and quilting seemed like a perfect theme for the stories of my mother’s side of the family after my mother told me the story behind one special quilt she’s had since she was a teenager.

In 1938 my mother’s great aunt Martha Pieratt gave her a quilt. At that time the quilt was over 100 years old and had been handed down through her mother’s Kennedy family. Doing some research on it while planning my Trail of Thread book series, it turns out to be the Cleveland Tulip pattern and it traveled with Martha’s mother Maggie Kennedy when she moved from Ohio to Kansas in 1858.

Cleveland Tulip

So I wove a quilting theme into the titles and the Trail of Thread book series by featuring twelve quilt patterns in each book.

My Trail of Thread book was about my ancestor Deborah Pieratt’s wagon trail journey to the Territory of Kansas in 1854. The second book, Thimble of Soil featured Margaret Ralston Kennedy’s decision to move her family from their safe Ohio home to the unsettling territory in 1855. And the final book in the series, Stitch of Courage, followed Maggie Kennedy Pieratt during her young years as she marries James Monroe Pieratt during the Civil War.

Next Quilting Series by Linda Hubalek

As I work on my fourth series, The Kansas Quilter, I’m taking a closer look at the family quilts that my great grandmother Kizzie Hamman Pieratt made during her ninety-seven years.

I think of the time it took to make each quilt, the preparation, the cutting of the material, the hours sewing the blocks and then quilting all the layers together. And who helped her put them together? What conversations passed across the quilt frame? What was going on in the community, state and world during the construction of that particular quilt?

These are just a few of the questions I’m trying to “stitch” together as I research and write about this pioneer woman that spent so much time making quilts. Please join me in this new “quilting” project by reading my blog and “liking” and following me on Facebook as I post tidbits and photos about Kizzie Pieratt. I think she’s a Kansas pioneer quilter you’d like to meet.

Movie featuring our Buffalo

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

It finally happened, and we were there! We went to Kansas City last Saturday to see the debut of Au Pair, Kansas at the AMC Kansas City FilmFest. This movie was filmed at our farm and around Lindsborg two years ago.

It was thrilling to see the movie name flashing in bright lights to all that drove or walked past the theater. (Plus, it’s not often that the word “Kansas” is in the title of a movie.)

The lights dimmed, the movie started, and there on the big screen was our buffalo…standing like huge giants oblivious to the packed theater of uplifted faces looking at them. The sold out audience (with many people from Lindsborg in it) cheered and clapped as individuals from our hometown showed up as extras in the scenes with the main actors.

Of course I tried taking a few snapshots, while watching the scenes so I didn’t miss anything. It brought tears to my eyes too since we don’t have some of those old buffalo anymore.

The view from Coronado Heights, downtown Lindsborg decorated for the Christmas season, the Swedish dancers doing familiar steps in the Swedish Pavilion in the Old Mill Museum complex—just to see them as an outsider—made me appreciate what we enjoy and see every day. I’m glad the people who put together this film saw the same qualities that make our Smoky Valley region in Kansas so special.

I’d like to say “Good Job!” to the movie screenwriter/director, JT O’Neal and everyone that had a part, large or small, in the movie. It won the award for best Heartland Narrative feature at the festival too.

It was good to see home, and my buffalo, on the big screen!