AUTHOR'S NOTE

I started my blog, Sites and Stories, to celebrate historic sites - the stories they tell, the stories they inspire. My posts often provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of places and themes featured in my books. I also write occasionally as a guest on other blogs, usually about facets of my Chloe Ellefson adult mystery books published by Midnight Ink. There’s a lot here - have fun exploring!

My Blog Posts

kathleen ernst, sophie the cat, writing, undisclosed location


Below are descriptions and links to the 2016 posts on my Sites and Stories blog and guest posts on other blogs. Enjoy!

Springerle

Plate of heart-shaped German Springerle cookies, baked by Andrea Erickson. "I love including food traditions in the Chloe Ellefson mysteries. A Memory of Muskets features German heritage. Rosina, the main character in the historical plotline, brings her Bavarian mother’s springerle mold as a treasured memento when she immigrates to America. People have been making beautiful springerle for centuries. Some food historians believe these cookies originated in pagan times among Germanic tribes." more>>

Posted November 29, 2016 on the Sites And Stories blog.


Across the Atlantic, 1861

Sepia image formal portrait of young couple circa 1860s, with Bishop & Son, Watertown, Wisconsin photographer backmark. From the collection of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "I never expected to immigrate to America. I was an orphan, living with my father's cousin Maria. I believe she did hate me, but she wanted me to take care of her. It was an unpleasant balance. Dreams felt as fragile as soap bubbles. But then came the unexpected opportunity. Now here I am, crossing the Atlantic." more>>

Posted November 17, 2016 on the Killer Characters blog.


 The Schultz Farm - Part 2

Photo of the German Schultz Farm half timbered stable at Old World Wisconsin. Photo by Loyd Heath. "The German Schulz Farm at Old World Wisconsin is featured in my latest Chloe Ellefson Mystery, A Memory of Muskets. Last time, I shared photos of the house. But if you’ve read the book, you know that some of the action takes place in the yard." more>>

Posted November 11, 2016 on the Sites And Stories blog.


The Schultz Farm - Part 1

Photo of an interpreter cooking over an open fire pit in the black kitchen of the German 1860s Schultz farmhouse at Old World Wisconsin. Photo by Loyd Heath. "Curator Chloe Ellefson, protagonist of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries, is employed at Old World Wisconsin, an open-air museum near Eagle, WI. Although most of the books are set at other sites and museums, Old World’s 67 historic structures give me lots to play with when I do set a mystery there. In the new book, A Memory of Muskets, I featured one of my favorite places at the museum..." more>>

Posted November 1, 2016 on the Sites And Stories blog.


A Complicated Hobby

Storeybook Reviews blog logo. "Have you ever attended a Civil War reenactment? Perhaps a few men dressed in uniform came to your local historical society to demonstrate drill. Or maybe you got to see a huge battle reenactment, with ten or twelve thousand soldiers on the field. I was active in the hobby for about a decade. I thought nothing of jumping in the car after work on Friday with a few others, driving through the night, and participating at a distant event." more>>

Posted October 18, 2016 on the Storeybook Reviews blog.


Two Mysteries, Two Timelines

Midnight Ink Books logo. "The Chloe Ellefson mysteries are set in the early 1980s. But in the latest book, A Memory of Muskets, one of the main characters died decades earlier. Chloe works as a curator at a large historic site. Her romantic interest is local cop Roelke McKenna. Chloe is a reluctant sleuth who gets pulled into murder investigations when past events impact modern crimes. Most of the Chloe mysteries have contained a historical plotline braided with..." more>>

Posted October 14, 2016 on the Under Cover of Midnight blog.


Bad Bosses

Brook Blogs logo. "Chloe Ellefson, protagonist of my mystery series, has a bad boss. Chloe is the curator of collections at a large living history museum. She answers to Ralph Petty, director of the historic site. The site—Old World Wisconsin—is a real place where I used to work as a curator. Ralph Petty, however, is a fictional character. He is self-aggrandizing, dictatorial, a misogynist, and…well, petty. He’s the embodiment of every bad boss..." more>>

Posted October 13, 2016 on Brooke Blogs. 



Keeping It Real

Logo of the Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book blog. "I used to work as a curator at a large living history site called Old World Wisconsin. Over fifty historic structures from all over the state have been restored on a sprawling 576-acre site. Many are rare examples of ethnic architecture constructed by some of the early immigrants who settled the state. After a twelve-year stint at Old World Wisconsin I moved on, but soon discovered that I missed the site. To me, the obvious answer was..." more>>

Posted October 12, 2016 on the Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book blog.


A Day in the Life of Chloe Ellefson

Image of a city street made of book buildings from Dru's Book Musings blog. "All I wanted to do was host a good special event at Old World Wisconsin, the big historic site where I work as a curator. A Civil War reenactment, to be exact. Nothing hokey, just some top-notch reenactors spending the weekend helping visitors understand how the war impacted people in Wisconsin—especially newly-arrived German immigrants." more>>

Posted October 10, 2016 on Dru's Book Musings blog.


Family Stories

Partial image of the front book cover of A Memory of Muskets, the seventh Chloe Ellefson mystery book by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, published by Midnight Ink Books. "Are you interested in genealogy? If so, you’re not alone. Experts list only gardening ahead of genealogy in terms of popular hobbies in the United States. It’s also the second busiest category of website. I developed a fascination with family history decades ago. I’m also interested in the broader study of immigrant history, particularly that of people who traveled to Wisconsin and the upper Midwest in the 19th century. That interest led me to..." more>>

Posted October 6, 2016 on A Holland Reads blog.


My Boss Is Driving Me Crazy...

The Norwegian Kvaale Farm House at Old World Wisconsin, near the Village of Eagle, in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, USA. Phot by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "I'm not a complete idiot. But my boss seems to think I am. Has that ever happened to you? Frankly, it's maddening. I work as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, a large historic site where over fifty historic structures have been restored and brought back to life by interpreters in period clothing. It's a wonderful place." more>>

Posted September 17, 2016 on Killer Characters.


Why A Memory Of Muskets?

Carte de Visite (CDV) of a young couple. Image taken by Bishop & Son, Watertown, Wisconsin circa 1860s, now in the collection of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "Readers often ask why I chose a particular historic site and theme to feature in a new Chloe Ellefson mystery. It has become tradition to share what I found special in each new book. Here are some of..." more>>

Posted September 11, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Chloe Ellefson: Curator, Profiler

Rarely seen artifacts from the historical collection of Old World Wisconsin. "Chloe Ellefson here, curator of collections at Old World Wisconsin, a large living history site. I'm responsible for the management and care of thousands of artifacts, from thimbles to threshing machines. Some are on display in one of the restored buildings..." more>>

Posted August 17, 2016 on the Killer Characters blog.


Chloe's Book Club: The Long Winter

Partial front book cover image of The Long Winter, written by bestselling author Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams, published by Harper & Row. "The Long Winter has always been one of my favorite books in the Little House series. A number of readers have mentioned that they loved it too. Weather dominates the book from the first chapter, when—on a hot day—Pa predicts a hard winter, based on..." more>>

Posted August 9, 2016 on the Sites and Stories blog.


 Chloe's Book Club: Silver Lake

Partial front book cover image of By The Shores Of Silver Lake, written by bestselling author Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams, published by Harper & Row. "A reader last time mentioned that she felt On The Banks Of Plum Creek was the last “childhood” book. To build on that idea, I think of By The Shores Of Silver Lake as a transitional, coming-of-age book." more>>

Posted July 22, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Return to Childhood

Stack of books written by bestselling children's author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "Did you have a favorite book as a child? I had a handful: The Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My older sister Kari loved them too. We dreamed of one day visiting each of the historic sites devoted to the famous author." more>>

Posted July 17, 2016 on the Killer Characters blog.


Chloe's Book Club: Plum Creek

Partial front book cover image by artist Garth Williams for On The Banks Of Plum Creek written by bestselling author Laura Ingalls Wilder, published by Harper & Row. "Plum Creek is one of my favorites. As a child, I loved the notion of living in a sod house, loved vicariously playing in the creek, loved the image of Laura frolicking on the roof among prairie flowers while Ma irons below." more>>

Posted June 22, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Return to the Lighthouse

The Karfi passenger ferry arriving at Wisconsin's Rock Island State Park. Photo by Scott Meeker.

"Someone once said you can't go home again. I know I've sometimes broken my own heart by visiting a special place...only to discover that it isn't so special anymore. Happily, there are exceptions to the rule." more>>

Posted June 17, 2016 on the Killer Characters blog.



Chloe's Book Club: Little House

Partial image of the front book cover of Little House On The Prairie written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, artwork by Garth Williams, published by Harper & Row. "Little House On The Prairie in some ways epitomizes the view of pioneer life many readers of my generation grew up with. What could be more iconic than a family packing their belongings in a covered wagon and heading west?" more>>

Posted May 19, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Happy Spring by Chloe Ellefson

Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst of the Pedersen Farm cabin at Old World Wisconsin outdoor ethnic history museum, located near the Village of Eagle, Wisconsin. "At least I hope you're having a happy spring. When you work at a huge historic site, as I do, spring can be a killer. I've been curator of collections at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum, for about a year now." more>>

Posted May 17, 2016 on the Killer Characters blog.


Chloe’s Book Club: Farmer Boy

Partial image of the front book cover of Farmer Boy written by bestselling author Laura Ingalls Wilder, with illustrations by Garth Williams, 1953 edition, published by Harper & Row. "I’ll start with a confession: as a child, I didn’t particularly like Farmer Boy. Perhaps it was because I’d already bonded with Laura. Perhaps the description of classroom bullies was a bit too scary. Perhaps Father’s brand of child-rearing was intimidating. In any case..." more>>

Posted April 10, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Chloe’s Book Club: Little House in the Big Woods

Partial front cover image of Little House in the Big Woods children's book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published by Harper & Brothers, 1932.  "This is the book that hooked me, as a child, on Laura Ingalls Wilder. I wanted to be a pioneer girl like Laura. I wanted to experience sugar snow, and a country dance, and the sense of security that came from being inside a snug cabin on a Wisconsin winter night." more>>

Posted March 16, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Chloe's Book Club

Photograph of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, writer of the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series, standing at the reproduction Ingalls cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin, holding a copy of The Little House in the Big Woods book written by children's author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Photo taken by Barbara Ernst. "Have you read the Little House books lately? Readers have told me that after reading Death on the Prairie:  A Chloe Ellefson Mysterythey were inspired to revisit the classic series that inspired my mystery. That delights me. And what could be more fun for Laura fans than having a chance to chat about the books? Next week, I’m starting a new feature here on the Sites and Stories blog—Chloe’s Book Club." more>>

Posted March 10, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Cooking With Chloe: Ma's Vanity Cakes

Image of the front cover of the Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories, written by Barbara M. Walker (Harper & Row, 1979) with illustrations by Garth Williams. "Laura Ingalls Wilder fans likely remember the description of Vanity Cakes in By The Banks Of Plum Creek: (Ma) made them with beaten eggs and white flour. She dropped them into a kettle of sizzling fat. Each one came up bobbing, and floated till it..." more>>

Posted March 9, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


My Residency with Write On, Door County

Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst taken February 2016 of a green painted postal mailbox with the words Write On Door County on its side. "When I mentioned an upcoming residency on Facebook, several people asked, “What’s a writer’s residency?” A residency involves collaboration between a writer and the community. Every experience is unique, but in this case I had the great good fortune..." more>>

Posted March 6, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Gratitude Giveaway Winners!

Photo of a pair of human hands open palms up with the words Giveaway Winners above them. "Congratulations to Sue Basler, Ellen Bogner, Claudia Daniel, Patricia Jones, Michelle Bie Love, Jane Nelson, and Bonnie Schaefer! Each won the Chloe Ellefson mystery of their choice." more>>

Posted March 3, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Gratitude Giveaway!

Photo of a pair of human hands open palms up with the words Gratitude Giveaway above them. "The 7th Chloe Ellefson mystery, A Memory of Muskets, is in the publishing pipeline and available for preorder. I think it’s time for a Gratitude Giveaway! Seven winners will each receive..." more>>

Posted March 2, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


A Memory of Muskets - Sneak Peek

Partial image of front cover of A Memory of Muskets, the seventh book in the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series, written by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, published by Midnight Ink Books. "After working for a year or more to write a manuscript, it’s always exciting to see the cover! Here’s the design for the 7th Chloe Ellefson mystery. And, here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside..." more>>

Posted February 17, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Laura Land Tour: Bonus!

Modern photo by author Kathleen Ernst of the farm near Malone, New York, where Almanzo Wilder, husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder, grew up. "It’s been great fun to showcase the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites featured in Death on the Prairie: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery. There are also a few sites I wasn’t able to include (much as I wanted to)." more>>

Posted February 14, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Laura Land Tour: Mansfield, MO 

Photo by author Kathleen Ernst of the Rock House built by Rose Wilder Lane for her parents Almonzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder near Mansfield, Missouri, for them to retire in. "I will admit that when my sister and I began planning visits to all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites, I was most excited to see the places I’d read about in Laura’s Little House books. That did not include Mansfield. After visiting? All I can say is that it is a very..." more>>

Posted February 12, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Laura Land Tour: Independence, KS

Color photo taken by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst of the reproduction log cabin on the property where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived as a child, near Independence, Kansas. "The Kansas prairie is the setting for Little House On The Prairie, the second book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House series. Today, fans can visit the site where the Ingalls family briefly made their home. Laura was only two when..." more>>

Posted February 5, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


Laura Land Tour: De Smet, SD - Part 2

Photo of Ingalls Homestead roadside sign near De Smet, South Dakota, taken by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "As I mentioned in my last post about De Smet, avid Laura Ingalls Wilder fans can easily spend more than a single day in the area. I suggest picking up a copy of the booklet “Explore De Smet,” a walking and driving guide to many of the sites mentioned in..." more>>

Posted January 28, 2016 on Sites and Stories.


The Year Ahead

Crayon drawing of colorful flowers by Evelyn "Happy 2016! I’m a bit behind because I’ve been working hard to meet a couple of deadlines. But I want to share some news about the coming year." more>>

Posted January 19, 2016 on Sites and Stories.