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 the people, places and the past featured in my books. I also write on Killer Characters blog and as a guest on others, usually about facets of my Chloe Ellefson adult mysteries from Midnight Ink. There’s a lot here - have fun exploring!

My Blog Posts

kathleen ernst, sophie the cat, writing, undisclosed location


Below are excerpts and links to the 2018 posts on my Sites and Stories blog and my guest posts on other blogs. Enjoy!

Celebrating Libraries Giveaway - Bonus Winner!

  State Historical Society of Wisconsin interior view. Having mistakenly named a winner prior to the entry deadline, Kathleen has chosen to name a second winner in her Celebrating Libraries Giveaway! Congratulations to the Stone County Library in Mountain View, AR, which was nominated by Kay Garrett. The library will receive author-signed copies of three Chloe Ellefson mystery books: Old World MurderThe Heirloom Murders, and The Light Keeper's Legacy.

Posted April 20, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.



Celebrating Libraries Giveaway - Winner!

  State Historical Society of Wisconsin interior view. Congratulations to the Pierce County Library in Sumner, WA, which was nominated by Lori Bonkoski. The library will receive three Chloe Ellefson mysteries: Heritage Of Darkness, Tradition Of Deceit, and Death On The Prairie.

NOTE: this giveaway was mistakenly ended a day early, so Kathleen has decided to select a second winner after the original Midnight, April 19th deadline. Their name, and the library they nominate, will be announced on the Killer Characters blog this Friday. more>>

Posted April 19, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.



Heritage Of Darkness Giveaway

  8 Chloe Ellefson Mysteries Heritage Of Darkness Giveaway "This year from January through August I’m holding monthly giveaways of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries. The featured book for April is the fourth in the series, Heritage of Darkness. To enter the giveaway for Heritage of Darkness, just leave a comment below before 11:59 PM (Central US time) on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Only one entry per person, please. Three winners will be chosen at random from..." more>>

Posted April 18, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Celebrating Libraries - and a Giveaway!

  State Historical Society of Wisconsin interior view. Chloe Ellefson writes: "Library week may officially be over, but I'm taking a pause from my own work to celebrate libraries--and the people who work in them. I'm curator of collections at an outdoor museum, and sometimes do consulting work at other museums and historic sites too. Most have their own library for staff use. On the other end of the scale..." more>>

Posted April 17, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.



Researching Heritage Of Darkness

  Partial front cover of the Heritage Of Darkness, the fourth Chloe Ellefson mystery book by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, published by Midnight Ink. "Mr. Ernst here. This month the focus is on a surprise that turned up when researching a specific scene in this book, the fourth in Kathleen’s award-winning Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series. Heritage Of Darkness (HOD) takes place within and around the wonderful, world-class Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum..." more>>

Posted April 11, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Heritage Of Darkness - A Retrospective

  Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst with Joanne MacVey, her first Vesterheim Rosemaling instructor. "Heritage of Darkness, the 4th Chloe Ellefson mystery, was the first to cross state lines. It’s set at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. By the time I started planning this book I’d visited this wonderful museum while writing the first Chloe mystery, Old World Murder, to study ale bowls. I’d also taken several classes through the museum’s folk art school." more>>

Posted April 4, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Ragna's Tale

  Painting of a 19th Century Danish woman repairing fishing nets. Artist unknown. Ragna (pronounced Ron-yah) writes: "I didn't expect to become one of the best net makers on Rock Island. To my surprise, I did. Everyone says so. I need only three days to make a gillnet, five feet by one hundred twenty. I charge a dollar each and no one complains. "A thing of beauty," Anders declares each time I hand him a new net..." more>>

Posted March 17, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.



Researching The Light Keeper's Legacy

  Docents at Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Rock Island, Wisconsin. Photo by Kay Klubertanz. "This article explores examples of how technical research and photographic documentation were used to help Kathleen write the award-winning third book in her Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series. The Light Keeper's Legacy (TLL) takes place in two time periods:  A modern one in September 1982 featuring Chloe and police officer Roelke McKenna; and an historical thread stretching from 1869 to 1906. more>>

Posted March 13, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



The Light Keeper's Legacy - A Retrospective

  Docent Scott "Mr. Ernst" Meeker at the Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Rock Island State Park, Door County, Wisconsin. "When publisher Midnight Ink picked up the first book in the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series, Old World Murder, I was given a two-book contract. After turning in the second book I wrote a proposal for two more, starting with a book set at Pottawatomie Lighthouse in Rock Island State Park, Wisconsin. (Rock Island is off the tip of Door County in Lake Michigan, and it takes two ferries and a mile walk to reach the lighthouse..." more>>

Posted March 6, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



The Heirloom Murders Giveaway - Winners!

  8 Chloe Books February Giveaway Winners of The Heirloom Murders mystery. The lucky winners of Kathleen's second monthly Chloe Ellefson Mysteries Giveaway are Agnes Flamen, Elaine Klingbell, and John Nondorf. Each will receive a free, author signed and personalized, trade paperback of The Heirloom Murders, the second book in this award-winning series. Stay tuned for a giveaway of the third book in late March!

Posted March 1, 2018.



 The Heirloom Murders Giveaway

  8 Chloe Books February Giveaway of The Heirloom Murders mystery. "This year from January through August I’m holding monthly giveaways of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries. February’s featured book is the second in the series, The Heirloom Murders." To enter this month’s giveaway..." more>>

Posted February 27, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Researching The Heirloom Murders

  Sasso's Bar in Eagle, Wisconsin. "Mr. Ernst here. This month the focus is on things interesting and indicative that turned up while researching The Heirloom Murders, the second book in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series. Some of the following made it into the book. Other things influenced the story. And some things below are included merely to reflect the times. Kathleen and I hope you find them interesting too." more>>

Posted February 20, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Gardening...And Murder?

  Norwegian Fossebrekke log cabin at Old World Wisconsin outdoor history museum. Dellyn Burke, Historic Gardens Coordinator at Old World Wisconsin: "Are you dreaming of spring? Here in Wisconsin, it's still distant. If you're a gardener like me, though, you've probably started planning. For me, planning gardens is more than a pleasant winter pastime. I'm responsible for all of the gardens at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum with over fifty restored buildings. The exhibits include ten working..." more>>

Posted February 17, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.



The Heirloom Murders - A Retrospective

  Kathleen & 'Mr. Ernst 'doing research' for The Heirloom Murders at The New Glarus Hotel in New Glarus, WI. "Welcome back to the behind-the-scenes look at the Chloe Ellefson mysteries! Up today: The Heirloom Murders, second in the series. I knew where I wanted to go after wrapping up the first book, Old World Murder—Green County, Wisconsin, famous for its Swiss heritage. My father’s parents were born and raised in Switzerland, so that was a natural draw. Fondue dinners in New Glarus became “research trips.”" more>>

Posted February 13, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Chloe Mystery #9 - Revealed

  Chloe Ellefson mystery #9 partial front cover image. "Last week I zipped the manuscript for the 9th Chloe Ellefson mystery off to my publisher. This week, it’s available for pre-order. I’m excited to provide a peek at Chloe and Roelke’s next adventure!" more>>

Posted February 6, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Old World Murder Giveaway - Winners!

  Chloe Ellefson Mysteries Giveaway Winners graphic by Scott Meeker. The lucky winners of Kathleen's first monthly Chloe Ellefson Mysteries Giveaway are Sharon Butera, Sandra Redford Griswold, and Maryjean Samer. Each will receive a free, author signed and personalized, trade paperback of Old World Murder, the first book in this award-winning series. Stay tuned for a giveaway of the second book in late February!

Posted February 1, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Chloe Mysteries Giveaway:  Old World Murder

  8 Chloe Ellefson Mysteries in 8 Monthly Giveaways logo for Old World Murder. For the next 8 months I’m giving away trade paperback copies of my 8 Chloe Ellefson mysteries, starting now with Old World Murder, the first book in the series. To enter this month’s giveaway, just leave a comment on the giveaway posts on my Facebook Author page or my Sites And Stories blog before 11:59 PM (Central US time), Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Only one entry per person, please. Three winners will be chosen at random and announced this Thursday. Good luck everybody!

Posted January 30, 2018.



Researching Old World Murder

  St. Peters Church at Old World Wisconsin. "Mr. Ernst here. Extensive research is an important element in crafting the ‘people, places, and the past’ that appear in every Chloe Ellefson mystery, starting with the first, Old World Murder (OWM). As the author, Kathleen does the vast majority of research. But as her spouse (and “partner in crime”)..." more>>

Posted January 27, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Cabin Fever

  Photo of a pioneer's Badger Hole, displayed in the Badger Mine and Museum, Shullsburg, Wisconsin. Mary Pascoe writes: "I heard a miner talking about "cabin fever" the other day. Now that winter's pressed down, do you have it too? If so, I must admit to some envy. It took every cent my brothers and I had to travel from Cornwall to what soon became the Wisconsin Territory in America. We settled near the spot where the very first lead was discovered in Mineral Point. Our first "home" was a little dug-out shelter with brush for a roof. This winter we got lucky, and moved into a tiny cave..." more>>

Posted January 17, 2018 on the Killer Characters blog.


Old World Murder - A Retrospective

  Author Kathleen Ernst working as an interpreter in 1983 at Old World Wisconsin. "Thanks for joining me as we take a behind-the-scenes look back at the Chloe Ellefson mysteries! First up: Book 1, Old World Murder. A little backstory: I worked at Old World Wisconsin, a large outdoor museum near Eagle, from 1982 through 1994. The first two years I worked as an interpreter..." more>>

Posted January 16, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



The Early 1980s - A Pop Quiz

  Photo of the final cast of M*A*S*H the popular, long-running TV comedy program. Mr. Ernst writes:  "Do you remember the early 1980s? The Chloe Ellefson mysteries written by Kathleen Ernst (my wife and better half) are set back then. When she first began working on the series I volunteered to do some general background research about the time period. This short, purely-for-fun quiz is based on some of what I turned up. Enjoy!" more>>

Posted January 13, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.



Eight Books In Eight Months

  Chloe Ellefson mystery book covers 1-8. "My 9th Chloe Ellefson mystery will soon zip off to my publisher, and I’m already planning the 10th! That’s a milestone, and it seems like a good time to take a look back. My husband (AKA Mr. Ernst) and I have decided to do just that this year, with some treats along the way for readers. Here’s how “Eight Books in Eight Months” will work." more>>

Posted January 10, 2018 on the Sites And Stories blog.