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!

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. "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 May 22, 2016.

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. "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.

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 16, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.