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 posts as a guest on other blogs, usually about facets of my Chloe Ellefson adult mysteries from Midnight Ink. There’s a lot here - have fun exploring!

My Blog Posts

Below are excerpts and links to the 2019 posts on my Sites and Stories blog and my guest posts on other blogs. Enjoy!

Exploring Your Heritage - Advance Notice

  Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst leading a writing class at Vesterheim in Decora Iowa. "I’m delighted to announce that I will be teaching a writing workshop at Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, on April 24-26, 2020. Cherished family stories can be preserved in many ways. This workshop will introduce you to several types of writing, including poetry, memoir, fiction, and creative nonfiction." more>>

Posted December 10, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Giving Thanks for Volunteers

  Making Kransekake traditional Norwegian almond cake at the Sons of Norway-Mandt Lodge in Stoughton Wisconsin. "When I give programs about the Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series, I often mention overarching goals I developed long ago for the series: celebrating real historic places, highlighting folk arts, using artifacts from museum collections to help tell stories, and honoring our ancestors. Ten books in, I need to add one more goal. I hope that each Chloe book can honor the volunteers who do so much to make sure local history, family stories, or cultural heritage isn’t lost." more>>

Posted November 28, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Rømmegrøt Bars

  Plate of Norwegan Rommergrot bars made by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "I love exploring historic and ethnic food traditions. Working at Old World Wisconsin in the 1980s and ’90s provided my first opportunity to delve into traditional Norwegian foodways. Deciding to make Chloe Ellefson (protagonist of my mystery series) a Norwegian-American rekindled my interest in traditional foods. I imagined taking plates of Norwegian cookies to every library program and bookstore visit." more>>

Posted November 21, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

The Oldest House

  Photo by author Kathleen Ernst of Tveismestova home at Hardanger Folkemuseum in Utne Norway. "The Hardanger Folkemuseum‘s traditional exhibits are amazing, but there is more to see at this museum in Utne, Norway! Up the hill from the museum proper is an open-air division. Two of the buildings there were original to the grounds, but most have been moved from other locations in the Hardanger area, and restored. It’s a..." more>>

Posted October 10, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

The Hardanger Folkemuseum

  Photo of the Hardanger Folkemuseum in Utne Norway taken by Mr Ernst. "If you’re traveling in southwest Norway, and appreciate folk traditions, the Hardanger Folkemuseum is a must-see. After my first visit, I knew I had to get my protagonist Chloe Ellefson there. Most of Fiddling With Fate, the 10th Chloe mystery, takes pace in Hardanger, and the museum is prominently featured. The region is famous for its folk costumes and textiles. The museum’s collection is stunning." more>>

Posted September 19, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

A Day in the Life ~ Chloe Ellefson

  Logo of dru's book musings blog. Chloe writes "I knew we were in trouble as soon as the plane landed in Norway. At best, this was destined to be an emotionally challenging trip. When my mother died suddenly a few weeks ago...." more>>

Posted September 9, 2019 on the Dru's Book Musings blog.

Reaching a Milestone

  Besttselling author Kathleen Ernst photo by Kay Klubertanz "As Chloe Ellefson walked from 1982 into 1870s Wisconsin, a white frame church emerged from the trees, prettily framed against a cloud-studded blue sky....

I wrote those words seventeen years ago, hoping they might one day become the beginning of an adult mystery novel." more>>

Posted September 4, 2019 on the Escape With Dollycas into a Good Book blog.

A Fiddling With Fate Celebration!

  Welcome to Stoughton Wisconsin sign "The Chloe Ellefson Mystery, Fiddling With Fate, officially launches on September 8th! That’s quite a milestone. And the story includes a major milestone for main characters Chloe and Roelke, too.

Chloe was born and raised in the charming town of Stoughton, Wisconsin—where Fiddling With Fate begins and ends. Chloe’s backstory, everything that makes her unique, is rooted there. So what could be better than letting Chloe readers explore her heritage with people who are actively working to preserve Stoughton’s history and Norwegian cultural traditions?

To that end, I’ve partnered with the Sons of Norway-Mandt Lodge, with help from the Stoughton Historical Society, to plan a unique event." more>>

Posted September 3, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

The National Quilt Museum

  Logo of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah Kentucky. "“Phenomenal” is not a word I use lightly. The National Quilt Museum, in Paducah, KY, deserves the description. According to its website, the Museum “works to advance the art of today’s quilters by bringing it to new and expanding audiences worldwide.”

This is not the place to look for antique quilts. Instead, expect to see the work of extraordinary contemporary quilters. Some are inspired by traditional patterns; others develop totally original designs and techniques." more>>

Posted August 30, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Hardanger Fiddles

  Musician and Hardanger Fiddle at Norsk Folk Museum in Oslo Norway "The 10th Chloe Ellefson Mystery sends Chloe and her fiancé, Roelke McKenna, to Norway. Given the book’s title, it’s probably obvious that the plot involves Hardanger Fiddles. Historians believe that violins arrived in Norway by the 1600s, probably from Germany and Italy. The first known Hardanger fiddle (the Jaastad fiddle) dates to 1651. The Hardanger region in SW Norway became famous for its fiddle makers—and fiddlers! When Chloe arrives in Norway..." more>>

Posted August 8, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Norwegian Folk Dance

  Stoughton Norwegian Dancers 2019 photo by Mr Ernst "It's no secret that Chloe Ellefson, protagonist of my historic sites mystery series, love folk dancing. In the second book, The Heirloom Murders, she dances with her Swiss ex, Markus. The 10th book, Fiddling With Fate, reveals that she was a member of Stoughton High School's Norwegian Dancers group. (Stoughton, WI, is well known for its Norwegian heritage.)" more>>

Posted July 23, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Why Norway?

  Photo of local folk costumes at the Hardanger Museum in Utne Norway taken by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "Cultural identity, and the many ways people explore and express their own, is one of the recurring themes in the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series. When readers meet Chloe in Book 1, Old World Murder, she takes her own Norwegian heritage largely for granted. Her feelings evolve over time, and by Book 10, she is eager to learn more about her ancestors.  Mr. Ernst and I were lucky enough to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to...." more>>

Posted July 10, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

The Badger Mine and Museum

  Photo of the Badger Mine & Museum sign in Shullsburg, Wisconsin. "If you’re exploring southwest Wisconsin’s lead mining history, be sure to include a stop at Schullsburg’s Badger Mine and Museum. Mr. Ernst and I visited while I was working on Mining For Justice, the 8th Chloe Ellefson mystery, and we’re glad we did. (I recommend both Platteville’s Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums and Schullsburg’s Badger Mine and Museum.) They’re quite different. White and some African-American miners were digging lead in the Schullsburg area as early as 1818." more>>

Posted June 12, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.


  Belgian carved wooden shoes, called Sabots. "When I went to work at Old World Wisconsin many years ago, one of my first assignments was working at the 1860 German farm. The curator who’d furnished the building left a couple of pairs of reproduction wooden shoes near the back door. “Aren’t those Dutch?” visitors often asked. I explained that many rural people wore such clogs." more>>

Posted April 22, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Large Print Giveaway Winners

  Chloe Ellefson Mystery Large Print Giveaway Winners graphic. "Congratulations to Dianne Martingano, Miriam R. Nelson, and Kathleen Newberg!

Each won a signed, hardcover copy of the large print edition of the 9th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, The Lacemaker’s Secret. Winners were chosen at random from all entries here and on my Facebook Author Page."

Posted March 28, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Large Print Giveaway!

  Chloe Ellefson Mystery Large Print Giveaway graphic. "This week a large print, hardcover edition of my latest Chloe Ellefson mystery, The Lacemaker’s Secret, is being released. Would you like to win a signed copy? For yourself, a loved one, or local library? Enter to win by..." more>> 

Posted March 26, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Fiddling With Fate - Revealed!

  Partial front cover of Fiddling With Fate, Chloe Ellefson Mystery #10 "Is there anything more exciting for an author than turning in a manuscript for a new book? Yes! Anticipating publication day. The 10th Chloe Ellefson mystery..." more>>

Posted March 3, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Our Lady of Good Help

  Sepia photo of Adele Brise. "Adele Brise was born in Belgium in 1831, and immigrated to Wisconsin with her family in 1855. The Brise family settled about 16 miles northeast of the city of Green Bay in Robinsonville, now Champion, Wisconsin. Little is known of Adele’s early years, but she was remembered as a devout young woman. In October, 1859, apparitions of the Virgin Mary occurred to Adele as she..." more>>

Posted February 22, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Kathleen Ernst Interview

  Map Your Mystery Blog logo. "What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?"

"My newest is The Lacemaker's Secret: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery (Midnight Ink, 2018). It's the 9th book in the series, and my 37th published book! It took me a long time to hone my craft well enough to break in, so I find that number a bit astounding." more>>

Posted February 20, 2019 on the Map Your Mystery blog.

9 Book Lacemaker's Giveaway - Winners

  9 Lacemaker Mysteries Giveaway Winners graphic. The winners of Kathleen's 9 Book Lacemakers Giveaway are JACKI BEDWORTH, SUE GALLAGHER, KAY JOHNSON, KAREN MAYERS, HOPE MCLEOD, CINDY PATTERSON, LINDA ROEHRIG, BETH ROGERS, and MARGARET WURTH. Congratulations!

Each gets an author signed, personalized, trade paperback of The Lacemaker's Secret, the ninth and newest mystery in the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series.

Each winner should immediately contact Kathleen with their signing, personalization, and postal mailing information by clicking HERE.

Posted January 31, 2019.

9 Book Lacemaker's Giveaway - Starts Now

  9 Lacemaker Mysteries Giveaway graphic. Kathleen is giving away nine trade paperback copies of her ninth Chloe Ellefson mystery:  The Lacemaker's Secret. To enter, leave a comment on the giveaway post on her Facebook Author page or her Sites And Stories Blog before 11:59 PM (Central US time), Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Only one entry per person, please. The winners will be chosen at random and announced the next day, here and on her Facebook and blog!

Posted January 29, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Chloe Ellefson Mysteries Update

  Photo of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst in Norway taken by Mr Ernst. "The 10th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, scheduled for release in September, 2019, will be the last one released by publisher Midnight Ink—which is shutting down. While that isn’t good news, since the announcement I’ve been overwhelmed by the support from wonderful Chloe and Roelke fans. Thank you all! I do want to continue the series. My upbeat and savvy literary agent has already sent a proposal to a press which has..." more>>

Posted January 25, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Libby's Legendary Banana Bread Pudding

  Photo of Libby's famous Banana Bread Pudding by Kathleen Ernst. "Sometimes you just need some comfort food—something steaming and fragrant and utterly delicious. The 9th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, The Lacemaker’s Secret, begins at just such a moment. ". . . Libby turned and cracked the oven door. A rich wave of banana, vanilla, and cinnamon swirled into the room. “Please tell me that’s Libby’s Legendary Banana Bread Pudding.” Roelke’s favorite Sunday-morning treat at his cousin’s house." more>>

Posted January 22, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

Belgian Spice Cookies

  Wikipedia photo of Lotus brand Speculoos cookies. "The latest Chloe Ellefson Mystery, The Lacemaker’s Secret, celebrates Belgian heritage, so of course my research included foodways. I quickly came across references to Belgian Spice Cookies, also called Speculoos. These crisp spiced shortbread cookies...more>>

Posted January 8, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.

The Belgian Heritage Center

  Belgian Heritage Center in Namur Wisconsin. "When I first started considering a setting for a Chloe Ellefson mystery about Wisconsin’s Belgian immigrants, I knew it would primarily feature the Belgian Farm restored at Heritage Hill State Park. Then I discovered..." more>>

Posted January 2, 2019 on the Sites And Stories blog.