Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Happy Spring



by Chloe Ellefson
from the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series by Kathleen Ernst

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. Old World is a living history museum, where interpreters go about the daily activities Wisconsin's early immigrants pursued.

The Pedersen Farm (Danish)
 The museum includes ten working farms and a crossroads village, all nestled on 576 acres within a state forest. It's a beautiful place, and the stories we tell there have relevance for everyone with an immigrant on their family tree. For the most part, I love my job.

All of the historic structures were moved to the site, and restored to periods from 1845 - 1915. As curator of collections, I'm responsible for thousands of artifacts---some that furnish the buildings, and some in storage.

Old World Wisconsin is closed during the winter, so getting all of the buildings open and ready for visitors is a huge job. I help train the interpreters and plan educational programs, too. And I do it all while trying to minimize contact with my boss, site director Ralph Petty. Let's just say we don't get along.

The Surveyors' House, De Smet, SD
I do get away from my own site from time to time. Most recently my sister Kari and I took a road trip to visit every homesite dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I was speaking at a symposium about the famous author, and trying to authenticate a quilt believed to have been owned by Laura herself. A murderer was traveling the same route, and Kari had big problems I didn't know about, so the trip was a bit more stressful than I'd hoped. But things turned out OK in the end.

I grew up in the oh-so-Norwegian town of Stoughton, WI. Both of my parents are of pure Norwegian-American stock, and Mom in particular makes a huge deal of it. So I would be remiss if I didn't point out that today is Syttende Mai---Norwegian Constitution Day.  

Children's Parade, Oslo, Norway (Wikipedia)
I'm taking my guy, cop Roelke McKenna, to a celebration at my folk's place. Roelke's a good sport about such things.

If you're ever in the area, stop by Old World Wisconsin for a visit! I guarantee you'll love it.  And if you can't get there in person...well, you can always read about some of my adventures.

***

Kathleen Ernst is the author of over thirty books, including the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries, mysteries for young readers, historical fiction, and two nonfiction books. Before becoming a full time writer she worked as a curator at Old World Wisconsin.

Kathleen is celebrating  her first post at Killer Characters with a GIVEAWAY!  Leave a comment here and you will be entered to win a Chloe Ellefson mystery---winner's choice of title.  The drawing will take place on Thursday, May 19th. Be sure to leave your email, or check back then.

Visit Kathleen at www.kathleenernst.com or https://www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author 


101 comments:

  1. Welcome to Killer Characters! And thanks for the chance!
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

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    1. I am looking forward to checking out Chloe's stomping grounds on Rock Island over Memorial Day weekend :-)

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    2. Laureen Flynn laureenfly12@comcast,net aka LaFlyMay 19, 2016 at 1:37 AM

      What fun! I always enjoy being introduced to a new artist!

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  2. Fascinating post - and a new-to-me author! Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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  3. Interesting post. It must be fun working in a museum.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. Sandy, it was great fun to work at such a special place. I started the mystery series because I missed it so much!

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  4. Interesting post. I once worked in museums.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  5. Thanks for the chance to win a Chloe Ellefson mystery!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  6. Welcome! It's such a treat to spend time with so many artifacts--it makes history come alive.

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! I keep thinking there should be a museum-themed panel at Malice Domestic some time. Wouldn't that be fun?

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  7. Welcome to Killer Characters! I love those Chloe mysteries.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  8. Welcome! Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway which I would enjoy greatly. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. This is such an interesting post. Welcome and best wishes. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. I am looking forward to your latest Chloe Ellefson book! Thank you for a chance to win and congrats on your first post! Doodlesink@hotmail.com

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    1. Kristina, it was great fun to write a Laura Ingalls Wilder-themed book. She remains a favorite!

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  11. Thank you for the chance! I do hope I win your book! It sounds awesome. Donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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  12. This is a new series to me. I'd love to win! lkleback@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Libby. Didn't we meet at OWW?

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  14. Your books are terrific! I need to read the first few to get caught up.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  15. Karen, I'm so glad you've enjoyed some of them!

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  16. I am going to enjoy reading your posts!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Oh I'm pleased you have joined the group; it will be nice to become acquainted. I always enjoy your/your husband's posts. Thank you
    for the opportunity to win one of your books.
    maforbes231@yahoo.com

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    1. MaryAnn, I'm delighted to be here! Thanks so much.

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  18. My dream job was to work at Old World, but the commute was too long.

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  19. Stephanie, you would have been great! But I'm glad you channeled some of your love of history into your writing.

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  20. This sounds like an interesting blog, Kathleen! I am anxious to learn about the new-to-me authors. You are always so generous to your readers; thank you for this opportunity! Psssssst, dont tell anyone that I am only willing to share Roekle with Chloe! *giggles*

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    1. Dianne, this is a great place to discover new-to-you mysteries! And--your secret is safe with me. :>)

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  21. Welcome to Killer Characters, Kathleen and Chloe!

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    1. Thanks, Merry Lu! We're delighted to join the group.

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  22. Welcome, Kathleen. Nice getting to know Chloe. This is a new series to me, would love to read more about Chloe.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. I would love to pass on a new Chloe book to a friend. A great series

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying the series!

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  24. We love having you come to Vesterheim! Your books have been so popular and I look forward to the next book in your series.

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    1. You're kind! Vesterheim is one of my favorite places in the world, so it's always a pleasure to head toward Decorah.

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  25. Best series ever! Love these books!

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    1. Thanks so much! So glad you're enjoying them.

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  26. Good to see you here! Lately I'm loving Viroqua.

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  27. I am glad Roelke got to experience a Syttende Mai celebration in Stoughton! Very happy that you can blog now, Chloe! It's nice to 'hear from you' between books! :)

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  28. I lived not too far from Old World for about 5 years and never visited. It must be very interesting!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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    1. Elaine, it's a great place. Hope you can visit sometime!

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  29. What fun. Thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  30. Great post! I love this idea. Very generous to do a giveaway, too!

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    1. My pleasure! And thanks for the warm welcome.

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  31. Old World Wisconsin is truly a fascinating place to visit. My next Chloe-related location that I want to go to is Vesterheim.

    judy at gwd dot org

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    1. Judy, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it. The museum collection is fabulous. You don't have to be Norwegian to love it!

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  32. I'm originally from the Midwest. This sounds like a fascinating book series.
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot).net

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    1. I love writing about the Midwest. I wasn't born here, but I've lived here for 35 years and consider it home. So many wonderful places and stories to explore!

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  33. I love reading about Chloe's adventures and the history. Looking forward to Death on the Prairie!

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    1. HI Ann! And what is Inez up to lately?

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  34. This series and author are on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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  35. I read Death on the Prairie and would highly recommend it. The link to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books is a great tie in to the book's plot. I've been a "Little House" book fan for years and enjoyed the story line mystery. dbahn@iw.net

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    1. Dianne, I'm so glad you enjoyed Death on the Prairie. I loved Laura's books as a child, and the writing holds up well for adult readers too. A very special series.

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  36. I'm inspired to visit Old World Wisconsin again...it's been 24 years since we were there. I enjoy experiencing the sites vicariously through your books.

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    1. I'm glad my books provide some armchair travel! I left after the 1994 season...perhaps we chatted at some point during one of your visits.

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  37. Lovely photo of the Pedersen farm!

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    1. Elizabeth, it's always been one of my favorites.

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  38. Glad to be here and I have always loved anything about Laura Ingalls Wilder, I have visit Walnut Grove and took my granddaughter so she could experience it also Thanks for the Magnificent Books you write and a chance to win.

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    1. How special to share Walnut Grove with your granddaughter! And thanks for the kind comments.

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  39. Another new-to-me author to try. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

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  40. Looking forward to your future posts also! cheers@marjimmanor.com

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  41. Glad to see you here, Kathleen. My husband thinks Wisconsin is the Holy Land, so it is very possible that we could visit Old Wisconsin. Sounds fascinating. I grew up just a few miles from Little Town on the Prairie, so I am looking forward to reading your newest book.

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    1. Jane, I do hope you can visit my beautiful state. :>)
      I have had several wonderful visits to your neck of the woods, too!

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  42. I've read all the Chloe mysteries and I'm waiting for my friend to return my copy of Death on the Prairie to read it. She's a huge history buff, and a Laura Ingall's Wilder fan so I had to let her read it first.
    Glad to call you a friend and fellow author, Kathleen.
    Sue Curran

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Hope your writing is steaming along.

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  43. I love mysteries! This series sounds so inviting!
    ozarkharness@gmail.com

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  44. Having read the Little House on the Prairie series when I was younger, I would love to read this book and see how it ties in. Thanks for posting the book on your blog and also the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

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    1. I hope reading the book will bring back some happy memories.

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  45. Thank you for the chance to win a book! I really enjoy your blog.

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    1. Gayle, I'm so glad you enjoy the blog! I love having a chance to share all the stories behind the stories.

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  46. Cool! So far I have read the first book in the series. dalubbert(at) hot mail (dot) com Debbie

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  47. I've visited Old World Wisconsin and love this series. Last night I told those coming to hear me at the Lake Oswego Library in Oregon about Chole and the series. They've promised to order it in!

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    1. Jane, you are as generous as you are talented!

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  48. I love Old World Wisconsin i am new to the Midwest from Calif so i enjoy all the history that i am learning i have been a little house fan for so many years....loved the story line .ptclayton2@aol.com

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    1. Welcome to the Midwest! Lots of wonderful places and stories to explore.

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  49. This post was intriguing! Can't wait to read the book

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  50. I love the Chloe Ellefson mysteries - I can't wait for the next one! Old World Wisconsin is one of my favorite places. peggywrightphotography at gmail dot com

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  51. I love your Chloe mysteries, have read them all. Can't wait for the next one to come out !!! Also love comments from you and your husband. I live in Stoughton and am hoping to get one of your meet-ups at a book store or library. I have asked the library here to invite you to visit our library, hope it happens !!!

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  52. Drumroll, please... And congratulations to Traveler! Your name came out of the hat as winner of the Chloe Ellefson mystery giveaway. I will contact you privately.

    Everyone else - thanks for the warm welcome, and for playing along! See you next month.

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