Dani's Niche

Family history. A novel idea.

Family History as Fiction

Welcome to my niche where family history meets inspirational fiction.

My love of history began as a child reading biographies, historical fiction, and visiting historical sites. Much of the history I learned came during summer vacations when home was a red and white 21 foot travel trailer which Dad, a seventh grade teacher, hitched to our red and white station wagon to drive the family across America.

After he died, I had plenty of family history papers and photographs to sort through. Ancestry’s Family TreeMaker helped with organizing the genealogy, but I felt sad that the lifetimes of these people had been reduced to names, dates and places.

What stories would they tell if I could sit with them? What lessons of life would I learn? What was it like for the rural poor in the 19th century? What were the historical events? What were their hopes and dreams, hardships and frustrations? Researching online, I was able to fill some of the gaps in our known history and discovered events, secrets, places and people that even Dad had not known about our family.

I’ve enjoyed writing and publishing magazine articles, poems, and short stories but never considered authoring a novel. However, as I began writing the story of my great grandparents in the appropriate historical setting, mixing real events of their lives with realistic situations from my imagination, I could  not turn back. Their stories had to be told. The result was my first novel, “Stone’s Hope,” set in England, the first of a series based on my heritage.

My husband and I traveled to Lincolnshire to walk and cycle the roads and visit the places where my ancestors, the characters in the novel, lived in the nineteenth century. I hope you enjoy a few of our photographs of the setting plus historical notes. Click on the Stone’s Hope: a Novel tab.

My second book, The Stone House, follows the family to Wisconsin.  Look on the menu above to find photos of the real house and other notes related to this book. Winter Music is the third book and I’m working on the fourth and last one. If you like historical fiction, you will find these books filled with heartwarming, emotional stories that inspire hope. Once you meet the Stone family, you will want to read all the books.

Writing family history as fiction led to writing novels, but I really enjoy short works, mostly faith-based but always inspirational. My blog features shorts from my own life or family as well as fictional pieces and tidbits from researching my novels.

I’ve also published a children’s picture book, A Whistle in the Wind, about a little giraffe and the lessons he learned–available on Amazon and through retail booksellers. The Wright Pages is historical fiction for kids ages 7-10/11 in paperback and e-book.

If you are discouraged, despairing or don’t know where to turn, I want to assure you there is hope for you right now. Go to Words of Hope and turn to the One who is Hope.

Thank you for visiting my website.


Note: If you’re searching for tote bags & book bundles, go to the Menu tab “Stone’s Hope: a novel” and find “My Books/Books and Bags”

Index of blog posts (match with dates in the bar on the right):

August 2022: Imagination overcomes willfulness, thanks to a wise grandmother

March 2022: Pencil’s special day (March 30)

February 2022: I Have a Name: choose life

January 2022: Ebenezer: stone of help

December 2021: Pondering a poinsettia (expectations)

November 2021: A Thanksgiving gathering, 1863

October 2021: Tiny heroes

July 2021: Tea for Two

June 2021: A Mysterious Moaning: a World War II story

May 2021: Typhoons, an Explosion, and a Stampede: a World War II story

April 2021: Anxieties in War, Anxieties in Peace: a World War II story

March 2021: Fear and Beauty: a childhood memory

February 2021: Dad’s valentine

January 2021: Camping in Yosemite, 1898: Part One and Two

December 2020: Dad’s dazzling Christmas gift

November 2020: The value of gentle, children’s picture books

September 2020: 400 years ago the Mayflower sailed from England

August 2020: Haley tells her story:  hope, resilience, and optimism after a devastating loss

August 2020: Warnings: A snake and the ER

July 2020 The Old Red Case: the search for an immigrant family of the 1800s

April 2020 Self-isolation and sanitizing saved a village 410 years ago

March 2020 Twiga the giraffe: Two printable coloring pages for young children

February 2020 The Thought That Counts

December 2019 One Christmas in Africa (repost from 2014 with new photo)

November 2019 Come to the Table

October 2019 A new children’s book

September 2019 Excited about our children’s picture book

July 2019 Where to?

June 2019 Elephant! a true story from Kenya

May 2019 A wind blew through here

April 2019 The Owl That Befriended a Boy

March 2019 No one gets stressed looking at a cow

February 2019 Fifty years ago – off to Africa

November 2018 What’s a brownie cake?

October 2018 Flawed: Hope for the broken

September 2018 The Missing Letters of Civil War Soldier Frederick Pettit, Part Four

August 2018 The Missing Letters of Civil War Soldier Frederick Pettit, Part Three

July 2018  The Missing Letters of Civil War Soldier Frederick Pettit, Part Two

March 2018 The Missing Letters of Civil War Soldier Frederick Pettit, Part One

February 2018 To Yosemite by Wagon, 1898

January 2018 Out to Pasture: retirement

December 2017 25 Christmas Cards

November 2017 The Blacksmith’s Heart (a special painting)

October 2017 Blessed! (research trip)

August 2017 When the Circus Came to Town

July 2017 Great Grandmother’s Sewing Basket: A Writer’s View

June 2017 A Great American: A 4th of July message

June 2017 Summertime travel in our Kenskill

May 2017 See What You Missed

March 2017 Bicycling adventurers in the 1800s

February 2017 Heart of Roses: legacy

December 2016 Winter Music: Christmas in the 1800’s

November 2016 Blessed: A Thanksgiving Message

October 2016 A gift idea

September 2016 A fire and a hymn

August 2016 My next historical fiction book coming September 2016!

July 2016 Convict in the Family

June 2016 Like Laces and Trimmings (kind words and deeds)

June 2016 Would You Cross Here?  (decision making)

May 2016 Beauty in the Darkness (guest blog)

April 2016 Tattered and Stained (unique cookbooks)

March 2016 A Splash of Color on Stone (Lincoln Cathedral)

February 2016 Making Ice Cream in Africa

January 2016 Peering Through Great Great Grandmother’s Eyeglasses (a lesson about vision)

December 2015 Dad’s Dazzling Victorian (why it was special)

November 2015 Country Road (what inspires me to write)

October 2015 Every Photo Has a Story: The Pump Organ

September 2015 Every Photo Has a Story: Great Great Grandma’s Sunbonnets (Willis, Kansas: a once flourishing small town)

August 2015 Every Photo Has a Story: Grandpa Plays Checkers (a difficult year)

July 2015 Taking Her Senses (a census taker in the 19th century)

May 2015 No Voice (message of the unborn)

April 2015  A Different Kind of Road Trip (a story about dementia)
December 2014 One Christmas in Africa
September 2014 The Blacksmith
July 2104 When the Tide Goes Out
June 2014 Simple Pleasures
April 2014 Let It Resound!
March 2014 A Bridge (dedicated to teachers)
February 2014 A series of five shorts. Grandpa’s Diaries, My Diaries, Letters from Africa, The Thought That Counts, Handwritten Treasures, More Handwritten Treasures

edited August 2022

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