Hunting for Treasure through Historical Research by Cindy Christiansen

Hunting for Treasure through Historical Research

by Cindy Christiansen



When I laid out outlines for The Merchant Street Mystery series, I knew I was going to be writing about some kind of hidden treasure from the past in Fortune for Fools, however, I never dreamed that I would be getting into almost historical-type research. I do a lot of factual investigating for my contemporary books, but have never delved into history quite like what was required for this book.

Pioneer Picture



With a setting in Utah, what would work better than a pioneer story?  I had to research the timeline of the Mormon pioneer exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah and I had to coordinate it with a painting and the hidden map behind it. I also had to synch all of that with the time the treasure was hidden and found. I had to research buried gold coins, Mexican bandits, writing implements and paper of the seventeenth century, quilt symbolism, antique furniture, artists, paintings, and more. Sheesh!


The Kiss


Because I am also an artist, I really enjoyed researching Italian artist Francesco Hayez and his painting, Il bacio, (The Kiss). As you can see, it works in wonderfully with a romance book. It is not only Hayez’s best known work but also represents the best of Italian Romanticism. It was commissioned by Count Alfonso Maria di Saliceto and completed in 1859. It is considered amongst the most passionate and intense representations of a kiss in the history of western art. I am intrigued by the shadowy forms lurking in the background. How about you?

Of course, I also had to research that artists oftentimes painted more than one painting of the same subject but with different lighting and coloring. This gave me the opportunity to still use the painting even though the original is in the Pinacoteca di Brera gallery in Milan since Count Alfonso’s death.

In Fortune for Fools, I feel that you get two romances in one:  Zeke and Lavinia’s love story as they work together to discover the truth about the pioneer couple and the hidden treasure, and also Robert and Abigail’s love story as more and more history is discovered through bones, a quilt, the LDS Church History Library, antique furniture, letters, and journals. You won’t believe what poor Abigail went through.

Through researching some of my own ancestor’s history, I have found that I have relatives buried under Lake Powell in southern Utah. My ancestors on my mother’s side brought over the Nauvoo Bell in their wagon to Salt Lake City. I have a family member’s journal about this event and hope to someday write a non-fiction book about it. Here’s a little history about the bell:


Nauvoo BellThe Nauvoo Bell, weighing over 1,500 pounds, was originally donated by the British Saints for the Nauvoo Temple and brought to the United States by Wilford Woodruff. When pressure from mobs forced the Saints to evacuate the city, the bell was left behind and placed in a local Protestant church. It was recovered by members of the Lamoreaux family (my relatives) before they left Nauvoo to head west.

“One stormy night the men gathered in secret and without horses pulled the wagon to the Church and lowered the Bell, pushed and pulled the wagon by hand to the edge of the Mississippi River and carefully concealed it in the water. Andrew Lamoreaux and his brother, David, were chosen to bring the Bell to Utah with their families, concealing the Bell in their wagon with their provisions.”

On the journey to Salt Lake City the bell was used to “awaken the herdsmen at dawn, to signal morning prayer, to start the day’s march, and to sound during the night watches to let the Indians know that the sentry was at his post.” Once in Salt Lake City the bell was used in several locations such as the first old bowery, Brigham Young’s schoolhouse, a Church business building and the Bureau of Information on Temple Square. It didn’t find its present day location and permanent home until 1942 when the Relief Society placed it in a bell tower on Temple Square to celebrate their centennial.  (Taken from:

Do you enjoy history and genealogy as much as I do?  Let me know in the comments and have a great day.


Cindy will return tomorrow to share excerpts from “Fortune for Fools”.

Until then, here’s another little snippet to enjoy.

““Let’s be logical. We’re just not compatible. I’m thorough, well-organized, responsible, and studious. You’re a risk taker, impatient, and want immediate results.”


Ulterior Motives?

From Christina: Today, Cindy shares more about “Fortune for Fools”, from her Merchant Street Mystery stories.



Collage of Fortune for Fools copyRisk-taker Zeke Abberley knows how to be bold when it comes to his antique shop on Merchant Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. He successfully bid on a collection of 1800s antiques in Nauvoo, Illinois that may contain a valuable Hayez painting. However, love is another matter. Afraid that all women are users, he’s always injuring his dates, particularly Lavinia Vega, who works at her father’s art gallery.

Studious Lavinia Vega is tired of proving to Zeke that she has no ulterior motives. When Zeke brings her a damaged painting to restore and authenticate, she is eager to help but not get involved. When she uncovers a hidden map behind the painting that leads to valuable buried coins, the game plan changes. Or so Zeke thinks.

Will the mysteries Zeke, Lavinia and her Poodle, Vivete, uncover teach them that fortunes are for fools and love is everlasting?



Check out Cindy’s  feature post tomorrow.

Now, for another little snippet!


“You did that on purpose.”

Fortune for Fools by Cindy Christiansen

Did you guess correctly?  Our guest author this week is Cindy Christiansen.

She’s here to share her new release

German shorthaired pointer posing in the field

Fortune for Fools

by Cindy Christiansen





Cindy says:

This book is a contemporary sweet romance, however there is a back story about a pioneer couple who came from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1849. In writing the book, I got a feel for what historical authors go through in researching. It’s amazing! The fun part of writing the book was including a scene with an author who has written a book about relationships. Don’t ask me why, but I loved giving this author a hard time.

* * * *

Tomorrow Cindy will be back to tell us more about Fortune for Fools.

Be watching for her feature post on Friday .

* * * *

Until tomorrow, here’s a fun little snippet!

“Want to stab me in the other eye?”

Her Royal Highness…Almost

This author grew up on a farm and loves dogs. She restores antique furniture and wind movement clocks. She is a wildlife artist and her paintings are displayed in such places as a university law library, schools, doctor’s offices, and veterinary offices. Her father was once asked by the King of Tonga for her hand in marriage as one of his wives.


Check back tomorrow to find out the identity of this week’s guest author.

Here’s a quick look at what will be happening throughout the week:

  • Wednesday: Our guest author’s identity will be revealed along with the cover art for the book she’ll be sharing.  You’ll also be able to read “the story behind the story” — the author’s personal thoughts about writing the book.
  • Thursday: Find out more! Our guest author will be sharing the book blurb with you…and not just in 25 words or less! You can read the blurb and find out what this story is all about.
  • Friday: Our guest author takes center stage today.  You won’t want to miss her feature post.
  • Saturday: Come back today for excerpts from this week’s book.
  • Sunday: Our guest author will be wrapping up the week’s visit with links you can use to keep in touch.

And now…let me leave you with this little  snippet from the book our guest author will be sharing:


“You have no say over what I do.”

Guess Who: September 1

A girl with her dog!


 Guess Who 09-01

Gotta love that big hair!

Any idea who this guest author is?

 Be watching for a hint tomorrow.

Thank You, Violet Ingram

From Christina: It’s been a pleasure to have Violet as my guest this week at “Seasons of Love”. Please join with me in expressing thanks to her  for sharing her story with us.

Violet says:

I’d like to thank Christina for having me here and to all of you for being a part of my exciting week. I’ve had a lot of fun.





Death by High Heels

by Violet Ingram

Available at:

Sweet Cravings Publishing

Barnes and Noble


 All Romance Ebooks



 About the Author

Violet Ingram is a wife, mother, and author. She and her husband have been married for over 24 years and they have 5 children.

Violet’s love of books was the direct result of having spent Saturday mornings going to libraries with her mom. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown were the first books she fell in love with.

Violet lives in the Midwest where she is busy at work on her next book.

You can find Violet online at the following sites:


Violet Ingram –  Blog

Twitter @violetingram

Facebook – Violet Ingram




Death by High Heels – Excerpts

I’m delighted today to share an  excerpt from Violet Ingram’s book, Death by High Heels. It’s the first title in the “Investigator’s” series, so readers can be looking forward to more stories from Violet.


Death by High Heels


DeathbyHighHeels_SM.Cops hate it when you vomit all over their crime scene—a mistake I had no desire to repeat. Then again, the fact I’d just trampled all over this scene was probably a whole new mistake I should have avoided. I stared at the corpse and fought the urge to hurl. If only I hadn’t answered the door, I’d be eating dinner instead of standing in my neighbor’s apartment looking at a dead guy.

Said dead guy was just sitting there in the chair. You would think he was asleep—if not for all the blood and guts spilled onto his lap. I tore my eyes from him and asked the question I most wanted the answer to.

“What the heck did you hit him with?”

Lindsay dropped the strand of blonde hair she’d been twirling and glanced down at the floor. “My shoe.”


“I’ve already told you. Twice. I hit him with my shoe.”

“Damn it, Lindsay, you can’t kill someone with a shoe!”

“Hello, they’re Via Spiga.”


 Visit tomorrow for more information about Violet Ingram and Death by High Heels.   

If the Shoe Fits…

If the Shoe Fits…

by Violet Ingram


High heelsI am supposed to write a post about a topic that relates to my book, Death by High Heels. That could be a bit tricky as up to now I’ve never killed anyone with a high heeled shoe, unless you count the numerous spiders I’ve murdered over the years. I have however owned some killer high heels.

I used to be a shoe person but over the past fifteen years or so my love for shoes has slowly morphed into an addiction to purses. I’ve explained to my oldest daughter the difference between want and need when it applies to ladies accessories. I’ve also tried explaining this to my husband and sons but they just don’t get it. Now, if it was some kind of electronics or video game then they would understand.


Violet will return tomorrow to share excerpts from “Death by High Heels”.

Until then, here’s another little snippet that seems especially appropriate today.


Hello. They’re Via Spiga.”

Another Dead Body?

From Christina: Today, Violet tells us more about “Death by High Heels”, the first book in the “Investigators” series.


DeathbyHighHeels_SM.Spending time with a dead guy, being interrogated by the cops and getting stitched up by a cute ER doc wasn’t exactly the evening plans private investigator Kimberly Murphy envisioned. Especially the getting caught standing over a dead body, again, part. Only this time it wasn’t her fault. Just once she’d like it if homicide detective Grant Tompkins didn’t assume she was guilty.
To clear her slightly tarnished name, Kim goes after the clever killer while avoiding a certain hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind – not that she’d mind. Too bad Kim’s efforts lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. Kim will need all her skills and a bit of luck to outwit a killer who’d like to put an end to Kim’s meddling permanently.


Check out Violet’s  feature post tomorrow.

Now, for another little snippet!


“You didn’t kill this one, too, did you?”

Death by High Heels by Violet Ingram

Did you guess correctly?  Our guest author this week isViolet Ingram.

She’s here to share her new release:

Death by High Heels

by Violet Ingram





Violet says:

For Death by High Heels I came up with the title first and kind of wrote the book around a specific scene. Normally, I write the story first and then struggle to come up with a title I like. A cozy mystery I’m writing has changed titles four times. I’ve finally settled on one and refuse to change it again. The next book in the Private Investigator Series is Death by Nail Gun.

* * * *

Tomorrow Violet will be back to tell us more about Death by High Heels.

Be watching for her feature post on Friday .

* * * *

Until tomorrow, here’s a fun little snippet!

“What the heck did you hit him with?”