Thoughts from a Newbie


Diane E Bokor is a deeply rooted Montana transplant who loves to hike, garden and explore new horizons of the mind.  She lives in Kalispell with her famous dog, Roscoe.



By Diane E. Bokor

Do I qualify to be in a group called Montana Women Writers?

I am a woman who lives in Montana.  I like to write. I was invited to take a seat at the table.  I showed up and now I am writing a short piece for the MWW blog.  If this piece gets published, I have my answer! I am shy about my writing.  I don’t have much confidence — yet. But, thank you, Montana Women Writers for your openness to a shy newbie wannabe like me.

Does everyone start with a vomit draft?  I love my fingertips on the keyboard trying to keep up with my bubbling thoughts.  It’s a race and a real mess. If I can remember to hit “save” occasionally, the thoughts are captured and the crafting of a piece begins.  It feels like good, honest work to change fragmented thoughts into cogent sentences and shape sentences into a well-formed essay. Adding commas and capitals or finding typos is as satisfying as tidying my house with windows open to a fresh Montana breeze.  I am always aware of the red pen of my 12th grade English teacher, Miss Basenbach.  She was a real hard ass and I am ever grateful.

For my current writing life, my goal is simple: write reflections on the 70 years of this life.  I have told my shy writer-self that these reflections are for the benefit of my grandchildren. That is a pure motivation and a target audience that, theoretically, will be automatically appreciative.  These current reflections are my heart’s desire, the meaningful purpose of my third act.

When discussion around a writers’ table turns to plot, publication and agents, I merely smile and listen.  What could I have to contribute to that discussion? One day, while merely listening, I heard a jokey little comment about “developing professional habits”.  It led to the discovery of Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield and that changed everything.  A switch got flipped. No more vague daydreaming. I know my purpose.  I am developing professional habits. I show up at the keyboard each day (ummm, mostly) and I capture my life stories.  I no longer feel like a fraud. I can participate in this blog because of a fresh start.

This newbie can truthfully say she is beginning to be a Montana Woman Writer.


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Author: Betty Kuffel

Through the Lens of a Writer

Writers have a special way of looking at things. Envisioned scenes are painted with feelings, smells, sounds and touch. Delving into a character’s thoughts with interior dialogue adds depth, revealing desires and motivation.

Smells are a strong part of memory storage. A recalled odor conjures up acute memories of time and place. If the wind blows from the wrong direction across a Montana landscape, the smell of a nearby feedlot might drift to a beautiful outdoor wedding and overwhelm the sweet smell of flowers carried by the bride. When her marriage turns bad, she may recall the smell of manure on that fateful day. Or the sweet smell of pipe tobacco may instantly bring to mind the image of your loving grandfather.

Using comparisons and stark contrasts enhance description:

+My pet rat’s sandpaper tail wrapped beneath my chin as her silky body snuggled against my neck like a miniature kitty.

+Moonrise inched over the Rocky Mountains slashing the black slate of Flathead Lake.

Coloring your writing:

cinnamon hair in rain.ed (2)

Cinnamon hair

fiery (2)

A fiery sunrise

pomegranate.ed (2)

Pomegranate jewels

Unique colors descriptions produce immediate images in the reader’s mind.

Using background music when you write adds to setting and feeling:

Many writers use music to set mood when writing scenes. Free internet sites allow you to choose specific songs, genres and themes to write by (Pandora, Spotify). Novels set in a certain era bring popular songs to mind and can be used to solidify and enhance a setting. Playing the songs can get you in the mood to write about the period in your novel.

“Without music and dance, life is a journey through a desert.” ― Pat Conroy

Additional quotes from Beach Music written by Pat Conroy, one of my favorite authors:

Touch and feelings:

“The water was pure and cold and came out of the Apennines tasting like snow melted in the hands of a pretty girl.” ― Pat Conroy

“My own tears seemed landlocked and frozen in a glacier I could not reach or touch within me.” ― Pat Conroy


Write scenes as if painting a picture. Happy reading and writing.

Thanks for stopping by.


Amazon Author Page  


Gifts from the Sheep Shed

by Robin Magaddino

I like short sentences.  I like to listen to the silence between them.  Taking a pause between one-word sentences can be bliss.  Truncated, that’s what they are, and they can create tension and urgency.  The other parts of the sentence are left to your imagination, so…

Gifts from the Sheep Shed

by Robin Magaddino

Its  five o’dark on February eighth, fourteen degrees, no wind, gentle snowfall, perfect.  I snuggle down to await the annual miracle. Lambda already claimed the private spot behind the hay manger.  Other ewes chew cud and steam up the dim barn with hot breaths.

Birth from a sheep’s point of view–Walk in a small circle.  Circle, circle, circle. Lay down. Wait. Stand. Circle. Stand and stare.  Breathe a hard blast of steam in the frigid air. Murmur a question, “mmmur?” Look down.  Lick lips and murmur. Lay down. Hold breath and strain. Leap up, spin around and search.  Lick wet straw. Murmur a question. Lick lips. Stand and pant. Circle, circle, circle. Lay down with back to wall.  Hold breath, dig in hoofs and strain, tighten, stiffen, push. Jump up and flip around. A lamb is snorting, lifting its head, kicking free of the protective amniotic sac that was home for 5 months.  

Lambda licks and murmurs garbled questions—are you alive? are you healthy?  Lamb answers with a sweet “baaa”. Lambda licks more vigorously after hearing the answer.  Lamb leaps up into a staggering search for survival. Her fluffy curls are dry within 20 minutes and Lambda gently shoves her down into the corner where she rests in a stupor.

Lambda circles once, lays down, takes a quick inhale and pushes.  Out pops a smaller lamb followed by another the same size. Lambda rushes back to lamb One.  Two and Three kick, sneeze and bleat. Lambda abruptly leaves One to begin licking noses of Two and Three.  Their heads bobble up and they bleat in unison. She leaves them for bleating number One. Two and Three protest their isolation with ear splitting bleats and kick to stand up.  Three stands, shaking like a wet dog to rid itself of the slimy coat. Lambda spins to lick its umbilical cord and tail, pulling off the sac in long strips, eating it. She quickly licks the tissue tangle from the umbilical cord and legs of number Two and up it pops.   She gives Two and Three a mere spit bath and returns to number One.

On it goes until the afterbirth is expelled and all the mess is eaten and licked up.  The lambs are directed toward the nipples and, in a few minutes, all is quiet.


February Book News


Marie F Martin’s new novel is now loaded on Amazon and is available on both kindle or paperback.


A simple game of chance results in Corinne Cooper’s best friend’s death and set her on a collision course with a detective still nursing hate from the past.

Three years of lonesome widowhood leads Corinne Cooper to a simple need. She wants a man. She cons her friend Edgy Brewster into helping her find just the right guy. They visit a honkytonk, the biggest church in town, and a bingo parlor looking for an eligible bachelor. Nothing goes as planned. Now Corinne is the prime suspect in a murder and must prove her innocence. Any of the four men she has met could have committed the heinous act. But which one?

Here is a short link to the amazon page if you want to have a look see.

Marie F Martin 

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: So happy to share the news that my first historical short story, “All God’s Sparrows,” has been nominated for the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Originally published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May-June 2018), it features real-life historical figure Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary and Black Mary, who was born in slavery in Tennessee in 1832 and moved to Montana Territory to care for the ailing Mother Superior at St. Peter’s Mission near Cascade in 1885. In “All God’s Sparrows,” Mary and a young nun encounter a young mother and her daughter whose plight requires an inspired intervention. Read it via pdf on my website. The second Stagecoach Mary story, “Miss Starr’s Goodbye,” will appear in Alfred Hitchcock later this year. The Agatha Awards are given by the Malice Domestic mystery convention in early May.