Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

October Book News


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, October! Thrilled to announce the release, on October 4, of KILLING THYME, my third Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  When Pepper investigates the murder of a market artist, she roots out long-buried secrets with unexpected ties to her family, will she be digging her own grave? Read an excerpt and find the buy links on my website.  Join me for a Mystery Teac at the Bigfork Library on Tues, Oct 4, from 3-5 pm. We’ll talk mysteries, sip tea and eat cookies (recipes in the Killing Thyme (final)book!), and play mystery trivia! If you’re in Missoula, please join me for a book talk at Fact & Fiction on Thurs, Oct 6, at 7 pm. And swing by the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center for my launch party and signing on Friday, Oct 7, 5-7 p.m., and visit the annual Watermedia exhibit sponsored by the Montana Watercolor Society at the same time! (I peeked — it’s fabulous!)

I’ll be in Seattle on October 13 — signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop at noon, and reading/talking/signing a 7 p.m. at Third Place Books in Lake City.

Wherever you are, take thyme for a good mystery!




Marie F Martin


Tentative release date for Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick is October 11, 2016

Roberta Sedgewick is stuck in a house that is too empty without her beloved Burton—the rat died and left her with his dog and rooms that rattle. She convinces her three golfing buddies, all in their seventies, to sell their homes and buy adjoining condos. The widows intend to spend the rest of their days golfing, gambling at the casino, and having fun. Oh, the heaven of it. But then they all hire the same maid who uncovers long-hidden criminal secrets kept by each woman. Oh, the horror of it. The reputations of their deceased husbands, a banker, a minister, and a respected farmer, will be tarnished forever. Three of the widows could face jail time, and the fourth fears for her life. Whatever will they do with the conniving, blackmailing maid?

If you grew to love the characters in Marie F. Martin’s previous novels Maternal Harbor, Harbored Secrets, and Ratham Creek, you will treasure Roberta and her friends in the mystery Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick.


fall-on-the-flathead-river-polebridge-montana[3]by Nan McKenzie

I love the fall, everything about it. My huge golden tree in front of the house, the smaller dark red maple next to it, the fat bushes in front of the porch that turn red to welcome cold weather. Summer is difficult for me, ‘cause I don’t do well in the heat, so when the nights and mornings are cooler, and a brisk walk in the early morning brings the sun up and turns my cheeks red, life is very good.

Sometimes there is snow dusting the tops of the mountains all around, and bears wander closer to town, looking for food to tide them over the winter. The cold mornings bring a promise of something new, something exciting that’s about to happen (not just snow, something else). I have more energy, sleep better, get more things done around the house.

Writing on my latest novels seems more effortless, with a little excitement that the coming finish brings. I look forward to the winter, the snow, the smell of new snow in the air, my boots crunching along. The studded tires sing of possibilities, talking to me from the bottom of my van.

My oldest great-granddaughter’s name is Autumn Mist, perfect for her, a lovely dark redhead, hazel eyes, getting taller by the minute. Both my kids were born in September, and I’ve always told them that my best gift to them was being smart enough to have them born in September, just a year and three weeks apart.

Gotta’ go take a walk in the cool afternoon now, a gift to myself.

Nan McKenzie, Autumn, September 21, 2016

My Favorite Month


October is my favorite month of the year. The air is crisp. The leaves are dressed in their beautiful autumn attire. There’s a rush to get those last summer projects completed and get everything “winterized.” It’s time to pull out that favorite oversized sweater or hoodie—the one you live in all winter long. You overhear the terms “witch” or “old hag” and assume it’s a reference to costumes and not a monstrous comment on some poor soul’s personality. Costco puts sinfully delicious pumpkin pies on sale and like the wicked witch calling to Dorothy, the pies beckon you, “Come here, my pretty.”

There are also those “aw-shucks” moments when realizations of projects left undone haunt our psyche. We never made that trip to Glacier, those fishing rods we bought in June have never touched the water, and the new fire pit doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance of getting finished this year.

But just wait until next spring, we promise ourselves. In the meantime, we console ourselves with the knowledge that October brings Halloween and Halloween brings both the best chocolate sales of the year and the first dusting of snow. Sipping a cup of hot chocolate as you watch the first snow of the new season fall softly outside your window is a combination that will sooth the souls of even the most frightful little ghouls and goblins.

Happy haunting and thanks for stopping by,


Luxury Problems

Ann Minnett MWW photo

By Ann Minnett

The current draft of my second novel takes up more space in my head than it does on my desk. Honestly, this novel needs to simmer unattended in a file drawer for a few weeks while I regroup. We’re a little sick of each other.

second draft

Two luxury problems fill the void almost immediately: 1) autumn is my favorite time of year in NW Montana, and 2) a dream of my third novel, the fresh promise of ‘the not yet written.’

(Pause here to stroll outside, take some photos, breathe clean mountain air, and talk to my husband working on an old MGB in the shop.)


Luxury problem #2 is not so easily handled.

Lucky for me, there’s no better time for a new project than NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place in November. I’m taking the challenge for the first time. This declaration is my way of holding feet to the fire in hopes of following through.

Our own Kathy Dunnehoff spoke about NaNoWriMo at the Flathead River Writers’ Conference last month, encouraging novices to set any personal writing goal for the month. However, most participants set a goal of 50,000 written words. That’s 1,667 words per day, every day. Even on Thanksgiving. Even traveling to Tennessee mid-month for a family reunion. Even…  Aside from self-discipline, all it takes is determined writing without second guesses or edits. That and some planning in October—a story arc and an understanding of my main character.

October 12th finds me without a plan for my NaNoWriMo project and nothing sketched out on paper. Undaunted and with the confidence of one who doesn’t know better, here’s where I start:

The novel will take place in small-town Montana.

The protagonist is a woman who has taken the geographical cure, but no matter where she goes, there she is.

So much for page 1. A rough outline of what happens on page 2 and beyond will fall loosely into place in the coming 19 days. My intentions are clear.  Starting on November 1st, I vow to write with a vengeance and describe my progress next month both here and in my own blog. Ernest Hemingway once said, “All first drafts are shit.” Yes! His famous quote permits my modest expectation for quality—a vital ingredient for NaNoWriMo success.

I’m jazzed. How about you? Have you almost finished that first novel and need a kick in the rear to complete it? Do you have a story that simply won’t stop bugging you? Join in the NaNoWriMo fun. Get inspiration from other writers, and together we’ll finish a piece of writing.

November 30th will come around whether or not I’ve written 50,000 words. The manuscript I’ve set aside today will molder for my attention whether or not I write 50,000 new words. So why not try?