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.

A Redo On A Backlist Book

I have been reading that one way to boost sales of a backlist book is to change the cover and work on a new blurb. Ratham Creek has been lagging in sales and new reviews so I am following the advice and we’ll see if the people in the know are right. Here is a peek at the new look with the help of Karri Klawiter, my cover designer and writer friends, Deb and Ann, who are always willing to edit and proof my many typos and awkward sentences.


New Cover



Ratham Creek, a woman-in-jeopardy thriller

Arianne Hollis figures tossing a rose in her husband’s grave is the worst of all endings. Then reality sets in when she is forced to sell their home and used up her savings to clear his debts. To escape and come to terms with her future, she moves into an isolated cabin along Ratham Creek. In the quiet Montana setting and with a new job in the nearby small town, Arianne begins to recover. She meets Ross Ferrell, a handsome lonely member of the clannish mountain people. He slowly wins her love, but a deadly family feud erupts among rival groups living along the creek. Arianne can’t understand the violence that runs deep in Ross and his family. He cannot abandon them. Then Arianne becomes a target. Can she avoid the same vengeance that’s corrupting the clan? Can she save him and their relationship?


Catch All Blog

Marie F MartinCatch All Blog By Marie F Martin

Ideas for my turn at blogging this month is nil, so I figured I’d just throw out a few random things.


day one preschool

day one preschool

My four-year-old great grandson left home this morning sporting a heavy backpack with no idea what’s inside. Parents hurriedly packed it, hung on a hook and told him to leave it alone. Whew one job done. the little boy didn’t touch it waiting the days for school to arrive. He left this morning bravely packing a bag with unknown school stuff inside and trusting his parents. He’s going to have so much fun discovering what the contents are. Maybe we all should start a day with a pack of unknown and just wait to see what’s inside.

I received the edited copy of my new story, Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick from my copy editor last week. And even with this handy helper there were corrections on most pages of some sort. They are now approved and off to the nice fellow who does formatting. He had me search for words to hyphenate on a online previewer. My eyes are now blind, but Mrs. Sedgewick has hyphens. word-book-2

This is what my 2-year-old great grandson was playing with when I answered the door to find a nice policeman checking on my welfare. Same great grandchild had accidentally dialed 9-1-1.  Yeahcuffs-2-2





To end I am including the first page of Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick.

I catch my breath. This could be it. To make sure, I draw the newspaper almost to my nose and read the listing again. Right here in the real estate section of the Vista Harbor Chronicle is the answer. The date in the corner reads July 7, only four days ago. A happy dance springs within me, but I control the urge. No customer sitting at a high table in a bistro needs to witness a lady past her prime make a fool of herself. Instead, I jig my fists below the table in a silent yes, yes, yes. I’ve found the condos. Life at age seventy-two is about to change. I slide from the stool and head for the door, hoping no one notices the newspaper tucked under my left arm.
“Thank you, Mrs. Sedgewick,” the coffee gal calls after me. She saw the paper, and that’s her way of letting me know. Without looking back, I waggle my right hand above my shoulder and push open the door.
Outside, I dig through my Gucci for my phone. I love my hobo bag, but don’t like searching for whatever drops to the bottom. I need to figure that out. I also don’t like the dark face of the phone in the bright sunlight. Phone people need to figure that out.
I move under the umbrella of a red maple. In filtered light, I send a text to my three buddies. Meet me at the clubhouse. I have a surprise. I shuffle a little smart-step, unable to hide my joy. I’m still light on my feet even though my hair has turned soft white. I avoid coloring it but fight other signs of aging with a diet pill once in a while and wrinkle cream rubbed in nightly. Like most Pisces, I’m proud, a bit vain, and not afraid to admit it. I hop into my reliable Subaru.
A hand grabs the top part of the car door.
I gasp and brace against the seat.
A careworn woman stands there like a waif. “I did naught mean to startle you. I noticed you did a jig step before getting into your car and wondered if you are from Scotland. I’m so homesick for the heather.” She’s medium height, medium weight—medium all the way around. Her flyaway hair is sandy, and her sad eyes show more burnished gold than green. She removes her hand from the top of the door. “I’m sorry for intruding.”
“No need to be. I’m not from Scotland, but some distant relatives were. They mixed with my English ancestors, so I’m blessed with a good dose of Highland merriment and English good sense that battle each other. I hope you find your way back to the heather.” I close the car door. It thuds softly, not a hard slam to show dismay. So often anymore I’m prone to sharpness and a quick tongue, followed by guilt. Or else I rattle on about nothing and don’t worry about it.
The Scottish woman walks away, spine stiff, head high. An odd, lonely woman, but likable.
A sense of uncertainty chases around my shoulders. I banish it with a glance at my watch. There’s enough time to run by Jones Realty and arrange for a showing of the condos this afternoon. I tilt the rearview mirror and apply a boost of blush, lip gloss, and a dab of liquid concealer by my left eyelid—the dang droopy thing. There. All is repaired well enough to see Ned Jones, the realtor.
Before I swing into the late morning traffic on Harbor Drive, a white-knuckle thought smacks into my gray matter. The newspaper is only a few days old, but what if someone already bought one of the units? What a terrible thought. I press harder on the accelerator and zip through Vista Harbor, the alpine resort community I call home. It’s a small town compared to Aspen or Big Sky, but it’s more than big enough to accommodate tourists and newcomers. I don’t mind sharing the beauty of my valley, my mountains, and my lakes. Sure, there’s room for all, and yes, I claim ownership. This part of Montana belongs to me.


Marie’s Memories, A Memoir, Story Four

Story 4 Diving Boards

The bend in the creek made a great swimming hole. Kids being kids, we were not satisfied with jumping off the bank. Therefore, we spent hours building diving boards of various sizes and shapes. The engineering of these magnificent boards was something to see.
One of the benefits of Dad working in a sawmill was that he brought home scraps and pieces of lumber. He supplied us with old lumber for our projects. One day he even gave us a plank.
Our cousins from Kalispell were visiting. They spent a lot of time at our house in the summer. Jeanie, Bernie and Lyle were a shade older and very sophisticated. They were town kids. Bernie and Lyle lugged the plank the half mile to the creek. We built up the bank with the clay, making it as high as we dared and plenty wide enough to hold the plank. We placed it just prefect with one end sticking out over the water. We piled lots of rocks and boulders on the bank end to hold it in place. After many hours and much labor our supreme board was completed.
Norma was the only one whoever got to make a dive off the boards we made. She was the biggest, and it fell to her to be the test diver. If the board held up for her, then anyone of us could use it in relative safety. We watched from the bank as diving board after diving board fell into the water with great splashes of water when Norma jumped off.
This board was no different.
“We should get to go first,” said Bernie and Lyle. “We lugged the plank to the creek.”
Norma gave them the evil eye.
“All right,” said Bernie, “we’ll watch for weak spots in the rocks.
Norma took her time. She inched her way out onto the board. She jiggled it up and down.
“Any weak spots,” she asked.
“Naw,” answered Bernie.
Norma sprang in the air. Her feet came down on the board for a mighty lift off. It buckled, sending rocks and boulders high. Norma hit the water with a belly flop that shook the earth and sent a spray of water arcing over us. Her scream is what I remember. Never heard one like it again. I wondered how she avoided getting killed and going to heaven.

The Connor Cousins

The Connor Cousins

Memoir is available for all to read on