Friday, December 27, 2013

Montana Yuletides by my GGGrandmother Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassmann

In an unpublished manuscript,

Montana Yuletides,

Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassmann, daughter of Montana's First Territorial Governor, 
Sidney Edgerton, 
and my maternal Great, Great Grandmother,
 described her memories of two Christmas celebrations, 

one through the eyes of a disgruntled teen and the other through the eyes of a young mother.

In the opinion of her teenage self, Martha’s first Christmas in Montana was a decidedly unsuccessful affair:

“In Bannack our wishes were not consulted regarding what presents we would like. The merchants did not… cater to the Christmas trade. It was all they could do to provide the absolute necessities, and they often failed to supply these in winter. There were no eggs; no vegetables, no butter; and little in the food line except beef and game.

[That Christmas in Bannack] we hung our stockings as usual on Christmas Eve, but not under the mantle or before the rough stone fireplace that was our only source of warmth. We dangled [them] from some spot near the fireplace, making a goodly show. Having done our part, we went to bed with the full determination to rise betimes, which we did. It was bitterly cold-with the thermometer more depressed than it had ever been in our Ohio home. We scarcely noticed…in our anxiety to investigate the contents of our hosiery. Sitting on the floor before the bright fire that made the room fairly warm … in spots … we examined our presents. I do not remember what the other children had—their gifts did not interest me. Mine—I shall never forget—consisted of a pair of stout shoes. Was I grateful? Not a bit of it. I loathed those shoes, and the Christmas of 1863 was a distinct failure, so far as I was concerned. Like most children, I believed it to be the duty of parents to clothe their children. Shoes coming in that category, I saw no reason why I should regard them as a present!"

Her experience as a young mother in the winter of 1883, trying to please her children during a lonely isolated Christmas on the family homestead outside of Great Falls, takes a very different tone:

“In December of 1883 at the near approach of the holiday season, Mr. Rolfe was out on one of his business affairs; the weather, with its usual Montana uncertainty, becoming colder, making it doubtful when he would return. We were living in a small farm house on our homestead claim on the side of the hill above town, near the old state road. We were supplied with food, but my husband expecting to be back before Christmas had made no preparation for Christmas, nor did he leave me any money to do so. I could not walk to town, and I had two little girls and a baby to be made happy on the Day of Days. I could not disappoint them. A tree would be a delight…but there was no tannenbaum nearer than the Highwoods. I thought and thought…in front of our house we planted the previous summer two small cottonwood trees…unfortunately being unwatered, they promptly gave up the ghost. Armed with a meat saw, I attacked the shapelier of the two and soon laid it low. I then [found] some evergreen growing in draws not far away. Gathering an armful of this, I wrapped it about the dead limbs, fastening it with thread and behold! The tree was ready, but where were the ornaments, lights and toys? Once more resourceful, I brought out my rag bag. Some black silk stockings were converted into a … [doll] family, well clothed and wearing plenty of jewelry devised from discarded hat trimmings. Next came decorations consisting of popcorn together with whatever could serve the purpose from the rag bag and old hats. But who ever heard of a Christmas tree unlighted! Tallow candles cut into short lengths and fastened to the tree with considerable difficulty, provide the lighting. Bags of home-made candy and the smaller gifts hung on the tree, the rest piled at its base. The candles lighted, the door opened and the children entered; their eyes large with wonder and delight. I think they never saw a more enjoyable Christmas, and I know I never did, from witnessing their pleasure!”

Martha Edgerton, born in 1849, first came to Montana in the winter of 1863 with her parents, Sidney and Mary Wright Edgerton. In August 1876, she married fellow teacher Herbert Percy Rolfe, who became editor of the Great Falls Leader. In 1895 Herbert died and Martha assumed the editorship. In October 1895, Martha married her business manager Theodore Plassmann, but was widowed again by the following fall. Martha undertook a series of business ventures, including life insurance sales, poetry writing, and cattle ranching. She wrote articles for the Missoulian, assisted in the election of Lewis Duncan as mayor of Butte, and participated in the Missoula IWW free speech fight. In the 1920s she began writing historical articles for the Great Falls Tribune and the Montana News Association, basing many upon her own experiences. Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassmann died on September 25, 1936, in Great Falls, at the age of 86.

My Great, Great Grandmother’s writings are one of many collections in the Montana Historical Society Research Center. I've only ever been able to research online but it is a dream of mine to one day travel there and read the records they hold of my relatives in person. 

Source: Martha Edgerton Plassmann Papers, 1863-1939 (MC 78, Box 4)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fire Writer Friday Follow Up - Romy Sommer

Ho Ho Ho Cowboy Marvin has a December treat.

One of his favorite
Fire Writers, the first to do a 
Fire Writer Friday,
 is stopping by for the first 
Fire Writer Friday Follow Up.

Howdy Ms. Sommer, it is great to see you again.
I've a few more questions if you don't mind. 

What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time? 

These days that happens rather a lot! 

Usually when exhaustion sets in and I realise I've been staring at the computer screen, book page or TV for ages without really taking in what I'm seeing.

The last time I was GOOD absorbed in something was writing. Then it really is easy to get lost and wonder where the time went!

What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, do you have to watch when it's on? 

Interesting question. 

There are loads of movies I can happily re-watch but perhaps the one that I'd HAVE to watch if it was on is

Undercover Blues with Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid. 

It's still one of the funnies movies I've seen.

Do you think it was an 
Undercover Goat Production? 

If it involved goats, even behind the scenes, then it would have to be amazing.

What is one of the things you have or would put on your "bucket" list? 

I don't travel anywhere near as much as I'd like to, so there are still loads of places on my bucket list I want to go - 

a cruise down the Rhine, 

the Amalfi coast, 


the Carribean, 

carnival in Rio, 

Bourbon Street in New Orleans.... 

how much time have you got? 

Cos I can keep going....

I can see the appeal of Cornwall and the Carribean, lots of green things to munch.  

Partying in the streets in New Orleans and Rio, well goats love to dance so I'm all there.

But a cruise?  No thank you ma'am, this goat has heard about monsters that lurk in the water and will stay on dry land.

Tell me, other than this amazing goat, what's your favorite animal and why? 

Marvin, you're a tough act to follow, 

but I'm partial to dolphins. 

Dolphins? Odd looking creatures, no fur at all.  

They don't have sharp teeth do they?

And cats.

Cats are wonderful. 

They make great pets for goats.

Oh, and bearded lizards.

Um, no offense Ms. Sommer, but I'll stick with my cat.

Romy Sommer wrote for Written Fireside: For Clara Part 4 and Part 10
Harper Impulse now offers the entire story featuring Lori Connelly, Teresa F. Morgan, Romy SommerCharlotte Phillips, Carmel Harrington and AJ Nuest in the free sampler, Loving Winter Nights, Love Romance, click to get.

Romy Sommer also wrote for the current Written Fireside story.

Her latest book, The Trouble with Mojitos, is published by 
Harper Impulse a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  iTunes and All Romance eBooks.

Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos...

Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!

Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.

But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust - 


sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found....


“A mojito, please.” 

Kenzie sagged against the bar counter, not caring that her order sounded desperate or her body language suggested impatience. She needed alcohol, and she needed it now. 

The benefit of an empty bar was that the drink came reassuringly quickly, poured from an ice cold jug ready and waiting, and complete with swizzle stick and paper parasol. She ditched both and tossed the drink back. 

“Rough day?” The dreadlocked bar tender leaned on the scarred wooden counter. 

“You don’t know the half of it.” 

“Want to talk about it?” 

“Thanks, but I didn’t come here to talk.” She’d done enough of that all day. Talk, talk, talk, and still nothing to show for it. Now she understood how used car salesmen felt. Used. 

It was enough to drive a girl to drink. Or at least to the resort’s beach bar, since hitting the mini-bar in her hotel room was just too sad to contemplate. 

She didn’t drink alone. For that matter, she didn’t usually drink. Not these days. 

Beyond the thatched cabana, the sky flamed every shade of pink and orange imaginable as the sun set over the white sand and surf. But here inside the bar was dark, shadowy and strangely comforting after a day of white-hot heat. 

“She’ll have another.” 

She turned to the wryly amused voice, and wished she hadn’t as she spotted the dark figure at the shadowy end of the long bar. Great. The resident barfly, no doubt. As if she needed another reason to hate this resort, this island, and the whole stinking Caribbean. 

“I can order my own drinks, thank you.” 

The shadowed figure shrugged and turned his attention back to his own drink. “Suit yourself.” 

What was it with the men in this place? Didn’t think a woman could order her own drinks, didn’t think a woman could do business, wouldn’t even give her the time of day. She ground her teeth, the effects of the first drink not quite enough to blur the edges of her mood. “I’d like another, please.” 

She ignored the deep-throated chuckle down the other end of the bar as the barman removed her glass to re-fill it. 

The second drink followed the first a little more slowly, and this time she took a moment to savour it. Now she felt better. 

But she was still screwed. 

Neil had known it when he sent her out here. He’d known she’d be stone-walled, he knew he’d set her an impossible task, and still he’d sent her. He’d expected her to fail. Perhaps even wanted her to fail. 

There were days when her past seemed very far behind her. And then there were days like today, when it seemed she’d never escape the follies of her youth. 

“Sod him!” 

“That’s the spirit.” The stranger at the other end of the bar slid from his bar stool, out of the shadows and into the yellow lamplight. 

In another time and place he might have looked gorgeous, but in low-slung jeans that had seen better days, black long-sleeved tee, with hair in drastic need of a cut, several days’ worth of beard, and darkly glittering eyes, he was devastating. 

Pirate devastating. Bad boy devastating. 

Kenzie swallowed. Double great.

About Romy:

I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn't even think of being an author until I realized that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!

By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?

You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or on her blog.

Thanks for stopping by Romy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays Harper Impulse

Do You Remember The Making of Us?

I Found You that Sinfully Summer, that Loving Summer, the Summer of Surrender and offered you The Illicit Love of a Courtesan. We shared One Kiss, The First Kiss and then I lost The Passionate Love of a Rake. That’s The Trouble with Mojitos, one night I was All Wrapped Up in You,
Falling in love, only concerned with if it would be Your Room or Mine, but the next morning I was Waking up in Vegas alone.

Suddenly, a knock sounded on the door.  Hope soared.  For a second, I thought you had returned until a woman called out,

Did Someone Order Room Service?

What's a Girl to Do?  Say it with Sequins: The Rumba? No, I couldn’t escape into dance and live in Sound Bites. You were The Best Thing I Never Had, well briefly had, and I couldn’t forget The Last Kiss.

My Wing Girl advised moving on, told me How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates and all about The Park Bench Test but I didn’t want to be the Manhattan Millionaire's Cinderella. Trust in Me, I knew Plus One is a Lucky Number and I wanted Loving Winter Nights with The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge 

For a chance at a Loving Christmas, a Loving New Year, and to flip through The High Street Bride's Guide 
someday, I sought out The Keepers: Sienna and Archer. Through them, I learned Something Wicked separated us, how Lipstick On His Collar caused Braedric's Bane which led to Caedmon's Curse and the loss of Candra's Freedom.

Returning us to the United States of Love required braving the Forbidden. I traveled Beyond Grace's Rainbow and used Rowena's Key to find The Songbird and the Soldier. They had me listen to the Confessions of a Chalet Girl and learn all the Secrets of her Revenge.

I knew then that The Kiss Before Christmas would unleash the healing magic of true love. Decked out in my holiday best and determined not to repeat The First Christmas Without You, I confided in The Lawman of Silver Creek that my Santa Wore Leathers.  He directed me to the party for 
Christmas at Thornton Hall.

I arrived On the Scent of holiday cheer, pine boughs and spiced wine, bearing A Stocking Full of Romance. As the clock struck midnight, I Found You again and, with tears of joy wetting my cheeks, asked you please Kiss Me on This Cold December Night.

And we lived happily ever after.

Happy Holidays Harper Impulse

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fire Writer Friday - Mandy Baggot

Cowboy Marvin loves listening to the Written Fireside stories and is having great fun learning a little more about the Fire Writers  

Graciously, those who have or will author a part of the round robin story have agreed to stop by, one each Friday, and visit with my curious goat. 

Stopping by this Friday is

Mandy Baggot     

Howdy Lady B.

Let's get right to it, are you a night owl or early bird? 

Neither! I’m a middle of the day person! 
I have to get up early to take the children to school and writing starts when I get home. Ready for bed by 10pm most nights though...

unless there’s a party happening!

You must come to a Goat Party, 
we know how rock the house.

Who would you be, Batman or Robin?

Batman obviously! He’s so much cooler than Robin! 

I have a bit of a thing for Adam West too!

Do you think Adam would ditch Robin for another, awesome caped crusader?  

What do you think of this handsome guy?

Would you take a taxi or a limo if they were the same price?

Same price? Well then it would have to be a limo - 
I’m all about getting a bargain!

How about a ride with the King?  
An unforgettable experience.  

Do you like music?  What was the last song you listened to? 

Disco Love by The Saturdays 

I LOVE that song so much! 

Retro and new all at the same time.

Cool song.  Ever see goats dance?  Very entertaining.  Disco Goats 

What about your taste in movies, do you like scary, comedy, romance or adventure?

Ideal film would involve action and romance - something like Die Hard mashed up with Something Borrowed.

Could that work?

Of course it can.  Have you seen LadyHawke?  

My humans and I are huge fans.

What season do you like best, Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? 


Love it when it starts to get lighter at night and starts to warm up and everything is new :)

Spring is amazing!  I love love love it.  Green stuff everywhere. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Would you tell me a place you've never been to but would love to visit?

Mr Big and I have this discussion all the time. We’re really not interested in visiting anywhere new! We love going to Corfu which is a home from home, we’d love to see much more of the USA but apart from that we’ve got no real place on the bucket list.

If I may be so bold, allow me to recommend Oregon.

This is Mulnomah Falls.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Would you swim in the ocean or a pool? 

Love them both! 
Can’t choose!

You are a brave woman.

How would you go camping - sleeping bag under the stars, tent, trailer, fancy RV, or a hotel with room service?

I’ve done all of these! 

When I was younger camping was much more fun! Mr Big and I used to snuggle up in a two-man tent. 

Now we have children we have our own caravan we tow places but we also stay in static vans on sites and in hotels. 

I love them all! 

Ever tried backpacking?  

It's best with a goat or two,
just saying.    

One last question.  A goat walks through your door right now wearing a cowboy hat.  What does he say and why is he there?

Howdy Lady B. 

Grab your Stetson and let’s go to Nashville!

He’s picking me up for our date!

Mandy Baggot will write for
Written Fireside: His Way Home 
Part 11, the conclusion, on January 28th

Mandy's latest book, Do You Remember?
is available on Amazon now.

First Love. First Loss. Last chance?

2005 was the most traumatic year of Emma Barron’s life. It was the year her mother died and the year she met Guy Duval. Eight years on, she’s an English teacher with a doting boyfriend and a young son. Life’s been hard but now it’s comfortable. She’s settled and content…so why would she risk it all for another chance with the man that broke her heart?

Guy’s an international renowned footballer newly signed to a top UK team. But behind the confident facade is a man determined to drown the horrors from his childhood with fame, success and money.

Unable to confide in her best friend, Ally, Emma tries to hold her life together as her heart is pulled apart. Did she turn her back on love too soon?

Neither of them know what really happened on 5 September 2005 and as events are slowly revealed can anyone cope with the truth?

About Mandy:

Mandy Baggot is a romantic fiction author. In 2012 she won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her self-published title, Strings Attached was also short-listed for the Best Author Published Read award.

Also in 2012 she signed with American publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, who produced her novels, Taking Charge and the romantic suspense, Security.

In June 2013 she signed a two book deal with Harper Collins' digital first romance imprint, Harper Impulse.

She is a regular contributor to writing blogs and on-line magazine, Loveahappyendinglifestyle.

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, World’s Strongest Man, travel and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor.

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.

Follow Mandy online - Website   Facebook   Goodreads   Twitter 
 Harper Impulse   Sapphire Star Publishing   Loveahappyending Bookshelf

Thanks for stopping by Mandy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Tour with Jane Lark

12 Days of Christmas Tour with Jane Lark 12 Days Banner Final
Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Tour with Jane Lark.
After signing with publisher Harper Impulse, Jane, author of the smash-hit Marlow Intrigues series, has decided to end 2013 with a bang! She’s gathered together some of the industry’s best authors to create one enormous Christmas giveaway.
The huge prize is made up of more than 30 books, a combination of signed paperbacks and eBooks, and two gorgeous book bags. It’s the perfect early Christmas present for any bookworm and all you’ve got to do to win is feast your eyes on the details below and enter via the Rafflecopter . . .
To kick off the prizes, Jane is giving away copies of her much loved The Illicit Love of a Courtesan and its highly anticipated follow-up The Passionate Love of a Rake
NEWBookCoverQuote_IllicitLove NEWBookCover_PassionateLove
Jane's books have been a huge hit with fans, leading to an ever-increasing fan base and comments such as:
"Jane Lark has an amazing talent to draw the reader in from the first page onwards."
- CosmoChickLitan
And to celebrate her upcoming December release of NA novel I Found You, you could also win a unique rucksack.
The book is already causing excitement among readers and looks set to be the must-read NA of 2014.
IMG_1140[1] NEWBookCover_IFoundYou
But that's not all folks! As if Jane's books weren't enough, check out the other amazing books included in the prize pot, you're sure to find one or two of your fav authors getting involved . . .
12 Days of Christmas TP
  12 Days of Christmas TP2  
Entry to Jane Lark's 12 Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza is easy, just follow the authors on Facebook or Twitter, plus maybe give the comp a shout-out tweet (or two) all via the Rafflecopter below and you're golden. But don't forget to keep your fingers crossed too!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please take a moment to read through the giveaway terms and conditions:
This is an international giveaway.
Signed paperbacks are to be sent from the authors themselves. Jane Lark, BestChickLit and/or any authors involved accept no responsibility for delivery failures. The winner must be open to accepting eBooks in any format i.e. Kindle copies and via iTunes voucher, from different sources. In the event of .mobi copies, the winner must have an Amazon Kindle account and be prepared to add selected addresses as approved emails on their Personal Document settings.
Some of the books involved in the giveaway contain adult and sexual content and this should be taken into consideration before reading. Jane Lark, BestChickLit, Harper Impulse and any of the participating authors are free to amend any of the giveaway details at any time.
Good luck!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fire Writer Friday - Sue Fortin

Cowboy Marvin loves listening to the Written Fireside stories and is having great fun learning a little more about the Fire Writers  

Graciously, those who have authored a part of the round robin story have agreed to stop by, one each Friday, and visit with my curious goat. 

Stopping by this Friday is

Sue Fortin      

Howdy Ms. Fortin.

Let's get right to it, are you a night owl or early bird? 

A bit of both really but that can only be sustained for a short period of time. I suppose I’d choose early mornings over late nights.

I enjoy mornings as well.

Blackberry leaves are the tastiest, damp with morning dew.

My humans oddly prefer coffee. 

 Moving on.  Who would you be, Batman or Robin?

Robin. That big hood and cape that Batman wears, would so mess my hair up!

A female Robin, I can see it.  

I wonder if Goatman has a sidekick?

Would you take a taxi or a limo if they were the same price?

Much more understated.


They appear rather eye catching to me. 

Do you like music?  What was the last song you listened to?  

‘Tonight’ by Kings of Leon. I’m a bit of a KOL anorak but I do listen to other stuff too.


They have a nice sound. 

 Do you think they need another back up singer? 

 I have a unique voice.

What about your taste in movies, do you like scary, comedy, romance or adventure?

Adventure always. Then I’d probably go for romance and/or comedy. I don’t watch scary movies, ever. I’m such a chicken!

I love adventures.  Sometimes I jump the fence to seek out a little fun and you should see my human's expressions, priceless.  

So now, what season do you like best, Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? 

Showing my Englisheness here, I’m going for Autumn. 
Love the colours it brings. Although I have to admit, I do enjoy all the seasons.

Autumn bring apples, one of my all time favorite foods.  I'll eat all I can reach off the tree.

Would you tell me a place you've never been to but would love to visit?

Australia - it’s such a vast and diverse country.

It looks amazing.  

I would love to visit and watch the awesome racing goats in action.

Would you swim in the ocean or a pool? 

The pool. I’m not so keen on all the other lifeforms you have to share the sea with.

Pools are great.  

I wouldn't put one hoof in the ocean after Ms. Hulsman told me about the monter fish lurking in those waters.

So how would you go camping - sleeping bag under the stars, tent, trailer, fancy RV, or a hotel with room service?

Would love to sleep under the stars - as long as it wasn’t too cold.

On a warm summer night, under a full moon, it is wonderful as long as the llama is on guard. 

One last question.  A goat walks through your door right now wearing a cowboy hat.  What does he say and why is he there?

‘What do you think to my hat?’ 

He knows I’ll tell him the truth.

Sue Fortin will write for
Written Fireside: His Way Home 
Part 9 on January 14th

Sue's book, United States of Love, is available Amazon.

Since splitting from her husband, single mum Anna Barnes is enjoying her new found freedom and independence.
However, she didn't bank on working for Tex Garcia – or the sparks that fly between them. The gorgeous American chef is getting the locals hot under the collar and not just because of his culinary prowess!

One problem: Tex can't commit and women pass through his life like dishes going out to service! Will it be the same with Anna? One thing’s for sure, this All American man is determined to break her self-imposed rule of never mixing business with pleasure – and add some spice into the mix…

‘This is romance with a twist of intrigue and that meant that I just couldn't put it down!’ – MeMyBooksandI

‘This is a great little read with well thought out characters, solid plot and interesting backstory, all the ingredients for a tasty treat.’ –

Follow Sue online - Blog  2nd Blog  Twitter 

Thanks for stopping by Sue!

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