Category Archives: Montana Winters

A New Year for Women of Montana

cropped-16-DSC068473.jpgThis winter is pretty cold and snowy here in Bigfork, Montana. We have much to be thankful for living in our warm houses. Imagine how much we live a life of luxury compared to women homesteaders of Montana in the 1890’s living in a shack on a homestead farm!

You can read about these women by downloading two my two stories for FREE from my Amazon Kindle sit today, Friday, January 15th,  and Saturday, January 16th.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2    You can read Sophie Writes from Montana and Nora Takes A Chance on a Kindle, or any Personal Computer or smartphone with the Kindle App. I would greatly appreciate it if you write a brief review of the stories at the Amazon Kindle sites.

Best wishes for the New Year! – Mae Schick


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Nora Takes a Chance – Survival

 FREE eBook from  January 23rd  to Saturday,  January 24th! Author Page

Some men hold the debatable position that they are more decisive than women. Whether that is true is an open question. I think women tend to see more  variables- not just the physical and intellectual, but the emotional and spiritual as well. Processing all of that feeling and extra information takes time, as the latter have to work their way through the heart, and the heart cannot be rushed. Introspection and feelings come first, and then correct action follows, as when Nora takes a chance.

It could be what scientists tell us- that the connections between two halves of a woman’s brain are stronger than in a man’s. Or it could be from years of practice being the primary caregiver for children up to early adulthood, perhaps the greatest challenge a person can face. So when a woman ruminates you can bet that all the threads of her decision come into play. It can be automatic once her mind is made up, but that faculty is famous for changing. Like in Billy Joel’s song “She’s Only a Woman to Me” 

AppaloosaSuppose you put yourself in a new place, where the scenery is very different from where you lived. Early frosts, suspicious strangers and skittish horses. People are different. They are laconic and tend to stay within themselves for a long time until you get to know them, and you them. The homestead work is very hard and the rewards tenuous at best. And just getting up on a freezing winter morning or after a sleepless sweltering summer night strains the body. Then there are so many rattlesnakes outside that you have to step lively to avoid them if you can’t see them.

On the other hand there is the morning sunrise, the stars and moon which are not often visible in cities. They light up the sky and bring such wonder and peacefulness that the air seems sweeter, the wildflowers fresher, the grain fields more graceful and the people more kindly. There is time for reflection that is so necessary for the soul.

It also seems that it is in a time of great difficulty when we are most alive to all our thoughts and senses. Nora in Nora Takes A Chance falls into that state of mind. How she unravels her predicament focuses her, and she takes decisive action to save herself.

Read about Nora. Here’s a link to Nora’s webpage and an excerpt so you can listen to her thoughts- judge for yourself whether she will make the right choices. I hope this New Year you make the right choices for you as well.

Nora Takes A Chance is available as an eBook for Kindles, PCs and smart phones. It is FREE on Friday Saturday January 23-24.

Sophie Writes from Montana and Mirna: A Life of Her Own and my full-length novel Lila are all available in Kindle editionLila can also be ordered in PRINT edition for those who much prefer turning a book’s pages.


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Montana Winter

Here in Bigfork Montana it’s four or seven degrees, depending on which local  bank’s electric sign you trust. In Lewistown Montana, where my collection of stories about women homesteaders takes place, it is now minus nineteen degrees. The arctic wind from Canada that sweeps down the plains, unimpeded by mountains, makes Lewistown much colder than Bigfork.

Winter in Montana  always makes me wonder how homesteaders at the turn of the 20th century could survive the winter in tarpaper shacks when it got down to minus 30, or even minus 50 degrees with the wind chill.

Some women coped by returning to their former homes in other states for the six or seven months of winter. Some stayed nearby and worked in town. But those who had livestock had to stick it out, no matter how bad the weather conditions. A rope tied between their shack and the barn during white-out storms may have assured the women they would reach that protective shelter. Imagine having to get near freezing water from a well or a stream, or getting down feed for the cows!

What hardy women those homesteaders were! They were head of household, unmarried, and at least twenty-one years old. They survived on their wits, perseverance and muscle. If they were to survive they needed help from neighbors and hired hands to help with trade work, and put up their shacks. Doubtless many people presumed it would be impossible for women to “prove up” and gain possession of the land they farmed. Surprisingly, statistics tell us that women who took up the challenge were more successful on average than men, who were assumed to be better able to handle the backbreaking drudgery.

When I see photographs of these women I shake my head and wonder what went on in their heads that gave them such spunk. Maybe their faces speak volumes. Their written personal accounts of their daily lives provide inspiration for my novels and short stories. I am Intrigued by what their thoughts, emotions, and relationships may have been. . . Then I let my imagination invent their stories.


Lila can be read in print and ebook, and Mirna in ebook from Amazon.

Sophie, Nora, and Mrs. Andersson are coming soon, but Lizzie is still bucking. If there isn’t a snow storm I believe they may all join you for Christmas!

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