Canada’s Civil War



The Metis (part white and part native) were a group of people who started the first settlements in Western Canada.  They combined both cultures very efficiently.  They farmed and they hunted as well.  Again, like most settlers in the west, history books don’t often tell of their part in settling the west.

Their villages, like other settlements consisted of shops, homes and churches. Set along the picturesque slopes of the North Saskatchewan River, the village is set in the park-lands area of Saskatchewan, not the flat south most people are familiar with.

Batoche stands out as where The Riel Rebellion of 1885  took place. Batoche is the site Louis Riel chose to set up the ‘Provisional Government of Saskatchewan’.

In ‘Hawk’s Gift – a western romance, – I go into depth as to the causes that both the Metis and Natives felt as a need to separate from Canada. Even to this day Canada’s west is often overpowered by rules and regulations made in the East. And by people who sometimes don’t understand Canadian Western people.    Hawks Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Country Charm Blog Hop – March 20 to March 25

SpringTime Country Blog Hop

“Thank you Sara Walter Ellwood for the opportunity to participate in this exciting Blog Hop on my most favorite of characters – the cowboy.”

The Grand Prize is a $100 Gift Card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)

In the cold blustery weather of a 2013/2014 Canadian winter, my mind wanders to our spring.  Today thoughts of spring long ago brings the memory of my mother’s Mother’s Day flowers. My dad would go out to the pastures and bring back a bouquet of the loveliest of flowers.  Tiger-Lily grew wild in the northern prairies, looking delicate but so hardy.

But there is something else that dominates my scope as well. I watch cowboys, no longer bundled in their heavy coats as they appear.  Open shirts, brawny shoulders, lean hips and tight jeans flood my vision. My inspiration has arrived. What’s a girl supposed to do, except appreciate this change of events?  When a cowboy stops to talk or just smile my heart quickens. Anticipation, like  spring, is reborn, alive and vibrant.  I long for the mysteries spring promises and delivers.  Every spring it’s easy to create yet another of my own special cowboys to love and cherish.

I am giving away one e-book for One Dance with a Stranger. For a chance to win One Dance with a Stranger  please contact me at:

Subject: One Dance with a Stranger.

Giveaway ends March 25th.  

Visit all Blog Hop Authors and their Cowboy Stories

Sara Walter Ellwood                   Tera Shanley                                     Krista Ames                Aileen Fish                                   D’Ann Lindun                                    Liberty Ann’s                                                                                                                             SnifferWalk books

Harlie Williams                           Lorraine Paton                                   Sarah Kades               Musings from the Keyboard      Kristina Knight                                   Savannah Young         Andrea Downing                        Kathleen Ball                                     Randi Alexander         Romancing the West                 Jeanine McAdam                               Lily Graison                 Words, Words, Words              Christi Williams                                 Shanna Hatfield           Charlene Raddon                       Alethea Williams                               Kara O’Neal (Bucket                                                                                                                  List)                            Gem Sivad                                  Rawhide and Sundown                     Abigail Sharpe

My Cowboys

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes
Wade Hart: – a superstar country singer, a man filled with charm and the ability to take whatever he wants.  Emily Van Sheldon, a girl who grew up on the streets and is determined enough to never allow physical attraction interfere with her new life, free of chaos and poverty.  

Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Damien Larocque: –  a dangerous but irresistible drifter and maybe just too good-looking for his own good.   Roberta Taylor, a wealthy, stubborn woman is determined to change this cowboy she is so attracted to.  

Alberta Wild Rose by Mary M. Forbes

 Dale: –  with a bitterness that  makes him callous at times,  he has a chip on his shoulder. But sheltered Alberta Rose O’Neill sneaks beneath his skin and he can’t believe he is attracted to and wants to protect this lady.

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Jeans

As far back as the 15th century, Genoa, Italy was famous for their cotton corduroy.  From this material they developed another twill fabric that became known as ‘de Nimes’.  (denims). But it wasn’t used to make jeans at that time or even for a few centuries after.


In North America denim was used mainly for cowboy and miner’s pants because of its’ strength,manufactured but not called jeans.  In the mid 1800’s Jacob Davis contacted Levi Strauss to suggest a patent  be put on his added idea of putting copper rivets to re-enforce the points of stress on the denim pants Strauss was selling.  In 1873 Levi Strauss brand jeans were sold.   Jeans continued to be used by cowboys and miners until the 1950’s when they started becoming popular for everyone.

In my book, Hawk’s Gift which takes place in the 1880’s, I was relieved that I could write:

–  ‘He wore tight jeans, as though denim had been invented specifically for him.’Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Finding Friday – Louis Riel

A little history of the Canadian West

Louis Riel

Louis Riel is considered the head of the Riel Rebellion – western Canada’s civil war.  My research shows Gabriel Dumont was the actual leader – with Gabriel getting Louis Riel to come help him send letters and requests to the government. Gabriel could neither read nor write.  Louis Riel was a very educated man, but no longer a gunfighter.  From the accounts I can see Riel was completely immersed into religion and considered himself a prophet of the Lord.  It is said he wouldn’t even touch a gun.

And Gabriel Dumont had no intentions of fighting either.  He just wanted the government to fulfill some of its’ promises.  Of course the government made no attempt to even reply, let alone carry through on any promises.  So, it’s probably true the whole Rebellion could have been prevented, had the government had the decency to even answer the letters.

But Louis Riel was hung in Regina as the ‘ringleader’ of the Riel Rebellion.  Possibly because Gabriel Dumont had escaped the noose and couldn’t be found to punish?

Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Roberta is a heroine I love and Damien, well, he’s dangerous but oh, so addicting.…. I envy your ability to write unforgettable characters ….Rachelle Ayala – author of  Michal’s Window, Historical Romance.

Finding Friday – Gabriel Dumont

A little history of Canada – the main characters in the Riel Rebellion of 1885

Many people think Louis Riel as the head figure of the Riel Rebellion.   By the time troubles started in the west Louis Riel had changed drastically.  He was a peace-loving, religious man who wouldn’t even carry a gun anymore.

Gabriel Dumont, Mayor and Saloon owner in the Metis village of Batoche, was the true head of the Riel Rebellion. In 1873 Dumont was elected President of the short-lived Republic of St. Laurent. After frustrating years of fighting the eastern government and getting nowhere he was determined they were better off without eastern intervention.

Gabriel went to MontaGabriel Dumontna and brought his good friend (Louis Riel) back to Canada to write the eloquent,  letters to McDonald.  He was adjutant general in the provisional Métis government declared in the District of Saskatchewan in 1885.  He commanded the Métis forces in the North-West Rebellion.  Gabriel could not read or write.  But his skill with a gun or rifle was known throughout the west.

Oddly, Gabriel Dumont is the only leading figure of the rebellion who managed to escape and fled to the USA.  He was hired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – as a sharp-shooter of course.

Hawk’s Gift

A story that takes place around the time of the Riel Rebellion.  But ultimately Hawk’s Gift is a romance first.

Hawks's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Finding Friday – Big Bear

Big Bear

A little history of Western Canada – the main characters in the Riel Rebellion

I don’t know why but Big Bear was a fascinating person to me.  Unlike most of the others who willingly took a government Reservation, Big Bear has his reservations.  Almost psychic he predicted the starvation and loss of a way of life that wasn’t for the better.  He wanted so badly for the white man to go away and for the buffalo to return, both of which were dreams.

Refusing to take a reservation Big Bear took his people to Montana where they could have their life of freedom and live the way they wanted. That is until the USA army kicked them out – calling them Canadian Indians.  That might have been confusing as well.  The Native borders were not so defined and a Canadian or American Indian wasn’t so cut and dried.

He knew he couldn’t fight the American army so he came back to take a reservation near Frog Lake.  When the Metis declared their own nation in the west, Big Bear (Peace Chief) and especially Wandering Spirit (War Chief) willingly left their reservations to reclaim their land.  The Frog Lake Massacre occurred.  Instead of joining their allies in Batoche however, Wandering Spirit seemed happy to just wander around pillaging and plundering.

Both Big Bear and Wandering Spirit were hung in Regina for their activities in the Rebellion.

In Hawk’s Gift, my characters Damien and Roberta spend time in Big Bear’s Montana camp.

Hawks's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Damien’s personal thoughts – Hawk’s Gift

I’ve discovered life is only about having fun.  It’s too short to worry or be serious.  Bad things happen to everyone but it’s how you ignore it and get on with enjoying life that is important.  Tomorrow will probably bring disaster, but I’ll deal with it then.  But Bobbie pushes and spouts off the most ridiculous arguments. I wish I could teach her how much fun life can be if she stops worrying.

Why do I care what she thinks?  Every time she opens her mouth she sounds like a prune-faced old lady.  She thinks she’s so superior.  But oh when she forgets who she is she’s fascinating.  She is precocious and so entertaining.  And the vibes she sends out are anything but that of an old lady.  There is something about her that I can’t ignore, I can’t forget and that’s a first for me. Love ’em and leave ’em – that’s my motto. Why can’t I just leave her?

Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Roberta’s personal thoughts – Hawk’s Gift

Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Oh my, oh my –  I could just sit and stare at this guy for hours and hours.  Everything about him is so fascinating. What on earth is happening to me.  This guy is a loser and definitely not my type at all.  I should just walk away and get on with my life – but…  My dreams are centered all around him now.  What should I do?  He makes me laugh.  He makes my heart  flutter with anticipation.  He makes my just living fun.

But I wonder what will happen in the future?  There seems to be no future  It’s only now, the present with him. But what an unforgettable  wonderful present. I wish I could change him and he would be perfect.  But I’ve learned there is no changing another person.  They can only change themselves.  I know that.

Hawk’s Gift: Excerpt 2

Bobbie turned her back on him.  What was he getting so huffy about?  He was drunk and he was French.  “I did ask you to speak English and you can’t. And that’s why I said maybe not too intelligent.  All intelligent people know English is the only truly civilized…” She turned to face him again.

Grimacing, he turned and moved to the window, lifting it and peering outside.  “Bon, un balcon, Vien,

“Pardon me?”  Bobbie stared at him, puzzled.

Did she understand him correctly?  Did he want her to crawl out the window?  Was it possible?  She hadn’t even started to plead her case yet.

Her gaze moved to the large bed, which took up the majority of floor space in this tiny room.  The covers were tousled and soiled, indicating the type of activity performed here.  Her stomach began churning again.

“Please speak English.  I can’t understand you.”  She whispered, unable to move.

Impatiently, Damien came back to grab her arm and he began pulling her towards the window.  He was going to leave!  Excitement surged within.  He was going to help her escape.

“Wait,” Suddenly she stopped short, trying to dig her heels into the hard wooden floor.  “Where are we going?”

Aunt Hortense always said not to trust a man.  ‘If they are willing to do something for you, then surely they’ll want something dreadful in return’.  Bobbie could still hear her words, although dear Aunt Hortense had passed away nearly a year ago.

A blank stare crossed Damien’s features.

“Why would you help me?”  Bobbie managed to croak out.  Her tongue tip licked against her dry lips.

Damien’s eyes were suddenly smouldering.  Then he shook his head and raised his eyebrows in a mocking manner.  He chuckled.

“Damien, you god-damned bastard, there ain’t no thousand dollars here.”  The muted sound of Gertrude’s rage sounded through the closed door.

Then Bobbie could hear heavy footsteps on the stairs.

C’pourquoi.”  Damien smiled.  Picking her up, he hoisted her out the window and onto the verandah.

Grabbing her hand, he continued moving swiftly towards the outdoor stairs.  “Let’s get out of here, mignonne.”

Perplexed, Bobbie stumbled along behind him.  He spoke English with an intriguing Scottish accent.

Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes