The New West – Calgary

Calgary is situated in the foothills of the Blue Canadian Rockies, where the snow-capped mountains often look as though they are painted on the sky for an awesome sight when you have your morning coffee.  The weather is moderate.  Although there is a saying in Calgary ‘If you don’t like the weather – wait 10 minutes and it will change.’

Calgary - Voted Cleanest City in the World

Calgary – Voted Cleanest City in the World

Calgary is situated on the clear, clean waters of the Bow River – which runs out of the glacier fed Lake Louise.  It was originally a popular gathering point for the Blackfoot natives.  The Bow River was a  place where the tree branches were material for bow and arrows.  With a chinook that can blow through often, the temperatures could warm and the snow go away at any time, including the winters.Calgary is Canada’s newest city and in my opinion, by far the cleanest city.  With the head-offices for oil companies galore, it has the largest population of Americans outside the USA in the world. Most people share optimism and a desire to work and thrive.

A fort was established in 1875 by the North-West Mounted Police and the original founder – Sam Livingstone – was already settled in the area;  The fort was called Calgary which is Gaelic for ‘swift waters’.

The settlers of the area were mainly ranchers and often those ‘second-sons’ of aristocrats.  The Canadian Pacific Railroad ran through Calgary and created a settlement of what is known as ‘China Town’ now as well as a landmark hotel made of sandstone – The Palliser, which is still in downtown Calgary.

Palliser Calgary Hotel

Palliser Calgary Hotel

Calgary was a small settlement until oil was discovered in the Turner Valley, Black Diamond area and in the early 1900′s the city started thriving. There has been no looking back.  Calgary is a bustling, thriving city where it always seemed to me – about every 10 years, old dirty buildings/areas are torn down and new, clean buildings replace them. Some people don’t appreciate that – but to me Calgarians definitely understand the difference between old junk and real heritage landmarks.  There are old buildings that are maintained of course.

It is a transient city and may be a reason people are so friendly.  My two sons were born in Calgary but that seems to be a rarity. Most people seem to come to Calgary to work.  My romance story One Dance with a Stranger takes place in Calgary.  My romance story Alberta Wild Rose takes place in Calgary’s fascinating surrounding area (the Lost Lemon Mine) and the story I am working on now Seraphim will mainly take place in Calgary.

Cowboys and country - Background for Sophisticated Cowboy


The book – Calgary, Spirit of the West by Hugh A. Dempsey is a great book on the history of Calgary.




Here are a few websites with information on visiting Calgary.

Visit Calgary

Calgary Attractions

The Romance Reviews – Sizzling Summer Reads Party

Sizzling-Summer-ReadsCome join the fun.  Meet new Authors; Win prizes.  The Grand Prize is a $100.00 gift certificate.

On  June 21from 12:00am EST to 11:59pm EST  there will be a Question/Answer on One Dance with a Stranger.  Answer correctly for a chance to win a Kindle Copy of One Dance with a Stranger.

One Dance with a Stranger - Front Cover

Easter Memories create Spring Fever

One Dance with a Stranger - Front CoverThank you for joining in the fun of the Spring Fever Blog Hop. Meet other authors of romance. Win prizes and participate in the chance to win a free e-book of One Dance with a Stranger, my contemporary western romance.

A Rafflecopter giveaway


230px-Pussy_willow_branchSpring Fever means Easter memories – Growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, myself and my many siblings were still required to attend Mass, especially on Easter Sunday. The weather was much nicer now and once back from church I would discard my new Easter dress for my beloved jeans and I would go out to catch my horse.

I say catch because he didn’t just come when called. Mostly I used oats, because Bond loved oats. But at Easter there was chocolate. Bond loved chocolate even more.

So, I would put my chocolate into my back pocket and he would meekly follow me back to the barn, trying to get into the pocket. Even though it was one of the only times I got chocolate I always shared it with my horse, who loved chocolate too.

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.

Author Blog Hop – Who I am.

Thank you Sherri Hayes –  for letting me participate in this Blog Hop

Never Pick a Pretty Woman

What I am working on now: –  I am doing another contemporary romance, Never Pick a Pretty Woman – using my imagination to think of what obstacles and stereotypes they might encounter if they are so beautiful people might have no interest in looking below the surface.

I am also working on another project – a story of abuse, losing all trust, grief and trying to escape. This project is more difficult and I have put it aside a few times.  At this point I don’t know whether the title will be ‘Seraphim‘ or ‘Our Darkest Hour‘. Opinions would be greatly appreciated.

How my work differs from others: –  There is always my settings which are quite unique.  I have heard  that Canadian History and even Canadian life is not interesting. I know that’s not true.  I love the rich interesting history of the west and I love living in Calgary, The New West.  I also work hard at developing characters who are consistent and sometimes fun.  After extensive reading, I think there are many characters who forget to have fun in their story.

Why I write what I do: –  I have so many stories floating around in my head it can be confusing.  Writing the story down helps me focus  – then I release it so it isn’t clogging up my head and start another. I suppose I write like many others – because I have to. I write Romance because I love stories of hope and people being happy not depressed.  If I’m depressed myself,  I want to read something that doesn’t depress me further and many stories do.

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. ForbesHow my writing process works – After much procrastination (checking Facebook page, or e-mails) and after a few smart steps (setting up my coffee the night before – so I don’t need to wait long for the magic brew) I will sit down and write.  I try to put challenges on myself – things like writing a 1000 words a day to writing a chapter a day.  I try to have the research done – a very rough outline (one sentence chapter prompts) but mainly I write what is in my head and dreams.  Those sentences seem to help me keep the story in line in case I drift off course, which I’m apt to do.

Check out my website to see more  ‘In Dreams we can be anyone we want’

Next Friday check out these authors as they share their writing process

Mahrie.Mahrie G Reid – writes mystery/romance fiction. As Mahrie Glab she is also a freelance non-fiction writer and instructor/facilitator for creative writing courses.After a hectic real estate appraising career in Calgary, Alberta, she enjoys the slower pace of her writing career and her activities in the writing community. She resides in central Alberta near the alluring rural Alberta foothills.
Her training and public speaking experiences include:

  • A general novel writing course, a creative writing workshop and an awakening your talent workshop for Powerhouse, Pembina Consortium in Drayton Valley.
  • A mystery writing course at Metro Community College in Edmonton
  • Workshops for international writing conferences as well as writers groups throughout the province teaching creative-writing, writing-craft and motivational/goal setting topics:
    • ARWA Romance Writers’ Conferences
    • Victoria Romance Writers’ Conference
    • 1999 University of Calgary, Journalism Conference

Check out her blog here

Glass People ImageJumbled Writer  – has a book dealing with the troubles young people have to deal with in a modern, chaotic world.  A failed comedian named Fred Isaac hopes to resurrect his image by starting a support group for those considering suicide. With a dark past of his own, Fred gathers together a group of four strangers: America (a fierce businesswoman and mother), Ruth (America’s quiet and depressed daughter), Meredith (a costume designer with a guilty conscience), and Len (a theatrical teenager trying to understand his world). Using multiple narrators, each group member exposes the secrets that have been holding them hostage as they look to turn their life around in this dark comedy-drama.

Check out his blog here

The Romance Reviews – Third Anniversary Party

The Romance Reviews - Third Anniversary Party

More than 200 participating authors!!!

More than 200 prizes to be won!!!

Where you can find any book you want in Romance.

Join in the fun and gifts and come celebrate for  The Romance Review’s third anniversary.

Free SymbolI am featuring One Dance with a Stranger – with one free e-book give away. There is a Question/Answer on March 24th for my book.  Answer questions and receive points for chances to win gifts.  Please visit The Romance Reviews for details.  Good luck. One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes

Emily’s personal thoughts – One Dance with a Stranger

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes

When I close my eyes, I can sometimes feel the creepy crawling creatures that hide in the night.  I feel the dirt that clings to my skin as I lay on the sticky ground. The cold seeps inside my worn clothes.  I  smell the garbage from the dumpsters and other unwashed grimy bodies around.  Some snore in a drunken stupor.  Some groan and moan in pain and stiffness.  I cry as silently as possible.  For my alternative is worse.  It is  those people who look down their noses and make me feel they are better.  It is those people who won’t share their food with me or give me a bed to sleep in. I should feel grateful for their leftover scraps and their cleaned floors.   It is those people who make me feel like a worm.  It is criticism and harsh words or that condescending  – ‘poor girl, she doesn’t know.  She has to be taught… she has to learn.’  

I come here  to these people because we are all equal here. I even feel the love and affection some give me.  It’s unfortunate we have to live in the back alleys. I don’t need to be told – life is not fair.

Then I wake from my nightmare and look around at the pristine cleanliness of my new,  life. Everything is white.  Everything is clean because it is white. When I’m awake I learn to block the sordid past and convince myself this is and always has been my perfect life.  I can’t afford to let emotions inside or this will all fall apart.

Some might think I need help.  Those are the people who didn’t have to live in chaos, poverty or abuse.  They are the fortunate.

Wade’s personal thoughts – One Dance with a Stranger

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes

When I saw who Tony’s fiancee was I felt fear.  And that anger I need to control, that anger I sometimes feel doesn’t need controlling – ‘who cares anyway?’. Of all people Tony does not deserve Emily.

She is nothing like I imagined from her picture and she is everything I imagined.  The conflict is confusing.  Since I stared at her picture for years, thinking she was perfect, it’s not possible she can be better than perfect, but she is.  That haughty, don’t touch me look is almost transparent.  She can say what she wants, but that lonely girl expression is still in her eyes.  She does look like an ice-queen, just like Tony said.  But can’t he see below the surface?  Is he that shallow?  Of course he is.  Tony is who he is and I can’t change it either.  But I can help Emily see what he is. The biggest favor anyone could do for her is get her away from him.

Oh, oh, mom is looking at me oddly.  Why can’t she see who Tony really is? Because she’s his mother, that’s why.  Mom doesn’t want her sons to fight and I can imagine her words if we start fighting over a girl.

Emily says something scornful about my Texas drawl.  I grin with amusement.  Oh Emily you are just too much of a challenge to ignore. Mom and Tony slip from my mind and there is only Emily and I.

One Dance with a Stranger: Excerpt 2

Her head was spinning.  Her headache had returned full force.  Her hands leaned against the table, weak and helpless.  Her legs felt numb and lifeless.  Yet she wanted to get up and run.  She had to get up.

“I’ve spent my whole life watching women make fools over him.  I really thought you could resist him Emily.  Do you want to hear what else he said?”

As soon as the circulation returned to her legs she would get up.  She would pack and leave immediately.  She wouldn’t stay another moment with these lunatics.  This whole situation was only a game between two brothers who obviously hated each other.

Shattering with complete anguish she finally tilted her head around to look at Wade.  He was stiff.  He looked alone and miserable and her heart stirred.  But he was not denying anything.  He looked into her eyes as though begging for forgiveness.  It was a sign of guilt.  She couldn’t forgive.  Her heart hardened.  She brought her hands up to unfasten his clasping fingers.  Digging her nails into his flesh, she flung his hands away.  Finally she could stand.  She did.

“I think you are both very, very sick men.”  She enunciated slowly, moving back into the house.  “I think you both have some issues only a physiatrist can help you with.  I’m happy I will never see either of you again.”

“Emily,” Janet spoke up quickly.  “Wade was drunk.  Please understand.”

“And that makes a difference – why?”  Emily didn’t even bother to turn. She opened the door and walked through the kitchen into the hall.

“Emily, wait,” Wade moved into the hall.

“Don’t touch me.”  She was proud of the ice in her tone.  She kept walking.  “Don’t you dare touch me,”

Her voice nearly broke.  She had to get away immediately.  He’d won his bet.  He had turned her into a whore with an ease that was frightening.  She couldn’t stay and pack now with him standing beside her.  She moved into the entrance hall instead.

“Where are my keys?”

“You’re in no condition to drive.”  Wade stood with his hands in his pockets.  “Please darlin’, let me explain.”

“Explain?”  Emily’s eyes narrowed.

She fought valiantly for control, welcoming the ice invading with steady thoroughness.  Soon, very soon she could be the Emily she had proudly become.  She would be Emily who didn’t love anyone and the Emily who didn’t need anyone.  She had no feelings inside.  She had no heart.

“Did you make the bet?”


“Did you say you could turn me into a whore?”

“Yes, but,”

“There are no buts darlin’,”

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes