The Rugged Rock and Guest Author Mary Sullivan!


Please give a big Petticoats and Pistols welcome to our
Friday guest author ~ Mary Sullivan!
Miss Mary hails from Toronto, Canada and today is giving away a
copy of her newest release, MONTANA RODEO STAR 
to one lucky person who responds to her questions at the end of this post.




Petticoats and Pistols, thank you so much for having me here today!

I write about cowboys, ranchers, sheriffs, and small towns. Often, I have wondered why I’m fascinated with ranching and farming life when I have never lived that life. I grew up in a large city.

The source of this interest, I believe, was my parents who grew up in rural Newfoundland on the eastern edge of Canada. I grew up listening to my mother’s stories of her childhood, her experience light years from my own urban childhood. Her family lived a life of self-sufficiency ruled by ‘island’ mentality. She was a small child during the Great Depression. Anything they needed or that had to be done or fixed had to be handled on their own. They were hardy and resourceful.

Newfoundland’s nickname of The Rock is justified. It’s rugged, to say the least.

Despite this, the family grew all of their own vegetables—potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbages, and onions—and stored them winter-long in root cellars. Even the children had their daily chores. They were not idle.

They fished for cod and laid it out to dry on ‘fish flakes’ set up on a hillside in the sun. They also salted the fish.

They owned cows and chickens.

Every spring, they bought a pig that they fattened throughout the summer for butchering, curing and preserving in the fall. My mother, a great animal lover, doted on the pig every summer and would steal buttermilk after the cows were milked to rub over the pig’s back to make it soft!

Then, one day in the autumn, her family would send her off to visit friends or family so she wouldn’t be around when they killed the animal she had nurtured for months. It saddened her immensely. I asked her once how she felt about all of this and whether she could bring herself to enjoy the bacon and ham the pig produced. Her pragmatic response was, “Of course. I had to eat.”

Winters were harsh, with frigid temperatures for months on end and deep snow nearly covering ground floor windows. Winter started early and ended late.

The buckets and buckets of wild blueberries my mother picked and sold every summer bought her a new pair of shoes for the start of another school year in September.

I don’t romanticize how difficult her life was, but even given such a bare-bones existence, my mother had a happy and healthy childhood with loving parents. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved to play pranks and was adored by her one older and six younger siblings.

My brothers and sisters and I love to visit. The island and my extended family there hold captive a huge portion of my heart. Here’s a photo of me with my sisters wearing our tourist t-shirts during a recent visit!


I imagine large ranches as being much like islands, with life lived so close to the land and the harsh reality of nature and death a hairs-breadth away. I imagine self-sufficiency and pragmatism. I imagine tough, hard-working people.


My latest book, HOME ON THE RANCH: MONTANA RODEO STAR is the final, sixth book of my Rodeo, Montana, series. I have loved writing about the six women who labored to keep their small town afloat by reviving the local fair and rodeo.

Cocky but likable Dusty Lincoln meets his match in stubborn Maxine Porter. 
If ever two opposite should not attract, it is these two, but attract they do!


You can find it here:


I’m giving away a copy of MONTANA RODEO STAR to one of today’s blog visitors.
Please respond to the questions below for a chance to win.


Have you ever visited a ranch or wanted to?

Or did you grow up on one?

Or are you a die-hard city person?



Multi-published author, Mary Sullivan, finds fulfillment in writing heart-warming, small town romance.
Her first book, No Ordinary Cowboy, was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest.
Her books have since won awards and glowing reviews. For Mary, writing a book is very much like putting
together a jigsaw puzzle without the final image. She indulges her passion for puzzles—particularly getting
her daily cryptic crossword fix and putting together real jigsaw puzzles without the box—in her hometown
of Toronto.  

Mary’s Website:   

Follow Mary on Facebook at


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32 thoughts on “The Rugged Rock and Guest Author Mary Sullivan!”

  1. I was raised more in a urban setting, a lake community in my teens. The lake suck as there was so much algae. I live in the city now but if I had my choice I would live in a much smaller town.

  2. I was born i n the city and have lived in one my whole life. I have visited a ranch. It takes a dedication and love of the land to run a farm or ranch. I have always had a lot of respect for our early pioneers because if it wasn’t for their dedication, spirit and strength I don’t see how the West could exist.

  3. I have visited many ranches and grew up in the country surrounded by cattle, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats and horses. There is no better place than bring surround by animals.

  4. I grew up in the city and swore I would never move to the country but I fell in love with a country boy and here I am 32 yrs living in the rural country and would never move back to the city ever.

  5. My father was a cattle broker/Cattle auction/feedlot manager/feedlot owner so ranches were part of my life. The times that we lived in town we still had a farm or ranch close by. I have enjoyed the times I’ve lived in a city but I prefer country living. I live in a very rural area now and being chronically ill I wish I lived closer to a big town because it would make life a little easier. I’ve yet to read one of your books but I’m a virtual newbie to the reading world. I started reading again in November 2016 after decades of not reading and I’m on my 207th book. A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list. Happy New Year!

    • Stephanie, you’ve lived such an interesting life, knowing both urban and country living. I’m glad you started reading again. It’s one of the best things! Good luck with the contest. My fingers are crossed for you 🙂

  6. I would love to visit a ranch. There are several cattle ranches in my area and sometimes I will drive by one and just park on the road and listen to the cows mooing. It is relaxing to me. I think I could do very well at one in this area because it is just on the edge of the country. There is the best of both worlds.

    • Janine, I am the same! I don’t know what it is about cows that is so relaxing. A writing colleague who is also a dairy farmer, says cows are relaxing animals, and also affectionate. That surprised me!

      • The affectionate part is a nice surprise. I had no idea they were. Maybe one day I will get to pet one. I have never gotten out of the car because I am afraid the rancher may not like someone going to his fence.

  7. Hi Mary! I was raised in a tourist area surrounded by the many lakes in Minnesota. When I married my husband the first thing we bought was a hobby farm. We raised quarter horses and enjoyed that life for five years until our son was born. He was allergic to everything related to the hobby farm, so we ventured another path. We still enjoy horses whenever we can and we now ATV ride in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming every summer where we enjoy moose, mule deer, and elk. We love country life. Thank for such a heartwarmingg blog.

    • Kathy, I’m sorry to hear that your son was so allergic, but we do whatever we can to keep our children healthy, don’t we? It sounds like you have found a way to still enjoy the country immensely 🙂

  8. Welcome Mary. I was raised on a farm with a lot of animals. Some for pets/4-H and some for eating. I loved riding Goldie (Palomino)in the rodeos, barrel racing. I looked like a little bug on a big horse. I was tiny but feisty. I love reading western books with heart and soul, humor and of course romance.

    • Lori, I love Westerns, too…reading them as much as writing them. I’m disappointed that the Western line has been cancelled, but am super happy that this final book in the rodeo series has been published.

  9. Several years ago, I took a tour of the Southfork Ranch near Dallas. I grew up in a small town along the Texas Gulf Coast. I’m not a fan of big, crowded cities.

  10. I love the tidbits on your mom’s growing up! I grew up on a farm and know how to be happy with and live on little. I wasn’t too saddened by the dying or butchering of cows we had befriended because I was taught that we needed to eat more! I am a die hard country girl still.

  11. I have never visited a ranch but was always in love with ranch life, the horses and the neverending horizon. You book sounds captivating.

  12. I enjoyed your informative and fascinating post about Newfoundland. Newfoundland interests me greatly since I am Canadian and know this unique and special site very well. I visited the island and loved the setting. I am a city dweller as I was born and grew up in Montreal, then moved to Ontario. A smaller city near Toronto but still city living.

  13. I never had the opportunity to stay at a ranch but I would have loved the experience. I was born in a large city and continue to live in a medium sized city. I require good medical care and this is why but living in a rural environment interests me. Newfoundland is so authentic, captivating and wonderful. I visited and fell hard for this place. I read the book The Day the World Came to Town. Gander is filled with real people who are generous, kind, and thoughtful.

    • Sharon, I haven’t read The Day the World Came to Town yet, but I’ve seen Come From Away twice and loved it. What an amazing event.

  14. I live in a rural area in Pennsylvania, many farms here but no ranches. Sure I’d love to visit a ranch,tour it and see the workings of it. Dairy farms are prevalent here in Franklin County PA. I’d love to read your book as it sounds great.

  15. Your descriptive and beautiful, heartfelt ode to your ancestors and the family who lives in Newfoundland brought me enjoyment since you know what is important in life. Family and the meaningful time you have together. To me that is all that matters. Ranch life or life on an island. I know and learned about the hardships from my father and mother.

  16. I grew up on a dairy farm in Northeast New York. Now I live on a livestock and wheat farm in Central Washington. I’m definitely a country girl. Thank you for your personal look at Newfoundland. It is a part of Canada we don’t hear much about.

  17. My parents moved my sister and I out to the desert and we raised animals for food. I never could eat the meat when I found out it was one of my “pets”. I guess it would have have been different if I had known that lifestyle from the start, but even today I would rather go to the store. I could live in the country just not raise my own meat I am to squeamish.

  18. I am not a city girl. I like visiting to take advantage of what they have to offer. I have lived in a few, but prefer to live with wide open spaces around. I grew up in the country in the Adirondack mountains of New York state near the Canadian border. When we lived in Colorado Springs, we were on the top of a ridge on the edge of town overlooking the prairie with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak. Sacramento and Washington. DC had much to offer and we took advantage of it while there. We now live 10 miles from town on a ridge overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I lived near farms and helped out on them when growing up. Ranching out West is much more extensive in the size of the property, distance from neighbors, and like other agricultural endeavors in the amount of work to be done. We have raised chickens and have always had a good sized garden. Our daughter now has a mini farm and has raised pigs and a calf for her freezer. She has chickens, llamas, goats, and sheep. Ranching or faming are hard work and you really need to be pretty self-sufficient.
    We have not yet made it to Newfoundland, but it is on our wish list. We have been to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. By comparison, I am sure life there is a bit more easy. The Mainland is closer and easier to get to. Your mother’s stories are much like those my grandmother told me about their life during the Depression. She was a pretty self-sufficient person, climbing ladders and working her garden until she passed away in her late 80’s.

  19. Patricia, thank you so much for sharing your life experiences. You have lived, and currently live, in a lovely part of the world. We are so fortunate when we can find a spot on this earth that we love. I firmly believe that the Depression affected those who lived through it for the rest of their lives. My mum lived into her 80s, too, and remained physically strong and active until she developed dementia. Such amazing women. I’m glad you’ve seen a couple of our Maritime provinces. If you ever have a chance to visit Newfoundland, please drop me a line through my website and let me know what you think!

  20. Never was around any ranches but grew up on a very small farm. We raise our pigs and had our gardens and such and canned our food for the winter.

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