Find the juice!


Photo by Faye Maddox Photography.

The Spring Montana Writer’s Retreat is in Bozeman this April 27, 28, 29, 2018. This 3 day workshop rekindles a fresh beginning with your creativity and focuses on new techniques for “fleshing” out passages. Finding your core message will be explored. Beginners welcome.

For more information visit Montana Writer’s Retreat.

Here are some testimonials from the 3rd Annual Virginia City Winter Writer’s Retreat this February 2018 at the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center in Virginia City, Montana. A magical time was had by all!

“Once again you’ve outdone yourself with the Montana Writer’s Retreat. You juggled multiple genres—non-fiction essays, memoir, poetry, fiction—as well as diverse writing levels and project goals. You’re also sensitive to where each writer is at personally and any external pressures in their lives.

With all those factors in mind, while providing unified instruction for the group, you also customize writing exercises for each participant. You allow the group to chat and bond and then gently bring us back to the page. All beautifully balanced, well done.

Oh, and the food—nourishment of the body and brain! I’d need to write another post devoted solely to that!”

My Heartfelt Thanks,


Anika Hanisch working on novel outline. Photo by Allyson Adams

“In my in-between art project times, I’m building bridges between current skills & experience to…where I want to go.

The amount of wisdom, engagement, and encouragement from these amazing writers was priceless. Thank you Allyson for leading and nurturing the way ❤️Keep pushing your limits of what you believe is possible for you to accomplish and in growing… both as an artist and an amazing human

Mary Riitano


Mary Riitano.


“For one who has always found excuses to put off a dream, I am so glad I finally did not! This retreat was nourishing to my body (artful, creative, body pleasing food); soul (mentoring, encouragement, direction and such deep knowledge shared from a true professional); and heart (Allyson gave us permission to be selfish, make it about “us”, so “we were not there to make friends”,
but WE DID)❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Karen McMullin


Karen McMullin


“This was a true learning experience for me, with so many bottled up ideas just running over my already full glass of wine….apple, grape, red and white!!! Just can’t wait for the next one!!! Thanks Allyson, and so nice to be able to share in a group that was warm, welcoming and easy. Much Love, when outside it was 0 degrees, inside was warm and purring. A motor running on all cylinders.”

Donna Jones


Donna Jones


The Writer’s Table

Thank you to all the ladies who joined me at the Writer’s Retreat this winter!


See you next time,


Kuan Yin andme

Posing with my old chum, Kuan Yin, who was probably a vegetarian.


The Road South

I was lucky enough to get out of town for 12 days and head south to Sedona Arizona with my compadre Leslie and her dachshund, Louie. Seasoned travelers, all of us, we took Leslie’s car because it’s a Toyota Highlander, has Sirius radio and drives like a dream. There’s a lot of wide open spaces between Virginia City Montana and Arizona. Yeah, like Utah. America the beautiful never rang so true as it did along Highway 89.

flowers and grey clouds

Flowers and grey clouds.


Mormon Temple, Utah.


Louie our mascot.

Cave Trading Post

First stop is a trading post and museum that are inside a real cave.

Orange hills and Ally

Didn’t buy anything. It’s a miracle!


Mystic Hot Springs, Utah


Monument Valley Tribal National Park.

Tribal Flags

West Mitten with Tribal flags.

Eagle Sedona

Enchantment Village in Sedona.


From the Mariposa Restaurant (exquisite) at sunset in Sedona.

Rib Eye

Best ribeye I’ve ever had.

Kuan Yin andme

Posing with my old chum, Kuan Yin, who was probably a vegetarian.


More magic with an early morning buck in the front yard.

tourist ally

Totally tourist.

Kuan Yin

Stunning Kuan Yin.

orange buddha

Sleeping orange Buddha.

Buddha hand




Merlin in front of Whole Foods, Sedona.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

Prickly Pear Margaritas from the cactus I picked in the yard. True to its name, the little needles were everywhere and I made syrup from the juice. Hurts so good.

Red Road

On the red road again.

Monument Ally

Love the wide open spaces.


Our friends, friend, made this. Happy Trails!


2 Birds One Stone

Thank you to all the writers who joined me at the 2nd Annual Virginia City Winter Writer’s Retreat at The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center! A soulful, nourishing, creative time was had by all. Special thanks to our gracious hostess, as always, Toni James. Toni is the quiet, hardworking Lady of Elling House, also owns Ranks Mercantile and runs the Virginia City Volunteer Fire Department. Hats off to the woman in turnouts!


“Writers in Yellow Room.”   Faye Maddox Photography

Montana women are a special breed and you only have to live through a few winters to appreciate the common sense, heartiness and ingenuity of those who call this rugged, last best place their home. So, for these brave ladies to call themselves “a writer” means that they are willing to add this deep practice to the list of their many other roles: mother, cowgirl, rancher, business owner, gardener, chicken farmer, actress, teacher, photographer, missionary worker, chef, spiritual healer, ghost writer, mother to special needs children, coach, wife and massage therapist. What a beautiful village.

Here’s what they had to say about the weekend.


“Genius at work.”   Faye Maddox Photography

“During the Writer’s Workshop, Allyson takes you through an archaeological dig of finding your voice. She helps you dust away the layers in order to craft the story each of us holds inside. She not only nourishes your soul, she feeds your body with delicious healthful food!” Faye

“It was truly inspirational! Thank you again for nourishing our bodies, minds and souls. Thank you for asking for my testimonial. Do IT! Sign UP! WRITE! And don’t forget your kleenex! Oh, here is a more polished piece: Attending the Writer’s Workshop was truly a gift to myself. Allyson’s techniques to instruct and inspire have set me off on a new path that I never would have expected to be on. Spending time with women writers was amazing as we shared of ourselves and gave input into one another’s stories. I did not only come away as a better writer after that weekend but I also came away enriched as a person. And for that I am profoundly touched.” Warm regards, Dawn

“Love you ❤ and thank you for being the teacher that turned it all around (for me anyway). I hope I can be the student to turn it all around for you too. I loved what you taught and the yummy meals and our stretches and everything about the class. I’m happy I stayed until the end.” Robin

“I left the workshop feeling recharged and reconnected to my creativity.” Jolene

“Dear Allyson, You gave your all this weekend! Thank you for the perfect mix of healing balm and stretching tips and advice. So what I needed at this moment in my career!” All the best, Anika

And thank you Writers for sharing yourselves, your work, dreams, hearts and souls. I can’t wait for the next chapter!

With deep respect and love,


Montana Writer Retreats website.


“Happy Writer, Teacher, Chef.”  Faye Maddox Photography

Allyson Adams revives Jeannette Rankin’s legacy in new short play

Allyson Adams

Teacher, author, playwright and actress Allyson Adams discovered U.S. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin’s story through biography “Flight of the Dove” by Kevin Giles in a Virginia City Bookstore in 1997.

“I felt kind of cheated I had never heard about her,” Adams said during an interview last week in her Virginia City home. Before that, history to Adams was “about war and men in bad wigs.” “It might have changed my whole life.”

But the meeting did change her life. Adams immediately took inspiration from Rankin’s story, turning it into a sweeping play covering 60 years in the first woman to hold federal office’s life from her childhood in Montana to her protest of the Vietnam War. It followed her involvement in the women’s suffrage movement, her successful runs for Montana’s lone Congressional seat, her “no” votes for entry into both WWI and WWII and her continued calls for peace. Adams read the play to her students, thinking it was too political to produce, but with their urging staged it at Virginia City’s Opera House.

 That play would become Adams’ one-woman show “Moment of Peace,” which toured Montana for a decade. She performed for groups of all sorts and as a teaching tool in schools, where the play fit in with English, history, government and drama curriculum. It also gave rise to the MontanaPBS docudrama “Peace is a Woman’s Job,” which Adams wrote, directed, produced and starred in using people and scenes from Virginia City. Her own house became a set, patriotic dressings on the back porch a stage where Rankin greeted the public after winning her first election. A prop sign announcing the “National American Woman Suffrage Assn.” still hangs under Adams’ porch.


Then came Sept. 11, 2001. Suddenly, the political climate changed as there was once again a push toward war. No one wanted to hear about a historic peacemaker.

“The only positive thing I could take away from it is this is how Jeannette felt,” Adams said. Allyson1.jpg

Adams turned to other projects, teaching drama to Ennis high schools students, coaching speech and debate, hosting writing retreats and leading the Tobacco Root Writers group, publishing her father’s memoir of his friendship with Elvis Presley, ”The Rebel & The King,” and working on her first cookbook.

“Not only did we do the whole Jeannette Rankin thing, but then life imitated art and I became the mayor of Virginia City,” Adams said.

Adams soon realized she would rather remain an artist than be a politician. As the 100th year anniversary of Rankin’s first election loomed, she knew she had to revisit Rankin’s story.

This time, the play, “Save the Country: How Belle Fligelman and Jeannette Rankin Changed the World,” takes place in the three years starting with Montana women gaining suffrage and ending with her first “no” vote. It also focuses on the relationship between Rankin and journalist-turned campaign manager Belle Fligelman. In many ways that relationship mirrors that of Adams and longtime collaborator Linsu Crowley.


Linsu Crowley

“I couldn’t have done it without her,” Adams said of the years working on and touring the first Rankin play with Crowley. “In some small way, it’s kind of a tribute to her.”

Librarian Beth Boyson, Get Out’s library columnist, organized the event as part of a push to bring more free theatrical readings to the library. There is so much to learn from history, from the true stories of the world, Boyson explained.

“I admire Miss Rankin’s stance, a singular stance against war,” Boyson said. “The people of Montana took a brave step and elected her. It tells a little something about the character of the state and the character of Jeannette Rankin.” jeannette_real


Rankin was a political progressive, fighting for equal wages for women, for health and safety of workers, for education, care of infants and child nutrition. The name of the play, “Save the Country,” is taken from these ideals, from Rankin’s domestic agenda as opposed to the peace vote which is normally first in any discussion of her life.

“It is all together fitting and proper that a mother be at the bedside of her child to nurse him through typhoid fever, and it is all together fitting and proper that she then go out into the public forum to eradicate the conditions that gave her child the disease in the first place,” Rankin proclaims early in “Save the Country.” “It is for these women that have no voice, that I ask you to vote and dare to make women free.”

“Save the Country” is more modern and experimental than its predecessor, calling for a spotlight where actors speak directly to the audience. It also includes Rankin’s premonition of the testing of the atomic bomb in New Mexico.

“Young people and Americans, they don’t know their history,” Adams said. “That’s why we keep repeating it.”

As for Adams, she may retire Rankin soon.

“It’s not that I want to spend my whole life on Jeannette,” she said, talking about Rankin’s platform from campaign finance reform to support for the GI Bill. “I want to clear up misconceptions.”

Allyson Adams

The first staged reading of “Save the Country: How Belle Fligelman and Jeannette Rankin Changed the World” is Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. in the Bozeman Public Library’s Community Room, 626 E. Main St. The free reading will feature Amber Rose Mason as Belle Fligelman, Adams as Jeannette Rankin and John Hosking as Wellington Rankin, Jeannette’s Harvard-educated brother and campaign financier. There will also be music by Bozeman singer-songwriter Edis Kittrell. A talkback with the writer and actors will follow the roughly 35-minute play and cake will be served. A full production will be staged at the Torch Theatre in Virginia City in summer 2017.

By Rachel Hergett at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Oct. 27, 2016