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About Theresa Nichols Schuster

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Theresa Nichols Schuster is author of "Brittle Silver" and "We Are the Warriors" a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist. She currently lives in southwest Montana where she appreciated the wonders of nature, family, friends, a bit of pottery.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Announcing the Release of my new novel, Brittle Silver!


I am so excited to see my historical fiction, Brittle Silver, up and available on Amazon as well as other book distribution centers! The streets of Granite and Philipsburg, Montana of 1892 have come alive again. Sixteen-year-old Vic Keegan, after traveling back in time to the year of the Great Silver Panic, resolves to do whatever it takes to survive until she can find a way back home. Vic's growing affection for the young Cornish miner, Jago (Yah-go) Pendarvis complicates her shrewd deception. Meanwhile, the threats to the town and mine escalate as the silver crisis deepens.

My special thanks to all the editors, proof readers, family encouragement, and research assistance from so many people and organizations. I am so indebted to my dear husband, Jerry, who though he is no longer with us, was such a support to my writing and research. I will always remember him riding a four-wheeler in the Flint Creek Mountains, happily exploring old Granite and the many mining camps in the mountains.

Reviews would be greatly appreciated. Check with me about quantity discounts. I hope to give updates and more info. from all my historical research in future posts.

Brittle Silver available on Amazon

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Finding Thankfulness

Not like I felt like my life was already tumultuous enough in the past year and a half…then along came Covid-19...A bit like the raging Gallatin River during spring runoff.


I, and many of us at this time, have had to dig deep to find the positive, live the values we believe in, and cultivate a patience that often hides itself from us. One of my ongoing initiatives is to give thanks for the good, however small.

I was fortunate this past year to work with a freelance editor, Pam Glauber, on tuning up my Brittle Silver manuscript. Over a period of several months, Pam analyzed my plot, characters and story arc, and made suggestions. It was several more months of fits and starts, interspersed with challenges in my own life, to finally come to a rewrite that made me happy. I am so thankful for her vision and assistance.

Finally under 100,000 words, still historically accurate and interesting, yet character-driven and challenging, Brittle Silver is again ready for a round of hunting for a literary agent. This daunting and time-consuming task always leaves me shaking my head, but I hope for the best, and a match of interest and enthusiasm. Each submission is personally researched, tailored, rewritten with guidelines followed and details adjusted. All with the hope that my manuscript will find a home and a champion that can see the world of Vic and Jago and relive the days of 1892-93 in Granite and Philipsburg, Montana.

Thanks to Granite County Museum for some of these classic photos.

Other reasons I am thankful; for my husband to share these trying times with, for my family who keeps in contact through texts, calls, and video chats, for my friends who stay in touch. I yearn for more, but try to accept the current situation.

I am grateful for spring and summer and the beautiful signs of nature around us that continue to show forth. I am pleased I finally discovered that odd sound I have been hearing; the winnowing of the snipe, actually the wings of the snipe as it flies in the evening or early morning. Check it out. Truly amazing! I won’t tell you how long it took me to figure it out.

My encouragement is for us to accept and honor our feelings, whatever they may be...then to list ten things we are thankful for, no matter how small and simple. Peace to you in these days.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Journey to 1892 Granite and Philipsburg, Montana

Hard to imagine myself riding an ATV through the rugged back trails of the Flint Creek Mountains; however, there I was, exploring the ghost towns of Tower, Hasmark and Granite, reliving the days of the 1890s, before the Great Silver Panic.

My current manuscript is set in this amazing country, the town of Philipsburg, Montana, and the ghost town of Granite. Here, the history is rich, the residents welcoming and knowledgeable, and the landscapes inspiring.

I happened to have scheduled my travels and research on the weekend of the Miners’ Union Day in Philipsburg, a tradition previously celebrated in Granite, and begun in 1866 in the Comstock District. This year’s contests and picnic were sponsored by the Philipsburg Brewing Company, owned by Nolan and Cathy Smith and housed in the historic Sayrs Building. Contests throughout the day were held in jack leg drilling, hand mucking, 12-B Mucking and other mining skills. Although most participants were fairly young, a few seasoned veterans showed the youngsters a thing or two.

After lunch, a group of volunteers demonstrated the running of the restored 1891 stamp mill at Hope. These dedicated individuals, with years of effort, have made this historic dream a reality.

Nolan and Cathy provided a warm welcome and assisted me in making contacts with locals to help with my research and travels. I was able to explore the old townsite of Rumsey with the permission of local landowners. Little remains but the massive foundations of the old mill. It was exciting to see the place of the Rumsey Tunnel adit, a feature in my story, and a monumental endeavor at the time.

My lodging in the historic Kaiser House, built in 1878, was a delight. Owners Lynn and Kurk Unger shared the fascinating history of the hotel, including an actual menu from the 1890s. If you are in Philipsburg, their shops, Snookies Mercantile and the Wine and Cheese Cellar, have some amazing finds.

The following day, I embarked on an ATV tour of the old mines, ghost towns and mountainsides with Richard and Tammy Johnson of Montana ATV AdventuresRichard is very knowledgeable about southwestern Montana history, stories and topography.  

The intersection of people’s lives, livelihoods and hazards of mining were richly displayed and shared. The rough back roads were a testament to the hard life of many a prospector, miner and the women and children who lived in these mountains. I found the ATV ride exciting and challenging. My sore back the next day attested to more than minor physical exertion for a neophyte.

As always the Flint Creek Mountains and stories of the people who lived there in the 1800s are intriguing. The men who entered the holes in the ground, the women who ran boarding houses and raised children in the mining towns; their stories come alive in the landscapes, newspapers, documents, and buildings of the region. 

The beautiful town of Philipsburg has found a way to continue even as the economy of mining tumbled. Hopefully my fictional story will be a tribute to the people and the region.

                                   Life...always an adventure!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Life and Writing

After a rather lengthy hiatus from blogging, I’m back! I let myself become immersed in writing my current novel, working with beta readers, and editing again and again.

The story of Vic and Jago (pronounced Yago) in 1892 Granite and Philipsburg has captivated me. I hope to share the story with you in the not too distant future.

During this time, I also let myself relish the wonders of life; adventures with my husband, Jerry (hiking, skiing, traveling…); visiting and enjoying our family in different places across the U.S.; learning more about ceramics and pottery; enjoying the planning and celebration of our youngest son and his new bride’s wedding; and taking the time to get or stay in shape—truly a challenge as we get older.

I am excited to finally get to participate in the Miners Union Day in Philipsburg this weekend, explore some of the ghost towns in Granite County, and check out the old Rumsey Mill site. Should be a grand adventure and delight to share the history that interests so many people in Montana!

I am hovering between the worlds of traditional publishing and self-publishing…We’ll see what the next six months reveals. Ten years ago I had no idea what I was getting into when I began writing a novel. Now I know so much more—But, I feel like I still know so little about publishing and marketing a novel.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 Montana Book Festival: What kind of an author, writer, reader do you want to be?

On September 20-25th, in Missoula, the 2016 edition of the Montana Book Festival will kick off a rousing week of workshops, discussions, panels and readings from nearly 150 authors from Montana and beyond. The offerings are richly varied and include young adult and children’s activities, discussions about self-publishing, the American west, Montana mystery, Approaches to Spiritual Inquiry, Healing through Native and native Western Voices, Revision and the Poetic Process, a book fair, and much more to tantalize the literary palette.

The children and young adult events are free, as are most Thursday and Sunday events. Workshops have special pricing. Access to the Friday and Saturday events is $5 each or a button for $15 covers those days plus the author/reader reception and other gatherings. Check the full listings at The Festival promises to be an enthusiastic and creative week.

I am delighted to again be part of the Youth Festival portion of the event with my young adult novel, We Are the Warriors, a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist. I will be co-presenting the teen workshop, “Creating Dynamic Characters,” with Kris Dinnison of Spokane, author of You and Me and Him, and Frank Nappi, author of Welcome to the Show, the third installment in the Mickey Tussler series.

The Youth portion of the Festival includes other outstanding Montana authors such as Susan Adrian, whose young adult novel, Tunnel Vision, garnered Honor Book for the Montana Book Award and Blythe Woolston, the author of Black Helicopters, winner of the High Plains Book Award for YA literature. Recent middle-grade books that have splashed onto the scene include Janet Fox’s The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, receiving multiple starred reviews and Kent Davis’ A Riddle in Ruby recipient of a Kirkus starred review.

With so many literary choices, I am again faced with the dilemma, “What kind of author do I want to be? What kind of writer? What do I want to read?” There are so many options.

A year ago I decided to embark on some short story writing. After I wrote and edited and re-edited a story for about eight weeks, I realized I would rather spend that quantity and quality of time continuing to work on my next novel.

Sometimes our interests or abilities are a bit preordained, seemingly not in our decision-making power. Contrary to my instincts, every now and then I decide to read a book my gut knows I won’t really like. It’s not my genre. Not my cup of tea. But I want to be able to say I know how it is written, how it reads, what its audience is...I read to accomplish a mission. Most often though, I prefer to read for enjoyment or education—that is my compelling draw.

Many of my favorite choices lately have been to read Montana authors. This has been an enlightening, fun and captivating endeavor. Such talent and creativity in so many voices. Always wish I had more time to read. The 2016 Montana Book Festival offers a unique opportunity to hear from many of these dedicated and talented individuals—from an awesome array of genres.

On a recent hike up the old road to the Granite Ghost Town, high in the Flint Creek Mountains, I had the occasion to revel in an era over one hundred years before. All my research, reading and study opened a door that displayed the lives of women and men many years before. The old granite foundations, roads and rotting timbers spoke of vitality—once, or again—so very real. My YA novel of time travel, rich in historical accuracy is taking shape...More to come later...maybe the ghosts do speak to us. #MBF2016  #treasure

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

First Draft: The Dream...The Inspiration

I am so delighted to be finished with a rough draft of my next novel. After several months of scattered writing, I did the “math” this February and realized I needed a determined focus to complete a first draft of my novel before the beautiful days of summer were upon me. Frankly, I usually don’t write extensively in the summer...way too many other things to enjoy...visits with family, time with friends, hiking awesome trails, pulling weeds (it can be therapeutic) and watching a campfire late at night.

So I embarked on a single-minded creative venture for late winter and early spring, choosing to skip other writing such as short stories, extensive journaling or blogging, and other likewise pursuits, and diving into “being written” by a story. I also allowed myself the luxury of reading several books, mostly by local authors. For me, I consider “local” to be both Bozeman and Wolf Point here are two very different “cultures.” There are things and people I enjoy about both locales, and also there are some things that bite about each.

My new novel at this time is titled, “Brittle Silver.” When I say rough draft, I do mean ROUGH. It feels a bit like a sieve, lots of holes, but still an exciting storyline and characters. I’m never sure how much I should talk about a work in progress. Does talking upset the muses? Or is talking a way of sharing the excitement? I’m not really sure.

“Brittle Silver” was spawned several years ago when I cajoled my teenage son, his girlfriend, young adult daughter and my husband to walk the steep, twisty road toward the ghost town of Granite, high in the Flint Creek Range outside of Philipsburg. I never have liked narrow mountain roads that provide few places wide enough for two vehicles to pass. The sign that read: “Road Not Maintained, Travel at Your Own Risk” was also a bit of a deterrent to my desire to drive the washed out road.

After several miles of walking, the teens had their fill of the steady climb and lagged far behind Jerry, Maria and I. I goaded them on another mile, knowing we were so close, but my persistence did not outweigh their resistance, we turned around and enjoyed the easy trip downhill.

It was several years later before we made our assault on the mountain again. Not sure who was the main instigator this time, maybe the history major in the group...Anyway, this time it was with vehicles. We did make it to the top...I was a bit of a wreck with the narrow, cliff-hanging road...more adrenalin than I knew what to do with. When my knees quit knocking, I was finally able to enjoy the experience.

Once there, the rugged mountaintop was fascinating. Although almost all the buildings were gone, the stonework of the mills and history of the town of Granite that perched 7,000 feet on the side of a mountain was amazing.  That day initiated a several year search into the history and stories of the town of Granite. Including days spent at the Granite County Museum looking at photos and mementos, at the Philipsburg Mail perusing old newspapers from 1892 and 1893, and at the Montana Historical Society in Helena looking at mining reports and maps.

Out of my research and reflections grew some very special characters, some fictional, some historical, all unique. These individuals and stories have captivated my imagination and seem as real as the breezes on the high mountain. And where are they going?

The wonderful books I was able to read between writing...these I must rave about. Two of the books were middle grade novels packed with great action and mystery by Bozeman authors, Janet Fox’s The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle and Kent Davis’ A Riddle in Ruby. Wolf Point co-author, Jeremy Watterson’s and Skylar Browning’s book, Montana Baseball History reminded me of those wonderful warm evenings watching American Legion Baseball in the 1970’s at Cobb Field. The talented players, Coach Eddie Bayne and the ever-dedicated Catholic nuns cheering behind the dugout made the experience timeless. Wolf Point author, Joe McGeschick’s, Howard’s Dream, is a tribute to a man, an invention, the business of Wood’s Power Grip and a special family.

Two other novels I read this winter are included in my “local reads.” One, In Open Spaces by Russell Rowland of Billings, is a tale of family strength and turmoil in the wide rolling prairie of southeastern Montana in the early nineteen hundreds. I grew up on stories of my dad’s younger years in the 30s and 40s driving mail and freight on the back roads of southeast Montana. I remember the look of pride and excitement in my father’s eyes when he told of being sent to Detroit at the age of eighteen in 1936 to pick up a new truck for his dad. The seemingly endless dry years also brought me back to my move to Wolf Point during the drought of the 80's, when pockets were tight, tempers short, yet hope for the rains to come and better days, always on the horizon. I look forward to reading Russell’s newest book, Fifty-Six Counties, on one of my long plane rides this spring.

Second, I had the opportunity to read Spokane’s Kris Dinnison’s (my delightful co-panelist at the 2015 Montana Book Festival) young adult novel, You and Me and Him. This is a tale that portrays the angst of young love within the arc of friendship and loyalty. Lastly, I finally read the multi-faceted story of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, definitely an engaging tale.

Enough for now. Happy reading and creating. Have a delightful start to summer...By the way it is snowing right now...a tree snapping snow for May 10th...but...just wait...there are better days ahead...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Reading from Bozeman’s Children’s Authors

This is a wonderful time of year to snuggle up with your kids, grandkids or just yourself and immerse yourselves in a good book. As a writer, it is also a great time to create, dream and explore new avenues.

Bozeman has several children’s authors whose 2015 Book Launch Party pages are posted on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) website ( You are invited to visit these pages to discover more about the authors, their books, and their preferred points of sale. If you click on their names and book titles, you will be taken directly to their personal Book Launch Party Page.

The first author and book I would like to introduce you to is, Jack Day’s, Gramma and Granpa’s Adventures in Yellowstone National Park, illustrated by Ruth Toth. This fun, creative story about a trip through Yellowstone Park is a beautifully illustrated chapter book that also includes coloring pages. Jack Day moved to Bozeman forty years ago, was a founder of the city youth soccer program, president of the Friends of Montana Public Television and the Intermountain Opera Association. His first published book was Gramma and Granpa and the Three Bears.

The next featured Launch Party page is for Kent Davis, author of A Riddle in Ruby. This middle grade novel is packed with adventure, daring heroes and alchemic automatons.  This book is a fast paced, lively story about a “thief in training, a pirate’s daughter, living in a world ruled by alchemists who mix magic and science.” Kent Davis is not only a writer, but an actor, game designer and teacher at Montana State University.

This next Launch Party page is for a soon-to-be-released middle grade novel by Janet Fox, The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle. This novel, a historical fantasy set in Scotland is Janet Fox’s fifth book. It will be released in March 2016 and is available for preorder. Her previous titles include Getting Organized Without Losing It (2006), and the young adult novels, Faithful (2010), Forgiven (2011) and Sirens (2012). Janet is a former high school English teacher and a graduate of the MFA/Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has served as Montana’s SCBWI Regional Advisor and is active as a writing workshop teacher and leader.

The last Launch Party page featured is for my own young adult novel, We Are the Warriors by Theresa Nichols Schuster, a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist for the West Region. This novel, set on a fictitious Montana Indian reservation, is the story of Blake Newman, a high school junior who moves to a reservation when his dad is hired as school principal. Blake is forced to face his fears, prejudices and even his deepening love, within a culture different from his own. Theresa lived for thirty years in Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Reservation. Her business, TNS Services, provided health education and promotion, for communities, schools and families in northeast Montana.

Stay warm, enjoy a good read and watch the snow fall!