Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

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April Book News

fiction writer


LESLIE BUDEWITZ
: Oh, how true those pictures are! With spring, I’ve made an effort to clean my office, but you know how that goes—every file and pile is a day’s worth of projects, aTreblend while I’m busy with those, more pile up. Writing and revising, and talking about books, are much more fun than cleaning! I’m getting ready for the launch of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the fourth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, coming June 8 from Midnight Ink—you can pre-order it now. And I’m finishing up the fifth installment, set at the magical time of Christmas in the lakeside resort community of Jewel Bay, Montana. Meanwhile, there’s a terrific ebook sale, for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other formats! Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers’ Village series, is 2.99, and Crime Rib, the second is 5.99. My first two Spice Shop Mysteries are also on sale, Assault & Pepper for 2.99 and Guilty as Cinnamon for 5.99. And the audio book of Death al Dente will be out April 30!

Later in April, I’ll be at Malice Domestic, the annual fan convention celebrating the traditional mystery, in Washington, D.C. It’s great fun—five hundred readers and writers, including book bloggers, booksellers, and librarians, plus some agents and editors, attending panel discussions and interviews, teas and charity auctions, and constantly chatting about reading and writing.

I hope spring is blooming with books for you!

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MORE APRIL BOOK NEWS:   Deborah Epperson

It’s true what they say. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel.  For me, that light is FINALLY finishing up a novel I started over a decade ago. SHADOWS OF HOME will be available on Amazon later this month. It is a southern romantic-suspense set in the bayous around Caddo Lake in NW Louisiana in 1970.

After five years of city life, Elita Pearl Dupree is going home to the mystical land of her birth, the mysterious waters of Indian lore called Caddo Lake.

She’s determined to find out the truth about her father’s mysterious death, and while she’s at it, hopes to rekindle her relationship with her first love, Royce Sutton. Elita soon discovers that things and people can change a lot in five years, and not necessarily for the better.

SHADOWS OF HOME

A woman with questions. A man with secrets. A bayou without mercy.

eBook cover - Shadows of Home - Deborah Epperson

 

September Book News

writer cartoon

Killing Thyme (final)LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Writing a little every day — that’s the writer’s motto. KILLING THYME, the third book in my Spice Shop Mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be out October 4, so I’m busy with book launch fun, and of course, working on the next book. I’ll be in New Orleans for Bouchercon, the annual mystery convention, Sept 15-18, and that’s when I turn over the presidency of Sisters in Crime, the international writers’ organization, to another wonderful writer, though I’ll remain on the board for another year. Back home, the Montana Book Festival runs Sept 20-25 in downtown Missoula; on Friday, Sept 23, at 2:00, I’ll be part of a panel discussion called “Delicious Words: Writing About Food,” with several other fiction writers, poets, and essayists, and a cookbook author! And October 1-2 is the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell; I’ll be speaking and teaching both days.

P.S.: The ebook of ASSAULT & PEPPER, the first Spice Shop book, is on sale online for 1.99, and the paperback of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second entry, is on sale for 7.19! Here’s the Amazon link, but you can get the sale prices at B&N and Kobo, too!

I hope to see you some thyme — er, time — soon!

***

     BIGFOOT RETURNS!!          By Nan McKenzie

bigfoot

He’s back!  Bigfoot is back in the Montana mountains in all his stinky, huge, scary glory!  He returns to connect with his champion, Zoe Zahn, along with Sam Hill, Darcy and George, Valli and Rauol, and Montana Governor Judy Harris!

The second and last of the Bigfoot stories has Zoe back at the beautiful round cabin, where Bigfoot finds her.  She does her best to keep him safe from all the crazies who want to kill and “study” him.

Bigfoot has a girlfriend, Helga, and she pops out a baby, Helgette, with Zoe’s help.  Another beast, Ssshhhrrrmmm is lonely, and wants Helga for his own, which causes huge fights between him and Bigfoot.

Zoe makes her way back into the mountains several times, is attacked by wolves, and Bigfoot carries her high to a big cave.

She sets up protests, argues with the angry sheriff, publishes her first Bigfoot book (which becomes a huge success), and makes a lot of cabin improvements.

Impressive tiny Zoe makes her way through all the pitfalls and problems with panache, humor, and a fierce protection of the strange, frightening monsters in the woods.

Now available on Amazon and Kindle, soon to be in print.

 

My Scary Starry Scar

 

Sandy Oitzinger

     Guest Blog

By Sandy Oitzinger

 

 

 

My Scary Starry Scar

Before March 24th of this year, the name Merkel for me was loosely associated with my misgivings as a global citizen about mistreatment of the nation of Greece.  Post March 24, however, it looms personally larger because of its part as an identifier of a dreaded skin cancer known as Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

As a self-fancied wordsmith, I am deeply affected by the lyricism in the medical community.  The lesion between my right cheekbone and jaw line had to come out, of course, but who knew that there was a “sentinel” node positioned at the angle of my mandible.  With our Firetower landmark, what Helenan would not be impressed by a “sentinel” node?  I was also impressed by the descriptors used to describe cancers.  Did you know that some cancers are “indolent,” while others are “avid.”  I don’t mind my sportsmen being avid, but I prefer that my cancers be slothful lay abouts,  please and thank you.  On the upside, there are cancer fighting weaponry drugs we can brandish that inhibit a protein known as the “Programmed Death” (PD-1) cell.  The drug prompts the immune system “to get up out of its rocking chair” and go attack the cancer,” says Paul Nghiem, an investigator with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who led the Merkel cell study.[i]

As a kid, my Sicilian last name, Scire, pronounced “skee-ree,” drew lots of hilarity from the neighborhood kids.  Many thought it should be pronounced Scary as in Sandy Scary-Face.  No big leap to change the appellation to Sandy Scarry-Face, and I’ll tell you why I am just thrilled to do that.  My dermatological nurse and I decided we would do a deep punch on the nodule on my cheek.  It seemed like no big deal at the time. A week later the labs came back and we learned that a wide-extraction along with removal of a small lymph node was needed.  Why? 

Well, the Merkel Cell beasty likes to metastasize into the lungs, brain, liver, etc.  The lab also said the markers for lung cancer were not evident, so my hope was that we caught it early.  In order to avoid a 4-hour only mildly sedated surgery, we opted for a quickly scheduled one-hour surgery under general anesthesia at St. Pat’s in Missoula.  Sentinel lymph nodes material was negative, so we thought we were home-free.  Pathology said there was not enough of a clear margin in the depths below the tumor, however, so a second surgery was scheduled. 

This brought to mind the lesson in tenacity shared by my first college accounting professor, Charlie Mandeville of Carroll College.  He was asked “suppose it’s only a dime?”  His answer:  “You gotta keep lookin’ for that son of a buck UNTIL YOU FIND IT!”  Another upside, we headed off the beasty, by removal of the nodes, and my dermatologist says my healing inflammation may kill off the remaining cells.  We can’t know that though, so another .2 cm must come out. 

Truly, I don’t want to whine about this, but just Google “lyrics with face in the title.”  I lost my uterus 22 years ago, and honestly I barely missed it.  But sheesh, I was just getting to like this face.

In keeping with my usual penchant for itemization, there are many up-sides to this:

  • A neighbor who says: “Your face is still pretty, and now you look so mysterious.”
  • Using up the saggy bits on the right side, a one-sided facelift, if you will.
  • A kind of dimple, though honestly, not that well-placed.
  • When you’ve got this scar thing going on, it’s really an incentive to up your game hair-wise.
  • And BEST OF ALL, there is a very good chance that I may well avoid the kind of cancer that is more likely to shorten my life.

So that’s why I choose to emphasize the planetary part.  For now, at least, my facial scar looks a bit like a descending shooting star.  Or alternatively like a waxing crescent moon.   So if you want to take a picture of me, be sure to take it from the scary, starry side.  That’s the good one.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/04/19/breakthrough-cancer-therapy-shows-growing-promise/?hpid=hp_no-name_immunotherapy-940am_1%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Sandy Oitzinger has written a novella series, a memoir and several humor books.  Her service as Helena City Commissioner from 2001 through 2008 informed her work and family life at the time.  In retirement she remains active enough in her community to annoy any number of people, her adult children chief among them.  Sandy received word on June 9, 2016 that her two facial surgeries to treat Merkel Cell Carcinoma worked, and she is now cancer free.