September Book News

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: September is a month of mixed feelings in these parts. A signal of a fresh start almost as palpable as January, as the weather begins to change and the kids head back to school (we all feel it, don’t we, no matter what our age), mingled with a sense of loss, as another glorious Rocky Mountain summer slips behind us.

In Book News, Christine Carbo and I will be on a panel together, along with mystery writers Gwen Florio and Mark Stevens, at the Montana Book Festival in Missoula, Sept 29-30. (We don’t know the date or time yet, so check in with the Festival or one of us, if you plan to go.) We’ll be talking about modern mysteries set in the west, how place influences character, and much more. I hope to see you there!

Meanwhile, delighted to say that Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine will publish a short story of mine next year titled “All God’s Sparrows,” featuring the real-life—and larger than life—character, Mary Fields. I’ll share the pub date and ordering info as the date approaches.

Enjoy these last glorious days of summer, and thank you for spending them with us.

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LISE McCLENDON Okay, it’s not quite slippers-by-the-fire weather yet but in case you’re stocking up for chilly weather, my new mystery, The Frenchman, is coming out very soon. This is the fifth installment in the Bennett Sisters Mystery series and we’re back in France this time. Merle Bennett is writing her own novel while taking a leave of absence in the Dordogne, so, yes, this is a story-inside-a-story. When that Frenchman, Pascal, runs into an old nemesis and goes missing, Merle must rally the troops to find him.  After an exclusive run I’m back on all e-book platforms (yay!) Amazon Nook KOBO iBooks  Also available in paperback. Happy autumn reading 🍁

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Book Signing by Karen Wills author of River with No Bridge  Saturday, September 16, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Montana Book and Toy Company, 331 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena, Montana.                  

river with no bridgeThis month’s issue of Cowgirl calls the novel a “compelling and touching story.” Booklist’s review of the novel called it “a gripping, sometimes heartbreaking story of immigrant survival in the West.” The August Historical Novel Society Reviews sums up with,   “I love pioneering stories and gritty women, and Ms. Wills’ engrossing tale provides both.”

Sunday, September 17th at 2:00 p.m. the Lewis and Clark Library at 120 South Last Chance Gulch will present Questions and Answers on Writing a Historical Novel with Karen Wills.

Karen looks forward, as always, to a visit with friends in Helena.

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Self-Expression in Photography & Writing

By Ann Minnett

Have I mentioned what a joy it is to live in Montana? You’re likely tired of hearing it from me, if not from all of us in Montana Women Writers. It goes without saying, and today is no exception.

For the past week, my husband and I have witnessed a red-tailed hawk teach her fledgling to fly and hunt. The nest is in a dead tree trunk about a hundred yards from where I write from my porch most summer days. We try not to bother their progress, but here you see mom is not pleased.

Red-tail hawk

It’s becoming difficult to distinguish mother from child, and we expect they’ll soon move on.

A more relevant joy of living here is the feeling of peace and serenity that allows for self-expression and creativity–in my husband’s photography and my writing. I recently published a third novel, Fifteen Years of Lies (excerpted below), and anticipate the release of a fourth book in early 2018. I’ve been an author in search of a niche and finally found it in Domestic Suspense.

Fifteen Years of Lies FINAL EBOOK COVER

Two police cruisers pulled away from the lakeside mansion, leaving an insurance agent’s car alone on the circular drive. Lark reached for a cigarette but thought better of it, shifted into second gear, and lurched to the right and around back to the servant’s entrance. 

In the service vestibule, Lark kicked off her boots and dropped her bag inside the laundry room door. Upstairs in the kitchen, Jan Hensen and husband Jack vied for the agent’s attention. She padded toward the stairs, stocking feet sinking into the rec room’s plush carpet. She dreaded going up there.

Who’s the first person suspected of theft? The housekeeper, that’s who…

~ Ann

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Burden of Breath (210 reviews, 4.3 stars) will be available for free download on July 29th!

 

August Book News

beachWhere ever you choose to do your summer reading, enjoy!

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New release from Lise McClendon
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that every girl wants a few days in Paris with a hot Frenchman.”I’m thrilled to be here with the Montana Women Writers, who live far away from me on the other side of the state! (I live on the upper Madison River near Yellowstone National Park. I call it that hangie-down part of the state:-)) They’ve been gracious enough to include me here so here goes my news.

I have a new novel coming out in August, the third in my Bennett Sisters series. This is women’s suspense fiction about five lawyer sisters, named after the Jane Austen characters but only slightly. The first in the series was published as a stand-alone in 2009: Blackbird Fly. It has remained one of my bestselling books though so in 2014 I wrote a sequel: The Girl in the Empty Dress. Now comes the third book: The Things We Said Today. (There is a novella in between the last two, so technically this is the 4th in the series.)

I find the life choices women make to be endlessly fascinating. That is not to say men’s lives aren’t equally captivating but there is something about women’s choices that make them more complex, don’t you think? I grew up in the middle of three sisters so I made my first book about the middle Bennett sister, Merle (they call her Merdle=Merle+middle). I am not a lawyer myself — nor have I played one on TV — so the books are more about their lives outside work. Women in the hyper-competitive world of law are the stuff of legend. Look at all the politicians and their spouses who went to law school! Whether or not they practice law it gives them a solid background, and plenty of fodder for fiction. things-we-said-web

The first two books are set mostly in rural France, in the Dordogne, which shapes much of the stories as well. In each book I get to focus on, and learn more about, different sisters, and I have to say their personalities are all their own. All different, from the Bohemian who is set to get married in Scotland in The Things We Said Today, to the beauty who loves the law, to the Martha Stewart one and the wild child. In this story we get to see them all interact together, something readers have told me they wanted.

Although this is a series these are still in the ‘linked stand-alone’ category and can be read in any order. If you’re like most you’ll want to start at the beginning though. And I am offering a free e-book of Blackbird Fly to anyone who joins my newsletter mailing list. Check that out over here. The new book is available for pre-order now. Look for The Things We Said Today on August 15 in trade paperback and e-book everywhere.

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: In early August, I’ll be sharing my first Food Lovers’ Village short story, free, with my newsletter subscribers, so if you’re not already a subscriber, join me now! When Wendy the Baker’s family gathers after her grandmother’s funeral, she and Erin discover a decades-old secret that could prove to be still deadly.

On August 6-7, I’ll be at the Bigfork Festival of the Arts, sharing stories and signing books. Join me on the village streets — my booth will be in front of Frame of Reference Gallery on Electric Avenue. (And my hunny, Don Beans, will sing and play guitar at the Festival stage, at 1:00 Saturday!)

Killing Thyme (final)

If you’re a fan of my Spice Shop Mysteries, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering the third book, KILLING THYME, at your favorite indie or online retailer. It will be published October 4, in paperback, e-book, AND audio book. pre-orders are hugely important to authors, and may well determine whether the series continues. Read an excerpt and find out where to buy it on my website.

By the way, both ASSAULT AND PEPPER and GUILTY AS CINNAMON are now available in audio and large print, as well.

Stay cool — read a book! 

The Mystery of Mystery

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By Karen Wills

My adored one and I have been discussing elements most found in best-loved fiction. We came up with the following: mystery, conflict, suspense, doubt, implied or real sex, implied or real violence, and resolution.

Mystery to me is that haunting element in a character, situation, place, or series of events that eludes easy explanation. It’s the thing that keeps us reading to grasp or comprehend. We don’t want to be hopelessly mystified. We do want to be endlessly intrigued. It’s why we want to talk about the book afterwards with other readers. It’s something that made an internal shift in our thinking and feeling and awareness. My mystery is an element, not a genre centered on crime and murders. The mystery I mean can exist in any genre.

It is to literature what outer space is to the physical world.mystery space

 

For example, how could Lonesome Dove’s Woodrow Call refuse to ever acknowledge Newt as his son? Yes, Call is stiff necked and proud, but this has to do with a paralyzing personal reticence. Where did it come from? And what about the fairy tale element in Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See? Fairy tales always have mystery.

Mystery isn’t magic realism, because the explanation for that is that it’s, you know, plain old magic, and so we don’t have to think and search for explanation. Likewise with reports of religious miracles where the conclusion will always be that God caused them. End of story.

Poetry always has mystery, so perhaps poetic writing, prose with metaphors and similes that reveal amazing connections, has it. A deep connection to nature or any passion may have it.

Mystery is delightfully hard to pin down, but think about your favorite books. mystery intrigue

I’ll bet they have at least a little tantalizing mystery.