February Book News

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February, the month we celebrate love of all kinds, and relish time with a book in front of the fire.But we’re not sitting home in front of the fire. Nope. We’re a busy bunch.


Leslie Budewitz is delighted to share the news that Death al Dente, the first in her Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries,  has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Death al Dente, a light-hearted mystery set in fictional Jewel Bay, Montana, was published in August 2013 by Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Books. The second in the series, Crime Rib, will be published July 1, 2014.  Leslie’s first book, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure, won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction.

On February 9, several Montana Women Writers will be at the Whitefish Community Center from 2 pm to 5 pm, in celebration of National Heart Day. Your Heart Book Cover- Final 1Betty Kuffel, M.D., will give a presentation entitled “Know Your Heart Disease Risks, based on her book, Your Heart: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men, and Children.


Marie F Martin will be at the Whitefish Community Center along with Betty Kuffel on Feb 9th to help celebrate Your heart Day.  She will have Maternal Harbor and Harbored Secrets available for sale and will participate in the author’s reading.  She hopes to see you there.

Ann Burden of Breath Cover - MinnettMinnett will read an excerpt from her second (forthcoming) novel, Serita’s Shelf Life, at the February 9th event. She is also the author of the novel Burden of Breath.

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG

Southern fiction author Deborah Epperson will read from her novel, Breaking TWIG.

Other Montana Women Writers members will talk about writing from their hearts, including the heart of their stories, including Nan McKenzie, author of Big FootAngela Miller, author of The Hornbill’s Daughter; P.A. Moore, author of Courthouse Cowboys and Courthouse  Rebel; and Karen Wills, author of Remarkable SilenceTreats will be served and books will be available.

ChampagneBlue Jay ShamanCongratulations to Montana author, Lise McClendon, who is celebrating twenty years in print in 2014. Her first mystery, THE BLUEJAY SHAMAN, was published by Walker & Co., New York, in 1994. For a limited time THE BLUEJAY SHAMAN, set in Missoula and on the Flathead Indian Reservation, is free on many e-book platforms including KindleiTunes, and KOBO. Publisher’s Weekly called it a “gripping debut” and James Crumley said it was “reminiscent of Tony Hillerman at his finest.” Check out art dealer Alix Thorssen’s first adventure!


Kathy Dunnehoff signed a contract with AmazonCrossing to her romantic comedy The Do-Over in German as print, e-book, and audio by 2016.  She’s also just completed recording the audio version of  Hollywood Beginnings, available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon by mid-February. And her novel Plan On It will be on sale on Amazon as a 99 cent download Valentine’s Day weekend.

On February 19th, Dr. Betty Kuffel will give a presentation in a webinar sponsored by Planetree Alliance, an international healthcare organization that includes North Valley Hospital in Whitefish. Her thirty minute presentation will address Heart Disease Risks and aspects of providing heart health education. The goal is to reduce the number one cause of death in adults through sharing ideas that can be replicated in many organizations and communities. A panel discussion follows the presentation. She has also been invited to write an article for Planetalk Magazine and e-news for Feb.


Montana Crime from a Crime Writer/Lawyer’s POV – by P.A. Moore


Since I write legal thrillers, based on factual scenarios from our law practice here in Montana, I never miss the Crime Roundup in our local paper. Here in Flathead County, population 90,000-ish, we get some interesting characters calling the police for a variety of reasons.

In the last few days, a caller reported that her neighbor was saying “not nice things” about her. Is this a police matter, I wonder? Another reported three kids ringing the doorbell, asking for water. Is it possible they were just thirsty in this above average heat? Someone else phoned in to report that either wolves or dogs were eating a deer carcass. Query what the responding officer should do when he arrived?

But my personal favorite this week is the woman who reported that her computer contracted a virus after she watched a porn movie that Kim Kardashian made with Ray J. A virus, as in a sexually transmitted disease? And is it contagious? If I’d been the officer who received that call, I’d think twice about responding in person.

Here in western Montana lots of people drink. We have nearly as many bars as churches in Whitefish, so someone on Central Avenue screaming the Lord’s name could be a preacher trying to convert the drunks, or a drunk after he tripped and fell on our seriously cracked sidewalks. Certainly inebriated people comprise the majority of those arrested in our community. Alcohol involved fights, drunk drivers, and guys urinating in public, usually in the alley behind a bar, fill the Crime Roundup daily.

Many of those arrested end up as clients of our mom-and-pop law firm. Practicing law in a small Montana town never provokes boredom … too much information about our friends and neighbors, yes. But dull? There hasn’t been a humdrum day yet in the 16 years since we opened our doors. 

Of course, we also get our share of tragedies. Our local front page story today focuses on a 22-year-old bride who pushed her husband of eight days off a cliff in Glacier National Park, then lied to the young man’s family, friends, and to the authorities. She’s in federal custody in Missoula hoping to get released on bail. I know there’s more to the tale than the Daily Inter Lake reports, but I can’t help feeling sad for all involved.

So, yes, local crimes inspire me to write. In Courthouse Cowboys, I described the behind-the-scenes drama of a local murder case I tried, and Dateline, NBC covered gavel to gavel. They did a good job but missed the real story, so I fictionalized the names of the characters and locations and published the story as fiction.

My next book, due out in two weeks, isn’t quite as Montana-focused, but involves many of the same characters. And yes, indeed, many who live in our beautiful Rocky Mountain community appear, in whole or in part, as players in the drama.