June Book News

 Book launch! So exciting, I’m babbling. AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, my fifth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, will launch June 8 in trade paperback, e-book, and audio! (Read an excerpt and find the order links on my website.) I’ll be celebrating in towns large and small — Seattle, Augusta, Billings, and Bozeman. (Details on my website, under News and Events.)

And I hope you’ll join me for cookies and more at the Christmas in June book launch party at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center, from 4-6 on Saturday, June 9. I’ll talk about the book, how it came to be, and other mysteries (grin!), and sign books. The art center’s “Year of the Bird” exhibit will be on display, and all my books will be available. I hope to see you there — or somewhere else along the road!

Happy reading!

September Book News


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.



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 🍁


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.


When Titles Reverberate

by Karen Wills

“Nothing I force myself to write about ever turns out well, and so I’ve learned to wait for the voice, the incident, the image that reverberates.” Louise Erdrich

Erdrich is writing about more than titles, but that’s what I jumped to when I read her words. Have you noticed that some titles just reach out, make you want to explore the book, set off a little reverberating bell? Titles are so important. They’re meant to let us know a little about what’s in the book. That can be a person or place name. But they also have to have what Hemingway called magic. For me that means the words have to connote something, make us associate a word with implications and associations, for example, ‘Easter’ with spring and rebirth.

I’ve read that Hemingway searched the poetic King James Bible when he sought the right title for what became The Sun also Rises.  Besides the Biblical source, the word ‘sun’ has strong connotations of light and warmth.

And, have you noticed that titles seem to have trends like fashion? That word ‘light’ has appeared in lots of titles lately. I think Anthony Doerr started with his wonderful, All the Light We cannot See. And ‘girl’. So many titles have that word. I think words float around and all at once catch us in our hearts, or intellects, or we associate them with other books. They work like magnets.

A friend who read a draft of my novel, Remarkable Silence, said the title was right there in the contents when a narrator commented that God remained “remarkably silent” on key matters.Remarkable Silence Karen Wills I wanted the word ‘river’ in the title of my novel, River with no Bridge that will be out this summer. river with no bridgeIt’s another word with connotations of nature and crossings. The sequel I’m working on will be Garden in the Sky. That was the name of a popular campfire during the time of construction of the Going-to-the-Sun or Transcontinental Highway in Glacier National Park. The road figures in the story. I also think ‘Garden’ and ‘Sky’ have strong connotations.

But I’m struggling for a title for a historical mystery I’ve just finished. Maybe I’ll just have to wait for something to reverberate. Luckily, Hemingway rejected both The World’s Room and They who get Shot before settling on the inspired, A Farewell to Arms. That must have resounded like a gong when the words finally appeared.