On September 5, four Flathead Valley Mystery/Crime Fiction writers shared their views and experiences in a panel discussion held on the back lawn of Lake Baked Bakery in Bigfork.
The panel consisted of Leslie Budewitz, Christine Carbo, Debbie Burke, and Mark Leichliter. Leslie is best known for her cozy mysteries, such as the Spice Shop Mysteries set in Pike Street Market, Seattle., as well as another series set in a fictional mountain town like Bigfork. She has also just published a crime thriller under the pen name Alicia Beckman, entitled Bitterroot Lake. Christine has published several books in her GlacierMystery Series. Titles include “The Wild Inside”, “Mortal Fall”, “The Weight of Night”, and “A Sharp Solitude”. Mark, a well-known writing instructor from Wyoming and Colorado who now teaches writing classes at FVCC, has recently published his first procedural crime novel, The Other Side, which takes place on the shores of Flathead Lake. He has also published other words under the name Mark Hummel. Debbie has self-published six mystery Thrillers with Passion set here in Northwest Montana, including “Instrument of the Devil”, “Stalking Midas”, “Dead Man’s Bluff”, and “Flight to Forever”.
All four authors followed their presentation taking questions from the audience, and concluded by having copies of their books available for sale. This is the second year for this event, which they hope to make an annual part of Bigfork’s Labor Day Weekend celebrations.
Join Barbara Schiffman: On Fri 10/8 (3:00-4:30pm), for a fun and interactive workshop for screenwriters and filmmakers on “Pitching Your Script or Film in 3 Minutes or Less” at the Bigfork Independent Film Festival (live in downtown Bigfork MT from Fri-Sun 10/8-10). What I will share is also useful for pitching your novels to agents or publishers, or to producers who might want to adapt them to film. There will be prizes for top pitchers. Get workshop info on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/9zWhag38l or http://mtbiff.com – where you can also get the BIFF screening schedule. Come see 2021’s best Montana indie films on the big screen and meet some of the filmmakers.
Also, Barbara and her husband/co-writer Glenn Schiffman’s screenplay “The China Horse” was recently named a Drama/Family Feature Quarterfinalist in the 2021 Creative World Awards. About a teenage girl who doesn’t want to live but finds her “reason for being” while traveling from Chicago to Montana with a stubborn old woman who doesn’t want to die, this script was written long before Barbara and Glenn planned to move to Montana. You can download the script to read what they wrote, including climactic scenes set at a private ranch in Deer Lodge, at https://writers.coverfly.com/submissions/view/331514 .
Shira Marin has edited and project managed a children’s book entitled “Silas the Civet”. The book was written by a 90-year-old great-grandmother, as a legacy for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This year’s Flathead River Writers’ Conference is scheduled for Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17. Due to continuing Covid issues, this year’s conference is being held online. More detailed information about speakers, workshop topics, prices, and registration can be found on the Authors of the Flathead Website.
In Janet Skeslien Charles’ The Paris Library, Odile the main character interviews staff and patrons with the question, “What kind of reader are you?”
Pondering the question, I took the time to examine my reading habits. Here’s my answer. I either read furiously or not at all. My favorite genre is historical novels, but a good mystery helps keep my brain figuring out the puzzles of ‘who done it.’
My book club has expanded my horizons and introduced me to many other cultures that I otherwise would have missed. For example, The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles, and Dot Jackson’s Refuge.
This summer I enjoyed Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell. I identified with the discomfort and inconveniences while sympathizing with the characters’ personal and family problems.
My non-fiction favorite authors are Michael Lewis, The Big Short, Money Ball and When Bubbles Burst and Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, The Story of Success, and What the Dog Saw. And I almost always research the historical novels I’ve read to sift through the fiction for the facts.
Asking myself this question helped me get to know myself better.
Books are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. They are humanity in print. Barbara Tuchman
Footprints in History combines imagination and historic events during America’s Early
Janice McCaffrey, Author
Colonial Period, to tell of the author’s seventh great-grandfather, blacksmith and indentured servant, James Fitchett. James stands up for his convictions and influences early education on Staten Island, New York. While Thomas Gordon, an attorney representing his brother, one of the twenty-four Scottish investors, known as proprietors, strives for an honest government in the new colonial province of New Jersey. Their wives build a bond of friendship as they experience their new worlds where not all settlers share the same hopes and beliefs.
Kindle ebook on sale .99 October 2 – 8
LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Launch Day! One of a writer’s favorite phrases—along with “the end,” “bestseller,” and “I loved it!” The Solace of Bay Leaves, my 5th Spice Shop mystery, will be out in paperback on October 20, from Seventh St. Books. (The ebook and audio are already available; supply chain disruptions meant a delay in the pb, but it will be worth the wait, i promise!)
Pepper Reece never expected to find her life’s passion in running the Seattle Spice Shop. But when evidence links a friend’s shooting to an unsolved murder, her own regrets surface. Can she uncover the truth and protect those she loves, before the deadly danger boils over?
Given these unusual times, I won’t be doing any live events, but I do have a few planned online. Visit my website or my Facebook Author page for details. Find the book in all the usual online and in-person booksellers, including Bookworks (Whitefish), The Bookshelf (Kalispell), Roma’s Kitchen Shop (Bigfork) and the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center giftshop.