February Book News

deer heart

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.


Women Writers of the South

Historic mural depicting the Harper Lee novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” located in Monroeville, Alabama.  Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Southern women writers have been the greatest influences on my writing. I share their passion for the Deep South and its diversity of people and cultures. Their natural writing style lends itself to the rhythm of storytelling. I admire their ability to use their writings to make us laugh, cry, and empathize with others, as well as their fearlessness to turn a light on the dark underbelly of our sweet-tea society.

I think the first inkling that not all southern little girls grew up in a safe, loving environment like mine came when I read South Carolina native, Dorothy Allison’s novel, Bastard Out of Carolina, which will break your heart. It educated me to the fact that bad things really do happen to good people, to children, and the secrets families hold can rip them apart as well as protect them. I returned to these themes when I wrote Breaking TWIG.

Alabama’s Fannie Flagg is a woman of many talents. Best known for Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which became the film Fried Green Tomatoes, her writing is funny and candid, without being cruel. Her characterizations of Southerners might seem somewhat stereotypical to anyone not from the South, but as someone who grew up in the Deep South, I find them spot-on.

My favorite southern woman writer, the one who influenced my writing the most, is Harper Lee, who wrote the1961 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. She published only one novel in her lifetime, but a half-century later, To Kill a Mockingbird stands as one of the best-loved works in all of American literature.

I first read her book when I was in junior high. At the time, my own Texas community was struggling to come to grips with the Civil Rights Act and integration. The story, which originally touched sensitive chords in America’s unfolding Civil Rights drama, still reverberates today in the national consciousness. It’s a book about courage, and I think it took courage on the author’s part in 1960 to write with integrity and honesty about the issues of racism and injustices in her own community. Harper Lee stayed true to her story and to her characters, and I regard that as the ultimate responsibility of any author.

Thanks for stopping by,




September Book News

SEPTEMBER! The word evokes visions of autumn leaves, back to school, cooler nights, precious days. And for writers in Northwest Montana, it also brings the annual Flathead River Writers Conference. This year, the 23d annual conference will be held September 28-29 at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell. The lineup of speakers—including half a dozen authors and two star agents—is terrific. We’ll all be there, and hope to see you, too.

breakingtwigBreaking TWIG, DEBORAH EPPERSON’s coming-of-age novel set in 1960’s Georgia, will be on sale for Kindle downloads for only $0.99 from August 30 – Sept. 3rd.

ANN MINNETT will offer her novel, Burden of Breath, for free download on September 12th & 13th. She’s finished the first draft of a new novel and begun the editing process. Burden of Breath Cover - Minnett


LESLIE BUDEWITZ  is thrilled to report that Death al Dente reached #11 on the Barnes & Noble Mystery Bestsellers list. It’s also now available at all five Montana Costco stores. She’ll be signing in the Kalispell Costco on Saturday, Sept. 14, from noon to 2.

Leslie will be joining the Glacier County Library Book Club in Cut Bank on Thursday, Sept. 5, as club members discuss Death al Dente.  On Saturday, Sept. 21, she’ll be at Colorado Gold, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference, in Denver, presenting a two-hour workshop on 10 Common Mistakes Writers Make About the Law.  And she’s also featured in the new issue of 406 WOMAN, writing about food as story. The article includes a short excerpt from Death al Dente, and a recipe from the book for Fettucine a la Fresca — a great way to use some of those late-summer tomatoes and that boundless mint in your herb garden!

Your Heart Book Cover- Final 1Betty Kuffel is busy scheduling presentations and book signings for the month of October. So far, five are planned at various venues with North Valley Hospital. Details will be finalized in the next few days and announced later. The gift shop at NVH will be carrying her new book Your Heart: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men and Children with the NVH Foundation receiving a share of profits. She has also been invited to Great Falls for a presentation and signing in October.

In the meantime Betty is finalizing details and marketing as the Chairman of the 23rd Annual Flathead River Writers Conference. Registration can be done on line at the new author website: www.authorsoftheflathead.org. The cost is only $150 for the two days and includes lunch. If you are a member of Authors of the Flathead, by contacting Denise at the college bookstore, your book can be available for sale on site through the FVCC store during the conference.

Don’t forget to contact Jess Owen Kara if you plan to participate in the October 4th event at the Whitefish Library. This is a perfect place to socialize with the public, provide a short reading and sell your book.


Digital CameraHAVE you noticed how many times Montana is mentioned in movies, commercials, and country songs? The implication seems to be that somehow life is better in Montana. After twenty years of being inspired, awed, and befriended by her majestic vistas, remarkable animals, and amiable neighbors, my family heartily agrees. However, the differences in living in Montana are not limited to its natural resources, wildlife, and people. Native Montanans have a different mindset than those of us who are transplants from whirlwind hubs like Atlanta, Houston, or Los Angeles.

According to the encyclopedia, Montana is in the Rocky Mountain Time Zone. Those of us lucky enough to live here know life often unfolds according to the unwritten time concept affectionately dubbed, “Montana Time.”

I first became aware of the practice of living life according to Montana Time when we were building our log home. The carpenters would show up around 10 a.m. and would leave by 4p.m. When questioned, they explained that the fishing was best early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Admittedly, I didn’t see the connection between fishing and getting my house built. The craftsmen took pity on me. With great patience, they explained the concept of Montana Time, so that I wouldn’t remain forever clueless in Montana. Why, they wondered, would someone move to this breathtaking Eden and not take the time to enjoy its cornucopia of delights?

During my first fifteen years here, I didn’t fully appreciate the Montana Time concept. I was busy running my retail store, raising children, and writing my novel. Today, the business is sold, the kids are grown, and Breaking TWIG is out in paperback and ebook formats. Now, as I make my way around a family of wild turkeys and head for the hammock to contemplate the new novel swirling in my head, I realize a subtle conversion to a different view of how to make the most of my time here on planet Earth has seeped into my psyche . . . a conversion to Montana Time.

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah          https://www.deborahepperson.com

P.S. How do you enjoy your Montana (or its equivalent) Time? Leave a comment by August 7, 2013 and be automatically entered into a drawing for a free copy of my novel, Breaking TWIG.