Montana Ag Authors Host Book Fair



by Lisa Schmidt


Many Montana readers know a writer.

That writer might also raise cattle or raise her children on a grain farm.  

Now readers of all genres have the opportunity to meet 23 north-central Montana authors on a single day at the first-ever Celebrate the Book.

Many of those writers are involved in agriculture, too.

So many writers will be in Great Falls on Saturday, October 17, that they will not fit in one location.

Writers from Valier, Conrad, Fort Shaw, Choteau, Carter, Fort Benton, Cascade and Great Falls will talk about their books, visit with readers and sign books at the Great Falls Public Library, Hastings Books and Cassiopeia Books.

Better yet, readers who visit with authors from all three locations will be eligible for fantastic door prizes that range from dinner with the author of the winner’s choice to a massage, gift cards, coffee mugs and books donated by every author.

The participating authors are readers, too.

Divine cookbook author and cattle producer Lynne Heryford loved Childcraft Nursery Rhymes as a child.

It was a part of my grandparents encyclopedia set and really the only book I remember having been read to me.  I did not start reading until I was a senior in high school!” said Heryford, who will have her beautiful We’re Burnin Daylight at Cassiopeia Books from 2 until 5 p.m.

Heryford will speak to the audience at 4 p.m.

Carter author Anne Baack edited her mother’s letters into a memoir of life on a Midwestern farm during World War II from the viewpoint of a young wife and mother, Letters from the Home Front.  

Baack’s mother, R. Viola Nelson, encouraged Anne to read as a young girl.

Before I was eleven my favorite book was Artie and the Princess by Marjorie Torrey.  After that it was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott,” Baack said.

Baack will be happy to sign books at the Great Falls Public Library from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. She will speak to the audience at 12.

Goat producer Yvonne Zweede-Tucker’s tastes run away from romantic notions and toward practical applications in life. The books among the piles on her nightstand, next to the chair and next to her desk include An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Resource Allocation Theory Applied to Farm Animal Production and Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success.

Zweede-Tucker, who wrote The Meat Goat Handbook: Raising Goats for Food, Profit and Fun, loves to quote Toni Morrison.

“She said ‘If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it,’” Zweede-Tucker said.

She will be at Cassiopeia Books from 2 until 5 p.m. during Celebrate the Book and will talk to the audience at 3:20.

Celebrate the Book authors read a vast variety of books.

Dale Sheldon, who grew up on a farm and wrote Who Lost? The autobiography of a Blind Man with Great Vision, counts This House of Sky by Ivan Doig and Big Sky, by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. among his favorites. Another favorite is his own Who Lost?

“I hate to sound conceited, but it was a great experience both living it and writing about it,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon will be at Cassiopeia Books from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. and speak to the audience at 3 p.m.

Another Celebrate the Book children’s author and wheat producer, Kari Sue Benjamin, likes author Gordon Kormon best.

He writes hilarious books for middle grade. Even still, I find his books are an easy read that always make me laugh,” said Benjamin, who wrote The Found Dog.

Benjamin will sign books at Cassiopeia Books from 3 until 5 p.m. She will speak to the audience at 3:40.

Lisa Schmidt, who raises cattle and sheep on the family ranch near Conrad, has so many books piled near her bed that she could easily break a leg if she had to get up in the night. About half are fiction and half are books about current events.

Schmidt, author of Prairie Ponderings, Adventures in Raising Your Food, will sign books at the Great Falls Public Library from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. She will speak to the audience at 12:30.

Besides, Baack and Schmidt, authors who will speak to readers at the Great Falls Public Library between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. include history writer Suzanne Waring, science fiction writer Susan Bliler, literary fiction author Cori Di Biase and travel writers Erin Madison and Kristen Inbody.

Other Celebrate the Book authors who will sign books at Hastings Books between 1 and 3 p.m. include Ken Robison, author of Confederates in Montana and Montana Territory and the Civil War; poet Nancy Petley, author of Black Daylight; John Cameron, who wrote It's Me! Edward Wayne Edwards The Serial Killer You NEVER Heard Of; Catherine Gates, science fiction author of Landies and Doors; Eric Hanson, author of Acedia and Psychology 101; Kitty Trock, author of Weeding the Garden and A Cricket Story; J.E. Corbine, author of Treasure Territory, A Ranger’s Lynch-law and Moving West; Sandra Dail, Jess Hughes, Robert Scott McKinnon and Skip Halmes.

Besides Sheldon, Heryford, Benjamin and Zweede-Tucker, western writer Tom Donovan and best-selling fiction author Jamie Ford will speak to audiences between 2 and 5 p.m. at Cassiopeia Books.

The drawing for door prizes will be held at Cassiopeia Books at 5 p.m.

Celebrate the Book is a volunteer effort with contributions from each author, the Great Falls Tribune, Signature Montana, Dimitris Restaurant, the Roadhouse Inn, Electric City Coffee and Tea, Pizazz, Marilyn Schneider, Smoke Ridge, Vintage Sellers and Big Sky Pottery.

The authors hope readers of all ages and interests will join the fun.

“I’m excited to be a part of this promotion of Montana authors. I believe everyone has a story to tell. Some use different mediums: authors write books, artists paint or sculpt, mothers sing lullabies, fishermen exaggerate,” said Dale Sheldon. 

Source:  Lisa Schmidt

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