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Celebrate the Book features 23 area authors talking about their works on Saturday

All-day free event takes place at Great Falls Library, Hastings and Cassiopeia Books

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Sometimes inspiration can strike at the most peculiar moment. Just ask Conrad rancher/author Lisa Schmidt.

Schmidt, who raises cattle and sheep with her husband  Steve Hutton, says earlier this year while  spending a week out fixing a fence on her ranch, she came up with what she thought was a brilliant idea. That idea blossomed into Saturday’s Celebrate the Book event geared toward area authors and poets.

“I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could get a bunch of writers together on the same day and help folks put faces to some of the names of the writers who we might be neighbors with but hardly get the chance to see?” she said. “So, I called up Jude Smith, the events coordinator at the Great Falls Public Library, and she loved the idea. Then I visited with the book manager at Hastings and she liked it too and wanted to get involved. Then, I thought, you know, we need to get Cassiopeia Books involved too. I just love independent bookstores and they’re doing some neat things there so we got them on board too. It just started snowballing and I find it kind of funny how his all started because I was out fixing our fence!”


11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • 11:00 – Suzanne Waring, fiction
  • 11:30 – Susan A. Bliler, erotica/romance
  • Noon – Anne Baack, memoirist 
  • 12:30 – Lisa Schmidt, non-fiction
  • 1:00 – Cori Di Biase, fiction
  • 1:30 – Erin Madison and Kristen Inbody, non-fiction


1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  • John Cameron, non-fiction
  • Nancy Petley, poetry
  • Sandra Dail, fiction
  • Eric Hanson, poetry
  • Jess Hughes, historical fiction
  • Robert Scott McKinnon, fiction
  • Catherine Sweatt, science fiction
  • Ken Robison, historical non-fiction
  • Kitty Trock, fiction
  • Skip Halmes, biography/memoirs
  • J.E. Corbine, western fiction 


2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • 3:00 – Dale Sheldon, parenting
  • 3:20 – Yvonne Zweede-Tucker, ranching non-fiction
  • 3:40 – Kari Benjamin, children’s fiction
  • 4:00 – Lynne Heryford, culinary non-fiction
  • 4:20 – Tom Donovan, historical non-fiction
  • 4:40 – Jamie Ford, fiction

Schmidt said 23 authors will be on hand at each of three locations starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. She said she made it a point to reach out to different authors of all different kinds, as well.

“Well the thought was to make this as diverse as we could so we get a representation of all different genres,” she said. “This is the first year, too, so this is kind of our experimentation to see

Lisa Schmidt with her children
Lisa Schmidt with her children

where it might go next. We’ll see how the community responds and we’ll hopefully be able to make it a bit bigger next year and do something different, too.”

Some of the fiction authors participating include Jamie Ford, J.E. Corbine and Catherine Gates. Ford writes adult fiction, Corbine is a western fiction writer and gates writes science fiction.

Ford is finishing up his latest book, his third thus far. A Great Falls native, Ford is the New York Times bestselling author of Songs of Willow Frost and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet—which was an IndieBound NEXT List Selection, a Borders Original Voices Selection, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Selection, Pennie’s Pick at Costco, a Target Bookmarked Club Pick, and a National Bestseller. He did a reading from his yet-to-be-finished book earlier this year. It’s about the child that gets sold at the world’s fair in Seattle back in 1909.

One change to the schedule will see Susan Bliler filling in for B.J. Buckley’s spot, Schmidt said.

Bliler is a romantic/erotica author from Great Falls. She’s written several books in her Territory series. She’ll be talking about her works starting at 11:30 a.m. at the library.

Corbine is a retired industrial electrician, former fire fighter, fire chief, investigator, naval mechanic sailor, army reservist and world traveler. His first book, Treasure Territory is the story of two friends determined to earn the things they feel they deserve. Set in the wild west, the story is about these friends working  to show that they are worthy of bringing in big treasures despite the dangers they must face.

Jamie Ford
Jamie Ford

Lynn Heryford’s book We’re Burning Daylight is a cookbook that focuses on simple-but-delicious breakfast ideas.

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; Sandra Dail, Jess Hughes, Robert Scott McKinnon and Skip Halmes.

Schmidt will be talking about how ranch life informs her writing and how she got started, she said. The other authors, meanwhile, may read from their book, they may talk about the writing process, or something else, she said it’s really up to them.

To encourage people to attend all three venues, Schmidt said her son came up with the idea of providing door prizes to people who do.

“There’s lots of times where I won’t have an have an original thought on something, but I can make other people’s original thoughts work, so that’s always nice. My son came up with the idea of door prizes, and these local sponsors have given a lot of really great items, so that’s going to be exciting, too.”

Susan Bliler
Susan Bliler

Some of the door prizes include a lunch with a participating author of their choosing at The Roadhouse Diner, dinner with the participating author of your choosing at Dimitri’s, a gift certificate from Pizazz the kitchen furniture store, a gift certificate for wine from Vintage Sellers and several mugs made by Andy Watson of Big Sky Pottery.

Schmidt said whether you win a door prize or not, though, Saturday should be a great opportunity for people in our community to meet some friendly writers who they might not otherwise get to meet.

“I think most people don’t realize how many authors live here sometimes. Authors are introverts, and a lot of times we’re not even aware of each other at times, but there’s quite a few out there writing some really good stuff,” she said. “We’re testing the water and I hope that people will come, and just make a fun day. It doesn’t cost anything and it might be interesting!”

For more on the Celebrate the Book, check out the Facebook event page here.

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