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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ropin’, ridin’, readin’ about cowgirl life

This week, we have not one, but two, cowgirl-related books in the spotlight.

The first is “Cowgirl Dreams,” a novel by Washington author Heidi M. Thomas (Treble Heart Books, $12.95). It’s based on the life of her grandmother, Toots Bailey Gasser, a real Montana rodeo cowgirl of the 1920s.

This fictionalized story centers on Nettie Brady, who matches wits and strength against both half-ton steers and rodeo cowboys.

Thomas will read from the book next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave.

‘A Cowgirl Remembers When’

The second is a new book titled “A Cowgirl Remembers When” (Gray Dog Press, $14.95) by Creston, Wash., author Dawn Nelson.

Nelson is billed by her publisher as a “true cowgirl,” born and raised on a cattle ranch in northeast Washington and now operating a large cattle ranch near Creston with her husband. Her book is a collection of life stories involving critters ranging from bears to cougar to boys.

It’s available at regional bookstores and at

A gold-medal for ‘Baseball Field’

The late Montana poet Patricia Goedicke’s final volume, “The Baseball Field at Night,” won the Gold Medal in Poetry in the prestigious Independent Publisher Book Awards.

This collection was published in 2008 by Sandpoint’s Lost Horse Press. Goedicke taught creative writing at the University of Montana for 25 years and published 13 books of poetry before her death in 2006.

A Butte memoir

Washington State University professor emeritus Donald C. Orlich will be at Auntie’s Bookstore on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. to read from his new memoir, “Out of … Butte!”

The author describes it as “a trip down memory lane,” evoking what it was like to grow up in the ethnic neighborhood of East Butte in the 1940s.

The story focuses on the adventures of a group of kids who called themselves the East Butte Owls, who hung out in an old wooden boxcar.

An Egan event

Here’s advance notice of a notable event this fall: Spokane native and National Book Award winner Timothy Egan has been booked for the Idaho Humanities Council’s Northern Idaho Distinguished Humanities Lecture, Oct. 8 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Egan is a New York Times reporter and author of five books, including “The Worst Hard Time” and “Breaking Blue.”

His forthcoming book, by the way, will have particular interest in North Idaho. “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America,” about the devastating 1910 fires in North Idaho, should be out in October.

For tickets to the lecture, go to or call (888) 345-5346.

Linda Lael Miller’s streak

You could make a case that Linda Lael Miller, who writes romantic adventures set in the West, is our top-selling local author.

Consider this: Each of the last three books in her “Montana Creed” series has made it into the Top 10 of The New York Times mass-market paperback best-seller list – and that’s just in 2009 alone.

Her most recent title, “Montana Creeds: Tyler” (HQN, $7.99) debuted at No. 2 on April 19. It’s about a hell-raising rodeo star who reconnects with his first love.

‘Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes’

Gray Dog Press has published a new book, “2009 Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s Unofficial Guidebook With Frequently Asked Questions,” by Estar Holmes, of Harrison, Idaho.

As the title suggests, this book answers questions for those biking or hiking on the popular North Idaho trail. Sounds like it deserves a spot in the daypack, along with the sun block and water bottle.

You can order it from the publisher at or at bookstores and merchants along the trail.

Writing retreat

The deadline is approaching to register for the Northwest Inland Writing Project’s Summer Reading/Writing Retreat, July 13-17 at Camp N-Sid-Sen on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

This year’s visiting writer will be Bill Woolum, a poet, critic and essayist who teaches at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore. Woolum is originally from Kellogg.

The cost is $425 for the entire week, including lodging and all meals. You can even receive academic credits.

Registration is due by June 15. Go to for more information and a downloadable registration form.

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or by e-mail at
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