The Billings Outpost

Good times for Longmire

Craig Johnson, right, chats with Robert Taylor, who plays Walt Longmire in the TV series based on Mr. Johnson’s books. - Wyoming Office of Tourism
By DAVID CRISP - The Billings Outpost

So practiced a comic master has Craig Johnson become that listening to him you realize that he has achieved something only the best comedians manage to do: He sounds funny even when he is not.

In an appearance last month at Barnes & Noble, Mr. Johnson had an audience of 75 or so chuckling, giggling and laughing out loud at his running commentary on the writing life. His humor is genuine and a key to his success, but at times he was getting laughs the way Jack Benny and Bob Hope did late in their careers: just by being himself, riffing on a character – his own - that looms larger even than the highly successful characters he has created.

These are good times for Craig Johnson. The Wyoming writer’s most recent novel, “Any Other Name,” opened at No. 6 on the New York Times’ hardcover fiction list. “Longmire,” the TV series based on the lead character in his mystery novels, is the highest-rated scripted series on the A&E network and is showing in 200 countries, including every country in Africa.

“We could have worse emissaries than Walt Longmire,” he said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 July 2014 12:11

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Old, young compete in Big Sky State Games

Photo by Echo Jamieson Torie Jamieson breaks a block of wood during the breaking competition at the Big Sky State Games on Saturday. Photo by Stephen Dow Al Vietz, left, races a competitor during the 400-meter race at the Big Sky State Games.

By STEPHEN DOW - The Billings Outpost

At first glance, Big Sky State Games competitors Al Vietz and Torie Jamieson may seem as different as two people could be. Vietz is an 80-year old runner from Livingston who has competed in dozens of Big Sky State Games. Jamieson is an 8-year-old karate athlete from Billings competing in her third State Games. However, both athletes share a dedication to their sport and a desire to win during this year’s competitions.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2014 12:00

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2 Montana writers to watch... Smith Henderson

By DAVID CRISP - The Billings Outpost

Smith Henderson is a man in a hurry.

In the middle of a 17-city book tour, he has stopped by McCormick Café for a quick interview before heading off to Yellowstone Public Radio to be interviewed for “Here and Now,” a nationally syndicated news program on public radio.

Although it is nearly lunch time, he is interviewed over a classic Montana breakfast: biscuits and gravy with a couple of eggs on the side. He has no time to waste: Before the day is out, his tour will take him to Bozeman; the following day, he will be on the road to Missoula.

All at once, the Montana native is living a writer’s dream. His first novel, “Fourth of July Creek,” hit the bookshelves in late May.

Reviews have been stunning: “First novels don’t come much more confidently written or fully imagined than this,” said the New York Times. The Washington Post reviewer called it “the best book I’ve read so far this year.” Esquire said simply, “This is a hell of a great book.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:11

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2 Montana writers to watch... Carrie La Seur

By STEPHEN DOW - The Billings Outpost

After more than a decade of writing, Billings environmental lawyer Carrie La Seur’s will release her debut novel, “The Home Place,” on July 29.

“The Home Place” tells the tale of Alma Terrebonne, a lawyer from Seattle who must return to her hometown of Billings when her sister Vicky is found dead one winter night. When she returns home, Alma must reconnect with her estranged family members and discover the truth about Vicky’s death. Throughout the story, she tries to understand why she feels such a strong personal connection to her “home place.”

La Seur’s story was born as she was trying to discover the answer to that question herself. Shortly before the beginning of the Iraq War, La Seur was working as a clerk for the federal court in Australia. Many Australian citizens were protesting the war and a few suggested that La Seur should give up her American identity and take up Australian nationality.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2014 11:02

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