By Tim Leeds
A local author had what started as a successful book signing in Shelby last Saturday and ended with a broken hip. Ellis Parry slipped on the ice while opening his garage door afterward. But he will be back at it in Havre Saturday.
Parry is superintendent of Blue Sky schools, and his book is "Montana Dateline," a collection of historic Montana happenings.
"It's a day-by-day calendar of Montana facts, history, trivia and items of interest in an extended calendar format," Parry said.
Parry will be in Creative Leisure from 1 to 3 p.m. for the book signing.
The beginnings of "Montana Dateline" go back to the 1974-75 school year at the Cow Island Trail rural school south of Chinook. Parry was teaching at the school, and he said he had a lot of spare time in the mornings and evenings. He decided to start making a wild, wild west calendar, which quickly evolved into a Montana calendar.
"Most of the information I was finding was about Montana," he said.
But before he had finished his, several Montana calendars came on the market, the first in the 1974-75 year. He put his aside.
"I was a little tardy," Parry said.
He kept the manuscript, and in 1980 a friend of his, who was publishing the Red Lodge Weekly, asked if Parry had anything he could publish. Parry said he decided his calendar could easily work as a weekly column.
"I very quickly thought of a name, which is Montana Dateline,' and for all intents and purpses abandoned the calendar idea," he said.
That run was only for two years, but the Independent Enterprise of Forsyth and the Rosebud County Press of Colstrip both picked the column up and ran it from 1992 to 2000.
Parry said he decided to submit the work to a publisher in 1999 in book form.
"Atypically, the first publisher I sent it to, Falcon Press in Helena, liked it," he said.
The book is being published and marketed by The Globe Pequot Press, based in Connecticut, a company that bought Falcon after Parry signed the contract.
KFBB, the ABC affiliate in Great Falls, uses a quote from the book daily on its "Good Morning, Montana" show.
The book is available in Havre at Creative Leisure.
On the Net: The Globe Pequot Press: www.globe-pequot.com