The butter is softening on the counter for the cupcakes. Ditto for the cream cheese for the cucumber sandwiches. In about an hour, I will be elbow-deep in flour.

It’s happening. And I couldn’t be more excited!

Today is the launch of An African in Imperial London in Montana. Right here in my home town. And today I’ll be whipping up a few treats to share with my friends, family, students, colleagues, and neighbors.

Tea Sandwiches

This will be the beginning of the Montana Book Tour, featuring stops not just tonight at the Billings Public Library, but two other Billings events this month: The Art House Cinema on September 11th with my husband Tim Lehman; and at Rocky Mountain College on September 17th with my good friend (and former Poet Laureate of Montana) Tami Haaland.

At the end of the month, I will be talking to Native American students at St. Ignatius school (date still to be determined) before heading to the Montana Festival of the book for a reading with acclaimed novelist Gwen Florio on September 29th.

What will Montanans think of this story of an African man in Edwardian London?

That’s exactly the question I’ll be exploring as I blog about my Montana adventures in the coming weeks.  I hope they agree with Corby Skinner, host of Resounds on Yellowstone Public Radio.

Marvelously readable!

Corby Skinner

Yellowstone Public Radio

Speaking about the book at the British Library and Wimpole History Festival were thrills of a lifetime, but there is something special about sharing it with people who have known and supported me for many (many!) years. Anyone writing history stands, to steal an expression by Isaac Newton, on the shoulders of giants. But it’s a writer’s friends and family who boost her up to those mighty shoulders and stand by ready to catch her should those lofty heights make her dizzy.

So the launch here is partly to let everyone know that that the book has been published, but it is also an expression of gratitude to all those people who have been there for me in ways big and small. It is a celebration of the community it takes for a writer to create a book. Because although it is true that writing is a solitary activity, it is equally true that the support of a community provides the foundation that makes it possible.

Thank you friends — for your love, your support, and your faith in me. I truly couldn’t have done it without you.