Saturday, November 14, 2020

'Lilian's Last Dance' first editions found and are available

The Palmer House in Chicago, where parts of "Lilian" unfold.

WHILE CLEARNING out our home in Billings, Montana, preparing for its sale,  we found an unopened box of pristine first editions of "Lilian's Last Dance." (They were pushed back in the closet and a welcome discovery.)

The lively historical novel -- set in Europe, Peru, New York, Chicago, and the American West -- garnered some nice reviews when it was published. Amazon has second editions and a few used first editions.


The Amazon winds through Peru, where
one of the "Lilian..." characters returns.

If you're interested in a first edition, you can order directly from me, at:, or Christene Meyers, 8935 Via Andar, San Diego, Calif. 92122.

For $25, we will sign and inscribe the novel, and send it anywhere in the U.S. (Inquire about foreign postage rates, which vary.)

Covid and the myriad cancelations it caused took us off our "theater game" but we are still working on the music for an eventual musical version of "Lilian...."


Saturday, October 26, 2019

'Lilian..." a recycle story as the novel goes green



THIS IS a short and sweet post, mainly to share a smile.
I was asked to give a reading a couple days ago to a small group of friends, nothing fancy, nothing pre-arranged, but several of the women wanted me to inscribe their Amazon copies of "Lilian's Last Dance."
Christene Meyers signs first edition
copies of "Lilian's Last Dance."
One of the books looked well used, which made me happy.  Perhaps more than one person had thumbed through it, even read it cover to cover. Maybe the person died, gave it away, donated it, who knows?
The inscription was to a distant relative's elderly brother, a Jesuit priest for many years and a well known conservative thinker. The cousin had purchased the book as a gift to his now late sibling.
The brother must have sold it back to Amazon, probably for a few dollars, because the lady at the signing this week bought it from Amazon.
I'm guessing that the subject matter was too much for my distant cousin's priestly brother.  Drugs, sex, boozing, outlaws, suggestive contemporary art, bi-sexuality, violence in the Old West.  (Or perhaps he just wanted a few bucks change.) I do hope the book did not contribute to his demise.
In any case, I recognized the original inscription and wrote another above it.
All for the opportunity to endorse recycling. "Lilian's Last Dance" goes green.
And yes, the book is still available at Amazon and in selected bookstores around (a couple in Montana; several in California.)
And yes, I'm still whittling away at the music, hoping this is accomplished before I, like one of my favorite characters in the novel, go to my urn.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

'Lilian' interest continues with a possible French edition

Cookie and Keller leaving Paris over the holidays.

The Eiffel Tower in its glory is on the
cover of "Lilian's Last Dance."

The Paris Opera House facade is an internationally known landmark. 

MON DIEU! While we were in Paris just before the holidays, we were looking at my "travel copy" of "Lilian's Last Dance" in an airport lounge...... a strange man approached me, noticing the Eifel Tower" image on the front.
He spent about a half hour looking at the book, said the French love western lore and would be thrilled at the "French connection."
Come see Paris with us
He also said that the book should be a movie and a musical.
Those are hopes of mine.
I didn't think much of it, but today he emailed me. Says he has an interested publisher in France, which would be wonderful since we go to Europe each year.
Could be nothing. Could be something. Stay tuned. Fingers crossed. These things take time.....

Monday, December 7, 2015

'Lilian's Last Dance' author traces novel's development, "at sea" connection

Above, Christene Meyers reads to fellow travelers on aboard Celebrity's Millennium, one of a half-dozen readings delivered on ships.  The following story first appeared in a respected Rocky Mountain newspaper, The Billings Outpost. It was picked up by the Last Best News, a nationally known on-line publication edited by award-winning writer Ed Kemmick featuring Montana news and personalities. 







Bay Area writer and editor Kathleen Mohn introduces
Christene Meyers at a reading in Oakland.  Meyers is
on an international tour for the novel. She read in Europe
this fall and will travel to the Far East for readings in March.   
AFTER 40 years in journalism, Christene Meyers decided to start making things up.
The result is her first novel, “Lilian’s Last Dance,” which she introduced to readers here as part of Big Read events in Billings. Writing the book was, she said in an interview, the hardest thing she has ever done.
More of Meyers' writings at

Meyers’ fluid writing style is well known to longtime Billings residents. A native of Columbus, she got her first byline in a children’s magazine when she was 14 years old. In high school, she contributed to a Billings (Montana) Gazette column that featured voices of area teenagers.
chirssybookThat eventually led to a full-time job at the Gazette, where she started as a night police reporter, while going to college -- both Rocky Mountain College and the now Montana State University Billings.
“I did all the major beats the paper had at the time,” she said.
She gradually worked her way up to movie reviews, then she was for many years the arts and travel writer for the Gazette before retiring in 2004.
She interviewed hundreds of internationally known actors, musicians and writers, and was active in many ways in the Billings arts community.
For a fourth-generation Montanan from Columbus, the career choice was not as unusual as it might sound. Her parents gave their children music and dance lessons, plus boxing lessons for the boys so they could handle any kidding they got at school about it all.
Her mother was an opera fan and musician, and Meyers said she began singing at age 2 or 3, belting out songs like “The Good Ship Lollipop” and “Oh, You Beautiful Doll.” At last week’s reading, she sat down at a piano to play a medley of original songs for a musical version of “Lilian’s Last Dance,” with Marian Booth Green providing the vocals.
In later years, that love of culture translated into an inextinguishable urge to travel, a habit that paid off when it came time to take up fiction. The novel covers settings ranging from France to New York to California, with stops at most points in between, including a reference to Corsicana, Texas, a few miles from where this reporter’s ancestors grew up, and, of course, her native Montana.
Meyers and William Jones spent
many years researching the novel.
“Our research was meticulous,” she said.
Meyers visited all those spots with her late husband, William Jones, who was a retired, well knkown film critic for the Arizona Republic before his death of cancer in 2005.
“He went to that great theater in the sky,” she said. But right up until days before he died, sitting with an IV at a computer, he urged Meyers to finish the novel. They had put in too much work to give it up, he told her.
He is listed as co-author of the novel, and Meyers said it was a true collaboration. They worked out the characters and plot together, she said, and there really is no way to tell now who gets credit for what parts.
Meyers' grandma,
Olive Nystul,
inspired the
character Lilian.
Actually, the book’s roots go back even further. Meyers drew inspiration in part from a great aunt and from her grandmother, who refused to marry her grandfather until he came up with $1,500—a huge sum in those days—and a grand piano.
Meyers said she and her first husband, Bruce Meyers, a poet and professor at Montana State University Billings until his death in 1992, began kicking around the idea of writing a musical about a Western woman sharpshooter, sort of “Annie Get Your Gun” but with a main character who was more worldly, more international and sexier than Annie Oakley.
She and Jones took extensive notes on the novel, but she abandoned it for a time after her husband’s death. She resumed the book after a box of notes and floppy discs literally fell off an attic shelf and hit her current partner, photographer Bruce William Keller, in the head.
 Christene Meyers and her partner Bruce Keller
in the Hollywood Hills during the final days
of research for the novel.
The finished novel is set around the turn of the last century, extending into World War I. It’s about an ambitious British-born film buff in the silent era, Walter Brown, who travels America showing short films and putting on vaudeville acts, trying to stay a step ahead of goons working for inventor Thomas Edison, who was attempting to squeeze out competitors in the motion picture business.
Walter meets the lovely title character, a French woman named Lilian Dumont, and recruits her from Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show as an actress and sharpshooter. With the rest of Walter’s crew, they travel America and Europe, entertaining crowds with shooting and films, and gradually moving toward more ambitious work in early-day Hollywood.
Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein are
cameo characters in the novel, interacting
with the fictional characters.

Along the way they encounter bank robbers, gunfighters, journalists, lawmen, a Peruvian artist and dozens of other characters, including 22 cameo appearances by famous personages of the time: Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Bat Masterson, Lillian Gish and Buffalo Bill himself, among others. They bump into a range of disasters, including time on the front lines in World War I.
It’s a picaresque tale for most of the way, and the detail may weary some readers, but eventually a love triangle develops—really more of a quadrangle. One of the characters is motivated more by revenge than by affection.
From there the story gradually builds toward a rollicking climax, which won’t be revealed here except to note that guns blaze.
Meyers' readings appear to delight listeners, and it may be that the book works better as a series of anecdotes than as a tightly plotted novel.  
Besides the book tour and classes, Meyers is taking courses at Sarah Lawrence in poetry and play writing. She writes a blog at She is working on the musical version of "Lilian's Last Dance," and splits her time between California and a Montana place she bought near Nye. She still travels the world and attends the theater regularly. And she gives Writer's Voice workshops, inviting students to bring photos of ancestors. Her classes include exercises to encourage participants to trust one another.
It’s just, she said, that she has a lot she wants to do "before I’m in my urn.”
She even still does a little freelancing, she said, but is finding that she has to cut back.
“I’m learning one small thing in my 60s,” she said, “that I can’t do everything.”
For information on purchasing “Lilian’s Last Dance,” go to
Writer and editor David Crisp has worked for newspapers since 1979. He has been editor and publisher of the Billings Outpost since 1997. The Outpost is published every Thursday and is available free all over Billings and in nearby communities.
The Last Best News is an independent online news site focusing on the culture, people and places of Billings and Eastern Montana. Its founder, Ed Kemmick began his newspaper career in 1980.  “The Big Sky, By and By,” is his collection of journalism, essays and a short story.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

'Lilian' and the Bill Cody connection inspire Buffalo Bill Center invitation

Buffalo Gals Luncheon Huge Success!

Wednesday, October 21st, at Buffalo Bill Center

Lilian's Last Dance presented by Montana writer, Christene Meyers
The book's cover incorporates artistic elements of Christene's life and the three men she has loved:
two late husbands Bruce Meyers and William Jones, and her partner of nine years, Bruce William Keller, called Keller by Christene.
Christene Meyers has a reputation for delivering
lively, wry talks in which she references her
personal life and losses.  What emerged in the Cody museum talk was her ability to persevere
and derive joy and humor from life as it unfolds.

Nearly 100 people enjoyed a tasty western lunch and lively talk by Montana writer, Christene Meyers. She was keynote speaker  for the annual fall Buffalo Gals luncheon, and was invited because her novel features Cody founder, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, as one of its cameos.  A book-signing followed the presentation, in the Buffalo Bill Center's museum lobby.
Longtime Montana journalist and travel/arts writer Meyers described the evolution of her first novel, Lilian’s Last Dance, called “vivid, stunning, and monumental,” by a San Francisco critic.  The novel is garnering praise for “prodigious research and ambitious interweaving of cameo figures” with fictional personalities in art, film, and the still-wild West. The book follows the adventures and mishaps of a troupe of entertainers and filmmakers --1907 to World War I. Silent movies are on the decline and Hollywood is in its infancy.
For the Buffalo Gals Luncheon, Meyers read a passage about William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody's meeting of the title character. Other "real life" cameos include Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso, Ty Cobb, Bat Masterson, Mary Pickford, and Gertrude Stein. Meyers co-wrote the tale during winters in Arizona and summers on Montana's Stillwater River.  Her late husband, Bill Jones, collaborated.  He was a longtime Phoenix-based, nationally-known film critic.
Meyers will send an inscribed, first edition copy of the book for $22, which includes postage and a personal inscription.  E-mail her at:  Or send a check to Christene Meyers to: 8935 Via Andar, San Diego, Calif.  92122. Additional copies are $20.

Monday, July 20, 2015


At a recent reading, Cookie expounds. 
Home town reading in Columbus, Montana, entertains old and new friends; Buffalo Bill Center museum devotees turn out in numbers


WE'VE DONE 33 readings and signings since the paperback of "Lilian's Last Dance" came out in February.
We've read in barns and bars, bistros and back yards, museums, art galleries, libraries and living rooms.
At a Billings, Montana, reading in the city library downtown, we played a couple songs from the musical version we hope to get off the ground down the road.
We've read for several hundred people and we've read for less than a dozen folks.  Most of the readings have 25 to 40 people -- a good average number. Our recent reading at the world renowned Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., attracted nearly 100. 
"Barbecue and Books"? Why not, here Cookie and Keller toast on the streets
of Absarokee, Montana, during a recent all-day Cook-off.
We've never failed to have an interesting -- and interested -- group. We are happy to read for as many people as show up.  It's difficult to predict!
AT A RECENT reading in Powell, Wyoming, we had only a dozen people (we were competing against a football game.)  But we read for an enthusiastic group and answered questions while people munched shortbread cookies.  Another reading -- in my home town of Columbus, Montana -- featured popcorn in a friend's back yard. We made new friends and were happy to see a few people from earlier times.
The Cody museum reading was during a luncheon -- with nearly 100 old and new friends. We've read in barns in small, country venues, in restaurants and bars.
We go where interest is.  Once this summer, we read a few snippets at a table in a rural restaurant near us in Nye, Montana, when someone asked.  Such an impromptu request is not to be ignored! (The woman said she'd just finished reading "Lilian's Last Dance" and wanted to hear my voice read a passage about the Montana cowboy who sweeps the French title character off her feet.)
Red Lodge Books and Tea welcomed book lovers to a recent "Lilian...." reading.
WE READ at a fancy cocktail party in Oakland, with a view of the Bay Bridge.
We read at a country club in La Jolla, Calif., while well tanned and sleekly toned people munched canapes and planned plastic surgeries. We've read at several patio parties -- one in San Diego hosted by my Jazzercise teacher. We've read at libraries -- including Phoenix, Ariz., and Miles City, Montana -- and at several art galleries and
Nick, one of our two Yorkshire terriers, is at home
before a reading in Hardin, Montana.
museums, including the beautiful Big Horn County Historical Museum in Hardin.
In Red Lodge, we met at Red Lodge Books and Tea, to a small but enthusiastic group who sipped herbal tea and enjoyed homemade muffins.
AT THE recent Absarokee Cook-off, we were asked to set up a booth.  We did, and sold a couple dozen books, while people wandered about the food stalls set up on the street, sampling barbecue, sipping beer and  talking about haying and cattle.
Sometimes our Yorkies, Nick and Nora, are invited to the readings.  Other times, we find sitters to watch them -- museum ticket takers and librarians have been accommodating.
Let us know if we can read for your book club or civic group, by calling us at 406 661-2910, or writing:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book tour continues as"Lilian's Last Dance" is acquired for Montana Room in Miles City


Top, Miles City Public Library director Sonja Woods with Christene Meyers, adds her novel, 
"Lilian's Last Dance," to the Montana Room at the library. Below, Writer's Voice director Corby Skinner
introduces Christene Meyers to a lively audience at Parmly Billings Library.
Her reading from "Lilian's Last Dance" capped "The Big Read: Wednesdays with Willa (Cather)"
 at the library. Writer's Voice also booked Meyers to conduct a series of workshops on memoir. 
The West Coast tour launched in Oakland, Calif., with
Kathleen Mohn introducing Cookie at her home.
We've done 15 readings as of this June, here at the home of
 Elizabeth McNamer, Billings, who is seated next to Cookie.
 HERE ARE some photos of readings the past few months, and links from recent stories about me. Summer was full and frantic, and now we are escaping the first snows in the Northern Rockies to enjoy the green, green grass of our Southern California home -- and a chance to see old friends.

WE'VE DONE 33 readings since we kicked off  the book tour just a few frantic months ago in Oakland, with a view of the spectacular Bay Bridge from the reading venue at the home of Karl and Kathleen Mohn.

Reading at the home of Kent and Linda Harris, Absarokee, Montana.
READINGS chart their own course.  Some readers want to know the history, the research, the moment the idea began to take shape.
Others want to know how the characters were created and researched.
I'VE TRIED to answer many of the questions here in this blog....the cameos (Buffalo Bill Cody, Gertrude Stein, Charlie Chaplin fascinate people.)  The Big Read crowd in Billings heard that I had plans for "Lilian's Last Dance" to become a musical.  We played three of the songs -- with Marian Booth Green singing. So have a look at the other pages by returning to the blog and clicking on the labels at the top of the page: (CLICK RIGHT HERE:)
And here are links to two recent interviews and stories about me and "Lilian...." Fun to be on the other side of the footlights after reviewing hundreds of books and interviewing their authors!