An Incomplete Alphabet

This weekend, people around the world were saddened to hear about the passing of author Sue Grafton. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, and now that opportunity has passed forever. From everything I’ve heard and read about Ms. Grafton, she was a wonderful lady and enjoyed meeting her fans. Her illness was kept quiet, and she passed away surrounded by those she loved.

Even if you have never read her novels, I’m sure you are aware of them. She is the lady responsible for the popular mystery series with titles based on the alphabet, beginning with A is for Alibi. Her most recent novel was released earlier this year, Y is for Yesterday, and with her death ended the alphabet series. Fans have long wondered what would happen after Z, and now we will never know.

With Ms. Grafton’s death, the question was switched to “What will happen after Y (as Z is for Zero was tentatively scheduled for release in 2019).” The answer? The alphabet ends at Y. The author never wanted her books used for films or television, nor did she ever want to use a ghost writer. The family is respecting those wishes.

For those of us in the writing and publishing community, this brings up questions regarding our own mortality and legacy that we may not have thought to address before. What will happen to our work after we are gone? What happens if our demise is sudden and unexpected? How do we want our legacies handled—not just the monetary aspects, but the creative aspects as well? Because for most artists, it is the creativity that is most important. Sure, the money is nice if it comes, but if you’re in this business for the purpose of getting rich, you might want to look elsewhere.

The people I know and work with  are driven to write, to draw, to create, to share their creativity with others. What happens if that creativity suddenly ceases to exist through illness or death? Is the end really The End? Or will we see that The Show Must Go On? It is a decision as personal and individual as the person who makes the choice, and I hope each of us takes the time to decide for ourselves, instead of letting others make that determination when we cannot do so.

As for myself, I am perfectly happy to let the alphabet end with Y. To me, that is a beautiful legacy that speaks volumes for Sue Grafton. If the series ends here, it ends where she left it. And her fans should respect that as much as her family has.

Introducing Cecelia Wilson — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? Cecelia Wilson –What genre do you write in? Non-Fiction -What drew you to this genre? Many years ago, I aspired to be a paperback writer, so I began with fiction. But, after more than a decade as the Feature Writer for Searcy Living magazine, I fell in love with non-fiction. After […]

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Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? JC Crumpton -What genre do you write in? My most common answer to that question is whichever one I can get paid in. But my favorites are the ones wherein I most often read: science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. -What drew you to this genre? What I love about all three of […]

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Introducing Gil Miller — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? Gil Miller -What genre do you write in? Primarily crime fiction, though I have some science fiction and fantasy books in the works. -What drew you to this genre? It was really an accident. I became interested in reading LA noire because of a family connection to the city, then one […]

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Introducing Michael Frizell — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? Michael Frizell Follow me on https://www.facebook.com/MichaelFrizellAuthor/ -What genre do you write in? Horror, Science Fiction -What drew you to this genre? As a child, I learned to read earlier than most, spurred by my fascination with Star Trek, monster movies, and comic books. My father, a Navy Vietnam veteran, understood the […]

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5 Questions with A J Aalto — Ninetoes Loves Books

A J Aalto, author of the wildly popular Marnie Baraniuk Files (TOUCHED, DEATH REJOICES, LAST IMPRESSIONS, WRATH & BONES, BLIGHTMARE) as well as several shorts involving Marnie, was kind enough to answer my 5 Questions, as well as a sixth just for Marnie fans! It has been said that to be a good writer, you […]

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Welcome Painted Woman, Happy Birthday Dusty Richards

My apologies, loyal readers, for making you wait for this post. Yes, it was due Saturday past but I’m hoping that you will understand when I say that the weekend was crazy busy for me my husband is a Veteran).

Let’s start out with the film Painted Lady. Unfortunately, I was not able to personally attend the screening in Poteau, Oklahoma due to short notice and prior commitments. Our company was represented by other members, so I did get some wonderful insights to share with you.

Most importantly, I had the chance to talk to Dusty Richards himself about the film. If it weren’t for Dusty and his masterful storytelling, the film would not exist. As I previously mentioned, the characters in the film Painted Woman are loosely based on characters appearing in the Dusty Richards Spur-award winning novel The Mustanger and the Lady. Although the “Woman” in question is an important character in the novel, she is not the central character. But the world of film being what it is, some things just need to be adapted to fit the film, and create new audiences.

For those of you familiar with Dusty Richards and his work, you know that his stories are written in a traditional western style. Cowboys and their lives and goals are the central theme, throw in some bad guys, and a few women here and there for balance.

In Painted Woman, the woman is the central character, recreated as a strong, determined woman characteristic of today’s women and adored by audiences. This does not lessen the appeal of the film, and I strongly suggest you go see it if you have the opportunity (ask your local venue to request it). Dusty is very pleased with the film, and is particularly fond of Stef Dawson (of Hunger Games fame) who landed the leading role in the film. In Dusty’s words, “it’s a great film. And that Stef, she’s a great gal, she’s going places.”

Saturday, Western Sizzler in Poteau was the site of Dusty’s 80th birthday party. That is an accomplishment all by itself. Fans were invited to stop by and meet Dusty and wish him a happy birthday. Add that to the premiere of his first film, and it makes for a very exciting weekend for those of us here at Oghma Creative Media.

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Reminiscing with the Ranch Boss

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Like many kids of my generation, I loved playing the now-politically-incorrect-on-so-many-levels game of Cowboys and Indians. When my friends and I played, we didn’t care which side we were on, it was all about the game. As we grew older, we still played the game, but now we rode horses and imagined that someday we would reclaim the Wild West. Little did we realize at the time how much the “Wild” West had changed, and that the days of the cowboys as we imagined them were fading fast.

But every once in a while, a kid like me gets to meet real-life heroes. That is exactly how I felt  when I sat down to talk to Dusty Richards. I’ve known Dusty for a while, and known of him pretty much all my life. Dusty has lived in Northwest Arkansas since before I was born, and has always been something of a local legend. Besides being a successful rancher in the area, he had a local radio program for years and appeared on a regional morning TV show, and everyone I know talked about the books he wrote and had published.

Wonderful, magical books about COWBOYS.

Meeting Dusty for the first time a few months ago was exciting for me and I managed not to fangirl too much. Even more exciting is the fact that Dusty is one of the authors at Oghma Creative Media, and that means I can talk to him anytime I want.

Dusty Richards is very friendly and approachable, and absolutely loves talking about his life and his books. As part of my official duties, I sat down to ask him about his life this past weekend. As Director of Marketing, I want to try to know our authors not just as writers, but as people—who they are, what makes them happy or sad, what brought them to the point they are now as artists.

Dusty had scheduled an appearance at the Springdale (AR) Public Library as part of Indie Author Day. He agreed to sit and chat with me until his scheduled time slot, and we found a place to settle in and get comfortable.  The tables near the south windows offered light for recording, and space apart from the main activity to prevent us from interrupting others.

In my innocence (not being a published author) I asked the question “What got you started writing westerns?” Three hours later, I still wasn’t sure that I had a definitive answer.

But looking back over the interview, I discovered  the answer was right in front of me. Dusty had given it to me in true storyteller fashion.  I had expected him to say “This is how it happened,” but what he actually said was “This (a writer of westerns) is who I am, and here is how I got to this point in my life.”

Dusty Richards told me about his early years, living in Chicago, moving to Arizona, meeting the people on the ranches, working with vaqueros, and learning to do things with his hands. He told me about learning to ride horses, entertaining the notion of riding bulls (he became an announcer instead). He told me about the authors he read, the stories he loved, the stories he wanted to write. He told me about his failures and successes, his mentors and supporters, his family and friends.

The closest to a “real” answer to my question came down to this. Dusty once had a friend who spoke about what he wanted to do when he retired. Unfortunately, his friend died before making his dream come true. Dusty said that woke him up. He told his wife he didn’t want to miss his own chance, so he retired from Tyson Foods after more than thirty-five years, and got serious about writing his stories. After more than one hundred books, numerous short stories, three Spur Awards, and now a movie deal, I can say that his fans are glad he took the chance.

Wait—did I just say there is a MOVIE?? Yes, folks I did.  This summer (2017) Dusty earned his third Spur award from Western Writers of America for his novel The Mustanger and the Lady, published by Oghma Creative Media. The new movie Painted Woman is based on characters in that book and will be showing in select theatres around the United States. Friday night (November 10th) it will be premiering in Poteau, Oklahoma. That’s fitting, since it was filmed in Oklahoma. Ask your local venues if they will be screening it. If not, go ahead and ask them to request it. And while you’re waiting, pick up the book. We’ll talk more about this Saturday, after the show.

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