The Hills are Blooming… with Books!

It’s Spring… the time when a young girl’s thoughts turn to books. Okay, so I’m not a young girl. And my thoughts are always on books. But that doesn’t change the fact that I had an absolutely wonderful day at the annual Books in Bloom festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

For those of you not familiar with Books in Bloom, it is an event made possible by the Carroll and Madison Library System with the help of area sponsors. Held every May on the grounds of the historic Crescent Hotel—billed as “America’s most haunted hotel”—this event features some of America’s most popular authors, as well as newly discovered local talent.

Because there are so many authors in attendance, it is impossible to hear all of their presentations, but they are available to chat with visitors and sign books when not otherwise involved. Even so, I didn’t have a chance to engage with everyone.

20180520_152752The first new-to-me author I encountered this year is local talent from Arkansas, and she has already earned a place among my favorite authors. Amanda McKinney writes what she dubs “sexy mysteries”, and the emphasis is on mystery. I started with her book The Storm, and was immediately hooked and contemplating the rest of her books. Engaging characters and plots full of twists make this author one to watch.

Deborah Crombie, author of the British mysteries featuring Duncan Kincade and Gemma James, was also at this year’s event. As a lover of detective stories, I have no idea how I’ve overlooked her for so long, but I’m happy to report I had her autograph the first book in that series, A Share in Death, and look forward to following these two in their adventures. Who would have imagined a Texas gal would write British mysteries?20180520_153003

For those wanting nonfiction books, David Welky was among this year’s speakers. I picked up a copy of his latest book, A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier which chronicles an early 20th century Arctic expedition. Having recently A1LB4ENwU0L__UX250_finished In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides, I’m excited to get this book as a companion to that story.

My husband was especially excited to meet Marcus Sakey. Since I’ve apparently been living under a rock for the past several years, this is someone whose work I wasn’t familiar 20180520_153318with. I’m told he has several award-winning books, and some movie deals. I really must pay more attention to the world around me. Maybe after I finish reading Afterlife. Which I’m told will also be a movie someday soon.

So if you have the chance next May, make the journey to Books in Bloom–I’ll be there, and there is no telling who we might meet!

The Cowboy Rides Away…


As I sit down to write this, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve always been told to start the story at the beginning, yet I’m not sure where the beginning is in this case. Did it begin with me growing up in the hills of Northwest Arkansas? Or my love of horses, rodeos, and all things both country and western? Did it begin when I first got to meet my local cowboy hero, Dusty Richards? I’m not sure where the story begins.

Today, just a few days after I wrote about the passing of Pat Richards, beautiful and gentle wife of legendary author Dusty Richards, I learned that Dusty Richards himself passed away. One of my first blog posts was about my excitement over meeting one of my childhood heroes, and finding out what a real-life hero he has been for so many people.

Dusty was larger than life, yet always humble. An expansive  storyteller, as well as a great listener. A teacher, yet always willing to learn. A mentor, a friend, an inspiration. When I asked him how he got started writing, he said he always wanted to write, and had done a little now and again all his life. Writing western stories was his dream. One day, he made the decision to make that dream a reality. His advice to all was “If you want to write, you just have to do it. Write. And keep writing. Keep writing as long as the stories are in there.”

Dusty rail

And that is exactly what Dusty did. He wrote, and he wrote, and he wrote. Story after story, novel after novel. And the stories just kept coming. Dusty Richards was a master storyteller above all else. Not just the written word, but spoken words as well. Stories about cowboys, both real and imagined. Stories of his life, his travels, and his family. Stories of adventures with his beloved wife Pat.

The last few times I visited with Dusty we spoke about writing his biography together. His emails contained stories he remembered and wanted to include in the book. Although he didn’t get a chance to tell me all the stories he wanted, in the past few weeks, I’ve heard hundreds of stories from people across the country. Stories of Dusty and Pat, and their love and generosity. Stories of Dusty helping writers, and farmers, and friends. Story after story after story.

Although our hearts may be heavy down here on Earth, I have no doubt that Dusty and Pat are rejoicing together tonight. Dusty finally has the chance to meet his cowboy heroes and swap stories, with his beautiful bride of 56 years by his side. And I have no doubt that he is still telling stories, because I’m sure he wasn’t finished.

I still don’t know where the story began—but I have no doubt that this isn’t where the story ends.



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 […]

via Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

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 […]

via Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

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 […]

via Introducing Gil Miller — Ninetoes Loves Books

And Now for a Word from Our Sponsors…

Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and television was a new and exciting invention, commercial breaks were introduced by this phrase. At that time, a single company would sponsor an entire show, instead of the newer practice of companies buying 30-second advertising slots spaced throughout the program.

I’ve said many times that without the amazing talent of our authors and artists, Oghma would not exist. And I mean that literally, because in addition to creating products for booksellers to promote, the talent pool of Oghma Creative Media often works behind the scenes as well to keep the company moving in a direction that is beneficial to all. Therefore, I consider the artists and authors as my sponsors for this blog, and indeed for the company as well.

Two of those authors released books during October, and I want to brag about them for a few minutes today.

The first author that I want to introduce is Gil Miller. Gil writes crime-fiction and lives right here in Northwest Arkansas. In fact he lives in the same house with yours truly, and although you might think me a little biased (I am), I can say with complete honesty that I would buy, read, and enjoy his books even if I had never met the man. His characters take you into the world of crime in an honest and insightful way that allows the reader to think of the characters as more than criminals or cops, but as living, thinking, feeling humans. He often focuses on the WHY rather than the WHAT of the crimes being committed, allowing the reader to understand how an average person can find themselves caught up in situation with no clear route of escape.

This month saw the release of Spree, the fourth book Gil has published with Oghma, although it’s the first book he ever published. Originally released with another publisher, Gil got the rights to his work back when his previous contract expired, made a couple changes, fixed a few things, got a gorgeous new cover, and put it back out there for more readers to enjoy. His other Oghma releases are part of an ongoing series, but Spree stands alone.

Gordon Bonnet is, by his own admission, a compulsive writer. Living in New York State, he maintains two blogs, is constantly at work on yet another work of fiction, runs in countless marathons, teaches science, and somehow finds time to be married. We at Oghma suspect he might be more than human.

Despite Gordon’s training in the sciences, and his work as a skeptic and debunker on his blog Skeptophilia, his chosen field of writing focuses on the paranormal. And he does it with style, perhaps because he has given so much thought to what doesn’t work. I do not read paranormal books, I do not like paranormal books, I think they are a silly waste of time.

I love Poison the Well.

The characters are written in such a manner that anything “unusual” seems completely natural to the human race. Gordon makes you believe any supernatural gifts or paranormal happenings are commonplace, even expected. Did you ever watch the X-Files? Admit it—you believed. Maybe not after you turned the television off, but for that one hour a week, it all made perfect sense. Gordon Bonnet gives his readers that same experience.

Go check out these amazing writers. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Their books are available through Amazon,, on their webpages, and through various independent retailers. If your local library doesn’t yet carry their books, suggest these titles for purchase. Leave reviews so the authors, as well as other readers, can know if you enjoyed them as much as I did.