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.



Back in the Saddlebag Again

After a much needed, but much lamented, break from writing for this blog, I’m back on track again folks. I know the past couple of weeks have been busy for all of us, and the next month won’t be much better. The holiday season is always a busy time for everyone, and it’s not any different at Oghma Creative Media.

In addition to the novels we publish and the events for writers that we are involved in, we have an incredible western-theme magazined that we publish. Saddlebag Dispatches is a full-color, glossy publication that comes out twice a year right now, perhaps more often in future, that features fiction, non-fiction, interviews with western writers, articles, and advertising featuring other western-themed writing.

And western-themed isn’t limited to cowboys. We are also serializing Bender, the Graphic Novel, the true account of America’s first family of serial killers. The Bender family lived in Kansas, and therefore fits the western criteria. Brothers David and Michael Frizell do an incredible job of bringing the story to life in all its horror. If you’ve never heard about the Bender family, I encourage you to check out either the serialization in our magazine, or better yet, get the full-length graphic novels telling the story. The first two volumes are currently for sale, and the third in on its way. Keep your eyes open for public appearances around the Midwest as well. The Frizell brothers love meeting their fans and talking about their work.

When we say “western-themed”, we mean anything that happens west of the Mississippi River, and embodies the spirit of the Old West, as most American imagine it. This of course includes the cowboys, but also the pioneers, the women, the settlers from all nations who moved westward to create a life for themselves and future generations. And it includes modern stories of rodeos, and ranchers, and anyone else who continues to work hard, play hard, and keep the spirit alive for all of us.

We’ve talked to romance novelist Linda Broday about the power of storytelling, interviewed Craig Johnson, the man behind the incredibly popular Longmire books and television series, included articles about Native Americans, and introduced our readers to museums and collections that are relevant to all of our topics.
Our next issue will be out soon, but in the meantime pardner, mosey on over to pick up an issue or two. Then grab a chair or a log, get a little closer to the campfire, and let yourself be transported to the spirit of the West.