Sunday, February 2, 2014

Special Guest-Western Author Dac Crossley

BY Celia Yeary

Dac Crossley--
Western author of the Border Trilogy: 
Guns Across the Rio 
 Return of the Texas Ranger
Revenge of the Texas Ranger. 
He also wrote Escape from the Alamo.

Today my good friend Dac Crossley from Georgia--by way of South Texas--visits in a return engagement to Sweethearts of the West. Although Dac claims he writes romance stories, I think he stretches this a bit because in my opinion he is a romantic at heart. He's a great author of Westerns set in Texas, and his stories do feature strong women.

Dac writes about the Old West in South Texas between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers called the Nueces Strip. In this setting, traditions clash and society interweaves modern and cultural values.

He says, "I write of forgotten trails and fast trains, good horses and old autos, sheriffs and bandits, Anglos and Tejanos, Buffalo Gals and Señoritas, Mexican hombres and Mexican bandits.
And Texas Rangers and the Law of the Six-gun.
Come along with me, to a time when life was lean and linear, and the modern world meets the resistance of traditions older than the brush country. Where trees and men have thorns, and the climate will get you if the varmints don’t."
 Q. Good morning, Dac. We're all pleased you're here, and you'll recognize some authors but probably will meet a few new ones. All of us love Westerns and Western Romance. Introduce yourself, please?

~~I’m D. A. Crossley, Jr., a retired professor at the University of Georgia. My nickname is “Dac.” I’m an emeritus professor of ecology and a curator emeritus of ticks and mites in the Georgia Museum of Natural History.
And I write fiction.

Q:  WELCOME! That's from everyone.
Tell us about a favorite Character from one of your books.

~~I introduced Nacho Ybarra in my first novel, Guns Across the Rio. He keeps showing up in other novels and tries to take over. Nacho is based on a childhood friend, a perpetually old, peripatetic Tejano philosopher. My south Texas stories involve culture clash. Nacho brings the best of his Hispanic heritage into play.

Q. I know your background and education revolves around ecology. So, how did you start your writing career? What was your inspiration?

~~I wrote stories in grade school and sometimes was editor of the high school newspaper. My mother was a marvelous story-teller. When I retired from the university I took a continuing-education course on writing murder mysteries. Tried that, but really hit my stride with westerns.

Q. What will you write now since your Border Trilogy is finished? Will you begin another trilogy?

~~Some of my readers are shouting, “Encore!” Should I  take the Border characters to another decade? I’ve got a woman’s story under construction. And a tale that follows the characters from Escape from the Alamo. South Texas, ever evolving and always dynamic, is an infinite source of stories.

Q. When reading for pleasure, what is your favorite genre or author?

~~I can’t stay away from Amazon. I order more books than I can find time to read. My favorite genre is historical fiction. And there is another generation of south Texas historians just beginning to be heard. It’s a fascinating time to be a Texan.

Q. What is your most distinct childhood memory?

~~When I was a little boy we lived on the outskirts of Kingsville in a little four-room shack. Sitting on the steps and watching clouds scurry across me is a memory that sustains me in tense times.

Q. What do you think makes a good story?

~~A good story? I’m a 50-pager. I’ll give a book fifty pages to catch my interest. If I don’t care what happens next, that’s it! I want to read about characters pushed way out of their comfort zone. I like to follow plot threads that come to a smashing conclusion. Know what I mean?

Q. Yes, I do know what you mean, Dac. I delete more books from my Kindle than I read. See? I can't stay away from Amazon either.

Thanks so much for visiting us. Hang around and comment if you can. Celia
Growing up in South Texas, I roamed the brush country and enjoyed the seasonal changes in scrub and animals, horned toads and red ants. Learned to hunt and fish with friends from the King Ranch, where I enjoyed Hispanic culture. Steeped in Texas history and traditions by my old pioneer family. My genre is historic fiction set in South Texas, where the old west persisted into the 1920s with undeclared border wars and Mexican bandits. My grandfather fought bandits, his father fought Indians. I grew up with sons of Texas Rangers and spent hours listening to their fathers. I am well versed in South Texas history and culture. I enjoy bringing that history and background to life in my fiction. My settings are real and my characters drawn from experience.

Dac's Western Website 
Dac's Western Blog 
Dac's Amazon Pages 

NOTE From Celia:
Sweethearts of the West author, Kathleen Rice Adams, recently wrote a blog post about the Nueces Strip. To learn even more about this area of South Texas that Dac writes about, open this link to the blog for the publisher Prairie Rose Publications:


  1. Good morning Dac and Celia, What a delightful interview. I particularly liked how you shared about your therapy for tense moments is to picture that scene in your childhood. Most people go their whole life searching for material goods that will make them happy, when the truth is there all along. Things can't make you truly happy. Deep happiness, I think, comes from knowing who you are and respecting what got you to this point. Like you, Dac, I share a story of humble beginnings, and embracing that journey sustains me.

    I may have come a long way from the gawky kid who used to climb trees to read and watch the tide come in, but that part of me is still there inside me, helping me navigate.

    Oh, and going way off topic here, the newspaper finally ran my tick story over Christmas, I think. Not much interest in it this time of year.

    Always good to hear from you!

  2. Hi, Dac, and welcome to Sweethearts of the West! Sounds like some of us need to form a group for co-dependent bookaholics: "Hi, my name is Kathleen/Dac/Celia, and I not only download too many books from Amazon, but I also enable others' addiction." :-D

    A couple of your stories are contributing to the wobble in my TBR pile, and I'm looking forward to reading them. Texas-set westerns and WHRs always get my attention -- particularly when they include the culture clashes that were so much a part of Texas history.

    Best of luck to you! Maybe you'll come back and visit us again sometime. :-)

  3. Dac,
    Your 50 page rule makes sense.
    Too often, I've found myself reading a book that isn't really grabbing me but I keep turning the pages, hoping that will change. I realize now that, if it hasn't picked up by page 50, it most probably won't. From now on, I'm going to follow your rule.

  4. Hello Celia and Dac,
    What an interesting interview. With the love you have for Texas, how can you stay away, Dac?
    Your childhood sounds similar to mine. It's a shame that horned toads are so scarce these days.
    I too write Western Historical but like to add a little time travel in with mine. I'll be checking out your books as I love anything about Texas, the Rangers, and history.

  5. Great interview, but I don't like those words, tics and mites!

    About reading on my kindle - I usually know pretty early whether or not I like a book, but recently one started out really well. Then, the dreaded sagging middle kicked in, and the author didn't know how to unsnag it. So, off it went from my kindle!

  6. I like to read about characters like Nacho Ybarra who show up from time to time in other stories. It's like meeting up with an old friend.
    I envy you and other writers who experienced growing up in the west. Some things come easier to you like knowing terms such as draw, ravine, boxed canyon, wash and so on. I have to look up those kinds of descriptions of the land.
    One thing we have in common though, the love of a good western tale where the characters are colorful and outcomes are uncertain until you get to the end.
    I so enjoyed reading about you and your work, Dac. I wish you all the best.

  7. Loved your interview and especially the part about watching the clouds. ☺

    I don't have much time to read for pleasure so the 50-page method is what I have to do. But I will say that I persevered on a book a few months ago and I'm glad I did, because 1/3 of the way through, it grabbed me by the throat and didn't let me go until the very last word. That story's still with me even though I've read several others since. So I have mixed feelings about quitting too soon.

  8. Dac, I love reading your blogs and enjoy your visits to Sweethearts. I agree with the 50 page rule. There are too many good books waiting to be read for us to waste time on those that don't interest us.

  9. Welcome to our corral, Dac, and Celia, thanks for inviting him. Nacho sounds awesome....I LOVE recurring characters.

  10. Thanks, everybody. It was a pleasure visiting with you. Come see me anytime at:


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