Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Please remember that we are still on our Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. Click on the graphic at the right for the participating blogs and prizes. I'm giving away a pdf a day of my books (winner's choice), and winners will be announced on November 1st. International readers are included in my part of the blog hop. A comment is an entry, if you follow my blog, subsctibe to my newsletter, and/or subscribe by email, that's an extra entry for each. Be sure to mention in the comment, and please include your email.

Readers, I’m excited today to welcome a very special guest, Dac Crossley. I first "met" Dac online through my friend Celia Yeary, and Dac has posted on Celia’s blogsite and on Sweethearts of the West. He’s a fascinating man and his bio follows this interview.

Renowned Entymologist
and Award Winning Western
Author, Dac Crossley
Caroline: Tell us about growing up near Texas’ famous King Ranch and Kingsville. Are you related to the ranching family? Do you have siblings? Spill it all.

Dac: I'm from old Texas stock but not part of the King Ranch empire. From my front porch I could see the big white King Ranch headquarters. I had one younger brother, a chemical engineer. We lived at the end of a caliche road, way out beyond house numbers. Dad raised chickens.

Caroline: Did you write fiction while you were at Texas Tech before you changed majors from English to biology?

Dac: Not fiction. I named some new species of mites when at Tech. My room-mate and I wrote a short comedy, once.

Caroline: What’s a story you remember your grandmother telling you that readers will enjoy?

Dac: I learned the night sky from my grandmothers. One taught me the constellations in the northern sky, the other, in the southern sky. Knowing the stars allowed you to navigate on the plains, and to tell time at night. Both grandmothers spent part of their childhood on ranches, and knew the brush country quite well.

Caroline: Do you return to Texas often? Without revealing enough to invade their privacy, tell us about your family.

Dac: I go back to south Texas whenever I can. I no longer have family there, but the memories linger, and I visit the old places in San Antonio and Corpus Christi and environs. And meet with friends from my childhood. I have deep roots in south Texas. The sights and sounds, the feel of the brushlands strike a chord deep within me.

Caroline: I noticed that GUNS ACROSS THE RIO was a finalist in the 2008 National Indie Excellence Awards. Where did you get the idea for that book? Did it require a lot of research?

Dac: It began with stories my father told me, of growing up on the border, of bandits and railroads, fast horses, slow automobiles. I prowled the border area for locales for my story.

Caroline: National Indie Excellence Award 2009 winner, RETURN OF THE TEXAS RANGER, is a sequel and I notice the same three characters are included. Did that book spring from the first, or did you have to dig it out?

Dac: In fact, I wrote RETURN first. I had an agent for that one, who was unable to sell it altho she tried hard. GUNS was actually a "prequel" that happened to be published first.

Caroline: I love the premise of your latest book in which someone escapes the Alamo to fight again. Was a particular event or experience inspiration for your 2011 National Indie Excellence Award winner, ESCAPE FROM THE ALAMO, or is it simply from the experience of being a native Texan?

Dac: Honestly, any Texan author just has to write an Alamo story. The Alamo history is very much a part of my upbringing. My mother was a historian.

Caroline: If you could go back in time for a brief visit, where and when would you choose?

Dac: That's easy. San Antonio in 1836, and the fall of the Alamo. I want to see for myself!

Caroline: What fiction are you reading now?

Dac: A DISTANT FLAME, a Civil War story by Georgia's most accomplished writer, Philip Lee Williams. I am plotting a post-Civil War story for South Texas, so this counts for research as well.

Caroline: What advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Dac: My customary advice is read, read, read and write, write, write. Tell me a good story.

Caroline: Your blog on chiggers made me laugh. Do you have any stories to share about the pesky little red devils?

Dac: Listen, I enjoyed those days. Touring the west, south and southeast, trapping rodents, shooting birds, catching snakes and lizards, sleeping under the stars. Couldn't do that today.

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Dac: Today it's easier to publish your book than it ever was. You have a story in you, don't you?

And from a western writer - "Timing is the most important part of a rain dance."

Caroline: I love that quote! Thank you for being my guest.

Dac: It's been my pleasure.

Dac' bio:
D. A. Crossley, Jr., is a retired professor at the University of Georgia, and his nickname is “Dac.” He's an emeritus professor of ecology and a curator emeritus of ticks and mites in the Georgia Museum of Natural History. Even better from our viewpoint, he writes great western fiction!

Dac grew up in Kingsville, Texas, the home of the famous King Ranch. It was also the home of railroad shops for the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico railway company. Dac says everybody in town worked for the railroad or the ranch, or did business with them.

Dac received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech in Lubbock. Yay! That's where Hero graduated and I attended for two years. Dac's doctorate was in Entomology at the University of Kansas, where--you will no doubt be surprised to learn--Dac studied the classification of chiggers - redbugs. He thinks he's still the U.S. expert.

After university he worked at Oak Ridge National Lab as an ecologist. Which he says he surely wasn't. In those days (1950's) almost nobody was. He studied the effects of radioactive waste on forests and fields. A fortunate turn brought him to the University of Georgia, where he had the privilege of working with some excellent ecologists.

With retirement looking him in the face, he turned to his first career choice - writing and hit his stride in writing about South Texas in its pre-civilized days. The Old West lived on for decades down near the Border and in the Wild Horse Desert. Family stories and tales he was told as a child form the basis for his Texas novels.

Buy link for Dac's books at Amazon is

Please return on Friday for a visit with Claire Ashgrove. Don't forget the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop lasts through midnight on Hallow'en. Leave a comment to be entered in my daily give away, including international readers.
Thanks for stopping by!


Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

I do not like chiggers, but enjoy entomology enough that I just completed entomology specialist training through the master gardener program. Next to picking up snakes, bringing home bugs was the worst habit I had growing up, at least from Mom's perspective.

So, how do you kill chiggers, preferably before they bite me?

The Romanceaholic said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Following on GFC as The Romanceaholic

romanceaholic at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Hi, Dac, and Caroline...I'm so glad I made it! I couldn't pass up this interview with my friend, Dac. I will say he is the perfect Western Gentleman...a true man of the West. Even though he lives in a foreign country...I mean a state--one of those Southern ones.
Dac, I think Amazon has an separate Kindle Store for Indie Authors--you might want to check that out if you haven't already.
It's so good to see your photo, and I hope you're doing well.
I once went on a research weekend from Texas Tech to the desert just south of Iraan, Texas. There was a very, very primitive research station and we studied pack rats and any reptile we could find. Our professo carried a pistol on his hip. I can truthfully say that was one of the worst experiences of my life. I should write a blog about that.
Best wishes...Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Dac,
It's good to read more about you! I'm honored to know you and love your stories about Texas. Come back to coastal Georgia for another visit, ya hear?

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Dac's love for Texas and its history really came through in this interview. I enjoyed reading it.

Elizabeth Kolodziej said...

Great post! thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dac, How's it going? Enjoyed your interview. Always shiver when chiggers are mentioned. I'll do anything to avoid those pesky critters. Keep writing those great western stories. We'll see them on the screen one of these days.

Unknown said...

Hey Dac good interview. I have reviewed all of Dac's books before they became famous. See
Got to make a comment about the tree in the banner.
I kept staring at it. It looks like the Osage Orange in the yard of Fort Harrod, Harrodsburg, KY. Said to be the oldest speciem of its kind in the state.
Nash Black (Irene)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I loved your interview, Dac--not to mention the enticing references to bugs and the Alamo. All I need to know about chiggers is they're pesky little devils. Studying them must have been a trip.
I love Texas. I lived there for a while when my husband was in the service--Fort Hood. All those wonderful towns like Belton and Temple had the friendliest people in them. Loved San Antonio.
I enjoyed your interview and I wish you every success in your writing career.

Stephen L. Brayton said...

Yep, I love Texas, too. I have a great-uncle who lives in El Paso and I love visiting to see the mountains.

Marja McGraw said...

As usual, a terrific interview, Dac. You are a heck of an interesting man, and I enjoy reading your blogs.

katsrus said...

Really enjoyed your post. You are a new author to me. Your books sound very interesting. Really nice covers.
Sue B

Augie said...

I just love hearing from Dac...augie

Dentist San Antonio said...

Great article, I've only just recently heard of the Dac.