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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

 

PROFILE

Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. The Cold Dish was a Dilys Award finalist and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/BibliObs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming State Historical Association’s Book of the Year, won France’s Le Prix 813.

 

Another Man’s Moccasins was the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award winner and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year, and The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.

 

Junkyard Dogs won the Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick, and Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as was As the Crow Flies.

 

The Walt Longmire series is the basis for the hit A&E drama, Longmire, starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Katee Sackoff.

Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

 

Craig Johnson on The Cold Dish

 

Who is Walt based on? Henry? Vic?

 

I agree with Wallace Stegner that the greatest fraud perpetrated on the reading public is the statement at the beginning of each novel that states that this is a work of fiction and that any similarity to persons living or dead… What a crock. I'm always looking for traits, turns of phrase, anything that might help me inform my characters; it's all grist for the mill.

 

Walt is special because he's the voice of the book, the head that you have to be inside for hundreds of pages; so, he better be honest and be real. I think that the reading public is pretty smart; they can tell if you're on thin ice. I try and keep Walt close and, while I wouldn't say he was me, I'd say he was closer, on a whole, than any of the other characters. He's who I'd like to be in about ten years, but I'm off to an awfully slow start… I assembled him, to a certain extent, from a lot of my experiences and from a lot of the individuals that I worked with in law enforcement. I basically tried to engender a sheriff that embodied all the best qualities of police work that I could think of: compassion, intelligence, dogged determination, and strong sense of right and wrong.

 

Henry is a composite character who I developed from two very close friends, one a Lakota Sioux the other a Cree. They're both pretty incredible guys with great senses of humor and a kind of wistful spirituality that gives me an ability to explore areas that Walt might otherwise leave untouched. I think a lot of writers make the same mistake with Indians that they do with cops, forgetting that they're people.

 

Vic. Where do I start? I needed an urban voice in The Cold Dish, and I was interested in making her a different kind of character than what you might assume to live in Absaroka County, Wyoming. I needed somebody who was savvy and smart and being kind of sexy wasn't a necessarily a bad thing…

 

Why did you make Walt's deputy a woman?

 

Sexual tension. Even with the difference in age and background, I thought it might be more interesting if they had this unrequited relationship, the potential of something happening even if it never did. I also needed a female voice to balance out the weight of the masculine narrative. I've always thought, like Walt, that life is infinitely more interesting with women around.

Why does Vic have such a foul mouth?

 

There's that great line in Inherit the Wind , ‘There are few enough words everybody understands…' My father is a master of profanity and, I have to admit, that at times it can be pretty damn funny. It just doesn't fit with Walt's voice, but it doesn't hurt to have Vic be more than just a little profane. It's the way cops talk, at least all the cops I worked with.

 

Why did you write a murder mystery?

 

I grew up with parents that read the genre, and I can see how wanting to know who done it can be a powerful motivation for finishing a book; Lord knows I used it to write one, but I think it just kind of happened by accident. I'm interested in who done it as much as the next guy, but I suspect that I might be more interested in what happens to the people who are involved after a crime has been committed. How life continues along with the investigation of criminal activity. And I'm interested in consequence.

 

Why write?

 

I'm a product of one of those families that used to go out on the porch and talk after dinner, not watch television, not surf the net… Just talk. Maybe I'm giving away my age a little, but I think it's also a product of a rural upbringing. My father says I come from a long line of bullshitters, and I'm just the first one to write the bullshit down.

I guess a lot of it comes from being interested in people, enjoying listening to them talk about themselves, and trying to recreate conversation in a novel.

I also enjoy the mechanics of writing, rolling up your sleeves in the face of that empty, blank page and getting started, following through with a story and seeing where it takes you. I was one of those kids that used to get hit with an eraser for looking out the windows and was told by second grade teachers that I'd never get ahead by day-dreaming… Shows how much they knew.

 

Did your surroundings growing up have anything to do with you being a writer?

 

I suppose so. Growing up in a rural situation gives you two options, finding a way to entertain yourself or having adults find something to occupy your time, like bailing hay. You'd be surprised how far your imagination will go to keep you away from honest labor.

 

I've always read a lot, and I think readers make good writers. I think that might be one of the reasons I enjoy writing and reading, the effort. It's not a passive form of entertainment, you have to put some effort out to get anything from it and that appeals to me.

 

Where did you get the idea for The Cold Dish?

There was a highly publicized case in New Jersey, which involved a young woman who had been abused in a similar situation. I think that's where the back-story came from. How these things can happen, how they're dealt with in a community, and how law enforcement is involved. How complete victories and losses can be an elusive quality in a complicated society such as ours, and how everybody gets hurt in these situations, everybody.

Why is the rape victim a Native American?

Indian. All the Indians I know laugh when people refer to them as Native Americans. Now to the question. Melissa is an Indian because I've always been interested in cross-cultural relationships, whether they are large, on a social basis, or small, interpersonal connections. I wondered what would happen between Walt and Henry, and what would happen to this little town on the edge of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Also, it's a story about the west, and the Indians have to be there, they're too wonderful to leave out.

Are the places in the book real?

Yep, every damn one of ‘em. It's easy to see stories everywhere I go. I wake up in Walt's world every morning.

Where did you practice law enforcement?

It was a large, metropolitan department in the east, which gave me an insight into the procedural aspects of law enforcement that makes writing this kind of novel a little easier. Walking a beat in a city is very different from sheriffing a county the size of Vermont, but there are similarities. I spent a lot of time with another good friend, Sheriff Larry Kirkpatrick of Johnson County, refitting my experiences to a more rural jurisdiction. I rode around with Larry a lot; herding cattle off the highway with a cruiser is a real talent…

Why is Chapter 12 different from the rest of the book?

 

As a writer, you get to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and, if you're honest, you get to work on both. I've always felt the most insecure about my writing the closer it gets to poetry and spirituality. I think we've all been pushed out onto the ragged edge of reality, and it's difficult to describe what happens there in words. When Walt gets stuck on the mountain in the blizzard, he has to confront himself. I think that's what I was trying to capture in the second part of Chapter 12. Most people love it, some people hate it, but I don't think it's the last time I'll go there.

 

Why did you decide to continue the story and write a second novel? 

Because my agent told me to. Just kidding. After I finished the book, I wandered around the ranch for a couple of weeks with my lower lip pooched out. Finally my wife asked me what was wrong. It was like a death, all these people and places were gone, and I couldn't help but wonder where they were and what had happened to them since I'd finished the book. I know I don't want to write Walt Longmire mysteries for the rest of my life, but I think I have enough interest in their lives to write a few more.

 

 Maybe I'm giving away my age a little, but I think it's also a product of a rural upbringing. My father says I come from a long line of bullshitters, and I'm just the first one to write the bullshit down.

 

I guess a lot of it comes from being interested in people, enjoying listening to them talk about themselves, and trying to recreate conversation in a novel.

 

I also enjoy the mechanics of writing, rolling up your sleeves in the face of that empty, blank page and getting started, following through with a story and seeing where it takes you. I was one of those kids that used to get hit with an eraser for looking out the windows and was told by second grade teachers that I'd never get ahead by day-dreaming… Shows how much they knew.

 

Did your surroundings growing up have anything to do with you being a writer?

 

I suppose so. Growing up in a rural situation gives you two options, finding a way to entertain yourself or having adults find something to occupy your time, like bailing hay. You'd be surprised how far your imagination will go to keep you away from honest labor.

I've always read a lot, and I think readers make good writers. I think that might be one of the reasons I enjoy writing and reading, the effort. It's not a passive form of entertainment, you have to put some effort out to get anything from it and that appeals to me.

 

Where did you get the idea for The Cold Dish?

 

There was a highly publicized case in New Jersey, which involved a young woman who had been abused in a similar situation. I think that's where the back-story came from. How these things can happen, how they're dealt with in a community, and how law enforcement is involved. How complete victories and losses can be an elusive quality in a complicated society such as ours, and how everybody gets hurt in these situations, everybody.

 

Why is the rape victim a Native American?

 

Indian. All the Indians I know laugh when people refer to them as Native Americans. Now to the question. Melissa is an Indian because I've always been interested in cross-cultural relationships, whether they are large, on a social basis, or small, interpersonal connections. I wondered what would happen between Walt and Henry, and what would happen to this little town on the edge of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Also, it's a story about the west, and the Indians have to be there, they're too wonderful to leave out.

 

Are the places in the book real?

 

Yep, every damn one of ‘em. It's easy to see stories everywhere I go. I wake up in Walt's world every morning.

 

Where did you practice law enforcement?

 

It was a large, metropolitan department in the east, which gave me an insight into the procedural aspects of law enforcement that makes writing this kind of novel a little easier. Walking a beat in a city is very different from sheriffing a county the size of Vermont, but there are similarities. I spent a lot of time with another good friend, Sheriff Larry Kirkpatrick of Johnson County, refitting my experiences to a more rural jurisdiction. I rode around with Larry

a lot; herding cattle off the highway with a cruiser is a real talent…

 

Why is Chapter 12 different from the rest of the book?

 

As a writer, you get to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and, if you're honest, you get to work on both. I've always felt the most insecure about my writing the closer it gets to poetry and spirituality. I think we've all been pushed out onto the ragged edge of reality, and it's difficult to describe what happens there in words. When Walt gets stuck on the mountain in the blizzard, he has to confront himself. I think that's what I was trying to capture in the second part of Chapter 12. Most people love it, some people hate it, but I don't think it's the last time I'll go there.

 

Why did you decide to continue the story and write a second novel? 

Because my agent told me to. Just kidding. After I finished the book, I wandered around the ranch for a couple of weeks with my lower lip pooched out. Finally my wife asked me what was wrong. It was like a death, all these people and places were gone, and I couldn't help but wonder where they were and what had happened to them since I'd finished the book. I know I don't want to write Walt Longmire mysteries for the rest of my life, but I think I have enough interest in their lives to write a few more.

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

 

Cheyenne, WY Barnes & Noble June 27, 6:30 PM

 

Billings, MT Barnes & Noble July 6, 7PM

 

 

 

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

Post-It: Rolling, rolling, rolling…

SerpentsTooth
 
    So my twenty-year-old suitcase died a few weeks ago, which is more tragic than you think, in that I’ll be living out of one for the next two months. In case it slipped by you, the eighth Walt Longmire book, As The Crow Flies, has hit the shelves in trade paperback this past week and the ninth novel in the Walt Longmire Mystery Series, A Serpent’s Tooth is on sale today, Tuesday, June 4th.
    In preparation for the upcoming, sixty-three event tour, I sent my suitcase back for repair, hoping to resurrect it. . . again. Over the years I’ve developed a personal relationship with the guys and gals at Orvis baggage repair, not because they don’t make a fine product but simply because I’ve logged more miles on my classic, rolling duffle than a Class C licensed trucking firm.
    The death knell came when Roger called me back from Missouri, where the Orvis elves do their magic. “It’s more than critical.”
    Unwilling to let go of my old friend, I pleaded. “It’s still got life left in it… And it’s got a lifetime guarantee.”
    “It’s life is over, Mr. Johnson. The wheels are busted, the handle is broken, the fabric is worn through on both ends, and all the leather straps are pulled apart.”

    “The tag is still good.”
    “We’ll send it back to you with the new, classic rolling duffle.”
    I mumbled. “I like my old rolling duffle.”
    “Are you going to like scrambling around on the baggage carousel for your clothes? ‘Cause I’m telling you that the thing is like a sieve.” It grew quiet on the phone, and he changed the subject in hopes of distracting me. “Hey, don’t you have a new book coming out?”
    “Yep, A Serpent’s Tooth, which is why I need my bag.”
    “What’s this one about?”
    I read him the flap copy. “It’s homecoming in Absaroka County, but the football and festivities are interrupted when a homeless boy wanders into town. A Mormon “lost boy,” Cord Lynear is searching for his missing mother but clues are scarce. Longmire and his companions, feisty deputy Victoria Moretti and longtime friend Henry Standing Bear, embark on a high plains scavenger hunt in hopes of reuniting mother and son. The trail leads them to an interstate polygamy group that’s presiding over a stockpile of weapons and harboring a vicious vendetta.
    “Sounds good. Hey, do you ever worry about backlash from your fundamentalist polygamy readership?”
    Ignoring the question, I tried another tack. “Can’t we patch it up, just enough so that I can use it one more time—you know, a final farewell tour?”

    The advance reviews for A Serpent’s Tooth have been wonderful, with a starred, featured review from Publisher’s Weekly, and I’ve been doing a lot of interviews across the country. The response from the media has been truly gratifying with a lot of pre-readers saying this novel, rather epic in nature, might be their favorite Walt book so far.
    LONGMIRE debuted its season 2 on A&E with record numbers on Memorial Day. Don’t forget that it’s on Mondays this season at 10 PM/9c for the rest of the summer.
    So, life is good, right?
    “Look, I know what you’re going through and I feel your pain, but there’s a time when you just have to let go. We have to pull the plug on this one; it’s a quality of life situation.”
    “A mercy killing,” 
    “So to speak.”

 
    See you on the trail with a new rolling duffle.

Craig
 
PS: Check the Tour of Duty on www.craigallenjohnson.com to see if I’m in a city, town or state near you and come on down, listen to me jabber and get a signed book or two. Or check the list below. Check it anyway as a few events have changed.
 

PPS: While you are on the website, also check out the STORE cause if you can’t get to me in person, all the books, the DVDs of LONGMIRE’s first season, the t-shirts, the hats, the mugs and the stickers are there for the buying. Not many of the short story hardcover trade edition books left, so hurry and order. Not many of the limited edition ones either! IF YOU’VE ALREADY ORDERED ONE, PLEASE BE PATIENT. IT’S COMING AND IS CERTAINLY WORTH THE WAIT.


 Have CouragePINKmugpinkshirt 2

PPS: Speaking of which, look for a Red Pony Bar and Grill hat in the next few weeks. We think it’s great looking, so great looking that we might do mugs and tees to go along with it.

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

Please welcome CRAIG JOHNSON!

 

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Fricka
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

[ Edited ]

Welcome back, Craig. I am going to give your books another try, I think.

I can't remember which book of yours I started reading, but there was a part where a horse got killed, and that was so upsetting to me that I couldn't finish the book. Humans, yeah, they are expendable, especially in murder mystery books, but horses and dogs-- that is something else. I guess that tells you more about my values than I normally would write.

 

I did go on your web site to see when your book signings are, and for the second year in a row, I won't be able to make it. You are going to be in Scottsdale on June 12, but the 13th is my Mom's 89th birthday, and my brother and his wife are having a celebration on the 12th so I'll be able to go since I work on the 13th.

 

Oh well, maybe ONE of these years I will be able to get one of your books signed by you.

 

(Yeah, I did kind of get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning--sorry about that. I'm usually much more chipper than this blurb appears.)

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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maxcat
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

Hi, Craig, I am going to have to try your books. They sound interesting and I like trying out authors I haven't read.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

I discovered Craig's books a few years ago when I was visiting Albuquerque. My brother works in a bookstore there and I asked him for suggestions when I was in the mood for books with local color. He didn't steer me wrong!

 

Craig - Has your life changed since LONGMIRE has become so successful? I was VERY excited when I heard there was going to be a second season. I normally don't like TV  shows adapted from books, but I think the acting in this series is extremely well done.

 

Are you happy with the television adaptations?

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

The gnomes and gremlins are trying to keep Craig from joining us. If all else fails, I'll post his comments on his behalf.

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

Craig HI!!!!

Welcome to the board.

Oh wow am I glad I visited today such a timely effort on my part.

 

I moderate besides the General Fiction forum here on B&N.com an in person book club and I have one male member who loves western writing and I need one more novel selection for this year.

 

Which one of your novels would you suggest for a both sexes multi aged book club?

 

And I'm so sorry about the Gremlin problems they run rampant at B&N, it's the minority of guest authors who do get through LOL

 

images.jpeg

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!


maxcat wrote:

Hi, Craig, I am going to have to try your books. They sound interesting and I like trying out authors I haven't read.


Response from Craig:

 

Maxcat-- Well, I appreciate that. Even with the TV show Longmire, there are more people who haven't read my books than have but we just got translated into Chinese so that may be the tipping point… I always advise readers to start from the beginning of the series because that way I can hold them at bay until they catch up with me and start yelling about me only writing one book a year.
 
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!


Fricka wrote:

Welcome back, Craig. I am going to give your books another try, I think.

I can't remember which book of yours I started reading, but there was a part where a horse got killed, and that was so upsetting to me that I couldn't finish the book. Humans, yeah, they are expendable, especially in murder mystery books, but horses and dogs-- that is something else. I guess that tells you more about my values than I normally would write.

 

I did go on your web site to see when your book signings are, and for the second year in a row, I won't be able to make it. You are going to be in Scottsdale on June 12, but the 13th is my Mom's 89th birthday, and my brother and his wife are having a celebration on the 12th so I'll be able to go since I work on the 13th.

 

Oh well, maybe ONE of these years I will be able to get one of your books signed by you.

 

(Yeah, I did kind of get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning--sorry about that. I'm usually much more chipper than this blurb appears.)


Craig's response:

 

Fricka--The book in question was probably The Dark Horse, in which an individual locks a number of horses in a barn and burns it down. I don't do gratuitous violence against people or animals in my books, but it was important to the plot of this particular novel.

 

I'm also not a big fan of graphic violence in my novels, but if you want to see what kind of relationship I have with my horses, just go to www.craigallenjohnso.com and you'll find one kissing me… Generally, I start my day by discussing the day's writing with my horses, who listen intently, but never offer advice.

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!


dhaupt wrote:

Craig HI!!!!

Welcome to the board.

Oh wow am I glad I visited today such a timely effort on my part.

 

I moderate besides the General Fiction forum here on B&N.com an in person book club and I have one male member who loves western writing and I need one more novel selection for this year.

 

Which one of your novels would you suggest for a both sexes multi aged book club?

 

And I'm so sorry about the Gremlin problems they run rampant at B&N, it's the minority of guest authors who do get through LOL

 

images.jpeg


Craig's response:

 

Dhaupt--Thanks for the good words! My first novel, The Cold Dish is the one I'd start out with, it gives the most in-depth canvassing of the characters and the environs, but the one mentioned above, The Dark Horse is my most quintessential Western. Then there's As The Crow Flies, which takes place up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation… Your pick!

 

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire Series #1) (TV Tie-In)  

The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5)  

As the Crow Flies (Walt Longmire Series #8)  

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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!


becke_davis wrote:

I discovered Craig's books a few years ago when I was visiting Albuquerque. My brother works in a bookstore there and I asked him for suggestions when I was in the mood for books with local color. He didn't steer me wrong!

 

Craig - Has your life changed since LONGMIRE has become so successful? I was VERY excited when I heard there was going to be a second season. I normally don't like TV  shows adapted from books, but I think the acting in this series is extremely well done.

 

Are you happy with the television adaptations?


Craig's response:

 

The television show has has a pretty big effect on book sales, especially in the backlist of the Longmire novels. The Cold Dish. the first in the series actually climbed onto the New York Times Bestseller Extended list seven years after initial publication. Even funnier, Rainier Beer ran out of beer two weeks into the series… I think Robert Taylor has had a large scale effect in the success of the show, he's a marvelous performer and a real, down to earth guy. It's a marvelous cast, really. With the stories being the way they are, it's an ensemble piece and I think the give and take of the different characters has also been a key to its success. 

 
I'm extremely happy with the job they're doing. I figured when they made me a creative consultant that they weren't going to do anything I might take umbrage with, and they really haven't. We go down on the set for a week or two every season and they send me the synopsis of each episode for a response, and then send me the actual episode before they begin filming. It's been a pretty marvelous relationship, and the fact that the show has been as successful as it has been is doubly gratifying.
 
-C.
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Re: Please welcome featured author CRAIG JOHNSON!

[ Edited ]

becke_davis wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I discovered Craig's books a few years ago when I was visiting Albuquerque. My brother works in a bookstore there and I asked him for suggestions when I was in the mood for books with local color. He didn't steer me wrong!

 

Craig - Has your life changed since LONGMIRE has become so successful? I was VERY excited when I heard there was going to be a second season. I normally don't like TV  shows adapted from books, but I think the acting in this series is extremely well done.

 

Are you happy with the television adaptations?


Craig's response:

 

The television show has has a pretty big effect on book sales, especially in the backlist of the Longmire novels. The Cold Dish. the first in the series actually climbed onto the New York Times Bestseller Extended list seven years after initial publication. Even funnier, Rainier Beer ran out of beer two weeks into the series… I think Robert Taylor has had a large scale effect in the success of the show, he's a marvelous performer and a real, down to earth guy. It's a marvelous cast, really. With the stories being the way they are, it's an ensemble piece and I think the give and take of the different characters has also been a key to its success. 

 
I'm extremely happy with the job they're doing. I figured when they made me a creative consultant that they weren't going to do anything I might take umbrage with, and they really haven't. We go down on the set for a week or two every season and they send me the synopsis of each episode for a response, and then send me the actual episode before they begin filming. It's been a pretty marvelous relationship, and the fact that the show has been as successful as it has been is doubly gratifying.
 
-C.

Craig - Congratulations on THE COLD DISH hitting the New York Times Extended List. That's quite a coup! 

 

I agree that the cast of LONGMIRE is outstanding. Have you been tempted to write a screenplay for the show, or do you prefer to leave the scripts to someone else?

 

I had to laugh at Rainier Beer running out - although I'm not entirely surprised. There are some beer afficionados in my family, and they love nothing more than discovering a new and exciting beer!

 

(If you come to Chicago, check out Goose Island Brewery's Matilda:

 

http://www.gooseisland.com/pages/matilda/25.php)