Monday, December 2, 2013




            In the newly released book “The Magicke Outhouse” an astonishing feat is possible – time travel. 

            Authors Kym O’Connell-Todd and Mark Todd have conjured up a quirky tale of strange things happening to those who visit a certain outhouse on the edge of the peculiar little mountain town of Silverville, Colorado.

            The book, the third in the Silverville Saga series, has just been published by Raspberry Creek Books of Gunnison, Colorado.

            “Everyone knows you can’t time-travel,” say the authors. “But the rules change in Silverville, where anything is possible.” 

            Combine ley lines with a mysterious privy fungus and one might end up anywhere, from ancient Egypt to the Wild West or into the future. Add in an almost-zombie and a pig that can sing “Happy Birthday,” and you’re in for a wild ride – if the tour guides can just work out the kinks.

            Co-authors Kym O’Connell-Todd and Mark Todd have made Silverville a must-visit destination for readers who can’t get enough of the strange goings-on that just seem to naturally occur there.

            It began with a supposed UFO sighting in Silverville and a resulting theme park (and hordes of tourists) in “Little Greed Men” and continued with a curse that led to a chicken fetish in “All Plucked Up” (think Indiana Jones meets the Maltese Falcon).

            Now the Todds take readers on trips back in time. But the involvement of Buford Price, whose efforts in the earlier novels have produced hilarious results, creates a problem that can only be fixed by going back in time and making certain changes. Naturally, there’s a glitch in that effort.

            The book has received advance praise from a number of successful authors.

             “Small town mystery and excitement have never been as surprising and fun,” says Charlie Craig, showrunner and head writer for SyFi Channel’s hit series Eureka and writer for Fox’s The X-Files. “The laughs are never more than a page away … keeping the reader captivated until the last, surprising chapter. Who knew that a journey that begins in an outhouse could be so much fun?”

            Stacia Deutsch, New York Times best selling author, says “It’s no easy task but this book gets [time travel] right. Kym and Mark Todd have a time travel hit with this new adventure in the Silverville Saga series. As soon as those deadly kinks are worked out, sign me up.”

            Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the Amazon best selling Casa  series, says “a unique cast of characters makes this a fun and enjoyable read!”

            Kym O’Connell-Todd is a writer and graphic designer. Mark Todd is a college professor and program director for Western State Colorado University's MFA in Creative Writing. They live in the Cochetopa Mountains east of Gunnison with more animals than most reasonable people would feed.

            “The Magicke Outhouse” and the other books in the Silvervile Saga are available in local and area bookstores and on either as a print or e-book.

            The Todds will present a reading and signing of their new book next Wednesday, December 11, at Savage Library on the campus of Western State Colorado University. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. They have also scheduled several other local and area presentations over the coming days and weeks.

            For more information visit, or the authors’ website

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



            “Dos Rios Memories,” a biography of Alonzo Hartman, a Gunnison city founder, by local author Judy Buffington Sammons has been published.

            Hartman was a pioneer Colorado cattleman and one of the first settlers on the state’s Western Slope. Hartman settled in an area south of present-day Gunnison near the confluence of Tomichi Creek and the Gunnison River and called it Dos Rios. A popular recreation area south of town is named Hartman Rocks.

            The “Hartman Castle,” built in 1891, is a well-known Gunnison landmark.

            The book is available in local and area bookstores. It was published by Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd., of Gunnison.

            The book recounts Hartman’s rise from a provider of beef to the Ute Indians, when the area was a true wilderness, to prominent cattleman. It includes many historic photos, some of which have not been published before.

            Hartman was a friend of Ute Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta and was involved in early major legal issues dealing with free grazing and water rights.

            Duane Vandenbusche, Gunnison historian and Professor of History at Western State Colorado University, calls the book “an outstanding and well-documented account.”  He said Sammons covers Harman’s life and contributions to ranching, politics and the growth and development of one of the great cattle regions of the nation “in an excellent and easy-to-read style.”

             Sammons grew up on a Hereford ranch northwest of Gunnison.  She is the author of six books and numerous articles on western Colorado history.  A holder of a Master of Arts degree in Education from WSCU, she has recently retired from a 30-year career teaching math, reading, and English in the field of adult education.

            “Coming from a ranching family herself, Judy gets the cattle business right,” said Kathleen Curry, Gunnison County beef producer and former state legislator. She called the book “a must-read for those of us who love the Gunnison Country and want to know and understand the people who got it started.”

            Local rancher Lee Spann agreed. He called the book “a much-needed documentation of one of the founders of the community in the Gunnison Valley.”



Tuesday, June 4, 2013



            A second book in a series of three and a historical novel, all set in Colorado, are new from Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd.

            Authors Kym O’Connell-Todd and Mark Todd have released two books in the Silverville Saga series and a third is planned for release later this year. In addition, Larry K. Meredith’s “This Cursed Valley” has been re-issued in a special 10th Anniversary Edition.

            The Silverville Saga series began several years ago with the publication of “The Silverville Swindle,” a fun, quirky science fiction novel set in a small Colorado mountain town that many readers see as their own community.  It has now been re-issued, with updates, as “Little Greed Men” and has been joined by book two in the series, “All Plucked Up.”  A third book, “The Magicke Outhouse,” will appear soon.

            “This Cursed Valley” is set in the central Colorado Rockies and recounts the history (in novel form) of the area from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to Marble with particular interest on the Redstone area.  The new version includes some previously unpublished material and an introduction by Anne Hillerman, daughter of famed southwestern novelist Tony Hillerman.

            All books are available from the publisher, Ingram Book Group, (print and e-books for Kindle), Barnes & Noble online, the authors and in many local and area bookstores.

            “Little Greed Men” was nominated for a Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Fiction Award and as a recommended reading title at the Library of Congress by the Washington Center for the Book.

            “All Plucked Up” was nominated for a Colorado Book Award in 2013.    

            “This Cursed Valley” was a finalist for a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America.

            For more information contact the publisher at, visit or visit the Todds’ website, their blog, or Meredith’s blog (Up the Creek) at

            Watch for more books set in the Western U.S. from Raspberry Creek Books, including a biography of Colorado pioneer Alonzo Hartman.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013



            “The Silverville Saga” series of books by local authors Kym O’Connell-Todd and Mark Todd continues to grow with the publication this week of “Little Greed Men.”
            This was preceded earlier this year by the publication of “All Plucked Up.”
            Both books were published by Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd., of Gunnison.
            “Little Greed Men” was published originally in 2006 under the title “The Silverville Swindle” by Ghost Road Press of Denver. Raspberry Creek Books and the Todds agreed to publish a series of books based on the first one and decided to change the title of the original novel, which has since been revised for publication as the first in a series.
            The Todds are at work on a third book in the “Silverville Saga.”
            The books are all set in the small fictitious Colorado mountain town of Silverville, which some say reminds them of Gunnison.
            “Little Greed Men” sets the stage for the other books in the series and is built around the question: What happens when a town’s local resident spots a UFO?
            In this case, Silverville sees nothing but dollar signs 
            The book description invites readers to “ride along on this irreverent adventure that reveals Colorado mountain culture at its most outrageous and where just about everybody shares in the madness of money, murder and mayhem.”
            The book was nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Fiction Award and has been placed on the Washington Center for the Book recommended reading list at the Library of Congress.
            The humorous science fiction novel has been praised by reviewers including the late Ed Quillen, a syndicated columnist for the Denver Post and co-publisher of Colorado Central magazine who called it “a howling funny ride all the way.” He asked “how far will a mountain town go to get more tourists? Clear to Arcturus, maybe, and along the way to the stars, there are con men, scam artists, hustlers, perhaps even a few honest citizens.”
            “Little Greed Men” is the first book in the series with “All Plucked Up” the second. The third, tentatively titled “The Magicke Outhouse,” is scheduled for publication later this year or in early 2014.
            Both current books in the series are available at local bookstores, via or at Barnes and Noble online.  A Kindle e-book will be available soon.


Thursday, March 14, 2013


And the winning cover for the new Silverville Saga book is ...

... by overwhelming popular acclaim the "Out of the Woods" design.

Raspberry Creek Books willuse that cover for the release of Little Greed Men early this spring.

Here's the premise from the back cover blurb:
What happens when a town's local resident spots a UFO?

Silverville sees nothing but dollar signs.

First an amusement park and museum, then a celestial motif for the whole town. Con artists and embezzlers, tourists and kooks, all get caught up in the frenzy, some hoping to make a quick buck, others seeking a spiritual message from beyond the stars.

Ride along on this irreverent adventure that reveals Colorado mountain culture at its most outrageous, and where just about everybody shares in the madness of money, murder, and mayhem.

Publication back story:
This is a re-release in affordable paperback as well as e-reader format of a book that first came out several years ago under the title of The Silverville Swindle. But at the time we thought of the novel as a one-off, not Book One of a paranormal adventure-comedy series that now includes a planned four books -- the second, All Plucked Up (released this past December); the third, The Magicke Outhouse (forthcoming at the end of the year); and an untitled fourth in development for the following year.

Soon after publication, the original edition garnered several nods, including a nomination for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award for Young Adult Fiction as well as a following among high school students and YA readers spanning many borders. (This always puzzled us -- although delighted by this reception, we didn't particularly write the novel for that audience, and our story breaks many of the "rules of engagement" with that readership.)

Next, the Washington Center for the Book placed the title on the recommended reading list at the Library of Congress.

I loved this book. It's trite to say I couldn't put it down, but that's the truth. Even more, I'm looking forward to the next book by the Todds. Great plot development, and they nailed the characters and the setting. It's hard to believe this is a first novel. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining book filled with humor, intrigue, and likeable, memorable characters. It starts at an attention-snagging pace and grows throughout. A delicious romp through a tight adventure.
 W.C. Jameson, History Channel commentator and author of over sixty books about the West, more recently the novel Beating the Devil and the biography Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave

Any reader in the West will recognize Silverville with a knowing grin – and often enough, a knowing shudder. The Todds have written a funny book about a townful of people we’d just as soon know from a literary distance but suspect we might live next door to – or maybe even closer…. This book about close encounters of every kind is further evidence that any search for intelligent life in the universe might not stop very long at our planet.
– George Sibley, New York Times best-selling author of Part of a Winter,  Dragons in Paradise and, most recently, the historical nonfiction Water Wranglers

How far will a mountain town go to get more tourists? Clear to Arcturus, maybe, and along the way to the stars, there are con men, scam artists, hustlers, perhaps even a few honest citizens -- a howling funny ride all the way.
– Ed Quillen, syndicated columnist for The Denver Post and former co-publisher of Colorado Central magazine.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


You pick the cover design for Little Greed Men!

Raspberry Creek Books will release Book One of the Silverville Saga next month, in April -- the long-awaited re-release of the book as an affordable trade paperback, with revisions, a new title, and a new cover design.

But we're now in the process of choosing that new cover, one with attitude, to match the attitude of the new title, Little Greed Men.

Raspberry Creek Books wants Silverville fans (and friends) to have a say in this. We've narrowed our choice of the mock-ups to three candidates, and now we want your input.

You can "vote" by
  • In fact, vote, and vote often, and on all the sites, to show you care!
Polling closes in seven days, midnight (Mountain Time) on March 11.

Below are the candidates:
  1. "Invasion"
  2. "In your face"
  3. "Out of the woods"


"in your face"

"out of the woods"

(And a hat tip to Kym O'Connell Todd, who created the cover designs for us!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For good reading – and good writing – visit our website at and check out This Cursed Valley and All Plucked Up – two vastly different novels that are the first to be published by Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd.)

A few years ago I was selected by the Denver Post to be among those called "Colorado Voices" and was asked to write several columns that appeared over the course of a year.  Following is one of the pieces that I especially liked.  Interestingly enough, the Post editor (obviously a city person) changed the title to "Defined by Road Apples."  Well, shoot, every self-respecting Western Coloradan knows that road apples are left by horses and not by cattle.  A few folks raised the issue and I had to place the blame on the editor (and I also wrote her about it).  I think the issues raised in the piece are relevant today and thought you might enjoy it.


By Larry K. Meredith


            Drivers on Western Slope roads in the spring and fall often encounter herds of cattle being driven to or from the high country.

            Inevitably, the residue of their passing is readily apparent.

            Not long ago a newspaper published a letter from a resident who complained about the resulting smell and the mess it left on her car.

            Of course the smell doesn't linger, and vehicles can be washed.

            The odor has the smell of history in it.  The complaining letter's scent reflects some of today's reality on the West Slope. 

            Neither is especially bad.

            Traffic jams near the small towns over here are often the result of those herds of cattle being patiently prodded by cowboys and cowgirls from summer range to winter feeding, and back again in the spring. 

            They are who we used to be. 

            They represent the ranchers, miners, farmers and merchants of the West Slope of the recent past. 

            Today's ranchers follow many time-honored methods of raising cattle with an added touch of technology that helps them with business plans and keeping cattle healthy.  But it's a difficult, thankless, smelly, cold-in-winter, hot-in-summer kind of job that doesn't pay well and has as many ups and downs as the West Elk Mountains..

            Still, they see a lot of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, they live in some of the finest country on earth, and most of them seem pretty happy with who and where they are.

            And, now and then they have to crowd their cattle to the side of the road so a line of cars can get past.  Give 'em a wave and they'll wave pleasantly back.

            Many of the drivers of those vehicles represent who we've become.

            We're transplants from cities and an awful lot of us are in a doggone big hurry.

            Thanks to technology, the world's business can often be as easily transacted from Gunnison as from Denver.  That fact alone has transformed the West Slope from a secluded, snow-covered headwaters region into an accessible snow-covered headquarters for business and commerce of all kinds.

            Consider, for example, that at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison every state in the nation is represented among her 2,500 students, and that from Crested Butte, 30 miles to the north, million dollar deals are made over cell phones, the facts cemented via email and the contract faxed for a signature.     

            Oh, the ranchers and a few miners are still here, thank God, and the merchants still work hard to meet their needs.  Other working people keep the economy moving by providing goods and services, meeting health care needs and educating our kids. 

            But many main street shops serve another clientele. 

            Yesterday's carriage shop has become a trendy coffee shop or a boutique store stocked with exotic and rare perfumes and a gaggle of doodahs that appeal of all of us.

            Nothing wrong with that.  Businesses emerge to meet demands.

            The point is that Colorado's West Slope (like most of the interior West) has become an engaging and wonderful mix of people representing a world of cultures, lifestyles, personalities and aspirations.

            The ranchers recognize this and they love their cell phones and digital satellite television as much as the rest of us.

            The changes that have overtaken this part of the world may have affected them and their approach to life more than anyone.  To survive, many are having to sell part of their land to be divided into 35-acre ranchettes.

            But cattle can move only so fast and there are few routes from the high country to river bottom pastureland that don't require some time on a highway.

            And if there's some cow poop on the road after they've passed by, some of us like the smell because it helps us define who we used to be and takes us away, for a moment, from who we've become. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


(For good reading – and good writing – visit our website at and
check out This Cursed Valley and All Plucked Up – two vastly different novels that are the first to be published by Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd.)




            One’s reading choices vary from time to time and, for writers, it’s often difficult to avoid the influence of a style of writing that is considerably different from their own.

            Even when working on a writing project of my own I constantly read the work of others. 

            I can’t help it.

            Sometimes I even read on a Kindle.  There, I’ve admitted it.

            But I do it where no one can see me.  I can’t help that, either.

            But let’s move on.

            Lately, my reading choices have focused on several books that have to do – specifically or peripherally – with the Holocaust, Jewish people and the creation and continuing existence of Israel.

            Kind of surprising for a Midwestern Methodist boy.

            Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating topic and some of the books I’ve read include: The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman, The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, Mitla Pass and Mila 18 by Leon Uris, War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk, some of Bernard Malamud’s early writing, bits and pieces of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, and other various material.

            I don’t know why.  It just happened.

            It also just happened that much of what I’ve been working on is set in the Midwest and in Hollywood.  Quite a stretch.

            But I believe the obvious “distance” between these reading and writing topics has not been distracting.  In fact, because the subjects are so dissimilar I can completely detach one from the other and not let my reading interfere with my writing, or the other way around.

            Still, reading good writing on any subject has to have some kind of influence on how I write.  The subject can be cannibalism for all I care.  If the writing is good there are probably some kernels of insight that will prove valuable in a sentence or two of my own (not plagiarism, mind you, but phrasing or technique).    

            The point?  I will continue reading while I’m writing and damn the subject.  If it’s interesting and the writing is excellent, I’m into it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

 On starting a book publishing company
even though e-books are going crazy!
            Get your Kindle today!  According to Discover magazine the sales of ebooks grew by 34% in 2012.  Even though that was a slower rate than the year before, a 34% rate is still indeed healthy.  Razib Khan, the author of the piece, says he believes that rate is “a sign…that the explosive phase is giving way to robust and expansionary growth as the market slouches toward maturation.”

            Still, if you don’t have an e-reader of some sort you’re “up the creek.”

            If you can’t say to the plane passenger in the seat next to you “I just love my Kindle (or Nook or whatever)” you’re “up the creek.”

            That’s what a great number of really, really sophisticated people seem to think these days.1

            While I do occasionally enjoy reading a book in digital form, and have a number of books on my Kindle, I guess I’m not yet “really, really” sophisticated.  

            However, I find that I am “above average” in terms of books read in a year’s time.

            Recent surveys show that 25% of Americans admitted reading no books in a year, while the median number of books read was 6.5.

            Khan (in Discover) says “this I think gets at the heart of why e-books aren’t as popular as you might expect: books aren’t that popular!”

            That’s a disturbing thought to serious readers, to book publishers, book sellers, libraries and authors everywhere.

            But wait!  If books in general aren’t “that popular,” as Khan suggests, why have 88,562 books already been published world-wide in these first few of weeks of 2013?

            Those numbers come from statistics published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

            UNESCO reports that in 2010 (the last full year for which numbers are available) 2.2 million books were published throughout the world (the report does not distinguish between print books and ebooks).

            The U.S. leads the way with 328,259 new titles, followed by the United Kingdom with 206,000.

            According to Pew Research Center nearly 90% of ebook readers continue to read physical volumes.  Pew Research is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that “having survived 500 years of technological upheaval, Gutenberg’s invention may withstand the digital onslaught as well.  There’s something about a crisply printed, tightly bound book that we don’t seem eager to let go of.”

But Kahn has a different take.  Reading has always been subject to periodic revolution,” he writes.  I am dismayed by the fixation of some on the physical medium of the book, as opposed to the information content of the book.”            

Raspberry Creek Books will continue to publish books in print.  And we’ll offer them in ebook form as well. 

The idea is to get fine reading content out there to those who want it. 

We believe there are plenty of folks like you who appreciate books in general and who like to see important and enjoyable books on their shelves (or on their e-readers).

Stay tuned to “Up the Creek” and let us know what you think.

(Thanks to Mark Todd, co-author (with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd) of “All Plucked Up,” book two of the Silverville Saga, published by Raspberry Creek Books, for sending me a link to the Discover magazine article).      


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This BlogSpot is called "Up the Creek" for a couple of reasons.

First, because my publishing company is called Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd.  You can check us out in some detail at  Please take a look and let me know what you think.

And secondly, like many others I assume, I now and then feel like I'm up that proverbial creek without the accepted means of motivation (a paddle, for the cliché challenged).  On the other hand, once in a while, also like many others I assume, I have a feeling that I'm in the flow of the current and that, heck, I'm cruising along so well I don't even need a paddle.

Please check back now and then to see what's on my mind and to tell me what's on yours.  This could be fun.  Right?