Mission Statement

To develop and promote quality authors who are overlooked by the traditional business models and currently lost among the unfiltered mass media distribution channels.

 

Philosophy

Whenever we meet people, we get two questions. One is: What the heck is an Oghma? The other, and more important one, is: What exactly do you do?

First, what is it we do? Graphic design? Web design? Social media marketing? Editing? Advertising? Event planning? The answer for all of these is no, but also yes. An overly simplified answer would be we publish, design, and market authors and their books, but the actual answer is much more complex.

Above all other things, Oghma is about creativity. We are purveyors of imagination and inspiration and culture. We are writers, musicians, photographers, designers, painters, poets — the small portion of the population that turns our collective human experience into things that can be perceived by all the senses. First and foremost, we are artists.

Throughout history artists have struggled to stand and live on the product of their craft alone. Many have had to turn to a sponsor or benefactor, turning over ownership of the creative process and the art itself. This can be a blessing, where both parties exist symbiotically, but other times it isn’t and the artist ends up being exploited and discarded. The ratio between the two is far from balanced.

In this day, potential patrons are a dime a dozen. Some are legit, truly desiring to foster art and take care of those who make it. Many others are not, and seek only to exploit the artists for their own profit. Right or wrong, these people and companies shape the cultural marketplace. They decide who gets a chance, who becomes famous, and who does not. This is where we come in. Why? Because we’re artists. We’ve been there.

Oghma is here to level the playing field, using our talents and skills, our network and platform, to give every artist a fair shot at living the dream. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous and well-established or unknown and seeking your first opportunity to gain notice in the wider world. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help out. Whether you are seeking a contract or prefer to blaze your own path, we’re here to assist you in reaching your artistic goals.

As for what the heck an Oghma is? That’s easy. Oghma is the Celtic god of communication, writing, and eloquence.

Still have questions? Feel free to hop on over to our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to some of the most common ones.

 

Casey W. Cowan
Chief Executive Officer, Creative Director

Casey has worked in and around the journalism, artistic, and literary fields for twenty-one years as a reporter, photographer and graphic designer. Tired of working for inflexible companies intent on doing business the same old way, in 2013 he helped co-found Oghma Creative Media, a publishing company built around the idea of authors and artists banding together as a team to take control of and market their work effectively. As Creative Director, he’s responsible for the professional appearance and feel of the lion’s share of Oghma’s publications, from layouts to covers to promotional materials. In the twelve minutes a day he’s not usually working, Casey is also the father of six rowdy teenagers. He enjoys reading, swimming, and target shooting, and he shares his crazy life with his always-supportive wife, Amy. He is also in the midst of writing his debut novel, Fangs Out, first book of the epic Tarleton’s Quarter series of military thrillers following the trials and tribulations of three military families in a near-future World War III.

Venessa Cerasale
Chief Operating Officer

Venessa has had a varied career as an artist, administrator, retail analyst, and police officer. Today, she has turned her considerable talents to her writing and art, and serves as Business Manager for Oghma Creative Media, the publisher that owns Saddlebag Dispatches. A mother of three and grandmother of two, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and anything to do with rocks, trees, water, and the outdoors, and is hard at work on her first novel.

Amy Cowan
Director of Finance

Amy has been involved in financial support for the past 17 years, including payroll, accounts payable, and tax. She has an A.S. in Business, a BSBA in Accounting, and a Master’s degree in Information Systems, which gives her the unique perspective of both financial business processing as well as financial program support. Amy enjoys spending time with her children and hard-working husband, Casey. Her idea of relaxation is a nice glass of wine, some stinky cheese, and a good book.

Gordon Bonnet
Chief Publishing Officer

Gordon Bonnet has been writing fiction for decades. Encouraged when his story Crazy Bird Bends His Beak won critical acclaim in Mrs. Moore’s 1st grade class at Central Elementary School in St. Albans, West Virginia, he embarked on a long love affair with the written word. His interest in the paranormal goes back almost that far, although it has always been tempered by Gordon’s scientific training. This has led to a strange duality; his work as a skeptic and debunker on the popular blog Skeptophilia, while simultaneously writing paranormal and speculative novels, novellas, and short stories. He blogs daily, but is never without a piece of fiction in progress—driven to continue, as he puts it, “because I want to find out how the story ends.”

Dennis Doty
Acquisitions Director

Dennis Doty is a former U.S. Marine NCO as well as a bareback bronc rider from the old RCA circuit in the southwest. Growing up in southern California, he learned to love the cowboy life from his paternal grandfather who got his start as a cowboy on John Chisum’s old Jingle Bob ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. He has been writing fiction since 2004. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies including Saddlebag Dispatches, Storyland Literary Review and Cheapjack Pulp. He is Vice-President and Deputy Publishing Director of Oghma Creative Media and Managing Editor of Saddlebag Dispatches magazine. Primarily a writer of westerns, his interests aren’t confined to a single genre. He has written military fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy and romance. Thankfully, his first novel will never see the light of day, but he is working on a second which is a classic western.

Dennis now makes his home in Appalachia with his wife, Kathy, and their beagle, Peanut. Together, they have ten children, all of whom have managed to avoid careers in both crime and politics. He spends his days writing, editing, and yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

Cyndy Miller
Editorial Director

For Cyndy, it’s always been about mysteries. When she was a little girl, she wanted to know what was in those thing called books. Other kids had toys, but that was no great mystery. You played with them. But books, well, they had words, even if she couldn’t make them out yet. Words were a mystery that needed solving.

Once that was done, though, she learned there were other mysteries, so she set out to explore them. First, there was the mystery of family, so she raised four children and now has five grandchildren. Then, there was the mystery of learning, so she went to college, where other mysteries presented themselves, mysteries of the past, and of people, so she attained a BS in Sociology with a minor in Psychology, and is working to attain an MS in Applied Anthropology.

And now, she’s investigating two more mysteries: how best to get books in the hands of those who want to read them, and how to write mysteries of her own.

Michael Frizell
Writing Director

Michael Frizell is an educator, writer, public speaker, and performer. He holds a BA in Theatre from College of the Ozarks, an MA in Theatre from Southwest Missouri State University, an MA in Creative Writing from Missouri State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing – Nonfiction from the University of Arkansas – Monticello. He was the writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Reader’s Theatre Parody (with A Class Act Productions), for two seasons. For Harvest Moon Productions, he is the writer of Star Trek: Live in Springfield and Star Trek: The Next Generation Live in Springfield.

George “Clay” Mitchell
Development Director

George “Clay” Mitchell is a 20-year veteran of the newspaper industry. He worked for a daily for the first three years and as the sports editor for a small weekly in Western Arkansas.He has won 24-plus awards (writing, photography and page design) from the Arkansas Press Association. He has uncredited assists in the development of worlds and characters for role-playing games during the d20 boom in just about every genre. Oghma founder Casey Cowan brought Clay (only Casey calls him “George”) aboard to help with story development and he has worked with a number of authors. Clay is penning his first series and is developing his craft as a screenwriter. He married his high school sweetheart back in 1994 and has two daughters. He’s working towards his second-degree black belt at the Kuk Sool Won of the River Valley, where he also assists in teaching youth classes.

Gil Miller
Senior Editor

For Gil, it’s always been about exploration, and possibly some holdover pioneer spirit. In his youth, he learned about mountain men, and the frontier explorers, and he was hooked. He wanted to trek with them, see sights no else had seen. But the world was already explored, so he couldn’t do that—except in books.

Then came Tolkien, and Middle-earth. New worlds to explore. In his quest to do so, he discovered science fiction, and traveling through the far reaches of space. Here was a new frontier, a place no one had seen, and he could see these sights between the covers of books. Books were magical, marvelous, taking him beneath the sea, to the moon, and beyond the reaches of the solar system.

And then, reading was not enough. Gil needed to do the exploring for himself, so he began putting words on paper, crafting worlds of his own. For years, he played with the idea of exploring through his own work, until he finally found others who would train him on how to explore for himself. So he writes, and he helps others to learn about writing so they can make their own discoveries, craft their own worlds.

He lives in the next best thing to a hobbit hole, a log home in the woods of Northwest Arkansas, where he still explores worlds.

Jeremy Menefee
Editor

Jeremy grew up with his father, a journalist and tech writer who often used him as a beta reader, simultaneously teaching him a love of writing and editing.

After Jeremy left the Marine Corps, he returned to writing at a tech PR agency in the Silicon Valley, leveraging his history of writing and understanding technology. After a time trying other careers, he returned to his real love, freelance writing & editing, and in 2015 was asked to ghostwrite a novel. He explained he hadn’t done it before, but was given the contract anyway, and in writing that, he discovered a deep and abiding love of the craft.

He has since ghostwritten 14 novels, as well as self-publishing four short stories and two how-to books on ghostwriting. He plans to release an Urban Fantasy trilogy in early 2018, with a Military Sci-fi series launched by the end of 2018. He hopes eventually to be able to become a full-time fiction author, focusing on those two series.

Mari Mason
Editor

Mari spent her youth following Alice down the rabbit hole, solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, and discovering conspiracy theories with Robert Langdon. The youngest employee at Oghma Creative Media, Mari graduated Magna cum laude from Florida State University at 20, earning a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing. Having a background in writing, Mari is able to truly see into the minds of the authors at Oghma, helping them place their best written-word forward.

She enjoys traveling around the world, both by plane and through the pages of a book. Whether she’s traveling to South Africa and Europe or to Idris and Diagon Alley, she enjoys discovering new things about her surroundings and herself.

An avid lover of all fiction, Mari follows quite a bit of television, enjoying everything from Brooklyn Nine-Nine to American Horror Story to GLOW. Mari is currently living abroad in Kuwait, obtaining her master’s degree in Publishing from George Washington University. A mix between a Type-A organization snob and a—as her husband would call it—hippy-dippy, free spirit, Mari provides an interesting addition to the Oghma Creative Media staff.

James Newman
Editor

J.E. Newman, James to the people who know him, got his first pair of glasses when he was thirteen. The optometrist at the time admitted it was most likely due to how much he was reading.

Since then he’s had RK, and gotten out of glasses but wear and tear finally caught up with him and he had to start wearing them again. And during all that time he’s had a book of one type or another in hand.

He claims instead of blood he runs off of pure sarcasm. As a consequence, don’t ask him why he’s been reading all that time. He’s likely to tell you something like “At least in books people engages their brains once in a awhile”.

But there are some who’d argue his nature. Having read his books they’re willing to swear there’s got to be more than cynicism lurking in there.

Whatever the case, we at Oghma has never met the man. He does most of his work for us through the internet. And it’s good work. So sinner or saint, we’re glad he’s on our side.

Joy Ross
Editor

As a child, Joy earned the nickname “Mouth of the South” from her mom, author K.D. McCrite. Her witty, precocious ways inspired K.D.’s beloved character, April Grace Reilly. Joy has since quietened down. A little.

She likes to spend her spare time reading, hiking, watching guilty-pleasure television, and going to flea markets. A collector of antiques, oddities, and all things eclectic, Joy never met a Pyrex bowl she didn’t like.

Joy is a native of the Ozarks, but lived in New England for nearly a decade, so she considers herself an Arkansan Mainer. She is back in the Ozarks now, where she lives with her husband and English Bulldog, Daisy.

Vivian Cummings
Chief Marketing Officer

Vivian always heard you should write about what you know, so she decided to write a book called Stupid Humans, drawing on her previous experience working in retail and her subsequent desire to get away from planet Earth. She has also worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations, where she found even more material for Stupid Humans. Now self-employed, she enjoys the contact sport of shopping at clearance sales, slamming on the brakes for yard sale signs, and wasting time on social media, where she finds inspiration for a sequel to Stupid Humans every day. She continues to write science fiction stories, some of which appear on her blog, Stellar Sarcasm.

Andrew Butters
Technology Director

Andrew is a 40-something married father of two living in Cambridge, Ontario. He will tell you that his first published work was Losing Vern as part of the Orange Karen: A Tribute to a Warrior anthology but in reality, it was a 500-word anecdote about how he accidentally lit himself on fire that made it into the third installment of the Darwin Awards books.

Fire is not the only foe for Andrew as he has received four severe concussions and four “minor” ones, the last coming in the summer of 2011. It goes without saying that he is totally on board with head protection and brain health.

Not all his distinctions are as dubious as appearing in a Darwin Awards book. He has also been on stage with Penn and Teller, on TV with Super Dave Osborne, scored a game winning goal at Maple Leaf Gardens, “sold” music to filmmaker Kevin Smith, was given 3 seconds of non-speaking airtime in a TV commercial, and appeared as a fighting vagrant in a rap video.

He currently blogs, writes novels, is a huge fan of golf, hockey, science, equality, and the Oxford comma.
Andrew sometimes lets his love of attention override common sense. Evidence of this can be found pretty much anywhere you can find Andrew.

Richard Howk
Media Manager

When most authors tell you about why they decided to become a writer, their tales usually involve a love of reading growing-up and a desire to tell stories at a young age. But that was never the case for Richard. He would have rather been outside playing basketball than opening a book, and writing was something akin to punishment.

His taste for reading was acquired by a job that allowed him to listen to audio books while he worked. It was then that he discovered the novels of Stuart Woods. His captivating mysteries started a spark for great writing which still burns today.

Richard lives in Bentonville, Arkansas, nestled deep in the heart of the majestic Ozark Mountains. When he is not writing, he is either working on his YouTube channel or out singing karaoke.

Shirley McDaniel
Deputy Creative Director

From a grade-school age, I’ve known I wanted to be an artist and writer. Life has a way of getting in the way of dreams but eventually your day comes. Mine just happened to be while in my sixties. My dream is to show children there is something more than cities of cement and drive by shootings. My art I desire to be healing and showing love. To help others is ingrained in me, giving my best at any given time. Whether it is with art or writing or a pat on the back and words, “all will be well”. We all go through horrible things in life. It’s how we react to these things, which shows the world our inner soul.