One book leads to another...

Thursday, April 30, 2020

A to Z Historic Trivia - Z


Growing up in Zanesville, Ohio, a city founded by his maternal grandfather, Zane Grey, enjoyed baseball, fishing, American history, and reading adventure stories like Robinson Caruso and dime novels featuring Buffalo Bill.  Zane wrote his first story when he was fifteen, but his father, a dentist, did not approve of Zane writing anything at all and tore the manuscript to bits.

After an embarrassing financial setback, the elder Grey moved the family to Columbus, where Zane and his brother helped rebuild their father’s dental practice. Before, after, and between work, fishing and baseball, Zane wrote every day, effectively bringing the rugged wild west to vivid life on paper.

After four consecutive rejections, Harper & Brothers finally published Heritage of the Desert in 1910, and two years later, the publication of Zane’s all-time best seller Riders of the Purple Sage put his books in the hands of readers everywhere. Harper accepted everything Zane submitted after that and continued releasing from a stockpile one story each year for more than twenty years after his death.

It’s estimated that Zane, one of the first authors to become a millionaire, wrote more than nine million words in his career. In all, he wrote more than ninety books, not only westerns but hunting and fishing guides and children’s stories as well. There were over a hundred story-based films produced, many of which were shot at locations described in Zane’s books.

I can’t tell you exactly how many fictional characters are named “Zero” because I lost count at 30. Let’s see, there was one in “Holes,” a ghost dog in “Nightmare Before Christmas,” an assassin in “John Wick” as well as a thief in “Grand Theft Auto.” Can you think of any others?

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”  ~ Zig Ziglar


  1. Hi, diedre!

    I became familiar with Zane Grey during childhood. My dad was an outdoorsman who loved hiking and fishing and reading tales of the old West. Dad kept several Zane Grey volumes on a bookshelf in our living room. What if Grey had bowed to his father's wishes that he cease writing? What if he had given up after four consecutive rejections by the publisher? There's a lesson for us all in his life story, the kind of lesson Zig Ziglar taught.

    I never encountered a fictional character named Zero, but I watched the Disney TV series Zorro regularly, listened to the music of The Zombies, Zeppelin and ZZ Top and learned the principles of salesman and motivational guru Zig Ziglar in a series of seminars I attended in the 1980s. Ziglar told the story about his years as a door-to-door salesman, and how every time a door slammed in his face he experienced ecstasy because he knew he had just moved one step closer to his next sale. With the mindset of a champion there's nothing we can't accomplish.

    Beyond that I have zilch - zip - and now I'm tired and need to ZZZZZ. :)

    Congratulations on completing the 2020 A to Z Challenge, diedre, and for doing it in such commendable fashion! I enjoyed learning new historic facts associated with every letter of the alphabet. Enjoy the rest of your week and the month of May, dear friend diedre!

    1. Hi Shady!

      I'm glad Zane followed his heart and kept on writing.

      Ha! I was thinking of music too! Two of your choices were on my list, along with Zac Brown, and Warren Zevon ;-)

      Thanks for coming along, dear Shady. I've enjoyed!

  2. Hi diedre!

    First, congratulations on completing the A to Z Challenge! Sorry, I missed your posts, but I was taking a break from all things blogging. Interesting history about Zane Grey. Good thing he wasn't discouraged by his father's disapproval. I remember Zero from John Wick, but that's the only one. How about Zorba (The Greek)? ☺

    1. Hi Debbie!

      Welcome back!
      I hadn't thought of Zorba the Greek, that's a good one ;-)
      I'll be by to see how your break went soon.
      Take Care!

  3. Great work on this post! Congratulations on reaching z.

    I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

    1. Hi J!

      Thank you.
      We're all good here, just increasingly antsy ;-)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Diedre - congratulations on getting to Z. Interesting post about Zane Grey ... I'll try and pick up one of his books sometime to read ... possibly the one you've illustrated. Enjoyed this - thank you and take care - Hilary


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