Johnson County — By page three, the hero of “The Lenora Assignment” has received the Congressional Medal of Honor, accepted a secret mission from the U.S. attorney general and rescued a ship full of child prostitutes.
One page later, Maj. Jack Abbott has not only killed two men, blown a rapist “off the top of his intended victim” and sunk the ship but also dropped the children off for foster placement.
It’s all in a day’s work for Abbott, the creation of Cleburne novelist Burt Northcutt, aka Grey Stone.
“I write Texas style — simple English, not a lot of dressed-up language,” said Northcutt, who has published three novels under the Grey Stone pseudonym. “None of my books use God’s name in vain. I don’t like to use the f-word.”
But while his characters’ dialogue and vocabularies befit the creator’s grandfatherly demeanor, Northcutt is determined to get a deal in the land where anything goes: Hollywood.
“I have mixed emotions about Hollywood, even though that’s what I want,” he said. “I write purposely for motion pictures, television or DVDs.
“That’s the reason my books carry so much dialogue. If I can get two or three movies out of my work, that’s my goal.”
The San Angelo native came to writing after a banking and half a dozen other things. Northcutt, for instance, was the creator of the Cold Puppy, a made-in-Cleburne ice cream sandwich.
“I was out to make the world realize it would be a sin to have a hot dog without a Cold Puppy,” the affable entrepreneur said. “It was introduced the day of the New York bombings. How’s that for timing?
“We sold a lot of those things, but we were doing it all by hand. We didn’t have enough money to mechanize it in mass production.