Bonnie asked me to introduce Port Yonder to CFOM, I
got excited. What’s more fun than sharing a fascinating slice of life
with others? In my case I can show you how good I really have it. Of
course, I’ve also had to endure (emphasis added for
effect) not so good things, like a four-year bout with post-trauma
stress after being hit by a drunk driver, a husband’s illness, several
interstate moves in five years. . . . But I always come back to now.
And now is good.
After receiving Bonnie’s
invitation to write this month’s article, I went to the CFOM link,
to the “Publisher’s Choice” column, and read with enough interest, a
touch of jealousy, and a growing feeling of camaraderie Cat Hoort’s
nonresolution-challenge-thingie. And after reading it, I came to the
conclusion that she is definitely my long-lost,
didn’t-know-I-had-but-wished-I-did daughter. I kid you not. The only
real difference between us is this: My take on life revolves around not
just dares and rules avoidance, but also generally ends up somewhere in
the vicinity of Gary Larson (and my suspicion is that Cat may have an
apartment nearby . . .).
And if you’re reading this,
chances are you live on the Far Side, too, at least
most days. Maybe it’s the business: the writing, publishing,
editing—you know, those uncorkable geysers spouting from the side of
the brain most responsible for creativity. I like to think that. Or,
conversely, maybe we choose this business because
being a chapter removed from the center, we naturally fit there, in the
books, bound somewhat by those necessarily constricting covers (though
we do get to choose the covers, mind you). We find
asylum and sanctuary in an index before and an ending ahead: We tread
on loosely defined pages, pen our own storylines, color its characters,
and have at least a light hand in slanting the last scene. Scope within
the scroll. Bent within the bounds.
Back to Cat. Though some cling
to conventionality, I find a measure of comfort in variety. For
instance, a few months ago I did a Google search on female comic book
heroines, downloaded a dozen or so photos (do you know how hard it is
to find a decently clad comic book heroine?), and now post them at
random on my Facebook profile. I’ve done the same with classic book
covers: Casablanca, African Queen, Wuthering Heights.
I happened to have had Wuthering Heights up when I
read Cat’s piece. Another confirmation?
All that said, I’m here to
introduce you to the publishing house of Port Yonder Press. Does Cat
have even a little bit to do with
Nope. But now you see what
we’re up against: Far Side. Female heroines.
Chapters askew. Italicized words. In short, we’re a new small publisher
(in Iowa, no less) excited about publishing manuscripts we love—books
we can settle in with and really enjoy, preferably with a cup of tea
(my one concession to normalcy).
1) Do it for the money
2) Grab the big name over the great book
3) Overprice our books or make it all about the money (see #1)
4) Go into debt (we print using books-on-demand, the wave
of the future—pun intended; we truly believe in the necessity for green
5) Sign an author without their knowing who we are and what we’re about
(our site is full of over-explanation; read it . . . all of it)
6) Get too big for our britches (small suits us)
We hope to:
1) Crank out several great books a year (current cached authors include
Terry Burns, Max Elliot Anderson, Robin Jansen Shope, Liz
Rhodebeck, Eddie Jones, Janalyn Voigt and Thomas Phillips with several
others under consideration).
2) Prepare our associate editors (in training) to outgrow us and make
some real money.
3) Find Holly the recognition she deserves at a big house (but only
after we’re through with her).
4) Eventually find another kindred spirit who will work with me full
time for a small snag of the profits (virtually nil at this point),
someone who’s as crazy as I am (as evidenced by my absolute love for
this labor-intensive, pittance-paying, soul-sapping job), and someone
who will do so out of a sheer love for literature.
(What? No plans to visit the
White House or write a biography of Stephen King? In a word, no.)
Oh, and in the midst of this
amazing venture, I’d like to get a few books of my own out there, books
I hope will fall into our #1 category under “hope tos.”
Cat, the first autographed copy
goes to you, and Bonnie, you get the second.