By Margaret Lucke
Can you call it self-publishing if the author whose work you're producing is someone other than yourself? Maybe independent publishing is a better term for what I'm doing. I'm about to launch a (very) small publishing company by putting out a backlist title by my good friend Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.
Quinn is best known as a horror writer, with Grand Master and lifetime achievement awards to her credit. She is the creator of the popular series of historical novels about the heroic vampire Count St. Germain. The first of them, Hotel Transylvania, was one of the six nominees for the Bram Stoker Award for Vampire Novel of the Twentieth Century.
But Quinn is a master of many genres--mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and even westerns. And I'm honored to have her first western, The Law in Charity, as the first book to be produced by Oakledge Press.
Originally published in 1989 (see the cover of that edition at right), The Law in Charity takes place on the Colorado frontier in the 1840s, when the town fathers of a community called Charity hire an eccentric Englishman named Jason Russell to be their sheriff. A former Bow Street Runner (London’s first professional police force), Russell is a bit of a misfit at first--a man who disdains violence and refuses to carry a gun, which seems foolish when he must defeat a gang of violent outlaws who are preying on the local citizens.
At heart I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When my husband and I moved to California, we said goodbye to job security and regular paychecks and opened a printing business, which we ran for fifteen years before selling to one of our employees. Since then we've both been freelancers, putting together a living out of an assignment here and a project there. Since I have experience that includes not just printing, but also writing, editing, and graphic design, starting a publishing imprint seems like a natural step, and I'm having a lot of fun with the process. I hope to have The Law in Charity out by the end of the year, with another western by Quinn and some of my own work to follow.I’ve named the new enterprise Oakledge Press after my grandparents' house in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. They were both artists, and when I was a child, their home epitomized for me the wonders of creativity. Magic happened in their painting studios, and whatever the force was in that house that ignited their imaginations, it fired up mine too. Some of my earliest memories of writing are of sitting at a table in the library when I was five or six, scribbling poems with a pencil while the grownups enjoyed cocktails and conversation before Thanksgiving dinner. I'm hoping the name will imbue my little publishing business with a similar spirit.