There are some very helpful folks out there who work behind the lines, making suggestions, putting me in touch with authors and/or their family members, making it just a little bit easier to keep Stark House going. Probably the biggest help has been Rick Ollerman, who wrote to me about seven years ago and ended up becoming Associate Editor for a number of years. I think it started when he complained that one of our books had a lot of typos—back when I was doing all the proofing myself. (Note to self: never be the last person to sign off on proofreading…never.)
So Rick joined as a proofreader, then he started to make few suggestions here and there, worked on getting Peter Rabe’s The Silent Wall ready for publication; finally taking the step up to writing introductions. By the beginning of 2015, he had gotten the ball rolling on Black Gat Books. And now he’s a free agent again, and working on his third novel, Truth Always Kills, which we plan to publish this October.
Rick was invaluable, and I only found out just how invaluable when I found myself taking on all his tasks (except for proofreading, of course). So a big thanks to Rick for all his help these past few years.
Probably the second biggest assist has come from Ed Gorman, who has not only generously shared his wealth of knowledge and contacts, but in the process has become a good friend. It was Ed who put me in touch with Peter Rabe’s agent, and shared with me those two previously-unpublished novels, The Silent Wall and The Return of Marvin Palaver, which Peter had given to Ed to publish. After all this time, I’m so glad I could return the favor and bring a few of Ed’s novels back into print. This month, Graves’ Retreat and Night of Shadows, two of Ed’s historical mysteries set in Cedar Rapids, make their return.
Another fellow who has been very helpful is Craig Tenney of Harold Ober Associates Literary Agency. Craig not only makes working with the author estates he represents a pleasure, but he has also put me in touch with some estates he doesn’t represent. Definitely above and beyond the call of duty.
Once I start thinking about it, there are so many who have so helpful with their time and energy. Barry Malzberg comes to mind, a very generous man and a helluva writer. Frank Loose, a fan of Stark House who recommended we reprint Jada M. Davis’ One for Hell and Elliott Chaze’s Black Wings Has My Angel. The man knows his noir. And David Wilson, who contributed so much of his time to bringing Harry Whittington back into print, as well as writing the definitive article on Harry’s Lost Pornos. And Ted and Dorrie Lee, the Gil Brewer heirs, who are such a pleasure to work with. The upcoming trio of Gil Brewer previously-unpublished novels wouldn’t have happened without them.
And then, of course, there is Daniel Morrison, who approached me with the idea of bringing some of E. Phillips Oppenheim’s uncollected stories back to print. Another labor of love, for both of us. He’s hard at work on another Victorian author right now. And this brings to mind Mike Ashley, another incredibly generous fellow who has contributed so much of his time and energy to our Algernon Blackwood reprints, including all those new introductions, as well as editing the recent Blackwood collection, The Face of the Earth.
I could also mention JT Lindroos, the creator of those evocative Ed Gorman covers. And Gary Lovisi, who tirelessly promotes Stark House in his magazine Paperback Parade (required reading for any self-respecting collector of vintage paperbacks). And Marijane Meaker, just because I enjoy our emailings so much. And the late Kevin McCarthy, who was such a joy to work with on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers book. And Lynne Maguire, who let us use one of her dad’s original cover ideas for our upcoming edition of The Bleeding Scissors by Bruno Fischer. There’s nothing like a Robert Maguire cover to class up a publisher’s act.
So many great folks out there to be grateful for. This shout out just scratches the surface. In fact, I should probably mention just about everyone who has written an introduction for us because most of them were written for love rather than money. And I appreciate each and every one of them. It takes a mess o’ help to make a small press work, that’s for sure.
P.S. Reading this over, it begins to sound like an Oscar award acceptance speech. But, really, none of this would be possible without my brother, Mark, who keeps coming up with new cover ideas no matter how much I throw at him; and my wife, Cindy, who listens to me talk about Stark House morning, noon and night, and still comes up smiling. (Okay, I’m getting off the stage now….but wait, I forgot to thank my parents!…my sixth grade teacher!…my…)