Happy Holidays!

As the year draws to a close, I know I should be reflecting on the past year. On all the books we published here at Stark House—first-timers like Lionel White, Bruno Fischer and Frank Kane; old favorites likes Peter Rabe, Gil Brewer, Douglas Sanderson and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding; and a few classics from Algernon Blackwood, Robert W. Chambers and Sax Rohmer. It was a chockful year.

But, really, I’m already hard at work on 2016. I’ve got new books by H. Vernor Dixon, Malcolm Braly and Fletcher Flora already formatted and ready for the printer. Charlie Stella’s new novel, Tommy Red, is ready for proofing. And I’ve just started scanning the John Trinian books for May release. I’m going to try not to make myself quite so crazy in 2016 and pull back a little on the number of releases. We’ll see how well I do with that.

I’m certainly thankful, at year’s end, to finally see Elisabeth Sanxay Holding getting some major press after all these years with her inclusion in Sarah Weinman’s Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s from Library of America. That’s gratifying. And another publisher has plans to bring all of Margaret Millar’s novels back into print as well. It’s about time!

We’re planning on reprinting Vin Packer’s The Girl on the Bestseller List and Helen Nielsen’s The Woman on the Roof as part of our Black Gat series next year, and have been looking at some other vintage women authors to add to our list as well. Up till now, Stark House has shown a very male-oriented slant. I’d like to tip that slant a bit, and will hopefully be able to create more of a balance in years to come.

The trouble is, the further away I get from the “name” authors, the more I head out into uncharted publishing waters. Will readers follow our billowing boat? I can only hope so. When I first started calling up bookstores to see if they wanted to stock our titles, I drew complete blanks on authors like Peter Rabe, Gil Brewer and Harry Whittington; even W. R. Burnett was a hard sell, and I thought everyone had heard of Asphalt Jungle and High Sierra. (I guess I dated myself with that one.)

So, now, as we attempt to resurrect some even-more-obscure authors like John Trinian, Fletcher Flora and Helen Nielsen, we do so strictly as an act of faith. Perhaps the result will be diminishing sales. Oh, well, at least I can still say I’m having fun with it.

Last week, I ditched writing my weekly blog in favor of going to see the new Star Wars movie. This week, I decided that the best thing I could do was to simply wish everyone a Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year. And, yes, even a very Merry Christmas, too! Thanks for all your support in 2015, and I hope I can keep you all entertained in 2016. See you there….

—Greg Shepard


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