Dreamers, an interracial romance of the ’60s, by Margaret C. Murray
Floating Point, Endlessly Rocking Off Silicon Valley, a memoir by Shelley Buck
WriteWords Press began on a gray day four years ago. It was January 19, 2007 and I was in Martinez, CA. I had just walked into a small old brick one-story office to register the fictitious business name of WriteWord Press at the County Clerk Recorder’s office.
The quaint town of Martinez lies on the water’s edge where the Sacramento River meets the San Francisco Bay. In the goldrush days, it was a ferryboat transit point across the Carquinez Straits on the way to the gold fields.
There were many birds in the wetlands near where I had parked my car. A few gulls followed screeching as I walked the two blocks down Main Street to the County Building.
It was a new moon in the sign of Capricorn, signifying a goat who climbs mountains. I had the planets of Mercury (mind) and Mars (energy) in the sign of Capricorn when I was born and I was going to need that mountain goat energy now.
Ahead of me were two couples applying for marriage licenses. One couple was young with both sets of parents as witnesses, the other couple past middle-age, like myself. We all stood in a straggling line that ended at a glass-windowed linoleum countertop. On the other side of the glass, a harried clerk with touseled hair sat hunched over her computer.
I felt focused, clear-headed and resolute. Why was I taking on this Olympian task of launching WriteWords Press? Simply put, I was ready. I was ready to put my novels into the world.
You might say I’ve been addicted to good books since I was seven and could read. I had studied the great works of English and American literature as an undergraduate and graduate English major.
I practice the art of fiction reading and writing as a way of seeing beyond myself, into the meaning of my life, the way one might practice meditation to gain awareness. I had written at least five unpublished novels.
What’s more, I was sick and tired of hoping I’d write the perfect query letter to the understanding publisher. I was sick and tired of mailing out novel manuscripts with the accompanying SASE (for Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
No, I was finished with all that. No more did I want to spend my time frightened of the big, brown, stuffed envelope with my returned manuscript that sooner or later would appear in my mailbox.
No more did I want to spend my time praying for the agent who would recognize my work and take me on despite the overwhelming odds. The truth is I HAD that agent decades ago, a famous agent from New York City.
All that long ago, water under the bridge, and I was not looking back.
But neither the couples to be married at the registrar’s office, my planets in Capricorn, my publishing hard knocks or my literary expertise would have kept me in that line I was standing in. No, I owed my courage to more.
A lot of it had to do with my children, especially my oldest son who complained loudly in no uncertain terms, “I don’t want to have an failed novelist as a mother!” I couldn’t let him down! I deserved to give Chris a better image of his mother than that.
Then there was an educational program I had begun a year before. I did it to come to terms with myself as a writer. But an amazing thing happened. The terms I assigned to myself disappeared. Instead I was coached to strike out into uncharted (and up till then unacceptable to me) territory.
But was it really unknown–this new independent publishing world? From my years as a technical writer, I knew well the nuts and bolts of writing, editing and putting a book together. With each contract job, the documentation, user manuals, white papers, and procedures I was hired to write took shape and direction on my watch.
I would not wait any longer for someone else to take me by the hand. I would make it happen myself. Why not take a leap into a new land and birth a small press? Yes, I was ready to become a small press publisher.
And now, four years later, WriteWords Press is expanding!