Origin of a small press

January 11, 2013

Five years ago I wandered into a conversation in a writer’s forum in the middle of the night. The posts were flying fast, the participants were hilarious, and I privately messaged one of the members before butting in — is this a private club? Is it alright if I play too?

Many late nights and early mornings later, we had coalesced into a group of about 25 writers and our playground had become a private place on my own server where we shared everything – secrets, drafts, jokes, recipes. Tragedies and triumphs.

This is how I met Cat Hellisen and how she met me.

Cat put out a call for beta readers on our forum in 2009 and I begged to read something of hers – I’d seen snippets of her fiction on her blog and I already knew loved her voice. When I opened the file three little words filled my laptop screen and I sat back with my tea and sighed with anticipation. Every book used to be the beginning of an adventure when I was a child, but we get jaded with experience and it takes more and more to make the adult imagination spark.

hob an lam

“There’s a burning down on Lander’s Common…”

With that opening, I was hooked. I followed Jek on his journey and when I finished I ached for more MallenIve, more magic. Hob an lam saw many revisions (it is now known as Bones Like Bridges and is the next installment of the Books of Oreyn) and I read each one and marveled that it could keep improving when I loved the original so much.

Cat’s agent asked her to write something YA. That’s where the market is, she said.

So Cat wrote When the Sea is Rising Red about two of the characters that appeared in Hob an Lam and it sold quickly and became her debut novel.

Next up…how Folded Wherry got its name and how we acquired House of Sand and Secrets.