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Aonian Press Castle Keep Press Seaboard Press Sense of Wonder Press Yellowback Mysteries
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Rockville, Maryland  20850   •  Tele: 1-800-411-2230  • Facsimile: 301-294-1683 


ABOUT US: James A. Rock & Co, Publishers was established in 1973  to publish a small literary and arts magazine entitled Hubris: A Gazette of the Arts. In 1977 we published our 1st book, Corsage: A Bouquet of Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout. We have gone on to publish a number of mystery, science fiction, poetry, literary, and non-fiction titles up until the present day.
      From 1976 through late 1978 I spent most of my evenings and weekends in communion with the National Union Catalog, The British Museum Catalog, and the excellent reference library at the Indiana University Lilly Rare Book Library and in correspondence with many mystery and golden age science fiction writer while I worked on a 200 plus page  fantasy and science fiction pseudonym bibliography with the ponderous title (I was young) Who Goes There: A Bibliographical Dictionary of Pseudonymous
Literature in Science Fiction and Fantasy 1588-1978.
The book met with satisfying reviews, I especially appreciated long time Locus Magazine editor, Charles N. Brown's review which opined that it contained an "enormous amount of useful information" and that every serious collector should have a copy in their library and academic bibliographer and science fiction historian Marshall Tymn's kind review in which he uttered the satisfying phrase, about Who Goes There, "Now the standard work," in 1981, in The Science Fiction Reference Book. It was very cool.
     But, despite the great pleasure of recognition for Who Goes There and all of the publishing and writing experiences, it was (trite though it sounds) the interaction with writers and the friendships that made and make publishing an avocation as well as a vocation. The memory of discussions and letters with Rex Stout, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov (a very kind man among many in the world of the early SF greats--and quite a mystery writer himself--, he even wrote my wife a risqué limerick on the back of a program for a Nero Wolfe/Stout dinner we were attending. For he and others of that golden generation such acts of thoughtfulness and kindness were, more often than not, often de rigueur.) All of these memories have made publishing a great satisfaction, but the one that stands out most, was one I did not participate in, but caused.
     Soon after we began James A Rock & Co., Publishers, in 1973 we were able to set up an interview with Rex Stout, the great Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and a wonderful human being. We were able to send our  first editor, Michael Bourne to Stout's home at High Meadow, where he conducted an almost 90 minute interview with the Master, one his last major  interviews.
     A number of weeks later, in August of 1973, I listened to that interview and I could almost taste the wine that Rex Stout and Mike were drinking , I could certainly hear the clink of glasses and the barking of the Stout dogs.. As I listened, I found that although I liked writing, MY real thrill of creation had just happened.
     The thrill of knowing that something beautiful and thrilling had come into existence and would be shared with others because I had caused the pieces to be put together was overwhelming. It was at that moment that I fell in love with publishing and, in fact, really became a publisher.
      I still get that thrill with each book we produce, be it a small tome that is rescued from total obscurity or even oblivion or a new author who makes me laugh or think and that I figure a way to get into print, or a well know author that gives us the pleasure to serve their muse.
     To quote Rex Stout's favorite dying words, from Lady Mary Wortley-Montague, and I am blessed to be able to echo them about the past 34 years, "It Certainly has all been very interesting .."
     So now we start on year 35 in publishing which bids fare to be as interesting as they come and I thank all those who have made the past years and will, I hope, make the future ones fascinating. 
     In January 2007 we started our 35th year of publishing books we love and that we hope you will like too.
     Much has changed in the publishing industry, and indeed, in the book world in that 34 plus years; but, the love of books, authors, and reading which led us to stay, as James L. Ford put it, in the literary shop, has not diminished.
     In fact this promises to be the most interesting, challenging, and in some ways the most rewarding of all  the years that we have been working with, playing with, and loving books. We look forward to a productive and bookish future, "God willing and the creeks don't rise" as they say in my native Indiana.
      Over the next few weeks we will be putting up stories, pictures, memorabilia, and general historical information about the last 34 years of James A. Rock & Co., Publishers. We hope you find them interesting and fun..

James A. Rock & Co., Publishers, our first fiction and poetry anthology, high lighting up-and-coming young writers from the Midwest in 1978.R. Steven Fox Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board: Charles F. Forker, Professor of English, Robin Hemley, Lotus Magazine, Glenn Linnemann, Charman American Literary Landmarks Committee, National Council of Teachers of English; Wallace E. Williams, Professor of American Literature, Indiana University.

During the late 1970s and early 80s we designed and produced a number of books for The Writers Center Press of The Indianapolis Free University, and others. The titles that  I designed personally were designated with a small colophon consisting of rampant horse surrounded by my initials J A R  Lynne A. Rock had a similar colophon with L A R.

One of my favorite designs  was the poetry book Cave Drawings by Elizabeth Krajeck, I got to create a cave woman,  in those pre-internet days I just could not find an existing picture of one. Certainly not one with a bow and arrow!







The Roger Pfingston book Hazards of Photography was fun to design, I thought the splash of red in all that black and white was quite daring. First poetry book,    with photgraphs, for me. Poor little off-set press was at the edge of its, and our, capabilities.



Lynne A. Rock, who designs many of our covers and interiors was the last word on typography, then, as now.


Other books we designed or produced during this period included Song To My Sister by Alice Friman















Early offices of James A. Rock & Co., Publishing— part of our used & rare bookstore, very eighteenth century of us, we thought.  © 1975 Philip C. Thompson --detail

August 1979 - Release of Who Goes There. There we are younger, thinner, hairier—desk is just as messy today, note corded phone © 1979 The Real Times

HUBRIS: A Gazette of the Arts. Vol 1, Nr 1, Jan 9, 1973
The magazine that started it all for us, James A. Rock  & Co., Publishers first publication, edited by Michael Bourne, now disc-jocky and jazz maven heard on WBGO-FM Newark's voice of Jazz in New York City.

Below is the cover of James A. Rock & Co., Publisher's first book, a collection of an original interview by Michael Bourne with Rex Stout, the first book publication of a Nero Wolfe novella by Rex Stout. and first and so far only book publication of a Life Magazine article (from the April 19, 1963 issue)  by Rex Stout writing as Archie Goodwin entitled "Why Nero Wolfe Like Orchids." We entitled this book: Corsage: A Bouquet of Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe. A great start for the James A. Rock Publishing house, a Mystery Writers of Amrerica Grand Master and first book publishing of a Nero Wolfe novella we were proud as punch.

For a an idea of how much Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe affected my life go to the link just below,
scroll down and read the Q&A with me.

Our second book publication 1978
Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson: Sherlock Holmes and the Cocaine Habit by  Baker Street Irregular, Jack Tracy, noted author of The Encyclopedia Sherlockiana and  Jim Birkey. Non-fiction, used by the lawevforcement groups in California to help train police on the truth about the effects of Cocaine use. .

Three years of work and thousands of index cards after I bergan work on the monster, we published oversized 
Who Goes There: A Bibliographic Dictionary of Pseudonymous Literature in Fantasy and Science Fiction      First Published in September  1979










James A. Rock's Science Fiction Bibliography and guide to Pseudonyms in Science Fiction & Fantasy. James A. Rock & Co., Publishers, first oversized book received positive reviews from Charles N. Brown in Locus magzzine, "