James A. Rock & Co, Publishers was established in
1973 to publish a small literary and arts magazine entitled
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
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
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
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
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
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..
VISIONS AND VOICES OF THE NEW MIDWEST 1978
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!
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
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