By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
Several Northeast Portland residents have written books in a variety of genres, and each writer has taken a different approach to getting the work to market.
One pair has organized a publishing company to aid other writers. Others used one of the self-publishing services that have sprung up on the internet since traditional publishers reduced the number of new writers they accept. One writer used a small publishing house that specializes in her subject matter. A supermarket published a cookbook.
The only novel in this group was published by Oregon State University Press, which has published only one other novel in its 54-year history.
Mark Pomeroy worked on the novel, The Brightwood Stillness, for nearly 17 years before he met an OSU editor who seemed interested in it. The manuscript had been rejected by several publishers over the years because it includes links to the Vietnam War, which they thought was no longer marketable.
Looking back, said Pomeroy, an Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient, he sees an advantage in waiting all those years to see the book in print.
“I’d had the chance — call it forced revision — to make the novel better. Leaner,” he wrote in an essay shortly after The Brightwood Stillness was in bookstores and gaining favorable comments, including “absorbing and humane” in the Oregonian’s review.
The book, described as “a vivid look at friendship and the challenges of cross-cultural communication,” centers on two colleagues teaching in a North Portland high school. One is from Vietnam and the other has an uncle who had been a father figure until he returned from the war as a changed man, then drifted away.
Other writers include Howard Schneider and Mizeta Moon who created Snapshots: Flash Stories From Random Lives. The collection of very short stories is expected to be available in all electronic formats through Amazon in November. The writers will read story selections from 6:30-8 p.m. November 18 at the Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 N.E. 40th Ave., where they met in a writing workshop.
Ten percent of book sales will be donated to the senior center, Schneider said. The pair formed SpearPoint Publishing Co. not only to publish Snapshots but also to help other writers get work to the public, he said.
Mike Moore, a patent lawyer who began writing songs as a teenager, came up with a silly poem in the shower one morning. It led to more kids’ poems and a book, Dragons and Hot Sauce, with comical illustrations by Andy Young, Moore’s best friend from their high school days in Indiana.
The pair used Amazon CreateSpace to produce the book, which has been well received locally and by internet commentators. Green Bean Books, 1600 N.E. Alberta St., invited Moore for a reading.
Other local book stores also carry it. Bella Stella, a children’s resale shop, 2751 N.E. Broadway, sells the book, too.
One of the illustrated poems is “Amazing Sir Randy,” who proclaims his exploits: “I’ve juggled live sharks by the tail/I’ve held dancing lions upright/And now for my biggest stunt yet/I will eat all my veggies tonight!”
Leigh Ann Hieronymus, who owned two magazines in Ohio, brought her love of cooking when she arrived in Portland about 15 years ago. She became a recipe consultant for Fred Meyer stores. Now an employee, she helped create Fresh Ideas with Leigh Ann, a cookbook with clearly written recipes using readily available ingredients.
Dawn Menken, a therapist with a doctorate in clinical psychology, went to a small specialty company, Belly Song Press, for publication of Raising Parents, Raising Kids: Hands-On Wisdom for the Next Generation.
Her goal is to help parents nurture the inner life of their children and recognize the “big questions” of very young children. These are in the realm of imagination and spirituality, Menken said, before children mature into the world of reality.
For instance, her own young son, now a teenager, asked such questions as “If you didn’t have a body, would you still exist?” One day at the beach he said, “The ocean is talking.” She asked him what it was saying. He replied: “The ocean is saying, ‘Dream.’ And the sky is listening.”
Her books and articles are available on her website: www.dawnmenken.com.