Friday, December 27, 2013

Heart Felt Greetings

I just wanted to take a minute to express how very grateful we are for the wonderful friends we have met this past year.  We appreciate you so much and consider ourselves blessed that you take time out of your busy day to communicate with us.  We love those conversations.

I will write more later about what's going on at the press.  But for now we just want to Wish for you this...

That you enjoy great Love and deep Peace this Holiday Season.
May 2014 bring to you and to your loved ones
Joy and Abundance
& the Wisdom to see it in action all around you.

--Mike and Rita at Pegana Press--

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What's New at Pegana Press (December 2013)

To begin, we want to Thank Michael Swanwick for writing some very kind words on Flogging Babel about The Emperor's Crystal & Other Lost Tales volume 2 by Lord Dunsany.  It positively warmed the cockles of our hearts to read it, and we are gratified that he enjoyed it.

Mike is progressing with  The Age of Malygris by Clark Ashton Smith.

And for the Holidays we are offering FREE Priority Shipping on our Holiday Card Collection through the month of December.  These Letter Press Greeting Cards were designed and type set by hand by Mike on Crane's Lettra Paper.  If you're not familiar with this paper, it is made from cotton, and has a very nice feel to it.  (I kept remarking to Mike that it felt like cloth, when I was folding them.) 

He used Reflex Blue and Green inks, and there is a touch of sparkle to them.  They are available in packages of 4 with envelopes.  Old fashioned themes and traditional holiday carols were the inspiration--the photos really don't do them justice especially the cards with text as the design.  The colors and sparkle make them glow when viewed in person.

It is our desire to offer cards that will be a special keepsake for anyone receiving them.  We hope you will enjoy them.

Lastly, we are half way finished with our next Story-cast.  We are having a lot of fun with this.  And I think we'll just continue to post it through drop box, with a link to the public file, since we discovered that our media player was only working intermittently for some people.

It's a real honor for our small press to receive acknowledgement from those of you who have purchased books from us.  We enjoy the conversations we've had via email with new friends who share our passion for a story well told.  We hope to continue for many years to come.

And now to end with a quote from our favorite author, whom inspired the name of Pegana Press.  This is from The Curse Of The Wise Woman.

What a change snow brings to any land that it visits: rather enchantment than change.  It is as though the mountains came down to speak to the fields, almost as though overnight another planet had called for us and taken us over from Earth.  Even the inside of the house was changed, a bright light dwelt in the pictures, making the work of men long dead more vivid and merrier; and on the north side of the house all the rooms seemed as though they were still curtained, and all their blinds were drawn down, for the snow was clinging to the window-panes where the wind had so violently hurled it; and yet even in those dim rooms, through the grey snow, there seemed to shine gleams from the light of a strangely triumphant morning.  
--Lord Dunsany

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

'Tis The Season

We're having a lot of fun at Pegana Press right now making holiday cards.  Mike designs and prints the cards, and I apply the sparkle.

For the last three days, we've been cranking up the festive tunes while we crank out the festive cards.

We now have five designs to choose from and this year we're offering the cards for sale on our website.

They will be available to purchase
starting on Tuesday, November 19.

As with everything we make here at the press, we have limited quantities of each design, so if you'd like to have a few hand made letter press cards to give to the very special people in your life, then we invite you to take a look at what we have to offer at Pegana Press.

We will leave you with a quote (as we like to do).

May Love & Joy be yours this season.

Happy Holidays

from Pegana Press.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pegana Press Blogcast Episode 1

We have been working on a blogcast and now we're ready to post our first episode.

Today's story feature is Truth And Her Companions,  from The Twilight Of The Gods by Richard Garnett (1835–1906).

This illustration of Jupiter and Truth is the work of Henry Keen (1871–1935).

We initially planned to do a simple reading, but when we found this story (the only one that appears in the book as a short play) we decided to do it as a dramatization.

In this program we do a reading of Truth And Her Companions, and we chat a bit about Richard Garnett and The Twilight Of The Gods.  We wanted to keep it brief, so the blogcast is approximately 25 minutes in length, otherwise I would have wanted to read more stories.  It was a hard choice to make, as it was.  But Truth And Her Companions seemed to carry a very timely message.  And knowing human kind, it probably always will.

We had a lot of fun making this episode, and we hope you will enjoy listening.  We welcome any discussion on this topic or if you have any input for other shows. 

We would love to include you in the conversation so if you send us an email please let us know if we may add your comments to a future show, and if we may use your name, or if you prefer to remain anonymous.

We are using Cascade Microphones for our recording.  If you need Microphones we urge you to check out the link.

The opening melody entitled Out Of Time was written and played on piano by Rita Tortorello (me).  Mike Tortorello added all the layers and parts with some vocalization by me.  I might add that I am not a piano player, but Mike made it all sound pretty good.  Before he started up Pegana Press he had a career in the Music Business as an Audio Engineer/Producer.  While Mike is still doing recording, Pegana Press now takes up the bulk of his time.  (The short reading over the top of our opening melody is from Lost Tales Vol. 1 by Lord Dunsany--published by Pegana Press.)

I have removed the media player embedded on the page, please try this link   Pegana Press StoryCast episode 1

Out Of Time © Rita and Mike Tortorello

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This Week at Pegana Press

Mike and I started reading books together back in 1990. 

We let television go out of our lives about 20 years ago.  We didn't really miss it, because always --we have read books. 

And often times sharing a book --with me reading aloud.

We've read almost all of the works of PG Wodehouse out loud during our humor phase.  Then we switched to mysteries written in the 1920s through the '40s, (Craig Rice ghost wrote a murder mystery for actor George Sanders in 1944 called Crime On My Hands).

We've read aloud, Ernest Bramah and H Rider Haggard, GK Chesterton and George MacDonald, Lord Dunsany and Hope Mirrlees...and so many more.

Right now we're reading what else? The Gods Of Pegāna because we've never read it aloud before, though I would venture to guess that Mike has probably read it at least a dozen times or more without me.

I have to admit, that I'm having a blast saying the names of the all various gods out loud. 

And it is truly a pleasure
to speak aloud
the words
written on the page
 by a master of his art.
So one of the other things we're working on right now is --I guess you could call it a podcast.  Where we hope to read little excerpts from authors.  Either very short stories, or just tasty little samples from a larger work.
We are nearly finished recording the first one.  It's taking a back seat right now as we scramble to get another book finished and try to line up future projects. 
And because Mike has also spent many years working in the recording industry, there is no slapping this project together. 
We even wrote a song for the opening.  Yes, I think we're probably having too much fun with this project.
So now I'll leave you as I like to do, with a quote.  This one is from the book we are currently reading aloud, which is The Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany.
"Some say that the Worlds and the Suns are but the echoes of the drumming of Skarl, and others say that they be dreams that arise in the mind of Māna because of the drumming of Skarl, as one may dream whose rest is troubled by sound of song, but none knoweth, for who hath heard the voice of Māna-Yood-Sushāī, or who hath seen his drummer?"
The Dreams Of Māna-Yood-Sushāī by Sidney H. Sime

Friday, October 25, 2013

Once Upon A Time

About 2 dozen years ago I read The Kith Of The Elf-Folk for the first time--written by Lord Dunsany.  That story so inspired me and sparked my imagination that I shared it with a friend of mine who was a singer/songwriter.  Upon reading it, inspiration led her to write a song about it.

Mike was working in a recording studio in those days and while we were there recording that song, we found a tiny kitten in the parking lot cold and shivering, who seemed to have come from nowhere.  Somehow he ended up coming home with us and stayed for 14 years.  We called him Wispy.

Just a little reminiscence which led me to pick up this story again, so perfect for reading on these misty October days by the fire, where the view through my window is of red and green dogwood leaves which look like they are lit from within--fixed to their branches for only another day or so.

The Kith Of The Elf-Folk is an absolute work of art, as so many of Lord Dunsany's stories are.  You get the sense that he just sat there on the edge of the marsh and wrote what he saw in real time. 

We are shown the cathedral on the edge of the marsh, and then he writes this...

"So evensong was held, and candles lighted, and the lights through the windows shown red and green in the water, and the sound of the organ went roaring over the marshes.  But from the deep and perilous places, edged with bright mosses, the Wild Things came leaping up to dance on the reflection of the stars, and over their heads as they danced the marsh-lights rose and fell."

And in this way, we are introduced to the Wild Things who are The Kith of the Elf-Folk who all night "dance over the marshes treading upon the reflection of the stars (for the bare surface of the water will not hold them by itself)."

A story definitely worth revisiting.

--I wish you Good Reading

Monday, October 21, 2013

What's New at the Press

This week Mike has been setting type for The Age of Malygris, a collection of stories written by Clark Ashton Smith.  This project was decided upon based on the feed back received from some of you.  We really do appreciate your input and encourage you to communicate with us, either here or on the website.

Rita has continued to bind deluxe copies of The Emperor's Crystal & Other Lost Tales Vol 2 by Lord Dunsany  and should be finishing up before the end of October.

Also In The Works

It's a bit of an experiment, but we would like to incorporate some reading and some discussion into a podcast.  We are also working out the logistics of posting the recording to our site, and who knows how that will go.  We'll announce it here on the blog when it's ready.

That about brings us up to date with life at Pegana Press.

And so for now, we leave you with a quote by Clark Ashton Smith from The Last Incantation...

"And all the vistas of time that had been so full of gold and splendor, the days of triumph that were colored like a soaring flame, the crimson and purple of the rich imperial years of his prime, all these were chill and dim and strangely faded now, and the remembrance thereof was no more than the stirring of dead embers."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Emperor's Crystal Update for October 15, 2013

Good news--I have been busy binding for the last 4 days so that once again we have a small stock of Deluxe Editions of The Emperor's Crystal.  They will start shipping on Thursday October 17th.

I'd like to encourage anyone who wants the Deluxe Edition to bear in mind that they are going fast.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Emperor's Crystal Update For October 10, 2013

We've already gone through our stock of deluxe editions.  I am in the process of binding another 12 to 16 copies which are expected to be ready to begin shipping to their new homes by the middle of next week.  After that, I will continue to bind deluxe copies as the need arises.

We want to thank you for your patience as the binding process does take a little time.

We still have chapbooks available if you prefer that format.

In other news, Mike is working on printing the Clark Ashton Smith project entitled

The Age of Malygris

which we hope to release before the new year.  We will keep you updated.

We want to thank you for your support and encourage you to communicate with us, any thoughts you have for future publication so that we may continue to create books you will enjoy reading for many years to come.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Emperor's Crystal: Deluxe Edition or Chapbook ?

Pegana Press sets the type for each page laboriously by hand.  To give you an idea, The Emperor's Crystal took over 400 hours just to print and then many more hours to bind.

Once the type is set and the page is printed, the type block is then removed from the press bed and the type is distributed (each letter is put away).  That means if that page is to be reprinted, it needs to be reset all over again.

Which is the reason that once it's done, it can not easily be changed.

The reason I share this with you is by way of explanation for what comes next.

When Mike first began typesetting Lost Tales Volume 2 (as it was called then), he designed the layout of the book to be a chapbook format just as Volume 1 had been.

But feedback from our customers indicated that people would very much be interested in a hard bound edition of the forthcoming book.  And so the idea took shape to give people a choice between a hard binding and a chapbook format.

Since The Emperor's Crystal has already been printed and 92 possible copies exist, and since the page declaring that there are 92 copies had already been printed when this decision was made, we leave it to you ultimately to make the choice about how many of those 92 copies will be deluxe editions with a hard binding, and how many will be chapbook editions.

So for now this is where we're at:

We have decided to set aside 20 copies to be bound in a hardback format, of which we have already bound approximately half of that number, leaving the other half to be bound as needed.  This means that the people buying The Emperor's Crystal will be determining how many hardback editions exist by what they choose to purchase.

Should the deluxe edition prove to be more popular, I will continue to bind according to the demand, since they are being hand bound, one at a time here at Pegana Press anyway.  (Note: This will hold true until I run out of my present stock of Binding Materials.)

Currently we have a stock of both Deluxe and Chapbook Editions in our inventory to choose from.  But no matter which binding you choose, the contents of the book is exactly the same.  We wish you Good Reading.

Please visit us at Pegana Press for details.

Pegana Press and The Emperor's Crystal

Pegana Press is pleased to announce the release of The Emperor's Crystal & Other Lost Tales Volume II by Lord Dunsany.

Included are a previously unpublished story written in the Spring of 1909 and an original line drawing by Lord Dunsany circa 1904 - 1908 as well as 8 stories not published since they appeared in magazine form between 1915 - 1920.  Introduction by Darrell Schweitzer.

This book is available in a deluxe binding in gray cloth and a chapbook with blue paper cover.  Hand set letter press and hand bound.  You may order it directly from Pegana Press.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Life at Pegana Press

Pictured Left:  The Deluxe edition of the forthcoming book from Pegana Press.

Sitting in front of my computer writing up a quick little blog post while I eat a piece of cold pizza leftover from lunch.  I'm reflecting on how we used to eat at the dining room table.  Real meals. 

Right now the table is covered with a book press and stacks of heavy books for weight while two more copies of The Emperor's Crystal & Other Lost Tales Vol II by Lord Dunsany are born out of paper and ink, thread and glue, cloth and binding board. 

Mike is in the Press Room setting type for The Age of Malygris: Poseidonis Cycle Volume 1 by Clark Ashton Smith .  I can hear Pink Floyd's Meddle just barely through the closed door.  He times his breaks per album, so he won't just work ceaselessly for hours.

The massage table in my treatment room is currently covered with 6 loads of laundry to be folded, and I can no longer put it off because the massage table is the only surface in the house large enough to lay out binding cloth to be cut.

Yup!  This is how we live now.  At times it's utter chaos.  But at times there is a Zen quality to the life we're living.

For instance when Mike is setting type for a page.  Or when I'm binding a book and see it take form.  Because the books we make are created with love.  We put that into our work so that when people are reading one of our books it comes through on some level.

Naturally the art of the story teller is the reason people read books.  But we aim to provide a book that lives up to the work it contains.  Our desire is to provide books which will enrich the experience of reading some of the best written works in the fantasy genre.

We hope some day decades from now, when someone opens up one of our books, they will smell that old book smell which is like perfume to book collectors, and it will fire the imagination with what treasure they might find waiting to be discovered on those pages, because that's how it is for those of us who love old books.

And so I leave you with a line from The House Of The Idol Carvers by Lord Dunsany, which appears in The Emperor's Crystal.  Please enjoy.

"And he labored for many years and he made a hundred gods; wonderful shapes he made them out of the mountains, for he had the skill of his fathers to give things shape, but he shaped the dreams of his mother."