Saturday, September 28, 2013

Joan Bochmann, author, rest in peace

Author Joan Bochmann left her pain wracked body and our sight on September 26, 2013. She will be sorely missed, but she has left a legacy of talent, love, and an example of strength and faith to her family, fans, and a host of dear friends.

Born on November 21, 1934, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Joan was the oldest of six children. Allen and Dorothy Muirhead, her hard-working, loving parents provided the rich culture of ranch life in the beautiful Yampa Valley, high in the Rocky Mountains. She learned love and respect for horses and ranching from her father and the love of books and reading from her mother. 

Joan cherished those gifts throughout her life and shared them with others. She often read volumes of great fiction to her younger siblings and involved them in storytelling games where she created gripping stories on the spot and encouraged sisters and brothers to do the same.

Joan graduated high school at the head of her class. She worked at various jobs since she was just fourteen years of age. She spent more than thirty years working as a paralegal. She married young, raised two children, and always kept the love of books, reading, and writing alive. She took night classes at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studying psychology and English Writing. Over her lifetime, she produced a large collection of short stories, essays, articles, and a novel, Absaroka, Where the Anguish of a Soldier Meets the Land of the Crow, which won a prestigious IPPY award honorable mention in Best Regional Fiction for the Mountain West from the Independent Publishers Group. This book has been published in trade paperback and as an ebook (called The Wild Horses of Absaroka) and an audio book, (Absaroka, From War to Wyoming). She narrated Miranda and Starlight, a book her sister wrote, which was recently released on CDs.

Joan took lessons and got her pilots license in 1967. She loved to fly and never missed a chance to climb into a private airplane, take to the air, and soar among the clouds. Besides flying, riding horses, reading, and writing, Joan enjoyed skiing, playing golf, hiking, and camping. She loved spending time with her children, Debbie Tanner and Gary Zimmerman, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She especially liked holidays and events that brought her large extended family together. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday.

She was a member of the Grace Place Church, in Berthoud, Colorado, where her faith and her family of friends and loyal supporters grew and flourished. 

Joan left several unpublished stories and the beginnings of three or four novels that she didn't get time to finish.  Her death is a loss to not only her friends, family, and fans, but to the world of great literature. 

Joan was my sister, my idol, my mentor, role model, and best friend. Even as I miss her, I am also grateful that she has finally escaped the ravages of cancer that kept her in pain for so long. Rest in peace, dear Joan. 

Janet Muirhead HIll

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Raven's New Imprint

Raven introduces Dark Trails Press

Darker content, but still True Fiction

True Fiction—fiction because the stories and characters are made up—is true in the sense that it mirrors real life and explores important real-life problems and solutions.  As we go deeper into the world of true fiction with books that confront serious, contemporary, but difficult and often unpleasant issues, we see the need for a new publishing arm—one for stories that are not suited for the children who read our Miranda and Starlight series and other novels written for elementary and middle-grade kids. 

Oh, yes, we have published some very good, very poignant, and very grown-up stories for adults. They do not, however, contain any but the mildest curse words, let alone any vulgar language, nor any overly violent or explicit sexual content. However, our new imprint may publish books that include any or all of the above—even as it follows our definition for true fiction—or moral non-fiction. 

By moral, we use John Gardner’s definition as supplied in his book, On Moral Fiction. “True art seeks to improve life, not debase it. It ought to be a force bringing people together, breaking down barriers of prejudice and ignorance, and holding up ideals worth pursuing.” Our new imprint will publish books or short pieces that confront dark, but true-to-life issues—using these principles.

Dark Trails Press, will soon publish its first book, Caught at the Edge by Raymond Storm, as an ebook. It portrays the life of the kids in the warring street gangs of East L. A. and shows how men in the big drug cartels entice them with drugs, guns, and sexy women, only to exploit—and then dispose of them when they are no longer useful.

The book also introduces the type of organizations laboring to rescue these children and turn their lives around. It shows how a young life is redeemed by a program established to offer troubled boys a better—and far less dangerous—way of life.