Who We Are (As a Company.)
Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare? We all learned as kids that slow and steady wins in the end. But the publishing industry’s dominated by the hares. You’ve seen them: fast-reading, fast-selling books with a big name on the front. They loom large on the doorway displays one month and are relegated to the bargain bin thereafter—unloved, unremembered, and easily replaced by next month’s Next Big Thing. (Hare today, gone tomorrow, you might say.)
We’re looking to change that.
Tortoise Books focuses on quality, not quantity. Or more accurately, we know quality will bring quantity down the road, in the slow and steady race to win over discerning readers. We’re an imprint that’s using the best attributes of the old industry (extensive editing, heavy pre-publication publicity work, and a financial structure where we’re invested in the future success of our authors) and the best attributes of publish-on-demand (the ability to get something good out there quickly, without regard to whether or not someone thinks it has a market, or whether it fits into some multinational conglomerate’s busy schedule) to build a brand readers will trust.
Come join us on that road!
Who We Are (As Individuals.)
Bob Hartley was raised on the West Side of Chicago. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His first novel, Following Tommy, was published in 2012 by Cervena Barva Press to extremely favorable reviews. He has been, among other things, a writer, actor, singer, teacher, bartender, mailroom clerk, and washer of soap molds. He currently makes his living as a respiratory therapist and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and two children.
Alice Kaltman is a writer and surfer who splits her time between Brooklyn and Montauk, New York. Staggerwing is her first collection of stories. Her work appears in numerous journals including Joyland, Whiskey Paper, Storychord, Hobart, Longform Fiction, Atticus Review, Chicago Literati, and in print anthologies including The Pleasure You Suffer (Tortoise Books) and On Montauk: A Literary Celebration. Her website is pretty: www.alicekaltman.com.
Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Zukauskas) is a Columbia University MFA. His writing has appeared in The St. Petersburg Review, Quarterly West, Antique Children, Criminal Class Review, Curbside Splendor, Siaures Atenai, Dialogo, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He's also the author of two novels: Finding the Moon in Sugar (Infinity) and The Fugue (Tortoise Books). Visit his website at gint-aras.com, or follow him on Twitter at @Gint_Aras.
Darrin Doyle has lived in Saginaw, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, Louisville, Osaka (Japan), and Manhattan (Kansas). He has worked as a paperboy, mover, janitor, telemarketer, pizza delivery driver, door-to-door salesman, copy consultant, porn store clerk, freelance writer, and technical writer, among other jobs. For a decade he played guitar in an indie rock band that made noise, recorded a couple of albums, and fell down a lot. After graduating from Western Michigan University with an MFA in fiction, he taught English in Japan for a year. He then realized he wanted to pursue fiction writing and permanently stop doing jobs he didn’t love, so he earned his PhD from the University of Cincinnati.
He is the author of the novels Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet: A Love Story (LSU Press) and The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo (St. Martin’s), and the short story collection The Dark Will End the Dark (Tortoise Books). His short stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Harpur Palate, Redivider, BULL, and Puerto del Sol, among others.
Currently he teaches at Central Michigan University and lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan with his wife and two sons. His website is www.darrindoyle.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @DoyleDarrin.
Originally from Los Altos, California, Rachel Slotnick is a painter and writer. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2010. Her work is on permanent display at the Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a muralist for the 35th, 46th and 47th wards, and her paintings have been displayed in a solo exhibition at Beauty & Brawn Gallery & Think Space. Recently published in Mad Hatter’s Review, Thrice Fiction, and The Brooklyn Rail, Rachel was also the first place winner of Rhino Poetry’s Founder’s Prize, and will be nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. Rachel currently resides in Chicago where she works as Adjunct Faculty in Art Studio and English at Malcolm X College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Illinois Art Institute, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Giano Cromley was born in Montana and grew up in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountain Range. For his undergraduate studies, he went to Dartmouth College, majoring in literature and creative writing. His first port of call after college was Washington, DC, where he started off answering phones and ended up working as a speechwriter and deputy press secretary for U.S. Senator Max Baucus. But after four years of the political grind, it was time to refocus on what he'd wanted to do all along: write.
He left DC to pursue his MFA, studying fiction at the University of Montana. Three years later, it was time to hit the big city, and Chicago fit the bill. He managed to find part-time work teaching GED and ESL classes on the city's South and West Sides. Much to his surprise, he turned out to be a pretty good teacher. Eventually, he got hired to teach composition and literature at Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.
He's the author of The Last Good Halloween (Tortoise Books), which was a finalist for the High Plains Book Awards. His other writing - both fiction and nonfiction - has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Literal Latte, the German edition of Le Monde diplomatique, The Externalist, Swill Magazine, Word Riot, The Summerset Review, Underground Voices, Zouch Magazine, and The Bygone Bureau. He's also been featured on the podcasts "Anything Ghost" and "WordPlaySound." In 2008, he was honored to receive an Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. In addition, he does a variety of freelance writing projects, primarily for textbook publishers.
Gerald Brennan is a self-described corporate brat who hails from the eastern half of the continent but currently resides in Chicago. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and later earned a Master's from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s the author of Resistance, Zero Phase: Apollo 13 on the Moon, Project Genesis, Ninety-Seven to Three, and Public Loneliness: Yuri Gagarin's Circumlunar Flight. He's been profiled in Newcity, and his writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Good Men Project, and Innerview Magazine; he's also been a co-editor and frequent contributor at Back to Print and The Deadline. He’s into Camus, Dostoyevsky, Koestler, Hitchcock, Radiohead, and The National, but you can also catch him reading Jim Thompson and even sneaking in some Wahida Clark from time to time. He’s also a huge Martin Scorsese fan.
(You can follow him on Twitter at @jerry_brennan.)