Gargoyle Magazine

Paycock Press is a very small indie press interested in publishing fiction books in the
200-300pp range. That means manuscripts of
40,000-60,000 words. Shorter is fine, too.

For poetry volumes we prefer
the standard 64-page book.

We’re not really interested in
most genre fiction or mainstream lit.

We’re also interested in creating
Ebook versions of o.p. indie books.

Paycock Press presents two new collections of short stories by DC natives

Paycock Press has released two exciting new publications: Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City by David Nicholson and Open Country: A Civil War Novel in Stories by Jeff Richards. Purchase information will be available shortly.

A new review of Flying Home is up at Washington City Paper:

And here's a link to the first review:

What else is being said about Flying Home:

“Simply astonishing. I recommend this as a book to read, to lend, to teach, and to return to; it is beautifully written.” —Kelly Cherry

“A series of absorbing stories, captured for the reader in a linguistical version of Cinemascope, along with a most playful riff on Ralph Ellison’s narrative style. Intimate yet wide-angled, imaginative and probing. . .” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“David Nicholson is such a gifted, assured storyteller that I read Flying Home in a single sitting, pulled from one beautifully written, wise, and moving story to the next, so enchanted by the lives he explores in the ‘secret city,’ and by his skill, that I was unaware of the passage of time. This is superbly crafted, memorable writing that will leave readers hungering for more.” —Charles Johnson, National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage

For more reflections on Flying Home and photos from recent author events, click on the cover image above or here:


Open Country 

What's being said about Open Country:

“Jeff Richards draws on the moments of intimate happenstance that so marked this peculiar war, in which whole histories shifted in quiet entanglements in thickets and creek beds, and a single line of a banjo tune might speak simultaneously of a loved one both arriving and departing.” —Steve Amick, Nothing But a Smile

“It would be tempting to discuss Open Country purely in terms of it being a Civil War novel. But to substitute the setting for the ideas and the emotional truths would not do justice to Jeff Richards’ book. That would be too easy. Instead, Open Country strips the circumstances of the war down to its most human level. It is about people trying to make sense of a world suddenly turned inside out. It is about having to make choices in which all decisions may be wrong. It is a place and time where loyalty and trust no longer follow convention. And, most of all, the novel is about the need to find hope when it’s hard to believe hope can still exist. Yes, Jeff Richards’ Open Country may take place during the Civil War, but at its heart the novel shares the drama of human experience as though it is taking place right outside your door. It could be you. It could be me.” —Adam Braver, Mr. Lincoln’s Wars

“In the tradition of Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalryand Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Jeff Richards’ Open Country is a powerful, brutal, beautiful book of stories linked by war and the soldiers struggling to survive amidst its horrors. We follow Blues and Grays, wives and widows, worried mothers and grieving fathers, the doomed and the redeemed, the victorious and the condemned. This extraordinary book about the American Civil War offers both the concision of the well-made story and the sweep of the epic. A remarkable achievement.” —Porter Shreve, The End of the Book

“The true value of a good novel, especially one written in another place and time, is whether or not it makes you believe you are there. As in great dramatic acting in film or theatre, do you empathize with the characters and are they authentic? Jeff Richards accomplishes that in his short, but epic novel, Open Country. Artfully written and musical in its cadence, I could hear the soundtrack as I read. Stark and tragic and as rustic as the hardtack and whiskey in its story, Open Country is a must read, lest we forget.” —Jimmy Thackery of Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Wide Open (CD)

“The Civil War was America’s bitterest family quarrel, and Jeff Richards’s stories gracefully place the huge events of the war into human context. Anyone who loves the American story will treasure these stories as well.” —Garrett Epps, The Shad Treatment

“Open Country is a meticulously researched novel about the Civil War and its harrowing effects on families. Here are nineteen stories of Rebel ‘butternuts’ and Yankee ‘bluebellies’ who, despite being on opposing sides of battle, are also cousins, fathers and sons, brothers. Jeff Richards has written a moving meditation on the ways we can be made to ignore the humanity of those we see as enemies. As one character says, ‘Sad thing when two old comrades come to blows.’

“The moral complexities of duty to a cause versus family ties are vividly revealed thanks to the book’s authentic recreation of language, weaponry, dress, food, and mores of the time. Any Civil War buff will find this a fascinating read.” —Donna Baier Stein, author of Sympathetic People

“With unflinching honesty, Jeff Richards leads us through the horror and fervor of the Civil War, giving us both Confederate and Yankee perspectives. We join ranks with young soldiers and their loved ones as they experience the stunned sorrow of loss, the loyalty of friendship, and the gentle grasp of love. Richards lulls yet agitates the heart as the war shapes each character.” — Melanie S. Hatter, author of The Color of My Soul

Defying Gravity launch
is standing-room only

We had a blast at the launch party for Defying Gravity, the sixth anthology in the Grace & Gravity series of fiction by Washington, DC-area women, published by Paycock Press and edited by Richard Peabody. Washington, DC's renowned Politics & Prosebookstore was full to capacity with a standing-room crowd eager to meet contributing authors and enjoy the opportunity to network with lovers of literature.

Defying Gravity cover art by Sheep Jones.

Here's what people are saying about Defying Gravity:

“Tender and edgy, witty and wild: 43 DC-area storytellers— established and debut—explore vanishing babies, dream jobs, renegade parents, violence, adultery, politics and the devil's own daughter. Even when they venture into darkness, these stories gleam.” —Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don't Live Like This

“Richard Peabody has once again curated an eclectic menagerie of fiction written by Washingtonian women. DC is a literary city, as his devotion shows.” —Shawna Kenney, author of I Was a Teenage Dominatrix and editor of Book Lovers

“Defying Gravity is a lucid tour through a world of love and terror, dementia an dmadness, longing an drecovery — a fascinating range of the harsh realities of everyday life with a touch of the supernatural. The breadth and style of the stories in this collection is as intriguing and varied as the Washington women who write them.” —Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

We also held a Defying Gravity event on February 6 at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA;

Defying Gravity is getting noticed—see what colleagues at the Washington Independent Review of Books have to say!


Amazing Graces
garners good press


$18.95 464 pp
Cover art by Sheep Jones
ISBN 9780931181351

Amazing Graces, the fifth collection of fiction by Washington, DC-area women in the Grace & Gravity series from Paycock Press, is garnering great blurbs! Click here for details.


Amazing Graces launches
with lively party in January

The Amazing Graces launch party, held on Sunday, January 8, at the renowned DC bookstore Politics & Prose, was a smash success! We sold 200 copies of our newest book and enjoyed insights about its development from an eight-author panel moderated by Bethanne Patrick. Panelists Rae Bryant, Celeste Crenshaw, Beth Frerking, Jennifer Howard, Esther Iverem, Priscilla Nemeth, Wanda Warner and Kathleen Wheaton each read from her piece in the new anthology (it worked like a collage) and then fielded questions from the audience and the moderator. "The event was truly a celebration, not a marathon," said editor Richard Peabody, owner of Paycock Press.

Alumni from the first four volumes in the series and writers who are penciled in for a sixth volume were invited to the event.

For more details, go to the Politics & Prose site:

Our thanks to Pam Risdon,, for these great photos of the event.

Beth Frerking.

Celeste Crenshaw, Constance Witherspoon.

Donna Moss.

Margaret Grosh and Richard Peabody of Paycock Press.

Esther Iverem.

Gabriela Romeri, Jennifer Howard.

Patricia Bartlett, Wanda Warner, Nita Congress.

Richard Peabody, Patricia Morningstar.

Kathleen Wheaton, Lorine Kritzer Pergament.

Rose Solari and Richard Peabody.

Linden von Eichel, Susan Sharpe, Nita Congress.

Richard Peabody, Jennifer Napolitano, Caitlin Cushman.

Priscilla Nemeth, Rae Bryant.

Lissa Muscatine, co-owner of Politics and Prose; Richard Peabody.

Wanda Warner.

Gargoyle gear! The holidays are coming – surprise your friends with Gargoyle T-shirts, mugs, clocks, lunchboxes, etc.!Gargoyle gear



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