Sunday, December 11, 2011


Gary Entsminger, publisher, Pinyon Publishing, and Garcia.
 When Pinyon Publishers published Chant of Death, a mystery by me and Isabel Anders, I posted a long interview for this blog about publisher Gary Entsminger and another one about Susan Elliott, the gifted artist and writer on Gary’s staff. Both of these talented artists have one distinguishing feature in common: versatility—and this characteristic becomes more and more evident to me when I read about the range of books they’ve been producing at Pinyon.

Although WriteItNow 4 Creative Writing Software wasn’t published by Pinyon, Gary takes pride in the recent honor garnered by this software produced by Ravenshead Services because Pinyon Publishing is its major distributor in the United States. For the second year, running, WriteItNow 4 was awarded the TopTen Reviews Gold Award. Gary and Susan sent me a copy of the software for Christmas, and I have been attempting to use it.  The software is touted for helping writers generate characters, contains a thesaurus, word counter, spell checker, and other features that fledgling and experienced writers will find useful. Gary and Susan have created a guide entitled Making the Most of WriteItNow 4 for making the most efficient use of the software that features step-by-step examples and screenshots of all the major features of the program. Their guide shows writers how to manipulate the software to help them write, organize, and store complete novels, to generate names, ideas, timelines, and notes, and how to graphically visualize layout and organization with a story board.

WriteItNow 4 is a fascinating writing tool, and I was intrigued by the idea that I could have a name for a character and with the aid of the software, could develop this character, accessing the Myers-Brigg personality types, and using a timeline that specifies a time period and the year of the character’s birth, then pulling up a list of historical events from the character’s lifetime. Gary and Susan use WriteItNow 4 for their creative work, including the writing of their novel, Ophelia’s Ghost, which they co-authored a few years ago.

A day after I received a copy of WriteItNow 4, I logged into Pinyon’s website and found that Gary and Nick Gotelli have produced another piece of software called EcoSim Professional that allows users to test for community patterns with non-experimental data. According to Gary, EcoSim “performs Monte Carlo randomizations to create ‘pseudo-communities,’ then statistically compares the patterns in the randomized communities with those in the real data matrix. These null model tests have wide applicability in both applied and basic ecology…” From the description, readers can see that Gary has extensive experience as a naturalist, computer programmer, and creator of software that helps scientists understand patterns of biodiversity. His range is amazing. Then there’s Susan who studied botany and French at Humboldt State University, has a Ph.D. in biology from Dartmouth College, co-authored the software guide, and who renders fantastical drawings of wildlife and the natural environment.

No, I’m not conversant with the latest offerings of Pinyon, but after reading about the products developed and distributed by them, you can envision the word “versatility” as it applies to the duet who operate this Indie press tucked away in the Rocky Mountains on a plateau near Montrose, Colorado. This past year, Pinyon also published a gracious plenty of books by excellent poets; e.g., Luci Shaw and Martha McFerren. Their publication, You Who Make the Sky Bend by Lisa Sandlin and Catherine Ferguson garnered the New Mexico Book Award, and Victoria Sullivan, Pinyon author of Adoption, a book of speculative fiction in which she used her research about polyploidy plants that have multiple sets of chromosomes, recently received the honor of a plant belonging to the genus Eupatorium (E. sullivaniae) being named after her because her extensive work has led to significant advances in understanding of Eupatorium.
Susan Elliott, artist, Pinyon Publishing

Many of the poetry books on Pinyon’s list have been written by award-winning poets who enjoy the attention and care shown them and their work by the staff at this outstanding Indie press. Gary and Susan’s next project: an online literary journal called The Pinyon Review that will feature poems, essays, short stories…and in light of Gary’s other publications, the range of subjects should be highly eclectic. Also forthcoming is a book about aquatic plants authored by Victoria Sullivan, Why Water Plants Don’t Drown, with paintings by Susan Elliott.

Look for this rising publisher online at

P.S.  As you can see from the picture above, Susan and Gary also compose and play blue grass music in their spare time.  Here's to more of their versatility!!
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