The little blog of Cairn Press. Small Press publisher of remarkable fiction. Where good books find a home.

Shameless and Occasional Newsletter

Hello Folks,

We have much to say. Updates to give. Stuff to link together. Stories to rattle (short story month!). But first, we’d like some coffee, and we’d like you to give us your email.  

Please sign up for our occasional newsletter! We won’t spam too often, but when we do, it will be with information on submission periods, events, author news, and awesome things of this nature.  As the honorable and ethical people of Nike say: “JUST DO IT”.

You can click the Newsletter icon on the top right hand corner of our Tumblr page. Or follow the link here:


The Editors 


BOOKS are rotting in a chain joint called Public Storage, in the Bronx, New York, in a building that at one time stowed meat. Don’t think it doesn’t smell. I pay money every month for a spot of space on cold cement floor, next to nearly identical spots set apart only by a number on a door or a wacky lock. The spots are divided like shower stalls, with absurdly thin steel doors that do not reach the ceiling, so if you stand on the chair that someone abandoned in a dusty corner, you’ll see what your neighbor has deemed worth saving: shit

3,000 miles away, I imagine my boxes and boxes of books, my shit in a holding pen, lonely and forced to make friends with the cockroaches feeding off food that is almost certainly stuck on a great number of pages, leftovers from a most excellent diet of coffee, beer, and burritos. The books used to live with me in my apartment in Washington Heights and we were very happy together, but then I had two weeks to get across the country, and dreamed of being one of those people that stopped hoarding. The ending is predictable. I damn well can’t ditch my books.

Ever been to the little dive shop Westsider Books on Broadway? They know how to cram. They double shelf like they’re stuffing a turkey and their employees are so cool and friendly, that if you’re a New Yorker, you just want to listen to them talk to other people. One time I had to hide upstairs, just so I could hear two employees and one customer argue about the graphic novel Maus. I love bookshelf crams and Westsider Books holds it down.

Or what about all the authors I discovered at the Strand? The Strand is big, but don’t think because they’re big you don’t have to hunt. You do. You’ve got to frequent the so-called 18 miles as often as possible because you never know what in the hell they might have. One time I got a book from 1889, which I bought because the pages were decaying and falling apart at the slightest touch. I liked that it still existed. It was fiction! It was Balzac. Or what about all the Irish histories I found there sitting on the shelf, waiting for someone to check out the inside? Without the Strand, I wouldn’t have F.S.L Lyons or J.C. Beckett, authors I have yet to see on the tidy shelves of the textbook store on 5th Avenue that carries more Tim Pat Coogan than you’ll ever need.

I have books from New York, even Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Austin, Portland, Tucson—all over the country. So many books and bookstore experiences that I cannot replace. I thought about selling these books, or giving them away, or at least all the ones I’ve read. But I’d rather keep my shitty little paperback from 1975 than pawn it off on your ass for a lousy $2 bucks. I’d rather not pawn it at all. Frankly, I don’t trust you spill coffee the way I do. So my books are rotting in storage, waiting to unite with the books I managed to media mail (which is another story) and waiting to meet their new brothers and sisters. Which, by the way, is a totally idiotic way to refer to books. But book hoarding? That is true. 

Cairn Press staffer J.H. is responsible for this indulgent spam post. J.C. and J.T. ask that J.H. spills coffee on fewer submissions.  We might use our initials, sometimes, so that the kind and curious will visit our website for less dubious information. Our TITLES page, for example, will be updated soon. Get ready. 

If you’ve told friends that letter writing means a stamp and they replied, “Ha”, or worse, “LOL”, fear not, friend, you can buy used letters. Click on the pictures to see loot from the Antique Paper Show. 


We’ve got people. People that work three jobs, think on the toilet, and if the choice is between writing or eating, we’re writing. We’ve got people that like words and it better be a good story. Publishing or whatever the hell your lousy piece of the pie looks like doesn’t matter much among our people, so long as the content is damn interesting. The media is filling our eyeballs with wars on Amazon, print versus electronic content, self-published authors versus legacy authors, and the dominance of the big publishers or their fading clout. This shit is BIG news, and we’re happy to hash out our opinions on these matters (just ask us), which we have an openly vested interest in, but like we said, this shit is BIG news, and we’re a SMALL duck. We’re proud of it.  Our ear is on the ground. Our people are wearing the hell out of their shoes, and you’ve probably never heard of us or them, but they are writing some badass shit, and we are going to publish it and get it out there. So when someone said, “Cairn Press?” we said, “You bet”.  Hang tight while we are piling our stones…