From Camelot to the Alaskan Wilds: A Journey Through Stone Ring Press

A Conversation with Edwin Wollert

Edwin Wollert’s imaginative prowess dazzles, intertwining myth, history, and wilderness in captivating tales that resonate with authenticity and brilliance


In the sprawling realm of literature, there exist storytellers whose narratives transcend the ordinary, weaving tapestries of imagination and insight. Edwin Wollert, under his dual pseudonyms of Dale Geraldson and D T Kizis, stands as one such luminary, crafting tales that meld the mythical with the contemporary, the historical with the fantastical.

Dale Geraldson, with a master’s degree in philosophy from Ohio University and a penchant for unraveling the enigmas of Arthurian legends, beckons readers into realms where chivalry meets political intrigue. His debut novel, “Dreamers of the Grail,” breathes fresh life into Camelot’s lore, offering a vibrant exploration of Arthur’s kingdom through the eyes of Perceval and a female Galahad.

Meanwhile, D T Kizis, armed with a doctoral degree in history from Oregon State University and a deep-seated love for the Alaskan wilderness, pens gripping narratives that delve into the heart of human-wildlife dynamics. His novel “Packs” paints a captivating portrait of Alaska’s untamed landscapes, echoing the spirit of literary classics like “Watership Down” while delving into the complexities of predator-prey relationships.

Behind these compelling narratives lies the visionary force of Stone Ring Press, a publishing venture ignited by Wollert’s unwavering passion for storytelling. What began as a solitary endeavour blossomed into a haven for literary exploration across genres, guided by a commitment to excellence and sustainability.

In a world increasingly dominated by digital landscapes, Stone Ring Press stands as a beacon of intimate connection, bridging the gap between author and reader through personal interactions and collaborative endeavours. Wollert’s dedication to fostering meaningful relationships with fellow creators echoes throughout his publishing journey, infusing each project with a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.

Yet, amidst the ever-evolving landscape of publishing, Wollert’s wisdom remains steadfast. For aspiring authors navigating the labyrinthine paths of the literary world, his advice rings clear: persevere, seek feedback, and above all, follow your bliss. In Wollert’s words, true inspiration springs from the depths of authenticity, guiding storytellers to illuminate the world with their unique voices.

Join us as we delve into the creative universe of Edwin Wollert, where myths collide with history, and imagination knows no bounds. Through his words, we embark on a journey of discovery, guided by the timeless power of storytelling.

Can you tell us about the founding story of Stone Ring Press and what inspired you to start this publishing venture?

Truth: I’ve often had a creative writing project working in the background, usually unknown to others, including intimates.  This might be poetry or a journal or occasional short story.  I wrote graduate papers for classes in phenomenology and semiotics dealing with mythology as much as with philosophy, in both cases elements of the Arthurian legends.  A few months later, I could no longer shake the notion that I could not not write a story instead of essays.  Does that make sense?  Sometimes with creative outlets, the person with the odd or new idea describes feeling that he or she just had to let something out, bring something to life.  My first novel grew from that need to write, and is about the younger knights of Camelot, Perceval and a female Galahad and their search for the Holy Grail.

Sometimes events feel like they come together.  Years before, in secondary school, I took a “world literature” class.  It proved an awakening of sorts: I recall being (apparently) the only one in the class who revelled in Homer’s Odyssey, and found myself speaking up in support of feminist thought when we later addressed Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, the latter of which led to reading ethics and later studying philosophy more formally.  Those mythic and moral ideas (and ideals) remained with me, and the Arthur tales in particular had been a lifelong love.  During that same school term, my mother and I went to hear Joseph Campbell lecture, after he’d retired from collegiate life but before I understood the scope and influence of his work with the world’s myths, so I just went on with my largely aimless teen plans, applying for university without much knowing what I wanted to study, much less “do with my life.”

Stone Ring Press grew many years later, after seeking representation for years (see the answer to 6, below) and deciding to try a small business.  I would not have founded this operation with just a single novel.  It was after I’d created the second, a (mostly) contemporary story inspired by our former life in Alaska and my work for a wildlife education group (focusing on wolves: said novel is called “Packs”), that I decided I no longer wanted someone else to have control, or to have my works published by multiple companies (or not at all)!

In an increasingly digital world, what do you think sets independent publishers like Stone Ring Press apart, and how do you navigate the challenges of the publishing industry?

Our “increasingly digital world” certainly affects many industries, including publishing.  While I offer e-versions of my novels and have had successful sales there, in-person events allow Stone Ring to really shine: personal contact matters, and the hope is to expand enough to visit larger events, perhaps even the key international ones someday.  Yet challenges remain and continue to grow, especially with social media platforms.  It’s tough to keep up with the likes of online posts, events, blogs, ads… even deciding which sites to use!  The idea remains to “get the word out,” and all publishers – tiny, huge – have to balance the options to create publicity and make sales.

Collaboration seems to be a key aspect of Stone Ring Press, as evident from your partnerships with various authors and artists. How do you foster these collaborative relationships, and what benefits do they bring to the publishing process?

The answer to question 2, above, explains a bit of this, and my collaborations are mostly temporary though successful.  I’ve hired help from individuals I’ve known for years, and sought aid online.  I’ve contacted professional editors, web site designers, indie publishing organizations, publicists, whomever I needed at the time.  Collaboration with them has remained limited to the immediate task, though the mutual goodwill means that I’m already looking forward to hiring them again.  Politely approach those whose talents you might require, and ask those you know – who may have specific talents – for any interest in assisting.  There’s a curious aspect of publishing: some may become eager to get on board with the project once they learn books are involved.  Perhaps it’s the sense of being part of something tangible, that might reach strangers and have some as yet unknown influence on how they think and feel.

Your commitment to sustainability is evident through your use of eco-friendly materials and practices. Could you elaborate on how sustainability influences your publishing decisions and why it’s important to you?

While “indie publishing” has become a wider option – especially with POD (print-on-demand) technology, e-publishing, and creating an online presence – printing of course uses paper, raising questions about how and where it’s sourced.  Advantages of POD include minimizing costs for publishers – especially small ones like Stone Ring Press – by not having copies printed in advance of sales (which also means that excess copies don’t have to be “pulped” if they can’t find homes), plus there’s no need storing those copies somewhere, typically a warehouse with a big electric bill.  I also don’t use older methods of paper-wasting publicity – flyers, coupons, direct mailings – to build the brand.

As both editor and publisher, what advice do you have for aspiring authors looking to get their work published, especially those interested in the niche genres that Stone Ring Press champions?

Finish a working draft of the manuscript first, something solid upon which to build.  After that, you have options.  You could try “traditional” publishers via the annually-updated books listing editors, agents, and publishing companies.  I had a traditional publisher for my first novel.  A small company, management later decided they wanted to pursue other interests and dissolved it, so I resumed the practice of submitting cover letters (“queries”) until deciding to fly solo.  Publishers take months (truly!) to respond, and answers are usually negative; if they do not accept “simultaneous submissions,” then you might notice years passing trying to get noticed by strangers who work their tedious way through “slush piles” (manuscripts that gather around their office shelves and floors).  I also once had a literary agent, and while I can’t speak to the old adage about finding an agent being more challenging than finding an editor, I can say that after two years I sacked that agent, again because the whole process was aging me.  If you’re considering solo work, look for groups that support indie writers and publishers.  I’m a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors, for example.  And remember: if you believe in your work, don’t quit, and get some (ideally professional) feedback; also, don’t give in to the temptation to use “vanity” presses: the ones who’ll promise to publish you and offer plenty of returns after initial investments, which might prove quite large.

I mentioned the late Joseph Campbell, who told us to follow our bliss.  That’s simple, though not often easy.  Bliss may manifest in myriad ways, but within writing – fiction, non-fiction – write what you know and what you care about.  If it’s non-fiction, then show the world your expertise and experience, and inspire others.  If it’s fiction, then show the world your story and why it’s distinctive, and inspire others.  Just inspire yourself first.

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