Blue Hand Books/Blue Indians Collective (2019)



Q&A with founder Trace L Hentz

also known as Trace DeMeyer and Laramie Harlow

Tell us about Blue Hand Books:

I started Blue Hand Books as a collective of Native American authors in 2011 to help my Narragansett friend John Christian Hopkins. He and I worked together at the Pequot Times in the early 2000s.  John had tried publishing himself, and it worked fine but he needed more readers (and book sales). My husband and I were having brunch with John and his wife Sararesa in Connecticut that summer and out of nowhere—BOOM—I offered to help him publish his book Twilight of the Gods.  He electronically sent me his files and somehow I formatted it and we published it!  So the collective as a company officially kicked off on 11-11-11 when his book was published.  It was more work than I imagined to layout a book but I've improved because of Pressbooks formatting software. As time went on, I needed to learn how to create e-books and tons of other stuff.

How did you come up with that name:
Blue Hand Books was a vision. I'd looked at Mayan prophecy since it was 2011—the end of their calendar was December 21 and found out that the Blue Hand is a Mayan symbol for the time we are now in.
In 2019, I reopened as  BLUE INDIANS COLLECTIVE and Blue Hand Books.

What is the mission:
Our motto "Where Native Authors Find New Readers" is our mission. "Decolonizing publishing" is our goal. With the Blue Indians name, we remember John Trudell.

How many books have you published as a collective:
Eleven TWENTY 23 so far.  Once we had John's Twilight of the Gods book done, I published the second edition of my memoir One Small Sacrifice in 2012.  (The first edition I'd used Lulu and hated the interior design—it looked awful to me. The Lulu people were not at all what I'd expected.) We use Pressbooks software now for layout of both the e-book and paperback and it's fantastic and much easier on me. (I still do the layout work and uploads.)

Back in 2009, self-publishing was not looked upon as "professional" so I knew John and I needed to have a publishing house and BE the publisher.  We're both journalists and former editors.  I decided to use Create Space/Amazon after I did some research.  
Jim Chavers
Right after that I worked with a new writer Jim Chavers, who is Bois Forte Ojibwe, and at that time he was in prison in Minnesota. We worked over the phone for months. I did his book Ojibwe Hunter (his true hunting stories) and published it on Create Space in 2012.
OH! I want to add that our mutual friend Barb Burke was our go-to-gal for graphic design. She designed the book covers and bookmarks. We could not have done it without her help and generosity. (She is a very talented writer herself! And now a busy new mom to Sam.)
Since then, WE (the collective Blue Hand Books) have published my first poetry chapbook SLEEPS WITH KNIVES, an anthology TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (Patricia Busbee and I are co-editors and adoptees), John's first poetry book RHYME OR REASON, Patricia Busbee's hybrid fiction REMEDIES, and John's 2nd edition of CARLOMAGNO: Adventures of the Pirate Prince of the Wampanoags.  That's not the exact order of books but close.
John's also remastered Twilight of the Gods as the new book LOKI: God of Mischief, with a brand new book cover so that is done and published.   
John re-published his book Carlomango with BHB and we added a subtitle: Adventures of the Pirate Prince of the Wampanoags

Dana Lone Hill
In early 2014, I finally finished the interior of Dana Lone Hill's POINTING WITH LIPS.  It's a fantastic debut fiction—her first book but definitely not her last. This Lakota writer has a huge gift and a huge following already!  We asked graphic designer Kim Pittman to do the cover and it's wonderful.  (I realized my WORD program sucked at book interiors, especially doing Dana's book, so we use Pressbooks. It costs money but it's worth it.)

out of print
In June 2014, Patricia Busbee and I finished and published CALLED HOME (Book 2) Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, a Native adoptee narrative anthology. It took forever since we had 50 writers, which includes me and Patricia, but it's a masterpiece and an important chapter of American Indian history. (See below about the second edition)

Then I worked with a Wampanoag writer Deborah Spears-Moorehead on her own story and tribal history. Finding Balance was our 15th book.



My chapbook BECOMING was our 12th title... I was excited to get this prose/short story collection out there since I started it last year. This book was retired in 2018.

John's western TWO GUNS is lucky number 13 and he has already sent me more books ready to edit and publish like WRITER ON THE STORM, John's humor writing, which is 14th. 


2017-2019:
We've published and republished 20 remarkable very very good book titles. 
We re-published "Called Home: The RoadMap" in 2016 with a new cover and more content.  
I published a new anthology "Stolen Generations: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop" in 2016, part of the Lost Children Book Series. 

We  published two titles by Barbara Robidoux (see her author page.)  


Charles Grolla has published his first book "Ojibwe Mocassin Game" (see his author page at BHB) 

Also in 2017, we published Patricia Busbee's poetry anthology "In The Veins." 


In 2017, we republished Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, Vol. 1 - we have edited it and has a new cover. 

Buffalo Dreams may come out eventually.

Does BLUE HAND BOOKS have a blog or website?
Both.  It's www.bluehandbooks.org and we have www.bluehandcollective.com.  2019: blueindiansbooks.com.

We publish occasionally since my cancer surgery in May 2018. I'm fine now.

BLOG?
This is a story in itself.  I had no idea how to create a website but I tried. First I used Webs to create bluehandbooks.com as a storefront but it was expensive and no sales at all!  So back to the drawing board I went and decided to buy the name Blue Hand Books with the .org and use wordpress as our landing page and website.  
Like I said, it's all been a learning curve for me to be a book publisher! Domain names, blogs, websites, book trailers, book tours, social media, all of this was new to me in 2009 when my memoir came out. I'd never guessed this was the direction my life would take—but I am sure glad it did!
I switched the website to Blogger in 2016.

In 2017, I decided to take a new direction as a writer. Blue Hand Books Collective will still be up as a website and a place to find our book titles on Amazon or IndieBound.  I'd retired in 2015 and Steve Dragswolf was manager for one year, but that didn't work out.
It has been a wonderful learning experience and still is!


In late 2018, I did my first creative non-fiction. 

In 2019, a second edition of Called Home: The RoadMap is being planned.

MORE BOOKS ARE COMING!

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