NORTHPORT — Call it COVID-inspired serendipity. The birth of a new Northport publishing company occurred when three creative women were brought together in the height of the pandemic.

Amy Tingle and her wife, Maya Stein, were living in Northport in the spring of 2021 and attempting to self-publish a book authored by Maya. Their friend, Liz Kalloch, joined them in Northport in order to be with someone during the pandemic, and as an escape from the wildfires near Kalloch’s California home.

“We were working on Maya’s book,” Tingle said. “We went to look for an ISBN number and thought, how do we start our own publishing company?”

The three women did the research and seized the moment.

“We started at our kitchen table,” Tingle said. “We figured it out, made plans, and started a press (Toad Hall Editions).”

Tingle serves as Toad Hall’s creative director, Kalloch as the art director with Stein acting as the editorial director. All have backgrounds in the creative process.

Tingle describes herself as an “artist, maker, craftivist.” She started her career in publishing and has also been an editor. Tingle wears another hat as program director at Waterfall Arts in Belfast. Stein is a writer, poet, writing teacher and editor, and Kalloch is a book designer.

“We realized we had all the tools,” Tingle said. “We also have this amazing writing community.”

Toad Hall Editions is a new Northport publishing company. Photo courtesy of Toad Hall Editions

Toad Hall Editions publishes the work of women writers and artists, LGBTQIA+, minority, or otherwise still-of-often unheard voices. They dipped their publishing toes in the water last year, publishing a book by Stein called The Poser and another book of poems.

“We’re looking to publish a small number of books each year,” Tingle said. Toad Hall also publishes a bi-annual literary journal for adults named Kerning, and an annual journal for young writers named Buttered Toast.

“With the exception of Buttered Toast, we only accept submissions from women.” Tingle said. “We feel that women and gender diverse writing has been on the margins for too long.”

Toad Hall also offers writers assistance in getting their work self-published. Tingle said the new publishing company has experienced some growing pains over the last year.

“We didn’t expect the number of queries we received. Many came from writers we knew, but some came out of the blue. We’re also not working through mainstream distributors because they take a huge cut off the top.  So that makes it more difficult, but it increases our profit and the writers’ profits. It’s harder than we thought it would be.”

Toad Hall Editions has recently published the works of two local authors, one of whom will be making a multi-media presentation on her book at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast this month.

Toad Hall Editions released “Consecration Pond,” a title by Rockport author Laura Bonazzoli on Aug. 19.

Sailing at the Edge of Disaster:  A Memoir of a Young Woman’s Daring Year,” written by Belfast author Elizabeth Garber. The book is due for release on Sept. 13, and Garber will present her work at the Colonial Theatre at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. It will be the last live performance at the theater, which is scheduled to close on Sept. 19.

Belfast writer Elizabeth Garber will present her book at the Colonial Theatre on Sept. 18 Photo courtesy of Toad Hall Editions

Toad Hall Editions will post a call for submissions for Kerning and Buttered Toast sometime next month and is planning to publish another novel later this fall. At the same time their distribution chain is slowly growing, as is Toad Hall Editions.

“The point is to get the book into the readers’ hands,” Tingle said. “We’re in several local bookstores around here and we’re getting in at other places. It’s exciting.”