August 5, Larkspur, CA. Jack Beritzhoff (93) didn't start writing until he was ninety. Today, a packed house at Folio 949 listened to him read from his newly-published memoir, Sail Away: Journeys of a Merchant Seaman and then lined up to have the "young. aspiring author" (as he described himself) read from his book of memories about the time that he served as a member of the US Merchant Marine from early in World War II through the Korean War.
Sail Away follows Beritzhoff from port to port, around the globe to five continents. "Jack's a born storyteller," said David Kudler, publisher of Stillpoint Digital Press. "It was fun to work with him. He brings a world at war to life through a series of charming vignettes rather than sweeping tales of battle or flying shrapnel. Sail Away is a view of epic events seen through a very human-sized, very bright window, offering glimpses of humor, humanity, and grace at the darkest of times."
Over a hundred people—family, friends, and supporter's of the book's recent Kickstarter campaign—crowded in to Folio to listen to Beritzhoff read, and to pick up an autographed copy of the book. "It was a wonderful event," said David Kudler, publisher of Stillpoint Digital Press. "Getting to see four generations share in the release of a book like this, it makes working with Jack to get his story told all the more special. And Alex (Jack's daughter, and owner of Folio) did a wonderful job setting up the event."
Beritzhoff seemed to to take his newfound celebrity in stride. "It's nice, just once, pretending to be Noël Coward."
Sail Away is being officially released on August 6, 2012. It is available in print and ebook editions through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Apple's iBookstore® and other on-line and local bookstores.
Stillpoint Digital Press (stillpointdigital.com) was launched in January, 2012 in Mill Valley, California as a publisher of fine digital and print books, from fiction to literary nonfiction, from memoir to poetry. It aims to provide digital publishing with a human face, offering a full range of editorial services, from editing, layout and ebook conversion to distribution and marketing.
According to Kudler, "Stillpoint/Memory (the imprint that published Sail Away) is one of our most exciting projects: a line of memoirs sharing the stories of people who may not be household names, but whose experiences will take your breath away. If, as Socrates said, 'the unexamined life is not worth living,' these are tales of lives that have not only be well worth the living, but well worth examining as well."