Published in the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, California) on April 7, 1999

www.a mom and more

Webzine celebrates being a wife, parent and friend

BY LYNN CAREY
TIMES STAFF WRITER

WHAT A CONCEPT: Moms are people, too! It’s a philosophy many people have yet to come to terms with, but one who has is Nancy Price of Walnut Creek. She actually believes that moms have interests other than making lunches, playing Candyland and learning the best ways to take out spit-up stains.

All you have to do is click on to the webzine she co-founded — www.myria.com — to find out exactly what Price thinks is important to women who happen to be moms.

And she should know. She has two small daughters and a baby boy due in July. And she frankly admits that’s she not the type of mom who can easily spend all her time playing house on the floor with the kids.

“I think it’s really important for men and women — especially moms — to continue to do things that maintain their interests,” she says recently from her home. “I don’t think they should devote their entire lives to serve one person. I think it’s important mothers have their own lives.”

After becoming a mother five years ago, Price says she found a lot of her friends assumed she’d never go to a concert again, much less go to movies. “They thought my television viewing would be limited to soap operas and ‘Barney.'”

And a lot of people, she says, “may feel it’s not fair to their children if they have a life, too.”

Price worked full time for a band management company until the end of 1997 and since then has been home with her girls.

“I have to work, but I love to do things with the kids; we cook together, go to the park, take walks.”

She created her first pregnancy Web site, following it in November with Myria, a webzine that is a hybrid of a woman’s magazine and a parenting magazine.

The name is derived from “myriad,” which, Price says, “is unique. It sounds feminine. It’s the myriad things you are: mother, wife, friend.”

The concept, too, is unique, Price adds.

“I didn’t think there’d be a lot of competition. There are a lot of mother sites, but most are parenting-oriented.”

Click onto www.myria.com and you’ll find advice to take a hot bath, go on a little mini-retreat, catch your breath. The subjects include relationships and parenting, health/style/fitness, arts/travel/leisure, “Time for You,” and the world. There are about 400 pages on the site, and 70 bulletin boards. Myria grows by the week.

Price created her webzine with partner Betsy Gartrell-Judd, who lives in Ohio and whom Price has never met. The pair hooked up through an e-mail discussion group after their daughters were born the same day in March of 1996.

“I’d love to meet Betsy some day, but there are no plans to do it right now,” Price says.

However, the two are almost closer than regular business partners. By the time Price logs onto the computer by 8 a.m. every morning, Gartrell-Judd has had a three hour jump on her.

Price and her partner e-mail back and forth constantly, Price from her small book-lined office in the back of her house, where she sits at her computer — usually with a child on her lap and another coloring at a small table in front of her desk.

Price handles most of the technical aspects of the zine, including the page design, while Gartrell-Judd handles much of the marketing side. Both write for it and work with other contributors, most of whom get paid only in publicity. Writers include Jennifer Louden (“The Women’s Comfort Book”), Ann Douglas (“The Unofficial Guide to Childcare” and “Baby Science: How Babies Really Work”), Jonni McCoy (“Miserly Moms — Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy”) and “The Mommies” Caryl Kristensen and Marilyn Kentz, who wrote “The Mother Load.”

A 1987 Miramonte High School graduate, Price grew up in Orinda and basically taught herself how to use a computer (though she remembers first becoming acquainted in fourth grade at Glorietta Elementary School).

Price met her Welsh husband, Steve, when he was touring the clubs with his band (he’s a drummer) soon after she graduated, and moved to England with him for two years, where they married. He’s now a construction supervisor here.

When Price decided to work from home, her experience as a freelance journalist and photographer (mostly for music fan magazines) all came into play when she and Gartrell-Judd created Myria. And the feedback has been tremendous “and unexpected,” she says. The site gets about 30,000 readers monthly. And, the first month they were up, Yahoo choose Myria as a pick of the week.

The webzine is completely self-financed, though it earns some money through affiliate agreements and banner ads (such as e-Toys), and it gets a commission on sales. The women are not covering costs yet, but hope to be making money by their one-year anniversary.

“But we didn’t start it to make money,” Price says. “We wanted to do it to be creative and unique.”

Though Myria takes up much of her time, Price also launched another new Web site in March: www.epregnancy.com. A glance at the index shows articles ranging from intimacy during pregnancy, to an explanation of APGAR scores, to a “hip mama’s layette.”

“It’s familiar territory,” she says.