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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stories That Strike Home

The first thing I noticed was the yellow caution tape.  Though it is great at getting attention, it did make me wonder what had happened; all the parking places in front of the building were blocked off.  People strolled down the street, some chatting and some not.  Everyone was friendly and seemed unconcerned.  Stepping onto the sidewalk, I checked around.

A man and his daughter appeared from nowhere.  She asked, "Are you here for the 'Pitch The Publisher' event?"

I smiled, "Yes, I'm James Peercy."

"Go right up."  With a smile, she extended an envelope.  "It's through that door and up some long stairs."

They were right; the stairs were quite impressive.  They extended at an angle all the way up to the second floor, were made of wood, and overlaid in carpet.  It had a nice cozy feel.  The length of the walk gave me just enough time to wonder what I would see at the top.

As I reached the top, a door to my right was open, but when I stepped in the whole scene changed.

There was the smell of sulfur.  To the left side of the spacious room was a huge black dragon.  The dragon was asleep of course, though wisps of smoke escaped it nostrils.  There was a huge chain around its neck and a banner to one side.  The banner said 'Blackwyrm Fiction'.

I hesitated before stepping further in and asked, "I'm looking for the ‘Pitch The Publisher event’?"

A man named Dave smiled.  "Don't mind him," he dismissed the dragon with a wave.  "We'll talk to you in a moment.  Besides, he's sleeping right now."  He pointed toward the other end of the room.  "You need to talk with her."

As I turned to look, in the windows behind the woman, there were planets rotating around a central sun.  I would have sworn it was an illusion until a comet whizzed by and several specks of dust pinged against the window.  Lynn with Otherworld Publications stepped forward smiling, "You must be James from Texas?"

Refusing to be dismayed, I answered, "Yes."

"Please come this way.  Your first publisher is waiting."

She directed me to a room toward her right.  As I entered the room, multiple hissings sounded at once, and I heard a man say, "Down boy, back to your corner unless I call."  The floor shook as the five headed hydra turned around and went back to wait in the corner.  Frank turned to me, his banner showed 'Hydra Publications' though dwarfed by his pet's size.

"Sorry about that," he smiled.  "It's his first time to come and he's very interested in meeting the authors."  He extended his hand, "I'm Frank Hall."

We shook.

"Would you please be seated?"

I swallowed, doing exactly what he said.  Though that hydra may have been his pet, its eyes never left me.

He looked up, not missing my nervousness, "Pay no attention to him.  He's just trying to get to know you."  He  then looked down at his paper work.  "Which was your story again?"

"Without A Conscious.  It’s about a college kid who discovers his grandmother has been murdered over a best kept secret orchestrated back in 1952."

"That's right," he thought back shuffling through the papers on his desk, found what he wanted, and slipped it from the pile.  "It's a mystery.  When I started reading it, it pulled me along."

The words made me forget about the hydra.  "Thank you, that is really nice to hear."

He sat back and smiled.  "Writing a good piece of fiction is only a part of the process.  I see you own your own business, so you must understand what it takes to self promote.  That's important.  The best salesperson for any piece of literature is the author themselves.  We do help, but it takes your cooperation."

After all the research I had conducted over book publishing, that was good to hear.  Yes, an author would love nothing more than to just write and let others advertise, but the realities of today's market say otherwise.  "I understand."

We talked on for a while until all at once one of the heads on the hydra snorted.  "That's your queue," Frank smiled.  "It was a pleasure to meet you.  Do send me your book."

"Thank you," standing up, I shook his hand.  "I was good to meet you too."

Another head of the hydra snorted again.  "Alright, alright, he's going."  Frank turned back and grinned.  "He's just concerned you'll miss your next pitch."

Again I thanked him, gave a slight bow to the hydra which nodded all five heads in return, and turned toward Otherworld.

The planets were still there staring through the windows.  After hearing the comet dust hit, I had a good idea how real it was.  You couldn’t miss the ‘Otherworld Publications’ printed above the view.

Lynn followed my gaze and laughed, "If it's a little too disconcerting, I can always close the viewport.  She reached for a control pad.

I raised my hand, "No, no, I love the scene."

She beamed a smile, "Really?  That's good to hear.  So many authors are thrown by the reality of it all.  They think it's all just fiction."  She waved toward the chair and I took a seat.  "Now”, she spoke seating herself, “your story was called 'The Wall Outside'?"

"Yes.  A fantasy about a husband whose wife is stolen by a magical world, and he’ll do anything to get her back."

She nodded.  "Going through the first chapter, it definitely needs some editing.” she paused catching my expression, “but please understand all writing must be edited.  Odds are the author is too close to the material to get it correct all by themselves.”

I nodded.

“For instance, there’s a place here where you say something twice,” she looked down the page.  “Oh, I can’t find it for the moment.  Instead, why don’t you tell me about your story?”

I remembered the submittal procedure.  It was one chapter, a synopsis, and a bio.  “It is rather hard to get the gist of the story with only one chapter.”

“Exactly so,” she turned to face me directly, “tell me the story.”

A star brightened in the window behind her, shrunk down to nothing, and burst into a rainbow of light.  Did I just see a star go supernova?

“I, uh,” swallowing again I shut out the sight and began, “Here’s what I was thinking about for the back cover: What starts as vacation turns into a mess.  For Jonna there’s more at stake than meets the eyes.  Through pouring rain, misdirection and a curious mind, Jonna crosses the barrier between our world and magic.”

Lynn raised a hand.  “No, no.  I’ve read the synopsis.  I want you to tell me the story from the beginning as if I was reading for myself.”

Wow, how do you do such a thing is so short a time when you only have thirty minutes with each publisher?  I started, telling it as quickly as I could, while completely conscious of the clock.  Watching her face, I wasn’t sure if I should continue.  After a few minutes I asked, “Should I go on?”

“Yes, please continue.”

So I went on, talking about how the husband, Jonna, was called by the elves to help save them, and how he refused because he didn’t want to do something that would endanger his wife.  How he returns back to the cabin only to find an imposter had replaced his wife, and I described the frantic search to find her as he leaps into a world of magic.

After about the first two and half chapters, I knew the time had to be getting close.  I tried to summarize thinking there just wasn’t enough time.   She looked disappointed that I had stopped.  It threw me.

“Today,” she stated, “we are not giving out contracts.  This event was about authors getting feedback on their story, but I will tell you, I didn’t want you to stop.”

Wow, that was incredible.  “Thank you, I appreciate your feedback.”

“Not at all, and now I think your next publisher would like to see you.”

Rising from my chair, I turned to face Blackwyrm.  Dave smiled as I approached, and the dragon stirred, opening one eye.  I didn’t like that look.

“Please, be seated.”

Though I knew it wouldn’t make any difference should the dragon come toward me, I made sure he was between me and the dragon.  He looked around his desk with a frown.  “I don’t seem to have your chapter.”

“That’s my fault,” I apologized.  “I was trying to get ‘Ivan’ ready for you, but the book was written about ten years ago, and I was trying to modernize it.”

“Modernize it?” he shook his head.  “The market is big on older technology, not newer.  As a matter of fact, you might check out this one.”  He held up a book.  “It’s a mystery about a guy who has to go to the land of OZ to solve a murder.  The computers they have run on wooden blocks, similar to punch cards.  Tell me about yours.”

As I began to speak, he raised his hand, reached over and pressed a button.  A holographic clock appeared and he checked the time.  “Almost time to feed the dragon,” he smiled.  “Please continue.”

“It’s a,” both dragon eyes were open now, staring in my direction.  “It’s called ‘Ivan’.  He’s a UCT, Universal Computer Technician, who travels the galaxy fixing different odd and unusual systems.  He,” the dragon snorted and I swallowed, “he has an emotional AI called Suzie that is very jealous of anyone else who travels with them.  Being in the wrong place at the right time, he gets tricked into fighting a war while helping a woman warn her family.”

I went on for a while, when suddenly the holographic clock popped up.

“It’s almost time,” Dave smiled.

The dragon knew it too as it shifted around.

Dave paused thinking, “Send me the story, but without the modernization.”

“Thank you.”

“And now it’s time for the dragon to eat.”   Rising from his chair, he went to the dragon and stroked its chin.  It puffed out smoke with almost a purr.  He then shifted something out of site, pulled out an electrical plug, and connected it to the wall.  The Dragon hummed with delight.  It was mechanical.   Wow, I stood up and made my way to leave.

Lynn called, “You wife came by and said she would be looking around downtown.  She just wanted to let you know.”

Turning around, I saw all three: Dave by his dragon Blackwyrm Fiction, Lynn with Otherworld Publications showing a backdrop of planets, and Frank shooing his hydra back into the room as it narrowly missed his Hydra Publications banner.

“Thanks guys, I was pleasure to meet you all.”  Without another word, I headed down the stairs.

As I passed from the building, the outside temperature had dropped; I was so glad I had brought my jacket.  Looking up at the second floor, no one would think how big those offices really were, nor what was contained inside.  To everyone else, it was just an office building in downtown La Grange, Kentucky.  No wonder there was caution tape keeping the parking blocked off.

Author’s Note:
For those who might not have known, there was a Pitch The Publisher event held in LaGrange, Kentucky this past November 19th, 2011.  I did attend this and had the pleasure to meet Lynn with Otherworld, Frank with Hydra, and Dave with Blackwyrm.  I presented the fantasy book ‘The Wall Outside’, the mystery ‘Without A Conscious’, and the scifi book ‘Ivan’.  There were requests to send all three books in. Yaaa!

If you are interested in finding out more about these publishers, you can go to:

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Makes An Author?

What makes an author? It's not the words they pen, or now days type. It's not the language they use, or what we hear from others. It's not the media written or printed upon. An author is emotion.

As the content leaps off the page and tries to expand our minds, it stirs that spark of recognition. The author makes us feel something new and different. Or perhaps they stir us to remember something we have already known. It does not matter the genre: horror, fantasy, sci-fi, or reality. Nor does it not matter the destination. It is the story, the journey of emotion, which fills our minds and hearts. Have they taken us to a place outside ourselves? Have we seen through the author's eyes?

This is the mission of an author: to make us feel. You are the surfer carried by the big wave with the taste of salt on your lips, and cool wetness of ocean spray striking your skin. You are the child staring wide-eyed at a world of blaring sounds, beautiful colors, and a dark secret you must find out. You are there.

Tell me a story that takes me away, and I will have journeyed to new realms of imagination.

So next time, when you read the cover of a book, listen to a song, or admire a piece of artwork, ask yourself, what emotion does this story give me? Am I willing to take that rollercoaster ride?

It could be the ride of your life.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

James W. Peercy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Waiting for Mary Elizabeth by Regina Puckett

Love is a promise kept...
Gregory is a world renown artist, drop-dead gorgeous and sincerely believes a promise should never be broken. At the age of twelve he promises to wait for four year old Mary Elizabeth to grow up. Every day of his life since then has revolved around keeping that promise. Now the time has finally arrived to discover if she still wants to marry him. br /> While Mary Elizabeth doesn't believe in fairy tales, she believes in Gregory. Her parents keep insisting he won't come for her, but she knows he will. At four years of age her young heart recognized the person it belonged to. But just when she believes her perfect future is coming true, a spiteful adversary causes her to doubt Gregory's sincerity. Now the future doesn't seem quite so bright or certain. Gregory and Mary Elizabeth will have to overcome many obstacles in order to stop waiting and to finally begin living and loving.
If you like romance, check this out. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Honest Truth About Publishers: What’s the benefit?

You've written that first story, novella, book, or poem. With a thrill of excitement, and maybe a little fear, you ask a loved one or best friend to read it.

You've put it all out there; it's all on the line. You wait impatiently as they read it. Seconds, minutes, hours, or even days can go by. In the end, you receive their answer...
Was it good? Did they like it? Was it spectacular or just okay? Did they find mistakes in your spelling or grammar? These are exactly the same answers we want from publishers, but if that's so, why don't they answer?

A publisher is an investor. Each publisher decides how much they are willing to invest in your product, i.e., story, novella, book, or poem. Some invest by giving you direction: you pay the cost. Others invest by paying to have it edited, and/or designing the book cover (yes, every story should be edited by a secondary party). Still, others invest by the markets they can place your material in.

With today's technology, the world of publishing is wide open. Publishing companies tend to be 'for profit' (just like you). That means whatever they decide to publish has to make money in order for them to stay in business.

They evaluate your loving creation in exactly those terms (Doesn’t sound very romantic, does it?). No matter how much they like it, if they can't make a profit, they either won't accept it or it won't go to print. Don't let anyone kid you, rejection hurts. But wouldn't it hurt more if they accepted it and it was never punished? Or what if it came out and no one ever bought it? That’s the first principle of most publishing firms: is it profitable?

However, when you look at a publisher, it's a two way street. You are creating a partnership with them for profit, and you should expect a profit from the sell. Just as you must answer their questions, they should be able to answer yours. Some of these questions should include:

What advertising are you, the author, responsible for?
What markets can the publisher reach? (magazines, blogs, internet, bookstores, radio, television, etc.)
What cost of advertising goes along with the book? (What do you pay for? What do they pay for?)
Can you use the artwork they design for printing your own marketing materials?
What advertising materials (bookmarks, posters, flyers, key chains, etc.) will be provided?
Do you, the author, purchase books for yourself and at what price?
Can you, the author, sell your own books apart from their marketing, and at what price?
Does the publisher have access to markets, a marketing list, etc., you do not? After all, you will be giving up certain rights along with a percentage of the sells for their help.

Additional questions to consider:
Do you have the money to get your story, novella, book, or poem edited? (More publishers are requiring you to have it proofed before they will accept it.)
Can you develop a professional cover? (Or have access to someone who can)
Do you know the marketing principles for selling your book?

In the world of publishing, even by the big publishers, bad books are published every day. The judge of a good book should be by content. However, it is the first glance at the publisher name, cover, and/or marketing techniques which tends to bring judgment.  Once an author makes a name, their name alone can be enough. That is exactly how the game is played: what about the production has the most drawing power.

There are three principles to all marketing:
Get Their Attention
Keep Their Attention
Drive Them To Action

Get Their Attention:
Advertising gets their attention. Whether it is by word of mouth, internet, magazines, radio, or television doesn’t matter.

Keep Their Attention:
Well written story backs, short descriptions, book covers, and videos help keep their attention.

Drive Them To Action:
This brings the sell. Did you place a link on that blog which takes them to Amazon or Barnes & Noble? Did that video give them the address of where to find the book? Did that radio program tell them where to purchase a copy? That is exactly what ‘drive them to action’ means.

Please remember, finding a publisher is finding a partner. Just like a marriage, there should be give and take for the benefit of both involved. If you don’t like the person and they don’t meet your expectations, don’t get married.

Thanks for listening,

James W Peercy has been an entrepreneur in business for over 16 years. He deals with advertising for business on a daily basis. This includes: graphic design, websites, computer and technical services. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.  He'll appreciate the feedback.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Once Upon A Fiefdom by James W Peercy

I'm not exactly sure how traditional this poem is for today.  Then again, if you were back in the 1200's this is exactly the type of song/poem you would encounter by traditional minstrel's traveling town to town and telling their stories.
It is written using today's language, but tells the tale of a world long ago, or perhaps tomorrow.  In today's world, you never know what's going to happen next.  :)   If you would like to leave some feedback, I'd appreciate it.  And now, Once Upon A Fiefdom:

The minstrel began,

“If you like ghost
Stories, then listen to this.
There was a goodly knight
Who made a list.

That list was long
And full of heads.
It showed those enemies
Who'd made their beds."

With one deft hand
The minstrel released
His cape,
While those in the audience
Stared and gaped.

Then from a sword
Sheath upon his back,
He pulled a great
Blade and held it aloft.

"And it's time for them to lie in it."

The crowd went to panic.
Wooden chairs, they slid back.
Benches turned over
As some thought escape.

Those of lesser blood
Cluttered the room,
Their escape stopping others
And sealing their doom.
But the noble,
He stood to face him.

Sir Norlin glared,
His gaunt thin form
Just a shadow
Of what he had been,
While around him gathered
A few of his men.

He had been caught,
And he knew it;
There was no place
To run.
The minstrel tossed down the list,
Then declared, "You’re undone."

Wide-eyed and inward
Sir Norlin spoke not,
Though the men at his side
Brought ready their arms.

The minstrel laughed,

"You fight for a liar:
A liar, a cheat, and a thief.
Will you go down in ashes
And claim his defeat?"

The voice of Sir Norlin
Finally spoke,
"I do not see this list of yours.
I will not. I won't."

"And will you not before the King?"
Were the words
The minstrel said.
"Or shall you too
Try to steal from him.
What slights from you
Can we yet dredge?"

The King stepped out on the balcony,
And his shadow passed Norlin's face.

Norlin’s guards,
Hearing all,
Their swords in disgrace.

"There is a pardon for you,"
The minstrel spoke forth.
"To all who drop arms, save Norlin himself."

They spoke in small whispers,
The men one by one,
Laid down their weapons,
And stepped away from.

Norlin just stood there,
A soul stripped, forlorn,
As the pronouncement
From above
Made its voice
So well known.

"You are banished from the Kingdom,"
The King, he declared.
"Should you ever come back,
A noose you will wear."

And so went the story,
No royal blood shed,
But should a minstrel
Ever come to your banquet,
Let the evil doer
Have dread.

 Created 09.07.11

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love: Ann and the Viking (Fate and Fangs) by Kristin Battestella

The Vampire Family has a long and torrid past, present, and future. In FATE and FANGS, the family's Occult scholar Professor A. James shares vampire vignettes of love, punishment, struggle, debauchery, lust, humanity, and resurrection. In this medieval tale, scorned vampire mistress Ann leaves vampire family patriarch Antonio behind, travels across Britain, and encounters a wayward Viking named Eric. Will Ann accept her true vampiric nature and turn her Nordic lover into a vampire?

Kristin is excellent in the storytelling of this book series.  Her second book in this series, Punishment: Lilith's Trials, the story continues with a masterful hand.

If you like vampire novels, check this out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cage Life by Karin Cox

What happens when life doesn't turn out as planned? This collection of two evocative stories (each with a surprising twist) explores the choices and compromises we make in life and in love, and how they can trap or liberate us, depending on our mindset. Each story comes with an unexpected twist.  Check it out amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ageless Love

Ageless Love

To close my eyes and see you there,
Oh reality please beware,
For thoughts and dreams
Are all of you;
My Love, the one forsworn;

The mind,
It reaches out across
The time
That seems to hold it back;

When shall that day arise?
The stars in patience wait,
But I, the mortal,
Feel the lack;

Be content my soul,
For indeed we have
Found each other;

The path of love did take on root
So many lives ago;
No mortal man can change the tide,
You are my breath, my life,
Without you I shall not be whole,

And indeed, would never want too...

by James W Peercy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The World Among Us: Princes Of Darkness by Beth Ann Masarik

Let us introduce an up and coming writer whose debut novel The World Among Us: Princess Of Darkness, has hit the digital shelves by storm.  It was released on August 19.2011 through Otherworld Publications, L.L.C.  You can 'like' its official facebook page here:

Like mythology, romance, gods and godesses?  Then this is the book for you!  You will never get bored as you are carried along on a rollercoaster ride from one event to another!

Check out this book at amazon, read the reviews, and pick up a copy.  You won't be sorry!

Friday, October 14, 2011

May The Hair On Your Toes Never Fall out!

The title of this post was borrowed from J.R.R.Tolkien.  If you haven't read the The Lord Of The Rings, you are surely missing a classic!

But that's not all this blog is about, nor may you like those types of stories.  It's about you, the author, the writer, the reader, and the peruser of all things written, created, studied or learned.  It's about the stories we all experience; the triumphs and catastrophes of our lives.

This site will be evolving, and I do invite you to join us on this journey.  You can visit our facebook page at!/pages/Stories-To-Tell/101498509956547  If you are interested, give it a 'like'.  We'd love to have you!

What is your Story To Tell?  Drop us a line and let us know!

Thanks so much!