Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jack of all Scams

When you don’t check your dog’s email on a regular basis, things can surely pile up. (As many of you faithful and devoted blog-readers may remember, my elderly mixed retriever Jack received a contract from PublishAmerica—world’s biggest author-mill—to publish his poetry manuscript, Swimming Across the Stream of Consciousness. Jack even negotiated and was offered four author copies instead of the usual two that other authors normally get. However, he decided that PA wasn’t the one to give his manuscript the chance it deserves no matter how much it fit them like a glove, so he remains unpublished. Well, except for a few poems posted on Anyhow, I recently checked Jack’s email and found several new messages. Looks like the other major lit-scammer wants a piece of Jack's action:

Dear Jack,

My name is Dr. Alin Henric. I am a retired professor of literature who’s now living a dream come true in my new position. I am writing you today to invite you to explore a new world of poetry . I want to share some English poetry with you, from Chaucer to Yates, and some American classics too. We’ll read Cummings, Elliot, and Poe, just to name a few. Maybe you’ve already read some of their works, or maybe we’ll experience them for the first time together. We’ll read them all one book at a time.

Jack, there is an opening in the Publish Today Classic Poetry Editions Book Club, of which I recently became the managing editor. There are a few available openings, and I need you to fill one of them. As a member , you’ll enter a world of literature and culture that others only dream of. I am familiar with your writing and I know that as a writer, you’ll enjoy the books I’ve chosen for you. You can be assured that since I’ve assumed the responsibilities of managing this club, the quality of the publications has increased substantially. I personally have hand-chosen the materials and artwork that are used to produce these fine books. You have my promise that everyone involved in this process is very passionate about poetry.

As a member of our club, you’ll receive savings of over 60% off the publisher’s list price of all club books. Each hardbound volume measures 5 _" X 8 _" and is produced with the highest quality materials. The unique cover designs are original oil paintings commissioned specifically for our publications. There is no other collection as comprehensive as this one. It’s easy to see why we’ve become the most popular poetry book club in America.

But Jack, I must warn you that once you’ve joined our club, all your friends and family will look to you for your vast knowledge of poetry. It’s a burden our members have happily complained about in the past. I guarantee this is one club that will change your life.

Dr. Alin Henric

Managing Editor
Publish Today,
Classic Poetry Editions
P.S. You’ll also receive a special gift (valued at $79.00) along with your first book. A magnificent set of bookends that will look great on your mantle or bookcase. They’re classically designed with weighted material that’s laser engraved and will match any decor. They’re our gift to you even if you choose to cancel your membership.

Is this impressive or what!! I Googled “Dr. Alin Henric” because I just knew that a professor of literature like him must have left his mark on the literary world. There were probably thousands of links to him and his important work in the world of poetic literature.

But guess what I found? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Not even a low ranking on Rate-Your-Professors. Maybe Google was malfunctioning. I Googled without the “Dr.” Still nothing. I put a k on the end of his name. Nothing.

Gee, you don’t think would lie, do you? Do you think maybe there isn’t any such person?

Jack isn't buying the books, so the rest of his kennel mates won't be looking to him for his "vast knowledge of poetry." Jack also received another email from Only this one wasn’t about Poetry. It was about photography. Same company. Different scam:

Dear Jack,

The Editors at have found an exceptional offer that they are excited to bring to you. This is an opportunity that you should discover to be quite unique and very interesting, designed especially for the artist in you.

Jack, around the holidays many of us take pictures of our children and grandchildren that are cherished for a lifetime and are more precious with each passing season. Pictures are more than just a photograph. They are moments frozen in time, never to be replicated again--a timeless treasure, so to speak.

This year, one of our partners in creativity,, has developed a program that you may be interested in. The Editors wanted to be the first to tell you about this unique offer. Jack, in addition to placing your timeless treasure in your prized photo album, submit it to the International Open Amateur Children's Photography Contest. You never know, your photograph could be the next $10,000 winner! Wouldn't you just love to have that money for your child's future?

Simply submit your photograph here. A digital photo is preferred, but if you need to send your entry though the mail, please send it to the International Library of Photography, 3600 Crondall Lane, Suite 101-4651, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117. Your photo should be unmounted and 8 x 10 or smaller.

Jack, the Editors have worked hard on this opportunity for you and they look forward to your participation.


Howard Ely
Contest Director

Oh, dear. Jack, having been neutered rather early in life, has no children—amateur or otherwise—and certainly no grand-pups. He sort of adopted Maggie, but she isn’t easy to photograph. Most of her "moments frozen in time" are blurs. Looks like he’ll have to pass on this offer. Or maybe he could enter a photo of a blur. seems to be pursuing Jack with a certain dogged determination. Stay tuned to this blog for Jack’s other emails from them. They're "quite unique" and "very interesting."

Or something.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled too and the only link to the Dr. was your blog!

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Becky. Recently I received the same letter from Dr. Alin Henric as Jack had. It was a good thing I decided to check his references because I never saw even one site about him. This will definitely save people alot of time and money which would have definitely been wasted. Anyways- if I wanted to read those books there's the library. Take care-
Aziza N. Khan

8:48 AM  

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