The Spirit of Poe a major bust

[Just a quick note here before you read this article. Since writing this blog post I have received a contributor copy of “The Spirit of Poe” from Jeremiah Wright. However, I still have to point out that I received the copy in mid-March 2013 and only after relentlessly sending emails, %%% % % % requesting a copy. Considering that the book was supposed to be published in October 2011, %%% % % % and was actually published in July 2012, this is a substantial delay, which was bridged over by deception and complete radio silence in-between.]

As many of you may recall, in the past year I have occasionally talked about The Spirit of Poe, an anthology that was designed to support the Poe House in Baltimore after it lost its city-sponsored funding. A company by the name of Literary Landmark Press put out a call to writers at the time, asking for submissions for the book and I was one of those who answered the call.

Sadly, things went downhill from there. At first it seemed minor. Delays prevented the book from making its 2011 Halloween publishing date. Okay, fair enough, I thought the timeline had been a tad unrealistic to begin with. but then the months started to drag on. Not a word from the publisher. Eventually I sent a message to Jeremiah “Jerry” Wright, the editor of the book who also goes by the name WJ Rosser, and asked for clarification. He explained to me that various circumstances held back the introduction of the book, which he felt was crucial to its credibility.
Very well then. More months passed and not a word form the publisher. Eventually the authors got upset as a collective and we started to email each other, trying to get to the bottom of this. At first Rosser tried to avoid the conversation by ignoring emails and questions. After some time he had to budge, though and offered more excuses, but promising the book would be available shortly, currently being typeset.
Sadly for him, someone actually checked with the company Rosser used to lay out the book and found out that they did not even have materials to work on the project. Again, we queried Rosser for comment. Reluctantly he responded, telling everyone that the company was wrong and that he had in fact delivered all the materials. And so it went, month by month.

Rosser never made any attempt to inform his contributors or the public about the status or progress of the book and one day, about a month ago or so, it popped up on Amazon. For the Kindle first, and then as a print edition.

Naturally, we were all very excited, especially when for the first time in a year, Rosser volunteered an email in which he stated that contributor copies had been sent out and should be with everyone within a few days. Well, weeks passed and nothing arrived. Not on my doorstep, and not on anyone else’s, it seems.
And that was when Jerry Rosser practically vanished…

At this point I sent five emails to him, asking for clarification what happened to the contributor copies. Not one of them he responded to. Other authors sent emails to him, asking for information and their contractually promised payment. Not a peep. Rosser all but ignored the questions. but there’s more. When people started to post questions on his website. He deleted them, and when people posted question on the book’s Facebook page, he also removed them as quickly as a button drop. When one author posted a negative review on Amazon’s website, pointing out the publisher’s fraudulent behavior, it, too, was removed within a few days—undoubtedly upon request by the Rosser, the publisher.

So, quite evidently, he is out there and he is monitoring what is going on, and deliberately refuses to talk, deliberately cheating the contributors out of their money and the obligatory contributor copies of the book.

It is not usually my style to openly comment on deals going sour and relationships going bad, but this time I felt compelled to speak up because I feel that not only I have been jilted, but many of you might be at risk of being cheated as well. Whenever someone purchases a copy of “The Spirit of Poe,” they expect the majority of the revenues to go to the Poe House for a charitable cause. Sadly, at this time, I have reason to believe that that is not happening.

Since Literary Landmark Press has cheated every single writer in the anthology out of their payment, and since the company has never provided any actual copies of the book to its contributors, there is little that would convince me to assume that the publisher is honest enough to actually make true on their promise to donate proceeds to the Poe House.

I wanted to bring this issue to your attention so that you may decide for yourself, in case you consider buying a copy. Meanwhile I will try to find a different outlet for the short story The Blackwood Murders that I contributed to the book, so that people interested in reading it will not have to actually support a crook.


29 Replies to “The Spirit of Poe a major bust”

  1. Barbara McMikle

    Great letter, Guido. Details are complete and persuasive that we are dealing with a con man. One correction –I heard from one contributor who received the single copy and I heard from Angelic Knight Press assuring me that they had done cover and editing work for Rosser, he had paid, and that he had told them ALL copies have been sent out to contributors. I have been in contact with breach of contract attorneys. As we have no address on Jerry – Orange County only –they would have to search him down which would be costly. $750 was best estimate. I have now ordered the print books from Amazon. Hope they’re in stock. Any suggestions as to what we can do to put Landmark Literary permanently out of business?

  2. Rolli

    I backed out of this project early on, thank god, and simultaneously warned other contributors, many of whom defended “Jerry” as an “honorable” “man.” There aren’t too many people defending him now. WHAT A CROOK.

  3. Jaq

    This sounds very similar to the saga of UK Ghostwriter Publications Neil Jackson.
    I’ve given up on anthology small press publishers. There’s no money in it for the author and the hassles aren’t worth my time.

  4. Betty

    What a con…the Poe House website states it closed on September 28, 2012,
    perhaps to be reopened. Wonder where the proceeds of the book are going
    now? I emailed Rosser so many times, finally received a
    “contributor’s copy.”

  5. Betty

    Just received an email directly from the Poe House that said they never made
    a deal with the Spirit of Poe or Rosser. They have never even seen the book!
    Right now there is no vehicle to accept donations as they go through a transition period.

  6. Angelo

    Apparantly Walter Rosser, aka Jerry, Jeremiah, Jerry Wright, and God only knows what else, is nothing more than a petty thief. I have over 20 years of law enforcement experience and lots of contacts in the IRS as well as with other Law Enforcement agencies in many states, including California where Walter purports to live, and San Angelo, Texas, where he also may live.

    I will begin using my friends to find this dirt bag. He has stolen copyrighted material, a serious crime. I’m looking forward to meeting him face to face.

  7. Mayvis

    Finally sat down to look into why I’d never received my contributor’s copy or the five copies of Spirit of Poe that I purchased. Looks like I’ve been scammed! I’ve sent emails to Jerry, Kathleen, and even Paypal. I’m doubting I will receive a satisfactory reply from any of them…

  8. Stacey Turner

    I’m very distressed reading this blog. As an owner and the managing editor of Angelic Knight Press, I extend my sincerest apologies to you all. I did know that you were going through some issues with Literary Landmark, as many of you emailed me. I wish we had been able to help you more.

    We did do the cover & print formatting of the book, but that was the extent of our involvement. And we did that as soon as we had all of the materials. We did not do the final uploading until we had received the agreed upon payment. I hated to delay the book, but as I had already sent my formatters their payment, I found it necessary. After the upload, our involvement was at an end.

    I was also assured that you had been sent contributor’s copies. I received 5 copies of the book as part of our fee for formatting. One, I sent to Blaze McRob, who is also a part of AKP, as his contributor’s copy. I’m very sorry that you have all had such a bad experience. I hope that you hold no ill will torwards our press. I assure you, if there was anything I could do to help you, I would.

    Do not let this color your attitude torwards small presses. We always treat our authors fairly and have never had a complaint.

    Again, my sincerest sympathies.

    Stacey Turner

  9. Mark Redfield

    Dear Friends,

    I’d like to make something very clear, as I have received another email today…

    NEVER has the The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore endorsed or promoted “The Spirit of Poe Anthology”. Not under it’s previous stewardship under the City of Baltimore (before its closing to the public on September 28th, 2012), nor by me, nor the new organization set to re-open The Poe House in late 2013.

    When the City of Baltimore removed the funding in 2010, and the then curator Jeff Jerome and I embarked on a number of events to continue the money flowing in to keep the doors open, MANY people stepped forward, suggesting ways and taking their own initiative to help raise funds. Some followed through, and some folks did projects or events where some money was sent to the City. But we were not then ever in a position to endorse or promote any of these activities. We are grateful to all who helped.

    This “Spirit of Poe” project was not anything we ever endorsed.

    This all sounds very sad, and I hope that there is an amicable resolution for all; the authors and the customers who have ordered copies.

    Meanwhile, thank you for your support of the Poe House in Baltimore through-out the decades, and your love of Poe! The Poe House WILL re-open to the public in late 2013.

    Happy New Year.

    Mark Redfield
    Vice President
    Poe Baltimore, Inc.

  10. Len Hazell

    I too contributed to the Spirit of Poe anthology.
    Just to be clear, I DID receive my contributors copy and I DID receive the three contributors copies I purchased from Literary Landmark’s web page
    Jerry answered everyone of my e mails promptly and politely, and though there was some delay in publication I and (I assume) every other contributor were kept well informed both by E mail and a face book page set up for the book
    I was one of the few authors living and working in the UK and if I was kept informed I am sure the US author’s were too.
    As far I am concerned I have been treated fairly and well, I do not know if Jerry and Mr Rosser are the same person and frankly I don’t care, I write none fiction under another name as I am sure many do.
    I hope this is of some help to those reading this blog.

    • Guido

      Well, to this day I still have not received my contributor copy and so far you the only person I’ve heard of who seems to have gotten theirs.

  11. Rose

    Walter Jeremiah (“Jerry”) Wright is nothing but a lying, thieving, con artist. He steals people’s ART.

    I have been working for Jerry for almost a year and I have LOTS OF INCRIMINATING INFORMATION.

    Do not trust this scum bag. He is the lowest of the low.

    IF ANYONE WANTS TO HELP ME IN MY CAUSE TO TAKE DOWN WALTER JEREMIAH WRIGHT, please contact me. As authors, there have been contracts signed, and people ARE due money. This man should be taken responsible for his actions. He tells people what they want to hear, he acts like a righteous, Godly man but it’s all bull.

    Aside from Literary Landmark Press, Jerry owns and runs Mmmmore Productions. If you are a Mmmmore author who is not receiving royalty money, contact me. Let’s make this guy PAY.

    littlehoneyone at gmail dot com

  12. Steve Smith

    I’m the guy that did the graphics for the cover of “The Spirit of Poe” (I have the photoshop files to prove it) …and I never received a copy of the book. even tho Jerry keep saying that he would get one to me.
    Also because of Jerry, I’ve been scammed out of $500+. He sold me 20 stories from a publisher that was “going out of businesses” KMB Publishing (in the UK) that was in February (2013)….they are still in businesses. So I asked for a refund, that was in April …still have not heard from him.
    ….By the way I have is current address in San Angelo, Texas

  13. Andrea Des Roshers

    Wow, this guy really has some bad press! He has scammed me out of almost $2k, promising daily to pay me and failing to do so.

    I have his full address in Texas, along with a bunch of criminal record history for non payments and bounced checks.

    He’s still promising every day to pay me, making up silly excuses that I’m supposed to believe. Is there anything we can do?

  14. Crooked Author

    Hey everyone,

    I just wanted to tell you that I’ve started a blog to help those who have been screwed over by Jerry / JW Rosser. I’m trying to collate all of the information we can about him and for those who have been hurt and see what recourse would be available. I’m not promising the world, but I just wanted someone everyone could share and shine some light on the situation. You can find me at crookedauthor dot blogspot dot com.

  15. Disillusioned

    I’m in the same boat as many of you.

    Crooked Author – do you have an email address where I can send some information through to you? I have an idea for a blog post, and I don’t mind compiling it together for you.

    Also – for anyone who wants to know, I have my suspicions about Kathleen Wright.

    When I was working for Jerry he didn’t pay me for an entire two months (I’ll go into the full story later, maybe on Crooked Author’s Blog) and kept ignoring my emails. So, I emailed Kathy, who fed me a ton of excuses about why Jerry couldn’t respond. I went along with it, obviously, but something just didn’t feel right.

    My suspicions grew when ‘Kathy’ signed off on an email: “Regards, Jerry”

    What a schoolboy error! If you’re going to pretend to be somebody else, Jerry, then at least have the decency to try and be convincing!

    This is the type of man we are dealing with here – a complete liar. he needs to be stopped, and he needs to be exposed.

  16. Crooked Author

    Definitely Disillusioned, and I’ve seen a few instances myself of Jerry pretending to be different people not very well. You can reach me at Crooked Author at G mail (no spaces of course).

  17. Pam

    I too was a contributor. I didn’t receive a contributor’s copy, although unlike many of you I will admit that I didn’t follow up with emails to Jerry. I had a ton of work and personal projects going on at the time, saw the commentary on the Amazon site and (I think) Facebook, and just sort of got discouraged and blew it off. I live in Baltimore and the Poe House closing really saddened me, so in my contract I actually chose of the option of donating my payment to the cause. So I never expected to see it. But what rankles me is I remember Jerry encouraging all of us in emails to promote the book. As a Baltimore resident I was in the process of compiling a list many local bookstores (including the campus bookstore of the college where I work, which I did in fact contact). Thankfully I saw the controversy online before I made any other contacts. But as a writer working on her first book, it upsets and angers me so much that the lies brought me close to compromising my own credibility as an author in the area. I’m definitely interested in being kept in the loop on what if anything comes of this!

  18. Oldtricks

    Just came across this – it all sounds suspiciously like Neil Jackson or Neil M Jackson (his first attempt at changing his name). He has done this sort of thing his ENTIRE LIFE. Since London and the ‘Legion movie’ to Birmingham UK and Ascension Films, to Nanaimo Film School in Canada to Ghostwriter Publications. Just Google him – I would bet my house on this guy being Neil. He will never learn. Shame really. He would’ve made a great used car salesman! By the way, ‘Len Hazel’ (comment above) is also him. I’d recognise his style anywhere. Hope this helps!

  19. Chris Hood

    Well…. I just found this as I’m attempting to track him down as well. He scammed me, and I have filed a lawsuit against him, but serving him papers is a challenge. I have him in multiple locations, and addresses in San Angelo, TX as well as a PO Box in Irvine. I have a ton of information on him, but no clue how to serve him, he is just not at any of the addresses.

    If you have any information to help me get him served properly, please email me. cthood at gmail dot com

    In addition, if you are in the Orange County, CA area, Fullerton, you could show up to the court as a witness.

  20. Justin

    I’m in the process of hunting him down as well Chris. Shoot me an email justin at justinjnavin dot com

    Right now its not even about the money for me, It’s about the principle. He took my money and vanished. I take it personal and I am going to destroy him and his entire family.. Please contact me. I’m gonna paralyze the son of a bitch.

  21. Justin

    If anyone knows where I can find him, please contact me.

    He has taken me for quite a bit of money over the last 1-2 months. You can tell he’s been doing this for years. Typical bait and switch.

    I am not a contributor, but a customer and when someone flat out lies day after day after day and then takes my money and vanishes, it’s no different than robbing me and it’s as personal as it gets. I want to find him and confront him. I need to know where I can find him in person. justin at justinjnavin dot com

  22. Bill Butler

    I tracked him down through his wife. Eventually, I received the copies that I paid for. It was not an easy process. I don’t understand why some smart people ruin their reputations this way. The anthology does look good.

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