The authors in the Placer Gold Writers group (PGW) are in the final editing process of their collection of short fictional stories. This wonderful collection of short stories will be published in most e-Book formats and in soft-cover print.
Our writing group members have written a collection of fifteen previously unpublished short fiction stories that will most assuredly take readers on a thrilling emotional roller coaster ride. This exciting anthology embraces a spectrum of genres: literary fiction, romantic suspense, fantasy, swashbuckling, action/adventure, memoir, dystopia, coming of age, science fiction, thriller, tragedy, LGBT, and even horror comedy.
The majority of PGW members are typical working individuals attempting to develop and hone their writing skills during their non-working hours. Creating these stories included typing away into the wee hours of the night and jotting down notes on napkins during lunch breaks. Even voice recorded memos in smart phone apps were used between the occasional supportive waves to their child at soccer practices. Regardless of the challenges, those haphazard ideas developed into some pretty amazing stories.
Like most families, ALL of our members are trying to stay ahead of the bills and normal living expenses. Most of our authors work full-time jobs while a few are retired on fixed incomes. Hence, any extracurricular "artistic" expenses fall somewhere beyond the day-to-day "necessary" expenditures.
In all honesty, we all know the "writing on the wall"... the vast majority of authors do not make a living writing books... and that reality is disheartening! However, it IS sweet to dream big and hope one of us might become the next Steven King, J.K. Rawlings, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, or Frank Herbert.
And why not dream big…
- “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times
- Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” was rejected 15 times
- “Carrie” by Stephen King was rejected 30 times
- “Dune” by Frank Herbert was rejected 23 times
- Agatha Christie had to wait four years before getting anything published
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was rejected 12 times, plus J.K. Rowling was told, “not to quit her day job".
Who’s to say? The opportunity of one of us to become a famous writer has to be far better odds than winning a Power Ball Lottery!
Our group meets once a month to share writing, publishing, and writing market information. During these meetings we encourage, support, and critique each other’s writing. One goal is to challenge ourselves to write short pieces in different genres, point of views, etc., that are outside our normal comfort zones. This book began as one of those writing challenges intended to develop members' writing skills and imagination.
One member shared at a meeting eighteen months ago that he inherited thousands of buttons that his mom had been collecting. To his and the group’s amazement, he found out there is a huge "other world" of button collectors with button conventions and button trade associations. Who knew? A bottle or two of wine later, the group decided to have each member write a short story that would include - in whatever quirky way - a specific plot point: a diminutive, seemingly innocuous... button!
Interestingly, when all the story drafts were shared, there were no similar storylines and the manuscripts ended up spanning a broad variety of genres. The best part? Most were so engaging that the group decided to self-publish the collection. "Through Button Eyes" became the writing group’s first collection of short fiction stories.
To do it right, PGW took it upon themselves to make sure this publication of short stories was honestly of good quality writing that would entice, engage, and entertain its readership. To accomplish this, the group devised a double-blind review process.
Authors had minimal knowledge of the reviewers, and the reviewers (all avid readers) were given no information about the authors.
The primary goal of Placer Gold Writers group’s double-blind review process was to receive honest individual story feedback and unbiased reader criticism. Only the strongest, entertaining, intriguing, and unique stories survived the process. All the PGW members knew the rejection risks and understood the primary goal; and some stories were cut. (FYI: no writers were harmed in the development of this book!) That GOAL was to ensure overall positive readership response and generate broad appeal for the book.
This was my first time reading short stories and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I tend to gravitate toward action packed books that are in the sci-fi or dystopian genres. What I loved about “Through Button Eyes, a Collection of Short Fiction” was that I had the opportunity to read genres I would not normally pick up. The stories are short, so if the genre was not what you typically read and you don't like it, no harm done. However, on the other hand, if you did like it, then you have broadened your horizons to enjoy new genres.
The various authors of “Through Button Eyes” are very talented. Their character development was amazing! I absolutely fell in love with some of the characters, which left me longing for more. There were also many stories with great twist endings that I didn't see coming. I love when I finish a story and sit there thinking, ‘Did that just happen?’ All the stories in this book are worth reading, but if you only read a few, my favorites were: “The Legend of Zacharias Bean”, “Lucky Button Betty”, “Life Long Companion” and “Infatuation” which surprised me as I generally don't like to read romance. ~ Sara MacArthur: I'm a thirty-something, female, married with children. Reading is my favorite hobby. I read about 3 books a month.
“Through Button Eyes, a Collection of Short Fiction” is a simple notion about a common item, stories that emphasize a specific plot point, a button. This collection of stories centering on that simple theme is in reality not that simple. These buttons are relics of future generations, buttons that represent lost loves, and buttons that mute the dead… the vast range of ideas and story lines makes this collection a great read.
The authors that penned these stories prove they are not only talented writers, but have imaginations that match their literary abilities. “Button Lip”, a story of a zombie who’s mouth is wired shut with buttons, catches a ride with some unsuspecting revelers to a country Halloween party. The fortuitous ride offers vengeance on the drug dealer who killed him. Another story, “Angel”, paints a dystopian landscape where a captive is forced to cut the buttons off the clothing of the dead in fluid, dance like rhythm while under constant watch by her captors. She dutifully surrounds herself with the detached buttons of fellow humans who have already met a fate that she knows awaits her once her usefulness ends. Then there is the story, “The Exchange”, where an Alzheimer patient un-expectantly blurts out to her granddaughter a foreboding story that involves an old blood-stained button hidden in a locket. The author beautifully crafted his character’s interactions and dialogue to allow the reader to realistically ride along on the emotional roller coaster.
These are just a few examples of the varied and absolutely wonderful short fiction that makes up this collection of button stories. Read one story at a time, or the collection at one sitting, either way the reading will not disappoint. Treat yourself and take whatever time you have or need to read this collection, you will surely find that you have found gold in the Sierra Gold Country Foothills. ~ Timothy W Robinson, 54 male, parent and reporter.
From a group of diverse authors comes this collection of 15 unique and colorful short stories called “Through Button Eyes, A Collection of Short Fiction”. Each story is a one of a kind, but they are all sewn together with a common theme. A single button weaves its way into tales of mystery, romance, adventure and science fiction. Readers will be transported to a kibbutz in Israel where the world may be coming to an end; an apartment in New York where 2 delightful Aunts are ready to meddle in your love life; then on to a Gold Rush town where an unlikely friendship develops.
Trying to figure out how the button will play into each individual story makes reading this collection as fun as a treasure hunt. These short stories are brief, but can have such an impact and many of the stories in “Through Button Eyes” touched me deeply.
I loved the story titled “The Exchange” by Patrick Witz, where a granddaughter investigates the past and uncovers a family secret hidden for generations. Another favorite was “Pearlies” by Jane Haworth, which involved not one, but hundreds of buttons in a wonderful coming of age story that was both poignant and sweet. Another one not to miss, by DL Kent is “Lucky Button Betty”, a story about luck, love and meddling family members.
There is something that will resonate with everyone who reads this collection of compelling work. With such well-developed characters, I saw myself, my friends and my family in each and every story. Readers are sure to be entertained, amused and impressed by this wonderful collection. ~ April Doherty: married, mother of two, school teacher, and avid reader.
The cover and title was debated by the group over several months. After in-depth investigations by several group members regarding the importance of having the "right" title and appealing cover, several ideas and suggestions were introduced. Then we debated the best way to visually represent the theme and breadth of the collection.
Then the two editors went to work. Patrick, photographer and artist, composed the image. David, graphic artist, prepared the cover layout. After (only) 20 various mock-ups, the group unanimously selected the simple yet poignant image against a dark background and agreed on the gold-leaf lettered title, "Through Button Eyes - A Collection of Short Fiction".
Our short Kickstarter video gives some insight to our process and reveals many of the various ideas and mock-ups.
Drum roll please…
Here is the final book’s Title and Cover
So what's inside? Below is the Table of Contents listing each story's title, author, genre, a brief story synopsis and as well a comment or two regarding each story by various pre-publication double-blind reviewers. To learn more about the writing group and the authors please visit PGW's website: www.PlacerGoldWriters.org
Introduction by Patrick Witz
Dedication to Button Bettye by David Loofbourrow
The Legend of Zacharias Bean by Anne Marie Olsen
Genre: Tall Tale
An unusual friendship develops between an ancient gold miner and a feisty freckle-faced girl.
"Fabulous opening paragraph. Love, love, love your character descriptions. I immediately had a great visual in my mind of this character. You are am amazing writer! I thoroughly enjoyed this short story!! I could read your writing all day!"
The Exchange by Patrick Witz
Genre: Literary Fiction
As Alzheimer disease scrambles Grandma’s memories, the old woman hints at a shocking tale. Annie, in secret, investigates her grandmother’s past. What she uncovers thrusts Annie into a heart-wrenching dilemma. Should she reveal her discoveries to the family or let the secret perish with Grandma’s fading memory?
"The synopsis creates a sense of mystery. I really enjoyed this story and it had a great ending. It definitely held my interest from the beginning. The storyline flowed nicely and I didn’t know the ending until the very end. I think this story could be turned into a full length novel."
"I love the end of this story... great way to use the button. Touching and interesting. I think that many readers will have had experiences with loved ones with this disease and this story will resonate with them. Family dynamics and family secrets thrown in the mix makes for a great story."
"The strong hook beginning caught my interest. I was crying towards the middle, and very much by the end. Very emotional and I can relate through family and friends. Lively, pressing, revealing dialogue and the setting was too realistic for comfort. I honestly would like to read more from this writer as he/she has heart, compassion, understanding and effectively takes the reader along on the journey. Open more minds closed to pre-judgment. Continue to share this gift of creating life from words."
Weep for Humanity by David Loofbourrow
The quiet community life of an Israeli kibbutz gave Abram Meir, a young veterinarian, the support he needed after the loss of his family to a Hamas bomb. However, a world-wide disaster thrusts him into the center of a secret international plan to save the human race from complete annihilation. With the kibbutz and his family wiped out, can Abram muster the strength for the sacrifices required to give humanity a chance to start over?
"Easy to follow, thrilling, superlative, mesmerizing, outlandish, surprising, eerie, OMG! Engaging and strong words wove astounding visuals. An exciting thriller... could make a movie out of this! I would like to read more from this writer as he/she has a deep understanding of people, bridging emotions and sacrifices. This was great. Now write something happy!"
Infatuation by Patrick Witz
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Cynthia meets Jerry in a bar and they instantly become infatuated. Could their chance rendezvous be love at first sight or simply a one-time fling?
"Wow! I'm reading this story thinking one thing and BAM! I honestly didn't see that one coming. It ended so abruptly, but that's good because I sat there thinking... what just happened? Really great job! You have wonderfully descriptive writing."
"I like the premise, and the story was very well written. The plot twist was FANTASTIC in every way. Overall, a very strong piece in my opinion."
Botones del Oro by Anne Marie Olsen
A handsome, mysterious stranger whirls into town weaving a spell with tales of heroism, gold and adventure. Can the spellbound barmaid win both his heart and his treasure?
"What a wonderful, well written short story. I truly enjoyed the story, found it to be well written, with great flow and continuity. From the beginning, the momentum of the story is set a good pace and from there slowly builds to the end. The writing was well structured with a descriptive quality in the writing that allowed you to visualize the characters and the action. Well done."
"Enjoyable, interesting, tall tale fun. Easy to follow, you painted a fine plot picture with well-defined characters. I could easily visualize the dashing, handsome man. Colorful good storyline. A great adventure story, golden buttons!"
Opportunity by Patrick Witz
Genre: Science Fiction
NASA J.P.L. Engineers Kevin and Frank have faithfully managed the day-to-day operations of the Mars rover "Opportunity" by the book for years. A chance glimpse of something odd leads the two engineers to break protocol and secretly investigate the anomaly on their own. Going to management too soon would definitely jeopardize the mission, their careers and retirement.
"WOW, what a great idea for a story. The pace was good with the story moving well. The characters were not only believable, but I could most certainly get a mental picture of the what they looked and acted like."
"Wow! I was wondering how the button would play in. I loved the ending. This seemed longer than most of the others from this writing group, but I thought the length was perfect and enjoyed it from beginning to end. This story is a great addition to the collaborative text."
Pearlies by Jane Haworth
Genre: Coming of Age
A mysterious envelope arrives with an all-expenses-paid overseas trip enclosed. Teenaged Trisha reluctantly embarks on a surprising journey that leads her into tangled threads of family history still knotted with hostilities.
"I thought this was a nice coming of age story. The characters were well defined and I enjoyed their interesting way of speaking. I thought this story was well written."
"I found the base premise of the story to be genuine and inviting, the characters believable, and flow of the story was well paced."
"Easy to follow, charming story with family values, love, and restoring family members always a wish come true. Interesting, I learned a lot about Pearlies, never knew they were real people! Wonderful little story about family, great resolution and discoveries."
Button Lip by Patrick Witz
Genre: Horror Comedy
A wild party, lots of alcohol, an act of kindness, unforeseen revenge, prize money and the ghastly un-dead, conspire to unlock doors that probably should have remained closed.
"Wow... Great story!! Well written with good imagination and storytelling and great character interaction. The story moves well, sets up the plot and then works it way to a great ending. Nice use of descriptive language which made for easy visualization of the action in the story."
"Very well done story. I loved the humor and the way that the main character got his revenge at the end. The maggots were a gross, descriptive touch. I would definitely read another story by this author."
"As I abhor zombies, rotting flesh and cursing, this was difficult to read. You presented a thoroughly disgusting and vivid backdrop and characters for some zombie humor. Kudos!!"
Vacation Destination by Patrick Witz
Genre: Literary Fiction
What makes a vacation memorable? Typically, it boils down to one of two things: an immensely thrilling time or a catastrophic letdown. This young family’s vacation destination does not live up to their travel agent’s propaganda. Happily, it ends well for them, but not for others.
"This story was very funny and I thought the plot twist at the end was clever."
"I loved the unexpected ending! I’m thinking normal family having a rough vacation then my mind is blown! So creative! I loved that you waited until the end to reveal it. Your story is great!"
Stranger in Town by Evelina Dunn
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
On a quiet weekend at the coast away from her lackluster life, she meets a suave stranger. A dangerous mix of mystery and excitement at the water’s edge - yet she feels unthreatened. She is mesmerized, even after being warned. She can’t help but be drawn into his world.
"Crazy? Or taking a dip into a pool of the supernatural realm? Only you can decide! This story left me intrigued and full of questions... Maybe it is up to me to wade through the minutia and co-write my own truth! Many of us, women, can identify with the heroine; her unrecognized loneliness and her desperate need to be loved. In the end, does it matter who her 'dream man' is or rather how he affects her life?"
"This was a very passionate and mysterious story. The author gave in-depth description that helped create powerful mental images. The ending left us wondering if it was a dream or real life. This could easily turn into a great mystery/romance novel."
To Have and to Hold by Patrick Witz
When the economic bubble bursts, Harry suddenly finds himself in a world of financial chaos. Job opportunities dry up and his house investment turns into a disaster of overwhelming debt. He desperately needs a little luck to survive. Is there really such a thing as a lucky charm? And if there is, can Harry hold on to it long enough to turn his life around?
"This was a wonderful story. I enjoyed the way the button was woven in and the ending was perfect. Well done!"
Angel by Anne Marie Olsen
An alien invasion becomes a young girl’s deepest nightmare. Will her youthful love triumph over evil and rescue her from damnation?
"Very nice story. I was impressed with the novel way you incorporated the buttons and thought that over-all the story itself was strong, well-written, with good flow from start to finish. There was a good sense of who the characters are, both human and non-human, and the descriptive language used to describe both allowed for a well-developed mental picture. Nice job."
"Scary, sad, intriguing story with well-chosen descriptive words. As I finished the story, I was relieved it was over, wow! An OMG ending. I absolutely would like to read more from this writer. What a mind!!"
Lifelong Companion by Patrick Witz
(Warning: Some readers may find the premise of this story disturbing.)
Catastrophic events can strike at a moment’s notice. One young family was diligent in their disaster plans and emergency preparations. However, when caught in the path of a menacing tornado, there are times when even the best-planned defenses just don’t go far enough.
"I liked the dynamic opening. It was dramatic and sad (and I like sad:). I really liked this story a lot... wonderful!"
"Exciting, plausible, surprising and tragic. Totally realistic! A thrilling, strong ‘closing of book’ feeling at end. Highest rating is 10, I give this an 11! Entertaining, suspenseful, well written."
"Thought provoking, emotional, and disturbingly real!"
Lucky Button Betty by DL Kent
Genre: LGBT Coming of Age
For Martin, fresh off a Nebraska farm, coming out in the 70s should have been easy. He lives with his gay uncle in New York City, attends film school at Columbia, and has two eccentric great-aunts who take his love life all too seriously. But after three years, the shy young man still hasn’t been on a single date – until the Aunties give him a very special gift.
"I loved this story!! It flowed seamlessly. Your character development is amazing. I fell in love with all of the characters. I could read a whole book about the 2 eccentric aunts. Very talented!!"
Button Up a Life by Kathleen Coleman
Button, button, what's in a button? Sometimes it's threaded into a lifetime.
"Ms. Coleman shares her sweet musings on the collections of her father. She reveals how, by supporting him in his hobbies, she was drawn into his world and heart. These memories impacted her life in a profound way. I am grateful she shared it with all of us!"
Because Placer Gold Writers group is located in the Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada, our rewards reflect a California 1849 Gold Rush theme - a bit of history and a golden opportunity. With incentives to fit every budget we hope you can help kick-start “Through Button Eyes – A Collection of Short Fiction”. Thank you for your support!
FREE: To those aspiring writers out there... We wish to share what we have learned about writing. Check out our growing blog of helpful writing tips and resources, including: writing skills, publishing, contests, and tool reviews. We documented some of our journey while writing these stories and publishing the anthology. http://www.PlacerGoldWriters.org
E-Book Rewards: Available through Smashwords.com (Free Account – see https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#ios for more information.)
Follow Us: Drop by www.PlacerGoldWriters.org/ContactUs and sign up to receive exclusive updates and notifications regarding future writing projects and campaigns.
Language: At this time, the publication is ONLY available in US English.
Non-USA Country: We deeply regret that we are unable to offer print books at this time outside the USA.
Special Hardback Collector's Edition
If we reach $4000, we’d love to create a Special Hardback Collector’s Edition version of "Through Button Eyes - A Collection of Short Fiction". We’ll make sure this gets done quickly and offer all backers receiving a physical softcover version of the book an opportunity (for a to-be-determined additional fee) to upgrade to the Hardback Collection Edition level - in time for the holidays.
If we reach $6000, we will have appropriate funding to invest in an audio-book edition of "Through Button Eyes - A Collection of Short Fiction". All Backers will have an option to purchase a copy of the audio-book. Audio-books require sufficient time (+/- 6 months) to be professionally recorded and engineered, hence delivery times may be several months after the physical books and e-Books are delivered.
Additional Reward Levels and Stretch Goals
To be determined and added as the campaign progresses.
Because, unlike some publishing campaigns, "Through Button Eyes" is completely written and ready to publish (only waiting to include your name in the backers' appreciation list at the end of the anthology), we will be able to move very quickly to fulfill our incentive products.
- September 15, 2016: Campaign Begins
- September 29, 2016: Evaluate Campaign and consider additional incentives
- October 16, 2016: Campaign Ends
- October 16th through October 31, 2016: Initiate availability of multi-format e-Books; Purchase ISBN's; Add Appreciations and Backer information to the book; Finalize the print book manuscript; Order soft-cover print books; and initiate any reached Stretch Goals
- November 2016: Ship Backer Rewards and Initialize Media Promotional Marketing Blitz
- November & December 2016: Continue online media promotional and marketing blitz; book release events at various book stores in Northern California
Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve created and edited the manuscript - an approximate 60,000 word collection of fifteen short fictional stories. All that is left to do is... develop a more compelling Web presence, initiate an extensive marketing campaign, finish minor editing for the e-book and print formats, add our appreciations for backers and supporters, compile the typeset proof, print the print edition, and start the arduous task of all the authors lining up to sign copies and ship all the rewards. This is where we need your help... We need to generate sufficient funds to accomplish all that!
What will we do with the Kickstarter funds?
We'll use the funds to create the highest quality eReader and printed books that we can. Publishing multi-format eReaders and print requires more money than we have available. Most of the money we collect will be used to buy the ISB Numbers, publish the book in all formats, and shipping.
In addition, some money will be used to cover the costs of the book's cover design, video creation, website development, and promotional costs. The authors/editors have worked really hard and put an immense amount of time and energy into this project. We love this project, but we also need to put food on the table, so we work our forty-plus hours a week and do what we can when we can regarding writing and publishing. Believe us when we say that we need to prove to our spouses that this is worthwhile endeavor. After 18 months, our spouse's patience with us is running very, very thin.
If we are fortunate enough to collect more than our funding goal, we’ll put that money towards additional advertising, rewarding our writers and fund our next book campaign. If we are extremely successful, our writing group will develop and offer an aspiring young writer scholarship award and/or writing contest.
We estimate final funding around $2130 and project our funding break down as follows:
- $350 Publishing and editing
- $250 Purchase ISB Numbers
- $300 Website enhancements and maintenance
- $100 Software tools/subscriptions
- $150 Promotional copies to reviewers etc.
- $ 50 Printing promotional cards, bookmarks, posters, etc.
- $350 Promotion and advertising
- $175 Kickstarter and Credit Card Processing fees
- $405 Kickstarter Rewards (book costs, shipping, materials, etc.)
- $2130 = Total (estimated)
As a writer’s group and as individuals, this project has been a labor of love. Love of words. Love of creating. And for our readers, we do it for the love of reading. We hope, with a little encouragement from all of you, that this project will bring as much joy to the people who experience it as we’ve had in creating it.
Please give what you can afford; we will be eternally grateful. Take pride in knowing that you have helped make this dream come true for our writers.
Oh, envision this future opportunity, if any of us do become famous writers, you can proudly state, "I knew and supported him/her way back when her/she was struggling just to get published for the very first time!" (FYI: Pledge at the "Forty-Niners" level or above and you will have the author's autographs to prove it!) Thank you for your invaluable help!
So... move over Steven King, J.K. Rawlings, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, and Frank Herbert. It’s our turn to stand in the limelight for a while!
Risks and challenges
This is Placer Gold Writers Ink first published book. This is as well our first time creating multi-formatted e-Books and working with a print company to create a physical book. With the extensive research we've already conducted to complete this publishing project, we do not anticipate any issues. However… IF there are any issues with the timing of printing or other logistical challenges, we will let our backers know immediately in our updates. A great deal of pre-publication work has been done and all the stories are completely ready to go. We hope there will not be any delays with the print company printing, or the shipping of the physical books. All the pledge rewards are being created and compiled, wherein they should be packaged and ready very soon after hitting our goal (of course, other than waiting to receive the physical books to be signed by the authors). The Stretch Goal Hard-Bound Book should move relatively quickly following the soft-cover book availability… However, the Audio Book stretch will require additional time to investigate, manage, and professionally complete. The audio-book may take a few months to be available. Your patience with our first Kickstarter Campaign is greatly appreciated.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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