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12.13.2017
Is Amber Heard (still) trying to ruin Johnny Depp?
Looks like it.

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Amber Heard’s bid to Blackball Johnny Depp continues to fail.

It has been confirmed that Johnny Depp will reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter prequel franchise Fantastic Beasts, and where to find them. It was revealed at the end of the first movie that… is it still a spoiler after all this time? …Johnny Depp was wearing a Colin Farrel suit throughout the movie, and the he, Johnny, was actually Gellert Grindelwald. The bad guy.

When the news broke for certain that Johnny will be in the upcoming sequel, fans were less than pleased. They railed against johnny Depp (far right) being cast because of accusations flung around by his ex Amber Heard that Johnny had abused her “physically, emotionally and verbally” throughout the entirety of their relationship.

In May 2016, Heard showed off magical moving bruises that she alleged came from Johnny Depp smashing an iPhone into her face.
HeardsMagicalMovingBruises
Responding officers found that there was no physical evidence of any crime, and left without arresting him. If Amber had visions of Johnny being photographed in handcuffs to use as leverage in their divorce, those plans were foiled.

A picture taken of a smiling Amber Heard posted on a friend’s social media just hours after the alleged attack took place show not a mark on her.
Pictured is Amber Heard (left) at her friend Amanda de Cadenet's (centre) birthday party with Amber Valletta on Sunday - the day after she was allegedly attacked. Her hair covers the areas which appeared to be bruised the day before. The picture was posted on Instagram and has since been deleted
The photo has since been deleted.

Multiple reports from people who live in the building say that they saw her after the alleged attack without a mark on her.

Still, Amber Heard insisted that she’d been abused, which is ironic considering that she, herself, was arrested for violently assaulting her wife in 2009.

Women from Johnny’s past, handed a perfect platform to take revenge on him if they wanted, all stepped forward to defend him. Wynona Ryder.  Lori Anne Allison, Johnny’s first wife. Vanessa Paradis, the mother of Johnny’s two children. All of them said that he was a kind and gentle man. Kate Moss said she cried for years after their split because she missed him.

Still, there are fans out there willing to believe Heard’s tales of woe and rail against Johnny Depp in her defense. Potter fans, particularly, want him removed from the movie.

But David Yates defended the decision to keep Johnny in the role, calling Johnny a kind and decent man.

J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts universe, defends the choice to keep Johnny in the role of Gellert Grindelwald, citing the joint statement issued by both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at the time of their divorce, which said that:

“there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm” by either party.

J.K. Rowling is not only comfortable with the decision to cast Johnny Depp, she’s delighted to have him on board.

Amber Heard is not pleased.

Despite a public proclaimation that: (yes, I’ll repeat it)

“there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm” by either party.

Heard still maintains that she was abused by Johnny Depp, and seems to be stomping her widdle foot because Johnny hasn’t been blackballed by Hollywood. She responded to J.K. Rowling’s defense by saying the the famous author was “picking and choosing” parts of that joint statememt, and it’s “just not right!”

That joint statement also says that:

Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.

All evidence to the contrary.

From the look of it, she won’t be happy until nobody hires Johnny anymore.

Sorry, kid. Johnny’s career continues to flourish. The future of her own illustrious film career, however, remains to be seen. She’ll forever get royalties from frolicking with Aquaman in the Justice League movies, but were those deals forged when she was still Mrs. Johnny Depp? Now that she’s not hitched to his bandwagon anymore, and considering her apparent continued crusade to ruin his carreer, what will Hollywood do with her? What masterpiece performances will she give in the future?

Only time will tell. Her IMDB page doesn’t seem to be brimming with projects after the ones she’s already filmed. Johnny’s IMDB, on the other hand, lists at least half a dozen upcoming projects, including the aforementioned Fantastic Beasts.

Me, I haven’t been impressed with a single thing Amber Heard’s done, from the Aqua-flicks to her single-episode stint on Criminal Minds back in 2006. She was in a few things before that, but CM was the first time I saw her. In my considered opinion, she is a pretty little girl with a spoiled, selfish attitude who can’t act her way out of a wet paper sack.

She needs to improve her attutude, knock it off with the witch hunt, and work on her acting. You know, grow up. Otherwise, I don’t see much of a future for her in a career environment that loves the guy she’s trying to ruin.

Do not edit U

Do not edit your own work.

It’s a mistake that many authors make. They think that they know their own works so well that they can edit their own work. They’ve lived with their work since the very first moment of its conception and have seen it through the creative process every moment since. Of course, they’d be the best person to do the edits, right?

No.

The fact that an author is so familiar with his or her own work actually makes them the least likely person to catch any errors that linger among the prose.

Errors are there. I promise. Not because you’re a bad writer, but because everybody makes them. Everybody. Every author you see on the shelves and Barnes & Noble makes them. I make them. That’s what editors are for. To catch them.

Think about it. You’ve read and re-read your work dozens of times, maybe hundreds. And the mistakes are still there. You didn’t see them the first time you went through it, and you didn’t see them any time you’ve read through it after that.

You need fresh eyes to catch mistakes that your brain has trained itself to ignore. It’s not a sign of weakness or bad writing. It’s just the way the brain works. As good as you might be, you are human, with a human brain and all of the pitfalls that come with it.

For example, I first wrote a screenplay called Sudan many years ago. Maybe as many as fifteen. Maybe more. Lately, I’ve been going through my older work and publishing some things that have been gathering dust for far too long. History Fair was written in 2003 but sat around doing nothing until I published it earlier this year. Now it’s available at B&N.com, as a paperback, Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. I think I’ve sold 2. But it’s done and finished, and I can put a check on the “done” list.

Same thing with the Sudan screenplay. I’ve lived with it for a long time, and I want to chalk it up as done. I want to tie up that loose end. So, I took it out of mothballs this week, dusted it off, and am determined to publish it as soon as possible. I’ve spent most of this week reading it, revising it, formatting it, and making it publish-ready.

I’ve heard other authors talking about having beta readers go over their work. I generally haven’t taken much stock in that because I figured it was basically giving away their work for free.

I am corrected.

I asked a couple of people I know to beta read Sudan for me before I ship it out. And I’m glad I did. It tought me a valuable lesson.

Despite spending so much time with Sudan this week, there were scores of mistakes that I missed. The formatting was off in some parts and there were far more grammatical errors than I’d care to admit. There were even a dozen instances where the main character’s name wasn’t capitalized. The more mistakes they made, the more embarrassed I became. I was ready to publish Sudan as it was. Had I done that, I would have shown the world a script with lots of errors in it.

As embarrassing as it is to admit that there were so many mistakes in a book that I thought was finished, I decided to use it to illustrate to you that even the best of us make mistakes. And we miss them. It’s not just you. It’s not just me. We all do it.

So, please. Do not attempt to edit your own work. Hire a proper editor. I know that there are so many out there, and it’s hard to know who’s affordable, and who’s going to be worth the money.

If there’s an editor you’re thinking of hiring, don’t just look at his or her website. Don’t just look at testimonials from their past clients. Glowing testemonials are good, but they’re not enough. You need to see for yourself what their work looks like.

Go down their client list and google books they’ve edited. Look for those books on Amazon and use the “Look inside” feature. You’ll be able to read a good chunk of the book. And, as you read, look for errors. Look for content and formatting. Look for typos. Look for anything you want your editor to catch.

Are there errors? Are there typos? Does the book flow easily? Is it properly formatted? Seriously. Read it over with a fine-toothed comb.  Don’t be kind. Don’t be generous and let little errors slide. Because if there are errors in that book, there will be errors in yours.

And don’t just look at one book. Go down the list. Read samples on all of them. Look for errors. Do your homework. There’s a lot more to an editor than what their website and testimonials say. There’s more to an editor than price. There’s even more to an editor than whether or not you like them. An editor can be the nicest person on the planet, but that doesn’t mean that he or she is qualified to edit your book.

If you find errors in books that an editor worked on, skip that person. It’s worth the time and effort to find someone who will do a good job for you.

If, like me, you decide to have someone beta read your work, listen to what they say. If you ask someone for an opinion, take it seriously when they give it to you.

Thanks to my beta, my wonderful, beautiful and talented daughter Thea, Sudan will not be published today. There are errors to correct and some updating to be done. There are elements of everyday life that we take for granted today that didn’t even exist a decade ago. To ignore them would be a disservice to the work. I can’t be in such a hurry to publish that I overlook the responsibility of fixing it.

Same thing with you. Don’t be so eager to publish that you rush the process. Don’t be so intimidated by finding an editor that you skip it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can edit your own work. You owe it to yourself, your work and your reputation to put out the best possible effort you can manage.

Take the time. Make the effort. Do it right.

ISBN

Like a lot of aspiring authors out there, I started off thinking that when you’re finished writing your book, you’re done. Woo Hoo! Let those royalties roll on in!

Problem is, it doesn’t work that way.

Authors that are lucky enough to have proper representation with an agency don’t have to worry about the production of their books. Their agents pitch the book to a publisher, likely one of the Big 5 or one of their subsidiaries, and that’s who puts together the bricks and mortar. Copyright, editing, cover art, ISBN assignment and the physical production of the books are all taken care of by the publisher. If you’re one of those, rock on!

But if you’re a self-publishing, indie author like me, you have to figure all that stuff out yourself. You find your own editor and hope you’ve got one that’s worth the money you’re paying for their services. You have to find your own printer. And you need to know about the ISBN. Like so many things in the publishing world, the ISBN can be a confusing, intimidating part of the publishing process.

I’ll do my best to help you figure it all out.

First of all, what is an ISBN?

An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006, but since 1 January 2007 they now always consist of 13 digits. *

Simply put, an ISBN is a number that’s assigned to your book that identifies it to every agency on the planet that deals with books. Publishers, book distributers, libraries, and stores that sell books, both online and off. An ISBN is like a fingerprint. There’s only one like it in the world, and it belongs to your book.

It also bears pointing out that each version of your book needs its own ISBN.
Hardback
Paperback
Ebook
There’s even some argument that each different version of an ebook needs its own ISBN number whether it’s for Nook, Kindle, a .PDF, HTML (or other digital) version of your book that’s available for sale.

That’s important. You cannot obtain one ISBN number and use it for everything. It doesn’t work that way. Each physical or digital version needs its own, individual ISBN.

So, where do you get an ISBN?

Bowker is the official source for all ISBN numbers in the United States. Any ISBN you get ultimately comes from Bowker. But there are so many sites and services that claim to be able to provide you with an ISBN for a myriad of prices, including free, that it can make a person’s head swim. Differtent sites offer different prices, and tend to tag on other services that emerging authors might think they need, like new author services, barcodes, publisher services, a whole host of things they think they can get you to pay for because (they think) you don’t know any better.

Don’t get sidetracked into buying some other service thinking you need it in association with your ISBN, your book, or your journey in the publishing process. Right now, at this point, you’re looking for one thing and one thing only. The ISBN number. Focus on that.

When choosing where to get an ISBN for your book, there are several factors to consider.

First, there’s price. It’s possible to obtain an ISBN for your book for anywhere from $0 to at least $125.00 usd per number.

Secondly, it’s important to note what information is contained within the ISBN number. These aren’t random numbers you slap on your book so the scanner can identify it. There’s information coded into the ISBN that’s crucial to you as the author and publisher of your book.

Finally, there’s distribution. Where and how you get your ISBN will determine how and where you can sell your book using that number.

What I’m going to do is go from the cheapest options to the most expensive, and try to describe the advantages and disadvantages of each, including the information and distribution considerations for each.

First, there’s the free option. Createspace, Smashwords, and other online publishing services offer a free ISBN number for your book if you publish through them. ISBN numbers aren’t free to get from Bowker. Indivicually, those things can cost up to $125.00 usd. Yikes!

So how can these publishing services offer ISBN numbers for free? Because Bowker offers huge discounts for ISBN numbers bought in bulk. for $5000, usd, they sell 5000 ISBN numbers. Basically, a dollar for each. For that small amount per number, those publishing services can afford to give away an ISBN, because they’re going to be making money on each book you sell anyway.

Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, on the surface, yes. They get money off your book, and you get to publish your book for free. And, depending on the service you use, your book can appear on bookseller sites around the world.

Not so fast, though. There’s a down-side to publishing your book with a free ISBN through online publishing services. The ISBN number given to you by a publishing service like that can only be used by them. You don’t own the ISBN outright. You can’t take the ISBN number assigned to your book through Createspace (for example) and use it to publish your book on Lightning Source. You can’t take it anywhere else. That could be limiting if you plan to distribute your books to diverse markets that your publishing service doesn’t offer.

However, if you only plan to publish a few of your own books, free worldwide distribution through websites and e-channels is probably going to suffice just fine. You can probably skip the rest, and best of luck to you.

Createspace used to offer a $10 usd option that allowed you to name your own imprint as the publisher of your book, even though you were using their free service. But that option is gone. So you’re left with 2 choices: go free and have your free publisher listed as the publisher of record for your book, or pay for an ISBN.

There are any number of sites online that offer to sell you a real ISBN for prices as low as $12 to 20-something usd. Looks great on paper, but there’s something very important to consider about ISBN numbers: The information they contain.

Coded into the ISBN number is the publisher of record. If you buy a discounted ISBN from a discount site, THEY are listed as the publisher of record. Just like Createspace is the publisher of record if you use one of their free numbers. These sites promise that you get to keep %100 of your rights, and so forth, but make no mistake. They are forever encoded into your book as being the publisher of your book.

Don’t be blinded by the price. They aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

The only way to establish yourself as the publisher of record in the information contained within your ISBN is to buy it directly from Bowker.

I won’t lie. These things can get expensive. To buy one ISBN from Bowker, it costs $125 usd. Just one.
For a block of 10 ISBN numbers, Bowker charges $295.00 usd.
For 1000 ISBN numbers, Bowker charches $575.00 usd.
That’s a lot of money.

And none of that includes the barcodes.

Are barcodes important? In a word, yes.
The barcode is the physical representation of your book’s 13 number ISBN that can be read with a scanner by distributors and book stores. Distributers are the companies that send your books out to retail outlets (stores).

Most ISBN/EAN numbers are followed by a 5-digit price indicator, which is also physically represented as a barcode. Barnes & Noble, for example, won’t touch a book unless it has the 5-digit price indicator.
EAN5BarcodeThe 5 in the 5-digit code indicates that the book is being sold for American dollars. The other digits indicate the price itself. The book in that sample is being sold for $18.95 usd.

But don’t worry about buying a barcode when you’re shopping for your ISBN. Sites that sell barcodes want you to think that the only way to get the right, official barcode for your ISBN is to buy one from them.

That’s just not true. The web is full of free barcode generators, including the 5-digit price code. So don’t waste your money buying a barcode. Just concentrate on what you need right now: the ISBN.

The important thing to know about an ISBN obtained from Bowker is that once you buy it, it’s yours. Forever. And you can use it wherever you want. If you buy an ISBN from Bowker for your paperback, you can use it anywhere. You can use your own ISBN on any paperback copy of your book through any printing service in the world. Including Createspace. If you choose to use Createspace services to publish your book, you can take your own ISBN with you and list yourself as the publisher of record. You can use the same ISBN to create paperback print versions of your book on Ingram’s Lightningsource, Lulu or any other print service you can think of. It’s yours.

Just remember. That ISBN is good for your paperback. You can’t use it for your hardback book or any digital version of your book. Those need their own numbers. But the same thing applies to those, too. If you buy an ISBN for your hardback, you can use it with any printer you want. If you buy an ISBN for your .pdf, html, epub or other digital version of your book, that ISBN belongs to that version of that book forever.

Note: you might see sites offering an eISBN or e-ISBN to assign to a digital version of your book. Don’t be confused by that. No matter what you put in front of it, it’s still just an ISBN, obtained from the same source: Bowker.

Take some time and think about what you want to get from your publishing experience. Weigh the options and make the best choices for yourself and your book.

Good luck!

Johnny Depp shines while Amber Heard continues to show immaturity

Last year, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were charged with smuggling their dogs Pistol and Boo into Australia by then Agriculture Minister, now Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce. If the dogs didn’t “Buggar off” back to America within 72 hours, Joyce threatened to kill them. The pups got shipped off, the Depps were fined and forced to film a much-ridiculed public apology.

Now, it appears that Barnaby Joyce might be ineligible for public office due to dual citizenship with Australia and New Zealand.

And nobody’s loving it more than Amber Heard. She has spent the day tweeting jabs at Joyce, mocking his predicament.

2017-08-15

What did Johnny Depp do? He spent the day meeting with patients at a hospital in Vancouver, BC dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow. He spent 5.5 hours meeting with every single patient, not breaking character once.
Johnny Depp

The key word here is character. Johnny shows that he’s got it.

His ex doesn’t.

Instead of taking the high road, Amber Heard acts like a bully on the playground, demonstrating a staggering juvenile lack of class.

Here’s why you should always research your publisher.

Authors, it’s not just important, it’s imperative that you research your publisher before you sign on the dotted line. If you don’t, you could fall into the clutches of a scam publisher. They’re out there, poised to take advantage of your eagerness to publish, and to exploit your work to their own financial gain.

Like this one did:

Erotica publisher, author charged for manipulating book sales
Erotica publisher Jana Karetko is facing charges after altering her clients’ book sales reports and pocketing the stolen royalties. In some instances, she even inflated or exaggerated book sales to make the authors believe the novels were doing well or becoming bestsellers. Among the many thefts, she’s also accused of falsifying her income on a tax return and not filing returns for two consecutive years.

That sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

She was arrested and charged Monday with five counts of money laundering, four counts of felony theft, nine counts of computer crime and three counts of tax evasion.

It’s been more than a year since I typed the words ‘Tabetha Jones’ in a blog post. I got sick of her taking up space in my head. I got sick of her headgames, her miserable, crooked treatment of authors. I got sick of HER.

But when I saw that article, it made me think.

I originally blogged about Tabetha because she scammed my kid, among many other authors. To date, my daughter is the only author I know of that Tabetha repaid. There are maybe dozens of others that were scammed through a multitude of bogus companies she owned (but never properly formed) like Mystic Press, Phoenix Fire Publishing, Sweete Sinz, et al, that were lied to, cheated, and have never been repaid. For their sake, I continued blogging about her and her shady dealings, to vindicate them and warn new would-be victims.

I last blogged about Tabetha, saying that as far as I knew, she wasn’t actively trying to publish anybody’s work but her own-but if I heard anything new, I’d report it.

Well, I can’t prove that she’s at it again (if she ever left off), but I have heard whispers about a whole flurry of new names, new bogus companies, new aliases, etc.

I’ve also heard rumors about her claiming that she and her “powers” are to blame for my house burning down last year, “karma” from her angels and guardians. Saying that’s why I don’t blog about her anymore, because I’ve finally been “put in my place” and that I’m too scared of her to dare.

Rubbish.

As if she had the power to do anything but wipe her own ass.

An outlet shorted and lit up the sofa. End of story.

But it’s important to mention because if this is the sort of thing she’s telling people to frighten them into submission, it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of day and exposed.

That’s the sort of thing she became infamous for, intimidating her victims, either with exaggerated tales of her imaginary powers, or threats from the men in her life (real or imagined. Like the fake and ill-fated Bo). Getting authors so afraid of her wrath that they wouldn’t dare question the ineptitude of her services or discrepancies in their (lack of) royalties. They just shy away, battered and bruised, some too traumatized to try to publish again.

That’s why, when the first brave souls stepped forward with horror stories, bloggers like Emily Suess, Janrae Frank, Erotic Romance and I spoke up. To warn new authors from falling victim.

I also urged her victims to report her to the authorities. The FBI. The IRS. Her local Attorney General. The District Attorney. That’s how the Colorado crook was caught. A victim turned her in to her local DA. Et voila. Come July 7th, she’ll stand in front of a judge to answer for it.

And now, seeing this article, I wish more of the victims I advocated for would have turned Tabetha in. All evidence indicates that she did exactly the same thing this woman from Colorado did. And if she’d been found guilty earlier on, it would have saved countless others from being victimized. Including any that might be in her clutches now.

If so inclined, I could chase her down and find out what, if any, new schemes she’s using to sucker new victims. But, truth be told, I don’t want to give her that much of my energy. She doesn’t deserve that much of my time. I’ve got a life to live, loved ones to dote on, and my own projects to finish.

There’s another reason I put that woman’s name on my tongue. One of Tabetha’s favorite tactics has historically been to sucker new authors victims in by saying “That was in the past!” “I’ve learned from my mistakes!” “Everybody deserves a second chance!”

No. She hasn’t and they don’t. After so many chances, so many victims left in her destructive wake, enough is enough. If you’ve heard these platitudes from your would-be publisher, run. Seriously. Run.

If you’re an author that’s been unfortunate enough to deal with Tabetha Willis/Saulters/Hoover/Jones/Simpson/whatever, I strongly urge you disentangle yourself from her and protect your work.

Always, ALWAYS research your publisher before you sign any contract. Make sure the company exists. Make sure it’s legit. Check watchdog sites like Writer Beware, Absolute Write water cooler. Google your publisher’s name to see if they show up on warning blogs like this one. If, like Jones (et al), they show up on multiple sites and blogs warning you about dealing with them, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

Ask the hard questions. If you don’t get the right answers, don’t let yourself be snowed. This is your work, your career, your name on the line. Don’t be shy or polite about protecting it.

Now, if it’s okay, I need to go shower to get that foul wretch’s stink off me. And meditate to get her out of my head. Distract myself with something pleasant. Like a cute and fluffy kitten named Brutus.

Ah, that’s better.

Take care, folks.

Depth of character.

I’m watching the James Patterson Master Class videos, and he said something I’ve been saying for YEARS. Don’t just say that someone is scary/cool/mysterious/whatever. That’s just a cliche that doesn’t get you anywhere. And, frankly, it’s lazy. Say WHY they are. Something they say or do that shows how/why they are what you want people to think they are.

Don’t just say “He smiled darkly.” What’s dark about it? What is the dark intention in his soul (if he has one) that makes his intention dark? Or, what is it that whoever sees him smiling makes them think it’s dark? Or scary. Or cool. Or mysterious. Or whatever.

And I don’t just mean to whip out a thesaurus to think of some other cliche word to replace the cliche word you’re trying to get rid of. THINK. If you can’t explore the depths of your characters, you might as well be writing recipes. Zucchini doesn’t need to know why it’s getting cooked. It just sits there waiting to be baked. Or fried. Or whatever..

I do know people with all the depth of a kumquat, but that’s not what you want to put on your pages for your readers. What you want to share, and what they want to see, are characters that are vibrant and alive. Even the undead ones.  Characters with depth, ambition, scope. Qualities that make your readers either love them or hate them. Characteristics that make your readers want to keep turning those pages.

Well, that and a good story.

The point here, is that you need to THINK. Get to know the characters you’re writing about. Have ’em over for tea. Take ’em out for a drive. Throw ’em in with the sharks and see how they handle it. Explore them. Learn them. Watch them. Put a handkerchief in Edna’s pocket as a reminder of her beloved grandmother, which she touches when she’s feeling particularly lonely. Give Skip a weathered hat that he just doesn’t give up for a new one because  1) his favorite team hasn’t won the championship in decades, or 2) he wore that cap when he had a brush with fame and glory when he almost made the majors.

The possibilities are literally endless.

THINK.

Be creative. Be clever. Be a writer.

Now go. Have fun.