First, there was Mystic Press that she “took over” from a couple of girls named Brandy and Wendy, who may or may not be real people. They’re never active online unless it serves the purposes of Tabetha when she needs to blame them, or to confirm that they really do exist. Really!
A lot of people got very badly dealt with by Tabetha Jones during that time, including my daughter. Tabetha took money up front from authors and then failed to deliver contracted goods and services. My daughter eventually got paid back, but there remain many authors from that time (to this) who were ripped off, battered and abused at her hands, and were never repaid. She blamed everything on Wendy and Brandy, then gloated that the statute of limitations had run out on those Mystic authors, so she didn’t have to pay them a dime. Nice, eh?
Still blaming Wendy and Brandy, she changed the name of the company to Phoenix Fire publishing, to “rise from the ashes” of the terrible company she inherited. SHE says that it was “to get a fresh start,” but we all know that it’s because she couldn’t get out from under the weight of proof that all the Mystic authors had on her. This change took place very shortly after her questionable business practices were reported to her local Attorney General. She says that’s pure coincidence, of course. But anybody with half a brain cell knows it was a dodge to try to avoid investigation.
She pulled the same thing under PF, lying to authors, reportedly not paying proper royalties,continuing the same Anthology scam where she ropes one or two real authors into contributing, saying “The publisher doesn’t even take a cut!” The royalties to be divided evenly among the authors. But there’s a catch. Say there are contributions from 10 authors. Catch is, she’s 8 of them. So, while the “publisher” claims not to take a cut, she’s still taking home 8 pieces of the pie, isn’t she?
Of important note is that famous separation fee. In all of Tab’s contracts, there’s a separation penalty. If and when an author catches wise and wants out, she slaps ’em with a parting shot. Authors have paid hundreds just to get away from her. Or if she’s strapped for cash to hang out at the strip club or get some new ink, and she can’t con an author or friend into paying a bill for her, she’ll terminate an author, blame the author, and hit ’em with that fine.
As ever, it doesn’t take long for her reputation to catch up with her, so she tried several times to switch up her company. First, she had some mysterious “investor” that wanted to pick it up, implying that it “might” involve the owner of her favorite strip joint, and then possibly a family member of a co-owner.
That deal got busted, so she tried to start a new deal called Silver Fang with then co-owner Jacqueline, but Jackie wised up and got out. That left Tab high and dry and stuck with PF. Insisting the whole while that things were just great and peachy at PF, Tab scrambled desperately to find somebody to pawn her train wreck off on.
When she couldn’t find a real person to scam into putting their name on it, she made one up. Destiny Rane Storm, she said, had bought out her company and was taking it over, changing the name to Dark Storm Publications.
It didn’t take long to poke holes in that fraud. Tab finally admitted that she was, indeed, Destiny Rane, and that Dark Storm was still her baby.
Finally, it looks like she found someone gullible and foolish enough to put their own name on Tab’s bogus. publishing schemes. Leah Diane Hutchinson (Thompson) has long been complicit with Tab, providing image work through her Black Diamond Designs and participating in at least one Cover-Tab’s-ass blog.
Now, Leah has agreed to “buy” Dark storm out and take over. Tab’s “only” an author, they insist. Leah runs the place, lock, stock, and barrel. And if you buy that, I’ve got a bridge to sell ya.
It’s just like the Phoenix Effect photo company that (supposedly) belongs to Tab’s sister, Dee Jones (Osbourne). It does, in name only. By all accounts, Tab does all the paperwork,online activity, and calls all the shots at whatever photo shoots they manage to set up that aren’t just friends playing dress up.
Same thing with Demons and Deities, the latest incarnation of Tab’s ambitions. Leah does have her name on it, and the search is on to see if it’s a legally registered taxable entity in the state of Massachusetts.
And before anybody starts accusing me of stalking (*eye roll*) The Demons and Deities website is up and running, and the fact that it’s in Massachusetts is is splashed right on the front page.
And on their contact info page.
So far, I don’t see anything proving that it’s a legal taxable entity. A search of the Secretary of State showed nothing for Demons and Deities.
And nothing at all under the name Leah D Hutchinson.
Nothing under Leah Thomas, either.
Have a look for yourself, here. If you find anything that proves that they exist as a legal business, by all means, let us know.
It’s possible that she’s saying that the business is a sole proprietorship and therefore doesn’t need to be a matter of public record. That’s one of Tabetha’s favorite excuses for not properly registering a business. But let’s not forget that Demons and Deities is an acquired company, by the “former” owners admission. That means there has to be paperwork showing the legal transfer of ownership, contracts, all sorts of things. If anybody can show proof of the transfer of ownership, hit us up with that, too.
And there’s more to running a business legally, too. There’s that pesky DBA and taxation information. There’s all kinds of paperwork involved with acquiring a business. Let’s see a single shred of it.
Looks like even if Tab’s not pulling the strings, Leah took notes.
And there are more similarities between “Leah’s” company and Tabetha’s, as well. Have a look at their “about” page.
First and foremost, there’s Tabetha’s patented “We’re a family” line. Make ’em feel wanted, make ’em feel loved make ’em feel like family and they’ll put up with more questionable antics than a stranger with a mere business association would. Keep ’em dazzled by “family” bullshit, and they won’t notice a pick-pocketing hand sliding into their pocket.
I’ve said it many times. There’s got to be a comfortable business relationship between an author and publisher. But it’s got to be BUSINESS. Authors don’t need to know what’s going on in a publisher’s private life. Period.
More disturbingly, Demons and Deities charge authors money up front, for both cover art and editing. No matter who’s running a publishing company, that’s the only red flag an author needs to see. If a company charges, run the other way. Money flows TO the author, not FROM.
A quick look at their authors page shows another one of Tab’s favorite tricks. A roster full of aliases. I’d be surprised if even a single name on that page is a real person and not an alt.
For example, the first guy on the list is “E. W. Farnsworth, author of Among Waterfowl.”
I did find a title by someone named E. W. Farnsworth, but it was a book called Bitcoin Fandango. Not ‘Among Waterfowl.’ I’d have to wonder if it’s the same fellow, or if it’s a matter of a name being used in copycat, like the two Ivy Sinclairs. (read about that little bit of shrewd business here)
Truth is, I’m hard-pressed to find most of the authors listed on that page. Max Raven and Nick Zarpour have little search results, if any. There is a Ty Arthur, but all I could find written by him is reviews. Vaughn Rayne is one of the
authors alts that posted in To my lover’s dismay, with no other online presence at all, so we already know to question the validity of that identity. Beyond that, there’s only the copycat Ivy, Leah and her alt, Tab and hers. So, it looks like Leah’s picked up that trick from Tab, too. Making it look like her company appear to be more impressive and prolific than it really is by padding the roster with a fist full of fakes.
Looks like by teaming up with Tab, Leah’s following the same crooked path, right out of the gate. If I were a betting type of girl, my money would say that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Demons and Deities here on my blog.
And it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the name Tabetha Jones (Saulters, Hoover, Willis, Henley, Olejnick, whatever) pops up as being more than an author. Like with her sister’s company, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Tab’s pulling the strings behind this one, too.
Time will tell.
Authors, if there’s a real one among you that’s signed with Deities and Demons, RUN.
And don’t worry if you’ve already signed your name on the dotted line. If a company isn’t legal, neither are its contracts. You can wipe your ass with that thing and tell them to take a hike. Don’t let them tell you that you have to pay a separation fee, and tell them to shove any “nondisclosure” statement straight up their noses.
Like Mystic Press, Phoenix Fire, Silver Fang and Dark Storm before it, Demons and Deities is NOT a publishing scheme you want your name involved with if you want a serious career in writing.