Violation

copyright-violation
In a recent comment, a former victim reports that she continues to see her work in publications put out by  the various, assorted publishing company incarnations owned by Tabetha Jones.

A quick google of Amazon.com’s terms of service confirms that the publication of unauthorized written content constitutes an intellectual rights violation.

So, authors, if you find any of your content being published or sold by Tabetha Jones without your prior knowledge or consent, don’t bother asking her to remove it. She obviously doesn’t care. Instead, report the infringement to Amazon.com. Maybe they’ll yank her account. And the literary world can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

You’re welcome.

Advertisements

BD heads up

Just a quick heads up. Tab’s planning to re-release her Beautiful Disasters anthology.
upcomingreleasesBDremake
So if you’ve got work in the previous incarnation(s) of that (or any other MP, PF, DS, SF, SS) book, or if you’ve ever given her anything to read, keep a close eye on BD to make sure none of your work shows up in it on the sly. Just to be safe.

And if any of you know Aradia Wadjet, Norbert Gora or Natalie Moon, please let those poor people know what they’re getting into.

It’s official… sort of

Sweete Sinz has been announced by Tabetha Jones.
Sweetesinzreopen

I scarcely know where to start.

I guess I’ll start with her usual lack of a single clue about how to be professional. If the first thing you read about a business is that it has “haters”  “on believers” (?) “nosy bitches” and “stalkers” that alone should tell you that this is a “business” to avoid at all costs. It says right up front that this “imprint” isn’t about books. It’s about drama. This is reinforced by her continuation that she’s protecting her names (both Tabetha Jones and Zoey Sweete) from “slander” and “malicious talk” by trademarking her company.

First, let’s not forget that she started off saying that she was Copyrighting her business. It wasn’t until after I corrected her that she started using the term Trademark. Hell, just about everything she tries (and fails) to get right is because she learned it from me correcting her. That’s pretty sad for somebody that has been claiming to be a publisher for, what, four years now? After all that time, she still hasn’t got even the most basic grasp on how business works.

Next, I can only say it again, for the millionth time. It’s not slander unless it’s false. I don’t know what language she wants it in, but it’s not slander to point out that a person is a crook if they are, in fact, a crook. Never has been, never will be.

Yes, you register a Trademark. Requesting a tax ID and making sure a business is legal at the state and local levels are different things. But as she has so far seemed unable to do a single legal thing regarding any of her so-called companies, it seems unlikely that she’d know the difference.

I take that back. She did do one legal thing. She requested a tax ID for Dark Storm (after first lying to her authors and the public by claiming that the company was owned by someone named Destiny Rane, who turned out to be Tab herself). With that one, feeble stab at trying to appear legitimate, she provided a direct link between all of her past shady companies and herself, through Dark Storm. Where she had previously used alternate accounts, “family” names and other shady shenanigans (to avoid paying taxes?), she put the name Tabetha Jones on Dark Storm. That provided a direct link for the IRS to walk straight up to her front door and knock. So kudos to her for that.

Same thing with this new company. She claims to be procuring a tax ID, registering and Trademarking Sweete Sinz, setting herself up to be all proper and legitimate. If she succeeds, more power to her.

But let’s not forget the twisted path she’s walked  to get here. First (that we know of), there was Mystic Press, which has been proven to scam and rip people off. There are authors, artists and editors from MP that never got paid, and never will. She literally gloated when the statute of limitations ran out for those poor saps. Next came Phoenix Fire, which was just more of the same. Many of the fine folks that speak up about how crooked she is were PF authors, editors and artists that have come forward to say how crookedly she dealt with them, lying to them, involving them in her personal drama and bilking money out of them, offering sob stories about needing new shoes for her kid or having to make payments on her computer or else all of their work would be lost – things of that nature.

After PF came a convoluted series of one-offs. There was the short-lived Silver Fang, which was actually the brainchild of one of her former co-owners, Dark Storm, and Demons and Deities. Mostly (if not all) in rapid succession within this year alone.

And now, there’s Sweete Sinz, the latest in her efforts to bring Zoey Sweete, her pen name, to life. Tab doesn’t even sign her own name to her books, anymore. She attributes all of them to Zoey, including a memoir about her groupie days at the strip club. You know, the one that the club refuses to permit. I guess she thinks by changing the author name, she can slip it in under the wire on them. It won’t work, of course. But with the success of films like Magic Mike and the film about her favorite club, La Bare, her skewed image of herself as part of that world is more glamorized than ever, and she’s desperate to insert herself into that limelight by any means possible. Even if it means trying to publish bold-face lies about romantic adventures with male strippers that would rather gouge their genitals off with a spork and become eunuch monks than touch her. Even if it means treading upon the cherished memories of a fallen dear friend and family man that deserves much better. She doesn’t care. If she can glorify herself, she feels justified.

Even within the formation of Sweete Sinz, there have been lies.

First, she claimed that Sweete Sinz was going to be an imprint ONLY to publish her own books. Her own self publishing efforts.  Not words that I’m implying, but her own words in her own post:
BMisback

And now, here she is setting it up like MP, PF, SF, DS and DD, to work with other authors “one on one” to make their dreams of publishing come true. We’ve seen those words before, haven’t we, boys and girls?

Amusing as all get-out is her assertion that because she trademarks her company, she thinks that protects her from having her crooked activities pointed out if she commits them, as if a trademark is a magic umbrella under which she can do anything she wants and nobody can call her on it. If that’s really what she thinks, she’s got a rude awakening coming.

Also amusing is that by saying that “this time” she’s going to do everything right, she admits that she got it wrong before. She admits that PF and DS were “rushed” and wrong. What is she thinking, saying that “Well, those companies were wrong, but this one will be right”? What can she offer as any reason for people to think that she’s learned anything new, or has any intention whatsoever of changing her ways? Has she taken business classes? Doubtful. Has she had some change of heart? Doubt it. Considering the lies that have already swirled around about the formation of this “new” company, all evidence supports that she intends to pick right up where she left off, using the same methods and means. She’s already using the same catch phrases about working “one on one” with authors to “make their dreams come true.”  Nothing’s changed at all, except for the name of the company. And even that isn’t very original, as there are companies a round the world already using it, including a bakery a chocolatier in India, and an adult escort in Atlanta. One has to wonder if any of them have trademarked the name. Worth finding out.

Does she really think that just because she says so, this new company won’t be compared to the train wrecks of her past? Sorry, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Especially when everything appears to be exactly the same about all of them, from the formation to the wording and especially the owner.

I can only shake my head at the folly.

Well, that and all the rest of it. It doesn’t matter that she’s announcing a company that has no legal foundation, no website or online presence at all. Even a partner that isn’t prepared to be named in association with her efforts. Yet. All of that, hilarious as it is, can be shrugged off as a work in progress. I’m still working on my own sites. It’s part of the job.

What really matters is that there’s nothing in her recent past or present that gives a single hint that this company is going to come together and be any better than any of the past ones were. Exactly the opposite. If anything, this one looks to be even more of a  joke.

Why does she even try? Because she’s her biker-daddy’s tough-minded little girl? Even that’s up for dispute lately, isn’t it? Because she promised her mother on her deathbed? The mere notion is an insult to a sweet lady that was burdened with stress and drama that probably hastened her into the grave. No. She does it for one reason, and one reason only. Money.

Sure. The rest of us work for money. If we said we wrote and published for the pleasure of it, we’d be liars. We’ve all got bills to pay. Difference between her and us is that we do the work expecting to get paid for our labors. That’s it. Nothing more, and nothing less. We don’t rip the beating hearts out of others, bleed them dry and then trample over their broken corpses in search of a fresh victim.

I’ll wait and see what her website looks like. Let’s see who that new(?) co-owner is. Let’s wait for those same, tired old books come out, including her magnum opus, anthologies written by authors that can no longer stand the sight of her. Let’s wait and see if any single thing happens with this new company that smacks of something fresh and new, or even remotely professional and legitimate. So far, it’s left wanting.

12 reasons to find a different publisher

Avoid any publisher if:

1)  A publisher appears on watchdog sites like Predators and editors, Absolute Write – water cooler, Writer beware, or has a less than stellar rating on the Better business Bureau. Those sites exist to warn you against using publishing companies or services. Take their advice and keep looking for one that would do well by you. Or, better yet, manage your own affairs.

2)  A publisher charges reading and/or submission fees. This is usually a red flag, especially in a smaller publisher. Charging reading fees could easily be a sign of the company’s lack of ability to manage their money, if they have to take it from you for reading scripts or accepting submissions.

3)  If a publisher charges ANY fees. In publishing,money flows TO the author, not FROM. These fees include up front fees, like for reading or submissions. But they also present as questionable separation fees. If a company’s contract includes a clause that says that if the contract terminates before the natural duration (a year, two years, three books, whatever), you have to cough up, say, $125 to be released and/or get your work back, it’s a trap. That means that the publisher can terminate your contract, blame you for it, and hit you up for the money.

4)  You see a publisher with a history of names a mile long, like Mystic press, Phoenix Fire publishing, Silver Fang publishing (briefly), Dark Storm Publications, and Demons and Deities. All the same company, with the same people in charge. No, my friend, You don’t need to deal with a company that changes names more often than a strip club whore drops her panties, if she’s wearing any at all. At best, such a company is inept and needs to keep changing names to avoid the reputation of doing a poor job. At worst, such a company has a history of scamming and defrauding authors. An upstanding company stands by its name proudly. They don’t keep switching it up to dodge a bad reputation (or maybe even taxes). If you see a publisher with a list of names a mile long, don’t even pause. Keep looking.

5)  A publishing company can’t provide proof that they exist as a legal entity. Search your publisher’s state for public records proving that they are a taxable entity. While it’s true that some sole proprietorships don’t have to register for taxes. But that means that only one person can own it and work for it. That’s fine for an artist that sells artwork online, but ask yourself this: Can only one person run a publishing company? Can only one person do all of the editing, promotion and marketing, from accepting the author’s submission, production, publication, marketing and promotion? Can one person arrange for all of that, plus book signings, interviews and everything else it takes to make a book successful?  Doubtful. As an author, you need a whole team of professionals doing their best to represent you and your work. Not one slob, sitting at their kitchen table at 2 in the morning, doing nothing but slapping your book on Createspace and expecting to keep up to half of your royalties. No marketing, no promotion. You can do better yourself, and keep all of your royalties while you’re at it.

6)  A publishing company’s only contact information is an email. There’s something fishy going on if you can’t even pick up the phone and talk to a real person about your work. You don’t just deserve to know who you’re dealing with, you NEED to know.

7)  A publishing company’s web page is a weebly, or some other hosting site rather than a dot com. If a publishing company won’t pony up for a dedicated domain, it means one of three things:
They’re too cheap to pony up the money
They don’t have anybody skilled enough to run it.
They don’t expect to exist long enough to bother. (See number 3)

8)  Your contract carries over. If a company’s contract contains the stipulation that if the company is sold, given away, or changes hands for any reason, your contract will “carry over” to the new owner, or to the new company’s new name. That’s not only dubious, legally, as contracts don’t just “Carry over” like that. It’s also a sure sign that the company expects to change names, or hands. (see number 3)

9)  A publishing company’s owner can’t or won’t answer all of your questions. Don’t be shy. Ask as many questions as you can think of. A small company, especially, should be able to answer each and every one of your questions with professionalism, easily and patiently.
Does the company exist legally? (See number 5)
Who owns the company? (See number 4)
Who, exactly, works for the company? (See number 4, in case they’re being dodgy about ownership.)
Who, exactly, will be doing the editing, formatting and artwork for your book? And don’t accept the answer that “someone within the company: will be assigned to do it. The reason it’s important is that some smaller companies inbreed editing work by getting other authors to do it for the promise of increased royalties. This is highly improper. Authors sign with a publishing company to write and get published. Not to work for the other company in any capacity. And, many times, other authors aren’t trained or experienced enough to do the job. If your editor isn’t going to be a trained, experienced professional, you don’t want them working on your book.
How will you get paid?
How much will you get paid?
When will you get paid?
Will your publisher grant you access to examine their financial affairs? Many, most publishing companies don’t mind granting an author and their accountant or lawyer access to their financial records because they have nothing to hide. If the company you’re looking at refuses, you’ve got to ask yourself what they’ve got to hide.
When will they send your 1099 form? Your publisher is legally obligated to send you a 1099 form for taxation purposes, both yours and theirs. If you’ve stumbled upon a publishing company that doesn’t send authors this form, they’re not only keeping you from properly filing your taxes. You know they aren’t properly filing theirs, either. They can’t be, if they haven’t allowed you to file yours. That’s Tax fraud, and you want no part of it.
These are but a few  questions that I can think of off the top of my head. There are likely more that you’ll think of. like I said before, don’t be shy about asking them. A proper publisher will be happy to answer them.

10)  The owners of a publishing company involve you in their personal affairs. If, during the course of your first few conversations with a publisher, you hear anything about the owner’s personal life rather than business, hang up and keep looking. As an author, you want to hear about how you and your work will be represented to the literary world. Not who the owner is fighting with, who’s sick, who’s dating whom, the dog, the cat, drinking, clubbing, their religious beliefs or anything else. If a company owner thinks it’s okay to talk to a client bout anything but business, you don’t want them handling your book. Sure, a publisher and client need to have a good professional relationship, even a comfortable one. But the emphasis in that statement is PROFESSIONAL. You want them working on your book, not sucking you into their personal drama. Walk away. With haste.

11)  A publishing company focuses heavily on “Anthologies” or collections of short stories or poetry. Some smaller companies are notorious for publishing a ton of anthologies, going so far as to say that the company doesn’t even take royalties for the book. How generous!  The book comes out with contributions by, say. 10 authors. And the royalties are supposed to be divided evenly between all authors. Sounds good, until you realize that (at least) half of the authors are aliases of the owner. Not only are they keeping royalties, they’re taking HALF of the royalties earned by the book. And you’re getting, what? 1/10th? Do they seem so generous now? Exactly. No.

12)  Either Tabetha (Hoover, Saulter, Willis, Farmer, Olejnik) Jones or Nick Pacione are anywhere near them. If you see either of those names involved with a publisher, you need know nothing more.

Any one of these is a good enough reason to keep looking for a different publisher. If you find one with two, three, or more, run the other way as fast as your literary little legs will carry you.

Nom de plume

pen-names-when-best-to-use-a-pen-name
There are a lot of choices an author faces over the course of his or her career. What to write about, which agents to approach, whether to publish through a traditional company, indie, or do it themselves.

Perhaps the first choice an author has to make is what name to publish under. Most figure they have nothing to hide, so they simply use their legal name. No sweat. But sometimes, an author chooses to use a nom de plume, a pen name.

Maybe an author has an existing body of work and wants to explore another genre . Or to test the waters in an existing genre. Stephen King wrote several books under the pen name Richard Bachman to see if it was still his talent that was selling books, or if people just bought them because his real name was on them. He was found out pretty quickly, but in the meantime, he did prove that he’s just that good.

Or maybe an author just doesn’t think his own name will sell books so s/he chooses a name they like better.

In my case, there are already a dozen people using my real name, as authors and artists, professors and just about any other profession you can think of. Including a few that use the exact same spelling. So I decided to use the initials JT. (Please note that I do not use periods after my initials. If folks are going to quote or slander me, they need to at least get the name right.) My middle initial is not T; I chose it for personal reasons. Or, rather, it was chosen for me. Bonus points to anybody that knows what it stands for, and why.

And it’s certainly not just me.

Ben Franklin wrote as Alex Afterwit, Alice Addertongue and a host of other names, for various reasons.
Sam Clemens was Mark Twain.
Dean Koontz wrote as Aaron Wolfe and Anthony North, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, David Axton, John Hill, K. R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Owen West and Richard Paige.
Anne Rice was born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien. Who knew?

Point is, there’s nothing new about using a pen name. They’re as old as literature itself. In older times, a noble person couldn’t be associated with something as common as writing books. so those works were published under some other name. And, back then, nobody would have taken anything written by a mere woman seriously, so a male name on a book cover was necessary for it to be properly received by the reading public. Anne Bronte wrote as Acton Bell.

There are as many reasons to use a pen name as there are possibilities from which to choose. And most of them are valid. The only time they’re not legit is when it’s one person making up not only a ton of fake names to write under, but whole fake people with entire fake lives with fake/stolen pictures to present to the world as them , to defraud the public into thinking a publishing company has more authors than it really does. In short, it’s not okay when it’s done in order to be fraudulent rather than literary. And, no. it can’t be both.

Here are some points to consider when choosing a pen name:
598254-54917-4

That last point is especially important.

For example, there is more than one author using the name Ivy Sinclair. There’s this author named Ivy Sinclair that has a formidable body of work, writes well and presents herself well online with a tight, concise, professional webpage, fb, Goodreads, Amazon profile and Twitter.

And then there’s this other Ivy Sinclair, who writes barely literate spank through dodgy indie publishers like Phoenix Fire, Dark Storm, and whatever they’re calling it next. Quite possibly not a real person at all, but rather an alt used by a scam publisher trying to make her roster appear more prolific and impressive than it really is.

Same name, very different authors. The first one, the real Ivy Sinclair, writes well and if contemporary romance is your taste, I suggest that you look her up.

The second one, the fake, not so much.

And before some smart acre comes along and says “Why is it okay for Dean Koontz to use so many names but not me?” …just don’t. He’s Dean Koontz. You’re not.

Getting back to the point, choose your name wisely, young Jedi. Whatever name you decide to use for your writing, your real name or some other, is going to be with you for a very long time. That could be a very good thing or it could be a decision you regret forever. So give it lots of thought.

You’re welcome.

The big “Transition.”

No, not the Jenner transition. The news is already doing a fine job of covering that.

No. The transition I’m talking about is the one “Dark Storms” is going through.

First, Tabetha Hoover Jones posts that Leah Diane (LD) Hutchinson is taking over Dark Storm publications.
darkstormLDHutchinson

Then along comes Haelsamoht (Leah Thomas, aka Leah (LD) Hutchinson) insisting that she’s not taking over the company. She’s just offering the authors a new home. Honest!

Isn’t that the same thing “Destiny” said when she opened Dark Storm?
Yeah. We’ve heard that story before.

Yet Tabetha maintains that she’d continue to publish her ‘work’ through Leah and DSP, intimating that DSP would continue to exist.
DSPTabquote

Yet here comes Leah, raging back with a whole SLEW of posts, first insisting that she’s ignoring this blog, then swearing that she’s not taking over DSP. It’s a whole different company, different names, different contracts, different everything. Even the DSP website, blog and FB pages are gone, to PROVE that it’s a real change. Not just a whitewash. Only the authors will be the same, she says. And we already know that most of them are figments of the owner’s imagination. So, will all of those alts show up at the “new” company, too? With all of the same old books?

Hon, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck.

According to Leah, we’ll see the “new” company in a week or so. And we’ll see how closely the company, the roster and the structure are the same. My bet says that it’s the same old song and dance. Same company, same structure, same authors, same everything. Just as contrived, just as crooked. With Tab very much still pulling the strings (from wherever) and still profiting from the same kinds of scams authors have suffered through in the past. The only real change will be that some new patsy is willing to put her name on it and take the heat for it.

On one hand, I want to feel sorry for Leah. WE all know what’s coming her way, but she hasn’t the first clue. She knows that Tab’s crooked, yet she’s still willing to  be complicit in this “transition” scheme, but she doesn’t know Tab like we do. She doesn’t know that before this whole “buy my company” idea came about, Tab already knew what she planned for Leah.

Let’s not forget, Tab tried the same thing a year or two ago, when the thought Jacqueline was willing to pose as a “buyer” for the company, citing “investor interest” in Phoenix Fire. Jackie was smarter than that, though, and never went through with it. But it looks like Tab found somebody young and naive enough to follow through this time.

We’ve warned Leah not to put her name, reputation, and maybe even her freedom in the line of fire to cover Tab’s ass. But she seems to think, for some reason, that she’s immune to what we all now is coming.

I can only repeat myself: Leah, walk away. RUN the other way. Save yourself from the clutches of that predatory sociopath. If you continue down the path you’re on, there’s a whole world of hurt ahead for you. And I don’t mean at the hands of this blog. Whether you believe it or not, we’re here to help. We’re here to try and stop you from making the jump from being complicit in HER schemes to becoming fully, legally liable for all of them, past and present. You think we’re attacking you, but we’re trying to help you.

If you’re somebody that cares about Leah and you’re reading this, talk to her. Make her understand that she’s at the crossroads of a potentially life-shattering decision. If you care about her at ALL, Help her make the healthy one, the one that won’t leave her battered and maybe even legally trashed. Help her save herself from a very, very bad life choice.

More to come, soon.

Dark Storm brewing

08

This was posted on the Dark Storm Facebook page today.
darkstormLDHutchinson

Tabetha Hoover Jones appears to be handing Dark Storm Publications over to Leah Diane Hutchinson, lock, stock, and barrel.

There are whispers floating around about why, and when I have proof positive, I’ll post it. Until then, I want to assure the public that just because Dark Storm is changing hands, that doesn’t mean that it automatically falls off my radar. Hoover Jones likes to say that I have a personal vendetta against her, but that’s not entirely true. I’m dedicated to making sure that authors don’t get scammed by somebody fraudulently posing as an indie publisher, no matter who has the keys to the front door. If anything, I’ll be looking closer.

There are a few observations that I’d like to make.
First, it doesn’t matter what some dodgy contract says. When a company is closed, sold, given away, or otherwise changes hands, CONTRACTS DO NOT CARRY OVER. So, if there are any authors still with Dark Storm (with a pulse. Not those that are alts), The screen cap above is all you need to walk. That’s confirmation that you can take back ownership of your work, and consider yourself no longer legally obligated to that company.

And you do NOT owe anybody a single thin dime. So if either the old or new owner of that company try to hit you up for that $125 sep fee, tell them to stuff it.

There are a whole host of reasons pertaining to publishing and business law that probably make Dark Storm a completely illegal company that doesn’t exist, like Phoenix Fire and Mystic Press before it. I could list them, but suffice it to say that there’s a LOT of paperwork that needs to be done when a company changes hands, and if you haven’t seen that paperwork first hand, it doesn’t exist. Take note, authors. You’re clear. You’re free. Walk away. There’s not a single legal thing they can do to you.

I’ve already mentioned LD Hutchinson in relation to other projects, like Midnight Hour publishing and Black Diamond Designs. If she’s taking over as the owner of Dark Storm, she can expect to see her name all over this blog, one way or the other. If she doesn’t like that, she should have thought of that before she agreed to take over a company that has a history of scamming people.

Also of note is that, while the change of ownership has been made public on Facebook, the DSP website still has Tab as the owner. There’s nothing at all on their blog. So, unlike a professional company that would announce changes after they’re made and the company is ready to roll, they’ve got their online presence scattered and disjointed, with different sites showing different information. Can we say unprofessional, much?

It’s pretty obvious that DSP isn’t being improved in the least by the announced change of ownership. Instead, it’s being handed over to someone who’s far too young and inexperienced to do any publishing company any justice. The fact that her ownership was announced before the company is even ready to roll alone shows that there’s a screaming lack of professionalism going on. Rather, it looks like she thinks she can just plug in the passwords and pick up where Tabetha left off.

It doesn’t work that way.

Authors, you’ve been given your walking papers. Use them. RUN. You don’t have to pay anything. You don’t have to sign anything. Just take your work and walk. Find a publisher that can treat you and your work with the respect and professionalism you deserve.

You’re welcome.