I’m back after a relaxing, but rainy, week at the beach. Luckily Cape May has lots to do besides swim. The Victorian architecture is gorgeous, and most days we didn’t actually have rain, just clouds and a bit of drizzle here and there.
We walked on the beach, took trolleys around the town, climbed a working lighthouse for a night tour, and I went on a ghost trolley excursion. Cape May has a LOT of ghosts. I didn’t see any, though. (smile) I love learning about local ghosts when I travel, though. I’ve only written one ghost story, however. It’s on my website, written with Christie Golden, and you can read it for free. The title is: “Though Hell Should Bar the Way” and it’s a sequel to Alfred Noyes famous poem we all had to read in high school, “The Highwayman.”
My website is: www.accrispin.com
You can also read the first 100 pages of my new book, Storms of Destiny, there.
Okay, don’t have time for a long entry today, but I’ll finish up the story of what happened to Dorothy and Charles Deering.
The Deering-scammed authors, as I told you previously, had banded together right about the time that Victoria Strauss and I were first discussing forming Writer Beware.
These authors managed to bring their plight to the attention of an FBI agent named Clay Mason. Ladies and gents, this guy is a true hero. He listened to these authors, and began investigating the situation. It took him months to interest the State authorities, including the US Attorney, etc. Finally, he got a search warrant and turned up at Charles and Dorothy’s offices with a TRUCK, and cleaned them out. He wound up hauling away tons of manuscripts, most still unopened, that the Deerings had lying around. After they cashed the checks, why should they bother to do anything with the manuscripts?
Dorothy Deering and Charles Deering were shocked that their little game was coming to an end. The evidence, as gathered by Special Agent Mason, proved in no uncertain terms that these people were scamming writers both as literary agents and also as publishers.
Matter of fact, the case was completely documented in a very good book, called “Ten Percent of Nothing: The Literary Agent from Hell” written by former FBI agent and Professor of Criminology, Jim Fisher. Yes, the same Jim Fisher who had first begun tracking writing scams at around the same time as Kim from The Write Connection was tracking them.
You can find the book on Amazon.com and it is a FASCINATING read: a true crime anatomy of how a writing scam works. I highly recommend it! (And guess what? I’m mentioned in it!)
The Deerings, and their whole crew, Bill Richardson, and Dorothy’s stepson, Daniel, all faced charges. Dorothy, as the ringleader, got 46 months in Federal prison. Charles, her chief accomplice, got 41 months. Daniel Deering, Dorothy’s stepson, was placed on probation, but he failed a drug test, so he wound up in the slammer anyhow. Bill Richardson, Dorothy’s thuggish brother in law, was the one who cut a deal with the authorities to squeal on the others. He did only a year because he cooperated.
All of this happened back in the late 90’s, so the Deerings are out of prison now. But for some reason, they haven’t tried forming another literary agency or publishing house. (grin)
As for the writers…well, it’s sad. Dorothy and Charles had run through all of the money (and it must have been a couple million, they were raking it in) living in a high rolling fashion, buying houses and cars for relatives, etc. The victims got almost no restitution. They did, however, get the rights back to their books.
Read Jim Fisher’s book if you’re interested in the anatomy of a writing scam. It’s a real eye-opener.
Hope y’all are doing well. I’ll continue with the Kelly O’Donnell part of the tale next post.
Oh, before I forget!
Today’s writing tip: MANY BEGINNING WRITERS TEND TO OVER-USE ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS. YOU WANT YOUR WRITING TO BE LEAN, AND UNCLUTTERED. SO IF YOU HAVE A TENDENCY TO USE TOO MANY ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS, WHEN YOU FINISH A CHAPTER, GO BACK AND CHECK EACH PAGE FOR ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS. CUT OUT HALF OF THE ONES YOU FIND, AND SEE HOW MUCH “LEANER” YOUR WRITING IS!
-Ann C. Crispin
Author: STORMS OF DESTINY/HarperEos