36 Responses to “Utterly disgusted (take two)”

  1. Shannon Stacey June 22, 2007 at 9:18 AM #

    So did they get as far in their scheming as to have a plan for when Samhain released their books, then got irate emails from readers who’d read it already and want their money back because it wasn’t marked as a rerelease? Oops. What’s a little contract fraud between adults, no?

    Utterly unprofessional. And just plain stupid to discuss it on a public forum.

  2. FerfelaBat June 22, 2007 at 9:40 AM #

    Well – if it makes you feel any better – I am actually taking a LOT more time and putting in a great deal more effort for the proposal and synopsis I am sending Samhain than I ever did with TOR. I just don’t understand the thought process of the anti-eBook crowd. It’s as if Romanceland has found something lower on the totem pole than “Romance Novels”. They don’t get it. Some will probably NEVER get it. Harlequin seems to be smartening up as well as Kensington. But if they don’t get their heads out of their collective *&^’s they are going to find themselves out with the VCRs. There is no shelf space for anything but Nora now. The nature Nazis who are driving living and literary style are going digital for everything. At the latest O’Reilly (computer book gods) convention they were pushing the Long Tail marketing and the geeks know of what they speak. Believe it.

  3. Lesley Speller June 22, 2007 at 9:44 AM #

    I thought most contracts included a clause that required that the rights revert to the author in the case of the business closing? Of course, I’m not an expert at contract law so I could be completely mistaken.

    At any rate, that is just a despicable thing to do. Just because you’re done wrong doesn’t mean you should turn around and mess with the livelihood of another company who might be willing to embrace you and publish your book without knowing that you’re lying to them!

  4. Annie June 22, 2007 at 9:59 AM #

    Wow, Angie! I’d have my hackles raised, too! I am glad they were stupid enough to post their intentions/thoughts on a public site so that you could be aware it the BS!

  5. Anne Douglas June 22, 2007 at 10:54 AM #

    So it seems I’m just not ruthless enough despite my endeavors to be the biggest bitch in the house (hey it’s not that hard, I’m the only female in the house), I wouldn’t have even thought about cheating like that.

    Damn my parents for instilling good values.

  6. Christine d'Abo June 22, 2007 at 11:02 AM #

    Wow…I don’t know what else to say except good for you for finding out.

  7. Seressia June 22, 2007 at 11:13 AM #

    Who in their right mind who considers herself a career-minded author dreams of doing something like this–and thinks it’s okay–and discusses it in public?

    Romancelandia, please stop drinking the Kool-Aid or whatever is making y’all act the fool this summer!

  8. Jackie June 22, 2007 at 11:25 AM #

    Two lessons for all of us from this. Business ethics are business ethics no matter what business. And second-the internet is not a personal letter to a friend. It is wide and forever. Even if you think you have removed a item that you wish you had never written it is there somewhere and it will be found by someone who looks hard enough. The delete key is the bloggers best and most trustworthy friend.

  9. Toni Anderson June 22, 2007 at 11:57 AM #

    I saw ‘one’ person suggest this on the forums I have been on and they were agented.

    Please don’t judge everyone formerly at Trisk by one or two peoples’ publishing principles.

    This has made me very sad. I think you have blackened the waters again and for what? More controversy. *You* may know the names but other editors reading this don’t do they? And now they can wonder just which ex-trisk author is honest or professional?

    Congratulations for spreading more of the muck.

  10. Toni Anderson June 22, 2007 at 11:58 AM #

    I saw ‘one’ person suggest this on the forums I have been on and they were agented.

    Please don’t judge everyone formerly at Trisk by one or two peoples’ publishing principles.

    This has made me very sad. I think you have blackened the waters again and for what? More controversy. *You* may know the names but other editors reading this don’t do they? And now they can wonder just which ex-trisk author is honest or professional?

    More good news.

  11. Toni Anderson June 22, 2007 at 12:00 PM #

    oops–sorry for the double post. I wasn’t trying to make a double point.

  12. Lauren Dane June 22, 2007 at 1:35 PM #

    We talked about that sense of entitlement some people have when it comes to epublishing, like *they’re* doing the epublisher a favor by submitting or something.

    I’m wondering when folks get the “if you say it in public on the internet someone will see it” lightbulb moment.

  13. Sunny Lyn June 22, 2007 at 4:06 PM #

    Slurs slam all of us. Silence condones them, so brava for speaking out.

  14. Charlene Teglia June 22, 2007 at 5:00 PM #

    Lauren, I’ve been grinding my teeth over the entitlement attitude so you must be reading my mind. *g*

    Angie, amen. This is business. Real business. And perpetrating fraud comes with real consequences.

    Ferfe, I spent more time writing and rewriting my next Samhain book than anything else I’ve ever done. I wasn’t willing to just slap it together and turn it in because “it’s just an ebook and it doesn’t matter”. It has my name on it, it’ll be published, and it’ll be around forever. It matters.

  15. Sarah Grimm June 22, 2007 at 5:31 PM #

    As an ex-Trisk author whose second book was just released on the 15th of this month, and who is still ‘sick’ over all of this, I find the fact that authors are discussing doing this disturbing. To think that they’re not only discussing it but discussing it publicly, makes me even more sick to my stomach. I fear what backlash this will have on myself and the rest of us ex-Trisk authors who have always looked at this as a business -one I wish to continue on in.

    That said, I will admit that I have already been approached by other ePubs interested in my Trisk books. This confused me, as they have to know that until all of this is settled, I do not have the rights to those books.

    So I guess in this business, as in any other, there are those that will ‘bend’ the rules. I won’t. Once my WIP is completed, I will look for a new publisher, hoping that they will let my writing stand for itself and not let the fact that I was a Trisk author when they folded, color their opinion of me.

  16. Lynne Connolly June 22, 2007 at 5:41 PM #

    This whole Triskelion thing has been a huge shock to many of the authors. Yes, we saw it coming, but we didn’t realise that our contracts would be dragged into the whole bankruptcy thing. Because we have that clause in our contracts, that if the company goes into liquidation, we get our rights back automatically. Then a lawyer tells us that clause is basically a pious hope rather than a definite right, because bankruptcy judges can override that clause.
    Then we hear that the lawyers might be able to backdate the freezing and claiming of assets for six months before bankruptcy is filed.
    So yes, some writers are desperate. Add to that, the effects of going through the grieving process – and some authors are doing that – and you get people talking about things they might not ever consider doing.
    Some authors discussed if they could do this for contracted but unpublished novels, but I’ve not seen it discussed for already published books.
    For myself, I have 12 books involved in this mess, only 3 of which I can be fairly sure I have back (two expired contracts, one contract never signed), a release note for 7 and 2 still with Triskelion. I was asked to leave those 2 for “goodwill.” The same “goodwill” that was going to return the books to me? Yeah, right. I don’t intend to sign any contracts until I know I can offer them free and clear, but not everyone can afford to think that way.
    But my career is about going forward, not back. I have new books in the works and new markets I’m pretty excited about. Not every author has that and not every author has been through this process before. They are grieving.
    I’d like to bet you won’t see any revamped Triskelion titles in the market when the rights are finally freed to us. Just because people, in a state of shock, are discussing these things, it doesn’t mean they’ll do it.
    I want to repackage my books when I get them back, maybe retitle the first two to bring them in line with the rest of the series. But I will be making it clear they are reissued, add “formerly xxx” to the title or something like that, just as I did with the recently reissued “Yorkshire.”
    There are over 100 authors involved in this mess. The owners of Triskelion did us no favours, but we hope to get past it and prove that we’re better than that.

  17. Trista Ann Michaels June 22, 2007 at 6:04 PM #

    I agree with someone else who said it here first. You shouldn’t judge the mass by what a couple discussed and quite possibly discussed ‘tongue in cheek’.

    I remember seeing the comment and may have even commented on it myself, quite frankly, I can’t remember. But still, that’s not everyone’s view.

  18. Raine June 22, 2007 at 6:36 PM #

    First, I’d like to say that I agree with Lynne & the other ex-Trisk authors who’ve stated that it was a minority opinion & that some people commenting were only asking about the law. BTW, it wasn’t a public forum any more than any other forum that requires approval to join, but the Internet is never private. But as old as I am, I know never to rant anywhere unless it’s what you want people to remember.

    Second, I was disappointed with the direction things were headed & considered asking for my rights back a few months ago when it was offered. But I don’t make a living off my writing (yet) & would have given my work away if it meant someone would read it. Yes, it was a ton of work, but it was a ton of fun & a ton of learning. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.

    And last from a not so young lady, business is business. Cordial & polite do not a family make. The publishers are not your friends or family. You may feel like they are, which is a good thing, but in the end, business is business. Most of us remember that.

    Okay, my very last point is that the more than 97% of us who have no intention of breaking the law, explicitly or implicitly, hope that everyone doesn’t paint us with the same brush—just as none of us appreciates all ePubs & Romance work shoved into the same frame & looked down on. Now that I’ve sufficiently mixed my metaphors, I’ll leave.


  19. Jennifer Talty June 22, 2007 at 6:57 PM #

    As someone who is affected by triskelion closing I can tell you how overwhelming the situation is. It has broken my spirit in many ways and I don’t think I will ever be the same again. The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. Grief. Anger. Dispare. Rage. Confusion. Sadness. Just to name a few. Add that to the uncertainty of contracts and what will happen from here with my released book and my unreleased books – well, I’m sure anyone who is a writer can imagine what we are going through.

    I’m sadnened by the way some of us who signed with Trisk are being treated. And while many of us had been contimplating leaveing, we can not be held responsible for the company closing it’s doors. Staying wasn’t an easy decision. Leaving wasn’t an easy decision and frankly the whole things sucks. But it is business. It is publishing. this is the first time a company has gone belly up, and it won’t be the last.

    As far as anyone who would try and resell a book that they may not have the rights back to (yet), shame on you. Regardless of what happens with the bankruptcy, or how long it takes to get our rights back, we have to move forward. Yes, I’m made. I put a lot of me into those books and it hurts to know that right now, they are not mine to do with what I want. I have to let the courts handle this. Do what I can to protect myself and get my books back and most importantly, keep writing.

    I truly hope the gossip and chatter will end. What happened, happened. We can’t change it, but we can move on and learn.

  20. K Black June 22, 2007 at 7:03 PM #

    I know I asked on a private loop what the legal definition in percentages significantly changed was. That was the extent of my part of the conversation as I’d heard that if a book was significantly changed from the original it could be republished without worrying about being sued. No one on this loop to my knowledge ever mentioned not telling the prospective publisher that it was previously released and/or contracted.

    However, I had no published works in mind to do this too. In fact, had no intention of doing this at all. I was simply curious what this meant. Now, I don’t know what loop or letter you are referring to, but I can only hope that the authors in question were also only curious as to what this statement meant.

    Besides, my agent wouldn’t allow me to do this even if I begged him. Just because a question is asked doesn’t neccessarily mean is was asked for nefarious means.

    Anyway, my agent will probably be irked I replied to this, but as I was someone who asked this question, I felt I should own up to it, though whether I’m the only one to ask it, or the person you are talking about in your post, that I can’t say.

  21. Lucynda June 22, 2007 at 7:14 PM #

    There is a surviors group that has discussed this topic some. The posts have been overwhelming in letting a future publisher know up front where the book was so the publisher can make their own decision. Never once did I see someone saying they wanted to disguise or trick or fraud anyone.

  22. Lucynda June 22, 2007 at 7:14 PM #

    There is a surviors group that has discussed this topic some. The posts have been overwhelming in letting a future publisher know up front where the book was so the publisher can make their own decision. Never once did I see someone saying they wanted to disguise or trick or defraud anyone.

  23. Angie June 22, 2007 at 7:20 PM #

    My apologies for typos as I’m out of town and on my BlackBerry. First to be clear, I certainly don’t judge the many for the actions of a handful. I’ll try to comment on this when I get home Sunday but that’s not the case.

    Toni, while I appreciate your viewpoint on what is best for other authors, you should appreciate I’m concerned with what is best from the publisher standpoint. And to me, that is certainly not to ignore it or fail to acknowledge someone even had an”off the cuff” idea.color me naïve but before I heard that it would never have occured to me to look out for that.

    I guess I could have named names so other Trisk authors don’t fall under suspicion but I doubt most would think that was a better idea.*I* don’t think that’s a better idea.

    I can’t address other specific comments right now but maybe this post will help some authors think twice about what they say in the future. There ARE hardworking, ethical authors out there and I hope you’ll all hold your peers accountable if ever you hear something like this and encourage them to be one of those hardworking, ethical authors because I have to agree with whoever said above that staying quiet isn’t always the best choice.

  24. Lynne Connolly June 22, 2007 at 7:31 PM #

    I forgot to mention.
    One of the places this was discussed (in an entirely frivolous manner) was a private loop set up to help ex Triskelion authors.

    This is a place where they can vent and where they can feel relatively free to speak up. The loop is by no way public. It isn’t in the yahoo directory, it is invitation and approval only and it carries a warning at the bottom of every post that it is in every way a PRIVATE loop, not a public one.
    I had hoped that it would be a safe place.

    Triskelion authors are from all over the world and we’re all feeling the same pain. This is the only way we can get together and try to formulate a plan to get ourselves out of this mess. We can laugh, cry, swear and drop any public persona and discuss anything we like. We need this outlet for a while, until things become a little clearer.

    So if anyone from that loop leaks to this or any other blog, and I get to hear about it, I will publish that person’s name so that everyone knows that person isn’t to be trusted.

  25. Angie June 22, 2007 at 7:45 PM #

    None of the groups mentioned apply but still, as I think another author discovered this week, members only doesn’t always mean private no matter how much we might wish it so.

  26. kate r June 22, 2007 at 7:46 PM #

    Wow. Even I (remember me? The goob who said “authors’ll do a lot to get their books published” yesterday.) think that’s pretty skanky. Not very smart or respectful of themselves, either.

    In fact of all the people who get ripped off with that nonsense, the authors are the ones who’d end up getting hurt the most. I mean what if they managed to garner some fans with those books? And the fans bought a new book by their favorite author?

  27. Ciar Cullen June 22, 2007 at 8:00 PM #

    I am so sorry for what people are going through. I was one of an earlier round of authors to part ways with Triskelion, and I think we all left for different reasons. At the time I remember reading on various blogs why *I* left, which was amusing, since the person had it wrong. You’ll find that your words, however private you think they are, will be made public, will be changed to suit the writer’s agenda, and will come back to haunt you. Even if you don’t say a thing, you’ll be screwed by association.

    I had an easier time because I got my letter of release for everything years ago, but the emotional damage was suprising. Triskelion bought my first work, and I’ll forever be grateful for that. The rest? I’ll leave that be.

    I only know that it’s folly to assume that your work can just be handed off to another publisher easily. There are a few exceptions of course, and the stars will rise, for sure. It’s gotten very competitive since I first subbed at various companies, and your old books may not cut it. I know I have to work ten times harder now to create a brand new book that will be accepted at Samhain, and that’s my goal for this summer/Fall. I’m not sure about other companies. I’m not trying to scare anyone, I’m just pointing out that I’ve been at both spots and the standards are changing as things become more competitive. And if Triskelion was not on the up and up with you, do not assume that other companies aren’t more professional and won’t hold you to that professional standard. I guess Angie already made that point.

    I know that pain and confusion and hurt will make you say things you’ll regret later, perhaps much later. Really think now about how you want to be perceived next month, next year. I know I regret confiding in some “friends.” I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I have sort of been through a minor version of what you are going through.

    I’ll give some advice, and you won’t like it, but it’s from the heart, so take it or tell me to kiss off, I’m okay either way.

    Start a new book.

    Bring your writing to a higher standard, shoot for the stars, and don’t look back. I am nearly finished completely overhauling books that were published by Triskelion. Honestly, I wish I would have listened to a very wise woman and started from scratch! I’ve even opted NOT to rerelease one of my old books for which I have a contract, because it doesn’t meet my sense of what I’m capable of.

    Go forward. Again, I’m terribly, terribly sorry and I wish everyone the best.

  28. Lynne Connolly June 22, 2007 at 8:13 PM #

    I’ve got to say that I love Ciar’s post.
    I started worrying about my Department 57 series (my preciousssss!!!) and then I realised I have some stories I’ve been dying to write, and some refinements I always wanted to introduce.
    While I still want to see the Department and my other books back on the virtual bookshelves, I would also like to explore these new areas.
    And this is my chance. I’m starting something new, and I’m really excited about it!

  29. Doreen Orsini June 22, 2007 at 11:30 PM #

    I admit, I rushed back to see what was said. As you can imagine, there are quite a few authors dealing with this and that makes for hundreds of posts a day. After finding that post, I agree with Lynne. This was one author telling the authors who had contracts involved for books that were never released. Do I feel this is the answer? No. Whether it was out or not, there is a chance that a company will buy it out of bankruptcy and want to publish it. Again, the readers get hurt.

    I feel for these new authors who won’t get to see their first sold book released. My only advice to them is to get writing! Make the next book even better. We’ve all been burnt. I have heard that with the new bankruptcy laws, we should have our rights back once the trustee reads those contracts. So, bide your time. Create new series. Dig up a heroine who is just as angry and frustrated as yourself and bring her to life!
    *stepping off of soapbox*
    Doreen Orsini

  30. Jaynie R June 23, 2007 at 3:20 AM #

    Wow Angie. Glad you got a warning. Do these authors realize how much legal shit the new publisher could get into if they did that?

    I feel sorry for the Trisk dudes too, but they need to remember this is still a business, and being unprofessional won’t help them get their books published.

  31. Minx Malone June 23, 2007 at 6:49 AM #

    Wow. Obviously writing doesn’t adequately convey tongue in cheek. I remember questions like this being bandied about and I’m sure I replied in my usually snarky way. We’ve been kicked in the teeth and we’re responding with grief and lashing out in anger. None of us is seriously trying to defraud anyone else since WE were just the victims of a fraud. Perhaps we were naive to assume others would get that, since it’s hard to get what it feels like if it’s not happening to you.

    Since you’re a nice mommy (in addition to an evil editor) you can just treat us like the poor orphaned children we now are and say “bad girls, play nicely”.

    Certainly none of us meant to start such a firestorm of controversy. It’s almost enough to make this disgruntled author believe in the power of the written word again.

    Just in case that threw anyone, I’m just kidding! LOL Minx

  32. Angie June 23, 2007 at 7:40 AM #

    Doreen, I think I already said it wasn’t the Trisk group I referred to. It really wasn’t, promise.

  33. Pam Champagne June 23, 2007 at 8:29 AM #

    Someone just steered me to this blog. I work 40 hours a week with an hour commute each way, so what little time I have, I write. I try not to get involved with this type of hype.

    As a former Trisk author, I empathize with the heartbreak and frustrations of the other writers affected by the Triskelion closing their doors. I saw the handwriting on the wall quite some time ago and got out. I have letters releasing the rights of all my books.

    I also see Angela’s point of view as a publisher. To protect her company, she has to be cautious. I read the particular post in question and wrote it off as desperation, not as fact or an intent to commit a crime.

    A person pouring their heart out on the internet always runs the risk of appearing as the star in blogs. It’s a fact of life. Human nature being what it is, there’ll always be someone who gets pleasure from stirring up trouble.

    I know it’s difficult, but Trisk authors should take several deep breaths and move on. Concentrate on their career by writing new material. Put Trisk on the back burner until Trisk files bankruptcy. No one knows what the Bankruptcy Trustee will decide until after the schedules are filed in court.

    Be patient. Wait for the facts. Otherwise, you’ll be like this :chicken:

    Expend your energy in a positive way. Write a new story and make it the best ever.

  34. Toni Anderson June 24, 2007 at 11:43 AM #

    Angie–I stand by my original opinion, but I’d like to say something to clarify. When I said the ‘author was agented’, I meant that I assumed the agent would therefore steer this author in the right direction.

    No one condones this as a practice, plagurism and fraud have always been my strongest peeves in both my careers (not sure about during motherhood).

  35. Tricia June 26, 2007 at 9:34 AM #

    This just reminds me of a good, old Southern saying. The more you stir shit, the worse it smells. Maybe it’s not the most professional way to phrase it, but it seems most blogs are discussing everyone’s private business matters, ethics, etc. on public blogs so what the hay? (I’m referring to other blogs, this one is tame *ggg*)

    Maybe that’s not the most eloquent way to phrase the situation, but it holds pretty true.

    It is sad that someone discussed doing such a thing, however, I believe they spoke or questioned out of desperation. And I agree with Toni, it just makes the rest of us look bad. Now I have more bad karma. Thanks, I needed it.


  1. Dear Author.Com | Author’s Rights When a Publisher Files Bankruptcy - June 24, 2007

    […] let me end with the a note of caution. I read on Angela James’ blog that some Triskelion authors were debating online as to whether they could repackage their work […]

About Me

Angela James

There is nothing worse than writing a bio. And writing one for your blog sidebar? Blech. Maybe you landed here via Google, followed me from Twitter (does that make you a stalker?) or maybe we met at a conference or you clicked a link from a comment I made at a blog you visited. Hopefully whatever I said didn't make you so mad you came looking for a picture to throw darts at (yep, that's me up above, in my favorite cowboy hat) but instead drove you to find out more about the amazingly witty and intelligent person behind the amazingly witty and intelligent comment.

However you found me, who you found is Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin's new digital-first press. I'm passionate about digital publishing, my mission is to drag people to the digital dark side, one reader (and author) at a time. I'm also Brianna's mommy. At my blog you'll get an odd mix of personal and professional posts about parenting, publishing, books, cooking, sewing and life in general. Come back often, comment frequently and go green—buy ebooks!

Please note that this is my personal blog and my opinions are neither that of Harlequin, nor representative of their opinions.


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