Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interesting Developments

This morning, I woke up to a threatening message left as a comment on my blog.

Now granted, there are several people I can think of right off the top of my head who might feel compelled to leave such a comment on my  blog. Obviously, considering the nature of my past few posts I would have been an idiot not to change my comments over to moderation. I tend to NOT be an idiot--at least, not all the time--so I was fortunate enough to weed that comment out in the skimmer.

*shrug*  I'm really only an idiot about silly things, like forgetting to turn the heat on last night when I knew the temperature was going to get down to the low forties. (in other words, it's damn cold in here this morning). But one thing I'm most definitely NOT an idiot about is how people behave.  Years of bartending kind of wean you off the surprise thing.  But even then, strange reactions are kind of acceptable in a way.  Someone can have a few too many and shoot off at the mouth without really meaning to and BAM!  Bar brawl.

This is different.

I have to ask myself--who wants me to keep silent? Who thinks they can scare me into shutting up?  The list of suspects is fairly small; pretty much limited to the posts on my front page.  I figure it's someone who either wants me to keep quiet about Aspen Mountain Press, someone who didn't appreciate me outing self-plagiarism, or someone who has a strong reason to want to scare me from a personal situation. And since I'm reasonably certain that the only person who is involved in the latter can neither read nor spell, I have to look at the other two.

Let me make myself perfectly clear: I don't respond to threats. I don't really give a crap about anything a coward hiding behind an Anonymous handle might think about me, about my decisions, or about my right to speak out. I really, really don't.

That being said--

There's been some movement on the Aspen Mountain Press debacle.  Authors are starting to get rights reversion letters, which is great.  The website is down, with the following message:

The Aspen Mountain Press web site is temporarily suspending operations.
Over the past five years we've demanded high standards in all areas of the company from authors to editors to administrators.  Due to the current health of the owner these standards have not been met. 
We'd like to thank you for your support and patronage over this past half decade and apologize for any inconveniences this decision causes.

Also, checks of third party sites reveal that there are very few AMP books to be found for sale.  Even Amazon, apparently, has taken many AMP books down.  

All of this is good news.  When the AMP website was pulled, a new countdown clock started up.  Contractually, (Section XIX) if AMP suspends operations for sixty days, all rights revert to the authors immediately.  So this is great news, particularly when paired with the authors who had their own countdowns started over thirty days ago with notification of breach of contract.  Those countdown clocks are 90 day clocks. So right now, the authors who have not received rights reversion letters are keeping a weather eye on the AMP site.

However, I've not heard of any authors or staff getting paid.  Indications are that AMP is getting rights reversion letters out first and then turning to the salaries and royalties still owed. For the time being, therefore, while there is progress many AMP authors are not satisfied.  Latest word from Ms. Hicks, the owner, has reverted once more on the subject of having enough money to pay AMP authors and staff and now says she has the money for back wages and royalty payments.  

So hopefully, the small signs of progress are indicative of real progress and not just good intentions.

I have hopes that AMP and Ms. Hicks are going to do the right thing.  As I've said before, I've known Sandra for years, and she has been a friend and mentor to me. I don't believe she ever set out to deliberately harm her authors, staff or company; I think she was just overwhelmed But in the eyes of the law, and the people who are suffering as the result of this debacle, intent counts for little when set against the reality of the AMP staff and authors' very real and legitimate complaints.