I think seeing the Deerings go down scared Kelly O'Donnell/Martha Ivery (Martha Ivery is her real name...she had at least 6 aliases at one time or another). Kelly had done some work with them...either "selling" books to Sovereign press, or possibly with the Deering Literary Agency "selling" book's to Martha's "PressTIGE" Publishing Company.
Anyway, after the Deerings were indicted, she became a lot more aggressive in defending herself, making a lot of threats. Any writer that dared to complain about her was subjected to threats, withering scorn, harrassment, etc. On at least one occasion Martha phoned Child Welfare Services in a town on a former client who had dared to complain publicly about her, calling in an anonymous tip from a "concerned neighbor" that the woman was beating and neglecting her children.
Martha also defended herself on the Aol boards under a plethora of names, including the SN "Howard Stern." She announced that Victoria Strauss and I were terrorists who had bombed the World Trade Center (the first bombing, not the 9/11 one), that Writer Beware was a front for the Mafia, and then she began claiming that she was keeping tabs on my movements. She claimed to be watching me every moment. Of course the things she claimed to be doing, for example, "I watched you go through the drive in window at the bank yesterday" were obviously bogus, at least to me. (I bank by mail.)
I ignored her. She then claimed to be my literary agent, and got people to sign on with her in that way. She claimed to have the franchise to publish Star Trek novels. Nobody ever accused Martha of being timid. Chutzpah was her middle name. When some would-be Star Trek authors actually bothered to READ the copyright page on the Star Trek novels in their collection, and saw the name "John Ordover" given as the editor of the Star Trek collection, and dared to ask if she really had the franchise, Martha assured them that she (Martha Ivery) was really the head of Pocket Books, and that there was no such person as John Ordover.
It sounds so over the top that it sounds like I'm making it up, doesn't it?
At one point she had her son in law (I think it must have been he, or maybe her husband) pose as an FBI officer and call someone on Aol who had warned writers to stay away from her. The man threatened the Aoler with arrest, beatings, and jail time.
Wow, just remembering back that far...it's pretty amazing.
At any rate, all of this back and forth stuff continued for a while.
Next post: What Writer Beware was doing about Martha Ivery and, enter a Hero.
Today's writing tip: IF YOU FIND YOURSELF DRAFTING A STORY THAT YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT THROUGH, WHEN YOU GO BACK TO RE-READ IT, KEEP ASKING YOURSELF: IS THIS REASONABLE? DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? plus the corollary: NEVER SUBMIT A FIRST DRAFT!
-Ann C. Crispin
Author: STORMS OF DESTINY/HarperEos