Friday, February 28, 2014

Justice For Authors: 2 Moon Press Authors Raising Funds to Sue Their Deadbeat Publisher

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Last November, I wrote a post about deadbeat vanity publisher 2 Moon Press, which closed its doors in May 2013 amid competing claims of wrongdoing by its former and current owners. In the process, it left large numbers of authors in the lurch--many of whom had paid thousands of dollars and never seen a single book.

Despite all this, prosecutors initially declined to bring charges against former owner Don Semora (even though, according to news coverage of the situation, he has a prior history of fraudulent activity, and has served time in prison) or current owner Melinda Lundy. That changed when a local news channel produced an investigative segment on 2 Moon Press's demise (well worth watching, if only for the confrontation between Melinda Lundy's son and the reporter, in which a camera gets smashed). As a result of the segment, the case has been re-opened.

In addition, a number of 2 Moon Press authors are trying to recover their lost resources through civil action. They've filed a lawsuit against Semora, Lundy, and 2 Moon Press alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and other charges. They are seeking damages, interest, costs, and attorneys' fees, as well as the return of their materials and property. (The full complaint can be seen here).

These authors have lost thousands of dollars to 2 Moon Press, and none of them were wealthy to begin with. Coming up with money for legal fees is very tough. So they're asking for the public's help with an IndieGoGo campaign called Justice for Authors. Their goal is $15,000, and as of this writing, they have 17 more days to raise it.

I'm not in the habit of asking my readers to support crowdfunding campaigns. But these authors have lost so much, and even though it now seems possible that charges will be brought against Semora and Lundy, such cases, even when successful, rarely result in much in the way of restitution. Please take a look at Justice for Authors. Support it if you can, and even if you can't, please spread the word.

Amazingly--or maybe not--Don Semora has formed a new company, Fall River Publishing and Graphics, LLC.

If you're a 2 Moon Press author and feel you've been defrauded, there's a Facebook group you can join. Also, the City of Marshall police department is assisting the Calhoun County prosecutor in collecting information. You can get in touch with:

Officer Rebecca Ivey
Marshall Police Department
323 West Michigan Avenue
Marshall MI 49068
269-781-2596
rivey@cityofmarshall

(Researching Don Semora, I discovered that he has several books on Amazon. In his bio, he claims that he "in 2009 won a Blue Nebula award for fantasy," a claim that also appears in the sig line of his emails [some of which I've seen]. Hmm, thought I, could this be a bogus attempt to make people think he'd won a real Nebula award--you know, the one presented by SFWA? So I Googled "Blue Nebula Award," and apparently it really was a thing, given out by some group I've never heard of called Creative Authors Guild. Interestingly, the award no longer seems to exist, and all reference to it has been deleted from CAG's website, as you can see from following links in the discussion that follows one winner's announcement of his win.)

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would it not be prudent to determine if the people listed in the complaint are really even guilty before posting this? I would think there is another side to this story that will play out in court. This is really kind of irresponsible to call someone guilty before found as such?

Bernie Z. said...
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Bernie Z. said...
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Susan S said...

Anonymous I would like to address some of your concerns. Of course there are two sides to every story. However, in this case you will find three sides.

Side #1: Don Semora, the "former" owner, who states he sold the company and was no longer responsible. However, after said sale Mr. Semora still accepted monies from new authors and signed company checks. All of which can be proven.

Side #2: Melinda Lundy, the "new" owner, who states she was fooled by Mr. Semora when it came to the sale.

Side #3: The authors, who were conned. Their loses range from no royalties to never receiving their books. The authors just want their justice and in doing so have found many interesting things about both individuals.

Now to address your concern about Victoria's article being irresponsible for calling someone guilty. No where in her article did she make such allegations. She expressed known, proven facts found in many locations.

I personally will not hide behind the label anonymous because I am an author who was left wondering what the heck happened. On behalf of all the authors I'd like to thank you for your concern. I personally would also like to ask you to donate to our fund so you can see the final outcome come to fruition.

Vikki Green said...

Thank you for writing this blog. I am also one of the authors affected by 2 Moon Press.
The damage was done to people who were writing books fundraising for cancer patients, retirees, and others who had books and were scared to submit them online. Walking into a book publishers so close to home, gave us a false sense of security that are books would be safe. I also felt good publishing with a local company.
Thank you for bringing attention to this and being a voice for those of us who want to stop this man from taking more money from the less fortunate in the future.

Bernie Z. said...

I had previously second guessed my posts but as a result of a fellow author making commentary I am re posting what I had removed 2 times prior.
Anonymous... You sound like The Publisher. There was no outright statement that I saw that did not fit with Media reports. It is interesting that the Blue Nebula Awards appear to be all individuals connected with one particular Publisher. The particular link I followed indicated 2 Moon's Web developer. No place in this blog was it said the people involved WERE Guilty simply that it appears that way. Over 10 states and 29 cities seems to be more than a random problem.

Anonymous said...

I am someone who is fairly intelligent, and can Google just like anyone else here. Saying that, I see much about 2 Moon Press and agree with the authors that they deserve their contracts honored or refunded.

Now saying that, I also ran a check on this company 2 Moon Press through the State of Michigan and found that there is only one owner and this is the Melinda Lundy person. The LLC search site through the State of Michigan allows you to look at the actual filing papers, and they appear to be filled out by an attorney, and signed and executed by this Lundy person.

I also checked the Better Business Bureau site, and same thing Melinda Lundy is listed as the owner. I also watched the news story on this, and a few things pop out in it. The reporter showed an email from Lundy saying she spent the money for the business? Also, it shows samples of contracts an alludes that the sale was just?

Now I am not a part of this, so I do not have the emotions influencing my posts or my opinions. However I also have been in business for years and have bought a few in my time, and regarding your numbered posts.

Number one: I do not know the facts as to this, however if this Semora person sold the business and was not bound by contract nor agreement to do so, then yes this is a problem for him. If he was bound by contract or agreement to do this, then your arguments will hold no water.

Number two: This is one of the oldest claims in the "business sale gone bad" handbook. However, these things are usually very easily easy to validate as true or false with the paper trail that (should) be present. Again, if Semora failed to execute the sale via attorneys, I think your win will be an easy one. If he did the sale legally, your battle will be an uphill one. If this Semora person sold the business in a legal manner, it would have been (better have been) executed and prepared by attorneys and the paperwork will of course display such.

Finally, I know Susan S. you are an author left wondering. However the original poster I think failed to say what he or she really meant, but sits with my final point.

Mud slinging in this kind of thing is not good. I see much mud slinging from people when I Google this. There are two sides to this, only two as I see it. The law is what it is, and I wish I could see the physical sale paperwork, and then I could make my final opinion known. However, taking your cases to the internet in an attempt to sway opinion your way smacks to me that disinformation might be your way of doing things. I am calling Monday the Court to see if I can get the hearing dates, and this one interests me to the point that I might come to watch.

If the sale of this Limited Liability Company in this State was done legally, then as a holder of a LLC Company I am interested to see how this pans out. Sales happen every day, and new owner close businesses every day. However if done legally, and I stress the word IF.... Then the judge should rule in Semora's favor. If not done legally and in a transparent manner, then Semora has some issues he will be dealing with.

I am Anonymous as smart people will make sure of this as this is on ongoing case.

Mike Caudill said...

Oh give me a break. I will just put my two cents into this. I wont hide behind any post. My name is Mike Caudill and I know Don Semora and Melinda Lundy, and I know this case and what happened.

As someone who worked for Don as a contractor I can say, I never had an issue with him. I never had a check bounce or problem. I also know the business was legit. I talked to Melinda Lundy when she moved the place to Olivet, and she was in no way worried about the sale. She made several email announcements about buying the place even.

Melinda is a joke, she bought that company and she ran it into the ground. She can claim her woe is my BS all she wants, however truth sucks. You authors who center on Don are barking up the wrong tree. I also know of something from Don that of course is not discussed here.

Bernie Z. I take you are Bernie Zeitler the guy suing Don and the rest. Why would you tell Don in an email in May of 2013 that you never had problem with him, and Melinda was the problem? I have seen ALL of the paperwork, and there is much that is and has been left out.

I also love it from Bernie Z that immediately assumes someone not backing him and his friends is "the publisher". No Bernie Z, there are those of us out there that know what Don did was legal.

Why also is Melinda ignoring all hearings? Why is Melinda ignoring everything and getting default judgements against her. Guilty hide, the innocent stand up, and Don is standing up to this.

Prior poster has it right mud slinging is what is happening, they use the internet to whine, as they know their case is barking at the wrong person.

Peace, I am outta here... So no I am not the publisher, but as someone who knows them both, and knows the truth I will always have Don's back. So please post your whining and conspiracy theories behind me.

Victoria Strauss said...

Wow, the troops are mustering! Of course I don't know for sure, but based on similar situations, I'm guessing Mr. Semora has seen this post and has organized some folks to come along and defend him by throwing Melinda Lundy under the bus. Or maybe there are no folks and it's all just him. Either way, pretty trollish.

Anonymous #1: The City of Marshall police investigation, the re-opening of the case against 2 Moon Press and its owners by the Calhoun County prosecutor, and the lawsuit by 2 Moon Press authors are all matters of public record. I've seen documents that confirm all this.

I've also seen news coverage of the case (including the news video that I link to in my post), and received a number of complaints from 2 Moon Press authors, all of which cite very similar issues. I'm satisfied that something went badly wrong here, and that the authors lost a lot of money.

I've asked the authors to keep me posted on the progress of their case, so I'll be watching as it "plays out in court." Once things are concluded, I'll post an update.

Anonymous #2: Your legal speculations might carry some weight if you provided your name and qualifications. Without that, you look like a troll.

Mike Caudill--Nice to see a name, although I'm pretty sure it's not a real one. You seem to be extremely well informed about the details of the case (including a detail I didn't make public at the authors' request), and I really am wondering how it is, since you say you "worked" (past tense) for Semora, you know so much about BOTH Semora AND Lundy--to the point of seeing Semora's emails and having confidential chats with Lundy.

And then there's this:

Melinda is a joke, she bought that company and she ran it into the ground. She can claim her woe is my BS all she wants, however truth sucks.

Her woe is your BS? Yours, an independent contractor named Mike Caudill? Oh dear. Looks like you made a little slip there.

Jacki B said...

Thank you Victoria for believing in this issue. There are many people that have been caught up in this mess. We appreciate that you are alerting other authors to do some serious background research before they plop down large amounts of cash with any publisher. Thank you so very much.

Jacki B said...

Anonymous, could you please post the links to all that info that you found on the internet. I would like the link to the exact page where you saw the original signed document posted. Since you already found it quite easily that would save us some time. I am sure you would like us all to see that info first hand.

Author GJL said...

How stupid is someone to buy a company already thousands and thousands of dollars into debt? It has been brought to light that at least one printing/binding outfit was owed, prior to the sale, in excess of 10,000 dollars. She (Lundy) is either very stupid, or the two were in on this scam to begin with. I don't care what law and loophole a crook wants to try and use/abuse. I, for one, paid to have a book in 2011 and by spring/summer of 2013 when it was sold, still no book. How is this Lundy's fault? If anything and anyone was happy about in regards to the sale was to have someone who might actually make something happen since all we got were run around stories and in some cases people felt bullied. You don't take money and promise a product, then sell out to someone to wipe your hands of your obligation. If that is what doing business in America is all about, it is people like you and Don and Lundy who are helping to drag this country down. He tried to open up Fall River Publishing RIGHT AFTER AND DURING THIS WHOLE MESS! BILLBOARDS: COME PUBLISH WITH US! He said he wanted to do covers and ready-to-publish books, he didnt want to deal with marketing and editing. Why couldnt he have reduced his services with 2 Moon, instead of taking more contracts to publish? Honor what you have, then reduce your services to new clients. NO. NOT DON. Dump the clientele he already screwed, sell to a nit-wit-and-or-co-conspirator, and open up shop under a new name and locale. This is Enron and Madoff business practice, not moral and legal.

Susan Skidmore said...

Anonymous I too have owned my own business and understand how sales work. Under no circumstance should Mr. Don Semora have accepted new clients as the owner of the business or written personal checks from the company account months after said sale. By representing himself as owner still he either scammed Melinda Lundy or as a fellow author stated they were in it together.

As for your statements Mr. Caudill we have not said Melinda Lundy wasn't liable too. Again if you read my whole response here and you're so knowledgeable please explain to us all how he wrote checks on a company account that he was no longer owner of. Also, you state you have known him for years. How many years have you known him? Can you explain the fact that he has not 1, not 2 but now 3 businesses that he has advertised since the closing of 2 Moon, two of which have already closed? Maybe as his good friend you should let him no that Battle Creek doesn't want his graphics company either. Let's see if you have those answers. By the way I'm not scared to use my full name either.

The Anonymous Guy said...

Jackie B. Here is the link.

http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/bcs_corp/results.asp?ID=D45051&page_name=llc

As far as my qualifications. I have a LLC in this State, and I am not attached to either of these two people. My business is service based, and has been such for over ten years now. I think things are much clearer now. When a name is not posted that person is called a troll. When a name is posted they are called Semora or Lundy hiding, or they are rallying troops etc? When in fact I think what reasonable people see is this. What you want here is agreement to your problem. When an idea or opinion is made contrary to such, then we have what we have.

I do not doubt you all have been wronged. However the real issue I think is who is at fault here? My previous posting stands as I do not need to ID myself for validity. My qualification are rock solid in that I do not let the emotion of all this to rattle me.

I will sit back now and drink my coffee and see what other accusations and intrigue is garnered from my posting. However, I also will sit back and see if these authors win, or Semora and or Lundy win.

The courts do not judge off of public opinion and internet chatter. I am sure there is much not being said by these authors, and there seems to be a prudency from Semora and Lundy for not posting.

Bottom line people. If you win then you win, you are right and congratulations for righting a wrong. However if you lose then what are you? Liars? Clients with a grudge? What by losing does that tell you and this Victoria Strauss lady.

That will be an interesting thing to see play out here.

Jacki B said...

I think most people unfamiliar about this whole mess would read what Victoria wrote and send us sympathies for the troubles we have encountered. It does seem that only someone tied to the cause of the problem goes right to defending the source of the problem. I think you are more than just someone stumbling on this blog. I think everyone here knows that. No one else would invest the time.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous Guy--

What's your interest in all this? Don't get me wrong--I welcome comments from all sides of the issue, and unlike many blog owners, I allow anonymous comments, because I know there are many reasons besides trollery that people want to hide their names. But while Writer Beware has a pretty high profile in the writing and publishing community, it's not well-known outside it--and it doesn't sound as if you have any connections with writing and publishing. Given that you also claim to have no association with Semora or Lundy, I have to say I find it odd that you found your way here. If indeed you are as neutral a party as you say.

Mr. Neutral. (How is that) said...

Jackie B. My interest in this extends to the legal precedent it will set for every small business owner who has an LLC in this State. Thank you also for proving my point about paranoia.

Victoria, my interest in this is as I stated above. My knowledge of this post I will just say this. I am Facebook friends with someone who shared a link to this mess from one of the authors affected page. I have been watching this for about three months now, and when I saw this tossed about I read it and decided to toss some input into the pot. Varying opinions are good in this I feel.

I am not defending Semora or Lundy. I am offering logical and unbiased opinion and observations.

As far as Jacki B's sympathy comment. Why do I need to only send you sympathy? Why is your word any more valid than Semora's and Lundy's? What makes your claims so true? Could it be Semora or Lundy are not at fault? Well this is in Court from what I have read, and some judge will make his or her decision on this. In the end, the law will be upheld, not the emotional turmoil of this. My opinion is a thought process called being middle of the road. Neutral and non-blaming. I don't know who is lying, who is at fault. The Courts figure all that messy stuff out.

And Victoria as you also elude to, since I am not demonizing these two people I "might" not be as neutral as I say. Well, I am neutral in this only in regards to the possible legal precedent it holds for all of us holders of an LLC in this State. So my interest although indirect is succinct.

Bernie Z. said...

I am Bernard Zeitler and yes I posted as Bernie Z. I did not do it to hide from anyone who I was but only because that is what friends call me. After seeing banter back and forth and in particular an attack on authors who have been hurt, I am bringing forth a last thought for people that speaks to our situation.
Regardless of who ‘Wins’ or ‘loses’ in the legal arena it is not what has been portrayed as whining authors or even as the bully Publisher. This situation is a case of people have been wronged and that is over. The People involved have been hurt badly and that damage has been done. We as authors desire to prevent anyone else from suffering the same fate as much as it is possible which means we MUST get all of the information out and allow the Courts to do what they are designed to do. Anything less and we allow others to be taken advantage of in the future. Who would want that?
If you were witness to someone being hurt and remained silent you would be considered an accomplice. In the case of this group of authors we are limited by resources because of what was done and need help to get this done. No matter what your reason for being antagonistic toward us would you let go and allow others to potentially be harmed because you did not see it to the end?

Mr. Neutral. (How is that) said...

I am going to make one more post and then I think I will just see what the courts do.

I have viewed the news report from the I Team, and also over the past months saw the Author Facebook page, read the posts. Although that page is down now I think I have a grasp of what happened. I also have read very carefully what people here claiming to be victims has posted.

If, and I will stress if Semora and Lundy ripped all of you off in some grand scheme. That will come out in court. Large schemes always tend to collapse under the weight of scrutiny.

However, why I worry about this case is this. If and I will stress if, Semora sold his LLC to another person and that sale was legal. Regardless of why the buyer closed it, regardless of how long after the sale. Semora did nothing wrong.

Author GJL above mentioned Semora sold the company even though 10K was owed to a vendor. Again, this all hinges on the paperwork. If Semora failed to disclose liabilities then you are correct, what was shady and wrong, and I think this alone will cause him a judgement. However if he was what is called in the legal arena, "transparency" in other words, if he within his declarations showed the LLC's liabilities then he did it legally. As far as Lundy being stupid by buying the business if she did know. Well, dumb people buy businesses every day. Buyer remorse, or stupidity is common place. However again this will all hinge I think on how this sale transpired.

I worry for this.

If this sale took place, and a Registered legal LLC was sold in this State, and that sale was legal. Then I hope the court rules on the side of Semora. If it was a legal sale, and the Court sides with the clients, then this will open a door for the LLC to be worthless in this State. Sorry to sound harsh however that is my worry.

Now, if Semora did not sell it legally, or if he hid the company debt, then I wish you all the luck on going after him.

Victoria Strauss said...

Mr. Neutral,

I've read the complaint filed by Bernie Z and other 2 Moon Press authors, and unless I'm really missing something (also, I'm not a lawyer), the lawsuit is not about the legality of the sale of 2 Moon Press, but about breach of contract and other abuses allegedly commmitted by both Semora and Lundy during the time that each owned the business. There are also Civil Conspiracy and Concert of Action counts, which allege that they conspired with one another in the alleged fraudulent activities--but I don't see anything in the complaint challenging the legality of the sale.

And I don't see how that would be relevant anyway. Or are you saying that when you legally sell a business to someone else, that person automatically assumes all liability for any bad acts you may have committed while you were running the business? I'm not an expert, but I don't think that's the case.

It really seems like your focus on whether or not the sale was legal, and whether or not that exonerates Semora, is a red herring.

Victoria Strauss said...

A note to 2 Moon Press authors: a number of you have contacted me by private email. I had a mini-email disaster on Friday that wiped out a bunch of emails I'd received in the previous few days. If you haven't heard back from me, that's why. Please feel free to contact me again, either at my personal address or via Writer Beware: beware [at] sfwa.org.

Ian Bush said...

Hello, my name is Ian Bush. I am probably one of the youngest authors that was associated with Two Moon Press. In review of what the opposition has been throwing at us authors, it would seem that most of you, the opposition, believe we are emotional, petty, liars, whiners, and we don’t have our facts straight. In the midst of finger pointing between Mr.S and Mrs.L of whom is the true culprit, we are forgetting something very important here. While the emotions of the authors affected are not enough to convict anyone of their crimes, I will go directly to what will convict somebody. This is something the opposition thinks we don’t have straight… the facts.
Fact number one: People in twenty six cities across Michigan filed a report against Two Moon Press. People in ten states across the country reported to the Marshall Police Department. For the people who think we are making this up, it is kind of hard to contact people in ten different states to make up a FLUID story together against somebody. It sounds like a lot of work in my mind.
Fact number two: History. Now while Mr.S MAY be innocent, let’s look at our histories. We, as authors, have a clean background when it comes to the law. You could probably look any of us up and find nothing. Mrs.L also has a clean background. Mr.S has been arrested twice for fraudulent activities. In 2003, he was convicted of a felony for larceny, which he PLEAD guilty. In 2004, he was convicted of ANOTHER felony for false pretenses and found guilty. Now, while people may turn over a new leaf, someone who has had not once, but twice been guilty of a crime seems like maybe third time is truly the charm.
Fact number three: Now back to Mrs.L. Mr.S may have been “innocent” by selling the company to Mrs.L. For the benefit of the doubt, let’s say he is. Mrs.L has reportedly emailed Mr.S and stated “I do not know where the money went,” “all of it went to bills and Matt,” “I have labor to pay,” “I have went through all the money.” Let me help you out Mrs. L, your money went to bills and Matt. You had labor to pay. I found your money, you went through all your money. You are also in the wrong Mrs.L. This proves that Mr.S and Mrs.L are both slightly guilty.
Fact number four: Mr.S gave us a product with numerous mistakes in it. We paid for a product, which we expected to be professional, and it wasn’t. If you seek professionalism, look on Mr.S’s Facebook, where he loves to give his honest opinion on us authors all the time. I ask you, who is the true whiner now?
Last fact, number five: Mike Caudill. Let me first ask, while researching who you are, we found three possible people. Are you by chance the man who graduated at Homer High School in 1991, Mike Caudill of Tekonsha who passed away due to an auto accident, or a suspect who is also being held on a parole detainer from the Michigan Department of Corrections? Mr.Caudill, I understand you want to help you friend Mr.S, but please play by his rules. We cannot say his real name without being reported for slander, so why can you say his name? Now that I think of it, it is ironic that we were reported when we used Mr.S’s real name, but when you used his real name to glorify him, you weren’t reported. Sounds like double standards to me. What did Mr.S contract you out for? To come onto our page and post how he is such a swell guy?
Now please Mr.Caudill, explain to me how any of the above is a conspiracy, whining, or mudslinging? It seems like both Mr.S and Mrs.L have a lot to explain to us, maybe they both will in court. But until then, you and the others in the opposing team will NEVER stop hearing from us. We demand justice, and it will be served as such. We demand that the scam ends now. Until the court date and the facts are complied, I will not tolerate attacks against any other author. It ends now.

Victoria Strauss said...

Semora, Semora, Semora, Semora, Semora.

Whoops--I wasn't looking into a mirror.

But seriously, written defamation is libel, not slander, and I seriously doubt anyone could bring a defamation suit against someone else merely for using their name.

Anonymous said...

There are other people here who have lost that no one is thinking of. We who worked for 2 Moon Press. I worked for Don, and then Melinda when she bought 2 Moon. I know most of the people posting here, and can guess one. I have seen so much posted about this, and the news articles and tv story. I have stayed out of it as I did not want to become involved. I think I was wrong. This blog story and the tone of the blogger, and others I think has made me realize that silence is a bad thing. I refuse to post my name as people are attacked when they in any way say something that goes against what some authors claim. However there is an inside perspective to this that no one knows, and only a few of us who worked there do.

While I worked for 2 Moon under Don, I never saw Susan Skidmore or Bernard Zeitler complaining to Don. I also surely never saw Ian Bush complain, in fact every time Mr. Zeitler came in he was nice and joking, and would shake Don's hand, they would stand up front, talking and laughing. Ian is another one who always came in smiling, shaking Don's hand, always ordering books. Ian was always very complimentary of his book and also of 2 Moon.

I remember also when Don and Melinda sat all of us down and told us Melinda was the new owner, Melinda was very happy, dancing around. I also know Melinda knew about the bills, she and Don talked about them (we heard them) and I heard Melinda talking to another employee who I will not name, telling her to expect something in the mail from one of them, and to give it to her.

Once we moved to Olivet, we saw our hours cut and Melinda's daughter Ashley get more hours. We were told to work from home a lot and once in Olivet Melinda took more orders. Don was hardly ever in Olivet with us. I am sad for all the authors who lost in this, and I am sad for all of us who lost a job and our livelihood. But this is wrong what is happening. Don was always good to me, and I reached out to him this morning via Facebook to offer my statement for him. If I have to go to court for him I will. It is only fair that the truth is told.

Anonymous said...

Why do you all go back and forth like this? Why don't you stop the TEAM AUTHOR and TEAM SEMORA/LUNDY thing. This point / counter point thing is just not helping either side.

Save it for court folks. You both are starting to look childish.

Vikki Green said...

Really, Anonymous? Why keep reading if it bores you so? Those who have lost thousands to this man have a right to sound off and vent some frustration especially when we see him opening up other businesses in order to fleece new victims of their hard earned money.
You must not have a twitter account. People express their opinions every day on what happens to be trending.
I only dealt with Don. He's the one responsible in my case. I don't care if he was nice to some people and they will testify for him. Bully for you. You didn't get screwed over. A LOT of others did by the publishing house you mourn the loss of.
Bernie Madoff was loved by his family too.

Emily Waszak said...

Dear Anonymous - I can vouch that both Don and Melinda are guilty of making numerous false promises and misleading me. I was very wronged by the two of them. When I called, I was pleasant. That does not equate to happiness or satisfaction. I was mislead and flat out lied to repeatedly. I would prefer to believe that the office staff was also mislead in the promises they forwarded to me in representation of Don and Melinda. To think an entire office was in on this would be very disheartening. I would hope that before you pass judgment on the authors (because we certainly have not passed judgment on all employees of 2 Moon), you would take a moment to reflect on how many of us lost not only money, but had our dreams crushed and our hopes dashed. We gave a piece of ourselves in our work, we invested money in what we thought was an investment in ourselves, but instead, we threw that money away. We gave our money to Don/Melinda in good faith and in return were betrayed. Yes, betrayed. You could phrase it in no other accurate fashion. I am sorry you lost your job. I really am. That happens, though. My lion's share of the sympathy lies with the authors. We have lost so much more.

Bernie Z. said...

I am sympathetic to everyone who lost because of this. Consider what is the result of doing nothing also consider the whole picture.

I believe it is necessary to clear up what has been believed to be a focus on just Authors. Our action will hopefully help others who have been affected by this situation. Prior to the sale Printers were owed money. During this whole situation the people affected most have been.

1. Authors who have lost

2 Employees who have lost

3. Printers who have not been paid.

4. Land lords who have lost

5. Marshal Police who have been dealing with a lot of evidence and testimony

6. Prosecutors who have to sort out the legal issues with the help of the Marshal Police.

7. Readers who can not get the books because of this

8. Retailers who are caught in the middle

Sadly this is the short list. It could very well be longer because clearly there is more to the story that is yet unknown.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous who says they worked for 2 Moon Press:

It wouldn't surprise me a bit to discover that Susan and Ian and Bernard--and probably others too--were polite, cordial, etc. when face to face with Mr. Semora. To begin with, they believed that they'd receive what was promised them. Later on, when it began to be apparent that things weren't so terrific, they were probably hoping against hope for change, and were trying to remain on good terms with the person who had the power to make those changes.

I've heard many, many stories like that of 2 Moon Press, and it's extraordinary how long authors can cling to hope, even when they've received books filled with errors, been given excuses for not making promised royalty payments, experienced pressure to buy more and more and more of their own books, even been chastised or ridiculed. They came to the publisher with a dream, and it's not easy to give that up, even when the ship is obviously sinking. Plus, the publisher holds the ultimate trump card: the rights to their intellectual property. That's a pretty powerful stick to hold over authors' heads.

Anonymous, you say that "Melinda knew about the bills," your point presumably being that she knew what she was getting into and can't claim to be an innocent party. That may well be. But who incurred the bills? Who got the company into a situation where it owed creditors? The other presumption that could be drawn from your remark is that Mr. Semora ran up a bunch of bills and then palmed the company off on a gullible individual who didn't know how to deal with the situation and ran the company completely into the ground. I'm not saying that's what happened--just that, if you really break out the implications of your remark, it doesn't look all that good for Mr. Semora.

Anna Moffitt said...

Since my last comment did not seem to post, this is for the worker who worked for both of the owners. You were not there obviously when I did all of my dealings which were NEVER with Melinda except for when she was the event coordinator in which I had one meeting with her for the Women and Wine Event. All of my financial dealings were strictly with Mr. Semora. Although we (My co-author Carrie and I) were provided with several extras that we did not ask for, we still were not provided everything in our contract per what we paid. This is my issue. When I paid my money to the company, it was to be that I would be provided what was in my contract, which was not. There were in many instances lies after lies (which I have time stamped documentation to back up my claims) still to no avail. Being that I was happy at first, like most authors, it takes time to find out you are being duped, lied to or deceived. This is then when such authors put up their defenses. Unlike a lot of the authors here, my payments and dealings were not with Ms. Lundy. You make your own assumptions from that.

Jacki B said...

If your dog gets very sick and you don't take him to the Vet until the outcome looks very bleak for his recovery, you can't blame the Vet when the dog dies. It could be said that the owner waited way too long and then expected the Vet to work miracles. The same can be said here.

It seems to be confirmed that 2 Moon Press was on it's last legs well before the business was sold to Ms. Lundy. Ms. Lundy did not own the business very long at all by the time it finished circling the drain. People were not even aware ownership had changed hands until April or almost April. (I don't know when most of the authors were notified as we were never notified even though my hubby's book was listed on Amazon in what is now a dead listing. (We should have been notified because we were still owed a copyright and any future royalties.) By May 10th we all knew the business was pretty much beyond any type of resurrecting. So, if you pass off a business to someone when there is barely a glimmer of life left in it and the business dies blaming the new owner for the death is the same as blaming the Vet who couldn't save the dog. And I think that is what happened here. Someone didn't want to be left holding the bag when that business went down the drain so it was quickly passed off to a new owner. To most of us here, it only looked to us like Ms. Lundy owned the business for about 6 weeks. She didn't kill it, the business was handed over to her while it still had a few faint breaths left.
I in no way am implying Ms. Lundy is innocent here, the court will have to figure out how much each is to blame. But, I do think it is a bit unfair to say she is the reason the company failed.

Susan Skidmore said...

Anonymous just so you are aware I felt horrible for the former employees of 2 Moon Press and even tried to reach out to some on Facebook. I also appreciate the fact that you noticed I was a pleasant individual in the office. However, you weren't on the phone line when I was upset about the fact that my book pricing was wrong and when Don said he would fix it, he did it on one site but I had to call again to get him to change it on others. How about the fact that I was promised my books in October, then before Thanksgiving and didn't get them until mid December? What about the fact that I wasn't sent the release forms on the work each time it was done so my book could move forward? All of these issues were brought up to Don not Melinda. As I stated before and will continue to state I believe they are both guilty. You defend Don but how do you explain him taking on new clients stating he owned 2 Moon Press after the sale? How do you explain Don writing personal checks off the company account months after the sale? You want to defend him that's your right, but please, as his friend, explain those things away or did he not tell you about that?

Anonymous said...

As a long time reader of Victoria's often insightful and helpful blog. I am discouraged at this story, and the posting by her. Victoria, you have always been a champion of what is right. However you seem to know someone personally here and are batting for them with this. All of this needs to be handled offline.

If these people are wrong, you are helping with the spreading of a lot of horrible accusations, and you give credence to their accusations by posting what you have, and by allowing this circus here to continue. Pull some blogger integrity into this, and cease this until the Court system determines who is wrong.

Until then, all you are doing is helping spread a bunch of allegations that have not been proven in a Court of law. Like one of the posters above said, there are two sides to this story.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, you'll pardon me if I don't believe that you're a regular reader of this blog. If you were, you'd be aware of the many, many posts I've done over the years calling attention to deadbeat publishers and victimized authors. It's a little silly, therefore, to call me out for this one--unless, of course, you're the one with a personal interest.

I wonder, have you also contacted the Newschannel 3 I-Team that produced the video segment that I link to above (which, by the way, is far more damning than my post) to admonish them for not letting things play out in court? Have you gotten in touch with the Marshall City Police Department to ask it to suspend its investigation until things can play out in court? What about the Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney's Office? Although I imagine that might not be a court case you'd be so eager to see.

Bernie Z. said...

I am very new to this Blog and only discovered it after searching out what was written on our plight beyond the local news. This blog came up on a search that indicated an article written back in November of last year. Because of it I contacted Victoria and shared the court records that are publicly available and asked her to write about our situation. She almost did not but in the process of her doing some digging of her own she wrote it. Some of the links were new to authors. Most were not. Anonymous... If you were experiencing what the authors were and BTW long before the sale a Printer had a civil judgement for over $10,000 in unpaid invoices. The landlord in Marshal had rent unpaid BEFORE the sale as well. Both of these are a matter of public record via the courts. The major printing company filed in Detroit. the Land Lord filed in Calhoun County. All things considered, Put yourself in the shoes of over 100 Authors on top of that.

Bernie Z. said...

Just a word of information for those who are reading Victoria's blog. It appears that this article has uncovered at least 2 more authors affected. This article is a valuable way to reach out to them. It is also hoped that others would come out to help their fellow authors. we are new to all of this.

Vikki Green said...

Anonymous, thou protests too much.

Jacki B said...

Anonymous you wrote:

Jackie B. My interest in this extends to the legal precedent it will set for every small business owner who has an LLC in this State. Thank you also for proving my point about paranoia.

Anonymous, I think through all of these posts of yours you are proving yourself to be the paranoid one.

We also do not think you are only here because you are afraid a court case is going to affect every small business in Michigan. Are you saying that small time business crooks should be allowed to run free so that all LLC businesses wouldn't be affected by some legislation that protects customers? If you are a decent businessman nobody is going to come after you. If you treat people properly, your customers will all be there to watch your back. This court case will not affect those good businesses out there that know the customer is always right. So, if you fall into that category, you have nothing to worry about. Stop being paranoid.

Mike Caudill said...

Bad Don = Everyone claps hands.

Good Don = Everyone attacks.

Blogger is even attacking her own readers as the poster does not praise her work.

Bravo....

And Ian Bush, listen, you need to look a little more broadly to find me. Try another State. I will give you a hint. I border Michigan, am alive, not on parole hold and never lived in Homer. Bone up on your Google skills.

Now there is one fact most of you are very correct about. The Courts will get this all sorted out, and in the end we will see who is found to be right. I have my ticket on Don for the win.

I will now sit back and watch the posts calling me Don.

Anna Moffitt said...

Mike Caudill- You obviously don't know the real Don. Maybe he conned you too. If you have been in my shoes, you would be doing exactly what I am doing right now. You don't know what I have been through, how much money I have spent, how much agonizing paper trails I have had to follow, how many people I have had to refund money to, and so on. Good Don?? You have a very twisted imagination of what good can be if you think what he "may have" done to us is considered good. I really hope you don't think that HUNDREDS of authors were coming out of the woodwork just for fun. That they enjoy going through all this crap for something that "didn't happen." Especially those that never dealt with anyone except him. No one cares whether you are Don or not. We care about our dreams and seeing them smashed and being taken advantage of.

Author GJL said...

So basically this guy is waiting to see just how far a LLC can legally screw over customers and profit. That's what I get out of this.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here know why there are three types of business's?

Sole Proprietorship.
Limited Liability Company
Corporation

The purpose of a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation, is in fact to shield its members (Managers / owners) from certain kinds of liability. There are protections in cases of fraud, etc that I think the Judge sitting on this case will look at. However, by filing a certain business entity type does not mean loop holes and legal ability to screw people.

Plus didn't this guy sell his business and it was the new owner who closed it?

Bernie Z. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie Z. said...

Anonymous: Many of us do. The problem is that LLC also requires some things to be done to remain Protected under the LLC. Some of which are why this particular situation arose. There are some irregularities that no LLC owner would do because of something called the "Corporate Veil".

Steven Kent said...

I would caution all of the author's to verify copyright, ISBN, and authenticity of the artwork supplied by Don and 2 Moon Press.

I was contacted by a woman; she verified that her artwork was used without her permission for my book. Was difficult to deny as it was her face on the cover. She claimed to have contacted 2 Moon, Don in particular, and he promised payment for the use of her stolen artwork. She never heard from him again. No one at 2 Moon notified me that my novel contained stolen artwork. I understand I'm not the only one this has happened too.

So, Don can claim that all of this it isn't his fault, but HE presented the cover work to me. I am the one with a novel with no copyright, no royalties, a fake ISBN number, a poorly edited novel, and a cover that he stole.

Susan Skidmore said...

Victoria I thought you and your readers might find this of interest. Considering Don told me out of his own mouth he was getting out of the publishing business at his wifehttps://www.facebook.com/DNTGraphicdesign's request. Maybe anonymous can get another job with him.