A little Bird Told Us

An anonymous source gave us the dish on Triskelion Publishing, which has apparently canceled their print program and has had their RWA conference invite revoked. No Dallas in July for you! Why, oh why? Author complaints is the first order on the list.

But of course, there’s always more. Our source got a hold of a letter from Gail Northman, incoming EIC at Triskelion, detailing what happened, and what RWA said to rescind their invitation for publisher appointments and workshop participation. Seems Ms. Northman is angry that details of private email were forwarded to RWA, so she fires back on those who are happy with the “FWD” button by posting RWAs letter to her on a Triskelion-centered YahooGroup. Tit for tat, eh?

Since it seems that there are those that are happy to go running to the RWA for everything including the fact that I am now Publisher or will be at the end of the month… and send details of private emails to Allison Kelley – I’m obliging by posting her letter to us….

RWA’s mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.  In striving to fulfill its commitment to members, RWA established standards that publishers must meet to participate in RWA programs such as the annual conference.  RWA recognition generate a significant amount of credibility and free exposure to the Publisher who appear on RWA’s list.

As you know, I have written to advise you of complaints against your company on least three occasions.  Author have asked me to write to you to resolve issues related to delayed royalty payments, NSF royalty checks, and reversion of rights.

Furthermore, I am aware that you notified authors that most print titles for 2007 will be either be delayed or removed from the schedule.  By admission in email, “Triskelion bit off more than they could chew,” and many authors have suffered.  Not only have authors invested significant amounts of money to publicize print versions of books that will not be released, they have also missed out on opportunities to licence their rights to other publishers.

A recent review of your company’s website lists 154 authors of which 93 are RWA members, a clear indication that Triskelion found 60% of its authors through RWA. Due to the ongoing problems authors are reporting, and the latest announcements regarding print titles, changes in editorial staff and management, I have concluded that RWA must act in the best interests, of its members and rescind the invitation for Triskelion Publishing to participate in the workshopes and editor appointments at RWA 2007 conference in Dallas.

Allison Kelley

I’m not taking over officially until June 1st however, in that I have some points to make out. First off two of our editors have now lost their flight money…. and secondly we have lost money in wasted promotion too… so it’s not something that is just down to the authors…..another thing we have not found a majority of our authors via RWA they found us and in a lot of cases here before we even got recognition…  I also might add – I didn’t realise one had to RWA with changes in the company management and editors.. editors come and they go.

So here is the thing…. If you are not happy, not interested in working with us for any reason… just let me know I’ll give you your rights back.  I’m done… with reading stuff that I sent out – seen forwarded elsewhere… you are either with me / us or against me / us.  The ball is in your court.  However, I’m here today and tomorrow and I’ll be leaving for Texas before returning home if you want it done now email me – if you are happy and willing to work with me… that’s great and I look forward to it.

And on a side no I’ve vaguely informed you I have issues at home big major ones that I have to deal with when I return..and so you know I have ***edited to remove WAY too much pathos in the form of TMI, because yeah, you have a point, gotta think of the children here *** -SBS.… so if I’m not answering your emails fast enough I’m sorry but I have a lot on my mind.

But through all this.. I hope those of you that are happy want to work with us… we’ll do well and prosper.


Good heavens. Business drama plus pathos equals extra drama like damn.

That said, good gracious. Anyone in the Bitchery want to comment or confirm the scuttlebutt? And if you have your rights with Triskelion, will you ask for them back and shop elsewhere?




The Link-O-Lator

Comments are Closed

  1. Carrie Lofty says:

    Her grammar is interesting. It just…disintegrates as the letter goes on.

  2. EmmyS says:

    I know nothing about the situation, but jumpin’ Jesus, for an “editor” her punctuation and grammar are just appalling.

  3. Nora Roberts says:

    I think this woman would benefit from the rule of thumb never to post when angry and upset. Her inclusion of her personal business is far from professional, and obviously due to an emotional reaction.

    I don’t know anything about anything, but in reading this letter I’m taken aback by its tone and its content.

  4. It seems so very wrong to post this personal information about her children.

  5. I’m with Nora & Jorrie…never good for business to mix your personal problems with your business problems.

  6. Marg says:

    I feel sorry for her daughter. Her mum has just told everyone that she is prostituting herself. Surely a sentence about significant family issues would have sufficed!

  7. Lauren Dane says:

    You know, dignity costs nothing.

  8. Najida says:

    TMI!  This letter was just TMI!

    It was simply unprofessional and embarrassing.

  9. Lynne Connolly says:

    Perhaps a letter sent to authors on a private list shouldn’t have been repeated on a public blog?
    Unprofessional to leak and unprofessional to publish, I’d say.
    I read the letter earlier today on the private list.
    Gail Northman has never been anything but supportive to the authors at Triskelion, and she deserves better than to have a private letter put out on a public loop.
    It was her desire to let everyone involved know all the details that led to this letter, and doubtless her distress might have led her to make a few grammar and spelling errors.
    I also have family problems. My mother is seriously ill, has had a major operation and I’m now waiting to hear if it worked or if she has cancer. Comfortable with that as well? I put that up on the private loop a couple of days ago. And fyi, I’m still waiting.
    Gail N wanted everyone concerned with the RWA’s decision to know what was going on.
    The letter also detailed where she would be if anyone wanted to get in touch with her. Why don’t you make her day, print her address and private phone number so that burglars can invade her home?

  10. I take it that money’s so tight, her Zoloft prescription ran out?  Oy…

  11. Sybil says:

    I have to agree the post was bad.  And if I were one of the trisk authors I would jump if that is how the business was going to be ran.

    At the same time… this wasn’t a public post.  It was a private loop forwarded from a member to a member to whoever.  Hell I can name 5 people who had this early this morning who ‘shouldn’t have’.

    On one hand it stinks cuz use your head and know anything posted anywhere private or public has a chance of coming back and slapping you in the face.

    On the other I think it is dirty pool to post a private email to a public place without permission from the sender or group owner.

    But I think I am one of the few people that has issue with it.

  12. No, I’m disturbed. Especially with the personal information of a third party being made public in this blog.

  13. Mel-O-Drama says:

    Sadly, this woman appears to be in a state of emotional distress and has gone and put it in writing. I understand how tough it is to try to take over and turn around a failing business…but she should’ve thought twice about posting anything in writing about her family business. Unprofessional doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was a poor passive-aggressive attempt for pity and it backfired because now not only did she lose any point she had made in the letter, she also seems a little loco to post such private matters.

    And Lynne, I understand your point completely, but in today’s world, we’re told never assume anything in “confidence” because thanks to the cyberworld, there is no such thing any more. Emails will get forwarded. And any professional or anyone with a lick of common sense will know that. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

  14. I think that, perhaps, when this editor decided to post other private correspondence on a somewhat public site that she then forfeited the right to protection from similar treatment. At least, it is hard for me to drum up sympathy for her discomfort at the airing of her private business. (Any site, to mind, is public even if the membership is limited. Frankly private correspondence occurs between only 2 people in my opinion.)

  15. Why don’t you make her day, print her address and private phone number

    The Smart Bitches did give Kathryn Falk’s cell phone number when they posted about her. I wondered then whether that might have negative consequences for Falk.

    With regards to this particular email, I think it would have been better for the Smart Bitches to have edited the email they posted in order to protect the privacy of Gail Northman’s children, at least one of whom is a minor. The internet is searchable in a way that a private Yahoogroup is not, and so I have concerns about this information being so freely available and perhaps being found by people who know the children in question, live near them and/or attend the same schools as them.

    As Candy so often says, ‘Won’t somebody think of the children?’

  16. I’ve always been told (and try to practice), don’t put anything in an email (or blog post, for that matter) that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.

    Email is not private. Yes, it should be, but when you post a letter such as this to a loop as large as the one she posted to, you have to know that someone somewhere will forward it to someone else.

    That said, I have to admit I’d already heard most of this from another author, who is NOT one of her authors and my source had heard it from one of her sources,etc etc etc.

    I have only been around in this world (i.e. writing and publishing…not the world in general!) for a couple of years and even I realize how small the writing community is and how quickly word can spread.

    I do feel sorry for those authors, especially those who have been there for a while. But I am hearing of royalty checks in the amount of $0.00. YIKES! I can make that much breeding my 12 year old sterile border collie!

  17. Carrie Lofty says:

    Nah, the Bitches didn’t give out Falk’s real contact info. It was a TV/movie phony 555- number.

  18. Nah, the Bitches didn’t give out Falk’s real contact info. It was a TV/movie phony 555- number.

    Thanks for explaining that to me, lovelysalome. As I’m not from the US I haven’t got a clue what formats/codes are used for US telephone numbers, so I just took that one at face value.

  19. KF says:

    Yikes, she should have wrote this and then drawered for a day or so until she relaxed.

    As far as this is a private matter and shouldn’t be posted, my thoughts are, I’m searching for a publisher, I want to know all I can about anybody before I send my work out there. Obviously she’s a bit overloaded and should consider taking a break instead of loading more on her plate.

  20. KellyMaher says:

    Sidenote to Laura: All numbers that start with 555 either as the area code or the first three of seven digits are fake in the US.  This is why all phone numbers in movies and books and stuff, start with 555.

  21. Nora Roberts says:

    If I email something to a prive loop of personal friends, I expect those friends to keep my confidence. Or they wouldn’t be my friends to begin with.

    If I post something on a professional loop or list, I’d fully expect someone would pass it on to someone else. It’s the way it works—right or wrong.

    If an editor or industry professional emails a group of authors, it should be about business—certainly one might share happy personal news—if one doesn’t mind that news making the rounds. Because it would. Just as sharing family crises will get around.

    This woman sounds severely and sincerely overwrought. While I can’t help but sympathize, I stand by my position that sharing the intimate and distressing information about family was a serious lapse of judgment, and very, very unprofessional.

    It appears there are problems with this publisher which some of its authors have reported, and which RWA has chosen to address. Those are professional matters, and should have remained on a professional level.

  22. Valerie says:

    All I will say is that gossip-mongers are everywhere.  A private post, on a private loop shouldn’t be circulated, its unprofessional.  Gail has a heavy enough load as it is and I know she has the fight in her to get everything sorted.  Triskelion is in good hands!!!!

  23. Jen says:

    Here is the deal – if a post was made on a loop that is considered private, yet it is forwarded on to many, many other people, well, I think we can all agree that is wrong.  This is the way it is in RWA PAN and PRO loops.  Unless Permission to Forward is granted, people are supposed to feel comfortable talking about whatever the parameters of those loops are.  Any discussions about agents/editors on those loops are suppose to remain private and not forwarded on.  There is a level of trust there so that we authors can feel comfortable discussing our hunt for the right publisher or the right agent.  With that said, no flaming reports allowed.

    What disturbs me about this post is that it was taken off a private loop and with total disregard to the person who wrote it, publically displayed for the world to see.  I take issue with that.

    It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with what is going on with Triskelion, or isn’t going on with triskelion, what matters was that private information was passed on and then displayed.  I myself have said things on private loops, under the assumption that it will stay with those people on the loops I have joined.  It certainly makes me think twice about saying anything, anywhere.  It’s sad when we can’t trust our fellow authors, friends, whoever.

  24. Sloane Taylor says:

    I too received this letter earlier today on a private loop.  Lynne Connolly is correct that to post it here (or any where IMO) is unprofessional. I also find it distressing the personal information remained unedited before it was posted. But I am happy to see that other people’s personal problems can give so much joy to so many.

    Triskelion is a good house and has always been up front with me. Gail is a talented professional and does not deserve this type of attention.

    As for typos – So you all are so expert you never make a mistake?

  25. just my two cents says:

    Perhaps this is just a reiteration of points that have already been made, but…

    Perhaps it is not so responsible on the part of SBTB to repost the information about her children.  I can see this point.  But to use a cliche, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  Why was she posting this information about her family at all?  Anywhere?

    Sure, it was posted on a private loop but that doesn’t keep people from passing it around.  If it’s being read by more than 1 person, it’s a public forum.  Also, it was posted on a professional forum, and that kind of information has absolutely no place there.  If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that if you put it out there, people will find it.  And circulate it.

    And honestly, why should her writers care about her problems?  Their relationship is professional, and needs to stay that way.  Her job is to make sure that they are taken care of.  If she has been slipping up, then sure, she owes them an apology, but nothing more than, “Due to personal problems, my work has suffered, and I apologize.”  If she is this overwhelmed, however, then maybe now is not the best time for her to head this organization up.  She definitely seems to have more pressing issues.

    It can’t be gossip-mongering if she’s being quoted directly.  And while the Bitchery is chock-full of Professional Bitches, this isn’t a professional site.  It’s a review site.  It’s editorial.  And it’s bitchy, in case you missed the site name.  We aren’t here to play nice.  I can see the point about editing the information to protect her children, but really, that should have been Falk’s primary concern before she spit it out to clients and co-workers.

    But I do wish her the best.  She obviously needs a lot of support right now, and I hope she and her family come through all right.  It’s a horrible situation.

  26. a teacher says:

    Children go through a lot in school-everyone knows that.

    This letter, should it get back to friends in school, could make their lives difficult. 

    This letter posted on this site should be edited to protect the privacy of the children involved.

  27. I asked for and got my rights back not long ago. I hope Gail’s personal life rights itself and I feel badly for her, but I’m very glad I’m no longer with Triskelion.

  28. As an author with Triskelion – and part of the recent change in Triskelion managemen – I have stayed quiet outside of Triskelion.  But, I realize that to a degree, silence indicates complacency.  A passive agreement to what is being said.  Since that isn’t the case, I decided I might try posting without causing a war of sorts.

    Unil two weeks ago, I was the Executive Editor for Triskelion Publishing.  I was an author with them before that, and still am.  The ONLY reason I stepped down as Exec. Editor was because I had finally accepted the reality that I had taken on too much responsibility.  I am an author first, and I chose to step down to focus again on my writing. 

    The biggest problem I see in this is the definition of ‘professionalism’.

    It is easy to stand on the outside and condemn someone for sharing personal information.  But as an outsider, you cannot understand the close knit community of authors that makes up Triskelion Publshing.  We share our ups and our downs.  We talk about our families… our good times and bad.

    This post was made on a loop intended ONLY for Triskelion authors.  This was not a reader loop or a public arena.  As such, the designation of unprofessinal falls on those individuals who deemed it their duty to take that business correspondence and air it to the general public. 

    If this were a traditional office, and your boss sent out a company wide email… you could very well lose your job if you forwarded that email outside the company.  This is the same situation.

    And the comments about Zoloft… please…

    I said before that I am an author with Triskelion… and like many others, I have been effected by this business change.  To clarify… Triskelion is not stopping ALL print… nor is this permanent.  This is a revamping of a business plan.  Like other authors, I was anticipating my release with great excitement, and was disappointed with the change.

    However, I’d rather deal with this change than hear that Triskelion is closing its ‘virtual’ doors. 

    Far more authors are staying with Triskelion and supporting these changes with enthusiasm.  It is a small portion of the Triskelion ‘population’ who have decided they should bad-mouth the company to anyone who will listen.  It’s unfortunate that people are more willing to accept the negative than see the positive.

    Gail Northman doesn’t deserve this criticism. 

    I could continue, but I’m sure I’ve added enough fuel to the fire. 

    Gail R. Delaney
    Loyal Author with Triskelion Publishing.

  29. Chicklet says:

    I’m not going to approach the question of whether this email should be available to the internet at large, because I don’t know the parameters of the YahooGroup in question; if it’s open to anyone, without moderator approval, it’s as good as public, no matter what the name of the group is, or its intended membership.

    I will, however, say that if Triskelion has been issuing NSF checks to authors, and authors are being left high-and-dry when their contracted print books don’t make it to print (after the authors have spent time and money promoting the books), then I think it’s only right that RWA disinvite them from the national conference. Triskelion needs to get its affairs in order before authors can commit to them again.

    My spamblocker word is “low,” which certainly is how I would be feeling if I had to go back to the management of a bookstore and explain that I couldn’t hold my previously arranged booksigning because I had no books.

  30. Interesting the furor all this has caused.  Being outside of the writing and editing world (I read this website because I like the genre of romance & the bitches are the best at satirizing covers that I’ve seen) and a small business owner, myself, I stand by my statement that this is not a professional presentation in a “private” loop for the business that someone represents.

    I put in the quotation marks above because there can be no reasonable expectation of privacy on the internet.  If Gail has not learned this before then she has not been paying attention. 

    As to what is appropriate for the Bitches to put up on their blog, quite frankly, that is their decision.  They might decide in the future, given the response, to rethink whether they post something similar, but again that is their decision.

  31. Lisa says:

    General rule of thumb of email: Never send anything through email that you wouldn’t want the whole world to read. Even if it’s just to a friend, spouse, priest.

  32. I’m appalled.  You have truly earned your names by posting this and deserve to be sued.  To post something that deals with a young teen with no regard to the ramifications is unforgiveable.  I will never read this blog again and will rally others to ban it. 

    In regard to Triskelion and Gail…
    Gail Northman has been the backbone of Triskelion.  She has always supported the authors and tried to do what’s best for them.  Sure, I lost money spent on promoting a book that will not go to print for now, but I’d rather see this company stay afloat than have it go under.  Samhain had to delay some prints, but no one made a stink about that.  Hollywood produces movies that get shelved. 

    Gail knew we were all counting on Trisk surviving and stepped into a tough job to help.  For her to get this in return is more disturbing than what Trisk did. 

    You Bitches have gone too far.  May the guilt of what comes of this eat away at you!  And I have to say that the person who sent this PRIVATE email to you also deserves to pay.  Why didn’t you make this blog about how terrible it was for someone to pass on such an email?  Why not post that person’s name and let them feel a fraction of the humiliation that teen will feel?  That would have been smart, bitches!  I hope you all get sued.
    Doreen Orsini

  33. Katie W. says:

    I simply wanted to jump on the “Email is not private” bandwagon.

    Regardless of whether you send an email to a single person, or to a large group, as soon as you send that email, you have lost your right to privacy. That email becomes the property of the recipient, not the sender. Unless you state, specifically, in the email that no part of it may be posted/used without permission of the author.

    This is why my email signature contains that very statement because that is really the only way to retain privacy rights in regards to email.

    Although there is certainly no guarantee that people would respect your declaration of privacy, but if you did find people posting your emails in public forums, you would certainly be able to petition for their removal based on the fact that you declare all of your out-going email as private, and retain all rights to it. (Again, this would have to be stated in every single out-going email to make it legally binding.)

    The Smart Bitches have not done anything wrong. While most people believe that there is an EXPECTATION of privacy in regards to email, there is no legal precedent for it.

    And I think a woman who would tell a group of people that she suspects her 15 year-old daughter of prostituting herself has far more things to worry about than a leaked email. Such as why she felt the need to share her suspicions in the first place, instead of opting to protect the privacy of her daughter.

    (And it is not the Smart Bitches responsibility to edit out the above information. It is the mother’s responsibility to not spread potentially libelous rumors about her minor child on the internet.)

  34. SB Sarah says:

    Sued for what? Pointing out that someone showed her behind when in fact she did show her behind?

    We went too far and should be banned? Banned from what, the internet?

    Please. I learned in 5th grade never to write anything down that I didn’t want the whole world to read. And in 5th grade I certainly wasn’t a grown up with clients to whom I owed an explanation as to why professionally things were going to hell in a handbasket.

    I did in fact edit out the part about her kids because I certainly have no need to make their embarrassment worse – if it could get any worse. So to the teacher et al who pointed that out, you’re right.

    But I should take the high ground and not post something that reveals just how badly the state of affairs at a publishing house is right now? To what end? Oh dear, someone who was considering this publishing house might think twice? Good for them!

  35. I find it interesting how polarizing this is with Triskelion authors.  No matter where this is posted, there are the authors who have major complaints who are saying, “Good, I’m glad they’re getting what they deserve,” and authors who have never had any problem calling those authors whiners and liars.

    Now, I am having a spectacular experience with Mira, an imprint of Harlequin.  But I know there are people who haven’t had a good experience with H/S, and I would never assume that what is happening to me is happening across the board.

    And then, I see emails like this, where you have an editor spilling personal information very freely.  It’s like there is no line between business and personal matters.  Maybe that’s why there is such a divide in the way their authors are taking this news.  If personal information was shared this freely with their authors (and I’m just speculating here) it’s less like a business facing the consequences of their choices and more like a few close friends being treated badly by the big, bad RWA.

  36. Robin says:

    General rule of thumb of email: Never send anything through email that you wouldn’t want the whole world to read. Even if it’s just to a friend, spouse, priest.

    I’m actually very glad that the SBs edited out the personal info by the time I got here to read the letter, because while I find some of these professional dramas fascinating, I don’t feel the same way about people’s personal dramas, at least when they don’t mean to share them publicly.  Of course you’re right about accepting the fact that even “private” correspondence can easily become public, but IMO there are other people who decide whether or not to print that information.  And people will have varying reactions to *those* decisions, separate, IMO, from the decision of the original writer to reveal the information.  I don’t think there’s anything good to be gained from reprinting the information, especially when it concerns children.

  37. RB says:

    This the era of Youtube, bloggers trying to make a name for themselves, and instant gratification journalism.  There is nothing private, especially on the internet.  I don’t care if you are the only person posting on a private, passworded board, you still take the chance it will be hacked.  If you post something dishy on a “private” board, there is nothing to prevent an easy cut and paste. 
    SBTB has always been about trying to keep it real, and I don’t see that they are doing anything differently here. 
    Also, my mama taught me a long time ago to never write anything down I didn’t want preserved for all eternity.

  38. Robin says:

    I don’t think there’s anything good to be gained from reprinting the information, especially when it concerns children.

    Let me just clarify that I’m referring here to Northman’s personal family info, not the general stuff about Triskelion.

    I find it interesting how polarizing this is with Triskelion authors.

    From the little I’ve seen, this seems to be the norm for many publishers.  Some authors couldn’t be happier, while some feel like virtual slaves.  Clearly there are issues, and perhaps they are exacerbated by the fact of the business/personal conflation you refer to.  There always seems to be a fair amount of drama around these situations that isn’t merely about *professional* relationships and situations.

  39. Samhain had to delay some prints, but no one made a stink about that.

    Probably because it’s not the same kind of situation, and that’s not really an entirely accurate description, either.

Comments are closed.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.

↑ Back to Top