UK Vanity Publishers Austin Macauley & Pegasus in Horrible Bait-And-Switch

Rebloggng comments of David Gaughran.

David Gaughran

austinmacauleyA number of UK-based vanity presses are engaging in unsavory tactics: passing themselves off as trade publishers and only hitting writers with the bill when it comes to contracts.

I moved back home recently and started being assailed by all sorts of seamy ads aimed at writers in the UK/Irish market. One of the most widely advertised is a vanity press called Austin Macauley (I’m not linking to them and boosting their SEO, here’s a link to a Google search instead).

The basic MO is to pass themselves off as a regular publisher – right down to having commissioning editors, submission guidelines, the works – when they are really what the industry refers to as a subsidy press.

A subsidy press is generally defined as a publisher which requires its authors to make a “contribution” towards the publishing costs of the book. In practice, subsidy presses are simply vanity presses…

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Book Review: “Eden” Fresh Spin on “Intelligent Design.”

eden-martin-roy-hill“If this is Paradise, how bad could Hell be?”

Summary: In Eden: A Sci-Fi Novella by Martin Roy Hill, an American army patrol is sent to investigate ancient ruins in Iraq. When an enemy mortar shell blasts an opening into a hidden burial chamber, Captain Adam Cadman and his soldiers take refuge deep in the ruins.  What they find hidden inside threatens to destroy every belief about the beginnings of mankind — as well as modern civilization as we know it.

I enjoyed this and recommend it highly. Well written, imaginative, gives one pause for thought — and puts a fresh spin on so-called “intelligent design.”


Martin Roy Hill website:

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Book Review: The Keeper by John Lescroart

Keeper-300pxA crime novel featuring Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky on the hunt for clues about a woman who has gone missing.

On the evening before Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, drives to the airport to pick up his step-brother for the weekend. When they return, Hal’s wife, Katie, has disappeared without a clue.

By the time Dismas Hardy hears about this, Katie has been missing for five days. The case strikes close to home because Katie had been seeing Hardy’s wife, a marriage counselor. By this time, the original Missing Persons case has become a suspected homicide, and Hal is the prime suspect. And the lawyer he wants for his defense is none other than Hardy himself.

I enjoyed this book, even though Dismas Hardy played a secondary role to Abe Glitsky. I like Lescroart’s writing style, and I wish more crime writers followed his lead. I found the story intriguing and plausible, although one clue revealed early on pretty much narrowed down the suspects. Still, the plot had enough originality to keep me guessing as to the outcome, which has enough of a twist to keep it from being formulaic.

I met John at the La Jolla Writers Conference a few years back, and he has become one of my favorite authors.


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Book Review: Back Story, Robert B. Parker

Fback_story_parkerun romp through a 28-year-old cold case that has more twists than a piece of licorice, and an ending that does not exactly surprise, but avoids the formula of this genre. Parker’s witty and sarcastic exchanges between the characters delight. Only have to willingly suspend disbelief on a few occasions. And his persistent use of passive voice gets on my nerves at times.

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PWSD, 9/27: “Preparing Yourself and Your Manuscript for Publication”

I won’t be able to attend, but I recommend this for writers relatively new to the world of writing, editing, and publishing. I see a lot of mangled manuscripts from writers who don’t know what they don’t know.

Publishers & Writers of San Diego

Saturday, August 27, 10 a.m.
Bridget Boland, “Preparing Yourself and Your Manuscript for Publication”
Encinitas Community Center
1140 Oak Crest Park Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024

Non-members welcomed. This is a good, professional group and worth joining.

There is also an Orange County (CA) branch of this group that meets separately.

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Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, September 1, 2016

Survivors of Violent Loss

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, September 1, 2016

            Topic of the Month:  Prosecuting the Case, Continued

            Question of the Month: What happened in your case?

            News: National Day for Remembering Homicide Victims

            Resource of the Month


Topic of the Month:
Prosecuting the case, Chapter Seven, Murder Survivor’s Handbook .

webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500webWhile there are many families who do get their case heard in a court of law; there are those who are still waiting for their day in court. This newsletter will address cold cases in the future. In this issue we will focus on those who do get to go to court.  The following is an excerpt from the book:

Prosecutor Prior writes the following questions on the back of her business card and encourages families to ask the questions each time they meet:

When is the next court date?

What can I expect?

Will anything…

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Breaking News: Olympics Update—Underdogs Fiji and New Zealand Top the Medal Count

So, I stay up to effing midnight to get some pole vault action and what do I get in return from NBC? Six vaults as an afterthought to four hours of at times interminable,  jingoistic coverage.  (My friend Rich in Seattle got to watch the entire event—live—via Canadian TV.) Although NBC did include the Canuck decanucking and the ultimate winner. I’m happy for the Brazilian. Nice to see a (sort of) underdog win.


Kiwi rowers take first gold for New Zealand.

Ditto for the balance beam—I’m happy for The Little Dutch Girl (that’s also the name of a fiddle tune I play). And that swimmer from Kazakhstan. I’m now rooting for the Mexican in 2nd place in springboard diving.

But who does Bob Costas interview in the post-event wrap-up? Shaun White, the snowboarder. Huh? I punched the remote to 4 on fast forward. Ditto during all those first-round heats on the track that took less than 15 seconds to run, followed by 15 minutes of commercials. (Along with the never-ending rounds of beach volleyball, which, as I understand it, will not conclude until after the closing ceremony.)

Of course, NBC had to close the show with the medal count, thumping its chest with the U.S. atop the leader board. But isn’t that to be pretty much expected? The news would be if the U.S. were not atop the leader board.

What NBC and the rest of news media ought to do is rank the medal winners on a per capita basis, say a medal per 1 million people, and maybe even weight it by GDP. The latter would put Fiji—which doesn’t even have 1 million people—near the top, if not at the top, for its first-ever Olympic medal, a gold in rugby sevens, followed by New Zealand, maybe, then Norway, and so on. Let’s put it in perspective.


Fiji rugby players win first gold ever for the tiny island nation.

Whadaya know . . . someone has already done it . . . saves me the trouble . . .

New Zealand is #2 (at this writing), as I suspected (despite the All Blacks’ embarrassing fumble), but with Grenada topping the list, while Fiji is a mere 7th. (When looking at gold medals per capita, Fiji does top the list.)

The Fijians have to stop being so happy and get serious about their Olympics program and branch out beyond rugby; maybe we could start a new competition for Fiji—shark wrestling. That would be more interesting than endless rounds of ping-pong and badminton. How did those geriatric pastimes become Olympic sports, anyway? Next thing you know, they’ll be handing out medals for golf (oh, right, I forgot) and lawn darts—which could  interesting if played with bare feet.

I’m not sure Bahrain (4th), should count, since all the medal winners seem to be ex-pats from Kenya. What’s with that?

And Grenada? With a population less than that of the city of Everett, Washington, I suppose it would top the list. After all, how many Olympic medalists have ever come from Everett? That said, I think Grenada’s medal winner got a scholarship to a U.S. university, so maybe that should be factored into the ranking as well; i.e., take it down a notch or three.

So, my hat’s off to New Zealand, one of my favorite places (and where I made new friends when I covered the America’s Cup regatta in 2000), and Fiji, and the other tiny countries that, despite the odds, have managed to take home a bit of bronze, silver, and even gold. (I just hope their governments don’t put their medal winners in a position of having to melt down and sell their medals to pay the income tax on them as does the U.S.)

What about the United States? Ranks a pitiful 37th, one rung below Russia, no less. (Weighted for GDP, the U.S. drops even lower.) I guess we need Trump to rally the storm troopers and make this country great again, just like East Germany did in the ’80s. After all, I doubt he wants to be one-upped by his pal Putin.

And China? With 1.4 billion (yes, with a “b”), the most populous country on the planet, it ranks a paltry 60th. Must be the air pollution.

And what’s with host country Brazil? With a population of 208 million, it’s only two ticks above China. Must be those pesky favelas.

So, I say cheers to the underdogs of the world, and may you knock a big country or two off their high horses and  win more medals in the Olympics in the days and years to come.

By the way, I didn’t have to make this up. Check it out (it’s on the Internet so it must be true):

Olympic Glory in Proportion

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-American. I am thrilled to see my fellow countrymen and countrywomen win their individual medals. They earned them. But in terms of the total medal count that the U.S. news media  and chest thumpers trumpet, it needs to be put in perspective.

Chiz, mytes

PS: More on the notion of perspective, a column in the Los Angeles Times (Aug. 17, 2016):

American women are dominating the Olympic Games, and it didn’t happen by accident

 “Forty-four years after the landmark passage of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against females in all areas of federally funded education including sports, American women’s athletics is indeed no longer just about participation, it’s about championships.”

I’m happy for the women who today have opportunities their predecessors did not; they deserve it. But the operative word here is “opportunities.” And that relates back to the GDP. Yes, fairness plays a role, but being fair-minded comes at a price. The U.S. made a commitment to fairness—and the associated costs.

Other countries have followed suit—good for them. But some have not, or do not have the equivalent resources to do it. Yet world-class athletes still emerge from those countries and shine brilliantly at the Olympic Games. That deserves acknowledgement and recognition by those who trumpet U.S. greatness but only look at the raw numbers. The fact is, with its population and GDP, the U.S. (as a whole, not on an individual basis) is underachieving compared to some of its smaller counterparts—albeit not as much as China.


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