HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

Apparently Excessica (you remember them, they’re the publishers who promise “to publish stuff other publishers wont” i.e taboo stories involving incest, Daddy/daughter play, etc) are spamming soliciting readers via Bebo.com.

A concerned reader sent me this e-mail:

Hey Karen, I checked my gmail this morning to find this message in my inbox. I think I’ve visited this publisher (Excissica) once when you did a blog post on them a little while back. But I certainly never gave them my email address or any other information, just browsed around a bit, and I’ve never heard of this bebo.com.

I know your blog requires an email address in order to leave a comment, but IIRC, I took one look at the Excissica thread and said “Not touching that with a ten-foot pole”. …

I’d like to know 1. if anyone else has gotten this unsolicited “invitation” and if they’re regular commenters on your blog (I read every day, but only chime in occasionally) and 2. if they collected my email when I visited their site (which isn’t possible as far as I know) or if they’re scouring your blog for email addresses (do they show up in comments? I didn’t think so). Oh, and if they’ve collected info from commenters on other blogs, if that is indeed what they’re doing.

This is the e-mail that the above reader received:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Excessica Publishing
Date: Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 10:55 AM
Subject: New invitation from Excessica Publishing
To: —@gmail.com

You have been invited to connect as friends with Excessica Publishing

Please accept or reject this invitation by clicking below:

Please do not reply directly to this email.

This email was sent to you at the direct request of Excessica Publishing
. You have not been added to a mailing list.

If you would prefer not to receive invitations from ANY Bebo members please click here – http://www.bebo.com/unsub/6483185013a144877234

Bebo, Inc., 795 Folsom St, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA.

So, have any of you had this e-mail, or was this just a one-off?

Apparently Deborah MacGillivray is claiming that she isn’t a co-publisher at Highland Press:

One should not believe everything they read on the net. lol. The RWA has a written
statement of my non-status as publisher, done two months ago. It’s on file and the
RWA has accepted it. Hilary is aware of the situation. If you have questions,
perhaps you might wish to speak to her?

RWA is the one who invited me to join PAN just yesterday, Carol Ritter, Relations
Manager for RWA. Why I was asking.

Thanks for the info, but it doesn’t apply to me.


Well, unfortunately for her, Google Cache says otherwise: This was a deleted profile entry at The Best Reviews website:

Author with Kensington Books, Dorchester Books. Co-publisher, editor author with Highland Press. Represented by Brown Literary Agency. Her true love is Scottish history. She has spent the last 25 years helping her grandfather, a retired historian, sort, restore and rewrite the history of their family in Scotland and England.

That is where she came across the basis for her novel “A Restless Knight” (Kensington, July 2006), set in the year before the rising of William Wallace. She had begun work on those pages for the history of her family in the late 1200s and thought it was a perfect story to make a marvellous novel. Her second novel-in-the- works, “Ravenhawke” August 2007, Kensington, a series of books on the saga of Scotland’s war for independence. She also writes paranormal contemporary romances, which will be put out by Dorchester Publishing (2006).

The first two will be “The Invasion of Falgannon Isle” (December 2006, Love Spell) the second “Riding the Thunder” (Spring 2007), the first two in a series of seven books. She is also now Co-Publisher, editor and author with Highland Press.

This is what her profile at The Best Reviews looks like now:

Her true love is Scottish history. She has spent the last 25 years helping her grandfather, a retired historian, sort, restore and rewrite the history of their family in Scotland and England. That is where she came across the basis for her novel “A Restless Knight” (Kensington, July 2006), set in the year before the rising of William Wallace.

She had begun work on those pages for the history of her family in the late 1200s and thought it was a perfect story to make a marvellous novel. Her second novel-in-the- works, “In Her Bed” August 2007, Kensington, a series of books on the saga of Scotland’s war for independence. Next – One Snowy Knight (October 2008) and followed by Yield to the Knight.

She also writes paranormal contemporary romances, which will be put out by Dorchester Publishing (2006). The first two “The Invasion of Falgannon Isle” (December 2006, Love Spell) the second “Riding the Thunder” (October 2007), the first two in a series of seven books.

Funny that, no mention of her being the co-publisher at Highlands Press on this version.

However, trying to hide evidence when one has been obviously lying is hard work.

This is what it says at her Amazon Store:

About the Author
Deborah writes for Kensington Zebra Historical Books, Dorchester Publishing’s Love Spell. She is also an editor and co-publisher with the small print house Highland Press.

And again at the Coffee Time Romance About The Authors section:

She is co-publisher and editor at Highland Press and has short stories in several anthologies. Bad Cat, Getting it in the End, and Double, Double, Toil & Trouble are in No Law Against Love (February 2006).

Dear me.

Apparently one of the reasons that she’s trying so hard to hide the fact that she is co-publisher of Highland Press is because the rules would not permit her to be a member of RWA’s PAN (published author network), if she was a publisher.

Ahhh poor Debs, she makes Madris DePasture seem positively medicated.


Here’s a First Sale Interview that she did in 2006. She clearly admits to being the co-publisher at Highland Press:

Lynda: What are your writing plans for the future?

Deborah: I have 2 books left in both contracts. The historical series, “The Dragons of Challon” have six books. So I would like to continue with Kensington in that series. In the “Seven Sisters” for Dorchester, I have four more books for the next contract. After that?oodles of ideas. Too many books to write, not enough time. I am also co-publisher for a small Tradesize press, Highland Press. Leanne Burroughs is owner. We hope in the next couple years to do some amazing projects.

Well and truly caught out. What an idiot.

I got this e-mail yesterday, and to be honest I can’t really make head nor tail of it, so because I simply don’t have time (Read: I can’t be arsed), I’ll let you clever people out there tell me whether DCL are being naughty or not.

They registered the company as a LLC in Ohio. (Contact Info Business Filing Info Prior Business Name Info
DCL PUBLICATIONS, LLC 1760375 Domestic Limited Liability Company Feb 19 2008 Active )

They register the books with the Australian address (of the co-owner) in Australia with their library of congress, because the ISBN’s are free.

According to the state of Ohio and the ISBN commission, you can’t do that, it is considered an illegal act.


An example of the ISBN’s in question:

(Book title)
© 2008 by (Author name)
All rights reserved
First Edition April 2008
DCL Publications
36 Monash Street
Melton South
ISBN 978-1-921347- (shortened to protect the author in case this is just a misunderstanding)

This was published as DCL, being a registered company of Ohio, yet the ISBN is Australian.

It states on the first link that the US ISBN agency “cannot assign ISBNs to foreign publishers”, but I guess if DCL are registered in Ohio, then this might not even apply? Although the above ISBN details clearly lists the Australian address, rather than the Ohio one.

I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation, because I don’t for one moment believe that an e-book publisher would be so blatant about breaking the rules. *g*

I must admit, at first glance, I couldn’t see much wrong with it, but then I’m not an expert on these things.

Anybody out there want to shed some light on this for me?

Thanks to you-know-who for the e-mail.

So I thought I’d post Madris DePasteur’s latest rambling post. Apparently she sent this to all the authors again.

“There are a lot of reasons we’ve abandoned the critiquing phase of editing and now generally accept books `as is’. Foremost among these reasons is a lack of cooperation from the authors whose books we’ve tried to improve who appear to have far more confidence in the pointers they get from friends and family members than people experienced in the business.

Since this actually is a matter of opinion, expert or not, and the authors seem determined to live with their decision, we let them. The only exception to this is when an author has a habit that is so distracting and/or annoying that we feel that it will be impossible for the reader to get any enjoyment out of the book.”

She can’t help herself can she? Although, admittedly, I had to read that paragraph about three times before I finally understood what she was saying.

“We consider if bad policy for any of our authors to annoy our distributor, who is not only very prompt and reliable in paying, but who also sells a high volume of books. If our distributor reports to us that one of our authors has been annoying them we will pull that author’s books from the list to ensure that our authors do not annoy our distributor, and that includes all of the online booksellers who get the books from the distributor, who report to the distributor, who reports to us.

Do not NAG the distributor or booksellers unless you’d just rather not have your work widely available, in which case, you should just tell us not to list your book with the distributor and STILL leave the distributor alone.

Professional to the end isn’t she? *g*

Thanks to you know who for the e-mail.

I had a conversation with Jane last week, where I said that I thought the problem with e-publishing, especially those who publish romance/erotic novels, is that it’s full of screeching women who don’t have the faintest idea about running a business.

She disagreed of course, as any sensible person would, but to be honest, I’m not so sure I’m wrong. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m being somewhat sexist, but so what? I still think there’s a grain of truth in there.

I know that there are exceptions, but that’s just it, they seem to be exceptions, rather than the rule.

If Tina Engler was to start up in today’s current climate, would she be as successful? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.

In the beginning she too was writing most of the books herself. The editing was terrible, and nowhere near as polished as it is now (well, not counting those Carol Lynne books because they were shockingly bad). I hear that she struggled no end in the beginning, and that was with virtually no competition.

I think that Crissy Bashear, great timing, and no competition, were what helped EC make it big.

In today’s e-pub market, minus Crissy Bashear, I do think Engler would really struggle.

Of course men fail in business too, but seeing as so many of them run most of the world, you’re bound to get failures here and there.

No, I’m serious. I do think that if more romance e-pubs had men at the helm, more e-presses would survive (James Lightsey doesn’t count, I’m still not convinced he was a bloke), and I can’t help but think that you wouldn’t have the same level of shrill, hormonally challenged screaming dingbats, that plague the industry now.

How many times do you get the CEO of a print publisher having a total meltdown in public? Come to think of it, how many of those CEOs are women?

Anyway, agree, disagree? Couldn’t give a crap?


Ellen Ashe sent me this note that Madris DePasture, of New Concepts Publishing, sent to the NCP author loop:

‘I’m curious to know if any of our Canadian authors can recommend a good Canadian attorney to handle a defamation lawsuit for NCP? I’ve contacted Catherine, the lawyer at White & Case in NY who handled our lawsuit with Kensington, but I’m not sure this is their area of expertise and figure it would probably be to our advantage to hire a Canadian attorney anyway. If any of our Canadian authors do know of one and can furnish me with the contact information, I’d appreciate it if you’d do so.’

First of all, she sent that to the author loop? And secondly, what lawsuit with Kensington?

Incidentally, I think she’s looking for a Canadian lawyer so that she can sue Ellen Ashe. Or so she wants everybody else to believe anyway. What a grade A twat.


Please note, this was originally posted at my Karenscott.wordpress.com blog. All corresponding comments can be found there also.

I was sent this link by a source so anonymous, even I don’t know who he/she is.

It’s a post from one of the Torquere authors who apparently belongs in the ‘In Crowd’ over there:

Ya know… If I really wanted to hear all the frickin’ mud-slinging that goes on within this biz (namely on blogs), I’d have gone into politics. For the record: I love my publishers. So for those idiots who have nothing better to do than drag pubs through the mud just for the sake of blog hits, feel free to step out in front of a car.

Have a nice day. 🙂

Apparently, he/she also writes under the name of Kaye Derwydd. No idea who she/he is of course.

I’ll post some of his accompanying comments shall I? (FreePublicityFreePublicityFreePublicity!)

Torquere, Phaze… I’m happy with my pubs, and I honestly don’t understand where the drive to spout shit about pubs comes from. Between private conversations among friends? Bitch all ya want. But in public? These morons need to learn to get their facts straight.

This is a comment from one of Mychael’s cronies:

Some folks got no manners…
and no awareness of how small the biz really is. Names get noted, and remembered.

And Mychael replies with:

Yup. Which is probably why some of these people start the mud-slinging–either they or someone they know was probably rejected/not happy, and poof! The press in question is officially evil.

This next comment is from another of Mychael’s readers, and I thought it was very telling:

not sure where, who, what was said ect – I agree with you tho’ – it’s one thing to express your concerns about a pub in private – but to post in a public forum is just wrong

The above comments epitomizes a lot of what is wrong with the e-publishing industry right now.

What worries me even more is this sentiment from the Anon who sent the link:

Please don’t name this email or the source. These people are psychos. Note the threats of violence. Balanced – not.

Not much else for me to say really apart from….Am I the only person who’s annoyed at the way Mychael Black has chosen to spell his/her name? Sheesh.


Please note, this was originally posted at my Karenscott.wordpress.com blog. You can also find the corresponding comments there.

That’s what Madris DePasture wrote in a New Concepts announcement letter addressed to her authors in 2002/2003.

It would seem that even as far back as that, Madris lacked a certain finesse when dealing with her writers.

Because I’m a bad, bad girl, let me post this warning that she included within one of the letters:

Please remember, this page is ONLY for NCP authors, so don’t give out the address to anyone else. There is no link on the main site going to the Author Lounge, so be sure to bookmark it. The address is http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/authorlounge33.htm

Ooops, again.

That should get some of the authors at the Romance Divas forum anxiously wringing their hands. Yes, I know, I am the devil herself.

Let me post you some snippets anyway, after all, the devil has no conscience:

“Any author who has NOT fulfilled the terms of their contract, or in any other manner behaved unprofessionally, been verbally abusive or just uncooperative, who demands the release of their book, may or may not be given permission to withdraw.

If money has been exchanged and/or time and effort put into marketing your book, we might then decide NOT to release you from your contractual obligations. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you wish to hire a lawyer to regain the rights. If we do decide to relinquish the rights, and state as much via email, do NOT expect to receive further written confirmation just to make you comfortable.

We will not go to any extraordinary lengths to soothe your fears. You are not welcome to submit again at a later time when we have managed to build a market and your work will never be considered again by New Concepts Publishing.

Charming woman.

For those of you who don’t understand and get nervous when you don’t hear anything and want to be continually updated on any and all progress… I’m sorry, but we just don’t have time to hold hands right now. Please repeat this mantra…..NCP is a business with much work to do.

As long as the website is there, they are there. If the phone is busy, it’s a good thing. If my emails have not been answered it’s because they are busy doing the work publishers do in order to stay in business and sell books. I am not being ignored because I’m not important, or because they’re thinking about dumping me. They are busy and I am allowing my fertile imagination to conjure paranoia.

Good grief.

Otherwise, keep in mind that your reputation is our reputation and our reputation is your reputation. If NCP is thought well of, then our authors have status as our authors. If our authors are thought poorly of, then NCP is not considered a good publisher. Whatever doubts or anxieties you might have, when you make NCP look bad, it makes you look bad.

Watch what you say, where you say it and to whom you say it. Don’t share your hysteria, anxieties or disappointments. Don’t play the blame game. Whether you realize it or not, YOU always get tarred with that feather.

I realize that people are either confident, or not. Nothing anyone can say or do can build confidence in those who lack it. Everything anyone says or does can further deteriorate a fragile confidence. However, I am sick to death of hearing ‘we’re not as good as’ NY, or any other publisher for that matter.

I have a feeling she’s not that big on trying to build confidence in the first place.

Rumor has it that Ellora’s Cave is so desperate for ‘romantica’ that they’re asking their authors to add sex scenes to previously written books. Anyone who’s been in the business for a while, and learned their craft, will know that this is a formula that will generally not click.

Hehe, she dissed Elloras Cave. That should go down well with the folks over at EC. We all know how precious they can be.

Before I go further, I need to address one serious problem that frequently rears it’s ugly head in this business, particularly when I try to talk shop to our authors—jealousy. I do understand that this is something that is a part of some people’s nature, hard to control and hard to combat. However, it is a totally useless and unproductive emotion. If it empowered a person to strive harder, then it would have some use. I’ve yet to see that—I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but in general it just causes problems.

Set your jealousy aside. The plain, hard, indisputable fact of life in publishing is that you are an entertainer. Sometimes your ideas appeal, sometimes not. I wish I knew the exact formula to produce highly successful books every time, but no one knows that. Even authors who regularly sell well occasionally write one that flops, and usually some that do not perform as well as others—this isn’t an exact science and it is useless to try to compare your books to anyone else’s.

Hey, it’s not all bad, she does give props to one of her authors:

Now, having said that, I want to give credit where it’s due, Autumn Dawn ‘lucked’ out by writing a wonderfully appealing book, effective promotion, and being in the right place at the right time with the right story.

I wonder she couldn’t just say the author in question did a good job, without having to say that her success was due to ‘luck’?

What a great ambassador for her business eh? I can’t believe how bad she is at addressing her writers. It is possible to write a communication document without leaving the recipients feeling like they just had a fight with a cruise missile.

Oh, and for those folks over at Romance Divas who insist on wringing their hands over the legality of posting Madris’ e-mail, and discussing whether it should have been posted in the first place, rather than concentrating on the fact that your fellow authors are being shafted left, right, and centre, let’s hope you’re never in the same position as Ellen Ashe eh?

Thanks to you-know-who for the link.


I was forwarded this e-mail by Bitch Envy. It’s a letter from NCP’s publisher, Madris DePastures addressing all the terrible accusations that have been levelled at NCP.

It starts like this:

A letter from the publisher:
I’m going to address remarks circulating the web regarding this company. This is not for republication elsewhere, so those of you who decide to do so should know that, unless permission is given, and it is NOT, copying any part of this to another site is violation of
privacy and copyright laws.

Erm…ooops? Oh well, in for a pound, in for a penny I guess: (more…)


What is it with E-book publishers who publish their own books, using multiple pseudonyms?

I heard some rumours about Torquere Press that I want to throw out there. (FYI, Torquere publish lesbian, gay and transgender romance/erotica)

Let me list them for you:

The owners of TP, (just like the owners of New Concepts Publishing), have lots of their own books out under multiple pseudonyms.

Not only that, but like NCP (allegedly), these books are usually given preference, in terms of release dates, etc.

I also heard that there are a few cliques that have formed within the e-pub. In one corner, you have the ‘Your Shit Smells of Roses’ crowd (AKA the ‘In’ crowd), and in the other corner, you have the ‘Who You Looking At Fool’ crowd (AKA the ‘Out’ crowd).

Apparently, these two factions hate each other. Like really, really, hate each other.

The WYLAF crowd apparently don’t get their books released as often as the ‘YSSOR’ crowd.

Some of the authors – who may or may not be the pseudonymed authors recently bought Torquere and since then it has been a family business.

Shoddy or lack of editing, preferential treatment, et cetera has plagued the company since the take-over.

So, are there any truth to these rumours? Anybody willing to confirm or deny?

If so, my door is always open, just e-mail me at hairylemony @ gmail .com, and give me the goods. Confidentiality guaranteed, as always.


So says James Lightsey, New Concepts’ author liaison person.

He goes on to add:

“NCP customers want and expect something different. Futuristic, Paranomal, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, these are genres that NCP readers most want. These genre are in high demand by a select group of readers that want more variety than mainstream can provide.”

Nothing like generalisations on a massive scale huh?

When I first read Lightsey’s post on Mrs Giggles’ blog, I assumed that it was a response to the NCP dust-up. I was wrong. The post was sent to the NCP loop in January. So still no official comment from the publisher.

It certainly makes for interesting reading though: (the bold emphasis are mine)

To: authorpromotion@yahoogroups.com
From: “new_concepts_pub”
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008
Subject: [authorpromotion] Greetings from the Author Liaison

Dear Authors,

As most of you know, I’m sometimes slow(OK always slow) to answer e-mails. So I try to answer as many questions on the author loop as possible. As author liaison for NCP, my loyaty lies foremost to NCP, however I am honor bound to help NCP authors in any and every way that I can. So here is my best advice on many of the concerns on the loop.


Always send the 100% complete, self-edited, RTF format version of your manuscript. Include any and all dedications, forewords, prologs, epilogs, glossaries, or whatever, because they might not be added later. Also to speed up the editing process at this point, go through your book and remove all references to trademarked items. Replace the trademark name with the actual name of the item ie. Q-Tips are cotton swabs, McDonalds=burger joint, whatever, we can’t use trademarked names without permission.


When you receive a contract from NCP, as is true of all contracts, read it until you understand everything. Do not sign the contract unless you agree to stand by your decision. If your legal name, book title, or address is different than what is typed on the contract, strike through it with a pen, write in the correct info, and initial it. The contract is as is and not negotiable. Any questions about the contract may be sent to me.

No negotiations? This strikes me as being a little inflexible. What would happen if they managed to attract a big name author who didn’t like some of the terms? (more…)

I’ve been absolutely amazed by the number of people who have been having difficulties with NCP for ages, but up ’til now, haven’t had the cojones to make it public.

I realise of course that it’s probably not as simple as that for most of the authors who are there, but shoot, it’s not like the owners were shafting just a couple of them. From the e-mails that I’ve received, it seems that quite a lot of the authors were gettiing butt-fucked on a daily basis by the multi-pseudonymed, multi-faceted, mysterious owners of NCP.

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to not respond to their authors?

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to threaten to blacklist any authors who try to raise pertinent issues?

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to not pay their authors what they are owed?

These are all things that have been happening within e-publishing houses over the past year or so. NCP have merely added to the growing tally. (more…)


Well, I’m pretty sure when this many authors are pissed off at their publisher, it generally means that their publisher is probably shafting them. Royally.

From what I can gather, New Concepts Publishing seem to be losing the grip on their business, and I can’t help but wonder if they are having money troubles?

Anyway, here’s a selection of excerpts from the complaints that I’ve been getting from authors:

They’ve been yanking authors around for years. This dropping books and not releasing contracts is sheer spite. They have an infamous “shit-list” consisting of authors who question or argue and the numbers on it are increasing.

I hired a lawyer and the letter Madris wrote in return to it was arrogant and ignorant. She even spelled breach “breech”. Then she implied I lied to him, I was simple and my books weren’t worth NCP’s time and effort anyway. Just an example of how dreadful this woman is and what bullying tactics some authors have cowered under.

It’s about time the shit went the other way. They have many unethical business tactis that need to be addressed so authors aren’t made to feel like pieces of slime.
Lawyers are expensive and I can’t afford to press my issues much further. But I can’t see him tolerating the tone of the letter sent back to his office. My fight continues, at least for a little while.

Seeing as Ellen Ashe has been so vocal about her anger at the treatment she has received from NCP, there’s no reason for me to hide her identity, she’s taking a stand, which is nice to see. (more…)

I don’t think I’ve ever bought any books from New Concepts, so they’ve pretty much always sailed under my radar, however, I did receive an e-mail from one of their authors yesterday, with “concerns” over the running of the company, and the way they are currently treating their authors.

Her e-mail starts:

“I am an author with New Concepts Publishing. In fact, I’m a very unhappy author with them, along with numerous other authors. I’ve come to you to ask if you were aware of the fact that NCP is a vanity press for the publishers/owners? If I had known this before submitting to them, I never would have done so. But now that I am, I realize how huge a mistake it was.”

She continues:

“I have yet to be paid for my 4th qtr sales. But at least this is not as bad as some of the treatment other authors have faced, or are currently facing.”

My source then goes on to list a number of things that have been happening at NCP of late:

“Repeatedly ignoring or not answering questions and queries by their authors
Questions and queries by authors on the authors’ email loop being slammed by a select handful of “friends” (in both private emails and loop mail)
Publisher’s Liaison slamming questioning authors in email (since authors are not allowed to write directly to the publisher/owners)
Authors never given release dates, or told when their book is out (or if they are given a release date, not releasing it at that time — example in point, one author was told her book would release in Aug., ’07. It was finally released this month.)
Late or no payment (ditto for 1099s)
Misspelled name on the cover, and not correcting it
Wrong cover on the book, and not correcting it
No edits before releasing the book (or extremely poor editing, if any)
Author not given a chance to see final version of book before its release
Not giving the author an ARC, and forcing them to buy their own personal copies once book is out
Limiting an author on the number of copies they can buy of their own books
Denying authors release from their contracts (no buy-out clause in contracts, either)
Publisher/owners using up to 12 pseudonyms (5 known and documented) for their own books, of which 80-90% of all books released are their own
90% of books released onto Fictionwise belonging to publisher/owners, and a very select handful of “inner circle” friends
90% of books being released to paperback being those of the publisher/owners, and that same handful of friends

Whew! Well there’s a lot to consider there, how true these issues are, I don’t know, but for those of you who do know, you know the drill. E-mail me at hairylemony @ gmail . com, with your version of events.

The author mentioned that they were a vanity press for the owners/publishers which I must admit I found a tad confusing. I think she’s misunderstood what a vanity press is, and I’m assuming that she means that the owners/publishers are publishing a huge percentage of their own work, which strictly speaking seems to be par for the course for a lot of e-book publishers out there, but this alone doesn’t actually make them a VP house.

Anyway, if anybody else has a beef with the way things are going with the company, or maybe you haven’t been paid for your work in a while (which is usually a good indication that the company is on a slippery slope to bankruptcy) or if anybody has any inside knowledge, please e-mail me.  As usual, I promise total confidentiality.