Sunday, March 17, 2013

Defamation of Character Response

Official Statement From Michelle Hughes
Owner of Tears of Crimson

Response to the Defamation of Character post

I consider myself a reasonable person that attempts to treat everyone fairly, but when you challenge my honor you can be certain I will respond and unfortunately this response requires that I go back on my word about speaking concerning the Forbidden Desires Series which included 10 Nights and Beyond 10 Nights.  Certain statements were publicly put out on a blog recently from Karl Jones that needed to be addressed and to not address those comments would offend my honor.  So I ask in advance your forgiveness for bringing up this nasty subject again, and hope that all future attempts to discredit my name will he halted by this refusal to stand by and allow this person to slander my reputation.

I would refer you to the link for the blog post, but I have no doubt after this reply words will be changed there since they basically credit me as the original writer of both books in Jones's own words.  Let me state for the record the only reason this isn't being pursued in a court of law is that the fees I would incur to go forward would not be worth the potential settlement I would win from Jones.  My husband and my attorney discussed in great detail the amounts involved in both situations  and pulling the books from the shelves was what we chose to be more financially conservative.  So with all that being said, I would like to answer the lies that Mr. Jones placed on his blog post, and I have saved screen shots of the post because as I said I'm sure he will change it.

Italics and quotations will be from Jones's post.  

"As many of you know, Michelle Hughes and I collaborated on 10 Nights, which was initially written by Michelle before I rewrote and edited her first draft, and following its success I came up with a storyline for the sequel; Beyond 10 Nights. As with the first book, Michelle wrote the first draft and then I took over to rewrite and edit the books. I have also done significant promotion on the titles, and was instrumental in 10 Nights reaching #1 bestselling status and Beyond 10 Nights reaching bestselling status."

Pay very close attention to the initially written by Michelle.  This first draft that he speaks of was a complete manuscript to which he edited (and I think we might mention here the reviews that spoke about needing better editing), and as far as rewrote, this to him obviously consists of adding filler because none of the original scenes from 10 Nights were changed from what I originally wrote.  Again with Beyond 10 Nights Jones states I wrote the first draft, again a book that  could have been sold with just editing, the entire story was written and he added filler taking nothing away from the scenes or changing any of the scenes context that was already written.  

As far as coming up with the story line for Beyond 10 Nights? A complete fabrication.  How can you come up with a story line when you admit  that I wrote the first draft?  Ideas are not coming up with a story, and since only one idea was actually used which had nothing to do with the romance aspect of the story and was about Rhett flying off to Mexico, I hardly think that constitutes Jones coming up with the idea for Beyond 10 Nights.  The fans of the series wanted more, and they gave tons of ideas, that is why the second book was born, not because of Mr. Jones encouragement.  At Tears of Crimson we've always tried to answer our fans when they make requests, it's not a new thing around here.

At the beginning of March I came up with the idea of combining both books into a double book, available at a slight discount from buying the two books separately.
When I was finally able to get in touch with Michelle she was surprised, but pleased, by the combined book, especially with regards to its sales. It reached #10 on the Drama charts within the first week.
Having been so instrumental in the success of the books, and with a change in my circumstances (I recently got engaged) I made a polite request to Michelle for a discussion regarding the share of royalties I received from the books.

My first reaction to having this book released without my permission and not having any decision over the cover or having even seen the inside formatting of the book was shock, which Jones states above as surprised.  After the release of this book Jones came to me and asked for 50% royalties instead of the 25% he was currently being paid.  When I told him I didn't feel that was fair (I did  write both of these books before he ever began his edits, and felt that as such our 25% to him and 75% to me was fair) he pulled the file of the deluxe edition down from Amazon replaced the cover with a sand stone or something to that effect and basically left an empty book for customers to buy which is evidenced by the 1 star review from a customer.  He was blocked from my Amazon account after his actions because I couldn't risk that he would attempt to delete other interior files of my published work.

So I redid the two book series since Jones had already put it out there and redid the cover and released it with both of our names on the cover.  Jones contacts Amazon and claims copyright infringement, and the book is put on hold, then attempts to release the book again under his account on Amazon.  I contacted Amazon and told them that the book he had published was copyright infringement and it was pulled.  It was at that moment that I realized Jones and I would not come to a resolution over the series and all negotiations were stopped.

Amazon for those of you that don't know, claims to not get involved in legal disputes.  So they encouraged me to contact an attorney for legal matters.  So that leads back to the entire reason for this series being trashed.  Yes I could pursue legal action concerning my copyright for this book but at the end of the day I know the truth, and apparently even though Mr. Jones doesn't understand that the work he did was that of an editor, he's admitted it to the public by his own words.

Just for the record by Jones's own words he "edited" these books and you can refer to any reputable editing service to find these terms:

Copy editing

This service focuses on the accuracy and eloquence of your manuscript, specifically spelling, punctuation, structure, flow, and logic. I provide in-text edits so you can quickly identify and correct problem areas. These are technical edits, and this service targets clients who want to ensure their manuscript utilizes proper English. General feedback is included.

Content Editing

This service analyzes the broader elements of your manuscript. These can include plot or character development (for fiction), chapter arrangement and cohesion, and the coherence of your over-arching themes. This editing service ultimately targets the excitement and marketability of your manuscript, and I provide a few pages of feedback per chapter. In my professional opinion, content editing is the most vital editing service and the one most overlooked by writers. General feedback is included.

I truly hope this is the last time this subject is brought up again.  As you can see from reading this post I feel that Jones has overstepped many boundaries and ruined what was a great series.  Yes I could finish this series easily, but it's not worth losing my Amazon account over.   The story was one I came up with and the ending was just as dynamic as the rest, but there will be other stories!

Michelle Hughes


  1. I'm so sorry, very sad things went to the extent they did. Hold your head high and I look forward to reading your next book

  2. Thank you Kristan. I'm working on several new ideas and am looking forward to the day when this is all just a bad memory.

  3. I am curious. You said he was getting 25% royalties for editing your book. That is not an arrangement I've ever seen before for editing. True, I'm new to all this, but I've only ever seen editors get paid a certain amount in advance (or on payment plans), usually a certain amount per word. How did you get into such an agreement and do you think it might have precipitated these events, making him feel in some way attached to the books' success? I would love to hear your comments as I'm sure it would help authors to not find themselves in a similar situation.

  4. Danielle, our original agreement was $400 for him to edit the book which would have been a huge bargain for me. The royalty agreement was in my mind a way of helping someone out, which was a mistake on my part that I will never make again. I won't discuss Jones's personal life so I can't really explain why I felt this was a way to help him at that time. Obviously if this had been a professional agreement between two people who didn't communicate, 25% would have never been put on the table, so to speak.

    The entire crux of this situation was it wasn't two people that were just making a business decision. Prior to this fiasco I considered Jones a long distance online friend. As to his feelings on the matter, I can't speak for him so all I can say is that at the time I thought I was helping out someone who would have done the same for me.

    Concerning other authors, I would definitely suggest never entering into any agreements that pertain to editing, writing, royalties or the like without a legal contract in place. A lesson that this author will certainly never forget. Unfortunately I also will no longer work with anyone that I know personally when it comes to editing, writing, or royalties again. Professionalism will be apparent in any project that I take on in the future. A very expensive life lesson that has been implanted in my brain, that is the one positive I'm taking from this situation.

  5. I have 10 nights and the double book on my Kindle. I am sad there wont be a 3rd book, it would have been great to see where they all end up. But I love your writing and will be anxiously waiting for your next book!

    1. Heidi, there will be a third book. Thank you for being so supportive, I really do appreciate it more than I can say!


Blogger Wordpress Gadgets
Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips