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Thread: LitFire Publishing

  1. #101
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Christopher Biggs, the chap who manages to combine the careers of writer for children and model for Korean erectile dysfunction treatments, is apparently the "Author of bestselling business book - Safari Stanley's Jungle Animals". If you try to access his author page www.childrenslearningfun.com through LitFire's site you get an SSL Error notice:
    https://litfirepublishing.com/

    Let's think about this for a minute.

    Christopher Biggs doesn't even exist.

    The book has nothing to do with business.

    It isn't a bestseller.

    The link to his author page doesn't work.


    For sheer dishonesty and incompetence Litfire's description is in a class of its own.

  2. #102
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    My late hillbilly grandfather had an all-purpose word he'd use when utterly flummoxed: "Shitfire!" Kinda works here too.
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  3. #103
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    And, Gravity, I like how your late hillbilly grandfather's term rhymes so perfectly with Litfire.

  4. #104
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    That's what I thought, too!
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  5. #105
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I can't help wondering exactly who wrote those 110 books by imaginary authors. If their content is anything like the blog posts and emails by LitFire employees, it wouldn't surprise me if most of the material was plagiarized or paraphrased from information available for free on the internet.

    Oh, and I looked Mr Biggs' author site up on whois:

    Domain Name: CHILDRENSLEARNINGFUN.COM
    Registry Domain ID: 1757851797_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
    Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.enom.com
    Registrar URL: www.enom.com
    Updated Date: 2014-10-19T23:07:15.00Z
    Creation Date: 2012-11-08T05:07:00.00Z
    Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2015-11-08T05:07:00.00Z
    Registrar: ENOM, INC.
    Registrar IANA ID: 48
    Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email
    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4252982646
    Reseller: NAMECHEAP.COM
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Registry Registrant ID:
    Registrant Name: WHOISGUARD PROTECTED
    Registrant Organization: WHOISGUARD, INC.
    Registrant Street: P.O. BOX 0823-03411
    Registrant City: PANAMA
    Registrant State/Province: PANAMA
    Registrant Postal Code: 00000
    Registrant Country: PA
    Registrant Phone: +507.8365503
    Registrant Phone Ext:
    Registrant Fax: +51.17057182
    http://www.whoismind.com/whois/child...ngfun.com.html
    Nope, nothing suspicious about that at all.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-13-2014 at 08:28 PM.

  6. #106
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    More LitFire weirdness! One of the company's non-existent authors is "Catherine Levenstein", whose booklet Alzheimer's Prevention Blueprint is supposedly published by Positive Steps Publishing (of Atlanta, of course). Despite being a figment of someone's imagination she claims to be a member of the American Holistic Health Association, or at least uses their logo inside the book.

    Needless to say her photo is a stock image and the content of her Facebook account was written by someone not on intimate terms with the English language:

    Hello Dear Readers! Prevention is better than cure as most of us believe on, which is I do agree too..Everyone of us will grew old, no one not..What we do today is the reflection of what we are tomorrow..So, here is my book about ways to prevent Alzheimer's Disease.. Grab a copy now and protect yourself and your family for tomorrow..Thank you
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathe...44516379044324
    The strange thing is...here's what appears to be a single Wordpress blog page by "marianiliff" (Marian Iliff?) which uses the opening section of the Alzheimer's booklet, illustrated with a lovely photo of pasta and meatballs.

    http://marianiliff.wordpress.com/

    A link at the end leads to a Pinterest page for the Levenstein book:

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/488148047081237198/

    *furrows brow*

    "Catherine Levenstein" isn't the only bogus author making unauthorized use of the AHHA logo - "Robert M Fleischer", "Lars Anderson", "Caroline Greene" and "Maggie Fitzgerald" are equally guilty. The AHHA has been informed and is looking into the matter.

    Finally, having downloaded LitFire's free guide to self-publishing I can reveal a bit more info about "Jill Bennett":

    Jill Bennett is LitFire’s spokesperson and publicist. She has several years of publishing and book marketing experience under her belt. Also under her belt is the mastery in taking care of three cats named Ginger, Pepper, and Marty.
    If only some of Litfire's bogus authors talked about their pets on Facebook they'd be slightly more believable.



    The beating heart of LitFire's publishing empire in Atlanta: a rented mailbox at SOHO Office, 2090 Dunwoody Club Drive
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-20-2014 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Added a bit

  7. #107
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Has LitFire given up the ghost? It's been nine days since "Jill Bennett" posted her last article on the Media page, and my questions on the company's Facebook haven't been answered or deleted.

  8. #108
    Researching History's Mysteries HistorySleuth's Avatar
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    All these litfire books by fake authors makes me wonder who is collecting the money on any sales. A person can have a pen name but are they listed in the Amazon accounting that way? Don't ask me why I'm wondering that. For some reason I was thinking about stuff like Amazon issued tax statements to its authors and making money and not claiming it because of multiple pen names/aliases.
    Blog Twitter @HistorySleuth1
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    A History of Native American Land Rights in Upstate New York
    On Amazon.

  9. #109
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    The whole thing is surreal - one weird thing just leads to another, such as a reference to LitFire in Wikipedia's entry for the Silo series of novellas by Hugh Howey:

    Howey first began the series in 2011, initially writing Wool as a stand-alone short story.[5]

    5) Melton, Dave. "Free Guide About Truths on Self-publishing". Litfire Publishing. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silo_%28series%29
    So - is Dave Melton, not "Jill Bennett", the author of LitFire's self-publishing guide? I had a look at the article's revision history:

    (cur | prev) 02:30, 4 November 2014‎ Davemelton29 (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (11,110 bytes) (-14)‎ . . (→‎Wecks, Erik. "Hugh Howey Interview Part 2: A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of The Wool Omnibus".: Updated dead link to make it more relevant.) (undo)
    (cur | prev) 02:24, 4 November 2014‎ ClueBot NG (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (11,124 bytes) (+12)‎ . . (Reverting possible vandalism by Davemelton29 to version by Rich Farmbrough. False positive? Report it. Thanks, ClueBot NG. (2016368) (Bot)) (undo)
    (cur | prev) 02:24, 4 November 2014‎ Davemelton29 (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (11,112 bytes) (-12)‎ . . (→‎Wecks, Erik. "Hugh Howey Interview Part 2: A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of The Wool Omnibus".: Updated dead link to make it more relevant.) (undo)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?...action=history
    But...I downloaded LitFire's guide a couple of days ago and it doesn't even mention Hugh Howey!

    Even more strangely, the photo of pasta and meatballs on that mysterious one-page WordPress blog isn't a stock image, as you might expect. It glories in the title "Last Thrid of Meatball-Pasta Pot (c) DaBaron". Who is DaBaron? Why is his or her photo being used to promote a book about Alzheimer's by a non-existent writer?

    Why isn't Rod Serling narrating this post?

  10. #110
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Have we got Jim Fitzpatrick, who is "a structural engineer, backyard farmer and breeder of prize roses"?

    He tweeted to @Litfirepub on 14 Aug
    .

    #selfpublishing Thank you! Litfire Publishing bit. ly/ 1yywik1 #greatsupport
    The shortened link goes to Litfire's Free Guide page.

    Lars Anderson, Eliza Palmer and Andrea Huffington have also tweeted to Litfire.

    ETA: I've broken the link in the tweet.
    Last edited by Helix; 11-23-2014 at 04:55 AM.


  11. #111
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I'm sure you'll all be flabbergasted to learn that Jim, whose slim volumes are published by 'Traditionally Modern' of Atlanta, also uses a stock image instead of an author photo and has no life outside his books. He joined Facebook in September last year and LitFire couldn't even be arsed to write a couple of fake entries in tortured English asking people to "grab" one of his books. Bless his little organic cotton socks, he hasn't let non-existence stand in the way of becoming a member of the American Holistic Health Association.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-23-2014 at 03:54 PM.

  12. #112
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Our old chum Jill Bennett is back with a new article about writing picture books:

    https://litfirepublishing.com/writin...-picture-book/

    Creating and developing a children’s book is easier said than done. Unlike fiction novels for adults, you have very few pages to work on, leaving you little room for character and plot development.
    I can't stand those non-fiction novels.

    When your idea brings emotional beats, you just know that it must be told.

    Sometimes, a story doesn’t fully reveal itself at first. Stories can be shy, elusive creatures, only coming out of its shell when you make your mind an inviting place for the creature to live.
    I'm currently working on a picture book entitled Jane and Bobby Goes to the Library. It'll be right up LitFire's alley.

    If you’re working with a traditional publisher, remember that the illustrator, editor, and art director may picture your story differently. This might annoy you, but it’s all for your book’s art, effectiveness, and profitability. Also, experienced illustrators know what interpretations of stories work.
    Just a minute - doesn't this fly in the face of LitFire's "traditional publishers are soulless, greedy, individuality-destroying monsters" philosophy?

    The really funny thing is that the company still hasn't corrected the description of Safari Stanley's Jungle Animals as a "business book".

    Happy Thanksgiving from all the staff at LitFire!
    We hope you are having a wonderful start to the holiday season. Our sales and customer service representatives are currently busy but look forward to take your call. Please note that our business hours will resume on Monday, December 1, 2014.
    https://litfirepublishing.com/
    I had no idea Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Philippines!

  13. #113
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Remember LitFire's 'Your First Review' package, which can be yours for the low, low price of $599?

    Your First Review is a service offered by Publisher Services, a provider of multiple services geared towards independent self-publishers and book retailers. The dedicated staff of Your First Review is made of experienced, knowledgeable professionals who love to read and review books. Currently, the service provides feedback for all types of fiction and non-fiction books.

    Other than giving books a big marketing push, Your First Review aims to help authors create stronger and better books by delivering comments that pinpoint both strengths and problem areas.
    https://litfirepublishing.com/servic...-first-review/
    Oddly enough, it would be cheaper for writers to cut out the middle man and go directly to Your First Review:

    Book Review
    $149.00

    Product Description
    Your First Review includes a professional review of your book by one of our review specialists. Our review specialists are all avid readers and prolific book reviewers! With your order, you receive both a written review, and a seven-point summary “report card” that identifies the strengths & weaknesses in your manuscript.
    http://yourfirstreview.com/product/book-review/
    The YFR site now features a review of LitFire's The Hermit and the Time Machine by Richard J Ward. It speaks volumes about the quality of LitFire's editing:

    It could use proofreading as well as some minor editing or rewriting.

    The proofreading would involve fixing minor issues of overuse or misuse of punctuation in some places, and non-use in areas where punctuation marks are needed. Some basic grammatical or mechanical problems exist, too, where there is too much space between lines near the end of each chapter, unless that is only showing up on this reviewer’s reading device. The Table of Contents could use some extra spacing between the chapter number and the page number, since it looks awkward as it stands now...

    But these are easily fixed and not what stand in the way. More important are a few language issues and cases where the author seems to presume the reader and the characters are in on what he is thinking, yet he shows no concrete evidence to support this.
    http://yourfirstreview.com/hermit-time-machine/
    No reputable publisher would release a book in this state.

    Richard J Ward is as elusive as most of LitFire's authors. Although his author photo doesn't appear to be a stock image, I couldn't identity him on Facebook or Twitter and he seems to have no life beyond his books (a sequel to THATTM has now been published). His thumbnail biography is also very similar in style to those provided for LitFire's bogus authors:

    Richard was born in a small Yorkshire town where he spent his first 40 years. Finding inspiration from rides out in the country, he wrote far flung stories and painted pictures. He bought a house in Bulgaria, grew fruit and vegetables in the garden, and thrived in a gorgeous landscape and on the warmth and friendliness of the local people. He now lives in Colorado where the mountains still fill him with awe, and the almost constant sunshine continues to lift his spirit.
    http://www.richardwardbooks.com/author/
    Slightly OT, but some of the reviews provided by YFR are poorly written and hardly seem worth $149. From a review of a non-LitFire book:

    The one thing that kept nagging at me during the story was the presents of redundancy. There were several poems, descriptive passages and ideals that were repeated throughout the book, sometimes exceeding three times. It was a little overwhelming. This surfaced throughout all writing styles present. Maybe if the redundancy was allocated to just the one writing style, that would have been more receptive. Other than that I really had nothing else to complain about. [Redacted] is a very talented writer and story teller and I can’t wait to read book 3 when it comes out.
    http://yourfirstreview.com/artama-th...econd-journey/

  14. #114
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    All I want for Christmas is presents of redundancy.
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  15. #115
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    Alice said:
    Richard J Ward is as elusive as most of LitFire's authors. Although his author photo doesn't appear to be a stock image, I couldn't identity him on Facebook or Twitter and he seems to have no life beyond his books (a sequel to THATTM has now been published). His thumbnail biography is also very similar in style to those provided for LitFire's bogus authors
    And he certainly seems to be cranking out the books. Here's a review of the sequel to his first book, posted on the same day as the other but by a different reviewer. It's odd that neither reviewer tells who published the books (which are NOT available on Amazon).

    The reviewer has a few awkward sentences, such as:
    It is nice to see a young female character defeat her bully without fighting, while at the same time staying true to her own mission which, in this case, is proving the existence of magic to her cynical friend Gilbert.
    The cover on this book is most unfortunate. Did a cover artist really want the girl to have her hand there?

  16. #116
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    Maybe a man-bull doesn't have any dangly bits, so it's all good. Or maybe in their whimsical world it means something else entirely. Or ... I dunno.
    Last edited by Gravity; 12-02-2014 at 03:13 AM.
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  17. #117
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVish View Post
    It's odd that neither reviewer tells who published the books (which are NOT available on Amazon).
    I found The Hermit and the Time Machine on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hermit-Time-Ma.../dp/099042216X

    There's no Look Inside feature, which may or may not be a good thing.

  18. #118
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Christmas is coming, and the international men and women of mystery at LitFire have some seasonal treats in store! Enjoy the poor grammar, typos and hard-sell techniques:

    50% Off All Books
    For the entire month of December, all books are sold at half the price if you order 30 copies or more.
    Just a minute. 30 copies or more? Only two of LitFire's publishing packages include more than 24 allegedly 'free' books - Pyre ($1,099) and Blue Flare ($3,399). Even though they also include two free author copies instead of the usual one I'm still not impressed.

    Now is the best time to stock up on copies of your book for next year’s selling. Order now!

    There are countless ways to promote your book. Marketing translates to networking with people to engage them and influence them to take an action, and what better way to network with your audience than to promote your book in person?

    Your book will be available in beautiful paperback or hardcover, ready to be in the hands of your readers. Grab [there's that word again!] this opportunity to start the New Year with a strategic marketing campaign and a wonderful holiday cheer.

    Start by getting copies of your book. Go offline and don’t miss out on all the marketing and sales opportunities.
    Today is December 7th. I think it's fair to say that anyone who takes up this offer can forget about proofreading and editing.

    $1 for Hardcover Books
    Make your book available in beautiful hardback editions and pay just $1. Save 99% on a Hardback Upgrade when you purchase the Glow, Ember, Flash, or Blitz package.

    Designed for durability and beauty, hardcover binding gives your book a lasting quality and highlights the exquisiteness of your text and images. Give your pcustomers the option to enjoy your book as a beautiful hardback by purchasing our Hardback Upgrade package.

    LitFire’s Hardback Upgrade just got better this holiday season. When you purchase the Glow, Ember, Flash, or Blitz publishing package, you can print hardback copies of your book for an unbelievable price of $1. Just add a dollar to any of our lowest-priced packages and you can have books that last a lifetime.

    This amazing discount won’t be around for too long. Call us now!
    A reminder of LitFire's prices:
    Glow - $599
    Ember - $1,999
    Flash - $599
    Blitz - $2,099

    Each package provides the author with between 5 and 22 'free' paperbacks. Given the crippling problems faced by POD books, LitFire's promotional and other services are of such questionable value that even by purchasing the cheapest packages the author has essentially paid about $27 per paperback.

    Oh, and every package includes a single free author copy. I'm not exactly bowled over by LitFire's generosity.

    $99 Book Exhibit at Book Expo America
    Join the biggest annual publishing expo in the U.S.

    Pay only $99 when you purchase any book marketing service. We only have 40 slots, so hurry up!

    Book Expo America is the biggest, most prestigious book event in thpe U.S., and for only $99, you can land a spot in the exhibit. BEA slots can be hard to come by and this deal is up for only 40 authors! You don’t want to let this opportunity slip by. Take your book in front of readers, publishers, librarians, and important figures in the industry, and at the premier book exhibit event of Northern America no less!

    Here are the show details you can enjoy:

    BOOKEXPO AMERICA (BEA) 2015
    May 27 to 29
    Javits Center, New York City, NY

    Book Expo America and New York City! What more could you ask for? Slots are limited and we offer this at a first come, first served basis.
    https://litfirepublishing.com/promo/
    That sounds exciting! And with only 40 places on offer it's a good thing that most of the authors on LitFire's roster won't be able to attend due to non-existence.

    Seriously, the whole thing reads like one of the rotating seasonal offers PublishAmerica has been churning out for years. As for BEA, I'll quote once again from Ann Crispin's 2011 blog post:

    I go to BEA most years, and I've seen the authors you mention, in the POD portion of the enormous hall, and it's very sad.

    If you walk by the booths and pause, some of the smarter authors will practically pounce on you in the hopes that you're a publishing industry pro, a real literary agent or an editor who works for a commercial publishing house. They want to give you their book, in the hope of salvaging something out of what they are realizing is a debacle...

    ...they paid AGAIN to come to the book fair...They're stuck in their publisher's booth, with their stack of books, their brochures, and their bookmarks. (All of which they paid for.)

    It's no wonder some of them start to get a desperate look in their eyes.
    http://accrispin.blogspot.co.uk/2011...r-bewares.html
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 12-07-2014 at 04:49 PM.

  19. #119
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    The Book Exhibit they're pitching is the Combined Book Exhibit. $99 is a bargain, sort of (individual slots cost $299 if you sign up on your own), but the CBE is a sparsely-attended display outside the book fair proper (I walked past it numerous times last year, and never saw more than a handful of people browsing the shelves), and the odds you will get any meaningful benefit from having your book included there are negligible.

    I also suspect LitFire's claim of 40 available slots is, well, an exaggeration. A publisher can buy a shelf at CBE, but it's limited to 8 titles. And I doubt LitFire is going to cough up its own cash for 40 individual slots.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 12-07-2014 at 09:48 PM.

  20. #120
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Maybe they plan to rotate books amid the 8 slots?

    This M/M space opera
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  21. #121
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I've emailed BEA to ask for more details about this.

  22. #122
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    There appears to be some damage limitation going on at LitFire. Someone has purged the Facebook accounts set up for the company's bogus authors of all the posts written in poor English.

  23. #123
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Christopher Biggs' page has disappeared. Imagine my surprise to find (through Whoisology) that the admin contact for the site (Sam Francois at pcreativeworks) is also the contact for other sites promoting works by non-existent Litfire authors. Pcreativeworks seems to be situated in a shopping centre in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

    Sam Francois has a few more sites. I'm assuming it's the same person, based on some of those links. But it might be that something very odd is going on here, because if you look at the Whoisology data for one of those book sites, you'll see that the email address is immoola. Immoola also happens to have been used by Tai Huynh of Norcross, Georgia (cached version, scroll down). I believe that Tai Huynh has appeared in the Google+ circles of Portia KC normanns, Chrystabelleianne and the crew.

    ETA: There's this too. (Bearing in mind that Tai Huynh is not an uncommon name.)
    Last edited by Helix; 12-10-2014 at 08:41 AM.


  24. #124
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    It is a fairly common name. Still worth considering. From the latter link: 'I own an outsourcing company in Cebu City'. A Phillipines connection, interesting but not unexpected. Rio Rancho, NM is still a major hub for the Intel Corporation and other PC and IT firms, so there are other possible connections between NM, Atlanta, and Cebu.

    The whole operation looks like a spin-off of Publish America/America Star. It's obvious enough that it's a vanity publisher, so I'm not that sympathetic toward anyone who actually falls for the pitch. I'm jaded and cynical that way.

    This M/M space opera
    Blog: Blue Night
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  25. #125
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Honestly, it's enough to make your brain explode.

    Sam Francois must be a busy little bee - immoola@gmail.com also links him to Wherecanigetaloan.net, Cheapflatscreentvdeals.net and Cheaptvlcd.net:

    http://www.webboar.com/whois-email/a...BnbWFpbC5jb20=

    By the way, the Christopher Biggs author page still exists - it just can't be accessed directly from LitFire's website:

    http://childrenslearningfun.com/

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