I have been accused, much like authors asserting they have not been paid at EC, of being "One of those people causing trouble" for no reason. It has also been said I have a teeny bit of malice toward my former company so anything I say is suspect. There has also been the assertion that the new owners of TQ can't tell the truth due to a pending lawsuit.
So here is complete transparency from the side of an author embroiled in this mess and yes, a former owner of the company.
The facts: In December 2015, author Sean Michael, who is in no way family to the current or former owners of TQ, should have received her 3rd qtr check. The check had been "lost" for some time. When contacted, the owner of the press claimed she immediately mailed another check. When asked for the overnight tracking number, the author was told the tracking number was in the truck which had been borrowed by a family member. The check was received in the post Dec 31, 2015 cashed and the week before the MLK holiday in January 2016, it was returned to Sean for Non Sufficient Funds. This was clearly marked on the check. Not stopped payment. NSF. The Friday before MLK holiday, the author asked for a wire transfer was told the bank cut off wire transfers at noon. When a bank representative was contacted at 12:30 central time, he indicated they cut off wire transfers at 3pm eastern which would have been 2 hours after the press owner said she could no longer send money. After weeks passed with no forthcoming payment and no tracking number for a mailed check, Sean was forced to decide to turn Ms. Boulware in for check fraud. She issued the complaint to the Columbia County Arkansas Sheriff and State Attorney's hot check office as a criminal matter. They then issued a citation which was sent to Ms. Boulware giving her notice that she pay the full amount or be arrested. When the grace period passed, a warrant was issued. On June 8 2016 at 7pm, Ms. Boulware was arrested for violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law. She was held until she posted bail June 9 at 3pm.
This is a matter of public record. http://www.vcafe.info/US-Counties/Arkansas/Columbia-County-AR/Kristi-Boulware-talbot.137400556.html
At no time has Sean been notified that the check was paid. The state attorney's hot check dept. communicates with the author every step of the way with all of the information.
As of this writing, at least 15 Torquere authors have contacted me and let me know that have not been paid for 1st quarter royalties, due no later than May 31 2016. I have not received a statement for my 1st qtr sales and neither has Sean Michael or Kiernan Kelly despite a notice being sent out that all statements had been sent.
Regarding a pending lawsuit, if there is such a filing, I have not been apprised of it, or been asked to address it in any way. Nor can I find legal filings on record of such in a public records search. I did not pull my titles out of spite. Trust me, I could happily have lived on passive income from my backlist had I not received late payments and reports with new releases missing or miscalculated. Now I have more than 40 reprints to sell and about a third of my income gone. Tell me I did that out of malice.
So why am I out here talking about it and not Sean Michael? Sean is in the business of writing and of pleasing the fans. This company was not hers. It was mine and I am devastated that someone who was our business manager for 2-3 years took over and then began to not pay authors. Think about this. Sean Michael, who was TQ's major selling author, has not received a payment for sales later that March 2015 save for one partial payment marked for 4th qtr 2015 in a very small amount compared to the total owed. I feel, as an author and industry professional, that authors need to be warned. Where is the money? Why are authors receiving emails saying Ms. Boulware Talbot was in the hospital for an MRI and then at home passed out on pain pills when she was in jail overnight awaiting bond? The lies have to stop, and if I have to be the one to expose them, so be it. I'll take the hit.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Many of Torquere's former payment policies have been misrepresented in recent emails as well, and I would be happy to clear up how I advised Ms. Boulware to proceed, including how putting 50% of all monies in escrow meant authors would never go unpaid. The simple fact is that it's not acceptable to leave authors worried about the status of their titles and their money.
Sean Michael corrected me on some details and now the timeline is correct Julia