Hell, Somewhere in Australia Part III

    In January of 2005 we were all pretty depressed.  We did go to a rather strange New Year’s eve party out at a wild animal preserve called Safari West; it was held in an enormous tent like one that would be in the African veldt; it was fun, but not the same or even equal in any way.
    That month was the first crack in my close relationship with Amanda.  Perhaps we had actually become too close – most of her time had been going to Anthony in the past few months, and what was left had been expended on making the Los Vegas conference perfect in every way.  True, Anthony Whelan wasn’t to blame for the collapse of Frank Cmero’s financing; we never did find out who was, and I go into that fiasco in more detail in the chapter about his life story.  Still, I was dissatisfied with what I was getting for my money with Amanda; money was becoming short, and I thought it was time to stop paying an assistant I wasn’t really using any longer.  On the 2nd I wrote her this letter:
    It is a new year, and it has become clear to me over the past couple of months that I am not getting the hours of work for which I am paying you.  I understand that it was important to you to work the extra job at Teddy Crafters in December, and that you did your very best to arrange your hours.  However, you still only worked for me an average of 10 hours a week, so that was pretty much a disaster.
    It may be a moot point for me to place you on probation for the month of January when I may not be able to afford to pay you for February, but as this is a new year, this seems like the best time to do it.  I am paying you for 25 hours a week, and paying you well – I expect that many hours.  That means 5 hours a day 5 days a week – Monday through Friday unless you take one of those days off, in which case the hours will need to be made up on Saturday or Sunday.
    I’m sorry it has come to this, but I have a lot of work here that isn’t getting done – Anthony asked me to keep you on, and that he would take care of it, but he hasn’t even paid us what he owes the company yet, and even if he does pay you eventually, what good is that to me if working isn’t getting done?  Sandra has offered to proofread Starchasers, but she is still pretty sick, so that probably isn’t an option for a few days, anyway.  This will mean I won’t get it to Anthony this week as promised, and that upsets me.  I sent a few reviewer letters after resuming work on the GO WEST novel last night, but if I’m going to get them all out in a timely manner, I will have to devote more time to the project.  If you want to look for a new position now and leave my employ when you find one.  I will understand that decision.
    I hope this doesn’t affect our friendship.
    Sincerely, Debora.
    STARCHASER was a Science Fiction film script written by Anthony Whelan.  When he asked me to co-write it and revise it for him, it was pretty generic and didn’t offer a lot of fresh or innovative material.  It wasn’t humorous but straight SF, and I knew that if it was ever going to see the screen, it would need a major make-over.  It was too generic and too male-centric, although that was probably what Anthony was going for – the adolescent male audience.  But it wasn’t gory or moronic enough for that; it was stuck somewhere in the middle.
    I finished the rewrite by the 3rd of January, and Amanda proofed the script for me.  I added a truly unique aspect to the script, of a female officer killed in the line-of-duty who becomes a spirit living in the crystal that powers the ship.  She is the protector of the ship, revealing herself to the captain and becoming his guardian.  Since Anthony wanted STARCHASER to be a series, I named the first episode “Spirit of the Crystal”.
    But most of the beginning of the year was taken up with the amazing antics of Frank Cmero and his shell game.  At the end of January he asked for information regarding the production companies that were interested in GO WEST, and indicated that his investors were interested in financing both development and production.  This understandably confused us and Anthony, and we discussed it in a telephone conference that resulted in this letter from me to Frank;
    Hi, Frank;
    I’ve been talking about this with Tom and Sand.  I believe you are confusing development money with production money.  The film could cost anywhere from 10 to 250 million dollars to produce depending on the actors, locations, etc.  The upper end of that spectrum is really only movies with heavy special effects, like ‘Lord of the Rings’.
    The development money starts with what you pledged last spring from Robert Fischer – $250,000 a year for three years beginning last June, when we started work on the script and novel, for the creation and selling of the project.  Beyond that, Cathal cannot tell you anything more apart from generalities because ANTHONY DOESN’T HAVE THE SCRIPT.  Until he does, nothing in the way of budgeting, casting, music, etc. can even be planned.
    You already know the terms for the release of the script.
    This started a bizarre game we played with Frank Cmero for the next year-and-a-half.  We had the new script, but we wouldn’t allow anyone to read it without the development money.  At the time, we had no other way of keeping control of the situation; and at first, Anthony agreed to this stratagem.  On the 31st of January Cathal Byrne wrote this letter to Frank;
    Dear Frank;
    I would just like to start by letting you know that I deal with these matters every day of the week and I am fully aware of the procedure required to gain full investments.  To respond clearly on your email, please find the following:
The interested investors are:
1. Stephen Kelliher, Beyond Entertainment (Australia)
2.  Nathan Folks
3.  Zena Dell Schroeder, Promenade Pictures
4.  Quinn Bender, New City Pictures
5.  Mark, Treasure Entertainment
6.  Jeanie Carla, Sirokh Films
7.  Marcello Sebastiani
8.  Pyramid Entertainment
9.  Gruenburg Films
    As previously mentioned, all of these investors are aware that YOU are raising money for the GO WEST project.  Until first money has been received from you, they do not wish to discuss it any further.  Anthony Whelan, Managing Director of ShadowHawk International Operations (UFPI) has spoken to all investors.  They have stated they are interested in investing money, but will not state how much at this time.  Therefore, until you secure the first development money for Lost Myths Ink, we cannot pursue this matter any further.  The total amount cannot be decided until we can confirm that the project is in development.  Only when we can set-up and layout the storyboard, locations and cast/crew size of the production can we put a final figure on the matter.  For this we need the development money, and once again we come to you.
    This talk of not being able to deal with investors unless we know the amount we need is a lot of rubbish on your behalf, Frank.  Once a development is in-place we can layout a total.  Percent is also not an issue here, so please to not state otherwise.  Offhand, should we need say 40 million to complete the film it is simple to put this to our investors.  First money will easily lead to second, and so on.  From there I am professionally capable, as are Anthony Whelan and Alan McNamara of setting up the shares within an investment agreement to the investors for release of invested funds within the project after distribution in connection with the marketing agreement for share-holder profit.  Bottom line is everything is ready to go, it all depends on first money, you have first money, it all depends on you.  I have clearly stated the facts at least three times over.  Please now ensure the required information is put to bed and the deal is sealed.  Further delay or request for information puts all efforts at risk.  It is time for action.  I hope this meets your needs.  Please respond a.s.a.p.  Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Cathal Byrne
    This was the first time Pyramid became involved in our affairs, and they would always be a shadowy money presence, never really manifesting in any concrete way.  But at the end of January, 2005, they seemed like a wonderful opportunity.  The same day Anthony wrote that letter to Frank, I added my own.  At this point we were like people holding out carrots to a burro, trying to get him to climb the walls of the Grand Canyon.
    After speaking to Anthony this morning, there is something that should have been included here.  The Pyramid Corporation has a huge wad to invest in films; Cathal knows the President and has been communicating with him for awhile.  They were originally going to produce a series Scott represented called RIVER STREET; it fell through because Scott decided to take the series to Brian Eustace after ShadowHawk terminated him, and I believe it’s fallen flat.
    Cathal has now interested them in investing in two of our films; GO WEST and DEATH OF A SHINING STAR, with GO WEST first.  He sold the guy on my past credentials, which in spite of current difficulties are fortunately impressive.  He checked me out online and is waiting to read the script, but he also knows I invested what money I had getting the script rewritten and the novel started, and the corporation running, and he won’t do anything until we receive at least operating money.
    The deadline approaches...contact me today.
    Not a big surprise, Frank never answered Cathal’s letter or mine.  On the 2nd of February I got this from Cathal;
    Dear Frank;
    I am still waiting to hear from you regarding my letter of January 31st.  Your three-to-four day response is unacceptable.  Anthony and I have been trying to get you on your mobile with little success.  You throw this shit at me about needing this and that to solve your problems, yet when it comes to the crunch you, yourself are the one who doesn’t meet his end of the bargain.  I want a report on what is happening with some dates attached.  I have a number of investors at the ready and am sick of talking shite with them because you have not made all efforts to meet the deadline.  This sort of business cannot take too many blows like this.  Please advise a.s.a.p.  Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Cathal Byrne, Chief Executive
    On the 4th Frank responded to Cathal’s second letter, with much the same information he had transmitted before.  His song was getting old, though.
    You could have given me the full information on investors on your end much earlier so we could save a few weeks.  I met a couple of investors in Vienna this week and I have one promising lead that was involved in major projects in Hollywood.  I will know if they want to invest by Friday of next week.  The import/export business is not finalized yet.  Once the deal is closed and the money released I will transfer funds to Debora.
    Regards, Frank
    This one sent Cathal over the edge, and although we would come to regret his hair-trigger temper in the future, on the 8th of February in 2005, when he responded to Frank’s letter after meetings with Anthony and myself, he let loose.
    Dear Frank;
    Here we are yet again back at the start explaining the same thing over and over again.  The monkeys in the Dublin Zoo ran me to tell me they get it at this stage.  The investors that United Film Productions International have in place for GO WEST are waiting on your money before moving forward.  It is pointless for you to have their information.  They await word from Anthony, Alan and myself that first money has been received from your end, and ONLY then will they proceed forward in talks of investing.  Therefore ONLY and ONLY when your money is received can we move.  There is NO need for anything else.  The money to be released to Debora Hill/Lost Myths Ink is top priority.  We need them at full capability in order for us to pursue anything.  Please address these matters.  IT’S CRUNCH TIME.
    Kind Regards, Cathal Byrne, Chief Executive
    The situation with Frank and the development money overshadowed what was happening with our agent Scott Ferguson and his RIVER STREET project.  Anthony Whelan was something of a computer genius, and he hacked into Brian Eustace’s email account and read letters between Brian and Scott Ferguson.  They were more than a little nasty as far as Anthony and his team went, and they basically labelled us as ‘clueless hacks’ for working with them.  
    Sandra, Tom and I discussed the situation.  They had decided to remortgage their house in order to pay me back the money they had borrowed, and have money to loan me if it came to that.  We were hoping it wouldn’t, of course, but we had to make plans.  I knew I couldn’t afford to pay Amanda any longer, and she had started to look for a new position.  On the 22nd of February Sandra wrote this letter to Anthony:
    Hi Anto;
    Deb, Tom and I talked over the situation ‘re’ Scott and came up with a means of handling it.  We are not going to contact him at all from this point.  If he calls, which we well might, we are going to say that you are the one to contact regarding all questions concerning our joint projects.  We will re-direct any of his written communiques to you.  And we will retain a polite and friendly demeanor while doing this.  Uh-huh.
    Now, as far as Brian and his libelous commentary, we think it would be a good idea for you to contact the Irish Film Board, or Producers Ireland, concerning his ongoing campaign of defamation and slander.  I’m not sure how this works over there, but isn’t there some kind of oversight board you can address concerning his nasty little mouth?  He needs it washed out with soap.
    You really can’t let him get away with this.  So him where it hurts, in his credibility.
    Sandra Brandenburg and the Lost Myths Ink team
    Anthony’s response to her the same day was surprisingly restrained.  He and I had discussed the situation on the telephone, and he told Sandra,
    Hi Sandra;
    I was just telling Debora tonight that we need to all deal with each other a lot more.  We will discuss this further this week.  In regards to your e-mail, I agree with your decision completely.  We will also of course inform you of what we tell Scott.  I will look into Brian Eustace and his attitude towards us.
    Regards, Anthony
    During the following week it was mostly attempting to make sense of what Anthony was doing and make some plans for the future.  That’s difficult to do when you don’t know where your revenue is coming from, but Anthony sent me this short note on the 25th:
    Hey, Gang,
    First off can someone tell me in what way Amanda is operating at the minute?  Second, Tom is now up to here from us lot in regards to Lost Myths Ink/UFPI General Manager.  Details to follow.  Main point at the minute for the girls.  Deb/Sandra, I have been talking to a publishing company called Towerhouse Publishing.  They are now looking to view a synopsis and no more than three chapters of each novel to start.  Your thoughts please on this; also I feel a conference call will be needed next week.
    Regards, Anthony
    Did you understand that note much, dear reader?  Then you know how we felt, as well.  I replied as best I could:
    Hi, Anto;
    A conference call next week will be fine.  Amanda is currently working for me still, but it all pretty much hinges on Frank at this point (see his last communique, which indicated everything was moving pretty well towards a resolution of either monthly stipend or funding on his end).
    I didn’t understand what you meant about Tom.
    Would you like attachments to emails with a synopsis and three chapters of each novel?  We can do that.
    Sincerely, Deb
    Anthony Whelan knew nothing about publishing or promoting books.  But he was determined to make his name and that of his company, and at that time, making his name involved our success.  His megalomania would overtake him in time and his goals would fall apart, as least as far as Lost Myths Ink was concerned, but that time wasn’t yet.  We went along with him because our fiction work was just a little too off-center for the big publishing companies in the U.S., which had become nothing more than corporate book mills.  My third fantasy novel, A Wizard by Any Other Name, was published in January of 2005 by Fire Mountain Press, as my first two had been published in 2002 and 2003.  My editor, Roxann Caraway, was a huge fan of my work and our work, but she had little funding of her own after losing her first electronic publishing company to a hostile takeover.  Now she was publishing in print-on-demand.  My first two novels got great reviews (except for one of Ghost, which was horrendous) but I wasn’t sure about Wizard, which was certainly my strangest volume to-date.
    We were hoping for a larger publication for our romantic suspense novels, and I had a three-volume mainstream series I wanted to see published one day.  Sandra and I also had a mainstream coming-of-age story, our first collaboration, so we decided to give Anthony’s connection a chance...maybe Irish publishers would be more accepting of our weirdness.
    The feud between Anthony and Scott continued; it should have been a heads-up that Anthony first fought with Brian and then, shortly thereafter, with Scott.  But we were still hanging on to the possibility of that development money from Frank Cmero, particularly since Tom Krejci, the producer at Milk and Honey Productions, had entered the picture again and was negotiating with ShadowHawk for the production of GO WEST, YOU IDIOT!
    At the end of February, Anthony wrote this letter to Scott, without clearing it with me first, naturally.
    Dear Scott;
    This email is notification that from now on you are required to contact Alan McNamara or myself for any questions or problems or information or contacts you may have in relation to your business with Lost Myths Ink.  We are now acting as full agents for Lost Myths Ink.  Any emails or phone calls placed by you to Ms. Hill or Mrs./Mr. Brandenburg will be ignored.  Your contract agreements with Lost Myths Ink are now under our management.  I trust you will meet with these terms in order to continue business relations.  Thank you.
    Anthony Whelan, Managing Director - Operations Group
    And his reply to him...
    The collaboration agreements I have with Debora Hill and Sandra Brandenburg fall first under California and U.S. contract laws.  You will have to clarify to me, in detail, why I am to waive my first rights to direct communication with designated contract assignees/collaborators with me on continuing contracts under those laws.
    And, Debora requested that I agent/manage her film and television projects for her.  Debora would have to phone me herself on any changes in her ongoing directions to me on that.
    Regards, Scott
    Amazingly enough, given the way events had been playing out, an editor from TSO named Marie wanted to publish our novels.  But then came the kicker  – she wanted us to take on an agent in Ireland to help her decide which novel should be published first.  Now, I haven’t gone into our history with agents, but suffice it to say that before we met Scott Ferguson, who only handles film, we had a dozen agents.  Most of them were completely useless; one of them actually waived the remaining payment on my advance for my third nonfiction book because the editor was a friend of her’s.  Without my knowledge or consent, I might add.  So we were somewhat wary of taking on a literary agent so far away; we’d been under contract to an agency in England for two years, with no results.  But we went along with the plan.
    By May of 2005 all our productions had fallen out of mention in Anthony’s monthly newsletter.  He had become involved in a production we knew was going to be a disaster – a feature called Secret of the Cave, based on a Christian young adult novel and being filmed by some Southern Baptist University.  I knew Anthony was going to be stiffed on this one, and I would prove to be correct.
    In June Anthony had arranged a meeting with the agent chosen by TSO, and he had received the first installment of the operating money on Secret of the Cave.  As a Roman Catholic himself, it never occurred to Anthony that Christians would cheat them; he obviously didn’t know the history of his own religion, and he certain didn’t know anything about Southern Baptists.
    None of Frank’s financing had ever come through, and we were now operating on Tom and Sandra’s money.  They had paid back what they owed me, and I would soon owe them.  We found Amanda a position in Calistoga, a live-and-work situation at a the Isis Oasis, a wild cat refuge and Pagan convention center.  She would be sharing a house with another young woman who worked there; it seemed like an ideal situation.
    On the 9th of June Anthony sent us the following lengthy communication:
    Hi, all;
    Let me start by saying I hope you are all well.  I know we have been super busy with SECRET OF THE CAVE; however, we need to look at current events.  Alan is so busy he needs my help as a producer, and this is where Operations is suffering because I have been unable to give it my full attention.  I am hoping to hire a new Managing Director within the next year so that I can concentrate on production full-time.
    I am by no means saying that I have ceased or ignored Lost Myths Ink work.  It’s just that I cannot attend to it upon immediate arrival, but I do not stick it on the longer finger; it is dealt with within a few hours.  At present Alan still wants to hold on further distribution to Columbia/Tri-Star U.K. and U.S.  Alan would like to consider GO WEST, YOU IDIOT! As the first submission to Bruckheimer Films.  How do you feel?  Both agents for the novels are still making decision, so unfortunately, that will have to wait.
    I had a meeting today with Alan and Martin White, one of my new General Managers.  Martin is the head of the Management Production Group which deals with Tom, Sandra and Debora in regards to in-house development.  Amanda deals with Alan for production.  I have asked Martin to help with all areas until SECRET OF THE CAVE is complete.  If you include him in the emails he will ensure a faster response regarding.
    Current situation(s) sees us at a good layout, only outstanding with the submission to Bruckheimer Films, which we have now started to discuss.  I want to ensure we keep up to speed; this is why I asked Martin to help with the pressure.  Once we complete SECRET OF THE CAVE I am hoping the distribution agreement will see us with a strong financial future.  I am very pleased with the way we have handled this contract, and I am now hoping Martin will be able to help in the growth of Lost Myths Ink International Development.  If you have any questions regarding this, please contact me. 
    Thank you.
    Regards, Anthony Whelan, Managing Director
    I couldn’t say at the time that I had much faith left in anyone involved with us on a business basis, at least as far as films went.  My third solo fantasy novel, A Wizard by Any Other Name, had been published early that year, and my editor, Roxann Caraway, appeared to be one of the few people I’d worked with on a long-term basis who was loyal to me and my work.  But Wizard was one of my strangest works, and it didn’t do as well as my first two novels.  The first volume of my collaborative fantasy series with Sandra, The Land of the Wand, would be published in the spring of 2006, and we were hoping it would be our breakthrough book.
    But Frank Cmero was still confident he could receive his funding money, even though at that point we had no idea what was going on.  It was all so far away, and so convoluted, that we couldn’t really decipher what was going on.  We had to rely on what others told us, and they had proven to be particularly untrustworthy.
    On the ninth of June I wrote this letter to Anthony;
    Hello, Anto;
    As per our telephone conversation today, this is our advice regarding Jerry Bruckheimer.  We agree that GO WEST, YOU IDIOT! Is a very good choice for them.  As I explained, the final papers for the development money have finally been signed, and the money is expected to arrive to Frank Cmero by the middle of July.  Until the development money arrives in the Lost Myths Ink account we cannot legally release the re-written script.  Do not send them the original script; the new version is far different and, we think, much improved.
    Alan, Anthony advised that your second choice would be FRUIT OF THE POISON TREE.  We agree this might work for them; Sandra also suggested DREAM LOVERS – it has a lot of action and is a little off-center, as Bruckheimer likes.  When you do send your initial choice, suggest sending the synopsis of GO WEST as well, with an explanation that the script is in rewrite and should be available by the end of July.
    Please let us know what you think of this idea.  I am putting a tiny bit of faith in Frank, and resuming work on the novel.  He has let us down a number of times during the past year, but his last letter to us indicated that they have suffered as much over the Robert Fischer debacle as we have...well, maybe not quite as much, but still...
    Cheery bye, Debora
    And I wrote him a follow-up on the 12th:
    Hi, Anto;
    As per our telephone conversation on Friday, we agreed Alan will send FRUIT OF THE POISON TREE as the first submission to Jerry Bruckheimer, and include the synopsis of GO WEST (letting them know the script will hopefully be available by the end of July).
    Why has Alan decided to wait before submitting more scripts to Columbia?  I thought the agreement was for one script a month to each office; has something happened we don’t know about?
    With everything else that was happening at that time, Scott managed to bring us another problem.  A female producer who was interested in our true-life film script FRUIT OF THE POISON TREE, but felt that having ShadowHawk with an option already in place meant there would be too many producers on the film.  Given that every movie we’d seen in the past couple of years had five or six different producers and/or production companies due to the steep price of film production in the New Millennium, I thought this was crap.  Anthony agreed with me, but it was just another instance of nobody being able to agree.
    I wrote to Scott first.
    I’m more than a little confused by this situation.  Has she read the script> What does she mean by ‘too many producers’?  Right now there’s one, and that’s Anthony.  The three of us (Sandra, Scott, myself) own a third of the project each, as far as the writing money goes.  There are no funds available for this project at this time; that’s what we’re looking for.  When you suggest a ‘layoff’ of Poison, are you forgetting the agreement we made with the Robledos?  No one but Sandra or myself can work on this script, and no significant changes can be made in the story without the Robledo’s consent.  It is their life story, after all.
    Sincerely, Debora
    Scott’s response made it obvious that he and ShadowHawk were going to be ending their fragile alliance soon, and I wasn’t certain where that would leave us.  In the middle, probably...as we always seemed to be.
    I had differing views on this with Anthony awhile back.  From my understanding Shadowhawk would Executive Produce all the projects.  OK but, an interested third party producer willing to pick up development (and option/buy)a project that has a company already attached along with an Executive Producer – will want justification for the attachments – to include some level of assured finacning.
    Controlling the rights to the script/story to warrant Executive Producer credit will be of little value to an experienced coach representing the other side in negotiating an option, sale or contract.  Anyone involved will have to negotiate their own credit and attachment if they want a third party to come onboard.  In this situation, to play second fiddle.
    And no, I did not forget the Robledos.  I conveyed one development pathway possible open to us here, nothing more.  And a ‘layoff’ does not sell out a project.  It suggests a project be undertaken by a third party through negotiation – which may allow for credits and development specifics.
    Anyway, I feel we each have wide differing positions on these issues which could complicate an effort to explore her interest.  To sidestep a conflict on this, I recommend we pass on her interest and move on to explore others.
    Regards, Scott
    Anthony’s response came the following day.
    Hi, Scott;
    I have no idea what sort of film business you are dealing in, but it reminds of someone I used to deal with; he also used to overview the point of matter.  (???)  This bollux of too many producers is really becoming tired.  It’s a simple process.  Should someone wish to become involved in our projects offering either Finance or Finance Development, then Shadowhawk would be considered Executive Producers of Co-Production.  Lost Myths Ink and yourself would range as Co-Producers or Associate Producers depending on the circumstances.  No one in the world is allowed to take your entitlements from you.  I couldn’t give a fuck if this was an offer from Steven Spielberg.  Producers are titles with the script in relation to the role or involvement.  This does not entitle rights or further payment.  If you want to make a film from a script, no amount of anything is going to stop you.  I think the ‘too many producers’ line has been played too much.  It’s total rubbish.  They want the script or they don’t, end of story.  Thomas; do you want to move forward with this, or not?  Please advise.
    Thank you.
    Regards, Anthony Whelan
    As with Brian Eustace, the only solution that anyone could come up with for the feud between Anthony and Scott was for Scott to end his business with ShadowHawk.  We weren’t sure what that meant, since we were still under contract to ShadowHawk, and nobody else seemed to know, either.  Anthony wrote this letter to Scott on the 20th of June:
    Dear Scott,
    I understand once again that you wish to cease your business agreement with United Film Production International.  If this is the case I am more than happy to accept your notice.  As of now your business with us as ceased and only future involvement with Alan McNamara or myself is required in relation to payment, once a production is sold.  Lost Myths Ink will not deal with you on any level.  If you are walking away over the way we spoke to you last week, I wonder why you ever chose to deal with Brian Eustace.  ShadowHawk is a fast-growing company and we have produced three films this year (???), a music event and an animation.  We have more coming up and it will not be long before we produce one of Lost Myths Ink’s scripts.  Wishing you the best and closing our business agreement.
    Regards, Anthony Whelan
    He followed that up with a letter to Saidbh, Cathal cousin and their legal tech.
    Dear Saidbh,
    I had a phone conversation with Cathal today in relation to Scott Ferguson.  As I discussed with you last month, Scott is working with Brian Eustace and Brian has made Scott believe we are useless, therefore Scott is trying to destroy our business relations with Lost Myths Ink.  Scott seems to have a serious problem in dealing with us, and anything we request he disregards.  
    In relation to the emails I have sent you, I would like you to discuss the matter with Cathal.  I believe Scott is going to continue the pressure, and I feel we are losing ground after Debora stated that she and Sandra were confused over the letter situation.  I want an overall assessment in relation to the continuing business agreement for the removal of Scott should this be required.  If you could come back to me by Wednesday, that would be great.  Thank you.
    Regards, Anthony Whelan
    That particular bugbear took a back seat again so we could wrestle with the publishing dilemma once again.  In July we tried to interpret what exactly was going on with the agents Anthony was considering, and why TSO had specified which agents they wanted us to select from.  On the 13th I wrote to Anthony about it, when an agent named Jonathan had been chosen, but we couldn’t figure out what was going on enough to navigate the process.
    Hi Anto,
    After speaking to you on the phone this morning, I reported to Sandra and Tom.  We are a little confused about the agent’s role in the publishing with TSO.  Traditionally an agent’s job is to find the publisher, negotiate the contract and make sure the author is treated fairly.  Since you are doing all those things yourself, it sounds as if Jonathan is actually doing a different job here.  What exactly is it, do you know?  Distribution to the UK and Europe?  Pr?  From what you told me this morning it sounds as if TSO is hiring him to handle these things for them, but how is he being paid?
    Secondly, you mentioned wanting to talk to Frank about Scott’s role in the development of GO WEST.  It will increase a great deal once the first part of the money is distributed, and perhaps at that time it would be a good idea to develop a system whereby he sends you a weekly report on his contacts and how they are developing.  Once the money is in the bank here, we will need to meet with Ira Freed, our accountant.  Of the first year’s money, $20,000 will be left in the Lost Myths Ink account and the remainder distributed to the partners.  I will be able to re-hire Amanda, and Sandra will be paying Tom a salary as well.  
    As I mentioned this morning, I don’t know, given the circumstances of the delay in this funding, if it will still be paid to us a third at a time or all at once.  If a third is paid first, I have discussed with Frank the need to release the second third before the end of 2005, and at that time there will be money available for development on our end.  I should know more by the end of this week.
    Cheers, Debora
    In July the problems I had predicted would arise with Anthony’s production of ‘The Secret of the Cave’ materialized.  There was a shortage of money; I could already tell that Anthony would be left holding the bag, but he was still trying to draw all the strings back into a whole as it was unravelling.  Sure, he was hungry, but these people had all the signs that should have warned him – a college production that was filming in a foreign country on a limited budget.  Plus they were Fundamentalist Christians, which meant anyone who didn’t believe the same things was a clear target; Anthony was an Irish Catholic – to them, if they cheated him it would be justified.
    The Whelans had another blow that month; Anthony’s uncle committed suicide by jumping off the roof of a building.  He’d had drug problems for many years, but Anthony had been close to him, and when there was a Coroner’s inquest it was hard on him.
    By the 18th of July the publishing discussion had become more bizarre and even more confusing.  There was now talk of TSO co-publishing our suspense novels with ShadowHawk, who would be in charge of promotion and distribution.  And there was talk of an agent in England as well; as far as we were concerned, there were way too many people involved.
    On July 20th Cathal Byrne announced that he was getting married and had moved to Sweden, where he met his fiancee.  I had no idea what that would mean where ShadowHawk was concerned; I had too many concerns about the present.  I wrote this letter to him;
    Hello, Cathal;
    Early congratulations on your wedding in September.  I hope you are liking your new home.  Anthony told me today that you have four new investors who are interested in investing in our films.  Please let us know what you will need for a presentation, and we can have it for you quickly.
    As one of the films the investors have expressed interest in is GO WEST, YOU IDIOT!, I would like to apprise you of the current situation and ask for your advice on how to proceed.  The last reports from Frank Cmero have the Fischer investment money in a Swiss bank account.  Frank and Milan (who will be receiving the initial funding and then paying ours out) have met once with the Bank Manager in charge of the payout; they are scheduled to talk to him again on the 25th, and there is one more meeting required.  Then Milan will be setting up his own account with the same bank.
    The problem here is that this situation has stretched out to 14 months since we were first told about the funding, and Lost Myths Ink is disintegrating.  As you know, Amanda left several months ago, and now Tom is looking for an outside job in his former field of management.  I anticipate we will need to close the business at the beginning of August.  If Tom takes an outside job Sandra will be unable to do further work on GO WEST.
    We are in a quandary here, and Frank hasn’t offered any solutions.  This is his project, after all, not ours, and if Lost Myths Ink folds I will lose a lot of money that went into setting up the company, lawyer, accountant and assistant fees, and state taxes that have been paid for two years on the LLC.
    The last thing Frank told me was that he and Milan may not have the final meeting until August 1st, and he hasn’t told me how long it would take after that to transfer our money to us, or even if Milan will still do so.  Do you have any advice at this point?
    Sincerely, Debora