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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Werewolf Con Author Beware - There are Monsters, and They Bite

Authors work hard. They restrict their social time with family and friends, especially if they have a day job and can't pay the bills with their writing. If they're self-publishing, and are struggling financially, they either scrape the cash together to fund an editor and designer for their cover, or they have to try to do their damndest  by themselves. If they are lucky, they have a circle of trusted beta readers who can critique honestly. It can be pretty darn lonely sometimes, especially when they are anxiously  watching the rankings and praying for a stroke of luck or the first person to click the button and buy the book.

A number of them work the convention circuit, especially in the USA, which seems to have a Con in every state sometimes.

Unfortunately, sometimes the Con turns out to be a con.

This has happened to at least one writer this year.Jason McKinney forked over $150 dollars via Paypal months in advance to attend the Werewolf Con at the beginning of May this year and set up a table.

Jason was excited - not so much at the thought of flogging his stuff, although that was part of it (and the pink werewolf/butterfly laptop debacle shall entertain me for years) - but because he is a huge fan of  horror, and werewolves. He blogged about it. He tweeted about it.He chatted about it to me on Skype. You know that excitement little boys get just before they unwrap Christmas? That was Jason.

And then...

They cancelled the Con. Jason was gutted. But the $150 would come in handy; being a guy with a family that money is always handy, and sometimes desperately needed.

The money never came. Despite every promise made by Jordan Polintan and his staff, both via e-mail and on their now defunct website, the money never came.

Paypal won't do anything about refunding the money, since it's out of date for their allowed complaint time. Werewolf Con, also known as Con Extreme, LLC, appears to have shut up shop on everything including their twitter account - after pointing fingers at Refresh The Page. Refresh The Page, by the way, claim that they are still waiting for their take from Werewolf Con.

Round and round the mulberry bush, pop goes the werewolf.

If you are a writer or artist planning on attending a con, my advice is to steer clear of anything organised by these guys in the future. If you're a fan, I hope you do the same.

Jason has no recourse, apart from filing a police report, and I'm honestly not sure how much use that will be. I'm not a lawyer or a cop, but I hope he does, because what has happened here is blatant theft, and I can't begin to say how angry this makes me. I've just seen my friend get kicked in the teeth, and the people who did it have crawled under a rock and gotten away with it. I most sincerely hope that I am around to see that rock lifted, and that the US justice system manages to kick some ass and take some names.

In the meantime, I doubt Jason is the only one who got burned by these guys, and I really hope other people pick up this ball and bounce it. Shine the spotlight on anyone who uses hope and enthusiasm and fandom as a weapon against the people who love what they do - writers, artists, businesses and fans.

And Jason, I'm sorry, buddy. I really, really am.