Monday, January 30, 2006

Good People

I'm done talking about Scam Artists and thieves like Scott Ransopher (couldn't resist one more shot.. haha). If anyone reading my blog has comments, don't email me with them, add them to this blog. Anything you all might have to say could be helpful to the next person who experiences this kind of abysmal behavior.
What I do want to talk about are some of the exceptional people who I eMet over the 2 days I devoted to trashing Mr. Ransopher's chick magnet techniques.

First of all, if you are a writer there is an excellent website that is devoted to writer resource. It is Todays The administrator of this site is Ms. Rose DeRocher, an overworked, but highly appreciated facilitator who spends whatever time she has leftover after being a mother, homemaker and wife, to the betterment of ePublishing. Ms. DeRocher provides through her website invaluable information and opportunities for the new writer and professional writer alike. Todays Woman posts internet and publishing scams, advice and general help for anyone interested in or embarking upon the act of getting their work into the publics reach. Additionally, she is a kind soul who has a delicious sense of humor. The URL for Todays Woman is:

My next accolade goes to Richard Irwin, the administrator for Not only does Mr. Irwin possess a sense of humor, but he also is excited about poetry, an oxymoron in todays visual media saturated world. Anyone who is looking for a responsive and friendly place to ePublish their work can not do much better than using this homey little site. Richard has an good feel for what he'd like to see Creative-Poems become and the right submissions might just be the one that gives the site and Richard a bit of inspiration. The URL for Creative Poems is:

Another good soul in my personal war with copyright infringement is in the guise of Mary Koeppel. Ms. Koeppel is a professor of English at a university in Florida (lucky Mary! thinks this winter weary woman) Her website, Write Corner, also offers legitimate contests and writing competitions. Mart also tossed her considerable copyright knowledge and internet savvy into waging war against the Plagiarist Scott Ransopher. Mary's website URL is as follows:

I want to wind this up with a special thanks to all of the individuals who worked with me as well as those who worked independently to make sure © (copyright) is a symbol that has some meaning beyond a special series of keys on each of our keyboards.
I also want to thank people like Ann Young who was the first person to alert me to the problem of Mr.Ransopher's plagiarismm. Ann too is a poet whose unique voice is a collection of words about those intangibles which can not have a value placed on them in the world of monetary worth - her poems are about her family - past and present. To Ann, her words are an expression of continuity of family. Imagine someone trying to steal and own someone else's family history ....

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Recently someone I had never heard of before emailed me with the information that a poem which I had written in the 80s and which was published in 1996, had been plagiarized by a guy named Scott Ransopher. After a bit of googling, I found Mr. Ransopher's websites which numbered about half dozen. Sure enough, my poem, and hundreds of others from various poetry anthologies were listed on his sites with Mr. Ransopher's personal copyright. At first I was kind of angry - not real angry because I don't do poetry contests and rarely doodle with poetry at all anymore. Yet, there it was, my poem on his site with his name ...
Poems are just words. You know those common things that we use everyday. We all speak them, we all semantically are similar in our use of them. Poems are just words; words arranged in the cadence of an individuals voice: from experience, loss, exploration or longing. Poems are personal expressions of deep feeling that can often not be voiced in 'polite company'.
My poetry is no different; it matters not the subject of the poem, whether it be about a long lost cat, a mother, a father, a child, a lover ... My poems are just words. Cut the poem up in pieces so each word is on a separate piece of paper, toss those pieces of paper into the air and watch them come down and land in a pile of - just words.
The plagiarizm was extensive. One entire list of poems was the full contents of a book called "American Voices, Summer 1996" and published by Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc. Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum is no longer in business. They ran competitions for poetry; many poets entered, few actually 'won'. Those that won were featured poets in the lovely hardcover book. Those that did not win were offered publication for a sum of money. All poets who had work included in the book had to pay for the book. They were also offered space for a biolgraphy and photo. Since my poem was not new, and didn't really mean much as far as value, I did not have to pay to be published as it 'won' and was publised for nothing. Not being into vanity publishing, I did not opt to included my biography or photo. Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum actually went out of business due to a variety of reasons, one being that they could not get enough people to pay for what is known as 'Vanity Publishing'. My suspicion is that they compiled another anthology which in the end they could not pay to print. If they had collected money to do the publishing, and they did not publish, they would have earned the title of scam artist.

The anthology my poem was included in contained a lot of bad poetry. It contained some very good poetry too, but most of it was amateurish and even incuded the poetry of children. Children do not write professional poetry - does this give you an idea of the over all quality of the verse?
Enter Scott Ransopher, alledgedly an adult male, who has taken the poems, one by one, and in the exact same order they were printed in, has typed them all into a document which he then uploaded to his websites and copyrighted as his own.
In the amount of time it took him to type them all out (the publication in question was not online, therefore not available to a copy/paste function), Mr. Ransopher could have written very bad poetry of his own. Instead he stole the words of children, of grieving lovers and parents and children. Of the faithful, the bereaved owners of pets, the people who stand in wonder of nature ... All of these words - which expressed the many life experiences of the authors - and he stole their words.

While this entire thing was happening, I refused to even type this pathological humans name online. I was dead set about giving him any more exposure than I was sure he would already be getting. It is a week later and in the span of 7 days, Mr. Ransopher's own thieving voice has been silenced. I must say that the response from everyone other than Too Big To Care Yahoo was amazing. The number of other poets, ePublishers, editors, professors, and others that came out in defense of copyright was astonishing. And through it all, with careful consideration, Mr. Ransopher did not glean one bit of publicity that could be deemed useful to his purpose.

Many people speak of the internet as a vast wasteland of stay at home, introverted, shy people. Yet what I have found can almost be divided into two groups. True movers and shakers and then the stay at home subterfuge people. It is difficult at first to tell who is going to fall into what category. Believe this: the internet is full of some pretty amazing people as well as some pretty petty people. And I am lucky to have met more of the former than the later.

If you are a poet, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself.
One thing is to copyright your work and register it with the Library of Congress. The easiest way to do this is to accumulate enough work to make a chapbook, which can then be registered as one item. It doesn't matter whether you are registering a book, or a piece of haiku. The cost for registering something is $10.
If you write short stories, always register them. Especially if you are going to enter them into contests and competitions.
If you are a visual artist, always mark your work with a copyright.
There are websites devoted to copyright issues for the USA. And copyright is not the same around the world. If you live in or work in another country, check with an attorney or a copyright website to find the laws regarding copyright. You can use a search engine to check for the copyright laws in your country; Google has innumerable articles listed about copyright law in the USA and around the globe.
And frequently check the internet for your work. Goggle yourself, your poem's title, the title of a story, the name of anthologies ... Goggle away until your fingers hurt.
Don't' let anyone steal your words, your experiences or the expressions of your soul

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The eZine

It has been about 11 months since I had this greymatter flatulence moment and created the concept of an international eZine. From conception to official independent launch, the amount of things I have learned is innumerable. From teasing offerings of writing and art from authors and artists, to soothing ruffled egos, I believe that for the moment, my 'wetware' is as full as it can get. It may be time to archive some of it to an external device and then - go on vacation.
In the middle of this interesting project, my husband, parrot and I have relocated to another state: also a huge undertaking considering laws vary from place to place as does culture. If my ass had grown from too much chair sitting I might understand this feeling of heaviness. But it hasn't just my big old head (or what's in it) has expanded. This should be a good sign - small ass, big brain. But no, I am wrung out, tired, and wondering if this zeppelin will keep flying or if some small thing will 'ma gavte la nata', "let the air out".
You know, they say that it's not so much the destination, but the journey that is so interesting. And in this case, I really do agree. Now that the site is up and having some visitors, I want to sort of walk away, run away, ignore and divest myself of the responsibility of keeping interest from waning.
So many things have been neglected while I attempt to make this eZine function and fly; my appearance, my house, my visual art, my writing, my sex life ... you name it and I have neglected it. And all for no pay.
Which leads me to the reality of looking for a job. Now that ScribeSpirit has launched, I kind of want to get out of the house. Between the launch of the site, my new locations improved weather and me feeling isolated, I have been looking for a job.
I am not sure what I am thinking ...
OK. So I try some of the online resume building software. Interesting. Based on the information I have loaded into the software, I am now being offered full time managerial positions with companies as diverse as Insurance and Stock Brokers, banking institutions and Carpet Cleaning franchises. All pay is much better than offered in Wisconsin and also Chicagoland (which, by the way, is undergoing a union busting party all its own). But I don't want a full time job, nor do I want a job that requires me to relocate, or to travel more than 10 miles from my home. I want a nice, tidy part time job where perhaps I might meet people now and then, where I don't feel responsible for staff. After all, I am already responsible for a staff scattered across the globe. No, a part time job would suit just fine. I do not want to have to hire help to clean my house, I do not want to eat prepared food from questionable grocery stores or go out to eat 5 days a week. I do not want the household tax status to reflect a significant leap in income resulting in larger tax payments. All of those negative points only take money OUT of the pocket, they don't help increase income one bit.
Bah! My resume looks like it's made up. Nineteen plus years of accounting/bookkeeping experience, 5 years theater administration, 5 years office administration and management, 8 years of collections experience within the framework of financing, ten years of visual arts, 20 plus years of literary arts, 15 years of design principals, and add to that the eZine credits. And I haven't mentioned education yet which is as diverse and odd as my work background.
However will I find something suited to my talents and skills and that I can live with going to do 3 days or so a week?
And do I want to?
I am learning that I can not take a vacation from the eZine right now. Nor can I ignore it for a day or two. In cyber life, a day or two without "hits" can sound a death knell for an online project. So how do I please myself and fulfill my needs while doing all the stuff I do?
I have no answer. I do wish that the brain drain I feel would go away. I wish I was inspired to paint or make something for the house. But I have artist/author block. Brain constipation. Not all at in line with greymatterflatulence.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

VortexHost? I think NOT

So time for another rant about another company that makes promises it can not or will not deliver on.
This time I want to bash a bit on a webhosting group called VortexHost.
If anyone reading is unlucky enough to have a service agreement with this bunch of losers, I feel sorry for you.

On December 20 2005, I registered for service, or 'signed up' for service with VortexHost. In good faith I provided them with
personal financial information which was used to extract payment for the services I signed up for. Granted, this was not a
large sum of money. But it was money, my money to be exact, which by the way, I watch like the proverbial hawk.

The services I was signing up for was a basic webhosting service which was to accommodate the website which I and some friends were building for our eZine project ScribeSpirit. ScribeSpirit was due to launch it's new redesigned website on December 31st, a fitting start for the New Year.
After confirming my order, I heard nothing back from Vortex, but I passed on 'the keys to the kingdom' to ScribeSpirit's web development staff for the launch.

On New Year's Eve, just as we were beginning the launch process, it came to our attention that the services or "account" that I had paid for was not yet activated. For 11 days Vortex had my money yet provided no services. In a small panic, I contacted Vortex via email and support and asked them to activate this account. Now on New Years Eve the minds of most people are on one thing; party time! I expected the same from Vortex, but since this is a west coast based company, I thought perhaps they might not yet all be in a drunken stupor. I 'high priority' messaged Vortex and about an hour later received a message from someone with Vortex that they had not activated my account because they were waiting on a response to an email they said they had sent which indicated they could not give me a shell account with the services I purchased.

First of all I never received an email indicating that Vortex could not accommodate the needs of ScribeSpirit. Secondly, if they had my money and my order, why not activate the account and iron out the details later?

Needless to say, after much delay, the staff at Vortex was able to sneak out the new years eve door before activating the account.
When I say that I sent someone a nasty gram, I do not mean that I have cursed, made accusations or threatened ... I mean that I sent a message that left little doubt to my legal stance and the company's policies. I did sent a Jody nasty gram, but only after spending most of New Years Eve being frustrated by promises that had not been kept.

New Years Day I received my response from Vortex. I should add at this point that the person representing Vortex Services name is Justin Reel.
Justin coldly informed me that Vortex was unable to provide service for ScribeSpirit. He also informed me that he had deleted my personal information from Vortex system and also refunded my money.
As of today, VortexHost has not refunded my money and now face legal ramifications for their refusal to provide services while charging me for same.

Apparently they do not know the rule: Never piss off a writer. Or a person with a blog, website or public soapbox.

OF course, let me end by saying: all of the information provided in the above post is true and verifiable. And it is also my own opinions and beliefs. As an American citizen I am exercising my right to freedom of speech by expressing this, my opinion.