“Make No Mistake About It!”

It’s Friday, “World”!  Sometimes I wonder how things keep going with all of the “fabricated drama” and the human dilemmas it fosters nowadays.  Welp, I’ll do it for the team – “TGIF”!

You know the saying, “Life goes on!”, as well as what folks are trying to say with that expression, right?!?  Well, right now, with the pandemic and everything … we can’t be so sure anymore.  I wonder where those folks are who advocate that there is no pandemic!!  Can “they” explain that to the families in Russia … or the United States … like in Texas!!?  It is getting scary when we see the “leaders” taking care of themselves and their “constituents” while their job assignment involves taking care of ALL of the citizens of the United States … even though we look pretty “dis-united” right about now.  It’s hard to stay sane sometimes, yet I continue to count my blessings out here … “Life is beautiful!” I keep telling myself!

Have you had those “stops” in your life that cause you to do a “double-take” or a second look?!?  I was pretty comfortable with iUniverse as the company I had used before to self-publish my first two manuscripts.  I was hoping to make it a “trilogy” …  But a few days ago … it was Saturday … I had gotten a communication from a “check-in counselor” (CIC) written in poor English and with the photographer’s name spelled wrong in the message!!  Not only that, but he said that the “content evaluation team” had found some “places” in the manuscript where I spoke candidly about the characters I had encountered.  There were partial names (no last names) in most cases and “no names” in other circumstances that he had “identified” for me!!  Right away, I took offense to his telling me that I had to get permission to use “David’s” photographs that “she” had taken of me for the front and back covers.  Yep, he changed “Davia’s” name to “David”!!  When I asked him why, he claimed that another person on the “content evaluation” team had made that mistake and that the culprit was being punished!!  Now, I don’t like being lied to especially when I am “paying” for ones’ services.  It left a bad taste in my mouth.  I asked for his supervisor’s name and contact information to which he replied, “He’s copied on all of our communications!”  But he didn’t tell me that his supervisor was on a “leave of absence”.  I thought that to be rather arrogant!  So, I waited one day … two days … three days for a response from his supervisor after having written him a direct communication.  I got no response …

Totally disturbed by this “ignorance”, I contacted the bank through which I had paid about a thousand dollars to iUniverse and one payment scheduled to come out on December 6th or so!  I opened a dispute on all three charges under the instruction of the bank I use.  Of course, they asked me if I had tried to contact “them” and I informed them that I had and had not received any response.  You may know that a customer has to allow the bank to do their “research” for usually 90 days.  I was okay with that.  Then, yesterday, I got a call after he had sent an e-mail from the “CIC’s” supervisor.  He tried to explain that I had to change my manuscript because my words were “maligning” the character of a person I had mentioned!!  I told him, “I was simply stating the facts!”  He began to tell me after I queried him on every instance when he tried to convince me, that “we” could be sued for “libel”!!  I attempted to explain to him that I had published two previous books with iUniverse and that I didn’t have that problem.  He continued that the “regulations” had changed in 2012 when they were sued by someone whose “father” was mentioned negatively in a book!!  There are no such circumstances in my manuscript … I just state the facts!

I had told him that I was not going to use them anymore because I felt “abandoned” for four days with a poorly educated “CIC”.  He finally sent me a message yesterday telling me that it would be better if I changed my name and did NOT use any photos of myself in the book.  I quietly chuckled inside and replied with another message just to humor him!  I don’t know what’s going to happen with the “dispute” but I decided that “the Universe” has spoken and I am not going to change my manuscript to fit their “past circumstances”.  I even went as far as to explain to the supervisor in our conversation that many people WANTED me to mention their names in the manuscript after pointing out that there was no “malignment” of any characters in my book this time!  I tried to explain that the characters in most cases helped me to reach my early retirement … right here in Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo to be exact!  

To be continued …


John I. Cook, Director

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