Yes, apparently there is need for a part 2.
It all began when I signed a contract to appear at what I'll call the Nowheresville Comic Festival. Before I'd done so, however, I went through the contract with a fine-toothed comb and discussed the details with a friend who'd been in the comic book industry since I was a kid. The contract met our high standards, barring a couple of typos. I also looked up the name of the organizer,a person I'll call Tripp Nolan. I was horrified by what I found on line- accusations of mistreatment and non-payment so horribly presented that my conscience constrained me to doubt. Forum threads devoted to years-old accusations- closed and started up again, and again, and again- by some of the same people made me worry a little that they might be harboring a vendetta. The persistent name-dropping of people who may have signed one letter of complaint, but who otherwise remained quiet from then out made me wonder how these people felt about being so repeatedly trotted out. And with the childish taunts, bullying tactics, even the baseless character aspersions against people I know that so heavily interspersed what passed for discussion, why should I believe anything posted by people who resort to them so frequently?
But on the other hand, what if there was something to those accusations? I didn't want to believe completely that anyone was actually lying. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding. Suppose what they were saying was true, or at least a part of the truth? Keeping all that in mind, I sought Mr. Nolan's side of the story.
It seemed benign enough. He confirmed that judgments had been issued against him for non-payment, but it was all a misunderstanding. I advised him that it would be best to either appeal the decisions or pay the judgments and get it over with. He reassured me that he would deal with it. The one thing that raised a red flag was that he made a disparaging remark about another writer I'll call Ginny Simons. She was on my FB friend list, was a willing member of a group I'd started, and expressed a willingness to work on a benefit project I was helping write. I can think of a few things I tolerate less than talking smack about people, but it's a pretty short and vile list. I told him to keep his remarks about her or anyone else civil.
It didn't even raise a red flag when he delayed booking my travel arrangements for the convention, but then, this was very early on. I tried to make things as easy as possible. Flying me anywhere from where I live can be a little difficult and quite expensive. I urged that he book my husband and me to fly out of Salt Lake City instead of our hometown airport and fly us to New York City- where we'd have to stop anyway- instead of the smaller and much more expensive airport closer to the convention. We could handle the drive and/or the train ride. I felt limousine transportation was a little much, and I refused to fly first class. The only special request I had was that I be allowed a few extra days in New York City, because I wished to meet in person some of the beneficiaries of this benefit book- some of New York's Bravest and Finest. But the one thing I stressed most was that our tickets needed to be booked soon, because fares from Utah to New York were already high and bound only to get worse. He said I would hear from a travel manager closer to the date.
I figured if the convention really wanted to and could afford to shell out as much as a couple thousand to fly a fairly new writer and her spouse across the country, that was their business. But if they didn't or couldn't, and they didn't book promptly, I wouldn't go. I most certainly would not shell out any money up front to go, since that was not in the contract, and I didn't have the means to put any money out anyway. And I did all that before anyone told me to google Tripp Nolan.