Letters To The Editor For February 9th


Angela, I don’t know if you saw this blog post in the NYT, and I can’t speak to the legality or moral advisability of the procedure described within the post. Do not know if the post is accurate or inaccurate. Don’t even know if it’s truly feasible; however, in consideration of the situation of those left unpaid by (a deadbeat publisher), I thought you might want to consider posting a link to the post. Again, I have no idea whether this is feasible – and if it is, whether it is advisable, appropriate, or legal. With all of these caveats, I’m including the URL below – https://tinyurl.com/4o6j9td




Thank you for once again proving that you’re a freelance writer’s best friend. In my case, Whispers and Warnings took up what became a small claims case against James Denton (https://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8435) and Sam Kean, the Washington, D.C.-based publisher and editor, respectively, of a now-defunct publication called Search Magazine.

In March 2009, Mr. Kean sent me a written assignment to write a story about home automation systems for the Jewish high holidays, which in strictly orthodox households mandate that observant Jews do no work, including small tasks that can be automated, such as turning off lights.

The assignment sent me to an automated home in Chicago, at an out-of-pocket cost of roughly $750.00, fully reimbursable under the terms of the agreement. Unfortunately, shortly after I returned Mr. Kean informed me that he and Mr. Denton were closing the magazine. “I know that leaves you in a bad position,” he emailed. But as far as he and Mr. Denton were concerned, I was out of luck.

I wasn’t about to eat my travel costs, so I went round and round with both men and their office staff for roughly three months, trying to get paid. Angela and WritersWeekly also got involved, even reporting on the lawsuit I filed in my home county that neither man seriously defended.

Mr. Kean has gone on to writing books (his latest, “The Disappearing Spoon,” might be more aptly entitled “The Disappearing Paycheck”) and Mr. Denton, son of a prominent U.S. Senator, now publishes the August World Affairs Journal. Neither man impressed the judge, however, and she found for me, even including court costs.

Mr. Denton paid the judgment in full this past December, nearly two years and too much hullabaloo after my assignment. As any lawyer will tell you,
just because you get a judgment doesn’t mean it’s easy to get it paid. No doubt, the thought of more “Whispers and Warnings” publicity helped
bring him to his fiduciary senses.


Michael Martin


Hi Angela,

Haven’t been in touch for a while, but your story about the tooth and “absconding” with it brought to mind an incident at Disney Land some (too many) years ago.

I took my two adult sons, my daughter, her husband and the two grandkids to Disney Land. I packed a diaper bag with snacks for the kids – my snacks were healthier and less costly for the size of our group. There were signs all over the place that said “no food,” or “do not bring in food,” whatever the word of the day was. We all lined up at the gate. I went first to purchase enough tickets for all, then stepped to the end of the counter so my daughter could pass through with the kids. Suddenly there was a loud blaring horn, ringing of bells and shouting. All I could think of was they had discovered that I had snacks in my diaper bag. I froze in place.

It turns out my daughter was the one uptheenth million or something to go through the turn style and she had just won a new car. Of course everyone was delighted for her, but the only thing they seem to recall is “Mom thought she was busted.”