Lies and More Lies

So here we go again. I feel like all I’ve been doing lately is complaining about Noble Romance. Not that I don’t have good reason, as has been outlined many times in previous posts. This time, though, things are a bit difference.
You see, about a month ago, Jean Gombart, the CEO of Noble Romance Publishing finally responded to me. TEN months after my first communication to him outlining my contract breaches, which included non-payment of back-owed royalties on both titles. But that wasn’t what spurred him to respond.
What prompted him to finally respond to me was the fact that he sent my royalty statements for May to someone else. He actually sent personal financial information that was for my eyes only to someone else. The carelessness of this action raised some very troubling concerns. Noble plays fast and loose with authors’ personal information. I have very real concerns that my personal identifying information is not being secured properly, leaving me vulnerable to some very real threats, such as identity theft.
In any case, once he responded, I immediately shot back that he had yet to address any of my breaches and other concerns. Do you know what he had the balls to respond with? That they researched my claim of owed royalties and found nothing. Yet, somehow, he never felt the need to tell me this. If he had, which I pointed out to him, he would have known the facts he had were incorrect, and this I place squarely on Jill Noble’s shoulders. All of the communications Jill and I had regarding the owed royalties was in Jill’s possession, and she never turned over any of her records to Noble Management when she flew the coop. However, I am a pack-rat and I save EVERYTHING. I pulled out all of the royalty statements, the email trails and all the proof I had that I was never paid.
I got another email, one I was not supposed to see. Gombart sent the email to his accounting staff to research and made the comment that if I was right, he’d have no choice but to return my rights. I knew I was right. However, in typical Noble fashion, they looked up one title and not the other and dared to tell me they’d give me the rights back to that one title only.
I don’t think so.
Needless to say, I once again provided him my proof that BOTH titles were owed royalties, and that all I would accept was the rights to both books back. Lo and behold, he admitted I was right. Here is the email trail where he admits I am correct and that he will return my rights:
From: Jean Gombart []
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 4:06 PM
To: Gianna Simone
Cc:; mary harris
Subject: RE: Status Update
Dear Gianna,
Renata did process all the # for In the Devil’s Arms also comparing your revenues against your advance and you are absolutely right. Faith in June 2011 did a mistake.
After reviewing all your accounts, we now show that we are owing you $10.40 royalties for “ Healing the Mage” and we are owing you $11.33 for “ In the Devil’s Arms”
Would you like to receive these amounts by PayPal or with a check to your attention.
We are very sorry for you to have to wait such a long time.
Please do accept our most sincere apologies.
Best Regards,
Jean Marc Philippe Gombart
Noble Romance Publishing
PO Box 467423
Atlanta, GA 31146
From: Gianna Simone []
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:16 PM
To: ‘Jean Gombart’
Cc:; ‘mary harris’
Subject: RE: Status Update
Thank you for your prompt response.
I do not want any payments or adjustments – I only want the rights to both titles reverted to me ASAP, a letter stating that the rights have been reverted and both titles removed from all sites where it is currently being sold. I believe I mentioned June 25 would provide ample time for that to be completed, though sooner is better.
Gianna Simone
From: Jean Gombart []
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:22 PM
To: Gianna Simone
Cc:; mary harris
Subject: RE: Status Update
Dear Gianna,
Thank you for your answer.
We will pay you anyway because this is contractually our obligation.
We will soon be sending you the paperwork for your release for both titles.
Best Regards,
Jean Marc Philippe Gombart
Noble Romance Publishing
 PO Box 467423
Atlanta, GA 31146

I love how he blames this on the woman who handled the royalties. Technically, it wasn’t her fault, she was never provided the information to make the adjustments (thanks again Jill Noble), and she left the company, no doubt because of all of this BS. But if he had bothered to respond to me last summer, he would have known right away, and he could have locked me into those contracts for their duration. Instead, he ignored me, and now he has to pay the consequences. I also love how he decided NOW he’s contractually obligated. What, he wasn’t bound by the contracts until I pointed out his error in sending my personal information to someone else? That’s not how business is done.
I gave Mr. Gombart until June 25 to provide my reversion of rights letters. Needless to say, I didn’t get them despite my repeated requests for updates. Since he once again refuses to respond to me, I began the process of advising vendors of DMCA copyright infringement, and I included both his email and my termination of contract letter from November of 2012. Almost every vendor complied without hesitation and removed my titles from their sites. I am still waiting to hear from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I realize they are slow with this sort of thing, so I anticipated they would take longer. However, I was advised to contact Ingram, as they supply many of the sites.
I contacted Ingram and they responded informing me they had to confirm with Noble first. Do you know what he did? He told them I am still under contract to them. So now it has been proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that Jean Gombart is NOT a man of his word. For someone who claims to be a Sorbonne-educated businessman, I find him to be unethical, unprofessional, arrogant and ridiculously stubborn. He has agreed to return my rights, yet continues to once again ignore me and pretend he made no such agreement. I have it in writing though. He cannot squirm out of this, even if he continues to drag his feet. In the corporate world, that email agreement is binding. He can stall and bury his head on the sand all he wants, he put it in writing that he would give me my rights back. Whatever games he tries to play, he cannot weasel out of the fact that he made a binding agreement, and put it in writing. That he refuses to once again uphold his end of the agreement only reveals his lack of morals and inability to speak the truth.
I urge any authors out there to avoid dealing with Noble in any way. You will only set yourself up for aggravation and lord only knows what else, not to mention, you could find yourself a victim of identity theft because they will not safeguard your information.

Run, Don’t Walk, from Noble Romance

Well, here we go again. The CEO of Noble Romance Publishing, Jean Gombart, continues to lie about how he and the company are treating their authors.
The latest comments from Mr. Gombart now appear on Piers Anthony’s site. Clearly, Mr. Gombart is not telling the truth in his comments. I am a perfect case in point.
I’ve chronicled the situation on my blog from the moment the whole mess began last July. Jill Noble left the company abruptly and with many issues unresolved. I didn’t realize at first exactly how bad those issues were, having only experienced them for myself. Once the implosion occurred, and I heard from other authors, I realized that there were many more issues, far more grievous than mine.
In any case, I didn’t know what to do. Things were going from bad to worse, and I wanted the rights to my two books back. But after continued silence from the remaining management at Noble, save for a “we got your email, understand your concerns and will get back to you” canned response, I was really starting to worry. Jim Noble, the owner of the business, made absolutely no attempt to reach out to anyone. Nothing at all.
In the meantime, Noble authors were subjected to threats and insults and general nastiness by Jill and her daughter on the loops. When it became clear we would not be swayed by these threats, they shut down the group. So we created our own, but of course, we also gained a spy or two who passed along everything that we shared on our PRIVATE loop.
Then came word that Noble hired Mr. Gombart. In his introductory email to the Noble authors, he invited us to reach out to him – he claimed he wanted to hear our concerns and issues and wanted to work with us to build up the business and maximize sales. I thought, okay, let’s see what happens. I sent an email. I outlined all of my issues – the general concerns about the health of the business and the ability to turn it around (at that point, the company looked to be in complete tatters), the appalling treatment from existing Noble staff, my contract breaches, and my interest in seeing what his plans were to make things right. I received no reply.
Then I proceeded to hear what Mr. Gombart had to say to those people he did actually take the time to respond to. He was “going to teach authors to behave,” and “there are no breaches as far as we are concerned.”
I was dumbfounded. Really? Granted, most of my breaches are minor, easily resolved. However, in the case of each book, I am owed back royalties. It’s not much, and again, easily resolved. Still, owing an author the royalties due them is a major breach of contract. I began to get angry. So I revised my email outlining my concerns, and sent it off in a certified letter, which the contracts – offered and signed by Noble Management, Jill Noble-Shearer at that time – required in order for Noble to review the issues. The clause also gave Noble 90 days to respond and resolve the issues. If they did not, at the end of the 90 day period, I was within my rights to terminate my contracts.
Needless to say, Noble didn’t respond. So at exactly 90 days from the date Noble received my letter (I have proof of delivery), I sent off another certified letter terminating my contracts. Again, nothing. My books remained on Noble’s site, Amazon, B&N, ARe and Bookstrand. My piss-poor formatted print version of In the Devil’s Arms also remained for sale, though its ridiculous $19 price has ensured I haven’t sold a single one of those. Healing the Mage never made it to print – oh, wait, is that another breach?
In any case, I proceeded to follow-up with weekly emails to Mr. Gombart. I quoted the contract clauses, pointed out that I knew he had received my letters, and that he was now required by those contract clauses to remove my books from all sites and provide me with a letter stating that all rights have reverted to me. I reminded him that I owned the copyrights on the books, not Noble, and he was now infringing on my copyrights. Now some authors actually spoke on the phone with Mr. Gombart, but for me, that has been an impossibility. I work full time and have two school-age children. The time I have available to devote to such calls would have to come at hours when Noble’s business day is over. That situation will be changing very very soon, however, and I do believe it’s time for Mr. Gombart to see that I am indeed real. After all, who wrote the two books that he refuses to take down? Regardless, until now, my only method of communication was sending emails and certified letters.
And I’ll admit it, I was angry. The tone of my emails was professional, but there was no question that I was pissed off. I’ve never had any response to any of my communications. My books are selling next to nothing. I’m a non-entity to Noble.
I’ll also admit, I have publicly tweeted about these unethical business practices. I’ve commented on Facebook, on various Noble-sanctioned loops (though I’ve since been banned from those for daring to speak the truth – heaven forbid other authors see the reality of working with Noble), anywhere I can. Absolute Write. SFWA. I gave Piers Anthony my side of the story, proving the lies Mr.Gombart is trying to pass off as truth.  I filed a grievance with RWA – Noble ignored their letter too. I’ve looked into legal assistance, and that is likely where this is headed, though the process is slow because of other issues. But it is far from forgotten or over – Noble continues to infringe on my copyrights by refusing to take down my titles, refusing to respond to me in any way, and refusing to pay the back-owed royalties.
And it’s time that everyone knows the truth, despite whatever denials Mr. Gombart and Noble may state. Noble Romance Publishing and Jean Gombart have treated authors with a total lack of respect, contract clauses are outright ignored and he is lying when he says all letters have been responded to.
There are other things that I’ve seen and heard as well, and they are just as appalling as the way I’ve been treated. However, they are not my stories, so I can’t speak to them.

Here’s a link to Brita Addams’ blog, detailing her horror story.

And here’s a link to Margie Church’s blog talking about her Noble nightmare:

You can read about Kari Gregg’s POD disaster here:

If anyone else wants to share a link, let me know and I’ll add it – I know there are others who are in a similar, and in some cases, worse situations.

New Year, Same Old Crap

The new year is supposed to be a time of renewal, beginnings, starting over, etc. In many ways, this proves true – I always find myself more motivated once the holidays are over, and a little less frenzied and hopefully calmer, with a brighter outlook on things.  Of course, considering I am now neck-deep in preparations for my daughter’s Sweet 16 party, this year is not starting out as calmly as others.
Last year was in general a good year – I had two book releases and made significant progress on two other works. However, I also got royally kicked in the teeth by one of my publishers.
Anyone who’s following this blog probably doesn’t need an introduction to this mess, so I’ll keep the recap short. Noble Romance Publishing has screwed me, as well as other authors, and is now infringing on my copyright. When Jill Noble abruptly left and started her smear-campaign against the authors she left in the lurch, I had my eyes opened in a really big way. When the new CEO, Jean Gombart, took over and asked authors to contact him regarding issues, etc., I did so. Got no response. So I waited a week or so to send the contractually obligated certified letter outlining what I viewed as breaches of contract. Most of those items listed were relatively minor, and I could have lived with them if the CEO had acted professionally and responded to me. But one issue was a major breach – I am still owed royalties on each of my books. We’re going on near 18 months on one of them now. Anyway, the certified letter giving them 90 days to correct the breaches went ignored, never mind unanswered. I doubt they even opened the envelope. My numerous follow-up emails have also been ignored, as has the second certified letter I sent stating that I exercised my right to terminate the contracts and that they no longer have the right to sell my books.
Still – not even an acknowledgement of my existence. Oh, I get a royalty check each month – but so far, nothing on what’s owed me. I went so far as to comment on their Facebook page, but my comments are deleted, because we wouldn’t want to hurt the other authors they are promoting and acknowledge to the public that there are unhappy (and furious) authors. WTF? In other words, the ones who either are (un)lucky enough not to have any issues, so they are stuck waiting out their contracts, or are genuinely happy there. Hey it happens, I get that. But as long as Noble keeps stealing selling my books, I’m a Noble author too, so why do I get ignored as if I’m not even real? The one person who did respond to me assured me they would forward my email to Mr. Gombart. I don’t believe that ever happened, and even if it did, it didn’t change anything. This person who calls himself a CEO refuses to respond to me in any way. I’m trying to recall if maybe I ran over his kid, or his puppy, or something heinous like that to deserve such ill treatment at the hands of someone who claims to want to grow the business and its authors. Ha!
Then I hear they opened up a new author’s loop, but authors are not allowed to comment in or participate in any way. It’s only for Noble staff to pass along info. They don’t want to hear about issues authors have, only the happy good thoughts. Give me a break. I didn’t get an invite for quite a while anyway, not until I made a fuss with someone who hadn’t yet gotten the memo to ignore me, claiming they didn’t have my email address – um, hello? Does anyone on Noble’s staff communicate in any way? I do get those statements each month via email – just because someone’s in a “different office” doesn’t mean you can’t get my email address. The more I hear from these people, the more disgusted I become.
The best one is the latest – I made a comment on Twitter to their @NRP_Submissions timeline. I was immediately unfollowed. At first I thought I was blocked too, since I could no longer reply to tweets, but I actually can do that by typing in their Twitter name and making my post. Which I will continue to do. Since they don’t see fit to respond to me otherwise, proving again how childish and unprofessionally they are behaving.
I just don’t understand why. My books with Noble are not selling well, so why go to all this trouble to keep them up for sale, and infringe on my copyright?  Why not just let it go – give me my rights back and it’s done. They never have to hear from me again.  I will take my titles and publish them elsewhere, and do a whole lot better.
I have no qualms about sharing this over and over and over again as publicly as I can and need to. I’m not stating anything untrue – I have adhered to the terms of the contract, Noble has not, and clearly has no intention of doing so. Anyone thinking of signing a contract with them, trust your gut when it tells you it’s not a good idea. If Noble hadn’t been my last shot at getting published a few years ago, I would have listened a lot more closely to that inner voice.
In the meantime, I continue to battle on.