A. C. Crispin Passes Away

Ann C. Crispin  (“A.C. Crispin”) died September 6 of cancer, reports SF Site News. She was 63.

She wrote numerous Star Trek and Star Wars books, and novelizations of other sf and fantasy movies. The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers gave her its Grandmaster Award in 2013.

With Victoria Strauss, Crispin founded Writer Beware, part of SFWA, that warns about scam agents, editors, and publishers. 

Strauss responded to the sad news with this promise —

Ann’s death is a huge blow, personally and professionally. But to all you writers, readers, and subscribers (and scammers): know that Writer Beware will NOT be going dark, slowing down, or otherwise pausing in its work. We’re here for the long haul.

A public obituary page is here.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]

2013 Scribe Awards

The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers announced the winners of the 2013 Scribe Awards, honoring excellence in licensed tie-in writing, on July 19 at Comic-Con.

Original Novel

  • Tannhäuser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, Robert T. Jeschonek (Fantasy Flight Games)

Adapted Novel

  • Clockwork Angels, Kevin J. Anderson (ECW)


  • Dark Shadows: The Eternal Actress, Nev Fountain (Big Finish)

A. C. Crispin received the IAMTW’s Grandmaster Award and wrote in her acceptance remarks —

When I heard the name of the IAMTW’s Grandmaster Award, it struck me as ironic that it’s officially the “Faust Award.” I know this title refers to Frederick Faust, who wrote as Max Brand, but to those of us who work in media universes, it sometimes comes down to making a deal with the devil, doesn’t it? Some members of the writing profession look down on those who take on media tie-in projects as having sold out, or assume they’re lazy and can’t do the work to create “real” fiction. Those of us here all know, of course, that nothing could be further from the truth. It is every bit as challenging to write a good tie-in story as it is a good original novel. When you throw in tight deadlines, unreasonable and clueless studio minions, and the rules of story canon, it can be even more difficult than writing an original book.

But a good story is a good story, no matter what universe it is written in.

My dear friend Andre Norton once listened to me complaining about how tie-in writers aren’t respected the way they should be, and remarked, “Being a storyteller is one of the oldest and most valued professions. Without stories to lift us out of life’s problems and doldrums, where would we be? Be proud of what you do.”

Andre was a very wise lady, and her words stuck with me over the years.

Crispin’s full acceptance speech appears on her blog.

 [Via ComicMix Twitter feed.]

Gross Pleads Guilty

Science fiction novelist Mitchell Gross, who pleaded guilty in February to scamming victims for nearly $6 million, has been sentenced to serve more than 12 years in prison. Gross wrote sf as “Mitchell Graham.”

Earlier this year A.C. Crispin told readers of the SFWA blog about the time Gross tried to buy the silence of Writers Beware after they uncovered a scam writing contest he’d created.

But that was small potatoes compared to the activities that have now led to his imprisonment. When a federal grand jury indicted Gross in 2011 for wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s press release provided details about one of his schemes that netted almost $3 million:

GROSS met women by corresponding with them on an internet dating service that caters to individuals of the Jewish faith.  In June 2006, GROSS began a romantic relationship with “R.J.,” a woman he met through the dating service. GROSS has written and published novels under the name “Mitchell Graham,” and told R.J. that he was independently wealthy and financially secure. GROSS actually has written and published books. But GROSS also told R.J. that his wealth dramatically increased as a result of the successful investment of his funds by “Michael Johnson,” supposedly a licensed stock broker employed by a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch known as “The Merrill Company.”  In fact, “Michael Johnson” was an alias used by GROSS himself, and “The Merrill Company” did not exist.  R.J. called a phone number provided by GROSS and spoke to “Michael Johnson.” In fact, she was speaking to GROSS, who disguised his voice to conceal the scheme.  R.J. ultimately wired approximately $2.99 million to an account she believed belonged to “The Merrill Company,” which was actually controlled by GROSS. 

Gross, a disbarred attorney, also pleaded guilty of defrauding a couple of $2 million for representing them in a lawsuit that was never filed. 

He will serve 12 years and seven months, then another three years on supervised release, and has been ordered to pay $5.8 million in restitution to his victims, according to a ruling Thursday from U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes in Atlanta. 

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]