A Santa Rosa publisher of horror and fantasy books is being sued by an author who claims the company sullied her reputation as a wordsmith by inserting typos in her latest work.
Author Terri Bruce contends Damnation Books refused to correct 260 mistakes that she caught in the final proof of "Thereafter," damaging her career and costing her money.
A Sonoma County judge on Wednesday agreed there was evidence to support Bruce's claim and ordered the publisher to stop selling, distributing or promoting the novel until the dispute is resolved.
The book appeared to have been listed for sale on Amazon. A paperback version of her first book, "Hereafter," was going for $16.31.
"Plaintiff has demonstrated through competent evidence that she will likely prevail in this matter," Daum wrote in his tentative ruling.
Bruce, who is based in New England, didn't respond Wednesday to an email request for comment. But she said on the crowd-funding website she's using to raise legal fees that the suit came after many pleas to correct a "flawed book."
She said she urged Damnation Books to fix mistakes not contained in the manuscript, including bad grammar, improper capitalization and large blocks of text without paragraph marks, before the book was published.
But when she pointed out the problems, Damnation refused to make the changes, saying they made the book better, she said.
The book was published May 1, she said.
"I am heartbroken and mortified," she said on the website, Gofundme.com. "This book represents two years of blood, sweat and tears, and it's ruined."
Her suit claims breach of contract and names Damnation co-owner Kimberly Gilchrist. Gilchrist didn't respond to phone calls or email.
According to its website, Damnation Books is for readers of "dark fiction." The website features skeletons and flames against a black background.
A call for submissions sought various genres including science fiction, fantasy, retro-gothic, bizarro and horrotica.
Print and electronic versions of its books are sold by companies such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it said.
"If someone has ever told you a story is too dark, we'd love to see it," the website says.
Meanwhile, Bruce has launched an online fundraising drive to help fix "Thereafter." She has raised nearly $500 to pay for her legal fight, according to Gofundme.com.
Thereafter is a follow-up to her first book, described by reviewers as an "urban fantasy" about a bar-hopping 36-year-old woman who dies in a drunken driving crash and is grappling with the afterlife.
It came after years of struggle and rejection, she said online.
Amazon describes her as a producer of fantasy and adventure stories who lives in a haunted house in New England with a husband and three cats.
"I'd always dreamed of being a writer, ever since I was a little girl," she said. "And for a while it seemed like my dream was finally coming true."
(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)