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December 5, 2005

Delia’s Gone
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:06 PM *

Ninety-nine years on a chain gang?
Why, judge, that ain’t no time.
I got a brother in New Orleans
Got nine hundred ninety-nine.

Today’s happy news is that long-time scammer Martha Ivery (aka Kelly O’Donnell) of Press-Tige Publishing, pleaded guilty to seventeen counts of huggery, muggery, and buggery (aka popery, mopery, and dopery).

Seriously, she pleaded guilty to fifteen counts of mail fraud, one count of credit card fraud, and one count of bankruptcy fraud.

Who is this Martha Ivery? She’s the author of Make Millions From Your Kitchen Table:

Editorial Reviews
Ms. Ivery is an author, psychic and spiritual counselor giving workshops on empowerment and spiritual development. This book is the best I’ve seen on educating oneself on how to achieve their financial goals. Martha also writes from first hand experience through her psychic book. This book is filled with instructions on how to develop the use of information available to all of us.

Al. C. Ward/Producer
With Make Millions From Your Kitchen Table you will discover how to use the valuable information on having a business at home, and develop the ideas in this book to make a positive change in your life.

Robert Stein, author of The Vengeance Equation
Make Millions From Your Kitchen Table reveals exciting insights into developing your potential to earning money at home without leaving it. It opens you to new depths of awareness in the working world.

About the Author
Martha Ivery has written several self-help books, geared towards helping the reader grow in many aspects, whether it be from a learning experience or direction im mastering a comprehensive direction for their lives. She is the author of What’s Your Psychic I.Q? published by Prima Publishing, and several other children’s titles, including: Welcome To Camp Horrorwood for all those kids who like to tell stories while sitting around a campfire.

But that’s not all:

Between 1998 and 2003, Writer Beware received scores of complaints about Martha Ivery, a.k.a. Kelly O’Donnell. Ivery ran several fee-charging literary agencies (Kelly O’Donnell Literary Agency, Inc., O’Donnell Literary Services, Inc., Writers Information USAgency), as well as two vanity publishing operations (Press-Tige Publishing and New Millennium Publishing). It was a soup-to-nuts operation: writers came in through one of the agencies (which charged “marketing” fees and pressured clients to accept paid editing services) and were then passed on to one of the publishing companies (which charged several thousand dollars). The connection between the agencies and the publishers wasn’t revealed; to further the deception, clients were encouraged to believe that the Kelly O’Donnell who ran the agencies and the Martha Ivery who ran the publishers were two different people.

Writers who paid fees to Ivery—whether for agenting, book doctoring, or publishing—frequently didn’t receive the promised services. Manuscripts submitted for agenting were never sent to publishers, or were placed with vanity publishers (including the fraudulent Commonwealth Publishing, which paid kickbacks to agents who persuaded their clients to accept expensive vanity contracts). Promised editing was never completed or was poorly done. Books contracted for publication were never produced, or if produced, weren’t marketed. In addition to whatever fees had been agreed upon, Ivery bombarded authors with demands for even more money for nonexistent services: publicity, warehousing, even a Press-Tige cruise (not surprisingly, the cruise was canceled and authors never got refunds).

Ivery was notable for her attempts to intimidate dissatisfied clients and people who attempted to expose her activities. Authors were told that she would “blacklist” them so that publishers wouldn’t look at their manuscripts. Writer Beware staff received death threats. She was also adept at fabricating outlandish excuses to explain her habitual nonperformance. For instance, in the aftermath of 9/11 she variously claimed to have been “seriously burned” in the disaster, or to be in mourning for relatives who’d been killed. She had numerous heart attacks. She frequently got cancer. As both Martha and Kelly, she died several times. Of course, with so much to remember, once in a while she got her lies mixed up. One pesky author, shocked to learn of Martha’s sudden and tragic death, was later somewhat taken aback to receive a call from her.

Ivery was on just about every scam-agent and bogus-publisher list, but that didn’t stop her from snagging over half-a-million dollars from hopeful writers.

Thomas Capezza of the U.S. Attorney’s Office told the judge the government was prepared to prove at trial that Ivery defrauded about 200 people of between $650,000 and $700,000.

Capezza told U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. that Ivery offered a litany of excuses to writers as to why their books were never published, from problems with illustrations to computer viruses. She told one author his work was on its way to the printers aboard one of the planes hijacked in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said.

(Remember Yog’s Law, kids: Money flows toward the author.)

Great was the rejoicing when the news of Martha’s full-power noseplant got out:

You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen!

Kelly O’Donnell/Martha Ivery/6 other aliases has just pleaded guilty in Federal Court to ALL 17 COUNTS OF FRAUD (INCLUDING BANKRUPTCY FRAUD) SHE WAS CHARGED WITH!

Sentencing was set for April 28th, 2006. Victoria and I are planning to be there in court that day.

Folks, this means JAIL TIME. Several years of it. We’re hoping for about five.

Kelly/Martha scammed, as best we can estimate, over 500 aspiring writers out of over half a million dollars. She got paid for books that never came out, books she was “agenting” that were never sent anywhere, a fake writing cruise to Hawaii, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, credit card fraud, and the forementioned bankruptcy fraud.

How much time will Martha (aka Kelly) get? There’s been some speculation about that. She could get nearly twenty years. But the judge might have pity on her. She might only get seven-plus. (Take heart, Martha — it’s only hard time for the first year. After that it’s just time.)

So say a sad farewell to Martha (out on bail until sentencing), and don’t pay to get published. Like Rocky said: “That trick never works.”

Comments on Delia's Gone:
#1 ::: AnimeJune ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 04:03 PM:

Whatever people say about the other one, THIS MARTHA deserves to be behind bars for a long, long time.

I've been to the Writer's Beware site, and they warn against ANY agency or agent that demands money upfront, or money for editing services. Miss Snark over at also had a few posts about scamalicious agencies.

And the people over at Writer's Beware get death threats!

#2 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 05:01 PM:

One down - or does she count as two?

How about PublishAmerica? The latest edition of LMP (Literary Market Place) came out last week. They have the SAME listing as in the 2004 edition, saying they are a regular, non-vanity publisher yada,yada.

#3 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 05:39 PM:

You know, there's a contrary part of me that now really, really wants a copy of "Make Millions from your Kitchen Table"!

#4 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 05:56 PM:

LMP is listing PA again? This has got to stop.

#5 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 06:45 PM:

Gee - Looks to me like Martha has a bright future in Republican politics. With credentials like this, she's a lock(up) for the House...

#6 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 07:36 PM:

One down - or does she count as two?

From the post, I would say she counts as six or seven . . .

#7 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2005, 08:01 PM:

I keep thinking of "The Strange Love of Martha Ivery"...

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Haydent ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 12:49 AM:

Martha Ivery is as bad as they come. This isn't some misguided wanna-be who's strayed into dishonest practices. She's a professional con artist, and she's been merciless in her rip-offs of naive writers.

I doubt we'll have the gratification of seeing her get the maximum sentence -- but we can hope.

#9 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 01:54 AM:

Wendy--There are two for sale on amazon, but they aren't cheap.

#10 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 10:42 AM:

What are those lyrics? They sound familiar, but all I can come up with is Junco Partner:

"Six months
Ain't no sentence
And one year
Ain't no time
I was born in Angola
serving 14 to 99."

(Anyone know if that's a Clash original? It doesn't sound like it, but I don't have the album here.)

#11 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 10:43 AM:

Oh, and Make Millions From Your Kitchen Table is selling on alibris for about $20 . Which is "Well above novelty price" for me. . .

#12 ::: AnimeJune ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 11:07 AM:

LMP is listing PA again? This has got to stop.
Well, I guess after the "unbridled success" of Travis Tea's "Atlanta Nights", they've got some crud, er, cred...^_~

#13 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 11:23 AM:

Ok, I was sure the lyric up top said "life plus ninety-nine" when I posted. Now it says "Nine hundred ninety-nine."

If this keeps up I shall lose faith in the Internet.

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 11:45 AM:

I changed it. I've heard both versions, and wasn't sure which one I liked best.

#15 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 12:42 PM:


The lyric Jim shows is, as far as I know, from a song called Delia. The version I know is done by Cordelia's Dad, and I was mighty pleased to find, having been reminded of them, that their backlist is now available through the ever wonderful CD Baby. (The version I'm familiar with has the lyric as "nine hundred ninety-nine.")

#16 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 04:17 PM:

I'm planning on giving out 10% of Nothing to scads and scads of people for holiday gifts.

#17 ::: MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2005, 10:14 PM:

Those lyrics are from an old, unattributed folk song called (usually) Delia's Gone, about a beautiful but vicious, conniving woman who gets her comeuppance. In that particular verse, the songwriter is discussing his lack of concern over his paltry sentence for killing her.

There are many verses, some of which describe Delia's violent end in graphic detail. I expect some of the folks Martha Ivery conned would really enjoy it.

#18 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2005, 01:51 AM:

Out on bail pending sentencing? Anyone taking bets on whether goes on the lam?

#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2005, 07:19 AM:

Mac's right, and in her honor (and because it's a far better title) I'm going to change the name of this entry to "Delia's Gone."

#20 ::: Johan Anglemark ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2005, 08:27 AM:

Your changed subject line scared me; I opened it fearing that Delia Sherman had met with a fatal accident. Phew.

#21 ::: Victoria Strauss ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2005, 01:32 PM:

Speaking of "The Strange Loves of Martha Ivery"...her rap sheet (which is extensive) includes bigamy. An especially horrifying crime, if you've ever seen her photo.

#22 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2005, 03:28 PM:

Well, it's all about the folk process, I reckon. Poking around, I found this thread which has, among other things, pointers to what may well be the story of the historical Delia, a pubescent turn-of-the-century Savannah girl. Looks like the song is variously known as Delia, Little Delia, Delia's Gone, and All My Friends are Gone, and sung by as motley an assortment of artists as Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, Dave Alvin, and Johnny Cash. More interesting, given that apparently there have evolved so many verses about how awful Delia was, is the indication that apparently the historical model was a 14-year-old girl who didn't want her boyfriend exerting ownership over her or telling her what to do, whose teenage boyfriend then just spontaneously shot her. There's a story about the role and nature of women as viewed by men in there, somewhere.

#23 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 05:29 AM:

Victoria: An especially horrifying crime, if you've ever seen her photo.

I haven't, and I'd like to. Google Images no help. Do you know of any on the Internet?

#24 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2005, 12:57 AM:

Sci Fi Wire has the story here.

#25 ::: kathy brandt ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Folks,I dealt with above for 5 years.She tormented me no end with lies etc.I know I am responding late-we were moving etc and just recently got internet again (no telephone lines-finally got broadband)What I want to disclose is that I have met this Jezebell ! Her real name is
Maxine Fraade from Hyde Park ,New York Doesn't anyone know this ?

#26 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Speaking of which: A voice from the grave! Maxine/Kelly/Martha rebuts internet rumors that she's a crook.

From Ripoff Reports:

I think you better take that lie off of your site


Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 19:08:00 EDT
Subject: (no subject)

I think you better take that lie off of your site, as that is exactly what it is, a lie. I know people on the Internet can say what they want, but if they don't have the hard facts, and insert stories, then you need to be wary.

I'd be happy to supply you with any information you need about my company, and I'd be happy to satisfy any complaints you have on this company. Thank you.

Press-TIGE Publishing Inc. 291 Main St. Catskill, NY 12414 We have been at this address for 5 years, and we haven't moved since 1995. Go figure why that one woman said we had different addresses on our letterhead.


M. Ivery


I have made a copy of her complaint and I am giving it to my attorney.


Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 19:02:46 EDT
Subject: Rebuttal

WOW! What a complaint! If this woman would leave her address and name, and the title of her book I'd be happy to accomdate her with her complaints.

I don't know who she is, or what the title of her book is. Many authors who are released from their contracts through my attorney, are usually satisfied after they sign the release, which states they are satisfied, and the like.

If you would please be so kind to tell me who this person is, so that I can try to help her with her complaint, I'd be a happy camper. My first concern though is seeing that this woman is satisfied. Thank you.

Warmest Regards,

Martha Ivery

I have made a copy of her complaint and I am giving it to my attorney. Any additional information you can supply me with, so that I can satisfy this woman's or man's complaint with this company would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

#27 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2009, 04:17 PM:

That looks like an old story; the dates are 2000. Am I missing something?

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2009, 06:43 PM:

It is an old story, and those dates are 2000. Martha is still, so far as I know, happily ensconced in a Federal prison.

The point is that, despite the threats from Martha Ivery and her angry denunciations of the "lie," the complaints against her were true.

I'm also trying to keep things from vanishing into the memory-hole of web rot. So many links to newspaper stories about the Great Scammers now return Error 404.

That's part of the reason scammers get away with it: No one can easily see how many times before the exact same game has been played.

#29 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2009, 07:08 PM:

James D. Macdonald (28): Fair enough. "A voice from the grave" sounded to me as if she were making (try to make) a comeback, so I was confused by the old dates.

#30 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2009, 09:14 PM:

Jim @ 28: Witness the fact that a (rather cursory) Google search failed to yield a working link to an article on her sentencing. Found some speculation on what the guidelines say she ought to have received, but nothing definite.

#31 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2013, 05:57 AM:

A quick search revealed that Martha was sentenced to 65 months in Federal prison followed by 3 years probation. (So presumably she's out by now.)

Posted because the thread left it somewhat up in the air.

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