John Van Stry profile
John Van Stry
John Van Stry
Hi, I write books. Or to be a bit more precise I'm an author writing novels in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Urban Fantasy. I write under my own name: John Van Stry, and the pen name: Jan Stryvant.
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Recent posts

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John Van Stry
Public post
Wow, two posts in one week!

As some of you may recall, after much prompting, I have decided to see if there are people who would be interested in making the Valens Legacy into either a movie or a series. 
 
I have an old friend who works in the entertainment industry. He owns Vertiplex Group, a firm that deals with creating technology and creative works for entertainment. He has been in the entertainment industry for some time now (decades). He has worked on several blockbuster movies; Avatar, Spiderman, and The Da Vinci Code, to name a few. 
 
So, of course, I called him, and we talked about Valens Legacy and how to bring it to the screen. After discussing the book series with him, he read Black Friday, the first book, and thought that yes, this was a prime candidate in today's market. We had several phone calls, and then the two of us started working together to investigate if we could make it happen. 
 
Or perhaps to be more precise, James has been doing the majority of the legwork working on it to see if we can make it happen.  He knows competent people, working with them before, after all. He speaks their language, and they know he doesn't bullshit. But more on James later. 
 
All of this dialog between James and I started in January 2020, so as you can imagine, it's been a slow process with everything going on in 2020! Most people are stuck at home, and the movie and TV production industry has virtually stopped. So we thought, why not try to strike a deal now –it just seemed people needed a story like Valens Legacy to escape!
 
We officially began in March and managed to get a top legal team involved, as there's a lot you have to do upfront these days when dealing with large Hollywood entertainment companies. We also had to develop a synopsis, particular to Hollywood and any other company shooting visual stories. That synopsis needed to be written a certain way, again something I didn't understand but which James was intimately familiar with the ins and outs of.
 
Last month, as a favor to us, our lawyer (a major player in Hollywood and there is no way I could ever have hooked up with a guy like that if it wasn't for James) passed our synopsis over to an exec at a major network (no, I can't tell you who, or even the network). 
 
We weren't expecting a contract, more like testing the waters with a guy whose full-time job is buying broadcast TV shows.  Surprisingly, the guy really liked it and thought a Valens Legacy visual adaptation is appealing. He even gave us an extensive written review of the synopsis and some advice on who might buy it.
 
Fast forward to this last week. James took the concept to two major players, with long track records, and who he knows personally. Both expressed a lot of interest because this is the kind of storyline that falls into their wheelhouse. Each of them requested to see everything we have so far to define a pilot, and we are sending it out this week! 
 
Of course, their request to see all the details doesn't mean that they're going to buy it or sign a contract. If only life was so simple. These people deal with hundreds of proposals every month from agents and associates and turn down just as many. Most don't even get a chance to submit. So just having them ask to see it is pretty damn exciting for me. Mainly because these folks are very busy and not shy about saying they don't want to look at things. James was pretty happy about it too. All of this since a January phone call is a pretty big step for us, and it will be interesting to see where this goes next.
 
More on James: 
Why did I ask James for his help on this? It wasn't just because he's an old friend from back in college or that he works in the entertainment business. A lot of it has to do with the fact that James himself is a very talented guy and very much an artist at heart. He plays numerous musical instruments, has played with many well-known artists over the years, and is on many motion picture soundtracks as a musician while being the best damn Electrical Engineer I've ever known. He's been on Oscar and Emmy winning entertainment works. 
 
He's worked for everybody from NASA to Sony and can also tell and write stories that will let you laugh your ass off. If you're ever going to go for that gold ring, James is the guy you want on your side helping you do it. He's done it before, more than once. The guy is a genius.  And the best part of all of this is if I have to fly out to Hollywood to meet people, he can buy me that pizza dinner he still owes me! :-) 
 
Seriously though, He and I reconnected the first time many years after college when I read this crazy true story about Silicon Valley that he wrote called, 'The Chopping Block.' It's a story about a business deal of greed and manipulation on an epic scale. 
As a 'thank you' to him for helping me and my fans out with pushing Valens Legacy, maybe you can read this book. I can guarantee it will change your view on the working world no matter what you do. It's hard to believe stuff like this happened in the business world, but then again, maybe not. 
 
The Clopping Block Link:
 
 
 
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John Van Stry

Just a shortI was asked, a while ago to do a short story for an anthology that a friend of mine (...

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John Van Stry

Excerpt and Some Comments 7/31Okay, we're back to using the links instead of my posting here. Cur...

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John Van Stry

Question for you allThe story I put up earlier takes place in an uncertain place and time. I was ...

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John Van Stry

Blog and Excerpt 7/22Sorry I missed last weekend, but honestly I didn't have much to say. POI #9 ...

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John Van Stry
Public post
Available for ordering now, comes out on Saturday
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CYBZ2V7
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John Van Stry

7/11 blog and excerptI'll just be attaching a file today, seeing as it's short and I'm lazy tonig...

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John Van Stry

I rewrote the second half of chapter 15This is the part where he goes back to his inn. let me kno...

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John Van Stry

What Kind of Monster Girl?So I'm working on Take Two: Encore now and I'm curious as to what kind ...

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John Van Stry

Blog and excerpt 7/2So, it's finished. Or rather the first draft and rewrite are finished. It's o...

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John Van Stry

6/27 Blog and ExcerptI'd hoped to be putting up a finished first draft today, as I'd made plans t...

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John Van Stry

6/19 Blog and ExcerptWell the first draft of POI #9 is nearing completiion, which means I need to...

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John Van Stry

6/13 Blog and ExcerptOn the none writing front, last week on the way home from meeting up with a ...

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John Van Stry

6/5 Blog and excerpt. Well I'm at the halfway point on POI #9. Hasn't been going as fast as I'd l...

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John Van Stry

5/31 Blog and excerptSorry this is late, had a few chores this weekend to deal with and I lost tr...

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John Van Stry

5/22 Blog and ExcerptSo I'm about a quarter done with the next POI book. With the interruptions I...

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John Van Stry

Nothing to post this week, SorryAs you all know I spent most of last week in NY, flying in and ou...

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John Van Stry

5/8 Blog and ExcerptsSo this is a little earlier than the last few. Part of that is because I'm f...

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John Van Stry

3 May blog and ExcerptsHi all! Originally I was going to wait until later today, because I do wan...

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John Van Stry

Who Dies?So, for all of you who have read the last post, you know that (in POI #9) that there is ...

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John Van Stry

4/26 excerpt and BlogSo I'm getting back into the swing of things. The legal stuff is almost over...

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John Van Stry

Weekly blog and excerpt, late editionI'd hoped to have more to share writing wise this week, but ...

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John Van Stry
Public post
 
The lawsuit is over, and we won.
 
There has been a lot said about me, and this lawsuit, by people who don't know the full story, or who think it's perfectly okay to profit off of the stolen labor of others. I couldn't address any of that, because of the ongoing suit, but now that it's over I'd like to address a few things.
 
First off, I hesitate to label the other party as some kind of ethical or moral pillar, because he's not. He never was. He wasn't doing this to fight copyrights or help people; he was doing this for MONEY. Plain and simple. By his own account, he was making in excess of three hundred THOUSAND dollars a year off of his website. 
 
Got that? He was stealing my work, and the work of other authors to make money, lots of money, with which he bought two airplanes and lived a pretty good life. He now claims that he's broke and living out of a conversion van (aren't those expensive?). I don't know if that's true or not, and I don't care.
 
The primary goal of this lawsuit was always to get an injunction and stop him from stealing my works and the works of other authors. I didn't even know his site existed until I was told my works were on it by some fans and other authors. I sent a C&D, my lawyers sent a C&D, and my lawyers even sent the appropriate DMCA notices. BTW, DMCA did NOT apply to his website. He was NEVER protected by its 'safe harbor' rules. Seriously folks, stop trying to practice law and talk to a real lawyer. The things my critics think are true and legal are bizarre.
 
Oh, and for all of those saying I should have settled out of court? We tried. Three times. The first time? Mr. McCrea sent US the settlement offer. One that was a hell of a lot better than what he was hit with today. He asked us to write it up for him (because of course he didn't have a lawyer - right). So I paid my attorney's to write it up exactly like he sent it to us.
 
And he never signed it.
 
Twice more we sent it to him, at the judge's (subtle) urging. He didn't respond to the first of those and was a bit rude on the last time. Again, it would have left him in a far better position than the ruling that came out today. So when the crocodile tears start to flow, don't pay them no mind. He was given three chances to get out of this for a lot less money, a LOT less. 
 
But he refused.
 
My reasons, again, for this lawsuit. 
  • First is that he was making money off of the stolen work of me and other authors, and bragging about it. 
  • Second, he was claiming that by stealing my works (and the works of other authors) he was 'helping us'. If he was 'helping us' why did he post more than say the first book in any of our series? Or more than one or two?
  • Third, he claimed 'he had permission'. Which of course, he didn't.
  • Fourth, he never complied with any take-down requests. Oh, I know he claimed he did, and I was told by one author that any books taken down (in the few instances he appeared to do that) were back up again in days.
  • Fifth, he was destroying the retirement of many authors, who rely on the royalties they get from their backlogs to pay their bills. This is a real thing! People were being financially hurt! This wasn't some small pirate site that maybe a couple of dozen people go to. The site was getting over a million hits per month, by his own account. Millions of books were being downloaded. Books are not like songs where you listen to them again and again. You read a book once, that's it. People who steal books don't come back and buy them later. Claiming that they do is a myth.
  • Sixth, he was destroying the ability of new authors to enter the market. If your book only sells a few copies on Amazon, but it's the 'book of the week' on his website, with people downloading thousands of copies. Do you think that author is ever going to write again? It takes thousands of hours to write a book. It takes money to get cover art and editing services. If you don't get paid for your hard work, you find another job.
  • Seventh, though it would be wrong, because the availability of my books on eBook.Bike was beyond my control, I was worried that Amazon might pull my books and punish me, for them being on his website. After all, he was claiming he had permission for them to be there. Other authors were highly concerned with this as well.
  • Eighth, he was not only impacting my sales, but he was impacting my sales ranking and my marketing. The secondary impact of this theft is a lot harder to estimate, but it was there, and I felt it. Again, other authors felt it too.
 
Mr. McCrea survived only because lawsuits are expensive. He knew this, hence his challenge 'just sue me!' He knew most authors can't afford it. Well unfortunately for him, I could. I saw authors whom I'm a long time fan of complaining about the damage, I saw reflected in my own sales damage. I've been very successful as an author, I'm very thankful to all my fans, and all of the authors who have gone before me.
 
So I saw this as an opportunity to pay them back, to give something back to the writing community. To take down someone who was stealing, who was profiting from that theft. Someone who was so self-entitled that he was laughing at the rest of us and just challenging us to sue him while bragging about the money he was making.
 
Understand that I did NOT want to do this. But if not me, then who? If not now, then when? Sometimes, you just have to stand up for what is right. This lawsuit hurt me, considerably, and not just because of the money that came out of my pocket. Rarely did a day go by that I wasn't thinking about it, and rarely did a week go by when I wasn't having to deal with my attorneys. But it wasn't just about me, it never was.
 
I'm glad this is over. I'm happy we won, and I'm happy with this ruling. I will look and see if I can find a place to post it so that others may read it. I'm sure the usual sites that have been following this will post copies, I'm sure they'll completely mis-interpret the legalities involved, and I'm sure I'll once again be harangued and liabled in the comments. 
 
To all of you who contributed, thank you very much! I appreciate your hard-earned dollars, and I appreciate your words of support. I'll be shutting down my gofundme soon, the final cost of this lawsuit will come out to be somewhere between seventy to eighty thousand dollars. Yes, going to court is not cheap. However a precedent has now been set, so things will be cheaper and easier for those who come after.
 
Last of all I'd like to thank my attorneys. They were highly professional and are both incredibly experienced and smart. They helped me through the hard times and I would recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in the same or similar position. Their staffs are also very professional and put in some long hours on my behalf. Joshua and Gary, I couldn't have done it without you, thank you both very much.
 
-John Van Stry
 
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John Van Stry

4/13 Blog and ExcerptsSorry I didn't put this up last night, kinda lost track of the time. With e...

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John Van Stry

Excerpt and blog 5/20Forgot to post this earlier. One of the problems I've been having is that I ...

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