Schmuck of the Week

How Jana Koretko Allegedly Screwed Fifteen Erotica Authors at the Same Time

From the cover of Sleeping with the Enemy (Chosen Wars Book 5), by Jana Leigh, a pen named used by Jana Koretko.
From the cover of Sleeping with the Enemy (Chosen Wars Book 5), by Jana Leigh, a pen named used by Jana Koretko.
Jana Koretko, an author and publisher of erotic books, has been arrested on accusations that she systematically ripped off a slew of fellow writers for more than $125,000 total. The result is an alleged criminal gangbang that no one enjoyed.

Well, maybe Koretko had fun for a while — but we doubt she's feeling especially satisfied right now. Schmuck of the Week honorees, welcome a new member to the club.

Like many of the authors for her business, JK Publishing, Koretko, who's from Johnstown, writes under multiple pen names, including Leigh Brock, Harley McRide (vroom, vroom!) and Jana Leigh — her actual first and middle name. Here's an example of the artistry she shared under the last moniker, as drawn from a tome titled Hotshots (Wildfires Book 1):
He gathered his pack and started to head down the hill. What the men did in their spare time wasn't his business, and if he admitted the truth to himself, he was a little jealous. He wasn't inclined toward bisexuality. He'd thought about it, sure, he had even participated with them from time to time when they brought in an insatiable woman that wanted to experience a man in each hole at once. The first time he'd been called into the room by Trys, he laughed when he saw what they wanted. He'd let the woman stifle her screams on his cock, and ended up thoroughly enjoying himself.
Can you feel the heat? We can't, either — but the temperature was turned up on Koretko starting in August 2015, when the 19th Judicial District Attorney's Office was first notified about what was characterized as a royalty scheme. The complainant was Brandie Birge, a JK Publishing writer under handles such as Willow Brooke and Shae Shannon.

According to Koretko's arrest affidavit, accessible below, Birge told investigators that her contract mandated that she receive 50 percent of the net royalties the firm collected from retail platforms such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and All Romance, but she and other authors had noticed discrepancies in the totals reported by JK Publishing. And their suspicions were soon confirmed.

click to enlarge Jana Koretko also publishes under the pen name Harley McRide. - AMAZON.COM
Jana Koretko also publishes under the pen name Harley McRide.
Take the case of Gale Soukop, one of the most popular scribes in the JK Publishing stable; she earned a higher royalty rate than Birge — 60 percent — for works presented under the moniker of her alter ego, Avery Gale. Between January 1, 2014, and December 1, 2015, the affidavit states, she should have been paid $240,546.83 ($228,957.45 monthly royalties plus $13,115.78 quarterly royalties less editing costs of $1,878.50). But her total compensation topped out at $141,932.23, resulting in a loss of $98,614.60.

Investigators believe that at least fourteen writers in addition to Soukop were shorted, too. But the document also reveals that Koretko actually over-reported sales of books by some authors. Included in the affidavit is the following May 8, 2015, Facebook message exchange between Lynda R. Shook (pseudonym: Lynn St. James) and Koretko:
Koretko: I just got an updated report, over 750 on iTunes.
Shook: books
Koretko: yes
Shook: holy shit!!!
Koretko: woot!!!
Turns out, though, that iTunes only sold ten of Shook's books for the entire month of May 2015.

Were such actions on the part of Koretko the result of innate kindness or a strategy to butter up fledgling authors so they'd be easier to bilk in the future? Whatever the case, prosecutors are hardly giving her the benefit of the doubt. She's facing nearly two dozen charges, including multiple counts of theft, computer crime and money laundering, as well as tax evasion: She apparently didn't file a return for two years. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 7.

Click to view Jana Koretko's arrest affidavit, and look below to see the mug shot of a woman responsible for so many erotic fantasies — and plenty of angry erotica writers.

click to enlarge Jana Koretko's booking photo. - 19TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT DA'S OFFICE
Jana Koretko's booking photo.
19th Judicial District DA's office

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