After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the
University of Texas at Dallas, Sydney planned to follow in her
father’s law enforcement footsteps, or boots. When her father
learned this was her goal, he advised her to pursue a more lucrative
and less dangerous investigative career outside of law enforcement.
She followed his excellent advice and found it to be everything
he said it would be, and more.
Sydney Newman Dotson has over 20 years of corporate strategy,
sales and marketing experience with such companies as GTE, EDS,
IBM and Compaq. As IBM’s Director of Corporate Business
Intelligence, Sydney created IBM’s Global Business Intelligence
Network, Global Market View, Alert Newsletter, and IBM's Field
Intelligence Posse. Sydney and her family live in Dallas, Texas
where she’s an author, screenwriter and president of Sydney Dotson Productions, Inc.
THE HOLLYWOOD BUZZ
"The Life of an Aspiring Author and Screenwriter"
The woman behind the computer is compact, petite and possessed of a certain seen-it-all attitude that well-applied makeup cannot hide. Remember the beautiful blonde star of the TV series, "Family Ties?" Wearing high-heel boots and a turtle-neck sweater, Sydney Newman Dotson looks like the actress Meredith Baxter Birney that we all know and love.
She's smart and sassy, yet tough and literate. Sydney Newman Dotson, better known as the author of, "No Greater Deception, a True Texas Story" - a series of books about her family, identity theft and a stepmother who is possibly a black widow serial killer - is in town for a couple of days.
In three short years Dotson, 53, has become one of the most sought after identity theft experts and motivational speakers in the country. Her books have quickly become case studies for the FBI, attorneys, detectives and criminal profilers. More than 10,000 copies of her first book were purchased in the United States alone.
She is in Houston to sign her book, to meet her armies of admirers and to counter a small group of critics who claim her stepmother is not the evil woman as described in her first book.
By 1 p.m. - an hour before the author starts signing autographs - the line of men and women is stretched out the front door of the bookstore and down the block. Having previously read Dotson's action thriller, some of the fans picked up on the author's favorite dessert and baked a pecan pie in her honor.
Before venturing out into this group just wild about her true story, she sips on a "café latte mocha" from a Styrofoam cup and thinks about how life has changed. And the ways in which it hasn't. Life three years ago was very different.
Dotson knows about following a dream. From the time she was 6, she knew she liked reading and writing. "I loved reading the short stories in the Reader's Digest when it arrived in the mail. I even entered a couple of their art and writing contests. Unfortunately, my stories weren't selected," she says with a frown.
A bright student, Sydney attended public schools near the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston with children of the astronauts. She was a full-time mom to two sons while attempting to complete her education at a number of community colleges. When she finally earned her bachelor's degree in sociology, she was also working an internship at a juvenile probation department and as a volunteer fundraiser for several state and local political candidates she believed in.
She wrote a lot of stories as a child and while in college, but never attempted to have them published. She continued to write, first on a typewriter, then later on a computer. Although she dreamed of working for the White House, State Department or CIA, her husband, at the time, insisted they must live in Texas. But this Type-A overachiever didn't let the geographic restriction hold her back.
She viewed the invention of the Internet as a miracle and answer to her thirst for knowledge as a fundraiser and corporate information officer at EDS and IBM. She soaked up knowledge like a sponge and distributed high-level strategic information to Louis Gerstner, officers and senior executives. She was a sought after sales, marketing and deal making expert in many areas, including business intelligence, industry analysis, relationship management and leadership development. Her peers included Michael Porter, Tom Peters and Michael Hammer whose books she proudly displayed on her bookshelf. In her spare time, she practiced her golf stroke and eventually played on two ladies professional tours, including the LPGA Futures Tour.
Around the time her father was diagnosed with acute leukemia in Texas, she was at the peak of her career at IBM. She left that job to return to Texas and spend more time with him. When he died in 2000, she was working for Compaq and managing a large sales force in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Little did she know that her career would take a turn in a different direction. Seeking justice on her father's behalf became her full-time job when she learned her stepmother was out to disinherit her and her five brothers and sisters. She left her job at Compaq to continue to pursue her father's last wishes, and locate an author to write a biography about her family's experience with identity theft, forgery and a suspected black widow serial killer. She mailed her one-page overview to Ann Rule who promptly told her she didn't need her. The author told her she was gifted and must write her own book.
She contacted many agents and publishers to no avail. Although it appeared that one had to be married to, related to, or sleeping with them to be successful, she didn't allow their rejections to stand in her way. As rejection letters began to fill her mailbox, she pondered over where to start, what to put in the first chapter. It wasn't for a lack of dramatic events that stood in her way of writing the opening scene. In fact, most families don't experience the number of house burnings, insurance scams, forgeries and mysterious deaths that her family experienced. So, when she identified the one single event that gave her and her sister the strength to continue their investigation, the words began to flow like wine pouring out of a fine pitcher.
When she raised up take a breath four weeks later to inform her sister about her writing, she found she had written over 200 pages and was only halfway through their story. It was then that her sister volunteered to be her first editor. The second time she stopped to call her sister, the document was up to 400 pages. When all was said and done, she found she had written 600 pages in three months. After a professional editor was called in to transform the rough stone into a polished diamond, she re-approached several of the agents and publishers with the news.
Upon receiving a second rejection, she decided to form her own company and self-published the book without them. Today, her first book, "No Greater Deception, A True Texas Story," is available on over 365 websites in 15 countries. It's the #1 bestselling true crime autobiography, true crime biography, women outlaws biography, and personal criminal memoirs. While Dotson's marketing her first book to major publishers and movie producers, she's writing a second book with plans for a third book to complete the trilogy. She's managed to knock down a number of barriers and has received some measure of success, but will not stop until Sydney Dotson Productions produces a motion picture and TV Series based on her true story.
This is how zealous folks are for "No Greater Deception" and its creator who is often referred to as a corporate spy. Barnes & Noble and Borders Bookstores were not prepared to meet the demand for this tell-all book written by a local Galveston County deputy sheriff's daughter. Customers were often told the book was "not in stock" or "not available." They didn't let that stop them. They later nabbed their copy on Amazon and B&N websites.
"It's a real-life Texas Soap Opera of Love, Death, Betrayal and Justice," says Liz Carpenter, author and Lady Bird Johnson's WHITE HOUSE Press Secretary.
"I want to find out if her father had anything to do with the JFK assassination," said a Dallas man.
A woman from Dickinson said, "I can't wait to read this book. I think I will be able to figure out her father's real name."
"Every law enforcement officer and detective should read this book," said a Louisiana private investigator.
"I've suspected for a long time that my stepmother forged my father's will and killed him. I'm hoping this book will give me some tips as to what I should do," says a woman in North Carolina who stumbled on Dotson's book on Barnes and Noble.com.
"Her spy work is phenomenal. She's a female James Bond," says Preston Smith, a Tallahassee radio anchor.
And the Not-So-Adoring
One of Dotson's most terrifying characters is the sinister stepmother, Betty. She is the embodiment of pure evil. To some readers, she's a stepchild's worst nightmare. How she got away with her crimes astonishes everyone who hears about her.
"The Texas Justice System needs to be reformed. Incompetent attorneys should not be allowed to practice law. Practicing without malpractice insurance should be a felony," says a Houston attorney.
"The Judge should have insisted of a change of venue. She did this case a terrible injustice," said a forensic handwriting expert. "
Interestingly, one of Dotson's goals may come to fruition. The Texas State Bar Association and Houston Bar Association are reviewing Dotson's book to identify areas of reformation in the justice system.
Even though her book has become a bestseller, major bookstores are not placing her book on their shelves yet.
"We only stock books by major publishers that are approved by our corporate headquarters," says a Barnes & Noble store manager. But she later ordered 6 books from Dotson's publisher.
"I'm sorry. We don't conduct booksignings for self-published authors," says a Borders store manager.
On an odd note, the author's stepmother has an army of supportive elderly friends on her side.
"It's all lies. I don't think she did those things. I've known her for a long time. She and I go to the same church together," said a gift shop owner in Kemah.
"I know more than I'm telling those girls (referring to Sydney and her sister Heather). I could help them more, but I can't. I don't want to hurt Betty's feelings," says a deputy sheriff's wife. Of course the officer's wives club stands by its members regardless of their dastardly deeds.
Sydney Newman Dotson is following her dream and no one is going to get in the way. Lakeshore Entertainment, Lifetime TV, Benderspink and Spyglass have contacted Dotson about her interest in producing a movie and TV series. She completed a screenplay based on her first two books titled: LIPSTICK DETECTIVES: THE TEXAS MAFIA CONNECTION that is gaining the attention of many Hollywood insiders. Her screenplay is also entered into competition at the Austin Film Festival and Hollywood Film Festival. Of course Dotson is holding out for a major film studio deal from MGM, Miramax, Paramount, Universal or Warner Bros.
In the meantime, Dotson is busy writing, speaking to law enforcement associations and book clubs, and autographing books. She is often engaged as a guest speaker to speak about identity theft that can occur within the family.
Her life has changed, she said with a smile. "I don't have to get up at 6 a.m. every day to go to work. Now I can work all night and sleep in the mornings." She laughs. "Honestly, I miss the steady income, but I firmly believe I'm on the brink of something wonderful. My father would be so proud of me."
The most noticeable things about her are her smile and sense of optimism. She has been touched by the most astonishing magic. There is no chance she will settle for a 9-5 job again. She is going to follow her principles and do what she thinks she is supposed to do.