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Highland Press Warnings

Highland Press authors have complained about lack of communication with its publisher, with all communication being diverted to a secret co-publisher, DeborahAnne MacGillvray. Ms. MacGillivray is an author published by Highland Press (among other presses including Dorchester and Kensington) and also serves as a cover artist for Highland Press.

Among other things, Highland Press is purported to do the following:

  • Banning authors from author loops for speaking out against Highland Press
  • Sending emails to subsequent publishers of those “problem” authors demanding that stock photography that the author purchased for the covers of her Highland Press books not be used by subsequent publishers. These stock photos can be used, as we know, by every publisher out there. I’m not sure on what basis Highland Press claims that stock photo cannot be used.
  • Using MacGillivray’s position to delete reviews she has provided to these problem authors and deleting reviews of the author’s friends. (Of course, these are MacGillivray’s reviews and she is entitled to do whatever she wants with them).

A corollary to this is that the co-publisher uses a Yahoo Group list, Ladies in Waiting, change her Amazon reviews. When MacGillivray she gets a bad review, she tells the loop to click on the link to the Amazon page and vote “no” and then “report abuse”. With enough of those “report abuse” entries, the review is then removed. This was complained about on the Amazon board as well. One fan related a run-in with Ms. MacGillivray on a message board about the deleted reviews.

one thing macgillivray made a point of lecturing me about was the fact that the negative reviews were affecting folks livelihoods…like kids won’t eat and puppies won’t get fed, etc. i took issue with that because if reviews were here for the express purpose of putting money in the author’s pocket, the over-gushing reviews would be the only ones accepted by amazon or anyone else for that matter. it’s not my problem as the consumer to make sure an author eats. it’s my responsibility as a consumer to be honest about my feelings regarding a product so that the next consumer is educated enough to make a decision for or against the purchase of a product. period.

another poster here had her negative review for one of macgillivary’s books deleted and macgillivary defended that move too. in the end though, i find it difficult to believe this is some arbitrary thing when it seems the only author who is coming up in this discussion OVER AND OVER AGAIN is macgillivary.

As a reader, I am far more disturbed about the last item which appears that MacGillivray is using her position to game the Amazon review system. I’m sure that there are dozens of authors who would like negative reviews to be removed. Other fans and authors find this practice disturbing as well.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

342 Comments

  1. Highland Press Warnings « Urban Fantasy Land
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 11:40:16

    [...] Press Warnings Dear Author posted Highland Press Warnings: “Highland Press authors have complained about lack of communication with its publisher, with [...]

  2. Robin
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 11:53:14

    The learning curve here seems to be incredibly steep, doesn’t it?

    More and more I’m feeling that authors would be better served by having some sort of advocacy group beyond the RWA to provide assistance with contract terms, publisher track records, etc. And to evaluate the changing markets and business models in publishing that affect authors (essentially having authors be able to participate more proactively and effectively in these trends, instead of being simply affected by them on the back end).

    one thing macgillivray made a point of lecturing me about was the fact that the negative reviews were affecting folks livelihoods…like kids won't eat and puppies won't get fed, etc. i took issue with that because if reviews were here for the express purpose of putting money in the author's pocket, the over-gushing reviews would be the only ones accepted by amazon or anyone else for that matter. it's not my problem as the consumer to make sure an author eats. it's my responsibility as a consumer to be honest about my feelings regarding a product so that the next consumer is educated enough to make a decision for or against the purchase of a product. period.

    Yup. I find myself growing increasingly frustrated with this notion that readers should be moved by appeals based on the “I might have to supplement my writing income if you buy my ARCs off of eBay” lines of logic. Those lines of argumentation — however true they may be — tend to emit a sense of entitlement, dimming rather than cultivating my sympathy. IMO livelihood issues are those that relate to the author-agent and author-publisher relationships, not to the author-reader link (which for me is more a book-reader relationship, which probably accounts for my view here). To justify the “abusive comment” report on Amazon via this logic offends me on so many levels it’s difficult to keep track of all of them, lol. Of course, I guess the way to respond to that is to contact Amazon and let them know that there are some readers out there who find minimal interference in the star/reviewing system necessary for Amazon to have any semblance of legitimacy. Not that Amazon comments are always the most helpful, but IMO it’s far worse for them to be unhelpful AND screened.

  3. Ann Bruce
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 12:48:42

    MacGillivray is using her position to game the Amazon review system

    negative reviews were affecting folks livelihoods…like kids won't eat and puppies won't get fed

    I’m offended as both a reader and a writer. This is worse than the author who rallied all her troops and their acquaintances–even the ones who didn’t read her book–to post positive reviews on Amazon to counter all “the haters.”

    Four words my hapkido instructor always says to me: Suck it up, princess.

  4. Stacia Kane
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 13:50:55

    It is outrageous that anyone would behave that way and tell readers they don’t have a right to an opinion.

    Writers advocating censorship? Disgusting.

  5. (Jān)
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 14:01:36

    You see this kind of behavior in online fandoms on occasion. A writer, generally average, gets a few fans and she starts going on this egotistical power trip. Anyone who disagrees with her fans and dares to say it is tarred and feathered. I always take it as a sign of immaturity and incompetence, because no one mature or competent would have to resort to such tactics.

  6. Denni
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 14:04:21

    That’s not only tacky and misleading, IMO it will actually harm book sales. Very short sighted and manipulative.

    Some of us use those reviews (good and bad) to get an honest feel for whether or not we will enjoy a particular book. Negative reviews can be the most revealing, but don’t necessarily automatically kill a sale. Sometimes whatever is being whined about isn’t on my list of reasons not to buy…personal preference in our reading material is so very individual.

    I read a (library) book yesterday that pushed several of my squick buttons & I thought was awful. Other readers love it and have it bronzed on their keeper shelf.

    IMO this publisher would be wiser to quit censoring the flow of information and let customers decide what they like.

  7. ilona_andrews
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 14:12:22

    Epic Fail on all counts.

  8. SB Sarah
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 14:24:39

    Four words my hapkido instructor always says to me: Suck it up, princess.

    I am officially in love with Ann Bruce’s hapkido instructor. Carry on.

  9. AnnonyKensington
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 14:48:40

    I can tell you from personal experience that Ms. MacGillivray is quite interesting to interact with on the Kensington author loop too (there's no WAY I'd post this under my real name, due to certain relation; she loves to tattle to our editors about any behavior she views as negative or threatening). I'm soooooooo not surprised to find out she's got her minions scamming the Amazon reviews.

  10. D
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:01:36

    A writer, generally average, gets a few fans and she starts going on this egotistical power trip.

    Check it out. LINK

    And yeah, not to be cowardly, but I’ll post anonymously so as not to dare the rabid mob to assault me with negative reviews or something.

  11. Namby Pamby
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:08:20

    Sending emails to subsequent publishers of those “problem” authors demanding that stock photography that the author purchased for the covers of her Highland Press books not be used by subsequent publishers. These stock photos can be used, as we know, by every publisher out there. I'm not sure on what basis Highland Press claims that stock photo cannot be used.

    The only way thats possible, that a stock photo can’t be used, is if the picture is bought flat out, not given a “license”. You can buy the picture off some of the stock sites, Like Getty Images, but usually a photographer wont let it go for less then 500$ a picture (because they make more for the individual downloads. hell single images on Getty Images can cost an artist a mint, starting at 50$ a single image.) The thing is, If you buy the picture outright, and its NOT taken down off the stock site, then its still up for use for other people and other places. If she buys the work outright, and its off the site completely, then yes, shes right. If she didn’t, and the images are available at site(s) then shes completely in the wrong and that proves just how little she really knows about this part of the business. Not that her covers are earth shattering in the least.
    New York publishers use stock photos now> I have seen several of them with the same photos as some of the e books and small press books. She has no right.
    But seriously, if the author purchased the pictures, regardless of the license, its theirs to do with as they wish. Highland Press has no power there.

    Now on the Amazon issue, Thats just crazy and egotistical. Authors that have those delusions and the stones to even attempt what shes doing don’t have my sympathy or my business. Not that I read her to begin with, but any morbid curiosity I had to try one of her books just flew out the window.

  12. Jane
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:11:57

    Holy freaking cow, that link is full of the crazy. They attack the reviewer, suggest that she needs to spend more time with her family, follow her around to other threads on the Amazon board and call her names? These are the actions of MacGillivray and her crit partner?

  13. B
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:17:36

    Holy poor English, Batman!!!

    I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn’t bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions.

    That’s a writer!? A published writer!?!?! WTF???

    I’m not sure what boggles my mind more…what she’s saying or the fact that she can’t write in English to save her life. Why, why, WHY do these people get published? Why???

  14. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:18:38

    As a new author trying to break into publishing I’m distressed to learn of this sort of manipulation. I have been on the receiving end of several of Ms. Macgilliviray’s rants. Not only are they unprofessional and mean spritied, they are at time soul destroying and they almost always include the addition of a in your face reminder that she is with 2 NYC publishers and that a writer would never think to ask questions or have opinions with their NYC editors. Since I’m friends with several NYC published authors I have it on good authority a writer is seldome left with questions…as all details are addressed as a matter of doing business.

    Of course these sort of warnings will be ignored and excused as the rants of unhappy and disgruntled authors. My question is this…how can there be so many unhappy writers out there from one house? Perhaps the blame should be rightfully assumed by those that are causing the angst.

  15. AnnonyHighland Press
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:19:01

    And I can tell you that as an unfortunate HP author, I am not being paid the monies owed me. Their reason = they will not pay until the money owed reaches a certain dollar amount. Yet, nowhere in my contract does it state this.

    My contract also says that I will get statements quarterly…they aren’t even CLOSE to that. Their statements are a joke – even RWA said so when I mailed copies to them for inclusion in their rather large file on this house.

    Ms. MacGillivray constantly tongue-lashes her authors both on and off the loop. If you disagree with her, ask a question about a release date, request a minor cover change or just happen to disagree with her point of view on the craft of writing, she will put you to no mail or kick you off the author loop completely.

    Once off the loop, (and thankful for it), I was threatened with being blacklisted and told I all but ruined my chances in this small industry because I was on the out’s with her.

    And yes, as sad and pathetic as it is, she makes everyone “Clickies” over at Amazon whenever a bad review is posted (which means under a 5 star) for her, Leanne Burroughs or Dawn Thompson’s books so that they will be speedily removed.

    Of course, this will be dismissed as yet “another” rant from a disgruntled author. Um, disgruntled because I’m not getting paid? You bet!

  16. Jane
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:28:50

    The D MacGillivray response to the reader’s unhappy review is classic. excerpted for your pleasure:

    Reba,

    Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed “A Restless Knight” so much you read it twice. It’s always nice to hear this. I appreciate when people take the time from their busy lives to let me know what they feel about my books. Sorry, you didn’t let me know before. As it was my debut book, I was very interested in responses.

    I think perhaps, as Anne posted, that you are a bit too much in love with Challon, and thus resistant to Damian. It does me credit that I can create a character who conjures such loyalty from you.

    ….

    However, I fear you did missed the point of Damian wanting to fight Dirk. He was not fighting for Tamlyn, he was going to take Challon’s place – to protect Challon.

    I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn’t bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions. You are keying into Aithinne’s POV, which at many times is not accurate to what was really happening.

    …..

    And where you got he was hung up on Tamlyn by the middle of the, that is SOOOOO wrong. He knew from his return he was mean for Aithinne, she was THE ONE. You are reading your quick assessment into that. He was NOT hung on on Tamlyn at any point after his return and he saw Aithinne. For you to keep saying that, shows how totally you are missing the true emotions of these characters.

    As for accusing Athinne of asking Dirk into her room – he is MALE. Male do silly thinks when they are upset and jealous. This is so TM – Typically male. Men do silly things at times of high emotions. Damian is human, not perfect.

    P.S. Thank everyone for the lively discussion. Sales have jumped!

  17. Caryn
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:34:35

    So, she’s insulting her reader and saying her point of view is not valid? Nice reply to a fan who bought and read her books. Sheesh!

  18. SpeshulWalrus
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:37:32

    Wow, that is hugely insulting of her to talk to someone like that on Amazon. If that was me, I’d have never bought another one of her books in my life. I don’t care how good the books are.

    That’s just rude and uncalled for.

  19. Alison Kent
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:45:28

    Male do silly thinks when they are upset and jealous. This is so TM – Typically male. Men do silly things at times of high emotions.

    Ah, characterization.

  20. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:47:40

    I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering,

    Does that mean she read it in her car, hiding the cover from construction workers?

    Edited: I just got it. She’s saying she was in a garage, reading fast while trying to hide the cover from the mechanics.

    Okay. Yeah, that must be it.

  21. KM
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 16:02:51

    This is profoundly disappointing to hear. I met Leanne Burroughs recently, even pitched a book to her. She was very friendly, very professional, and I walked away from the experience satisfied, but after reading all of this, I have no plans to send her the manuscript she requested. Whether she is aware of her partner’s actions or not, Highland Press doesn’t sound like the type of place I want my beloved work to be.

    I’ve gotten negative reviews through my career. Hell, I’m quite certain every author has. There are the bad reviews, which just rag on the book and tear it to shreds, the WTF reviews, which offer no constructive criticism or even any indication that the reviewer dislike the book at all save for the final score (those are my personal pet peeves – the text of the review will gush about the writing, the story, the characters, and then give it a 2/5, leaving me wondering why), the “not my cup of tea” reviews, and so on. I try to learn from every piece of feedback I get. Sometimes I will agree with the reader, that I could have fleshed out Bob’s character more, or it would have made more sense if Jill had worked for the turnip seed plant rather than the apple orchard. Sometimes I won’t agree with them. What I don’t do is browbeat a reader and accuse them of “not getting it.” They did get it, in their own way, using their own circumstances and thought process. That’s what’s great about being a writer, in my opinion. That there can be as many interpretations of a book as there are people who read it. I loved being surprised by things I never saw in my own work, never included with any conscious thought, and yet here comes a reader pointing out parallels and themes.

    Ms. MacGillivray has, unfortunately, done little more than make herself look like a baby.

  22. Nora Roberts
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 16:05:55

    Oh, jeez, not another one.

    The one good thing? People like this make those of us who are relatively sane look really smart and reasonable.

  23. Sharron McClellan
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 16:41:02

    Wow. I am agog! If I ever acted that way, I can only hope my friends would yank me aside and make me STOP. Hell, I know they would. Probably with a smack upside the head. :)

    I can only hope she sees tthe online posts to her actions and instead of reacting, takes a step back and looks at what she is presenting to the world. Sure, no one likes reviews that are less than glowing but it happens. Frankly, I’d rather have someone either love or hate me, it's the middle of the road that freaks me out. But no matter what the review, there is never a reason for talking down to a reader (that’s how I read the ‘big bad man’ remark).

  24. DS
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 16:57:35

    Bullies rarely have friends.

  25. Barbara B.
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:11:52

    “I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn't bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions. You are keying into Aithinne's POV, which at many times is not accurate to what was really happening.”

    “I am think” that’s the funniest s**t I’ve read in weeks!

  26. Marianne McA
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:16:29

    It does me credit that I can create a character who conjures such loyalty from you.

    That was the highlight for me…

  27. Stacia Kane
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:22:02

    Me too, Marianne. Caught that one right away.

  28. Writer, Rejected
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:23:20

    This makes me feel sick to my stomach.

  29. Karen Scott
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:32:21

    As for accusing Athinne of asking Dirk into her room – he is MALE. Male do silly thinks when they are upset and jealous. This is so TM – Typically male. Men do silly things at times of high emotions. Damian is human, not perfect.

    Did Debbie Macwhateverhernameis actually write this? She’s like….a paid writer?

  30. AnotherAnon
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:34:58

    An author responding to a negative review is always a bad idea–insisting that a reviewer is ‘wrong’ in their opinion and flat-out accusing them of skimming the book is such a stunningly bad idea, I can barely believe it. Especially interesting that she then gets all her cronies to pounce on the reviewer, too. Incredible!

  31. Mireya
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:35:31

    Don’t know if you knew this, but Deborah MacGillivray is a top reviewer at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3GQKB1KF0CRPE/ref=cm_psrch_profile)

    That’s where she reviewed before she was published. I don’t know if she has continued reviewing.

    Does this have anything to do with anything? Who knows. But I find it interesting.

  32. Mary
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:48:04

    No one likes to have a bad review. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’ve read some books that I haven’t cared for, yet others have loved it. And on the other hand I’ve read books people told me not too, that I loved.

    So if someone doesn’t like your work, say “Oh it wasn’t their cup of tea.” and move on.

    I didn’t address the review issues and iStock issues because everyone else has, and I agree.

    BTW did anyone notice that Ms. MacGillivray deleted her comments to the reader on Amazon about 15 minutes ago?

  33. HP DOGhouse author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:51:24

    You’re not going to believe this! But our poor little DeborahAnne is getting talked about on Amazon!!! LINK

    Amazing!!!

    I am one of Highland Press’s authors who is in the DOGhouse. I was one who spoke up against the publisher and the secret co-publisher, DeborahAnne. I was one who was banned from the author loop and the Ladies-In-Waiting loop because of it. I am amazed how unprofessional this company is treating their authors. The owner lets DeborahAnne tromp on all of the authors and they are scared to say anything on the author loop for fear DA will chew them a new butt-hole. The very sad thing in all of this is that the owner, Leanne Burroughs, does NOT stick up for her authors. When authors email her personally for answers, she ignores us…or she sigs her secret co-publisher on us.

    Do you want to hear what’s worse? Our contract is for SEVEN freakin’ years!!! I know they have breached their contract with me, but trying to find a way to prove it might be a little hard. But I’ll try!

  34. AnonsAllAround
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:57:18

    Yes, her behavior on the K loop is frustrating and heavy-handed. Her comments about the SBs and DA in the midst of the CE scandal were not flattering in the least. Makes me sick to my stomach, all the bullying and tow-the-line threats.

  35. Robin
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 17:58:53

    OMG here’s the clincher:

    Finally, sigh…slapping me for my title is so unfair. I haven’t picked either Kensington title. My blog here has several posts about it. My title was Ravenhawke. It even originally made the listing as that on Amazon and elsewhere. At the last minute it was changed and I was informed what my new title would be.

    Perhaps you posted your review for “A Restless Knight” to Barnes and Noble and they didn’t put the review up? That has happened to me a time or two. Still time!!! I would love to hear why you liked it so much.

    Okay, beyond the question of whether any author has the only single interpretation possible, and even beyond the wisdom of “correcting” a reader, and finally past the unbelievable speculation about the circumstances under which a reader consumed a book, can we talk about who’s really not getting it when an author has to explain her book, lol?!!

    Oh, and Jane, you forgot the “big smoochies” at the very end of her scholarly assessment of her unadulterated genius. Honestly, if it were April 1st, I would swear we were being punked by that.

  36. Dave Kuzminski
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:08:05

    If you have documentation concerning these allegations, please share it with P&E at prededitors@att.net .

  37. KM
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:10:32

    Since when do you requirement documentation to soil a publisher’s reputation, Dave?

    Oh, since the lawsuit? Yes, can’t say I’m surprised.

  38. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:12:22

    Well, well, well – aren’t you posters just a bunch of hippocrites!! You are doing exactly what you are accusing Deborah MacGillivray of doing – being unprofessional and insulting. A few posters are feeding you their version of the truth and all of you are feeding right into their hands – without knowing what is truth and what is not. How easily you all are being manipulated. Do you know the story behind Reba’s reviews of Miss MacGillivray’s books and why she wrote what she did in that one post? Have any of you taken the time to find out the truth? There are a few women out there set out to destroy The Highland Press and Deborah MacGillivray. Why? They lost their contracts due to their own fault/unprofessional behavior and they refuse to take responsiblity for their actions. So, they distort the truth and they out and out lie. They take their garbage to anyone who will listen (ask yourselves why they aren’t spending time on their writing careers instead). These women are out to destroy careers because they weren’t adult enough to handle their own. And, all you posters fell right into their trap. There are always two sides to a story, yet these “authors” count on feeding their line of bull to anyone who will listen and everyone lapping it up without finding out the truth. Shame on all of you for buying into their crap. Deborah MacGillivray and Leanne Burroughs are nothing but the utmost professionals and these spiteful children in adult bodies could do a lot worse. What they don’t realize is how this will all come back to bite them one day – their vindictiveness and jealousy (we should all be so lucky as to have two NYC publishers) and outrageous behavior. I hope all of you can sleep at night after villifying one person based on the distortions of a few with a grudge.

  39. easily amused anon
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:15:50

    I can only hope she sees tthe online posts to her actions and instead of reacting, takes a step back and looks at what she is presenting to the world.

    Oh she’s reacting all right. If you go back to the Amazon review link now?

    Deborah MacGillivray says:
    [Deleted by the author 19 minutes ago]

    Anyone get a screencap of it before she tried to erase the evidence? Guess she didn’t realize her name would still be up…

  40. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:21:33

    Well, well, well – aren’t you posters just a bunch of hypocrites!! You are doing exactly what you are accusing Deborah MacGillivray of doing – being unprofessional and insulting. A few posters are feeding you their version of the truth and all of you are feeding right into their hands – without knowing what is truth and what is not. How easily you all are being manipulated. Do you know the story behind Reba’s reviews of Miss MacGillivray’s books and why she wrote what she did in that one post? Have any of you taken the time to find out the truth? There are a few women out there set out to destroy The Highland Press and Deborah MacGillivray. Why? They lost their contracts due to their own fault/unprofessional behavior and they refuse to take responsiblity for their actions. So, they distort the truth and they out and out lie. They take their garbage to anyone who will listen (ask yourselves why they aren’t spending time on their writing careers instead). These women are out to destroy careers because they weren’t adult enough to handle their own. And, all you posters fell right into their trap. There are always two sides to a story, yet these “authors” count on feeding their line of bull to anyone who will listen and everyone lapping it up without finding out the truth. Shame on all of you for buying into their crap. Deborah MacGillivray and Leanne Burroughs are nothing but the utmost professionals and these spiteful children in adult bodies could do a lot worse. What they don’t realize is how this will all come back to bite them one day – their vindictiveness and jealousy (we should all be so lucky as to have two NYC publishers) and outrageous behavior. I hope all of you can sleep at night after vilifying one person based on the distortions of a few with a grudge.

  41. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:24:54

    What are all of you getting out of this? Some school-yard bully satisfaction? HPDogHouseAuthor and all the Anons, are you all satisfied now? Getting your desired results because you screwed up your own contracts with HP publishing and are now paying the price? Does no one else see how immature and unprofessional you are being? Enjoy it while you can, but all of you spewing this garbage and hate will end up the losers at the end of the day. Slander and libel is very serious – but, guess you don’t care.

  42. Ann Somerville
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:26:00

    Hey, Happy HP – or shall I call you Debbie? Hope all that wool around your hand is keeping you nice and warm.

    No one need to make anything up to make you…er Ms MacGillivray look like an ass. She’s condemned by the words she’s so busy deleting.

    As for having a grudge? I’d be carrying a bloody big grudge too if my publisher wasn’t sending me my royalties, not to mention running a censorship campaign.

  43. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:29:54

    “Anyone get a screencap of it before she tried to erase the evidence? Guess she didn't realize her name would still be up…”

    Wow, EasilyAmusedAnon – how petty and vindictive you are. Your life must be so pitiful and small. I am sure I can guess who you are – one of the few who spends her days going to any site she can to spew her ugliness. You messed up your own career – grow up and deal with it. While you are at it, how about getting a life of your own?

  44. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:32:32

    Sorry, name isn’t Debbie, Ms. Somerville. As for making things up, are you sure about that? Guess you were suckered in just like everyone else. Not getting paid royalties – are you sure about that? Guess whose the ass now? Don’t believe everything you are told.

  45. AnonAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:33:01

    Happy HP Author – Perhaps you should pull your head out of Ms. MacGillivray’s butt long enough to sniff reality. There are over 17 “disgruntled” authors, not just a handful and not the same ladies. There is a file folder full over at RWA about that house, their failure to pay authors, their “fishy” royalty statements and poor treatment of their authors. I feel sorry you and her other drones…you have no pride at all. Your greedy desire to see yourself in print has blinded you from the truth. All I can say is, I hope selling your soul was worth the $30 bucks.

    And my writing career is going along swimmingly, thank you for asking.

    How is yours? Write anything besides a short story in the past three years? Didn’t think so.

  46. Alison Kent
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:35:54

    Dear Happy HP Author,

    I have no pony in the HP race and am not being immature and unprofessional over screwing up a contract. I am not the author who posted anonymously earlier to talk about Deborah’s behavior on the Kensington loop, but since it was brought up? Her behavior there is the sole reason I left that loop. I don’t have to believe what I’m told; I read it from the horse’s mouth, had enough and left.

  47. Oh the Dwamah
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:39:52

    Oh she's reacting all right. If you go back to the Amazon review link now?

    Deborah MacGillivray says:
    [Deleted by the author 19 minutes ago]

    Thankfully Jane copy and pasted it for our amusement in Comment #16

  48. NHS
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:40:26

    Personally my opinion of her is based on her own words and nothing else. There isn’t much she could say to make up for how she responded to that reader.

  49. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:44:36

    Anybody who would post this: “I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn't bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions” to a reader doesn’t know jack about professionalism.

    And it only took 41 comments for the slander/libel card to be played.

    Barely literate publishing professional with a superiority complex. Check.

    Vague threat of slander and/or libel lawsuit. Check.

    Accusations we’re all just jealous. Check.

    Anybody holding a Wiccan threat?

  50. Oh the Dwamah
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:45:05

    So, Deborah MacWTF has caught on and deleted her Amazon comment 30 minutes ago and someone calling itself a “Happy HP Author” shows up here around the same time. Coincidence?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so. Sorry, Deborah MacWTF, but we are harder to fool than the people you have been swindling on Amazon.

  51. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:49:01

    Wow, Anonauthor: let’s recap shall we? I am a drone, don’t live in reality,so greedy to see my name in print so I don’t see the truth, have my head up Ms, MacGillivray’s butt (love that one) – how am I doing so far? You are so sure I haven’t written anything but short stories in the last three years? Again, can you prove it? Your career is going swimmingly, you say? I doubt it – or else why the pettiness and vindictiveness? I mean, when do you find time to write with your smear campign in full swing? Guess I hit a really, really big nerve with you, huh? You are a funny person – pathetic, but funny! Thanks for the laugh.

  52. Happy HP Author
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:51:56

    While I am not DA MacGillivray, I did suggest she take it down around the time I posted. I told her since no one is bothering to find out the truth – the lies are so much more sensational, don’t you think? It’s better to take it down so no one else can post it and such – I mean, doesn’t anyone question those who posted it – their motives? Please everyone, stop being so gullible.

  53. Ann Somerville
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:53:51

    Oh hey, Happy HP/Debbie/Sockpuppetus dramaticus

    If you’re so goshdarned happy, how about a name and a link so we can identify you? After all, since you’re so busy kissing DM’s butt, you’re surely not worried about revenge.

    Although it’s probably hard to fill in a webform while performing autofellatio.

    When you pony up with a checkable name and a website, then I *might* be willing to accept your version of events. But since you sound completely insane, that’s by no means a given.

    ‘Kay?

  54. anotheranon
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:58:50

    If you have documentation concerning these allegations, please share it with P&E at prededitors@att.net.

    And if you don’t have documentation concerning these allegations, should this post be considered factual?

    ‘Tis a fair court.

  55. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:59:29

    HappyHp Author

    I can’t help but find this an Oxymoron.

    You’re attempt at sticking up for the goings on at Highland Press is loyal. But you forget that you don’t know all that has gone on there,or been privy to individual e-mails where writers are called all sorts of foul names. Why….because you are queen of parroting those in charge. And another thing…one can not be sued for liable or slander when authors have proof of the threats, nasty e-mails and so on. I would suggest that before you hop on the bandwagon of siding…you get all your facts in order and perhaps listen to the other side. Let’s face it…so many upset writers can’t be wrong. And remember comments have been coming from other people that have nothing to do with Highland Press but have not been impressed with this woman’s behavior. So ask yourself this…why do so many people, writers, reviewers and so on take issue with the way they are treated by her? Are you seriously in denial that Ms. M. is not responsible for anything that has happened? All of these people are out to get her? Talk about paranoid.

    And can you seriously deny the fact that you have not gone out and “clicked” no on a fair review? I don’t think so. Remember a review is nothing more then an opinion. If Ms. M thinks her writing is so strong…it should be able to stand up to a critical review.

    You know, you can’t protect her from her own words. Don’t even bother trying. Yes, I understand she’s busy deleting the comments…why is that?What is being said here is not being vindictive it is what it is. You’re unwavering support is to be commended I suppose.

  56. anon
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:03:04

    Ann,

    Autofellatio.

    :::snerk::: I’m so stealing that one.

  57. KM
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:09:59

    I hardly see this as a mob attack, though if the rumors are true and HP authors were ostracized for speaking out against plagiarism during the CE scandal, then I can see how you might view this as such (I never thought that was mob mentality, either).

    Bottom line, whether you like it or not, Happy, is that Ms. M’s actions are reflecting negatively on Highland Press. Claims of nonpayment muddy the waters further.

    I’m not a disgruntled HP author. I’m not an HP author at all, and upon hearing these things, I don’t want to be. Whether it’s true or not, I’d be foolish to place my work there with these negative reports floating around. Because you see, Happy, one thing I’ve learned in this business is that where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

    I wonder why you are posting anon yourself if you’re not Ms. M?

  58. Ann Somerville
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:15:58

    Shannon, personally I’m holding out for the ‘you’re only picking on me because I’m a quarter Native American’ play. Worked for Cassie Edwards, didn’t it?

    Oh wait….

  59. Anon 2
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:17:02

    I have one word CAREER KILLER anyone choosing to slag off a reader for writing what they think on a public forum/place etc obviously isn’t interested in keeping their career. I find it distasteful and I imagine that Dorchester and Kensington won’t be happy that one of their authors is doing such a thing. While authors have opinions on the reviews they get they don’t have a go at someone for saying what they did. As large as the web is – it is a small world when it comes to word and mouth.

  60. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:18:06

    Amen Anon 2!

  61. SpeshulWalrus
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:18:06

    I like how the ‘Happy’ author can’t spell hypocrite or vilify in the original post…but Ms. MacGilliwhatever’s name is always spelled correctly to the letter.

    Draw from that what you will. ;)

  62. Kaz Augustin
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:23:43

    I would follow these rages a lot better, and pay more attention, if these people were able to actually separate their rants into separate paragraphs. It’s awfully wearing to have to wade through a thick slick of words. Maybe the “stream of consciousness” style is meant to convey some kind of dynamic high emotion, but it makes the text a bit difficult to follow, and I fear I’m not getting full value from it as my eyes glaze over.

    So please, if I may, to all future ranters. Could you please break up your sentences into paragraphs? You can remain as incoherent as possible, but the text will be easier to read with some accompanying white space. Thank you.

  63. SurveySays.......
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:27:02

    I do hope her Kensington and Dorchester editors find their way to this blog because Deborah’s behavior will surely reflect poorly on their houses.

  64. Nadia
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:33:39

    I am finding this thread both hilarious and shocking. I have spent SO MUCH MONEY on books that got perfect reviews on Amazon and turned out to be pretty ordinary, or even just plain poor. And now I have learned two shocking truths:

    1. Authors/publishers have ways of manipulating their Amazon ratings.
    2. Authors/publishers, when they get excited, become both illiterate and incoherent.

    I am deeply shocked. And amused.

  65. Beth
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:40:31

    Despite the fact that “Male do silly thinks” is so funny that I have just burned about 300 calories by laughing so hard, I can promise you that I will never knowingly purchase a book written by Ms. MacGillvray.

  66. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:40:34

    Shannon, personally I'm holding out for the ‘you're only picking on me because I'm a quarter Native American' play. Worked for Cassie Edwards, didn't it?

    True! There are rumors of Wampanoag blood in my ancestry and I’m trying to get documentation of that so I can send away for my free Author Behaving Badly pass.

  67. Anion
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:41:31

    I’m sorry, but why would anyone think that losing a contract with a miniscule epress, with a terrible, difficult-to-navigate website that doesn’t even as far as I can see offer any excerpts of the books for sale, might be a “career killer”?

    Looking at the website reminded me I had actually heard of this press-which I’d forgotten. I think I checked it out six months or so ago after hearing something about it (maybe on HiPiers?)–which I do habitually–and decided, from seeing how poor the site itself is and how little enticement it offers potential customers, that it was run by people with no idea what they were doing and would probably explode in a flurry of poorly spelled recrimination and hysterical (inaccurate) screams of “slander!”

    So this is one more point for me. But seriously, if any of you Highland Press authors out there are genuinely scared–trust me. No one I know in epublishing has even HEARD of this company. You’re better out of it, IMO. I seriously doubt anyone’s seeing royalty checks in the double digits from this place. Sheesh, you have to scroll almost 2/3 of the way down the page to even find a link to maybe see what books are for sale! You have to scroll past pictures and gifs and “About” and Submission Guidelines…aren’t you trying to attract customers, Ms. MacGillivray?

    And music? On a supposedly professional website?

    It’s like a “What not to do” exhibit.

  68. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:44:10

    Well, today’s topic is interesting, isn’t it? I drop by most days to see what the Janes are talking about today. This one is quite something!

    I have no stake in any of this. Not published by HP, Kensington or Dorchester for that matter. So take this or leave it for whatever it’s worth.

    And Nadia, we’re not all like that, honest. I can spell, most days. Even put together a coherent sentence.

    What I see here is someone trying to bully and hector (whoever that person is). What I see is verbal mud-wrestling. There seem to be some complaints here, and if royalties aren’t being paid, it gets serious.
    What I’d say to unhappy authors (close your ears and eyes, Happy, this isn’t about you) is to invoke the audit clause of your contract. Find out for sure what sales are. It’s your right, and I only wish I’d done it with one or two past publishers.

    To Happy, I’d say you have seriously dented your career. You don’t talk to readers like that. Anyone, for that matter. Bullying isn’t a nice trait, and for the most part, readers want to like their favourite authors And please, run a spellcheck before you post!

  69. Anon 2
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:46:58

    Because Ms MacGillivray writes for Kensington and Dorchester who are not so miniscule.

  70. Karmyn
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:51:00

    Deleting negative reviews is wrong. There’s a difference between a negative review and a flame. It’s how you deal with them that seperates the true professionals from the wannabes. *Newsflash* Even LaNora gets negative reviews. But she doesn’t throw a fit about them or demand they be deleted.

  71. Anion
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 19:59:45

    Anon 2, do you mean you think Ms. MacGillivray is slandering the authors up and down the halls of Kensington and Dorchester?

    I wouldn’t worry about that either. A, because I’m pretty sure anyone who works with this woman has to know how full of crazy she is, and B, because if the book is good nobody is going to care anyway, and C, because I really doubt she’s going to want to discuss this situation with them, as even a few seconds’ worth of research is going to show anyone with half a brain what’s really going on here.

    Honestly. I really doubt a busy editor is going to have time to sit down and take names while one of her many writers talks about how some writers are being sooo unprofessional to a minpress she does covers for. Heck, I don’t name names with any of my editors, and we have very good and friendly relationships.

    Please, guys, you have NOT ended your careers by standing up for what’s owed you. Don’t listen to that crap. It isn’t true.

    Lynne is exactly right up there. Invoke your audit clause. Check your contracts carefully and look for ways to get out of them. Put this behind you–quietly and professionally–and move on.

  72. Carrie Lofty
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 20:00:42

    2. Authors/publishers, when they get excited, become both illiterate and incoherent.

    *snort* I’d have to be seriously outraged to forget my spellcheck. Me w/out it = a serious mess.

  73. JulieLeto
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 20:14:22

    Look, I don’t have a pony in this race, either. But I just want to assure the authors who are unhappy that the editors and publishers at Kensington and Dorchester probably don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone’s opinions but their own. They don’t care if you had a tussle with some small epublisher. They just care about the quality of your story.

    Look, I’ve written for three publishers in my twenty years and I’ve never gotten the impression that anyone there cared what my opinion was about other authors. In fact, it would be considered extremely bad form for me to bad mouth another author. In other words–it would say more about me than it would about the other author.

    My bottom line? Stand up for yourselves. Don’t give in to bullying. It only breeds more bullying and makes you the victim. You have a right to a fair contract and royalties and on-time payments. Kudos to those of you who are fighting against bad publishing practices.

  74. Just me
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 20:17:44

    I did not breach my contract. I decided I wanted no future contracts with a company that allowed others to call me a bitch, fling the F-word at me, tell me to go to hell and threaten me with physical violence, if only I lived close enough to the person making the threat (this all happened on the Highland Press Author’s loop). I requested a story under submission, but not contracted, be pulled. In addition to that being returned, and in reaction to the unprofessional behavior of others on the loop (because I used no foul language, made no threats)I was told by Leanne Burroughs:

    “I believe it would be best if we keep our professional dealings to
    books currently released. That said, I am releasing [contracted work]
    back to you as well.”

    As upset as I was at the way I was treated, I planned to fullfil my obligation to this company and live up to my contracted works. Instead I was kicked off a project that I proposed to the press and three other people where allowed to publish in the anthology that I thought up and proposed.

    Now, I request that you post what I did that breached my contract. I have only seen you say we did something, but you’ve offered no proof. And, hon, talking to other authors about the rants of a co-publisher is not contract-breaking worthy.

    It’s been five months since this happened and Highland Press is still bullying ex-authors. Because it was not us who caused this latest fiasco, but Highland Press’s owner when she contacted another publishing house and caused trouble over a public photo. If you’re going to play with fire, you’re going to be burned. Highland Press could have let us all go our merry way. Instead, they stuck their nose where it didn’t belong and now, it’s having to deal with the consequences its own actions.

    I didn’t put up with bullying when I was an author with them and I sure as hell am not going to put up with it when they breached a contract and kicked me out of their house. Once you do that, you don’t have any rights over me.

  75. Playground Monitor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:06:50

    This is so childish. I wouldn’t air my dirty laundry in front of the world. Nobody wins in this situation. Tempers flared and shit happens. Get over it everybody.

    The former writers obviously do not have a case or they’d be running to a shyster instead of showing their panties on the internet.

  76. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:19:20

    Playground Monitor

    Clearly you’ve never been on the other side of a rant that is totally unwarrented. As for the former writer…you’re wrong. They have a legit complaint and things have posted and reported to various locations including RWA. This is more then tempers flairing. And airing dirty laundry is the only way to prevent other authors from making the same mistakes these writers have.

  77. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:25:43

    The former writers obviously do not have a case or they'd be running to a shyster instead of showing their panties on the internet.

    Actually getting a lawyer could be too costly. Unless I knew for a fact it would be worth it, I’d just move on.

    1
    2. Authors/publishers, when they get excited, become both illiterate and incoherent.

    I am deeply shocked. And amused.

    Nadia, honest to God, plenty authors can maintain control of their spelling/literacy faculties when they are upset. ;) I love my spell check.

  78. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:30:18

    A comment to Happy HP Author~

    Speaking as another author who has no pony in this race, I don’t know DM, I don’t write for HP or Kensington or Dorchester, I have no deep-seated jealousy issues at work, no bone to pick, nothing but an opinion I’ve formed while reading through the comments… and I tend to be pretty objective about things, however, you may choose to believe that or not, doesn’t matter to me.

    But my two cents?

    You aren’t helping anything here. I’m getting a sense of outraged loyalty from reading your posts.

    I admire loyalty when it’s deserved~but again, since I don’t know DM and since I don’t write for HP, I can’t fairly say one way or the other.

    However, loyalty or not, I have to say, you’re not helping. You’re being too condescending, you’re being insulting, and you’re being catty. While you may believe you’re doing DM and/or HP a favor, you’re just causing more damage.

  79. Happy NON-HP Writer
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:33:24

    Playground Monitor

    It’s been my privilege to be friends with these fine authors who have been treated horribly by HP. Everything they’ve shared is true and I can assure you they have a case. They’ve been working for months through the proper channels, but their case here is simply to warn other writers about HP.

    What you see as airing dirty laundry, we see as yet another forum to warn and inform. These women were censured and despised by DeborahAnne MacGillivray, Leanne Burroughs, and their cronies, for speaking the truth and standing up for what is right and good.

    If you aren’t an HP cronie, you certainly sound like one.

  80. Amazon's Romance Fan
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:34:36

    HappyHP & other DM defenders – I don’t have a pony in this race either, as I am not even an author. I am a big romance fan that spends mega bucks on books and reads a good 200 romance novels per year.

    In a nutshell: I emphatically appose Deb Mac’s tactics of raising her reviews by manipulating the Amazon system and unfairly having honest reviews deleted. I began noticing the Deb Mac review issue long ago as the statistical probability of receiving hundreds of rave reviews with no negative ones was beyond the pale. Even the holy bible gets more negative reviews. Do you see a pattern here? And many others noticed too, but we didn't have a collective voice then. Now we do. (Amen!)

    I am sorry it has come to the bashing, and I am very sorry for the authors who got duped by her business. But I think good will come out of this, so I will be able to sleep just fine tonight.

  81. Ann Somerville
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:38:19

    Wow, DeborahAnne MacGillvray really must be a scary mofo considering how many people for and against are posting anon. I don’t really get why the people who’ve already been burned by this author/company aren’t signing their names – what more can they possibly do to you?

    That’s a serious question, by the way.

  82. AnonAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:46:40

    I don't really get why the people who've already been burned by this author/company aren't signing their names – what more can they possibly do to you?

    That's a serious question, by the way.

    Have you not noticed? The lady is not writing with a full quill of ink. They stalk you. They haunt you. They don’t just let you go. They post bad reviews at Amazon on your books under false names. They send spies after you to see what you’re doing. They stalk you at Myspace. They contact your current publishers with asinine demands that you take down your iStock cover because they are using the same picture on one of their releases…the list goes on and on…

    I haven’t been with HP for awhile now and frankly, I don’t want to risk getting anymore of Ms. MacGillivray’s “love grams” in my inbox. Ever.

    I will however, do what I can behind the scenes to ensure that the proper channels know about this house – and yes, that includes RWA.

  83. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:49:29

    Wow, DeborahAnne MacGillvray really must be a scary mofo considering how many people for and against are posting anon. I don't really get why the people who've already been burned by this author/company aren't signing their names – what more can they possibly do to you?

    Eh, I’m not an anon but I could make a couple of guesses…

    One, they don’t want anons showing up at their virtual doorstep and attacking them over having an opinion.

    Second guess is that they might worry there’s some truth to the implied ‘blacklisting’ threat.

    Professionally run publishers are NOT going to blacklist an author for having an opinion. Prancing around like a diva, insulting authors/readers/editors, etc probably isn’t going to win you many points, but just to calmly state your concerns? There’s always a way to voice concerns, to discuss issues without getting insulting and without making yourself look unprofessional.

  84. On My Mind
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:51:26

    Ann:
    Many of us cannot disclose our names for reasons I cannot discuss here. Suffice to say, just because we do not share our name doesn’t mean we’re afraid of her or intimidated by her. On the contrary. But it simply means we cannot sign our posts at the moment.

  85. anon...2.
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:52:26

    I don't really get why the people who've already been burned by this author/company aren't signing their names – what more can they possibly do to you?

    Yes, seriously, read Reba’s story about how she merely put up a 3-star review on Amazon and the loyal fans stalked her and her family.

    Here: Pg. 4 – 5

  86. StillAnon
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:52:32

    I don't really get why the people who've already been burned by this author/company aren't signing their names – what more can they possibly do to you?

    Well, I don’t write for HP, or know anyone who does, really, but I think I know the answer to this. She is a reviewer for about a half-zillion internet review sites, a top reviewer at Amazon, and on the board of the RIO reviewers organization. I imagine people fear having their books trashed across the ‘net in retaliation. Her posse clicking “report abuse” on Amazon and posting the glowing reviews?? They’re her fellow reviewers and friends. Think tentacles in just about EVERY online romance review site….

  87. K. Z. Snow
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 21:59:40

    I’m going to take a bit of a different angle here, since the psychological and character issues have been adequately covered.

    Hasn’t anybody wondered how Dorchester and Kensington — not exactly small fry in the publishing world — could offer contracts to individuals with demonstrably horrendous writing skills? (That last word, by the way, was very loosely applied.) This kind of crap never ceases to amaze me. Never. What exactly is it publishers are looking for? Weirdly named characters that slither along corkscrewed plotlines, spelling and grammar be damned?

    Please, somebody explain before my head explodes!

  88. I-have-better-things-to-be-doing-tonight-than-this
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:12:10

    Authors/publishers, when they get excited, become both illiterate and incoherent.

    Cool line.

    Anyway, I’ve seen this behavior on a loop-I-shall-not-name — and it is amazing to me the authors who have been encouraged to believe there is nothing wrong with manipulating Amazon reviews. Not everyone, of course, but a handful.

    Now, to be honest, I can think of worse things than manipulating reviews. But it is a kind of fraud — to the reader, to the reviewer who truly dislikes a book. It is also childish. Bad reviews happen, much like dog poo on a shoe, but as with the poo, you scrape it off, ignore the smell, and keep on trucking. It’s not the dog’s fault. It’s not your fault. It’s a necessary fact of life, and just because it is icky, does not mean you go on a crusade to stop it from happening. Because if you do, things will turn out rather nasty for you, and the poo will pile up in different ways, and really, no one needs that kind of mess.

    Which is a complicated way of saying that bad reviews should be ignored and left alone. They are not that big of a deal. And, except for rare occasions, never personal. Unless you make it so.

  89. another anon butting in...
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:15:59

    I find the following (quoted by Reba on the Amazon board) absolutely terrifying. And all over a negative book review???

    Leanne Grant later went back to edit her posts in “Read any BAD books lately.” She posted information to let me know they had my real name, looked up my family tree in geneology.com, and looked at my family website.

    The majority of the posts from “The Pack” on that discussion board have since been been deleted by Amazon. And Deb. M. deleted one from herself.

    Later, I noticed the discussion for “delections of reviews to raise star ratings” and told my story.

    This is when the veiled threats to my family began. Caitrina Hunter….And this is when I choose to elevate the problem.

    Honestly, after reading through the threads on that post, I’m getting to the point that I feel like I am so over Amazon, incredible savings be damned…

  90. Pamela Geer
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:22:24

    Happy HP Author,
    Me think you doth protest too much. While your loyaty is well…nice I would say you have not helped their cause here. Your nasty reply was biting in the extreme. If the publisher is so bloody well thought of why has there been so many unhappy people coming away from them. you can’t sue for slander if the statements are true. If there has been foul language used in e-mails to authors, threats and what have you, sorry the person who wrote that is in the wrong. And if they were stupid enough to put it in writing…well there is nothing like being hung by your own words. And why aren’t they responding here? Or were you the one nominated for that chore? I must say you might want to step back and take a clear look at things.

    Playground Monitor
    Personally I find this kind of thing eye opening. Since I’ve read things here I have gone out to other sites such as Piers and P&E. Yup sure enough there are complaints out there. I have an author friend not affiliated with HP but with another small press that as been having issues. She has reported things to both of these sites and had to have vaild “proof” in forms of e-mails and what have you. In today’s day and age with so many small press houses opening and closing this sort of exchange of info is important.

    My overall response

    Where there is smoke there is generally a fire…this one seems to be buiding into a three alarm hum-dinger!

    I am not with this house but at one time I did consider submitting, long before the drama. Let me go on record that I am glad I managed to side step this sort of footnote in my writing career. My heart goes out to the writers that have had issues.

    I have read thing in other forums by Ms. MacGillivray I was put off by her tone in her e-mails, her high handed not to mention condesending attitude towards others that would dare have an opinion or idea. E-mail is always a difficult venue to communicate in. One can’t hear tone of voice, see facial expression and body language. With that in mind she should be more careful of what she says and how.

    The fact that this house would reach out to another and request a stock photo not be used is beyond my ability to understand. This is none of their business. The fact that they would take time out of their business day to do this makes me A) wonder what they are doing with their time B) how did they know that this stock photo was being used. The only answer I can come up with to the last question is that they must be watching these authors. Now how professional is that? What do they care if authors that are no longer writing for them do? I don’t want to be with a house who’s so goal is to bother a writer once they leave. Especially if they were booted out to begin with!

    This is disgusting that someone with a NYC contract would be so abusive to fellow writers and readers. Hello, these people are your customers. Let them have their own opinion. What is the harm? No one is perfect and if you think you are above it all you are not only nasty but delusional to boot.

  91. Lynne
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:34:38

    I’m with you, another anon butting in. That stalker-y shit is INSANE. I hope Reba is taking all due steps to protect herself and her family and, if necessary, throwing the kitchen sink at these people from a legal perspective. She has a few options there, I’m thinking.

  92. Ann Somerville
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:43:40

    So I get why the critics are hiding – that really is scary stuff and I know what it’s like to have loonies after you for imaginary sins. It’s easy to say you should stand up to them and ignore them, not so easy when they’re writing to fellow authors and your husband and anyone they think might listen to their nonsense. I hope Reba does take this as far as she can.

    Still doesn’t explain why the pro Macgilliwotsit camp are hiding behind anons. Or why Playground Monitor sees fit to deliver the smackdown but not who it is making it.

  93. Pamela Geer
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 22:46:05

    I went and read Reba’s posts…

    Poor Reba was informed that they had checked out her family tree and knew addresses and what have you. That is horrifying. What is wrong with these people??? This is seriously not amusing. I continued to read her posts and she did report it to the better business bureau, Kensington, and the police, Amazon, and the FBI. What a horrid experience all because she paid for a book she did not care for…and yet she rated it 3 stars. Ms. M is a diva and she should be totally ashamed of herself.

  94. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 23:08:15

    The idea of reaching out and offering threats to a reviewer leaves me with goosebumps. Anyone that would condone that kind of action is clearly unhinged!

  95. Anne Porter
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 00:10:36

    I am not affiliated with any publishing house at this time, but have hopes of breaking in through small press when I've finished my current book. Because of this, I found the subject interesting in the beginning. As I continue to follow this thread, however, I'm becoming more and more disgusted. Women who behave this way actually write romance?? How bizarre.

    It is truly hard to believe that these women who suppose they've been poorly treated by their publisher aren't using better methods to achieve their goals. Assuming they really wish to receive recompense for their written material, shouldn't they be taking legal action? Seems to me they are more intent on slandering people than anything else. If they aren't seeking legal action, perhaps they have no case to begin with? Just a thought.

  96. MD
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 01:06:54

    Removing negative reviews is the act of a gutless writer.

    I do not buy nor will I read the works of gutless writers.

    As this woman’s unethical and reprehensible behavior becomes more and more well known in and out of publishing circles, I suspect I will not be the only one.

    Nor would it surprise me to learn that readers here and elsewhere have decided to voice their dismay to her publishers; although her publishers will no doubt be well-informed by this and other blogs on the matter.

    I hope those publishers will act accordingly.

  97. KM
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 02:13:24

    Anne Porter,

    You have no problem, it seems, with a publisher failing to pay royalties or harassing its authors, but you’re disgusted by people speaking out against such practices?

    You may be in the wrong business. Do you not see how a publisher behaving unethically might be relevant information for other authors? No? Google any one of the following: Mardi Gras Publishing, Triskelion Publishing, New Concepts Publishing, Silk’s Vault, Ocean’s Mist Press, Venus Press. The list goes on. I can tell you from experience that going through a publisher meltdown sucks monkey nuts.

    You best wise up if you want to break into this industry, darling, because there are more sharks in these waters than fish. I hope you never have to experience what so many other authors before you have. (honestly, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy) But if you don’t open up your eyes that’s exactly where you’re headed.

    And for the record, I hear no one slandering anyone in this thread. That could be because slander constitutes oral statements and this is the Internet. But, I haven’t seen any libel, either. (these are also definitions any author needs to get nice and cozy with) Have you considered the possible costs of legal action? It’s not cheap. Maybe the royalties they haven’t been paid aren’t very much, a hundred bucks, two. I don’t know what HP averages, so I can’t begin to guess. An attorney would cost far more than that. Just because legal action is not a viable course of action doesn’t mean they need to sit on their laurels and duct tape their mouths shut. I don’t care if they’ve been stiffed out of $1,000 of royalties or $0.50. As an author, and one who was literally days away from dropping a requested manuscript in the mail to Highland Press, these are things I want to know. There’s nothing to say these ladies AREN’T pursuing that legal avenue, but whether they are or not, it’s their choice. And if they choose to warn other authors (to which I say brava, and thank you) that too is their choice.

  98. B
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 05:34:51

    K.Z. Snow

    Believe me, you’re not the only one who wonders that.

    I actually spent a few months as an Amazon Vine reviewer before the lameness of the program wore out my patience. In that time, I received a few ARCs.

    I was told I wasn’t allowed to judge the books on their atrocious spelling, grammar, and writing style, because they’re ARCs, they’re not finished products, blah blah blah. I wasn’t allowed to remark on very obvious cases of an author being too lazy to even hit their spell check button. It was not okay for me to express horror over paragraphs that extended over the course of several pages, or that these paragraphs were full of useless rambling and unnecessary detail, not to mention horrible, awkward phrasing.

    Some of what I saw…I would never send in a manuscript looking like that. And if I was a publisher and I saw that, I would never buy it. If an author can’t be bothered to learn their trade and at least try to send in a professional product, I want nothing to do with them. But for some reason plenty of them still get published.

  99. WhoaNelly
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:08:23

    Well, this discussion is certainly interesting. It’s going on at the SB’s, Amazon and here of course. I can’t say I am sad to see this come to light. The vote petitioning does happen. I hope some of the Amazon people that are reading this take note that not all HP authors or personnel are unethical.

    I figured it was only a matter of time before someone over at the Amazon threads mentioned here began saying this. I can see why such wide generalizations would eventually come about though; nature of this kind of beast, though they are no less hurtful. I’ll say it again though:

    NOT ALL participants involved with Highland Press are unethical, immoral or even a part of this recent scandal.

    Many of them, as have stated here, are very unhappy with their experiences at HP. I’m a soon-to-be author with the press. Am I happy? No, for certain I am not 100% happy. I’ve been waiting to fulfill my end of my contract and I will not be submitting to them anymore. I do not want to be associated any more than that with people that conduct themselves in this manner and made that decision a long time ago (speaking of the vote petitioning, the verbal lashings that go on–I’ve read some of them on author loops, the nasty comments left for reviewers on Amazon). I myself have been on the receiving end of a tongue lashing from this MacGillivray, on the author loop, right there for everyone to read. I had not done anything wrong. Oh well, it hurt, but I got over it. I did not feel welcome there anymore though, not really. But who needs crap like that?

    I’ll go ahead and admit I participated in the voting. I’m NOT proud of it. At one time, I clicked on some reviews that I genuinely thought were unhelpful and maliciously written–you know the kind, we’ve all read the ranting ones. Then “no” votes were asked for on reviews that were well written and stated their reasons for the low ratings clearly and very reasonably. There IS a different between a low-rated review that explains well and one that is a ranting mess. I stopped clicking. I felt more than a bit ill. It was plain wrong, and I was very in the wrong for ever having participated. I even went back and reversed my votes on some of the reviews (did you know you can do that? Click Yes if it was No before, simple as that).

    All I ask is that people try to not judge every single author that is currently writing for Highland Press in the same light as they are MacGillivray. Her actions do NOT paint everyone at Highland Press in the same light, an it is most unfair in the extreme to lump them all into this mess. There are some genuinely good and serious writers there just trying to get a career going, like anywhere else.

  100. Nora Roberts
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:48:50

    Happy HP. I don’t write for Highland. I can read quite well and form my own opinion of the writer. This one slashed at a reader over a lukewarm review. The reader was pounced on, insulted, stalked.

    Over a review.

    I find that pitiful and unprofessional, and just plain sad.

    Manipulating reviews on Amazon? Also pitiful, unprofessional and just plain sad, imo.

    Your attack post made you look exactly the same.

    And my career’s doing pretty well, thanks.

  101. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:24:07

    And my career's doing pretty well, thanks.

    Okay, did anybody else besides me crack up over this line?

  102. Flea
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:24:14

    I don’t even have a pony, let alone a pony in this race, but I’ve wondered about DM’s mental health diagnoses for some time.

    My exposure to DM occurred several years ago when an historical chapter of RWA was forming. I thought she was a few chips short of a chocolate chip cookie then. When she moved into a leadership position with the chapter, I left the chapter, having absolutely no desire to be a part of anything she was a part of. Her less-than-sane leanings were obvious even then.

    Boy, am I ever glad I did. I think it’s about time for her to have her medication re-evaluated because she sounds like she’s gotten worse.

  103. On My Mind
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:36:29

    NOT ALL participants involved with Highland Press are unethical, immoral or even a part of this recent scandal.

    WhoaNelly:

    Your statement above is very true. As an author who suffered at the hands of Ms. M, and consequently Leanne, I know who at HP fall into the unethical and unprofessional category. The two biggest offenders are the above mentioned women. There are a few others, but I don’t think anyone is saying everyone at HP does what Ms. M and Leanne do to their authors, past and present.

    HP was a bomb ready to explode. You can’t treat fellow authors as rudely as Ms. M did and expect it to go away. Her bullying tactics have way too many HP authors running scared. So many of them will not speak out because they run the risk of an acerbic tongue-lashing from Ms. M and another who is an HP staff member. The sad thing is Leanne, as owner and publisher, lets it happen.

    The many authors who have spoken out against HP’s practices do so to warn other authors of the dangers and emotional fatigue they’ll suffer at HP. These authors had trouble writing through their experiences there. It is a real mentally draining thing to go through. I am glad you have seen the writing on the wall and will not stay with HP. You’ll save yourself a lot of future heartache.

  104. WhoaNelly
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 10:00:04

    On My Mind, just to clarify, my statement you quoted was in regards to follow-up I am seeing over at Amazon, where one poster said something to that effect of all HP authors could be considered immoral (paraphrasing). This alarmed me. As I can’t post anony over there though…and we all know why we are…nuf said. So yes, not everyone was saying that, but it’s a statement that could potentially be run away with and blown out of proportion.

    If there are genuine complaints (and we know that there are), it’s a GOOD thing this is coming out. Yes, other writers need to know about this, so that they can make a better decision for themselves as to what to do with their careers. Any writer with smarts looking to publish would want to know about these potential problems up front.

  105. Meriam
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 10:12:14

    Is this woman for real? She sounds like a cross betwen Creulla de Vil, Lady MacBeth and the Wicked Witch of the West, complete with her band of flying monkeys. Combined with her semi-literacy, I wonder if she actually exists.

    On a more serious note, I’m in the same boat as Nadia. I’m angry because I’ve been the dupe of ‘rave’ reviews in the past, when I didn’t know of the existence of good and credible review sites like this one.

    What robin said above: as far as I’m concerned, a reader’s relationship is with the book: to have a reader castigated, hounded, stalked, insulted on the basis of her opinion is repulsive.

    I don’t trust Amazon reviews, haven’t for a long time, but I feel sorry for anyone, who like me in the past, might be fooled into buying a book on the basis of these so-called reviews. This is a real shame, and reflects poorly on the genre.

    It’s kind of been a year of shame, hasn’t it?

  106. DD
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 10:42:12

    I have no books with HP, but am intimately familiar with the goings-on as I am a dear friend of one of the authors who was contracted with them. I was by her side as all h*** broke loose at HP and she was indeed taken off the author loop and her emails by the owner ignored. (From a perceived infraction to DeborahAnne’s ego.) The unprofessionalism over at HP is scary. Even more so with the veiled threats of blacklisting.

    All school-yard bullying aside … I think a discussion like this is important. Authors looking to break into the publishing world often times submit to small presses to make a name for themselves as they continue to pursue publication with larger houses.

    HP seems like the kind of place that would welcome new talent. But what happens after the contract (and if you’re lucky enough to make it through the editing phase) and after publication is horrible.

    The author forum of a publishing house should be a nurturing environment, a place where authors can question and learn. But that is not the case at HP as the moderator (DA) excercises her right to edit, delete, and remove any negative responses to legitimate concerns.

    What

    I think it’s important that authors have a chance to weigh all the facts. With so much dissension here … it should make someone think twice before submitting to HP.

    Just my $.02.

  107. DD
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 10:43:20

    My apologies, that posted before I was ready. Please forgive the unfinished sentence.

    But you get the drift.

  108. Anon
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 11:10:09

    I think you understate it, DD.

    A writer would have to be certifiably insane to submit anything to Highland Press at this point.

    Fortunately, there are now several quality, competent, professional epublishers and up-and-comers. A big thank-you to the writers who have shared their information on this ego-monster, so this publisher can be avoided by the rest of us.

  109. Avid Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 11:22:13

    I have been following the posts on here and Amazon and I am amazed at the audacity of DM. I did not care for Restless Knight either, that doesn’t mean I deserve to have a “restraining order” against said author.

    I enjoy all kinds of authors but don’t always love everything they publish. I form my own opinions and go with my own free will, as anyone would.

    That being said….

    I am choosing not to buy books from DM….(using my free will on this one)
    Thanks

  110. Karen Scott
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 11:37:25

    Deborah MacGillivray and Leanne Burroughs are nothing but the utmost professionals and these spiteful children in adult bodies could do a lot worse. What they don't realize is how this will all come back to bite them one day – their vindictiveness and jealousy (we should all be so lucky as to have two NYC publishers) and outrageous behavior.

    Hi Deborah! *waving*

    I don’t have a pony, a pussy, or even a duck-billed platypus in this race, but Happy HP author, you are truly an idiot of fucktard proportions.

  111. FictionLover
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 12:35:39

    What concerns me are several things.

    Dear Author is a blog of writers AND readers. What will this do to those innocent writers WhoaNelly cited? Those writers who desire to publish their books and build trust with readers? Will readers now pass judgment against their work because it is a Highland release?

    Think about it.

    Doubtful that if someone choses not to purchase a book by Ms. McGillveray because of her actions on Amazon that it is going to cause them not to ever pick up a Kensington title. But what about small press? That is my concern as I read through all these posts. I have heard good things about their titles from folks who have read them (and I tend to ignore Amazon reviews anyway.) But even those Highland authors here that seem to be happy at this publishing house are, in my opinion, reflecting in a negative way on their company simply by the tone of their writing.

    They are not discussing. They are attacking. Jane’s first post here was to open a discussion in a professional way. The intent was to connect readers and writers in what is often a very tough business.

    I merely hope that readers of this blog won’t think all books/authors are bad because of bad management. I say this because I purchase a lot of books from small press–even have a subsidy title or two on my shelf. I know a lot of writers who are trying to get into the business. I can only imagine the fear they must have right now of small press!

    If their publisher looks bad… will they? I know if I purchase a Highland title I will give the words the attention they deserve. I will look at the story, the plot, the characters. That is what matters.

    I hope readers will not hold anything against writers like those WhoaNelly mentioned. Her post struck a chord.

  112. Avid Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:30:41

    I do not think all HP authors will be punished for the actions of a few. I myself will buy a book if it interests me, I don’t look at the Publisher first when I pick up a book. I will still follow the same guidelines I always have when I make my choices.

  113. KM
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:45:42

    The difference, I think, is that it’s HP’s owners and staff acting like fucktards.

    If Kate Duffy or John Scognamiglio was acting the same was as Deb M or LB? You bet your ass I’d stop buying Kensington books.

  114. Anon 2
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:47:19

    I don’t either I would never consider innocent authors involvement in a mess like this. And I too buy the book because it interests me not the publisher – the only publisher I don’t like buying from is Piatkus UK and mainly because when they transcribe or whatever they do for US authors to cock up the whole book with all sorts of errors and how do I know I buy the US versions too and have compaired on several occasions. I’d rather pay extra and have them shipped direct from the US or buy an ebook version, which I do more often than not these days.

  115. Me, not you
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:54:20

    Hi Deborah! *waving*I don�t have a pony, a pussy, or even a duck-billed platypus in this race, but Happy HP author, you are truly an idiot of fucktard proportions.

    Sorry, but you seem pretty ignorant to me.

  116. My 2 cents
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:58:04

    I was at the Goodreads website just now and noticed that there are several members who have all joined in February 2008, have not bothered to give any other information about themselves than their username, and all have reviewed only and given five stars to the same 20+ books by DM, LB, Dawn Thompson etc. For example, “Blue Moon Enchantment” has 37 reviews and the impressive average rating of 5.00. I guess this is going on at so many review sites. Just so sad.

  117. Avenging Angel
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:04:25

    Truth is a powerful weapon against injustice, and I admire anyone who takes a stand. As an HP author, I have all but bitten my tongue in half, tried to be professional and just do my work. However, I cannot stand by and watch other authors be labeled as disgruntled simply because they took a stand against unethical treatment and irresponsible management. I find it appalling that slings and arrows are directed at them for telling the truth and trying to warn others. I especially find it insulting when their valid allegations are being denounced and deflected by a ‘Happy HP Author’ who has no concept of what is really going on.

    Not only have I had similar experiences, including problems with royalty statements (or no statements at all), and questionable reporting procedures, but also received an email from Ms. MacGillivray where she threatened to ruin my career if I complained. I have been intimidated and made to feel that if I questioned anything it was a personal attack. I was made to feel guilty and ungrateful for being responsible about my work and asking pertinent and relevent questions about my rights. I have been told the romance publishing business is small and to be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Do not shoot yourself in the foot. Pick your battles.

    Well, Happy HP Author, there is a battle waging, but make sure you have the facts before you side with the devil. If you want to live in fantasy land and discredit people who not only respect their work but expect to be treated in a professional and ethical manner, that is your choice. But DO NOT demean and vilify people who have been put through HELL for standing up and trying to right a wrong done not just to them, but other authors.

  118. Nora Roberts
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:24:28

    ~Me, not you~

    This just struck me as: I’m rubber and you’re glue. Just did.

    It’s a difficult situation, but when you hear–again and again this statement from authors: ‘Ms. MacGillivray where she threatened to ruin my career if I complained.’ it’s very, very disturbing.

    When you hear–again and again, that reviews are being manipulated, and some readers insulted or attacked, it’s also very, very disturbing.

    When you can read for yourself the words written to a reader by the author in question, it’s impossible not to see them as attack and insult–for me anyway.

  119. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:28:42

    Gee does this post look familiar or what??? Found this at Urban Fantasy… Happy HP author…Hmmm…

    “The best thing to do in these types of situations is to find out the facts – all of them. I am a very happy and satisfied Highland Press author. The so-called authors who are hurling these accusations are the same women over and over. They are on a pathetic campaign to smear The Highland Press because they breached their contracts and, as is their right, The Highland Press cancelled their contracts. They are screaming to anyone who will listen – but they neglect to leave out why their contracts were cancelled – they have no one to blame but themselves. They are loving the attention – the “oh, my gosh, what unprofessional people you dealt with – poor you.” Has it stopped the growth of The Highland Press? Not in the least. Only shows how pathetic they are in their attempts to ruin a publishing house that tried to give them a chance. Now they are using Deborah MacGillivray's name outright – they have accused her and the publisher of stalking, yet, the way I see it, they are stalking The Highland Press and Deborah MacGillivray, in particular. Stalking, libel and slander. I have strongly recommended The Highland Press seek legal counsel and get a restraining order. These women are truly pathetic. All I can say is what comes around, goes around – their day will come and they will be poison in this business for their tactics.

    Comment by Victoria Bromley | April 7, 2008″

    So yes, I went out to the HP site and checked…Victoria Houseman…you have only had a few short stories printed…so I guess that anny author post had you dead to rights. I guess we proved it! I guess your writing career is going swimmingly…so why were you so quick to be so catty??? Are you stretching your writing wings to seek publication elsewhere…or are you sticking with the fantic bailing method of saving this sinking raft?

  120. AnonAuthor
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:34:10

    It is truly hard to believe that these women who suppose they've been poorly treated by their publisher aren't using better methods to achieve their goals.

    Who says we aren’t? That kind of action is very expensive. I’ll tell you now, if I’d received an advance, I would have spent every penny of it on a lawyer. As it stands, I have been advised to give this house a chance to rectify it’s problems before pulling out the big guns and causing another Trisk situation. That is never good for anyone involved and I do still have an active and valid contract at this house.

    But I am confused as to what you’re saying…should we sit and be quiet about this? Stew silently and let these things happen to others?

    Perhaps you would drop that finished ms in the mail, sell it to them, go on the author loop and find out for yourself only when it’s too late. (It costs $250-$500 to buy your rights back, so you can’t just pull your book and leave.)

    You’d ask why hadn’t anyone warned you? Why wasn’t there anything when you googled them? Why wasn’t anything at P&E, Piers Anthony or a file at RWA, since anyone can contact RWA about a publisher and ask questions about the house they are interested in.

    Oh, but wait.

    Now there is. :)

    We are doing what we can to warn other authors – well, authors who do their research at least. And I will be the first one to post a positive remark about this house when/if they rectify their wrongs and above all, PAY me my royalties they are holding hostage!

  121. Kathy
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:48:00

    I am not a writer. My sister is one of the disenfranchised authors at HP. This was because she does not drink and chose not to go on a bar run with Ms. McGillveray at a convention. Now, maybe she should have made an appearance, you should do what the boss wants. But she had made prior plans, and believing that took precedence, my sister made the fatal mistake of not partying with the boss.

    I have noticed that the one book that is still on the HP site is not listed under any heading except her name, and does not have a review. I have not checked it out on Amazon.

    As an avid reader, I am appalled at everything that has occurred in the past year because Ms. McGillveray was slighted by my sister in such a minor way. The foul emails, broken contracts, stolen ideals that made money for other authors, outright lies, etc. I am really glad to see that the truth is finally coming to the public eye.

    I am relieved that maybe some of the HP authors will be able to sleep a little easier at night, without so much fear of retribution.

    I am doubly glad that perhaps maybe Amazon will do something about the current system that allows writers and ‘The Fan Club’ to manipulate the book reviews.

  122. Highland Patsy
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:53:13

    This is directed to the “Happy HP” authors and those who question the integrity of those dismissed as ‘disgruntled’. There is only so much a person can handle before they react. I’m not sure how the issue was brought to this loop, but I find it very interesting the warning here coincided with a posting string that’s been going on for quite a while at Amazon. I’m not surprised because when I first joined the HP loop, it was very common to see continual posts requesting ‘clickies’. I wish I had kept the biting response I received when I inquired what a “clickie” was. When I discovered the purpose, I didn’t engage in the practice, nor did I continue voting over and over and over again in response to the daily browbeating issued on the loop to assure that Ms. MacG and her friends won a contest. It was supposed to give more creditability to HP as a publishing house. Sure!

    In this case of the “disgruntled”, no one banded together to form an army to attack and destroy. It seems to me to be more like a movement to question why nothing was ever done to stop the bullying that happened everyday at HP. There, and on other loops, it’s a brave person who dares disagree with Ms. MacG. Even if you post something that has nothing to do with her, she has an opinion and a way of making people feel insignificant. Of course, it isn’t her problem. She’ll tell you. We are all just insecure and take things to heart. We need to toughen up if we are to survive in this industry. The big publishers would never put up with our crap. Well, I’m sorry to say that my suit or armor is at the cleaners and I purposely use lots of lotion to keep my skin soft. I’ve been published for a number of years now and I’ve never encountered the gross treatment and bullying I experienced at HP.

    Unfortunately, the authors who remain there are caught in the crossfire. That’s the only remorse I can find in this whole situation. There were plenty of red flags, but it seems most elected to ignore them unless it affected them personally. I would certainly think twice, and I did, when several authors disappeared from the loop after one of Ms. MacG’s tirades. I’m sure every one was left wondering why they didn’t get to hear the other side of the story. Well, I think we’re hearing now. This very well might be a tough industry, but that certainly doesn’t justify why one executive bullied everyone and the other turned a blind eye and deaf ear.

  123. Emmy G.
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:59:24

    I have one question. How old is this lady? Is she a grown woman or was her behavior arrested at age 16? I’m sorry for Leanne Burroughs, because I have a positive impression of her. Too bad she didn’t choose her partner very well.

  124. Avenging Angel
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 15:17:21

    You know that old saying? What goes around comes around? Quite simply, you cannot treat people like this – writers, readers, anyone. I am also a reader and do not feel anyone has the right to censor my right of an opnion. As an author, I want to know if I have failed in some way and appreciate a reader taking the time to tell me so. How can I grow and improve if I believe I am above reproach, or try to manipulate the system in my favor.

    When something bad happens, you learn from it; otherwise, you do not grow. I am trying really hard to grow from this experience and to believe that professionalism and ethical treatment of people MATTERS. People who bully and intimidate, who are arrogant and condescending, must be held accountable. I used to think I was the only one receiving this treatment. I found out there is a pattern. It has to stop.

  125. Just A Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 15:27:18

    So many things have been said here that are worthy of comment, but my goodness, where to start?
    As a reader/consumer, I think Ms. MacGillivray should be aware that romance readers – the potential buyers of her work – are swiftly becoming aware of this situation, and that she and her “helpers” might want to keep that in mind when next they post commentary in any sort of public forum. Let’s say that much of what we’re reading thus far doesn’t bode well for the future of her writing and/or publishing career. Try as one might, keeping a lid on a pot this smelly is practically impossible, and it’s not as though she’s really been trying very hard, is it? Word has gotten out and is showing up in some of the most obscure places.
    For instance, there’s this nothing little online bookswapping community I subscribe to. It’s nothing really. In fact, I’m sure Ms. MacGillivray has never heard of it. They have an equally obscure set of discussion boards there on their site – mostly sorted by genre, that sort of thing. There is a “Love & Romance” forum for discussing romance books and authors, and this situation is quite the hot topic of conversation there. This is actually where I caught wind of it, because I must confess, I’ve never had much of an interest in the reliability of Amazon reviews – I’ve just always presumed they weren’t very reliable, but up until now, it never occurred to me they would or could be used as some sort of market manipulation tool by mediocre authors. How shocking. I think until a few days ago, I would have cared even less about the bizarre business practices of HighlandWhozis Press. Don’t think I’ve ever heard of them… But this IS quite the engaging little drama, and you know we romance junkies do love our drama. Plus, you know how that word of mouth thing works – one person tells two others, two others tell four, and on down the hill it rolls, gaining momentum, until everybody knows…

    This discussion started up there on the 24th of last month, and as of today, there were 691 views and 48 replies. And of course everyone who reads and posts on those obscure little discussion boards tends to read and post on other obscure little discussion boards. Sorta makes you wonder how big that little snowball will get before it reaches maximum speed and crashes into whatever is at the bottom of the hill. I truly hope it isn’t Deb MacGillivray and little old Highland Press. Goodness… I bet that’s gonna leave a mark:P

    Mind you, the watching eyes of a few members of the unwashed masses shouldn’t come to much. The inquiring minds are, after all, only romance readers – the people spending their hard-earned dollars on the books. And we only spent a paltry 1.7 billion dollars on our favorite genre in 2006, so I suppose it’s completely illogical to presume that our being made aware of the goings-on at Amazon.com and Highland Press, and the subsequent behavior of Ms. MacGillivray & her “clickie” fembot death-squad, could possibly carry any negative repercussions for her (and Highland Press) in the foreseeable future. And it’s always festive to see professionals of this caliber tossing a little nasty mucky-muck on a puny handful of disgruntled authors “set out to destroy The Highland Press and Deborah MacGillivray”, so who knows that all of this might not just turn out to be a very successful marketing tool?

    But of course, shame on anyone for “lapping it up without finding out the truth”. So I guess I’m wondering what & where that truth might be? Is it in the account of apparent (and former) romance reader and Amazon reviewer Reba Belle, who claims to have been the target of a rather nasty harassment campaign by MacGillivray & some of her “friends”? Is it in the disappearing Amazon reviews? Perhaps it’s in some of the slightly chilling firsthand accounts of the former Highland Press authors in question? Well, what about Ms. MacGillivray herself and her own comments? Those of her supporters? I have to say, the picture being painted by all of this isn’t a very pretty one.

    And at this point, I have to admit the question on my mind is what should we readers and buyers of romance do? Because rest assured, it does appear as though some sort of action is called for. Do we boycott Highland Press and Deborah MacGillivray? Do we encourage every other romance reader we know and come in contact with to do the same? I’m leaning toward yes, but of course, I wouldn’t want relatively innocent parties – authors who signed contracts with HP in good faith, and have done nothing wrong – to suffer. Reba Belle seems to think boycotting the genre altogether is the answer, which is a shame really. To be put off of reading an entire genre because of the juvenile, vindictive actions of a small handful of internet bullies… Well, it’s sad really.

  126. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 15:42:07

    Reba Belle seems to think boycotting the genre altogether is the answer, which is a shame really. To be put off of reading an entire genre because of the juvenile, vindictive actions of a small handful of internet bullies… Well, it's sad really.

    In my mind, that’s not the answer and not just because I make my living through the romance genre.

    It would be like boycotting doctors because a couple were indicted for medicaid fraud, boycotting the retail industry if one doesn’t like how Walmart does it’s business.

    How DM or HP conducts themselves reflects on them, and again, IMO, it should ONLY reflect on them, unless others decide to place themselves in it.

    It’s that whole blaming the son for the sins of the father~what one does isn’t indicative of what others do, and the very fact that a lot of romance authors have voiced their opinions and concerns here should definitely indicate that not all of are like that. If we try to maintain higher standards for ourselves, we shouldn’t be penalized, punished or faulted for the actions of those who don’t mess with professionlism/courtesy/etc.

    Regarding should action be taken here? I think that’s going to be an individual choice but one thing I’d remember is that what goes around, comes around. If somebody makes it a practice to treat others like crap, it will come back on them~usually in spades.

  127. Just A Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 16:09:07

    Ms. Walker – I totally agree, it will come back on them in spades. Consumers vote with their dollars. And I think with such a kerfuffle going on in such a public way, it’s reasonable to expect that at some point, they will. I know I will, my friends who have watched this situation unfolding certainly plan to, and I’m sure that’s going to continue to happen in the coming months. I hate to see innocent parties being caught up in that situation and punished due to the foolish actions of a few, but to be very realistic about it, I can’t see any way for it to be avoided. I’m leaning toward boycotting Highland Press altogether, for the simple reason that Ms. MacGillivray seems to be such an integral part of that operation. Am I correctly understanding that she’s a partner? Looking at their website, it certainly appears that way. She may be the person with the most blood on her hands, so to speak, but it seems to be a somewhat more widespread problem than just her alone. I have no idea what sort of cohersion tactics she may have used in order to get others to do her bidding, but they certainly seem to be doing it.

  128. Meriam
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 16:21:05

    It would be like boycotting doctors because a couple were indicted for medicaid fraud, boycotting the retail industry if one doesn't like how Walmart does it's business.

    Boycotts aren’t all bad (you could argue it’s like boycotting MacDonalds or Nike or Nestle until they smarten up their bad practices). Speaking as a consumer, not a writer, I think it’s actually the most powerful tool we have to express our dissatisfaction and effect change. Not all writers, but why not boycott a disreputable publishing house until it cleans up its act? But then, I think the ultimate victims here are the people buying books on the basis of biased reviews – reviews written by unscrupulous writers and their cronies. Totally uncool.

  129. Nadia
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 17:14:56

    I don’t want to boycott romance novels. I can’t. I’m an addict.

    But I would consider a boycott of D. MacGillahooey and the Highland press gang.

    Is she really that evil? I know she is a top 100 reviewer at Amazon, so I went through and read 30-40 of her recent reviews. She’s not like that Klausen person. She reviews all kinds of things, from soup to pet toys. I think she really tried all that stuff, and reported on what she liked. So her reviews have value. Sure, she gives glowing reviews to books written by her friends, but don’t we all? Have you never given a friend a bit of a publicity boost? Out of friendship? Be honest.

    The other part, about deleting poor reviews, that’s evil. But throwing a hissy fit on a yahoo group? That’s only human. Come on, we’ve all seen flame wars before. Things get out of hand, then they blow over. It happens all over the internet, all the time.

    Before we organize a boycott, I think we should give DM a chance to dig herself out of this hole. If she released a statement, something like “I see your point, and deleting reviews is probably a mistake, and even though I am entitled express my opinions strongly, I went too far when I threatened people’s families”. If she showed a bit of honest remorse, then we should let her off the hook.

    OTOH, if she continues to be act like an insane tyrant, then sure, boycott is the next appropriate step.

  130. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:12:24

    Nadia

    Your idea has merit but don’t hold your breath. DAM won’t issue a statement claiming her bad. This is going to be turned around on anyone else that has had issue with her. It’s everyone else’s fault she is the tortured one, the misunderstood one. That is her response anytime anyone has come close to bringing her down a peg. She knows what is going on her don’t kid yourself. She sent HP Happy Author here to speak for her. Not once have I ever heard her say “I’m sorry” even when she has been the first to be nasty, catty or biting. I don’t think feeling humble is in her genetic make-up.

  131. On My Mind
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:18:35

    Before we organize a boycott, I think we should give DM a chance to dig herself out of this hole. If she released a statement, something like “I see your point, and deleting reviews is probably a mistake, and even though I am entitled express my opinions strongly, I went too far when I threatened people's families”. If she showed a bit of honest remorse, then we should let her off the hook.

    Nadia:

    As one of the HP authors, I couldn’t disagree with you more. You have no idea what that woman is capable of doing. Think of all those Manson and Jim Jones types who become a figurehead because they tell their followers they are the prophet; they make them believe their word is the last. Brainwashing. This is what has happened with so many at HP, the ones like Happy Hp Author. They’re blinded to Ms. M’s rantings. The ones who were resistant to this brainwashing and got out, did not leave without scars. They run deep and will take quite a while to heal. But this showing yesterday and today has been proof enough that Ms. M, Leanne and HP are not what they pretend to be. With them, you cannot judge a book by its cover.

    If you think Ms. M will waltz on over here and apologize and admit she was wrong, you might be waiting for centuries. We HP authors have listened enough to her know-it-all superiority. She’ll cut you down if you so much as say anything to contradict her. What we have tried to accomplish is warning other authors to beware. Do your homework. Ask questions. But whatever you do, do not fall into the cult Ms. M has grown around her.

  132. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:26:27

    I think it's actually the most powerful tool we have to express our dissatisfaction and effect change. Not all writers, but why not boycott a disreputable publishing house until it cleans up its act?

    I think boycotts can be an effective tool~ if you have a large enough force behind you. Is that the case here? I don’t really know.

    It’s kind of like those emails that circulate from time to time, if we all don’t buy gas on this particular day, the oil companies will lower their prices… not enough people doing it, not enough of a voice.

    Sure, she gives glowing reviews to books written by her friends, but don't we all? Have you never given a friend a bit of a publicity boost? Out of friendship? Be honest.

    In all honesty, yes I can say if I’ve done a plug for a friend’s book, it’s been because I’ve enjoyed the book~otherwise, it doesn’t really mean anything.

    If it’s a book I don’t like, I just don’t really mention it online. There have been plenty of books I’ve read and I may have liked the friend, but I’m not going to praise unless I really mean it.

  133. Just me
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:46:59

    I want to make a correction concerning Post 121. That is my sister, and while she had her facts straight, she has the wrong person mentioned, bless her heart.

    It was not Miss McG who I declinded going to dinner and a strip club with in Dallas during the RWA convention, it was Miss Burroughs. I already had dinner plans when I was asked to join them. I politely declined for several reasons: one was the fact I already had dinner plans. Another was that it was Saturday night and the big gala was going on and wished to attend it. The third was I had no desire at that time to go to a male strip club.

    However, within a week, I was informed by someone that Miss McG, who was not in Dallas, learned of my “snubbing” of Miss Burroughs and said I should be ashamed of myself, that I deeeply hurt Miss Burroughs by not changing my plans and attending a strip bar with her. In additon, a “snub” to Miss Burroughs appears to be a “snub” to all of HP. From that point on, my experience with HP was downhill.

    The rest that my sister said was true:

    “The foul emails, broken contracts, stolen ideals that made money for other authors, outright lies, etc. I am really glad to see that the truth is finally coming to the public eye.”

    Thanks, Kathy, for helping to set the record straight.

  134. Ann Somerville
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:50:06

    In all honesty, yes I can say if I've done a plug for a friend's book, it's been because I've enjoyed the book~otherwise, it doesn't really mean anything.

    Shiloh, I’m the same. I run a review site so my reputation as a reviewer is important to me. Several times friends or readers have sent me things which I’ve had to decline to review, though I know they need the publicity, because I can’t in all honesty review it favourably. I do them the favour of not posting a negative review because it’s site policy for solicited reviews (purely to prevent drama) and because it’s kinder, but that’s as far as I go. My name is on the review, therefore I have to be able to stand by my words.

  135. Nadia
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:51:16

    Okay, “On My Mind”, I believe you. Obviously you know more about it than I do.

    It’s funny, she comes of as being intelligent. But she sure has gotten herself into hot water.

    Boycott is a powerful tool and not to be used lightly. But if she is as relentless and remorseless as you say, then count me in.

  136. Just A Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 19:01:17

    I had a look at MacGillivray’s profile and I know she reviews other things – and yes, I believe those reviews are, in large part, legit. I don’t have a problem with what she likes or doesn’t like in the way of reading material. Most of the time, I’m totally in awe of anyone who has the time and patience to sit down and review any product, much less write something as detailed as a book review (that’s just meant to include the ones that are actually well thought out and written by people who actually read the books, btw).
    I don’t like it, but I can live with authors who feel so strongly about supporting their friends, that they are willing to give their books ratings they may not deserve, and even rave about them a little more exuberantly than they may deserve. Having never fudged a rating or review myself, I’m not exactly thrilled with any sort of ratings manipulation, but it’s a support group, and I guess they do what they do. I get that.
    Okay… maybe a very overenthusiastic, perhaps even slightly deranged, support group, but as long as they aren’t hurting anybody, I say live & let live.

    Unfortunately, we do seem to be running into the question of people getting hurt. And I’m not even talking about the former Highland Press authors who have related their bad experiences here. We can just leave them on the back burner for a minute. What I’d like to know is what was up with the nazi goon squad trailing this person (Reba Belle) all over the internet, and attacking her through Amazon, doing the clickie thing on her other reviews, etc? More than one person who would appear to be in the know about this, has stated that MacGillivray solicits the help of other HP authors to lend a hand in this effort. The nasty comments posted to Reba Belle’s review seem to bear this out as well. This is sick, detestable behavior here, ladies. A romance reader who posted a review – her honest, unvarnished opinion of a MacGillivray book – was harassed and stalked, and subsequently chased away from the genre altogether?

    I actually have seen MacGillivray’s initial comments to Reba Belle, and my honest opinion of what she said wasn’t all that bad. I thought her biggest faux pas there was just that she should have subscribed to the old addage that if you have to explain it, it probably wasn’t that good of a story to begin with.
    I think an author in this position has basically two options: she can say thanks for your opinion and then shut the hell up, or she can just shut the hell up and not bother with the thanks. Chances are, and this is true with most readers, if they bought your book once, they’ll give you another chance to hook them later on – unless you give them a very good reason not to. Had she said nothing at all, MacGillivray might not be looking like such a first class idiot right now. Who knows? Maybe all of the subsequent stink that has come rolling out of the cellar since then might have just stayed where it was.
    Or not…

    Certainly now, her supporters have made the situation much worse. She herself appears to be actively involved in that, and encourages them to do so. The Amazon “clickers” seem to do what they do at her behest. That info comes right from people who were expected to do it. Now we start to hear tales about some nastiness – well, a LOT of nastiness – about the treatment of former HP authors. Things like that DO tend to come out in these situations, and the overall picture here is not looking good.

  137. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 19:05:19

    The ones who were resistant to this brainwashing and got out, did not leave without scars. They run deep and will take quite a while to heal.

    I still think one of the greatest drawbacks to epublishing is the almost incestuous access everybody had to everybody else involved with the company—authors, editors, publisher, etc—so people forget these are business relationships.

  138. Denise
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 19:55:56

    I’ve been reading this thread along with the one at the SBs as well as the new one over at Karen Scott’s place.

    For the record, I’m both an author and an avid reader of romance. I’m no way affiliated with Highland Press, don’t know anyone who is and have never heard of D. MacGillivray until yesterday.

    Considering the craziness in e-publishing lately, the unprofessional behavior exhibited by members of the Highland Press staff doesn’t come as a surprise. They seem to be the newest item in a long and ever-growing list of e-publishers acting badly. However, MacGillivray’s tactics and those of her minions are just batshit insane. My sincerest sympathies to those authors and reviewers who have been subject to this woman’s vindictiveness.

    I have no faith in Amazon reviews and pay no attention to them, good or bad. Manipulating review scores seems to be the order of the day across the board, so scores are so skewed as to be invalid, IMO. It’s stupid, silly and doesn’t speak well for authors who have so little faith in the strength of their work, they resort to virtual card tricks to fool a potential buyer. Good marketing and promotion is one thing; fraudulent practices like review manipulation is another entirely.

    While these actions make D. MacGillivray look like a twit, she really crossed the line IMO when she and her rabid group of bunny boilers decided to stalk and threaten the reader/reviewer and her family. Telling the reader in pretentious tones that she’s just a little too dim to understand the greatness and subtle context of her writing is insulting. To threaten her? Dayum!!

    I am only a single consumer so my voice is small, but I will never buy anything by D. MacGillivray. I refuse to turn over hard-earned money to a woman seemingly overwhelmed by control issues, a fragile ego and with a tenuous grasp on reasonable, sane behavior. If I hear in the future of those authors who acted as her sycophants, I’ll be crossing them off my to-buy list as well. My opinion of them is even lower than my opinion of MacGillivray. Obsequious little toadies who find their own scrap of empowerment by bowing and scraping to a bigger, only slightly more intelligent bully.

  139. Robin
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 20:38:28

    Boycotts aren't all bad (you could argue it's like boycotting MacDonalds or Nike or Nestle until they smarten up their bad practices). Speaking as a consumer, not a writer, I think it's actually the most powerful tool we have to express our dissatisfaction and effect change. Not all writers, but why not boycott a disreputable publishing house until it cleans up its act? But then, I think the ultimate victims here are the people buying books on the basis of biased reviews – reviews written by unscrupulous writers and their cronies. Totally uncool.

    There are many things about this situation I find really, really disturbing. I’ve been pondering the boycott issue, and in cases like this one, I can see where readers feel like this is their only option. I mean, it’s not like you’re just dealing with the unsavory behavior of an author, but of a co-owner of a press. Boycotting an author is relatively straightforward, but how do you go about sending a similar message in a situation like this one, especially when you don’t know which authors have been doing what, etc. And even if you can make an informed decision about which authors to continue supporting and which to boycott, those authors whose work you continue to buy ends up benefiting the ownership.

    I don’t think readers are unable to discern the difference between authors who condone the actions of DM and those who don’t, but I can see where readers might end up simply boycotting HP as a whole rather than trying to sort the whole thing out. Which, I understand, will unfairly penalize those authors who are already suffering, but outside of a general boycott, what options do readers have to register their objection to certain practices and behaviors that directly affect us as readers?

  140. Justwanderedin
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 20:48:36

    I have nothing to do with anything, but I think people are underrating Ms MacGillivray’s writing. It’s been a while since any line, by any author, made me quite as happy as ‘Male do silly thinks.’

  141. Just A Reader
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 21:05:33

    I have nothing to do with anything, but I think people are underrating Ms MacGillivray's writing. It's been a while since any line, by any author, made me quite as happy as ‘Male do silly thinks.'

    Is that a great quote or what? I’m thinking it’s right up there with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Strong literary stuff… *cough*.
    And I do appreciate a writer who knows her male well enough to understand about them and their silly thinks:P
    Was it Nora Roberts who asked how these people get published? Because I have sorta been wondering this myself all day. I cringe to ask – do they start e-publishing companies?

  142. little bird
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:19:25

    ok, I never comment on these, and I’ve read all this and thought I’d leave it alone, but I just can’t, because of this post:

    Considering the craziness in e-publishing lately, the unprofessional behavior exhibited by members of the Highland Press staff doesn't come as a surprise. They seem to be the newest item in a long and ever-growing list of e-publishers acting badly. However, MacGillivray's tactics and those of her minions are just batshit insane. My sincerest sympathies to those authors and reviewers who have been subject to this woman's vindictiveness.

    You hit it on the head. She’s a few cards short for a deck. I’m a one-time HP author and I was flabbergasted at how terribly she treated people on the “professional” author’s loop, even when someone would ask a question. She berated them and attacked them, publicly and privately. So as far as I’m concerned, all of these posts here are just karma. It always made me laugh when she would tell people who would ask questions how unprofessional they were being, or how ungrateful. Please. She’s been the bully on the playground with the only ball for awhile, so it’s nice to see some new equipment coming out of the shed, and even some light.

    You wouldn’t believe some of the things she sent to me. I’m glad I keep all of my e-mails. I’ve told people about her and they thought I was joking, until I pulled out my laptop…

    Anyway, I chalk it all up to experience. But these “disgruntled” authors (I know some of them, though I myself have never really been involved – only as a cheerleader) have been using every means they know of to warn people away from this press. You go, girls! Unprofessional isn’t the half of it. Think abusive and horrifying…

  143. Lleeo
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:29:31

    I, for one, am never going to buy a book by Deborah MacGillivray. And I’m going to advise my fellow reader friends not to either. As a reader, I am thoroughly disgusted by her patronizing, unprofessional attacks against one of her own readers who tried to give her book an honest and constructive review. Authors cannot afford to browbeat their readers for giving their books negative reviews. I have read many books by favourite authors that have personally disappointed me but I rarely give up on an author for a few disappointments if I enjoy their writing.

    Ms. MacGillivray has acted unethically and childishly, not to mention expressing a superiority complex paired with a disrespectful attitude toward her readers. THIS kind of behaviour and THESE kinds of attitudes are what lose you professional credibility and readers, Ms. MacGillivray. Not a few negative reviews.

  144. Lleeo
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:38:02

    I don't think readers are unable to discern the difference between authors who condone the actions of DM and those who don't, but I can see where readers might end up simply boycotting HP as a whole rather than trying to sort the whole thing out.

    Yeah, I have trouble with this too, Robin. I’m not going to boycott Highland Press because I don’t want to unfairly penalize those authors who don’t condone Deborah MacGillivray’s behaviour. She is co-publisher of the company, though, so I don’t know. I honestly hope she gets fired from her position as publisher. Maybe someone could set up a petition? =/

    P.S. Robin, sorry I never replied to your comment in another post about the pregnant man. The commenting system wasn’t working for me that day. ;)

  145. Nadia
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:54:26

    A petition? What an outstanding idea! I googled petition and I found this one:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/RRH53888/petition.html

    To: Dr. Uwe Boll

    We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that Uwe Boll give proper weight to the wishes of the video game community, the horror community, and the film going community in general and stop directing, producing, or taking any part in the creation of feature films. His distasteful handling of the subject matter and lack of acknowledgement of his failures simply cannot be abided any longer.

    Mr. Boll has repeatedly shown a complete lack of comprehension regarding the videogames he has dragged, kicking and screaming, to the silver screen and his ham-fisted approach to horror has soiled future possibilities for anyone else who may attempt to bring videogames to film.

    Sincerely,

    (and then 124,264 people signed it).

    I have no idea what this Uwe Boll is, or why the video game industry hates him, but heck, if that guy can have a petition, why can’t Deborah MacGillevrey?

  146. JB
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:56:41

    LOL. Uwe Boll is a German director who makes movies based on video games (like the movie Bloodrayne). His movies are pretty much universally panned.

    Seriously, if you want a little comic relief from the Highland Press situation, read the Amazon reviews for the DVD of Bloodrayne. They’ll make you laugh and shake your head all at the same time.

    It’s too bad Mr. Boll hasn’t discovered the secret of getting all his one star reviews removed :)

  147. On My Mind
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 00:32:36

    I appreciate those who feel it necessary to boycott Ms. M and/or HP. As I said earlier, I am an HP author….make that disgruntled author. Yes, I’d like everyone to keep buying my HP books. But if anyone didn’t buy my books because they are boycotting HP, then please don’t buy. I’m not sure how much longer my books will be available anyway, as I have been threatened quite often that Leanne will pull my books if sales decline–a tactic meant to keep me quiet. I’m not worried. Neither am I quiet about the wrongs committed by HP. I have come across other small presses that treat their authors with respect and fairness. So by all means, do what you have to do.

    All the HP authors, disgruntled or not, appreciate you standing behind them. I know I’m appreciative of everyone’s opinion here because when it comes right down to it, the publishing world is really quite small. We should all work together to grow our genre, not put it into the hands of an egotist and her puppet to destroy.

  148. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 00:43:24

    She is co-publisher of the company, though, so I don't know. I honestly hope she gets fired from her position as publisher. Maybe someone could set up a petition? =/

    Is she merely co-publisher or co-owner? And if Burroughs is sole owner, it sounds like she and DM are on the same page, so to speak.

    And another question: has RWA taken this seriously?

    P.S. Robin, sorry I never replied to your comment in another post about the pregnant man. The commenting system wasn't working for me that day. ;)

    Oh, no problem at all.

  149. Tasha
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 00:50:21

    It’s very easy to get negative reviews pulled from Amazon. I’ve seen any number of authors rally their fangirls to get the bad reviews pulled, and to get glowing reviews posted. I don’t bother with Amazon reviews anymore, writing them or reading them. Far too often they have nothing to do with the book and everything to do with the author.

  150. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 01:43:08

    It's very easy to get negative reviews pulled from Amazon.

    In the threads on Amazon on this topic someone claimed that the same phenomenon is happening with Dara Joy’s books, as well, particularly her self-pubbed ones.

  151. Sharp Words » Blog Archive » Authorial (Mis)Conduct
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 04:02:16

    [...] a helluva long thread over at Dear Author regarding another author/e-publisher behaving badly. Karen has a few crumbs, too. The whole thing [...]

  152. GrowlyCub
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 06:37:31

    If we don’t want to punish the innocent HP authors by boycotting HP, maybe what we ought to do is express our disgust at DAM’s behavior to Dorchester and Kensington. That way there might be some action that will show DAM that you don’t behave like this to other people in private and in public without consequences.

  153. HistFicChick
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 07:16:16

    I agree 100% with GrowlyCub.

    Why would anyone here want to harm innocent authors? Are there not writers on this thread too? A boycott of the press might but pressure on them to make changes, but think of all the innocent authors that will be hurt. There are other ways to do that so that the authors that work hard for their books don’t get involved.

    Sounds like they have been hurt enough. Why add injury to them?

  154. Jane
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 07:32:43

    Sadly, I think DAM is smug about the whole thing. She and the owner of Highland Press have apparently asserted to RWA that she is not an owner or publisher because if she was, DAM couldn’t be part of RWA’s Published Author Network. But in emails to these HP authors, she says she is co-owner. She’s currently having it both ways and thinks that her actions are repercussion free.

    And let’s face it. Dorchester and Kensington still put out books by Cassie Edwards.

  155. AnonAuthor
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 07:33:37

    I am an author with a valid contract at Highland Press and I have friends – good friends who are pubbed there as well. But if a boycott is what it takes to get Ms. Burroughs to wake up, grow some brass ones and finally clean house, then by all means – take the lousy $20 THEY ARE REFUSING TO PAY ME ANYWAY and boycott.

    Unlike her flying monkey squad, most of us don’t have all our eggs in one basket anyway. I’ll happily take one for the team if it means things might finally change over there for the better.

    Oh yeah, and since they aren’t paying me anyway, what do I care if there are no more sales? That’s right, I don’t!

  156. AnonAuthor
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 07:36:39

    She and the owner of Highland Press have apparently asserted to RWA that she is not an owner or publisher because if she was, DAM couldn't be part of RWA's Published Author Network. But in emails to these HP authors, she says she is co-owner.

    True. BUT, all RWA had to do was search around the net a bit to find Ms. MacG calling herself co-publisher numerous times in numerous e-mails…at places she cannot go and delete the evidence. They know she’s lying.

    Again, her own words are her downfall. Didn’t anyone ever tell her to be careful what you type? Hmm, guess she missed that memo.

  157. Keishon
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 07:55:59

    It's very easy to get negative reviews pulled from Amazon. I've seen any number of authors rally their fangirls to get the bad reviews pulled, and to get glowing reviews posted. I don't bother with Amazon reviews anymore, writing them or reading them. Far too often they have nothing to do with the book and everything to do with the author.

    It’s not all that easy. They can ask to have the review pulled but Amazon has the last word and as long as the review doesn’t violate their reviewing policy, it stays posted. I use Amazon reviews when there is nowhere else to get feedback. I skip over the one sentence positives and negatives and skim on past the ones that seem outright vindictive and nasty to the ones that are coherent and honest and helpful (which are very few but they are there).

    I think it sad that authors have to resort to that kind of manipulation but I’ve been aware of this practice for quite sometime so it is not news to me. Some reviews at Amazon.com need to be pulled, too many of them are spoilerish [g] but pulling reviews because the author doesn’t like a negative review or rating? Just bad business and so sad and pathetic.

  158. Meriam
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 08:11:33

    And let's face it. Dorchester and Kensington still put out books by Cassie Edwards.

    Precisely. At the end of the day, it’s the bottom line that counts. Plus, to be perfectly honest, whilst I’m far too lazy to write a letter, it’s a really simpe matter not to buy from a particular publisher/ author.

    A boycott of the press might put pressure on them to make changes, but think of all the innocent authors that will be hurt.

    I think AnonAuthor had a great response to this, but I would like to add: what about the innocent consumer? Getting Highland Press to clean up its act would ultimately benefit both writers and readers.

  159. Janie H
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 09:21:15

    I’m very ambivalent about these kinds of threads, or the idea of boycotting, etc. Most authors are not going to get too involved. While I am not defending anyone, it is possible that we are too quick to take up a cause or opinion that could do more damage than we might care to know. Our public and private lives get mixed. There are just too many variables for comfort.

    We could all simply write Highland Press with our opinions.

  160. AnonAuthor
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 09:50:49

    We could all simply write Highland Press with our opinions.

    Highland Press is run by two critique partners – Leanne Burroughs and Deborah MacGillivray.

    They are BFF’s.

    Leanne always sticks up and defends her co-publisher’s actions no matter how wrong or horrid they are. Therefore, I fear writing to either one of them is going to do a whole bunch of nothing. Heck, they aren’t even responding to this mess. Their only damage control so far is to delete any and all damning Amazon and yahoo group posts they can find, which shows you right there they KNOW they are in the wrong in all of this and are scurrying to cover their tracks.

    But, good luck if you try. I’m game for anything that works at this point.

  161. Rebecca Goings
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 10:27:14

    “A people should not be afraid of it’s government, a government should be afraid of it’s people.”

    Not to get too political, but replace “government” with “publishing house” and you have the same argument. Instead of readers boycotting HP, perhaps the authors themselves should boycott the house. It would only be a matter of time before DAM and LB are the only authors writing for their house. Would they be able to keep the company afloat then?

    When the writers were being unfairly paid, they walked out of the networks on strike. When workers are treated unjustly, they walk out of their jobs. This doesn’t have to be a “Big Organized Event”. Just stop submitting your MS’s there. Keep friends and newbie authors informed. I don’t believe it will be enough to refuse to buy Ms. MacG’s books any longer (of which I never have and now, never will). I firmly believe the authors should “walk out” on HP and hold a little strike. It’s the American way. :)

    I considered posting anonymously, but then thought, “I have no eggs in this basket.” If every author posts “Anon”, then it’s like admitting Ms. MacG is the supreme Uber Overlord of all things Author. Sure, I’m a little fish in a big pond. But I have enough faith in my fans, family, and friends to make sure no one runs roughshod over me. She doesn’t frighten me. I survived Kristi Studts and still lived to tell.

    ~~Becka

  162. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 11:12:14

    I have no idea if a reader boycott of HP is the right or wrong thing to do here, but I do think this situation is a bit different from the Cassie Edwards situation. In that situation you had one author who was still being published by a house where the possibility of a boycott would likely have had minimal effect, let alone the opportunity for the house to see that publishing Edwards prompted the actions. In the case of HP, though, the two people at the helm, one of whom is apparently working both sides of the publisher’s desk, are the alleged wrongdoers, with some authors joining in as allies. No doubt in both cases you have “innocent authors,” but that’s something you always have to take into consideration when you decide to boycott, which is why the decision is so complex. Again, I don’t know if boycott is a good or effective strategy here, but I can see why it’s appealing in this case.

    When the writers were being unfairly paid, they walked out of the networks on strike. When workers are treated unjustly, they walk out of their jobs. This doesn't have to be a “Big Organized Event”. Just stop submitting your MS's there. Keep friends and newbie authors informed. I don't believe it will be enough to refuse to buy Ms. MacG's books any longer (of which I never have and now, never will). I firmly believe the authors should “walk out” on HP and hold a little strike. It's the American way. :)

    I have to admit that I’m always stunned by the number of authors who sign with publishers that have red flags popping out all over the place. At some point I really do think authors have to bear the burden of enabling these publishers by continuing to sign with them. I’d be shocked if authors were willing to out and out strike any publisher, but I hope that they’d take the IMO completely reasonable and self-preserving step of not signing or RE-signing with a publisher that has a reputation for abusing authors and/or readers.

  163. WhoaNelly
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 11:34:15

    I have to admit that I'm always stunned by the number of authors who sign with publishers that have red flags popping out all over the place. At some point I really do think authors have to bear the burden of enabling these publishers by continuing to sign with them.

    The thing with my case, in signing with HP, is that this broohaha didn’t start till I was already in all the way (or maybe it was there but had died down at that point). I’m sure it was this way for a lot of others too. The one author who advised me that HP would be a good option also did not realize till too late what the real deal was. Believe me, we’re not in the business of enabling the bad behavior described. And we don’t even necessarily want roses and candlelight either–we want to write, not go hunting for drama. A professional atmosphere is very necessary.

    That being said, in my post yesterday when I pointed out that not all authors or personnel with HP are unethical, I meant only that, plain and simple. A boycott on the other hand though–I would not be opposed. I, like AnonAuthor said above, don’t give a flying ***k about work there at HP anymore, bu that’s only my HO. The atmosphere over there made it darned hard to keep on caring till there really was none left. I agree though, Robin, that this all can serve as a good warning for other authors. These are the flags that were nowhere around when I wrote for HP.

  164. Seressia
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 11:37:25

    BUT, all RWA had to do was search around the net a bit to find Ms. MacG calling herself co-publisher numerous times in numerous e-mails…at places she cannot go and delete the evidence. They know she's lying.

    RWA isn’t going to go search out info on DAM and HP. Those ladies have enough on their plate. However, if you have correspondence in which DAM states that she is co-owner/co-publisher, that is information that RWA needs to have in its HP file. The more you send them the more they’ll know, and the easier it will be to take action.

    According to RWA’s bylaws *if* she’s the publisher, her membership becomes Associate level, not general, and she can’t vote, hold office or participate in RWA’s various lists. But you’d have to send them proof of that. HP and DAM may then decide it’s in their collective best interests for DAM to no longer be associated with HP.

  165. TriskieAnon
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 11:48:12

    I survived Kristi Studts and still lived to tell.

    Speaking of Ms Studts, did you know she was back in the game? A while back she was outed as the owner of Magickal Media.
    Well, Magickal Media is now doing covers for Mystical Moon, here
    http://www.mysticmoonpress.com/staffpage.html
    For all we know she is more than that. She is reusing backgrounds and stock images she used for Triskelion again here.
    While there’s nothing illegal with that, now the Trisk bankruptcy case is concluded, there might be something wrong in her not coming clean to Mystical Moon about who she is and what her history is. It could be unethical. There are over 100 very unhappy authors and editors, owed money they are never going to see, who suffered from Ms Studts’ mismanagement before.

  166. Devon
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 11:50:45

    Just subscribing to comments. This kind of evil crazy makes me long for the days when an author behaving badly meant MJD making snarky comments.

    Lazily reposting my comment at Karen Scott’s:

    I had heard of this woman, vaguely, but after catching up on the threads, I am just super curious about how she commands a legion to do her evil bidding. Are they fans, or frightened authors afraid of being blackballed? I thought she was a mid-list historical author. What level of crazy do you have to be not to think this will catch up with you?

  167. Nora Roberts
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 12:18:44

    I’ve had inquiries as to the minor comments I’ve made on this, asking if it was really me as they wonder I would comment in a discussion ripping another writer’s rep.

    Please. She ripped her own, in her own words on a public forum. And that’s what I commented on.

    Amazing that anyone would defend the trouncing this woman gave a reader. Or could defend manipulation of reviews, or what seems to be bully and intimidation tactics towards other authors.

  168. Just A Reader
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 12:25:59

    I appreciate the author point of view here, and God bless each and every one of you who has had to deal with this deranged cow, or someone else so like her as to make no difference. From the POV of the reader/consumer, we tend not to think about what sort of hellish experiences our favorite authors have gone through in order to get their books into our hands. We just want the books:P
    Oh – and we want you to go on writing, of course. Preferably forever, but if that’s too much trouble, we’ll settle for until we can no longer read. And if you can manage it, to the tune of about one book a year would be good – two being even better:)

    As for MacGilla Gorilla, she’s got to go.
    I am a consumer. I buy books and lots of them. What’s more, there are gadzillions of other women just like me out there, spending our hard earned dollars on romance novels, and I can promise you that the majority of us will agree that there is no room for tyrants and monsters in OUR genre. And as horrifying as authors may find that statement, I do mean OUR genre. You guys may sweat and bleed to create it, but we’re the ones who love it and nurture it, and keep it alive. Our husbands and children tease us and give us crap about the “trash” we read & collect, and YES, we do hide covers at the auto shop and doctor’s office, and glance furtively around before ducking into our favorite section of the bookstore. We create blogs and frequent online discussion boards to discuss and rave about our favorite authors & books. We spend late nights and long hours watching ebay auctions, crawling around in dusty thrift stores, and getting up at ungodly hours on a Saturday morning to scout yard sales, in order to glom onto everything we can find from your backlists. These things may seem paltry, perhaps worthy of an occasional joke, but we romance readers take them very seriously. It’s our own brand of suffering for the craft – the craft we support.

    And what we won’t support are bullies and tyrants.
    People who hurt the genre we love. And no mistake, guys, bullying tyrants like little old Deb MacGilliwhozis hurt the genre. She may get away with bullying authors – and my guess as to why she has gotten away with it is mostly because authors want to be published, and she has that carrot to dangle – but she’s NOT going to get away with bullying readers. You guys police what you can in the industry by getting the hell away from her and Highland Press, and leave the rest to us. I have no doubt that some people will buy her work, but in the long term, big picture scheme of things, she’s cut her own throat with the readers. My best advice to established and aspiring authors is to avoid her like the plague, lest you get something on you that won’t wash off, because sooner or later, she is going down.
    I personally will tell everyone I know who reads romance not to buy anything even vaguely associated with her name. And I’ll make damned sure I’m emphatic enough about it that they’ll tell everyone they know as well. I currently know of around 30-40 women who are aware of this situation and have every intention of doing the exact same thing – and I’m going to make it my business to get to know a whole lot more.
    And I bet between here and other online blogs and discussion boards where this situation is the hot topic of conversation, there are plenty of other women with similar plans. She has orchestrated and led a deliberate campaign to bilk, threaten, and harass the people who keep her in business, and even if the publishing houses who produce her drivel don’t care, rest assured that we do. I don’t give a diddly-damn what she’s gotten away with up to this point, the word is out, the jig is up, and she’s not going to walk away from this mess smelling like a rose, with my money in her pocket.

  169. Janie H
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 12:36:53

    Oh, goodness!–I went to Amazon and the other sites to take a look at who, what, and where. These two women, Leanne Burroughs and Deborah MacGillivray, post on other loops. I don’t know them, but I recognize their names now. I have no stake in HP. It might be that the authors at HP ought to take this to RWA.

    I looked at the Amazon reviews in particular. Smiling. I don’t understand why some authors cannot JUST write and be happy. But then, when I first got on the Internet, I made every mistake possible myself. Manipulating Amazon reviews is a bit childish. I wish I had her energy. I might finish a book! I’ve got to get back to work!

  170. Carrie Lofty
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 12:58:45

    Just an aside to Nora: It always cracks me up when new people think it isn’t you. Oh noes! She couldn’t possibly…discuss stuff…on a blog!

  171. Tina
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 13:20:17

    Just on the subject of a bad review. What is considered a bad review by some might be the reason someone else buys your book. A good review should be honest, and tell a reader a informed choice. Just remember bad reviews can sell your books too. That is just one persons thoughts of your work.
    As for the rest you are making my poor head spin. I wish you all luck and happiness

  172. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 13:45:03

    The thing with my case, in signing with HP, is that this broohaha didn't start till I was already in all the way (or maybe it was there but had died down at that point). I'm sure it was this way for a lot of others too. The one author who advised me that HP would be a good option also did not realize till too late what the real deal was.

    No, I understand that many authors sign when a publisher is in good shape and has a good reputation. But there also seem to be those who will disregard warnings or not take a good look at their contract or will not ask around or research presses before they submit, and that’s what I was referencing. I would hope that authors who see what’s going on once they are signed would at the very least not re-sign with these publishers and warn other authors readily. If I were an author and had written evidence of DAM’s self-representation as publisher or co-owner of HP, I’d be blanketing RWA with those docs until it was impossible for them to ignore the issue. The stuff that’s going on with authors is not something readers can — or IMO should — control. However, the stuff that affects us — the lecturing on Amazon, the purported bullying of readers, the removal of reviews on Amazon — we have to decide whether we want to act on that, by not purchasing from certain authors or publishers or complaining to Amazon, etc. Ultimately, though, I think authors can have much more power here than you perhaps think you do, but IMO it may require stepping out from behind the cloak of anonymity and banding together to craft some collective strategies for action.

  173. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 13:51:22

    Janie H
    Rest assured these Highland Press authors have taken this to RWA. They are fully aware and have a nice thick file of proof including nasty e-mails, confusing statements, contracts, you name it, they have a complaint, they have proof. Hence the reason why the standard response from Ms. M and Ms. Burroughs this is the ravings of a few disgruntled authors doesn’t hold up.

    They won’t answer questions about their practice because they find they are above this sort of thing. Shoot, they don’t answer questions of the writers they have under contract. It’s hit or miss…oh, make no mistake they’re chatting on the loops and what have you. In the end I have come to the conclusion that Highland Press is the result of ego maniac with control issues who thinks being a bully is the way to be your friend.

    Just a Reader

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. You got straight to the heart of the problem. Spread the word around. It makes me sick that authors like Ms. M has one of the coveted NYC contracts and treats people the way she does. No I’m not jealous of her…what’s there to be jealous of?

  174. Sharron McClellan
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 14:34:32

    >>These things may seem paltry, perhaps worthy of an occasional joke, but we romance readers take them very seriously. It's our own brand of suffering for the craft – the craft we support.

    I think its safe to say that as an author, I’d never consider your efforts paltry! I see writing as a team effort. I create. My agent sells. My editors make me better. And you (the reader and NOT ‘just a’!) give me the opportunity to write more books by purchasing my efforts and supporting me.

    Paltry? Not a bit.

    Just remind me not to piss you off. :D

    Seriously, I love the ‘tude’! You’re kinda rockin’.

  175. Avenging Angel
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 14:46:18

    A boycott of the press might put pressure on them to make changes, but think of all the innocent authors that will be hurt.

    I agree. Although I personally will never purchase any work by Ms. MacGillivray, I think boycotting all HP authors is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. It’s a Catch-22. As an HP author, I am trying to be professional in my work and establish my career. I know many other HP authors are doing the same.

    Will I submit anything else to HP? NO.

    Would I recommend other authors submitting to this house? NO.

    But we cannot forget there are innocent authors under contract there who (like me) trusted this publisher and who are trying very hard to build a career with their writing. We are trying to separate ourselves from the unethical and unprofessional behavior of HP and its owners, and let our work stand on its own merit. Basically, we are trapped. So, all we can do it press on, do our work, and pursue publication of other work with publishers who have solid reputations for being reputable.

    I believe in making the public aware of what is going on, so that others will not be hurt. There should be accountability for the manipulative actions and intimidating tactics employed by Ms. MacGillivray. And contrary to what HP now says, Ms. MacGillivray identified herself to me as co-publisher (when she threatened me in writing). Since then, even when questions were posed to Ms. Burroughs, Ms. MacGillivray repeatedly answered FOR Ms. Burroughs and on behalf of HP — in public and private. Clearly, this power/authority was authorized by Ms. Burroughs, who (for whatever reason) failed to stop Ms. MacGilivray or intercede on behalf of her authors.

    It’s tough. I’ll be honest. On the one hand, I don’t want HP to profit for the way they conduct themselves. But I also don’t want to see the innocent punished.

    So let me pose a question to other authors out there who have more experience in this business. If a boycott is made of all HP authors, do you think that would that cause a ripple effect which hurts our reputation as writers and might pose a detriment toward getting our work considered with someone else?

  176. Just another reader
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 15:35:08

    Another reader agreeing with “Just a reader.” I spend a considerable amount of money on books. I have friends who spend a considerable amount of money on books. I hang out in online communities with people who spend a considerable amount of money on books.

    I won’t be buying any from this woman and I will pass along this story to my friends who are also just readers – and purchasers – of books.

    One question I have: are the writers currently with HP “stuck” there? I mean, if we don’t buy any books from HP at all, will you be able to submit your future work to other presses so we can still support YOU rather than this horrible organization?

    I am so sorry for all you HP authors who have been treated so shabbily.

  177. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 15:53:03

    There’s no such thing as ‘just a reader’. Writers can write all they want, but without readers, there wouldn’t be published writers. It’s a lovely relationship, if you ask me.

    ;)

  178. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 15:57:10

    So let me pose a question to other authors out there who have more experience in this business. If a boycott is made of all HP authors, do you think that would that cause a ripple effect which hurts our reputation as writers and might pose a detriment toward getting our work considered with someone else?

    Really?
    No. I was a Triskelion author. I gave most of my books to them and when it crashed and burned, I was hit badly.
    But although I was heavily involved with the house, I wasn’t blamed for its closure, which was because of the print program. I behaved as I saw fit. I never tattled, I never behaved in a less than professional manner and I kept writing.
    I now write for Ellora’s Cave, Samhain and Loose-Id, arguably the largest epublishing houses in the market. I have no idea what made the editors accept my work, but I have a shrewd suspicion it was firstly because I write books they think they can sell and secondly that I am a pretty reliable and consistent author.
    They don’t care who I wrote for before or who I write for now as long as I write books that they can take and sell. I do think that ethical behaviour is important, but I do that more for my own self-respect than for anything else.
    Don’t worry. Keep writing and submitting.

  179. little bird
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 16:02:16

    Just my little two cents. Any author can submit to any publisher, and my opinion is that the majority of good, serious writers who were with HP got out fast, when they realized just how bizarre DA was. Having moved on, they are looking for other opportunities, and most of them have found some. (YAY!)

    I think the real problem for some (and, since I haven’t been following this for some time, I could be wrong on this) is that HP holds the rights to some work, and won’t release the work but also won’t release the rights. As you can imagine, it’s kind of tricky, and I believe those authors are the ones who are most seriously looking into legal representation. It makes it really hard when you are dealing with irrational people.

    As for the books already out, I know five authors who have never been paid at all for their work (some short stories, some books). Something seems really wrong there, doesn’t it?

  180. AnnyAuthor
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 16:10:54

    For Just a Reader and Just another Reader,
    You ladies are the reason we the authors have a job. There is no such thing as just a reader. You are beyond important when it comes to this business which is why so many authors are outraged by the behavior of Ms. M towards her reviewers. You don’t talk to people that way, you don’t tell them their opinions are wrong or that they themselves didn’t catch the meaning behind her story. I have both 5 star reviews and a few 2 star reviews. Did I freak out no. Instead I read what the reviewer ahd to say, and tried to keep that in mind with the other stories I was writing. Fact is a writer is not going to please everyone. Not possible. Some what it hotter, some want it sweeter, some want more conflict, others just want you to get to the point. I have given myself, as an author, permission to not worry about making everyone happy. If I didn’t…I’d question each word, each line, each reaction that I wrote and then the story would never be finished.

    Ms. M has an ego that outsizes her talent. She obviously had something NYC saw and liked…but what a lot of readers don’t know is this…yes, talent and craft are important but lucking out and sitting on the right editors desk at the right time in the exact moment that they’re lookinf for a specific story also plays a large part of getting published. But, if you don’t have a readership and your sales aren’t good, the writer will be dropped.

    So you see sweet readers, you have way more power and pull then you give yourself credit for. Don’t dismiss your importance…EVER!

  181. Ginger
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 16:16:41

    I’m being brave and using my real name because I’ve cowered in the corner long enough. My hands are shaking so if you find typos, I apologize. I’m reading the posts and empathizing with the authors here because I AM the person who had to sacrifice using a cover that contained the same likeness as one Ms. MacG used when she designed a cover for me at HP. She later yanked the cover away in a fit of anger.

    I accepted I had lost a cover I promoted vigorously, purchased promotional items for, and entered into the Covey trailer and cover awards contest. You have to imagine that pulling it was very humiliating. I had done nothing to warrant the anger aimed at me, but my voice was silenced on the loop because my explanation did meet with Ms. MacG’s approval. I requested my contract at HP be rescinded and my rights returned to me. My request was granted and I left. The letter I received from Ms. Burroughs at that time was most gracious.

    To me the issue was over. Another publisher contracted that same book, and because I had a vested interest in and fondness for the Istock image used, I had a friend design a new cover for me and submitted it for use. I was informed by my new publisher that HP had contacted them and “warned” them against allowing me to use it. I didn’t push the issue, nor did I rant and rave at HP, I simply allowed a new cover to be designed and I am perfectly thrilled with it. I am also very happy with the treatment I receive there.

    So, I had no contact whatsoever with HP since my last communique with Ms. Burroughs. In the interim, I finished another novel and submitted it to another publisher who accepted it. Since I write historical fiction, the same ISTOCK Photo was in my files, and I asked my friend and cover artist to redesign yet again this same photo into a cover for me. She did, and the very first time I posted it somewhere in a promotional attempt, my new publisher received an email from one of the HP authors who accepted the recycled HP cover, notifying them that I was using a likeness to their book cover. When my cover artist responded on behalf of the publisher, claiming no knowledge of their cover and explaining she had used an IStock photo available to all, a second email came from Ms. Burroughs requesting that I not be allowed to use the image. The first question that came to my mind was why do they care? I see the same images used over and over again, even by the big houses. The second question was why are they haunting me?

    So, again I had to decide if I wanted to take the higher ground and keep my current publisher and fellow authors from negative publicity. Although my current publisher left the decision to me, I decided once again to sacrifice the cover despite the costs, trailer, and promo items once again involved.

    I blogged about it to keep from choking on the anger, but I didn’t name names. Of course, I’m friends with some of these authors, and they follow my blog and they know the story. Although I’m not considered a Highland Press author, I’ve felt the distinct sting of HP’s slap. I want nothing more to do with them, and hopefully if I make no further attempt to utilize their “exclusive cover art,” they will leave me the hell alone. I want nothing more than to pursue my craft, enjoy my friends, and do what most authors do. All this BS shouldn’t be part of it.

    Why am I sharing this? Because these authors supported me when I needed them, and I support them now. I’m being thrown into the “disgruntled” category by HP and the anthology author who questions my integrity. Evidently those involved had no compassion for my feelings when they accepted “seconds” for their cover, yet they condemn me because I loved it equally as much. I wasn’t disgruntled, but I am now. I don’t like being painted in a negative light. Had someone contacted me personally and presented their feelings, I might have reconsidered pursing the cover art, but they choose to go behind my back and claim I’m causing the problem. How they figure that, I’m not sure.

    Well, now you know the story. I took my book, left and assumed that was the end of my association with Highland Press. I guess I was wrong. For the record, I’m not a RWA member so I have no recourse there. I want nothing more at this point than for my friends to be seen as the ‘victim’s here rather than “disgruntled” authors trying to create a problem. There were no red flags when I signed with HP, but I’m waving a great big one at you. I hope I don’t have to duck and cover.

  182. On My Mind
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 17:23:30

    Please. She ripped her own, in her own words on a public forum. And that's what I commented on.

    Amazing that anyone would defend the trouncing this woman gave a reader. Or could defend manipulation of reviews, or what seems to be bully and intimidation tactics towards other authors.

    Nora, as one of the authors who was mentally and emotionally abused by DAM, I appreciate what you stated. Thank you.

  183. On My Mind
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 17:33:48

    To Just a Reader, post #168………

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your loyalty to the romance genre and to those authors who work hard to create beautiful stories for their readers. Fans like you take away a bit of the sting of this situation for Hp authors and ex-HP authors.

  184. Relative Behavior
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 18:24:24

    MS. Happy HP Author:

    “They lost their contracts due to their own fault/unprofessional behavior and they refuse to take responsiblity for their actions. So, they distort the truth and they out and out lie. They take their garbage to anyone who will listen (ask yourselves why they aren't spending time on their writing careers instead). These women are out to destroy careers because they weren't adult enough to handle their own.”

    The ONLY reason you are still happy with HP is because you’ve managed to miss the ignorant and childish behavior from DA MacGillvray and Leanne Burroughs. I however, though I am not an author, have seen first hand the behavior of these two ladies and their cult followers. My mother was contracted by them, UNFORTUNATLY, and the pain and anguish I have seen these hateful children bring upon my mother over petty issues is UNEXCUSABLE!!!!

    My mother never asked for the hateful words thrown at her, the vicious acts that followed or the UNPROFESSIONAL AND DOWNRIGHT DISGUSTING behavior that she recieved from Deborah Ann or Leeanne!!! So, until YOU KNOW THE FACTS I suggest you mind your business and allow all the outnumbering ladies who HAVE been visciously wronged by the poor excuse for a Press to continue thier freedoms of speech and go back to your “friends”. Oh, and I would watch for that knife that will eventually show up in your back….it always does when Highland Press is involved!!

  185. SWWRRA
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 18:29:22

    To Ginger and everyone, I hear DA is now checking author myspaces to see which friends might indicate alliances against her. She found one HP author who set her myspace to private because she was heading to RT–apparently the HP author was NOT DA’s friend on myspace! And, DA sent her an email demanding to know why she couldn’t see her myspace. :)

    On another note, and I apologize for restating anything I may have missed throughout this long discussion, one of HP’s authors is sending “Urgent Message” emails to one of the authors booted out of HP in this never-ending insanity. The emails are admonishing my friend for posting anything about the cover/photo issue online. The emails insist my friend remove these blogs–as if my friend cares what this lunatic says on behalf of HP. And this HP author insists my friend is ruining her writing career and hurting this HP author’s sales in keeping the blog up. I wish my friend would post the email she has received twice here. I continue to urge her to do so.

    She-who-would-rather-remain-anonymous

  186. SWWRRA
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 18:35:04

  187. Just A Reader
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 18:42:38

    You ladies just hang in there:)
    We’re pulling for you. Concerns about harassment by the loose nut and her little publishing house are one thing, but please don’t hesitate to come forward and publically band together for fear of any negative repercussions from the readers. We’ll support you and your careers in any way that we can through this mess, and be damned proud that we did. I have so much respect for all of the authors who have taken whatever risk and spoken out here. For us – the readers – this has opened up a whole different dimension to what we initially assumed was primarily a problem with Amazon and the ratings system there, and a few bad apples exploiting the system. Without all of your voices, it’s very unlikely we would have ever known the full extent of the problem.
    As far as I’m concerned, all of the marketing you ever need to do to me is to just let me know you’re a former HP author, and I’ll buy your books & give you a chance, whether you write to suit my specific reader needs & demands or not:P I’ll tell all of my friends to check you out too.

    What AnnyAuthor said is so true. You can’t please all of us all of the time, so don’t drive yourselves nuts when you don’t. As romance readers, we’re all pretty savvy to this. We rave and recommend authors and books to each other all of the time, and sometimes our fellow readers see what we see, and sometimes they don’t. But whether somebody writes to my personal tastes or not, I have nothing but respect for writers who show their love and respect for their fans:)

  188. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:29:23

    Oh, she just posted the letter on her blog.

    And it’s a doozy:

    . . . I was stunned to discover that you had posted a highly recognizable photograph from my current release, Brides of the West, on the internet, along with your blog which included links to an apparently disgruntled former author (of Highland Press) blog. . . .

    But I must ask, do you realize what you have done by posting a most public rant using this photograph from my book cover? This is a highly recognized picture right now, one that appears on my current release, Brides of the West. It is posted on internet sites, review sites, blog posts, published in magazine ads, and other forms of advertising throughout the world.

    Everyone knows that I am published with Highland Press–especially my RWA chapter mates. . . .

    Still, I trust you will do the correct thing with regards to this matter by removing the photograph/material which could be potentially damaging to my book sales. In addition, will you also please cease posting publicly on this topic altogether. As I said before, it is a matter which does not personally concern you.

    I thank you for your cooperation. Have a good day.

    And is there any way to read this so it doesn’t sound like a threat:

    There is an eye-opening article in this month’s copy of RWA e-notes which talks about authors committing career suicide. We’d ALL do well to read it.

    Here are some online examples of DAM’s claims to the Highland Press co-publisher title for anyone interested in that aspect of the issue.

  189. Nora Roberts
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:33:11

    Are these some sort of hideous growing pains in e-world? Hardly a week goes by without some sort of violent explosion. As the dust settles, there are revelations of bullying, intimidation, threats, truly awful business practices, and a flurry of writers who’ve been twisted up and spat out.

    It’s just horrible.

    This seems the worst yet because, from my pov, there’s a meanness to it. A lot of the others seemed drenched in stupidity or screw ups, then cover ups and scrambling by–I can’t call them publishers–those going under who lashed out to blame anyone but themselves.

    This just comes off, if even half of it’s true, as some sort of mob rule with heavy doses of arrogance and vindictiveness.

    Threats on top of insults on top of name-calling and bullying. No one who does this can possibly run an honest and successful business for long, imo, or build a solid, successful career.

    We are an incestuous business, and the e-branch even more so. Word gets around, people eventually talk, even if they are initially cowed. What’s said on-line is there FOREVER, and has a long, long reach.

    Even the emails to me intimated how wrong I was to comment, how low it was for me to participate in such a thread. That was a time waste for whoever sent it, as I form my own opinions and express them–hopefully without being harsh or strident. Those personal contacts cemented my opinion of what’s going on with these individuals.

    Nobody bullies me. And I hope those who are trying to get a foothold on a writing career eventually come to understand that this kind of person cannot ruin them, cannot blackball them, cannot stop them from publishing if they have the talent and determination to write.

    Readers talk, just like writers do. Sooner or later those who engage in this sort of behavior will dig a hole they can’t climb out of. We have to respect ourselves, each other and the readers if we expect the readers to respect us.

  190. Avid Reader
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:36:05

    My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the authors who have had to deal with these awful people. What bothers me is knowing how thrilled and excited you had to be to get accepted. The hard work and sleepless nights that took you to your dream.

    I can’t imagine what you had to go through and I am truly sorry for all the harrassment and tears that I know followed.

    Kudos for all that are here, speaking your minds.
    God Bless you all

  191. Nora Roberts
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:37:01

    ~In addition, will you also please cease posting publicly on this topic altogether~

    What give her the right to demand this? What give anyone the right to tell someone else what to say, and on her own blog.

    Jesus, what arrogance.

  192. Jane
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:38:03

    Just to be clear, I think the author of the above stated letter is Michelle Ann Young and not DA_M.

  193. Jane
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:44:39

    Example of the clickies which I understand are being furiously deleted on the respective yahoogroups

    From: DeborahAnne MacGillivray
    To: HPauthors@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 3:42 PM
    Subject: Re: [HPauthors] BME

    EVERYONE!!! we have to write to get this taken down

    readerreview@book.com

    email there – identify yourself as the author of one of the stories, and that this review is NOT a review and needs to be taken down.

    DeborahAnne

    (readerreview@book.com is a barnes and noble address)

    To: The_Ladies_in_Waiting@yahoogroups.com ; HPauthors@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:38 AM
    Subject: [HPauthors] Clicks requested for xxxxxx

    Thanks in advance for any clicks!

    To: HPauthors@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 11:07 AM
    Subject: Re: [HPauthors] Clicks Please

    Thanks, all you chicks — er, clicks.

    To: The_Ladies_in_Waiting@yahoogroups.com ; HPauthors@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 1:19 PM
    Subject: [HPauthors] Clicks for my review of xxxxxx

    May I have some Clicks please? J thanks a bunch!

  194. Nora Roberts
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:51:30

    I wrote this whole long sort of stream of consciousness post that poofed. Don’t hve the stream any more, but I want to say that it strikes me that there’s a meanness to this latest e-explosion that makes it feel worse somehow than all the others. The bullying and threats, the intimidation–both to writers and readers. It’s just horrible.

    The emails to me definitely intimated how wrong I was (if it WAS me) to participate here, to comment. Well, nobody bullies me. I hope those who are trying to get a foothold in a publishing career realize these kind of people can’t ruin a career, can’t blackball, can’t stop you if you have the talent and determination to write.

    Eventually all these individuals will do is alienate the readers by their arrogance and lack of respect.

  195. Nora Roberts
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:56:03

    Clickies? Oh my God, how childish.

    And what, really, do they accomplish by this sort of manipulation? Fake praise and deleted criticism.

    I’d rather have pride in my work, and trust in the readers’ opinion.

    This is truly pathetic.

  196. Jane
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:56:39

    Sorry – went and recovered your post. We have a really aggressive spam filter. Have no idea what happened there.

  197. Avid Reader
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:57:41

    I completely agree with Mrs. Roberts…I would be ashamed to ask people to do that for me.

  198. Bernita
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 19:58:10

    Re: the “clickies” – planned and organized so that only a brief command is necessary to alert the troops, obviously.

  199. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 20:00:14

    Just to be clear, I think the author of the above stated letter is Michelle Ann Young and not DA_M.

    The author of record, at least.

    Example of the clickies which I understand are being furiously deleted on the respective yahoogroups

    I’m glad you posted this, because I noticed that Lori Foster indicated on RT that she didn’t believe that any author COULD or WOULD get reviews on Amazon deleted, and that she saw only speculation on those Amazon threads. Sadly, I was just as naive about the Amazon review system, even though I never actually trusted those reviews — on books, at least.

  200. Robin
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 20:05:22

    Eventually all these individuals will do is alienate the readers by their arrogance and lack of respect.

    I think they’re well on their way.

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