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Author DeborahAnne MacGillivray Harasses Amazon Reader

Apparently, there appears to be a breakdown in the comment box on the previous thread. Ms. MacGillivray was the recipient of a three star review on Amazon. She chastises the reader for not understanding the book correctly.

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!

She has since deleted the review, but not before it came to light that MacGillivray uses yahoogroups and author groups to encourage, browbeat, or by other means, individuals into taking down negative reviews by reporting that the review is a) not helpful and b) abuse. MacGillivray also appears to have taken even further steps to ascertain personal information about Reba

2c. Re: vote down this bitch please
Posted by: “DeborahAnne MacGillivray”
[email protected] scotladywriter
Date: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:17 pm ((PDT))
Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband’s
name, her chidrens’ names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her
address phone number and email
lol-quite interesting.

Hilary Sares, MacGillivray’s Kensington editor, purportedly ” is very aware of this situation and said only people with nothing better to do plays in this mess.”

As a reader, I hope that this is not true, that an editor wouldn’t be so cavalier about an author hunting down a reader’s personal information in this manner. I also hope that MacGillivray and her pals would stop using the Amazon system as their own little playground. This sort of thing works to devalue the very product that MacGillivray is working so hard to build up. I’ll be blogging more about this on Sunday.

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

758 Comments

  1. Scary
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:19:08

    Based on comments from the last thread concerning Highland Press warning and DeborahAnne MacGillivray…………..

    I saw the dialogue on The Romance Room between DAM and Meagan. MacGillivray was up to her old tricks. And one of the Witches of Eastwick backed her. No one from HP has yet addressed the situation. However, MacG is conducting business as normal on TRR, CataNetwork-Authors and CataNetwork-Readers, and other loops where both readers and authors correspond. I wonder what the people on these loops would think if they were directed to Dear Author.

  2. Kristen
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:22:54

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

    Really? Seriously? Wow. I’m not even going to discuss the typo. I can’t get past the author’s assumption that this reader is some easily cowed female. Nice way to play to the stereotype. I’ve never knowingly read Macgillvray and I certainly won’t now.

  3. WriteThoseLetters
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:23:11

    For the first time, I’m posting anonymously here. But I wanted to say that writing those letters work. Don’t know if you remember, but PW carried a story about a small press that wasn’t paying its authors ( and actually sued a couple of them), but had a nice distributing deal with Kensington. Some of those authors banded together and wrote letters to that publisher, copying RWA and Kensington. The publisher was kicked out of RWA and disinvited to the national conference. Amazingly, authors started getting paid. The house is now recognized again. And it all started with authors uniting and saying enough is enough, then doing something about it.

  4. Rebecca Goings
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:24:10

    Still in awe, I’m just subscribing to this one.

    ~~Becka

  5. katiebabs
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:27:49

    What is the matter with this woman? She is up in arms over someone posting a review over at Amazon?
    She needs to get over it!

  6. KM
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:33:10

    My god, this has gone from unbelievable, to batshit crazy to…a level I can’t even find an appropriate description for.

    Karen Scott also has a nice compilation of Google Cached documents wherein DAM states she is co-publisher of Highland Press, a fact she is now denying.

    I agree with the anon about letters. IMO, it’s reached the point where this is far more serious that simple blog fodder. If the folks at Berkley and Kensington aren’t aware of this behavior, they need to be, because it’s gone beyond unprofessional and into criminal. No matter what anyone else says, it does reflect poorly on them as well (not unlike when Cassie Edwards’ publisher defended her, only to backpedal later, though as detestable as plagiarism is, I believe harassment and threats to a reviewer are worse).

    Someone needs to Baker Act this nutjob.

    So, so not ever dealing with Highland Press. Hell, I don’t even have an interest in Kensington if I have to deal with this woman.

  7. GrowlyCub
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:33:57

    I liked the original title for this second thread better. It might have gotten both Kensington’s and Dorchester’s attention and maybe we would have seen some statement or a disassociation of these publishing houses from this person.

    I only had one ‘interaction’ with her when I tried to jumpstart some discussion about Cassiegate on one list she’s on and she shut the thread down with one sentence (and no she’s not the owner of the list)… amazing what people let other people get away with.

  8. Mad
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:34:20

    Katie — Completely skips Sane-ville and jumps straight into insanity, doesn’t it?

  9. Terrie
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:34:45

    None of Ms. MacGillivray’s comments surprise me. I had several run ins with her on the now I assume defunct Reviewers International Organization. I actually saved all of her emails and ravings to me in case I ever needed them for legal purposes. She is all that is pleasant unless you disagree with her — then you’d better watch out. She is relentless in her threats and “poor picked on me” attitude.

  10. Kristen
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:34:53

    She needs to get over it!

    Bunny boilers never just get over stuff. They make things as awful as possible, then someone ends up drowned in a bathtub.

  11. Phyllis Campbell
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:37:21

    I saw the email that was posted by DAM on The Romance Room’s Yahoo loop. All Megan did was advertise this blog. That’s it. DAM came back with a very rude comment, which in turn Meagan defended herself which she had every right. DAM replied with threats and verbal abuse…and yes, one of DAM’s witches (or butt-kissers…) replied and put all the blame on Meagan.

    You know, it just surprises me that with all the accusations being thrown at DAM that she would do something to defend herself. Yet the first words (or email) that came from her were threats! She even threatened to turn her lawyer on Meagan if you can believe that. Why? What did Meagan do but advertise the blog??

    You know DAM is not admitting she has done anything wrong. That all of US are wrong for accusing her and ‘lying’, yet in the last blog about Highland Press and DAM, it clearly showed who the true liar was.

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it, DeborahAnne?

  12. Meagan Hatfield
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:40:00

    I wonder what the people on these loops would think if they were directed to Dear Author.

    I sent the links and tried to tell them. I’m friends with the ladies who started The Romance Room and wanted to give them a head’s up – same reason we came forward here – to let people know what’s going on. MacG responded with an attack on my person, followed up by one from her clone. Not sure if my intended message ever made it through. ?? Hope some of them read it though.

    And yeah…that’s what gets me the most. She’s acting like nothing’s happening. Highland Press is acting like if they ignore this it will all go away. They are all in denial, and craziest of all – MacG is acting like WE are doing HER wrong in all of this. She’s threatening to get a lawyer involved – to do what? Sue herself? Color me baffled. We have the proof – what exactly does she have? Nadda – not even a leg to stand on.

  13. Jane
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:44:43

    I didn’t realize that RIO was defunct. I wondered how many people in the many review organizations that DeborahAnne MacGillivray runs/participates/etc has this “clickie” system.

    I had an email about who to contact regarding a reader’s distress over the situation. As noted by a previous commenter on the other thread, Steven Zacharius of Kensington invites readers to email him.

    We will continue to strive to acquire, manufacture and distribute the books that that our readers want to read as we enter our third decade of being in business. As always, I look forward to hearing from readers or other people in the business that have a comment about one of our books or our company. I answer all of my email and look forward to hearing from you.

    Steven Zacharius [email protected]

    I don’t know if DAM has a contract with Dorchester anymore. She seems to reference only Hilary Sares who is the editor at Kensington.

    Amazon phone numbers:
    Phone toll-free in the US and Canada: (800) 201-7575 or (866) 216-1072

    Phone from outside the US and Canada: (206) 346-2992 or (206)-266-2992
    Another direct line: (206) 266-2335

    and Amazon’s Executive Customer Service Center: [email protected] (got this via google. who knows if it will work).

    [email protected] (this is barnes and noble).

    You might also want to write publicity departments of various publishers and ask them not to use her cover quotes or quotes from review organizations who might be engaged in the whole “clickie” thing.

    I’m not sure who else. Maybe some other people have ideas.

  14. Jane
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:50:40

    I would also add that if you write, be polite and use spell check. :) I think the more coherent, polite (but righteously angry), the more likely you are to be taken seriously.

  15. limecello
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:04:19

    Um, wow. I’m… I know the book part and review part is horrible. But I really, really, can’t get over how crazy and stalkerish it became.

    Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband's name, her chidrens' names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her address phone number and email lol…quite interesting.

    Really? Really? There have to be legal issues there- and also, how frightening. One “bad” review, resulting in this? I’m horrified.

    I agree with KM – Kensington needs to know about that.

  16. Cat
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:05:47

    I remember reading about this on the Amazon romance forum a while back. Apparently any reviews on Deborah MacGillivray’s books that garner 3 stars (or less) mysteriously disappear.

    If all this really is true, I won’t bother sparing her books a second glance in the future. I mean, hello, everyone is entitled to an opinion. If you, as an author, can’t handle that, then you’re in the wrong business.

  17. Barb Ferrer
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:08:17

    Those HP authors who are also members of RWA would also do well to write to RWA if they haven’t yet.

    From the Code of Ethics

    * RWA members strive for excellence and integrity in the profession of romance writing.
    * RWA members strive to treat fellow members, RWA staff, and others with respect.
    * RWA members observe and adhere to all of RWA’s Bylaws, policies and other rules.

    An RWA member shall be subject to disciplinary action if the actions of such member are determined, in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedures in the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, to constitute one or more of the following:
    (I’m just copying the most pertinent ones)

    # Intentional misrepresentation of RWA membership qualifications or credentials to RWA or to the public.

    # Repeatedly or intentionally supplying false or misleading information to RWA.

    The more they have documented, the stronger the case, overall.

  18. Radish
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:09:13

    So this author wants to control how a reader *feels* about a story, to the point of chastising her for her erroneous impressions? Then going so far as to instruct the reader how to interpret the book?

    If she wanted better reviews, maybe she should’ve written a better book.

  19. Nora Roberts
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:15:44

    ~MacG is acting like WE are doing HER wrong in all of this~

    They always do. It’s SOP.

  20. KM
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:19:40

    Correcting myself, I said she was with Berkley and Kensington, when it’s Dorchester and Kensington.

    Oops.

  21. Just A Reader
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:25:31

    I absolutely plan to write. Thanks so much for posting the info. Can’t wait to give the man an earfull. Or I guess that’s eyefull, given that it’s written…
    If you guys know of anybody else who just lives to hear from irate readers, post ‘em up. 5 mins around my kids and I can do irate all day:P

  22. Lynne
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:34:55

    Barb, I’m not in RWA anymore, so I don’t have access to all the documents, but wasn’t there once a rule to the effect that members can’t harass/stalk fellow members and materially damage their careers? I think I read something like that a few years ago. If I recall correctly, the member who is being threatened has to make the complaint; others can’t do it for her.

  23. Kristie(J)
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:35:58

    Jane: Thanks so much for the links. I will be writing also. And I will not be taking the books I have of hers to a UBS. My sister lives in the country and they have a lot of “sitting around the campfire” nights there.
    I have NEVER done this with books before.

  24. Mad
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:43:58

    KristieJ — I just said almost the same thing to a friend…that the more I read the comments here, the less likely I’ll be taking her books anywhere except to the trash bin. I posted earlier that I’d be taking them to the UBS but I don’t think it’s going to happen…tomorrow is trash day for us so I think I’m just going to chuck all 3 books into the bin!

  25. Scary
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:50:27

    MacG’s manipulation of the reviews on Amazon goes much deeper. If there is a contest that is judged by individuals and not RWA chapters, she makes sure she is on them and that everyone she knows votes for her…EVERYDAY. Last year, some authors on dial up discovered they could vote more than once a day if they shut down their computers and rebooted. Of course MacG has a phone book of wins in these contests. She brainwashed her “followers” to pad the votes.

  26. FedUp
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:54:12

    MacG's manipulation of the reviews on Amazon goes much deeper. If there is a contest that is judged by individuals and not RWA chapters, she makes sure she is on them and that everyone she knows votes for her…EVERYDAY. Last year, some authors on dial up discovered they could vote more than once a day if they shut down their computers and rebooted. Of course MacG has a phone book of wins in these contests. She brainwashed her “followers” to pad the votes.

    That sounds like a certain small press author who’s been known to do the same thing. She’s gone so far as creating dozens of email addresses to vote for herself. When various awards sites got hip and switched to IP voting, she stopped winning. Imagine that.

  27. Keishon
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:54:50

    Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband's
    name, her chidrens' names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her
    address phone number and email
    lol…quite interesting.

    I just can’t- [shaking head]

    **speechless**

    Carry on…

  28. Whack-a-Doodle
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 22:59:09

    Ok, so not only do I think this latest stunt with DAM is certifiably keeeerrrr-azy, but it makes me wonder — since DAM was in charge of the fundraiser for Dawn Thompson, I wonder what happened to all the monies Ms. Mac raised to help Ms Thompson? I know there were names of winners announced that received readings from agents and editors, etc, because those names were posted on Dawn Thompson’s blog on MySpace (I can’t find it on the main page any longer, but I had it bookmarked and so it still shows here).

    But did all the funds get to the right place? Or um… did those folks donate to DAM’s bank acct? Hey, I gotta ask what some of us are wondering, right?

    Also, is it just me or does anyone else find it a little creepy that DAM still hangs on to the coattails of Dawn Thompson? She still updates the woman’s blog, her website, her Myspace pages (#1) and (#2) and (#3), heck, she’s even set up a permanent obituary memorial on Dawn’s page. I asked on one of the loops I belong to if anyone else found this slightly disturbing that she can’t let the woman rest in peace, and I was told that Dawn Thompson left the rights to ALL her books to DAM and that she (DAM) plans to publish Dawn’s uncontracted WIPs through HP. Another woman backed up the story and said that all Dawn’s royalties will go directly to DAM as well — not to Dawn’s family as I would have assumed.

    ~shrug~ who knows….just had to get all that off my chest.

  29. Marianne LaCroix
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:09:29

    OMG. This is insane. Internet terrorism over a 3 star review? Threats on children of a reviewer? Stalking someone who gave an opinion? Authors subjected to terror treatments if they don’t behave as one person deems? This woman sounds like Hitler of the romance world.

    Alyssa and Barb re: conference a few weeks ago – You guys did great. I don’t think any of us were aware of just how bad things were at HP.

    I do think the publishers should give some sort of response. If letter writing does not succeed, take it to the next level. Didn’t SB get in the newspaper about the CE scandal? Uh huh… Wonder how internet terrorism will sound on CNN. Bodice ripper jokes will take on a whole new meaning.

    RT next week should be interesting.

  30. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:15:15

    This goes so very far beyond disturbing.

  31. FedUp
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:17:22

    Alyssa and Barb re: conference a few weeks ago – You guys did great. I don't think any of us were aware of just how bad things were at HP.

    I wasn’t aware of any problems at HP at all. It’s a shame, I have always liked Leanne Burroughs, but this doesn’t make her look good at all.

    I do think the publishers should give some sort of response. If letter writing does not succeed, take it to the next level.

    Unless they want to send the message this type of behavior is okie dokie, they better.

    I’m disgusted. This whole situation has turned into a four alarm blaze.

  32. Brie
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:21:45

    I read her first book and disliked it severely. After posting my review for it (on my blog) I received some interesting feedback via email about my take on the book (why I was wrong), and also from people informing me that Deborah has been getting negative reviews removed from Amazon.

    After looking into it, I saw that this was indeed true. And that some of her friends (authors also) had gone so far as to tell reviewers that posting negative reviews messes with the authors livelihood. Because you know they won’t sale books if the reviews are bad.

    ETA: Sorry, I see I am late to the party and the previous tidbit has already been mentioned.

    Anyway, I’m glad that it was finally brought to the attention of a larger more popular blog. Maybe now something can be done about the vile actions of the author and her fans.

  33. I'mAReader
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:30:19

    Wow…it occurs to me that if the reader so badly misinterpreted this author’s book, perhaps this author failed to word her book in a way that a reader could not mistake. I’ve always been of the opinion that bad books are the fault of the writer, not the reader. And she didn’t even say it was a bad book, she just said it wasn’t as good as the first one… Frankly, I’m floored her publisher won’t take action… astonishing. Well, that’s one author who won’t get my money. And perhaps I’m only one little reader, but we add up.

  34. Diane
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:47:49

    To repeat/follow up on what I said in an earlier post miles up in the other thread: documentation, saved emails and Google cache is a wonderful thing. And those police reports and restraining orders are looking like a better idea by the moment.

    Whoever suggested it for the authors involved, pulling/locking your credit reports is a brilliant idea as well. Yes, it sounds extreme, but seriously — if this sociopath is willing to break federal laws over a three-star review, I shudder to think what she's capable of when something truly serious goes down… in flames, like her career, perhaps?

    Is anyone keeping a list that identifies the flying monkeys? Not so much the clicker lemming types, but those in the upper echelons who capitalized on this? I want to be sure that none of my money goes into their bank accounts either. I’m not out for revenge — God will provide that. I just don’t want to waste my money on what must be inferior work, since the authors aren’t secure enough to let it stand on its own merits.

    As some have already mentioned, this isn't an author vs reader, or an e-publisher thing. It's a personality/ego issue; proving once again that given enough time and opportunity, people will ruin everything. Their alleged fame and power didn't change the basic personalities of DAM and her henchwomen. It only magnified their character flaws exponentially. I'd be willing to bet that they behave egregiously in all areas of their lives. It's just more visible in this one.

    And for those who don’t want to inflict DAM’s verbiage on others through a UBS, but hate the waste of tossing a book or the blasphemy of burning it… might I suggest campground outhouses? There's always a dearth of toilet paper out in the woods, lots of wasted pages per book, and book pulp is biodegradable. You're using something evil for good. It's the ‘green' thing to do. Not to mention an appropriate ending for the words of someone who is obviously deranged and batshit crazy.

    Diane

  35. (Jān)
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:56:02

    I know I shouldn’t laugh at this, but this DM person is beginning to remind me a really bad anime villain — the evil green-haired high school girl who controls a clique of like-minded girls and mistakes that for having real power. In the anime, of course, they quickly find out how very small their sphere of influence is. I have the feeling that might happen here as well.

    Grow up DM, and lose the green hair.

  36. FedUp
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 23:58:15

    And for those who don't want to inflict DAM's verbiage on others through a UBS, but hate the waste of tossing a book or the blasphemy of burning it… might I suggest campground outhouses? There's always a dearth of toilet paper out in the woods, lots of wasted pages per book, and book pulp is biodegradable. You're using something evil for good. It's the ‘green' thing to do.

    I have a feeling my ass would be truly unhappy with me if I wiped my shit with that shit.

  37. Robin
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 00:47:14

    It's a shame, I have always liked Leanne Burroughs, but this doesn't make her look good at all.

    I know Burroughs has a reputation as a very nice and professional person, but I don’t see how it’s possible that DAM could do what she’s been doing for all this time without Burroughs’s knowledge, at least, and blessing, at worst. I mean, who told DAM that the author on the other thread didn’t want to go out with her at a conference? How does DAM know about all this other stuff and how does she get away with continuing to represent herself as co-publisher in the way she does without at least tacit cooperation by Burroughs? I can’t figure out how DAM can continue to operate as she does without Burroughs by her side. Anyone have any insight they can shed on this?

    And I’m also very curious about what other authors are involved, both those whose participation is limited to clicking and those who are actively supporting and defending DAM’s actions. I get the sense that there’s a pretty wide network of people who are assisting her to varying degrees. Again, any insights to share?

  38. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 00:50:42

    Chiming in late… since I rarely reply and was just directed over here by someone who knows I wrote for Highland Press. I wasn’t going to comment, but I don’t want it to be thought that I condone any of this behavior or was involved in the ‘protest of reviews’ (Yeah, I know I’m small fries, but still! I’m President of my chapter and trying to keep a clean reputation here! LOL).

    A couple of years ago, when I first was starting out getting pubbed, I wrote a short story for a Highland Press antho. I don’t generally write sweet, but I decided to write one so my conservative relatives had something to read (sweet and in print).

    To this day, I have yet to see a dime for that book. I tend to think of it like a ‘free read’ I wrote. Well, without the being free part. :) I do understand that an author needs to make $20 or so to be cut a check from them (I believe). Apparently, the antho I was in hasn’t made enough yet.

    I haven’t subbed my work there since, and don’t intend to. I’ve moved on to other publishers I’m truly happy with (Samhain and Cobblestone Press). I was rarely on the HP loops and haven’t read the digest in gahd knows how long. Had I been on the loops, I probably would have spoken up on how utterly wrong it all was. It’s a bit…horrifying.

  39. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 01:23:24

    Just commenting to subscribe, but how come so few authors with HP are actually making money? Could it be that the only marketing that’s done is to benefit the owners? Gosh, we’ve never seen *that* with an epress before, have we?

    I’d sure like to know what happened to the money raised for Dawn Thompson and I also find it creepy as hell that DAM is updating Thompson’s blog *as* Thompson. As for her having the copyright on those stories…it would be incredibly mean to suggest that there might have been some kind of influence exerted on a sick woman. I would never do that, not at all. Suggest it, I mean. I’m sure it was just a friendly gesture towards a friend. Very sure.

  40. Random Amazon Reviewer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 01:41:03

    I’m a fairly high ranked reviewer at Amazon (top 100) and am horrified by this whole mess! I hope this woman gets what is coming to her. Stalking her readers because they don’t like her book? WOW! It’s because of crazy people like this that I’m afraid to review books I disliked!

  41. Raines Secret Garden » I THINK MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE...
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 03:06:13

    [...] Dear Author (part I) Dear Author (creepy part II) [...]

  42. Karen Scott
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 04:00:51

    since DAM was in charge of the fundraiser for Dawn Thompson, I wonder what happened to all the monies Ms. Mac raised to help Ms Thompson?

    Nobody seems to know the answer to this qiestion, it does make you wonder if the money ever got to where it was supposed to.

    And yes, I too will write. This woman can’t be allowed to get away with this.

  43. Karen Scott
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 04:05:58

    Somebody, should write to Galleycat about Deb.

  44. Ana
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 04:32:11

    At first , I thought this was another April Fool’s post , then of course, I realised that it is not April 1st and this is for real.
    It is scary and outrageous! Unbelievable. Not only for the nazi-like attitude towards how a person should read a book without any regards to personal interpretation or personal likes or dislikes but also for the stalking of the family of said person! This is sick.

  45. Ardeatine
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 05:20:57

    Bad reviews can discourage people from buying books. That’s not good for business. Not nice but not surprising either that Amazon allows them to be removed.

    This debacle should be a salutary lesson in what can happen when an author starts to believe the hype about themselves. My advice? When you get a five star review don’t break out the bubbly, get someone to tip a bucket of ice cold water over your head instead to cool down any delusions of grandeur. And when you get a bad review, buy yourself some chocolate or a new pair of shoes. I work on the principle that I’m better than my bad reviews, but not as good as the five stars imply. That way I stay nice and sane.

  46. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 05:21:25

    Has anyone seen this gem from our Debbie in reply to this?

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/880000288/post/460020646.html

    Barbara, Yes, click NO helps! So keep clicking!! Also if you see a particularly bad review that is over the line, click REPORT THIS.

    This is a hot button for me and you hit on a very ugly problem that does Amazon no service. Nowhere else do you see this problem to such an extent that is on Amazon.com. I am a top review there, as I am on the other versions, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca and Amazon.de. And this bothers me as a seven-year reviewer and an author. Any attempts to get Amazon to clean up their act is met with total resistance.

    You get fifteen-year-olds telling you how to write a book. People with hatchets – fans of an authors that consider another author competition. Frustrated writers that have been rejected by a publisher hitting all their writers to get even. Or just topic resentment. Anyone can post anything, including slander or personal attacks, such as when Anne Rice killed off her vampire series. People actually accused her of not writing her books, but that her dead husband had penned them. Amazon did NOTHING. Rice even came to post trying to stop, and it only was gasoline upon the fire. Stalker reviewers slam every book an author writes. Some with more than one “fake name”. Worse, the author has no recourse. If the poster crosses the posting rules, and the review is taken down, they go ballistic and will spam all your reviews with no votes, draw in friends to attack. There are people obsessed with being top reviewers that spam no votes on “their Amazon Enemy”. I have seen reviews posted and it’s clear they haven’t read the book. Worse, it’s not enough for them to disagree with the books, they rant that others who do like the books are liars and “paid shills”. You either agree with their negative reviews or you’re stupid or paid.

    Sigh. The whole set up is open to everyone who has a problem with something to vent and Amazon plays ostrich to cyber stalking and cyber bullying, and in the case of the top reviewer it became a cyber lynch mob. I am not defending if a person can read 45 books a week or not. No matter, take it to Amazon management, do not attack people in public. [emphasis mine]

    This all so has nothing to do with reviewing. They are not posting reviews; they are posting their opinions. Big difference, though they don’t seem to understand that.

    I have several reviewers that I used to check out. Detra Fitch, Amy Wolff Sorter, Marilyn Rondeau, Debbie Wiley, Merrimon Crawford, Beverly Meiner, Tami King, just to name a few. They give you straight, opinions.

    All the negative hatchet jobs speak more about the person posting than the book — and to me just clutters the process of selecting a book.

    So much irony you could keep a tribe of blacksmiths happy for a year.

  47. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 06:12:55

    Not nice but not surprising either that Amazon allows them to be removed.

    I completely disagree. It’s not bad for Amazon’s business because it’s not like Ms ‘I’ve got a PI and I’m not afraid to use them’ is the only romance author on their list – not by a country mile. What *is* bad for their business is if people buy products based on false or manipulated recommendations and find they were ripped off. Over and over in the discussions I’ve read about this topic over the last few days, I’ve seen readers – customers – say they were fed up with Amazon’s reviews for misleading them and deciding to take their business elsewhere.

    If bad reviews were really bad for business, then Amazon wouldn’t have a reviewing process at all. I know if I buy from Amazon, I have a chance to see what other people thought of a product, and I can use that information and other sources to make an informed decision. If Amazon is the main source of proper opinion, I tend to give them my business.

    Really the only people hurt here are the readers who are being misled, and the authors who are shredding their reputations by associating with wotsherface and playing her game. That’s a lot of people, though, to make up for the insanely inflated ego trip of one talentless writer with dubious ethics and the manners of a ferret.

  48. Barb Ferrer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 06:43:39

    Barb, I'm not in RWA anymore, so I don't have access to all the documents, but wasn't there once a rule to the effect that members can't harass/stalk fellow members and materially damage their careers? I think I read something like that a few years ago. If I recall correctly, the member who is being threatened has to make the complaint; others can't do it for her.

    Lynne, I have a vague recollection of something being worded that way, but I think it’s one of those things that was reworded at some point. However, I did take a quick look at the P&P this morning, which contains a more complete version of the Code of Ethics. Section 16.3 of the P&P addresses the Code of Ethics and specifically spells out the procedure a member must take in filing a complaint against another member and as you stated, the victim must be the one to file and sign their name to the complaint as well as providing any substantiating documentation.

    And can I just take a moment to choke on my coffee on the diatribe from the PW blog? Oy.

  49. Kate
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 07:03:21

    I’m a little worried about collateral damage–on that link to Amazon Reba described some outrageous activity but she also listed of people she said associated with DA and I’d bet the farm and all its animals that Emma Holly has nothing to do with this. (Or Barbara Pierce).

    Speaking of collateral damage and war on fools, when I see stuff about letter-writing campaigns and mentions of online torture, I think dang, I wish I saw the same outrage and action taken for subjects like real torture and even the smaller idiocies like http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24057277/
    or maybe (since we’re talking writers and writing) situations like the one Azteclady describes here http://karenknowsbest.com/?p=1113
    but yes, right, people can multi-task and maintain outrage at all levels of idiocy.

    Still, at the risk of sounding as pious and self-righteous as DA herself, don’t lose sight of the big shit in the world that’s worth throwing energy and resources at.

    hey, and since we’re talking perspective, did the mysterious “Take a look at the big picture” ever fully explain herself? Because that was some cool james bond shit happening. all of this is just Stealth promotion!!! Hollywood-level PR geniuses at work, people!!

  50. katiebabs
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 07:10:24

    DAM has gone past the boil the bunnies stage to finding a horse head in your bed ala Godfather stage.

    The message boards are going crazy over this at Amazon and many people are not only emailing, but calling Amazon directly. Wonder what happens next?

  51. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 07:24:05

    In the past few days I’ve had several emails from authors with HP, asking me what they can do. I think it’s because I posted here and I was involved in the Triskelion bankruptcy. I’ve received enough information to know that this is very real, and not a bit scary.
    Honestly, it’s like something out of a novel (hmmmm!)
    My experience with Trisk won’t help much, because that was a bona fide bankruptcy, a completely different matter to the situation at HP. And despite the company having problems, what did for Triskelion was a combination of bad management at the top level, and the collapse of the very expensive print program. Triskelion went into mass market paperback and lost a bomb.
    The invective in the DAM and HP emails I’ve seen is pretty bad, and I’ve noticed that the more agitated DAM gets, the less she uses her spellcheck. So get her riled, wind her up and let her go. I’m guessing her friends are sitting on her at the moment, or she’s made a deliberate decision not to post any more.
    I won’t break any confidences, or pass anything on except general observations, in fact, if it makes the recipients feel better, I’ll delete the emails I have.
    But having seen the punitive release clause on the contract (they have to pay to get their rights back, and it isn’t a paltry sum. And the contract runs for seven years) I’d say the only way forward, if you want to leave and they won’t let you, is for the authors to remove or minimise the HP books on their websites, to give any future publishers a sporting chance, and don’t promote them any more.
    Sigh. It’s about all you can do without getting into heavy litigation. If HP want to try to make you promote, and that’s in the contract too, they may (if you’re lucky) regard it as a breach of contract and give you your rights back. Royalties aren’t exactly stellar, so there will still be some sales left in your book.
    Otherwise, until HP closes, you’re pretty much stuck with ignoring it or paying for legal advice or the fee to end the contract.

  52. Anion
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 07:40:07

    DAM has gone past the boil the bunnies stage to finding a horse head in your bed ala Godfather stage.

    But that wasn’t personal. It was just business.

    Given that it seems the geniuses running HP seem inclined to “punish” people who complain by ending their contracts–shades of Brer Rabbit–that might be another way to go…?

    I know this press is being discussed at Absolute Write as well. It might be worth forwarding your contract to Jim McDonald or Victoria Strauss and seeing if they have any ideas to offer (not that Lynne’s advice isn’t sensible or that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, I don’t mean that at all, just that they might have some ideas too).

  53. DS
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:20:58

    Anyone who wants to be amused– go to Amazon and plug into the search box the following ISBN: 978-0974624938

    Here’s a partial list of authors: Leanne Burroughs (Author), Deborah MacGillivray (Author), Kristi Ahlers (Author), Cissy Hassell (Author), Diane Davis White (Author), Michelle Scaplen (Author), Jacquie Rogers (Author)

    Here’s a partial list of reviewers: Leeanne Burroughs, Deborah MacGillivray, Kristi Ahlers, Diane Davis White “Historical and Contemporar…

    I just tried to find the other authors at the Highland Press web site and it was down.

    Edited to add that all profits from this book were to go to fight breast cancer.

  54. azteclady
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:26:02

    Ann Sommerville said earlier:

    with dubious ethics and the manners of a ferret.

    I object to this. My ferret has lovely manners!

    But all this? Batshit crazy makes the poor bats an injustice.

  55. Nora Roberts
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:40:48

    ~they go ballistic and will spam all your reviews with no votes, draw in friends to attack~

    Beyond ironic to object to this practice while advising others to do the same.

    It’s just not about reviews. Reviews are the McGuffin here. It’s all about power and ego. It must be a huge rush for a certain kind of personality to have others scurrying around to do your bidding, to feel potent enough to insult readers and reviewers publicly, and have others lined up to do the same along with you. And to lord it over other writers, squishing them when they question or object.

    But sooner or later enough people join together (and its always called ‘lynch mob’ by those who are faced with the consequences) and it’s your bunny in the crock pot.

  56. Meagan Hatfield
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:43:34

    But sooner or later enough people join together (and its always called ‘lynch mob' by those who are faced with the consequences) and it's your bunny in the crock pot.

    Thanks for making me smile, Nora. You rock! LOL!

  57. Ex-RIO Reviewer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:46:51

    People with hatchets – fans of an authors that consider another author competition. Frustrated writers that have been rejected by a publisher hitting all their writers to get even.

    I used to belong to RIO and witnessed first-hand some of DAM’s rantings. Only then she was condemning authors who posted glowing reviews of their own books and people who would post negative reviews of a competitor’s book. Seems she’s changed her views since becoming published.

    She’s the reason I got out of RIO. I wanted no part of being associated with her. I had a feeling she was going to be big-time trouble and I see my hunch was right.

  58. B
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 08:56:20

    You get fifteen-year-olds telling you how to write a book.

    Translation: “I’m so incapable of taking any criticism whatsoever that I assume that every person who gives me criticism is too young and stupid to know what they’re talking about.”

  59. Ann Bruce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:11:17

    Tip for Deb MacWhatshername supporters:

    Please figure out the gender of the person you are insulting before you harass them via email. I can’t take you seriously if your grammatically incorrect and illogical sentences make me wonder if I should make concessions since you appear to have a double digit IQ.

    And have the guts to sign your real name and email address.

  60. Diana Peterfreund
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:13:18

    I am agog. To say I’m sorry for the readers and writers who have been harassed does not seem like enough.

    To pay this much attention to Amazon reviews, though! To abuse someone — well, to abuse them, PERIOD — but for three stars? What do you get for one star, I wonder? Authors responding to reviews are looked down on, but that seems tame compared to berating reviewers, abusing reviewers, deleting reviewers, and TRACKING DOWN A REVIEWER’S PERSONAL INFORMATION? That is, truly, crazy talk.

    Yeah, it’s a bit annoying when you get some hatchet job review, or see a review that is clearly about something unrelated to the book (say, a shipping error, or that you broke up with the reviewer back in high school), but you scowl, or laugh, and then get on with your day, right?

    Right?

    It disturbs a lot me that there is any group that does something else, or that they think it’s normal professional behavior.

  61. Jessica Russell
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:21:13

    I’m horrified.

    I am so enraged that this woman would stalk a reader, harass, and threaten her children. Why? Hiring a PI? I’m sure a lot of people have said what I feel.

    This reader has gone through hell and I’m sorry to see it happening in the romance community. My heart goes out to her and she, understandably, has said she’ll probably never read another romance.

    It doesn’t matter what circles you move in…there will always be those who celebrate others’ misery.

    Before the snarks start…I’m not enjoying this situation. Nor am I laughing at anyone. I am HORRIFIED. There is no celebration in my heart for abuse of trust between an author and her reading community. I read the author’s replies before she deleted them. My opinion of the author is related to her words, her actions. None of the other comments have swayed me one way or the other.

  62. Concerned Reader
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:22:31

    Things are really blowing up on Amazon.com – it is everywhere that McGillivray has been. Not just her own books anymore, but the other authors who are benefiting (or at least were benefiting)from this whole “clickie” thing.

    Any word on this from the McGillivray camp? Anything at all? Are they really ignoring this?

  63. Ann Bruce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:22:47

    Man, it's gettin' srsly cold here in Switzerland….

    Not just Switzerland. We got 23 cm (9 inches) of snow yesterday.

  64. Bernita
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:28:24

    Vile, disgusting and seriously pathological.

  65. Chicklet
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:39:36

    From DAM’s rant in the PW blog:

    This all so has nothing to do with reviewing. They are not posting reviews; they are posting their opinions. Big difference, though they don't seem to understand that.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Since when is a review not a presentation of the reviewer’s opinion of the work? What color is the sky in DAM’s world? (I assume the night sky there never contains fewer than three stars!)

  66. MD
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:41:46

    From what I’ve seen, MacGillivray may benefit from having fifteen-year-olds tell her how to write her books.

    Certainly she’d benefit from having fifteen-year-olds and maybe even five-year-olds tell her how to treat other people.

    She clearly doesn’t have the first idea.

  67. Jane
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:44:42

    The good thing about the PW quote is that it is consistent with all the other statements that are attributed to MacGillivray.

  68. Barb Ferrer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:45:16

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Since when is a review not a presentation of the reviewer's opinion of the work? What color is the sky in DAM's world? (I assume the night sky there never contains fewer than three stars!)

    But it’s different for her, dontcha understand? She’s speshul

    People like this are why I often cast longing looks at Bertha, my Big Black Baseball Bat.

  69. another amazon reviewer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:49:38

    Doing a bit of research on my own, I found a blog where a reader credits Deborah MacGillivray along with several other writers for teaching her how to work the Amazon system. She outlines how it works. In case the post disappears, I am pasting it here.

    -ne 50 ways to help an author (without buying her book)Originally I had a longer and more accurate title, but I can't get the song “Fifty ways to leave your lover out of my head”. Does Yahoo have a search feature?Even if you know where to find your friend, her blog, and her books, “hits” If you see an opportunity to comment on her review, do so if you have something nice to say.If authors write reviews, their books are advertised free in the attribution line, and their links to their page and their books are seen by people who are interested in the products that your friend reviewed.There's a link to her own web site.15. Then go back to Amazon.If the author has blogged (written a note about what she is doing/thinking/ or given an insight into her books), there is a blue link to Comment.16. Or scroll on down and see her bibliography, who your author friend's friends are, what reviews she has written, what search suggestions she has made, what “tags” While checking out her friends, maybe click on the image of other authors whose books you like. Amazon often pairs up two books by different authors and suggests “Buy Both”.When you are on a book page, without buying that book, click on links to:20. For instance, Dorchester publishing (home of Leisure and LoveSpell authors) has http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/Again, your comment will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and it will give your friend a reason to post something interesting and quotable about her book without seeming to be self-promoting. If enough people click to report ugly remarks, bad reviews come down in 50-60% of the time If you see your favorite author's books in a supermarket or bookstore: 34. Tell store personnel how much you like that book, or that the author is local.36. group sites, or book chat sites, or special interest sites, post what you are reading. Join your favorite author's yahoo group, let her know where you've seen her book in stores, or where you've seen discussions of her book, or reviews of her book.45. Instead of quoting Goethe in your sig file, try quoting a line from your friend's blurb in the week of her launch.With thanks to the following for their help and suggestions: Kathleen Bacus,Diana Groe, Joyce Henderson, Diane Wylie, Jacquie Rogers,Deborah Anne MacGillivray, Charlotte Maclay, Rowena Cherry.

    Here is the link. http://online-interest60.blogspot.com/2008/03/rowena-cherry-remarks-50-ways-to-help.html

  70. Barb Ferrer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:52:01

    Sweet jiminy CHRISTMAS–who’s got that kind of time??

    *is still boggled*

  71. Chrissy
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:57:02

    Holy Baby Jesus Hot Glued to the Creche!

    The sad thing is people who are doing great work (hello, Angela James?) are going to be lumped with this crackpot because, frankly, when melt-downs happen in epublishing they tend to have this flavor.

    Which leads me to belive there are two types of epub: those started to be good businesses putting out good books, and those started by batsh*t crazy control freaks who can’t work with others and want pretty desperately to be “real writers.”

    Unfortunately, lately the nutjobs outweigh the serious businesspeople. But it’s very, very healthy to be getting it out there. You have to lance that boil, no matter how nasty the mess is.

  72. vanessa jaye
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:59:07

    I’ve been following this train wreck, speechless, but this has to be addressed:

    Another woman backed up the story and said that all Dawn's royalties will go directly to DAM as well -’ not to Dawn's family as I would have assumed.

    wth? How can that be right? As a single mom, (and someone who got caught up in a ten year legal battle over a deceased parent’s will) this hits a big hot button for me. Who the hell is she to deprive this author’s family of any/all benefits from her writing?

    Then, again, given everything else I’ve read here, why should I be surprised at this.

  73. Meriam
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:02:36

    -ne 50 ways to help an author (without buying her book)

    This cracks me up.

  74. Ellie
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:03:55

    Not nearly as bad as some of the other stuff that happened. But another 3 star review of a MacG book was posted. Her posse checked the reviewer’s other reviews and saw many were of YA books, and basically accused her of being too young to have a valid opinion. http://www.amazon.com/review/R3EMBVZRRAX32T/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=0821780360#wasThisHelpful and http://www.amazon.com/review/ROVX1AS4T6IFM/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=0821780379#wasThisHelpful

  75. Fiona Glass
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:10:02

    Chipping in late with this but just had to add how horrified and alarmed I am by the whole thing. Any business that threatens their own suppliers is on a slippery slope to rack and ruin imho.

    Also wanted to add that if Ms MacGillivray does go ahead and use a PI, it’s gonna cost her a LOT of her own money to do so and for what result, exactly? Plus, if enough of us writers squawk about this situation she can hardly take legal action against us all without it costing her entire life savings…

  76. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:13:03

    HP really isn’t an epub though, they’re a small press. Though maybe they’re trying to go into epubbing? I’m not sure. But I’ve never thought of them as an epub. So I’d hope it wouldn’t reflect badly on the epubs that are in their stride.

  77. DeniseMcD
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:19:18

    HP really isn't an epub though, they're a small press.

    I think you’re right, I don’t know that their books are available in anyting other than print (I tried to talk one of their authors into suggesting she get her book in “e” so she can get sales in Amazon Kindle and she didn’t seem to think this would happen any time soon)

  78. Ann Bruce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:19:46

    HP really isn't an epub though, they're a small press.

    You’re right. I believe they only do trade paperbacks.

  79. KM
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:24:11

    Apparently this “clickie” campaign is really helping skyrocket their careers too. They’re still mid-level, at best.

    LaNora, is there something you want to confess? Has the secret to your success been, all along, not your writing but manipulation of book reviews? I knew it!

    Honestly, if I can’t hack it in my writing career with my own talent, marketing, networking, and business smarts, then I don’t deserve a career. That’s how I feel, anyway. But I’m not of the gestapo tactic school of authoring.

  80. Of Pineapples and Bananas… « Debora’s Blog
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:24:20

    [...] Now, I’m a romance writer and if you are too, no doubt you’ve been following the Highland Press kerfluffle and in particular the odd behaviors of Deborah Ann MacGillevray.  As I personally have no dealings with either of these parties, I can’t comment and won’t – but being that I recently signed with a brand new e-publisher, anything that happens in the e-pub world is something I sit back and take note of.  The old adage “being forwarned is forarmed” comes to mind. It’s time comsuming, but you can follow along with the latest train wreck here. [...]

  81. Whack-a-Doodle
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:30:36

    Did want to chime in here again since I heard from a couple more folks about this part:

    (COMMENT #28) Also, is it just me or does anyone else find it a little creepy that DAM still hangs on to the coattails of Dawn Thompson? She still updates the woman's blog, her website, her Myspace pages (#1) and (#2) and (#3), heck, she's even set up a permanent obituary memorial on Dawn's page. I asked on one of the loops I belong to if anyone else found this slightly disturbing that she can't let the woman rest in peace, and I was told that Dawn Thompson left the rights to ALL her books to DAM and that she (DAM) plans to publish Dawn's uncontracted WIPs through HP. Another woman backed up the story and said that all Dawn's royalties will go directly to DAM as well -’ not to Dawn's family as I would have assumed.

    The reason (I heard) that DAM updates all Dawn Thompson’s sites so often is because the more books she sells of Dawn’s, the more money SHE (DAM) makes off the deal. She is now the alleged OWNER of all Dawn’s books, past, present and future and I’m told she is set to receive ALL royalty payments for ALL DT’s books — not just the uncontracted ones she’s planning to publish at HP.

    OMG is that… a…a…HEADLIGHT coming towards us? Stand back!! It’s a big old train and the wreckage could be pretty DAM huuuuuuge on this baby.

  82. Denise
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:33:51

    My gawd, the CRAZY…it burns. What I’d like to know is where this nutjob and her hyena pack find the time to write, or hell, even breathe? Seems to be an awful lot of work in manipulating Amazon reviews, abusing HP authors, insulting readers and stalking reviewers. And DAM (this acronym seems very apropripate)still has time to create romance covers with hanged heroes (and win awards for them). This group may not have a clue how to act like rational human beings, but they can certainly multitask.

    I doubt there is a review out there bad enough to damage or affect book sales in the way that Deborah MacGillivray has done with her actions and words and those of her minions. If she had any sense, she’d be working frantically on damage control and telling the flying monkeys to kindly STFU as they’re making things worse.

    Considering her reaction to a reasonable, polite review with an average 3-star rating, I can only shudder to imagine her response if one of her titles had been reviewed by Candy and Sarah over at the Smart Bitches. I suspect we’d see a suspicious and frightening mushroom cloud billowing up in the distance.

  83. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:34:39

    I think dang, I wish I saw the same outrage and action taken for subjects like real torture

    Kate, the thing is the stalking of a reader, implied threats to her and her family is something very, very serious. Anybody who has no problem crossing the line to imply a threat towards people over something as paltry as a review may not have problems crossing the line to carry through a threat to something a little more important, like a threat to her career.

    That’s what worries me.

    I think what’s really disturbing is that somebody can actually focus THAT much energy on something like a review~when there definitely are more important things in the world.

    Man, can you imagine the impact this chick could have had if she focused on her energy and enthusiasm on something that really, really mattered?

  84. Stephanie Z.
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:41:23

    Her posse checked the reviewer's other reviews and saw many were of YA books, and basically accused her of being too young to have a valid opinion.

    Boy, that’s totally legit . . . (sarcasm)

    Says the 25-year-old (who is still probably too young to have a valid opinion) who runs a primarily-YA review website.

    Anyway, carry on.

  85. roslynholcomb
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:41:41

    LOL @Holy Baby Jesus…

    This has to be the most mind-boggling thing I’ve ever read. And to think, I was whining about losing my 1/2 star on Amazon and thought that was crazy and petty.

    The sad part is, I buy a lot of books from Amazon and rely on reviews quite a bit. I guess I’m just naive, but it never occurred to me that authors would be unethical enough to manipulate the system this way.

    I’ve got some rather ‘enthusiastic’ fans, but I would never encourage them to even write a review, let alone go on a campaign like this. I for one, assume (and hope) that my readers have LIVES. I would think something like this would lose you more readers than you would gain. I know if I were on a reader list and an author suggested this I probably would never read her again.

  86. The boys want you
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:44:25

    This is a hoot. A Big FUCKING HOOT!

    My friend’s wife is a writer and she told us about this. How the BITCHES over here are whopping up on each other.

    Imagine that one bunch of stupid, silly ROMANCE WRITERs whopping up another bunch of dumber stupider ROMANCE WRITERS. U ought to contact the WWE, romance writers in the ring would be a big draw. Picture it. The ROMANCE WRITERS v. THE OTHER ROMANCE WRITERS. On team could dress up in those pink dresses where tits hang out, the side in blue dress with their tits hanging out there. Just like on the covers. Be the HIGHEST RATED SHOW EVER!

    Maybe u want to srart out in rollr darby. Wear them little sorts.

    We knew along this was a lark. No one is serious about working here. So lets get some fun going. I’ll call the WWE. Buzz here wants to know who represents the Dippy romance writers. Ah heck, we tell to find a big one and call

    See ya on tv.

  87. SuzyQ
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:48:35

    Maybe u want to srart out in rollr darby. Wear them little sorts.

    Thanks, Jethro, now kindly take yer smart lurnin and go jump in the cement pond.

  88. Anon For This
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:49:10

    Didn’t DM get funds from the Stephen King Foundation for medical bills for Dawn Thompson? How was that money spent?

  89. AnyWay
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:51:46

    But having seen the punitive release clause on the contract (they have to pay to get their rights back, and it isn't a paltry sum. And the contract runs for seven years) I'd say the only way forward, if you want to leave and they won't let you, is for the authors to remove or minimise the HP books on their websites, to give any future publishers a sporting chance, and don't promote them any more.

    Lord people please let that be a lesson to you when you choose a small/e-publisher!!! Wake UP! Just because someone CAN publish your book doesn’t mean you should let them! Do your homework, ask around, and if no one has ever heard of Sassafrass Press* RUN LIKE HELL! Don’t be so freaking grateful that someone said yes that you hand over your firstborn child, don’t negotiate, don’t ask questions and don’t READ before you SIGN!

    DAM aside…did we learn NOTHING from Triskelon?! I have a friend who writes for HP and their days are numbered (the publisher at the least since folks don’t normally WANT to write for you when you DON’T pay them).

    ——
    *Sassafrass Press is a fictional publisher pulled out of my imagination. Please do not Google or attempt to query.

  90. SpeshulWalrus
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:52:07

    Maybe u want to srart out in rollr darby. Wear them little sorts.

    Aww, isn’t that sweet? He’s talking LOLcat.

  91. Gennita Low
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:52:41

    Boy (yup, little boys indeed),

    Come back when you learn how to spell. Bring your charge card for the PayPerView. I know you’d be stupid enough to actually pay for it. Care to reveal your wife’s and her friend’s names? Thought not.

  92. Kristi Ahlers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:56:19

    DS~
    Hi **waving** I just want to clear this up before I get lumped into this catagory of stalking reviewers…***shaking head sadly*** I never condoned this behavior and I never, ever gave reviews away. I took my reviewing seriously when I was doing it full time, I once was a reviewer for RT. Just wanted you to know that I am not part of that pack, and when asked to click “No” or report a bad review…I did not participate. Although I would report back to the group that I did so as to not get a slamming e-mail. There were even a few times that I clicked yes the review was helpful when they wanted it reported.

    I am a firm believer that if you stand behind your writing you can take a bad review. I have reviews that span from 5 start to 2 stars. I have not freaked out nor have I demanded the review or rating be removed. I did post on the previous thread so please, pretty please don’t lump me in with this group.

  93. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 10:57:49

    My friend’s wife is a writer

    Ja(y)nes, ya know, it would be lovely if there was some way to keep those with those double-digit IQs Ann referred to from posting. I know! A password sort of thing that is actually an intelligence quiz~if they can’t put 2+2 together or name the first American president or spell C-A-T without a dictionary, then they can’t post!

    To Mr/Mrs. The boys want you, just a couple of things.

    ~Sorry, I’m not so sure you’re the friend of a husband of a writer~I think you are a writer or a crony and trying to blow smoke.

    ~If you actually think this comment is going to do anything but make the commenters here do more than laugh at your idiocy, well, you obviously are off-target.

    ~FYI, if you’re questioning somebody’s intelligence or calling them dumb but can’t be bothered to spell out a simple word like Y-O-U, your insults lose an awful lot of impact.

    Now that you’re done questioning OUR intelligence, why don’t you go find some nice little glass box to throw your stones in, okay?

  94. Nora Roberts
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:00:33

    ~LaNora, is there something you want to confess? Has the secret to your success been, all along, not your writing but manipulation of book reviews? I knew it!~

    Oh noes! I have been found out!

    ~Maybe u want to srart out in rollr darby. Wear them little sorts.~

    Golly, Jim-Bob, you’re so cute.

  95. The boys want you
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:01:52

    Maybe that girl defending er momma can join up? I like them spnky.

  96. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:07:13

    Golly, Jim-Bob, you're so cute.

    Snicker. Isn’t he, though?

    Maybe that girl defending er momma can join up? I like them spnky.

    LMAO. Oh, man you gotta love it.

  97. Nobody's Fool
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:07:25

    Hi “The boy wants you” !

    Or should we call you “Sockpuppet” or just plain old “Deborah” instead?

    lol

  98. another anon butting in...
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:07:28

    I’m going to butt in again :)

    Janet Reid posted this fabulous article this morning about big and small publishers who can and WILL pull the plug on authors for behaving badly. It made me smile.

    Guess it’s time to start penning some letters…

  99. Ann Bruce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:10:23

    @The boys want you

    I prefer men, thank you kindly. And as for why…I think you just provided ample reason.

  100. Ricky
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:11:38

    My name’s Ricky. Look me up when yall cum to WV. Lunch over girls. Got to hit them baccer fields again. Yall can cum help put it out. RIde along behind the tracter and drop the plants into the ground. Ain’t hard. Won’t hurt you hands.

  101. azteclady
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:17:23

    Shiloh said,

    I think what's really disturbing is that somebody can actually focus THAT much energy on something like a review~when there definitely are more important things in the world.

    It is scary as HELL–the blurring in reality to the point where a 3 out of 5 stars will roll down hill all the way to threatening the reviewers family? The boil-the-bunny crazy point was reached and left behind a while back.

    Man, can you imagine the impact this chick could have had if she focused on her energy and enthusiasm on something that really, really mattered?

    Unfortunately, it seems that more often than not, this level of ‘enthusiasm’ is closely tied to an ego of gargantuan proportions, and therefore tied to the aggrandizement of the persons self image.

  102. ChoptLivers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:17:47

    Dear Ricky,

    Repeat after me:

    Not to go on All-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not men?

    I don’t know why I’m wasting my time, he won’t get it…

  103. Meriam
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:18:10

    “Male do silly thinks when they are upset and jealous…”

  104. Jane
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:18:24

    Ricky – Here’s the deal. You are using the same email address as a previous poster. I don’t want to embarrass her so please refrain from posting non contributory comments because I don’t want to ban this email address.

  105. ChoptLivers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:18:51

    Ha, Meriam, snap!!!

  106. Nonny
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:20:17

    [subscribing to this clusterfuck]

  107. Disgusted Romance Author
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:20:43

    I never condoned this behavior and I never, ever gave reviews away. I took my reviewing seriously when I was doing it full time, I once was a reviewer for RT. Just wanted you to know that I am not part of that pack, and when asked to click “No” or report a bad review…I did not participate. Although I would report back to the group that I did so as to not get a slamming e-mail.

    I’ve said nothing in this discussion thus far, but this has pushed me over the line. Kristi Ahlers, it’s this kind of gutless turd behavior that enables the tyrants of the world. If a few people would speak up and say, “NO, this isn’t right,” the tyrants would be shut down pretty quickly. I know this from experience. But when you and others go along, or even PRETEND to go along, you are guilty of enabling the tyrant and cannot separate yourself from the guilty parties. Sorry, but your own words have lumped you in, despite your plea to be excused. This is all sickening.

  108. Barb Ferrer
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:22:07

    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.

    Hmm…

    Maybe u want to srart out in rollr darby. Wear them little sorts.

    The syntax and grammar… it burns.

    Someone catch my rolling eyes, please.

  109. Nobody's Fool
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:23:18

    “Boy”/”Ricky” is DAM. No one else’s grammar is that bad. Just ignore it. I’m from WV so can tell you we’re not all hillbilly dipsh*ts. I think that distinction is reserved for internet bullies.

  110. Jane
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:25:44

    just as an aside, you can subscribe without commenting by entering your email address in the box below. You have to be a) unsubscribed and b) not logged in.

  111. Diane Wylie
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:27:40

    Since my name is mentioned by “anotheramazonreviewer” in message #69, I need to come forward with my side of the story.

    I contributed to the 50 ways to promote your book, but DID NOT suggest the clicking thing. I was like QuietOne when I first joined the Ladies in Waiting Yahoo group. I truly thought that they were such a nice, supportive group…and the vast majority were. I confess to clicking on some Yes buttons for Amazon reviews. It seemed like a harmless way to help an author. However, I never really did agree with clicking on the No buttons and didn't do that.

    Over time I began to see a pattern of written abuse and endless self-serving requests from DM. I posted less and less to the group. Never one to like confrontation or unpleasantness, I faded to lurk status for the most part. Then, suddenly, DM deleted her review of my book, telling me by email that her NYC editors told her to do so. I thought those editors had something against me personally, silly goose that I am, and she didn't say a thing to make me think otherwise. I was hurt and confused at that point. Why should big NYC editors have something against me? I wracked my brain and could find no reason for it.

    Then my privileges on the group were set to “no mail.” A fluke, I thought. I reset them to digest. The next time I looked, they were reset to “no mail” again. After resetting it several times, I finally got the hint. Duh, I was no longer welcome, so I left the group.

    You see, I am a trusting soul, who doesn't believe people are bad until it hits me over the head. Well, my eyes are open now as a result of what I've been reading these past few days. Who knew? Not me. I found out later that DM must have discovered that I have been friends with Ginger Simpson (of stolen cover fame) for several years, and so I became tainted by association. I would and will support Ginger in any way as I believe she is an innocent victim, just as I was an innocent dupe. I am just sorry for any of the good members who may suffer needlessly over the actions of a rotten apple in the bunch.

    Now, if something happens to me, tell the police. She knows my address too!

  112. ChoptLivers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:30:21

    Oh thanks, now I have this image of DAM typing furiously on the keyboard, her fingers worn out. “No time to spell, must appall the world faster…”

  113. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:31:54

    You know I hate to see people bashing all epubs/small press because of this. Not all of them are bad. You just have to do your research. The epubs that have their sh*t together just keeping getting better and more impressive. So we can’t lump them all in the same category.

  114. Gennita Low
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:34:00

    (((Wow, all the way down to Florida, Barb! Carefully handling Barb’s rolling eyes)))

    LOL. Sorry, it’s lunch time at this roofer’s job. Life wouldn’t be funny without a few transgendered sockpuppets.

    Question: Is Ms MacGillivray situated in Great Britain? Because that’s what her Youtube thingie says. But we all put weird things in our profiles for YouTube/MySpace, so I’m not sure whether that’s correct or not.

    Nah, I’m not stalking her ;-). I’m actually trying to find out more about that $100 raffle fund she held for the sick writer because I had an acquaintance who paid for a similar raffle and wanted to ask her whether this was the one.

  115. Nora Roberts
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:34:05

    ~Ricky – Here's the deal. You are using the same email address as a previous poster. I don't want to embarrass her so please refrain from posting non contributory comments because I don't want to ban this email address.~

    God, some people are stupid. Perhaps she should have said her name was Dick.

  116. Gennita Low
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:39:08

    Dicky, Nora. She’s a boy still.

  117. Nonny
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:39:38

    @ChoptLivers: OK, I laughed out loud at that comment. At this point, I can so see it. :P

  118. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:39:57

    You know, curiosity got the better of me and I dropped by the HP authors yahoo loop to see what kind of discussion was going on in there. Or if maybe I’d been put on ‘no mail’ like someone above. I’m still on digest… but, I can’t find any messages. Like any. Old or new. There’s only the option to post. I wonder if they deleted them all? Or maybe my Yahoo is just on crack today.

  119. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:48:34

    Nah, I'm not stalking her ;-). I'm actually trying to find out more about that $100 raffle fund she held for the sick writer because I had an acquaintance who paid for a similar raffle and wanted to ask her whether this was the one

    Through the grapevine, I’ve heard she’s in the midwest.

  120. raine
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:52:15

    Okay, none of this is funny…but this did make me fall out of my chair…

    Thanks, Jethro, now kindly take yer smart lurnin and go jump in the cement pond.

  121. Sharon
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:52:40

    According to what she has said in the past she lives half the year in the US and half the year in Britain or Scotland (forget which).

    Edit: Right. I meant England or Scotland and misspoke.

  122. Nobody's Fool
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:56:32

    According to Myspace, she lives in UK and KY.

  123. Marquesate
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:02:33

    Scotland is part of Britain, just saying.

    Fascinated by all of this, really. I am wondering what will happen as a result. Surely, with the power of the people – so to speak – unleashed, there has to be action taken by the distributors, Amazon, etc?

  124. Cerri Ellis
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:03:34

    I am so, so glad I do not typically review historicals! :P

    I cannot fathom why any author would respond in such a manner to a reader review.

    Readers hold the ultimate court of opinion! Much like patrons of fine art, the artist may know what their painting means, but the patron is invited to their own interpretation.

    Within that dynamic is where the real beauty resides.

    I always try to temper my own reviews with polite objectivity, not because I am an especially nice person, but because I admire the creative process, the effort and the spark that manifests something from basically nothing but an idea. Even if the resulting book is, in my opinion, abysmal, the author might glean an insight from my constructive criticism and create something wonderful in their current work in progress.

    Oh, and can we please call these other people in question something other than witches. Not trying to get all PC on folks, but it’s not fair to real witches. :D

    Cerri

  125. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:09:28

    I've said nothing in this discussion thus far, but this has pushed me over the line. Kristi Ahlers, it's this kind of gutless turd behavior that enables the tyrants of the world. If a few people would speak up and say, “NO, this isn't right,” the tyrants would be shut down pretty quickly. I know this from experience. But when you and others go along, or even PRETEND to go along, you are guilty of enabling the tyrant and cannot separate yourself from the guilty parties. Sorry, but your own words have lumped you in, despite your plea to be excused. This is all sickening.

    Disgusted Romance Author,

    I agree that it’s always best to stand up when bullying happens, but for some people, it’s not so easy. For some people, simply NOT doing what you’re expecting to do is standing up and it takes a great deal of courage to do so.

    Would I have handled it the way KA did? Clicking yeses, but not nos? Nah. Of course, I doubt I would have lasted two days in such a group, believe me, my mouth would have gotten me in trouble. Speaking up is something I come by very easily.

    But considering just how extensive this bullying/terrorizing is, I can understand why some people don’t say anything. Again, I don’t condone just taking it in silence, but I’m also not going to tell somebody how they should have acted in each individual instance~unless I’ve been in their place, I really don’t have any ground to stand on.

    Now if KA had been part and parcel of the stalking all negative reviewers, making threats, etc, I’d see it differently. But just because she didn’t have it in her to stand up to bullying? I can’t lump her with people like DM over that.

  126. Robin
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:16:51

    Now if KA had been part and parcel of the stalking all negative reviewers, making threats, etc, I'd see it differently. But just because she didn't have it in her to stand up to bullying? I can't lump her with people like DM over that.

    At this point I really appreciate it that some of these authors have the guts to come out *with their names* and admit that they had any participation with DAM. IMO that takes a good deal of courage, especially given what we’ve seen (even if there’s some CYA involved, as well). I’d hate to see us create a space in which authors who know what’s been going on from the inside don’t feel safe getting out from under DAM. Ahlers posted in the other thread, so I mentally pulled her out of the pile. And as someone said above, it seems unlikely that Emma Holly is involved (she has more than one one star review on Amazon, lol), and I have no idea who Barbara Pierce is, but it would be easy enough to check her reviews, too. Once you understand how this works, it seems that it’s not too too difficult to see which authors are getting preferential treatment, so to speak.

    ETA: We’re trying to check the SPAM folder regularly, because as Jane said yesterday, it’s very aggressive (I have to fish my own posts out on occasion), so if you don’t see your message post here right away, give it a bit before you try to repost or rewrite.

  127. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:27:06

    And as someone said above, it seems unlikely that Emma Holly is involved (she has more than one one star review on Amazon, lol), and I have no idea who Barbara Pierce is, but it would be easy enough to check her reviews, too.

    Nah, I don’t see EH involved in this. She strikes me as too private a person.

  128. Highland Patsy
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:43:03

    My comment is to Disgruntled Romance Author with regard to your response to Kristi Ahlers.

    Until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s moccasins, I don’t think you can judge the impact that DAM had on the authors at HP. Although she claims now that she isn’t the co-publisher, she had control of the loop, spoke her mind freely, expressed acid opinions, and berated those who didn’t participate in her schemes. Recently, another author was removed from the loop because she dared disagree with DAM in an off-loop email. What was the infraction? If one isn’t involved in managing the press, how can she have that kind of power?

    If you pissed off DAM, you felt her ire. So, don’t condemn Kristi for trying to survive in a publishing environment into which she had locked herself for seven agonizing years. It didn’t take long to see who ran the dog and pony show at HP. New and unexperienced authors probably never heard of ‘clickies’ and believed DAM’S BS. I was a previously published author and I’d never heard of them, but we aren’t so stupid that we couldn’t wise up. Hell, haven’t we all had bad reviews. You suck ‘em up and move on. Not one of us is everyone’s cup of tea.

    I’ve never met Kristi personally, but my impression is that she is a very moral and caring woman who has stood alongside her friends and offered unconditional support. She doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with DAM for having a moment of trusting judgment. There were no red flags when most of us signed there. We didn’t get the big picture until we joined the loop and got slapped around a few times. By then it was too late. I hope it never happens to you. It’s very easy to look down noses and judge, but until you’ve been there, done that, you have no idea.

  129. Just A Reader
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:43:46

    Somebody correct me if I get something wrong, but I’ve been trying for days to string so much crazy loose information into a single coherent picture here, and it ain’t the easiest thing in the world to do:P

    What’s going through my mind right now is best summed up by Ann Somerville’s comments in post #47:

    Really the only people hurt here are the readers who are being misled, and the authors who are shredding their reputations by associating with wotsherface and playing her game. That's a lot of people, though, to make up for the insanely inflated ego trip of one talentless writer with dubious ethics and the manners of a ferret.

    Oh dear, I feel another rant coming on:P

    To expand on that just a bit (or a lot, depending on how long I can type)…
    Most of the readers that I’ve discussed this with seem to regard Amazon reviews in much the same way that I always have, and that’s NOT as a reliable source of information. A distinction needs to be made between consistently reliable sources for book reviews, and a system that I’ve always regarded more as a “shopper’s guide” – like Consumer Reports. I don’t see a book review posted at (and these are just for instances) The Romance Reader or the All About Romance websites as being quite the same thing as Amazon reviews. Just the most obvious things to me, the reviewers at both of those sites seem to strive for a certain level of professionalism in their reviews, and they are always legitimate book reviews by someone who you know has actually read the book, accompanied by some sort of rating system. I’m not saying that Amazon doesn’t have those, but we do know that there isn’t any kind of fully transparent quality control system for those reviews in place there, and that the rating system is open to manipulation by “clickies”, who can cause negative reviews and ratings to disappear by voting that they are not helpful, or boost the positive 5 star ratings by voting on them as being helpful. I can’t recall when exactly I noticed this, but I did notice it well before all of this s#!@ hit the proverbial fan.
    There are often instances – especially with older books – where I have had difficulty in finding reviews on any of what I consider to be the legit review sources, and then, and ONLY then, will I go to Amazon, and begin the often tedious process of wading through the gushing fangirl BS, looking for legitimate reviews. The objective is sort of twofold; I’m looking for some good books to read, but I’m also to trying to figure out when & where it’s wisest to spend my dollars, and when it’s wisest to simply keep them in my pocket.

    I’d say it’s not too much of a stretch for anyone to figure out that from Amazon’s perspective, it’s always best for them if I go ahead and spend my money – hopefully by ordering the book in question from them. They may have a hope or intent that the buying guide they provide, in the form of customer reviews, is an honest and reliable system, but it’s a win/win situation for them either way, since it’s the public perception of it being honest and reliable that counts.
    I don’t have that perception of it and never did. I prefer to get my book recommendations from sources who have nothing gain or lose whether I buy a book or not. Unfortunately – and nobody was more shocked than I to find this out – a lot of people do have that perception of Amazon reviews. They don’t (or didn’t until recently) realize that a book review can appear to be legit, when in fact, it’s nothing of the kind. And even if they did realize that, they might still have been missing the fact that a book’s 5 star rating may come from one or two – or even ten – such reviews, that simply got a ton of “helpful” votes. And any reviews that might have balanced that high rating out into more realistic territory, could have their impact on the ratings nullified altogether by “unhelpful” votes.

    I suppose some sort of evil genius kudos should go to DAM and her toadies for figuring this out and using it to advance what might have otherwise been a pretty dismal career. I, as a reader, am being confronted with the fact that someone who I simply presumed to be a reasonably competent writer, because she was published and I’d heard of her, was in fact a two bit, functionally illiterate hack, with about zero talent and no PR skills to speak of.
    She appears to have built her entire career on nothing more than customer/ratings manipulation. And I can’t help it – I gotta ask at this point, did she get this coveted NYC contract that I’ve seen so much crowing about, due solely to this kind of manipulation?
    Because, if so, it’s got to stop. It may not have reached that point yet, but as a reader, I don’t appreciate a talentless hack being allowed to get away with racketeering her way on to the besteller list, possibly – and God forbid – outselling some of the best authors ever to grace the world of fiction, based on an elaborately constructed hoax.
    She’s not an author, she’s a con artist. And we, all of us, from readers, to publishers, to other writers are the patsies. Does anybody feel just the slightest bit victimized by all that? I know I do.

    I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.
    I’ve already started composing letters reflecting my outrage at this reprehensible situation, and I plan to print & mail and email them to each and every contact person whose name and address I can lay my hands on. This is a cold, calculated slap in the faces of everyone who ever wrote down a story with the hopes of one day seeing it in print, picked up that story and read it, and printed the story out, in order to put it into the hands of readers. It’s bullshit on a level that defines the true meaning of bullshit, and if everyone who is aware of it isn’t as outraged as I am right now, they damn sure oughta be.

  130. Casee
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:45:16

    This is very disturbing to me. I’m a reviewer on amazon and I’ve never censored my opinions. I find it highly distasteful that an author would go to these lengths after getting a 3 star review (which is average).

  131. Ciar Cullen
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:50:49

    Okay, I once got seriously bummed by a bad Amazon review of one of my books. I clicked the “not helpful” button. I just had to get that off my chest. Of course, I didn’t threaten bodily harm to the reviewer and the reviewer’s family.

    And Lynne, I’m not so sure this is tremendously different in one respect from Triskelion. I was in what I’d call the second wave of departures, and it took a lot to get me to bail. There’s a common thread with these companies that are going under–a big ego at the top, a lot of arrogance, and a mentality that you can treat people anyway you want and it won’t come back to bite you in the ass.

  132. Avenging Angel
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:53:09

    The reason (I heard) that DAM updates all Dawn Thompson's sites so often is because the more books she sells of Dawn's, the more money SHE (DAM) makes off the deal. She is now the alleged OWNER of all Dawn's books, past, present and future and I'm told she is set to receive ALL royalty payments for ALL DT's books -’ not just the uncontracted ones she's planning to publish at HP.

    THIS to me is the SICKEST twist in the manipulation tactics of DAM. For the past ten years of her life, Ms. Thompson was wheelchair-bound and in recent years found herself befriended by DAM. Okay, nothing wrong with having a friend; however, when that FRIEND is as controlling and intimidating as DAM, especially when Ms. Thompson became seriously ill, it raised a RED FLAG to me about her motives. At first, I wanted to believe there was a heart beneath the hateful manners of this woman, but more and more I read how she even used Ms. Thompson’s illness to draw attention to herself. Because everything this woman does is about HER. I do not presume to say she did not care for Ms. Thompson, but there is something seriously wrong with this picture now. If you are a friend to someone, genuinely interested in their welfare and/or perhaps their memory, why promote yourself in the process? I find it not surprising at all that this woman is profiting off the death of her ‘dear friend’. Sorry, but to those who have had contact on any level with DAM, she does nothing for anyone unless it is to HER advantage

    The way this human vulture stepped in after the death of Ms. Thompson, going through her computer and unfinished work, and putting her heavy hand on everything to me sounds not only intrusive but illegal. Ms. Thompson is survived by blood relatives, a fact Ms. MacGillivray failed to mention in the obit she wrote. (See: Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine – May 2008).

    Sadly, Ms. Thompson’s finances were in dire straits and I was told she did NOT have a Will when she died. One can only surmise her only asset was her books and the revenue they generate — published and as yet unpublished. So, even with cases of someone not having a Will, papers should be filed and the court needs to officially appoint someone a trustee of the estate. Now DAM is what? Negotiating contracts on uncontracted work? Getting royalty payments off this poor dead woman?? I don’t know if anyone read the obit she wrote about Ms. Thompson in RT, but in it she states:

    Several of Thompson’s other works will also be released this year. Still to come are: Bride of Time (Love Spell, Sep ’08), Prisoner of the Flames (Leisure) and Rape of the Soul (Highland Press), which will also be releasing several other titles from Thompson.)

    I am very alarmed about all this, because I have seen a pattern of this woman imposing her “I’m your friend” false benevolence on people — whether they are new writers trying to learn about the industry, or people who are weak, insecure, or ill. I cannot help but wonder if she swooped down on the family of Ms. Thompson (who may not know how the publishing industry works) with her usual high-handedness laced with words of love and devotion for Ms. Thompson to basically take over the career of this woman. And now she is getting royalties? Somehow, the title of Ms. Thompson’s next HP book — Rape of the Soul takes on new meaning.

    I wish some legal authority would seriously investigate this woman. She collected money – allegedely for funeral flowers in memory of Ms. Thompson. I contributed and never heard anything back from her on this. Okay, fine. Whatever. And now (as mentioned in the RT obit) she is collecting monies which are supposedly to go to Stephen King’s The Haven Foundation in memory of Ms. Thompson. Hey, this may well be true. But I do not TRUST this woman and I question the accountability of monies she takes in and basically everything she says and does.

  133. L.E. Bryce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 12:57:33

    Aww, isn't that sweet? He's talking LOLcat.

    You’re insulting the intelligence of lolcats. :) Respect teh kittehs.

  134. CJ England
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:01:00

    This is a huge eye-opener for me. I had no idea the system could be used in such a way. Appalling and frightening.

    Stalking and harassing a reader? Just because she didn’t gush over your book? Wow! There are no words.

  135. Disgusted Romance Author
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:02:50

    To Shiloh and Highland Patsy, I am expressing my opinion here, just like the rest of you. Patsy, you have no idea what paths I’ve walked, but I can tell you that I’ve gone head to head with bullying tyrants right in my own RWA chapter who tried to pull similar tactics on the rest of the membership. My opinion of Ms. Ahlers stands. She has admitted to “reporting back” to this pack of jackels. Obviously, she thought pretending to go along would somehow further her career. Now that her name is out there, she’s begging off. The “reporting back” part is what got me. I repeat, my opinion of Ms. Ahlers behavior stands despite your lectures about my wrong thinking. Unlike Ms. Ahlers, I’m not a follower so your reasoning on her behalf strikes no chords with me.

  136. Melissa Sawmiller
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:04:43

    Oh my… that’s only the second time that I’ve had an author go straight on my ‘Do Not Read’ list, but that’s disgusting and so disrespectful! And if the reader doesn’t get out of your book what you wanted them to, then obviously you didn’t write it well enough. Get past it, learn from it and move on. Or write a book that is ten times more fabulous!!!

  137. KM
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:04:52

    Okay, I once got seriously bummed by a bad Amazon review of one of my books. I clicked the “not helpful” button. I just had to get that off my chest. Of course, I didn't threaten bodily harm to the reviewer and the reviewer's family.

    I had a friend once who got ripped a new one with an Amazon review, but it wasn’t so much that the reader disliked the book, it was that s/he clearly had not even read the book. Names of characters were wrong, non-existent plot points were criticized, etc. The reviewer slammed her “historical accuracy” when it was a contemporary piece. I don’t know if this reader got her books mixed up and intended the review for something else or what, but it was strange.

    In that circumstance, yes, I went and clicked “not helpful.” But IMO that’s apples and oranges to what DAM is doing.

  138. Denise A
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:05:15

    Has DAM responded anywhere, on any site about this? I am just curious because you would think she would try to do a little damage control. Although it is pointless now……

  139. CoveyWatcher
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:11:11

    She’s responded in other forums that she dosn’t read or respond to blogs, but that she’ll reply to any questions presented to her directly. I’m assuming email. Might be interesting to contact her and ask questions…

  140. Kristi Ahlers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:12:23

    Disgusted Romance Writer~
    You’re right at the time it was gutless…I was also new and learning the ropes. I’m sorry but have you ever received a flaming e-mail from DAM? Do you think I wanted my family stalked, threatened? Please, until you have your world turned upside down by this person, and I have on more then one instance, let me assure you the experience is soul-sucking, spirit destroying. If I had raised my hand and spoken out I would not have had to deal with just DAM. There would have been fall out from her crew. 6-1 aren't great odds. This was my “publisher” and I did not realize the power that I had. We all make mistakes; I’m stepping up to the plate and admitting to it. That should count for something. If not, again, I can’t please everyone. I’ve admitted and taken ownership…there is not much more I can do. I have grown changed, people can do that or didn't you know that?

    Your opinion of me stands. Fine. I’m not going to hurl insults at you. I “outted” myself her. No one did it for me. Good for you for going head to head with bullies. I don’t like confrontation. If this makes me weak in your eyes. Fine, I’m weak. I did not see this as a way to further my career. I saw this as a way of dealing with a situation I was not comfortable with. We all react in different ways.

  141. L.E. Bryce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:12:35

    Low reviews often tell me more about the book than 4-and-5-star ones do. As an author, I value criticism as much as I do praise–more so when it’s articulate and constructive, because it informs me about what readers like/respond or don’t.

  142. AnonHP
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:13:05

    DAMs click campaigns are not just for reviews. http://romancebooks.splinder.com/post/15890115

  143. Jackie Barbosa
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:14:52

    Shelli Stevens wrote:

    You know I hate to see people bashing all epubs/small press because of this. Not all of them are bad. You just have to do your research. The epubs that have their sh*t together just keeping getting better and more impressive. So we can't lump them all in the same category.

    I have to agree with Shelli here. One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch and all that.

    That said, this whole episode just points up the importance of authors doing due diligence before signing a contract with any publisher (and that includes the big NY houses to a certain extent as well). I think it’s very easy to get stars in your eyes when that offer of publication comes and be so thrilled that someone wants your work, you can fail to protect yourself. And it sounds to me like Highland Press has played off of that in the way it has treated its authors.

    Before I contracted my first novella to Cobblestone Press, I contacted several of their authors, some I knew and some I didn’t. I asked questions. How was their experience with Cobblestone? Did they feel they were treated fairly and with respect? What was the editing process like? Were they paid royalties when promised? And so on.

    Only when I heard from multiple sources that their experiences had been positive overall did I sign the contract. And I’ve never had a reason to be sorry I did.

  144. Kristi Ahlers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:16:26

    Shellie S.
    They have deleted HP Author loop and the LIW loop. HP website is down now as well.

  145. Leah
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:16:53

    Whoa. I didn’t read this one over at SB because there were just too many comments, and I didn’t really get why playing around with Amazon reviews was such a hot-button issue (as I don’t take them seriously myself–they generally tell you more about the reviewer than the book). Anyway–this is some scary stuff. And an education. Let me just say now, for the record, that for those of you whose books I read while I was in the car repair shop (or the laundromat, or the drop-off line)–I am grateful to you for saving me from interminable boredom (or, if I read your book on a plane, from raving insanity). And when I finally have a book out there, I don’t care where you read it, or how many stars you give it, just as long as you buy it!

    PS to Ms. Wiley. I feel for you. I had a boss like that. First he seemed great. Then I thought I was the worst employee ever. Then I realized he was a nutjob. My sympathies for your experience.

  146. anotheranon
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:18:15

    Kristi, I always liked your RT reviews. Sorry to hear you’re not doing any more of them.

  147. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:19:09

    To Shiloh and Highland Patsy, I am expressing my opinion here, just like the rest of you.

    DRA, you’re entitled to your opinion. I don’t recall telling you that you weren’t. I even agreed with your feelings that bullies are best stood up to.

    Here

    I agree that it's always best to stand up when bullying happens, but for some people, it's not so easy. For some people, simply NOT doing what you're expecting to do is standing up and it takes a great deal of courage to do so.

    And I admitted I wouldn’t have handled it the same here:

    Would I have handled it the way KA did? Clicking yeses, but not nos? Nah. Of course, I doubt I would have lasted two days in such a group, believe me, my mouth would have gotten me in trouble. Speaking up is something I come by very easily.

    And I again stated I didn’t condone taking it silence here:

    Again, I don't condone just taking it in silence

    I’m not sure where you got the idea I was lecturing you, unless it was with this comment:

    but I'm also not going to tell somebody how they should have acted in each individual instance~unless I've been in their place, I really don't have any ground to stand on.

    Generally, I don’t waste time lecturing people. It does little good. But what I will do, and fairly often, is offer a viewpoint as to why some people may act/react the way they do. Objectivity is something I believe firmly in.

    And, since you seem to be clear on stating your opinion, as you’re entitled, all I did was state mine.

    Now if KA had been part and parcel of the stalking all negative reviewers, making threats, etc, I'd see it differently. But just because she didn't have it in her to stand up to bullying? I can't lump her with people like DM over that.

    If it’s doesn’t fall in line with yours, that’s fine. I don’t expect it to. It’s my opinion~and just like you, I’m entitled.

    The entire reason I posted was because I don’t want the people who’ve felt terrorized by DM to think that the entire lot of us are going to throw them in the same ugly place where DM resides.

  148. Denise A
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:20:41

    They have deleted HP Author loop and the LIW loop. HP website is down now as well.

    Well that kinda answers my question…‘instead of addressing the situation we will just pretend it doesn’t exist’

    I hear those squeaky wheels turning…

  149. Katie
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:27:51

    I have been following this thread since it started at the beginning of the week. My opinion conforms with 99.9% of the commenters here, so I don’t want to state how shocked or disgusted I am. What truly interests me is the question if this “matter” is big enough to make (national) news? As I don’t live in the States and generally don’t check available news channels, I wanted to post this question here. The thing is, Cassie Edward’s plagiarism story was big news. Plagiarism combined with a controversial fiction genre, a NYT bestselling author and a huge reader outcry was definitely worth reporting. However, in case of this hellish situation, not only an intellectual matter is taking centre stage, but a real threat against a reader and her family, too. At the moment (if I am up to date), the whole DAM story is still “only” an online affair, and it’s a well-known fact that the only community is not the biggest one. Am I the only one who wants this situation widely known, maybe in the hope that more readers are made aware of this situation and that DAM’s publishers would take a stand (because I think it’s HIGH time).

  150. Sarai
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:30:45

    As someone who bought DAM’s books I have to say I have no interest in reading after hearing all of this. Wow that really sucks I have fear of being hunted down now b/c of my statment. DAM has lost a potential fan/witch/butt kisser.

  151. Rebecca Goings
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:32:19

    They have deleted HP Author loop and the LIW loop. HP website is down now as well.

    Good God, did they just cut and run?!?!? Now what the hell do the authors do?

    I knew the roaches would scurry, but gadang, did they just take off with the royalties and the rights?

    Geebus! O.O

    ~~Becka

  152. Radish
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:34:11

    I feel like I’m stumbling through the Twilight Zone. Is MacGillivray for real? I’ve known some seriously scary whackjobs in my time, but damn! This whole thing reminds me of “All about Eve” and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”.

    Megalomania? Flying Monkeys? Stalking? Privacy invasion?
    Threats, implied or otherwise, towards children??

    Psychosis — it’s not just for breakfast, any more.

  153. Jackie Barbosa
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:34:47

    And if the reader doesn't get out of your book what you wanted them to, then obviously you didn't write it well enough.

    Or it just wasn’t the right book for them. Seriously, there is no author on earth so incredible that everyone will like his/her writing.

    I hereby cop to having been utterly unable to get through the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, despite multiple attempts. It just didn’t work for me. I doubt, however, that JK Rowling is going to get her panties in a twist and come looking for me because I didn’t care for her book.

  154. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:36:47

    Shellie S.
    They have deleted HP Author loop and the LIW loop. HP website is down now as well.

    Madre de dios! No way. Wow. Well, I’m sure everyone who they deem relevant are just emailing amongst themselves. I was never really in the loop anyway. Heh. I knew early on (like waving goodbye to the mail man who was carrying my contract) that the 5k story I’d given away I’d probably never see money for or ever get my rights back. Hence the reason I backpedaled from getting too involved with HP. Though I should say some of the authors there are very sweet and supportive…though obviously not all.

    Jackie, I agree. Some people are just so eager to get pubbed it becomes ‘a contract is a contract’. Ask around before you sub. I tell everyone that! If you hear continually people are unhappy, don’t sub thinking you’ll be any different. I knew Trisk was bad news (and NCP) waaay before the rumbling made its way to the surface.

  155. Just A Reader
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:37:15

    To Ms. Ahlers -
    Speaking as one who has been highly critical of the clickie behavior, and/or anyone & everyone who has somehow aided and abetted DAM in her shenanigans, I appreciate the fact that you’re stepping up to the plate and taking some ownership of your own actions. People in general are either going to view you in the same light as a rat jumping ship and doing a little damage control of her own, or they’ll be a little less judgemental, and thank you for coming forward and publically admitting to actions that many people would simply try to keep as quiet as possible while they rode out the storm. For my part, I thank you for coming forward. I admit to having somewhat selfish motives there. I’d really like to see anyone and everyone who ever associated with Ms. MacGillivray in any professional way wash their hands of her. The sooner the better, obviously. It’s going to be best for all concerned to not be anywhere near that ship when it finally sinks.

    And on this entire Dawn Thompson issue – I don’t think I can recall reading about anything more nauseating. I can only hope DAM ends up having to defend her actions in a court of law. I pray to God Ms. Thompson’s family sues her, and files criminal charges.

    Katie – there are mainstream news sources that follow the blog scandals as a matter of course. Many big news items started out as blog blurbs. It just takes a while. If you google news sources, you can pull email contact information on every source from the New York Times to Maury Povich:P I strongly urge anyone and everyone reading this board do that and start sending out mass emails. I used to have a pretty comprehensive email list at one time, but it long since outlived its usefulness to me personally, and I deleted it:( I may have to see if I can hunt it back up again. There’s actually a site out there in cyberland that has some pretty comprensive media contact lists on it, but I can’t recall anymore what & where it is.

  156. Robin
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:37:50

    Well that kinda answers my question…’instead of addressing the situation we will just pretend it doesn't exist'

    Maybe she believes that if you delete it, it’s gone — that there’s no Google cache or that all those individual hard drives where all this stuff is stored don’t exist . . .

    DAMs click campaigns are not just for reviews. http://romancebooks.splinder.com/post/15890115

    I clicked on this link but don’t really get it. Help, please (part of the problem is that the colors make it really difficult to read the text). Although I did crack up that any blog asserting that Romance novels are “entertainment” and “not philosophy” would link to the SBs or DA.

  157. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:38:32

    Psychosis -’ it's not just for breakfast, any more.

    Heh. that’s good. I like that. You oughta put that on a bumper sticker. I’d buy it!

  158. Leah
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:42:30

    Also, just thinking off the top of my head (and not being a lawyer–just worked for one)…. I can’t imagine that everyone Ms. Thompson owed when she died–I’m assuming loads of medical bills and credit cards to pay expenses–is just going to say, “Oh, she died intestate, let’s just write all that off for taxes.” I’m pretty sure they have legal teams who can ferret out all sorts of assets, published or otherwise, and file liens on those earnings, no matter who is in control of them now. Or at least chase after that person in court to get that money (which is rightfully theirs, as they provided many goods and services to the deceased). Also, I can’t imagine a foundation like Mr. King’s just cut a big check to Ms. McGillivray to pay for those bills–surely they either pay the creditor, or some sort of trust–which would have oversight beyond being a trustee’s personal checking account, right? And then there are taxes which Ms. Thompson would owe…. We know the IRS has investigators and muscle. Let’s be fair and assume that Ms. Thompson’s affairs are being handled responsibly. If they are not, however, well, people get caught pulling that crap all the time. If they can bust an 80-something Astor, they can bust anyone.

  159. Denise
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:44:44

    I just linked this thread to my blog, and checked the Highland Press site. It’s back up. I just pinged it, and it popped up without delay.

  160. AnonHP
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:49:52

    My bad. Wanted to give an exmaple of faking the system. DAM wants clicks to vote and vote often to beat writers like Jo Beverly and Eloisa James and win Best Blog. The voting ballot box is down some. http://romancebooks.splinder.com/post/15890115

  161. I Never Delete Anything
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:53:22

    Well ladies, get ready for this! It appears that they may be deleting the Ladies in Waiting group too, but I was able to get hold of this. As of last night and this morning, this is what DAM is doing. Seems like there’s some panic going on:

    2c. Re: I had good luck with xboard (piracy going on in the e-zone)
    Posted by: “Deborah Macgillivray” [email protected]
    scotladywriter
    Date: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:35 am ((PDT))

    well that worked. I emailed him and cced Hilary and Chris. Everything
    was deleted in about 15 minutes
    .

    From: XXXXXXXXX
    Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 10:24 AM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: [The_Ladies_in_Waiting] Re: I had good luck with xboard
    (piracy going on in the e-zone)

    Deborah, Leanne, Dawn…
    http://www.xboard.us/search.php?searchid=11544753

    Write to [email protected]

    Within seconds of my complaint received from my author address, with
    links he edited the posts offering/requesting my books, but everyone
    else
    is on their own.

    That doesn’t take care of esnips, which has some of our books, but it
    does take down some heavily viewed links.

    If you want to check, go to

    http://www.xboard.us

    Find the Search bar (you don’t have to join or register)
    Type in your name.

    Solve the Captcha

    Go.

    Best wishes,

    XXXXXXXX

    ~~Ladies, did you notice the name of Dawn, added in with Leanne and DeborahAnne? Could they be referring to the deceased Dawn?

    It also appears that at this point there is only one or two people, or helpers, involved now, in trying to get rid of “evidence”. I XXX’d out the name, but if the authoriites ever need anything, I have all these things saved. Personally I think the person helping DAM is utterly insane, but, whatever.

    I also wanted to say something about D. Wylie and K. Ahlers. These girls came into LIW about the same time that I did. As D. Wylie stated above, some of the things they did were really out of sheer ignorance. Here we were hobknobbing with big time authors. We were new, and wanted to be part of the group. I have to say that it took us all time, and experience to realize that the stuff going on with DAM was wrong. I have chatted with both these ladies off and on, and both were always professional, considerate and kind. In my heart of hearts I don’t think that either one, or any of the other ladies that were “taken” in by this really meant to be manipulative in any way….Not that anyone here was saying they were! As newbies, we all have a learning curve, and with someone such as DAM as someone we initially looked up to, are you really suprised? I mean, look at who was teaching us. I think some writers got pulled into the sidelines of some of this, but the real participants will be caught.

  162. Kentucky Girl
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:54:44

    I’m wading through this mess from the beginning so am exceedingly late to chime in. I’ve been offline for quite a while and, I gotta say, this kind of craziness makes me just want to shut the computer off and crawl back into my cave.

    Honestly, my mind is too boggled to effectively describe this woman. That said, “nutjob” seems to be the word that keeps coming to mind.

    Question: Is Ms MacGillivray situated in Great Britain? Because that's what her Youtube thingie says. But we all put weird things in our profiles for YouTube/MySpace, so I'm not sure whether that's correct or not.

    Nah, I'm not stalking her ;-). I'm actually trying to find out more about that $100 raffle fund she held for the sick writer because I had an acquaintance who paid for a similar raffle and wanted to ask her whether this was the one.

    Finally, something I can help with. She lives in Louisville, KY but, according to the bio on her website, spends part of the year in the UK. Also, as a side note, Deborah MacGillivray is a pen name.

    If one of the Ja(y)nes would like to contact me for more info, then you’ve got my email address.

    I hope DAM didn’t take advantage of Dawn Thompson. I don’t know either woman so can’t say for sure. But the sheer sliminess of such an action would be appalling.

    One thing is for certain, though. This woman needs to be stopped.

  163. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:55:33

    I hereby cop to having been utterly unable to get through the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, despite multiple attempts. It just didn't work for me. I doubt, however, that JK Rowling is going to get her panties in a twist and come looking for me because I didn't care for her book.

    I was in the same boat until one of my friends told me to skim skim skim the first few chapters. She promised that the book got good once Harry left his uncle’s house, and she was RIGHT! But if it wasn’t for that bit of advice I’d have missed out on what turned out to be an entertaining series.

  164. Just A Reader
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 13:58:28

    I’m sorry, but what is up with that Sophia Loren meets Elvira pic of DAM on that site? Can she not afford to go to Glamour Shots?

  165. Denise A
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:01:33

    It also appears that at this point there is only one or two people, or helpers, involved now, in trying to get rid of “evidence”.

    Looks like the Rats are jumping ship..

  166. wonald
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:02:05

    I just checked the LIW and HPauthors yahoogroups link from this site and it doesn’t look “deleted” to me. I have seen deleted yahoogroups and if it’s deleted, it should say “No messages”

  167. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:03:07

    I’m getting confused now. In those last emails, they’re trying to have message board posts offering pirated copies of their books deleted, no? Even those of us who just rollr darby instead of dispatching winged monkeys to stalk, criminally threaten readers’ children and allegedly abscond with an author’s estate do that.

  168. Shelli Stevens
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:04:38

    The HP authors loop is up, just the messages are gone.

  169. Kristi Ahlers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:06:39

    Just a Reader~
    Thank you for your words. This happened years ago. I have distanced myself from her and the loops when I realized there was issues. This was not just a recent situation. I owned to things back during 2005-6. You need to understand this was the first publisher I had been with. I was learning the ropes and asking questions of fellow writers. I'm not doing damage control as I said I had put distance between myself and DAM long before this mess hit the net.

    I posted previously under an anon name. Why you ask? Not because I was ashamed, but because at times you can't win for trying. We all make mistakes, and hopefully you learn from them. In this case I did. I could have kept my mouth shut…but figured what was the point. I know I'm not alone in doing what I did. In many ways this was an abusive relationship. It's easy to armchair quarterback with what you would do in the same situation but when you're in the middle and have seen the fall out from the silliest things it's hard to react as one should..

  170. Bernita
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:06:42

    Just A Reader:
    At this point, I’m inclined to doubt it’s actually MacGillivray’s picture.

  171. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:07:35

    To I never delete anything

    Actually, I don’t think that’s anything more a request to have illegally uploaded books removed from a file sharing site. Filesharing has been really sticking it to ebook authors lately, as well as print, and most of us watch those sites so we can request the removal of ebooks.

    I could be wrong, but that was my take when I skimmed it.

  172. Just A Reader
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:09:31

    Kentucky Girl – Oh dear God.
    She lives in Louisville?! Ack!

  173. Katie
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:12:43

    LOL, Bernita, I was thinking the same. The picture reminds me of a 70s actress, but I can’t remember her name.

  174. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:14:08

    In many ways this was an abusive relationship. It's easy to armchair quarterback with what you would do in the same situation but when you're in the middle and have seen the fall out from the silliest things it's hard to react as one should..

    Kristi, considering that this woman apparently stalked a reader, I don’t blame you for not knowing how to handle her. Generally, people don’t stalk others over a difference of a difference of opinion and that’s exactly what happened here so issues of personal safety probably come into play~as they should.

    I do think I would have handled it differently had this mess happened to me and I don’t think people show let some ego-maniac cow them. But fear can be powerful~most people understand that.

    You’re signing your name, you’re stepping up, you’ve made apologies. Regardless of whether other people agree with me or not, in my mind, that counts for something.

  175. Ann Bruce
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:14:59

    I hereby cop to having been utterly unable to get through the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, despite multiple attempts. It just didn't work for me.

    Reading it didn’t work for me, either, so I listened to the audio version. Hands down, Jim Dale rocks! His voices made the books more enjoyable than the movies (yeah, sorry, I couldn’t get into the movies).

    If you listen to the UK audio versions, the narrator is Stephen Fry of Blackadder fame. I imagine his version would be just as good.

  176. DS
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:21:02

    I was out for a while I would have said this sooner.

    If you are an author or a coauthor a book you are not allowed to review the book on Amazon. These reviews by authors would be removed if reported. I would rather point them out as additional examples of an attempt to manipulate the system on Amazon. I assume those who were involved but are willing to post here did not know about this rule.

  177. Alma Alexander
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:21:41

    Not a romance writer so possibly out of the major loop here – but just weighing in on the general Amazon review question. I think most of us go through at least a stage of obsessing over the Amazon rankings/reviews, to the point that one of my editors basically told me to stay away from Amazon (implying “or else”) – but it’s damnably difficult to figure out exactly what Amazon numbers actually mean, they are context dependent, sometimes a jump from six to five figures entails the sale of ONE book, depending on where on the curve the book is positioned.

    I’ve been the recipient of Amazon reviews, not a huge heap of them but certainly a few, and yes, they do range from one to five stars. The point being, you CANNOT PLEASE ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME, and the way I’ve heard it put is that if you don’t have at least a couple of negative reviews then not enough people are reading your book to begin with. But it ranges, and ranges widely – I’ve had “life-changing” and “awful! just awful!” levelled as comments *at the same book* by different readers. Did I pay off the first reader’s mortgage and her kids’ college bills and send a firebug to the second reader’s house to burn down the place with her still in it? No. I smiled at the first review, winced at the second, and went back to writing my next book. Which will hopefully gather more reviews, good AND bad.

    Once a writer starts thinking about their own writing as Holy Writ, it’s over. It’s just OVER. Next stop, Kookville.

    (And for the curious, yes, I do occasionally click on the “yes” button when asked if a particularly nice review has been helpful. Because it HAS BEEN. I don’t do it multiple times or ask other people to do it on my behalf. And I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on the “no” button. What’s the point?)

  178. Bernita
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:23:30

    Katie: Sharon Tate?

  179. Merrimon Crawford
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:24:38

    Ann Somerville and others, I do not understand what is the point of singling out reviewers in your post.

    I am no one’s pawn in terms of reviewing or anything else in my life related to books or otherwise. I was trained as a Medievalist and spent 10 years of my life dedicated to the exclusive study of Medieval literature plus modern literary theory. As many people know, much of Medieval literature is anonymous and the authors are long gone so, in one sense, I do not care who the author is when I review. It is just a name used to identify a work, a style, or a canon of work when there is a name.

    Deborah MacGillivray does not influence my reviews of her works or anyone else’s. Nor will those who line up against her. My reviewing reflects the way I was trained to look at literature, plain and simple. I try to create avenues for potential buyers/readers to see something in a book, kind of how newspaper reviews are, the kinds of newspaper reviews you find tucked inside of books — but all without creating spoilers. In general, I do not review books I do not enjoy. I am one person, not an entire review group so I prefer to spend what little free time I do have reviewing the books I enjoyed. When I have a problem with a book, I would not hesitate to write the author to let them know the issues if I choose not to review a book. I have been reading for over 40 years now and I have spent most of life dedicated to reading. After 40 years, I have a very good idea of what I like to read. I select books for review very carefully, even when experimenting with a new genre, so I rarely get books I do not enjoy.

    My point is this. I treat every book I review the way I treat Deborah MacGillivray’s books. I am glad when any author feels I have treated their work seriously. I do. She is not the only author to appreciate my reviewing. I do not appreciate my name being dragged into some debate that has nothing to do with me. I have seen my fair share of wacko things on Amazon, but the sickest thing of all, I believe, is seeing reviewers trashed because they actually read the books they review closely, feel passionate about books and dare to admit that in a review. I enjoy Deborah MacGillivray’s writing very much, so the chances are high that I will enjoy future books I read by her… but I want to make one thing clear — she did not and will not coerce me. Likewise, neither will those who have issues with her influence me to appreciate her writing less.

    I would appreciate it my name would no longer be used period in debates that have nothing to do with my reading and reviewing. In the interest of disclosure: I have absolutely no desire to write fiction (analyzing fiction excites me, writing it does not) and no author or publisher pays me for my reviews. My reviews come from my deep love and passion of literature, period.

  180. Kristi Ahlers
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:31:45

    Shiloh~
    Thanks for your post. I lived it, I learned from it and I have moved on thank goodness!

  181. I Never Delete Anything
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:34:53

    Shiloh, it could be. I just noticed they were discussing deletions. Maybe it’s innocent. I thought it was odd.

  182. Holly
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:35:12

    Forgive me if someone already mentioned this (I’m not slogging through all 500+ comments to check one way or the other) but in regards to this:

    I'd bet the farm and all its animals that Emma Holly has nothing to do with this. (Or Barbara Pierce).

    I think those of you who thought Reba was saying these authors (Emma Holly and others) were part of this mistook her statement. She didn’t say they had something to do with the debacle on Amazon. What she said was that because of the actions of DAM and her minions, she stopped reading romance. Therefore, she got rid of books she had TBR, including Emma Holly and others. Just thought I’d mention that. :)

  183. Book club member
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:49:11

    I belong to a romance round robin book club that has been going on for almost 6 years. We have over 1000 people and I can honestly tell you we don’t pay attention to amazon reviews. All of our members use each others opinions, As you can imagine with over 1000 women we don’t all agree. I can also tell you all of us belong to many different sorts of groups online and this is being talked about everywhere. One thing we all seem to agree on is how ridiculous Deborah Macgillivray is.

    Kristi Ahlers as a avid romance reader I respect you and all the writers on here for coming out and admitting anything you’ve done, be it big or small.

    Just thought I would let you know there are over 1000 people out there enjoying all your hard work.

  184. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:52:51

    And Lynne, I'm not so sure this is tremendously different in one respect from Triskelion. I was in what I'd call the second wave of departures, and it took a lot to get me to bail. There's a common thread with these companies that are going under-a big ego at the top, a lot of arrogance, and a mentality that you can treat people anyway you want and it won't come back to bite you in the ass.

    Can’t argue with that. What finished Triskelion was the print program and the cash crisis that started there, but the lousy websites meant that sales of the ebooks declined, when they should have been increasing, and hey, whose fault was that?
    And yes, the egos of the owners was something to behold. Hissy fits and all.

  185. Robin
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 14:56:44

    Holly, this is the snippet from Reba’s comments I was initially referring to:

    They DO guard a group of authors. Dawn Thompson, Leanne Burroughs, Barbara Pierce, Emma Holly, etc. It's a pack, I'll post good reviews for your book, if you post good reviews for mine and we'll hound anyone that doesn't conform.

    But, as I said, I don’t think every author DAM and crew “guard” is involved with them, just as I don’t think every author linked on DAM’s author links page is a crony. But darn, I wish it was clearer who is and who isn’t actively involved.

    Anon HP: thanks; I get it now. Yikes.

    Shiloh, it could be. I just noticed they were discussing deletions. Maybe it's innocent. I thought it was odd.

    I think the mention of “Dawn” as a named email recipient is odd, too, like it was written before she died. At this point heaven only knows what’s being done, deleted, edited, pulled, reproduced, etc. The only thing that seems clear is that DAM has no intention of admitting any wrongdoing, and as far as I can tell, Leanne Burroughs has made no statement, either.

    And really, it’s a big deal, not only because of the author bullying, but because of the Amazon review gaming AND the stuff regarding reader “Reba” — in some ways I think it’s more infuriating to me than the Cassie Edwards situation, perhaps because of the many directions at which it seems to be aimed. I know that many of us don’t take Amazon reviews seriously, but that’s our choice, right, it shouldn’t be okay under any circumstances for authors to be gaming them so shamelessly. Yeah, it’s not so good if you have your friends and relatives write a bunch of positive reviews to counteract the negative ones, but I think that’s somewhat different than trying to deny someone else the right to speak their opinion. That the system is set up to allow such gaming doesn’t, IMO, make it acceptable in any way, especially when you think about the breadth of Amazon’s offerings. I have no idea what’s going to bring it to an end, but I do believe that speaking one’s opinion to those in charge (whether it be publishers, Amazon, RWA) can be very effective. NONE of these entities wants unhappy readers/consumers, especially in this economy. If they’re not particularly interested in the philosophical loss of credibility among readers and consumers, they’re definitely interested in the loss of consumer cash.

  186. Holly
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:06:18

    Oh, thanks Robin. I didn’t see that other comment.

    I agree, it’s frustrating not knowing which ones are involved. Someone want to type up a nice clear list for us? Yeah, didn’t think so.

    I know that many of us don’t take Amazon reviews seriously

    I don’t take Amazon book reviews seriously, but that’s only because I belong to a community of online reviewers I’ve come to know and trust for recommendations. I do, however, check Amazon reviews for just about everything else, from electronics to how comfortable a pair of shoes is. So I’m really bothered by this. How many times have I purchased an electronic gift for a friend that got excellent reviews that was really just a piece of crap? Does the manipulation extend to every area?

  187. C.L. Wilson
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:21:07

    To “I never delete anything”
    The email you posted in #161 (think it’s 161) was about piracy – the unauthorized copying (theft) and uploading of authors’ books to file sharing servers. Having just received similar notifications about the selfsame xboards site myself, your assumption that this is tracks covering is mistaken.

  188. Heather Holland
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:22:27

    This goes so far beyond insane that I really don’t know how to describe it. Shocked doesn’t begin to cover it. But I do know that there is NO excuse for such behavior–EVER.

    Having been targeted by an online stalker, I can tell you first hand that it’s very scary, frustrating, and nerve-wracking. I pulled away at first from the site where it was happening, then the person followed me elsewhere. So, I went back to the source, talked to the web-mistress and it stopped. That was years ago, but it’s something I’ll probably never forget.

    This cannot be allowed to continue. And I do hope that all the wonderful readers out there realize that not all authors are insane like this. There are many, many, many rational authors out there, it’s just the looney ones that steal the spotlight.

    My sympathies to everyone who has been in the direct line of fire of this insanity. There has to be a way to stop this. Best wishes to all involved.

  189. Karen Scott
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:32:51

    Well I’ve done my bit, I’ve sent an e-mail to both Steven Zacharius at Kensington and Galleycat. Hopefully if enough people send e-mails too, the powers that be will be forced to take notice.

    I’m not holding my breath, but you never know.

  190. Scary
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:40:04

    I repeat, my opinion of Ms. Ahlers behavior stands despite your lectures about my wrong thinking. Unlike Ms. Ahlers, I'm not a follower so your reasoning on her behalf strikes no chords with me.

    Disgruntled Romance Author……Well, then, how about telling us who you are? And don’t turn that back on me. I’m not the instigator here.

  191. On My Mind
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:44:07

    Has DAM responded anywhere, on any site about this? I am just curious because you would think she would try to do a little damage control. Although it is pointless now……

    Denise, she hasn’t responded here unless she’s one of the few detracters. However, she’s busy on reader/author loops publicizing Dawn’s books as if nothing is going on.

  192. On My Mind
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:46:30

    For those who thought HP was an ebook publisher: They were print first and got into epublishing at the end of last year. There is argument that they are POD, to which they voraciously deny. Of course, no one believes them. ; )

  193. Three sighs…and I’m out! « The thing is…
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:50:00

    [...] to change that to the Internet never forgets.  Anyway, there’s another thread going on at Dear Author which makes for very interesting–and a little [...]

  194. On My Mind
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:50:25

    She's responded in other forums that she dosn't read or respond to blogs, but that she'll reply to any questions presented to her directly. I'm assuming email. Might be interesting to contact her and ask questions…

    Someone already tried that, and DAM came back with an underhanded, off-kilter response. She was quite vicious to the person who posted the dearauthor blog url for others to read. But DAM felt the need to cut down the person in her usual way. Somethings will never change.

  195. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:38:27

    Ann Somerville and others, I do not understand what is the point of singling out reviewers in your post.

    Merrimon Crawford, I don’t understand the point of singling *me* out of several hundred comments when I haven’t even mentioned a reviewer by name (unless you mean me offering support to Reba about 400 comments ago.)

    Reading comprehension not your strong point? Not exactly a recommendation for a reviewer. I never mentioned you, have no idea who the hell you are. Now you can stop namedropping *me* unless you’re giving a fulsome review to one of my fabulous novels.

  196. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:40:50

    AnonHP, Elisa Rolle’s blogpost that you linked to, is nothing at all like what Dear Debbie is doing. All she’s doing is inviting readers to take part in a contest. A perfectly ordinary and perfectly legitimate activity. There is nothing in there to suggest people rort the system or misuse their voting power.

    Unlike what Dear Debbie and chums have been doing for a long time.

  197. Radish
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:42:40

    How many times have I purchased an electronic gift for a friend that got excellent reviews that was really just a piece of crap?

    Hear, hear. Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of truth in advertising?

    This is a twisted reversal of “the boy who cried wolf”, and if it ['it' being manipulated reviews/opinions] continues like a free-range chicken with its head cut off, Amazon is at risk of losing its hard-won credibility as a vendor of products that actually meet the consumers’ expectations.

  198. DS
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:49:09

    Ann Somerville, Merrimon Crawford’s name was mentioned by DAM in the post you quoted in 46. Yeah, they didn’t read carefully. Sure defensive though.

  199. Ann Somerville
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:54:55

    So, basically, Merrimon Crawford is outraged that they’ve been ‘outed’ as an Amazon reviewer that Dearest Debbie admires.

    Man, the crazy is just flying around today, isn’t it. The secret is not to inhale, people.

  200. Jennipher
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 16:57:08

    Ann Somerville, Merrimon Crawford's name was mentioned by DAM in the post you quoted in 46. Yeah, they didn't read carefully. Sure defensive though.

    Could it have anything to do with the fact that DAM is listed as one of her 7 friends on Amazon? Things that make you go hmmmm….

    Merrimon Crawford’s Amazon profile …friends listed at the bottom.

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