Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Wherein Jane Sends Email to Victoria Laurie’s Editor

Dear Editor:

I read today on your author, Victoria Laurie’s, website that you have been in discussions with her about a voice mail message that you have received from a blogger called NovelReads about a statement Ms. Laurie made on her website. I felt that Ms. Laurie’s accusations of this reader being a “psycho” and a “cyber stalker” should not go unchallenged. The timeline of events occurs as follows:

1. In July Ms. Laurie takes exception to a review left at Amazon by a reviewer with the handle Butterscotch.

2. In July Ms. Laurie blogs about this reviewer and says these things in a blog post has since been deleted by can be read here via Google Cache). The blog post, in case you do not care to read it, includes the following comments:

And you should never pick a fight with an author-.well-.because, honey, we know how to get even. ;)

and

And so, come September-my little “fan” and some of her close friends and family will likely read about a character with a very similar name, (i.e. nearly identical but not enough to get me sued) depicted in one of the most comical and fabulously scandalous scenes within Death Perception. And trust me-this isn’t a scene which in any way flatters that character. :) (Also trust me-.you’ll know it when you read it!)
-

In other words, if in a year you should pick up a copy of Doom With A View and read about a certain transvestite prostitute with a piss poor attitude and a bad case of V.D., who just happens to go by the name of an ice cream topping-.well, you and I and about 60,000 of our closest friends and family will know exactly where that inspiration came from. ;)

and

my editor thinks this concept of mine is hilarious and she’s going to suggest the idea to her other authors who are fed up with being targets for the mentally deranged.

3. I blog about this and Novelreads (and many other readers) i disturbed by Ms. Laurie’s conduct as well as the idea that an editor of a major publishing house approves of this type of action and that the editor is going to suggest to other authors to do the same.

4. Novelreads then leaves a voicemail message expressing her disappointment.

5. Ms. Laurie then gets a call from her editor (which I presume to be you) expressing concern over Ms. Laurie’s safety and suggesting that she contact a lawyer. Apparently she does so.

6. Tuesday, Novelreads receives a letter via email from a lawyer purporting to represent Ms. Laurie asserting that Novelreads is violating Ms. Laurie’s copyright rights to her blog posts and that Novelreads is inappropriately interfering with a contractual relationship with yourself.

7. Ms. Laurie has blogged again with the following:

ANYhoo, to catch you all up, last week I got a very upsetting phone call from my editor who was really creeped out. She said that some crazy woman had called the voice mail of another editor in her department. The caller clearly thought that editor was my editor and had demanded to be called back saying she was “deeply disturbed” (mental diagnosis or state of mind?) about a blog that I’d written and she demanded a comment from my editor.

She also said the woman didn’t leave her name, but left a blog address, http://novelreads.blogspot.com/ and told me to go look at it and probably look into retaining an attorney. Now, the blog that she posted didn’t bother me much, she seems to be a woman who just wants to be noticed – and isn’t getting much attention, (and I know from previous posts that she “dreams of being a writer someday,” hmmm, envious much?)

I can’t imagine that you asserted a reader was psychotic or a cyberstalker and I also thought that you should be in command of all the facts before making up your mind about NovelReads who was merely expressing her thoughts as a reader and blogger about an author’s actions which appear out of the bounds of decency to many.

No response is necessary.

Best regards,

Jane Litte

http://dearauthor.com

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

175 Comments

  1. Val Kovalin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:30:16

    Wow, Jane, you’re the best!

    ReplyReply

  2. Amy
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:32:29

    [Clapping my hands]! Jane, please keep us posted on the editor’s response (if you do receive a response).

    ReplyReply

  3. jessica
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:37:49

    Jane, I am so impressed with your clear and concise matter of the situation. Please keep us updated on the situation.

    ReplyReply

  4. Val Kovalin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:42:52

    Meant to add, thank you for articulating what so many of us would like to express. I, too, would be interested in knowing how the situation plays out.

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  5. Beth Headrick
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:48:29

    And the blog is now down! Laurie’s blog has been taken offline. Nice job Jane! Looks like the Penguin didn’t find this so funny after all.

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  6. Raye
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:48:56

    It’s very interesting to note that Ms Laurie’s blog has apparently been reduced to entries from 2006 which are reducing as we speak…Well done for standing up for a reviewer’s right to have opinions. The likes of Ms Laurie don’t appear to appreciate that everyone is entitled to an opinion and to not be lambasted in public because their view is not one that the author likes. Unfortunately all writers (whether published as a book or on a website) are not going to appeal to everyone…that’s what makes us such an interesting species, we are all different.

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  7. JC Wilder
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:50:38

    It never fails to amaze me in how many ways an author can destroy their own careers.

    This is like a train wreck, its hard to look away.

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  8. Sabrina
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 13:53:21

    Umm unless I have completely lost it this morning(in Alaska, still AM here) I just went to her website, clicked on Blog..says it’s not there. Now I was there about an hour ago reading some of the sooo insane, (voicing everyone elses reaction) need to do a thorazine shuffle comments she had on there..decided to go back and see if any other comments were up..JC totally agree with youon the train wreck, don’t want too but just can’t look away! So have I completely lost it or is it really not there?? Did she finally get a clue??

    –Well I got my answer, apparently I am not the only one that noticed it was down:)

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  9. katiebabs
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:03:39

    This is again another case of someone being pathetic. And if VL is a so-called psychic, wouldn’t she this whole drama coming?
    And I love when the shit hits the fan, posts on these author’s blogs who are causing the drama just happen to go MIA or have them erased. At least have the balls to stand by your words and don’t take the coward’s way out by getting rid of them.
    Again pathetic and sad. :(

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  10. theo
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:07:26

    WOW! Jane! The second standing ovation you’ve gotten from me today and I’m very stingy with those.

    You’ve not only stood for novelreads, but all of us who either write, blog, opine or any other thing (like posting comments!) on the internet where really, one should just read it and, if they don’t like what they’ve read, move on.

    Whatever happened to an author simply saying “Thank you for the time you spent reading my ________” you fill in the blank. They did take the time, one would hope read a legitimate copy and posted what they did or did not like.

    Whether it’s about the book or yes, in some cases, the author personally, it’s ONE review!! A sorry way to end a career, publicly going after one review out of how many total readers, who probably liked what you wrote but will no longer read you because you can’t accept a bad review as an adult.

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  11. MCHalliday
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:14:43

    The latest on VL’s website, Contact link:

    Due to my increased work schedule, I am no longer responding to emails.

    If you would like to comment on my blog, or write a testimonial please visit those pages tabbed above. If you need to contact me regarding an urgent matter about your scheduled appointment – please call my office @ 512-358-0620 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. CST Tuesday – thru Friday. (If you need to change the phone number on your appointment and there are less than 48 hours before your scheduled time – please contact me via the phone number above.)

    Otherwise – you may contact my webmaster – who schedules my appointments at – [email protected] (please note – these emails should discuss appointments only – any personal message will NOT be forwarded on to me.)

    If you represent a book review website or periodical and would like to obtain an ARC, please send an email to [email protected] listing your contact information and my publicist will get back to you shortly.

    ReplyReply

  12. Lynn
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:14:49

    LOVE the letter! Please share if you get a response. I too noticed that the blog seemed to be disappearing all day and is now gone completely. I can’t help but giggle.

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  13. MCHalliday
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:24:50

    Jane, hope I am able to repost here the info available on her site…would assume it to be not reprehensive to do so but if you feel otherwise, please delete it.

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  14. The Profane Angel
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:25:21

    Oh well done, Jane! Please keep us informed. TPA

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  15. Jane
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:25:39

    I think it would be okay to repost portions for commentary but maybe not the entirety of it.

    ReplyReply

  16. Amy Wolff Sorter
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:27:01

    You’re my hero Jane. I can’t imagine any editor condoning such behavior from one of her writers. Most of the editors I know would boot writer with this attitude out the door faster than a kick up the backside.

    I’ll be curious as to the editor’s response. Please do keep us posted on this.

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  17. Ana
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:28:21

    I heart you, Jane.

    ReplyReply

  18. MCHalliday
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:29:13

    Jane, do whatever you wish…my window of edit time is past.

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  19. Anion
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:36:44

    I really do hope we hear from the editor. Because honestly? The poor girl probably had no idea her author was spreading this crazy and claiming she was in on it, and to suddenly get voicemail messages regarding it might very well have made her nervous. (I’m not saying it was wrong to call her, not at all; just that it might have confused her or made her wonder what was happening.) So I’d love to hear that she now knows what actually happened.

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  20. JaimeK
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:38:58

    Very well done, Jane, very well done.

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  21. MD
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:42:55

    Thank you, Jane. Just thank you.

    Due to my increased work schedule, I am no longer responding to emails.

    Due to my increased work schedule…ha! rotflmaoooooooooo.

    One minute she’s threatening people with lawyers, the next she’s slinking away in shame. I hope that means lesson learned–unless it’s just a case of Vicki’s mommy taking her toys away and making her go stand in Time Out for a while.

    Also hope that anyone considering paying Vicki 100 dollars for a “psychic” reading will stop dead in their tracks, realize how incredibly stupid that would be, and instead donate the money to one of those charities Vicki so highly recommends.

    ReplyReply

  22. Jenns
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:52:35

    Brava, Jane!
    Please keep us updated.

    ReplyReply

  23. Julia Sullivan
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:55:53

    I betcha that the Penguin attorneys did not find this funny at all. Not at all.

    In future, folks? If anyone wants to alert someone at a publishing house about an Author Behaving Badly in a way that might be injurious to someone, go right to the attorneys, not to the editor. The attorneys really, really don’t want to be involved in any libel suits that stem from some vindictive author writing about the nefarious habits of Ms. Thinlee Disguised-Enemy.

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  24. Mireya
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:59:02

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when her editor read that and when this person realized what she did was, well, stoopid, that’s all I have to say.

    ReplyReply

  25. che
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:13:04

    I’m reading comments here and there about how it’s career suicide, no future in publishing, etc. Really? It seems it hasn’t affected DAM’s future one iota. What about one certain vicious author and her equally vicious minions (starts with f and ends with bat)- seems they still have a publishing future. Same with authors who plagiarize i.e. CE and JD.

    Meanwhile, it’s great to see a bully being backed down.

    ReplyReply

  26. Karen Scott
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:19:14

    Nice letter, Jane. Just what Blogland needed, another Grade A twat, with little or no brain cell activity going on.

    I wonder if her editor told her to shut her blog down?

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  27. Kalen Hughes
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:21:10

    I'm reading comments here and there about how it's career suicide, no future in publishing, etc. Really? It seems it hasn't affected DAM's future one iota. What about one certain vicious author and her equally vicious minions (starts with f and ends with bat)- seems they still have a publishing future. Same with authors who plagiarize i.e. CE and JD.

    Che, honey, you’re dead on. In publishing it’s all about the numbers. And unless VL’s next book TANKS, she’s very unlikely to be cut loose by her publisher.

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  28. Anon08
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:24:07

    I wonder if her editor told her to shut her blog down?

    Doubtful, since the blog started disappearing before the email was sent.

    VL is one who looks to her peers for approval, as anyone who read her previous post about Butterscotch can see. The comments to her current post were entirely derogatory in nature, prompting VL to first delete the comments, then disable commenting. When people started going back and commenting on past posts, she deleted all of them.

    ReplyReply

  29. Karen Scott
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:29:43

    Che, I’m pretty sure The Batshit Crazy One didn’t really have a publishing career to begin with. I know of at least one publisher who wouldn’t touch her with yours now, but that might be because her one and only booked sucked arseholes to begin with, thus maybe not such a sacrifice for publishers to ignore her.

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  30. Ellie
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:38:42

    Thank you Jane—both for writing the letter to Laurie’s editor and for sharing it.

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  31. S Andrew Swann
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 15:45:49

    I just wonder at the pathology that makes her say all this batshit-crazy stuff one moment, then annihilate her entire blog the next. You know, writing is a public performance, blog writing even more so, and guess what, not everyone likes you. If you can’t handle that, you really should find another line of work.

    What really was appalling about her last blog post was the fact she put real people’s email addresses in it. I don’t do that even when I’m making fun of SPAM– and, in fact, SPAM’s the only e-mail I’ll quote publicly w/o permission.

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  32. Robin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:08:10

    Although I would be very surprised is Laurie’s editor a) knows what’s going on with Laurie’s blog, b) actually encouraged Laurie’s “revenge”, and c) will publicly respond to this issue, I also would be surprised if something didn’t happen behind the scenes. Because Laurie has, at least twice now, implicated her editor directly as supporter/encourager/adviser of Laurie’s actions — actions which some might construe as defamatory. And while it amazes me that Laurie would potentially imperil her editor like that, it would amaze me more if her editor didn’t find that particularly objectionable.

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  33. Flower
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:11:27

    Bravo! I am in awe Jane!! *bows*

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  34. sallahdog
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:14:29

    Now, the blog that she posted didn't bother me much, she seems to be a woman who just wants to be noticed – and isn't getting much attention, (and I know from previous posts that she “dreams of being a writer someday,” hmmm, envious much?)

    What a patronizing snot…. Its not like Ms.Laurie writes frickin “War and Peace”….

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  35. Jia
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:34:54

    I wonder if her editor told her to shut her blog down?

    I seriously doubt her editor did, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her agent said a word or two.

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  36. shirley
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:42:27

    See, I don’t know. This is arguably a case of ‘author behaving badly’, but I kind of think DA and NR exacerbated the affair for no other reason than to spark drama. I know, my opinion won’t be received kindly, but that’s kind of what it looks like from this outsider’s perspective.

    I mean, VL already acted poorly. With Google, anyone could have read the ravings. DA didn’t need to post a bunch of letters over it. In fact, just linking to the Google cache would have been enough for readers to make their own judgements. But by adding subjective commentary, it becomes less pointing out poor behavior and more ‘everybody come chime in and talk badly about X’.

    It’s this kind of stuff that makes lots of readers who aren’t vocal feel sort of bad about romancelandia, so to speak. Jane could have sent the note in private and probably effected the same results without having responders here allowing others to chime in with the ‘bat shit crazy’ comments. It doesn’t exactly make all the responders seem completely sane to be tossing in their personally directed negative two cents left and right.

    Like another commenter suggested, the editor may have been truly unnerved by an angry, and likely belligerent, voice mail left on a co-workers phone and probably followed whatever protocols she thought right at the time.

    As for the cease and desist letter, it was over the top, but chances are if it went to court on copyright infringement, it’d be fifty-fifty as to how the thing would go down. Free use only covers so far, and it would probably be difficult to suggest some kind of social commentary in relation to the large sections quoted from the original angry ravings. Parody would probably be a bit difficult to prove as well. Moreover, if pushed that far, VL probably has the money to take it to court, but if I were NR, I wouldn’t want to be emptying my piggy bank to hire an attorney.

    I guess I’m all for authors behaving badly, but when some kind of group pile on starts, it stops looking like author behaving badly and turns into romancelandia behaving badly. Again, I know, not a popular point of view.

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  37. Amy Wolff Sorter
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:47:49

    I wonder if her editor told her to shut her blog down?

    I seriously doubt her editor did, but I wouldn't be surprised if her agent said a word or two.

    Yep. And I bet BOTH are telling her to keep off the Internet for the time being.

    I’m also going to bet that this is boosting her sales, despite her piss-poor behavior and despite the hole she dug herself into. I haven’t checked her Amazon ratings or anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d perked up a little. If so, it’s a sad commentary on what drives people to buy books.

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  38. shuzluva
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 16:51:29

    Theo said:

    You've not only stood for novelreads, but all of us who either write, blog, opine or any other thing (like posting comments!) on the internet where really, one should just read it and, if they don't like what they've read, move on.

    I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you, Jane, for eloquently sticking up for everyone in blogland.

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  39. Flower
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:00:16

    Shirley,
    I understand where you’re coming from with your pov and respect it. But I can’t help thinking that this is a case of ‘All it takes for a bully to win is for the good woman/man to do nothing’

    They each have a right to their say…and VL chose to take this public, front and center. You take your lumps, is all I’m saying.

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  40. JaimeK
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:06:26

    Shirley: It doesn’t matter if your view is popular or not – it is still your opinion and you have the right to it.

    I understand what you are saying and I disagree. I get what you are saying about this maybe being done behind closed doors, however, the point of a blog, usually, is conversation and opinions. VL chose a very public forum to make some pretty nasty remarks. On top of that you have yet another author who actually threatens a reviewer or reader or who ever it may be and that is going to bring out a ton of discussion and yes, sometimes, name calling. I don’t think it makes DA or NR look bad – they opened a forum and justifiably so it didn’t turn out so well for VL.

    I don’t think that “Romancelandia” is behaving badly – I think they are acting accordingly.

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  41. Amy Wolff Sorter
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:09:04

    Shirley, you bring up some very interesting points. Thanks for airing them :-). You remind us that it doesn’t pay to stoop to the level of the person who began this whole situation in the first place.

    Certainly, it doesn’t look great to an outsider looking in. Then again, it didn’t feel so great to that blogger to get a “cease and desist” letter from an author’s lawyer. I think everyone on this forum (and others) is frustrated that someone is being bullied and is rushing to this person’s defense. But you’re right — attacking the attacker just can create a backlash if it goes on for too long.

    Having said that, I’m suspicious of that “legal” e-mail to the blogger. What attorney in their right mind uses the Internet to send a cease and desist order? Doesn’t there have to be an actual defendant for that? As in, an actual defendant’s name, which no one really knows as the blogger uses an alias?

    My understanding is that legal judgments, et al, needs to come via hard copy, through the U.S. postal service (or its counterpart in other countries).

    Any legal experts out there to comment?

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  42. Jenns
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:12:20

    Shirley, I’m going to (politely) disagree with you. I feel that some of these authors behaving badly, such as LV, are actually harassing and attempting to intimidate readers. I’m not sure much can put a worse stain on romancelandia than that. I’m on the readers’ side, as I’m sure DA is.
    As for DA using this incident to merely spark drama, it seems to me that this blog and others were created to talk books and report on the industry in general.
    I’m not trying to be rude or argumentive, but – like I said before – I disagree.

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  43. Nora Roberts
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:20:27

    Well done, Jane.

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  44. Sabrina
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:24:11

    Shirley,
    I respect and understand your opinion, but will have to disagree on some points(and no worries about not being a popular comment, that’s what is great about this website). I would have never known about VL and her actions if not for DA as I do not read other blogs and I seriously doubt this would have made it on CNN. With the knowledge that has been posted on VL(both from the links supplied and quotes) I can make an informed decision on whether I would like to spend my hard earned money on an author such as her. IMHO DA has done a favor for “romancelandia” by pointing out this bad behavior. What I love about DA is that fact that I can read a review and post whether I agree or disagree with the reviewer’s point of view without fear of retribution from the author, the reviewer, or fangirls. It’s a mixed community of authors and readers that I believe work well together.

    Ignorance is bliss when it comes to food calories but not when it comes to spending my hard earned money:)

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  45. Lynne
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:26:21

    I don’t know if I would’ve called the editor. Sending an email or snail mail letter is more my thing. A phone call is more immediate, and depending on the recipient, it can be seen as aggressive, even if there were no such intentions on the part of the caller. Some people just get panicky about phone calls, and there’s often no way of predicting who’s going to freak out.

    I’m not saying ChariDee did anything wrong, mind you. It’s just not the route I would have chosen, if I had felt inclined to contact Victoria Laurie’s publisher about her conduct.

    In the years I’ve worked in Corporate America, I’ve seen consumer complaints make big changes in corporate behavior on more than one occasion, and I am a firm believer that the right letter, worded just so, landing on the right desk on the right day, can make a HUGE difference. I saw one of my former employers abruptly pull a multi-million-dollar ad campaign based on just ONE letter that hit all the right notes, sounded sane, and was worded respectfully. When the letter got to the president, he pulled the ad campaign that very day.

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  46. Sparky
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:29:25

    I do so love to see some quality stupid slapping :)

    I know some people have protested this all being out in the open and perhaps turning a small dispute between 2 people into a much larger thing – and I can see the point of that, there is always an element of drama because we all likes to see a good drama don’t we? (I know I do! The antics of authors and publishers are better than any soap opera!) But I think this needed to be larger and more public than just hidden away – this author intimidated, threatened and bullied someone in a way that is damaging to reviews and quality reviews in general and was frankly intolerable – and without the avenue of a public rallying cry like DA then she would probably have got away with it. I have a special hatred for faux legal threats as well – this needs to be named and shamed to every corner of the industry to try and stop such horrendous tactics in the future.

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  47. Jody W.
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:32:48

    Cyberbullying and internet group think are interesting phenomena from both sides of whatever fence has been erected. Why it happens…how people respond to it…how it reflects on us as a society…how it factors in to the brave new world of internet marketing and publishing…etc. So sometimes the issue isn’t as small as “that author behaved badly”; the impulse to share and discuss isn’t simply to punish that author as it is to negotiate this new territory.

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  48. MD
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:37:13

    It doesn't exactly make all the responders seem completely sane to be tossing in their personally directed negative two cents left and right.

    Do you think so? It comes across to me as just the opposite. When an author like Laurie publicly posts messages seething with bile, over-the-top arrogance, threats, and just mind-blowing vindictiveness, it actually reassures me to see readers and other authors and bloggers like Jane turn around and blow that nonsense to very public smithereens.

    Laurie isn’t just behaving badly. She’s behaving reprehensibly, on the level of DAM (although, granted, threatening to name a person after trashy characters in a book does not rise to the repulsiveness of stalking someone’s family). But you’ve only to read Laurie’s posts and blogs to understand what a thoroughly unpleasant person she is, and how much she seems to enjoy being that nasty toward people who would dare slight her or say anything negative about her work.

    That kind of behavior deserves a harsh spotlight shone upon it, revealed in all its ugliness. I am glad to hear about her, because I don’t want to put a penny into the pocket of someone like Laurie, who takes such obvious relish in slamming down her readers. If a few readers or writers offer her up a good dose of her own medicine, maybe she can learn something from it–but, after reading her posts, I sincerely doubt it.

    As a reader, I look at these posts and Dear Author’s responses and think, “Good to see this community looks out for those who are being treated badly and chastises those who are horribly in the wrong.”
    Jane did the right thing. You don’t sweep garbage like this under the rug. That will just make authors like Laurie feel snug and safe in continuing to be vicious across the interwebs. I would much rather see authors like Laurie feel worried and anxious that they may have done themselves a whole lot of damage that will take a good long while to overcome. Then maybe they and other such authors will think twice before doing it again.

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  49. Midknyt
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:49:30

    So…I’m not talented enough to figure out how to look up the cached link. Can someone post the link for the most recent post that’s being linked to at the top about the voicemail?

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  50. S Andrew Swann
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:50:17

    Shirley, to give you the POV of someone who is pretty much outside the orbit of romancelandia. Victoria is really the only one who looks bad in this. I may be a bit of a hard-ass on things like this, but I generally feel that if someone acts a fool in a public forum, you get to call them out publicly. And, in fact, NovelReads was incredibly circumspect in the initial post– as in asking, “does anyone else feel uneasy about this?”

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  51. Lynne
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:51:18

    I agree, Jody and MD. That the romance community is finally having this discussion is a good thing, IMO. As I was saying on a different DA thread yesterday, the DAM and VL scandals of this year are NOT the first time reviewer bashing/stalking has come up in Romancelandia, but this year we are seeing much more widespread concern about how badly some authors respond to criticism. Stalking and cyber-bullying are never acceptable. Unfortunately, there have been previous incidents where some in the romance community gave these behaviors a pass or even encouraged them.

    I guess it could fairly be said that there’s been a pile-on against DAM and VL, but sometimes the best way to deal with bullies like them is to call them out as publicly as possible. That’s what I think is happening here.

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  52. Robin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:02:12

    As a reader, I look at these posts and Dear Author's responses and think, “Good to see this community looks out for those who are being treated badly and chastises those who are horribly in the wrong.”

    I see it as going even beyond that. IMO, Laurie’s initial post, her admonition to readers that if they misbehave they will be humiliated publicly through a vicious characterization in a future work, was intended to intimidate critical readers into silence. It was not just garden variety ABB, but a definite threat (and self-consciously so, as I read the post). And when bloggers picked up on what she had to gleefully written, Laurie gets a lawyer friend to write a threatening letter to an individual blogger — is there any doubt that the intent was to silence that blogger, to give her fear of exercising the same rights to public speech Laurie capitalized on in her blog posts? Forcing silence is the whole point of Laurie’s words and actions, IMO, and cooperating can look a lot like capitulation.

    While I am not the biggest fan of variations on the batshitcrazy accusations, I am much less a fan of authors who believe that readers should not be entitled to respond critically to their work, and who are willing to threaten and otherwise intimidate readers in order to shut them up. IMO that is a problem beyond simply saying something stupid or doing something controversial or any other public expression or act that generates blog discussion.

    I don’t find these things entertaining in the way of a reality tv show, say, because to me there are real stakes here. I understand that some people find these incidents to be entertaining — and even cheerlead for entertainment’s sake alone — but I find them frustrating, tiring, and depressing most of the time, especially when there are still questions floating around as to whether it’s right to speak up (I’m thinking of the objections to the public discussions about Cassie Edwards here, for example).

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  53. Peter Durward Harris
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:03:39

    I am a firm believer that the right letter, worded just so, landing on the right desk on the right day, can make a HUGE difference.

    So please tell us how we can get Amazon to do anything about Highland Press. A lot of us have tried and failed.

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  54. Lynne
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:15:09

    Peter Durward Harris said:

    So please tell us how we can get Amazon to do anything about Highland Press. A lot of us have tried and failed.

    If their actions are in violation of Amazon’s TOS, that might be one angle.

    Robin said:

    I don't find these things entertaining in the way of a reality tv show, say, because to me there are real stakes here. I understand that some people find these incidents to be entertaining -’ and even cheerlead for entertainment's sake alone -’ but I find them frustrating, tiring, and depressing most of the time, especially when there are still questions floating around as to whether it's right to speak up

    I don’t find them entertaining, either. But I do think the discussions are necessary to have.

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  55. B
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:20:42

    So please tell us how we can get Amazon to do anything about Highland Press. A lot of us have tried and failed.

    There are several problems with that. Chief among them are that Amazon is freakin’ huge. They are the 600 pound gorilla and they’re rapidly gaining weight. I was not exactly happy to see that they’d acquired Abebooks recently.

    That streams into the next problem…actually reaching someone who cares and/or knows their ass from their elbow. You can’t even find such people in Customer Service over at Amazon. And one part does not know what the other parts are doing…when I was in Vine, I saw a lot of reports of people contacting Amazon’s Customer Service about Vine problems, only to receive the response “Vine? What’s that?”

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  56. Michael Farquharson
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:21:33

    It really reminds me of an old Rocky Horror line “Jesus Christ what a b*tch,quick Magenta hit the switch!”

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  57. Bev Stephans
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 18:44:28

    Well done Jane. I do hope you get a reply from the editor.

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  58. azteclady
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 19:07:30

    I find them frustrating, tiring, and depressing most of the time, especially when there are still questions floating around as to whether it's right to speak up (I'm thinking of the objections to the public discussions about Cassie Edwards here, for example)

    Exactly, Robin.

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  59. Julia Sullivan
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 20:34:18

    Well, there you go, Shirley. You have an opinion with which I could not possibly disagree any more. You express it quite eloquently. I read it, and then I think “H’m. Shirley and I disagree.”

    I do not decide “NOW I’M GOING TO GET SHIRLEY BACK BY WRITING A {insert negative characteristic} CHARACTER NAMED SHIRLEY IN MY NEXT BOOK” because I am not vindictive and inappropriate. I just notice the disagreement and move on.

    I think there are a lot of people out there who need a “Goofus and Gallant” for grownups.

    GALLANT receives a negative review. She looks at it briefly, evaluates its validity or lack of same, then moves on.

    GOOFUS receives a negative review. She takes it incredibly personally and vows revenge. In a public blog posting. Written in extremely unprofessional language. Then she gets a lawyer friend to make an empty (and also unprofessional) threat.

    In the absence of “Highlights for Grownups” I think that blogs like Dear Author perform a very useful public service. Letting people like Ms. Laurie labor under the delusion that this kind of behavior is even remotely appropriate is not actually doing them a favor.

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  60. Mora
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 20:56:03

    The second an author publicly attacks and harasses a reader, it stops being between two people and becomes a concern for ALL readers. And when said author tries to intimidate a blogger with faux legalese, it becomes a concern for all bloggers.

    Since the author brought her editor into the conversation and caused the editor’s professional integrity to be questioned, I don’t believe Jane did anything wrong by posting this letter.

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  61. Jane
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 20:58:15

    I’ve learned long ago that there are some people who will take your private emails and publicly distort what you say. No private email would have had any impact on Laurie.

    Further, the cease and desist and takedown letter was sent with the intent to harass and intimidate a blogger into taking action. As someone upthread suggested (Ms. Kearsley?), bullies go after people who are perceived to be alone. ChariDee is not alone and neither are other bloggers and that is a message that needs to be made publicly.

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  62. shirley
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:09:41

    I appreciate everyone’s view point and I’m glad to see that I didn’t somehow get vilified for having a differing opinion. :D It makes me feel better that just because I don’t agree, I won’t somehow get slapped all over for being outside the majority box here. Still, even though some of the cordial, articulate responses help me to see the ‘other side’, so to speak, more clearly, my perspective hasn’t changed.

    It would be different if VL’s actions resembled the Cassie Edwards situation, where something truly wrong (and illegal) may have happened (and did in my opinion). That story absolutely should have been brought to the forefront and investigated. I firmly believe actions like those taken by DA and others in outing the truth should be in the public view. If only because doing so shows the ‘world’ so to speak that romance writers aren’t going to allow sloppiness, or illegality, in their genre any more than other group of writers would.

    In this case, it isn’t as if VL said she was going to put a hit out on the reader. Was she trying to intimidate, humiliate, hurt the original critic with whom she disagreed? Absolutely. Was it bad behavior? You aren’t getting any argument from me on that. But as far as I can find, DA was not a part of the original back and forth. They chose to join in, which changes the whole feel of it for me.

    And truth be told, authors have parodied critics, and hell other writers, in fiction from time immemorial. Recently, in fact, Michael Crichton was supposed to have parodied a critic of his in “Next”. Now, did he blog about it before hand? Um, no. Crichton has *way* more class. But he surely did get his jabs in, through a character in the novel.

    I think anyone who critisizes someone, who makes their living with words, should inherently *know* that they take the chance of being made fun of later. It’s part of the gig, I guess. I mean, does it somehow make it worse that VL ‘said’ for all and sundry that she was going to get back at this person? Is that what makes it so awful? Somehow, I don’t know that her being vocal makes her intent worse than those of an author who doesn’t bray to the world, you know what I mean?

    So going to the extreme, in my opinion, of calling this particular author ‘on the carpet’ and in fact going to her editor over what is surely only poor conduct… It makes me feel a little, I don’t know, dirty, mean-spirited? I’m not conveying my emotion very well with words here, and I apologize. I’m not saying DA is dirty or mean spirited, but that the situations feels that way to me. That it’s being made into a big deal when it really should have warranted no more than a tsking and a roll of the eyes over another author with poor self-control.

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  63. Leah
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:10:10

    ANother poster wrote”In the absence of “Highlights for Grownups” I think that blogs like Dear Author perform a very useful public service. Letting people like Ms. Laurie labor under the delusion that this kind of behavior is even remotely appropriate is not actually doing them a favor.”

    That is a really good point. When I discipline my children, it’s not just because I’m mad at them, or think they are “bad.” It’s because I want them to learn good behavior–and part of that is learning what is NOT good behavior. People don’t always realize how public their behavior is online–they think they’re blogging to their BFFs, and that whatever they say is ok (or they really are bullies, cyber or otherwise and need to be confronted). I am always a big fan of the private, behind-the-scenes correction. But there is value in confronting someone publicly. For one thing, this serves as an education to others on how NOT to conduct themselves when faced with a bad review. It may encourage others who are currently behaving this way to stop. And it seems like Ms. Laurie has learned from it as well, if she’s taken down her blog for now. I hope so. It would be nice if she could move on and have a profitable, calmer, writing career. As for the humiliation aspect of it–well, sometimes that’s the most effective consequence. When I got in trouble in school, it didn’t hurt me to stand in the corner, or to stand against the wall during recess, or whatever. What hurt was knowing that everyone saw me being punished, and knew that I had done wrong, with the judgment that implies. It was a very effective deterrent the next time I was tempted to “talk to my neighbor.”

    (edited to put in quotes, but failed miserably!)

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  64. che
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:17:45

    Just speaking for myself and to use an analogy often evoked in ABB situations-

    Do I find real live literal train wrecks (or any highway accidents) entertaining? No.

    Horrifying and fascinating. Yes.

    Schadenfreude because a bully is getting her comeuppance. Hell yes.

    One has to wonder why VL thought she could intimidate a blogger (and previously an Amazon reviewer) like this and get away with it. The answer, I suspect, is that she and those of her ilk have done it before and gotten away with it.

    The bullying has to stop and the only way to do it is to shine a light on it.

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  65. che
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:24:17

    To Karen upthread- oh, I knew it was a stretch to refer to the viscous one’s “career.” Couldn’t tell from her website whether she wrote/published more books. Don’t give a shit. Her minions, however, seem to be still active.

    And Kalen- yeah sometimes it’s frustrating that publishers put money first. Understandable. But doctors and lawyers can lose their licenses. Why can’t author’s? Not that they need a license to write, but you know what I mean.

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  66. Robin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:34:02

    Michael Crichton was supposed to have parodied a critic of his in “Next”. Now, did he blog about it before hand? Um, no. Crichton has *way* more class. But he surely did get his jabs in, through a character in the novel.

    Now see I don’t hold Crichton as classy at all, but I do think he’s lucky that Michael Crowley did not sue him for defamation, especially since Crichton was cocky enough to use a barely altered version of Crowley’s name (Mick Crowley). After that story emerged, I never picked up another Crichton book again. That an author who relies on the pretense of artistic freedom to create his work should threaten those who dare to criticize him with potential portrayal as a sexually dysfunctional child molester strikes me as hypocritical at best. It may not be criminal (although that doesn’t mean it isn’t legally actionable), but IMO it’s *small*. Rebut the criticism, object strenuously, call him out, write a satirical send up even, but that . . . something totally different, IMO. And still, perhaps, not as extreme as the entirety of the Laurie situation. I don’t subscribe to the maxim that authors should remain mute in the face of harsh criticism, but there’s a big difference between calling someone out for their criticism and exacting revenge, IMO.

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  67. theo
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:35:31

    Shirley — While I can understand and appreciate your opinion/ideas regarding what’s been going on, I have to say I agree with others here who state that bullies like this author need to be publicly called on the carpet. Who’s to say she hasn’t done this with some other blogger/reviewer before it got too public? She admits to having coerced Amazon, using their own system, to have negative reviews removed from her book listings there.

    If she and others like her get away with it once, they’ll continue on and on until legitimate bloggers who have every much a right to post as Laurie does, fold because of pressure, fear and past occurrences?

    And Che — I agree with you and though I see your point too, Kalen, that many publishers can be and are driven by that almighty dollar, it’s really the reader that spends that dollar and I can’t imagine she’ll keep all of her readers after this. She might see a spike in sales for a week. People will want to see what’s going on and if she’s worth it. But in the long run, I truly believe she’s shot herself in the foot.

    But! That’s just me. If it had been handled quietly and with grace, it would never have come to a community outcry to protect those who give an honest but less than stellar review the right to continue reviewing without fear of reprisal.

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  68. Robin
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:44:32

    Maybe it’s just my cynicism or my natural distrust of authority figures, but I don’t think authors who stoop to conquer, so to speak, are ever going to “learn” anything, nor do I think I have anything to teach in that regard. For me it comes down to the simple concept of “no”: No, I will not be quiet; No, I will not let you intimidate and threaten me (or whoever); No, I will not give up my right to be critical; No, this is not okay.

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  69. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:52:30

    Blinking…man, some people. They kill me, really.

    I know a lot of people are questioning whether or not there’s any point in emailing a publisher/editor about this sort of thing, wondering if agents/editors care, etc.

    Yep, with publishers/agents, it’s going to be about the money.

    For example… if Nora Roberts (not that it’s likely to happen, but hey… it’s Nora, best romance example I can think of-hope you don’t mind me using you a hypothetical example, NR!) decides to turn around and lambaste some readers for daring to have…gasp…an opinion, the publishers aren’t going to blink. Some of them personally would likely be surprised, as would many of us in blogland.

    But it wouldn’t affect NR’s career or future deals with her publishers. She’s proven herself.

    However, unproven Miz Susie Q Romance turns psycho in blogland, running off the deep end and mocking readers, telling them, oh don’t piss an author off…I am author, hear me roar….well, here’s what I think when I see that:

    Wow. How fricking unprofessional can you get

    And Susie Q immediately goes to my list of authors not to mess with. Way too many books to buy, not enough time/money to read them all, so this is a good a way as any to pare down my TBB list or even authors to consider list.

    Likewise, I think that editors would also blink at a displayed lack of professionalism.

    Professionalism does matter. An author that doesn’t behave professionally would likely be a hassle to work with, and not just in reader relations.

    A lack of professionalism in one area could easily lead one to believe there is a lack elsewhere. Things like deadlines, timely editing, contract discussions, all these things where an author need to have her big-girl britches on and act like a normal, reasonable professional.

    If an editor sees something that gives the idea the professionalism standards aren’t quite up to par…. well, editors have lots and lots of books to buy, too. But they aren’t buying for their TBR stack. They are buying to publish, and I bet they want to deal with writers that are going to behave professionally–because that makes their job easier.

    And I know for a fact that several editors in the big houses do read blogs.

    Not too far a leap for me to think that unprofessional behavior on the part of authors could definitely impact a career.

    ~had to do some editing….

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  70. Ann Somerville
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 21:59:22

    That it's being made into a big deal when it really should have warranted no more than a tsking and a roll of the eyes over another author with poor self-control.

    Then I have to assume you’ve not been the victim of this kind of bullying because I can tell you – it is a huge deal. Threatening people with lawyers, outing their identity, bullying and controlling free speech – these are the kinds of things any decent person should make an enormous fuss about and I only regret that so few people have the cojones of Jane and Co. I make no apology for making a fuss about this, and rolling one’s eyes is a pretty pathetic response to this kind of shit.

    I’ll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike. I hope she’s as miserable as fuck right now. If that makes me a mean girl, too sodding bad.

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  71. Lori Borrill
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 22:13:28

    That it's being made into a big deal when it really should have warranted no more than a tsking and a roll of the eyes over another author with poor self-control.

    Yeah to what’s been said. But I’d also like to add that I’ve chosen to post my opinion a few times today because I am an author whose books are publicly reviewed, and I want to do my part to emphasize that this woman isn’t representative of the romance writing community as a whole. She’s a gross exception. Most of us take criticism as an opportunity to show how gracious we can be under fire, and are as shocked as readers over things like this.

    To me, that’s important enough to voice an opinion.

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  72. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 22:26:35

    That it's being made into a big deal when it really should have warranted no more than a tsking and a roll of the eyes over another author with poor self-control.

    Shirley, I get where you’re coming from. When I see an author (or anybody) who has done something wrong become the target of all sorts of mockery, jokes and mud-slinging, I don’t much see the point. It doesn’t make whatever action go away, doesn’t fix or help anything, so why bother?

    But I do see a reason for discussing this and the main reason is because for some fricking weird reason, a lawyer got involved. A cease and desist letter was sent.

    Now I realize cease and desist letters are probably a dime a dozen. I don’t think whatever the complaints VL has/had would hold water in a court of law.

    However, a lot of people see a letter from an attorney and it strikes fear into the heart-they start thinking lawsuits, paying for their own lawyer, etc, even though very often, it’s not anything that would come to pass.

    As lawsuit crazy as many people have gotten, I can understand the kneejerk panic.

    If the blogger who was threatened had given in (and brava for not), then this author would have happily patted herself on the back. And it wouldn’t have stopped. Likely the behavior would become worse and worse.

    Bullies are always looking for another target. It’s how they operate, how they live, how they get the jollies. The next person she went after might have been somebody who didn’t think to email a lawyer they know online and ask if they should worry–they might have paid some fee to talk it over with a lawyer and for all we know, it could be money that should have paid for heart medication, or food… or books ;)

    You can’t back down from a bully, because it just gets worse and the threatening behavior becomes more volatile.

    Who knows…maybe if some of the crap with DAM had been brought to light earlier, the stalking threats may never have happened.

    edited…as always…;)

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  73. Tams
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 22:50:30

    I understand Shirley’s point of view, but I have to agree with the others, this is a simple case of intimidation. Ms Laurie had a lawyer send that letter not because she was upset about a possible copyright infringement, but rather the response and reaction she was seeing to the words she had written. Copyright laws was the only thing she could come up with to make the blogger take down the comments receiving the negative reaction. I wonder if she would have the same problem if someone quoted from her blog to praise her. I doubt it.

    In her blog she complains that CharriDee contacted her editor, but wasn’t mentioning that fact in “complaining” about the lawyer. I don’t see how Ms Laurie is legally acting on her editors behalf with this. Although it was mentioned by CharriDee, I don’t believe it was relevant to the legal letter she received and the complaint within.

    I find the things Ms Laurie said to be upsetting. I understand that people get upset and blog emotionally. However, I do not care for her double standard. She can write negative things and bash people, but don’t bash her. If you do bash her or don’t care for what she has said then she will seek a lawyer and force you to take yours down. Or turn you into a bad character in one of her books and humiliate you publicly.

    I would have respected her much more if she had acted maturely and said I was upset and reacted strongly, and somehow tried to rectify the situation and the backlash instead of using intimidation. That only intensifies the negative feeling in my opinion.

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  74. Kathryn Smith
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 22:56:19

    Very well written letter, Jane. Is it wrong of me to say that I’m glad this isn’t me?

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  75. B
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 23:03:42

    One thing I’d like to note, too, is that the “bat shit crazy” comments are not, I think, wholly out of mean-spiritedness. I know that I look at things like this, as the things this woman has said, and I am utterly flabbergasted. (I love that word. It’s really perfect for the situation.)

    I think it’s just so hard to wrap one’s mind around this woman’s behavior. That anyone thinks it’s okay to act this way in a public forum is just…well, like with many of the statements made by one Mr. Terry Goodkind (who I brought up in the previous article), I see these things Laurie has said and my jaw hits the floor. They’re astonishingly cruel, vicious, and petty. They’re mind-numbingly bad behavior, in terrible taste. They’re childish, absurd, just…I could keep piling on adjectives and adverbs by the barrel full and never be able to express how unbelievable I find this. To see anyone over the age of 14 bragging about their mockery of someone, and using ridiculous “nicknames” like Bitterbitch…I simply cannot understand it.

    So I think that’s where I lot of this comes from. We all know how frustrating it can be to receive feedback that isn’t positive. And most of us who write know that you are going to encounter the occasional reader who really is just plain rude; you’re dealing with people, of course those are going to come along every now and again. But we also know that after a few years of experience and time to grow and mature, you need to handle such things like an adult. (At least publicly. I have nothing against anyone ranting and raving in private. My fiance hears plenty of it. My blog? Sees none of it.) I know this at 22. That Laurie doesn’t, at her age and with that many published books behind her…well, I for one just don’t get it.

    The only way my mind can begin to fathom it is “she must be crazy”. And to be perfectly frank, many of the things she’s said do indeed come off as unstable.

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  76. john sumner
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 23:17:16

    guys i normally dont go after a author this way like the way i did with VL but she went after a friend of mine whi is a group with me and she is a good person who does not deserve this crap that VL tried to pull, when anne rice went off on sime fans at least she did not try to do what vickie tried to do, and one more thing YOU GUYS ROCK na d jane you have one hell of a blg

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  77. Kelsey
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 01:26:38

    Shirley, I can agree and disagree with some of the things you have said. One might take this incident as a case of locking onto one person for the future crimes committed by others like her. I do not know if it was a correct course of action to bring this to light repeatedly when one post was sufficient enough to shine some light on a situation that was wrong. However, people may post whatever opinion they have. I don’t condone the words or actions of Victoria Laurie, but merely point out that maybe not all the wrongs committed ended when her blog was removed.

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  78. Selena
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 01:33:58

    As someone who has had the misfortune of being bullied and harassed for daring to express my opinion, let me say it is a scary, upsetting and, in my experience, a very lonely time.

    I don't understand why people feel they have the right to start attacking you personally and making nasty comments about you, or in this instance taking it that one step further by sending a cease and desist letter from a lawyer, because someone had the audacity to merely respectfully express their opinion. Just because their opinion is the antithesis of yours does not make them wrong.

    Such behaviour should not be condoned or ignored, no matter who the perpetrator is. It should be brought out into the open and discussed, not hidden away in the hopes it will all just go away. Sometimes all it takes is for one brave person to step forward and say this behaviour is not acceptable to bring about change and awareness.

    Jane, I salute you.

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  79. shirley
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 02:11:32

    Then I have to assume you've not been the victim of this kind of bullying because I can tell you – it is a huge deal. Threatening people with lawyers, outing their identity, bullying and controlling free speech – these are the kinds of things any decent person should make an enormous fuss about and I only regret that so few people have the cojones of Jane and Co. I make no apology for making a fuss about this, and rolling one's eyes is a pretty pathetic response to this kind of shit.

    I'll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike. I hope she's as miserable as fuck right now. If that makes me a mean girl, too sodding bad.

    You seem to really take issue with my comments, Ann. And once again, the assumptions you make are completely false. Moreover, calling me pathetic and an indecent human being because I don’t feel it necessary to jump up and down screaming at the outrage is, in my opinion, not only offensive, but outrageous.

    Simply put, this situation isn’t worthy of so much attention. Even the involvement of a lawyer, over the top, doesn’t somehow escalate the situation to the point where we, as human beings, should call for her to be put ‘on a pike’. Pardon my outrage, but how in heaven’s name does saying awful things like that make your comments any better than hers? Because you are ‘defending’ Charidee? Goodness, I’d hope you’d never come to my defense.

    See, that is exactly what I meant when I said opening this up to public commentary is part of what puts so many romance readers *off* of being more vocal within the community – in this medium. As I’ve said before, I belong to several groups where we discuss authors, reviewers, and the industry as a whole behaving badly. And we have these conversations in coffee houses, at dinner, and in private message boards.

    DA, SB, even KNB, all have a lot of readers who interact. But they also have many, many, many more readers who wouldn’t dream of doing so. And many of those ‘lurkers’ are also the people who hide their romance novels, instead of being proud to read such a genre-crossing, wide open, and generally well written fiction medium. And many of those lurkers feel that what happens when things blow up aren’t all ‘one side to blame’.

    Please excuse what I’m sure must read as harshness. Truly, I’m glad that most of the responders here took my concerns, my questions and feelings, seriously and understood what I was trying to say. There is no excuse AT ALL for the author’s poor manners and even poorer conduct. But when those working for the ‘victim’ turn to similar actions, then it’s difficult for an outsider, for me, to look on the whole thing and feel like it’s a ‘good’ thing.

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  80. Ann Somerville
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 02:16:47

    calling me pathetic and an indecent human

    Where did I do that, Shirley?

    call for her to be put ‘on a pike'

    Where did I do that, Shirley?

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  81. Karen Scott
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 03:35:56

    It's this kind of stuff that makes lots of readers who aren't vocal feel sort of bad about romancelandia, so to speak. Jane could have sent the note in private and probably effected the same results without having responders here allowing others to chime in with the ‘bat shit crazy' comments.

    If you truly feel that way, then I would seriously suggest you stop reading papers, watching TV, listening to the radio, surfing the internet, and avoid reading this blog. That’s pretty much the only way you can continue to wear rose-tinted spectacles.

    As for readers who aren’t vocal, feeling bad about Romanceland, you nor I will ever know their opinion until they speak up, and that’s kind of the point isn’t it?

    People keeping quiet about stuff they think is wrong, is how this world gets messed up.

    It’s all about context, and in this context, on this blog, for me, Jane handled things the right way. Ultimately, she’s a reader, who received an e-mail from a frightened fellow reader.

    Authors shouldn’t go around threatening the people who bothered to read their books for god’s sake, and those that do, totally deserve to get named and shamed for it.

    I’m pretty sure you’d feel the same way, if this had happened to somebody close to you.

    You send a polite note to a neighbour who’s parked their car in your spot. This, I think, called for firmer action.

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  82. Karen Scott
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 03:55:28

    I hope she's as miserable as fuck right now. If that makes me a mean girl, too sodding bad.

    What AS said.

    Simply put, this situation isn't worthy of so much attention.

    I have to totally disagree.

    This is Romanceland, and an author bullying a reader is totally worthy of this level of attention, and so much more besides.

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  83. Ann Somerville
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 03:59:16

    Karen, did you just agree with me about something?!!

    Shirley shome mishtake :)

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  84. Karen Scott
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 04:38:45

    Karen, did you just agree with me about something?!!

    Shirley shome mishtake :)

    Hey, first time for everything, right? :)

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  85. Anion
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 06:27:50

    Shirley, I do understand what you’re saying, I really do. Stuff like this can and has made me uncomfortable in the past.

    To me the difference here is, so many of us are really genuinely affected by situations like these. As I said in the original post on VL, this behavior interferes with *my* ability to interact with *my* readers. That’s very serious to me. It’s very upsetting to me. It violates what I believe is a sacred trust between writers and readers, and for that reason I think it should be brought to light and it should be examined, if for no other reason than so readers can see not every writer out there is ready to call for pistols at dawn over a negative or even lukewarm review.

    JMO, really. And as always, you have every right to feel the way you feel about this and I hope you won’t stop commenting; I think your comments have added to the conversation and I appreciate them. I simply feel that it’s important to discourage authors from this vicious behavior toward readers, and this is one way to do it.

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  86. Lynne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 07:25:54

    I think it should be brought to light and it should be examined, if for no other reason than so readers can see not every writer out there is ready to call for pistols at dawn over a negative or even lukewarm review.

    Exactly! Over-the-top behavior like stalking and threatening readers poisons the well for everyone. You’re absolutely right that it creates a pistols-at-dawn atmosphere.

    If people like VL and DAM would do this to readers, can you even imagine what they would’ve done if those readers were also writers?

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  87. Antonella
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 07:40:33

    Personally, I am thankful for this type of dialogue. It allows me to be an informed buyer. If I walk into a store and the clerk treats me with disdain and contempt, I refuse to spend my money there. (and I might be having a talk with the manager) Same with books. If I’m aware of an author who acts belligerent toward his/her fans, that author’s work is coming off my list of books to buy. Period.

    There are too many quality authors out there in romancelandia. Why waste my money on ones who cannot or will not act in a cordial and professional manner? I’m thankful for sites like DA, SB, etc. who spread the word when it comes to bad author behavior.

    Before I found this site, I had a DAM book on my wish list. Not anymore!

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  88. Lorelie
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:09:43

    But as far as I can find, DA was not a part of the original back and forth. They chose to join in, which changes the whole feel of it for me.

    DA did not just wade in, fists swinging, for the heck of it. Jane became involved when NovelReads contacted her for a little unofficial legal advice, as well as advice from Jane’s standpoint as a more well-established romance blogger. (Well, we know NR contacted Jane and involved her, I’m presuming as to the reasons.)

    I don’t presume to think this will transform your opinion in any way, but I just wanted to clear up that point.

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  89. EssieLou
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:09:53

    This isn’t the clerk in the store. It’s the CEO of Ford yelling at you and calling you names because you said that your Taurus was a POS. THEN he threatens you with a lawsuit for telling people about him trying to run you over with his Escalade.

    It’s the consumer being harrassed by the provider of a good or service. We wouldn’t tolerate it in a restaurant if chef came out and demanded we eat our undercooked steak, then threatened to call the police when we pointed out he was threatening us with a meat cleaver.

    Yet we act like this DAM and VL stuff is just a literary version of PMS instead of servant acting like the master, or a provider of a service acting like they control the buyer.

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  90. Anon76
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:10:34

    Shirley,

    I think what knotted my knickers in this situation (even though the DAM siutuation was much more frightening, and yes, what I consider batshit crazy) is that on her blog, VL came right out and thanked DAM and another for providing guidance on how to handle reviews she didn’t like. That there are authors out there banding together to stomp on those they deem unworthy of comment. And their methods of choice? Harassment, humiliation, threats, and stalking to silence.

    That, to me, is intolerable and must be stopped now.

    Before she took it down, VL’s response to all this hoopla was that she’d made the whole thing up. No real persons were involved in this mess. Teehee, aren’t I clever?

    NOPE. We all know better and that isn’t going to fly. Her actions were calculated, but not in the manner she professed at that later date.

    Yes, I hate it when people get over the top in their posts. But I consider that no less unsavory that setting a lawyer on a blogger who never originally offered up VL’s name as the individual in question.

    Oh well, that’s my take on it all.

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  91. JC Wilder
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:40:42

    The worst thing we can do is remain silent about situations such as this. This goes far beyond an author behaving badly – it is a direct reflection of what is going on in society today. Everyday I watch the news and see where First Amendments rights are being trampled on by the gorillas with more money and more lawyers. It’s just not right.

    And as an aside – I’ve never, ever heard of an attorney who sends our official letters via email. It’s hard to take that seriously.

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  92. RStewie
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:41:22

    I guess I am the only naive person here that was hoping that she would instead comment on her bad behaviour and appologize. It seems to me, too, that if this was all just an event to get attention, that would have been the way to go. From villian to victor with only an “I’m sorry.”

    Thank you, though, Jane, for keeping us informed. I certainly am interested to know any further developments.

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  93. Jody W.
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 09:04:33

    In all our years of romance blogwars, have we ever seen an author who behaved in a way the general blogosphere termed “bad” apologize and back down? Not just delete their blog and hide, but truly come around? This is not a rhetorical question. I just can’t think of any. Somebody else probably has a better memory. And if nobody else can think of any, either, I’m not saying it proves that publicly criticizing behavior the general blogosphere terms as “bad” is useless. Like Shirley and many others, I cringe when responders go overboard villifying the perceived wrong-doer, but most do not, and the resultant discussion can be enlightening. I do think it pays to remember there are two sides to every story, and perfectly decent, intelligent people convinced of their rightness can succumb to groupthink on both sides.

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  94. Nora Roberts
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 09:13:43

    ~And you should never pick a fight with an author….well….because, honey, we know how to get even. ;)~

    This right here is deeply distasteful and nasty. Plus, this woman doesn’t speak for authors. I have no desire or intention to ‘get even’ with a reader, and know no author personally who would.

    They fact that she does, and seems bent to doing so (though get even is a misnomer, imo) says quite a bit about her.

    ~my editor thinks this concept of mine is hilarious and she's going to suggest the idea to her other authors who are fed up with being targets for the mentally deranged.~

    Don’t believe this for a minute. If true, the editor also needs a lesson in professionalism. And the term ‘mentally deranged’ goes way off the charts.

    This is a woman having a very public tantrum. If you use blogs and the internet to have a tantrum, you should expect to incur considerable disapproval and criticism.

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  95. Nora Roberts
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 09:20:59

    Years ago I crossed a line with a reader. It wasn’t about a book or a review, and the reader became very personal–and sent me extremely nasty emails. However, instead of ignoring it or handling it calmly, I engaged–in a public forum. And it wasn’t pretty.

    I wasn’t professional, and showed a distinct lack of class in the incident.

    When I pulled it together, I apologized–personally and publicly–to the owner of the site where it began. I was wrong. I’d have felt a lot worse letting it lie there than I did taking my lumps and admitting my mistake.

    It was a hard lesson, and it taught me quite a bit.

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  96. L
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:00:23

    I agree with what everyone is saying here. It is not wrong to bring this public and discuss this on blogs and forums. Victoria Laurie blogged her horrible behavior to the world, and so we should stay quiet and let her hateful words and behavior stay in the dark? We should turn a blind eye, and do it all in “private”? I don’t think that would have done anything. This woman is clearly delusional and thinks she did no wrong and that *she* is the victim (but then, that’s their MO, to say they did no wrong and it was everyone else that is the bad guy).

    Until the DAM incident, I was clueless about these badly behaving authors. I never thought there were authors out there like DAM or Victoria Laurie, so cruel and petty. I think it’s important to bring to light these types of authors and their despicable behaviors. To stand to the side and do *nothing* while the bullies get away with their victimizing and petty behavior is just plain wrong.

    If I were on the receiving end of such authors I would want people to come to my defense, to support me and tell me I’m not alone. That is what we are all doing here, we are saying, “You can’t scare us! You can’t intimidate us! We will bring your ugly behavior to the public spotlight!”. I don’t feel sorry for authors like Victoria Laurie because they did this to themselves.

    Someone else mentioned this, but too many times people have let bad things in this world occur, and looked the other way while bad people did horrible things. Sure, this particular incident with Laurie isn’t as dire as some things in this world, but I can’t sit back and let an author get away with something like this when I can add my voice to everyone else’s and say, “Enough!”.

    Anyways, I haven’t seen where people have been over-top or cruel to Laurie in their posts, more like very outraged and passionate and willing to voice that outrage!

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  97. Jessica
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:25:59

    Years ago I crossed a line with a reader. It wasn't about a book or a review, and the reader became very personal-and sent me extremely nasty emails. However, instead of ignoring it or handling it calmly, I engaged-in a public forum. And it wasn't pretty.

    I wasn't professional, and showed a distinct lack of class in the incident.

    When I pulled it together, I apologized-personally and publicly-to the owner of the site where it began. I was wrong. I'd have felt a lot worse letting it lie there than I did taking my lumps and admitting my mistake.

    It was a hard lesson, and it taught me quite a bit.

    We all hope to avoid moral error (and, failing that, detection. Just kidding!). But we don’t. We are human, and we fail each other in all sorts of ways.

    But it’s how we clean up afterwards — how the experience of guilt and shame changes us for the better, and what we do to bring about moral repair — that help us figure out whether our fellows and ourselves are basically good people who have acted “out of character”, or whether these vicious acts reflect their (or our) true natures.

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  98. Tams
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:31:46

    In my opinion an author blogging about a negative reviewer is not a good idea for a simple reason: It makes the review and the reviewer more memorable to others. Unitentionally the author has associated themselves with that reviewer and that review. I have been looking at Amazon reviews for years, and I couldn’t tell you the name of a reviewer (other than friends I have made on the DB) or anything about a review except J Kaplan and VL / RebaBelle and DAM. Those are forever associated. VL has insured when I see Demons are a Ghouls Best Friend I think hmmm Kaplan said that book was garbage. Now looking at the Amazon page for the book, all the voting on Kaplan’s review has highlighted it as the most helpful critical review. From the author’s perspective it just seems best not to mention them, and hope they go relatively unnotice, or not much weight is put on the negative review. By putting emphasis on the review the author has in fact given that review more weight, more power, and more influence.

    Also, when I see a reviewer screenname I don’t know them, their opinion is one of many. For all I know that reviewer could be:

    1.) A troll trying to upset someone.
    2.) A disgruntled fan.

    I have to take all the reviews together to make a decision, not just one review. I have no expectation of how a screenname should behave. If they behave badly I can see that, roll my eyes and ignore them. If I don’t like what I see from them I will stop reading their reviews. What has the reviewer lost? Nothing.

    An author has a higher expectation and standard of ethical and professional behavior to meet. Since their name is memorable they need to protect their name and they need positive connotations associated with their name. If I don’t like how they behave I stop reading their books. What have they lost? A sale.

    For me it is the same as a politician and a political commentator. Do I expect the President or Senator to act more ethical than some news commentator? YES. Same principle. If a political commentator calls a Senator and his policies negative names do I want that Senator to go and have an ugly war of words with that commentator calling each other names and threatening the commentator? NO!!! It’s fine to respond, as long as you respond calmly and appropriately. Does that mean I approve of the commentator. NO!!! But it is more important if I approve of the Senator. Hence their are approval ratings for Senators and not for commentators.

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  99. Mireya
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:37:10

    One thing I will never fully understand from this type of incidents is this: authors read, right? So, it means they are readers too. They have opinions on what they read in the past and what they read now. You would think that an author would understand better than a non-reader what the deal is with reviews (unless the review is nothing but a personal attack under the guise of a review). I’ll never understand this type of reaction. I understand feeling hurt, but I would also think that the author would get over it and move on because, in the end, all readers have an opinion on the books they read, only difference is that some choose to voice that opinion.

    Don’t know if I am making any sense.

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  100. Mireya
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:39:04

    One thing I will never fully understand from this type of incidents is this: authors read, right? So, it means they are readers too. They have opinions on what they read in the past and what they read now and I am 100% sure that not all their opinions have been positive. You would think that an author would understand better than a non-reader what the deal is with reviews (unless the review is nothing but a personal attack under the guise of a review). I’ll never understand this type of reaction. I understand feeling hurt, I truly do because if I wrote, and got a not so good review, I’d feel hurt; but I also think that the author would get over it and move on because, in the end, all readers have an opinion on the books they read, only difference is that some choose to voice that opinion.

    Don’t know if I am making any sense.

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  101. Robin Bayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:45:27

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this–her blog is gone.

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  102. DS
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:45:38

    Actually, I said VL was batshit crazy on the other thread and I do believe she is. Nope, I’m not apologizing. I regard standing up against people like this as standing up for decent civilized behavior.

    I also remember the Nora Robert thing and Ms Roberts was real handsome about it. I’m not even a fan of her books, but I’m definitely a fan of her behavior. I give gifts of her books to those I think would enjoy them every chance I get.

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  103. EssieLou
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:51:22

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this-her blog is gone.

    Yep, even the link to ‘a’ blog is gone, so the home page has been revamped also.

    Actually, I said VL was batshit crazy on the other thread and I do believe she is.

    So did I and I don’t think it’s over the top— just a statement of how her behaviors appear to others.

    In my opinion an author blogging about a negative reviewer is not a good idea for a simple reason: It makes the review and the reviewer more memorable to others. .

    Exactly! Now when someone asks about DAM I’ll instantly say “Oh my, let me tell you about what she did to a fan!” Same with VL. It’s no longer about the quality of their books but the quality of their character.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said I believe that those authors who have some, but still minimal fan contact do better than those who surround themselves with cheering squads. Nora is a great example (to me).

    I think it changes brain chemstry….seriously! ;)

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  104. Julia Sullivan
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:54:29

    Another argument for naming this kind of inappropriate behavior is that it teaches others what kinds of behaviors are, and aren’t, appropriate.

    Even if Ms. Laurie doesn’t learn from this that it’s really Not Okay to bully reader-reviewers, there are other people who are new and aspiring authors who read the blogs and take away that message.

    And, yeah, people make mistakes and flip out in public. Heck, if a class act like Nora Roberts can do it, probably none of the rest of us are invulnerable. But part of being a class act is realizing what you’ve done wrong and apologizing for it–so thanks, Nora, for another really important tip for the new and aspiring.

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  105. Beth Headrick
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 10:55:35

    As Nora stated so succinctly above, VL took it upon herself to speak for “writers” and label us as generally nasty and vengeful. That cannot be allowed to happen. Published or unpublished, wildly successful or still trying to break into the business, an author is just a writer, nothing more or less.

    There is absolutely no excuse for climbing onto a high horse and deciding that you are allowed to pick and choose what should or should not be said about your work. And to “take vengeance” on critics is simply madness. If you put your work out there before the world, expect to be judged.

    Authors like VL and DAM should be taken to task for these things. Not everyone is going to like your work. When that happens you spit, you scream, you laugh, you rage. Hell, make a nasty blog post about critics in general if you like. You don’t target particular people, call them out, give away their e-mail address, harass them through internet lawyers, sic private investigators on their families, and terrorize them.

    That kind of behavior can, should, and will be called out. It matters not whether DA, or NovelReads, or any of the other numerous sites were involved at the beginning. If someone doesn’t get involved there will be no end.

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  106. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 11:04:22

    Mild irony—

    From Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog:

    Penguin Group USA offers a free 64-page document called Internet Advice for Authors: Getting Started, Getting Online, and Getting Noticed.

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  107. Anion
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 11:04:36

    One thing I will never fully understand from this type of incidents is this: authors read, right? So, it means they are readers too. They have opinions on what they read in the past and what they read now. You would think that an author would understand better than a non-reader what the deal is with reviews (unless the review is nothing but a personal attack under the guise of a review). I'll never understand this type of reaction. I understand feeling hurt, but I would also think that the author would get over it and move on because, in the end, all readers have an opinion on the books they read, only difference is that some choose to voice that opinion.

    Don't know if I am making any sense.

    It makes perfect sense, Mireya, and you’re absolutely right. Offhand I can think of half a dozen books it seems everyone loved but me; I was just “meh” about them, or even in one case actively disliked it. It happens. I don’t like the voice or a character or something about it bores or irritates me. The idea that every book must be universally loved and spoken well of is just silly; any thinking person knows that can’t possibly happen.

    The only difference between myself and a “civilian” reader is that I don’t publicly say what books I don’t like, mainly because I feel it’s unprofessional for me to do so. So now I only mention books and authors I genuinely loved, when I do mention them. But I still read voraciously and I still have definite opinions on what I read; being a writer myself doesn’t mean I don’t get just as irked as any reader when I spend my money on a book and find it dull or poorly written or full of cardboard characters doing stupid things.

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  108. Lynn
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 11:26:30

    Nora Roberts on August 21st, 2008 at 9:20 am:

    Years ago I crossed a line with a reader. It wasn't about a book or a review, and the reader became very personal-and sent me extremely nasty emails. However, instead of ignoring it or handling it calmly, I engaged-in a public forum. And it wasn't pretty.

    I wasn't professional, and showed a distinct lack of class in the incident.

    When I pulled it together, I apologized-personally and publicly-to the owner of the site where it began. I was wrong. I'd have felt a lot worse letting it lie there than I did taking my lumps and admitting my mistake.

    It was a hard lesson, and it taught me quite a bit.

    *********************************************************************************

    This is what I would hope to see from anyone who, for whatever reason, finds themselves in a similar situation. I personally don’t recall the events Ms. Roberts describes but seeing the above quote reassures me that there are people out there who realize they aren’t anything more than human like the rest of us.

    As for this situation bringing in more people’s opinions than possibly needed…well let me just say this. I read this morning of a high school principal who, along with the school, was sued because of his words and actions. Without getting into the reasons behind this (completely unrelated and would start a totally different discussion) let’s just say it was based on his beliefs and leave it at that. Basically, a student voiced her opinion on a subject that was different than his. Instead of having a calm discussion with this student and handling things in a mature and adult manner, he turned it into a big deal and in effect, ferreted out other students who disagreed with him and suspended a good amount of them. It was handled badly and others needed to step in.

    To me, people disagree. It would be the extremely rare (if even possible) event for all involved to completely agree. That’s just human nature. But it’s possible for people to stay out of it and let things progress normally when they are handled in a responsible manner. But when things are escalated to the point that fear and intimidation tactics are involved (as well as posting the real names and email addy’s of individuals) then others need to step in. Whether we feel that, in this instance, VL needs to be taken down a notch or two is irrevelant. What she DOES need is to realize that behavior such as she displayed will not be tolerated. No matter the position she or anyone else holds, those kinds of tactics are not wanted and should be stopped. If it only takes a handfull of people to do it, great. But if it takes a portion of the cyber world to make it happen then so be it. But it does need to happen.

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  109. Flower
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 12:47:31

    I couldn’t agree with the majority of you more…
    The supposition that this situation isn’t serious enough to garner much more than an eye roll, etc. is largely based on ones own perception of the incident. And should and is respected as your pov. This is all well and good.
    But speaking from the perception of someone who’s received a cease and desist letter in the past? This type of situation is so outside the usual day to day of one’s life that it leaves you breathing in a paper bag! You’re definitely NOT rolling your eyes.
    The pov’s expressed that this situation is beyond the pale and deserving of the harshest slam that other Authors, bloggers and readers can give VL are spot on.
    I *heart* you Jane and wish you the best.

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  110. alanea
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 15:01:04

    Anne: regarding posts 79 and 80: I think I see Shirley’s logic train:

    She took

    Threatening people with lawyers, outing their identity, bullying and controlling free speech – these are the kinds of things any decent person should make an enormous fuss about

    to mean (Shirley does not think a big fuss should be made, therefore she is not a decent person)

    I also think she took

    I'll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike.

    to mean (I want to see Ms Laurie put on a pike)

    Now, I can kinda see how Shirley could see the first one, especially as she came in clearly expecting to be slammed. Personally, I took it as the expectation (Shirley, you seem to be a descent person, and I cannot see why any decent person would want to remain quiet in the face of bullying) but I think this sort of thing is very subjective, just because we don’t have tonal language to reinforce our intended message.

    That said, I do find it interesting that when she was the recipient of what she percieved as bad behavior she did not ‘merely roll her eyes’ (ref#62) at the perceived behavior, but brought attention to it.

    The kicker on the whole thing shows the difference in what we expect from a profesional vs what we see from Laurie. When you saw that Shirley took exception, you immediately tried to confirm where it was brought up, in a fairly clear attempt to understand how that interpretation was formed. When Laurie was questioned on a public forum for her behavior, she attempted to extort the result she wanted.

    Laurie is a public figure, acting on a public forum. That means commentary on and concerns regarding her behavior should be expressed on a public forum. I don’t see this as malice. I can concede the concern that malice being brought into a public forum is a bad thing for all. But I have seen too many bullies take silence as permission to believe that ‘ignore it and it will go away’ works effectively.

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  111. alanea
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 15:17:57

    Disclaimer

    I am in no way intending to imply that Anne was behaving like Laurie. I believe I make this clear, but I wanted to make this absolutely clear.

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  112. Elf
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 15:27:21

    Regarding the value of commenting on author behavior:
    Think of how the reviewer and the author of the blog that was given a cease & desist letter felt – attacked and probably alone. You have a “big name” giving you hell over something you felt was within your rights to say. The value of DA’s defense was mentioned before – giving these folks a community that shows they are not alone and that the attitude they were given is not socially acceptable. I’m sure if you asked these folks, they would say this response was invaluable.
    For me personally, and perhaps other reviewers, it is a measure of comfort that if I were in this situation, I would not stand alone either.
    And if one author thinks of the potential firestorm before they behave badly, I’d say these blog entries are priceless.

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  113. Tasha
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 16:30:51

    One thing that intrigues me is the need of some authors to perceive negative reviews as an invitation for dialogue. They’re not! A review is the expression of someone’s opinion to the general public; it is not the call to begin a debate between reviewer and author. Just because the medium of the Internet would make such debate both quick and easy does not change the purpose of the review.

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  114. Gail Dayton
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:14:46

    FWIW, VL’s books are not published as romances, which means, she’s not part of “romancelandia.” Okay, WE are. But her behavior–not from a romance writer. I’ve never found her books shelved anywhere but in the mystery section.

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  115. Val Kovalin
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:49:24

    Not to keep prolonging this, but I like the points raised that it’s possible to learn from this (mis)behavior. VL herself could learn from thriller author Dean Koontz, for example, who has always seemed like a tremendously nice guy. He names characters after fans – in a good way, e.g., for charity, etc.

    I remember reading a fan posting on a forum awhile back, and she was thrilled to pieces because she got to meet him in an airport when they were both waiting for hours for drastically-delayed flights.

    She was reading his new book at the time, Strange Highways. He came up, introduced himself, offered to sign her book, chatted some more, and went on his way.

    Later, she was charmed to see that he’d added to his autograph, the following joke: “You should have taken the strange highway - you’d be there by now!”

    Anyway, that was a few years back, and I never forgot it. What a nice guy with a great sense of humor!

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  116. Angie
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 18:03:28

    I can see that Shirley’s trying to be a nice person about this, but I still disagree with her.

    This isn’t the sort of problem which can be settled among the immediate participants, behind closed doors. This is a community problem and only the community as a whole can truly deal with it.

    Bullies bully because they can. If they can get away with it then they’ll keep doing it, and no amount of private communication saying, “You know, you really hurt my feelings there,” is going to get them to stop, no matter what Sesame Street says.

    Even going straight to Ms. Laurie’s editor (which NovelReads apparently tried to do) or to their publisher’s lawyers, will not, at best, do anything but quash this one individual incident. But bullies are like cockroaches — there’ll always be more unless the community as a whole acts to eradicate them.

    Making a public fuss over Ms. Laurie’s horrible behavior, drawing in more and more members of the romance community to voice their censure and scorn, not only lets Ms. Laurie herself know that her behavior is completely unacceptable, but also lets other community members who think this sort of behavior is cool or fun or even just a good career tool, know that it most emphatically is not. Massive public disapproval is the most powerful tool any community has for solving social behavior problems. The recent public shaming will I hope not only teach Ms. Laurie to rethink her views on what is acceptable behavior (or at least make her change the behavior itself — she can think what she likes so long as she behaves like a reasonably civil human being) but also teach that lesson to others, pre-emptively.

    Ms. Laurie is clearly the villain here IMO, and knew very well when she posted at various times that she was publicly jabbing and shaming other people for the crime of holding an opinion contrary to her own. She took clear pleasure in hurting those people, and in sharing her plans to further shame them in her future books. I have no pity at all for her, and believe she got what she deserved. I just hope other people like her are also watching and take a lesson.

    Angie

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  117. Marta Acosta
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 18:51:36

    Tasha said,

    One thing that intrigues me is the need of some authors to perceive negative reviews as an invitation for dialogue. They're not! A review is the expression of someone's opinion to the general public; it is not the call to begin a debate between reviewer and author. Just because the medium of the Internet would make such debate both quick and easy does not change the purpose of the review.

    Exactly right. It is not pleasant to read a hostile review. But it happens. Bitch and moan to your family and friends, then grow a pair of ovaries and move on. Do not bitch and moan on the WORLD WIDE WEB. Do not personally attack and have your minions attack the reviewer for expressing a personal opinion.

    And certainly do not call your hell hounds upon those who object to your bad behavior, including quasi-legal threats against someone who asks for more decency.

    Thanks, Jane, for speaking up on behalf of ChariDee.

    ReplyReply

  118. Jenns
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:09:24

    I have Odd Thomas somewhere in my TBR collection and I’ve been meaning to get around to it. After hearing that story, I’ll be reading that this weekend.

    ReplyReply

  119. sallahdog
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:17:15

    DS said ” Actually, I said VL was batshit crazy on the other thread and I do believe she is.”

    See, now there is where I tend to get off the train… because I don’t believe she is crazy, and if she is crazy, it excuses her bad behavior. So she might be paranoid, or extremely defensive or have a social disorder. But I doubt and would never say she is “batshit crazy”….. I tend to get annoyed when the hyperbole gets out of hand, because in the end, it minimizes the act, and excuses the actor… JMO, for what its worth… which probably isn’t much..

    ReplyReply

  120. DS
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:31:37

    Sorry, I think you are mistaking an internet slang term for a diagnosis of mental illness. I do not think that she is mentally ill by any DSM IV standard. Batshit crazy is generally a temporary and unfortunate loss of control in which the person engages in rants, stalking, threats, social experiments pseuacide or any combination of these behaviors in a very public manner on the web. I see she also topped it off with a Flounce by deleting the posts.

    Yep, pretty much batshit crazy.

    ReplyReply

  121. jessica
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:45:26

    Who is this DAM that everyone keeps talking about? I tried searching the DA archives, and goole but couldn’t find anything.

    ReplyReply

  122. Ann Somerville
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:49:07

    Who is this DAM that everyone keeps talking about?

    Deborah Anne MacGillivray, the belle dame of review manipulation, reviewer bashing, and all round douche bag (not a clinical diagnosis, please note.)

    This post will give you a summary and all relevant links.

    ReplyReply

  123. Ann Somerville
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 19:50:55

    Yep, pretty much batshit crazy.

    Tru dat.

    ReplyReply

  124. john sumner
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 23:02:58

    Ann thanks was wondering who DAM was too

    ReplyReply

  125. Malin
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 07:06:20

    Appreciate the definition for batshit crazy! *g*

    ReplyReply

  126. EssieLou
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 09:31:35

    DS

    Sorry, I think you are mistaking an internet slang term for a diagnosis of mental illness. I do not think that she is mentally ill by any DSM IV standard.

    Yep, found it—
    Under 666 “Literary Disorders-Not Otherwise Specified”
    You’ll find 666.9 Batchit after 666.3 “Absolutely Nuts!” and before 666.12 “Cookoo”
    ;) Seriously (And your definition is spot on)

    ReplyReply

  127. Lynn
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:19:05

    You know, I was really curious as to what the original review stated. I went to Amazon today and found it. VL claimed (I believe) that she had Amazon delete the review and all negative comments. Well, the version I found has the review up and all of VL’s comments deleted by Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3TN77060HTPWE/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R3TN77060HTPWE

    ReplyReply

  128. Robin
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:24:34

    Lynn, I clicked on your link but couldn’t find the version with Laurie’s comments still intact. How did you do your search, exactly? Perhaps one can only access those comments by doing the search and not linking to the review.

    ReplyReply

  129. Lynn
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:28:21

    I did a search of her name and clicked on the book DEMONS ARE A GOULS BEST FRIEND. From there I just scrolled down to the reviews (click SEE ALL) and went from there. There is not anything under the name Butterscotch but the one I found all of this on was written by J.Kaplan.

    ReplyReply

  130. Peter Durward Harris
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:36:29

    To repeat what I posted on the earlier thread “Does Psychic Victoria Laurie Forsee Lawsuit in Her Future?” …

    Comments by VL deleted by Amazon, saved in Romance readers forum.

    Here's the first 8 posts of the book discussion with the deleted comments restored
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 1 – Victoria Laurie

    Wow! Do you need a hug, honey….you sound like the dog that got kicked and wants to bite someone just to feel better. Poor thing. Ah well, perhaps in your next lifetime you'll come back as someone with a better outlook! :)

    Oh, and in referring to your review above, not all of the clues come from the ghosties – obviously in that hour you skimmed a lot! Most of them, in fact, come from the living, (Detective Muckleroy, Nickie, Dory, Maude's sister and the list goes on and on…really, how did you miss them? Or maybe you were just having fun whth the thrashing you were giving me?) And who specifically in my novel said, “There's so much chemistry between you two!” Seriously, if you're going to quote my text, it would be nice if you actually QUOTED my text! :)

    Anyway, best of luck to you, doll, I'm sending you a mental hug cuz I'm pretty sure you need one. :)
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 2 – Donna D

    Also, “J”, if you disliked it so much, how on earth did you manage to read the entire book in an hour? It sounds as though it must have been quite engrossing! I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed Demons:)

    Donna
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 3 – R Golden

    J. Kaplan, your review says more about you than this book. I couldn't disagree with you more. I was sad when I reached the last page. I want to hang out more with MJ and the gang!

    -Rose
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 4 – Jenni B

    I am curious as to why both reviews you have posted are negative. It would be very helpful if you had a few reviews of books you enjoyed so a person could get an idea of where you are coming from. Right now, it just sounds like you are being unnecessarily spiteful and mean. Or that you have really bad taste in books, picking “bad” ones over and over again. Again, I am interested in seeing what you qualify as a good book. Oh, and the reviews that are obviously bitter are not helpful. Negative reviews can be helpful, just when they are done in a more constructive, knowledgeable and balanced way. Thanks!
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 5 – J Rose

    I was going to try this book, but I'm always put off when I noticed the author retaliate against someone that gave her a bad review. That has turned me off from a few authors. That is really tacky. Ignoring it would have been much classier. Then I noticed that this author commented on this reviewer's other review. This author is creepy, and not in a cool author of horror kind of way. I'm writing down the author's name so when I hear it again I will remember to warn others.
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 6 – Victoria Laurie

    Ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Oh, J Rose! This made me laugh! I love that you're going to write down my name and “warn others”! Ha ha ha ha! That is too precious for words! (I am just imagining you in a bookstore with a list of authors to warn people about…hilarious) I looooove it! Thanks for the giggle, girl! hee hee! :)
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 7 – J Rose

    Bitter authors are a laugh to me, so cheers!
    -’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-’-
    Post 8 – Victoria Laurie

    Rosey-dosey….are you cuckoo for cocoa puffs or what? :)

    Oh, and dear, it's spelled “whatsoever” not “what so ever”. Might want to grab a dictionary the next time you decide to write a one-star review – that's right everyone – Rose likes to award the onre star to books she's not read all the way through too! So, me thinks that her (over) reaction above was because she was feeling a tad bit self-conscious. Maybe you and J Kaplan should form a Negative Nellie's club! Ooo! You can trade your list of authors back and forth and “warn” people the world over! “Alert! Alert! This author responds to mistruths and misquotes! Gasp! It's the begining of the end for us allllll!” Ha, ha, ha! Yep…that still cracks me up! It's comic gold! :)

    ReplyReply

  131. EssieLou
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:39:51

    Ya know Peter, the most telling (to me) in all this is that this little dust up happened in April, the same time as the DAM crap.

    And four months later, she still hasn’t learned that spouting off on the ‘net shows lack of character? IOW, this last blog tantrum was just part of long time bad behavior, not just a bad day or two on the web.

    ReplyReply

  132. Catherine Delors
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 12:04:05

    Very weird how some authors can’t take criticism of their work. Not everyone is going to like your books, it’s a fact of life. I, for one, am grateful for every review and rating I get.

    ReplyReply

  133. Robin
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 12:35:47

    Thanks to Lynn and Peter

    ReplyReply

  134. AngieZ
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 15:00:38

    Ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Oh, J Rose! This made me laugh! I love that you're going to write down my name and “warn others”! Ha ha ha ha! That is too precious for words! (I am just imagining you in a bookstore with a list of authors to warn people about…hilarious) I looooove it! Thanks for the giggle, girl! hee hee! :)

    She may have imagined a reviewer in a bookstore warning people and found it hilarious, but she failed to imagine that her egotistical behavior would get noticed many of us readers. She writes mysteries couldn’t see this coming? Shows you the lengths one’s ego will go to fool and sustain itself. Definitely batshit crazy.

    ReplyReply

  135. Bonnie
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 15:24:41

    That really is creepy. How old is this woman? Ick… I wouldn’t read one of her books for free.

    ReplyReply

  136. Jana Pike
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 17:21:14

    While I find Ms. Laurie’s conduct appalling and in the poorest possible taste, I am left wondering… if she expended even half the energy on improving her writing that she spends acting like a 7th grade girl on the interwebs, perhaps she’d meet with more success?

    On a more serious note, I have a very dear friend who was asked to write book reviews for another web site earlier this year. Her first review was of a humour book written by a former Marine, and she didn’t like it much. The site she wrote for was very snarky in tone, therefore so was her review, but it was still actually quite restrained, I thought. Apparently the author did not agree. He began mentioning her on all sorts of other websites (including message boards for librarians, of all things), and then she began receiving harassing emails and phone calls (as in, dozens every day). She had already turned in her second review when this situation erupted, but the whole thing upset her so much that she quit reviewing after that.

    She’s very talented, and she gave up a paying job because some authors can’t get it together enough to conduct themselves like professional, ethical adults. Sometimes harassment isn’t just mean and immature; sometimes it’s scary and genuinely hurts people. I have nothing but commendation for Jane in having the backbone to publicly state that such behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

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  137. shirley
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 00:24:42

    Anne: regarding posts 79 and 80: I think I see Shirley's logic train:

    She took

    Threatening people with lawyers, outing their identity, bullying and controlling free speech – these are the kinds of things any decent person should make an enormous fuss about

    to mean (Shirley does not think a big fuss should be made, therefore she is not a decent person)

    Exactly.

    I also think she took

    I'll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike.

    to mean (I want to see Ms Laurie put on a pike)

    Now, I can kinda see how Shirley could see the first one, especially as she came in clearly expecting to be slammed. Personally, I took it as the expectation (Shirley, you seem to be a descent person, and I cannot see why any decent person would want to remain quiet in the face of bullying) but I think this sort of thing is very subjective, just because we don't have tonal language to reinforce our intended message.

    Ann said Ms. Laurie can go sit on a pike. I didn’t think I inferred something different. As to the bullying, from personal experience, publicly humiliating a bully rarely stops them from bullying. In fact, once the ‘watchful’ eyes are gone, and often before, the intimidation usually comes back ten fold. That’s one of the reasons that children who are punished for bullying, are punished for it over and over and over. And the child who is bullied, who speaks up etc, etc, is generally subjected to even more torturous behavior. And bullying a bully back doesn’t usually work either. Standing up to them, yes, yes, yes. And I’m sure that is what Jane felt she was doing. I was only suggesting that by doing it publicly, the original bully would most likely feel bullied in return, and then perhaps do something even more distasteful – though perhaps less openly – than she did to begin with. To clarify – I AM NOT saying that Jane, or DA, is bullying anyone. I don’t think that was her intent at all. I’m saying VL could take it that way – after all, she already blew a negative review WAY out of proportion.

    That said, I do find it interesting that when she was the recipient of what she percieved as bad behavior she did not ‘merely roll her eyes' (ref#62) at the perceived behavior, but brought attention to it.

    Actually, I did roll my eyes. But that’s beside the point, LOL! It’s really neither here nor there. If Ann hadn’t taken such umbrage with my comment, perhaps my response would have been different. I was only trying to highlight my feeling that for those who have no vested interest, per se, when the commentary turns ugly on both sides, then both sides look less than stellar. In other words, when mudslinging starts, most people go away and do something else. They don’t get involved.

    If you truly feel that way, then I would seriously suggest you stop reading papers, watching TV, listening to the radio, surfing the internet, and avoid reading this blog. That's pretty much the only way you can continue to wear rose-tinted spectacles.

    As for readers who aren't vocal, feeling bad about Romanceland, you nor I will ever know their opinion until they speak up, and that's kind of the point isn't it?

    I won’t be letting go of my paper or anything else for that matter, ROFL. Despite how irritating my comments may be, I’m not exactly keen on the knitting and planting. Civilly debating interesting topics keep me feeling young, which I hope you won’t suggest depriving me of :D It isn’t rose colored glasses I’m wearing. It’s tri-focals, LOL! I simply don’t see anything wrong with civility – though I’m sure we’ll disagree on that too.

    When something turns my stomach sour, I simply move on until that thing is over. And as far as the non-vocal go, I do know some of their opinions. And most of them simply don’t want to get involved. They don’t want to weigh in on one side or another or voice an opinion because they see what happens all to often. No one wants to be picked on, not if they can help it. And I didn’t mean to imply that reactions like that only occur in Romanceland. ROFL! They happen all over – on the net and in real life. I was straying a bit from the topic there, thinking how so many of my friends won’t get involved in stuff on line out of fear or what ever. They’ll chat on a private board or in email, but heaven help them to get active on a website of any kind. I think it’s a bit silly, but I can’t fault or make fun of their feelings. Rather, I won’t.

    In all of this, though, while I disagree with the way it rolled out, I absolutely agree that behavior like VL’s should not be condoned. In that, I don’t disagree with anyone here. I only disagree with the venue used to deliver VL’s repudiation and humiliation.

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  138. Ann Somerville
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 01:31:48

    Ann said Ms. Laurie can go sit on a pike

    No, I didn’t, Shirley.

    And I’m curious – every single person commenting here on your remarks has disagreed with you, but only I am upbraided for ‘taking umbrage’. Maybe the same selective reading skills that made you grossly misinterpret my reply, made you unaware that no one else agrees with you.

    But you know, I – as an Australian – have zero intention of pussyfooting around you or Victoria Laurie. If either of you want to take ‘umbrage’ at my disagreement or disapproval, too sodding bad. When I start censoring myself because of what a bully might dislike, or what a bully’s apologist might be upset about, well, that'll be the day I croak.

    I only disagree with the venue used to deliver VL's repudiation and humiliation.

    Good job it wasn’t delivered in Laurie’s blog, eh? Cos the bitch erased her tracks. That’s why Jane did the right thing. Laurie can’t censor the truth over here.

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  139. Beverly
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 09:51:08

    Ann,
    Your exact words, in post #70 in case you need to check, were: “I'll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike.”

    Pike/spike, it’s the same thing.

    It’s also quite rude to call Shirley an “apologist” for Laurie, when clearly she is not apologizing for her, nor making excuses for her. In fact, in nearly every post she has made, she has quite clearly stated the opposite. Perhaps you need to check your reading comprehension? For clearly you are “grossly misinterpreting” her.

    It is also quite ironic that someone who is so upset about a bully’s behavior is doing the same thing herself. So no one agrees with Shirley. She is conversing civilly about and you are not. How does that make you any different from Laurie?

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  140. theo
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 10:22:00

    I think what’s happened here is this blanket statement:

    Threatening people with lawyers, outing their identity, bullying and controlling free speech – these are the kinds of things any decent person should make an enormous fuss about

    was taken personally when it was not intended to be. At least, I think most of us saw it for what it was. And as such, shirley felt the need to defend herself.

    As to this:

    I'll save my compassion for the victim here, and Ms Laurie can go sit on a spike.

    That’s the kind of comment we’ve all made at some time and I think, (just me here!) was misconstrued as a call to stick Ms Laurie on a spike, rather than saying Ann can give a rat’s arse about the woman due to her attitude.

    Big difference. In that vein, I certainly do not see Ann bullying anyone, nor do I see shirley bullying anyone either. It is, in this case, a matter of misinterpretation.

    Ms Laurie on the other hand, with her snarky comments, her cringe-worthy way of calling CheriDee ‘doll’ and ‘hon’ and several other condescending terms while telling her exactly how she intended to defame CheriDee is to me, a completely different thing entirely. The woman’s intent was to ridicule and debase CheriDee, while trying to make herself look like the wounded party, which was not Ann’s intention in this case, from what I read.

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  141. Peter Durward Harris
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 10:38:59

    Here’s another quote from VL’s website. This is from her “About” page, where she explains why she created one of the characters in her books.

    I was frustrated reading books and watching movies where the psychic is always some kook relieving the gullible of their money. So, I wanted to give a different – more accurate – perspective by creating the character of Abby Cooper, Psychic Intuitive.

    My hope is that people who read the series will have a better understanding about psychics — that we’re really normal people – truly the person next door…we simply have a heightened sense of awareness. We don’t go into trances, faint at the drop of a hat, or cast spells on people we don’t like. We’re simply able to glean little hints of things to come, and this is where we can truly come in handy!

    Really ????

    ReplyReply

  142. Robin
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 12:25:30

    I can see where both Shirley and Ann are coming from. I believe that there are many people who have suffered from one form or another of cyberstalking, and that can intensify the response to something like this situation with Laurie. I can also see where the sheer attention paid to something like this can make it seem like a pack has formed rather than the collected opinions of a bunch of individuals. Of course it would be nice if things like this got settled without public incident. Mostly I think it’s important that we’re having *this* conversation publicly, because IMO we all should always be checking and double checking what we choose to make public and what we do and don’t say. Although I think Laurie is still way way ahead in the line-crossing comments competition. ;)

    Although Laurie is not technically a Romance author, obviously her work crosses over, and her association with DAM seems to have pulled her into the online community inclusive of Romance readers. I remember clearly during the DAM debacle how many people indicated relief that DAM’s shenanigans were finally coming to light. It shocked the hell out of me that she was able to do what she was doing for so long without someone blowing the whistle, but I realized that some people were just too intimidated, and perhaps they didn’t realize how much support they would have if they came forward. Also, how, really, do you solve something like that privately?

    When you have a healthy community it is much easier to solve problems behind closed doors, because you are less likely to have people tolerating being victimized outside public view. I’m not sure you really ever get bullies to see the error of their ways, but at least you can give victims a safe harbor, which is what IMO Jane was doing here for ChariDee. People are obviously entitled to disagree, and these situations are always a learning experience for everyone involved. Everyone has to make his or her own decision as to what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and it’s good to debate that, I think, to remind us that there are real people involved here, on all sides of this situation.

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  143. Robin
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 12:34:47

    Peter, there are quite a few of those contradictions on Laurie’s site (or there were when her blog was up). The one that had me choking on my coffee was where she blogged about her lawyer-friend’s email to ChariDee, exhorting ChariDee to relax and expend her energy on something positive, because ‘it’s only words,’ or something to that effect.

    ReplyReply

  144. ChariDee
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 12:42:52

    Like another commenter suggested, the editor may have been truly unnerved by an angry, and likely belligerent, voice mail left on a co-workers phone and probably followed whatever protocols she thought right at the time.

    Shirley, while I appreciate you opinion, and do not think any less of you for having a differing one than mine, I do feel the need to clarify something.

    First let me say, you have no basis whatsoever to say that my call to that editor was “likely belligerent.” I was, in fact not. I was nervous, and do not dispute the fact I used the term “deeply disturbed” in my message.

    So going to the extreme, in my opinion, of calling this particular author ‘on the carpet' and in fact going to her editor over what is surely only poor conduct…

    Second, I contacted the editor for a comment on the fact that Victoria Laurie herself said that this editor thought the idea was wonderful and was going to suggest it to her other authors. I did not want a comment about Victoria Laurie, I wanted a comment on why the editor agreed with and was going to encourage this type of behavior.

    For one thing, I don’t want to financially support a bully. I don’t like watching people being bullied, and trust me, it sucks to be bullied. By buying one of these books knowing that I would be reading some one being humiliated, well to me that feels like I’m joining in with the bully and I just don’t want to do that.

    I also want to make it clear that I have NEVER contact Ms. Laurie. NEVER. I have also never slung names at Ms. Laurie. Ms. Laurie took the situation and escalated it to a very personal matter. She threatens me, she calls me names, she tells me that I’m making “phone calls that will end up costing you your kid’s college fund” . Up to this point I was OK, but I don’t take threats that include my children, in any capacity lightly.

    but I kind of think DA and NR exacerbated the affair for no other reason than to spark drama.

    I can appreciate that point of view as well, but let me reassure you, it was not my intent (I cannot speak for Jane) to “spark drama,” in fact, I try to avoid it all costs. The moment I read the attorney e-mail, I contacted Jane for advice blogger to blogger. By posting on the subject, Jane has allowed me to see much advice and support that has been very much appreciated.

    Again, you are free to your opinion and it’s more than welcome to hear a differing opinion.

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  145. Janine
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 13:16:12

    Pure speculation here but Jane hasn’t hidden the fact that she is an attorney as well as a blogger. For that reason I’m not surprised that ChariDee contacted her. If I were in ChariDee’s situation, Jane (since she’s both a blogger and lawyer) would be the first person I would think to contact — I would want her perspective. It would have nothing to do with sparking drama.

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  146. Janine
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 13:28:27

    Pike/spike, it's the same thing.

    Don’t forget that Ann is Australian. I could be wrong but I think “spike” in British English may be the same thing as what we Americans call a “tack.” In that case “can go sit on a spike” has pretty different meaning than “put her on a pike.”

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  147. MCHalliday
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 14:06:03

    Won’t speak for Ann but in the UK, spike as a noun refers to a ‘point’, as in: barb, prickle, thorn. This seems to be the same as a ‘tack’.

    ReplyReply

  148. Lynne
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 14:25:41

    Robin said:

    I remember clearly during the DAM debacle how many people indicated relief that DAM's shenanigans were finally coming to light. It shocked the hell out of me that she was able to do what she was doing for so long without someone blowing the whistle, but I realized that some people were just too intimidated, and perhaps they didn't realize how much support they would have if they came forward.

    I think DAM’s activities were initially confined to bullying a group of authors on private email loops, and my guess is they were too afraid of what damage she might do to their careers. After all, DAM is NY-published, and that gives her a higher than average standing in some people’s pecking orders.

    Publicly attacking readers on Amazon got her behavior noticed by people who couldn’t be intimidated into silence.

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  149. Ann Somerville
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 15:08:23

    Pike/spike, it's the same thing.

    No, it’s not. And if someone is going to say I said something, they better damn well make sure I did.

    She is conversing civilly about and you are not.

    Considering how proud she is of not giving a shit if she offends people, she (and you) are pretty quick to play the ‘offense’ card. I’m merely talking to her as she claims she prefers – without pussyfooting around or caring about her feelings.

    And your idea of civility and mine must be vastly different because I think calling someone a bully is a pretty shitty thing to do without cause.

    How does that make you any different from Laurie?

    Oh right. Because disagreeing with someone is exactly the same as cruelly parodying them in one of my stories and boasting about it, sending threatening legal letters to silence her, and outing her real identity. Yep, I’m just like Victoria Laurie. And DAM. And Senator McCarthy too.

    Poor little Shirley. Disagreeing with her is such a nasty, cruel bullying thing to do. I thought being a victim of a stalker and years and years of harassment and bullying would make me qualified to speak about just how inadequate her advised response would be, but I see now that all we should do when Shirley speaks is pat her on the head and say what a clever girl she is. No one is allowed to take issue with her or be upset at her attempts to cast those standing up to bullies as bullies themselves because, my my, the dear woman might be offended. Can’t have that.

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  150. GrowlyCub
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 15:26:54

    I think the posters that feel uncomfortable with publicly outing bad behavior in Romanceland are suffering from ‘nice girl’ syndrome. This insidious mind control thing that we have all been implanted with by our patriarch society that says women have to be nice to each other, should not shout or raise their voices because that means they are hysterical, should not speak up because that would make us a lynching mob and after all we are just women and don’t know anything worth saying anyway.

    Every so often I catch myself thinking ‘do we really need to get all bent out of shape about XXX again?’ and then I realize, that’s exactly what is wanted, for us to question ourselves instead of the perpetrators when we point out injustices.

    And I have to seriously question Shirley’s assertion that punishing bullies is making things worse and should be avoided. Certainly, letting them go on bullying others is not a solution!

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  151. Peter Durward Harris
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 15:27:36

    Differences between English as used in different countries can be very confusing, especially as they often occur when least expected, but if anybody wishes to amuse themselves and has a few spare dollars, here’s a couple of Amazon searches that may be useful.

    Australian English

    British American English

    I should say that I haven’t bought or read any of those books yet, but some day I may buy one of the British-American books. Nevertheless, as somebody who posts Amazon reviews in both Britain and America (and I’d post in Australia too if only Amazon would set up there), I did set up a guide to copying reviews from America to Britain, after discovering that some reviewers simply copied their American reviews without considering the implications. While it is specifically about reviews, it highlights the main problems in the different cultures.

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  152. Marta
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 15:38:23

    Hi, I have been wondering what had been going on with Ms. Laurie. I was a constant reader of her blog, and even got a giggle out of her making a character out of her critique. I thought, hey, as long as she is using a fake name, etc., and no more, what can be the harm? Such things have happend for centuries in writing. However, I had no idea what she was doing behind the scenes! I am shocked and appalled! I hate to see her lose her career, but there needs to be some serious intervention! For goodness sake!

    Recently, on her blog, she basically bawled me out because of some thoughts I had left and got to the point of saying, that if I want to call her a heretic…over her beliefs. She went way overboard, and I decided I needed to pull back. She didn’t threaten me, but I decided that it was better for me to pull away. (There were points of religion, that I was not attempting to push on her, but she took it as so.)

    I agree that she needs to develop a thicker skin and consider, thoughtfully, what others have to say. I did try to look at her blog the other day and was surprised to see it was gone. And then I saw that not only are her comments gone from Amazon, but that by many people’s words, she must have been behaving in a terrible way.

    On her blog, for the most part, she seemed really nice. But, as I’ve pointed out to others, on a blog, you can’t really see a person’s heart.

    Good luck CheriDee, I hope this has all been resolved for you, and you don’t have to deal with her again.

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  153. Butterscotch
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 15:53:16

    I am not happy with VL putting my old Amazon name in one of her new books. Especially one with nasty traits. I do believe one can be mad at someone for trying to make a person accountable for their nasty comments , but one has so many other options than the one that she chose. Making a mockery out of wonderful authors and so many reviewers who just want to let people know that being nasty to reviewers is wrong. I really appreciate people’s kind words and hope VL was just venting off some steam about putting my name in her book. It just seems so sad and wrong. I will pray for VL. Maybe she will see the “light” and stop this nonsense.

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  154. Marta
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 16:03:29

    Butterscotch, you are certainly NOT the villain that was portrayed in VL’s blog if you are willing to pray for her. I am too. I hope she changes her mind about putting you in a book as a nasty character. I wish I had had a chance to see what she was saying on Amazon. It might have ended my involvement with her blog earlier. In fact, I too have decided that I am no longer interested in her books, but I am still interested in her soul.

    Good luck. And don’t let her keep you from willing to express your opinion on anyone’s work.

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  155. EssieLou
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 16:11:14

    Posted this in the wrong place earlier but Marta, read post 130 by Peter to see what VL posted on Amazon.

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  156. Jen
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 16:25:53

    VL once stated on her blog that she got a negative e-mail from a reader. The “I didn’t like this book but I love your other series” letter bothered her so much she had to strike back. If VL reacted like that to a private e-mail, I don’t know if she would have taken a “you’re being a bully, please stop” letter any differently.

    I feel for Butterscotch, CheriDee, and Marta. Bad enough to be attacked, but it seems extra awful to have come from a writer you liked.

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  157. Peter Durward Harris
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 17:35:40

    Thanks to Doreen on the Romance readers forum for finding this

    Author’s death ruled an “act of God”

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  158. Lynn
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 19:32:01

    *SNORT*

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  159. Marta
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 23:34:56

    I have to add this. I had not realized that Ms. Laurie had responded to my particual post in the negative manner that she had. In fact, she had moved onto her next blog. She mentioned a book signing in the same town where an uncle of mine lives. He is trying to break into the publishing world and since, at that time, I thought VL seemed pretty nice, intelligent, etc., I joked about how nice it would have been if my “uncle, who happens to be a (gasp) lawyer is trying to get a book published” could have gone to the signing. Or words to those effects. I can’t remember now how I worded it. I am wondering now if she got unnerved by my mentioning of my uncle the lawyer (who happens to be a trial lawyer–the kind that sues people.) I didn’t even think about my words at the time. We always rib my uncle becuase of the negative points his proffession can make. Is there a possiblity that for VL this could have been a last straw?

    It wasn’t until after this blog that I decided to see what her thoughts were (if any) on my last blog, and that’s when I saw her reaction. I tell you what, after that, I decided to distance myself and attempted to remove my e-mail from her website.

    And to think, that for days, I felt guilty for hurting her feelings and causing her to think I was judging her…and now I find out about all this…

    Again, good luck to you CheriDee and others that have been harrassed. My only advice in the future, and I guess I am preaching to the choir, but let our words always be kind and civil, even in a critique, so if others come against us, they will have no grounds to accuse of of malice.

    Night all.

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  160. Ann Somerville
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 01:47:45

    Janine et al:
    Saying someone can sit on a spike (a thin, pointed piece of metal, wood, or another rigid material) is not the same thing as calling for them to be put on a pike (an infantry weapon with a pointed steel or iron head on a long wooden shaft.) The first is a more polite way of saying someone, whose opinion is not valuable to you, can shove that opinion up their arse, and the other is suggesting the person should be murdered by impalement.

    A spike is not a tack (we call them tacks too) – a spike is any short, sharp pointy thing, even on a graph.

    However, it’s disingenuous for Shirley and Beverly to pretend that saying someone can go sit on a spike is bullying, and they are no doubt perfectly aware of this. They’re trying to deflect from the basic flaws in Shirley’s original claim.

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  161. Karen Scott
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 03:36:01

    However, it's disingenuous for Shirley and Beverly to pretend that saying someone can go sit on a spike is bullying, and they are no doubt perfectly aware of this. They're trying to deflect from the basic flaws in Shirley's original claim.

    Don’t die of shock, but I’m about to agree with you again.

    Generally speaking, from what I’ve seen, Shirely isn’t usually afraid of pissing people off, and seems to revel in these online dramas, so I have to say, I for one am very surprised by her nice-girls-don’t/woe is VL stance.

    I honestly think Shirley takes pride in being the dissenting voice amongst the masses. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as she actually believes what she’s saying.

    Going back to VL, she deserves everything she gets, and the more people learn about her antics, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

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  162. Lynn
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 08:37:58

    Personally, I’m itching for Monday to get here. I’m dying of curiosity to see if Jane gets a reply from the editor. I know she said none was necessary but I can’t see how any reputable editor wouldn’t. Of course, I actually expect people to conduct themselves in an adult and mature manner so there are times I’m disappointed.

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  163. Beverly
    Aug 26, 2008 @ 10:17:30

    Ann,

    When I said you were bullying, I wasn’t talking about what you said about Laurie (the spike thing), I was talking about your comments to Shirley (including the “any decent person” comment).

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  164. Ann Somerville
    Aug 26, 2008 @ 15:06:02

    Beverly, all I can say is that you have a very strange – and conveniently strange – idea of bullying. If Shirley doesn’t want to engage in spirited debate, and risk being disagreed with, she’d be better staying off line – and so should you.

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  165. Michael
    Aug 26, 2008 @ 19:06:34

    Pike Vs Spike,Charity et al

    First let me go on record with saying that Charity is my hero. Having contacted many authors and publishing companies about getting full series on audio for people who have learning or reading disabilities like my wife, I have seen mostly good with a few folks acting rather nasty although none as nasty as VL did.The fact that Charity took a stand when she was frightened showed alot of courage and heart at a time where alot of folks in this world dont. Ive said it in private and Im saying it in public. Now as to the spike and pike thing. I may not be an authour but I do make,customize and sell spears,swords,kives etc. A Pike is a type of spear atleast 7 feet long and extending to around 18 feet. Sitting on one of these was a death called impalement (think Vlad Tepes). A spike is a piece of metal anywhere from a 1/4 of an inch long to around 6 inches long…painful yes…rarely fatal. There is a world of difference between the two folks….in ANY veresion of english.

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  166. M
    Aug 27, 2008 @ 15:22:38

    Just wanted to clarify a bit how the publishing industry works, for those who want the publisher to immediately drop problem authors. The author and the publishing house signed a contract. Unless the author has violated her contract (which, unfortunately, does not cover bad behavior like this, but does cover plagarism, due dates, etc), the publisher is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to publish the books under contract. If this is her first book, she could have several more in the contract, which means they will come out. In fact, if the book is scheduled within the next year, they have covers/cover copy finished and industry catalogues already printed up. Some publishers even work a year and a half to two years in advance.

    Am I saying her behavior is acceptable? Absolutely not. But editors have enough to do without also having to be babysitters. Do we bang our heads against our desk when we hear about things like this? You betcha. Can we do anything other than perhaps put them on the black list when contract renewal time comes up? Nope.

    And a professional editor would never endorse an idea like this to her other authors. Never.

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  167. Marta
    Aug 27, 2008 @ 21:33:17

    BTW, CherriDee, I just want to apologize to you for being one of Ms. Laurie’s “rah, rah” group on that particular blog of hers. I wouldn’t have ever had a chuckle over it had she just left it at that, a rant, a fit, etc. (I mentioned previously, that as long as she was using a fake name, etc., it seemed like a good idea.) Now I wish to add, even if she did make up a character out of your screen name, it would have only been amusing if no one you knew recognized it was based on you.

    The way she spoke about you and your critiques, she made it sound as if you had personally attacked her, as a person, the way she actually did you. I wish now i’d seen for myself, but I read her blog late at night, so didn’t have that much time to go scrolling around the internet, and as she had always acted kindly to me before (first answered an e-mail years ago when she was new), I trusted her to be an actual, nice person. I am thinking her ego grew too fast for her decency.

    I think I might have a little insight into the way she thinks–and frankly, this is kind of frightening–on her rant against my last comment to her, she indicated that basically a person could do anything they wanted–even acts of evil–during their life time because they would face NO Judgement beyond this world. She didn’t word it quite that way, but if she really believes that, then what is to prompt her to better her behavior if she thinks she won’t be punished for her actions? In fact, while alive, a person doesn’t have to feel regret or remorse towards the people they have injured.

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  168. Kathy
    Aug 28, 2008 @ 10:32:12

    My experience with VL was like Marta’s, until a disagreement arose. I had written to her over the years to say I was a fan of her books & I even had a reading once. I was the one whom she took to task because I didn’t like a book she recommended. She turned it around as though I had criticized her and not the book, and it took a few back & forth blog posts to get her to realize that. It’s sad to watch VL’s meltdown, but I agree with Jane and others who are standing up and speaking out. What VL did is wrong, and it is our responsibility to speak out against this kind of behavior.

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  169. Cassiopeia
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 04:31:32

    So did Dear Author ever hear anything from the Editor? Is this author still threatening anyone who blogs about her?

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  170. Jerry
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 12:54:03

    Pike, spike, schmike, who cares? Like so many writers today the woman just lacks any grace. The world doesn’t revolve around their reaction to a negative comment, and their world shouldn’t come to a mad, screeching halt because they feel a psychological need to retaliate instead of just shaking it off and carrying on like adults.

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  171. Ann Somerville’s Journal » Blog Archive » Consistency failure
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 18:42:20

    [...] we’re all being a bit mean to Ms Laurie the Psychic with a Broken Crystal Ball. She thinks we should just roll our eyes at her behaviour and that it’s not worth making a fuss about. Every single respondent to her comment said they disagreed with her, as did I. I said [...]

  172. hapax
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 15:53:16

    Posting anonymously for reasons that should become obvious:

    Holy Mother of God. I am a professional book reviewer who just received one of VL’s ARCs for review. I idly Googled her name to see what else she had written.

    I had no idea what kind of mess I could have stepped into, until I read this and the related threads.

    Zoinks! Now I’m terrified.

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  173. Sunny
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 06:11:17

    I left a good review for the author’s book and was reading some of the other comments when I stumbled onto the information about the author’s ego being out of control.

    After a quick google I found this information. I must say I’m appalled. I cannot believe an author would act that way toward a reviewer. I’m sure a negative review is not pleasant – but don’t “bite the hand that feeds you”. If that was not bad enough – sending an email “cease and desist”?????

    I just wrote to Amazon requesting a refund for the purchase. I’m sure it won’t make a huge dent in the author’s pocket – but it my way of “voting with my feet”. I certainly will not purchase any more of her work until there is a public apology.

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  174. The High Price of Revenge Characters « Tour’s Books Blog
    May 23, 2009 @ 14:50:06

    [...] books by saying she’d create a character in revenge?  To refresh your memory just click on Dear Author and you’ll find all the interconnected [...]

  175. Marta
    May 25, 2009 @ 21:41:33

    And just as I think this issue has been laid to rest…I just got one of those Webmaster e-mails about Laurie’s newest book. She of course does not mention all the problems she’s had in the last few years of course, but knowing what I know now, I elected to have myself removed from her mailing list. I just wonder if she will even see that as a reason for some kind of revenge…

    And now she has written a story for children called “The Delphi Oracle.” Now knowing what her personality is truely like, I’d hate for any child to read one of her books…I’d sooner have them read Stephen King’s work…at least he doesn’t have one of those “author-is-a-psycho” reputations, and really does seem to appreciate his fans…

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