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

Why Romantic Times Reviews Are Not Credible

RT LogoKaren Scott, blogger from the UK, wrote a review of Ben’s Wildflower, a recent release from Ellora’s Cave. I wrote a review as well. Neither of us liked it. It was plotless porn. Today, a person purporting to be Kathryn Falk, the CEO of Romantic Times, posted a comment on Karen S’ blog proved what many of us though to be true: Romantic Times reviews are hopelessly biased. This post must be a joke and someone is masquerading as Ms. Falk because the statements the poster makes not only ruins any shred of credibility the Romantic Times has but also engages in some reprehensible commenting.

The commenter named Ms. Falk takes Karen S to task for a number of things, but outrageously suggests that Karen S is responsible for someone’s attempt to commit suicide as a result of a negative review.

I have heard from several people on your post who are saddened by what they read today. One person mentioned has offered her resignation. Another is contemplatiing suicide. Is that what you intended for your blog? Do you want this on your conscience? . . .

The blog in question that you posted, bashing one or more publishers and authors, is detrimental to the principles of romance. If you have influence, please spend your time helping our romance community. People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed.

Falk continues to ramble with some sentences not making any sense but mostly she confirms what I believe RT’s motto is that if you don’t have anything good to say – keep your mouth shut. Anyone who doesn’t follow this mantra is “ridiculous”, “viputerative”, “heartless”, “genuinely perverse” and “sick in the head.”

None of our members deserve such ridiculous bloggers, especially from mean-spirited women posting notes from the quiet of their houses while those in the rat race of business life are working long hours. To think you only have time to promote personal vendettas is sad….

If one “hurts” — be it something nasty published towards a publisher, editor, or author. We should all hurt unless we are heatless.[sic] . . .

Unless your bloggers are genuinely perverse and have no regard for people’s feelings and livelihood, then I predict you all will needlessly add turmoil and discontent to yourselves. I hope you are ready to take responsibility for some of your remarks….

Anyone who thinks this kind of dialogue on a blog is valuable is truly sick in the heart and the head.

the woman who purports to be Ms. Falk states that the reason for this relentless positivity is because she’s a woman running a business in a man’s world. We should feel protective of these small businesses, she instructs as if we are small children.

I am proud of any woman who writes erotica and gets published. I know how tough it is. I am the only woman who owns a magazine (except for Oprah and Martha) and no woman has ever owned a publishing house in New York. Be it Harlequin, Berkley, Dorchester or Kensington, it’s owned by businessMEN.

Attacking the epublishing houses for poor quality is mindless and does not help the genre for “[p]ositivity is the key to helping our genre.” Actually failure to provide robust critique leads to stagnation, a glut in subgenres leading to a demise of good authors. Publishers frequently state that they are interested in providing what the readers want to read and if we do not demand quality, then we won’t get quality.

By engaging in critical review of a romance book, Ms. Falk suggests that it is reflective of a “dark nature”.

Disrespect for our industry and its members reflects the dark nature of the person spewing it — not the object of the attack.

She points out that the publishing industry is comprised of fragile flowers:

Our writers and editors are sometimes fragile, as the line of our work is pure emotion. . . .Why not realize that authors are sensitive, and so are publishers — and inflicting harmful words does all of us a disservice.

Karen Scott, a voracious reader of romances, is not supporting the industry by her comments. She is everything (and I suppose this blog is too) that romance is not.

It appears to be promoting everything romance books do not stand for.

She instructs Karen on what is tolerable

Please start by asking them to not muddy our waters with ugly suppositions and invalidated comments — and to be impeccable with their words — this would be an excellent practice of gratitude and most appreciated.

and what is not

Bloggers who have no idea of the work it takes to be an author and a publisher in today’s competitive market should not be welcome on board….

Blogs of this nature are harmful when they could be productive. Giving frustrated voices a place to say outrageous things to destroy is evil. Why not encourage frustrated women to spin to the positive?…

I wish you all peace and bliss….and the enlightenment to pass over a rough patch and avoid this ever happening again.

I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Falk’s, if it is Ms. Falk, viputerative attack on Karen Scott, a popular blogger, is as a result of what she perceives to be a threat to her business. Many magazines are losing ad revenue as more and more companies are moving their publicity dollars onto the internet. I’ve read that publishers are looking toward bloggers for more word of mouth coverage and moving away from traditional print sources (one of the reasons given for the demise of the print Book Review sections in so many newspapers).

We don’t have time to pay much attention to blogs, but when we hear of people are upset by inconsiderate vicious bloggers who seem committed to spreading bad feelings instead of working in harmony for the good of all, it makes us wonder about who we are supporting with our businesses!!!

It is we who support RT’s business and the publishers. Not the other way round.

I am sure that authors will not feel comfortable about posting a comment here. After all, RT is still a very influential player in the romance industry. But I could not stand for such statements to be made without a response. We readers are not the borg and we are not bound by any one person’s dictates. The freedom of discussion is what makes the online community so vibrant. We disagree on books within the bloggers here. Janine and I are rarely on the same sides of the coin, yet we remain steadfast supporters of the romance genre. We blog because we are so passionate about this genre of ours. But we will not be silenced even if we are accused of being responsible for suicides and the downfall of romance.

If this kind of negative mood and behavior is allowed to spread, I predict that no one will care or dare to support romance in the future….

People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed.

I do hope that this is not Falk because I am embarassed for her if this is. A true professional would not come to a blog and suggest that readers who are critical of the genre are evil, suicide inducing individuals.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Bonnie
    May 01, 2007 @ 21:21:58

    I was reading that whole thread of discontent and while I thought that some people went too far with their statements, there was a lot that was being said that I thought held merit. Then I reached the bottom and read Ms. Falk’s lecture. I had to work to keep my attention on what she was saying because my brain kept on reading, “Blah, blah, blah…” What skeeved me the most was her belief that we should all give unqualified support to these eBook companies, specifically EC, because they are owned and operated by women. As a woman, I find that just as degrading as someone stating that we should boycott a business because it is owned by a woman. I will give my business and money to a quality product and if it is owned by a woman then all the better. I would hate for my business to sink or swim based solely on my sex.

    As to the happy, rosey world that Ms. Falk envisions for Romanceland. Too bad we live in the real world. I’m sure Stephen King isn’t in the fetal position in the corner of his bedroom whenever his writing is given harsh criticism by such and such a blogger. If other genres aren’t pulling punches, why should Romance be different?

  2. Bonnie
    May 01, 2007 @ 21:23:11

    Sorry for the double post!!

  3. stephanie feagan
    May 01, 2007 @ 22:01:10

    I’m confused. Who is suicidal? The author, or the reviewer?

    I’m also deeply chagrined by any mention of suicide in this kind of environment. Seriously, terribly bothered. If it’s true, this person needs help, immediately. If it’s untrue, this is beyond disturbing, as I’m certain anyone who’s had any kind of up close and personal experience with suicide will agree. Suicide, and the fallout, is devastating in ways impossible to describe.

    My God, when did we start taking ourselves this seriously?

  4. sybil
    May 01, 2007 @ 22:20:15

    I still say it is a drunk post. She was kicking back with her two friends after RT… being all glowy that they are on top of the world ma!

    Started to believe their own press as the vodka bottles got emptier and emptier…

    someone looked at someone and was all DUDE you know that mean grrl bollger leeeeeetss go giver her a whats for

    and poof

    there you got it, bob’s your uncle and all that… they are going to wake up in the morning with the laptop next to them going ‘oh shit.’

    the lesson here is never drink and post

    What? okay or fine she is just an ignorant slut which is soooo wrong if ones name isn’t Jane.

  5. Shiloh Walker
    May 01, 2007 @ 22:21:06

    As a woman, I find that just as degrading as someone stating that we should boycott a business because it is owned by a woman. I will give my business and money to a quality product and if it is owned by a woman then all the better. I would hate for my business to sink or swim based solely on my sex.

    I’ve got to agree with this. I’m not going to tell any female I know that they should buy my book and when they ask why… reply, well, i’m a woman, you’re a woman, you ought to support my efforts. Buy it because it appeals to you. buy it because you’re curious. buy it because you’ve bought my stuff before and liked it. Or because you’re one of the Janes and you’re going to give me another chance…. *G*

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here… I don’t really think reviews are for the writer, anyway. It’s to help the buying public make their buying choices. It’s a way for romance lovers to connect with other romance lovers.

    While Karen might not have liked the book that started this whole issue, I bet anything that she’s gotten a number of readers to try it out, readers who normally wouldn’t have.

    I’ve bought books because of bad reviews. Sometimes because of good reviews. Rarely over …meh… reviews. Any kind of passionate response is good publicity in the long run. And I’d rather have a strong reaction, negative or positive, over one that just says…. well, it was an okay book.

    Okay is boring.

    I think some of the comments are way over the top, on both sides. People attacking Karen for voicing her opinion, and she totally has the right to do so. People attacking EC, and the people therein, NOT the editorial or story issues, but actually using insults and something so juvenile as name calling. And I really, really am disturbed by the entire suicide issue. If somebody is indeed suicidal, they need to step away from the email, get the yellow pages and seek psych help. Because they have issues that go way beyond writing, reviews or anything else that can be found online.

    My God, when did we start taking ourselves this seriously?

    ;o) I rarely take anything seriously…much less myself.
    It all boils down to opinion. What appeals to some will not appeal to others. It’s been this way since the world started to spin and it will be this way until the end of the world.

    Some of the responses, people are so up in arms, it’s mind-boggling. It’s a book. These are opinions. It’s not a nice review, but unless God has Judgment Day planned for tonight, the world is still going to be spinning tomorrow…in spite of a reader’s opinion on the book. I have had bad reviews, I have had people hate my stuff, and the sun still rose the next morning, I continued to sell books.

    The world isn’t going to end because of a bad review…and next week, there will be some other bru-haha (however it’s spelled).

  6. Shiloh Walker
    May 01, 2007 @ 22:27:02

    guh… that wasn’t supposed to be block quoted.

    the OKAY IS BORING is my opinion and i wanted it bolded…. not quoted…

  7. Wendy
    May 01, 2007 @ 22:35:54

    Shiloh said:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again here… I don't really think reviews are for the writer, anyway. It's to help the buying public make their buying choices. It's a way for romance lovers to connect with other romance lovers.

    This is only the second time I’ve seen an author publicly say something like this and I think it’s a really, really healthy attitude to have. Frankly I couldn’t agree more. Authors are in a bad spot – there is no way in h*ll they can please every-single-reader-on-the-plant, which means they’re stuck with writing the best book they can and hoping it “sticks” for some. That’s about it.

    It’s been stated on more than one occasion – how come these trolls never pop up when reader bloggers are giving out POSITIVE reviews. Why? Because there is no controversy in it. Because they won’t get the spotlight shined on their little corner of cyberspace. I just can’t be arsed anymore to give a crap – but that’s just me being cynical again. Or maybe it’s because this Big Meanie Evil Reviewer “debate” has been making the Internet rounds since (at least) the mid-1990s and I’m just tired. The difference is that now it’s Big Meanie Evil Bloggers and not just Big Meanie Review Sites.

    And neither here nor there – does anyone take RT’s reviews seriously? I subscribe mainly because I’m a plot description whore – and it’s the easiest way for me to get descriptions for every single series romance every month.

  8. Rosie
    May 02, 2007 @ 00:50:04

    Started to believe their own press as the vodka bottles got emptier and emptier…

    So this is the cyber version of drunken dialies?

    Jane, I mentioned it on Karen’s post, but your reply to the alleged Ms. Falk letter was great. You certainly expressed far more eloquently some of my thoughts.

  9. Bev(BB)
    May 02, 2007 @ 02:37:34

    Tis enough to make one consider reviewing.

    Nuff said.

  10. CindyS
    May 02, 2007 @ 03:32:18

    I hit a few typos and then came to the suicide part and decided it was in no way Ms. Falk. No way someone who has been in the business as long as the real woman has been would write something so rambly and silly and downright ‘stepford wives’ inducing.

    When I got to the part about reading the Secret I decided that it was someone wanting to promote the book.

    Also, my understand is that EC is doing just find financially and doesn’t need a cheerleading section. Just saying.


  11. Teddy Pig
    May 02, 2007 @ 04:03:46

    For her protest of those bad bad blogs Ms. Falk commented on one?

    That takes some deep thought. Does she have a magazine to say this in or what?

  12. Sarah McCarty
    May 02, 2007 @ 04:09:14

    Personally, I’m just amazed a review of a book raised this much furor!

    Sarah, just…blinking

  13. Alessia Brio
    May 02, 2007 @ 04:16:42

    If this person IS Ms. Falk, then I want to bitch slap her with my nasty RT review. I mean, I could’ve jumped off my roof — and she would’ve been responsible.

  14. Teddy Pig
    May 02, 2007 @ 05:06:05

    No, Alessia don’t do it! Don’t be persuaded by the EVIIIIIIL that is Romance Review magazines.

  15. Charlene
    May 02, 2007 @ 06:16:48

    I’d be surprised if that was a real comment from Ms. Falk, who by all accounts is an incredibly smart and savvy woman. In any case, RT certainly does not hand out gold stars wth every review. I have on my keeper shelf a book that got a 1 from RT. I guess that reviewer didn’t like ghost stories, but I do. ; )

    My own books have gotten anything from a Top Pick to a 3 from RT reviewers, who have by no means universally adored all my books. If you read the magazine, you’ll see a wide range of opinions in the reviews and some of them have been very critical of erotic romances, including EC titles, and given very low grades to titles the reviewer thought warranted them. Just as they do in other genres, and for books by other publishers. EC does not get special treatment in RT reviews, believe me.

    I kind of have to laugh at the idea that women in publishing are fragile flowers. This is a tough business, for writers, for agents, for editors, for publishers. Publishing is not for wimps. Tina Engler didn’t build a multi-million dollar business by running home weeping every time somebody insulted her books.

    I’ve just turned in a book I’d been working on since January 06. The fact that I put that much effort into it doesn’t guarantee that anybody but me will like the end result. If I thought publishing a book guaranteed universal adoration and if I thought I was entitled to the support of other women because of my chromosones and not my ability to weave a damn good story, I would have some serious work to do on myself.

  16. Alex
    May 02, 2007 @ 06:50:19

    I’m sorry, but if you’re attempting suicide over a bad review, then maybe the publishing business is not for you.

    It’s not Karen’s fault that someone clearly needs psychiatric help.

  17. Devon
    May 02, 2007 @ 07:05:02

    Oh my! I haven’t been to Karen’s blog in a couple of days. I guess I missed something.

    All I can say is, I really hope it’s not real. Because I just lost a lot of respect for not only Ms. Falk but Romantic Times also. If this bizarre comment truly reflects their thoughts on reviewing, blogs, and the fragility of authors, then it makes their credibility seem pretty ridiculous.

  18. JulieLeto
    May 02, 2007 @ 07:23:48

    Alessia, move over…I need to jump, too! I got a 1 from RT in 2000 and I’ve never gotten over it…maybe I should send Kathryn Falk the bill for my therapy?


    This is absurd. This has to be a joke. Please, please, let it be a joke!

  19. Devon
    May 02, 2007 @ 07:24:39

    Okay, now I really, really hope that wasn’t Kathryn Falk. I had to skim some of it, because it just went on and on and happy thoughts and evil emotions and women together and suicide (WTF?) blah blah blah blah. Whoever wrote it maybe took some Vicodin along with their Cosmos.

    But if it was Kathryn Falk, she should’ve taken the time to actually read the review, and look around Karen’s blog, because no one could be that clueless. Her comments revealed that she has no clue at all about romance blogs and bloggers and their purpose. It all seemed unhinged and ignorant.

    Has she ever commented on blogs before?

    I rarely read RT, but as far as I know, there are just small review subsections devoted to Erotic Romance and Ebooks (apart from advertising, of course). Does she spend a lot of time promoting epubs
    and authors?

  20. Rinda Elliott
    May 02, 2007 @ 08:06:41

    I wish I had continued to just pick up RT occasionally. I really, really wish I hadn’t caved recently and subscribed. This letter is something else. As a Woman, a WRITER and a READER who wants honest reviews, I’m appalled.

  21. JulieLeto
    May 02, 2007 @ 08:09:48

    Devon, RT is filled with advertising from various ebook companies that specialize in erotic romance and erotica. And the reviews section is getting longer and longer and longer…easily longer than single title contemporaries or mainstream fiction. Just to answer your question.

  22. Tara Marie
    May 02, 2007 @ 08:25:21

    I’ve read through everything and all I can say is Oh!! My!! God!! I think Sybil might be right :D

    If this is in fact the Lady Barrow herself how seriously does anyone take her–she runs a cover model contest with half naked men in strange costumes in the middle of her book convention . I can’t be the only person that considers this cringe worthy and add to that if the romance publishing world wants to be taken seriously perhaps these type of things shouldn’t be used to promote the genre. It may be fun but it has a certain level of tackiness to it.

    Continuing with the assumption that this is in fact KF, I find it rather curious that someone running a “book review” magazine doesn’t grasp that reviews are for readers. And if she were truly concerned with the psyche of authors and publishers every book in her magazine would have positive, glowing reviews and nothing would rate a 1 or a 2, not that many do :)

    I actually like RT, not that I think the grading system is all that accurate, but I do use the synopses when I’m considering what books to buy new each month. Though it’s filled with a lot of useless info, I stick to the reviews/synopses, up coming releases and the letters if they look interesting.

  23. Jane
    May 02, 2007 @ 08:29:02

    I have tried to confirm via phone calls and emails that this is Kathryn Falk. I’ve left three messages at RT and hope to hear something soon.

  24. Vivi Anna
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:00:19

    Hey, the woman has a right to her opinion. And I give her kudos for taking the plunge and posting them in a public forum knowing full well everyone would rip her apart.

    We all have the right to free speech. Karen S can rip apart authors and their work and Kathryn can come on her blog and voice her opinion on that, even if a tad incoherent.

    And everyone in turn can rip Kathryn’s thoughts to shreds.

    Awesome! Free speech at work. Ain’t it fucking great!!!

  25. jmc
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:03:45

    I was inclined to think that it was not actually Ms. Falk, since it seems like she opened up her mouth and crammed her foot into it, potentially alienating a lot of readers. But then I read this page, especially the last two paragraphs, at the bio on the RT website, and I’m not so sure. It seems consistent with the new agey, let’s be nice, spiritual/inspirational portion of her comment. ::shrugs::

  26. Jane
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:06:13

    jmc – I’ve heard from several people that this sounds like something Falk would make and that someone from RT was calling around saying “have you seen what KF posted.” I am more inclined to believe that it is her than not until I get someone from RT to say it is not.

  27. Alison Kent
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:14:13

    Jane said:
    is as a result of what she perceives to be a threat to her business.

    Look at any issue for an idea of the ad money EC must spend there.

    Bonnie said:
    we should all give unqualified support to these eBook companies, specifically EC, because they are owned and operated by women. As a woman, I find that just as degrading

    Ditto. And honestly, so hard to believe a “businesswoman” would say such a thing.

    CindyS said:
    No way someone who has been in the business as long as the real woman has been would write something so rambly and silly and downright 'stepford wives' inducing. When I got to the part about reading the Secret I decided that it was someone wanting to promote the book.

    Actually, it’s the same tone (tho more rambling) as a lot of her editorial letters in RT and her newsletters, and she did recently and heavily push “The Secret.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it is her, especially since she brings Rosemary and Margaret into it. They are very romance supportive booksellers in Australias, and not everyone would know their names to mention them.

  28. Patrice Michelle
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:15:30

    I’m surprised so much fervor has occurred over this review. No author likes to get bad reviews but when our work is put out there, we won’t be able to please everyone. The longer you’re in this business the more you come to realize that. Each year, the skin grows thicker.

  29. Jane
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:17:09

    Not to mention the two said booksellers are currently staying with her.

  30. Nora Roberts
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:37:33

    I’m not uncomfortable posting a comment on this topic. I thought Falk’s rambling and baffling lecture was off on every possible level. I disagreed with virtually everything she said, and was appalled by much of it. Suicide? Please. And if she actually knows someone so devasted by the review and comments on Karen’s blog, I’d think she’d be busy trying to get this person help instead of spending all the time writing the endless diatribe.

    And it sounded like Falk to me. In fact, it sounded exactly like her, imo.

  31. Jules Jones
    May 02, 2007 @ 09:49:46

    I sincerely hope that was a fake. If it wasn’t, then Falk is a hypocrite of the first water when she starts going on about women needing to support each other, and the horrors of male-run businesses. Because at the Romantic Times convention, one group of women had their promo material confiscated by the hotel customer services manager, with no attempt by the con staff to stop him — supposedly because it had given offence to a businessman.

  32. Robin
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:08:57

    I have to leave in a few minutes to take a final, but I wanted to comment on two things. First, it seems to me that part of what’s going on here is a clash between what I’ll call the “old guard”of Romance, which seems more of a fan-based community, and the “new guard,” which seem more reader-based (as in reader/critic). RT is definitely of the old guard, and blogs like DA, Smart Bitches, Bam, Mrs. Giggles, AAR, and Karen Scott’s are more new-guard. And clearly, there’s a clash. Because IMO the new guard is gaining more of a foothold in the community, that seems very threatening to some of the old guard, and I see Falk’s letter as a reflection of that sense of being threatened, of the old order being challenged. Now personally, I think there’s room for both orientations in the Romance community, as this is really an enormous and enormously diverse genre and industry. All the arguments in the world aren’t going to convince me that critical readers are any kind of threat to the genre — quite the opposite is true, IMO, and Falk’s letter goes a long way to demonstrating the need for even more critical attention to Romance, not less.

    Also, as for being “nice,” is Falk’s letter, especially that horrific and sad mention of suicide (which, if true, is terribly violative of the person who is in such pain, and if false, a virtually unforgivable manipulation and insult to people who have had to deal with mental illness and suicide) nice? What does nice mean? Doesn’t it entail respect for the opinions of others? Respect for the independence and intelligence of other women? Respect for an unpublished author to express an opinion without being outed online by published authors? Respect for talent above personality by editors?

    If one really buys into that whole “law of attraction” deal with The Secret (and to anyone who has studied metaphysics in the last four centuries, none of that was either secret or properly credited or coherently and comprehensively represented), then one’s world basically shrinks down to the singular responsibility of the “I” to create a world of one’s choosing. If Falk wants a world of singing birds and happy forest creatures and fan-based Romance, she can certainly create that for herself without having to sacrifice anyone else in the process.

  33. Karen Scott
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:11:47

    She actually sent me an e-mail too, plus she posted the same thing twice on my blog, so she definitely wanted to let me know what she thought.

    I think this has been up long enough now for somebody to have told her about the posting, and for her to come marching in, screaming her denial.

    I wonder what’s taking her so long?

  34. Ann(ie)
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:11:55

    Jules, thanks for mentioning that. Wasn’t it important to be “nice” to that woman? Or doesn’t she count because she writes m/m romances and that doesn’t qualify as real love?

  35. raine
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:12:11

    I’ve followed this thread on Karen’s from the beginning, and can’t believe how it’s developing!

    Karen’s blog is a reader’s blog. Readers have the right to voice their opinion on books and on publishers. All the name calling aside, there’s nothing wrong about the voicing of honest opinions.

    But nothing there left me as open-mouthed as Ms. Falk’s post (if, indeed, it was her).

  36. Tara Marie
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:13:46

    If it wasn't, then Falk is a hypocrite of the first water when she starts going on about women needing to support each other, and the horrors of male-run businesses. Because at the Romantic Times convention, one group of women had their promo material confiscated by the hotel customer services manager, with no attempt by the con staff to stop him -‘ supposedly because it had given offence to a businessman.

    I’m not really surprised by this. The June 2007 issue of RT has a letter of complaint about an ad for a m/m romance…

    From their answer:

    We’re sorry that the ad offended you,… While we do monitor the covers that go into each section, including the erotic, RT’s policy is that we will not review meale/male or female/female books in the magazine–but we do allow them to be advertised….

    As the romance genre has expanded so have we, and in an effort to be as fair as posible, we feel that advertising the books provides a service. The erotica section, in general, is not for everyone, just like the inspirational section is not for everyone, but our goal is to let readers know what’s out there to give them choices and intgroduce them to genres, books and authors they may never have picked up….

    It seems to me they’re walking a fine line and having a problem doing it.

  37. Robin
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:19:39

    Oh, and one more thing: I realize that there are authors out there who just don’t want to talk about stuff like theme and style and motif and character, etc., especially with gasp! readers. And that’s fine. Just turn away, turn away, turn away. I find it somewhat ironic, if not exactly surprising, that some of the issues readers argue about in Romance are essentially the same issues we tend to argue about regarding community dynamics. Are virgin heroines morally superior? Are “nice girl” readers and authors morally superior? Should heroines have to give up everything for the hero? Should women readers have to suppress their views so as not to rock the boat? Personally, I see this kind of moralizing as both a prison and as philosophically untenable (how far can you push it before becoming a hypocrite?), but for whatever reasons, it’s running through our fiction and our other interactions. Isn’t it time we claimed our own agency as independent and intelligent women and freed ourselves from these constraints, which, at this point in history, seem to be more of our own making than anyone else’s? If some don’t think it is, just turn away, turn away, turn away.

  38. janice
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:22:46

    There was a new york times article today about how book reviews are losing print coverage –
    “”To some authors and critics, these moves amount to yet one more nail in the coffin of literary culture. But some publishers and literary bloggers -‘ not surprisingly -‘ see it as an inevitable transition toward a new, more democratic literary landscape where anyone can comment on books…” I wonder that situation has something to do with this targeting of a blogger?

  39. Nora Roberts
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:36:20

    I understand where you’re coming from, Robin, but I’d have to qualify as a member of the old guard. And I’m not threatened by the current blogasphere. In fact, I like it a lot. I’m also in such complete disagreement with Falk’s post that I don’t have enough words to describe my thoughts. I’ll just stick with appalled and pissed off. That covers enough.

    I broke off any contact and connection to RT about a decade ago, for my own reasons. if I hadn’t then, I would now.

    There are plenty of us old guard who respect and appreciate the new. I hope KF won’t be considered the voice or the image of those of us who’ve been around for a couple of decades.

  40. Robin
    May 02, 2007 @ 10:44:26

    There are plenty of us old guard who respect and appreciate the new. I hope KF won't be considered the voice or the image of those of us who've been around for a couple of decades.

    Good point. I didn’t mean to imply that there was no overlap, simply that there are some members of each side who can’t see the merits of the other position and who see a polarization where there need be none, IMO.

  41. Jules Jones
    May 02, 2007 @ 11:11:09

    Annie, RT has a history of prejudice against m/m writers. I’ll say right now that I have a bias here — at one point RT was giving authors to understand that taking paid ad space in the magazine would get you a review. During that period, my publisher took out a three page spread in RT to advertise the launch of their new print line. The launch lineup included one m/m romance — mine. It was not reviewed, and will not be reviewed.

    I’m not a member of the Manlove group, but I am an m/m romance author with personal experience of RT being somewhat selective with their support of romance authors.

    Note that Mrs Giggles shredded one of my books — and in doing so gave me far more respect and support than I’ve ever had from RT, for she was willing to read the book, and explain clearly why she didn’t like it, for reasons to do with whether she thought it was well written.

  42. Emmatyville » Blog Archive » Where’s My Popcorn?
    May 02, 2007 @ 11:32:20

    […] Blog The Shot Heard ‘Round The Convention Dear Author Exhibit A Dear Author Exhibit B Dear Author Exhibit […]

  43. stephanie feagan
    May 02, 2007 @ 12:06:24

    Hmm, I posted late last night, clearly tired. In an effort to point out I’m not a complete nimrod, only a partial one, my question of who was contemplating suicide, whether the author or the reviwer, didn’t mean Karen Scott. In the ramblings of the post from Ms. Falk, or her mysterious clone, I thought perhaps she meant whomever reviewed the book in RT was upset. Now I think on it, that makes zero sense – why would a reviewer be that upset that another reader disagreed with her? I was either too tired to understand, or the post made me cross-eyed.

    Oh. Wait.

    I’ve had a full night’s sleep, and it’s still making me cross-eyed.

    Wonder how this book fared in RT reviews? Anyone know?

  44. S.K.
    May 02, 2007 @ 12:53:03

    Oh my God, are we STILL beating this dead (and by now devoured) horse???

    I agree with Charlene. Tina Engler didn’t build her company by being a simpering, fragile female. She’s laughing all the way to the bank. And more power to her, I say.

    Can we move on? Pretty please? Anyone read any good books lately?

  45. Bev(BB)
    May 02, 2007 @ 13:30:19

    Ya know, maybe there really are people who can’t tell fantasy from reality and need to be protected from the harshness of life . . . cue the twilight zone theme here, people. Because even if she didn’t write that, somebody did and somebody just needs to get a clue. And if it was really posted by her, whoa, what a hugh PR misstep because I’ll never buy that magazine again in this lifetime nor visit the site. Considering the fact that I’m spending most of this week shuttling back and forth with my father in the hospital, I’m just so happy to know I’m one of those women who spend all my time posting from the quiet of my home.

    Sheesh. Give me a break.

  46. Kate R
    May 02, 2007 @ 17:16:52

    Now that I know the reviews are for me, me, me, I want some kind of compensation. Summer books keep getting three stars from RT and it bums me out big time. Can I send my therapy bill to RT?

  47. Why the romance community dissing RT is bad for black romance authors | the way there
    May 03, 2007 @ 07:12:19

    […] May 3, 2007Why the romance community dissing RT is bad for black romance authors RT’s integrity is being questioned and far worse, the integrity of their reviews. Why Romantic Times reviews are not credible. […]

  48. Rashenbo
    May 03, 2007 @ 12:37:59

    Oh man… What a ridiculous string of comments. I have no idea if the commenter was truly who she claimed to be… but good grief. What a nut.

  49. emdee
    May 04, 2007 @ 10:00:07

    Sarah at Smart Bitches called Ms Falk and had an interesting conversation where she claimed that someone hacked into her computer and wrote that rambling mess at Karen’s. It just gets weirder…

  50. Jaden
    Jul 05, 2007 @ 08:33:22

    It’s not only Romantic Times with this crap going on! There are many other on line groups and online ezines that are doing the same thing! Further, I’m sick and tired of reading reviews written by the authors themselves. I can name a few.

  51. Lilith Saintcrow » Blog Archive » Early in the morning, rising to the street, light me up a cigarette and I slap shoes on my feet…
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:34:16

    […] big flap in emails this morning is all about someone claiming to be Kathryn Falk (of RT fame) and taking bloggers to task for being vituperative. I’m not sure if this is Ms. Falk, and Dear Author has the scoop on it (plus an update here […]

  52. Lilith Saintcrow » Blog Archive » Kerfluffle! And Stories!
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:34:38

    […] llama is so very drama all other llamas go home. There’s death threats from cover models, accusations from magazine editors, and […]

  53. Deb Kinnard
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 10:35:03

    Hey, the woman has a right to her opinion. And I give her kudos for taking the plunge and posting them in a public forum knowing full well everyone would rip her apart.

    Not exactly. We all have a right to our opinion, but none of us has the right to falsify. If the original poster felt so very passionate about her position, she should have had the decency to use her real name and not “borrow” (read: steal) someone else’s. Particularly someone with so high a profile.

  54. terry
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 00:37:26

    Falk is the biggest Phoney there is

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