Selah March

May 26, 2009

Making friends and influencing people: Ur doin’ it rong

Filed under: blah blah blah,Industry,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 10:23 am

I’ve been avoiding the Romancelandia blogs in favor of writing, so I almost missed the “Avon editors diss online romance reviewers” kerfluffle. But while it doesn’t surprise me that mainstream NY print publishing isn’t 100% caught up on the marvels of the online reading/reviewing community and how it can be used to further sales and build reader enthusiasm, I have to wonder at the vitriolic tone in response to what seem to be rather innocuous and well-intended — if possibly ill-informed — comments.

Yeah, it makes sense to say, “Dude, you might be a tad behind the curve on this,” and provide data to support your point. Less with the sense-making is the whole, “OMG, you took a piss in my Wheaties ON PURPOSE and I’m TOTALLY GOING TO CUT YOU,” thing.

I thought the intent was to educate the industry on the joys of the online community, not score Imaginary Intraweb points by launching attacks and fomenting bad feelings. Doesn’t look like those Avon editors will be standing in line for any “education” anytime soon. Counter-productive, much?

But what the hell do I know? I live in jeans and dirty sneakers, and my style-quotient is WAY below the norm. Maybe sporting a massive a chip on your shoulder is the new black?

March 30, 2009

Yes. THIS.

Kerry Allen has the last word on e-piracy. Everybody else – and that includes “industry professionals” who tell authors to quit bitching about being bent over and buggered without benefit of lube by scumbag thieves because it might “alienate readers” – can just suck on this for a while, yes? Yes.

Also, have you visited Romance Cooties lately?

January 7, 2008

Jenny Crusie FOR THE WIN!

Filed under: blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 8:52 pm

Anybody who’s even marginally acquainted with me must know I couldn’t keep my grubby little paws off this one, right?

Cassie Edwards has allegedly plagiarized some work, apparently from a number of sources. If these allegations are true, then Ms. Edwards deserves whatever consequences are coming to her. No author has the right to steal, no matter how popular – and Cassie Edwards IS popular, which is part of another point that I’ll address later (and I’m sure you can’t WAIT).

So it was the Smart Bitches who outted Ms. Edwards’ shenanigans, and that’s all well and good. Keeping the masses informed, one Bitch at a time. Works for me.

But there IS a finer distinction to be made here, and Jenny Crusie stepped up to bat and knocked it right outta the park.

After acknowledging that plagiarism is wrong, and Edwards deserves to face the consequences if she, in fact, has done it, and also acknowledging that the SBs have every right to hunt down the facts of the matter AND every right to review as “savagely” as they can, Jenny went on to say:

“I also think this site has made Cassie Edwards a scapegoat and a whipping boy, taking gleeful delight in pointing out how bad she is over and over and over again to the point where it’s close to harassment. The woman is a bad writer, we get it, we get it, so why did Candy give her friend one of Edwards’ books when she knows what outstandingly good books there are out there? Because it’s Cassie Edwards, and she’s so much fun to kick. The only thing I do not like about this site is the way Edwards is treated.

So when I saw another ‘Cassie Edwards, ohmygod’ post, the fact that it was about plagiarism is not what annoyed me first, it was that it was another shot at Cassie Edwards, discovered because people were reading her to make fun of her again. She plagiarized, I hope she goes down for it. But she doesn’t deserve the constant humiliation this site heaps on her, nobody does.

I realize this will enrage SB fans. I realize this will make some people think even less of me than they already do and that opinion was pretty darn low to begin with. I’m good with that. Have a nice day.”

And OHMYGOD, I nearly had a spontaneous moment of sexual ecstasy there. Pardon me whilst I recover.

Okay. So.

Criticize the work. Criticize the author for producing the work. Everyone can learn from good, solid, insightful reviewing. But when the criticism slides into round after round of bashing, whom does that benefit? The segment of the audience who are in it for the cheap thrill of getting to be nasty virtually anonymously and with no consequences? The blogger who gets to vent and have her adoring readership tell her again how very clever she is?

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s left feeling queasy by that behavior, especially when it’s practiced by folks I know to be otherwise intelligent enough to appreciate the distinction. And it saddens me when the only defense they can seem to come up with is “I never said I was a nice person.” Lame.

My other point? Clearly, Cassie Edwards — and Laurell K. Hamilton and a slew of other authors who are routinely excoriated online — have a large and devoted audience. What is the average book reviewer saying to THOSE people every time they not only diss a book or report on an event in the writing community – ALL of which is perfectly reasonable behavior — but savage the author to boot? Aren’t they saying, “hey, you’re too stupid to know a good book, AND the author with whom you may have a long-time literary relationship is pretty much a moron, too.” So when blogging reviewers (NOT necessarily the SBs) get all het up about authors allegedly bashing readers in these online dust-ups? Perhaps they should, for just a moment, consider the literally thousands of readers they routinely offend simply by being unnecessarily cruel to their favorite authors.

Do the SBs and their crowd have a right to bash? Sure they do. I’ve got a right to stand on the corner and berate my long-dead Aunt Marta for being an utter twat, too. Doesn’t mean anybody needs to hear that shit. Nor does it make me particularly classy to do it.

There’s a reason they call it the “high road” and it ain’t for the cannabis growin’ in the ditch.

And now I’m going to go write Jenny Crusie a note, thanking her for speaking up. I may feel the urge to propose marriage. I will fight this urge. I may not win.

Jenny? You’ve been warned. – Romance of Dubious Virtue

November 8, 2007

‘Atta boy, Clarence

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 8:41 am

“She’d better keep her mouth shut or her sales will drop and her career will be in the toilet.”

That’s me paraphrasing something I keep reading over and over and over in various places using various sorts of language. But the thing is? In my case? Not so much, really.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but every time I let myself be weak and participate in a little Romancelandia free-for-all, my Fictionwise sales spike. This year’s post-RWA conference Battle of the Bloggers saw a rise of between 5% and 10% in sales of my work there. Which really? Isn’t saying much, because I’m hardly a bestseller on my finest day. But it does seem to point to the above statement being a crock of the ripest kind of bullshit.

So. I will continue to try to avoid this painful, pointless nonsense when I can, but not because I fear for my career. You know, every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings…

In other news, the countdown to the end of the first round of the Brava novella contest has begun. I’m trying to be very Zen about the whole thing. I’m failing. Hold me. – Romance of Dubious Virtue

November 7, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 7:13 pm

A quote from a famously long-winded commenter on a busy-as-a-bee romance review blog (to which I will not link because that might besmirch its pristine rep, and we can’t have that, can we?) :

“So now I start wondering things like: where does Caridad Ferrer stand in all of this? Her blog is linked on Ferfe’s page and she’s March’s friend. I have several question marks like that, around authors and bloggers who haven’t ever publicly indicated that they’re not on board with the mudfest. Not that any of those authors or bloggers may care one whit, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one asking those questions.”

I’ll answer that question with a question: So now busy authors juggling multiple professional commitments are required to keep abreast of blog-wars in which they have no interest AND make sure all bloggers linking to them are on the politically correct side of any controversy?


Get. A. Life.

Buy one if you have to. Put it on freakin’ lay-a-way for the holidays. Anyone with that many “question marks” around the idea that an award-winning author doesn’t have better things to do with her time is in serious need of a hobby.

A note to all authors in my sidebar: that target on your back just got bigger. Want me to de-link? Drop me a note, no hard feelings. It’s Amnesty Day here at Dubious Virtue, in honor of folks with too much time on their hands and not near enough common sense. – Romance of Dubious Virtue

October 3, 2007

What if they held a blog-war and nobody came?

Filed under: blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 10:07 am

First — because it deserves to be first, and not buried beneath the rubble of rant I’m planning — Eva Gale gets 4 Stars from The Romance Studio for 101 Degrees Fahrenheit!

A quote:

This is one erotic connection that creates a hot, dynamite, sensual read, packed inside this page-turner.”

That’s my girl. 🙂

On to things less important in the larger scheme.

See Jenny Crusie discuss readers who turn their dissatisfaction with a book into a personal attack.

See Jenny further defend the rights of authors to respond to personal attacks.

This, in particular, resonates for me:

So you handle it by looking at the whatever the attack was and telling yourself, ‘Deep breath, she’s her and obviously miserable or she wouldn’t be wasting her time spreading bile, and you’re you and you’re happy. Let it go. You win.’ And then one day, you don’t let it go. Because it’s not okay. You cannot insult me (or in this case, my friend) and feel betrayed when I respond; you can not take the low road and then be outraged when I come down to join you, you cannot call me names and then say, ‘Not fair!’ when I tell people that you called me names.”

See many readers and authors support Jenny in her cry of “Foul!”

…’mean girls’ … i.e. women who specialize in relational aggression count on the silence of those they attack. They need it to thrive, like e.coli on an agar gel (lab nerds will get that). So if the Y’s who attack others (and her letter was an attack, not a criticism) don’t like getting ‘outed’ they shouldn’t write letters that won’t humiliate them if they are published. No complicit silence for mean girls (and mean boys although male social aggression is usually in a different form). You don’t get a carte blanche to attack people just because you aren’t famous and they are. They are allowed to fight back.

From the same commenter:

In addition, I don’t think Y ‘messed up.’ I think she attacked … why should you expect privacy in an attack? If you are that certain you are right you shouldn’t care if your letter was printed. Unless you know you were being a flaming twit and don’t want ‘others’ to know you feel free to express your opinion as a personal attack on someone. If she had wrote ‘I think your book did a disservice to quilters and did not represent us fairly. Since others will read your books please consider the fact you may be damaging the reputation of our community.’ That would make it an opinion and a criticism. There is a big difference between ‘I disagree with you’ and ‘you suck, Yankee.

(The above is a point I’ve tried to make a few times with a few different folks and failed, miserably. I chalk it up to my own inability to communicate effectively, because it SURELY couldn’t be that although the concept is simple and straightforward — it’s okay to tell me you don’t like my shoes, it’s not okay to say ‘you’re an ugly ho-bag with no taste’ — these folks choose not to comprehend it because it runs contrary to their personal agendas.)

See some — including a few of The Usual Suspects — turn out to say, yet again, that authors have no business voicing opinions about others’ opinions of their work.

I see Crusie’s post as a warning. Beware all readers who attempt to make criticisms of an author. If you aren’t as clever as us, it will go badly for you.”

(And yet again, the apparently conscious decision to conflate “criticism” with “personal attack.” It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?)

See Jenny be Jenny, much to the amusement and delight of her fans.

I think trying to explain my position again or clarify some of the things you misinterpreted would be fruitless since our disagreement is based on that fundamental difference and that is not misinterpreted. I understand that you feel the post reveals a lot of unflattering things about me; they’re all true.”

And then see the crazies crawl out of the woodwork in full force. Jenny says:

In other news, this discussion is now being discussed elsewhere as an anti-Christian rant:

‘Supporters of the Famous Author whose blog it is, took gleeful flight into really vicious anti-Christian ‘comments.’ Just, boom – let’s trash Christians. Let’s do it in an unlimited and really ugly way . . . . I do wonder how great the distance is between the virulent anti-Christian ranting on blogs such as the one I mention, and the rounding up of Christians for labor camps? Just wondering when the hate gets its legs under it and starts killing people. I mean, it looks to me as if some of the readers/commenters on that blog wouldn’t mind at all setting fire to a church full of Christians – well, white Christians. Wouldn’t want to be racist.’

Jenny again: “I did a search for ‘Christian’ of both Argh posts and the comments. Nothing. Then I did one for ‘God,’ and after adjusting for swearing, there were a couple of references to ‘god-fearing,’ playing off my comment. So I thought you all should know I’ve brought you down with me.

For the record, I’m Lutheran.

Isn’t it fun being a published writer?

Go here to see some folks be appalled by a reader/reviewer calling an author a few truly vicious names in a review (and in later comments on the author’s blog).

See said reviewer strongly suggest that the author shut up and write. Because THAT’s new and original.

See some wonder how things have degenerated to this point in a community supposedly built upon that most positive and uplifting of genres: Romance.

See me roll my eyes. (But not at you, Jordan. You ask the right questions.)

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, right? And it’s all downhill from here, because too many people — readers AND authors — are quick to jump on the bandwagon of “online readers/bloggers/reviewers are entitled to air their opinions, no matter how vile and intentionally hurtful those opinions might be, without repercussion or the kind of public confrontation that would, in the real world, tend to make them think twice about tone and intent.” In other words? The normal rules of civilized social discourse no longer apply, ladies. That thing flapping against your back? It’s not a cape, it’s a target.

So here we are.

Lie down with dogs? Get up with fleas. – Romance of Dubious Virtue

August 3, 2006

Bitch, pleeeze!

Filed under: blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 11:30 pm

I can’t even…just…I don’t know how to…

Go here. Read. Click link to Jan Butler’s blog. Read some more. Try not to cry from pain in head. Go back and check the comments at the Smart Bitches for many wonderful remarks, including one from Nora Roberts.


If ONE person can show me how Butler’s First Amendment rights have been breached by a whole passel of pissed-off writers and readers expressing their outrage over her whack-job opinions, I’ll eat my left sneaker. And I really REALLY don’t want that thing anywhere near my mouth after the nasty-ass heat of this past week.

Nobody tried to prevent you from showing world at large what a bigoted moron you are, Butler. Just like nobody said the rest of us couldn’t point and snicker. Loudly. Maybe lob a few metaphorical loogies while we were at it. Am I surprised you don’t really grasp the concept of Constitutionally protected free expression? Uhhhh…gimme a minute…

That would be NO.

As for her assertion about the RWA poll that never saw the light of day…apparently everybody I know and everybody NORA ROBERTS knows (check aforementioned Smart Bitches comments) — and I’m thinking Nora knows more people than you and I put together and tripled — voted against defining Romance at all.

So there. Nyah.

Just for shits and giggles? Here’s Butler’s profile, where she professes to love both Ann Coulter (who recently suggested a few of the 9/11 widows who are pressing for a more thorough investigation into the Towers attack should shut up and pose for Playboy if they need more attention) and Jesus Christ. AT THE SAME TIME.

I have no words. What few I did, I attempted to use in the comment section of Butler’s blog. They did not appear at the time of this posting. I ain’t holdin’ my breath because, as I’ve noted in the past, mottled blue is SO not my color.

July 24, 2006

Well, slap my ass and call me Sally…

Filed under: blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 5:02 pm

…if the bigots aren’t crawling out of the nooks and crannies yet again, just in time for this year’s RWA National conference The offending letter to the editor in the August RWR calling for the exclusion of gay/bi-sexual/multi-partner romance has been discussed here and here and here and here and likely about another dozen places. These fine folks have already said most everything there was to say on the subject worth saying, including and especially the part about how comparing sex between two or more consenting adults to pedophilia goes beyond mere ignorance into criminal stupidity. The kind that really should’ve died out a couple of decades ago amongst people who can pick up a newsmagazine or tune into a television broadcast. But I suppose when all your manly-man husband allows you to watch is pro-wrestling and FOX News…

Okay, that was probably a low blow. I take it back. (Ignore the way my fingers are sort of crossed behind my back. Symptom of rampant carpal tunnel syndrome. No, really.)

I was particularly amused by this bit:

“RWA should be the first to endorse that, rather than attempting to placate fringe groups trying to impose their standards upon the rest of us.”

Here’s a clue or six for you, Jan. The world, she is round. Epileptic seizures aren’t caused by demonic possession. Your average solar eclipse doesn’t herald the end of existence. And sexuality, as practiced by consenting adults in ALL its various forms, has been around forever. Because certain aspects of it don’t tug YOUR little red wagon down the lane doesn’t mean that they are inherently immoral. Nor does it mean that an entire organization need dance to the tune of your discomfort.

And then there was this:

“Only in recent years has a vocal (translate: shrill) minority tried to drive RWA’s focus off that path, under the guise of ‘broadening its horizons.’ “

Love it. LOVE. IT. And so should anyone on our side of the argument, because when one of your own calls you “shrill,” you know you’re scoring points somewhere. It’s one of the nastiest, most poisoned barbs one of those ladylike, Phyllis Schlafly-clones can think to throw at us from behind their ivory-walled fortresses.

Yeah, I’m shrill. I can work on modulating my tone of voice, but tomorrow you’ll still be a frigid, frightened, misinformed waste of skin.

Pardon the excessive vitriol. Rank bigotry disguised as a moralist’s rant tends to bring out my claws.

December 8, 2005

In Which No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Again, please check the Haloscan comments for two separate posts by author/editor Terese Ramin on this issue. Ms. Ramin makes some good points, asks some good questions, and makes a few exceedingly reasonable requests.

Thanks to her for commenting.

*UPDATE: 12-9-05
Check out the Haloscan comments (as in, NOT Blogger comments) below for a note from Gail Northman, Executive Editor at Triskelion. She clarifies some details of the arrangement between the publishing company and the authors of BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED.

Thank you, Ms. Northman, for taking the time to comment.

* * *

I’m sure there are two sides to the story. There always are, right?

And there are so many other, more important things about which to feel weary and sickened and angry. People dying, children hungry, families torn apart by a stupid, meaningless war…

But I’d hoped for better.

Triskelion Publishing, a small press and electronic publisher, put out a book called BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED. Some of the authors contributing to the book — and remember, this is just a partial list — were Mary Jo Putney, MaryJanice Davidson, Alesia Holliday, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Gena Showalter.

The book did well. So well, in fact, that Triskelion was able to apply for RWA recognition based on its sales numbers.

The results of this application can be found here and here and here, on author Ellen Fischer’s blog.

There was an initial tussle over “but…but…it’s not really ROMANCE!” that was effectively squelched when the Board was reminded that a Chick Lit novel won the RITA this year.

Then there was something iffy about how maybe BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED isn’t really a novel, or even an anthology of novellas, but merely a grouping of short stories because of the length of each offering by the different authors. And yet each section in the book is delineated as a “chapter” and NOT a separate story, which, to me, would indicate that the book IS a novel written by all the authors listed, much like a book written by two authors — like, for instance, the upcoming release from Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer.

But, apparently, what it finally comes down to is that because Triskelion chose to give away the proceeds from BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED to charity, the book is ineligible for recognition. At least, that’s the case according to someone or a group of someones at RWA.

And I can TOTALLY see the logic behind that. Because…you know…you let ONE small press/epublisher get away with giving away profits to the less fortunate among us and reaping the reward of the coveted RWA Recognition, and soon ALL the small press/epubs will just be THROWING cash at the Red Cross…the Salvation Army…criminy, AIDSWork won’t know what to DO with all the money…the Children’s Defense Fund will be sending the cash BACK…

Like I said, I’d hoped for better from the new RWA Board of Directors. In this case, holding to the letter of the law instead of its spirit seems, at best, short-sighted and stupid. At worst? Punitive. Spiteful. More concerned with looking good than doing good.

And heaven knows, the RWA is looking SO good these days, aren’t we?

God bless us, every one.

August 5, 2005

Trash Like Me

Filed under: blah blah blah,Romancelandia,RWA — Selah March @ 9:32 am

UPDATE: link to official letter from RWA Board of Directors. Please note that this letter was sent WITH PERMISSION TO FORWARD. Also, please note that the AWARDS CEREMONY BOARD LIAISON referenced in the letter is RWA President Tara Taylor Quinn.

And check out Jenny Crusie’s take on the sitch. I should’ve shut up and let her say it. She does it so much better.

(8/6/05 at 11:30 AM EST)


“Blame it all on my roots…I showed up in boots…and ruined your black tie affair…”

The backlash has begun, as we knew it would. I, and others like me–we bloggers in the romance community who just couldn’t keep our mouths shut in public–are being told we’ve betrayed our sisters with our candor. We’re being called disloyal. Unladylike. SHRILL.

Is this the part where I’m supposed to apologize for possessing both an opinion AND the temerity to express it where I believed it would do the most good?

“Keep it private.”

“Don’t air our dirty laundry in public.”

“…for the good of the organization…”

“Protect the image of romance fiction…”

I’ve heard this before. Every product of every dysfunctional family in the world has heard some form of it.

“If anybody asks, your father is out of town on business.”

“Tell Grandma/your teacher/your best friend that you fell down the stairs.”

“If the people from the electric company call, tell them I’m not home.”

“Shhh…nice girls don’t tell.” Not even when the guidance counselor keeps them late after school and sticks his hand down the fronts of their shirts and his tongue down their throats? Really?

Really. Four different nice girls in my high school graduating class didn’t tell. And believe me when I say we were ALL “nice” girls. He knew how to pick ’em. We were the ones who knew our place, and knew how to keep it.

I quit being a nice girl the day I ratted him out. I took quite a bit of shit for that, too. Our small town didn’t know too much about sexual abuse or harassment in 1983, so we played a few rounds of “blame the victim,” and then I graduated and went on to college and never looked back.

I haven’t been very nice ever since. And I’ve learned to despise the tea party politics that allow shit like the Graphical Standards mess, the Definition of Romance gibberish, and now the 2005 GH/RITA Awards Ceremony disaster to fester.

People are saying we shouldn’t be talking about it off the RWA loops. They’re saying we shouldn’t be pointing fingers and asking for explanations and demanding that the guilty parties stand up and take responsibility for their screw-ups–not even ON the private loops. Because what good will it do? Why hurt people’s feelings? Can’t we just move on?

(Ken Starr didn’t seem to think so. But that’s different, of course. TOTALLY different.)

Who’s afraid of the light of day? If we have to protect the image of the RWA from the truth, then is that image worth protecting? How about if we start from scratch, right out here in front of God and everybody, and build a new image? One that doesn’t include the panicked secrecy and furtive machinations that have so obviously been a part of the most recent incarnation?

This will be my last post on this subject, unless something else of significance happens. There are more important matters to talk about, like the tragic loss of author Marianne Mancusi’s home to fire while she was at the national conference. You can find out more and discover how you can help rebuild Marianne’s lost library, or make other donations HERE and HERE.

Lest I leave the impression that I’m being persecuted, my mail and blog comments are running about fifty to one in the “you go, girl” category. The Ladies Who Lunch may have no use for trash like me, but I’m pleased to note that I’ve got friends in low places.

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