Aubrey Rose- I’ve been plagiarized!

[reblogged from Aubrey Rose]


Well, somebody stole my book. A kind fan pointed out that Clarissa Black’s book City Girl, Mountain Bear was similar to my novella City Girl, Country Wolf. Too similarThis “author” has taken my storyline and rewritten my book scene for scene, changing just enough to be able to get through Amazon’s plagiarism filters. Not a single sentence is the same, but the story is exactly the same. Check it out…

First scene overview: A high-powered executive woman is in her highrise building, on the phone with someone who is sending her away for a corporate merger. I’ll go through and point out the similarities.
The first sentence illustrates exactly the kind of plagiarism Clarissa Black has committed – rewritten sentence-for-sentence. There’s no reason for a motorcycle to be riding by in the street outside her office – it’s just a detail that they copied because it was there in the original.
  • mine: “a motorcycle rode by her office window, its motor revving loudly.”
  • ripoff: “A motorcycle blared through the City Street.”
Then while still on the phone with corporate, she’s interrupted by her receptionist:
  • mine: “The receptionist poked his head inside her office.”
  • ripoff: “Antonio’s head popped in the office”
Which irritates her.
  • mine: “She gestured at Seth to leave”
  • ripoff: “I gestured for Antonio to enter”
But he has a bunch of papers for her to sign. There’s no reason for her to sign the bottom page, it’s just a detail they copied because it was there in the original.
  • mine: “Flipping through the sheaf of papers, she signed the bottom one and handed it back to Seth.”
  • ripoff: “I said signing the last page at the bottom of the stack.”
She’s late for her meeting with the board:
  • mine: “It was already two minutes past eleven and she was due to present the latest quarterly figures to the board of executives… Seth opened the door again and pointed at his watch. It was time to do the presentation. It was past time.”
  • ripoff: “Antonio waved at his watch. Damn two minutes past the morning meeting with the board of directors.”
The corporate person on the phone decides to send her away to do the merger:
  • mine: ““What do you mean, they want me to do it?””
  • ripoff: “What do you mean, you want me to go”
So she tells her assistant to cancel her plans for the next day:
  • mine: “And cancel my therapy session in the afternoon”
  • ripoff: “I need you to cancel the morning meeting”
And then she leaves. End of scene. So it goes, for the rest of the book.
This is my book, scene for scene, rewritten in the first person and paraphrased so that it doesn’t look like plagiarism. Every single scene is like this. This is a substantial paraphrasing of my book, and as such is plagiarism. So whoever you are, Clarissa Black, screw you and your poorly written knockoff plagiarized books.
If you’re an author, check to see if she hasn’t knocked off one of yours. And if you see a plagiarized book, please REPORT IT to Amazon and to the author who’s being ripped off. I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for a fan letting me know I was being plagiarized. I’m trying to get Amazon to take down the ripoff book right now, will update once I know if they’ll listen to me…

The paid shills are back. And readers have no defense.

Another post from Linda Hilton on the growing problem of paid reviews.

(Note:  As of 1:00 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, 23 June 2014, this blog post is incomplete..I will finish it later today or tonight, but I wanted to put this much information out before I put out the next bit of info, which will be in the next blog post.  Yes, it’s complex. . . . Not my fault.)

That’s the link to my second blog on this subject, and it contains a link to the first.

This is number three.  Three strikes and you’re out.

Despite evidence presented to Amazon that “Winchester168” is a paid fiverr reviewer who does not reveal that she has been compensated for her reviews, she continues to review on Amazon.



And although her “Winchester 168” account was deleted from Goodreads, she has returned and is continuing to review there as well:



“Suzie West” is indeed a new Goodreads account:



She is systematically plugging her old Amazon reviews into her “new” Goodreads account:




I have provided Goodreads with this information.  Whether they will do anything or not remains to be seen.  (They don’t work much on week-ends, which allows the shills and trolls free rein.)

But Goodreads has another problem on their hands:  The rampant invasion of what appear to be massive numbers of sock puppet accounts all posting 5-star ratings (very few if any reviews, however) to the books of one particular author.

The above linked Feedback thread discusses the situation but, because of Goodreads site restrictions, the author and books and reviewers cannot be named.  Here’s the Opening post:


And here’s the author in question:



Oh, wait, here’s the author in question:



Ah, but wait, here’s the author in question:



[reblogged from

Once broken, Trust is almost impossible to repair

This is the second post in Linda Hilton’s ongoing series of blogs about paid reviews.


A few weeks ago, I posted the above blog about at least one “reviewer” on Amazon who appeared to be a paid shill from fiverr.  In other words, the person going by the name “Winchester168” on Amazon was brazenly soliciting business as a 5-star reviewer.  This is not only in violation of Amazon’s stated Terms of Service, but it is against Federal Trade Commission regulations which require reviewers to state clearly whether or not they were compensated in any way for their review.  That includes receiving a free copy from the author or publisher or any other entity for the purpose of review.  And it most definitely includes payment through fiverr for the review.


Here’s the book, and yes I know it’s showing my purchase information:


As of today, 12 June 2014, it has 6 reviews on Amazon, all of which are 5 stars.


Here’s one of them, from Winchester168:



Here is Winchester168’s Amazon profile:



Here is Winchester168’s fiverr profile:



Scrolling down Winchester168’s fiverr profile we find this:



detailing how the client author can even get the “verified purchase” stamp that’s supposed to “prove” the reviewer is an impartial customer.


Although this information has been sent to Amazon several times over the past three weeks, Winchester168 continues to post reviews.


Last night, another GoodReads member located more evidence that Amazon top reviewers and GoodReads top reviewers are in fact fiverr shills.  That evidence has been passed along to GoodReads staff.


I personally was so upset about it, that I began looking at all of Winchester168’s reviews on Amazon and deliberately putting those books on my do-not-want-to-read shelf on GoodReads.  I do not want to support ANY author who stoops to buying five-star reviews.


In the process, of course, I eventually found Winchester168’s reviews on GoodReads.



Which led to Catherine Winchester’s GoodReads profile:




The connections between the various reviewers form a very tangled web.  Winchester is GR friends with Feng Zhou, whose book she 5-starred on Amazon.  There are other suspect reviewers whose reviews interestingly show up on many of the same books that Winchester has reviewed.


If you’re a reader, you should be able to trust that the reviews posted on any site — Amazon, GoodReads, BookLikes, Leafmarks, a blog, anywhere — are an honest opinion.  You should be informed when a “review” is in fact a paid advertisement.  You should know which authors are engaging in practices to pad their ratings to push their books to the top of whatever lists.


If you’re an author, you should be able to trust your fellows.  And you should never, ever break faith with your readers.


I will never support any author who stoops to buying reviews.  Call me a vigilante if you like, but I find this practice more than just unethical and potentially illegal.  You’ve broken the sacred trust that should exist between writers and readers, and I find that despicable, abhorrent, and unforgivable.


[reblogged from



What a way to wake up. (Or go to bed. This keeps changing.)

On 8/11 I posted a blog by Linda Hilton, Somewhere along the way, the whole game changed, Linda has written several others about this growing problem. This is the first posted back on 5/23.

10:57 am 23 May 2014

Parris Afton  Bonds shouldn’t have to game the review system.  Well, actually, no one should be gaming the review system, but Bonds should know better than to even try.


Since I can’t post this on either Goodreads or Amazon, I guess I’ll post it here.


Parris Afton Bonds has republished Dream Time, one of her historical romance novels.  When I picked it up this morning (Friday, 23 May 2014) as Kindle freebie, the five 5-star reviews caught my eye.  As I began to look at them, I could feel my blood pressure start to rise.


One reviewer only has five reviews in her history.  They are all of Parris Afton Bonds’ books.  They are all 5-star.


This one, posted by “Winchester168” looks perfectly legitimate.



But if you look at her profile, she identifies herself as a fiverr reviewer.  I saw that and got sick to my stomach.



The other three reviewers all have lots and lots and lots of reviews, but they’re in a variety of genres, which right away suggests to me that these are fiverr reviewers also.


For instance, here’s a 5-star review on from “Christopher Gill.”



But that text seems familiar.





This pisses me off.  This pisses me off big time.  Parris Afton Bonds shouldn’t have to rig the system.  She should know better.



But wait, there’s more.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how to post a spreadsheet. . . so I’ll just have to give you a description.


I decided to compare the reviews/ratings on GoodReads posted by the three reviewers who gave Dream Time 5-star ratings:  Hector Purgess, Neela Jensen, and Caldric Blackwell.  Their book totals ranged from 57 (Purgess and Blackwell) to 44 (Jensen), but they remarkably had approximately 35 titles in common.  Most of their reviews/ratings were posted in the same sequence, and virtually all were 5-star ratings.


The few books they didn’t have in common were either classics (The Hobbit) or current bestsellers (Divergent).


And when I compared those to the reviewers on Amazon, “Rich Blaisdell” fell right in line:  Same titles, same sequence.


These are not reviews.  They are paid advertisements masquerading as reviews.


I suppose there isn’t much we can do, other than continue to report this as we find it and hope there’s still some integrity left  in the world.  (I’m not holding my breath; are you?)


It’s one thing to rant and rage and obsess over some of the meltdowns we’ve all seen.  The authors who get caught in their own little lies, whose sock puppets are revealed, and who get kicked off GoodReads and Amazon and even BookLikes time and again.  We shake our heads at the shifting allegiances as trusted friends become bullying trolls and back again.


And one of the reasons why I’ve never been able to get too enthusiastic about BookLikes is that I think it’s too easy for this kind of chicanery to go undetected.  Without a single page per book, where all reviews, ratings, comments, discussions can be viewed and accessed and compared, it’s too easy for an author to game the system without detection.  On the other hand, BookLikes right now is the only place where this kind of chicanery can be exposed, and where the  primary focus is not on selling books.


I don’t know what I’m going to do with this information.  As an author, I can’t post on Amazon without running certain risks, especially since Parris Afton Bonds and I write in exactly the same genre.  On GoodReads, I’m still a bit paranoid after the September purge; I don’t know how seriously any of my complaints are taken.


I’ve given up most of a day’s free time to this today.  I don’t have all that much free time to give.

[reblogged from ]

Good Bad Language: a post about swearing

KJ Charles

Warning: This is about profanity. Stop now if you don’t like swearing, because there will be a lot, and I am not going to use asterisks except once, in the next sentence. There is liberal use of c***; skip to the end for a postscript if this word particularly bothers you, or just abandon ship now. My advice is not to text-to-speech this one in public. Right, here we go.

Every few days, a post floats by on Twitter or pops up on a writing advice forum about profanity. Generally, the advice is the same: Swearing betrays poverty of imagination and language; you can convey the same effects without using rude words; you might upset people who don’t like swearing and what’s the point in turning off potential readers?

This is not the advice you are about to receive here.

Poverty of imagination/language

Swearing is just a lazy way to…

View original post 1,823 more words

Somewhere along the way, the whole game changed

[reblogged from Linda Hilton]


Once again, I can’t post this on my regular blog, because it feeds to Goodreads, and I’m pretty sure this would get me kicked off there.


Fortunately, you’re free to skip this TL/DR rant and I’ll never know.  😉


So, here’s what happened:


Irate author Greg Strandberg posted on his blog on Goodreads a screed against one particular reviewer there who goes by the name Humdinger C. Eggnoggin.  ‘Dinger, as I sometimes call him, writes mostly brief but often scathing negative reviews, and as far as I know all are based on a perusal of just the Kindle sample.  Strandberg took issue with this, with ‘Dinger’s overall low average rating, and posted this:


(If it has disappeared, never fear; I have a screen shot.) (Update: Yes, it has disappeared.)





Strandberg, unlike ‘Dinger, was less than fully forthcoming:  He failed to disclose that Humdinger C. Eggnoggin had reviewed his book,


based on the free sample, and found it lacking.


The book ‘Dinger reviewed is The Hirelings. Apparently it’s a sequel to something, but I’m not sure what.  Nothing in the book’s official description mentions a previous book, though the reviewer does.


‘Dinger’s 2-star Goodreads review is the only one the book had at that time; it has one rating on Amazon, a brief and not very enthusiastic 3-star comment.  I have since added my Goodreads review as well.


Strandberg, who indulges the book’s listing on Amazon with his own glowing, and some might say overbearing, praises, is apparently disappointed.  By “disappointed,” of course, I really mean butt hurt.  So he wrote his nasty little blog post, put it up on Goodreads, and sat back to watch what he expected to be a roast of ‘Dinger.


It didn’t happen.  Oh, someone came to Strandberg’s defense, but more people pointed out that ‘Dinger was doing nothing wrong . . . and that in fact Strandberg was in the wrong for calling out a Goodreads member.


Though both Strandberg and at least one of his defenders insisted the blog was nothing more than an opinion piece and did not attack (or, as one wrote, “attach”), and that no one had been called names, several people flagged the blog for violating Terms of Service’s prohibitions against calling out other members/authors/reviewers.  The post was subsequently  removed either by or on the order of Goodreads.


In fact it was Strandberg who wrote — and bolded himself for emphasis — the following:


That’s why I’m glad we have people like Humdinger C Eggnoggin – dipshits that can make us all feel 10 times smarter!


And yes, Mr. Strandberg, just to repeat what I’ve already said:  I took a screenshot so that when the blogpost disappears, you won’t be able to claim you didn’t write it.


It was Sunday night when all of this happened, and I was exhausted.  I’d been at the computer all day.  Instead of enjoying my week-end as a time of relaxation, I was trying to catch up on some personal work that had been neglected during the week.  My eyes were dry and itchy, my back was tired, and my fingers were at their wit’s end.  When a GR friend alerted me to Strandberg’s post, I read it and saw red.  Fortunately, I’m old enough to know not to post in the heat of anger — or butthurt — so I wrote my piece and posted it somewhere safe.


After a brief night’s sleep, I lay in bed this morning still thinking about what Strandberg had posted and what I had written in reply.  And I realized there was much more to the story than what appeared on the surface.


And so here is my response to Greg Strandberg, greatly expanded from what a few of you saw last night:

Josh Olson still said it best.
Those of us who have been reading for a very long time, and especially those of us who have been reading unpublished and hitherto unpublishable manuscripts for a long time, don’t need to read more than a couple of pages (at most!) to know the rest of the book is crap.


And some of us are brave enough to risk the bullshit comments from you butthurt “authors” who just can’t bear the thought that your precious baby isn’t going to be the next superstar.


None of you ever bitch about the thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of fake, bought, sockpuppetted 5-star reviews.  Shall I link you to a few of the fiverr accounts of your own fellow authors who offer, for five fucking bucks, to post your own review of your own book under their account?  Where’s the outcry about that?

Where’s the outcry about the hundreds and hundreds of review swap reviews, every effing one of ’em five effing stars, from authors reviewing each other because no one else will touch their pieces of garbage?  They haven’t read those books.  Maybe they bought them, but they didn’t read them.


Someone has to get out there and tell readers the goddess blessed truth — There are a lot of crappy books out there.  I’m one of those someones, and yes, I frequently review on the basis of a sample.  And most of the time I don’t give very many stars.


But I am so damned sick and fucking tired of being called a bully or a  meanie or a troll or a liar or now a dipshit because I didn’t read the whole piece of shit.


It’s still a piece of shit.  Humdinger — whom I don’t know, though we follow each other’s reviews — knows a piece of shit when he/she sees it.  So do I.  There are a lot of other people who do, too, but they’ve been bullied into silence by the likes of . . . Greg Strandberg . . . because the truth is so hard to take.


I can’t call out the fake reviewers by name, but I know who they are.  I’ve watched their accounts disappear from Goodreads (but not Amazon!) day by day by day by day, because they’ve been identified as paid shills, as PR professionals, as sock puppets.  I can’t call them out, but you, Greg Strandberg, you blithely ignore the Goodreads Terms of Service to complain about someone who hasn’t done anything wrong at all, save tell the honest truth.


That’s what Goodreads has come to, and that’s damn fucking sad.


That’s where last night’s rant ended.  And where today’s begins.


It’s more, of course, than just Goodreads.  Or Amazon for that matter.  Or Kindle or Smashwords or fiverr or anything else.


The whole art of writing and the whole business of publishing has been turned into a really stupid game of some sort, where the object is not to write a good book nor even to sell a lot of copies.  Instead, it’s all about “winning” this game, in which “winning” has come to be defined as gathering the most reviews, the most five-star reviews, the most Listopia votes, the most Facebook likes, the most Twitter retweets.  In other words, it’s about putting on the trappings of literary success without the success.


I want to go back to that Josh Olson essay and post the core comment, which I’ve quoted many, many times before because it’s so spot on:


It rarely takes more than a page to recognize that you’re in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you’re dealing with someone who can’t.


(By the way, here’s a simple way to find out if you’re a writer. If you disagree with that statement, you’re not a writer. Because, you see, writers are also readers.)


There are plenty of anecdotes about editors, agents, critics, reviewers, and their techniques for letting writers know their writing isn’t up to par.  Damon Knight allegedly stuck a 3 x 5 card into the manuscript at the point he stopped reading, for example.  I’ve heard stories of writers who attended prestigious workshops and had their work read by noted author-instructors who drew a big bold red line at the point they felt the manuscript would have been rejected by most editors, and more often than not the red line was on the first page.  This, remember, was in the days when a hard-copy manuscript started one-third to one-half of the way down the page.  That red line often appeared in the first paragraph.


How do we know, based on a small sample, that the book isn’t going to pan out?  Or at least not pan out for us?  It would be easy to say, “We just do,” but that’s not fair, even though it’s true.


First of all, the important thing to keep in mind is that the review is subjective.  Whether it’s by Humdinger C. Eggnoggin or by the acquiring editor at HarperCollins, it’s one person’s opinion.  Even the most successful editors can be wrong in their assessment of the marketability of a given book.  Reviewers aren’t “wrong,” as such, though they may get some facts wrong.  It’s still just an opinion.


Second of all, those of us who reject a book on the basis of a very short sample read are doing so because we don’t think we are going to enjoy the rest of it.  We may suggest that readers who share our tastes probably won’t enjoy it either, and we may even opine that the book is so bad no one will enjoy it, but even at that, the opinion stated is based on what we believe our own prospects for reading pleasure in the book are.


I know, for example, that if I open a Kindle edition on my K4PC app on my computer and the pages are filled with excessive white space because the text is double-spaced with block paragraphs, I’m not going to like it.  I don’t have to read even the first paragraph.  It would be the same way if the book came from HarperCollins or was a printed hard copy; my personal reading pleasure is facilitated by single spacing and indented paragraphs.


But it’s not just a matter of those double-spaced block paragraphs by themselves.  The poor formatting strongly suggests that the person who formatted the digital edition and/or the author who approved the formatting doesn’t know what a book is supposed to look like.  That in turn strongly suggests that the person isn’t a voracious reader who is familiar with books.  And almost every time, people who don’t read don’t know how to write.


Again, see the Josh Olson quote.


I don’t care how many five-star ratings and gushing, multi-paragraph reviews a book has: If I look at the sample and there are punctuation errors in the first paragraph, I’m pretty sure there will continue to be punctuation errors throughout.  I can’t get lost in a story that’s laced with bad punctuation.  That’s just the kind of reader I am.  I was taught how to punctuate, and when I see commas where there should be periods and apostrophes that aren’t there at all or are there when they shouldn’t be, I can’t read the text.  I don’t care how great the story is, I can’t see it.


There’s a corollary to that assessment, though.  If the story is really terrific, the punctuation and grammar and other errors will disappear.


They will.  Even to the most persnickety of grammar dragon eyes, the errors vanish if the story is good enough.


It never is.


And those of us who have read enough know it.  We know that there are elements present in maybe the first 100-250 words of any novel that will make it or break it for us.  It’s not just the punctuation or the paragraph indents or the line spacing.  It’s the word choices.  It’s the point of view switches.  It’s the descriptive narrative.  It’s a lot of subtle and not so subtle little things that are either present when they shouldn’t be or aren’t present when they should be that prove instant turn-offs.


Writing a book is hard work.  Writing a good book is almost impossible work.  If the actual writing takes six weeks or six years, there is also the time spent learning the craft, all the books that have been read and reread and digested and analyzed.  There’s the editing and critiquing, the rewriting and rereading.  There’s the agonizing and dreaming and determining which key scene is going to be enhanced and which beloved but extraneous scene cut.


It’s the understanding of character motivation and internal plot consistency.  It’s the recognition of what names work and what names don’t work.  (Hello?  Greg Strandberg, are you listening?)  It’s the careful construction of multiple character arcs so that they all come together with seamless perfection at the end.  It’s the planning and foreshadowing, it’s the backstory and set-up.


People who don’t know how to do that, who don’t even know that they are supposed to know how to do that, are people who write lousy opening paragraphs.  Their friends won’t recognize it, and their paid reviewers won’t tell them.  These writers are so afraid of criticism that they simply don’t want to hear about it.  Why?  Because if they acknowledge the criticism it means they have to do it all over again the right way, the hard way.


And that’s not what they want to do.  They don’t want to write; they want to have written.  They want the Wizard of Oz trappings of success, the medals and the certificates, the diplomas and badges, but they don’t really want to write.


There’s a huge disconnect here.  It’s not the same game any more.  Writers are no longer writing for readers, creating stories that they truly want readers to love and enjoy and remember.  I always felt that writers had been given a Gift, a very special Gift that allowed them not just to Imagine in ways other people couldn’t but also to share that Imagine with others.  To share the Gift, because that sharing, that ability to share, was part of the Gift.  It didn’t work if you didn’t share.  Does that make sense?


And so I was in awe of those writers who had the Gift and who so generously and wondrously shared it with me.  Walter Farley and Jim Kjelgaard and all the Carolyn Keenes and Jackson Scholz and John R. Tunis and Rider Haggard and Conan Doyle and so on.  I hoped that maybe I had a little bit of the Gift and hoped that if I tried hard enough and worked diligently, I, too, could share it with readers out there.  But even if I couldn’t, even if no one else ever read anything I wrote or never liked it if they did, I knew that the Gift was never going to be mine to keep unless I shared it.


What seems to have happened now is that there are a lot of people who have an entirely different concept of the Imagination.  It’s not something they are inspired to share but rather something they use to justify the opposite.  They don’t owe their readers anything at all.  Not good writing, not good stories, not honesty.  They feel no obligation to learn the craft, to pay their dues, so to speak.  All of the Gift seems to be something they feel entitled to receive rather than give.


They pay for glowing reviews and know that it’s wrong, yet they do it because they find some justification.  They need to do it because others are doing it?  Because without reviews they can’t sell their books?  But their books aren’t good enough to sell!  No one is buying them!  Even with the glowing reviews, even with the sockpuppet upvotes and the Listopia spam, the books don’t sell.


And the writers of these books cannot bear to be reminded of that reality.


Nor do they understand how this hurts the other writers, the ones who don’t spam and who don’t buy reviews from fiverr and from social media promotion companies.  They don’t understand how it hurts readers, probably because they’ve never been readers.  It’s all a very circular thing.  They don’t read so they don’t know how to write and so they don’t understand the Magic and the Gift that writing is.  They aren’t writing to give the reader pleasure, because they don’t know what that pleasure is.


It’s a whole different game, with very different rules that seem to change far too often.


Greg Strandberg, the butthurt author whose blog post prompted this rant of mine, provides some of the evidence for what looks more and more like a true paradigm shift in the whole writer/book/reader relationship.


In an earlier post on his personal blog, he mocked an author who threatened to sue a reviewer over a negative review.  Defending the reviewer, Strandberg reiterated his own policy of ignoring and not responding or reacting to negative reviews.  When the reviewer came to the blog, however, Strandberg turned on him like a rabid dog.  Any credibility Strandberg might have had was destroyed; no one knew which side he was on, or even if he was on any side.  Was there any contact with reality?  or was this merely a case of an author who was going to milk a situation for all the self-promotion he could get?


Did he, in fact, need to be on the “wrong” side because it made him a martyr?  Was it easier to be a martyr, to gain sympathy and support, than to do the right thing?


Is that what he was doing with his blog post this past week-end?  Was it more about what readers owed him, and less about what he as a writer owed readers?


Has the game changed to the point where the writers are the fans in the stands, booing or applauding the performance of the readers?  As often as we, writers and readers, talk about the audience for certain books, the shift in attitudes actually suggests that readers in fact are no longer the audience at all.  Readers in many cases have become irrelevant, with writers now creating a kind of theater of the absurd, where the audience is ordered to perform for the benefit of the actors.  It’s all pretense and show, with fake reviews and claims of sales that don’t exist, refusal to admit the sales don’t exist or even some kind of weird validation in nonexistent sales.  The failure to sell is never the writer’s fault, but always the readers’, because readers exist to perform that service for the writers.


There are badges of mutual admiration for jobs not well done.  There are toddleresque meltdowns because readers failed to correct the writer’s mistakes, failed to provide the writer with editorial guidance, failed to be kind enough, failed to do this, failed to do that.  Readers fail, in a brave new world where writers don’t by definition can’t?




I truly feel as if I’m the only person who cares about this, or at least the only one who cares enough to do anything.  Because it’s always been my belief that if you care, if you really care about something, you have to be willing to act.  Otherwise it’s just so much hot air, so much posturing and lip service and all that other good shit.


The game has changed.  Those of us who care about good books have to change, too.  Or else we just have to shut the fuck up.


Review- Nice Dragons Finish Last

Screenshot (2966)I stumbled over this charming little book about a young dragon by accident and now I have to wait for the next in the series (and have added another of Aaron’s books to my TBR pile).  I bought it because the opening was interesting and the story takes place in a little town down the road from mine- Detroit.

Julius is a young dragon with a problem, well, more like problemS. His mother is the most prolific dragon ever, he has far too many lethal siblings, he is too nice for a dragon, and this embarrasses hid family greatly.

Marci is a young mage on the run from the Las Vegas gangsters who killed her father.

When they meet by lucky accident in Detroit, a city destroyed and rebuilt by the god Algonquin, their separate stories bring them together in a partnership that is awkward but ultimately rewarding for both.

Julius has spent the last seven years hiding in his room to avoid his large, ambitious, and lethal family. Now his mother has sealed him from his dragon and dropped him in Detroit where his most ambitious brother offers him a job retrieving a runaway dragoness.

Then Marci offers him her magical services because she is broke and they, and the story, are off and running.

The story moved along at a steady, satisfying pace with the two young, earnest  main characters trying to be as honest with each other as possible while one is hiding the fact he is a dragon and the other hiding the fact she is running from a Really Bad Man and his large supply of hired goons.

The plot and the character’s growth balance each other nicely because the book isn’t just about Julius and Marci having adventures but also about Julius and Marci finding and coming to terms with who, and what, they really are.

No Chosen One. No love triangle. YAY.

Here there be dragons, mages,  magic-eaters, seers, a ghostly cat, a sparkly golden orb, and under and above all- Detroit.