Faleena Hopkins Denies Revised

She’s baaa-ack! This was on her Twitter this morning:

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Mmmm,yeah. Right. Sure. It seems Princess Pickled might have a short term memory problem so some kind soul helpfully posted this:

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From the replies it doesn’t seem like other authors and readers are buying what she’s trying to sell.

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There are more replies on Twitter but as you can see things still aren’t going in the direction Faleena wants. it would be a huge help if she didn’t try to claim one thing in court and the opposite in her author group and on Twitter.

So, are her readers so unsophisticated that they can’t tell if who wrote a book with the word “cocky” in the title? Do they believe all books with a cover model used by Faleena means the book’s author is plagiarizing Faleena? Is it truly impossible for them to return an ebook?

Does she keep them locked in the trunk of her car?

And what’s with this stuffing of her books?

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Paul really wants to know about book stuffing. Do you? Linda Hilton has written an excellent post here .

Revision or addition:

Hold the phone, Faleena, Wells Fargo ? Not exactly the workplace to brag about.

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Letting My Bitch Flag Fly

Self published authors have a hard time finding bloggers that will review them and here is a shining example of why that is.

Dear author, the everyone is talking about,  first I have to address a couple issues with your book. “”What is this?” I asked with in-trepidation.”  In-trepidation?  No. Please see the definitions below and choose wisely (hint:  choose the second).

Simple Definition of intrepid

  • : feeling no fear : very bold or brave

Simple Definition of trepidation

  • : a feeling of fear that causes you to hesitate because you think something bad or unpleasant is going to happen

Then there is this sentence,  “Do I make you feel things you’ve never felt before?” , I am positive that there are a few talented writers out there that could make this line work but I am equally positive that you aren’t one of them. You can’t even write a decent non-apology.

And now let us speak about that non-apology, it starts out innocently enough, “Dear Authors, Readers, and Bloggers alike, I do want to clear up some misconceptions about all of the things that have been circulating around on social media recently:” And then it rapidly slides down Mount Whatthefuck,  ” I’m sorry that you either didn’t enjoy Quinn or simply refuse to read this series due to the latest events that have transpired on social media. I appreciate your true and honest feedback, I truly do.”  I suspect that the honest feedback you’ve been getting since your little FB plea has been far, far too honest and if you really appreciate honest feedback than I wouldn’t be writing this.

People have misconstrued my words on a post that was screen shot and then circulated.First of all,
I did not call this particular blogger a bitch. I said “flag that bitch” – it’s a colloquial term – as in “flag that review” – and it was in NO way shape or form meant to demean that particular blogger. One cannot “flag” a person on Goodreads – they can, however, flag “reviews”. Hence : “Flag that review”” Umm, no. Why no? Let us look at a screenshot.

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You refer to “some blogger”, then “flag that bitch”. then “People LIKE her review”. Blogger, bitch, her, c’mon do you really think anyone believes you meant the review and not the person?

“I absolutely feel horrid that this blogger thought I had called her that name. For that being taken out of context, I apologize. I would never want to take a hurtful jab at anyone or hurt their feelings. I would never call or think to call anyone, let alone a blogger a bitch. Anyone who knows me, has NEVER seen, read, nor heard me call a person a profanity on any public or personal thread, period. So yes – I screwed up – because Flag that bitch sounds bad any which way you spin it.”  Yes, you certainly did screw up and nothing was taken out of context. And here we see the first mention of another problem:  the dreaded “anybody who knows me” denial and innocence excuse.

“People who know me – know my heart and soul – and they know I was not coming from a bad place when I posted my request. Believe me when I say I have had my fair share of poor reviews – and I had never before taken action or offense to them over the past two years that I have been writing.” You weren’t coming from a bad place? So, you were filled with joy and love when you called on your fans to “flag that bitch”?

“Yes – I had disagreed with this bloggers review. Just as it is this bloggers right for her to have her own opinion of my book – I felt I had a right to my opinion about her review. Why is that so wrong? Why must I be afraid to not voice my own opinion when readers so clearly can?” Why, oh why, can’t I call the bitch a bitch, you cry. How about because the bitch, uh, reviewer isn’t trying to sell her opinion. You, however, are trying to sell this piece of crap.

“I felt that one particular blogger was making a mockery of me and of my story – This blogger clearly went out of her way to find (in my eyes) demeaning gif’s to compliment each of her derogatory paragraphs in-between. It was my interpretation – just as it was your interpretation that her review was fantastic.” Bless your heart, you can’t count either. There were three gifs, three. Here is the review, please have someone count the paragraphs for you. I guess demeaning is open to interpretation, be happy that none of them were of a pigeon shitting on a book.

“I want to be as open and candid as possible in this situation, because it is only fair for you to see my intentions, and my mistakes for being a human, as well as my remorse. I am woman enough to admit when I am wrong – I most certainly ran on emotions – and afterwards had a smack me in the head moment – because in that moment of emotionalism, I was NOT thinking. I should have contacted that reviewer.” Got news for you, you still aren’t thinking. Contact the reviewer, are you insane? It’s either insane or jaw-dropping stupid. Remember only one of you is trying to sell something. And the reviewer is entitled to her opinion.

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“All of the comments thereafter that ensued on this bloggers thread both on Facebook and on Goodreads were distasteful, unprofessional, and frankly I was taken aback. It was to my understanding that there were certain guidelines for one to follow when reviewing books with Sullivan + Partners. I was under the impression bloggers were to first and foremost supposed to communicate with them if they felt the book was under a 3 star read before posting a review. This did not happen.” You do realize you are insulting people again? I think your understanding had less to do with reality and more to do with wishful thinking. And I wonder what Sullivan + Partners think of you right now.

“All of the bloggers that have been working with Sullivan + Partners have been so incredible and professional, even the negative reviews had been so professionally crafted. So I was shocked and taken aback by this particular review, because of the cartoonish tone which was full of satire, and snippets that were taken out of context. Again, this was my own interpretation.” I have some bad news for you, even in context your writing is not all that good. And you really need to familiarize yourself with the idiom “out of context”. You don’t seem to know what it means. And you keep subtly and not so subtly harping on the “unprofessionalism” of the reviewer, I thought you were apologizing?

“I had placed all bloggers working with Sullivan on a pedestal, because even the 2 – 3 star reviews were of quality caliber and objective. When I saw this particular review I had thought surely this reviewer didn’t come from Sullivan.” She read your crappy book, she gets to say it is crappy. Her writing is much better than yours. Much better. Light years better. And she uses the correct words, you need to consult a dictionary. Often.

“Yes – I had asked some of my team members to flag that review – because honestly – it was one of the first reviews I felt was malicious, demeaning, and full of derision, and it hurt. I do have feelings, we all have feelings. However, it may not have been the way you would have handled this situation, but at that particular moment in time, it was my way of handling it – right or wrong -” Call me crazy but I’m not really seeing an apology anywhere in this rambling mess  of “it’s everybody’s fault but mine”. Right or wrong? As incredible as it is to me this isn’t your first book  and you claim to have had 2 star reviews before so you just decided that you wanted to be the latest snowflake to meltdown? It’s a pretty mild review.

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“I’m terribly sorry all these bloggers felt “I took the cake” – as well as jumped to the worst conclusions about me and my character. As I said, if you knew the entire story – both sides of the coin – I don’t believe you would be feeling this way toward me. There is nothing I can do to change your view point of me, and for that I am saddened. I truly am.” If there’s another side to the story then let’s hear it but so far all I’m seeing is excuses. Get to the point.

“I strive very hard to keep all drama off my pages – as well avoiding all forms of gossip, calling people names, publicly calling people out, or having malicious intent to down others. I have been nothing but supportive of readers, authors and bloggers alike.” This is my first encounter with you and you are presenting yourself as a whining entitled snowflake. Good first impression.

“We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God, do we not? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Why is it okay for both readers and bloggers alike to now trash me – publicly circulating only half the story – all the while “judging” me and running me down? The anger and derisiveness those people are exuding has been far worse.”  If there is another side of the story, get to it. But just because you didn’t like that review is not the other side of the story, it is your excuse for very bad behavior. I heard you didn’t just post a call to arms on FB but you also posted this on Goodreads:

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You commented then deleted those comments on reviews on GR you didn’t like,  and you were trying to mess with the book database. That is a very big no-no. GR isn’t going to be forgiving. Then you posted this in response to a fan who tried to talk you off the edge:

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What’s with the whole real life/fiction thing? She didn’t like your writing. Stop trying to make it something else. And, um, “Fuck that”? What happened to striving not to name call? What happened to keeping it drama free? Honey, you are the 600 lb drama llama of the internet right now.

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“I have always taught my children there are 2 sides to every coin and to not make a decision on judging until they know the entire story from both sides. I truly feel that if people knew me  – they would have seen this in a different light. I’m just astounded that others who were NOT involved – have chimed in the way they have – quick to judge, and quick to trash me, and my character when they know nothing about me, or the entire situation. Nor do those people know my heart or just how giving of a person I am, nor do they know how much sleep I have lost over this debacle.” We know that you melted down like any other snowflake, asked your fans to flag a review that did not violate GR’s TOS, called reviewers trolls, reviewed your own book and made snotty remarks about readers/reviewers that didn’t like your book, tried to alter the book database, and made this rambling hot mess of excuses and tried to pass it off as an apology. Your character is thinner than the ones in your book.

BTW, people have the right to rate your book however they like and why would anyone recommend your book now? You’ve attacked one reviewer then proceeded to spew over all the one stars. What will you do to the next person who doesn’t like your book?

“Nobody knows how much another person is going through at any given moment in their live. The things within peoples personal life can sometimes stretch a persons ability to deal with certain matters and situations which would normally have been brushed off with ease. This was one of those cases. It is hard for me to believe that nobody has never been short-tempered before, or reacted to something rashly when their mental and physical limits have been stretched so very thin. I am most certain those people would want to have grace and forgiveness displayed to them, and I’m am doubly certain they wouldn’t want one of their most weakest moments spread to all four corners of social media either.”  Well, if you flop it out there people are gonna talk. Forgiveness is granted to those who ask but you haven’t asked.  It wasn’t a weak moment, once you got started you didn’t seem to know when to quit, or maybe you didn’t want to quit.

“I only wish this person who felt they needed to screen shot a post that was meant for my team – to have come to me personally and had a one on one discussion with me – asking me to explain myself – it would have been the right and professional thing to do, no?” Why is it everybody but you has to be professional? You are the author, sort of, when are you going to be professional? Will it be any time in this decade?

“This entire scenario deeply saddens me, and the outpouring of judgement without asking me my side, is even sadder. I felt I needed to explain my side to you, because I am not “that” author. I am simply not. I may be unfiltered at times, but my heart is genuine, and I would even go so far as to give those who dislike me the shirt off my back.”  What side? Did anybody see her side? “Nobody knows how much another person is going through at any given moment in their live. The things within peoples personal life can sometimes stretch a persons ability to deal with certain matters and situations which would normally have been brushed off with ease.” That isn’t your side and it’s a pretty bad piece of writing.

“Now that you have heard the other side of the coin, there will still be people who will hold no grace or forgiveness in their heart. This saddens me as well. Those people will be content to remain angry and “quick to judge” and I cannot fix that or change their mind about me or my character no matter what I do or say.”  You cannot change their minds because you have done nothing to show you are sorry for your actions.

“I had a new reader contact me last night. Instead of trashing me publicly, she approached me via messenger to clear the air and her conscious. I so very much appreciated that. She wanted to discuss this with me before passing her own judgement on the situation. I gave her the above letter you just read – and this was her response.”  And now you will try to show people the correct, according to you, way to handle their unhappiness with your actions. Here’s the thing, once you put it out in public you don’t have control of the situation anymore.


Thank you for responding. And I appreciate you explaining. I see your point; however, it wouldn’t be my way to handle the situation, it was your way and that’s your right.

I certainly understand “things we all go through” as my husband has stage 4 cancer. He is the love of my life and we have been married for 35 years. I am a 54 year old high school registrar, my husband is a teacher. As I said I have always been a reader. It’s my escape to another world and

gives me peace and enjoyment. I had just finished your book this morning and immediately preordered book 2 which I understand to be out on 4/19. I will read it at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital for yet another day of treatment for my husband. For you see even though I didn’t care for your post I am still a fan, a new fan of your work, and I will continue to read your books.


well, now your making me cry. lol. I am sorry about your husband, and I will most certainly say a prayer for him.

It just saddens me that people just assume I’m calling others a name such as that, and jumping the gun. – when I did not.

Thank you for your kind words – they mean a lot to me right now. Stay strong. xoxo


I’m sorry I assumed too much. I saw the post and felt you called the blogger a bitch. I was disappointed because I loved your book so much! If nothing else I got to speak with you and now I know you’re a caring person, a Mom and someone that prays!

Keep writing! You have true talent! God bless”

And we get to see you as a caring, praying mom. Is that reserved only for those that contact you using your approved methods? And what has this to do with making an apology?

“AND  THIS  ABOVE is why I write. This is what moves me.  This brought literal tears to my eyes, because I care about other people, what they are going through, and I care about their pain. I told her I would pray for her and her husband, and I have and will continue to do so. Somewhere inside I am outraged by your using God in your petty and outrageous actions against those reviewers who didn’t like your book and/or your actions.

“It’s not about money for me, it’s about connecting with readers who are needing an escape from the realities of life and their own pain even if it’s for a few hours. This is my character , this is the real me, and this new reader  touched me on a very deep level. THIS is what it’s  all about for me. It’s about connecting with readers and touching their lives in a positive way.” It’s good it’s not about money because I think you tanked this turkey.

“I am only sorry and disheartened your first impression of me was in a negative light. I by no means meant anyone any ill will, harm, or malice. I had acquired all of the participating blogger names to add into the acknowledgement section of both my paperback books and digital books, thank all of you for taking time out of your busy ARC schedule to read for me. All of those blogger names will still remain in my books no matter what you think of me, or my books, because I am still appreciative of the time you took from your busy schedule to even read the first book.”  Ye-ah, you certainly appreciated all over the place. I would hate to see what you do when you aren’t appreciative.

In the book the heroine packed her vibrator when she went on the run in a national park. The author posted this picture on GR along with making remarks 2, 4, and 6 in the conversation that followed.

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For someone who claims to avoid name calling and drama you  certainly couldn’t prove it by your actions. Let’s take one last look at those actions:

You took offense at a 2 star review and asked your followers to flag it.

You left a review of your book which was basically a way to diss any one star review.

You posted some not very drama-free comments in various places.

You tried to alter the GR book database.

You wrote this “apology” wherein you explained how good and righteous you are and all those reviewers who didn’t like your book aren’t. An apology isn’t about you, you, you.

Your “apology” is rated

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Twitter Bans Kevin Weinberg/parogar and then…

WARNING:   Some of you might be uncomfortable or triggered by the obscenity and violence, both outright and implied, in the enclosed screenshots. 

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Thank you, SisterShootToThrill, and thank you to John (Darkwriter) Green who taught me the joy of the screenshot.

Hello, Dear Readers,. this is a little something before the last (I think) post on scamming and coupon clubs  and Amazon. It’s about that basement dwelling mama’s boy, Kevin Weinberg/parogar.

And what has Basement Boy done now? I’m glad you asked. At the end of February, the 29th to be precise, Basement Boy or Moist Chihuahua as we now call him finally got himself banned permanently from Twitter. That makes it three bannings in just over a year- Wattpad, GoodReads, and now Twitter. You would  think that such an obvious attention whore would be a little more careful because if he keeps losing platforms to do the bidding of such sterling people as Annie Rice, Melissa (STGRB) Douthit, and Jaid (Ellora’s Cave) Black they might just stop returning his tweets. Oh wait, he can’t tweet now, can he?

The Moist Chihuahua has had a love/hate relationship with Twitter. Yes, it was a place where he loved to hate … anyone who dared to hold an opinion Moist didn’t like. But also he seems to have spent a lot of time deleting his account and then reinstating it.

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Yes, indeed, thank you, Twitter. It wasn’t all that long ago that Chihuahua tweeted this

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But why did Twitter ban the Chihuahua? It’s sort of a mystery to him, just like much of life.

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Hmmm. I don’t think so. Sure, it might have been the proverbial last straw but Moist Chihuahua has posted other, more controversial tweets. You know I’m going to show you.

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Notice he doesn’t wish death on anyone but …

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In case you couldn’t guess, one of those women is me. And reading through all his Twitter crap made me at least nauseous and bored. After a while I thought about sending him a nice thesaurus and dictionary.

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Dear Cthulhu, all I can picture is thisScreenshot (3417)

Someone fetch him his smelling salts.

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Pretty sure this is a different “her”.

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He haz delusions of adequacy.

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I guess I should have warned you all that this will be a loooooong post.

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tRump is his personal wet dream, only a man with too much money and a bad toupee can give little Chihuahua what he wants most- freedom to yap wherever, whenever, and whatever he feels like.

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He’s still breathing, he’s still writing, he’s still being

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Yeah, that. I guess it must have slipped his fevered little brain that he “destroyed” or DESTROYED his own life. Wattpad told him what he needed to do to stay and he chose not to do that. Too bad, not sad.

Back to the crap.

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Yeah, you forced him to do this. He’s powerless.

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But he doesn’t wish death on anyone.Screenshot (6001)Screenshot (6002)PunishedScreenshot (6003)Screenshot (6006)

But he doesn’t wish death on anybody.Screenshot (6007)Screenshot (6008)Screenshot (6348)Screenshot (5990)Screenshot (5942)Screenshot (5994)

Kittens out-violent him.

Now you might be wondering if there is a point to all this, this, whatever and there is. Here I think is a good time for


Now on the same day Chihuahua went over to Reddit and posted about his banning.Screenshot (5925)

I’m thinking Twitter finally had enough of the reports of targeted harassment and inflammatory tweets and just seized the last reason he was reported and kicked him to the curb.Screenshot (6053)

I don’t think he’s gonna miss Twitter. They wouldn’t let him play by his rules.

Screenshot (5924)He’s not a violent person, fires of hell is just a sign of affection. Or barbeque.Screenshot (5923)

Not everyone supported the snowflake, uh, Chihuahua.Screenshot (5919)He doesn’t really mean what he tweets. It just feels good. Does he yell “Fire” in a crowded theatre? Free speech is All. This is a whole ‘nother blog.

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Can’t argue with this.Screenshot (5916)Can’t argue with this either. He had plenty of opportunity to save his Wattpad account but he chose not to.

Screenshot (6054)Now, here we are and the Moist Chihuahua has announced he is banned and won’t appeal and won’t be back. So I guess he wasn’t getting enough love because

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That’ll show them.

And now, the wrap up. So Chihuahua has announced no more twitter and good riddance.Screenshot (6074)

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He got out just in time!    Or, did he?  You know what comes next. On the 29th, the day he was banned.

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That’s right, Dear Readers.

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Yeah, he won’t be going back to Twitter. And he really isn’t a violent person. He doesn’t wish anybody dead. He doesn’t hate women. He doesn’t lie. Really.

Thank you, Dear readers, if you are still reading you are gluttons for punishment.

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Losing It- Anne Rice Style

Annie has been on a tear ever since one of her faithful pointed out how mean people were being to Kate Breslin. Indeed Annie has been most indignant about anyone not reading that book before reviewing it. Then yesterday something must have backfired somewhere because she has been doing the Dying Swan and assuring her people that she would never, ever reveal in public something that was in a private email.  Inquiring minds might want to know just what is in those emails Annie seems to not want made public (if you haven’t visited her FB page do, but take something alcoholic to dull the pain) but not too soon because watching her whip her people into a frenzy is sort of fun in a train wreck sort of way.

Tonight Annie took to the comedic spotlight once again to ask her people their opinions on reviewing without reading, this is again part and parcel of the whole Breslin affair. She states in part,  “Lately, it seems, it has been suggested that Amazon does NOT require customers to have read a book before reviewing it. This is absurd, and misleading. Would any customer want to read a review of a pair of shoes, or a flat screen TV, or a brand of soap by some one who has never used the product? Of course not. Are we honestly supposed to believe Amazon cares less about books than other products? I’m not buying it! Amazon cares. It pioneered the authentic customer review and it wants to protect its integrity. Amazon has publicly stated that is has no tolerance for those who seek to mislead and manipulate customers”- Anne Rice Facebook page.

It’s hard not to point and laugh because the very last line of the article she links to is, ” Not for Amazon, whose spokesman said “we do not require people to have read the product in order to review”.”       

She might not want to believe it but there it is, “we do not require people to have read the product in order to review”.”    You do understand, don’t you?  So why doesn’t Annie? Better question, why didn’t she read the article? I don’t know, I do know it’s hard to get Amazon to enforce rules that they don’t have. Impossible even.  I also know that no matter how often Annie declares Amazon doesn’t allow you to review without reading/consuming/using products they sell, she can’t make it happen.

I do know one part of her statement is correct, “Amazon has publicly stated that is has no tolerance for those who seek to mislead and manipulate customers.” There is only one person seeking to mislead and manipulate. Only one person urging her people to report reviews that are within the TOS of Amazon.

When last I looked her people had either not read the article either before they agreed with her or are too scared of being banned to tell her because, “Comments welcome. (Remember those who repeatedly and insistently misrepresent my position or the position of others on this page will be banned for disrupting. All honest expressions of opinion are welcome. This page has always welcomed differing opinions.)” Anne Rice Facebook page. Because like that Amazon rule, her welcome of differing opinions is nonexistent.


GoodReads Bans Kevin Weinberg/parogar

Hello dear Readers, all nine of you, I hope Thursday is treating you well. After a few strenuous days I am spending today doing very little. I thought about cleaning the kitchen but then this delightful little tidbit dropped into my hands and I just had to share. Now it’s Friday so TGIF.

I think we can file this under karma is a bitch.

You all remember the delightful Kevin Weinberg/parogar? Who could forget him? His girlfriend, I guess, but the rest of us keep tripping over him because he won’t leave us alone. It got much worse after Wattpad kicked him off and he lost a lot of underage fans and/or his sock followers.

He flounced off GR because of their continued “support” of a “known bully” and rejoined right after I was banned. Hmm. Do you think he could’ve meant I was the bully? He was the one who knew as soon as it happened, sort of like he was just waiting…

Did I mention karma is a bitch?

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Ooh, ooh, look who got banned. And why? Because he’s a total idiot. That’s right, total idiot.

His account was “again brought to their attention”, “your facebook post remains”, “as we’ve previously mentioned”? Well, when you are dumb enough to do this:

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then maybe you should expect what happens next.  I haven’t been a big fan of GR for quite some time, way before they banned me, but even I know that authors, and Whineberg is an author, have to be careful. GR does not grant them as much leeway as they do other members. So posting this publicly where anyone can see it was dumb and arrogant. But let’s check the comments:

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Melissa has had those 100 one stars for quite awhile but I guess kev thinks he can “fix” it so she will, what, express her gratitude by letting him post whatever he pleases on her site? Like that would ever happen. And he doesn’t use the website? Well what does he call his little call-to-upvote? He’s using GR, just not like other people use it. And please notice that he was only “inciting” because GR “allowed” those bullies to post their honest opinions.

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If you don’t care about GR then why did you go back? Logged in once a year? Right. If you didn’t use it then I will ask again, why did you go back? And they sent him “one of these” when he was on WP? And he didn’t get the message?

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No, kevvie, it means that someone sent GR a link to your posts, both on WP and FB. I’m not the only one who doesn’t like your little “make me feel good and powerful” schemes. Shimaira, they probably sent kevvie a note when he asked you all to down vote Melissa back before he cried and begged and groveled until she took pity on him (another story, another time).

Sigh. Ignorance is so unattractive. Librarians are volunteers, members that are allowed to catalogue books and that’s about it. GR shat on them when they allowed Amazon to download a bunch of crap into the book database so I really don’t think they value their librarians all that much. A librarian could never have sent you that email, only a legitimate employee of GR can do that and even then I don’t imagine all employees could do that.

OMG, you aren’t trying to say that the person is a poster on Amazon? Of course you are. Dumbass. I would imagine that some employees of GR do post on Amazon but that is not why there is no name attached. There is no name so you can’t retaliate against that person. Idiot. No one sending one of those wants a looney-tune like you doxxing them or calling them or having your badly aging idol, Anne Rice, send her rabid fanpoodles after them and complaining about them over and over on her FB page.

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“Protect their own?” Yeah, sure. Have you forgotten Linda, Scarlet, Grim, Angela, Angela (yes, two of them), and myself ? You certainly celebrated when we were banned, forgotten already? Or is it that you just never believed than continued flaunting of the rules would get you banned? Did you forget WP so soon? It’s only April and you’ve been banned from two sites already, are you going for some kind of a record?

That green site warns  people against GR because Melissa was banned, twice I believe, maybe.

But kev seems to have a problem with the consequences of his actions- he doesn’t think there should be any. Besides Douthit he has done this twice before in the nine months I’ve been aware of him.


So why did he launch his upvoting plea for Douthit? She is the owner of STGRB though she keeps denying it but I have a lovely ss of kevvie talking about her.

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And it looks like maybe some of those 1 stars could be from kevvie’s downvoting campaign against her.

Lately kevvie has been writing and commenting on her site under the name of SEHN, you can tell because of his semi-hysterical and rather fictional accounts of whatever he’s claiming is true. I guess that he wants to curry  little favor from Douthit by upping the rating on her book(s). How did that work out? Let’s see:

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Here’s the overall summary for The Raie’ Chaelia, all in all not bad for a boring book. So how many ratings appeared after his heartfelt plea?

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I hope she appreciated the hundreds of – wait, really? Under 20 ratings? Kevvie, you got banned for this anemic effort? Awwwwww… I guess being banned from WP has cut off a good supply of compliant underage followers who will do just about anything for you.

And since he doesn’t have the love for GR he had/has for WP I guess GR staff can be thankful they will be spared this:

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And this:

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And before that when they had just temporarily suspended him he couldn’t abide by the rules and created another account to, how do I say this, lie to his followers. He was on Amazon but he never talked about WP, just about himself or why he’s right and everybody else is wrong or Anne Rice. But that wouldn’t be as dramatic.

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WP has given aid to his enemies? Don’t worry, dear readers, kevvie had plenty of bad things to say about them and their staff but I’ll spare you. Here’s the quick version, he loved them, they stabbed him in the back, it wasn’t anything he did, he didn’t know he broke any rules, he didn’t know there were any rules, they were jealous he got to #1, he was going to leave anyway. Nothing is ever his fault. That about covers it.

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He did much better for Raini York of Dragonsbride infamy. Here’s kevvie pleasing for just a little help gaming the system for an author who tried to tell reviewers how to write an acceptable (for authors) review, amongst other things.

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Yes, he did good- or did he? The one thing kevvie and his mindless drones never think about is any other author. All those other authors that didn’t game the system in some way, didn’t cheat, didn’t try to make reviewers review to her specifications. All those other authors that might be better, in York’s case definitely better, than the one author they are determined to “lift up”. York withdrew her mess of a book and one of the reasons was that a lot of readers/reviewers were unhappy with kev’s upvoting campaign.

Kevvie doesn’t care about them, doesn’t want them to have a chance, kevvie is all about kevvie. These little campaigns are all about what he can do, not what the author in question needs.

You all remember Maggie Spence? She of the “making a phone call isn’t illegal”? This was where I first encountered kevvie/paro. (By the way, I’m not done with Maggie, I’ve got plenty of screenshots I don’t want to waste)

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He certainly knows how to whip up his little followers to an upvoting frenzy. How well did he do for Maggie?

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Now I wouldn’t say all of the mid to late August ratings are from his drones but I guess a large portion of them are. But Maggie’s book still isn’t any better and Maggie still thinks she did nothing wrong. How has any of his upvoting campaigns helped?

So, of the three authors kev has “lifted up” one is still a trainwreck, one has disappeared, one got less than twenty 5 star ratings. Wow. That’s some track record, color me unimpressed.

Should I mention how young a lot of these followers are? Yes.

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Better check who the kiddos are talking to and what they might be asked to do and who might be lying to them.

I think that’s enough on Whineberg for tonight. Did I say that karma’s a bitch? It bears repeating. Hey, kevvie,


One of my friends had this comment on his banning;

Yeah, this is good, too.

Is a banning from Amazon next?


You might want to read this, too.

Whatever became of Raani York?

I’m sure you are just as interested as I am to know what our polite little author has been doing. So I was happy to come across the comments on the GR review of Kerri (the book hoarder)’s review of Dragonbride.

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Oh, now where, oh where have I seen Kathryn’s name before?


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Oh-Oh. Someone’s not what she seems?


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Wow. Notice she doesn’t quite manage to distance herself from kev’s side and kev didn’t take anything down, Wattpad did. kev lies, but that’s no surprise.

And, and  poor, sweet Raani has been ill! I feel just terrible about the unkind things I was thinking. Poor little thing.

I don’t have the best feels about this publisher, she’s taking the reviews to the editors? Can’t they figure out the problems by, you know, reading the book?

Poor, sick Raani. It hasn’t exactly saved her butt but…

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Oh, oh, Raani, you didn’t!


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Somebody isn’t buying what Kathryn’s trying to sell. And kev didn’t take them down, Wattpad did. kev lies.

Mmmm, really  not buying Kathryn’s story and not too much sympathy for Raani either.

DKC is Kathryn’s publishing biz. Wait, they promoted a book they now say needs improving? The link goes to their site and the promotion for York and her book. Begs the question, why? Why would you promote the sale of a book you now say needs work? Looks like Scarlet might have nailed it, did they read it?

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Somebody needs to work on a more- believable story, don’t you think? And I’ll agree with Auntie J, why is a book that needs this kind of work still for sale?

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I guess we don’t want her book in its present form. I guess we don’t want Kathryn’s story either. Um, remember those buttons?

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Guess she was well enough to read and like those reviews, unless like DKC she likes without reading.

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Well, look at that, guess she might not have been quite as sick as she hopes we will believe.

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When arrogance, hypocrisy, and deceit all come together in one place

This is one very special author, many thanks to Linda for finding her.


Reblogged from Linda Hilton:

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I feel a bit out of place on BookLikes, because I just don’t do that much reviewing.  But I have such enormous respect for the international block of reviewers that I sometimes just sit in awe as I stroll through the reviews on my feed.  I wish I could express myself in German and Polish and French and Dutch and Italian to thank all of you, but a plain ol’ American “Thanks!” will have to suffice for the moment.


Over the past several months, my examination of the reviews coming from the paid shills at fiverr has made me wonder a little bit about the motivations on non-paid reviewers.  I’m sure there are at least a few readers who write reviews because it’s a legitimate way to get free books!  I completely understand that motivation!


Before that, however, there has to be a sincere and passionate love of books, in all  their forms.  Hardcover, paperback, audio, ebook — the lure of story pulls the reader in and the lure of community pushs her to share the experience.  As members of that community, we each get a taste of that experience, and then can decide if we want to go further and make it our own.


Both here on BookLikes and on other sites, we expand our experiences with books, with stories, with life, and if we don’t always all agree on a particular book or even on a particular non-book issue, we more often than not are able to disagree with respect.  At the bottom of that respect is an understanding that honesty is the coin of the realm.  Even when we’re wrong — as I was, and horribly so, a few months ago — we have the integrity to admit our errors and move on.


My records of the paid reviews/reviewers on Goodreads show that approximately 80 accounts — at least — have been removed from membership.  Some of those represent individuals who had more than one account or returned after one banning to make a second, third, or even seventh account.  The number of text reviews, no-text ratings, likes and Listopia votes is way beyond counting.  I gave up even trying to keep track of them when the number reached 6,000 reviews, and I hadn’t begun to tally the other ways in which the shills manipulated the Goodreads algorithms.


Of the accounts that have been terminated, several belonged to Goodreads authors because they were also fiverr sellers.


To date — it’s currently Sunday, 7 September 2014 — no Goodreads author has lost her or his account due to buying of fiverr reviews.  Even though Patrick, Director of Author Marketing (or whatever his official title is) hinted that authors could be deleted if they were buying fiverr reviews, not one has been so terminated.


Not one.


Nor has a single reviewer’s account been removed by Amazon for posting fiverr reviews, despite numerous reports with copious evidence that the reviews are in blatant violation of Amazon’s prohibition against commercial reviews.


Not one.


Frustration with Goodreads’ lack of action of this issue prompted me to announce publicly that I would no longer spend my limited free time doing their job for them.  I would not track down the information, collect the screen shots, do the leg work to clean up their site of fraudulent — and illegal — “ads” masquerading as customer reviews.  I didn’t say I’d stop doing it; I just wasn’t going to give the information to Goodreads any more.  I was, shall we say, moving house.


And in doing so, I was going to turn my attention to the authors who are providing the funding for fiverr, the ones who are buying reviews they know are not honest.


In the process of my research, I came upon one particular author whose growing dossier had me constantly shaking my head in amazement.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the information, so I let it accumulate in the hope that eventually I’d know when and where and how to present it.  I think the time is now.


Readers, reviewers, fellow authors, meet Ms. Sandy Nathan, Goodreads Author.



I’m not going to provide a link because you can easily find her there, and then again, she may not be a GR Author for long.


Here’s another screen shot, this time of one of her book pages.



The publisher is Vilasa Press.


Here’s the link to the Amazon listing of the book:



And here’s a screen shot of the pertinent information:



Vilasa Press has a website under the umbrella account for Rancho Vilasa here:



The home page of Vilasa Press looks like this:



Note that the sidebar only lists “Author,” not “Authors.”  In fact, Sandy Nathan is the only author published by Vilasa Press.  Barry Nathan, presumably her husband, is the Publisher.



Vilasa Press and Sandy Nathan, Author, are essentially one and the same.  Sandy Nathan is a self-publishing author.


Vilasa Press is also a buyer of reviews from fiverr:


Screen shot dated 2 August 2014.  Fiverr seller is “Jessica_suave” who reviews on Amazon as “J.C.”  and used to review on Goodreads as “Jessica” until her account was canceled.




Screen shot dated 2 August 2014 of Amazon review posted by “J.C.” for one of Nathan’s books:



And the Goodreads version posted by “Jessica”:






Another fiverr testimonial from Vilasa Press to fiverr seller Jessica_suave.  Note that Vilasa Press addresses the reviewer as “Jessica”:



Note also that the vilasapress avatar is the same photo as Nathan’s Goodreads avatar, as shown on this double-5-star rating of one of her own books.




“Jessica_suave” was removed as Goodreads reviewer “Jessica” on 22 August 2014 because of the evidence presented that she was posting prohibited commercial reviews.  She remains active on Amazon, where she is Top Reviewer #361, under the handle “J.C.”




Screen shot taken today, 7 September 2014:



Sandy Nathan also purchased reviews from fiverr shill Michael Beas, which are still “live” on Amazon:




You can see my report on Michael Beas here:



All this was bad enough.  Author Sandy Nathan was buying reviews from fiverr shills.  She had seen some of those reviews disappear from her book pages on Goodreads.  Apparently she then stopped overtly buying reviews, but it leaves all her other reviews under a cloud of suspicion.


For example, one of her enthusiastic reviewers is Tammie L. Smart, aka T. Lynne.  Tammie Smart under that name reviewed her own book without disclosing she was the author.  After Goodreads was notified, they combined the accounts to show the relationship.




Smart, in partnership with her mother, operates a promotions/network marketing business of some sort in Canada, The Smart Team.  Did Sandy Nathan buy ads/reviews from them as well?


When an author has been shown to be buying some reviews, all her other reviewers lose credibility no matter how innocent they may be.  An ethical author would take that into consideration — but I think it’s becoming rather obvious that Ms. Nathan may have a slight shortage in the ethics inventory.


She certainly has no regard, let alone respect, for reviewers.  Except, perhaps, those she has paid to do her bidding.


On 23 July 2014, Ms. Nathan posted a lengthy screed on her blog, which was then fed to Goodreads, where I read it in open-mouthed shock.  Seriously.  I had read some arrogant spewings before, but this pretty much took the entitlement cake.




After a brief and pretty snotty (imho) introduction, Ms. Nathan writes:

I feel pretty safe writing this, as NOTHING I’ve written has gone viral, including an important blog post about water allocation in California which should interest everyone in the state who drinks water. (Now, had it been about wine, that post would have covered the globe.)


Therefore, I feel at ease writing about reviews from an author’s point of view. I would like to do a bit of teaching, enlightening readers about writing reviews and some pitfalls they may leap into, only to feel silly/stupid later. I’m not going to teach readers how to band together in semi-feral groups, organize and attack authors with the intent of sinking books and destroying careers. Those of you prone to do that already know how to do it.


(I should note that I have both screen shots of the entire post and a text copy.  Ditto for the blog post that came after it.)


If you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, you may read on.


Ms. Nathan goes on to describe good reviews, bad reviews, good bad reviews, and bad bad reviews, always of course from the perspective of the author.  Bad bad reviews are those that say bad things about the author, such as she didn’t do her research, and say it in a nasty tone of print that hurts the author’s feelings.  Apparently she believes reviews are only for authors, because a review that doesn’t make her feel good about herself or help her make herself feel even better about herself — which might be difficult to do, seeing as how she feels she’s pretty damn awesome — is not and cannot be a good review.


It’s all about her, you see.


Oh, she couches her tirade in terms of authors in general, but only by vague reference to the usual trolls and bullies:


Some review platforms, Amazon, I understand, allow authors to get such defamation down, if they work hard enough. Other review sites are bloody free-for-alls with no author recourse.


What triggers attacks by trolls? Success. If your head sticks up above the cyber-crowd in any way, swarms of virtual vipers may be attracted to your work and attempt to destroy your career. The situation is on-going and is so bad that I’m not going to say any more about it. I have a number of instances (that most writers know about) that I could cite, but the authors involved asked me not talk about them. What do these examples involve? Death threats. Professional destruction. Really nasty verbiage flung hard. Books sunk by coordinated attacks of one star reviews. Do you feel fear?  If you don’t, you’re not on the writer side of the aisle.


I didn’t discover Ms. Nathan and her blog until 2 August, after I had already uncovered the evidence that she was buying reviews from fiverr and almost two weeks after she had posted that blog.  It ended with a rather wickedly gleeful:


Let’s get to something more pleasant: The STUPID REVIEW, the topic of my next post.


And so I wondered just how long I would have to wait to find out her definition of a “stupid review” is and why she would find them more pleasant.  It was truly all I could do not to post a comment on her blog to the effect that she must think the only valid reviews are the ones she buys, but in fact I didn’t.  I didn’t do anything.  I wanted to see what she was going to say about reviews.


Her next blog post came on 9 August 2014.




Note that she’s now referring to her previous blog as having addressed “vicious” reviews.  And again, my fingers were itching to respond to her “How Reviewers Can Keep Authors as Friends” comment with, “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Shouldn’t authors want to keep reviewers as friends?  And what ethical reviewer would want to be friends with you anyway?”  But I didn’t.


This long rant now takes readers to task — readers who bought and read her book! — for making mistakes.  They liked the book but thought it would have been better suited for children; they apparently didn’t notice that in fact Nathan had marked the book as a children’s story.


One reader opined that she liked another of Nathan’s books, a novella, but would have liked it longer.


That last wasn’t good enough for Nathan.


With all the information that should have told the buyer what s/he was buying, this happened.


I’ve beaten this to death, but I want to let my readers know that they can contact me, though any of the easily available ways. I would love it if they did before posting something like this. (Not that it’s a one-star review. Three stars is considered OK, neither good nor bad. And its tone is polite.)


If this reader had contacted me, s/he could have been among the first to know that I’m writing another book about…


In the very short review Nathan cuts and pastes, there’s no indication that the reader didn’t in fact know it was a novella.  She just said she wished it were longer.  There’s no indication that she was upset at not having a sequel.  She just said she wished it were longer.


Yet Nathan calls this a “stupid” review?


She does, because reviews are for her and should be written the way she likes them.  If there is anything the reader doesn’t like about the book, Nathan expects the reader to bring those questions, comments, complaints directly to her.  (“I have a contact page on my website that sends messages right here. To my desk. You could email me in seconds if you wanted to. If you’re clever enough, you could probably march up my driveway in an hour and a half.”)  What they’re not supposed to do is post their reviews in public for other readers to read.


Or at least not until they’ve cleared it with her first.  Reviews are, according to Sandy Nathan, for authors.  And authors are


. . . [A]mong the most sensitive creatures on the planet. That’s why we can write. I would like the people who review my work to exhibit the courtesy and commitment to excellence I try to show them in my writing.


Courtesy and commitment apparently aren’t the same as honesty and integrity.






Seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?  A nice, if maybe a little effusive endorsement of a book the reviewer enjoyed.  But remember what I said about a few purchased reviews make all reviewers — that’s not a typo; I mean reviewers — suspect?  After seeing that Ms. Nathan had bought reviews from fiverr and that Tammie Lynne Smart runs a promo business, all the other reviews came under scrutiny.




Melanie Rigney, who wrote such a sweet little review of Sandy Nathan’s book, is in fact the book’s editor.


Are any of the reviews of Sandy Nathan’s books, on Goodreads or on Amazon or anywhere else, legitimate, honest, consumer reviews, posted by disinterested readers who either liked or didn’t like the books?  Nathan admits she unpublished one book to flush the bad reviews, then edited and republished the book.  Is that what she calls courtesy and commitment to excellence?


Contrary to anything Ms. Nathan may think, I take no pleasure in posting this.  If I did, I probably would have posted it long ago.  I guess I thought maybe it would go away, or I was wrong in what I saw or how I interpreted it.  I’ve been wrong before.  But this is not right, and it’s doubly not right because people like Sandy Nathan think they’re just somehow entitled to get away with it.


I’d much rather spend my time reading or writing or making jewelry or hiking out in the desert or just taking a nap.  And I’m sure people like Ms. Nathan wish I’d do any of those things and just leave them alone so they can write their books and buy fake reviews for them and lambaste the real reviewers.  But the real reviewers are real readers, and real readers are any author’s real friends.  I stand up for my friends.


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.


Standing Against Plagiarism by Rachel Anne Nunes

[reblogged from Katiebabs Library of Books]


“My life was torn apart this weekend when it came to light that an anonymous author (Sam Taylor Mullens) on the Internet, who is known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a trilogy.”


“It has been verified by four separate readers that Sam Taylor Mullens did, indeed, add steamy scenes to The Auction Deal, her revised version of my Christian novel, and claimed it as her own. Her subsequent emails to different people and contradicting statements online while trying to cover her tracks has shown a definite intent to do fraud. This path she has followed is far more outlandish than any novel I’ve ever read.”


Source: http://www.rachelannnunes.com/Stand_Against_Plagarism.php