Sunday, August 06, 2006

Flaming wannabees

I've had encounters with wannabees who could not bear to be told the truth. Perhaps they came to me seeking validation. Perhaps they were in search of networking to further their attempts at a career as a writer. In the end, what they got was the truth. Then rather than deal with my criticism and suggestions, they went all over the net denouncing me and three in particular treaded a line that can only mean stalker.

One of them stalked all my blogs more than three years ago, trying to prove that my satire about Capt. Cussedness the pirate and the evil empress Honey Chylde were aimed at her. All of her confederates joined in and for a brief span made my life hell because I was new to the net and inexperienced enough at that point to take it all seriously. I was forced to give up my hosting at that site and move on. Partly I did it out of spite, and threatened to sue the company if they could not get her to leave me alone. Eventually she decided that I was a dangerous psycho and left me alone. When I posted to a newsgroup that she frequented a year ago, she attacked me saying that we had "history," and then a few days later she barged into my chatroom (she knew it was my chatroom) and tried to pretend that nothing had happened. I promptly told her that it was inappropriate for her to be there and reminded her that we had "history" as she put it. Then I banned her.

The second one came from a writer who is apparently self-published and writes at about the level of an intelligent eight-year-old and has a fantasy series out. He spammed my message board pretending to be his own fan and since I have a healthily paranoid group of mods and members, we unearthed the fact that the "fan" was actually the author and that he had spammed over 300 messageboards. When I could not get him to stop I eventually became angry enough to post my honest opinion to his book's listing at Now, his book is terrible. He stopped in the middle of a fight scene to spend three paragraphs explaining orcs. The book had typos, grammar problems, chewing-gum sentences, and tense changes in mid-sentence. If he had paid attention to what I had carefully said about his book, he could have avoided making some of the same mistakes the next time he wrote something. The book needed an experienced editor.

His response was to write a review of one of my books without reading the book and parrot back what I had said about his. Anyone using the look inside feature at would have seen that he was a liar. So he didn't even read that much and didn't quote examples of what he considered to be my bad grammar or demonstrate my typos and so forth. Just claimed they were there. Considering that the book, Blood Rites, was professionally copy-edited and edited by my publisher, Renaissance Ebooks, the problems did not exist. My editors would have caught them and either fixed them or had me revise. I have books out there that were revised to editorial direction many times before my editors were satisfied with them.

But is a flamewar playground where this type of thing goes on in the form of people blasting away in thinly disguised flames in the reader reviews section.

The third one has lasted the longest. He's famous for flames, stalking, and other dastardly behaviors and once wrote a story using my name as the main character and posting around the net that it was about me. In it he accused me of plagerizing him. Which is interesting in that he's a horror writer and the only thing that was available from me at the time was a sword and sorcery piece that I had up on my website, which had been originally published while he was still in diapers. He has continued to stalk and attack me and my daughter for three years.

My crime was to tell him that he needed to work on his grammar and use Strunk and White. He once posted a flaming crit of my book without reading it and his final line was "burn in hell you dyke." Fortunately took it down in response to complaints from people.

It is behavior like this that makes me want to never tell a wannabee what's wrong with his work. It also causes me to pull back when someone asks me to read their fiction. There is a new person at my chatroom who wants me to read their material. I'm considering it. However, I'll wait to see how they respond to crits from the other members of the chatroom. If they react professionally, then I'll read something by them.