The Tale of Naughty Peaches.
Naughty Peaches thinks I'm an internet bully.
"Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others." -Bill Belsey http://www.cyberbullying.ca
I was still rather naive when I first encountered Naughty Peaches. At least as far as the internet is concerned. Back in 2003 I was extremely lonely and the Iraqi War was looming. I had several nephews shipping out to participate, both in the marines and the navy.
I had had the internet for close to ten years, but I had never gone to messageboards and chatrooms. I had been told that they were toxic.
I'm an active member of SFWA, having made pro in 1980.
Onr day, I was looking over the SFWA website and stumbled upon an article I thought was outdated. So I contacted the webmaster and got into a discussion with him about it. He discerned that I was lonely and introduced me to chatrooms and the people in the chatrooms introduced me to messageboards. One of the first messageboards I went to was gothic.net.
While I was there, Naughty Peaches approached me, introduced himself as a writer of great talent, and said that we should get together. He sent me some of his work to go over. I suppose he was waiting for me to praise his genius. What I found was a document rife with grammar problems, incoherent sentences, bad dialog, and other errors. I recommended that he get a copy of Strunk and White.
His reaction was to launch into me in the ugliest of language. I've always been a fighter and I replied in kind. Then I dropped it and quit going to gothic.net to get away from him. I had started at gothic.net in September of 03 and I quit going in December. I eventually heard that he had been banned, and in April 04, I went back for a brief visit. He must have been reading the board, because he knew I had been there, and he sent me a series of ugly emails. I fired back at him and thought that was the end of it.
Then on June 17th of 04, Naughty Peaches joined HWA and lit into me on sight. Naughty Peaches had joined under the affiliate rule which did not require possessing any publishing credits (that has since been changed). I was talking to an editor in IM and she said to me "Have you seen this?" From September of 03 to June 17th, Naughty Peaches had been bad mouthing me all over the net and accusing me of plagiarism.
The really odd thing about it was that Naughty Peaches thought I was a horror author (I still don't write horror). At that time, the only things I had out were Sword and Sorcery that had originally been published while Naughty Peaches was still in diapers. He had also written a story using my name as the main character and telling people that it was about me and the it was a "cautionary tale of plagiarism."
Well by that point I was becoming better versed in the internet and I googled. I discovered that Naughty Peaches had been Naughty with a lot of people. I got the story taken down several places by threatening legal action. It's still out there at two spots, and every time he gets angry at me he threatens to have it published.
I stopped going to the messageboard at HWA as a result of his presence, but as I got my legs under me I flamed back at him. No matter how hard I looked for a new messageboard to participate at he showed up soon after. By September of 04, I had become extremely angry. He had an anthology out that he self-published through Lulu.com. Most of the stories were available for free various places on the web, so I wrote a review of the stories that I could find. Admittedly, it was partly to get back at him -- at least in the beginning -- because I could not imagine someone as functionally illiterate as Naughty Peaches being able to edit an anthology. I have edited them. However, once I started, my past as a reviewer and critic for several publications led to my writing ah honest and perceptive review, but he viewed my criticism as libel and slander no matter how politely I phrased it. I offered helpful suggestions to his underage authors and many later thanked me.
By then he had moved from attacking me to also attacking my daughter who was in high school at the time and living on her own because she had not wanted to move to the other side of the state with me and give up her friends.
Eventually I went back to ignoring him and hoping that this time it would stick. It didn't. He came after me again. It became an endless round of him jumping me or my child and me jumping him back for it. When he was not jumping on me, he was jumping on others. The numbers of his "enemies" grew as a result of his stalking and abuse.
Naughty Peaches was banned from many boards and it gradually became safe for me to return to them. I would ignore him for months at a time and then he would try something new to hurt me and my child.
As more people were hurt by his abusiveness, Naughty Peaches found that his "enemies" had become so great in number that he was practically getting cornered with torches and pitchforks at every turn.
One of the things that he came back to again and again was to harp on my sexual orientation. He would jump on me with obscenity laden posts. Whenever I got a new blog in an attempt to gain a bit of peace, he would be the first one to post a comment on it. Those comments were threatening and abusive. There seemed to be no way to slow him down.
I tried everything I could think of, banning, blocking, and so forth, but he always got around them to have his say.
Finally his "enemies" became an impromptu vigilante group that stuck together and every time he launched into a fresh round of abuse, he was parodied and slammed. Some people continued to try and reason with him, but like the rest of us who had been around longer, they soon saw that there was nothing to be done about Naughty Peaches.
Now he wants to say that I'm a bully because I won't lie down and take it.
At this point, Naughty Peaches knew a lot about me, my work, and my family. He had not read anything by me, but he knew that I wrote dark fantasy and Sword & Sorcery. A few days ago he accused me of having plagiarized Robert E. Howard. The blow came totally out of left field and followed on a long string of fresh threats from him. When I demanded that he show me and my readers where I had plagiarized REH, his response was "I can't betray my sources."