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Why I’m backing away from romance “community” concerns

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Yesterday, I announced on Twitter that I no longer wanted to be tagged in, talked to, or asked about anything relating to #CockyGate, book stuffing, or any issue affecting the romance “community”, barring something like discrimination or prejudice. It may have seemed like a flounce out of nowhere. In reality, it was a mixture of a few things that have been going on for a while and which finally came to a head.

Mainly, the catalyst was the question: “Where were you?”

Without naming names, here’s the situation: Author X, with whom I have acquaintances in common, was called out for a video she made last January. In the video, which she now claims was “satire”, this author mocked Author Y, who called out Kindle Unlimited page stuffing scams. Author X went on at length for thirty minutes, proclaiming that book stuffers are smart, that she doesn’t care about book stuffers because she’s not a KU author and it doesn’t affect her, and making fun of Author Y for using YouTube and her low follower count. This allegedly satirical video resulted in some of the Author X’s readers and some other authors––who were probably page stuffing, themselves––to attack and threaten Author Y, who then removed her videos.

In other words, someone tried to call out a very real issue affecting authors and readers and another author went to ridiculous lengths to silence her, all while admitting that the issue didn’t have any impact on her career, anyway.

So, it was your standard Indie Romance Monday.

Now that the page stuffing scandal has gotten even more traction, Author Y stepped up and said, hey, I was talking about this a while ago but Author X made a video and it got people to attack me so I shut up about it. Obviously, some people were angry about that. My take (on another person’s Facebook status about the situation; I did not post the original call out or any statuses of my own about the issue) was that the “satire” video failed and Author X should apologize and retract. Others believed the same. But Author X chose instead to shout about how no one was silenced (they were), that she doesn’t hurt people’s feelings (she did), and perhaps my favorite (and the only direct quote I’ll use here): “Don’t you find it strange that I ‘silenced’ her, yet she suddenly has the courage to come forward and share this video for everyone who didn’t see it before?”

I wanted to scream, “NO, YOU STUPID BITCH, IT’S NOT STRANGE! IT’S THAT SHE KNOWS SHE HAS SUPPORT NOW!”

But all of that shoulder-tightening nonsense aside, what really got me was that several people on a very contentious Facebook thread about it demanded to know “Where were you?” when this was going on in January if I cared so much about it.

Where was I?

I wasn’t carefully monitoring the social media feeds of every single romance author to see if someone was being mean to them.

Where was I?

I was probably over-extending myself trying to stick up for someone else on some other issue affecting our alleged “community”.

Where was I?

Not making sure to follow two authors I’d never heard of until very recently to make sure they were able to get along with each other because I am not the fucking Indie Romance Preschool Monitor.

That “Where were you?”, repeated twice in that thread, four times in private messages, was the perfect “gotcha!” for people who, until their friend was called out for her actions, were happy to use the #GetLoud hashtag to stick up for silenced or under-siege authors. But the second it was someone they liked, all the old standbys came out. She was joking! It was sarcasm! Doesn’t anyone understand satire? Gosh! And when people still said, “yeah, she might not have intended to hurt this author, but she did,” they immediately jumped to that “Where were you?” Because if you imply that a person didn’t care enough six months ago…

What?

Six months ago, I didn’t know this was happening to Author Y. No one did, because she was afraid to speak up because she had been, what? SILENCED. Nobody knew what had happened to her because she didn’t have a large following at the time, so she had no support. Obviously, people didn’t hear about it then. That doesn’t mean they can’t care about it, now, or that people just not knowing something was going on means that it wasn’t a big deal and they should get a pass for their shitty behavior.

But no. “Where were you?”

Since I made a name for this blog by calling out the abuse and plagiarism in Fifty Shades Of Grey, I’ve been able to use it and my social media presence as a tool to support authors and readers who’ve run into situations where they’ve felt powerless. I’ve been able to call out bad author behavior and scams. I’ve been really lucky to have the voice that I have and the platform that I have. But I’ve also gotten a lot of shit for it. The owner of a now-defunct publishing house threatened me with physical violence. A publisher declined to release an anthology if I was included in it. I’ve been told gossip at bars at conferences about authors who’ve threatened to pull their books from publishers if they ever bought a manuscript from me. A guy threatened to make a necklace from my teeth. Rumors were started that I spent time in prison for gang violence and therefore shouldn’t be allowed at some events. Through trying to defend authors and readers, often after someone requested help from me, I have made myself persona non grata in my own industry. I don’t go to many conferences anymore because of my experiences at the few that I have gone to recently. Many times I spent evenings alone in my room while people who have been lovely and friendly to me for years in private wouldn’t chance being seen with me in public in front of other authors, agents, and publishers. At Romantic Times in Dallas, I spent several nights crying over the humiliation of receiving “the cut direct” from people who later tried to pull, “Oh, that was you? I didn’t even recognize you!” as though I didn’t have my name right there on my badge.

Interestingly enough, it was Anna Todd, an author I’d called out here on this blog and later apologized for, who was the kindest to me at that event. I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

And yesterday, at the height of all of this nonsense, I was asked, “Where were you?”

Because I haven’t done enough.

Because I don’t care enough.

Because I could be giving more.

One of the people who asked, “Where were you?” had even been sending me screenshots from private groups to keep me updated about Faleena Hopkins. She’d sent me things she’d asked me to post or spread the word about. She’d been fine with using me as a tool, but the moment I mildly disagreed with her friend, Author X, she’d demanded to know: “Where were you when this was happening back in January?”

Well, where the fuck were you, romance “community”, when I needed you? That’s right. You were nowhere. You were telling me not to worry about it. You were telling me that I was making too big a deal of it. You were telling me to make it into a joke, to laugh it off, while I suffered and struggled with suicidal ideation because I knew, just from the response of people in the industry that I’d once trusted, that I was alone and nobody had my back. But now I’m supposed to jump at every screenshot over every trivial matter that might arise. You want to come to me with your grievances and gossip, you want me to listen, but practically no one listened to me in my time of need and if they did, only one author expressed public support.

But I’m supposed to do more. I’m supposed to care about what’s happening in your snotty little private groups where you talk shit freely about other authors in comfortable anonymity. I’m supposed to give a shit if author A’s feelings got hurt by Author B over something incredibly small and stupid, while larger problems are going on. These demands are constantly streaming into my emails, DMs, Facebook messages, Tumblr inbox, anywhere someone thinks they can grab my attention and be granted my time, my anger, my energy.

Yesterday, when I announced on Twitter that I was resigning my unintentional post as attack dog, people sent very nice messages suggesting self-care and stepping away for my own mental health. These messages are appreciated and I don’t want to appear ungrateful by saying this, because I am so grateful for the support of readers and authors who are still out there, doing what they can. This post is not addressed to you. But I want to make it clear: this is not me stepping away for my mental health. My mental health is fine.  This is me acting out the scene from Half Baked when Scarface quits his job. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, and fuck you, I’m out. This is me quitting and walking out of the office backward with both middle fingers extended.

Where were you?

I was right here. I was doing what you asked me to do. I was wrecking industry connections and stifling my own career. I was taking time out from writing books and blogging the fun stuff that makes me happy. I was spending my days constantly despairing over the state of an industry I loved, losing ground while cheaters and disingenuously “nice” people prospered. That’s where I was.

I’ll tell you where I’m going to be from now on: writing my books, focusing on my career and working as hard as possible for my readers. Blogging the stuff that’s fun, not the stuff that’s going to make me dread getting online. Not answering emails trying to alert me to the latest crisis, problem, or pointless drama I don’t even want to be involved in.

Where were you?

Where the fuck were you?

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64 Comments

  1. It’s good to pick your battles and also realize you don’t have to fight each and every one. Mentally it can all get exhausting and it’s never-ending. Please concentrate on yourself – you need to do that.

    If anybody doesn’t understand that, then it’s on them – not you.

    June 5, 2018
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  2. And damn right you are.
    On the battlefields of the internet one can only lose.
    Good writing! 🙂

    June 5, 2018
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  3. Jenn Funk
    Jenn Funk

    I’m sorry, that sucks completely. And I can say this even though I know nothing about publishing or the rest of it. It sounds like you’ve been put through the ringer and good for you for being pissed as hell at the bad behavior of those folks.

    June 5, 2018
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  4. Baronbrian
    Baronbrian

    I don’t blame you. This is why I never got heavily involved with any fan communities. It just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort when all I want to do is enjoy myself. It reminds me of my experience with school sports. When I was grade schooled age, you played sports because they were fun. There was some competition but at the end of the day it was still just about having some fun. Then you hit middle school and all of a sudden, it’s not fun. It’s serious business and God help you if you’re only in it still to have fun.

    I feel like fan communities are the same way. It starts off fun and light and you’re enjoying what you’re doing then all of a sudden it’s serious business and you don’t know why and all you want to do is enjoy your downtime and not be involved in some wild drama.

    June 5, 2018
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  5. Tamsen Thistlehawk-Ranck
    Tamsen Thistlehawk-Ranck

    I’m coming to this from hearing something vague about the Faleena Hopkins thing going on, and being directed to your blog.
    First and foremost, having looked at only a few pages, I would like to thank you for your courage – the courage to give your opinion about Shades of Grey and the abuse and plagiarism (and egregious misrepresentation of the way BDSM really works, becoming a sort of how-to manual that will quite probably cause some people both emotional and physical harm) and to tell those giving you grief about the ‘Authors X and Y” to fuck off.
    I admire your willingness to ‘tell it like it is.’ Too many choose to jump onto whatever boat of butthurt goes by, and add their own flavor to it (for some kind of fleeting “fame?” For recognition among the butthurt of the world? For a sense of community … with people mostly talking about things they aren’t involved in and don’t know enough about to have a rational take on it? I don’t get it.)
    At any rate, that’s all I wanted to say. Thank you for having the courage to come out and say that you’re “out” of it, and that’s perfectly okay. Take care.

    June 5, 2018
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  6. (Different) Rebecca
    (Different) Rebecca

    *nods* *fistbump* Damn straight.

    June 5, 2018
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  7. Dawn Baffa
    Dawn Baffa

    Best of luck to you. I am so sorry that these people don’t get what you stand for, the threats and everything else. Being an activist to get things better for the over all is hard for those fighting. We are not social media friends and I only caught the last part of your fight. I know where you were fighting for the over all good!! Good luck to you and I may have found a new author. Hugs coming to you

    June 5, 2018
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  8. Anon
    Anon

    Oh man. I don’t spend much time on Twitter and I’m not a part of the romance community in any way, so I miss a lot. I’m so sorry this crap is going on. All I can say is people in general are assholes and it sucks.

    June 5, 2018
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  9. Sophie R
    Sophie R

    Meeting you and Bronwyn at a conference in Chicago a few years ago was such a wonderful experience for me. It has always made me sad that I left before we could all have drinks together and I could get tipsy enough to start crying about how much I love you guys. “The Boss” is what got me into writing. Now I finish my MFA in creative writing this summer, all because your books inspired me to pursue my own passion. It’s shameful the community hasn’t been behind you. Thank you for everything you’ve done and I’m so sorry you were treated this way. I’m excited to see what you’ll write next. 🙂 <3

    June 5, 2018
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    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Congratulations and well done on your MFA 🙂

      June 5, 2018
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  10. K. Phan
    K. Phan

    Well, personally, I’m glad to have stumbled across you in the whole of this. I haven’t joined any “community” in an official stance, mostly because as a nobody, I don’t feel like I could contribute. Through your posts and interactions, I’ve been able to see how things work, and learn quite a bit from you – so thank you very much for your devotion to this task at risk of your own place in the industry. If you’re ever in Dallas again, finding you just want company at a coffee shop, I am totally there if you can handle quiet introverted aspiring authors. Much love to you, plenty of “go take a flying jump into a vat of acid” to author X, y, neither of the two deserve any capitalizations.

    June 5, 2018
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    • Failed Indie
      Failed Indie

      Don’t join the community. Enjoy writing instead, and Google any questions that come up for a while.

      It’s not all toxic, but filtering out the toxicity is too much hassle. I’d like to let my circa 2015 self know that. I’d like writing a lot more today.

      June 6, 2018
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  11. Stella Price
    Stella Price

    A-MEN.

    Seriously. I had hoped you would pull away earlier (as I did) because so many assholes are ruining this industry and expecting blood from a stone so their own name doesnt get tarnished and dragged through the mud. I have my convictions, and I have my loyalties (you are one of them, one of the few, and you know this) and they have stifled my career as well. I learned a while back the best thing to do is say FUCK YOU to this industry, and focus on what actually MATTERS: Readers and the books they wanna read.

    You know you always have a spot at the events I do, where Drama and bullshit is non-existent. I think more people would do well to stop jumping when there’s blood in the water, and expecting someone to fix it for them…People need to grow a pair of their own, put their own neck’s out for something they believe. Your platform shouldn’t hinder your success, and it shouldn’t make people expect you to be the Romance Crusader!

    I fully support this move. Write, create and care about your readers. when something TRULY shitty goes down, be involved if you want… or don’t. Your career matters, and you need to focus on THAT. I love you, You always have my support.

    June 5, 2018
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  12. Gretel
    Gretel

    The fucking audacity.
    You have done so much to show the abusive, shitty, and toxic people in the romance community and, as you’ve pointed out, to your own detriment. And then it’s not enough? Not soon enough? Not strong enough? Not enough, period?!

    What the actual fuck.

    Jenny, you do you.
    I totally support you in leaving behind this mess and focusing on your own stuff.
    If you want to return in five or ten years? Fine. If not? Also fine. Do want you want and what makes you happy.

    Take care of yourself.

    And also fuck these people.

    June 5, 2018
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  13. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Please, Jenny, tell us you DID “spend time in prison for gang violence”! That would be so awesome!

    June 5, 2018
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    • Anon
      Anon

      Oh man. A character like Jenny as a member of a rural Michigan gang.

      That is a fantastic book idea …

      June 5, 2018
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  14. Fuck them. I’m surprised you haven’t walked away waaay before this with all the crap you take day after day after day. You’re stronger than I’ll ever be.
    Concentrate on your writing and your readers and write the things that are the fun.
    I doubt you’ll be out of the arena for long, because you’re a crusader. Hold this break tight and remember there are legions who are behind you, including me.

    June 5, 2018
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  15. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    I don’t understand the expectation of people that an advocate should be instantly on the issues with top-grade analysis. Some issues need to be thought about. Some need to be approached and reconsidered. Some issues are being prioritized. Sometimes when someone gives the best dissection of an issue, it’s because they were disturbed to see something in an earlier situation, and had to go away and think about it.

    Remember that creepy male author in the comments who complained he had to pretend to be a female author to publish his kink stories to a female audience (and be paid for it?) I didn’t know what to say to that. The parts that disturbed me on the face of it made me skim the parts that turned out to be significant. I didn’t post any criticism at all at first. I went back a couple times before I replied to see if anyone had spoken up. I think you and I were the only ones to reply to that… Mine was insufficient. But that comment was an issue and it represents a breach of trust. Now the next time i see that kind of author behavior, I’ll be better able to react.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with in-person behavior like that.

    June 5, 2018
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    • MamaLich
      MamaLich

      ‘I don’t understand the expectation of people that an advocate should be instantly on the issues with top-grade analysis. ‘

      I find it HILARIOUS that they think it would’ve invalidated Jenny’s opinion. As much as I love reading Jenny’s writings–she’s not Batman and it’s not her job to patrol the dark streets every online activity that happens between every single writer (or immediately jump in and intervene as soon as it happens). Plus, you can comment on someone misbehaving or showing inappropriate action way after the incident happened (otherwise, no one would’ve been able to talk about Cassie Edwards’ s plagiarism because the first incident happened DECADES before the public started to find out (and I probably would’ve had to shut up about JR Tolkien, who advocated for mens-only writers’ societies because he said it before I was even born). Inappropriate actions can still look bad months/years later–and it looks like Author X messed up because not even her fans could come up with a better reason for her defence.

      ‘Remember that creepy male author in the comments who complained he had to pretend to be a female author to publish his kink stories to a female audience (and be paid for it?)’
      I haven’t heard or read about this guy–but for real?! Which post was that in?And what made it so damn creepy (besides obviously masquerading as a different gender to get fans)?!

      June 6, 2018
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      • Dove
        Dove

        It was The Dos And Don’ts Of Pseudonyms And Author Personas. I read that also and it bothered me at the time but I wasn’t certain what to say either.

        On the one hand, I’ve low-key pretended I was a guy in an online game, where I never used voice chat, and my guild assumed as much… I just didn’t correct them until it came up about half a year later. I left after that but it wasn’t about my gender; I was addicted to the game and sense of community (I have very few friends IRL), but I was having a bad month in general, and I decided that I needed to stop playing cold turkey. I felt bad for leaving them like that, I really liked some of the people there, but I thought keeping in contact would seduce me back in. The game itself wasn’t even that amazing, it was mostly about the people, so maybe I should get in touch sometime.

        As for the author, while no one realized who he was because it’s not hard to be polite and behave yourself, he didn’t seem to understand that some men are assholes and just because he wasn’t one of them (or at least wasn’t openly acting like one) doesn’t make infiltration okay. I still can’t wrap my mind around exactly how it’s all wrong but that it’s a breach of trust is pretty fundamental at least.

        I wasn’t sneaking into anything, my guild had men and women in it, including one of the officers, I later found out, who kept her gender obscure and I wouldn’t have guessed was a woman, so I wasn’t the only one. For the record, you played as predetermined characters so the lack of customization made it easy to assume one way or the other. I just picked the guy I played because I thought he was cool and after that, I felt a little embarrassed correcting anyone (also I was sort of enjoying a light RP to see if anyone would guess. I don’t think I was amazing at it but preconceived notions helped. One guy was a little upset when he found out… he thought we were bros, but it’s not as if we had any intimate guy talk. I did feel bad about that but I think he was more amazed and flustered than hurt and I wasn’t spying on him… or at least, I don’t think I was, but what if that counts?)

        So yeah, my personal history made it even more complicated for me to ponder this dilemma. I’m still not sure… I think my situation was murkier but does intention even matter? There is certainly a subset of the overall gaming community that is toxic to women, but I don’t think I dealt with that, so does that make what I did okay? :\

        Ugh and I really shouldn’t dive into comments before work. XD

        But anyway, Jenny spoke up then, as did a few others. I appreciate that someone said something because I still don’t know what exactly should be said.

        In general, fuck these people who did nothing themselves and decided to scapegoat her to make themselves feel better. If you can’t stand up for someone, that’s fine, but don’t slash and burn your advocates or you’ll find yourself alone some day, unable to be a bystander anymore because you’re the only one left who gives a shit about this particular bit of drama. It’s about supporting the people who need it most and the courageous need that backing or change will take forever.

        June 6, 2018
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        • Dove
          Dove

          Er, to clarify, because I just realized typing that in a hurry could be vague, the people criticizing Jenny clearly weren’t her advocates, she was an advocate for change in the romance community, but they tried to pull her into this specific fiasco just to cover their own asses. Someone else can step up if she doesn’t feel like dealing with that anymore; it’s not Jenny’s job. She isn’t obliged.

          June 6, 2018
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          • MamaLich
            MamaLich

            Oh, I see! Yeah, I just revisited the page–and it made me remember why I skipped over his comment (I think it was the sentence: ‘I felt that male authors in my genre are frowned upon […]’ that made my brain suddenly go on screensaver-mode).

            I only have a fingernail’s scratch of knowledge about erotic and romance publishing–but as a ‘reader’ I had to roll my eyes because I’ve never HEARD of anyone shunning erotica if it was written by a guy (only if the premise and writing was dumb, laughably inaccurate or seedy as all get-out (plus, I found it funny how he claimed certain things, except that he didn’t even provide links or proof).

            Personally, I totally agree with the difference between profiting off of a different ‘identity’ compared to actually doing it for fun activities (and I’m pretty sure if that guy was ‘that good’, he probably had fans trying to ask him for advice on how to write, or find advice on how convey awesome sex scenes and romance (because when I was 16 and reading AdultFanfiction.Net, I was doing that. I wrote emails to female authors asking for advice on how sex could be written (I was pretty naive, but I used to do that because I felt that I wouldn’t be sexually harassed if I did. This was way before I learned about GoAskAlice and other helpful LJ communities)). So he doesn’t realise that, like you rightfully said, he could’ve breached the trust of his readers. Meanwhile, you had a reason to keep your own identity under wraps (and it wasn’t like you were earning any money, and you were in an equal position with all the other players).

            But yeah, you’re absolutely right that it can be a complex issue (though with this situation about the writing world and the way they’re trying to cover up scams and the every issues of their community, yeah–it’s pretty shitty how they’ve tried to involve her as if it’s her job).

            June 11, 2018
      • small jar of fireflies
        small jar of fireflies

        It was a clusterfuck of nope. If I remember, he was patronizing and infantilizing fans. Generally just a veil of ego-protecting bullshit and determination to intrude on female spaces.

        June 6, 2018
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        • Dove
          Dove

          Yuck. I’m not surprised though.

          I just remember him complaining about how his books sold better when people thought he was a woman but when it was clear he was a man, it did poorly. And I don’t know much about the romance section, but that sounds a bit doubtful. I should’ve asked for some hard data if nothing else and now I regret that I didn’t do so at the time.

          Like… let’s see your statistics. Was it even a truly significant difference in sales? Also, the point of the scientific method is to try and prove yourself wrong, that way you know it isn’t any unforeseen circumstances at play. For example, I doubt he had a control group with the exact same book using his actual name conjointly offered at the same time. It’s entirely possible he wrote some shitty books, got better at writing, then slapped a womanly pseudonym on the new ones and falsely assumed that was the reason. Or, you know, people are less willing to take a chance on a new author in general but then, later on, he got better at marketing his books. 😛

          June 6, 2018
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  16. Bad at Making Up Names
    Bad at Making Up Names

    You’re awesome, Jenny. Hang in there.

    June 5, 2018
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  17. Ren
    Ren

    Oh FFS, you’re not hard to find if someone with a tiny voice is looking for an amplifier. It’s not your job to seek out people to save.

    It has been blatantly obvious to me since I started self-pubbing in 2009 that being very, very selective about “friends” in the “community” is a lifesaver. Everything seems to be blowing up in 2018, and there’s a mad scramble for ass coverage by those whose pals are caught stinking up the place. Anything to keep eyes off what THEY’VE been up to right along with their besties. Anybody who dares say “but other than being a manipulative liar, he/she is a really good person” is immediately under investigation.

    Don’t for one second let anyone make you feel like you haven’t done “enough.” I would bore you to sleep, but I’d proudly be seen with you in public. Fuck the “sisterhood” and their enabling high school crap.

    June 5, 2018
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  18. Good for you.

    Do I enjoy reading what you have to say on this kind of stuff? Yes. Do I appreciate you drawing attention to things I might have missed otherwise? Absolutely. Do you owe anybody this effort, when it’s gotten you screwed over in so many ways? No. You’re no one’s attack dog. You’re not the Romance Police.

    I knew who you were because of your recaps and “the romance community”, but I became a fan when I picked up The Boss series while caring for my best friend/platonic love, who was dying of cervical cancer. Despite the fact that I burbled and sobbed my way through The Girlfriend, it remains the only book on the subject I’ve ever willingly re-read. You got it. You captured all the conflict and hurt and fear and guilt and exhaustion of being the caregiver in that situation without ever veering into maudlin or exploitation or inspiration porn.

    That same empathy and translation of complex feelings into words in your career is obvious in the responses you’ve written to a lot of the injustices in “the romance community”, but you’re not a natural resource for everyone to mine and make demands of. Especially with the damage it’s wrought on your career.

    So I repeat: Good for you.

    June 5, 2018
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  19. Irene
    Irene

    No one will ever be “enough” for assholes trying to be right on the internet and it seriously pisses me off that people would demand that from you. Thank you for all your previous involvement, many of us appreciate it. But I think those who truly appreciate it also understand that you’re human and you do not have to just sit there and take backlash forever. You do not have any obligation to stick your neck out there for everyone and anyone who asks – much less for shit you haven’t even heard of. You do what you need to in order to be at peace and we will continue to support and love you, Jenny. You’ve done enough. You are enough. Those who say otherwise can fuck right off.

    June 5, 2018
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  20. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Jenny, would you consider getting teardrop tatts so The Heathers will think you’ve killed people?

    Even temporary ones would be awesome.

    June 5, 2018
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  21. Mouse
    Mouse

    Of course she did, but it was in a different galaxy, she doesn’t have time lord on her knuckles for nothin’ y’know.

    June 5, 2018
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  22. Mouse
    Mouse

    I apparently don’t type fast enough to respond about time for gang crime quips to make sense. I am no author- but seriously some one needs to get on Jenny Trout: time lord does time fic.

    June 5, 2018
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    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I think you wanted to hit teply to a specific comment, not reply at the bottom.

      June 5, 2018
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  23. Kitt
    Kitt

    I appreciate the light you shine on issues I wouldn’t otherwise know about. But while the activism benefits everyone, it’s also not yours to shoulder and should be participated in by everyone. It’s also not worth your health or your happiness. You get to step back and walk out whenever you choose, and no one has the reasonable expectation of anything else. This is an ongoing scrum and will continue be and addressing things when you have the spoons and doing other things when you don’t is very, very reasonable. Never dealing with of this again is also a legit choice; addressing the issues that would have been accessed through your own work and your own choices of topics is both valid and plausible.

    June 5, 2018
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  24. Kat
    Kat

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, despite not being a general reader of romance or erotica. I enjoy everything you write, and I’ve learned a lot about writing, and a part of the larger publishing world, through your blog. I’ve been highly entertained, moved, and angered in various turns, depending on content (not angered by you, but by the ridiculousness of some of the circumstances you’ve described – things I wouldn’t have known and now I’m glad I do know them).

    Thank you for creating so much content, and for helping people the way you have. You are, frankly, amazing. It hurts to hear that there are people out there who would look at what you do and find it lacking, or disrespectful, or whatever argument they’re going to make. You do good things. Wave those middle fingers high. You don’t owe anyone anything. Your choice, your voice. I look forward to whatever you continue to publish here.

    June 5, 2018
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  25. cat
    cat

    Where was everyone else?

    I’m so sorry for all you’ve gone through and can’t believe you didn’t get out sooner. I’ve enjoyed your “Don’t Do This Ever” posts (not a writer or reader of romance) because I found them fascinating. But not worth all the shit they caused you.

    Shame on your “friends” who wouldn’t be seen with you in public. Makes me wish I were a well known romance author so that I could proudly stand with you at conventions.

    June 5, 2018
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  26. I have no dog in the romance wars (I tried writing one and failed, but I seem to have succeeded in writing a halfway decent urban fantasy) but I do enjoy snark and you are an expert in delivering it. (Yes, I’m one of those people who came for the FSoG recaps and stayed for The Boss.)

    I feel a bit guilty about how much I enjoyed your updates on the latest trainwreck, knowing now how much of a toll they were taking on your career. I completely understand your reasons, and even if I didn’t, they’re your damn reasons and I don’t get a vote.

    June 5, 2018
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  27. I’m just wondering why you aren’t angrier. Props to you for not calling out the assholes who are fine to befriend you when they need something but nowhere to be found when the opposite occurs. I’ve actually only recently discovered your blog, which I’m now obsessed with by the way, and was clueless to the fact that you’re really the author to one of my favorite series I discovered a few years ago. I hate seeing someone pissed off or stressed out over something that they had no control over. Shame on anyone for assigning blame to you! Do your thing. Do it YOUR WAY. I’m here, I’ll be lurking. Waiting for the next story you choose to share.
    And I totally just played that Scarface scene from Half Baked in my head which then prompted me to pull it up on YouTube to show the coworker who asked what I was chuckling about.

    June 5, 2018
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  28. I suppose it’s almost flattering that everyone expects you to swoop in like some kind of Romance super hero. We should get you a cape.

    However it sounds exhausting

    June 5, 2018
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  29. River
    River

    I’ve always been impressed by how much time, effort and skill you put into raising awareness and spreading truth. While the whole time churning out reams of excellent posts on other diverse subjects. Erotica isn’t my cup of tea generally but I’m impressed by the depth and passion with which you write. So I’ll be returning to your blog to see what all the freed up time and headspace will lead too! Something grand I’m sure. I’m sorry that the beat down has been happening and the people that should have supported you haven’t. People who advocate for others often don’t get advocated for; even though they end up needing it since they have a target painted on their back.

    I have no ties to your world otherwise I’d use them to support you. However perhaps just reading, commenting and sharing your work with others is of benefit to you. I hope so.

    I’ll close with “So long and thanks for all the fish”….except… I’ll be back.

    June 5, 2018
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  30. This is why we can’t have nice things… because people are always looking for someone to blame for THEIR OWN FAILINGS. People asking ‘where were you’ know damn well THEY should have been standing up back then, but they looked away and did nothing.

    Assholes.

    Good luck doing whatever you need to do for your own happiness and satisfaction, Jenny. You don’t owe anyone else shit.

    Far away here in Australia, but if you ever by some change make it to Brisbane, I would love to shake your hand and buy you the beverage of your choice. If you ever need someone, I have your back. Best, Cait.

    June 5, 2018
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  31. Carole-Ann
    Carole-Ann

    Bless! I have the utmost respect for you (but that means nothing b/c I can’t be by your side in all this!)

    What you have done is point people (OK, there are the assholes out there who need a kick up their arse) in the right direction to complain & make a fuss!

    Keep doing what you want, whenever you want: the rest of Romancelandia can probably go f**k themselves b/c they aren’t brave enough to stand up for what is right.

    **Hugs** and whatever else is needed 🙂

    June 5, 2018
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  32. Michael Barnette
    Michael Barnette

    You are one amazing lady, Jenny. And, should the situation ever arise, I’d consider it an honor to be in the same anthology with you. Have a well deserved break from all this. You’ve gone way beyond the call, and I, for one, appreciate everything you’ve done.

    June 5, 2018
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  33. Cait H
    Cait H

    The mother fucking nerve of some people. I’m sorry you’re being attacked for not attacking. Some people are so caught up with drama, they think everyone else is or should be too. Good for you for sticking up for yourself and dropping the dumb shit drama. I support you!

    June 5, 2018
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  34. Cyndi
    Cyndi

    So who is this author, am dying to know.

    June 5, 2018
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  35. Janue
    Janue

    Thank you Jenny for all you have done. I wish you well in everything you do. I wish I knew the other authors so I can avoid them. God Bless You for all your hard work.

    June 5, 2018
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  36. As a horror writer, I’ve had little to no exposure to what’s happening in the romance genre. It wasn’t until #cockygate and some of the amazing people I’ve come to meet (yourself included — drunk tarot will forever be a memory) that I understood the issues and pettiness within. I’m not singling out the romance genre, the horror-writing community has its own bullshit, too. I just want to say that I think you’re amazing, and that you… well, you do you. Fuck everyone else. I call you warrior.
    (PS — Your tatts are awesome!)

    June 5, 2018
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  37. “Where were you?”???? What the actual fuck? I’ve been following you ever since you called out Anne Rice for attacking readers and she called you a “gangster bully.”

    You’ve been an amazing advocate for years and if you’re getting this shit as thanks? Fuck em.

    …I just hope you’ll continue with the Jealous Hater Book club recaps because those are entertaining as hell. 😀 But your books come first.

    June 5, 2018
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    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      What happened with Anne Rice? I missed that one.

      June 7, 2018
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  38. I say this as an activist of 25+ years:

    I am SO fucking sick of contemporary call-out culture and (to use Roxane Gay’s term) the Oppression Olympics. No one person is the fucking voice of “all [insert group here],” so no, it’s not your job to call out EVERYONE for ___, on behalf of all ___ people.

    I’ve seen unspeakable damage because of this (which is then conveniently dismissed by the rhetoric about “Oh, yeah, make it all about YOUR feelings” and “White girl tears” and other silencing tactics). I’ve seen activists and allies who have been fighting longer than some of these others have been alive “called out” for whatever an individual thinks should be the most important thing… and there is no room for conversation, dialogue, or even response because we are supposed to empower those who have been silenced.

    So yeah, please call me out some more about not writing enough about gay characters which makes me homophobic… when, in fact, I’ve been marching in rallies longer than you’ve been on this planet, AND because I would rather promote actual GAY WRITERS writing gay romance than write it myself as a straight woman.

    Please, call me out on my white privilege some more, because I’m totally fucking oblivious to it, person who I’ve never interacted with before. Despite the fact that I specialize in Critical Race Theory/systemic oppression academically.

    Oh yes, former friend, call me out for cutting off my abusive, homophobic, racist family members post-election because I “should be” maintaining relationships with them to “teach” them tolerance. Because I’m their goddamned progressive fairy godmother? You know WHY I cut them off? Because they were making racist and homophobic statements about my friends, and said friends said “WTF?!” and I was, you know, protecting the gay/POC friends from my asshole relatives.

    Go on, Gay Activist, call out another friend TO ME for her “straight privilege and homophobia” in using a gay catchphrase in conversation… and be completely oblivious to the fact that, actually, she’s bisexual.

    For some, the perfomativity of the call-out is more important to them than anything else. And that would actually be important and empowering if IT DIDN’T DEMOLISH INNOCENT PEOPLE.

    No, you don’t need to “call out” everyone the same way you would a 65 year old racist white man.

    Assholes.

    Sometimes, believe it or not, the person “calling out” others is just plain wrong.

    (Sorry to ramble. Been pissed about this, but silenced, for over a year.)

    June 6, 2018
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  39. Varis
    Varis

    And how many of those pestering you now would have told you to not rock the boat and Be A Good Girl if you had broken the story then?
    You’re not anyone’s personal army, if the victims choose to be silent it’s their choice.
    I believe that if you hadn’t helped Bianca drag out Hopkins the KU scam wouldn’t have hit the fan with such force.

    June 6, 2018
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    • Varis
      Varis

      Aaaghh, bad choice of words…
      I meant that that’s what the silencing does, it stops people talking, and if no-one talks, no-one can fight for them.

      June 6, 2018
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  40. Leslie
    Leslie

    What you have just described is the very reason why, if I ever do manage to wrangle any sort of readership, I will likely not engage in the author community to any real extent. It’s just like it was in the theatre and choral world. You have this thing that you love and are passionate about, but it gets *ruined* by the people around you within it to where it isn’t even fun anymore unless you’re just doing it for yourself.

    June 6, 2018
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  41. RMH
    RMH

    Two things I believe strongly:

    1. Love is not an emotion; it’s a process, the accumulation of day in and day out labor.

    2. “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” – RuPaul

    All of this to say, put on your own oxygen mask first.

    June 7, 2018
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  42. Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

    I’m so so sorry people are being unreasonable. I don’t then to keep up on twitter or internet drama so I’ve enjoyed your take on events and learned a lot. Especially about what NOT to do. And I’ll miss all the snark.

    But. You take care of you.

    Ps. I can totally imagine you on the pink (red?) dress with the white poka dots flipping off assholes while you make an epic and graceful exit.

    June 7, 2018
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  43. yogacat
    yogacat

    Sorry to be a bother, but… what is page stuffing?

    June 7, 2018
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    • MayaB
      MayaB

      I didn’t know either, so I just googled it. Apparently Amazon pays ebook authors for each page read by the readers. So the authors often put exerts from their other books or even entire books in the original ebook without saying so in the description. So you can buy the ebook XY and have it end at 25% of the ebook file, because the rest is taken by the stuffing. I read only a short article on the topic, so I can’t explain in detail why it’s wrong. If you’re interested, I’d recommend you to just read a couple of articles on the topic, written by people who know much more than me. 🙂

      June 7, 2018
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      • MayaB
        MayaB

        Excerpts, not exerts, of course!

        June 7, 2018
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  44. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth

    Jenny,

    I love your serious stuff, I love your frivolous stuff. I love your seriously frivolous stuff, and your frivolously serious stuff. Please keep writing, please keep snarking. I couldn’t survive my job without you.

    (Also, I learn a lot- like how to just be who I am against all odds.)

    June 10, 2018
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  45. Lilly
    Lilly

    Wow…,the passive aggressive cowards and nasty sociopaths of the romance writing world try to use and abuse anyone they can. Turn on a good person doing good deeds and crap all over them!

    Let the assholes fester in their unmitigated toxicity – don’t try and clean it up for them anymore.

    Slow clapping (and hugs) for you Jenn!

    Help yourself and your career – ignore the idiots and let them sit in their own swill while fake smiling and backstabbing each other!!

    June 11, 2018
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  46. Siena Noble
    Siena Noble

    You do you, Jenny. If people can’t see everything you’ve contributed to the romance community that you’ve gotten almost nothing but shit in return for, then fuck them.

    I just wanted to say, as a new author struggling to break into romance, you’ve been my biggest hero and influence ever since I started reading your 50 Shades recaps. In addition to being a fan of your writing, I really admire the way you stand your ground and often wish I could have the same zero-fucks-given attitude without the fear of it impacting my fledgling romance career. I just hate feeling like I have to walk a fine line to please everyone and gain an audience, like I have to maintain this delicate balancing act between wanting to call out the abuse and harm of FSOG and similar books and wanting people to sell BDSM books of my own that people will love as much as I do.

    So, this is just a roundabout way of saying thank you for everything you do. You’re the author that I turn to whenever I’m lacking in motivation or a particularly bad depressive episode has me doubting that I can make it as an author. And I know that there are so many other people out there who appreciate you and understand why you have to step back.

    June 12, 2018
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  47. Sophie
    Sophie

    I seem to have missed a lot of drama. You know what though? Good for you. You did what you thought was right, even though the screaming, spoiled, self-centered brats were hurling poo at you. And good for you, for realizing that this kind of stuff can suck up your life in a heart beat. Before you know it, you’ll have wasted years of what could have been productive writing time, trying to play referee in a pit full of immature children.

    That’s not to say all writers are children. You just happened to back into one of the rare viper nests. But it’s the 80/20 rule. When 20% of people (who happen to be self-serving idiots) are taking up 80% of your time, it’s time to cut them loose and focus on the 20% of what you’re doing for you, that actually brings about 80% of the results you’re looking for.

    And hey, for what it’s worth, I’d have no problem hanging out with you at a convention or anywhere else. Childish gits who threaten to pull out of anthologies if you’re in them…if I was the publisher, those are the authors I would be dropping. Life is too short to deal with mean girls who never grew up out of being schoolyard bullies.

    August 4, 2018
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