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Don’t Do This. Ever.: Authors Behaving FUCKING ABHORRENTLY

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CW: Suicide (but not an actual suicide)

I don’t really know where the fuck to begin this. I can tell you that there will be many, many swears. And by the end, you will probably be swearing, too. In fact, I think at this point, the sun itself should be shouting “FUUUUUUUUCK!” into the void of space.

Remember when I said it would take something really big to make me do another Authors Behaving Badly post?

Meet Susan Meachen. If you run in indie romance circles, you might recognize that name. Susan was an indie romance author who tragically completed suicide after being the victim of online bullying in the indie book community. The response to her death was an outpouring of grief that included people promoting Susan’s posthumous book release in conjunction with her family to raise funds for the funeral. Authors and readers alike banded together to create an online auction to benefit the To Write Love On Her Arms organization. Susan Meachen was mourned by stunned friends within the community, and donations for expenses poured in.


Today, author Samatha A. Cole broke the news in a Facebook post.:

In September of 2020, Susan Meachen’s daughter (supposedly it was her daughter) signed into her mother’s profile and announced that Susan had taken her own life. Devastation from her friends, fellow authors, and readers followed. Allegedly she’d been bullied in the book world to the point of suicide. What followed was rants from said daughter about how horrid the book world had been to Susan and the family wanted nothing to do with the book world from that point on. However, they wanted to honor their mother’s memory by publishing the last book she wrote, which they did. Friends, authors, and readers shared the release.

We grieved for the loss of the woman we considered a friend. I personally was harassed by another author who loves to create drama, claiming I was one of the authors who bullied Susan and drove her to suicide. I was heartbroken when I realized it’d been a few months since I’d chatted with Susan in PMs and wished I’d reached out sooner and maybe it would’ve made a difference for her to know there were people who supported her.

Last night a post was made in Susan’s old reader group – The Ward – from Susan’s profile. And I quote –

“I debated on how to do this a million times and still not sure if it’s right or not. There’s going to be tons of questions and a lot of people leaving the group I’d guess. But my family did what they thought was best for me and I can’t fault them for it. I almost died again at my own hand and they had to go through all that hell again. Returning to The Ward doesn’t mean much but I am in a good place now and I am hoping to write again. Let the fun begin.”

Apparently, she’s not dead. TN Steele was a profile she made a month after her alleged suicide. What follows are screen shots from the group, her profile, and the chat I just had with a dead person.

For over two years, Susan Meachen pretended to be dead. She rebranded herself as TN Steele and watched as the rest of the community grappled with the aftermath of her “suicide.” She even reconnected with online friends who were mourning her.

From the screenshots Cole provided, which show her confrontation with Meachen, it’s clear that Meachen has absolutely no remorse for her actions. Scratch that: she has absolutely no remorse for actions she will not own or admit to. She blames her daughter for making the post announcing her death and implies that she’s somehow the victim of her family’s good and loving intentions. “I had no control over what my family did,” she told Cole. “I was in the hospital fighting for my life. But I understand what they did.”

Do you, bitch? DO YOU REALLY? Because what “they” did was make a post TWO MOTHERFUCKING YEARS AGO. You weren’t in the hospital the whole time, fucker! You were setting up a new pseudonym and reader group a month after your faked death. It never once occurred to you to correct the misinformation?


I have compassion for people who struggle with suicidal thoughts and who make attempts, absolutely. We are in a shitty little club together. And if it is the truth that Meachen was going through that? I’m sorry that happened to her. But for what reason, what logical reason, would ANYONE ACTUALLY BELIEVE ANY PART OF THIS FUCKING STORY?! Forgive me and hundreds of other indie authors and readers who are doubting every facet of this bullshit, including the very existence of her god damn daughter.

Above and beyond the horrific toll that grief and suicide take on a community, Susan Meachen’s death by bullying attracted members of an online clique famous for their own bullying campaigns. You might remember that one of these “authors,” Dylan Cross (real name David Daniel Moore), ran a Facebook group called “As The Book World Turns,” dedicated to anonymous posts targeting mostly female indie romance authors. Under a thin veneer of “anti-bullying” concerns, Moore seized the opportunity provided by Meachen’s death and went after readers and authors (including Cole), shaming them for their culpability in the bullying that drove Meachen to suicide. One reader, who had been involved in previous clashes with Moore, has stated that she’d never even spoken to Meachen. Still, she was relentlessly harassed by Moore for allegedly causing the suicide Meachen faked.

And even with all of this going on, and Meachen watching and participating in the indie romance community from the sidelines, she never stepped up and said, “This was a misunderstanding.” She wasn’t dead. She knew she wasn’t dead. “TN Steele” and I have mutual friends on Facebook, friends who were mourning Susan’s passing on their timelines months after the fact. Friends who spoke about the harassment people were receiving. There is no reasonable way to deny that Meachen knew these things were happening. AND SHE NEVER SAID A WORD TO STOP IT.

Suicide is contagious. When one member of a community completes suicide, others follow. Imagine you were a reader or author who struggled with suicidal thoughts, and an internet stranger was relentlessly attacking you for allegedly “bullying” another author into suicide. What might you do under that pressure? What might you feel was your best option? What might your suicidal ideation tell you that you deserved?

There is no way that Meachen, a member of the indie romance community, didn’t know that there would be consequences for crying “bully!” in those circles. This was a malicious act. This was explicitly designed to produce these types of results, from the financial and publicity benefits to the persecution of those Meachen perceived as her bullies. And when Cole, someone who cared about Meachen genuinely, was under attack, Meachen did nothing.

This is not a case of a mentally ill person just not knowing how to handle a situation or do what’s right. This was a person who had an evil thought and followed through with evil deeds. And already, people are claiming that Meachen is the true victim in this. She lied about being bullied into suicide. She took money donated for funeral expenses. She didn’t say, hey, don’t send me money for my funeral. I’m not dead. She took the money. She took the increased promotional opportunity for her “posthumous” release. She accepted free services from editors and cover artists who thought they were helping a member of the community in the only way left for them to help her. She launched a new pen name and interacted with people who thought she was dead for two years. But somehow, somehow, people feel that anyone being angry about this or wanting to hold her accountable for her disgusting actions… ARE BULLYING HER. Placing her in a dangerous situation for her mental health

I am sick, from gums to rectum, of people being held accountable for their actions being described as victims of bullying. IT IS NOT BULLYING TO SAY IT’S NOT OKAY TO PRETEND TO HAVE COMPLETED SUICIDE. And so what about Susan’s fucking mental health? So god damn what? What about the mental health of all the people who mourned her, who tortured themselves with thoughts of what they could have done to help her before it was too late? What about the mental health of the people gleefully stalked and harassed by Moore and his goblin band? Fuck them? Protect Susan? No, go fuck YOURSELF if you care more about a liar, a fraud, an outright ghoul than you do the innocent actual victims in this.

I honestly have no idea where to go from here. How are we, as authors and readers, meant to support the indie book community when someone does something like this, and other indie authors and readers insist it’s victimizing the liar to point out her lies?

Meachen went so far as to respond to a PM from an online friend who, in their mourning, reached out to say that they missed Susan. Susan’s “daughter” responded to comfort this person, who then went on to dedicate their next book to their deceased friend.

Susan Meachen is a liar who disregarded the potentially fatal consequences of her selfish actions, then returns to say “let the fun begin.” Now, the book world is out for her blood. People are considering legal action over the money she stole. Here’s your fucking fun: you’re done. This is so big, it absolutely will follow her offline and into her real life. People will remember this forever and she is irredeemably ruined.

In the most extreme Clair Huxtable voice: Susan, are you having BIG FUN?

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  1. WTF times infinity. Disgusted and appalled doesn’t even cover this.

    January 4, 2023
  2. Emerald

    Holy shit. I have no words, except that I’m glad I’m so far in the edge of the indie romance author community that I didn’t have the misfortune of interacting with this woman.

    January 4, 2023
    • Skye B
      Skye B

      What she’s done is an outrage. You expressed how angry the Indie author community and readers feel. It’s like a big slap in the face. Now she wants to act like it was no big deal? “Let the fun begin”?? She needs to pay back the money that was raised. That was pure fraud.

      To stand there and lie to people about a series matter such as a death by your own hands is despicable. There are people out there that needed help. We just lost Stephen Boss to suicide. My heart feels broken and angry.

      January 5, 2023
  3. Hannah

    Jesus…. What a piece of shit.

    January 4, 2023
  4. Raven

    That’s…wow that’s a level of assholery I didn’t know existed.

    January 4, 2023
  5. TerriC

    Wow, just wow. We went through something similar years ago in the horse rescue community. Law enforcement actions should be taken for this kind of fraud because it amounts to theft by deception.

    January 4, 2023
  6. Wowie McZowie, what an awful read. As a fellow shitty club member, I don’t even know what to say.

    January 4, 2023
  7. Bookjunk

    Wow, it’s like she doesn’t realise that the giant plothole in her story – why didn’t she correct the misinformation in those two years? – makes her a giant asshole. You can’t even get away with this kind of bullshit in a kdrama, let alone real life. I sincerely hope she gets sued for all the time and money and effort people donated because she let them believe that she was fucking dead.

    January 5, 2023
  8. This is like next-level indie yarn dyeing drama. Everybody cross dead for ten minutes– err, 2 years off your bingo cards.

    January 5, 2023
  9. Valerie J.
    Valerie J.

    As someone who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, THANK YOU for calling her out on this BS. What she did is just WRONG and she should face consequences – legal AND whatever else is thrown at her. I hope the ones who donated their time, money and anything else to her memorial, the edits, the covers, the people who purchased her books under ALL of her pen names posthumously, and whatever fundraisers the family (or she) set up in her name sues the pants off of her (and her family), and she gets charged with fraud. It would suit her perfectly. Karma doesn’t like people who do this kind of crap.

    She has NO RIGHT to play the victim here. Period. Everyone she fucked over are the real victims.. And now thanks to her, anyone who has mental health issues are going to be looked at as if we’re attention seeking. I hope she gets a TON of flack for this shit and goes away to hide under a rock again – for good this time. What a horrible, horrible person.

    January 5, 2023
  10. Well said. All of it. You called them on everything they needed to be called on. Hopefully, your clarity on the wrongness of everything they did will emanate and more people will see this as it should be seen.

    January 5, 2023
  11. We lost a son with depression to suicide. It IS NOT moral and obviously not empathetic to try to make money from pretending to be suicidal. I’d love to give the perpetrators of this a damn good kicking – and I am not a violent person.

    January 5, 2023
  12. Carrie G.
    Carrie G.

    Disgusting individual. I hope everyone who donated has a receipt to back it up and takes her to court. There has to be some kind of justification for this deplorable behavior.

    January 6, 2023
  13. It’s astounding what has happened here, but there is one thing for sure; this community is strong and full of some warriors who she had to know would not take this lying down. Thank you for being transparent and sharing this. I am still stunned she duped me like she has. I never could have imagined doing this…

    I have some thoughts tonight on our job as authors, and what has recently been uncovered in this community regarding a malicious and dishonest writer who has obtained instant notoriety…
    What that author did is not how we as authors are supposed to have an impact on the world.
    Our job as fellow wordsmiths is to inspire, educate, entertain and encourage.
    That is how we make an impact and influence the world and readers in a positive way.
    Our job is not to create new realities or transcend the pages of fiction to generate trauma for the public.
    That is abusive, toxic, and shameful and all the people who rallied in support of her, and denounced bullying against her did so because they genuinely cared, and wanted to make a positive impact after what they perceived to be a tragedy.
    As a writer, you have a job and responsibility and it is not to bring tragedy and turmoil into the actual lives of your readers and fan base.

    January 9, 2023
  14. Stormy

    “Dear Evan Hansen” wasn’t an instruction manual, Susan!

    January 9, 2023
  15. Me

    WTF is wrong with people?! When did it become ok to not only pretend you’re dead, but also take money from others and have people not be angry at the swindler, but at the ones being swindled?
    I’ve personally never been touched by suicide, but I did spend most of my early teens and early 20s in a depressed state where I did think about suicide, but never in those years of staring at that black hole did I ever think of faking my death. I was ok with not being alive, but not actively seeking to not be, and no, she can’t use “I was sick” as an excuse. There are many people in this vast world that suffer from depression, anxiety and the like and would never think to pretend to be dead to amass sympathy & more importantly, money.

    January 9, 2023
  16. Jilly

    Thank you for writing this! It angers me to see people empathizing with an obvious psychopath. The things that she has done are so outrageously cruel and inhuman that she deserves none of the empathy that she was not willing to give to others. I really hope the money that was raised can be retrieved and that she is also held accountable for the therapy her victims need.

    January 10, 2023
  17. Johanna

    So sorry to hear what happened to you. Have you considered trying out some sort of speech-to-text-software?

    January 12, 2023
    • Johanna

      Not sure what happened here, the comment ended up on the wrong post.

      January 12, 2023

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