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Author: JennyTrout

Jealous Hater Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 3 The Hierophant or, “Nothing Happened.”

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It’s the Handbook For Mortals Twitter Round Up, y’all! YEEEEE-HAW!

Twitter user @TheSubliminator actually went to Lani Sarem and Paul Ian Nicholas Thomas Eric John James or whoever’s author event. Highlights include Sarem declaring “It’s not MY fault Angie is a black writer,” in regards to fraudulently knocking Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give from its #1 spot, and straight up plagiarizing Roald Dahl when she signs the damn book. Check out #23HourBS for details.

Why that hashtag name? Well, because Ms. Sarem and Mr. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt are now advertising this book as a #1 New York Times Bestseller for twenty-three hours. Author L.L. McKinney made a Twitter moment about it.

If all of that wasn’t pathetic and enraging enough for you, definitely check out this thread by Jeremy West, in which he calls out another laughably bad attempt by Sarem and the Rookie Of The Year to make the book appear successful. Yes, they are absolutely still trying to claim that this book is a pop culture phenomenon.

If you need something to get the god awful taste of all of this out of your mouth, Snarksquad member and BookTuber @MyNameIsMarines is reading the book on the hashtag #SnarkForMortals. I highly encourage you to check her out.

Meanwhile, I apologize that this recap was delayed. Computer troubles. Namely, me absentmindedly drenching my keyboard with Windex while I tried to clean my desk. Thank you big time to everyone who donated via Kofi in the wake of this senseless tragedy.

State Of The Trout: Wanna see something creepy?

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Hey guys! This is a short update. If you follow me on Twitter, you have heard of my shitty weekend. Two cars, a refrigerator, my laptop and the only keyboard in the house compatible with my iMac broke. the fuck. down. Seriously. Then last night, our Kindle Fire remote stopped working and poor Mr.Jen was like, “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US?!” But he’s been pretty dramatic recently, anyway.

The point is, the reason I haven’t had a Handbook For Mortals post this week so far is that I was having to use text-to-speech to write it, which makes everything take roughly twelve times longer than just typing. Trying to finagle rides for kids to appointments and activities without a car was equally time-consuming. Now, the reason I’m telling you all of this is that I’ve been very open with my mental health issues and I don’t want anyone to think I’m sliding back down to the low point I was at earlier in the year. I’m fine, just everything I own is broken.

That said, tomorrow there’ll be a Handbook For Mortals recap instead of the advice column, and then next week hopefully everything will be calmed down and returned to normal. In the meantime, I expressed myself through the medium of video. Please watch me talk about my creepy Anthony Head memorabilia collection:


Apologies in advance for the lack of captions. When I have a working keyboard, I will absolutely add some.

Anyway, I should have a new keyboard today, USPS willing. Cross your parts for me.

Jealous Hater Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 2 The Hermit or “Cifnaf annataz””

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So, in Handbook For Mortals news, brace yourselves, because there is a lot. If you need a break, I encourage you to visit author Claribel Ortega’s Tumblr, where she’s writing an excellent Handbook For Mortals fanfic.

So, remember when Lani Sarem insisted that no one gamed the system, that her books weren’t bulk-ordered, that she played by the rules and was viciously robbed of her legitimate success by jealous haters? She hasn’t exactly changed her tune, but she’s definitely singing her sad song of lies in a different key. In an op-ed for, she writes:

If I had purchased the books directly from my distributor, Itasca Books, they would not count as sales for purposes of the New York Times list. If they were purchased from booksellers — brick and mortar or online — they would count. While I didn’t limit my purchases to only those booksellers involved in the Times list, I did purchase books in bulk from booksellers to resell them later at events.

But it’s not a scam, she argues. It’s publishing’s antiquated model that constrains artists that’s at fault for her con game:

What I have chosen to do is to build a community of interrelated fans at these 3D, real-time events. This is part of what I believe is an innovative strategy — one that is aimed at building an entire new franchise in the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones mold, yet without having to give up creative control and a huge cut of the revenue to some synergistic studio giant a la Disney or Fox.

What Sarem is describing here is indie publishing and indie film. It isn’t new or innovative to bring your book to a convention. Self-pub authors do it all the time. And it isn’t new or innovative to make a movie without a studio.

Sarem concludes by saying that she hopes the New York Times will return her book to its rightful #1 slot on their list, albeit with their bulk-sales indicator. But perhaps the most delusional part of her piece is that despite the laughably bad writing, lack of any major star attached to the project, and the total bungling of her brilliant con, Sarem still appears to believe that she’ll be starring in a major film franchise:

That is why we published the book with the film rights already in place, set to produce the first of up to five “Handbook for Mortals” films that will star, in the lead role, yours truly, alongside my producer and co-star, Thomas Ian Nicholas. If all goes well.

However, one amazing thing has come to light in the wake of allegations that Sarem wrote the infamous troll fic My Immortal. It has brought the actual author of My Immortal out of the shadows, and she has a memoir in the works. Because the story is too fascinating to be believed, I won’t say too much here, except that rarely has an internet mystery had such a satisfying and heart-wrenching conclusion.

As Sarem continues to name-drop her connection to various celebrities, especially her former ties to the band Blues Traveler (who fired her), let’s all sing a beautiful ode in her honor, to the tune of the band’s hit, “The Hook”:
It doesn’t matter what you sell
So long as you sell at conventions
It’s such a freakin’ unique way
To make the headlines through deception

And it’s not fair that you lost face
To all those nasty trolls and haters’ campaign
The New York Times should apologize
You’ll take that asterisk and tout it without shame
‘Cause the book brings you fame
From a spot you had to buy
The book brings you fame
You got caught because you lied

The YA world is gonna miss
The stellar prose you tried to bring them
Who wouldn’t want to read another teen witch
Who’s old enough to rent a car

You could have just written a screenplay
And shopped it around to your famous friends
When your biggest names are ’90s stars
Maybe a scam was the way to go

‘Cause the film won’t get made
With the guy from American Pie
The film won’t get made
Here’s a camera you can buy

Con and win, con and win, con and win
That’s the position that you are in
If they find out all the ways you sinned
There’s always blame to pin on the community
At least you get publicity
“A lot of folks are jealous of me”
You’ll just project your problems on the trolls
Go ahead and take somebody’s art all for yourself
Stage pictures of your books up on some shelves
You tried
Now change your name and hide
From the critics who deride and all the deceptions that you tried. Your career is fried,
it died, you killed it with your lies
And all the claims that we won’t buy
about the bullies at the New York Times
You said fuck all the rules
they don’t apply to Lani
That shit might fly in music
It’s much harder to sleaze your way into YA
You’re pissed that none of us wanna kiss your ass,
we pass
And we don’t want to read you
Act innocent and victimized
To try to make a buck
With names to drop, like Mall Cop
You’re delusional please stop because we’re

Not buying your crap
It’s embarrassing to watch
You fail
Please don’t bother to try

My apologies to John Popper for mangling his rhyme scheme.

Now, on to the recap!

The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S04E01 “The Freshman”

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In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will probably die of sleep deprivation during this first week of school. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.
  14. Mental illness is stigmatized.
  15. Only Willow can use a computer.
  16. Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
  17. Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
  18. Oz is the Anti-Xander
  19. Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
  20. Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
  21. The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
  22. Smoking is evil.
  23. Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
  24. How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
  25. Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
  26. Sunnydale residents are no longer shocked by supernatural attacks.
  27. Casual rape dismissal/victim blaming a-go-go
  28. Snyder believes Buffy is a demon or other evil entity.
  29. The Scoobies kind of help turn Jonathan into a bad guy.
  30. This show caters to the straight/bi female gaze like whoa.
  31. Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.
  32. Faith is hyper-sexualized needlessly.
  33. Slut shame!
  34. The Watchers have no fucking clue what they’re doing.
  35. Vampire bites, even very brief ones, are 99.8% fatal.
  36. Economic inequality is humorized and oversimplified.
  37. Buffy is an abusive romantic partner.
  38. Riley is the worst.
  39. Joss Whedon has a problem with fat people.

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.  Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.

WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.

SPONSORED: Tee-Of-The-Week

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Astute readers will notice that I have an ad–GASP!–in the sidebar of my blog. Now, prepare yourself for a weekly advertising post.

For my inaugural Tee-Of-The-Week (which is chosen by me, I’m not told which products to feature), I choose this incredible beast:

A cartoon drawing of a sloth with a horn atop its head, framed by a rainbow. The text reads SLOTHICORN. Majestic, but very lazy.
If you would like to wear this visual representation of my soul, you may purchase it here5% of the purchase price is donated to charity, and you get to tell them where to send it!

Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook for Mortals Chapter 1 “The Magician” or “That’s not how any of this works.”

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Before we get to the recap proper, I want to warn some readers about potentially sensitive content. That is, I want to warn you that if you’ve ever worked in the theater in any capacity, you will be fully outraged through this entire chapter, to the point that you might want to throw your phone or laptop or tablet or however else you’re reading this. So, read this only a soft surface to prevent damage to your device, and try not to fling it too hard.

In other news, Kayleigh Donaldson’s piece at Pajiba has been updated to include a response from Gill de Mace’s agent about the cover art controversy, as well as what might be the most bizarre aspect of this entire drama: the author of the infamous My Immortal has spoken. You can read her full statement at Pajiba, but this is the highlight:

Because I’ve received several messages asking this, and predict I may receive more, I’ll answer it here. No, I am not Lani Sarem. Really bad fiction simply tends to read the same.

Imagine if the writer of My Immortal, the most notoriously horrible fanfic of all time, called your work “bad fiction”? How could you ever possibly recover from that? You’d have to change your identity and start fresh with a new life. I mean, really, imagine that the author of My Immortal wanted to distance herself from your work.

A scene from Bob's Burgers, in which Tina says, "If you need me, I'll be down here on the floor, dying."

Another rumor I’ve seen going around is that Handbook For Mortals: Book 1 Of The Series sold 7,000 ebook copies in the week following the controversy. I’m calling bullshit until someone can offer definitive proof. The only platform the book seems to be available on is Amazon, and even there it hasn’t broken the top 1,000 sales rank. During that week, when I was keeping occasional tabs on it, I never saw it rise above 10,000 in overall Kindle sales. In short: this claim of astronomical e-book sales is just as believable as the book’s claim to the #1 New York Times spot.

And in catty gossip news, an industry acquaintance on Facebook staunchly defended Lani Sarem, to which I responded in my usual Trout way, and Lani Sarem responded. I do not have screenshots, as I care so little about what a con-artist has to say that I didn’t bother reading the replies and muted the thread altogether. That’s not important news, but I know for a fact some of you will like hearing that story.

So, let’s get to the dirty business.