Crazy Screechy Monkeys 1, Best-Selling Author 0

Best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton borrows Anne Rice’s crazy hat and unloads, at length, on some detractors on a message board.

Now, why you, as an author, shouldn’t follow Ms. Hamilton’s example:

It makes you look like an asstard.

Here’s the thing. Some people won’t like your books. If these people also have access to the Internet, the chances are good that they might tell other people how they don’t like your books. Sometimes, they’ll tell people they don’t like your books, even if they haven’t read your books, because some people are crazy screechy monkeys.

Now, when you encounter a crazy screechy monkey, there are many things you should not do, and one of the things not to do is go up to it and jab it repeatedly with a stick. Because all that does is enrage the crazy screechy monkey, who will then hoot and hop and call to all his crazy screechy monkey friends. Then suddenly you’ve got a whole colony of crazy screechy monkeys hooting and flinging their poo at you, and all you have is a stick. You can’t poke them all. They move too quickly, and eventually their poo gets into your eyes. If you try, everyone watching you is going to say “look, that person is trying to fight an entire colony of crazy screechy poo-flinging monkeys with a stick. What an asstard.” Then they’ll laugh and point at you.

Eventually you’ll have to retreat; declare moral victory if you like, but the fact is, the colony of monkeys is still screeching crazily at you, people are pointing and laughing at your asstardery, and you’re covered in monkey shit.

Leave the crazy screechy monkeys alone.

It’s too late for Laurell K. Hamilton. It’s not too late for you.

Thank you for your attention.

129 thoughts on “Crazy Screechy Monkeys 1, Best-Selling Author 0

  1. Yeah, but what happens when the crazy screechy monkey gets mad when you won’t let him use your blog as a forum for intellectual dung-flinging?

  2. It’s a big IntarWeeb. He can fling his poo elsewhere. LKH is perfectly within her rights to say who can post on her forums and who cannot (presuming the foums in question are under her control). But even if they do show up on your blog/forum/whatever, the best thing to do is ignore them, or simply say “It’s too bad you don’t like the work, thanks for sharing,” and leave it at that.

    Speaking personally, if someone doesn’t like my work and wanted to post on my site about it, I’d say fine, whatever, as long as he/she was reasonably polite about it. If they became abusive, etc., then out they would go. But inasmuch as anyone who becomes abusive and obnoxious is at risk for losing posting privileges, this should not be surprising. I don’t suspect I would spend much time interacting with them, however. You can tell early on who is a crazy screechy monkey and who is not.

    Anyway, this site is visited by lots of people who do like my work and I’m sure would be happy to engage the person who didn’t like it; if good discussion came out of it, so much the better.

  3. I agree, John. Graciousness is the best defense against the crazy screechy monkey.

    I’ve never understood some people’s need to trash other people’s work in public. As you say, negative reviews, done respectfully, can generate some really good discussion.

    I would imagine that you, as a writer, have learned a few things from these discussions. Great writers take inpiration from many different sources.

    Besides, it just infuriates crazy screechy monkeys when you don’t give them anything to fling poo at.

  4. That website hurts my eyes. Not flinging any poo, here. Just saying that I was unable to read much beyond the first paragraph. Cripes, someone teach the author of that screed to use more paragraph breaks and style text so it can be deciphered by human eyes.

    Yes, I’m too lazy to tweak the styles at my end, but the screed better be /good/, or that ain’t happening.

    I agree it is futile to get into pissing matches with Random J. Surfer who has decided to not like some aspect of your existence. We’ve collected a few net.kooks ourselves over on our corner of the intertubes.

    One /can/ learn to slyly poke them with sticks to get a reaction for, you know, sick fun. This is why crazy poo-flinging monkeys exist: so you can jab them when they are sleeping and taunt them mercilessly. Remember they can’t hurt you because they are behind bars! Just stand well away from the cage once you’ve stirred up their impotent rage.

  5. Clvrmnky:

    “One /can/ learn to slyly poke them with sticks to get a reaction for, you know, sick fun.”

    Oh, yes, well. That’s different. If you’re poking at the monkeys because you want to watch them get enraged, all best are off. Lord knows I’ve done that from time to time. But poking at them to teach them a lesson is futile.

  6. I read about halfway through. (Yes, LKH, wanting to buy presents for your imaginary friends does make you sound crazy.) I don’t think she’s understood the power of the online community.

    I used to read Robert Jordan. When I had read the books three or four times during the anatomy course (I had nightmares, I read The Wheel of Time until I dreamt about that instead), and needed MORE!, I went online, and found a dedicated community over at rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan. Discussing even a mastodont fantasy series won’t last forever, though, so I started reading the off topic posts. As I grew to like the posters and moved on to other courses that didn’t involve dissection of people, those off topic posts came to be even more interesting than what I sought the group for.

    This community had meetings, where people obviously had fun, so I started looking for the local ones. Long story short, I met my future husband there, and we’re only one of five married couples who have met on that Usenet group. I’ve also met some of my best friends there, and travelled to England once, to Holland once and across the Atlantic three times to meet them.

    I haven’t read another of Jordan’s books since I found the group. I’ve gotten so many recommendations for better books, and his later ones have been so bad, I really don’t see any reason to. I’m still (occasionally) posting to the group, griping about the decline in quality, calling Jordan That Hack Author, as do most other posters who also got bored somewhere along the road. Every once in a while, a newbie comes along, and asks why we’re still there, if Jordan sucks so bad. It’s generally a sign of someone who won’t stay for long.

  7. Being a reader of LKH blog, and one time rabid fan, she makes some valid points (of course her detractors are correct IMO).

    Granted, you cannot win with this kind of post, but everyone has a breaking point. She must have reached hers’.

  8. Great Fancy Moses, indeed!

    You know, if I were her, I’d thank the people who were reading her, hated the books, and kept buying them anyway. I mean, I’d be right chuffed if someone felt that way. I’d say to them, “Thanks so much! Keep buying and reading and I’ll keep writing and selling!”

    Yeah, the author comes off as just crazy here. All the poo that’s fit to fling.

  9. Unfortunately, after “Mistrals Kiss” “Micah” and “Dance Macabre”, the woman rather deserves most of the poo flinging.

    Honestly, what author of anything other than a harlequin romance novel, would attempt to put out two 220 page large type hardcovers in one year, claim them as real novels; charging $20 each for them; and still have any self respect.

    Besides turning her characters into mindless penis receptacles; her narratives have compressed themselves into a matter of a few hours, or at most a few days per novel; during which time the protagonists have sex an average of three times (per encounter) ever five pages; with at most five pages between sex scenes.

    I read “Mistrals Kiss” a few days ago, and it is one of the worst things I’ve ever read. The entirety of the “novel” (which in reality isn’t even a short story; having perhaps five pages of material that isn’t sex scenes) takes place when the protagonist is walking from one room to another room a few minutes away; during which time she stops to have sex I beleive five times with eight different men.. or it might have been four times with six, I honestly can’t remember right now. The total time covered by the book is less than two hours. Two hours, a few hundred yards, a half dozen sex acts, 220 pages, $20.

    Honestly, how can she claim anything other than hackstatus at this point?

    Of course doing this has made her rich; whereas writing good, fully fleshed, interesting characters, with satisfying and engaging story arcs, only made her moderately well off.

    Sorry for going off point here; but combine this with her increasingly shrill tantrums against those who are calling her out for doing this…

    The woman needs to accept the fact that she’s become the Don Pendleton of the modern fantasy/fantasy romance genre; and just be happy at the big fat checks she’s cashing…

    Or maybe, just maybe, try and recapture a shred of her dignity, self respect, and class; and start writing the quality material she was doing 10 books ago.

  10. In agreement with Chris above.

    I read LKH’s rant, right before I deleted her blog from my “favorites” roster. I’m sure she feels justified in what she wrote. However, it seems to me she’s turning into the literary equivalent of Dubya–she’s surrounded by “yes-people” who prop up her ego and won’t tell her her latest books are crap. (And no, I didn’t buy the last Anita book–I checked it out from the library. I did finish it, after a while, but mostly in the same dumbfounded, wide-eyed disbelief accorded to train wrecks. I cannot fathom the drop-off in quality, and it’s incredible to me that Laurell’s editor won’t call her on it.)

    If she was all that confident about the direction she’s taking her characters, she wouldn’t feel the need to chastise “negative readers” about it. She would simply carry on without comment. Boasting about her sales to prove a frak-you point is childish, to say the least.

    I’ve always taken the time to listen to criticism. Whether I do anything about it is another matter, but most of the time I find at least some of it is right. When more than 600 comments (at least the last time I looked) about LKH’s latest Anita Blake novel pile up on Amazon, the vast majority of them highly negative and most detailing the reasons the book is so awful…

    …well, most intelligent people would concede said commenters have a point.

  11. Bonnie: I cannot fathom the drop-off in quality, and it’s incredible to me that Laurell’s editor won’t call her on it.

    I suspect her editor is having a hard time seeing the drop off due to the mountains of money people are paying to read it. When the money dries up, the editor will notice.

  12. Remember they can’t hurt you because they are behind bars!

    There are no bars on the internet.

    That said, this clearly calls for the invention of a poo catapult.

  13. Yeah, that’s true. Money does make the world go round.

    Oh, well. I’ll read something else (Holly Lisle and S.L. Viehl, for instance) and be happy.

  14. Oh boy, someone call the blog police. They might have to lock her up away from a keyboard for a while. Anne Rice is gonna want that hat back, but I’d say Ms. Hamilton has a two-handed death grip on the thing right now. I found myself being embarrassed for her.

  15. You know, if I were her, I’d thank the people who were reading her, hated the books, and kept buying them anyway. I mean, I’d be right chuffed if someone felt that way. I’d say to them, “Thanks so much! Keep buying and reading and I’ll keep writing and selling!”

    Yes, exactly. Speaking as a former LKH fan who has long since come to terms with the inevitable crapfest her books became, that phenomenon always astonished and amused me. There seems to be hundreds and thousands of “former” fans who exhibit a great desire to burn Hamilton in a pile of her Anita Blake books (post-Obsidian Butterfly) and in the same sentence confess that they pre-ordered her next hardcover.

    I don’t get it but its hella funny. One hopes she gleans some amusement from it as well. She should dedicate her next book to that particular group.

  16. Hey Bonnie,
    I’m always looking for writers that I haven’t read before. I discovered Lynn Viehl a while ago and really like her work.

    In your opinion, what’s a good Holly Lisle to start with?

  17. Lisa:

    Try “Talyn.” It just came out in paperback, so you’ll probably have to run to find it before it disappears. Holly creates complex worlds, histories, mythologies and characters, and she doesn’t talk down to her audience.

    But more than that, she writes a helluva good story.

  18. Oh lord. Hamilton’s screed is worse than I’d imagined. For instance:

    …someone stood in line for hours at a signing, smiled at me, and had me sign the book, then said to my face, “I hated this book. I hate what you’ve done with the series.” I blinked at them, and said something like, “Sorry to hear that.” When I ask, “Why do you read the books then?” Answer, “I keep hoping they’ll get good again.” … I don’t get it guys. I’m not going to get it. I finally realized that I’m not going to understand this noisy, unpleasant minority of my fans. Because you are fans. Only fans would spend this much time and energy on anything. … And if you don’t think you are the minority, well, sorry, guys but you are. I have the sales figures to prove it. Each book’s sales are more than the last.

    If fans really loved the earlier books in a series, they’ll often stick with it for exactly the reasons she quotes. It’s an act of faith. But when their patience finally snaps, not only is it going to be damned hard to get them back — your starting position is not neutral — but they may stop reading all books by that author, whether they’re part of the series or not. Sometimes they’ll stop reading all books of that sort, no matter who wrote them.Laurel Hamilton is dissing the fans who’ve stuck with her Anita Blake series. The specific people she’s singling out were willing to buy her books, stand in line for two hours to get them signed, and publicly identify themselves as her fans, even though the later series hasn’t been paying off for them. I don’t think “affronted incomprehension” is her ideal response to this situation.Worse, she’s telling people they’re wrong when they say they haven’t enjoyed the later books. That’s always an error. You can’t argue with someone’s experience of a book. If they enjoyed it, they enjoyed it. If they didn’t, they didn’t.And to cap it all off, how does she prove she’s right about the series, and they’re wrong? Because her sales figures keep going up. Way to go, lady. Get right out there and tell your fans that the reason you don’t have to listen to them is that they keep buying your books. They’ll have that paradox sorted out for you in nothing flat.

  19. Chris said: Honestly, what author of anything other than a harlequin romance novel, would attempt to put out two 220 page large type hardcovers in one year, claim them as real novels; charging $20 each for them; and still have any self respect.

    I object to that statement. First of all, I’ve read (quite a few) Harlequin novels that are head and shoulders above Laurell K. Hamilton’s recent work. I have also read authors who regularly put out two to three (or more) books a year whose work does not suck.

    The problem isn’t that she’s writing so much. The problem is that she’s decided she would rather write crap (except she doesn’t view it as such, and of course, everyone who doesn’t like it just “doesn’t understand.” *rolls eyes*)

  20. LKH and/or her minions don’t handle respectful negative commentary very well either.

    Nonetheless, I’m very glad that I didn’t get a copy of the latest book to review, having to review the last three of the four books she had come out in 2006 was more than enough for me because of the, ah, delicacy required when dealing with her work.

  21. Teresa Nielsen Hayden said: If fans really loved the earlier books in a series, they’ll often stick with it for exactly the reasons she quotes.

    Yup. I know a lot of people who keep buying her books because they hope she’ll come to her senses and go back to the way they used to be. Problem is, she has no intention of doing so; she likes the direction she’s taking her series.

    I think more of her readers need to read her blog……

  22. *blinkblink* I gave an unfavorable opinion of a book I read on my Livejournal once. The author found me and told me “I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but thanks for giving it a try anyways.” I thought that was classy and gracious, especially considering I was expecting some defensiveness. But LKH hits it out of the fucking park. I was thinking of picking up some of the earlier Anita Blake stuff, but not after something like this.

  23. *sighs*

    There have been several blog posts LKH has made over the past year that have made me doubt her judgement. For instance, when she said she’d “promised” Anita she would never kill a character that she loved, and that’s why she thought Anita was behaving the way she did.

    She’s shown a decidedly unhealthy attachment to her characters. But then, I’ve seen this happen a lot with writers who base characters on real people–which is why I say it’s a stupid thing to do.

    But wanting to buy Christmas presents for them!?

    I’m sorry, but the woman is in need of a therapist. Badly.

  24. Alice said: I was thinking of picking up some of the earlier Anita Blake stuff, but not after something like this.

    The books up through Obsidian Butterfly are worth reading; after that point, they suck ass like a cheap whore who can’t figure out which end to blow.

    They’re worth reading. But find ‘em at a used bookstore. :)

  25. I don’t think “affronted incomprehension” is her ideal response to this situation.

    True, but I do have to wonder about a fan who would stand in line for two hours to say “I hate this book, please sign it.” Did the fan really think Hamilton would say “OMFG! I’m so sorry! Please tell me exactly why it sucked and I will make it up to you!” I mean, going back to John’s original point, what Hamilton misreacted to was in fact poo-flinging screechy monkeys.

    (My own opinion of Ms. Hamilton is that I am annoyed she spells her first name with three Ls, because when the editorial world finally pulls recognizes my stunning creative genius to reward me with lucrative multibook contracts, I am going to spend untold hours of my life saying “No, no, it ends with one ‘l’, I’m not that author.”)

  26. She’s one of the authors I use as an example for, well, author-breaking. If you write a series, and then write a bad book, you don’t want to break the series– you don’t want it to be the kind of bad that makes the rest of the books unreadable, whether it affects later books or all of them. If you can’t manage that, you at least don’t want to break the author. There are some writers I don’t read because they tied all their flaws up in a nice little book and demonstrated them so perfectly that I can’t see past them now.

    One thing I thought was interesting in the post was that she seemed to think many people don’t like her books because they’re outside their comfort zones. I wonder how she would respond to someone saying that all that sex is boring? Gratuitous sex scenes were pretty boring when I was ten, and they’re still boring today.

  27. One thing I thought was interesting in the post was that she seemed to think many people don’t like her books because they’re outside their comfort zones. I wonder how she would respond to someone saying that all that sex is boring? Gratuitous sex scenes were pretty boring when I was ten, and they’re still boring today.

    That was the part I found really funny. I’d never even heard of her ’til today, but I gotta say that when an artist responds to criticism by saying that his or her work is too smart for critics to understand (“There are books that don’t make you think that hard. Books that don’t push you past that comfortable envelope of the mundane.”) I usually take it as a sign the artist is a self-righteous idiot. Smart and/or edgy writers (or musicians, or directors, etc.) usually don’t have to defend their work by telling you how smart and/or edgy they are. They just go ahead and do their thing and wait for people to catch up with them.

    Like any generalization, I’m sure there’s someone out there who’s smart and a whiner. It’s still a turnoff.

  28. Mythago, what we have is the author’s description of what the fan said. Having heard more than one author describe a glowing review that had one short paragraph of cavils in it as “They hated my book,” I take Hamilton’s version with a grain of salt. Buying the books and waiting two hours in line to get them signed carries rather more weight with me.

    But suppose it all went down exactly the way Hamilton describes it. If so, either that was a very odd reader, or Laurell K. Hamilton has an unusually large number of fans who hate her books but are willing to buy copies of them and stand in line for two hours to get them signed. If the latter, she has a problem. If the former, why is this person being used to illustrate a more general case?

    Diatryma, I have the same reaction to most writers’ sex scenes. I suppose it’s easier for Hamilton to imagine we can’t deal with her terribly challenging content (*yawn*).

  29. Aw, man… It just doesn’t ever work to say “You don’t like my stuff because it’s too challenging for you and you don’t understand it.” If you’re going to go after someone, don’t hand them the tools of your own destruction… She’s playing a game, and suggesting “makes you think” and “pushes you out of your comfort zone” as her players, while telling the opposition they suck. She’s invited us into her base: the temptation to kill her manz becomes nearly irresistable.

    …And I can’t resist. “There’s a gorgeous woman who manages to win all the time and has an amazing destiny, and I’ve set up the plot so that everyone needs and wants to sex her up all the time.” What’s so hard to understand?

    As ever, Penny Arcade said it best: I bet you’d love to criticize that, wouldn’t you, you Critics! But you can’t. It’s not for you.

    As for buying presents for your characters, I don’t see it as any odder than buying a bottle of liquor to pour on a grave.

  30. If you miss the unique characters, fascinating universe and intelligent humor of LKH’s pre-”hey, I got laid and it was fun after all, so I’m going to write it into my books now in extreme excess” days, try Kim Harrison’s series – “Dead Witch Walking”, “The Good the Bad and the Undead”, “Every Which Way but Dead” and “A Fistful of Charms.”

  31. If the former, why is this person being used to illustrate a more general case?

    Not a clue. As I said, I wasn’t using the anecdote to suggest that Hamilton was correct, just wondering why fans do this. (And while you may be quite right that Hamilton is not reporting accurately, we’ve all run into people who think a book they don’t like is a personal affront.)

  32. Julie, you beat me to it. I also like Kelly Armstrongs “otherworld” series, and Carrie Vaughns “Kittie” series.

    Honestly, much of the best modern fantasy is comgin from the romance side of things. I see no reason to deprive myself of very well written characters and stories just because they’re appealing to the romance genre to make some money.

    I don’t care for Charlaine Harris (the dominant presence in the market), but there a huge crop of really good modern fantasy writers working that space; largely thanks to Harris and Hamilton.

    Now if we could jsut convince Misty that continuing Diana Tregarde for real would be a great plan.

  33. I’m with a few of the posters here: I loved the Anita Blake books up to Obisidian Butterfly, and think it’s the best thing she’s ever written.

    I eagerly got the next one to see how the fascinating character evolutions in that one continued – and it was like a different person was writing the books. I barely got through that one, and never bought the next: just leafed through it at the bookstore enough to realize the podperson who’d replaced Hamilton had totally taken charge, and to decide I wouldn’t buy any more of her books.

    (As for the Wars Among the Faeries, I only made it through two of those.)

    I’ve just deleted a long para on what I think went wrong and why; this isn’t a Blake/Hamilton site, after all. And I really have nothing but speculation, anyway. Suffice it to say that OB is a breakpoint: the characters and the moral universe in the books after that one are completely different, and not only uninteresting, but amount to a repudiation of the characters and moral universe of the earlier books.

    As for her lj screed – I actually didn’t see it as borderline-madness. Just strangely teengirlish: defensive yet triumphal. Or vice versa.

  34. Wow, I could only get through part of that, light text on a dark background read on a LCD screen… ow, ow, Ow, OW!

    Let the monkeys screech (although I think the one example about the fan in line for two hours was more of a “gee, I really wish you’d write ‘em like you did before” comment than an “I hate you.”). Evenutally they get tired and go away (and take their money with them).

    I seem to remember Scalzi handling some attempted screeching monkeys back before the election (although I think most of those just wanted you to stop making sensible arguments against their “side.”).

  35. My thanks to the commentors who have recommended other authors and series – I’ll be taking that list to the library later this week. Thanks as well to those who quoted bits from the LKH blog and forum – I was tempted to look, but I’m one of those who cautiously flipped through a few pages of one of the later hardcovers and put it back on the bookstore shelf, deciding that I am indeed done with reading anything LKH has written lately. The brief excerpts here assure me that not reading anything from her hand is still the best personal policy for me.

  36. Steve Bucheit:

    “I seem to remember Scalzi handling some attempted screeching monkeys back before the election (although I think most of those just wanted you to stop making sensible arguments against their ‘side.’).”

    I wouldn’t characterize that as screechy monkeyness, though, especially of the sort I’m discussing here.

  37. I can’t wait for Ms. Hamilton’s arrival HERE, inviting more poo tossing. (I don’t remember the name of that internet rule, but, man, it’s a law. We’re talking about her and SHE MUST SHOW UP TO DEFEND HERSELF!)

    BTW, I’ve never read any of her books, so I’ve got no opinion, but the things SHE HERSELF said aren’t going to get me to go out and buy them. I’m sure I’m too stupid to appreciate her eloquence.

  38. I don’t know, but I’m sure after writing “Xenogenesis”, it’s plain on which side of the Great Poo-Flinging Screechy Monkey Debate he’d be.

  39. Nonny: Thanks for your response to Chris dissing Harlequins and writers who write fast! I was just about to do the same. I can name heaps of writers who write fast and good. I can also name heaps who write slow and awful.

    Besides sometimes what looks like fast writing is someone who wrote a lot of novels that weren’t published and then were all published at once.

  40. I have the sales figures to prove it.

    And there you have it: the ultimate contempt for your readers. “Shut up, you keep buying it, don’t you?”

    This was one of the funniest things I’ve read so far this year. Actually, it was really funny, I just wanted to say that.

  41. I got one useful thing from LKH’s screed: the term “negative fan”. There are people who follow someone’s work just to be able to complain about it, and at first that does seem odd. But in LKH’s case there’s another type of fan that’s significant, the “dismayed fan”.
    You clearly see both types in, for example, Television Without Pity. There are negative fans who obsessively follow a series as if it’s a train wreck, “it’s so bad it’s good”. The joy is in the snarking. But there are also the dismayed (betrayed?) fans who feel the series has gone off its tracks; they keep checking back, hoping for it to right itself.
    There’s that Woody Allen movie where the aliens land and, instead of giving him a profound insight, they say they really liked his “earlier, funny, movies”. I’m sure it’s annoying for LKH when people say they preferred the earlier Anita books. Certainly it’s her world, she can take the series where she feels she must. But it does cause some fans to drift off to other authors.

  42. Justine, I have no problem with fast writers; if you can produce quality output quickly, I’m all for it.

    The problem I have is she tried to pull the same stunt twice in one year. The books she put out werent even long enough for mass amrket paperback; what was there was mostly filler, and she padded it out with lots of two page chapeters and a large typeface to make 220 pages, and sold it in hardcover as a real novel.

    Then she did it twice in one year; which to my mind is disgraceful. Ok, maybe you can get away with a throwaway novella once, but twice in one year?

    Oh and I should note, I don’t have a problem with folks who write serials either; a good friend of mine writes for the Mack Bolan series. The problem I have is that she’s writing at serial level, or really in fact below pulp level.. not even up to the quality of what used to be dime novellas; but she’s passing it of as if it were some great accomplishment, and then padding it out to get hardcover revenue.

    If she’d acknowledge the fact that she’s become a hack just grinding out the mininum effort for the paycheck, I’d have no problem with it, it’s pretending to be anything else that irritates me.

  43. I knew there was something about you I liked, Scalzi. Well thought and well written—I read it aloud to the other two Levy Haskells who laughed and laughed.

  44. I’m sure it’s annoying for LKH when people say they preferred the earlier Anita books.

    I hear Asimov was dismayed when, for the rest of his life, fans kept telling him that Nightfall was his best story.

    Best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton borrows Anne Rice’s crazy hat[...]

    What’s the common thread here? Right. Vampires. Obviously, it’s dangerous to one’s sanity to write about the undead. Nietzsche, abyss, blah, blah, blah.

  45. Count me as another disappointed reader who keeps hoping she’ll get good again. I wouldn’t mind all the sex if she was still bothering to write some plot. And I’m extremely open minded about sex but the endless sex in her later books doesn’t take me out of my comfort zone it just bores me because Nothing Else Happens.

  46. I went into a bookstore once and started opening LKH books at random. I found I couldn’t do this without hitting the word “panties” at least four times out of six.

    Occasionally, someone will tell me that this is a fluke. I take them at their word and try the exercise again, only to discover that I should probably just expand the list to “thong,” “muscles,” and iterations of “[character] is/was so [sexually attractive] that [resistance was futile] and [orifice] was [penetrated].”

    More rarely, I also get “[character] is also [tormented]” or “My clothes are hot.”

    I briefly considered establishing a system of divination, but it would only work for hot date nights.

    I understand wanting to read something broken in order to take it apart and sort out the issues. It’s just nice to get some variety in one’s batshit.

  47. Obviously, it’s dangerous to one’s sanity to write about the undead.

    Zombie Patrick Henry excepted, of course.

  48. The sad thing about both LKH AND Anne Rice is that I think they are both fantastic writers- sometimes. That is, there’s this really great writer in there trying to get out… but something is getting in the way. I don’t know either lady well enough to establish what that might be. But I can accurately describe what many readers are feeling when they read the later Anita Blakes: Disappointment. It’s as if we made friends with the character, only to spend the last decade watching her go through one bad relationship after another, lose all her morality and religious convictions, and turn into someone else. Someone we don’t like, and really can’t respect- someone shallow, self-absorbed, and downright unpleasant.

    I suspect a lot of the buyers are tuning in for the trainwreck factor. “How much lower will she go, how much worse can it get?”

  49. So, it seems that we should add LKH to the list of Brain-Eaten.

    Too bad; I liked the early Anita books, before she got all sorts of superpowers and the sex got out of hand.

  50. H’m — love this blog. Out of curiosity, is it the fact that she Responded At All, or the Way She Responded — that constitutes the problem?

  51. I certainly stopped buying her books after Narcissus In Chains. Why? her prose quality plummeted, and whoever *was* editing her had clearly vanished, and she was not being edited, or was not accepting editing. Selling as well as she does, she doesn’t have to, but the sheer amount of grammatical mistakes, unnecessary repetitious phrasing, and in one book, repetitive TYPOS made the books unreadable.

    I’m not going to criticize her use of sex scenes. Her prose quality has plummeted, and that makes the books not worth me buying in any format.

    There is a lesson here. It’s that sometimes the large amount of nattering negative criticism you get is worth actually listening to, instead of going crazy-defensive about. If not, just f*cking ignore it.

  52. If I were disappointed in an author’s latest book, I wouldn’t stand in line to get it signed and then tell her I hated it. But it happens. Strange people show up sometimes.

    It can be tricky, sorting out the writer-reader “relationship”.
    There are times when I wonder whether this relationship is partly a power struggle — the author and the reader wrestling each other for control of what the book “means” or “should be about”.

    What do you think?

  53. Francesca:

    “Out of curiosity, is it the fact that she Responded At All, or the Way She Responded — that constitutes the problem?”

    Well, I think it would have been best for her if she had not responded at all, but that’s not the real problem; the problem was that once she did respond, she went of the rails almost immediately. This is of course why authors are well advised not to respond to stuff like this; authors don’t often seem to know when their response to criticism sounds like whining.

    A.R. Ygnve:

    “There are times when I wonder whether this relationship is partly a power struggle — the author and the reader wrestling each other for control of what the book ‘means’ or ‘should be about’.”

    I think it’s best for an author to write the book he or she wants to write, and then accept that the words he or she writes will then be modeled in the heads of people who are not the author, and who therefore might come to conclusions about the work which are wildly different than the authors; therefore, getting angry with the readers for not being just like the author, perception-wise, is silly.

  54. “Julie, you beat me to it. I also like Kelly Armstrongs “otherworld” series, and Carrie Vaughns “Kittie” series.”

    Heh. I just read the next book in that series. It’s like Vaughn has a check list of “Things James Nicoll finds problematic about this subgenre [1],” and is working her way through it, dealing with each issue in a suprisingly post-Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen manner. It’s like Kitty was raised in 20th century America, not 11th Century Normandy.

    The Temeraire series scratches a similar itch.

    1: Mostly things not unique to vampire shaggers (it’s a rare SF writer who doesn’t love a natural aristocracy?[2]) but often seen in a concentrated form.

    2: Yeah, yeah, John Barnes.

  55. “I don’t know, but I’m sure after writing “Xenogenesis”, it’s plain on which side of the Great Poo-Flinging Screechy Monkey Debate he’d be.”

    Have you read “Driving in the Spikes”? It’s in THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON about two essays before “Xenogenesis” and it’s all about how Ellison did in his righteous fury more or less exactly the things he complains about in “Xenogenesis.”

    My prediction is that if it’s HE’s work being criticized (If, say, some fan wished HE would write that Trek stuff again), HE would be on LKH’s side but if it was someone else’s work (Pick a TV show from the days of THE GLASS TEAT) he’d be on the side of the screeching monkeys.

  56. Hamilton’s dialog is so bad, it hurts my feelings and my cat crapped a turd in the shape of a praying Jesus. I haven’t read that many earth-shattering, mind-blowing orgasms since I got out of my Lustbader phase in my teens/early 20′s. And anyone who has a French character, vampire or no, who uses ‘Ma cherie’ more than once a book is borrowing from Pepe LePhew, not Alexandre Dumas.
    Ahh, that feels better. But I have absolutely no desire to hunt Hamilton down, in person or via Internet, and tell her how I feel. Is she gonna smack her forehead and go, “I KNEW I was blowing it somehow…!”
    2 much better female authors -
    Jacqueline Carey – lots of sex
    Judith Merkle Riley – not so much sex

  57. The thing is most of the oh so badly negative fans are just critizising her works in a nice way.
    Yes sure there are the not so nice former fans every now and then, but most are just discussing how OC her characters have become and how they would like some more plot in between the sex scenes.
    And she is really getting them angry – they might stop buying the books for train-wreck reasons, too.
    Sure as an author you might get irritated when people say that your characters are OC – as they are yours, but maybe you could just re-read one of your old books and see it – or dismiss the comments as stupid without making yourself look stupid.
    I am one of the fans that stopped buying her books , because I couldn’t stand the amount of badly written sex anymore – half the time the amount of times the words ‘wet’ and ‘tight’ appear so often that there is no hope left for any atmosphere

    And yeah, she wrote herself in a corner with the aduer/adeur she might just acknowledge that and freaking fix the mistake – it’s her universe, her rules and she can rewrite them – which she does a lot because she forgets the rules she made before (zombieraising for example).

  58. This seems like an apt moment to resurrect a quote from J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, who made a truly impressive (and successful) effort to keep an online conversation going with his fans for all the years the show was on the air. From August 8, 1996:
    The good thing about the nets is that it’s the great social equalizer.
    The bad thing about the nets is that it’s the great social equalizer.
    Anyone with a modem has equal access, equal say. Which is terrific. We
    can be tall, short, fat, skinny, old, young…what matters is the quality
    of the thoughts and the clarity of their expression.

    The flip side of this…if someone came toward you with a bright orange
    fright wig, dead cats strapped to his chest and a live parrot up his ass,
    you’d have sufficient warning that this may be a Loony, and thus avoid the
    person. On the nets, you don’t get that kind of advance warning. There
    are some loonies here. They get the same access as everyone else, they
    can get on because they bought a modem, but they live for the singular
    purpose of making your life a living hell, because you have created
    something, they have created nothing, and they can only live with that
    contradiction if they tear you down. Some of them are literally
    psychologically disturbed, and potentially dangerous. And you won’t have
    any notion who they are until one day, after exchanging private or public
    mail, the dog satellite goes by overhead and they turn on you viciously,
    start spreading rumors, attacking you in public…and you realize that
    yep, this person has a parrot up his ass.

  59. I do find her response troubling in many respects, but mostly in tyhat I don’t think she really understands most peoples criticism… my wife and I both read her books actually, and we’ve continued to slog through them despite the drop off in quality, but the funny thing is we both say the same thing… its got nothing to do with the sex or the “pushing of boundaries” that troubles us, its the lack of any coherent plot structure any more. Her novels are not just character driven, they are character dominated… there is really nothing but characters and character development and a series of plots that plod incrementally forward at this point as if she were writing a television series for Showtime. Each book has no coherent beginning or end any more and may cover no more than a day or two of in world time, one has to take them as a tiny piece of a whole… and while I think she writes some interesting characters and situations, its not good enough for that kind of progression.

    I wish she’d understand that part of it. Sex is fine. Lots of sex is fine… metaphysical, bestial, kinky, I don’t care… just give me some damn plot again please!

  60. As for buying presents for your characters, I don’t see it as any odder than buying a bottle of liquor to pour on a grave.

    As batshit as I think LKH is (and oh, I used to adore her in the early days), I gotta agree here. Sometimes the people in your head can be surprisingly independent and demanding. I saw a great shirt somewhere that said something like, “A writer isn’t one person pretending to be many people, but many people pretending to be one.” I reckon as long as I’m still fully aware that they’re not real people, and I don’t let them talk me into anything drastic or expensive, I’m still okay. *G*

  61. “Crazy Screechy Monkeys 1, Best-Selling Author 0″

    Actually, it should be noted that the Crazy Screeching Monkeys in the case of LKH are her rabid fans. We’re talking about a group of people who will become irrational and screech down anyone who dares to say a thing against their beloved diety (as LKH spells is. Regularly). We’re talking about a group of people who will, at the behest of the author’s husband, go and create multiple accounts in order to vote for Anita in a silly comic book deathmatch so that the character can win, and then go and haunt the forums in order to screech about how great LKH is, and how the poor deluded comic book fans in said forums just don’t understaaaaand LKH’s genius.

    The ex-fans tend to be pretty damn rational, putting forth thought-out literary argument as to why exactly LKH’s work is currently sucking. There are also a great many ex-fans who are sorely tempted to buy the books, get a red pen, edit the damn things, and then post them to her. The main problem there is that would require reading the books again.

  62. I’m perfectly willing to believe that the fans might actually be the same one’s here. It wouldn’t be the first time an author’s readers were the ones acting like grown-ups.

  63. Hmm. For potential new readers of the Blake series who are wondering when they might want to stop reading the books, uber-fan Susan Stepney has a useful and non-bombastic set of mini-reviews here.

  64. As a former fan of LKH before the shit slinging contest started, I can honestly say it wasn’t so much Laurell in the beginning as her staff.

    On the original forum, there were conversations of how the plot was leading, the good and bad things people saw in it, and everyone wasn’t being rude.

    And then the deletion of peoples comments started, and when they questioned why, they were saying how it was because of flaming/rudeness/whatever the excuse may have been (my comment was deleted at one point too, but it was a comment on how the old website needed to be updated… guess I stepped on toes or something).

    In reality, it was just anything negative being said was removed.

    And still there was peace until LKH said some nasty things about her own fans on her blog (ok freedom of speech, it can be forgiven) and then Darla called the fans names on the forum (um.. something along the lines of self-loathing masochists because some objected to the rather graphic and plentiful sex scenes… FYI, it was the plot Darla…) in which she deleted the entire thread later and pretended that the entire uprising never existed until the second clash between Mods and Users.

    Any user reposting said incident was banned. Her fans branched of into different boards (some anti-LKH, some not) and never bothered going back, though there was an incident on one board where there were rumors of being sued, but it was a hoax brought on by someone bored.

    Actually a lot of the fans they insulted and banned later, tried to discourage flaming her from the people who really did just go on the original board to just complain about the series.

    So yea, if both had taken the approach above, LKH would probably be making more in sales, but sadly this wasn’t the case and those of us that used to love her books, use them now as kindling.

    This caused many to fall out of love with the writer before the release of the books that truly divided her fan base. As someone mentioned above, it is the first 9 books that are well made, but after that there is a slippery slope to crappy plot line that never seems to come back up again.

    And no it wasn’t the sex so much as it was the horrible plot. I think it was Incubus Dreams that was devoid of any plot line whatsoever. And the Gentry Series is getting worse, though why most people tolerate it more then Anita is because the plentiful bad sex scenes and spelling errors was apparent since book one, though if someone can get Laurell to keep her character descriptions straight for more then one book, that’d be nice.

    And here is where I end my comments on that. Thank you for the opportunity to get that off my chest and good day.

    – Toya

  65. Looks like LKH has joined the Robert Jordan and Anne Rice Memorial Walled Compound of I Don’t Need No Stinking Editors.

    If anything you write sells, your publisher has no financial reason to edit the work for quality. It would be money wasted, if people will buy it anyway, and your publisher runs the risk of pissing off the goose laying the golden eggs. Additionally, if people read it and tell you it’s great, and you can convince yourself that the people who tell you it’s not great are simply jealous or stupid, well, you win, don’t you? And in an environment where people want more of the same, many of them will keep buying, even while they notice the drop-off in quality, because they like the characters or find the situation interesting.

    (Rather like the way I stuck through the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bitching much of the way…)

    I submit that maybe literature as an exercise in striving for quality is better off with more midlist authors and fewer blockbusters.

  66. When a complete stranger walks up to you and says that they hate you, not just your books, that can be quite a blow. When that person is obviously basing his or her like or dislike of you off something you wrote that has little or no basis upon you at all, that can be somewhat frustrating. Personally, as much crap as she takes, I believe she is due a rant once every two years.

    Ms. Hamilton was not saying that her fans have to adore her. She was not saying that her fans can’t say that they don’t like this or that. Constructive criticism helps authors to better themselves and their writing. This is a well-known fact. However, I have found multiple cases of exactly what she is talking about later in the post.

    I have found multiple people who claimed that they quit reading at Obsidian Butterfly. However, I have found their review of Incubus Dreams and Danse Macabre, both books that follow after Obsidian Butterfly. That does not make sense to me. People should not write reviews of books that they have not read. Period.

    I applaud Ms. Hamilton for her backbone. She has taken years of abuse from people, and she only just publically stated that she does not appreciate the unconstructive cruelty. She very politely agreed with the people who say that hate her books and never want to read them again that they SHOULD never want to read them again if they hate them. That is not the sign of someone being an “asstard”. I think she was showing perfect sense. If you hate the books and everything in them, stop taking valuable time out of your daily life to bitch about how much you hate them every and stop reading the books that make you so miserable.

  67. When that person is obviously basing his or her like or dislike of you off something you wrote that has little or no basis upon you at all, that can be somewhat frustrating.

    …except that, from what I’ve seen, Anita and Merry are both very like Ms. Hamilton. She is noted by her detractors for using glorified aspects of herself in her characters.

  68. “That is not the sign of someone being an ‘asstard’. I think she was showing perfect sense.”

    Well, it’s nice you think so. I think that whatever cogent points she has to make are undermined by her petty and defensive response. Personally, that seems rather asstardtastic.

    Ms. Hamilton is of course entirely free to respond however she likes to these fans and their complaints; like wise, I am free to note when I think she looks like an asstard when she does, and to suggest to other authors that they would do well not to emulate her.

  69. When I used to teach writing workshops with brand new baby writers I told them that the proper response to criticism that one sees as unwarranted and useless is to nod and smile. Don’t get defensive. Don’t lash out. Nod and smile. You can even grit your teeth while smiling, but just nod, smile, and throw the useless feedback in the trash after class when nobody is looking.

    I wish I’d read this blog entry while teaching so I could have added that any other course of action makes the writer look like an asstard.

  70. Big disorganized ramble incoming…

    I’ve only read the first seven, many of which also had big structural problems and smaller nitpicky errors. I didn’t like too many of the characters and not Anita at all after the first book; to my mind, she stopped being herself basically at the point she had that first kissing scene with Richard. I enjoy well-written erotic scenes when they make sense. That one didn’t. It was forced. The author wanted it to happen and the character didn’t, and the author won.

    After that point, the author always won. Another key one – the bathtub sex scene with Jean Claude (who is blond, by the way, no matter how many times she wants to describe him as having black hair!). It made no sense to her (original) character for her to do any of that. A former prude who was up-to-that-point tame in bed, licking soap bubbles and dirty bath water off a guy’s chest = no, sorry, not seeing it.

    In roleplaying, when the person running the game insists on a particular plot direction and imposes it on the players No Matter What, it’s called “railroading.” Too much of it, and players leave the game. Too much railroading of characters in my own writing, and the characters stop speaking to me* and eventually leave, never to return – or die, I’m not actually sure which.

    That’s what it looked like happened to Anita. I loved the original Anita. Seeing that comment from someone about how fans wanted to edit her books and send them to her – there have been times when I’ve wanted to completely rewrite the whole thing to make it right for that Anita (not that I have the writerly skills to actually do it). I guess it’s a love-hate relationship, because I do care about the Anitaverse setting and want to see the plotlines written out right, and it pains me to see things go so far wrong from where they could be.

    Past the first book, the things that kept me hooked were the setting and plots. So it pains me even more when people say that the plots went down the tubes entirely too. Even with the lengthy, pointless tangents and bullet-point wrapups, the plots were the best parts of the first seven books.

    I’ve heard it said that the Meredith Gentry books were “better” because the main character started out being what the author actually wanted, while Anita had to be forced into it. I’ve not read those books, so I don’t really know.

    I realize that none of this ramble is exactly on-topic, but thanks for letting me put it here anyway.

    *Yes, my characters are real in my head, independent, and can be quite strong-willed (and they stay that way because I respect them; they are not my puppets). No, I’ve never considered buying them Christmas presents. However, I can certainly understand how that comment makes sense.

  71. (Rather like the way I stuck through the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bitching much of the way…)

    Speaking personally, the last season and a half of Buffy. And the last season of Angel. And before that the last few years of The X-Files. And then there was….

    Anyway, really good analogy. Sometimes sales figures don’t mean people are happy with the work, but rather that they’re slogging along for various reasons. Sometimes it’s not even the hope for a return to quality; sometimes it’s simply the sense of “Well, I started this… … I guess I’ve gotta finish it.” Sometimes you buy that album because you need to own all their records, sometimes you go see that movie in the theater just so you can say to yourself that you saw the whole series on the big screen. Sometimes you buy the book because you know (in your heart-of-hearts) that seeing the half-completed set on your bookshelf will gnaw on you every time you pass by.

    Yeah, so much for having the sales figures to prove it.

  72. What I find *really* amusing about all this is that LKH believes that she’s within her rights to push her readers’ comfort zones, but shouldn’t push her own (or her characters’). None of the characters Anita loves can die? Talk about not being able to get out of your comfort zone…

  73. When a complete stranger walks up to you and says that they hate you, not just your books, that can be quite a blow.

    She didn’t say she hated Laurell, she said she hated what Laurell did with the books. And telling someone who is patiently waiting for Laurell to get her novels back on track by reading the crap in between “then why are you reading the books” is a bit insulting. It honestly takes a lot for a avid reader to finish things they don’t like.

    By saying that even though she hates the current direction of the novels, but she still reads them (and frankly is putting food in the woman’s mouth by buying what I would have used to mop dog piss with) it’s rather a very large compliment, and even if Laurell is offended, take it with a smile and turn the other cheek. Being rude never wins any situation really, and as she pointed out herself, her sales prove otherwise so let it go.

    Not saying that all authors should bow down and worship their fans, but if a cashier can learn to smile and not show they are pissed off in front of a asshole customer, she can not make harsh comments to people who, despite the lack of plot and spelling corrections, still buy her books and are fans.

    Besides, if you don’t at least say something how is the author to know if anyone is being dissatisfied at all? She’d just believe herself to be a great novelist and continue to spew crap, unchecked.

    You need someone there to at least say, “Well this doesn’t make sense, can you explain it to me?” and if the author herself/himself can not explain the natural progression of his/her own characters then they can go back and fix it and there you have it folks; a check and balance system.

    Just wish Laurell had just gotten one… -.-”

  74. I couldn’t agree more. Also, it is a very poor idea for authors to post anonymously or as sock puppets to defend their books from criticism. (No, really, I have seen this happen.)

  75. My stock response to critics (who in my case are usually complaining about a story that was run on my podcast) is a line I mutated from a Jim MacDonald review:

    “I’m sorry you didn’t like it. Come back next week; we’ll have different words in an entirely different order.”

  76. From LKH blog: strangely, having someone say to your face, that they hate your books and, at least twice, that they hate you stand out in our minds.
    Two someone’s did say that they hated her. And, certain characters in her book might have her fear of flying or other traits, but that does not mean that reading the books means that you know the inside of Ms. Hamilton’s head. At least, not enough to decide that you truly love or hate her.

    And, yes, cashier’s behind the counter do have to smile and nod and take a lot of shit. However, I have spent six years in customer service as I worked my way through high school and college. I, personally, know that there is a point where you are gritting your teeth followed eventually by a point where your “Have a nice day” is followed by a very audible “bitch” or “effing bastard.” Been there, did that, got the lecture.

    You need someone there to at least say, “Well this doesn’t make sense, can you explain it to me?” and if the author herself/himself can not explain the natural progression of his/her own characters then they can go back and fix it and there you have it folks; a check and balance system.
    That is called constructive criticism. That is not someone just being an ass, which is what Ms. Hamilton was complaining about. Like I said previously, constructive criticism is key to writing well.

  77. Any user reposting said incident was banned. Her fans branched of into different boards (some anti-LKH, some not) and never bothered going back …

    Huh–I’m seeing this happen on RPG.net currently, and I’ve seen it happen on other forums in the past. You have a really good point: a petty ruling clique that crushes dissent can enormously damage people’s enjoyment of the ostensible subject.

  78. Hell, Ann Coulter has practically made a career out of slyly poking crazy screechy monkeys with a stick, then sitting back and watching the revenues roll in from the same monkeys who buy her book to repeat the experience.

  79. Oh, geezo peezo, I see that LKH is still accusing anyone who doesn’t worship her uncritically of being a prude.

    She keeps typing stuff like “I noticed that I wasn’t censoring my violence, so why should I censor my sex?” But, LKH honey, when the violence happens, it’s usually, y’know, part of the plot. Just as you wouldn’t do a frame-by-frame shot of every damn time Jason goes to the 7/11 to get some Red Hots for Jean-Claude, and you wouldn’t describe in detail every damned one of Anita’s bowel movements, you shouldn’t feel the need to report on something unless it’s a) new to the books, b) can be described in an interesting way, and/or c) is integral to the plot.

    Sigh. The ironic thing is that she writes very much as if she’s bored with the characters — which considering she’s been cranking these things out for nearly fifteen years, would be understandable — yet she can’t bring herself to admit it. (And now that she’s got to a certain level of popularity, she’s apparently able to do without the services of an editor or even a proofreader; she habitually misspells the words for her own key concepts, like “ardeur” (which she usually renders “arduer” nowadays), and everything reads as if the printers just worked from the raw manuscript.)

  80. I think more of her readers need to read her blog……

    Exactly. I never got into her books that much, thank goodness. But I know several people who did — and this last blog posting of hers convinced at least one fan to stop giving LKH any more money.

    Wasn’t Stephen R. Donaldson accused of sabotaging his own Thomas Covenant universe in order to get out of his contract? I almost wonder if that’s what’s happening, consciously or otherwise, with Hamilton.

  81. But, LKH honey, when the violence happens, it’s usually, y’know, part of the plot.

    In LKH’s case, not always.

    For example, in Burnt Offerings, there’s a chapter 2/3rd of the way through or so where Anita Blake goes into a burnt-out husk of a house. It’s dangerous as the floor could collapse as they’re walking on it, etc. etc.

    Great scene, in and of itself.

    Had nothing whatsoever to do with the main plotline, and in fact, where it was inserted, it actually killed all forward momentum of the main plotline. Furthermore there was no character introduction/development purpose either, as all of the other characters involved were one-shots, never to be seen again.

    Then the main plotline was wrapped up in summary fashion instead of written out to the length and detail that that pointless tangent got.

    Second example. Circus of the Damned. There’s a 100-page tangent near the beginning where, basically, everyone is bitchy to each other. By the time it was over, I couldn’t stand any of the characters I’d liked to begin with, either. And I saw going into it that Anita was suddenly, arbitrarily being a bitch; there was nothing leading up to her behaving like that at all. I must say it’s the only time I can remember ever wanting to throw a book against a wall. The only reason I continued reading any more after that was because of a roleplaying game I’m in that’s based on the Anitaverse (set in Sacramento and contains none of the canon characters), and I needed to read it to understand the setting. It still took a week to convince myself to pick up the book again.

    To sum up my feelings on all this, gratuitous anything annoys me.

  82. Heee, gravitated from the LKH-Lashouts community and thought I’d chime in! :D

    Wonderful, hilarious post on LKH’s wankout here Mr. Scalzi, and very, very true. *bows to you* If you’ve kept up with her blog for the past couple of years, then you know this isn’t the first time she’s gone completely batshit on her fans. And you should see one of the more recent posts her PR person, Darla made on her official forum. Wooo, that one was a doozie, and was of course gleefully mocked and snarked. It really is no coincidence that these two wanked out ON THE SAME DAY. Mass PMS anyone? :p

    When I tried to slog through Incubus Dreams, I couldn’t make it past the first fifty pages. It was just…too painful. And Danse Macabre was pretty much the FINAL straw. No, I didn’t read it, but word of mouth and Amazon reviews told me that it was…pretty bad. To say the least.

    “Now, when you encounter a crazy screechy monkey, there are many things you should not do, and one of the things not to do is go up to it and jab it repeatedly with a stick. Because all that does is enrage the crazy screechy monkey, who will then hoot and hop and call to all his crazy screechy monkey friends. Then suddenly you’ve got a whole colony of crazy screechy monkeys hooting and flinging their poo at you, and all you have is a stick. You can’t poke them all. They move too quickly, and eventually their poo gets into your eyes. If you try, everyone watching you is going to say “look, that person is trying to fight an entire colony of crazy screechy poo-flinging monkeys with a stick. What an asstard.” Then they’ll laugh and point at you.”

    *applauds* Well said. You make very good and very valid points here. BUT there has been a running theory about LKH’s (and Darla’s) recent wankfests. At the lashouts community, it’s been said that she’s been deliberately “stirring the shit” so to speak because some of her sales have been noticeably dropping and that they decided to go with the “All publicity is good publicity” policy. She might think that if she draws attention to herself, people will go out and buy the books to either: A) openly support her as a “sympathetic fan” or B) buy them out of morbid curiosity. I. E. The “trainwreck syndrome” where it’s a truly horrific and disturbing sight, but you just can’t bring yourself to look away.

    Oh, and also, I heard that on the boards, Darla went on the warpath and did a sort of “ethnic cleansing” as in, banning all the mean, jealous “haterz.” *sighs* It’s all ridiculous beyond belief. To think that I loved this series so and looked up to Laurell as an author, once upon a time. *wistful sigh*

    I’m an aspiring writer myself. God forbid I end up like her. I take Laurell as a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. *cringeshudder*

    Oh, and one more thing. Laurell calls her detractors a “small, vocal minority.” And yet many of the people that have commented here are professional writers themselves, and they’re in agreement with the “small, vocal minority.”

    Yeah, sure her sales keep going up. And of course, sex sells. There’s no accounting for taste.

    But if she keeps aleinating fans the way she does, the minority will almost certainly become the majority, if they haven’t already. The woman will get what is coming to her, and she’ll get one hell of a karmic bitchslap, and a nasty wake up call. One of these days, that ivory tower will come crashing down around her ears.

    Anyways Mr. Scalzi, keep up the excellent work. The snark here is truly superb. ;) *gives you awesome cookies*

  83. Oh, and also, I heard that on the boards, Darla went on the warpath and did a sort of “ethnic cleansing” as in, banning all the mean, jealous “haterz.” *sighs* It’s all ridiculous beyond belief. To think that I loved this series so and looked up to Laurell as an author, once upon a time. *wistful sigh*

    Yea mentioned that incident above. She didn’t just start banning like crazy, she insulted the entire community, and then when they decided to respond how rude she’s been to them, she deleted the post and started banning anyone that rehashed it. Then ppl started beating her IP ban attempts with IP hacks and still continuing to voice there opinion. It turned into a mad house.

    Then the entire forum “crashed” because of something she did, and the new forum application they use now is the end result of that.

    Most of the people on the board moved to another board (which will remain nameless but since I found this blog from one of it’s members they would know what board I mean) and tried to go back to the LKH board only to have various stupid incidents occur where it was basically the overzealous fans throwing accusations and the members of said board kept clashing because they kept calling us anti-LKH and other stupid name calling. (Would you believe some of these ppl were full grown adults for goodness sake -.-”)

    None of us were haters, we just wanted a place that let us have freedom of speech without being attacked head on by a bunch of rabid fans.

    Jacynthia Mackin [DuchessPariah] | January 3, 2007 11:19 AM

    From LKH blog: strangely, having someone say to your face, that they hate your books and, at least twice, that they hate you stand out in our minds.
    Two someone’s did say that they hated her. And, certain characters in her book might have her fear of flying or other traits, but that does not mean that reading the books means that you know the inside of Ms. Hamilton’s head. At least, not enough to decide that you truly love or hate her.

    You didn’t post the original quote so I had to go by what you originally posted. I agree after that.

    And, yes, cashier’s behind the counter do have to smile and nod and take a lot of shit. However, I have spent six years in customer service as I worked my way through high school and college. I, personally, know that there is a point where you are gritting your teeth followed eventually by a point where your “Have a nice day” is followed by a very audible “bitch” or “effing bastard.” Been there, did that, got the lecture.

    5 Years of Customer Service and I agree to that too, though it would be said in my head and not aloud (we can be reported at my workplace by staff and customers alike).

    Anyhoo… my point was that even if you feel like it, you know you shouldn’t and rarely do it in retail (yes I agree there are some cases in which you do lash back, but they tend to be extreme in my 5 year experience). But I think she can learn from retail when it comes to her online, as well as signing responses. She needs to exercise some common sense at times.

    This isn’t like it’s very uncommon with the woman; there have been others that mention she gave them not-so pleasant replies at book signings for asking perfectly logical questions.

    Then one incident, if I remember correctly, followed with a blog post where she went online and complained about her fans wanting her to change the books, and how she’s not going to change it for anyone (well we at least hoped at the time she’d learn to spell check and re-read for inconsistencies but **shrug** we were just the lowly masses after all). I’d give a direct quote but that forum has over 200 pages, and I am not going to re-read them over again.

    Besides from my POV, I am sure in real life and outside of talking about her job, she might actually be a decent person. Problem is, she shows her ugly side a lot on her blog, and some of her fans became former fans because of it. The signings I’ve heard of very few incidents where her astardedness crossed over to the masses.

    I personally don’t hate the author, I just think her works have gone to the crapper, which is why I have stopped reading cold turkey for 2 years.

    And I was one of the people what was linked to her Web site and ran a fan site for 8 years.

  84. Oh, and also, I heard that on the boards, Darla went on the warpath and did a sort of “ethnic cleansing” as in, banning all the mean, jealous “haterz.” *sighs* It’s all ridiculous beyond belief. To think that I loved this series so and looked up to Laurell as an author, once upon a time. *wistful sigh*

    Oh I just realized you meant recently!!!

    I found the link to the actual page you are referring to if others wish to read it.

    http://forum.laurellkhamilton.org/showthread.php?t=12784

    As I mentioned before, Darla and mods have pulled this before. They read it as us trying to insult LKH, we read it as having an actual conversation.

    Actual disagreeing as I can determine starts around here:

    http://forum.laurellkhamilton.org/showthread.php?t=12784&page=5

  85. I think Toya and LadyRavana’s posts are interesting contrasts in talking about authors who are getting up your nose. (Hi Toya and LadyRavanna :-))Toya’s taking the reasonable line that she doesn’t know Hamilton personally, she just objects to how she’s acting in public; if an author gets worked up about that kind of remark, they need to take a deep breath.

    LadyRavana, on the other hand, is getting personal: ‘The woman will get what is coming to her, and she’ll get one hell of a karmic bitchslap, and a nasty wake up call. One of these days, that ivory tower will come crashing down around her ears.’ That’s going well beyond saying she doesn’t like the books or manners of the author. LR – I do sympathise with your frustration; it’s never fun when books you were enjoying start to decline … but if you read someone saying that about you online, wouldn’t you feel a bit threatened? I think you’re over the line between comment and abuse.

    I wonder if that’s one reason why Hamilton was getting so personal in repsonse. Still don’t think it was a good idea for her to make that post, but if the ‘lashouts’ include a lot of comments along the lines of LadyRavanna’s, I can see why she might be feeling a bit hysterical. I think there’s some poking going on on both sides.

    I’m not a big Hamilton reader myself, but I’d say that if her fans don’t approve of her latest post, they’d best show their disapproval by being conspicuously dignified and reasonable in their discussion of it. Act superior. It makes third parties far more likely to take your side, and anyway, it’s fun.

  86. ANITA BLAKE SLASHFIC – A subgenre of fan fiction in which the main characters solve intricately plotted, suspenseful, supernatural crimes, never have sex, and wear boring clothes.

  87. I wonder if that’s one reason why Hamilton was getting so personal in response. Still don’t think it was a good idea for her to make that post, but if the ‘lashouts’ include a lot of comments along the lines of LadyRavanna’s, I can see why she might be feeling a bit hysterical. I think there’s some poking going on on both sides.

    From what I understand (from what Darla has expressed through her censorship on the forum and through one of her blogs) LKH doesn’t distinguish hating her and hating her books as two different things.

    Though she (LKH) did make a good point that if you don’t like it, stop reading. I understand some people might want to keep reading to see if the books will get better but I think if the books go south, then yes, she has failed as a author, and then yes, the fans should stop and save their money.

    Actually some people on the forum I frequent just read the next book because they’re curious how the train wreck is going, tend to borrow it from someone and not spend money at all.

    If you hate the novels, you hate her… or this is how she is represented online. Honestly, I blame the PR department at MPE. They should never have let LKH have a publicized blog in the first place. Then people could have lived in ignorance to some of there spats and still enjoy the series.

    This woman seriously needs someone on her PR staff that doesn’t worship the ground she walks on and can actually tell her to the face, “Laurell, I think pissing off the minority is a bad idea.

  88. And still there was peace until LKH said some nasty things about her own fans on her blog (ok freedom of speech, it can be forgiven) and then Darla called the fans names on the forum (um.. something along the lines of self-loathing masochists because some objected to the rather graphic and plentiful sex scenes… FYI, it was the plot Darla…) in which she deleted the entire thread later and pretended that the entire uprising never existed until the second clash between Mods and Users.

    I remember that. At the time I was still a (relatively) happy-go-lucky fan and a member of LKH’s message board. (Although, to be honest, I didn’t really like the ardeur, so I’d been sitting on the fence since Narcissus in Chains.)

    Incubus Dreams was fairly new then, and it was getting a lot of flak for its – shall we say? – extreme lack of editing and meager ‘plot.’ (There were quite a few forum threads dedicated to continuity mistakes, sending complaints to the editor, sex vs. plot ratio, etc., etc.) Darla wrote a post blasting all the folks complaining, saying they were either masochists to keep reading stuff they hated, and/or they secretly adored all of the sex but loathed themselves for loving it.

    The fallout on the board was fascinating (in a train wreck sort of way), especially when Darla started banning people en masse for re-quoting her and for pointing out that she was violating the board rules by lobbing insults at fellow posters.

    Up until then, I was still playing the “wait and see” game. Visiting the author’s message board had become a fun habit, and it kept my interest in the series alive. ID was *almost* my breaking point, but it was the online antics of the author and her PR person which finally did me in.

    That was when I decided that if I were to continue with AB:VH, I’d either borrow the books from the library or buy them used. I also decided that – no matter how much I loved the first 10 books of the series – I was going to stop buying them as they were being re-released in hardcover.

    I think more of her readers need to read her blog…… .

    Too true. Before ID came out, I avoided her blog like the plague because I still *wanted* to like the series, and I thought LKH sounded. . . whiney.

    Now whenever I get the urge to check up on my (former) favorite vampire hunter, I either read the author’s blog or the Amazon reviews for Danse Macabre.

    That tends to squash my hopes that the series will ever become readable again.

    This woman seriously needs someone on her PR staff that doesn’t worship the ground she walks on and can actually tell her to the face, “Laurell, I think pissing off the minority is a bad idea.”

    True again. I can only speak for myself, but if I’d never joined her online community, I probably *still* would have bought Danse Macabre.

    A skilled editor with brass cajones would probably be a great help, too.

  89. BTW, Hi Kit Whitfield!!!!

    Toya’s taking the reasonable line that she doesn’t know Hamilton personally, she just objects to how she’s acting in public; if an author gets worked up about that kind of remark, they need to take a deep breath.

    Just wanted to add that I also think she needs to get a new PR assistant after reading her post and Darla’s new rules on the forum.

    For one, any good PR rep would try to avoid their client getting into this much shit in the first place.

    A PR rep doing their job would be someone who would have tried to, in stead of separate the Troos from those that had negative views, actually let them have a healthy debate, despite how much LKH thought they were being mean.

    Tell me, when in any countries history did censoring or suppressing the masses (minority or not) ever have a good outcome?

  90. Hi Toya :-) What’s a Troo?! Does it have fur and pink ears and squeak when patted? If so, can I have one?

    But come on, ‘suppressing the masses’? It’s not like she’s arresting random fans in dawn raids and torturing them for information about who the negative posters are. ‘Tell me who made that remark about plots, or it’s another twenty lashes for you!’ Now that might make for an interesting blog.

    Does she have to let people slag her off on her own website? I mean, is Darla trying to stop people criticising Hamilton on boards other than Hamilton’s own? Because, while it might not be the most successful PR strategy, it’s not serious censorship if people are free to speak their minds elsewhere. It’s more ‘I pay for this stuff, now you stick to my house rules!’ Of course, if people don’t like the house rules they don’t stay in the house, but still, I wonder if people are overstating things just a little bit?

  91. To Kit Whitfield:

    Well, now that you mention it, maybe I did get a little carried away with my tongue, and should have minded my words a little better, but I’m a rather bitterly disappointed fan, and I guess I let my feelings get the best of me. Tact isn’t exactly my…forte. *cough*

    And yeah, a lot of those comments at the Lashouts comm tend to be rather…errr, unkind to LKH (To put it mildly) and well…I look on the woman with a mixture of pity and disgust. I would never openly advocate violence against her, like setting her on fire, (because I don’t believe she deserves something like that, no matter how much I may dislike her) but I think that karma will bite her in the ass one of these days. When she attacked her fanbase, they got understandably cranky, and when you attack your fanbase and piss them off, they will retaliate, one way or another.

    And granted, while the community I’m from may not exactly “take the high road” it is a safe haven for me and other that share similar opinions of the books to voice our opinions without fear of supression or censorship.

    And yeah…we sometimes get a little carried away. The worst we do is mock her and make fun of her ignorance…but really, that’s pretty much it.

    Yeah…not exactly the highroad, but it’s still fun, and laughter helps me cope. ;)

    I’m sorry…but I was a fan of this series ever since I was in Jr. High, loved it for a long time, and was truly saddened to see it take such a downhill turn.

    In the meantime, hopefully Laurell will get some good therapy soon (NOT via her blog or her books, since she has said that her writing is her “therapy.”)

    But her PR people (Jon, her husband, and Darla) are enablers, and they LET her be “batshit crazy.”

    Because all things considered…the woman’s mental state is highly questionable, if her blog’s any indication. There’s no doubt that she could use professional help.

  92. But come on, ‘suppressing the masses’? It’s not like she’s arresting random fans in dawn raids and torturing them for information about who the negative posters are. ‘Tell me who made that remark about plots, or it’s another twenty lashes for you!’ Now that might make for an interesting blog.

    Does she have to let people slag her off on her own website? I mean, is Darla trying to stop people criticising Hamilton on boards other than Hamilton’s own? Because, while it might not be the most successful PR strategy, it’s not serious censorship if people are free to speak their minds elsewhere. It’s more ‘I pay for this stuff, now you stick to my house rules!’ Of course, if people don’t like the house rules they don’t stay in the house, but still, I wonder if people are overstating things just a little bit?

    Now to answer your question, in a way she is.

    The following is a copy of what a former member of the forum community received after posting something that was in the percentage of people that “hate” Laurell according to Darla:

    LMAO … so I went over to see if I have been banned yet.

    I feel like I have a red dot on my head and they are about ready to fire depending on how I answer a question.

    In a post that is currently deleted as “under review” you have stated that you “fit into this column of 0.1% so my opinion here doesn’t matter”.

    The 0.1% that Laurell and Darla are referring do not like ANYTHING about the books or MPE. Do you still think you fit this group?

    If I say yes … I will be banned.

    If I say no … I won’t be banned but get a warming to possible banning.

    What is the difference?

    This is why I said she is suppressing the minority. If you say something that is even slightly negative, you receive a message like that. Darla herself has even stated that it’s now a praise board (sarcastic or not, hard to tell).

    Evidence #001:

    For those who need an example to make it clear: ( “I don’t like the character Micah, I think he is all wrong for Anita.”, is perfectly acceptable. What is not is “I cannot believe you like Micah! He is a complete dork!”). To take a tact from psychology, keep it in the realm of I. I feel, I believe. Rather than attacking someone else. Not only is the I form more acceptable. You will not alienate others whose opinions differ. Far more friendly way to go.

    Aside from this making no sense at all, because someone could say, “I think Richard is a pussy.” and half the board could agree but Darla and LKH would find it offensive (because we all know LKH loves her characters… and Darla loves her… characters… yea) and ending up banning said person for their statement.

    Anything worth taken that seriously is worth cracking jokes at.

    I mean come on, the fact that she has to go to this extreme just to quell freedom of speech. They even go as far as to search for other pages that have anti-LKH discussion on forums.

    Yes, she shouldn’t have to defend herself on the forum, but then again it’s a forum. Forum: an assembly for discussing questions of public interest. No where in that definition does it say negative or positive. Not that human beings always abide by what is defined but still, she is being a bit of a free speech nazi.

    So you are not liked by all…. SO WHAT! I wasn’t liked by many in high school. Did I run around going ape shit about it? No, I went and found people with similar interests, but did I totally act as if the people that hated me didn’t exist, no, because sooner or later you have to be the adult and deal with them.

    This is not how you deal with this. You do not manually force out people for their opinions.

    They make it seem like there is 0.1 percent that is “haters”. But everyone makes it seem by their statement on the board that these people were practically running it with their negative ideas.

    The fact is this, the forum, which was started with the best intentions, has crashed and burned once again.

    The “7 people” as Darla says is ruining the board have apparently ruined the good despite they are the lowly minority. This is why I said that she is trying to suppress the minority. If you try and comment like a regular human being with thoughts and feelings differing from the other sheep, you are outed and cast out of the flock before the other sheep catch that there is a sheep missing.

    Sadly the fact that your casting out comes in the form of a yes, I am a 0.1% hater, or no, give me a slap on the wrists so I can rejoin the sheep is just purely stupid to me.

    And just so those that don’t know what I am talking about understand what I mean, this is what the new rules are on the LKH forum as posted by Darla (spelling and bad grammar included):

    A public response to email questions and complaints

    Lately we have been fielding a lot of complaints. Almost all of them involve a handful of users.

    I am offering the following suggestion to everyone here. If someone truly makes you crazy, and you just cannot stand their opinions, please use the Ignore feature. You will not see their posts. It is like they don’t exist. You may use this feature sparingly or liberally. I leave it up to you to decide who you will not see.

    The following is going to upset some folks. For most of you it will mean nothing, because it is not directed at you. 99.9% of the users here we never hear a single complaint about or so rarely it amounts to the same thing. You can skip to the very end if you like and have missed pretty much nothing. This is for that other.1%.

    For those of you who say this is nothing but a Praise Board. Fine, it is. Feel free to run up and down the street screaming “I was right!” with my blessing. Personally, I am tired of listening to you whine and trying to make others here feel bad about the fact they don’t share your opinion. Trust me, your opinion is really only important to you. The rest of us, could care less about what you think and wish you would go away. Yes, I do get to say what a lot of folks are thinking and have expressed in emails.

    The snarkiness and nastiness will now stop. Immediately. Some folks have turned waltzing up to the edge into an art. No more. Abide by both the letter of the rules and the spirit of them or be banned. The mods here have a difficult job and are doing their best. And they do a fine job. If you think something isn’t fair, then talk to me. There is no way a single person could mod this board. And there may be some uneveness in how things are handled. But that is mine to deal with. I am the one who makes the rules. The mods merely enforce what I decide. Yup, I am queen. Sometimes, new things come up and a rule may not cover it completely or adequately. That is on me not them. I will applaud those who spend the time seeking loopholes to exploit. Some of you are really good at it. You should run for public office.

    Yes, I know it is almost impossible to ban someone. Pool IP addresses make it hard to ban an IP address without inadvertedly keeping someone else out. But we will be banning email addresses and user names. I also know that some folks will get a new email address and try again. Why? I don’t know. They are unhappy here but cannot seem to stay away. Perhaps misery is their goal. They like being unhappy and feel the rest of us should share their pain. Again, I don’t get it.

    If you hate the books, hate Laurell, hate me or anyone else here, feel free to go away. Stop coming here. You might find it amusing to try and stir up animosity, but only those like you find it funny. Your more pitiful than anything else in my opinion. If that was your goal, then you have achieved it. I pity you. So enjoy the moment.

    If you cannot be civilized and polite, go away. There are plenty of places on the web to spew venomous posts, whine and moan, make up vile rumors and spread them around. Please feel free to frequent them and not come here. Yes, this is a un-invite to be here. You want me to make it official to you personally, you have only to ask.

    You are of course free to debate the books and characters here But if you cannot do so without resorting to the kind of snarkiness or rudeness that passes itself off as wittisism but is in reality childishness better suited to a grade school playground, then simply go. Find somewhere on the web where such behaviour is tolerated if not flat out encouraged.

    For those who need an example to make it clear: ( “I don’t like the character Micah, I think he is all wrong for Anita.”, is perfectly acceptable. What is not is “I cannot believe you like Micah! He is a complete dork!”). To take a tact from psychology, keep it in the realm of I. I feel, I believe. Rather than attacking someone else. Not only is the I form more acceptable. You will not alienate others whose opinions differ. Far more friendly way to go.

    If you cannot be adult enough to acknowledge that other people have opinions that differ from without feeling threatened by it go away. This isn’t a junior high school where different is bad. Such nonsense is not welcome here. Go away.

    Lastly, there is another board known as The Playground. Some of the members here are members there. It is a members only board where the owner invites whom they want to join. Do not bring disputes or posts from there here. If you have a problem there, please keep it there. Just like we require of any other board. I know there is some people who go there to complain about things here. That is their right, but all might want to consider what you post is public. Even if it is a private board, once you put something out there, it is there to stay. Many folks are learning this lesson the hard way with blogs or websites that schools and employers are finding. But do not bring disputes from elsewhere over here. Keep it over there or take it up with the board owner. If I find you creating havoc here, with things from elsewhere, you will be banned.

    So for that handful of folks who make the rest of wish they weren’t here, if I haven’t been plain: Go away. You’re not wanted here.

    I know that there is a few people here who will take this post and run to other boards where we are disliked and revel in posting it. Picking it apart and making up things between the lines. Go ahead. I already know you call me names, make fun of me and generally trash me. But you know what, I don’t care. Your opinion of me doesn’t matter to me as I am sure mine of you doesn’t matter to you.

    If you are scratching your head and wondering where this came from, then you know this is so not aimed at you. You do not see the emails or even all posts that get made here. As I said, this is aimed at a small group of people. I would say less than 10 total on this board. So for the majority, let those people go. Ignore them. They are not worth your time. Please enjoy yourself and not worry about what was posted here. It wasn’t meant for you.

    Darla

  93. Not that my opinion counts for all that much, but I think we’ve established that LKH’s board is biased in favor of LKH, and the detailed politics thereof are really not terribly interesting to people who’ve never frequented it nor have any inclination to start, so … can we move on to talk about something else? Please?

    Like more about the actual books. I enjoyed those parts of this discussion thread. As I’ve said before, I’ve read the first seven, and the general consensus seems to be that the first nine are good. So I’ll eventually pick up the remaining two to finish my collection. And pretend there’s nothing after that, at least unless I hear that the series gets past the ardeur thing and back to something worth reading.

    My particular interest in the series is to use the Anitaverse setting as fodder in my own fiction – which largely consists of a specific play-by-post roleplaying game. And to my mind, if I ever write anything outside of that game, it would more accurately be a “fanfiction” of the game, and not the Anitaverse as a whole. Strange opinion, I know, but that’s how I see it. It’s the game I love, not so much the series it’s based on.

  94. MWT | January 5, 2007 09:23 PM

    Not that my opinion counts for all that much, but I think we’ve established that LKH’s board is biased in favor of LKH, and the detailed politics thereof are really not terribly interesting to people who’ve never frequented it nor have any inclination to start, so … can we move on to talk about something else? Please?

    Never say your opinion doesn’t count! Your opinion does matter! At least to me.

    I was just responding to what was said before that, I was only referring to that specific forum before so I wanted to better explain myself to the person who responded.

    My particular interest in the series is to use the Anitaverse setting as fodder in my own fiction – which largely consists of a specific play-by-post roleplaying game. And to my mind, if I ever write anything outside of that game, it would more accurately be a “fanfiction” of the game, and not the Anitaverse as a whole. Strange opinion, I know, but that’s how I see it. It’s the game I love, not so much the series it’s based on.

    Dunno what to say to that, sorry. :D

  95. If people are so eager to play games or write stories about vampires and werevolves: those are mythical folklore, i.e Public Domain. You don’t have to fanfic any living writer to use folklore.

    Just sayin’.

  96. However, if you make yours too much like someone else’s, you can get sued. For example, White Wolf sued the movie Underworld. (I don’t know whether they won or not – never went back to check on the results). Vampires and werewolves are public domain, but specific renditions aren’t.

  97. Vampires and werewolves are public domain, but specific renditions aren’t.

    But there are so many high profile and somewhat overlapping “worlds” that it’s darn difficult to do much world crafting that is truly unique in the genre today. It seems like you inevitably step on *someone’s* toes.

  98. Personally, I think LKH knows she’s been writing shit, somewhere deep down. She’s too hysterically defensive not to.

  99. Totally agree with the blog post, and as a former reader of the LKH books who loved them until chapter seven of Narcissus in Chains…I don’t think it’s the level of intelligence in the books that the former fans can’t handle.

    But I posted to address this one comment:
    Honestly, what author of anything other than a harlequin romance novel, would attempt to put out two 220 page large type hardcovers in one year, claim them as real novels; charging $20 each for them; and still have any self respect.

    ****
    —I just wanted to correct this misconception. I know quite a few Harlequin romance authors and they know exactly what they’re creating–a (hopefully) well-written novel that can be enjoyed by a very specific type of reader in a generally short period of time. HQ category novels make no pretense about what they are, and they’re very reasonably priced, especially in the current book market.

    They’re not to everyone’s taste, they’re not mostly to my taste, but they’re not a synonym for ‘crap novels’ either.

    And neither the HQ authors nor HQ would ever think to market them as $20 hardcover novels.

    A great many authors with currently excellent publishing careers got their start with HQ–Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, Barbara Samuel, Patricia Gaffney, Rachel Caine recently, under a pen name….not genre fiction, not all of them, but all excellent writers who produced very good work while at HQ. Sure, not all category books are good or even competent but neither is everything in the SF section. And SF/F can be just as formulaic.

    All of those authors, plus many more I know in the romance community, can write more intense, more emotional and just plain better sex scenes than LKH even standing on their heads. If anyone here wants GOOD porn, try Emma Holly, particularly her contemporaries, though those into good werewolf/vampire sex scenes will also enjoy her historicals.

    In short, I consider it a low blow for HQ authors to be compared to LKH. :)

  100. I am coming late to this discussion as I was only apprised of existence yesterday from a link posted on Baen’s Bar.

    Last year I had the good fortune to make acquaintance with two — in my personal experience — extremely gracious authors.

    The first visited my town for a signing [scarcely five miles from my doorstep] and the second shared a panel with me at Philcon.

    Both were friendly, personable, approachable, informative, and entertaining.

    Because of those meetings, I decided to forego my impulse to stop buying the former authors novels altogether, rather downgrading her to cheaper editions — thank you, SFBC — and, in the case of the latter writer, promptly began buying all his available novels. In fact, Greg Frost and I were tripping over each other at Larry Smith’s table in the Dealer’s Room immediately after sharing that Philcon panel, in haste to scoop up the fellow’s books.

    Yes, I’m gravely dismayed at Ms. Hamilton’s auctorial direction. Eventually, I may only skim her books while at the library. We’ll see.

    However, there’s this new guy’s exciting, thought-provoking stuff to absorb. Gladly, no one holds a gun to my head. The reading life is a buffet. Why there was even a new Dick Francis for Columbus Day!

  101. I enjoyed the Anita Blake books until Obsidian Whatever-it-was. I don’t understand why the author would take a strong female lead and turn her into the town doorknob.

    So… I stopped reading the books. If I thought she’d ever go back to the “real” Anita, I’d start reading the stories again.

    Give up the porn, Laurell!! You are BAD at it. Really, really bad. I mean REALLY bad. I can’t express the BADNESS enough. There is still time for you to come back from the dark side.

    The previous message was paid for by the Save The Darkside from Laurell Campaign.

  102. Oh God that hits close to home. I have my own colony of poo flinging monkeys to deal with because of my own website. It’s so very hard not to jab them with a stick.

    I must also add that it’s useless to try and negotiate or reason with the Crazy Screechy Monkey’s too. They’re CRAZY! Any attempt to deal with them diplomatically has them flinging poo at you and claiming victory.

  103. As someone who would be deemed a “crazy screechy monkey” by the LKH crew (actually I was called “negative”, a “hater”, one of the “evil, jealous people” – much to my surprise, since I had been on that board from almost the beginning of its first incarnation, not to mention its current version), let me just say that CSM’s are made, not born. The majority of us were happy fans who became dismayed fans, and who were subsequently castigated because we dared to ask that unanswerable question – “Why?” – whenever some plot device or characterization didn’t make sense in the context of the series.

    The LKH message board and blog should be used as an example to all aspiring writers regarding what NOT to do to a strong fan base. Most of the people who have now been banned from that board (and I am one of them) and who are lambasted as CSM’s were the people who talked up LKH early on, wrote good reviews of her books because they honestly enjoyed them, and gave her books to friends and relative to encourage them to read her. People didn’t become CSM’s overnight, nor did they become them willingly. You would have had to be present on the board for years to truly understand the how the metamorphosis of a large segment of the fan base occurred. But if you want to follow in her footsteps, here are a few quick pointers:
    1) Don’t visit your own message board and interact with your fans.
    2) Have all questions and email read and answered by your personal assistant.
    3) Don’t answer any questions that ask for explanations of continuity discrepancies.
    4) Allow you personal assistant to be the primary moderator of your board, and to take any criticism of your work as a personal affront.
    5) Under the guise of rewarding “politeness’, encourage sycophants.
    6) Create vague rules that you are unable to define when asked, and consider the asking of such a definition as a violation of the rules.
    7) Create a rule stating that fictional character must be treated with respect.
    8) Never accept responsibility for your actions, take all literary criticism as a personal attack, and encourage people not to buy your books.

    Follow those steps and soon you’ll have a tribe of crazy, screechy monkeys of your own.

    (BTW John, I’ve just discovered your books and am enjoying them. You don’t seem to be the type of writer to engender CSM’s, so you should be safe from me turning into one – lol. )

  104. I couldn’t even make it through Obsidian Butterfly, generally considered the last truly good book of the series. It wasn’t the sex that got to me (there wasn’t any yet – overtly, anyway), it was the gratuitous gore, the reveling in it, the intent to horrify for no plot-furthering reason at all. All shock value and no plot … it made me feel physically ill.

    It probably didn’t help that I was reading it with a newborn baby on my lap. I couldn’t make it through that … one … scene. I can’t remember what the last book was that I had to stop reading like that and never finish, without a single regret. Something in elementary school, perhaps. The only thing that kept me from flinging it across the room was that it was a borrowed book. Even so, it was a near thing. I haven’t read any of the later books, either.

    That was it – one scene, and NO MORE for me. I will never re-read her books either, I think. Mostly I don’t care – there’s other books to read. No skin off my nose. *shrug*

    I guess some readers are a little more attached to the characters and take it all very personally, or something!

  105. I’m not at all anonymous when I submit this and I have a tendency to open up constructive discussions with others that might touch a few nerves. However I take nothing too seriously nowadays and everything is fair game. Good ink or bad ink (does it really matter anyway, I mean come on for cryin out loud).

    The story of Blackwood Farm was absolutely wonderful. I loved it to death, and it’s doing fine!

    By no means is this a complete review, and I hammered it out in pure feeling just as I finished the last page! Just a blurb if that!

    Sometimes they say if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. I’m not from that generation! I was “King” of Egypt once and I never held my tounge. I’m still alive! (okay just kidding).

    When a comment is given such as these or any other like it for that matter I always take them with a bucket of salt and a calm reasurence that at least they had the decency to tell me something. It can never do any harm what so ever! If anything… it does just the opposite! THAT IS VERY WELL KNOW. Marketers and planners of all kinds know this, and sometimes such a tidal shift happens seemingly by accident. It’s just fiction! It’s fun! Good or bad is simply a matter of opinion and state of mind! Perspective? Whatever. But if works of art generate that much response whatever the hell the response is, hateful, loving or somewhere in the middle it makes no difference and provides the needed fuel to continue a journey!

    So smile! Your on camera and we’re looking forward to the next one.
    We haven’t quite had enough of Vampires and Witches yet and it would be interesting to see another Union.

    __________

    Well I felt compelled to write a tiny little review of Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice.

    I just finished it (Thank God)

    I absolutely LOVED everything up until Memnock (fell asleep during Lestat), But everything, and I mean everything she’s written on the Chronicles I completely enjoyed, sitting glued to my seat and finishing most of them in one siting (and then I read them again, and again, and I made a play about one of them). I’d since moved on to other stuff in my life and was pleasantly surprised when I saw Blackwood Farm Available for the first time in Hardcover. Trapped by the first chapter, and then subsequently tortured to death by endless dialogue of Quinn, telling me everything in such lush vivid detail I could not stand it! I was seduced by the beauty of the language and bored to tears by its never ending, sometimes senseless rant and recounts of what happened in the past. It reminded me of sitting in my great grandmothers home in Franklin Louisiana(pop. 1000) back in were you had to sit and listen to her tell her story. Good stories they were, she was over a hundred, and I learned a lot from listening to her. I am not saying that I actually enjoyed every minute of her crying voice, crakling out the details of one family member after another. It made me restless and afraid to sit with her for more than 10 minutes after that.

    I must have, during my departure from Anne for a few years, gotten use to “The page turner” all books that were great stories but seemed to keep everything moving along with varying textures and pacing. But reading Blackwood Farm was like being stuck waist deep in a morass pit of molasses while mosquitoes buzzed above my head.

    I do so LOVE Anne’s writing and in this book I especially loved SOME of the dialogs and language of Quinn and all his (oh so) familiar interactions with strange things….(more later)

    I felt something was missing. The book felt more like an “I have to” rather than an “I want to”.

    Baaah…

    Not a complete review, but I just put it down and I had to say something…this is the first link I found online…

    Sincerely,

    Damn Opin

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