I’m dragging myself out of deep deadline panic to blog today 🙂 I finally caught up with the word count I lost – yesterday. So, as of late yesterday evening, I’m caught up to where I was two weeks ago. But my deadline hasn’t moved. Sigh.
Anyway, enough bellyaching. And speaking of bellyaching, that’s the subject of my post today. Or actually, not bellyaching, but slanderous bitching and slashing for lack of a better term.
I’m usually kind of a go with the flow kind of girl. I hear gossip through the writer’s grapevine, or on loops I lurk on or from friends. And I’m so excited and happy to be doing this suicidal thing called full time writing, that I’m probably mistaken for a wide-eyed tourist most of the time. And, in fact, the few times any gossip is about me, it’s usually straight forward stuff like my book is releasing etc. Sorry, I tend to be boring… I do my thing, I enjoy it, but I’m not streaking through the general session RWA meetings or having sit ins to protest editing practices somewhere.
However, lately, I’ve noticed a distinct mood swing of the masses, which has begun to ruffle my feathers. And for those of you who know me – feather ruffling is difficult to do unless you directly attack me or I feel you were out of line.
So, what, you may ask, has started to get my panties in a twist, so much so that even in deadline full-press, brain-mush mode, I begin to notice?
A whoooole lotta people have begun to be what I call evil busy bodies. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion – hey, we live in America, right? And I’m very proud of that. But people seem to have forgotten that your freedoms stop when you start to encroach on other’s freedoms. And let’s get out of the political realm and just into good professional business practices here – remember “don’t sweat the small stuff” and then there’s just plain common sense.
But I digress – again. (Remember, deadline=brain mush mode)
First, is the kerfuffle (I love that word) over RWA’s decisions regarding the Golden Heart and RITA categories and the subsidy/vanity press stuff. For the record, I think it’s a total and complete cop out to say that erotic romance is “not definable” My first reaction to that statement was “Bull.” There are many RWA members within the Passionate Ink chapter as well as others who would be glad to work with RWA to come up with a definition so they can institute a separate category for erotic romance within these contests. And also for the record – my definition of a subsidy or vanity publisher is one where you have to pay them in any way to get your stuff published or distributed. In my opinion – in a non vanity/non subsidy publisher – the money only goes one way – from said publisher to the author. So, I do disagree with RWA’s definition which includes publishers whose main distribution comes from their website, because many reputable epubs do distribute mainly from their website. To me – in my own humble opinion – that sounds like a target against epubs. And I do know that several authors like to paint all epubs with the same brush, which again – in my opinion – is unfair.
Second – is the kerfuffle (it’s such a fun word, isn’t it?) about Sherrilyn Kenyon and the Shomi authors dressing up at RWA Nationals. This has blown up on blogs all over the web. People are blasting these authors for dressing up and “cheapening” the romance genre. My opinion? Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the nicest and most professional and business savvy ladies I’ve ever met and if I could clone even a quarter of her career I’d kiss her boots. I’m also a fan of her books since way before I tried my hand at writing. Her readers LOVE her costumes and it is part of Sherrilyn’s persona and makes it fun to see her at book signings. As for the Shomi authors. I don’t know them personally, but they were promoting their books, and I say ‘go girls!’ Hell, if I had the body for it, I might dress up like my latest Cassie Ryan characters for my next book signing (yeah – I know, ice pick moment, sorry), but these ladies looked cute and pulled it off.
Now, as you can see – I definitely have my own opinions, and I’m not extremely shy about them. However, what I don’t do is blast people – aka slander. Lately, the trend is to throw all common sense, business sense and even good plain manners to the wind and think because you have a keyboard and an opinion (remember what your mother told you about opinions and belly buttons!) that you can take aim and make mean spirited, personal and attacking comments about people that really have nothing to do with the original gripe or complaint.
Maybe it’s my years spent in corporate America, maybe it was all those manners beaten into me as a child, dunno. But taking pot shots at people isn’t (in my opinion) the right way to go.
For the first kerfuffle listed above, I sent a very professionally worded, non threatening, and logical letter to RWA stating my opinion succinctly and thanking them for considering it. By contrast, I’ve heard people slandering the members of the board, threatening to boycott their books and a thousand other things. I think everyone is forgetting that this IS a volunteer organization and I’m sure it’s a tough job. I know I don’t have time, inclination or the suicidal tendencies to step up and run for the National Board. Hell, I had quite enough politics and all the rest just being pres of my local chapter for two years.
For the second kerfuffle, what did I do? Uh, nothing. As in, I don’t think it’s any of my business. Now if someone shows up to one of the book signings butt naked, yes – I think that will be in poor taste, and probably not a great career move, and since it would be illegal (I’m pretty sure public nudity is illegal in most places) something RWA would probably want to rule against. But we are talking about ladies dressed in costumes here – fully dressed, no tingly naughty parts showing – even the scantily clad Shomi girls weren’t flashing nipples, just a few inches of well-toned thigh (which definitely made me long for the days I could’ve worn that without people gagging). Instead – there are public blogs out there making personal attacks on these ladies and blaming them for the entire reputation of the romance genre.
Okay people, snap out of it here. First – I think the adorable Shomi ladies, like all of us, haven’t been around long enough (aka alive long enough) to see the beginning of the movement of people poking fun at our genre – that I’m sure is a long and ancient art. Second – Sherrilyn is one of the people who HELP the reputation of our genre. She’s popular as hell and not just within romance, she’s a positive force for us, and I suspect a little twinge of jealousy was what attracted all these attacks. I’ve got news for you – if we weren’t such a popular genre, if soooo many people hadn’t read romance, if so many talented writers hadn’t come before us – we wouldn’t be poked fun at. Isn’t it funny how when anything becomes successful, it becomes a popular target? One of those things that makes you think – or it should.
So, again, in my opinion (which is all this is, so take it for that), those who are spending so much time and negative energy on tearing others down need to find something more constructive to do with their time. I’m not talking to those of you who have stated your opinions and been done with it, but those who have moved on to personal attacks, boycott campaigns, smear campaigns and generally unsavory behavior.
Remember, karma is a bitch.
Okay – back to my writing cave… I’m sure the fiery blasts will find there way here too…and I may see them, on a dinner break from my deadline 🙂