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If this is really her, and I can’t think that it isn’t, but I’m sure somebody will let her know that her name is being used in vain if it isn’t, she’s obviously never visited this blog before, or else she wouldn’t have given me such amazing fodder for my blog.

Sit back and read, this may take a while, because her rant was long, and drawn out, and shows me why some people shouldn’t be let out in public…

“Dear Karen

I am still in Texas at our SOS Soldiers Retreat, recuperating from the very busy and successful 24th Annual Booklovers Convention. There was a lot of warm feelings of family and good friendships this past week.

Many new “RT virgins” attended and I look forward to seeing more newly published authors and offshoot businesses spinning off of this event.

Which brings me to my concern about your blog.

I’m sitting here now with Rosemary Potter, a passionate seller of new American books, and an early promoter of Erotica and small presses. With her is Margaret Bell, another enthusiastic bookseller from Australia.

I’m sorry they had to overhear my incoming calls and become aware of emails directed to me concerning such negative nasty comments on your blog from romance book people. It was an eye opener I wish they hadn’t experienced.”

I feel so honoured, people ringing RT to talk about my lil ‘ole blog? Be still my beating heart, I’ve finally arrived, now where the hell is my tiara…?

“I am very proud of Ellora’s Cave and the small presses run by women. I am proud of any woman who writes erotica and gets published. I know how tough it is. I am the only woman who owns a magazine (except for Oprah and Martha) and no woman has ever owned a publishing house in New York. Be it Harlequin, Berkley, Dorchester or Kensington, it’s owned by businessMEN.

This has been the situation since I started up in 1981. That is why I have been so supportive of e-publishing women and will continue to be. None of us had money to invest, instead we invested ourselves and our hearts.

Do I think we are all brilliant and perfect? Of course not. But we do our best and that’s what counts. We have to try harder in publishing. Whoever thinks that anger and mean criticism helps our genre is off base.

None of our members deserve such ridiculous bloggers, especially from mean-spirited women posting notes from the quiet of their houses while those in the rat race of business life are working long hours. To think you only have time to promote personal vendettas is sad.”

Hey, I take offence at the notion that I work long hours, I’m currently sitting here, a margarita in one hand, and a J.D. Robb book in the other, a Julien McDonald scarf wrapped round my head, Jackie O-type sunglasses, and my extra comfy orange striped kaftan, wrapped round my sylph-like body…

“If this was investigated, I suspect there’s more to this than meets the eye.

E-publishers had little support in the beginning. I made certain my magazine promoted them to the best of our ability. Ellora’s Cave, in particular, has always been savvy and displayed great energy and enthusiasm from the very first time I encountered them. They deserve respect for l3eading the way, as does Red Sage and other erotica companies that paved the way. Attacking them is mindless. Positivity is the key to helping our genre.

Many newcomers followed them and their companies are now run by women as well, I feel we should all feel protective towards all of them. Most businesses fail in 2-3 years, people who succeed beyond that have something special.

I don’t want that flame of passion for books and e-publishing to ever be extinguished for our loyal readers. If one “hurts” — be it something nasty published towards a publisher, editor, or author. We should all hurt unless we are heatless.

Learning that so-called romance enthusiasts on your blog are referred to as bleeding hearts or an idiot, is not acceptable.”

*cue dramatic cry* “If you cut me, do I not bleed…?” I’m really getting into this tale of betrayal and deceit…

“Unless your bloggers are genuinely perverse and have no regard for people’s feelings and livelihood, then I predict you all will needlessly add turmoil and discontent to yourselves. I hope you are ready to take responsibility for some of your remarks.

Writing is a livelihood and those kinds of attacks are of no value. Nor does it give your blog credibility or vital interest in the long run. Disrespect for our industry and its members reflects the dark nature of the person spewing it — not the object of the attack.

We’ve never communicated, and I would have telephoned if I’d had a direct number. But I would like to nip this in the bud if it’s possible. I’m told you are living in England and since I’ll be there July 15, in Barrow, perhaps you’d like to meet up at our summer prom? Anyone in the romance world would enjoy it and is invited. We have a lot to discuss, perhaps.

I am certainly aware of the function of blogs, but Romance Books are not a Political forum. We are a fantasy business that reflects Everywoman. She doesn’t want sadness, discontent, fighting and negativity in her life, for that she watches the news or reads the newspapers. Our writers and editors are sometimes fragile, as the line of our work is pure emotion.

I question if your blog today (Tuesday) is being used — I repeat – being used — to spread inaccuracies and ill will. It appears to be promoting everything romance books do not stand for. These personal attacks are embarrassing, hurtful, and do not reflect our hardworking community.”

Hey, that’s realllllly offensive. My blog is interesting dammit!

“You are in the position to tell troublemakers to move on or get out of the book biz, and if possible, learn who the Liars are….

Please start by asking them to not muddy our waters with ugly suppositions and invalidated comments — and to be impeccable with their words — this would be an excellent practice of gratitude and most appreciated.

Some of the postings are obviously from unhappy unpublished/published individuals who deem it appropriate to share their pent up angst and intensely personal attacks on your blog. I’ve never understood why some writers feel that other people’s success affects their lack of it.

Putting down editors and writers also displays a lack of knowledge about this industry. Romance is the most successful genre of all time because people have banded together with a collective consciousness to do good not evil. This is true camaraderie. I hope it continues or we will perish.

All publishers do their best. All authors do their best. My reviewers do their best. It’s a plus for our community that this is so.

I know there are small minded people who have difficulty in loving what we do, even though it’s what they want to do, In the long run they are spreading negativity about themselves.

Why not realize that authors are sensitive, and so are publishers — and inflicting harmful words does all of us a disservice. I was attacked for starting a romance magazine. I was attacked for discovering Fabio and predicting he would be a household word. I was attacked for just about every successful thing I’ve accomplished.

But, it wasn’t the men who attacked me in this business (with the exception of one crooked literary agent!!) but the women.
As Bertrice Small says to those women who tried to put her down: “Honey, I laugh all the way to the bank, they don’t even have an account.””

OK, I get it, authors are sensitive, and Bertrice Small has lots of money. I love this whole learning about the industry thing, isn’t it fun?

“It’s easy to spot jealousy, it’s usually against the successes of our business. Our industry has always created tremendous resentment for those with small minds. They have no idea of the complexities of business, or they wouldn’t go around complaining.


There is constructive criticism and there is destructive criticism. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the difference.

Nothing goes in a straight line — every problem is actually a situation in publishing. And every situation is a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.

My advice to authors who appear to be on a mean streak: The big picture is — where do you want to fit in and how do you see yourself in our industry in five years? How do you see the industry if you’re causing havoc and spreading a virus of negativity?
Put your energy on what you want, and don’t waste the moment thinking so negatively of others. It hurts your peace of mind and is an obstacle to your success.

I believe our books and publishers provide enough categories and reviews to please ALL the many types of readers. Everyone has and deserves diverse reading choices and preferences.

Bloggers who have no idea of the work it takes to be an author and a publisher in today’s competitive market should not be welcome on board. And if you check into the sales of some of the people you’re “dissing” don’t be surprised to see they sell well, or is that the reason they are the object of your disaffection?

Some people in our community do make more money and gather more acclaim but there’s a reason — they are more in touch with the readers and they are more positive.

They possibly work with positive energy at what they love. Fanaticism is the key to success. Publishers support winners and sales figures determines who stays and who goes. This isn’t personal, this is business.”

Hey this woman is a business guru too, I love that whole fanaticism being the key to success, that may explain why Charles Manson was so darn successful…

“Primarily, successful writers do not dwell on rage and anger and others’ discomfort. Personal attacks are not fodder or successful people but spring from the opposite personality type — the loser displaying her anxieties and insecurities, the very things that holds her back from building a strong writing career.

I’ve learned in the past quarter of a century that truly successful people are compassionate and helpful. We have had some insensitive people writing sensitive books, but there’s a reason if you look beyond.

One writer was the child of alcoholics, another makes millions but still lurks around the Internet because she has a tremendous need to be in control. One is suffering because her child died. Their actions deserve compassion.”

Would this be a good time to mention that my daddy left the house over six years ago, and didn’t come back because some truck driver caved his car in? Perhaps not, carry on…

“That’s the way of the world. But they are not muddying our waters so that booksellers from Australia and newcomers have to hear about it. Compassion does not breed contempt.

New writers and new readers have an option the old-timers didn’t have — the use of the Internet. So use it to improve our slice of the publishing industry. Together we grow, separated we cut our chances.

To learn how to be positive and attract abundance, watch “The Secret” documentary. Today there is help in showing you how to attract the success you crave. And, believing in yourself is the essential trait, not behaving negatively.

You don’t have to feel confused and resentful about a romance writing career if you are truly of good heart. Occupying your mind with ill thoughts or wallowng in attracting negative people and forming negative perceptions just continues to perpetuate the cycle of feeling unsuccessful.

Emotions make things happen, and the people on your posting should be aware that everyone’s words have power; they come back to wreak havoc on the speakers, be it their health, wealth, or happiness. I’ve never seen it fail.

Perhaps the nay seekers should read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, about the Four Statements of Life. He says simply:

Your Words Should be Impeccable (they have power, don’t voice negative things)
Don’t Pass Judgment (it reveals self esteem)
Don’t Take Things Personally (comments to hurt you are really the speakers self-thoughts)
Do Your Best”

Shit, this woman could be our new Oprah, she’s good.

“I have heard from several people on your post who are saddened by what they read today. One person mentioned has offered her resignation. Another is contemplatiing suicide. Is that what you intended for your blog? Do you want this on your conscience?

To most of us who devote our lives to publishing, romance is uplifting and increases joyfulness. These intensely negative and vituperative postings make our role so much harder and — most important, cause booksellers and others to doubt their own dedication.

Anyone who thinks this kind of dialogue on a blog is valuable is truly sick in the heart and the head.

Everyone reflects our genre, particularly those who are vicious. You can help by encouraging bloggers to consider the repercussions of their actions before lashing out.

This action, be it name calling or hatred, only reflects the speaker’s deep pent up anger that started long before their involvement with the romance community.

All writers should know that you can lose support faster than you can build it. So why should the builders ever spawn such negativity? Do you want publishers, booksellers and readers to doubt the validity of their commitment to the romance genre?

We should be aware that giving recognition to romance bloggers who spew vindictiveness that is personal and harmful, is out of line and out of place, and out of control. This attracts more of the same for the blogger, I might add. Like always attracts Like.

Blogs of this nature are harmful when they could be productive. Giving frustrated voices a place to say outrageous things to destroy is evil. Why not encourage frustrated women to spin to the positive?

I’m embarrassed that hardworking booksellers in Australia who authentically love romance novels and the romance authors had to learn that book bloggers endorse people offend our customers — the booksellers and readers. Someone should stand up and say: I’m not taking this anymore.”

Oh the drama…..

“Everyone is on such a “high” about the world of romance books after our Houston get together.

So many people, particularly authors and publishers, are passionately devoted to writing and promoting romance. We all spend long hours at the computers, to the point of endangering our health to be part of the romance community.

The blog in question that you posted, bashing one or more publishers and authors, is detrimental to the principles of romance.
If you have influence, please spend your time helping our romance community. People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed.”

Take me to the gallows now, I am a bad, bad person!

“The bashing and airing of such personal attacks is a personal issue reflective of the writer and her rage. From what I see, people with an axe to grind are using you. They sound like (according to today’s diatribes) rejected disgruntled suitors in a romance novel seeking to undermine good will. Why shouldn’t your blog be used for fun and joy, not hatred and harmfulness?

I’m sure you didn’t intend such a sad development, and can be more aware.

This bashing is reflective of personal dissatisfaction, not our book biz. They remind me of novel and movie villains who don’t know they are wrong — they think they are just guys trying to make it. However, like attracts like, and nothing good or positive can come out of inappropriate behavior.

It’s such a “low” (after a week of “high”) to hear that people are attacking and causing unnecessary dissension. WE (the Australian booksellers included) ask ourselves, what is the benefit of this?

We don’t have time to pay much attention to blogs, but when we hear of people are upset by inconsiderate vicious bloggers who seem committed to spreading bad feelings instead of working in harmony for the good of all, it makes us wonder about who we are supporting with our businesses!!!

I salute those who say “I won’t condone such viciousness about publishers and writers”. And I warn all to be aware of hearing more pent up rage comments; the good will attract someone’s wrath as this site has attracted a strange frustrated breed of bloggers.

If this kind of negative mood and behavior is allowed to spread, I predict that no one will care or dare to support romance in the future.

It will set us back years if we are portrayed as a bunch of jealous females baring their claws, upsetting our colleagues, and seemingly approving of a small group of savagely narcisstic women who can’t stand to see other people succeed.

We know what to do: support our editors and publishers, support our booksellers and authors, or — if you can’t say “nice” — say nothing. Your words have power, use them appropriately and you will benefit the romance book biz and be a standard bearer. Also, you’ll benefit from peace of mind as well.

I wish you all peace and bliss….and the enlightenment to pass over a rough patch and avoid this ever happening again.

Kathryn Falk
CEO RT BookReviews Magazine
Rosemary and Margaret Booksellers

OK guys, you can all come out now, she’s done. Wasn’t that an eye-opener? Hehehehehehehe… (Incidentally, she wrote this in the Carol Lynne review post below, I thought I’d give it the attention it deserves, heheh..)


  • Shannon Stacey
    May 2
    9:30 pm

    I had the impression, from reading the letter, that KF was referring to the editors. Authors don’t really offer resignations. Plus she would be more in contact with the editorial staff than new authors, I would think. And over the course of the comments for that original review post, there was a lot of blame and name-calling directed to certain editors—some of it personal.

    Unfortunately I’m seeing more references to “an author considering suicide over a bad review” and I don’t—personally—it has to do with the author at all.

    She hasn’t, as far as I know, made a public response.


  • Candace Sams
    May 2
    10:02 pm

    Did this actually come from KF? The woman who has at least one reviewer in her RT mag who thrives on ripping up titles? Doctor, heal thyself…


  • Anonymous
    May 2
    10:10 pm

    candace, what a cheap shot!

    ta ta ta

    your writing of letters hasn’t improved any more than your books!


  • Anonymous
    May 2
    10:16 pm

    I left romance writers because it wasn’t a sisterhood. I wish it was.

    and if you think you don’t hurt a lot of people with your comments on blogs, you’re wrong.

    More than one person contemplated suicide when I was involved because of all the personal hatreds.

    you would think you would have more to do with your lives, especially Nora, who prevented me from getting an award because of her beef with janet dailey.


  • Erastes
    May 2
    10:48 pm

    I’ve invited her to contact me when she comes to Blighty to disuss her magazines revulsion of the m/m romance. I also told her several other things.

    For a successful business woman with her finger on the pulse, that was one of the most rambling and nonsensical retorts I’ve ever read. what was her point? It seems to be summed up by Bambi’s Thumper

    “if you can’t say somethng nice, don’t say nothing at all”

    Which – for someone with a review magazine who says that if you place advertising with them they guarantee to review their book – suddenly makes a lot of sense.


  • Barbara B.
    May 2
    10:49 pm

    Anonymous at 11:16, I can taste your crazy! How the hell did Nora’s beef with Janet Dailey prevent YOU from getting an award?


  • Kat O+
    May 2
    11:02 pm

    Honestly, people who don’t understand what blogs are and what they’re for should think very carefully before they post comments.

    And what was with the constant references to Australian booksellers? Found that a little…creepy. I can tell you that in the romance bookstore I usually shop at, at least one of the booksellers is quite open about which books are great and which ones I should pass up (she wrinkles her nose–that’s the secret sign *lol*). And I love that, because it reduces the risk of trying out a new author, and I’m more likely to spend three times what I’d intended, based on her recs.


  • thelotuscirclejerk
    May 2
    11:09 pm

    Interesting developments all around.


  • Kate R
    May 2
    11:10 pm

    Karen, do you pay these people to be this crazy in your space? No wait! You’re the one who vanished because you were sick of hostile readers.

    Clearly you’re a Crazy Magnet.

    If you do go to tea please let me be your date.


  • Nora Roberts
    May 2
    11:50 pm

    ~How the hell did Nora’s beef with Janet Dailey prevent YOU from getting an award?~

    I didn’t. That would be a lie. The Janet Dailey Award–the one and only time it was given–was presented to Sharon Sala the year of the plagiarism business. It was, at my request and RWA’s agreement, awarded at a luncheon rather at the Rita ceremony. But it was awarded, to a very deserving author–and a very nice woman.

    I also wrote each nominee for the award personally, to congratulate them and to apologize for the change in the award venue.

    If you’re going to lie, anon, at least do it where I can’t so easily refute you.

    And oddly, I don’t see what this has to do with the topic under discussion.


  • Anonymous
    May 2
    11:58 pm

    I was a nominee and you, NR, were disgraceful, arrogant, and bossy.

    Get your own blog, where people will suck up.


  • Nora Roberts
    May 3
    12:09 am

    ~I was a nominee and you, NR, were disgraceful, arrogant, and bossy. ~

    Actually, I was distressed and victimized, but I got through it. If you were a nominee, I didn’t prevent you from winning anything. A winner was selected, and awarded. I had nothing whatsoever to do with that process, and only requested that the award be presented at an event which I wouldn’t attend during the convention in Orlando.

    I spoke to Sharon personally after she’d received the award. She was very gracious.

    I won’t apologize again, as I did–what–eight years ago, for circumstances that weren’t of my making. Particularly to someone who lies, and doesn’t have the balls to do so under her own name.


  • bam
    May 3
    12:15 am

    With all due respect, Ms. Roberts, I must ask you not to feed the trolls.

    It is only needling you and probably making shit up.


  • Nora Roberts
    May 3
    12:22 am

    Bam, you’re absolutely right.

    Lost my head for a minute.


  • katieM
    May 3
    12:34 am

    There are some loonies out there! Hermine, what?!? How can one negative review, and from the other reviews I’ve read this was a real doozy of bad writing and poor plotting, elicit such tripe from a supposed magazine owner?

    Karen disliked the book; she’s allowed to say so and say why. She’s disappointed in the latest crop of books she bought with her own money from EC. She can say so. So the weirdos come out and jump nasty. Karen told them to stop. All those rambling “you’re so mean you big meanie” letters are just ridiculous. Come on. Talk about people who need to find something better to do with their time. *shakes head*


  • Shiloh Walker
    May 3
    12:52 am


    You attract the most interesting people, you know that?


  • Shanna
    May 3
    1:36 am

    …Complete and utter bullshit…


  • Ann Bruce
    May 3
    1:48 am

    This wilting flower of a writer is now off to kick butt at hapkido.


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    2:32 am


    This long winded blog isn’t about a review. I agree with the writer who pointed it out.As usual, negativity holds sway over positivity.

    It’s all about the back biting against authors and small presses mentioned on this web site — Ellora’s Cave and others. From my viewpoint, they stimulated our business when publishers weren’t responding to readers wanting erotica. I don’t read or write erotica but I’m happy it’s there — we couldn’t survive on the same old same old plots. I’m wondering what’s next?

    Our books reflect our culture, they always have.

    Reviewing isn’t the question, Karen. Go girl! Review to your heart’s content.

    PERSONAL attacks is the issue.

    I too will stand up and say, ladies get a life and shame shame for going beyond – calling editors and publishers unflattering names to display personal gripes or jealousies. I’m certain you’ll hoot and hollar it’s not supposed to be.

    But it’s still a personal attack system you represent, in my humble opinion. We came to write for this genre because it was hopeful, made our lives as moms and working women more satisfying – call it escape, call it stimulating our imagination. These books helped me grow up and now they help me with a goodly income.

    This attacking of publishers and editors is ALL negative. I feel sorry for those who attack, and I feel sorry for those get attacked, and I congratulate those who stand up to the barrage of bad vibes.

    It takes a lot of voices to overpower such intensity. I can’t believe people are saying, on other blogs, they want to destroy. It’s all so foreign.

    On another note, no one says anything about the good that gets done in our community. There is a writer with macular degeneration who receives checks regularly (RT is one contributor), and one of my favorite writers, when she was ill, had her car payment covered by RT so she could get to the doctor. When my son was in Iraq he received boxes from RT’s military charity weekly because his mom was a romance writer.

    My agent says not to put my name to this because I’ll get flack, so I apologize for not printing my name. I really want to. But she says someone will take the time to “smear me good” for standing up for “SISTERHOOD.”

    But if any romance author reader or bookseller ever needs help in any way, RT and other members of our community are there to help out and I’m sure those who always help will continue because that is their philosophy about LOVE. To help not hurt our community, and to remember and assist the aging authors as well, I mmight add.

    I’ve been reviewed in RT for years and usually my publisher takes an ad.

    My reviews are a separate issues, as I believe are yours. You might want to think someone has time in one month to be preferential, but that’s ignorance of publishing schedules. It’s an awesome job just getting the galleys to RT on time, and that means early.

    The reviews are written from these galleys and for the most part I agree with what I’ve received. Some of my stories are more original than my others and I know it and the readers forgive me. (smile)

    I’ve visited the office, it’s a hive of activity, so contrary to rumor no one sits around wondering who took an ad — it’s a production in every sense of the word. Too bad the mystery and other genres didn’t have a publication as they were growing, it’s an excellent tool.

    I think it’s time to get rid of this blogstream and be constructive.

    You have a choice. To stop or go.



  • S.K.
    May 3
    2:33 am

    Dionne, I can’t WAIT to see Hot Fuzz. I’ve heard nothing but great things (and I’m a rabid “Shawn of the Dead” fan).

    And Nora, of course I was kidding about KF’s age. Jeepers. My point was, the woman has for years displayed signs of, um, losing control of her faculties.

    Let me be more clear about the ads-for-reviews thing: RT charges *unknown* and *small press* authors for ads (in other words, those who really can’t afford it. I guess they figure it’s the price to pay for giving some ink to “less important” authors). At least, none of my small-press author friends have been able to get a review without one (14 have bought ads since last November; 8 were torn apart by reviewers for their money; I guess you can buy reviews, you just can’t buy good ones). They have always reviewed books for major names, major NY pubs, Harlequin and Kensington. And likely will continue to do so. They can’t afford not to.


  • Jane
    May 3
    2:51 am

    EW – This attacking of publishers and editors is ALL negative. I feel sorry for those who attack, and I feel sorry for those get attacked, and I congratulate those who stand up to the barrage of bad vibes.

    There were some comments that were over the line and I know that Karen spoke up. But I think that criticism of a publisher or an editor over the work put out is as appropriate as criticism of a book. If this is an “attack”, then so be it, but we readers have the right to respond accordingly. Effort is not something that we have to consider. Results are. It is not our place, as readers, to take into consideration how long someone labored or how much they care about their product. It’s just not.

    SK – why should RT treat ebook and small press publishers the same? There are 6 mainstream publishers and maybe a hundred small print press publishers. What would be the best way to handle that? AAR doesn’t list any ebooks or small print books in its upcoming sales list. Why aren’t they criticized more?

    And why should you be able to buy a “good review.” Isn’t that what everyone complains about from RT? That they are so happy and light and meaningless?


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    3:10 am

    are you nuts! I just said I don’t believe you buy reviews. You are crazy.That is sick to misinterpret what I said.

    Get thee to a shrink!

    you don’t want to see anything truthful.

    all the years I’ve been in the biz, I haven’t seen what you keep saying. Reviews are reviews, ads are ads, and all the ny publishers send in their galleys. Where have you been? Do you think it’s humanly possible to have thousands of reviews in one publication. No one would read it.My daughter is small press, and she got a low review, and yes she took an ad. Do I think it was accurage, yes indeed.
    The book wasn’t a 3 or 4 but she wanted to get her foot in the door.

    But oops, you know so much about it. You want 2000 reviews and no ads, no style, no pizazz.

    I worked hard to have a NY publisher, and I hope my daughter will too. In the meantime, I’m thrilled a small press is giving her a chance to grow.

    In the old days, that was the function of Zebra and Dorchester, and they grew out of it.

    That’s your problem, you don’t understand growing pains. You don’t figure out why the mystery and the SF and the other genres don’t have a publication.

    I know it’s a stretch, but figure out why mystery and other genres don’t have a publication. They have little newsletter and Ed someone started one, but they didn’t succeed.


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    3:28 am

    Sorry i went into a tangent. now you know why my agent reined me in.

    you weren’t there when zebra paid 1000 dollars maybe for a book. When dorchester was a stepping stone. We were lucky we had a day job that allowed us to write.

    Which is where RT came in. I wrote for Ed Gorman(just remembered his name) and his mystery zine — actually RT helped him and encouraged him since they were not publishing mystery reviews.

    They struggled for years and worked hard.

    It was a nice world then. Everyone was friendly. Everyhone was excited.

    Gorman’s magazine folded because he didn’t “grow it.’ When something didn’t work in RT, it was pulled out, and a questionn went out to readers, “what do yuou want?”

    Iliked the articles on the illustrators, but since art workis graphics, those pretty Elaine Gignilliat covers are not around. Sad…..

    Rt stood up first for AFrican American romances, they brought in the first erotica books from England (black lace and ExLibros) and did they get flack on both ends.

    They were told by NY publishers that BlackLace was dirty, so RT told readers in renewal letters about the books and black lace took off.

    Genesis press was the first AA line, but to this day little mention, except in RT, or recognition is given to them.

    I laughed when I read that Walter Zacharius received an honor for starting the first AA line. RT persuaded him to do it, showed him the demographics, tried to get Genesis picked up by him, etc.

    Now erotica is kensington’s bestselling line.

    The world turns. Today is now. By the end of the year, new writers and subgenres will arise. It may be the way you like it, but ebooks and small presses are recognized when good reviews are available.

    But to blame a company that is already overleaded with NY publishers books to do ALL THE SMALL PRESSES is ludicrous.

    I want them to have more on illustrators and covers, and they can’t squeeze it in. I want cookbooks, and I know publishers would support them because we love to eat and cook — but where?

    A monthly magazine of hundreds of pages would be absurd.

    So calm down, go with the flow. I tell my daughter, write the best book, put your neck out for a review. When you get a 4 someone will come forward and who knows what can happen….

    don’t know how you can do this so long. I’m beat. Back to the computer. Sorry I can’t be of more help. But if you know the history perhaps you’ll be a little more astute about the future.

    Splinter our community, but I hope, not in my lifetime.


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    3:47 am

    Lauen here… I’m leaving the blog. It disturbs my sleep when SK (which stands for shitty kitty) drops her intellectual abilities so blatantly and Nora just goes along for the ride.

    I’m out. Bugt I want to make my point shitty kitty.

    My point was, the woman *KF* has for years displayed signs of, um, losing control of her faculties.
    I guess a high IQ bothers you.

    She owns companies,properties, houses, and is a philanthropist. If that’s losing contol perhaps it’s the stove calling the kettle GREEN.
    Yikes, you are retarded. But I suspect have always needed sicko attention. Have you tried therapy?


  • Nicolette
    May 3
    4:49 am

    Is this really her MySpace page? If so, why does she say she’s 46?

    ::So Confused::



  • Shannon
    May 3
    5:43 am

    Wow, I see the trolls and crazies are out in force, and also, people have said everything I would have said and more eloquently, but I have to respond quickly to a tangent I noticed.

    Too bad the mystery and other genres didn’t have a publication as they were growing,
    it’s an excellent tool.

    They didn’t? Then how come I can think of at least two magazines devoted to mystery fiction and three devoted to science fiction and fantasy? Not only that, but as a reader who is completely blind, I have the privilege of actually being able to read those magazines, because they have been produced in a format that is accessible to me. There is no equivalent publication for romance readers that is similarly accessible. So if I want some honest discussion of what books I should read and what to avoid, I’m left with reading blogs.

    I think it’s time to get rid of this blogstream and be constructive.
    You have a choice. To stop or go.

    I love how constructive = positive, shallow, and not rocking the boat. Honestly, I love this blog and the other blogs I visit because they are honest… And while some of the conversations have gotten heated–I had to quit reading the Ellora’s Cave discussion–they were insightful.


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    10:47 am


    But previous note said “as they were growing.” No one said one or more genre ezines didn’t exist now. I just wanted to clarify.

    I understood what the author meant. I worked for Publishers Weekly as an intern, and we noticed the other genres couldn’t get noticed early on because they didn’t have an “organ.” That was before the Internet, when most newsstand magazines were fading out, particularly the one on Books published by PW and later, by Barnes and Noble. They both failed miserably. Only RT survived — and we know why. nFor the same reason that made the romance books grow and survive – blood and guts and passionate women with direction!

    Romance owes a great deal to having their own personality and an “organ.” As for mysteries, I’d like to add, it was the sisters in crime organization that gave impetus to mysteries. A group that evolved out of the romance writers. While the men ran things in the mystery scene, it was a much smaller category while they reigned.

    There were only 3 female mystery writers being published once upon a time, now there are hundreds. But they came out of the romance genre like butterflies out of a cocoon. I know, I’m one of them.

    Too bad, the history of romance and its struggles isn’t known to newcomers. You might even discover that RWA was once commandeered i.e. by a crooked maneuver by RITA. In retaliation, once the dirty work had been cleaned up, due to Rebecca Brandewyne, NOvelists Inc. was formed.

    You who just read books as if they came out of a cookie cutter, are not knowing that the “dough” was created long ago. Only the strong endured.



  • Nora Roberts
    May 3
    11:06 am

    Mystery Readers Journal, launched in the 80’s–by a woman. Just as a for instance.

    Romance is hardly the only genre with its magazines and its fanzines.


  • Emily Veinglory
    May 3
    3:19 pm

    Perhaps the ‘sisterhood’ approach to the romance writing and publishing business is something we could do without if it involves not letting a reader have and post an opinion about a product. Generally the only time I encounter this much vaunted solidarity is when I am being excluded from it. So I guess I’m a bit cynical about the whole thing 😉


  • Anonymous
    May 3
    3:26 pm

    Haven’t commented before and I have no axe to grind with EC. I will say that I have had problems in the last few years with poor editing in even mainstream books.

    One huge case in point, which actually led to me finding the various reader blogs was Laurell K Hamiltons, “Incubus Dreams”… I had been a huge fan of hers, and was still sticking in there with her (although I hated the ardon’t plot device) until that book came out…

    It literally read like a first draft of a book. I was so frustrated and pissed off that I had paid hardback price for that book, that I actually took it back. Which for me is a first.

    Do I have a right to be ticked off when I pay hard earned money for something that was so substandardly done that it was laughable? I think I do.

    If I buy a self published book, I know what I am getting into. But when a book is put out in less than its best condition, by a publishing house that touts itself on its quality. It is a problem…

    I quit reading reviews at so called “nice” sites a long time ago, after the first 2 dozen times I was burned(I learn slow)… I have bought books on the basis of negative reviews because something in it was interesting… Give me an mean truth over a nice lie, anyday…

    Sallahdog (who has found several great new authors through this blog. )


  • Kate R
    May 3
    3:54 pm

    We have a winner! Emily V.

    That’s the best observation, ever.


  • Shiloh Walker
    May 3
    3:58 pm

    Give me an mean truth over a nice lie, anyday…

    Ooooohhhhhh… I like this…. can we make this into a bumper sticker?

    Generally the only time I encounter this much vaunted solidarity is when I am being excluded from it.

    Kinda sad, but she’s got a point. It seems if we all agreed with those who are singing lets all be positive, we’d be loved. But to have a difference of opinion? Eh…kind of like the cliques in high school. do what we do, say what we say and dress how we dress or you’re just not cool

    I didn’t care for the clique mindset in high school and I don’t care for it now.

    I don’t have use for a lot of the negativity I see online, but that goes both ways… the negativity I’ve seen on blogs when an author goes bashing a reader, the negativity where a lot of readers assume one idiot author means all of us are idiots, the blog wars, the flame fests, and the negativity that’s thinly veiled as a sunny, happy lets all be positive and never say bad things….and then after the hearts and flowers speech goes and slaps at the people who have a different viewpoint.

    Then there is the very weird negativity that seems to be directed at Nora Roberts…. is it me or are a lot of those comments not related to this conversation at all? How in the world does any of this have to do with the RITAs? Apparently there’s drama there that I’m totally ignorant of.

    Karen has valid opinions and she voiced them. Some people agreed, some didn’t and all was going fine until name calling, finger pointing and drama started.

    Was she harsh in the review that started the current drama? Well, yeah…but she has that right. This is her blog. She even warns people…. I’m no Harrient Klausner, Author should not read without a bottle of Jack Daniels at hand. And while that review was harsh…the author sold books off of it.

    Of course, all of that aside, I do have to admit this has all been highly entertaining. I almost popped popcorn for it.


  • Caroline
    May 3
    4:46 pm

    “But previous note said ‘as they were growing.’ No one said one or more genre ezines didn’t exist now. I just wanted to clarify.”

    Esther, perhaps your words would have more validity if you did some homework and checked on your facts before stating them. Sci-fi and fantasy were built by the proliferation of journals, magazines and fanzines.

    Weird Tales was created in 1923. Astounding Stories/Analog was created in 1930 and is the longest-running science fiction magazine of all time. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction was created in 1949, and so many other pulp magazines were created for science fiction and fantasy around that time that I’d need a much bigger space than this to name them all. And today there are so many fantasy and science fiction journals, magazines and ezines, that it’s impossible to even KNOW them all.

    Mystery doesn’t have its magazines? I guess you’ve never heard of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, created in 1941. Or Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, started in 1956. Or Black Mask, launched in the 20s.

    Please. Before you accuse other people of being uneducated, perhaps you should educate yourself.


  • Kate
    May 3
    5:47 pm

    Obviously SOMEONE couldn’t read the blog title.


  • Rashenbo
    May 3
    6:40 pm

    Dumbstruck… that’s what I am, I’ve been struck by the dumb stick. Someone came in and just started whacking around with it.

    It’s hard for me to think it’s really the “real” person… is it?

    Just craziness.


  • Jenna Bayley-Burke
    May 3
    8:17 pm

    That letter is LONG! I mean…make your point and get out. Don’t trip yourself up by trying to sell THE SECRET & FOUR STATEMENTS OF LIFE.

    And I’m with Kate…the title of the blog is a warning. If you don’t want an honest opinion…blogsurf elsewhere. I’ve been put on blogblast, but what had more impact was a private email explaining how what I said was interpreted, not the personal slams. But then…drama creates blog traffic I guess.


  • Diana Castilleja
    May 3
    8:31 pm

    Okay, I’m new here, but I read the blog AND the review blog that created this insanity. Um… Bottom line.

    It’s an opinion. Whoever wrote that long diatribe (withholding judgment as to the actual creator) took the whole thing too personally. I could really go on about writers, our lives, the time we languish, slave blahblahblah… but that’s already been covered.

    Reviews are opinions. Some are good, some suck. I have never bought an EC book, mostly b/c I’m not an erotic reader. My choice. Does that make me awful for reading the review? Does that make me want to slit my wrists?


    The review was truthful in one person’s opinion.

    Take it or leave it.

    And move on.


  • spinsterwitch
    May 3
    9:48 pm

    I hope I’m not being redundant in what I’m about to say, as there were more comments than I wanted to read through carefully.

    I’m new here…read about the controversy on Smart Bitches. I have to say that the review was actually quite amusing. You did warn the author to look away and any editor worth her salt would want to have the kind of feedback that you gave.

    I find the response of Falk to be absolutely mystifying. As a small business owner, if I were aware of such a poor critique of one of my products, I would want to examine what was said to see if I felt it was valid.

    E-presses have, to my outsider view, had to do battle with the image that they are not “real” publisher. In such a situation, one would imagine that the quality of their published works would be held to certain standards that, even from the brief exerpts I read, that particular book did not.

    I have to admit that I stopped reading the letter long before it was done. Hopefully, I didn’t miss anything vital, otherwise my comment might cause scores of suicides in some editors office somewhere.


  • emdee
    May 3
    11:13 pm

    The Smart Bitches called Ms. Falk about this whole mess. She claims someone hacked into her computer. WTF?


  • Jennifer McK
    May 3
    11:57 pm

    Just wanted to say that I didn’t mean to slam the author, who hasn’t said a word.
    That was bad communication on my part.
    It does seem that the negative response to honest reviews (such as this letter) keeps reviews….careful. Shoot, I’m not brave enough to get on my blog and do it!!!! Cowardly? Probably.
    Kudos to Ms. Falk for giving honest reviews regardless of the response.
    And Emily Veinglory nails it as usual.


  • Ciar Cullen
    May 4
    12:22 am

    That letter is long, Jenna! I can’t add much, except that I’m one of those new EC writers you hear about. Evidently we all just suck the big one (except Mrs. Giggles didn’t hate everything I’ve done, so evidently she’s on crack or something). I’m not ready to jump off a bridge or call the honorable president just yet. Maybe because I’m on my meds. I’m having a lot of trouble believing that letter is for real. Romancing the Blog recently hosted a different topic (sorry, can’t remember who posted it), in which romance writers are supposed to defend, review, blog and generally pump up the volume for romance. I guess El Presidente read it? Crickey.


  • Jennifer McK
    May 4
    12:59 am

    Ooops See? I just shouldn’t post my opinion. *rolls eyes*.
    Not Ms. Falk. I meant Karen. Sheesh.


  • Anonymous
    May 4
    1:29 am

    FWIW, this business is now listed on Galleycat.


  • Ann(ie)
    May 4
    6:02 pm

    if you’ve lost faith in RT after this, give your dough to Affaire de Coeur. I don’t think they’re crazy.


  • wendy
    May 5
    9:56 pm

    Karen, my sister is heading off to buy books at Intrigue today and I will ask her to quiz Margaret Bell. If MB is not at the shop then I will speak to her when she gets back.


  • Anonymous
    May 8
    9:19 am

    Hi Everyone

    It has recently been brought to our (Margaret Bell and I) attention by some concerned bloggers (thanks very much for advising us) that a rather inflammatory post was made by Kathryn Falk and co-signed by Margaret and myself.

    I would like to confirm that Margaret and I were guests of Kathryn’s at the time the post was made, however we were out sightseeing in Galveston all day and were not aware of what had transpired.

    Having read the post, we would like to state that for the record that this “Rhetoric” does not represent either Margaret’s or my views. We have further advised said blogger of our feelings on the matter.

    As Australian Book Sellers and Lovers of Romance, we love all aspects of our business and quite frankly this kind of bullshit just pisses us off.

    We are all about, putting Romance into our readers’ hands, giving authors the opportunities to talk to Aussie readers, selling autographed/personalized books, distributing Pre-release bookmarks and giving readers the best service possible.

    All of these things make a difference to readers and authors, keep the good stuff coming.


    Rosemary and Margaret
    Australian Book Sellers


  • Adenine
    May 11
    9:37 am

    This reminds me of those fanfic authors who whine at snarky MST3K-style reviews of their stories. This lady is saying the same thing they are (“OMG UR SO MEEN N UR JUS JELOUSE!”)…except with proper grammar and spelling.

    (Haha, I hope that made sense, it’s like 2:30 AM here and I really need to sleep…)


  • […] the Mean Girls of RomLand? How about when that batshit crazy Kathryn Falk, CEO of Romantic Times accused me of potentially causing authors to commit suicide due to my less than sugary reviews? And the small e-publisher flame-outs that used to happen on a weekly basis? Remember the batshit […]

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