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Messages - Lilpenguin1972

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An author on absolutewrite posted an email from kdp executive relations.  No mention of trademark.

Looks like Amazon has finally decided to stay out of it. Good,  because they seemed to have made a bad situation worse.

We can expect a rash of trademarking going forward, now that the lines have been drawn.

Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

They can try,  but I also hope that this will lead to more monitoring of requests.  I doubt this will even be a blip for the PTSO,  but trademark requests can be challenged and rejected quickly with little costs. 

I also hope that anyone pondering doing this will think twice. I am not an author, but I am a reader.  It isn't only authors disgusted by this.   

For anyone who says the big trade orgs have zero pull with Amazon ... think again. 

Absolutely.  But keep in mind it was self published authors who seemed to be the target and RWA acted swiftly, for many authors who were not members.

They have a lot of power because they represent both trade and self published authors. I would say it acts more like a union as opposed to a big 5 publisher. Either way,  it appears they worked tirelessly to get this resolved.

RWA has announced that Amazon has agreed not to remove any titles until this is resolved.  All titles have been reinstated.The RWA deserves all the kudos.

And, while I'm against censorship, I would love to censor the words "censor" and "bully". Both words are used too often. Good grief, if I lived my life as the perpetual victim, I would constantly claim to be a censored victim of bullying.

The book is published by a top 5 publisher.  She probably got a healthy advance. She isn't being censored. It will be released for sale at all major retailers.

Marginalized people are voicing their objection to a book they find to be offensive. They aren't bullies. In fact, the author has decided to rally her fans to go after the critics. I still wouldn't call her a bully.  She is just another example of an author behaving badly. Which, most authors here would agree is a bad idea.

I am well aware that Muslim isn't a race, but it's being used in that way for the purpose of the book, else the character wouldn't worry about her "Muslim features" and the side character that needs to get to Canada could have removed her hijab long enough to reach safety and there would be no book.

This. Most of the reviews of the book have pointed out that being Muslim isn't a race, yet the author seems to think it is. The mother of the MC is worried that her daughter could end up in a camp because she has dark hair and dark eyes. Why? Is this a world where people are rounded up because the fit the stereotypical idea of being Muslim?  If having dark hair, skin and eyes is the test, then the camps would be filled to capacity.  This is a point where world building would have helped a lot. 

I guess it's possible that reviewer (Justina) isn't aware of the Japanese imprisonment during WWII, though I suspect well educated Americans know about that part of our history. It's certainly known in the circles I run in. But the reviewer's criticisms of that part of the novel have to do with the process/feasibility of interning all U.S. Muslims in Nevada not having been explained in the novel. She calls the lack of explanation a "plot hole." That's a craft critique levied by one writer against another and isn't really related to the points the reviewer also makes about the way the book, in her view, "aims to undermine white supremacy and yet ironically ends up clumsily reinforcing it at every page turn." Those points about "reinforcing" "white supremacy" are what the big controversy is about, and the reviewer's evidence for those points has to do with the way the teenage MC and the Muslim woman character are portrayed and interact with one another. If the book had just been accused (fairly or unfairly) of having plot holes, I don't think we'd be hearing about it.

I had several responses, but this summed it up nicely. So, yup, what she said...

You have merely repeated those reviewers' mistakes. Few Americans aware of their own 20th century history could read a story about Muslim internment camps in the desert without linking it to the Japanese American experience. People were interned as being of Japanese heritage because they looked a bit Japanese (which includes having dark hair). The Muslim reviewer is Irish and here in Europe very few know about Japanese American internment. I was fortunate to befriend a Seattle-born Londoner, whose grandparents were unfortunate enough to be sent to the Manzanar concentration camp.

You said originally:

"Justina dismisses the premise of internment camps in Nevada, a dismisal of American history deeply hurtful to Japanese Americans, who were plucked from West Coast rural lives just before the strawberry harvest was due and sent to camps in the desert. There were no internment camps in Nevada, but Manzanar Camp is at the foot of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains."

So, is your problem that she found an interment camp in Nevada unbelievable the offensive part? I'm honestly trying to understand what you are saying, because she never dismissed the idea, only that it wasn't explained how it happened. Muslims aren't a race, they are religious followers of Islam, just like being a Christian who follows the teachings of Christ isn't a race. So, why would being born with brown hair and dark eyes make someone Muslim? It's a religion, so the author didn't even get that part right.  That, from her review, seemed to be the most relevant point. Not that there was a camp in Nevada.

I've just read the Justina Ireland review which is the top-rated one on Goodreads. That review shows the danger of jumping on the this is racist bandwagon without doing your research. Justina dismisses the premise of internment camps in Nevada, a dismisal of American history deeply hurtful to Japanese Americans, who were plucked from West Coast rural lives just before the strawberry harvest was due and sent to camps in the desert. There were no internment camps in Nevada, but Manzanar Camp is at the foot of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Manzanar is now a National Historic Site designed to preserve the memory of the horrors visited by Americans on fellow Americans.  It has a daughter site on Bainbridge Island (off Seattle) The Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, which marks the pier from which the first Japanese Americans were sent off to concentration camps.

I think this is a perfect example of people reading something from a different perspective, because I didn't get that at all from her review.  I read it as her pointing out that the world building was lacking.  How did it happen?  What is the backstory?  Is it all Muslims?  There are many different races who or Muslim, so how does the government go about rounding them up? I believe this is the part of the review you are referring to:

"As I’m not a Muslim I cannot even get into the book’s tired, wrongheaded assumptions about Islam and the terrible worldbuilding of there being a detainment camp out in Nevada where we’re going to send all of the Muslims, but let me touch upon what an amazingly, terrible plot hole this entire thing is. Seriously, there is no mention of whether these are only Arab Muslims or Black Muslims as well and how exactly this undertaking was supposed to happen. Do people get sent to the camp if they convert to Islam? How does one identify a Muslim if they don’t have a quasi-Arabic sounding name? What about Christian and Jewish Arabs? What about Muslims who have left the faith? What about Christian Africans with Arabic names? How could this round up have been peaceful?"

She then goes on to say:

"And this idea of Muslim interment camps is actually THE MOST COMPELLING PART OF THE BOOK. And yet, we don’t get a Muslim narrator living through this experience (which would’ve made this book 100000% better). Instead we have Sarah-Mary narrating for us. Honestly, it’s a bit like having a male character narrate The Handmaid’s Tale."

Reading this thread, it really seems like some are incredibly invested in being offended by people who are offended. 

As to the other reviewer, she has a quote from the book that says, “I showed up with dark hair and dark eyes, and [my mom] worried people would think I was foreign. For all I know, I might have ended up on the registry, sent off to Nevada by mistake.” So, apparently, the government just rounds up dark eyed, dark haired people. That deserves to be mocked.

...and now we're going anti-SFF I see.

It was pretty clear that the poster was pointing out
...and now we're going anti-SFF I see.[/q

I think the point was to illustrate how silly it is to sum up a genre based upon overly used tropes.

And what's the substantive difference that actually makes the difference here? That the books intentionally misplaced in the romance categories quickly disappeared because their sales were tiny compared to the actual romance novels properly placed in the category, whereas, the romance novels intentionally misplaced in the SFF categories quickly rocket to high standing and often stick there for a disproportionate amount of time because romance as a genre sells far better than SFF...which was largely the entire point of indies intentionally misplacing their romance books in the SFF categories.

I'm not reading the thread as anti-romance, just anti-romance writers being intentionally "confused" so they can play off their "mistakes" as honest instead of blatant ranking grabs. I have no issue with romance as a genre or romance writers as a whole, but putting a romance novel on a rocket ship doesn't make it SF any more than putting a romance in a castle makes it fantasy.

"It is difficult to get [someone] to understand something, when [their] salary depends on not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair

I'm curious. Do you read romance?  Because, yes, it is filled with books that aren't romance, many in the top 100.  So, it's a problem. And, yes it goes both ways.  The worst offenders are writers of erotica. Romance readers have been putting up with this for years. Welcome to the club. If anything, it means that SF starting to sell.

I certainly don't think most posters are slamming romance, but there have been a couple of posts that have suggested that romance readers would not be interested in certain genres because, ya know, it's too complex and no kissy bits, and if there is, it's with the gays! 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Seeking To Control Book Price on Other Sites...
« on: February 01, 2017, 01:45:41 PM »
It's not a different price at checkout. They literally change the price on the product page.

That still doesn't sound right. Have you escalated to Hate to say it, but Amazon has outsourced a lot of the CS, so they are provided a script. This goes against everything I know about price matching.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Seeking To Control Book Price on Other Sites...
« on: February 01, 2017, 10:21:37 AM »
From a customer standpoint, this would tick me off no end.  I get price matching a lower price, but forcing me to pay a higher price than listed would cause Amazon a huge amount of backlash.  If they did that, I would never buy the item from Amazon.  Why would I?  That is some bad business, listing a lower price, then suddenly raising the price at checkout. Might as well purchase the item from the place that actually lists the correct price.

If they are implementing this policy, they are going to have a lot of angry customers.  I just don't see Amazon being this stupid.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I always read one-star reviews!
« on: June 18, 2016, 01:31:45 PM »
I usually don't read 1* reviews.  I think it is because I feel they may have been left by malicious trolls who do nothing but criticize their competition.  So I usually read the 3* ones, maybe 2* ones and a couple of 4 and 5 star ones.  Funny how people differ.  But definitely reviews can help a lot to help me decide whether I want to purchase a book or not.

Heh, guess I'm a malicious troll.  It might be good to remember that readers see this thread. The majority of 1 star reviews don't come from malicious trolls, but from consumers.

For example, I have an author who is an autobuy.  Most of her books rank as a 4 or 5 star review. However, she has written a couple of stinkers that I have no problem rating as a 1 star. I love this author, and some of her books rank as some of my best reads. It's not personal at all.  I think most authors understand this.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Etiquette with Reviewers of Your Book
« on: February 05, 2016, 01:28:29 PM »
I am not a writer and normally I really do not want authors commenting on my reviews, negative or positive. However I think it is okay to point a reviewer to the next book in a series if they asked about it.  Maybe don't address the review and simply point the reviewer to your next book? I know if I wanted to continue a series I would appreciate the heads up.

I am searching through my copies and can't find the scenes these lines are from with text search. What's the context? Which scene does this happen in?  Context matters, I could probably pull a few lines of dialog from a lot of books and make things sound terrible.

The second lines do sound terrible. But... they are in emails to each other where they are rationally discussing power exchange, BDSM, and how this kind of relationship would work, plus processing the scene they had the night before.  The context is she's joking that she's glad his hand is sore (from a spanking the night before that she totally consented to and enjoyed) and that she'd leave for Alaska if she listened to her body. It's a joking exchange. Nowhere is there actually anyone threatening anything in a real way... Nor is anyone trying to leave.

Here's the lines before that:

"For the record- you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do. You didn't at any time ask me to stop- you didn't use either safeword. You are an adult- you have choices."

Yeah. Wow. He sounds terrible, doesn't he?

Oh, and her thoughts on reading the above and the bit about him following her to Alaska?

"I scowl at the screen. He's right of course. It's my choice. Hmm. Is he serious about coming to find me? Should I decide to escape for a while?"

She's debating testing him (which she then does). She spends the scene after these emails thinking about how she can have him without his baggage and if she could give what he wants a try. You know, like a thinking, consenting adult. Which she is.

Context matters. :)

Anyway, clearly some people are going to read what they want into a text. It's a work of fiction. I spent years in college reading all kinds of things into all kinds of books. Our experience with them is pretty subjective.  We could go a billion rounds each reading whatever into the text. That's actually the sign of a fairly well-written book in some ways. James did a better job with her characters than a lot of people give credit for. They aren't simple creatures, but messed up people with conflicting desires and emotions. You know, like people. :)

None of that excuses bullying an author and being cruel to another human being just because she wrote a piece of fiction you don't like. Nothing excuses bullying. Period.

Guess we read the book differently, which again, is okay. Did James receive some inappropriate comments? Sure. She agreed to have a Q&A on twitter for Goddess's sake. That does not, however, mean that any and all comments questioning her portrayal of BDSM, rape culture, abuse, and her fanfic roots constitute "bullying". 

And, I'm sorry, but the "context matters" argument doesn't work in this case because in the context of the story, for me, he wasn't joking. He DID stalk her and behave jealously toward her friends. He did attempt to control almost every aspect of her life. Christian alienated Ana to the point of abuse. So, harhar, those emails were hilarious.

This is a book about an alpha male who is into kinky sex, most books about alpha males in the bestsellers chart have intimidating men in them. But he does not rape her physically. He does not force her.

i've experienced sexual assault - rape and from my experience what is described in this book is not rape, sexual assault, dubious consent, forceful acts.

I am very sorry you experienced such a traumatic experience. Truly


That is not a rape scene. People are saying there is rape in this book. Where, please point out exactly where he forces her to have sex with him.
She is a completely inexperienced virgin and yes Christian is a controlling alpha male who stalks her, that has been made clear but he does not rape her at any point.

Using intimidation and fear is rape. However, we have different definitions and that's okay.  Someone wanted proof, so I simply provided a passage that many readers might read as rape.

Question: While you don't view it as rape, would you agree that it is abusive?

What page is the rape scene on then? Cause I can't find it... :P  She gives permission all the time (and in fact he often makes sure before he does anything, asking her if she's sure etc). When she says no, he stops. What exactly is dubious about that? Please point to page numbers.

"How could you be so stupid?"

"I can't do this."

"Oh Ana, don't overthink this."


Later she tries to leave....

"I would find you. I can track your cell phone, remember?"

"He'd probably like to beat seven shades of *&%$ out of me. The thought is depressing."

Read it as you will. Many will read this as threatening.

I scanned through three or four pages of tweets with that hashtag - I didn't see the abusive tweets, just snarky ones. Maybe the abusive tweets came later (or were so far down I didn't see them). The three quoted tweets about 'Please stop writing your drivel' or 'stop abusing the English language' are not bullying. The ones David quoted definitely are bullying remarks. If the majority of the tweets were like that, I was evidently on the wrong page. I don't think anyone needs that kind of muck-throwing.

You weren't.  It's twitter, so there will be some idiots.

The majority of the "abusive" questions were about the problematic elements in the book. James started her career as a fanfic writer. She is not an amateur when it comes to social media.

The fact is that James wrote a controversial book that has received a lot of criticism from the BDSM community, as well as women who are abuse survivors. She knows this.  In fact, when questioned, she has responded in a way that only served to anger said survivors. Rather than dismiss these concerns, perhaps she would be well served to acknowledge the problems so many women read in her books.

BTW. the "rapey" problems many read in her book? Probably because Ana, while agreeing to Christians's demands, her inner "Goddess" makes it clear that she is not happy. It is also clear that the contract cannot be broken.  No safe word. Nothing. For most of the first book, she is sexually satisfied but terrified.  I can't imagine why people in the BDSM lifestyle might find this offensive. Not to mention his abusive tendencies.  Christian looks into her background, stalks her, and alienates her from her friends.

I have no problem with her story being a fantasy. I have a problem with criticizing those who don't see it the same way. And, they have every right to question her without being called bullies.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Nora Roberts needs a Bookbub ad?
« on: November 12, 2014, 02:45:18 PM »
I was hoping for a J D Robb.   Oh wow I typed J D and the tablet typed Robb.

Same here. I don't read Nora, just J.D. Robb, so I was a bit disappointed to find it was an old HQ title.

And, yes, I caught the typo. Teehee.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Nora Roberts needs a Bookbub ad?
« on: November 12, 2014, 11:07:09 AM »
I don't think it's that unusual. It was a Harlequin release from 2011, so it makes sense.  Not like it's one of her bestsellers.

Sorry, sharjo. I have very little sympathy for her.  What she did has probably caused a lot of harm to her victim.  Her essay in the Guardian did not sound like someone who felt bad. In fact, she constantly justified her behavior because her victim was "mean" (with little to no proof, I might add).  After reading the dearauthor blog, who provided actual links, it sounds to me like Hale fixated on this poor woman for months.

An appeal to her humanity would go a lot further if I felt like she was even a little bit sorry for the pain she caused her victim.  I'll save my sympathy for the reviewer. You know, the actual victim. The more I find out about Hale, the more I find her to be a person lacking in empathy.

I'll say it again. Hale is not the victim.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
« on: August 14, 2014, 11:37:46 PM »
I searched the Kindle Store at using the phrase "Hachette Book Group" and sorted results on price from high to low.

After accounting for the few audiobooks included in results, I count 204 e-books priced at $14.99 and another 393 above that price.

So, we are clear. You found about 600 ebooks? Let's say Hachette publishes 1000 books each year (very conservative number). This doesn't include books that are still in print. So, out of about 100000 books (still conservative), you found 600. BTW, many of those expensive ebooks were box sets.

Obviously, it's an epidemic.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
« on: August 12, 2014, 06:13:42 PM »
I know I was ignored the last time I asked this question, but how many of Hachette's titles are 14.99?  I looked at the NYT bestseller list, and I don't see any ebooks over $13. I just purchased a NYT bestseller, currently in hardcover, in ebook for $11. 

BTW, the author whose book I just bought...I found about 12 of her books below $7.  In fact, the books in her bestselling series all sell below $7. 

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