(reblogged because so many of us found self and safety in and through books, and so many of us have had dreams shattered. may there be comfort in company. -- LAWH)
ONCE UPON A TIME, a book saved a teenage girl from a world of depression, and erased the idea that she was worthless and was better not living on this Earth. As ridiculous as it may sound that a book could build up a young girl’s confidence and make her believe she belonged on this earth, that young girl found something inside herself she didn’t know she had. She had creativity. That book that saved her, and the thousands of others she read years later kept her strong by welcoming her into fantasy worlds, introducing her to amazing characters and stories that would influence her to pen her own creativity to paper. Authors became her idols, so much so she wanted to be one.
There were three specific authors who made me want to be a writer in the hopes of being published one day. They were Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephen King and Anne Rice (the irony that they are romance authors isn’t lost on me since I’m a hardcore fan of the romance genre.). Stephen King’s The Stand is my all-time favorite book in the history of literature. I first read The Stand when I was seventeen. King is the reason I enjoy character driven novels and ones with secondary story lines. I was introduced to Laurell K. Hamilton 18 years ago because of the TV Show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had just started reading paranormal fiction/romance then. I noticed Guilty Pleasures, the first book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series on a whim. Anita Blake is an example of the kick ass heroine we now know as today found in Urban and Paranormal Fiction. Then there was Anne Rice. The reason I read Anne Rice was because of the movie, Interview with a Vampire. She made me want to read more vampire fiction, specifically vampire romance. The Mummy, or Rameses the Dead was my favorite book of hers.
In light of recent events online, my long term respect and idol worship for one of these authors has died a fiery death. I have lost all respect for Anne Rice. I now have this yawning emptiness that is still with me days later after I came to this conclusion. An author who I once put on a pedestal, who I admired and helped me build up my confidence, not only with my writing, but in other outlets of my life, MY IDOL has destroyed a small piece of myself. I was a fool, mistaken with my admiration, and because of that it hurts so much.
My respect for Anne Rice has slowly waned in the last two years. It started when she gave her full support to the STGRB blog, a site, run by anonymous people who feel they are doing the world a great service by pointing out so-called reviewing bullies on Goodreads. I was even a subject there, and I don’t remember the correct words used, but something along the lines of me being damaged and disturbed because they feel I’m a bully reviewer. Then when Anne Rice gave her support to author Kathleen Hale, who admitted to doxxing, stalking and confronting a reviewer on Goodreads for daring to give her book a bad review, another piece of my heart broke. The final step happened this week all because another author dared to speak out about a 19 page, .99 cent erotic short title: Thomas Jefferson's Mistress: Werewolf Fetish Vampire MILF Sex Slave by Fiona Free Man:
“This is a sexy thrilling short story about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Sally was given the title of Vampire Mistress and was a MILF vampire sex slave in BDSM bondage. This is an erotic bundle of short stories written by members of a nudist colony. The couple will travel to remote parts of world and visit naked tribes and nudist colonies in exotic locations."
(Sounds tasteless, right? Some may say, so what historical names were used? Replace Thomas Jefferson with Adolf Hitler, and Sally Hemings with Anne Frank. So now it’s Adolf Hitler’s Mistress: Werewolf Fetish Vampire MILF Sex Slave with Anne Frank as the sex slave. Would that be as acceptable?)
Author, Jenny Trout wrote a blog post about how horrified she was by this book and told people not to buy it. She stuck to her ground and had an argument with someone (I won’t dignify by posting that person’s name here because that person doesn’t deserve to have their name on my blog) on Twitter. This person, who refused to understand Jenny’s point, may have gone to Anne Rice, who dedicated a post on her Facebook page, she calls People of the Page about bully reviewers and how Jenny Trout is one of them, posting a picture of Jenny that Jenny took after her argument with this person that continued to fall on deaf ears.
Because Anne Rice is an idol to so many and has reached celebrity status, showing that picture (alone it does look bad but is taken out of context because she doesn’t show everything leading up to it) and praising STGRB as the end all and be all, and no other proof is needed (you post proof to show the opposite, Anne deletes it), over 100,000 people have read that page and came to the conclusion that Jenny is a “gangstar bully”- Anne’s words. They now believe Jenny supports pirating books and is ruining authors’ careers- specifically Fiona Free Man, among being a gangbanger because of her tattoos. As well as she's not a Christian, and wants pity because she throws the fact around she was once a rape victim in people’s faces. Also as a Caucasian woman, why should Jenny care about a slave master like Thomas Jefferson, who started raping his slave, the 14 year old Sally Hemings when he was in his mid-40’s and impregnated her 6 times? (all these comments have been left on Anne’s Facebook post).
I think people should have a stance about something. Most of us do. But Anne Rice’s recent jaw dropping stances to the People of her Page, mainly this recent one has soiled and sullied my memory of her, so much so that for the first time I had to leave a comment on her Facebook:
“Anne, you were once my literary idols growing up, so much so that I became a writer and embraced paranormal fiction because of you. After 25 years I have lost all respect for you. Based on this post because of your blind acceptance of THAT SITE that has doxxed and bullied people, myself included, your legacy has been ruined. A very sad day for me as a once beloved fan. Perhaps you should read another opinion because there are two sides to every story.”
She deleted my comment soon after. I had a feeling it would happen. I wonder what she thought about my comment, knowing she had lost a longtime fan of two decades whose respect for her has died. Probably not much because I’m pretty much a nobody, one in a long line of fans she still has who will believe every word she says without all the facts, and still applaud and admire her for it.
I have an incredible sense of loss. It’s like my foundation has been rocked off its axis. Authors are my main idols, the one I look up to because they have given me so much personally. Like most loses, it will take me some time to get over it. Because of the death of my respect for Anne Rice, I haven’t found the urge to read a book in days. If you knew me, you would understand how bad this has hit me. I read every single day if I can. For me to not read because I don’t want to is tragic. Books are my lifeline. Books keep me going, to escape the harsh realities of this world. Anne Rice has taken that away from me because of her support for the STGRB blog and her disgust over book reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads, which in her mind makes me a horrible, jealous hater, gangster bully.
This week I received an email from a publicist at Penguin inquiring if I would be interested in reading Anne Rice’s Beauty’s Kingdom, the next book in her erotic Sleeping Beauty series. For the first time ever since I started my blog, I wrote back to a publicist rejecting the book:
“I will pass seeing as Anne Rice supports authors who stalk reviewers, such as YA author, Kathleen Hale who showed up at a reviewer's house to confront them, including supporting the STGRB blog website that doxes readers and reviewers. If I gave anything less than a glowing review of for Beauty's Kingdom, I would be afraid Anne would attack me on her Facebook, as she does many readers and reviewers who give poor reviews of her books.”
The response back from the publicist: “Thank you for your feedback.”
I didn’t expect a meaningful response from the publicist because she is just doing her job. I was interested in reading Beauty’s Kingdom because Anne’s Sleeping Beauty series influenced me to write The Gate, the first full length book I ever self-published, a heavily BDSM erotic romance. I even thanked Anne Rice in my acknowledgments because she pushed the envelope, which gave me the strength to do the same with The Gate.
Anne Rice’s influence in my life as a reader and writer is gone. She no longer exists in my reading world. Twenty years of respect and admiration has been destroyed, and in its place is a sad and pathetic reminder that I was so wrong about a person who I once held up to the sun.
The young girl inside of me who looked to books to save her is mourning. Unlike most of the books she read that has a Happily Ever After, this one doesn't have one. Instead, it’s a horrible tragedy.