Making lists, checking them twice.

27 Aug

This post has existed in draft form for…well, yikes, almost two full years. Something came to light yesterday, that made me come back to it. And you, lucky readers, get to read my thoughts.

As I’ve mentioned before here and elsewhere, I do have a list of authors who, in my opinion, behave badly.¹  And, since my time, emotional labor, energy, and money, are limited, I quite simply refuse to even try their work. It’s still, at least in this small area, a free country.

By the same token, I have a much, much, much longer list of incredible people who are authors who will always get my support.

Viv Arend vis a vis Deborah Smith

Guess who goes in which list?

Here’s a handy decoder: I will try, within my small budget and my small voice, to support authors whose beliefs are similar to mine.

Authors who believe that women are full human beings. Authors who believe that love is love, however your skin stretches. Authors who refuse to whitewash history, or to pretend that people of color haven’t played pivotal roles in the advancement of civilization, from scientific to technological to political matters. Authors who don’t shy from tackling social issues while writing fiction–particularly romance.

Some of these authors may be problematic in some ways, because none of us is perfect, but for the most part, they are people who are self-aware, and who are willing to continue learning, and to share these insights with their readers, not only in their writing, but in life.

On the other hand, there are multiple reasons why I won’t review, or read, an author, beyond the (always subjective) quality of their work:

  • They are racists and/or support racists and racist practices
  • They are bigots and/or support bigots and bigoted practices
  • They fly off the handle and call their readers ‘cunts’ (because they left a review that wasn’t positive enough for the writer’s liking)
  • They call for professional organizations to stop becoming more inclusive, both on race and gender issues
  • They call reviewers “the book Taliban”
  • They offer an ARC, demanding a ‘good’ (meaning positive) review
  • They defend an actual Nazi, because “he’s such a good teacher” (I shudder to think what he’s teaching those children)
  • They write books where the Nazi Kommandant at one of the deadliest concentration camps of WWII is ‘redeemed’ by…something–or they defend such books as ‘romances’ and call the author ‘brave’
  • They write books about the ‘romance’ between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings–or they defend those books and their authors
  • They claim that it’s historically accurate to exclude people of color from ALL historical romances (or fiction) set in Europe
  • They only write people of color or GLBQT+ characters as villains, as victims, to kill them off, or as perennially miserable people in all ways
  • They have lied and catfished entire communities of readers and fellow authors, then offered a non-apology (who’d’ve thought there would be more than one of these?)
  • They want genre fiction’s money–particularly genre romance’s money–but consider both genre fiction and its readers ignorant, unsophisticated idiots
  • They have plagiarized
  • They want to ‘debate’ the historical accuracy of happy endings and joy for people of color, or for GLBQT+ people
  • They demonize mental illness or gender fluidity
  • They fetichize ethnicities and/or gender identities (writing sheikh heroes with no discernible ethnic identity; writing m/m for a purely cis female market; writing ‘noble Savage’ characters, etc)
  • They defend abhorrent ideas and/or behaviours by saying, “well, this person has always been nice to me/mine”
  • They deny the very existence of discrimination of any kind, because “it hasn’t happened to me/mine”
  • They claim to want to ‘make RWA great again’ (yes, for real)
  • They say that inclusion and diversity are ‘reverse racism’ –unironically

There have been authors whose work I’ve loved, who have since shown how little consideration they have for the lives of people who don’t look like them, or love like them, or believe like them. It breaks my heart when I learn that I’ve found comfort in the work of assholes, bigots, racists and xenophobes.

But I rather know this about them, however late, so I can stop putting any of my hard earned money in their pockets, or investing any of my emotional energy on them and their work. They clearly don’t value me, or anything I care about, so they should be perfectly fine with my judging them and their beliefs about me and mine, and finding them wanting.

And if they are not, they can go pound sand.

~ * ~

¹ I may or may not, at some point, share the whole thing here–it depends on how strong my state’s antiSLAPP statute is. Because, not defaming will not protect anyone from a vexatious lawsuit *coughECvDAcough²* and since I’m  not in a particularly $safe$ position, it behooves me be at least a tad careful. I have links and receipts, and the list is all about my opinion, but…well, assholes who want to and can afford it, will be assholes.

² For those among us surprised by the fact that EC sued DA…see this.

As far as the image goes, and for those who are into ancient history, here’s a post from Karen Knows Best, dated January 2008, with over 150 comments and some links to even more ancient engagement between Ms Smith, book bloggers, and any authors who are not her.

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