This story begins with a blogger’s review of an erotic suspense novel, so you might not want to follow the link if certain words offend your sensibilities or those of your work computer’s web-blocking software… How much did Karen Scott hate Ben’s Wildflower? “I’m almost sorry to do this to Ms. [Carol] Lynne,” Scott writes, “but I can’t imagine who thought it was a good idea to put this book out for public consumption… This book was so technically inept that it leads me to indeed wonder what the f— your editor was shooting up, when she offered you a contract for it.” (There’s a lot more, but we can’t quote any of it because it’s on a par with the alt.sex.stories porn archives.)
The matter might have ended with that brief flare of sass and vulgarity, except that Kathryn Falk (left), the CEO of Romantic Times magazine, sent in a long, rambling comment of complaint. The letter veers from how terrible it is to see “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 how awful it is not to support independent presses like Ellora’s Cave (the publisher of the dreck in question), to how “disrespect for our industry and its members reflects the dark nature of the person spewing it.”
“Romance is the most successful genre of all time because people have banded together with a collective consciousness to do good not evil… 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.”
If you think somebody’s been reading from the New Age shelf, you’re right: Falk explicitly recommends The Secret and the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz, while noting that “EVERYTHING IS JUST A THOUGHT and EMOTIONS MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR YOU.” She also notes, quite sensibly, that “successful writers do not dwell on rage and anger and others’ discomfort,” but then she claims that one person was so hurt by Scott’s review that she “is contemplating suicide.” (So I guess that person must not be a very successful writer.) Finally, she says, “anyone who thinks this kind of dialogue on a blog is valuable is truly sick in the heart and the head.” Over at the romance fanblog Dear Author, they’re having fun parsing the letter, and wondering if it was really her. Even Nora Roberts chimes in to say “it sounded exactly like her, imo.” Later posts at Dear Author include a confirmation from Romantic Times staff of Falk’s authorship and the revelation that she will be publishing a novel through a company owned by the owners of Ellora’s Cave later this year. We’re trying to reach her ourselves, and hope to have more on the story later.