Is this a clear case of literary crucifixion?

Unless they are masochistic, no one likes to be attacked. The following is a classic example of a troll attack by someone who cultivates a friendly countenance to the world. I’ve known this person for a few years now. Hell, I like him. Until the other side of his Jekyle and Hyde persona appears when he is asked to provide a review that is.

Luckily I managed to persuade the individual concerned not to post what he considers is an honest review. For those of you who have already read and reviewed Autumn 1066, decide for yourselves if you agree with his brutal crucifixion of the historical account. Who knows what motivated him to go on the offensive? Only he can answer that…

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“Autumn 1066 reminded me of one of those dramatized historical TV documentaries. You get the narrator telling you what’s going on and you occasionally meet a few characters in a dramatized fashion, to explore their thoughts and feelings. Eason follows a similar format, which makes it hard for me to classify this. It’s not a novel (or novelette, given its brevity), nor is it a history book.

If you are hoping for a historical novel in the style of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, you will be disappointed. Eason doesn’t delve in historical details or characters, offering instead mere glimpses of people’s thoughts and motivations. If, however, you are looking for a brief introduction to some of the key players in the making of England, then this may be the perfect book for you.”

To be honest, I would give it 3 stars. It was good, but I personally dislike 3rd-person narratives and got lost among all the similar-sounding names (Harold, Harald, Hardrada, Aldred, etc) and wished I could empathize more with any of them. The most sympathetic character was Cynric, and I wished the story was told from his point of view. Although it’s probably just as well, as we don’t even find out what happens to him (I assume he dies in battle, of course). Also, the price felt rather steep: each of my own Pearseus books sells for $2.99 and is almost 100,000 words long. Expect a lot of trolling if you keep it at that price.

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So there you have it. Under no circumstances will I name the individual. I don’t have to as he did that himself indirectly when he mentioned a series of books he penned. I will say that the person concerned is well-known and liked in the blogosphere and Social Media circles.

This was my reply to him:

God almighty man you do like to put the knife in don’t you? You got one thing right in what can only be described as your rant. As the story is historically correct I wrote it as a docudrama. Meaning I put in one or two fictional characters.
Harold Godwinson, Harald Sigurdsson (Hardrada) – your right they are similar sounding. Not surprising really as the Anglo-Saxons (Germanic), Norwegian Vikings, together with William and his troops (also of Viking descent) all have similar names.
You say you’re not sure what happened to Cynric. If you read the last couple of pages again you will see that his uncle Aldred dragged him away from the battlefield to safety.

May I suggest you rewrite your review. Anyone reading it will see it for what it is – a sniffy personal attack. If you do post it as it is, you’re doing yourself no favours my friend. None at all…

He replied by saying that: I’m sorry you took it as a personal affront; it wasn’t meant that way. It was just my honest opinion. Since you don’t like it, I won’t publish it.

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A worse case of literary crucifixion I have yet to see! No one likes being attacked by armchair critics, especially those who call you friend to your face while being prepared to stab you in the back…

PS – there is an old adage that goes something like this:- Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This is clearly a case in point.

Bah humbug

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Remember the old days?

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Very few things make me angry, except for corporate greed caused when succeeding governments allowed the following to happen.

Do you remember when we had neighbourhood police patrolling our streets on foot in two’s? Back then they literally knew everybody in their patch. Consequently crime was low. No longer.

What about when your family doctor came to you if you were sick? Does your doctor still visit you at home?

Do you remember when we used to get bills from utilities like electricity suppliers for the actual amount you had used, back when meter readers were employed?

Sadly all of the above, no longer happens since government changed everything for the worse, no matter whether it be Conservative, Labour, or any coalition of political parties.

Today the only time you will see a policeman, or woman, patrolling the streets is in the centre of town. If you need one where you live, forget it. For today’s police it’s too much like hard work to get out into the suburbs on foot since targets were introduced, and patrolling in police vehicles became the norm.

The same applies to your doctor. Once upon a time they actually cared about their patients. Not so today. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570597/Three-week-wait-doctor-Millions-patients-denied-prompt-appointment-GP.html  Is it any wonder that with such a long time between you applying – yes I did say applying for an appointment with a general practioner, and you actually getting it, that so many have totally lost all faith in the system, and gone to their nearest Accident and Emergency department? Inevitably when you get there, you are faced with long waiting times, in the worst cases, several days before you are attended too. Is it any wonder that our hospitals are grinding to a standstill when patients can’t get to see their GP within twenty-four hours or less? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30679949

Even our postal service leaves much to be desired since Royal Mail was privatised.

But the worst by far is the electricity providers. Take Scottish and Southern Electricity as a typical example of how what was formerly a public utility run by the government on our behalf, has become yet another greedy corporation.

Once upon a time when we got an electricity bill, we knew that it was only for the actual amount of electricity we had used in any given month, or quarter. No longer. These days the lazy sods can’t even be bothered to come round and actually read each home’s electricity meter. Instead, periodically they send out a letter to their consumers asking us to do their damned job for them. I received another one of these letters yesterday morning. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except for one tiny point – we are no longer billed for how much electricity we actually use! Instead what we get is a demand for x amount based on guesswork to ensure their shares look good on the share markets of the world!

When they ask that we read our own meters twice, normally with a two hour gap between readings, you know damned well that all they will do is guestimate how much electricity you have used. This is nothing more than a licence to fleece the consumer! To all of them we are nothing more than cash cows to be milked at every opportunity. What really sickens me is that most of us simply do as we are told like sheep. Well I’m no sheep! I flatly refuse to do their job for them. I did it a couple of times in the past with a previous electricity supplier, British Gas, but it made no difference. If anything the amount due increased to ensure their market share.

As for Scottish and Southern’s latest letter, they know what my answer will be. When hell freezes over you bastards. If you were actually going to bill me for the actual amount of electricity I have used, fair enough. But you are not are you?

With the UK general election coming up in May, the only politician I will vote for is the one brave enough to actually do something about returning sanity to all of the above, not just pay lip service to the issues I have raised to receive his, or her, £67,060 pa as a back bencher in the Palace of Westminster. A chance would be a fine thing…

PS – I haven’t even made mention of that other area of corporate greed and sheer incompetence since being privatised – our railways. Whoops, now I have.

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Feeling Totally Pissed Off!

Postman-Pat

Not too many years ago, there was one person visiting your neighbourhood on a daily basis that you could always rely upon to knock on your door whenever he or she had a parcel for you. I refer to your friendly postperson. No longer. Since Royal Mail became privatised, time and motion studies dictate that the postmen or women must get round his or her ‘Walk’ in as short a time as possible, to the detriment of their customers.

The one who delivers the mail around here is a feckless idiot, especially on a saturday! He has been on this ‘Walk’ for years. Therefore he knows all of us in the close I live in. For instance he is well aware that I am housebound. Yet, when it comes to delivering anything other than letters which he can push through my letter box, like a small package, what does he do? I’ll tell you. Instead of knocking on my door, he takes a few moments to fill out one of those package pickup cards and then posts that through my letter box instead!!!

Five times now he has followed this procedure whenever something I have ordered left the warehouse via Royal Mail, instead of a courier. I sent an email to the particular company concerned informing them that if they want their product back, they had better contact my local Post Office, as that’s where its being held.

Royal Mail doesn’t even know the meaning of the words ‘Customer Service’!!!!

Bah Bloody Humbug!

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The Problem With Some Book Reviews

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When it comes to writing a book review, there is only one extremely simple thing for you to remember – if you have nothing positive or constructive to offer, say nothing.

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Since the general public found that they can now write a book review on sites like Amazon, it was inevitable that a few bitter and twisted individuals would rise to the surface. If what I am about to say sounds harsh to you, just think about the one, two and three star reviews written by people who have never read, let alone written, anything more complicated than a shopping list in their entire lives. Or for some totally unfathomable reason, believe that because they never actually bought a copy of the book they positively hate, that somehow or other it gives them the right to inflict their bile and hatred not only on the book, but also its author.

The greater majority of you are normal decent people, unlike the average internet troll(s). Even if they had bought a copy of the book, rather than venting their spleen it would be far better that they refrain if the book was not to their liking. But trolls are not normal, neither are they decent members of society.

From the point of view of the author of the book in question, there is one cardinal rule when you find your book and yourself have become the subject of troll attack – never rise to the bait. Even if you are seriously tempted, don’t say anything in reply to their review. Ignore them! While they may believe that what they say in their review will convince potential readers not to buy a copy, the reverse is often true. When people see highly negative reviews, at the very least it makes them curious enough to want to make up their own minds by buying and reading the book.

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Here are a few examples of the kinds of reviews I’m talking about, in this case one star reviews written about some classic works of literature, in this instance not necessarily by trolls, more than likely from paid literary critics :-

Plato’s – The Republic “it’s important that you all understand that Western society is based on the fallacy-ridden ramblings of an idiot.”

Dante – The Divine Comedy “The most worrisome part of this book is that Dante left out one circle of Hell… The one where you are forced to read this book.”

F.Scott Fitzgerald – The Beautiful and Damned “Does it get any worse than F. Scott Fuckgerald? The only thing good about this bastard is that he’s dead…”

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Now for two typical one star reviews from trolls on Amazon:-

William S Burroughs – Naked Lunch “This is probably the worst thing I have ever read. It is just a jumble of nonsence words from a junk basard. i love the Beat Generation, but come on Bill!!! … F@#$ You, Bill BURROUGHS!!! I’ve heard good things about Junky though. I might read that one.”

Amazon Reviewer – Charlie the Champion

Stephen Colbert’s – I Am America “I love the Colbert Report sometimes and hated this book all of the time.

Amazon Reviewer – Concerned Citizen

Notice the incorrect spelling and punctuation, and how neither of them actually used their name, preferring to hide behind a pseudonym. Most one star reviewers don’t even bother to edit their review before clicking on the ‘publish’ button as witnessed above.

So, the next time you think you have the right to slate a book and its author, especially if you didn’t even have the decency to purchase a copy – think again! Better still, stop making fools of yourselves and get a life…

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This article appeared in the New Statesman. I urge you all, both writers and book lovers, to read it – http://www.newstatesman.com/voices/2014/03/your-book-sucks-are-authors-being-bullied-one-star-amazon-reviews

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Lastly, why not support all writers by signing this petition. If you are on the side of common decency it is your duty to do so. This petition needs not just hundreds, but hundreds of thousands, even millions like you and I to sign it before book sites like Amazon will be forced to listen and stop siding with the trolls, by allowing them to get away with their often vicious attacks. If the attacks were physical, would the police do nothing? No. So why should Amazon condone what is happening on a daily basis?

https://www.change.org/petitions/amazon-com-protect-amazon-com-users-and-indie-publishing-authors-from-bullying-and-harassment-by-removing-anonymity-and-requiring-identity-verification-for-reviewing-and-forum-participation

Thank you for adding your name to the petition alongside mine.

PS – it might also pay you to read this:- http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/amazon-reviews-and-keyword-stacking/

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Let me guess, you are perfect!!!

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pedantic pɪˈdantɪk/ adjective: pedantic excessively concerned with minor details or rules; overscrupulous.
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Sorry for this rant folks, but earlier today I witnessed a leading author and friend of mine being taken to task on Facebook by a nitpicking pedant. Without naming names, here are the comments in the order they were posted:-
Pedant – You missed a full stop and comma on page 93.
Author – I love you too.
Me in defence of my friend – Let me guess, you are perfect.
Author to me – Jack. As you know yourself, even with the best editors there’s always some errors that remain undetected.
Me – Exactly.
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Idiots like this particular individual usually hide behind pseudonyms delivering their attacks via one star reviews. They are complete wankers! When it comes to pedants and other assorted toss pots I usually refrain from responding. But in this instance as the pedant in question was attacking a friend of mine on a public forum, using his own name. I think you get the picture…
So what if my friend’s publisher’s team of professional editors missed a full stop and a comma. Shit happens. Big f…ing deal!!! Sorry about the expletives here folks. Its just that I get heartily sick of these holier than thou idiots. Score one for all writers, and nil for pedants and others of their ilk…
Sooner or later every writer gets attacked by these morons, usually only via one star reviews. This was a heaven sent opportunity for one writer (me) to support another (my friend). It doesn’t help matters when online publishers and certain author groups in various social media sites declare that they see nothing wrong with writers being attacked by these low life scumbags.
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Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

If you’re a writer, you already know this if you’ve published a book and it appears on Amazon and Goodreads…

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists.

I Hate Animal Cruelty!

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Yesterday while perusing Facebook I came across yet another disgusting animal cruelty post. Like our good friend Chris – The Storyreading Ape, I am totally sickened by these posts. So I thought I’d do something about it. I clicked on the top righthand corner of the post and followed the drop down menu for complaints. When asked why I wished to complain I clicked on the ‘animal cruelty‘ button. Almost immediately the offending post disappeared. That was that I naively thought.

A few hours later I received the following from Facebook via email:

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the share you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

They couldn’t even get that right! Graphic violence? I specifically reported animal cruelty!!!

The fact that the post was provided by the Daily Mail, a leading newspaper here in the UK, couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it, could it? No, perish the thought that they might upset a major daily and possibly a corporate shareholder.

Silly cynical old me…

Clearly when it comes to Facebook’s much vaunted Community Standards, they only pay lip service to it. Were you or I to post such an offensive item, you can bet your sweet life it would be deleted and we would be censured! If we continued, they would close down our account immediately.

Chances are that when I press the ‘publish’ button for this post, and it automatically appears on my own Facebook page, they will take exception to it. Well to hell with them!!!

In instances like this, Facebook is nothing more than the internet equivalent of the lowest form of gutter press when it comes to things like animal cruelty and other assorted questionable posts. It’s a pity because when it comes to keeping up with our friends, it is a brilliant medium. Do any other social media sites condone animal cruelty? Pinterest doesn’t I know. If anyone knows of a social media site with all encompassing legitimate ethics, please tell me and I’ll swap sites.

Shame on you Facebook. Do the decent thing for once, delete all animal cruelty posts.

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Ruminations of a Remembrancer: A Curmudgeonly Pontification on Editors and Self-Promotion

Lorinda J. Taylor goes into battle against editors and other things that annoy her. 😀

Ruminations of a Remembrancer: A Curmudgeonly Pontification on Editors and Self-Promotion.

There Is Nowt Queerer Than Folk

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People in general are probably the most complicated, dangerous, confusing, annoying, tiresome, argumentative, frustrating, angry, illogical, emotional and idiotic creatures roaming this planet of ours. Don’t even get me going on the differences between the genders…

To begin with, the greater majority of mankind believes in some form of non existant all powerful entity. Why? What’s wrong with standing on your own two feet? To any logical thinking being, any form of religion makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Where is this all powerful being when we need them the most, like when we are involved in a war, or are suffering a family crisis? Nowhere, that’s where! So why bow down to them? It makes no sense at all.

Religion is hardly peaceful or benevolent, despite everything its devotees preach. Each religion believes it is the only true one, conning its faithful into thinking that all the others are unbelievers to be destroyed! I’ve lost count of the number of wars that were, and still are, being fought in its name – an ugly trait of those who still believe that they are still the masters of all mankind. It seems that we can’t get through a single century without declaring war on each other. Once again, why is that? In the days of yore the common people were given no choice in anything. Once upon a time we were ruled by Emperors, Kings, Dukes, Earls, Barrons and tribal Chieftains. What they decreed simply happened.

I’ve got news for you people. These days we do have a choice, despite what our political and religious leaders may say. Our politicians, backed by the more fantical religions, have taken over from any kind of royalty, prosecuting wars in other lands like there is no tomorrow, usually because those countries are oil rich. While we can’t do much about the religious fanatics, except ignore them, every few years we do get the chance to vote out the political party that is annoying and frustrating us the most. The real trouble is that instead of thinking first, many simply give their vote to a specific political party because that’s the way their family members and them have always done it. In my own case, I usually vote for the Labour party. Why do I do that? Habit, pure and simple!

More and more these days people simply don’t bother to vote, believing that their one vote won’t make any difference. Total rubbish!

With barely a fortnight to go, the good people of Scotland will get the chance to vote, either for independence from the rest of the UK, or to maintain the status quo. This is a historic moment in the history of these islands. The Scots won’t get another chance like this in the forseeable future. The political pundits and polls suggest that both sides of the argument, for and against, are about even. When have polls and pundits ever got anything right when it comes to elections, or in this case, probably the most important referendum that Scotland will vote on?

Since the Jacobites were beaten in the eighteenth century, ending any previous thoughts of Scots’ independance, the proud nation has been nothing more than a vassal state of England. Despite all of the scaremongering and threats from the UK parliament, personally I hope that Scotland achieves it dream to break away from the houses of parliament, otherwise known as Westminster, once and for all.

Role on the eighteenth of September…

Remember That Words Are Our Craft

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As writers we are always on the lookout for those personality traits which each human being has within them when creating our characters.

To that end, besides acting as a means for our readers to get to know us, blogs are a positive gold mine, especially when certain commenters lose their composure, and drop their guard. Remember that words are our craft. What you say, or don’t say, how you react to a post, gives all of us useful information to draw upon. So don’t be surprised if one day when you are reading one of our books, that a particular character seems very familiar to you.

People simply can’t help themselves when any blogger writes a piece that they feel needs to be commented on. Some have extremely strong views on a specific subject. Others simply agree with what was said. Yesterday’s post on spamming and unsolicited book links in proposed comments certainly qualified. One or two of the commenters where forthright in their opinions.

Some hopefuls even attempted to chastise the blogger in question, taking offence at what was said, often resorting to foul languge. Needless to say, certain comments wind up in the bin, unpublished, having given us useful information for a particular type of future character, usually of the evil kind.  Still others tend to go off at a tangent, talking about something else entirely.

So, to all of you, bear in mind that once your comment has been approved by the blogger, literally everyone who reads the blog, and your comments, instantly forms their own opinion about you. In short, unless you are careful, you will expose your real selves to the world and everyone who reads a blog, intentionally or otherwise.

Having spent twenty-five years in a university in New Zealand, without exception every one of the academics I worked with gave me an endless supply of character traits, which I have used in two of my books. The same can be said for the people I met and served alongside in the military back in the nineteen-sixties. In their case I created military style characters for two of my science fiction novels.

Even talking to our friends give us useful character traits. So, if you don’t want to wind up in any writer’s next novel as a shady, or even a bad character, think long and hard before you loose all sense of decorum…

On second thoughts, don’t. We need you to lay yourselves wide open. Far too many books these days contain shallow uninteresting characters…

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