Temper your words wisely… they can be a dangerous weapon


Most of us in the Indie writing community have heard about the recent drama on Facebook. There was an accusation made against someone, an Indie Designer, Lee Ching… that accusation (unsubstantiated as far as I know) led a group of 80+ people to attack the accused through messenger. The messages alledgedly ran the gambit from accusing her of being a theif, to encouraging her to take her own life. From what I understand, the attack was relentless, to the point that this talented individual tried to take her own life. Thankfully her cousin found her in time, and she is, I hope, recovering, which I’m sure will continue, at least emotionally, long after she is released from the hospital.
I don’t know Ms. Ching, but I do remember a time that someone, another Indie author, who is now one of my best friends, was attacked by several individuals on Goodreads. It occured because she had the audacity to express her opinion. I know about this first hand, becasue it occurred on my book’s review thread. A 1 star review was left, which isn’t the issue, the reviewer made mention of several incidents that didn’t occur in the book, which led several people to make the statement that if the reviewer couldn’t be bothered to pay attention, maybe he shouldn’t have left a review.
The bullies, under the guise they were defending the reviewer against bullies, attacked. But they didn’t attack everyone who had an opposing view to the reviewer, they only attacked my author friend, who only said she agreed with the assessment of a blogger that it appeared the reviewer hadn’t been paying attention. They targeted her.
These individuals attacked her facebook, her twitter, her blog, whatever they could find. They left vitrol everywhere, it was relentless. She’s a fighter,and fought back which only fueled their attack. I advised her to walk away. I’m not sure that was the best advice, but it was taking a toll on her well being. They eventually relented, and kudos to the reviewer, who actually asked them to stop. But God forbid, someone come back to the original thread and support this author. Like true trolls, they lurk in the shadows, waiting for an oppurtunity to strike, and they will.
They didn’t know this writer. What they felt they did know was that because of her profession, she shouldn’t have an opinion about another book. They felt that she couldn’t possibly be unbiased. They felt she shouldn’t have a voice. When I researched who they were, I discovered they felt it was their right to target Indie Authors, yes, target them. they wanted to take them down. Why? I could never figure it out. Eventually theses 3 individuals (yes, 3) moved on to bigger game. But in their wake, they left destruction and while I don’t dwell on it, I’m reminded of it everytime something happens in the wake of bullying. This incident with Ms. Ching is such an event.
There is no evidence that she stole anything. It’s my understanding that she used a stock photo, which most designers use, especially Indie. Quite often if the photo isn’t manipulated enough, some covers will look the same, it doesn’t mean anyone stole the cover of another individual, it just means the designer did what they were asked, or liked the image as it was. but let’s play Devil’s Advocate, what if she did steal it? Then you send a cease and desist letter, you report her to the publishing companies. You don’t go on the assault.
Street Teams are few and far between now because of the bullying tactics employed by more than one author out there, encouraging their “fans” to go after other authors.  And even if the authors didn’t encourage bad behavior, they did nothing to stop it.
Accusations are everywhere. I saw on the other day where one author accused another of publishing her book. It wasn’t true. The Publishing platform had made an error as both books had the same title. When the accused author contacted the platform, they agreed to fix immediately and apologized and when she explained to her accuser what happened, the accusing author would not relent, still accusing her of stealing the book.  To my knowledge, she still has yet to apologize.
I have thought long and hard about writing this post. We live in a society of innocent until proven guilty, yet many people have forgotten this. The pitchfork mentality is running rampant and Social media has led many people in the world to believe that because its the internet, it’s okay to do whatever you want. Those people think that the anonymity of being “invisible” gives you the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want… it’s not.
If someone has committed a crime, then report them to the authorities. If someone’s behavior is blantantly unacceptable, let your friends and family now, so they are aware. If someone posts something you don’t like, feel free to tell them in a “grown-up”, respectable way, then walk away. Everyone has an opinion, and chances are you aren’t going to agree with a lot of them. Freedom of speech is Freedom of speech, even when it’s hateful and ugly, but that doesn’t mean you get to attack and harrass someone because you don’t agree, or you feel they did something wrong. Again, if they did something crimnal, report them to the appropriate entity.
I have been a part of the Indie Author community for 8 years now. In that time, I have seen my fair share of ugliness, but mostly, I have seen the comraderie and beauty in our community. We need to get back to be professional adults. We are writers. We tell our stories. We are not in competition with each other, even though some will say we are, but we aren’t. We all have our own style. That goes for all the other professions in this community as well. Editors, Proofreaders, Marketers, Bloggers, Swag and Cover Designers. We are a family, and while we fight, and disagree, there should always be respect, admiration and love for one another.
From this day forward, temper your words wisely. Don’t fly off the handle, and say something that you might regret. Stop making assumtions about things until you have the facts… the facts, not someone’s opinion about what may or may not have happened.
And remember, words are powerful weapons, and as easliy as they can build you up, they can tear you down. They can rip out your heart, and crush your soul.
Use them wisely.
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Kharma is slacking and making me Mad… Why am I letting it?


So I have been going along in my life, working on my goals and friendships. I try to be positive every day and focus on the good things. I have a tendency to be a little bit Pollyana-ish (well, more than a little). However, today I was led (by some unseen force) to check on an individual I’ve known for over 20 years. You should know, we aren’t friends anymore, although, we are intertwined by mutual friends and a past. I have no desire to be friends. I don’t particularly like this person. They are the type of person that if you can’t further their career or benefit them in some way, why bother? I have seen them be unfatithful to their spouse. I have seen them start a physical altercation and then blame the other person. I have seen them attempt to destroy a person’s reputation. I have seen them be rude, disrespectful and unapologetic for their behavior, as if it were completely acceptable to behave that way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, far from it actually, but whenever I have behaved badly, I take responsibility and apologize, and I don’t try to destroy a person’s reputation. I heard that this person gave a half-assed apology to one of the people involved in the physical altercation, but took no responsibility for having started it in the first place. Lame.

Anyway, they chose to stop speaking to me because I didn’t support their version of a story, which was a lie. As a matter of fact, I haven’t spoke to this person in over 3 years, but for some reason, today I found it necessary to see what this person has been doing.

What I found is that they appear to be doing really well, and that… that made me angry. To this person, that I know for a fact, is not a good person and has done horrible things to people I care about, good things are happening. That part of me that hopes Kharma takes care of things got SOOO angry. What was Kharma doing? Why hadn’t they handled this? Negative should bring negative! I was venting and railing against them, feeling sick to my stomach that they are succeeding and seeing new people fall for the “charming” act – yes, an act. Why was this getting to me? Is it my envy, jealousy… frustration? The frustration that I, and others who are extremely talented and hard working, are struggling to be seen and be successful in our chosen field, while this individual is getting all kinds of accolades and recognition? The fire of rage was burning!

Then a friend posted this Meme.

meme

It struck home. There was no reason for me to get angry at their success. I might still be struggling to find my place, along with those I know and find to be so talented who also deserve their place in the sun, like me, but it’s because it’s just not our time… yet. These little successes this individual has come across, they belong to them. I have to let go of the injustices they committed, hoping to see them fail, falling on their face, and focus on my own endeavors, and know I will succeed.

Maybe we’re conditioned to get angry… when we see an injustice of this kind. But it has no bearing on my life… not really. I’ll never forget what happened, I’m not built that way, but I don’t need to worry about it either. Whether or not Kharma ends up taking care of this is irrelevent. By the way, Kharma is not the universe’s way of giving payback, but is rather the draw of energy. When one puts out negative, they get negative and Vice Versa. I need to work harder, appreciate the people that matter, let go of the one’s who do not matter. Encourage and support those talented souls, and forget the drama… even the drama in my head.

I can’t imagine I would ever see or work with this person again, but if that day comes, I will deal with it. Be the bigger person and remember that they have no real affect on me or my life, other than how I allow them to affect my life. I have bigger fish to fry and I know my worth… and my heart. So thank you, Soul Sister, for posting that meme and making me see things clearly.

As Polonius said to Ophelia, “To thine own self be true.” He was right. I’ll leave it to Kharma… I’m sure it knows what it’s doing… I’ve got my own circus to worry about… and my own monkeys.

The Pursuit of Happiness…


Today I read an article (http://www.infobarrel.com/22_Habits_of_Unhappy_People) and it talked about the things that unhappy people do, and as I read the items in question, I realized that I do a few of those things. So I sat and thought about it, and again came to the realization that I am an over all happy person, despite the “unhappy” things I may do from time to time.

Do I have my moments? Of course, most of us do, but they are moments. Am I occasionally depressed? Yes, I am. The usual stuff. I miss my dad, and others that have gone on before us, or my friends, or I’m upset with myself for not doing what I should be doing and instead shut down or watch TV (the evil vortex from hell), but that’s natural. I’m getting older and I wonder where the time has gone and I tend to wonder if I can make my dreams a reality, but I know if I can’t, I’m still living a truly blessed life. I dream about my books selling more, so I can write at home, but the fact that even one person has read and loved them, I feel lucky. I get lonely sometimes, craving to be with people, but I also relish the quiet of my home. Sometimes I blame hormones… why not? I have them, they should be responsible for something other than weight gain and hair growth, but I know that it’s me, how I see myself.

Most of the time I like me, well, I love me. I’m pretty unique in a lot of ways. I’m a unicorn, long before Dbags like Kanye talked about it, I was calling myself a unicorn. I always have been. I am the epitome of dichotomy. I am an introvert and an extrovert. When I did that test that shows where you are in the business world, you know, the one that determines if you’re an analytical, driver, amiable, expressive – I fell right smack dab in the middle. I guess it means that I can get a long with everyone, but even that’s my choice, not a guarantee.

This morning I let someone I don’t know make me angry. Some idiot in a Jaguar (just felt like mentioning the car… has no real meaning) jumped the line as we were coming over the hill. I had the right of way, but he didn’t care and when I yelled at him, he tried to intimidate me with his stare. That only infuriated me. SO I yelled and shooed him on. “Go on, Drive Ass!”, which he finally did. The real issue is that even after the incident, I was mad. I was mad driving the curves, I was mad going through lights, and I was mad when the car in front of me left four car lengths between him and the car in front of him. It took a good half hour before I wasn’t mad anymore. What a waste of time and energy on my part. I let that jackhole get under my skin and change my mood, which up tot hat point had been great. That’s one of the unhappy things in the article I mentioned above, and he was right. I was unhappy.

Another thing mentioned in the article was not following through. I’ve been notoriously lax in that area as well. Worrying about what people think… that too. Now, I’m not an unhappy person, I’m really not, but more and more, I’ve not been doing what I intend to do. Procrastination has taken up residence in my home and I’m sick of it being there. All of these things I mention were points in the article. Again, I’m really not unhappy, but I do see the potential for me to become increasingly less happy if I don’t do something about my behavior.

So, as a witch I celebrate Samhain, (pronounced Sow-Wen… just an FYI) as well as Halloween, and for those that don’t know, that was our New Year (or End Year – depends on the pagan), so as the New Year has begun in my spiritual world, I am making a resolution. I resolve to move forward, and to actively pursue my happiness. To make a concerted effort to complete tasks, laugh more, find new hobbies and try not to let the other actions of people (of whom I have no control) dictate how I feel. I’m not saying I won’t slip up and get mad, or be a coach potato, or be sad, but as this is my life and ultimately my responsibility, it falls to me to make things happen. My own happiness being one of those things.

So, now begins the Pursuit of Happiness… well, more happiness… and hopefully, more reward. Blessed Be.