Radio Silence

I’ve been pretty book quiet lately. I just feel disheartened by events, and have lost interest because of those events. I can’t trust people I one supported and I have zero faith in organizations that I once thought were worth backing.

I have watched people who have done nothing be bullied out of their careers. And watched those same bullies surround and protect people who deserve to be called out publicly.

I have had my name connected to outcries and my story implied, have been dismissed as having a personal vendetta for reasons that are just untrue, and people try to use my name and story to further their own personal gain.

I have watched people be manipulated and attacked.

I have watched people share their stories of inappropriate behavior, and watched others jump on and make it all about them (and not the victims), watched others do what they can to control the narrative, to keep themselves looking like heroes.

I have been told stories of sexually inappropriate behavior and sexual assault at a convention I once loved, and seen the email dismissal (and denials) by the people running the convention (yes, calling the victims liars). I have seen the same convention heads call for the careers of others, claiming to believe and be on the side of all victims, those people destroying some and lifting up others.

I have watched people with virtually no talent hoisted on people’s shoulders as writing gods, watched them destroy careers of people they are jealous of, watched them skyrocket careers of the people that bow at their feet. (Sycophants, every last one of them. And they, sadly, don’t even see it.)

I have watched people grasp on to their relevance and hold on to it with every breath in their body, doing everything they must to keep it long past it’s sell by date.

I have watched the fake interactions between people that, in private, are very outspoken about the level of dislike they have for each other. In public, they schmooze and name drop and gush, all selfish and self-centered, using people to make their name/brand stronger.

I have also watched the fake (and often paid for) reviews on blogs I once looked up to as next-level, now run by desperate bloggers who take advantage of and destroy their name with every payment they take.

I have watched the blatant and disgusting lies. I have witnessed the pack mentality.

And I have been bullied – by bloggers, by authors – and have gone through it all with no (or virtually no) support system.

I have had people who call me friend to my face spread rumors and lies about me behind my back, and when confronted, they deny and deny, acting as if I did not have the proof I needed before I started asking questions.

I have spent almost eight years supporting and selling people – on and off my blog – and those people have taken and taken and taken until I have nothing left to give. And when I’m used up, they turn so quickly on me, looking for the next fresh face to take advantage of until they are dried up as well.

Through it all, I remained loyal.

I have lost all respect for the people I had once idolized and, to be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to come back from it this time.

Worse, I have lost my passion, my direction, any respect I may have once had for myself, and my self-worth.

I have struggled for several years, blaming myself for what I have lost, blaming myself for being bullied (and continuing to be bullied, rather than just give up and move on), blaming myself for not being able to do it, blaming myself for failing time and time again, blaming myself for everything. The truth is: It wasn’t my fault. I busted my ass at something I loved, and people didn’t like that. They made it a competition, where no competition was. My level of passion had nothing to do with them, but they made it a slight, they took it as an affront, and they did what they could to get rid of their “competition.” And I let them.

It’s time to get my head straight once again.

The direction may have been forgotten, and forgotten for far longer than it should have been, but it has never changed: I don’t need someone to tell me that I am relevant. I came here for one reason and one reason only – to talk books. I could NEVER speak to another author again and still be able to do that.

2020 Just Keeps Getting Harder

2020 has been an insane year almost from it’s beginning. Each month – can you believe it’s already the beginning of August? – has brought us a new thing to worry about, and sadly we all seem to be waiting with bated breath for the next big thing, almost joking about how it can’t possibly get worse than it already is.

As I sit here waiting for a hurricane – now tropical storm – that may or may not be hitting us (didn’t I go through this last year?), I can’t help but think about just how much loss has happened in this world.

I woke up this morning to the news that Wilford Brimley had died.

Such unfair news in this world today. Wilford Brimley was one of the best, and always will be. A lot of people know him because of The Thing and his Diabetes commercials, but I was obsessed with The Waltons and Our House growing up because of this man. And I watched the VHS tapes we had of Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return so much that they started to deteriorate.

He was the loving and caring person that he portrayed on TV and the world will truly miss his talent and his heart. It hurts that things seemed to stand in the way of me getting to meet him again, as every convention that we were both going to be attending, either he had to back out of or I did. But just having met him once was enough to know the man that he was.

This just days after the horror community found out about the loss of Jon Recluse.

He was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. A really good friend. Someone who meant the world to me.

People have tried discussing the loss with me, people who knew how much he meant to me, how much I admired him, but I just can’t right now. Losing a friend is hard, but losing a friend that truly inspired people in this world, a friend that had a lot more to give, is just hard. So so hard.

We originally met on Goodreads, what seems like eons ago. He was always there for a conversation about books, and there were many times that we messaged into the wee hours about a book one or both of us were reading. He was such a horror connoisseur, and a really dedicated fan. There wasn’t much about horror he didn’t know, and he was spot-on every time he recommended I read something, after learning that I loved something else. His reviews were always so thought out, so perfect. He was such an asset to the horror community, and I actually feel more for the people who never got the chance to get to know him, having never had that experience, than the people who knew him and loved him who are now grieving.

Somehow our friendship ended up going beyond just books, almost like we were just meant to know each other. Even when he was down, he was there when people were having a bad time of this or that, and would defend those who were treated poorly with everything he had. He was my biggest supporter, and he made me feel important, made me feel strong, just knowing that was how he saw me in this world. He would never let me give up on what I loved, and would remind me how much I was hurting myself (and others) by taking a step back, reminded me that I was better than that. I didn’t always listen to his advice, didn’t always be the friend that he needed, no matter how hard I tried. His loss is crushing.

We talked about family – his and mine – and I don’t think he ever recovered from the deaths of his sweet dog (his brother) and his mom. I’m happy to know that he is with them again, and that thought brings me comfort.

In my sadness, I try to remind myself of what my priest told me when my father died: On that day, there was a child being born, and God looked everywhere – in heaven and on earth – for the perfect guardian angel, and when he saw Jon, he just knew. Having known Jon the way I did, I can tell you that he would be the perfect guardian angel, and I hope that the baby he is watching over today lives a long and happy life, one filled with love, friendship, and definitely a love for horror.

Maybe the two are up there together now…