The Inimitable Sister Krissie and the Power of Envy

I’m afraid I’m always a day late and a dollar short on industry news. But I just caught wind(and a pretty foul one) of the crap that was posted on the blog of an anonymous hack who calls herself Ms. Snark about Anne Stuart. I say hack, because even her writing is insignificant. If you want it taken apart bad cliche by bad cliche, check out Jenny Cruise’s Argh, Inc. I thought of answering on the Snark comment page, which is filled with the kind of vitriol Ms. Snark was hoping for, I’m sure. But I just don’t want to give her any validation at all.

What this blog by the anonymous Ms–and other of her blogs I caught–reminded me of was Rush Limbaugh. Nobody plays the schoolyard bully better, making uninformed, often cruel accusations about his enemies for the sole purpose of catering to that small, mean part of the human spirit that says, “yeah! You’re not better than me!” And how much easier is it to indiscriminantly accuse behind a mask of anonymity. It isn’t just petty, it’s cowardly.

But when this would-be pundit incorrectly accuses someone who is not only a friend, but a colleague and, truth be known, one of my role models , I don’t think anybody needs to be polite back. Anne Stuart has been in this business longer than I have, over twenty years. In that time she’s been the consummate professional: talented, responsible, exceedingly generous, and, okay, she looks great in a habit. Not only that, she’s made a hell of a lot of money for the houses for which she’s worked. As my brother the Marine says, she’s definitely earned her stripes. I consider it an honor that she is a colleague.

Yes, as Ms. Snark says, there are those whiny authors nobody wants to deal with. But as Jenny Cruise said, the ones who will end up working for no one are the ones without talent, and without the ability to bring in money. How many ways can you say that Anne Stuart is a New York Times author? The idea that because after twenty years she told a truth in the industry,she should be vilified, is absurd. Who has more right? The anonymous Ms. Snark, who, for all we know is a fat, fifty-year old accountant in Pacoyma? Even if this person actually is an agent, would you sincerely wish to be represented by a person whose message is, “Shut up and be a good girl?” Gee, thanks. No.

Every author has been through what Anne talked about. It’s that kind of industry. And for anyone who compares it to, say, selling washing machines, trust me. There really is no comparison. And would you rather this kind of thing remain our secret? Would anybody who wants to survive in publishing really wish they weren’t told the truth? Or would you rather be surprised that it’s a hard business? It’s hard when you begin: it’s hard as you go on; it’s hard no matter how famous you are. If it weren’t, Hemingway never would have shot himself.

So I hope Ms. Snark enjoys her fifteen minutes of fame. That’s all she’s worth. Because, if she could write like Sister Krissie, she wouldn’t waste her time slinging mud from behind a fence.

eileenkathleen, the evil twins

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