Hold My Calls …

… I’m off to NeCon.

Just found out that Wrath James White is going to be my room mate. No worries there. On the plus side, it means we can both sign copies of Orgy of Souls for you. You can look for me on a panel:

Saturday

11:00 a.m. • THE ART OF THE BAD GUY. Great stories deserve great villains. Our panel tells us why and how bad guys are born. Jack Ketchum (m), Jeff Strand, Gary Frank, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Maurice Broaddus

Be kind to my message board mods in my absence. Miss Ro‘s off being pregnant (though that hasn’t stopped me from making her take me to the airport at 5:30 tomorrow morning). Lauren‘s holding down the fort and you know how much she loves it when teh interwebz act up while I’m gone.

See you Monday.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.

Battle of the Nitwits

As I read far too many author blogs, one of the things that continues to bug me is how many spend time arguing with nitwits. To be clear, I’m defining nitwit as a particular kind of Internet troll who spends their time endlessly sniping at a target or otherwise running their yap in a state of self-importance/attention whoring. True, true, this defines most message board interactions, but the nitwits tend to focus on a primary target and fixate.

I’ve had my share of nitwits (fairly insulting blogs, e-mails, letters, phone calls, and message board threads dedicated to me included in the prize package) and answering their charges is simply not worth my time. I don’t care (as long as they link to me). Seriously, the first thing I ask is “who are they?” because while I don’t mind constructive criticism, not every critic is equally worth hearing from.

It’s fairly common for the newbie writer to seek to establish themselves by going after a few easy targets, whoever the perceived bad boy is (in the horror community, Nick Mamatas and Brian Keene are popular targets). These would be iconoclasts may rationalize their behavior by declaring that they simply won’t put up with the behavior of an unprofessional martinet or what have you, but it’s so regular a practice that I’ve taken to calling this the Brian Keene effect. Since the theory is that you make a name for yourselves by going after someone bigger, not smaller, take heart in the fact that you’re a target.

They know you, they read you. That’s not a relationship you’re obligated to reciprocate. People have a right to free speech, buy you are under no obligation to be given a platform in your house. The Internet is a big place, so let them go start their own blog/message board and run things their way. You don’t need to expend energy validating their opinions or otherwise giving them a platform. If you feel that their comments rise to the level of slander or harassment or threat, that’s why God created police and lawyers. Not taking up your blog space.

Unfortunately, sometimes nitwits can take over a forum. It’s funny how it takes only 2-3 prominent voices to seemingly poison a whole community. That will happen if they are allowed to dominate discussion. They can change character of board by simply posting so often they become the face of the message board. So, sometimes folks have to be asked to leave for the health of a board. It can seem unfair or even arbitrary but “you talk too much and spew little of value” can be just as abusive to folks’ sensibilities.

(To prevent this, whoever has the “vision” for said board needs to be a main voice on the board either through themselves or via their mods. In a lot of ways, the vision/voice is the main draw to the message board, which means that their mods need to not only grasp that vision, but also have the necessary people and communication skills to facilitate the discussions. Not let the nitwits run amuck.)

In the end, arguing with a nitwit only reduces you. Oh, I know it’s hard to not swing back and crush them. Lord knows, I know. Think of it this way: you swinging back at them is a no lose situation for them. Suddenly you are bringing your audience to them and when it’s the strong (read) versus the weak (not read), you are the bully. You don’t want to let the nitwits drive you to being unprofessional. And there is no reason I need to know who the members of the legion of nitwits are because you keep giving them air time. Notice none of mine were mentioned by name. Or linked to. And the Internet is a better place for it.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.

Yes, My Message Board IS Scary

Yes, it’s another Pink Night of the Soul. My sister (who sends her thanks for everyone’s prayers) is back as a MOD on my board and felt like declaring her presence.

*sigh*

I’d like to once again apologize. Consider it technical difficulties that are taking longer than expected to fix. Remember, two things: one, it is part a horror message board, so of course we expects sights that might send a person away screaming; and two, you can always go back in time and look at your favorite board(s) and “remember when …” Since I’m preparing to go out of town to a convention while planning my own, for now, a meme:

How Much is Your Life Worth?

Your Life Is Worth…

$596,500

Apparently I also need to increase my insurance.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

New Message Board Guidelines

I’m not a big rules guy. Most situations tend to handle themselves and people can become overly stringent about keeping to the letter of the law, and I prefer a more organic way of going about things. However, to help facilitate some of the discussions on my message board (since I’ve obviously decided to maintain my own board), I have had to come up with some helpful guidelines so that people know where I’m coming from and what I want the board to be about. I thank my friend and Hollywood Jesus colleague, Mike Furches (who runs the Hollywood Jesus Group on MySpace), for letting me adapt his guidelines.

Hollywood Jesus
for many years was among the leading web sites in the world for movie reviews. An important characteristic of the web site was the opening paragraph welcoming visitors to the web site, it stated, as is stated here with this group: Everyone welcome! Hindus, Jews, Christians, Wiccans, Muslims, New Agers, Atheists, Agnostics, Gay, Straight. Come in. Enjoy. Post your views!

It’s been the kind of vision statement that I’ve tried to follow on my message board. A place where people can come, hang out, discuss matters of race, spirituality, and, frankly, my work (it is an author’s messageboard). The board isn’t primarily for Christians in fact, preaching, proselytizing and things of that sort are discouraged from this group. I believe we can all learn from each other. All faiths are welcome and are to be respected, no matter how much they might be disagreed with. The key word is respect.

When a Christian or non Christian continues to operate out of disrespect (and I don’t mean snark), including, not welcoming all people, they will be banned from the group. Now for those that know me, you know I personally have issues with persons being banned from groups, unless that person continues to refuse to respect the concept of the group. My hope is, that I never have to ban someone again, but I expect that won’t happen. So far, since the start of this group, I have banned only a few people.

I welcome the debate and the constant thread derailments, but keep it respected. Feel free to ask questions. My hope is that this is a group that can continue to grow, where all people can feel welcome. I don’t want anyone to leave the group, but in the end, it is my board, and I don’t want to compromise the purpose of my message board: to have good conversations where we can learn from one another.

And now a word from a MOD:

The board will be a lot more heavily monitored because things have gotten out of control and folks are afraid to post for fear of being sniped to death. The Spiritual Journeys section will be the most heavily moderated. People need to be able to post there safely about where they are spiritually without fear of undue harassment or undue criticism. If you don’t like the way this forum is run, you are welcome to find another.

(MOD gets a little testy)

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

MBMB Plotting

Is it a bad sign when your message board members start plotting your death?

“I would guess that Maurice would die in the cosmetics department of Meijer. Killed when a pack of large women fighting over discount underwear, knocks over the jewelry display case shattering it and causing a jagged piece of glass to fly into his neck and slice open his jugular. The real tragedy will be that he will just have found the perfect toe separator for painting his nails and general pedicure procedures, yet he will never get to use it.”

My new Intake column is up. “Spare Me the Rod Talk.” This has nothing to do with the fact that my eldest just erased over 70 hours of stuff on my TiVO.

BTW, a belated “welcome aboard” to all the new bloggers over at Intake. I look forward to reading you.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

It’s Christmas Season

For me, there are a few tell tale signs that it’s officially Christmas season:

1) I hear “Silent Night” by the Temptations

2) I have my Christmas Party.

Yes, it’s that time. My Christmas parties began as murder mystery parties (because, you know, nothing says happy birthday Jesus like killing off your guests), but they started getting a little unwieldy. We’ve had “Christmas at the OK Corral,” “Christmas at Camelot,” “Murder on Space Station X,” “Christmas at the Cotton Club,” “That 70s Party,” and “Pirates and the Caribbean”. No matter the size, it stresses me out every year, and much to your relief gentle reader, it cut into my blogging time.

This year had an Asian theme, with your host

accompanied by his message board moderators

For those complaining that I never have pictures of my wife often enough, here she is as the winner of Best Costume 2006 (female)

However, your host lost Best Costume 2006 (male) to the geisha twins

In the Caption This Department: “What’s up, my nigga?”

Followed by the only proper response

Remember, friends are the family that you choose.

Now get the hell out of my house already.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.