Monday, December 21, 2009

My Stalker and Me

This whole writing thing is weird enough without a stalker ending up in the mix. The fact that someone would take so much time and put so much effort into trying to destroy someone makes me sit back in my chair and scratch my head. I find the passion behind love enthralling, but the passion behind hate is unsettling to say the least.

I decided to write about the situation on my blog because a lot of this has been in the open where people could see what was going on. I never did respond to her and I don't plan to now. But for those of you who have caught glimpses of the things that were going on, here's what happened.

My stalker appeared soon after As The World Dies: The First Days was published. I received an odd message from a woman telling me she was supposed to be the first female zombie genre writer. I had no clue how to answer to that. I had published my book because the fans wanted it. That I had inadvertently derailed someone's plans to be "the first" was not something I felt I could or should apologize for.

Our beginning, obviously, got off to a bad start.

We move through similar circles. but we were never friends. Once I sent her a message when I heard something terrible had happened in her life, but we remained in distant orbit from each other.

Negative comments made by this person began to trickle in to me over time. The accusations were easily dismissed: I was lying about my sales, I didn't have real ISBNS, etc. I shrugged it off, amused more than anything. I had documentation that said otherwise and I did not feel the need to defend myself.

The drama between this person and one of my best friends began to escalate before Horror Realm. I had my fingers crossed that nothing would happen at the con.

At Horror Realm I met this person. I tried to be nice, but I always felt uneasy. I had three interactions with this person that I felt were tense. I ignored them and continued to have a good time.

Since Horror Realm, the tension around this person steadily increased until there was a massive explosion. She leveled accusations against not only me, but two other people. A slew of comments were left over the Internet attacking me and my writing. The administrator for one website where she tried to leave an inflammatory comment warned me that I was in someone's crosshairs. They provided the comment and the I.P. address. The I.P. address was easily tracked back to my stalker.

Fake reviews popped up for the As The World Dies books. They sounded like her tone, reiterated her previous comments about me and my work, and were nasty assaults on me personally, not the books. My fans discovered them first and told me about them. I found the first one to go up to be amusing, but when more began to pop up, I realized she wasn't going to give up. She even went through and tagged all the positive reviews as unhelpful. I do not mind bad reviews. If someone hates the book, that is fine by me, but these reviews were personal assaults.The fans were already commenting back and reporting the reviews, when I sent my own email to Amazon. Amazon investigated the reviews and then pulled them.

(BTW, thank you to all the fans who stood up for me and books.)

It didn't end there. In fact it got much worse not only for me, but the other two people she's been going after. It finally blew sky high Saturday night and I took actions to limit her access to me.

Stalkers seriously suck hairy, rotting zombie balls because no matter what you do, they just don't stop. I'm pretty sure she will continue to bash me (and the others) wherever she can. I have placed her on Ignore across the board and have zero intention of responding to her. Should I see her in real life, I will walk away and not acknowledge her.

I did learn a few valuable lessons out of this whole thing.

1. Agents are awesome. Hannah's simple "This will not affect anything in your career" instantly alleviated the stress I had felt briefly. She also assured me that she had seen this sort of thing before from people jealous of writers.

2. My lawyer is awesome, too. He gave me simple guidelines on how to deal with the situation and told me what lines would need to be crossed for legal action.

3. My friends are amazing. They helped me collect the posts she was spewing out and compile a folder just in case the harassment escalates anytime in the future. They also encouraged me when I felt frustrated and gave me very good advice.

As for my stalker...well, she's still out there and I hope that someday she finds her own peace and her own success.

Meanwhile, on my side of the world, things are looking really good. I can't wait for 2010.

I think it is going to be AMAZING!!!


  1. Rhiannon,

    I'm sorry you are going through this but I think you handled it with great resolve! You books continue to inspire people and I can't wait to see where 2010 takes you girl!! Leave some big footsteps for me to follow in if you would!

    Happy Holidays,


  2. Ben,

    Meeting you at Horror Realm was one of the highlights of the con. I really appreciated your support during those days.

    I have to look at all of this as a learning experience and move on.

    Thanks again for all your kind words,


  3. The first zombie genre writer? Did you tell her that Mary Shelly beat you both to it by almost 200 years?

    Anyway, I'm sorry that things got that way. It's a tough situation. Hang in there.

  4. You know, the little bit I was hearing all sounded pretty glamorous at first. I'm thinking, Wow! She's got a stalker. How cool is that? "She has arrived!" and all that.

    Now, hearing more and more of the story, and how it escalated from the first awkward accusation, it's lost that allure. I'm so sorry your going through all this. I wonder how common this sort of thing is?

    Maybe you should write a stalker character into your next book and deal with her properly! :-) Unless that's what she's wanted all along. Hmm.

  5. When I first saw this post and the picture, I thought you were going to talk about your cat! How upsetting this must have been, for you to have had a real, crazy stalker. Imagine if this person had put their efforts into something positive.

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this situation, but we do support you, Rhiannon. Have a great holiday season!

  6. Thank you for your thoughts, Bryce, William and Nicole. It's been a very odd situation, to say the least, but I have to look at it as a learning experience.

    Who knew being a writer would be this dramatic?


  7. Hey Rhiannon, I'm sorry that you had to go through that. People are sooo very stupid sometimes. My suggestion, celebrate your success, look forward to what is to come, and keep your head up. I think that you've done a great job! I hope you and your husband have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Take care.


  8. Rhiannon, not a lot that I can add to what has been said but my thoughts are with you.

  9. I knew about this situation and I hate this is happening to you! I always try to stay out of said drama, but damn. Let me know if you need anything, okay?


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