Icky Icky

psychoanalysed I’ve switched over to Safari instead of Firefox, which upsets me a great deal. This is why. At least they’re admitting it was a mistake, so maybe at some point I’ll go back. It irks me, because a lot of the things I love about Firefox, Safari doesn’t do so well, even though it’s native to Mac. Oh well.

I’ve been reading up this morning on a nasty bit of business in SFF fandom. Yes, it’s Requires Hate, and if you’re interested, here’s a rundown on what the hell. Ten years is a long time for someone to run rampant with trollage and hatred. I’m just glad it’s come to light now, and that it’s over. I never had a brush with the person in question, but I saw some of the ancillary damage caused. Icky.

You know what else is icky? Thinking someone is perfectly nice, liking them a lot, but then when things don’t work out quite the way they want, having them develop a virulent case of Nice Guy Syndrome. Pro tip: when I say I’ll speak to you when I’m ready, pressuring me will not work. The only thing it does is make me withdraw. Just because I don’t respond in someone else’s timeframe doesn’t mean I don’t care–but trying to guilt me into working on your emotional schedule will never end well. And when I’ve blocked you on my various social media feeds and you text me something from one feed that you imagine is ALL ABOUT YOU? That’s, well, creepy. Also, sending me this snotty link after I tell you to leave me the fuck alone just makes me want to send you this one in return, and noting #5 is particularly applicable.

*dusts hands together* There. That, indeed, is that.

So this morning is for listening to the Beatles (still on my Fab Four kick) and moving on with the Red Clan having kidnapped Gallow and Robin, and the consequences of that. There’s also one scene closer to the end of Rattlesnake to get through. The book is eating my head, for God’s sake, and I just want to kick every other project away for a little while so I can finish it. Alas, that’s a luxury I don’t have. So once more into the breach, dear friends.

Over and out.

My Girl C

Before

Me Before

I was going to tell you a long involved story about why my head’s shaved now, full of car chases, a bag of money, and four Persian cats playing ukuleles. But after sitting here for a long time…I can’t. More precisely, I won’t, I have limited emotional energy and trying to be cheerful and/or hilarious about it (because we laughed so much during the event, I can’t even tell you) would drain that down to null.

So I’ll be brief.

Rock the Skrillex

Rock the Skrillex

Christa was one of the three people who got me through the divorce. She’s one of the three people who took turns coming to see me, to check on me, and to lighten the agonizing load of depression and anxiety, week after week. I’ve known her since she was a teenager, and she’s grown into one of the bravest, funniest, smartest adults I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She’s one of the (very few) people who can call me at 3am from a foreign jail and say “GET ME OUT OF HERE,” and have me roll out of bed and get on a plane to mount a rescue operation, and vice versa. (Note: this hasn’t happened, but it’s nice to know, right?)

Christa is in her mid-20s now. She has Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Scene of the crime, baby

Scene of the crime, baby

Since she’s so young, she’s on a pretty aggressive chemo. Her hair started falling out by the handful last week, so she got some wigs and shaved her head–and then she came over and shaved mine.

“Are you sure?” she kept asking. “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

The hell I didn’t. Fuck cancer, man. Fuck it. This is my girl, one of my two best friends in the entire world. We’ve relied on each other, gotten each other through so goddamn much.

The worst thing is that this is an enemy I can’t hunt down and beat the shit out of for her.

Trundles Investigates

Trundles Investigates

You guys know I rarely ask. But if you have some change rattling around, and feel a need to throw it at something, there’s a gofundme for Christa’s medical bills. Should you feel moved to contribute, thank you.

Pair of babes, yo.

Pair of babes, yo.

So that’s why I’m rocking the Buddhist nun look lately. And wearing hats.

That’s all.

My girl C

My girl C

Cucumber Proportion & Walking For Jesus Man

no not the wine No, I’m not drinking before blogging–though that holds a certain charm, really–the bottle is for proportion and perspective. I feel inordinately proud that I’ve grown a cubit-long cucumber. (And now all I can think of is Bill Cosby going “Riiiiiiight.”) Technically I didn’t do anything but plant, water, and weed, but I still feel ridiculously proud.

Saturday I finished the revisions for the first Gallow book. It’s clocking in at around 74-75k now, and several new scenes have been added. Now I sit and bite my nails and hope it doesn’t suck.

I took yesterday off to recover a bit, and managed to bomb over the river to Powell’s and Everyday Music with my writing partner. Then someone else made me dinner (let’s call him Tarzan, shall we?) and I was able to stumble off to bed and collapse.

The most exotic part of yesterday was my morning run, and not for the usual reasons. I’ve rehabilitated my ankle, so now I’m working back up to regular mileage. Yesterday was a “long” run, and of course Miss B thought she was in charge of two-thirds of it. What I’m going to do when that dog is too old to run is beyond me, I’ll probably look like a drunken sailor because I keep expecting an invisible dog to try and HEEEEERD me. But that’s not what made it…interesting.

I was on a long straight shot down a local road, running under trees and savouring the shade, when I saw a man waving frantically about two blocks ahead of me. Of course I slowed, and began scanning for the problem–car accident? Altercation? Did he have cohorts? I grabbed for the hand-loop on Miss B’s leash so she didn’t lunge until I was ready for her to, slowed further, and popped my earbud out. “Are you okay?” He really did look distressed.

He was a bit unshaven, gold-rimmed spectacles, wrinkled chinos, a polo shirt that was just a little past “not so fresh.” But this is Vancouver, we’re spitting distance from the rumpled-hipster parade of Portland, so he wasn’t really outre, just a little…crumpled. No blood or damage I could see, but he was sweating an awful lot–it was a warm morning, though. I couldn’t see a car accident, I couldn’t see if he had any confederates, and there was a fence instead of houses to my left, so he hadn’t run out of a house to seek some sort of aid.

He grinned, widely. “HELLOMA’AM. I AM WALKINGFORJESUS. DO YOU HAVE ANY SPARE CHANGE?”

I actually stopped, staring at him. Miss B made a low noise in her chest, the sort of do not come near my human, I mean business I rarely hear from her. I replayed what he said inside my head, and decided he had indeed told me he was walking for Jesus and asked for spare change.

My mouth opened, and what fell out was, “I am running, and I do not have time for bullshit.” I hopped off the sidewalk and gained speed, Miss B still making her grinding noise. When she does that, it’s best to listen.

I suppose he wasn’t ready for such a prompt response. I had almost gotten my earbud back in when I heard his final shot.

‘YOU ARE GOING TO HELL! SATAN HAS YOU!”

I wanted to round on him and tell him that I’d already survived childhood, hell holds no goddamn fear for me, and anyway, I don’t run with my pockets full of quarters to give out to shady fucks my dog doesn’t like. But why bother? Also, just getting away from the crazy and keeping my heartrate up and my stride long was probably the best response, since getting in an altercation would mean that I’d have to call the cops after I put him down and really, I did not have time for that bullshit.

It was only later I started trying to figure out what the hell had actually happened. Was he homeless, high, just desperate, figuring that saying “Jesus” would make a scam go easier, or what? Of all the times I’ve been accosted while running, this is one of the more puzzling.

Anyway, I turned in six and a half kilometers at a good steady 7:21 per, so I’m well on my way to getting back to regular running. What Walking For Jesus Man wanted or actually meant is beyond me, and is probably going to stay that way.

I can’t say I mind.

Nazarian’s Consequences

Money So. Vera Nazarian is running an Indiegogo campaign, ostensibly to pay the authors who have chosen to remain with Norilana Books the royalties they’re due. Sounds like an okay thing to do, right?

No. It’s not. Would you like to know why?

Because Nazarian IS Norilana Books. And she’s the same person who hasn’t paid royalties to her authors for multiple years, borrowed $100K for “business expenses” and then discharged that debt through bankruptcy (her creditor is, sadly, passed on), who asked the SFF community for help with her mortgage etc. and took in a large chunk of money that has since vanished, admits to not having a separate business checking account ever so what royalties do come in go straight to her personal expenses–I could go on, but a few clicks through those links will give you an idea.

Nazarian showed up in the comments to the Passive Voice post. I encourage you to go read through and note what her comments did not include, and what, as far as I can tell, her online begging for money has never included. Here’s a (by no means exhaustive) list:

* An apology for stealing the royalties due to those authors who believed in her enough to entrust her with their work. She could start with reading Scalzi’s post on how to apologize.
* Concrete accounting of where the missing royalties went–if you’re asking for more after over $170K (by one reckoning) has disappeared, posting a detailed breakdown of where all that cash went is a good idea.
* Getting an accountant or escrow officer to oversee the disbursement of these funds she’s asking for to the authors in question. (Note that Nazarian says she doesn’t have the “time or money” for this, though I’m sure someone with accounting experience in the SFF community can be found, OR the Indiegogo campaign can be modified to include such a cost.)
* An explanation of why her Indiegogo campaign to ostensibly benefit the authors whose royalties were stolen is “flexible funding” (as Nazarian’s other Indiegogo campaigns to self-publish her work have been). This is a concern because “flexible” means that even if the full amount isn’t raised, Nazarian gets the cash. You could argue that it’s better for the authors to get some money even if the campaign doesn’t reach its goal, but I invite you to cogitate upon whether they’re going to see any from a person who won’t engage oversight and down whose gullet so much has already disappeared.
* Clear, verifiable transparency in accounting for whatever funds she has taken in through Norilana Books, her various fundraisers, and “loans” from “friends” in the SFF community.

I find it saddening and a little grotesque that Nazarian still has a core of defenders, most of whom seem to think it’s okay for her to continue asking for money because “she’s a good person” or “the Norilana books were so pretty!” or some other reason. Even if Nazarian has merely been tragically misguided or just the victim of awful circumstance, if these people truly want to support and defend her, now is the time to say, “Honey, let’s find an accountant for you and start sorting this mess out. No more excuses. Also, stop spending all your time in comment sections of posts detailing how your behaviour looks more and more like theft the longer one examines it. Just stop.” I really don’t care how “nice” she is personally. My ex-husband was incredibly charming in person, and it helped him “borrow” money he never repaid from all sorts of people. “Nice” does not mean “trustworthy.” Whether Nazarian is untrustworthy because of circumstances or through intent also does not matter much at this point. The bare fact is, money keeps vanishing and she keeps asking for even more.

Also, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference how pretty the books are, or how Norilana “took a chance” on them or “was asked to publish” them. For multiple YEARS now, authors have not been paid for those pretty books. Who has? Nazarian. Who admits she doesn’t have (and implies she has never had) a separate business account for author royalties, just her own personal bank account. (Yes, that’s one thing I just can’t get over in all this, that admission.)

I don’t have a dog in this fight. My only (incredibly tenuous) connection to Norilana Books is that one of my writing partner‘s short stories was in an anthology brought out by Norilana in 2009. I’m bothering to post this because it’s so damn egregious, and because, as Dierdre Moran has pointed out frequently, something needs to be said.

Last thing: Be reasonable in the comments, folks.

photo by: Tax Credits

Twitter, Cut It Out

The Twitter accounts impersonating me are small annoyances. Even the fact that one of them is almost certainly one of my stalkers (yes, that’s plural) is only mildly interesting. I don’t talk about the stalkers here–why give them the satisfaction, really? But there is something I do very much mind.

One of my followers very kindly notified me of an impersonator Twitter account. I decided to report it. Now, as you go through the reporting process, it’s stated that the other party in the dispute may be given access to the claim information. Fair enough, I figured, and hit “report”.

Here’s the data on the report (small bits redacted for obvious reasons):

no-username, Feb 07 09:43 PM:
== Reported Account Information ==
Reported user: *REDACTED*

== How is the account impersonating you? ==

Using the full name, common name, or legal alias of the impersonated party

Using a photo or image belonging to the impersonated party

Posting content as if they were the impersonated party

== Additional Information ==
Requesting that this account be suspended

== Wrapping up ==
Anything else? (optional): I am an author and I have stalkers. Please take this into account, and please consider verifying me so I don’t have to do this again.

== Reporter’s information ==
Your first and last name: Lilith Saintcrow
Your Email address: contact@lilithsaintcrow.com
Legal alias: None
Common nickname: Lili
Your Twitter username (optional): @lilithsaintcrow
== Required statements ==
I understand that Twitter may provide third parties, for example the reported user, with details of this report, such as the reported Tweet. Your contact information, like your email address, will not be disclosed.
I declare under penalty of perjury that all of the information provided above is accurate.
I understand that filing this report and submitting a photo identification will not result in my account being verified by Twitter.

But that’s only half of it. Here’s the form email I received:

Hello,

This email is to confirm that we have received your report regarding an account impersonating you on the Twitter platform. In order to process your report, we first must confirm your identity.

To confirm your identity, fax a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) to Twitter at 1-415-865-5405. Please write “Attention: Business and Platform Policy, Twitter Inc. – User Impersonation” at the top and include your ticket number (#*REDACTED*).

Once we have received your fax, we will review and process your report. We will not process your report until we receive your faxed ID.

Please note:

• If you are making a report regarding an account impersonating your family member on the Twitter platform, we first must confirm that you have permission to take action on behalf of your family member. Please fax documentation authorizing you to act on your family member’s behalf. (e.g. power of attorney, birth certificate, documents showing parental/guardianship rights of minor children), AND a faxed copy of your valid photo ID (e.g. driver’s license or passport).

• If you are reporting an account that is not using the name that appears on your government-issued photo ID, you must also include documentation demonstrating that the name used by the account you’re reporting is associated with you (e.g., proof of registration of your trade name or pseudonym).

• We must be able to see your full name and image on the faxed photo ID, so double-check to make sure you’re sending a clear copy. 1-415-865-5405 is a United States number; if you’re faxing your ID from outside the United States, be sure to include the appropriate international dialing code.

• If a fax machine is unavailable, you can send a fax from your computer for free through third-party services such as FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/), Popfax (http://www.popfax.com/), or efax (http://www.efax.com/). Please do not reply to this email with a copy of your ID.

• If you have previously filed reports about impersonation accounts from this email address and faxed a copy of your government-issued photo ID to Twitter as part of that process, respond to this email with that information (and, if possible, the ticket number associated with the previous report).

• Twitter allows parody, commentary, and fan accounts; if an account is in full compliance with our policies, it is not considered impersonation. For more information, see this help page: http://support.twitter.com/entries/106373.

If you are not attempting to report an account impersonating you on the Twitter platform, please see the following links for resources you may find helpful:

• Questions or requests regarding an inactive username: https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=inactive_username

• Reports involving your brand or trademark: https://support.twitter.com/forms/trademark

• Reports of someone using your email address to create a Twitter account: https://support.twitter.com/articles/110202

• Appealing an account suspension: https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=suspended

• Reporting an account compromise or that you’ve been hacked: https://support.twitter.com/forms/hacked

Thank you,

Twitter Trust & Safety

————————————————-
Your ticket number: #*REDACTED*

What jumped out at me here was this: it’s stated clearly that the other party, or really any other party, can be given information about the claim by Twitter. That information includes a scan of my driver’s license. Um, no, I don’t want any stalker getting their hands on that. Seriously. Would you?

Here was my reply:

Dear Twitter,

Naturally I wish this situation resolved as soon as possible. However, sending you a copy of my driver’s license when you clearly state that this impersonating party may be given access to information about the claim worries me. I cannot be entirely sure, but I suspect this is one of my stalkers, and the last thing I need is for him to be given my license number and vitals.

Alternatively, I’d like to suggest that you look at my website:

www.lilithsaintcrow.com

My Facebook and Facebook fan page:

https://www.facebook.com/lilithsaintcrow

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilith-Saintcrow/172118402032

My Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/131208.Lilith_Saintcrow

My Amazon Author Pages:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLOSOU

http://www.amazon.com/Lili-St.-Crow/e/B002TN3418/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

These should suffice as proof that my Twitter account, which is clearly displayed on many of these sites is being impersonated by someone who has also taken my userpic to do so. Again, I offer this as an alternative because I have stalkers/harassers, I suspect the impersonator is one of them (due to the content of one or two of the Tweets) and I do not under any circumstances want this person to have access to my personal information. I cannot trust that Twitter will not make a scan of my driver’s license available to this person, so I ask you to please consider this alternative route.

Best,

Lilith Saintcrow

— Lilith Saintcrow
contact@lilithsaintcrow.com

Days went by. No response. Until this morning:

How, Feb 19 08:34 AM:
Hello,

We need to confirm your identity in order to further investigate this report. Please provide a faxed copy of a valid photo ID (i.e., driver’s license, passport) within 48 hours of receiving this email.

Please fax the document to Twitter at 1-415-865-5405. This is a United States number, so be sure to include the appropriate international dialing code if you’re sending from outside the United States.

Include your ticket number (#*REDACTED*) and write “Attention: Business & Platform Policy – User Impersonation, Twitter Inc. -@How.” We need to be able to see your full name and photo on the faxed ID, so please try to send a legible copy. This information will be kept confidential, and will be deleted once we have used it to confirm your identity.

For security reasons, we are only able to accept this information via fax; our systems strip incoming email attachments. If a fax machine is unavailable, you can send a fax from your computer for free through third-party services such as FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/), Popfax (http://www.popfax.com/), or efax (http://www.efax.com/).

Thanks,

How
Twitter Trust & Safety

Thanks for not even reading my response, guys. So what am I supposed to believe? That any information I give will be kept confidential, or that Twitter reserves the right to give a scan of my driver’s license to a potential stalker? Is this a risk I’m supposed to take and trust Twitter’s good faith? Seriously?

If Twitter wants to have the reputation of being a stalker’s best friend, they’re doing a damn good job.

ETA: I should probably add this, from my Facebook wall: “The problem is, first they say they reserve the right to share the information, then they say “oh no, THAT’S kept confidential” and expect me to believe both? Or that if somehow said stalker gets my vitals, Twitter won’t cover their own ass with the “Well, you accepted the conditions when you made the report, too bad so sad.”

ETA: I woke up February 20th to a short email from Twitter Support, notifying me that the impersonating account had been suspended:

How, Feb 20 02:55 AM:
Hello,

Thank you for providing this information. We have removed the reported profile from circulation due to violation of the Twitter Rules regarding impersonation. You can review the Twitter Rules here:

https://twitter.com/rules

Thanks,

How
Twitter Trust & Safety

Maybe it was the public indignation, maybe it was the kind person who forwarded me the contact info for an actual real live person in Twitter who works with publishers, maybe someone finally actually read my reply. I don’t know, I’m just relieved I can get back to writing stories.

Thank you, everyone, for your support. I really appreciate it, more than I can say. Bless you.

Ignoring May Not Work

Snake warning sign So this morning started with me doing up spam protection for the website and, not so pleasant a chore, sending an email to Twitter support. Funny that my Twitter account is visible on my website, my Amazon books page, Facebook, and everywhere else…but they want me to send in a scan of my driver’s license too. Since this whole thing is to block a harasser (oh yes, I have stalkers and harassers, I just don’t give them much attention) I find it interesting that Twitter makes a point of saying that the other party may be given access to information about the claim.

In other words, a harasser/stalker could end up with a scan of my driver’s license. Which has, as you might imagine, a somewhat chilling effect on me getting this issue taken care of.

And before you tell me “just ignore them”, you might want to consider why ignoring harassment may not be a good idea for women.

Yes, that’s four different articles. This one, though, is what I want you to read before you start telling me “Just ignore.” Ignoring sometimes works–it’s one tool in the shed, as Gavin de Becker stresses–but what gets overlooked is the fact that ignoring takes emotional energy. For every bit of hatemail/harassment/social media hateshite that gets caught in the filters, there are many fresh pieces that require updating and repairing your walls. It gets exhausting, especially if you have stalkers who have nothing better to do with their time. That energy could be better spent writing books etc., but instead it has to be spent on “ignoring”, and it gets old. The drain can become crippling.

Not only that, but the emotional “hit” each time a harasser, stalker, troll, or just plain asshole takes it into their head to aim at you adds up. Over and over again, even tiny bites can eat a whale. (Like Melinda Mae in Shel Silverstein’s poem.)

I love hanging out with most of my Twitter buddies. I like Facebook just fine. I wouldn’t have the career I do without the internet, certainly. But the shit a woman has to deal with every day online makes me want to not engage, to just turn my back on things like Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., ad nauseum. It’s called a chilling effect, and I wonder how many voices and how much awesome we’re missing out on because it’s easy to harass people online without a social cost. Even something so simple as a quiet statement of “Your behaviour is not appropriate. Stop.” could work wonders.

The intent is to silence/terrify me. I have no intention of ever shutting up, mostly because I’m contrary and more stubborn than these assholes can ever dream of being, but the cost of dealing with the bullshit every day has to be factored in, and is a huge cumulative stress/drain. It impinges on daily life, it takes up energy that could be used to write books, and there is always the chance that it can turn deadly, if you’re a woman. There are news reports and stories about stalkers and harassers, whether they stalk online or offline, showing up physically to harm their victims. Funny thing: I don’t have a female stalker. (I suppose I should say “yet”, and isn’t that sad?)

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.

*sigh* And with that passel of cheerful thoughts, I’m off to have another snow day with the kids.

Over and out.