Courtney Milan and RWA

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,814
Reaction score
2,918
Location
Not where you last saw me.
"[FONT="]One question: in worlds where eye color tends to reflect the magic a person has in their soul (e.g., green eyes for earthmagic wielders, blue for watermagic, red for fire, etc.) is it still categorically inappropriate?"

If nothing else, how desperate to avoid brown-eyed characters can you be that you would use the quite-rare green eyes to indicate 'earth magic'? If ever there was an obvious colour for an earth-magic user, it would surely be brown. Especially when there's such a need for matchy-matchy eyes that red eyes are the sign of a fire-magic wielder?[/FONT]

Gah!

(Also, you should post your response, frimble; it's perfect.)
 

AW Admin

Herder of Hamsters
Staff member
Administrator
Super Moderator
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
18,294
Reaction score
5,268
Location
On the Server
In retrospect they were due for their regular biannual act of idiocy.

This is what has me o_O. It's not their first trip to this particular circus. It Keeps Happening.
 

ElaineA

All about that action, boss.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
6,887
Reaction score
3,069
Location
The Seattle suburbs
Website
www.reneedominick.com

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,814
Reaction score
2,918
Location
Not where you last saw me.
This morning multiple women of color resigned from the board and other leadership positions.

Last year, members voted a diverse board, and the organization, from what I can tell, basically used them as a diversity shield while they sided with an "even Nazis deserve love" apologist and a NWL writer who is now a *publisher* (who hired herself a Soros-conspiracy-backing lead editor.)

It's a full implosion. There is no recovering from this.

As things stand—with the current staff and board—you're right, there is no recovery. As Unimportant mentioned, it's hubris and they're too firmly entrenched in their thinking/not thinking/not caring for any meaningful change to come about. If that were not so, they'd have learned from past experience.
 

WrenWrites

Registered
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
21
Reaction score
2
Location
I live in my head
It definitely looks like they've destroyed their own organization over something that could have been handled in a much better way.
 

JJ Litke

People are not wearing enough hats
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Messages
7,557
Reaction score
2,930
Location
Austin
Website
www.jjlitke.com
CM posted a twitter thread this morning about how a complaint she made in 2015 was handled. Not only was no action taken, the response she got has a bit of a scolding tone that, "Valid complaints against industry professionals should include substantial evidence that the allegations listed in the complaint are true."
 

frimble3

Heckuva good sport
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
8,908
Reaction score
1,627
Location
west coast, canada
Gah!

(Also, you should post your response, frimble; it's perfect.)
Thank you very much! The first thing that struck me was: green magic is for control of plants and similar products of the earth, not 'earth' itself. Unless the system needs to reserve brown eyes for some other commonly used magic.

And I am not on Twitter or Facebook, having deemed myself too distractable as it is. I rely on my fellows here for links, downloads, etc. But, I stand by what I wrote, and if you or anyone wants to transfer that post to Twitter, I give permission, whether you quote or merely put it up, unattributed.
 
Last edited:

Marissa D

Scribe of the girls in the basement
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
3,071
Reaction score
364
Location
New England but hankering for the old one
Website
www.marissadoyle.com

Hathor

Goddess of Rationalization
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
5,497
Reaction score
321
Location
In de Nile
Updated, exhaustive timetable for this mess that a friend found. [FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]https://www.claireryanauthor.com/blog/2019/12/27/the-implosion-of-the-rwa[/FONT]
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
For those playing along at home, in a nutshell:

  1. President Damon Suede has stepped down, effective immediately, due to improprieties discovered in his nomination and the subsequent vote. A replacement will not be found until the board has reworked the election process. (Basically, he'd kept information about Dreamspinner away from the rest of the board because he'd lied about a book that was supposed to be released through them this month. Later, he'd said he'd never told anybody it was being released this year. After that, he claimed he'd never said it was coming out through Dreamspinner.)
  2. Executive Director Carol Ritter has also stepped down and will remain in an advisory position.
  3. An article about the situation hits the Guardian, as it has NBC News and the Associated Press domestically. In a follow-up in the Guardian, Kathryn Lynn Davis, one of the women named in the original complaint against Courtney Milan, claims she didn't lose a three-book contract as a result of Milan's tweets and that she was pressured by board members to file the complaint.
  4. The first recall petition was rejected on procedural grounds but a second was successfully delivered within the allotted time frame and was under review when Suede resigned.
  5. The RITA Awards have been cancelled for this year.
  6. Avon, Harlequin, Berkley, Entangled, Tule, Kensington, and Sourcebooks have pulled out of events at this year's national conference.
  7. Nobody's certain if they're even going to the conference this year, in light of recent events.
  8. Approximately 50 agents have also pulled out of the conference.
  9. Speaking of which, members are concerned that forum posts are being deleted wholesale with mods reassuring them the posts have only temporarily vanished for review and will return if they do meet guidelines. Members are reassuring the mods that entire threads disappear wholesale and never return.
  10. Members are still concerned that much of the pertinent discussion still isn't accessible by the general population.
  11. Further consternation erupted when the latest issue of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine, appeared to only exacerbate the situation with cover art many interpreted as "great white savior", which showed a white woman helping a black woman up a mountain (according to reports, the stock art site where this was found had an image next to it where the roles were reversed) and a tone-deaf article that wound up being seen as transphobic.

So, yeah. My holiday season was completely destroyed by all of this and I'm surprised I haven't dropped dead from further health issues aggravated by the stress and worry.
 
Last edited:

ElaineA

All about that action, boss.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
6,887
Reaction score
3,069
Location
The Seattle suburbs
Website
www.reneedominick.com
After a looooong couple of weeks, Damon Suede and Carol Ritter stepped down today as President of the Board and Executive Director of RWA, respectively. https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/Announcement_from_the_RWA_Board_of_Directors.aspx

The question in the mind of many members is, will the organization survive this? Should it?

I think it should, but only under strict proviso that the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion must be backed up with action. Including, but not limited to: the resignation of the entire board, particularly those Damon Suede hand picked; a membership-wide vote for a new board within a month; evaluation of the entire executive staff (including people working newly created positions that may not fall under "staff") with an eye toward termination of anyone with a controlling hand in both the handling of Courtney Milan's ethics matter, and the *not* handling of other ethics complaints; new guidelines and active moderation of RWA forums to ensure posts which cause harm to members or groups of members are not allowed. This would be the bare minimum to begin with.

RWA has a lot of clout in the publishing industry, clout that benefits a broad swath of authors--not just romance, and not just RWA members (see: Cockygate, among others). They are one of the few organizations that can actually get Amazon to act on complaints. That clout cannot be easily replicated, and it's worth trying to retain. If--big huge IF--RWA can stop picking and choosing its fights based on whim rather than established criteria. And if the organization can be brought into 2020, clear out the bigots, and become the advocacy organization our founders always meant it to be, it's worth saving.

[*]The first recall petition was rejected on procedural grounds but a second was successfully delivered with in the allotted time frame and was under review when Suede resigned.
The petition was certified today, bearing more signatures than were needed. It's not a stretch to suspect that this was a big factor in today's resignations.

So, yeah. My holiday season was completely destroyed by all of this and I'm surprised I haven't dropped dead from further health issues aggravated by the stress and worry.

:Hug2: It really did put a huge, extra stress on the holidays.

Hopefully we can see some real progress on righting some of the wrongs. Sure like to see RWA step in on the Dreamspinner mess, but I suspect it's too late for many authors, and RWA's credibility is weakened at the moment. On the other hand, Dreamspinner appears to have actively falsified information so Suede could run for president under the rules set forth by RWA bylaws, so there may still be some leverage to bring to bear.
 

Marian Perera

starting over
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
14,170
Reaction score
4,050
Location
Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
Website
www.marianperera.com
Further consternation erupted when the latest issue of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine, appeared to only exacerbate the situation with cover art many interpreted as "great white savior", which showed a white woman helping a black woman up a mountain (according to reports, the stock art site where this was found had an image next to it where the roles were reversed) and a tone-deaf article that wound up being seen as transphobic.

For anyone who wants to see the cover, here's a link :

https://twitter.com/Jeaniene_Frost/status/1214270766130384904
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
Thanks for sharing that, Marian. I couldn't find the link and hoped somebody else had it available.

Even if this shitstorm wasn't going on, that image is still incredibly problematic in light of current issues RWA is trying to address. Instead, it's just "one more thing" to deal with in the ongoing saga. While they couldn't have physically stopped the magazine from going out, somebody certainly could have addressed the image several months ago before the issue had even been "put to bed" to be printed and mailed. And while the image has been changed for the digital edition (yay?), the original is still being used on the table of contents, keeping with the stylistic guidelines used for previous issues.
 

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,814
Reaction score
2,918
Location
Not where you last saw me.
I wonder if DS rues the day he dragged Chuck Tingle into this by claiming a non-existent relationship 'cause, yanno, Chuck Tingle done messed him up but good.
 

frimble3

Heckuva good sport
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
8,908
Reaction score
1,627
Location
west coast, canada
I qualified for the board! :ROFL:
Hey, if they had flat-out asked if I was willing to lie, cheat, pursue unethical behaviour and betray trusting juniors for money and position, I'd be over-qualified!
Instead, they ask silly questions about being able to write. Cheques on other people's money, yes, romance novels, no.
 

Sonya Heaney

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
565
Reaction score
78
Location
Canberra
RWA has a lot of clout in the publishing industry, clout that benefits a broad swath of authors--not just romance, and not just RWA members (see: Cockygate, among others). They are one of the few organizations that can actually get Amazon to act on complaints. That clout cannot be easily replicated, and it's worth trying to retain. If--big huge IF--RWA can stop picking and choosing its fights based on whim rather than established criteria. And if the organization can be brought into 2020, clear out the bigots, and become the advocacy organization our founders always meant it to be, it's worth saving.

+1000

I'm not a member of RWA (America - I am of the Australian version), but RWAm dictates how so much of the industry works.

I've been too preoccupied trying not to die in the current bushfires to follow this too closely, but my hope would be the organisation can be fixed rather than eradicated.

And, yeah, that cover was one of the most stupid decisions I've seen in an ages. How could nobody have realised that??
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
Quick updates in Romancelandia:

  1. The remaining board members have resigned and a special election to fill all positions has been called for March. This will ensure there's some form of leadership to try to address the issues and comply with Texas state law, where RWA is incorporated.
  2. Right around this time is when registration for the national conference is being opened (heavily discounted rates apply for the first 48 hours), having been moved out from the beginning of February.
  3. The Paid Author Network (PAN) boards on the RWA forums have been shut down due to an influx of nastygrams and arguments. Much of the information that was over there still hasn't been ported over to more public boards even though it was said to be made more public "soon".
  4. The question of Damon's Suede book that qualified him as having met the minimum number of published works a member needs to run for board president still has not been adequately addressed. At this point, many are wondering if it's simply moot.
  5. A DEI expert has been engaged and will address many of the issues that have come forth.
  6. But many of us was won't see any results as there's been a massive hemorrhage of members, including many who have already paid to renew their memberships but resigned. Still others have stated publicly they will not renew due to distrust that has been growing within the organization over issues that have been paid mere lip service and should have been addressed when they were originally brought up (*me raises hand*).
 
Last edited:

Sonya Heaney

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
565
Reaction score
78
Location
Canberra
Right around this time is when registration for the national conference is being opened ...

Holy moly, I thought they'd cancel it. I can imagine a lot of newbie authors aren't aware of what's going on, but who's going to present, or take pitches, or win the awards?!
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts

frimble3

Heckuva good sport
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
8,908
Reaction score
1,627
Location
west coast, canada
I guess it must be a horrible thing to be a writer with a book with a good chance for this year's awards. Even if they get carried over to next year - there'll be twice as much competition.
 

Black and white winter scene with evergreens in the snow, and a house