Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In The Immortal Words of Tom Petty...


So, aside from the fact that I got zero hours of sleep last night, today started just like any other. I got the kids to take their baths, I made their lunch, I drove them to school, walked them to their classroom, went to work, had a day where everything that could go wrong - did, left work with just enough time to pick up the kiddos, said "Thanks" to their teachers for learning them yet another day, and went home.

It's the after I got home part where things start to get interesting. Usually when I get home I have a few e-mails from friends and family to tend to and an occasional e-mail from some one who visited my book review blog (ya know, NOVEL READS, the one you are reading right now). On a typical day, I would respond (or not) to these e-mails, throw a load of laundry in the machine, cook dinner, read with my kids, kiss them goodnight and snuggle with The Hubs. Today, however, was anything BUT typical.

Most of you are reading this because you heard about the letter I received from an attorney representing Victoria Laurie and the subsequent post on her blog (OOPS, her entire blog has been taken off her website, I tired to link her).

Anyway, in an attempt to make sense of this madness for myself, I have decided to break down events.

On January 21, 2008, while blogging for another site, I posted this blog. Notice, I state how much I enjoy Ms. Laurie's books. Notice the fact that while I don't personally like her on-line behavior, I will continue to read her books.

Shortly there after, I leave dee & Dee Dish...About Books.

I am silent in the blog-o-sphere for a few months. I post to my personal blog (not often mind you, but some) and read a LOT. I continue to read my favorite blogs, but use that time to re-group.

May 15, 2008 (Happy Birthday A!), I decide I miss this small world of readers I belonged to. Mind you, I've never been a big addition to the fiction world, but I did have my own corner, and even when I had only myself for company I enjoyed it!

Fast forward to August 11, 2008 and Victoria Laurie is back on my radar. Please note, that the post I have linked there is the Original Post with minor changes. The minor changes include the addition of "AKA I QUOTED Victoria Laurie" and the little "Update" at the start. Otherwise, I left the post in tact.

That same day, I post to two Yahoo! Groups I belong to and post the question about the author's behavior.

August 12, 2008, starts like any other day, only the kids are still on Summer Break and my babysitter is NOT. SO, I'm home and still receiving e-mails (some very hateful) about my post of (at the time) a particular author - OK, it's Victoria Laurie. I don't have to pretend anymore! Since my question to the Yahoo! Groups gives me some good food for thought, I do another post.
I will adress this post again shortly, if you aren't already asleep, bear with me ;).

After hitting "PUBLISH POST", I think to myself, " Go ahead and be brave! Try and contact this publisher for a quote!" So, in all of my, I AM WOMAN (erm, READER!) HEAR ME ROAR glory, I work up the nerve to call the publishing house. I ask to speak to Laurie's editor. I am transfered to voice mail. I leave a message, and trust me, we'll discuss this in more detail in a bit, asking for a quote. I DO in fact say that I was "deeply disturbed" about something I read on her blog. I say this, because I am, in fact, deeply disturbed by this behavior.

After my phone call, I do my blog hopping. One of my first stops is Dear Author. A site I miss visiting on a regular basis, but ya know, life happens and I must work for the money. I see that Jane has outed the author in question (and seriously, why am I still referring to her as "the author in question?" We all know who the heck I'm talking about!). I then check out one of my favorite author's blogs and find out that she is thinking about quitting blogging. More hate mail to novelreads at gmail dot com ensues.

August 13, 2008, I link to the Dear Author post outing Laurie. The same day I moved on.

August 14, 2008, I address (in a general way) some of the letters I received about my initial post. And again, I get on with blogging as usual.

August 15-18, 2008 all is business as usual.

August 19, 2008, I receive the following letter in my in-Box, (IN-BOX, people, not even through regular mail) upon returning home from work:

Dear the owner of email address titled “” (a.k.a. “ChariDee”),

I represent Victoria Laurie, an author which you recently address in a posting titled, “Authors Getting Even” on In this posting you excerpt from a website that is copyright protected, thus violating federal copyright law. There is and has been an existing disclaimer on Ms. Laurie’s website, (, which states that; “No part of this website may be directly copied or duplicated and all of the content herein is copyright protected.” These quotes you have posted to your blog should be immediately removed or Ms. Laurie will be forced to take appropriate action.

In addition to the above violation of law, on Tuesday, August 12, you contacted the voice mail of someone you thought to be Ms. Laurie's editor at Penguin Group USA and left a voice mail claiming that you were "deeply disturbed" by a blog posting and requesting a comment (a copy of which we have in our possession). Please consider this letter a cease and desist letter. While you are free to express your opinion under the First Amendment, taking impulsive and inappropriate action with the attempt to interfere with a contractual relationship is unacceptable; therefore, in addition to the above Ms. Laurie is requesting that you not contact her, her agents, editors, business representatives, or assigns personally at any time now or in the future.

Feel free to contact me at the above post office box should you have any questions regarding this letter and its directives.


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Lindsay Gustafson

I immediately freak out, thus causing me to make one of the best decisions of my life, and contact Jane at Dear Author. I needed advice from another blogger. I'm a guppie in the blogger pond, I've never claimed to be more. So getting a letter like this is flippin' scary.

Later that day, Jane stands up for me (God Bless Jane!).

And that brings us to today. Are you as exhausted as I am yet? Today, I work all day. I have no idea of what happens until I get home. What happened? Well, Victoria Laurie totally bashes me on her blog. I'd link, but her entire blog has been removed. I do, however, happen to have a cached version of the post. Since Laurie found it OK to fling accusations my way, I find it OK to defend myself. I will not post the entire blog entry here, I will however, as allowed by Fair Use, quote her post for comment and criticism.


ANYhoo, to catch you all up, last week I got a very upsetting phone call from my editor who was really creeped out. She said that some crazy woman had called the voice mail of another editor in her department. The caller clearly thought that editor was my editor and had demanded to be called back saying she was “deeply disturbed� (mental diagnosis or state of mind?) about a blog that I’d written and she demanded a comment from my editor.

First of all, I demanded nothing. Laurie's editor and attorney claim to still have the VM, they can listen to this again and see that I in no way demanded a thing. I called Penguin Group and asked to speak to her editor, I was transfered and left a message.

Quote: My wonderful editor was so freaked out that she became concerned for my safety and wanted to alert me that there was a crazy cyber stalker out there and maybe I wanted to increase my own security.

If I ever get the cash flow to hire an attorney, I want that voice mail released. If this editor read anything "crazy" into my simple voice mail, I don't know what it could have been. Laurie also states that I did not leave my name. I call BS on this one. I most certainly DID leave my name. Not only did I leave my name, I left my telephone number, e-mail address and blog address.

I'm getting ready to sign off on this post, but before I do, I want to address one more thing that Laurie says in her blog post: Quote:
but don’t start making phone calls that will end up costing you your kid’s college fund. To this I say, I will take a lot of shit. However, the minute you threaten my children and their future, is the minute I start to take the gloves off.

I have much more to say on the topic, and I probably will blog more about it tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to get in some comfy PJ's and get some sleep.

I want to thank each and every one of you that has commented on my blog and on Dear Author showing your support. I am humbled by your kindness and cannot express how much it has meant to me.

I promise that I will post more on the subject when I get some sleep and can make some sense. I also promise that my posts will remain here on Novel Reads until such time the law dictates otherwise.

Take Care


Brandy said...

Not to sound trite, but "YOU GO GIRL!" Standing up to a bully is indeed a strong act of courage. You have my support in whatever you decide.

Jane said...

Ditto. You are a brave girl to withstand the pressure. I don't know that anything more needs to be said. I hope you do get some sleep because the last thing that you want is these people affecting your life.

Dru said...

Keep on keeping on. I despise bullies.

Anonymous said...

quoting.... but don’t start making phone calls that will end up costing you your kid’s college fund. To this I say, I will take a lot of shit. However, the minute you threaten my children and their future, is the minute I start to take the gloves off.

*G* I wanna be like ChariDee when I grow up.

Anonymous said...

As I said in MJDs group, you are def in the right. This woman is nuts and she is destroying her own career.

Go you, go you!!!


Nettle said...

Hi ChariDee,
I only found your blog because of the Victoria Laurie thing - I work in copyright and seeing copyright law abused to suppress criticsm is not that unusual. While it's certainly no fun for you and it's shameful that Laurie would do such a thing (and even more that her lawyer friend would - she should know better) I have to admit that I'm delighted with the way your blogging community has pulled together for you. You guys rock. I love seeing a bully backed down like this.

Here's a link to the Electronic Freedom Foundation's IP FAQ for bloggers, with an overview of fair use:

The EFF might be able to help you with finding a lawyer if one becomes necessary. It's one of the things they do.

JulieLeto said...

Not all of us authors are crazy, I swear.

Keep up the good fight, Charidee. You can't back down.

What I want to know is how someone copies a voicemail and sends it to someone outside their voicemail system??? Hold up a little recorder to the speaker phone? Just askin'.

sassymonkey said...

Keep your chin up Chadidee.

Liz Henry said...

You can call the EFF for advice and referrals, btw! Take a look at their bloggers' rights page.

And you might also take a look at Chilling Effects (about takedown notices)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This too shall pass!

SJ said...

Good for you, being so open with your posts. I hope you are blazing a trail for others who are being bullied by idiots.

Carolyn Jean said...

I didn't realize this was you! How horrible to be the target of such an awful attack. I know this sort of thing can feel so devastating, even when you are in the right like you obviously are.

But just know that we're right in there with you. You were in no way inappropriate through this in your blogging, and I'm sure nobody would imagine you were inappropriate in that VM.

Amy Wolff Sorter said...

Charity, after taking a look at this e-mail, I'm highly suspicious this is actually an "attorney." Most attorneys I know of don't use P.O. Boxes for contact addresses (I sure wouldn't use an attorney that doesn't have a legitimate street address). Most attorneys will offer a phone number for immediate contact.

The other thing I'm going to say is that a "cease and desist" has to go to a certain entity; a corporation or a person. Owner of "email address titled novelreads," etc., etc., etc., could be anyone. It could be your kid, your cousin, or the repairman that entered the house the other day that could have entered that blog.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if I'm right here, but isn't a "cease and desist" legitimate only if delivered by the country's reputable delivery service (as in the U.S. postal service?) I don't think the Internet is considered a bonafide delivery channel for ANYTHING legal.

I googled Lindsay Gustafson and see she is "director of public affairs and staff attorney for the Texas Classroom Teachers Association." If, indeed, this is the same person, shame on her for buying into this. She should know better than to wield "copyright law" as a weapon to intimidate you.

If it is not the same person, then I apologize to Lindsay Gustafson. :-).

But keep standing your ground, Charity. This whole thing is ridiculous and I'm furious at the lengths this person would go to try to hurt you.

Mark said...

Good for you for not backing down.

We got your back.

Kat said...

Keep up the good work!!

Ladytink_534 said...

Is she trying to alienate all her readers? Well I certainly won’t touch one of her books now with a ten foot poll! Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and she’s the one that sounds like the nut job.

Wendy said...

ChariDee, I'm a 100% behind you. I've read a lot of crap about that author being a total nutjob and attacking readers and the whole thing is just ridiculous. I hope it's resolved soon and you can put it behind you. *hugs*

Anonymous said...


I applaud you for not backing down in the face of a bully's scare tactics. I sincerely wish you the best in your future endeavors and have become a faithful reader of your blog.

Also, just want you to know that not all authors are so thin-skinned or reactionary as VL.


Grace Draven

Anonymous said...

So has anything happened? Did you hear anything else from the author or the lawyer?

Catherine Avril Morris said...

Ugh, ugh, ugh. I just wanted to throw my support behind you, too. Unfortunately, Ms. Laurie lives in my neighborhood; so does her lawyer friend, Ms. Gustafson. I first became aware of Ms. Laurie's terrible behavior many months ago, when I witnessed her screaming viciously at my next-door neighbor. Then I saw the posts Ms. Laurie had written on her own blog, bashing that Amazon reviewer, Buttercup (who is, indeed, a real person, and who did nothing wrong, and didn't deserve Ms. Laurie's vitriol). So I was grimly unsurprised to see Jane's Dear Author post from Aug. 19. So sorry you're the latest victim of Ms. Laurie's manic rage. I sure wish that woman would get some help.

Tracy said...

Good for you, she cannot bully people like that, she needs help.

MarthaE said...

Hi ChariDee-
I know this comment is late, but I was adding your blog to my google reader and saw this post. I commented on one of your earlier posts on this ethics issue and I just wanted to add my support here.
I'm glad Nettle gave you some good facts and Amy WolffSorter too. I am an attorney and although I do not specialize in copyright law, I immediately thought the letter sounded not quite right.
Always wise to be careful in our printed words but I haven't seen anything you've said that should really stress you.
BTW- hope you are feeling all right. Sounded like you were under the weather a bit. Take care.