Why honesty is a bad idea (redux)

(I now call it my Jimmy Carter “I have lust in my heart” moment –the blogpost where I shouldn’t have said what I was really feeling.)

Over at the “Dear Author” website, I’m being blasted for my tongue-in-cheek comments about the McGillivray mess.  Last night my husband told me he was concerned that I let it “all hang out” on this blogsite and that I keep telling the truth about exactly how I see the industry.  And it’s true.  I’ve confessed to my insecurities here.  I’ve revealed what I know about how the business works.  I’ve talked about bestseller lists and hard numbers and incomes and racial issues and a lot of things that most authors will never tell you about.

And now, it seems, there are tons of people who say they will never buy another one of my books or hang out with me at conferences because I’m such a jerk for telling the truth (about my feelings.)

This is the sort of defining moment that tells an author it’s time to close down the blogsite. 

As an author, one has to deal with enough difficulties.  And as for being stalked by weird readers/reviewers, hey, I’m the author about whom a reviewer wrote (in print) she’d like to slap me, and who also revealed the town I lived in and encouraged readers to accost me on the street.  So yes, I know something about feeling a bit stalked.  (But honestly? I was more bothered by the fact she didn’t like my book.  How crazy is that?) 

I’ve always reserved my deepest passions for the stories I tell, and for the whole, fascinating world of publishing.  I didn’t realize that just talking about these passions could make a whole host of people who don’t even know me want to have me drawn and quartered.

So I think it’s time to cool the blog for awhile.  I may be back.  I may not.  Either way, at least I can leave feeling that I’ve always been honest here.  (Well, except for the times I exaggerated for the sake of humor.)  I’ve tried to tell it like it is.  I’ve tried never to hurt anyone.  I’ve never used the internet to harass anyone, lambaste anyone, nor done any of the weird things McGillivray is accused of doing.  I’ve never bitten back at a reader (even though, as I confessed, I sometimes want to.) I’ve never advocated any of these things.  I just said, quite honestly, that when your feelings get hurt, you have emotional reactions that aren’t quite rational. 

But on Dear Author, it appears that just confessing to those emotions are thought to be akin to actually committing sins, and in this age of internet pile-ons, it’s just too dangerous to be truthful.

(editorial changes)

54 replies
  1. Anne Germain
    Anne Germain says:

    Maybe you should have remained anonymous on your blog!!! Sorry, not funny.
    I’m quite frightened by what you’ve just written and saddened also. Your blog is the only one I read on a regular basis and it’s a pity that you have to close it down. I’ve always loved your books (the great sense of story telling that you have) but reading your blog has made me like the person behind the books even better.
    I like to believe that people would not react like this in my country: if they did, I wouldn’t be very optimistic for the future (and as a teacher I already tend to be a little pessimistic sometimes…).
    Well, the good point is maybe tomorrow you can get up at 6 instead of 5? Plenty of time to concentrate on finishing your book.
    Good luck to you and rest assured that we faithful readers will always be with you!

  2. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    Tess-whether you resume the blog or not,it was simply the best author-reader communication site in existence-truth tellers often get treated poorly,so your husband is probably right-why set yourself up for abuse?One thing you can never be accused of is insincerity.Good luck!!

  3. readerinthesouth
    readerinthesouth says:

    I hope you will continue your blog. If you stop, I fear you will miss out on obtaining new readers like myself. I stumbled onto your blog one day by accident. I read through your posts and decided – I like this woman. She is straightforward, honest, and down-to-earth. The next day, I purchased 3 of your books from Amazon. I now am addicted to Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. You have gained a reader for life – all because of this blog. I hope you keep it up.

  4. Abe
    Abe says:

    Hi Tess,

    I guess by now you know how I feel about your closing down your posts. Would I be less of a man if I cried right now? I understand your feelings, and I agree with them. No one should live in fear, even though it’s just on the internet. You need to protect yourself and your family and that’a a number one priority. Personally, and with the support of the members of the LI-NY fan club, we understand and support you 100%. If you need us, we are there for you. So whatever you decide, just remember: You don’t need a blog to know that we love you and care for you. When and if you continue your posts, your faithful fans will be hammerin’ away on those keys.
    The best of luck to you on your upcoming book, and when it’s ready, please let us know.

  5. BernardL
    BernardL says:

    The Internet Blog is a wonderful tool of expression with razor sharp edges. It cuts mercilessly in all directions; and unfortunately, the truth of self-revelation on the Internet must be doled out cautiously. You should do whatever causes you the least angst in your real life, Tess. As readerinthesouth points out though, your blog is a way to reach readers who love your work too.

  6. firelight
    firelight says:

    Hi Tess,

    I think it’s shameful that you’re being hounded simply for telling the truth. People will believe what they want to, and usually that means believing what makes them feel good about themselves. When they are confronted with the ugly truth, it attacks their sense of self, which they just can’t handle. Yes, that’s universal human nature, but some will handle it in a more mature manner than others.

    For what it’s worth, I applaud your honesty and moral courage. I’ll keep reading your books (I’m one of those who found your books via this blog) and hope you’ll someday feel comfortable enough to return to the blog. And by the way, if anyone starts acting seriously stalkerish on you, there are legal measures you can take to protect yourself and your family. Don’t let the crazies run your life.


  7. Cumulus
    Cumulus says:

    This is a sad day, indeed. Truthfulness and honesty appear to be in short supply these days, as evidenced by the current political campaign. Yet we, as faithful readers, understand the hurt this has caused you. Your most enduring quality, vulnerability, has helped us connect with you in ways that are rare in the industry.

    I am a member of several Yahoo Groups where access is restricted to those who would most benefit. Perhaps this can be one avenue for you to continue expressing your thoughts, insecurities, triumphs, pain, and complaints. Everyone needs a safe outlet where s/he can honestly and openly share those innermost thoughts.

    I suspect that the blog was, for you, a necessary place that contributed to your continued success as an author. Yet the danger of being so visible in an unstable world is real.

    I trust that you will find some outlet of personal expression, be it an author’s group or a spiritual community of some kind, where you can safely vent your frustrations.

    After years of serving as pastor and as a certified spiritual director, I hung up my vestments because I couldn’t take anymore pain. I am just not as longsuffering as the Jesus I served.

    Please know that you are in our thoughts. I trust that you, with the support of your husband, will find your way through this thicket.


  8. spyscribbler
    spyscribbler says:

    Awww, Tess, there are many, many, who appreciate your gentle honesty and openness. I suspect your dark humor didn’t work because it was too close to the truth of how we all feel when someone speaks untruths about us. (Well, not the stalking, but that was clearly a joke in your case, and in this author’s case, I suspect it was a mis-remark blown way out of proportion from the actual truth. Or maybe she is that psycho to know her grannie’s name; I have no idea.)

    It’s funny how some people just don’t get humor on the web. That Tim guy, the Four Hour Workweek author, posted an April Fool’s joke on his blog that he had really been outsourcing his blogging for the past year. (And even made it obvious it was a joke.) Same with Darren of Problogger — his April Fool’s joke was that he was starting some Pay-To-Twitter advertising scheme.

    Both authors made it obvious they were joking, even though the “April 1” postdate should’ve been a clue, too. Both were completely lambasted by people who just didn’t get it.

    If I were you, I don’t know if I’d have the courage you do on your blog. You have a gentle honesty and graceful sensitivity that I admire, and I know I’m not the only one.

    This situation will come and go, just like the poor authors who were lambasted for weeks last summer after wearing a cute outfit to the RWA charity signing, or Sherrilyn Kenyon was ripped to pieces for wearing her trademark hat. It’s just the way of things in certain circles.

    Natasha 🙂

  9. Tamara
    Tamara says:


    I understand your decision to close your blog but I am very sad. It is the only blog I read regularly. I have never written a comment before but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your honesty and sincerity. Best wishes to you and I will continue to enjoy each and everyone of your books.


  10. Rob in Denver
    Rob in Denver says:

    One other thing… petitions such as this are worth about as much as the cost of the paper they’re printed on. I’ll let you all do the math on what Internet petitions are worth. That said, it’s usually a handful of people who truly feel that the petition is doing some good. The rest typically do so because they like being a part of something, or like signing stuff, or can’t say “no,” or, you know, whatever.

  11. Alison Kent
    Alison Kent says:

    I’m seriously crushed over this. I have learned so much about living the writing life from your posts.

    I have stopped visiting all but a handful of blogs, and most of them are ones concentrating on navigating the industry as an author. I no longer check my own blog’s incoming links to see how I’ve been quoted because it’s not worth the time and energy suck at my creativity.

    I will appeal along with the others to reconsider – and add the suggestion that you stick close to home as I now do. Whatever you do, just know that there are a lot of us who will miss your sharing.

  12. kjbass
    kjbass says:

    I haven’t posted before but wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed your blog for the very reasons that might force you to close it down. I’m appalled by the pervasiveness of internet bullying and am saddened it has targeted you, Tess.

    If you decide to continue this blog, I’ll be here, enjoying the fresh breeze of truthfulness.

  13. JD Rhoades
    JD Rhoades says:

    Well, hell. I’m sorry this happened, Tess, and I hate to see you shut down becuase of a lot of little yappy chihuahuas. I hope you’ll be back.

    And I’ll hang with you anytime.

  14. Dru
    Dru says:


    This saddens me. I look forward to reading your blog because you let us into the world of publishing that we didn’t know about.

    My fond memory is after posting several times on your blog, I met you at an event and you recognizing my name. That made my day and I’ve always have and always will be a fan of yours.

    I do understand why you have to close down your blog, I do hope you reconsider.


  15. jaq
    jaq says:

    I’ve read this post with great sadness, Tess. While I rarely comment, I check your blog daily. I love your honest insights into writing and publishing and hope you change your mind.

  16. JDK
    JDK says:

    I am really sorry it has come to this, Tess…and must agree with Dan who said that if you quit blogging, you let your critics win.

    Some of those commentors there seem to be pretty narrow-minded people who need to get a life.

  17. pbalester
    pbalester says:

    Hi Tess,

    Don’t worry about those other people who make negative comments about you.

    I met you at LIM and thought you were intelligent and delightful. The next time you see me at a writer’s conference, feel free to hang out with me. I’d be honored. I’ll introduce you as the best-selling author Tess Gerritsen, and people will fawn and bow. Then you can introduce me and they’ll shake my hand and smile and say, “You’re an author too?” LOL.
    I hope you return to the blog someday. In the meantime, I see you have some archives…guess I’ll have time now to read ’em all.

  18. Katrina Stonoff
    Katrina Stonoff says:

    What they said.

    I had never read your books before I stumbled on your blog, but now I’m a fan. And I have loved your honesty here. I’d be flattered to hang with you at a conference, and I’ll certainly read everything you write.

    But now I’m worried I won’t know when you have a new book out. I always heard about them by reading your blog.

    Good luck.

  19. Gina Black
    Gina Black says:

    The downside of being honest is the possibility of alienating people. The downside of humor (especially black humor) is the likelihood of others Just Not Getting It.

    I admit to being one of those who didn’t get it when you posted the other day. I almost commented in a forthright and strident (but kind) manner, but then I decided to give it a rest.

    I honestly wish more people *would* give it a rest before responding to what they see on the web–but that’s an aside.

    Please dont’ stop blogging. Please don’t stop being honest. I respect and esteem you highly, and admire you for sharing your experiences with us. I don’t feel like I have to agree with everything you say.

    Wouldn’t that be a boring world if we all *did* agree on everything?

    Which is one of the reasons that negative reviews have to be okay–as long as there’s no bashing involved. I admit to be at the very beginning of this experience. And I admit to being sure that bad reviews will pain me in every way. But, I also know they are part of being a public person. Part of being a public artist. And sometimes being a public artist person means that people see us bleed.

    Thanks for sharing with us your experiences, and I hope you continue to do so. You have a lot of friends out here. 🙂

  20. drosdelnoch
    drosdelnoch says:

    To be honest its going to be sad if you shut this down. Its a way for those of us who enjoy writing to see the “real” world of publishing, a way for us to see the problems that all of us face and its nice to know that an established author suffers from the same problems too.

    To cease the blogging is a sad thing but something that I do understand. Its just a shame that those who’ve jumped on you arent regular readers here and just looking for that witch hunt I mentioned before. As none regular readers they havent gotten to know your sense of humour the way us regulars have. Thats the great shame in all this.

    Should these people choose to boycott your books its them that lose out not the majority of your true fans. Yeah without the blog its going to be harder to reach out to those of us who enjoy a chat and email with you. But at the moment you have to do whats right for you. Nil Illegetto Carborundum as they say. Will miss this opportunity to chat with you,


  21. Alison Kent
    Alison Kent says:

    I honestly wish more people *would* give it a rest before responding to what they see on the web–but that’s an aside.

    Something I have *finally* learned to do, and believe is one of the wisest lessons I’ve learned.

  22. Tess
    Tess says:

    I do thank all of you for your words of support. But alas, I’ve just gotten an email telling me that the pile-on over at Dear Author is the rightful consequence of my detestable blogpost, that I’m known to write offensive and demeaning things about readers, and that if I really want to be honest, then I shouldn’t do so in public. It’s enough to make me not want to write another damn thing.

    It’s a wonderful blogosphere out there, isn’t it?

  23. jaq
    jaq says:

    What consequences? Have you lost a contract? Has there been a pox on your house? What?

    The fact that this person felt moved to send you that email speaks volumes about them.

    Christ on cracker. The online network can be a fabulous place, lots of great places where people share info, insights, and laughter. But then there are the peeps who seem to think we’re all back in high school, and they act/speak accordingly. To paraphrase Jay-Z, Tess, you gotta brush that dirt off your shoulder.

  24. Ali M
    Ali M says:

    Don’t leave Tess. It seems to me some people have nothing better to do than try to humiliate other authors, whether it is out of envy or what I don’t know. You’ve become a scapegoat for something you had nothing to do with. And you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion, maybe a disclaimer to that effect would help?

    I rarely comment but always read your blog and would be saddened to see you leave. No other blog has such honesty and integrity.

    To be honest I found the humour in the other post about that writer person going a little crazy. Personally I can see how that would happen, we all have our limits like. I didn’t get a note of support in your post for Ms McGillivray, just more of an empathy for what would drive someone into her situation. People just get the wind up so frigging easily these days.

    By the way, I’ll still read all your books, and I’ve recommended you to so many friends who also adore your work.

  25. redrobinreader
    redrobinreader says:

    And now, it seems, there are tons of people who say they will never buy another one of my books or hang out with me at conferences because I’m such a jerk for telling the truth.

    As someone who was a bit rocked back by your comments on the Amazon issue, I went through the 90+ comments on the Dear Author post (many of which were not about nor even mentioned your comments) which included a link to your blog, and found only one that mentioned anything like this (did anyone actually say they won’t buy your books? I couldn’t find that comment, but it’s possible I missed it).

    Were some of us offended by what you had to say? Yes. I was, and that’s my “truth,” my honest reaction. It’s also my truth that a number of people on that thread defended you and what they perceived to be the “black humor” of your commentary.

    If you feel ambivalent about blogging publicly and about being honest in your opinions (I think “telling the truth” in any objective sense is sort of difficult, isn’t it, when everyone has a different take?), then you have to make the decision that’s best for you and your work.

    But in the same way you feel treated unfairly at Dear Author, I feel that your comments here about that discussion are unfair, an unresolvable standoff, I’m sure. I did object to your initial post, not your feelings about being criticized in Amazon reviews, but about the seriousness of the issue in all of its various permutations. And I’d like to think I can say that without being characterized as part of a “whole host of people” who want you “drawn and quartered,” as I never suggested anything of the kind.

    Truly it’s difficult for me to understand how one discussion could drown out all of the encouraging voices that register for your opinions, but that’s something only you can measure. All I can say is that when someone blogs with such a defined opinion, and such a strongly articulated opinion, I guess I assume that I’ve been cleared to do the same. And even though I disagree with you about as much as I agree, I can very frankly say that I wish you no harm or bad feelings. As you said, I don’t even know you, so all I can feel strongly about is your comments, which I thought were offered quite readily and strongly.

  26. Sandra Parshall
    Sandra Parshall says:

    Tess, your blog has been valuable to me, precisely because you are so honest. I understand how emotionally wearing it is to be attacked for simply stating your opinion, but I hope you won’t take more than a short break from blogging. Your honesty is needed and appreciated.

  27. Ann Woodburn
    Ann Woodburn says:

    Hi Tess: I just found you less than six months ago and now I’m going to lose you. I love your blogs. I read all of them. I like your honesty so much. You may lose a few readers but I think you will gain more. Don’t give in to the critics. I don’t agree with everything you say but I certainly find it refreshing and interesting. I love that you share your struggles with us it helps me know that I am not overreacting to the fear of never getting published. Writing is tough but honesty is sooo important today. Please come back we need you. Ann

  28. spyscribbler
    spyscribbler says:

    I just went to bed (rough week) and picked up my place in Rebecca, by du Maurier. I came to this bit, where she’s complaining to her new husband about life at Manderley:

    “I hate people looking me up and down as though I were a prize cow.”

    “Who looks you up and down?”

    “All the people down here. Everybody.”

    “What does it matter if they do? It gives them some interest in life.”

    “Why must I be the one to supply the interest, and have all the criticism?”

  29. Frank Hood
    Frank Hood says:


    Please don’t let silly and nasty people stop you from doing something you want. I’m sure a lot more people have become fans through your blog than those who will never buy your books because of something you said. Especially something as innocuous as authors resent bad reviews. Well, duh! Anyone who would refuse to read your books because of that comment is just an egomaniac with a busted resent-o-meter.

    I perfectly understand the temptation to set the record straight especially when someone deliberately misunderstands your book. It’s a hard call on whether to respond or not sometimes. Politicians understand that they can end up making a situation worse by dignifying it with a reply.

    Do what makes you happy, and thanks for all your wonderful insights.

  30. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    Oh wow, I had to stop reading those comments on that website. How could those people have so grossly misinterpreted your words that they are raising their pitchforks and poking at you with torches? Absolutely incredible, really. You are very much entitled to your own opinion, and your own feelings. I’m not published yet, but I can honestly say that I completely agree with you. Would I want to find out who was trashing me? Of course I would. Would I actually do it? Of course I wouldn’t. And neither would you. And neither did you even INSINUATE that you would.

    Honestly, people need to get a life. What McGillivray did was atrocious, but it’s understandable—though obviously not condonable.

    You keep being you, Tess. Discovering your blog last January was a blessing, and I have been a faithful reader since then, and will continue to be hereafter. Your commitment to your fans, readers and fellow writers has been an immense help to many of us and—I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say this—I hope you stick around for a very long time. I have yet to find another author of your caliber and success that gives so much to others, and it would really be a shame if you quit because of some people who are not writers and cannot possibly understand what you go through. We all welcome and cherish your candidness and honesty.

    I’ll keep looking for you. And I definitely won’t skirt around you if I see you at ThrillerFest. 🙂


  31. redrobinreader
    redrobinreader says:

    What McGillivray did was atrocious, but it’s understandable

    Wait a minute. It’s understandable for an author to lecture a reader for a THREE STAR review, then to get that reader’s personal information (name and address) from another author, and proceed to investigate her, then brag about it online (inclusive of veiled threats), all the while encouraging her compatriots to report abuse on that THREE STAR review AND go after her in the Amazon forums? But it’s the people who find that outrageous and over the line and potentially illegal who have got it wrong?

    Anyone who would refuse to read your books because of that comment is just an egomaniac with a busted resent-o-meter.

    I see this comment lingering in the “mean and nasty” neighborhood, too, right around the corner from the “get a life” billboard and across the street from the poxed house.

  32. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    redrobinreader – Hasn’t anything ever happened to you that so completely enraged you that you thought of all of these things you would like to do to get revenge, or at least justice? Most of us, LIKE TESS, have enough self-restraint to know where to draw the line, but the thoughts are still there. We’d like the knock down the door and demand, WHY are you doing this to me? But we let it go.

    Yes, McGillivray’s actions ARE understandable, though I also said that they were atrocious and not condonable. There’s a very big difference between thought and action, and, as far as I can tell, McGillivray is the only one acting.

    Leave Tess alone. She’s a great and humble person and doesn’t deserve the ridicule people like you are giving her for expressing her opinion.

  33. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    And, apparently, the rest of my argument fell of deaf ears.


    I’m not replying again, because I don’t want to tie up Tess’s comments with this. If you feel like discussing it, you can email me through my website.

  34. jaq
    jaq says:

    “and across the street from the poxed house.”


    You know, Tess, as much as I’d miss you, you might have a point.

  35. emilee
    emilee says:


    I’m very sorry to hear about all this… It saddens me to think that, once again, the bullies and b******* win.

  36. HHChen
    HHChen says:

    Your blog is the first one I read everyday! I just want to point out that there are a lot more people who appreciate your honest opinion than those who don’t. I’ve recommended your blog to every writer I know! I really hope you will continue. You have given a lot of good information to us – the beginning writers. I can go on and on…

    No matter what you decide, I wish you the best and thank you so much for all the things you have taught me!!!

    (Please don’t stop… ;-(


  37. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    Hey Tess,

    I just got blocked from posting at Dear Author… I guess they didn’t like hearing an opinion that differed from their own. They wouldn’t even let me respond to the last person who made a comment against me. Nice.

    I agree with HHChen that you have done so much for us beginners, whether you know it or not. Write for us and for yourself, not for them.

    We’ll be here.

  38. Ann Woodburn
    Ann Woodburn says:

    Hi Tess:
    Went over to Dear Author and read the comments. I only recognised one name Nora Roberts and she didn’t say that you should be boiled in hot oil.
    Did it occur to you that a lot of these people who are writing disparaging remarks are not well known authors. My guess is that many of them are plain jealous.
    You are a physician married to a physician and a best selling author don’t let their jealousy stifle you in any way. We didn’t for a minute think you would actually do any of the things DAM did.
    It is normal to rant and rave about things people do to you that are hurtful. We understood that you were just saying you could get mad as hell too.
    I would love to meet you at a conference. Please don’t stop your blog. I am just revising my first novel and I feel empowered by your blogs. I know you have to do what you have to do but I hope you’ll come back. Have you ever thought of publishing your blog as a book for writers?

  39. Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan says:

    I’m going to be perfectly selfish for a moment: I’m going to miss your blog! I read it religiously, even though I don’t usually comment. I’ve learned so much from you about the business, and that’s it’s okay to be insecure, nervous, worried, and fearful. I’ve talked about fear a lot over at my own blog, because it’s a real, daily issue that (I believe) most authors deal with. We fight it because we’re professional, but it doesn’t mean we can kill it. We simply handle it.

    But I understand your reasoning. I hope you opt for a cooling off period and don’t abandon your blog completely; but in the end, the most important thing is for you to be in the best frame of mind to continue to write the incredible stories we all love you for.

  40. vivien
    vivien says:

    Hey Tess,

    This wouldn’t be the first time that tongue-in-cheek remarks have been taken out of context on the internet. It’s almost like you have to put up big signs prefacing such remarks, which rather defeats the purpose.

    I’d miss your blog though would understand if you needed to step back.

    As for Amazon, it isn’t a place that for me equates to good reviews. I don’t trust its system at all. Much prefer the reviews on Livejournal and on Goodreads.

  41. vivien
    vivien says:

    Me again.

    I was looking into the Deborah MacGillivray situation on Goodreads and here again there seems to have been some blatant manipulation of ratings.

    I found user after user awarding 5-stars with no comment or reviews to her and friends books. Looking at the user home pages they look as if all they were created for was to boost the overall ratings of these books.

    This is such blatant manipulation of on-line reviewing. I believe that a book is not going to please everyone no matter how perfect but it helps no one to try to juggle the figures in your favour.

  42. Tony Joaquin
    Tony Joaquin says:

    My dear Tess,
    At this point in time, many of those who have reacted in support of your views have said more or less what I feel in my heart.

    Yes, at times we have to take the blows.

    Perhaps, another time, another blogsite may do the trick.

    Remember, there are more positive friends than negative ones who misuse the blog to hide their identity conveniently – which does not speak well of one’s courage really.

    We love you, Tess.



  43. struggler
    struggler says:

    Until today Tess, when I have been catching up on your last few blogs, I had not heard of this person Deborah MacGillivray. The irony could be that as a result of all these ‘fireworks’, she becomes better known and better sold, while your blog is suspended or even shut down.

    Whatever happened to the wonders of free speech? Looks like it has a price after all.

    As JMH aptly put it : [i]Tess, take a deep breath, chill out for a few days, and then come back where you belong. See you then![/i]

  44. theolog
    theolog says:


    My name is Doug and I am a travel writer. My wife and I live in Mexico and have for the past five years. I have not only written about travel in Mexico but also about Americans expatriating to Mexico.

    What I write is very niche. I am able, through book royalties, to pay the rent and light bill. Magazine articles and another source of income make up the rest. I’ve found that the only way I have been able to pay the rent via my books has been through my constant and never-ending self-promotion for which, would you believe, I get blasted for promoting my own work?!

    I wanted to tell you that we too get threats for our writing. Book reviews on Amazon are not reviews but rants. I’ve complained over and over to Amazon and thankfully they have removed the ones in which I am called names.

    I’ve been threatened by a woman in NY who told me, on Amazon, she should come to Guanajuato, the city where we live, find me and do me in!

    There was even a suspected attempt to kill us. One expat in the area where we live threatened, in an comment about an article, to do us in. He clearly identified himself as a fellow expat living in my city or in a nearby city called San Miguel de Allende. A little more than 12 hours after getting this threat, a fire was set in or under a taxi which was parked outside our bedroom window. Had I not been up, it would have blown up the neighborhood, killing us and the neighbors.

    Another person (who also lives in our town) sent me an email stating he/she thought I should go live in Iraq where I would get the punishment I deserve (i.e., death).

    We’ve even had people who have read our books come to our door. Fortunately, they were friends of some expats who actually like what we’ve written, so it was a positive encounter.

    However, there are several people in this town who do not like us and who know approximately where we live and who could bring those who want to harm us right to our doorstep. Scary!

    There is the delusion that free speech in America means being able to curse someone wildly and threaten their lives.

    Amazon could do something about their review format but won’t. The technology exists to control these bitch session disguised as reader’s reviews.

    Hang in there! Keep writing your books (which, by the way, both of us LOVE!!!!) and your blog.



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