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« Book Tour Tool Kit Advice #10 from The Mystery Lovers Bookshop Owners | Main | Backstory Reminder »

February 16, 2006

Comments

Lauren Baratz-Logsted

"You provided so many identifying details about the author in question I had to wonder whether, in your frustration, you hoped she would recognize herself and clean up her act without your intervention."

Or maybe the letter-writer merely was hoping to cause pain? It's such a passive-aggressive letter.

Dr.Sue

Lauren, I had the same reaction when I first read this letter, several months ago, and my first impulse was to delete it. The subject, how to deal with online (as opposed to in-person) group conflict, is an important one, though, so I held onto it. When I read it again, the writer seemed more frustrated than vengeful. In my experience, people resort to passive-aggressive behavior when they feel powerless to confront a problem directly. If the writer's purpose was to cause pain, then I think he or she will experience even more frustration since I cut out all the identifying details.

katharine weber

In any online interaction there is the risk of miscommunication and projection, especially in the context of a community. (Or a "community.") I think there are a lot of valuable issues raised in this letter and addressed in the response.

One of the powers a problematic person such as the one described can hold over others, whether or not other people respond to her as advised, is malevolent and subtle manipulation of the group. It's somethng we all know from junior high school. The powerful girl who dominated a group did so by bullying. Her minions stuck to her, and nobody stood up against her, because they were afraid of the consequences of being on her wrong side.

In an onlne community, silence can mean all kinds of things, from lack of interest to obliviousness to tactful not engaging to pursed-lip disapproval to fear of involvement or attracting the wrath of the bully.

Dr. Sue proposes the consideration that this problem member of an online community may be dense and oblivious but her behavior can be modified by positive group dynamics and individuals taking responsibility and having awareness of their own responses to her, checkng in to see how she pushes their buttons. And she also suggests that the obnoxious person probably has her own issues at work that are worth considering. This is all very wise and helpful.

But what if the problem person is a true sociopath?

Truth

Dr. Sue - I am one of the group of people who wrote the letter (yes it was a group letter) and are frustrated by this situation and don't know what to do other than throw up our hands and give up - which is basically what we have done.

Thank you Dr. Dougherty for responding.

You said, "people who spark strong negative feelings in us often have a great deal to teach us about ourselves."

That might be true if this was one person's reaction to one person's action but in this case very different types of people are all having the same reaction to this writer.

You wrote, "With luck, your problematic poster will get the message and join the group."

But isn't it almost impossible for a narcissistic to do that?

And lastly, isn't is okay to after as long as year of trying to understand someone's sensitivities and be thoughtful and work on the issues to just get angry and fed up with someone's behavior? Especially when that person has never shown any real concern? Isn't there a cut off point at which "understanding" is just self -flagellation?

Jeri

I'm amazed how your topics coincide with issues I've been thinking about recently. Lately I've seen two of my lists get clogged with dozens of individual messages saying "Congratulations!" each of which must be answered by individual "Thanks-for-the-congratulations!" messages. To me, a private message would be more thoughtful and personal.

My feeling is, how will Obnoxious Author (OA) know that she is provoking this reaction if no one tells her? If I were OA, I'd prefer that someone tactfully explain (perhaps in a general note to everyone from the moderator?) on the appropriateness of certain types of posts, rather than have everyone hate me behind my back.

I can admit that part of my annoyance with boasters comes from envy and insecurity. For those of us prone to these feelings, should we avoid such lists entirely? I always hear how we shouldn't compare ourselves to other writers, but have yet to see any practical advice on how to do this. It's like telling an alcoholic, "Just don't drink!"

Dr.Sue

Katharine, thanks. And thank you, too, Truth, for amplifying. Yes, if the poster in question is a true sociopath or a completely oblivious, self-involved narcissist, she's unlikely to take the hint and change her posting style. The original letter did not state this as the problem, though. (The material I cut out was personal information, not an elaboration of the issue.) There were no examples of backstabbing, personal attacks, or narcissistic rage at being slighted. This is a very different problem, and if it is occurring in an online forum, it definitely needs to be addressed directly. I would suggest that you, as a group, complain to the moderator, and if the problem continues please write again and we'll figure something out.

Jeri, you ask some important questions. My assumption was that OA was indulging in fairly innocuous behavior that angered a lot of people, either because she was being subtly (and perhaps unconsciously) provocative, or because the group itself had unaddressed issues. That behavior is fairly subtle and hard to explain to the offender. If she is, indeed, actively hurtful, that's another matter, and I agree, someone needs to straighten her out.

Envy is a huge topic that I hope to tackle in a future column.

Meanwhile, MJ has a characteristically brilliant article on electronic communication here: http://www.jugglezine.com/CDA/juggle/0,1516,109,00.html

Susan Messer

Dr Sue,

Thanks so much for this column, but I'm having a hard time understanding the letter that prompted it. The complaint seems to be as much about the community (people who pretend they like the problem person's work but then talk about her behind her back) as about the problem person. Why would people pretend they like work and then complain that this person has made them do this? Or are there two groups in this community--(1) people who don't like the work but pretend to and then complain about the boaster behind her back; and (2) people who maybe do like the boaster (don't see her as a boaster) and maybe also like her work and express something they really feel when they congratulate her? I'd guess that in an online community, there could be people in both these groups and more (people who find her annoying but just scroll by; people who sometimes find her annoying and sometimes charming). Aside from my confusion about what the letter writer meant, I think this is an important column because it's good for all of us to stop sometimes and consider how others might be seeing us.

Jessica Black

As usual, great column.

There are undoubtedly people on forums who are constantly irritating and disruptive, it's one of those challenges of a newish social situation. But as far as I can tell from the letter (and that isnt much) the problem is as much that of the community.

If you (I mean that generally, as in 'one') feel compelled to say Congrats, good job, even if you didnt like the book, fine. You're being nice, if a bit false if you say you liked it. Understandable, IF it doesnt bother you to have been that little bit hypocritical. If it bothers you enough to spark the exchange of backchannal emails about the terrible quality of the book in question and the flaws in the author's character, it's a sign the hypocrisy was too much for you, and you should have posted nothing (my favourite option) or posted something reflective of your true feelings.

I find the idea of behind-your-(cyber)back nasty commentary just as irritating as having to scroll by egocentric boastful or bellicose posts. Though I should clarify neither really rocks my world. People are weak. There's usually a fairly good reason for the way they act, sneaky or in-your-face annoying.

In any case, an important issue to address. I am certain it will make many of us think.

Dr.Sue

These are all really interesting comments. Susan, I had read the original letter to mean that the problematic author had several friends who always hijacked the discussions by talking about/praising the author's books, and that the other posters felt both annoyed by this and frustrated with themselves for not being able to change the situation. But "Truth"'s message suggests that the problem is more complicated, in ways that haven't been explained. Jessica, that's an interesting point, that we sometimes react against our own hypocrisy in praising someone, by blaming them behind their backs.


katharine weber

This week's column --- the situation the letter describes and Sue's reply -- is, fascinatingly, like a Rorschach Blot.

Dr.Sue

Please note: The placement of usernames in relation to comments on this blog can be confusing, and my email indicates that some readers have mistakenly attributed one or more comments. The username follows the comment. The spokesperson for the group that wrote today's letter is "Truth," not Katharine Weber.

katharine weber

Thank you, Sue, for clarifying. How unfortunate if anyone thought I wrote "Truth"'s post.

It is not really that hard to identify wh wrote a comment if you start at the top, or the bottom.

Truth or Dare

Fantastic column, Dr. Sue!

We, too, are part of a forum, maybe even the same one, since members of a certain forum all seem to be popping up in the comments section.

You’ve given voice to the voice-less. (Okay, so we do publish books and post things in forums, but because of this self-hyping dominatrix, we have been silenced.)

We cannot tell you the number of times that this one woman has posted an announcement that she has yet another book deal in what could only be called total BS(P). We cannot tell you how often she has posted about another sale and we’ve all had to type, “You’re the greatest!” “Way to go!!” “You Rock” along with some blasted smiley face when what we really wanted to write was “DIE, BITCH, DIE.” She’s dragging the community down by forcing us to play her praise game. We feel manipulated, controlled and captive and by posting your column today, we are one step closer to the freedom we deserve. You’re the greatest, Dr. Sue!

We don’t know how we would’ve done it without you. You see, we email one another about her, but openly criticizing her would make us look like jealous bitches and not the innocent victims we are. We also can’t really post anything about her publicly because that woman is always such a goodie-two-shoes--she helps others out, encourages wannabe writers who we know will never make it—you get the idea. She doesn’t flame or dis’, so there wasn’t really any way we could get to her—until today. Way to go, Dr. Sue!

You’ve helped us pathologize her. But you could’ve gone a step further. (We emailed each other about what we really thought about you on this one—no offense, but we were silenced.) You mentioned narcissism, but you really should’ve explained narcissistic personality disorder and given her an Axis-II diagnosis. (But BRAVO to Katherine Weber who had the guts to speculate that the woman might really be a true sociopath!) We were also disappointed in your follow-up comment that you really had to point out, “There were no examples [in the original complaint message] of backstabbing, personal attacks, or narcissistic rage at being slighted.” This made us feel silenced again because pointing out her absence of overtly hostile actions minimizes the true toxicity of her coercing us to post insincere congratulatory messages. You did the responsible thing by examining this important problem. You rock, Dr. Sue!

Dr.Sue

There seems to be an assumption that I know who the problematic author is and that I have somehow taken sides with one group or another. Please understand that I do not know this author's identity.I don't know which online community s/he posts on. I don't know who wrote the letter. Further, I do not want this information. This column is not a forum for people to work out their personal vendettas. The letter touched on issues concerning online group dynamics that friends and clients have expressed concern about and interest in, and I answered it in that spirit. I'm always happy to "rock," but not at the expense of someone else's feelings or dignity.

Emma

"There were no examples [in the original complaint message] of backstabbing, personal attacks, or narcissistic rage at being slighted."

It seems that Truth or Dare has given us an example of the poster's narcissistic rage.

How fascinating to see her perception of herself as kind and encouraging to writers she has just called "wannabees."

MJ

Why is everyone assuming they know who these people are?

Yes there are a lot of people commenting here from one online community - that's beause Dr. Sue frequents it and so do I.

It doesn' t mean Truth or Consequenses does.

In fact, I have gotten email from four people since this post went up who hang out at THREE TOTALLY DIFFERENT online communities and each of them are all certain they know who this person is.

Besides if Truth or Consequences is a writer I'd imagine he or she put in details that might seem identifying but could be exactly misleading on purpose.

How many of us have written a character in a novel only to have an email arrive from a man treatening to sue us beause we have perfectly described his wife.

Dr. Sue. said she took out identifying details -- that didn't mean she could identify the person -- rather that it seemed to her if someone reading the blog might.

Let's not put her in the role of villian here. She's trying to dicuss an issue - which is the purpose of her column in the first place.


RV reader

I am not an author. However, I am a reader who enjoys being at Readerville which might be the community being discussed. It really matters little. What matters is that the letters appear to be growing into an appalling, rude, spiteful gang attack. (Note that I am not criticizing their feelings, but their behavior.)

Dr. Sue, my personal opinion is that while the topic--group dynamics in online discussions--is a valid one, using the oroginal letter was wrong. Even though you heavily edited it, it is provoking strong feelings that seem to be growing more bitter, not less.

Nothing has been solved, the wounds appear to be growing deeper and harder, and what has really been accomplished? Hate has erupted into the open, and I foresee no resolution. This is not at an end, unfortunately.

Bella Stander

I sense a note of hyperbole--farce even--in Truth or Dare's post. This sentence especially got my BS detector quivering: "This made us feel silenced again because pointing out her absence of overtly hostile actions minimizes the true toxicity of her coercing us to post insincere congratulatory messages."

I think someone is pulling our leg. Which is funny, in a post-modern, meta-whatever fashion, but it mocks a very real problem and trivializes the reactions to it.

Susanito

I was really shocked to read the following: We cannot tell you how often she has posted about another sale and we’ve all had to type, “You’re the greatest!” “Way to go!!” “You Rock” along with some blasted smiley face when what we really wanted to write was “DIE, BITCH, DIE.”

Who feels so compelled to type, "You're the greatest?" Is someone in your home holding a gun to your head? Why not just say nothing? This is so ridiculously dishonest. You don't have to write something inflammatory like DIE BITCH, but you don't have to lie with bogus smiley faces either. Why not just say nothing? What would happen that would be so bad? That the narcissist would write, Why hasn't anyone congratulated me? Would they really say that? And that could just be met with more silence. It seems like a very silly game to be playing, and giving undue power to some invisible individual.

MJ

Readerville reader, why are you assuming that the letter to Dr. Sue is about Readerville? As I posted but perhaps you missed, I have four letters saying the author in question belongs to 3 different forums other than Readerville. Why should Dr. Sue have assumed otherwise?

katharine weber

Why is anyone reading that post literally? Why dignify it with such painstakingly literal responses when it was really a very obvious and mean-spirited send-up?

Andi

I'm not sure why Dr. Sue, of all people, is being attacked here. I've been a part of various online communities since 1998, some of them about writing, some of them not, and every single one of them has had SOME member who would fit the description of the "problem poster" presented by the original letter-writer. I think the defensive reactions and attacks on Dr. Sue speak more to the insecurity of those posters than any wrongdoing on Dr. Sue's part. As I read it, Dr. Sue is discussing both how to handle a problem poster and how to interact in a virtual community in general, and her advice works whether you're participating in a writing community or a place with another kind of focus. Moreover, the more the anonymous responder(s) make this personal and specific, the more they distract from the real "teachable moment" of this question -- that is, how do we find a way to deal with, work with, and learn from difficult people, and how do we make a community full of diverse opinions work -- and divert our energies toward "feeding the troll," as it's sometimes called in online communities.

katharine weber

Thank you, Andi.

I do think, incidentally, it is worth noting the different tone in the comments from those of us who sign our real names and those who do not.

The RV reader who criticizes Dr Sue using a letter written to her for the column (which is the basis of the column, after all) seems to miss the boat. This column didn't create the feelings expressed here; it only revealed them.

Alcoholic and Anonymous, Please

I have a few thoughts on this matter. First, I hang out at several different online communities, not all of them related to writing, and could "recognize" a person like this at all of them. I also have someone like this in my real life who continually brags about how much money her husband makes, their new possessions, and how she can write this gigantic checks in the $10,000 range and he doesn't even notice. Interestingly, they are all different people. Yes, they can be bothersome and annoying. I think what's useful to discuss is how we can deal with the personality type.

Now that I'm sober, I have been able to recognize I was once guilty of such behavior, too, in an online community not having to do with writing. Usually I would post while drinking and would get upset when I didn't get the attention I believed I needed. Sobriety has taught me that the peace and satisfaction I wanted could never really come from other people. It came from inside me.

It's possible the person discussed is unstable in some way or has other problems, perhaps with substances, perhaps not. In any case, the solution is to ignore her posts, not to get upset with her, just as we wouldn't get upset with someone who was gravely ill and very needy because of that. But we can't permit that person to destroy our own peace--we don't control her behavior. We only control whether we react calmly or with spite or rage.

I read the following AA story the other day:

After returning home from a business meeting I found myself with a huge resentment for a fellow at the meeting that was really bugging me. I immediately called my sponsor to "complain". My Sponsor stopped me mid scream and said, "Do you have a mirror?" Of course, I said "Yes, in the bathroom." My sponsor then instructed me to "hang up the phone, go into the bathroom, turn on the light, look in the mirror and you will find the S.O.B that is bugging you.

"Resentments are like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die."

b.Nonymous

I really do not understand this letter. A writer that somebody, or a group of people, think that they're better than has the gall to announce her deals and be a bit exhibitionist about it? And you're annoyed that other people praise her? And you praise her too, even though you know how much better you are and you e-mail about it all the time with all your friends?

How do you deal with this incredibly egregious behavior? I'll tell you how--ignore it. Keep with your conversations and ignore it. Why on earth would you say something? Saying something doesn't take guts--it's just rude. What do you want to say, "Stop announcing your deals because I'm better than you and so are all my friends and we talk about it all the time?" Oh, and "Everyone who's praising you doesn't mean it, because I'm better than you, so go away?"

It seems the real issue is that someone who annoys you, who you feel is inferior to you artisitically and personally, gets praised. And because she gets a lot of deals, and because she likes to announce them, you have to see it a lot. This is worth writing Dr. Sue?

Just because someone's annoying doesn't mean they don't have a right to be on the internet, and even on your message board--though I wonder, at this point, why anyone would want to be.

The only purpose of this letter is to humilate someone, rather like a note taped to the mirror in a junior high girls' bathroom.

a friend of truth

The purpose of Truth's letter was not to humiliate anyone. The writers of Truth did not dream that the person they were complaining about would recognize herself. Quite the contrary, they assumed that if she was capable of recognizing this tendency to brag she would have long ago ceased the behavior.

However, they did know that the person in question can be frighteningly hostile if anyone dares to suggest that she isn't as wonderful in every way as she believes herself to be. The truth or dare response is an egregious example of this hostility. Anyone who knows Dr. Sue's work knows that she is a gracious and sensitive person who goes out of her way to help other writers. She had nothing to do with Truth's letter and responded to it in good faith, yet she too finds herself a target of this woman's explosive defensiveness.

If anyone has any doubts that one writer can take over a forum, look at her reaction here. Ask yourself why, if she recognizes herself, she is unwilling to consider that she might need to change.

anony-mouse

I post anonymously because I do not wish to invoke energies I work very hard to keep away from me.

I was once a similar target of a similar cabal (on a non-writing related site), probably for some of the same reasons, although I think Dr. Sue nailed it with this:

"Groups seldom hesitate to bash those whose only offense is a higher level of accomplishment."

Or, I would add, what the group *perceives* as a higher level of accomplishment, freedom, wealth, or even a more proficient ability to express oneself and present a coherent argument, defense or even simple thesis. (The latter probably applies less in a writing-related community).

Heck, I had people who despised me because I moved to a city they perceived as desirable and they could not. (I know this because someone admitted it to me later.)

Groupthink becomes powerful online and behind the scenes and people want to belong to a group, especially people who are isolated for some reason - geographical, personality, circumstance. If Mark, Betty and Mary are all up in arms against Kitty, you're not going to tell them that you think they're smoking crack, because you 'talk' to them every day and they are your 'friends' and so you'll go along, even if you think they're making a mountain out of a molehill.

The thing is, the group in question would be crushed if the writer they describe left the community. They just want him/her to shut up and, preferably, be humiliated publicly but continue to co-exist in their vitual world. If the poster just left that would be a greater offense, s/he would find, because the group would lose their scapegoat. (Again, I speak from experience.)

b.Nonymous

If not humilation, then what's the point of this letter? What exactly do you want to accomplish? It seems like group think and cliquishness gone horribly awry. We all know people online who annoy us, but I don't know anyone who's banded together to write an advice columnist about it. And what really seems to get Truth is that this is a writer considered inferior to everyone in the group who has the gall to be arrogant. Who cares if people line up and congratulate someone who's work isn't as good as yours? Why is that so bothersome that you would make this enormous deal out of it? It does seem to be a form of jealousy--or at least pettiness. How could this inferior, annoying writer who all these diverse people don't like talk about her deals? How could she be so confident? How could people congratulate her? When she is so inferior?

For the record, I don't think Truth or Dare is criticizing Dr. Sue, but rather the people who are congratulating themselves for this letter. I also think TorD just find the whole thing appalling, as I do.


to anon

From anon: "I think Dr. Sue nailed it with this:

"Groups seldom hesitate to bash those whose only offense is a higher level of accomplishment."

Go back and read Dr. Sue's post again. You're misreading her. The full quote is:

"Although envy would be an understandable response to someone who is well published despite substandard writing, I agree that this is probably not the source of your discomfort. Groups seldom hesitate to bash those whose only offense is a higher level of accomplishment."

Translating: envy is not the source of the discomfort here. The group has not bashed this writer in the forum and Sue's point was that if they merely envied her, they would have.

b.Nonymous

Oh, and what I mean is I don't think TorD is the subject of the letter, just an outraged citizen. Anyway didn't Truth say this person was too narcissistic to see herself in the letter? Also, lets not confuse arrogance with narcissism; they're different things, and I think we're pathologizing arrogance and annoying behavior. The true narcisstic would actually assume it's about her.

katharine weber

Which apparently happened.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted

How do you know that?

katharine weber

Reading these comments.

Martha Costales

I'm only a reader of this blog. I've never participated in an online writer's forum and after reading all of this, no way will I ever join one. They sound like snake pits.

One thing that strikes me really as weird here is how angry, almost venonmous some of the posters sound. How in the world can anyone be so sure of who's talking about who when anyone with a computer can post from anywhere? If I had psychic powers like that I'd be rich from a lot less work than writing my book.

Dr.Sue

I hear you, Martha. I've said repeatedly that I don't know the identity of either the subject of the letter, or the author(s) of the letter and follow-up posts. M.J. has reported:

"In fact, I have gotten email from four people since this post went up who hang out at THREE TOTALLY DIFFERENT online communities and each of them are all certain they know who this person is."

And yet some people seem certain that they know who all the players are.

Please don't let this controversy scare you away from online writer's forums, though. If you scroll back over the comments, you will find one or two somewhat abusive comments, one which may be a send-up, a few that reflect frustration, and numerous thoughtful, searching posts. Clearly, the topic of online relationships is a highly charged one, and there is a tendency in any group (I am convinced this is true of online "groups" as well though I haven't seen research on the topic) to unconsciously act out the problem that is being explored. This can be valuable in a therapy group, because it brings the problem into the room, so to speak, making it clearer and less abstract, and easier to work with. Since this isn't a therapy group--we don't know one another, for the most part, and no one here has agreed to be prodded and scrutinized in that way--I think it's only necessary to recognize the phenomenon and not make it more than it is.

FerfeLaBat

Interesting discussion. Even MORE interesting reactions to some of the posts. But this one ...

I post anonymously because I do not wish to invoke energies I work very hard to keep away from me.~ anony-mouse

... is my favorite. It is ironically apropos to the main subject, too. Here is a person who is afraid to attach their name to their thoughts because they fear a backlash from complete strangers will ensue regardless of how totally benign their post might read. For what they are worth, here are my thoughts on that fear:

a. Karma doesn't work that way. Do and say bad things and eventually, no matter how hard you try to hide, bad things will find you.

b. What's in your head, once it escapes, takes on a life of its own. Think of the web as a giant sponge filtering the detritus of the ocean into sparkling clean water. Picture your thoughts getting homogenized through millions of minds as they fire your post through their neurons. Become one with your posts.

c. Ok. I'm screwing with you. Forgive me?

Back to the serious discussion.

Matilda Madsen

The letter outlining the problem with the troublesome member isn't what sounds passive-aggressive. It's the 'member' who sounds passive-aggressive. And, indeed, narcissistic.

I recently joined a small writing organization that has the same problem. A 'star' who thinks the rest of the chapter should be her entourage. If everything isn't about 'her,' she gets nasty, insidious, calculating, and undermining. When she's not treating other members with an air of condescention, she's treating them with an air of impending doom. (Drum roll, please.) If the world isn't revolving around her, then it must be coming to an end.

The only time this female Narcissus is happy is when she's in the limelight. But even that isn't enough. She'll never be happy--never--because she's a crisis-junkie, a bottomless pit of need, and, above all, a control freak. If there isn't a crisis handy (for her to showcase her leadership skills, which are non-existent), you can be sure she will create one.

People like her make everyone else miserable. Most people by nature prefer harmony. Especially writers, who have rich and exciting inner lives and get their kicks from reading and writing fiction. They don't need or want the melodrama such disruptive and self-serving people crave. It's draining and exhausting, and writers need their energy to create.

So if it feels crazy, that's probably because it is. Trust your instincts. Get the crazy-makers out of your life. If you can't get rid of them, ignore them. It'll drive them crazier, which serves them right for thinking no one counts but them.

Get revenge. Live well!

patry

Yikes. One of us should write a novel about this. All the elements are there.

Monica

What's wrong with folks? Those nicey-nice-girl loops slay me. Lord ha' mercy!

My reply would have been much shorter:

_________________________
If y’all can sit around griping about this woman behind her back, and take the time to write a literary advice blogger about it, y’all silly doggies should be woman enough to write,

“Nobody wants to hear that crap when either we don’t have new contracts and books to brag about or we are too damn good and nice to crow over our big, fat juicy book contracts. We think your books suck anyway. So shut the eff up.”

Either she shuts up or leaves. Either way, problem solved.

But y'all can't do that, can you? 'Cause then YOU wouldn't be the nicey-nice girls.

Newsflash, y’all are not sweet, nicey-nice girls, so stop lying to yourselves. Y’all are some evil heifers. Own it, ya silly doggies.
_______________________

See why I got to stay off those loops?

JEROGatch

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By M.J. Rose

  • M. J. Rose: The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense

    M. J. Rose: The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense
    Indie Next Pick Amazon Best of April Mystery/Suspense "Gripping--a suspenseful and enigmatic story... captivating... compelling, imaginative." (Kirkus) "A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey." (Library Journal - Starred "Rose masterfully combines romance, mystery, and dual timelines…The storyline and extensive historical details…are fascinating.” (Romantic Times TOP PICK)) "Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!" (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)


  • M. J. Rose: Seduction: A Novel of Suspense

    M. J. Rose: Seduction: A Novel of Suspense
    Indie Next List. Intriguing, absorbing, and utterly captivating, Seduction will leave you begging for a sequel." —Books & Books "Mysterious, haunting, and tragic, Seduction emerges as a suspenseful alchemy of potent ingredients, beautifully blended, that ignites your senses and leaves you aching for more." (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet ) "Seduction is an absolute pleasure to read -- clever, suspenseful, exciting, mysterious, learned, and engrossing. Some of the best historical fiction I've read in quite some time and just plain reading fun. M.J. Rose is at the top of her game, and that is saying something." (David Liss, bestselling author of The Twelfth Enchantment )

  • M. J. Rose: The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense

    M. J. Rose: The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense
    INDIE NEXT PICK SUSPENSE Best of 2012 PW Best of Mystery/Suspense Spring 2012 "Deliciously sensual...Rose imbues her characters with rich internal lives in a complex plot that races to a satisfying finish." (Publisher's Weekly (starred and boxed) "Compelling... suspenseful tale. Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted". - Associated Press "Rose has entered another realm and written what is bound to be one of this year's best books." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer "The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose is an amazing novel, an utterly engrossing thriller that weaves together reincarnation, ancient Egypt, international intrigue, and a lost book of fragrances. Elegantly written, with unforgettable characters and flawlessly realized international settings, here is a novel that will keep you up all night—and leave you with powerful feelings of revelation, wonder, and the infinitude of human possibility." —New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston

  • Seen on FOXTV as PAST LIFE : The Reincarnationist

    Seen on FOXTV as PAST LIFE : The Reincarnationist
    THE REINCARNATIONIST. Starred Library Journal Review. Starred Publisher's Weekly Review. Booksense Pick for September and 2007 Highlight List. "A fascinating story of reincarnation that is one of the year's most ambitious and entertaining thrillers." - David Montgomery - Chicago Sun-Times

  • May 2010 : The Hypnotist - Best of 2010 Fiction - January Magazine

    May 2010 : The Hypnotist - Best of 2010 Fiction - January Magazine
    "Stunning page-turner" PW - (Starred)-------------- "In the third transfixing thriller in her Reincarnationist series, Rose continues to excite readers with enthralling tales of lives past and present interconnecting." Library Journal

  • People Magazine Pick of the Week : The Memorist

    People Magazine Pick of the Week : The Memorist
    "Gripping… Rose once again skillfully blends past and present with a new set of absorbing characters in a fascinating historical locale." - Starred Review, Library Journal ------------------------------ "Rose's fascinating follow up to The Reincarnationist... skillfully blends past life mysteries with present day chills. The result is a smashing good read." -Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly

  • Finalist for the Gumshoe award for Best Thriller of 2006.: The Venus Fix

    Finalist for the Gumshoe award for Best Thriller of 2006.: The Venus Fix
    "One of the year's best thrillers." -- David Montgomery (reviewer for the Chicago Sun et al.) "M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." - Laura Lippman

  • James Patterson: Thriller: Stories To Keep You Up All Night

    James Patterson: Thriller: Stories To Keep You Up All Night
    I'm a proud member of this anthology that's gotten stars from PW & Library Journal!

  • : Lying In Bed

    Lying In Bed
    After years of toying with the idea... my first erotic novel. In stores May 30th. Order now.

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