Alexandra's Adventures in Books

The real world is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

 

Primarily reads Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mysteries. From Children's to Adult.

Just An Amused Aside

Check out the tags Maria Elena Vidal used on her blog post "Trolls on the Internet and Negative Reviews":

 

Vidal Update: Feb 12, 2018

Another fan crawls out of the woodwork:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am The Storm

Vidal Update: Feb 11, 2018

Update posted to the end of her Trolls & Negative Reviews blog post:

 

Please note: Only one of the people shown in these screenshots is known to be a teacher.  I am not.  Although Ms. M. has been, she also is not.

 

Her utter lack of self-awareness when accusing others of indulging "in behavior worthy of high school bullies" and "acting in such a juvenile manner" is almost deliciously ironic, and flagrantly hypocritical.

 

She's the bully crying "victim" when her targets refuse to be intimidated.  She is the one functioning in a professional capacity gleefully spewing unprofessional garbage on her author's blog, and author's Facebook page.

 

Add this to the list of things Ms. Vidal is apparently unaware of: Readers have more of an interest than simply "merits or demerits of the books."  Authors targeting and harassing readers over negative book reviews is an interest to readers and is a valid consumer issue.  YES, readers are going to take note and share with each other about authors that target readers and attempt to intimidate them into removing reviews.

 

The first two screenshots are of Ms. M.'s reviews and the comments on those reviews (minus those that were deleted for GR TOS violations).

 

First link: https://screenshots.firefox.com/Bq1A2Bb8UqMwbHAO/www.goodreads.com

Second link: https://screenshots.firefox.com/DxNbjaezlqsj7mNB/www.goodreads.com

 

The third link is to a "Discussion" of one of her books. What she fails to mention is that this "Discussion" that is not about the "merits or demerits of the book" was started by one of her supporters, using the name "Soraya". At the time of this screenshot the original post had already been deleted by GoodReads, and the poster had been booted from GoodReads.

 

Therefore the posts that remain are in response to the original post started by one of her supporters. 

 

I don't have a screenshot of that OP, but I do have the text:

 

"It is shameful how Mrs. Vidal has been treated by certain trolls on Goodreads and Amazon. Read about it here: http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2017.."

 

Here's the link to her screenshot: https://screenshots.firefox.com/JLDvvI7tR2uVzJpm/www.goodreads.com

 

In the comments of her blog, Ms. Vidal seems to think a lot of hits to this blog post is a good thing.  She's apparently unaware of how many are checking it out to verify she's really posted the awful things that have been reported, and wait with their popcorn handy for the next bat shit crazy thing she comes up with (good idea to use Proxy Servers when visiting folks!).

 

She reports 1638 hits to date, and yet has only a handful willing to post in support on her blog and/or on her Facebook page.  Although she also mirrors over on Twitter, and has over 1,000 followers there, she's getting 0 responses, retweets, or likes.

 

I'm not sure those high numbers are in your favor, Vidal.

 

 

 

She also cross posted this to her Facebook page:

 

Currently FREE for Kindle: Spider's Web

Spider's Web - Mike Omer

I've read this one, and I thought it was a very good police procedural, murder mystery.

 

Currently free for the Kindle version.

Another Author Joins in the Fun

Posted in the Comments to Ms. Vidal's blog post:

 

 

Ms. Vidal also reposted this on her Facebook Page. As did Ms.Lewis. So, it's on the FB page twice.

 

 

Ms. Lewis happens to be a GR Author.

 

"Basically, I'm going to show them your profs behavior as an example of how not to behave when you get online when you enter the professional world."

 

It is Ms. Vidal who is acting here in her professional capacity as an author, regarding her books.  Not the reviewers she's targeted.  Rather they are acting as consumers, using screen names.The use of screen names, rather than their professional names, as well as the fact that they are writing Consumer Reviews - which are NOT allowed to be professional reviews - is proof these reviewers are not posting reviews in any official, professional, capacity, nor speaking on behalf of their employers.  Rather they are clearly and obviously posting their personal opinions, as private and personal individuals. Which they have every right to do as consumers, and consumers are under no obligation whatsoever to be "professional" when doing so.

 

The one who is behaving in the "professional world" here is Ms. Vidal.  She is the one speaking under her author pseudonym, on her author's blog, and her authors Facebook Page, regarding her products and her displeasure regarding some of the reviews of those products.  She is acting in a professional capacity here, and her actions are decidedly unprofessional.

 

It's Ms. Vidal who began this campaign of harassment, and it's Ms. Vidal whose professional behavior is frankly abysmal.

 

If Ms. Lewis knew anything whatsoever about "the professional world", she'd know who was acting in a professional capacity here, who was not, and she'd know it is Ms. Vidal who is the example of "how not to behave when you get online when you enter the professional world."  She's trashing her professional reputation, she's already disgraced herself on GoodReads and has been unceremoniously booted from that service.  And she has readers all over shaking their heads at her bone-headed stupidity.

 

What she should be saying, if she brings this issue up at all with her students, is "When you write and publish a book, and you get a book review that makes you upset, remember you're a business, you are your brand, and what you do effects your business.  These are readers, they're consumers.  They have the right to their opinions and to express those opinions.  Do not respond unprofessionally, as Ms. Vidal has done.  She's even gotten herself kicked off GoodReads for harassing readers.  Don't do this sort of thing when you enter the professional world and function online as an author."

 

Apparently Ms. Lewis is yet another author who doesn't understand anything about the "professional" side of being an author.

I'm disgusted by this message of Ms. Lewis' in a variety of ways, but particularly because this "English teacher" apparently doesn't support honest consumer reviews.

Now, I'm all for consumers being free to complain and boycott for whatever reason they please, which is the standing Ms. Lewis is attempting to cloak herself in here, but when doing so in order to attempt to silence another consumer over valid consumer opinion, and repeating lies and innuendo in order to attempt to cause him harm, when he was not acting in a position of representing his employer, it absolutely sickens me.

The hypocrisy and total lack of self-awareness is mind-boggling:

"But when the staff of a Catholic institution is amused when their peer *actively* tries to destroy an author's reputation and minuscule livelihood, regardless of whether she deserves it or not, I must admit this is not a Catholic school I would recommend to my dog."

 

The only person actively destroying Ms.Vidal's reputation is Ms. Vidal herself.  If this effects her "minuscule livelihood" she has only herself to blame.  Just because she apparently doesn't have the common sense God gave a horsefly, doesn't mean it's not hypocritical of both these ladies (using the term loosely) to do the very thing they're accusing another of doing.

 

Ms. Vidal also obviously does not understand the first thing about running a business - including branding, public relations, professional image and reputation, consumer rights, etc.  As much as she, and her pals, complain about  her "livelihood" and her "reputation" she's utterly clueless as to how to function in her capacity as a consumer product producer in order to benefit and protect either one.

 

Allow me to point out the obvious. Hypocritical behavior is a sin. The founder of the faith had quite a lot to say about religious hypocrites, and none of it good.  Bearing false witness is also a sin. Christians are commanded to forgive even their enemies.  I'm aware forgiveness doesn't require forgetting, nor does it require pardon for societal or legal repercussions. However it absolutely does prohibit retribution and revenge.

 

These ladies may be Catholic, but I don't for one second believe they're Christians. I'm well aware Christians are as fallible as anyone else, but Ms. Vidal is clearly not even making an attempt, but rather flaunts the tenets with apparent wanton abandon.

 

Frankly I think parents should be concerned that this anti-consumer attitude is coming from someone teaching their children English in High School. I'd also think they'd be concerned that Ms. Lewis apparently wants to teach them that lying, intimidation, and seeking revenge are acceptable methods of obtaining your goals. Her example of "how to behave when you get online when you enter the professional world." Hopefully those kids are smarter than Ms. Lewis gives them credit for, or this might be a incubator for future BBAs. 

 

I was able to determine who employs Ms. Lewis in about two minutes.  She should be very, very glad I have superior ethics to Ms. Vidal.  Because frankly, I find the fact that this woman is teaching young people, particularly in English where many of them may become writers and authors themselves, to be extremely concerning.

I need to throw up.

The Stupid, It Burns!

I'm tired, so posting without comment for now:

 

BBA Ms. Vidal, Additional Thoughts

Author Maria Elena Vidal has repeatedly admitted that she called the employers of one of the people who have left negative reviews of her books.

 

She claims she had concerns for her safety and wanted to find out from this person's employers if he had "a history of violence."

 

I call Bullshit.

 

What this is, is harassment, pure and simple.  It is a tactic some unscrupulous people employ when a internet discussion isn't going their way, and someone who disagrees with them won't be silenced by other intimidation techniques.

 

When someone has serious concerns regarding their safety they call their local authorities, or perhaps the authorities local to the other person - if their place of residence is known.  They may contact the FBI.  They possibly may seek the advice of an attorney.

 

Those are the avenues available to people who feel they may be in danger, and those are the avenues they would take in such a circumstance.

 

Instead Ms. Vidal contacted this person's employer.  This is an obvious attempt to retaliate against this person who has displeased her by his voicing his opinions about her books on the internet.  It's clearly intended to attempt to cause this person harm with his employers.  It's harassment, and it's revenge.

 

No reasonable person would consider this a reasonable course of action, even if one had sincere concerns over their safety.  It's ridiculous.

 

It is completely transparent that Ms. Vidal had no sincere concerns in this regard.  Because when people do sincerely feel they are being threatened, their physical safety may be in jeopardy, they do not call an individual's employer. Nor is there any legitimate or valid reason to do so.

 

It is obvious to me that Ms. Vidal is hoping this person's employers will either employ economic force to inspire him to remove his book reviews (which could land them in serious legal hot water), or fire him (which could land them in serious legal hot water).

 

She clearly has no effective stick by which to get this person to bend to her will. She obviously is expecting his employers do, and is hoping they'll use it.

 

And now, because readers continue to point out her unprofessional and unreasonable behavior and attitudes against readers who were less than impressed with her books, she once again is threatening to call this person's employer.

 

Not the police.

 

Not the FBI.

 

Not an attorney.

 

An individual's employer.

 

THAT, Ms. Vidal, is harassment.

 

From her blog:

 

 

From her blog:

 

From her blog:

 

 

From her Facebook page:

 

 

"Mary-Eileen" happens to be Elena Maria Vidal posting under her real name account. The Vidal name is a pseudonym.  Because I have more scruples about people's personal information on the internet I have redacted the last name to protect her privacy.

 

Notice here she states, "When I wrote to the Dean I told him that I am a single mother on a tight budget, trying to give my child a decent education." which has absolutely nothing to do with concerns over if someone has a "history of violence", but which does demonstrate her concerns are actually regarding a negative review of her book.  As she doesn't mention anything to do with her personal safety, but rather her "tight budget" while "trying to give my child a decent education".  Clearly her concerns therefore are not regarding "violence", but her book sales.

 

My advice, write better books, and ensure they actually are historically accurate, and not written in order to serve a particular agenda.

 

Failing that, accept that readers will have opinions about books, and some of them you won't like.  That's business.

 

 

 

Finished: Atlic

Atlic - Sophie  Davis

Thankfully the angsty romantic uncertainty with the MC, Stassi, that was annoying me cleared up around the 20% mark, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  Not quite as much as the first one, but still liked it and am now reading book three.

 

One thing I really like about Stassi is that she has a lot of empathy.  Even when she was doubtful of wanting a relationship with the LI (though clearly attracted to him, and vice versa), she was able to put herself in his shoes, and snapped herself out of being unfairly cold to him, treated him as a friend, and had understanding for his situation. 

 

And again, this story contains a romantic angle, but it's not a huge focus, which I also appreciated.

 

This book covers an interesting heist that takes place in their current day, the future. No time travel then, but a lot of fun and imaginative high tech to play with.

 

Overall a satisfying read. Although, dang it, it ends in a bit of a cliff hanger.  Main present plot is resolved, but then there's a bit more that occurs that is of the "To Be Continued" type.

BBA Ms. Vidal, Part 3

Ms. Vidal has now posted the following on her Facebook page:

 

 

I have redacted personal identifying information regarding one of the reviewers she complains about. It disgusts me that she posted it.

 

And now she apparently is considering further harassment of this person:

 

 

Un-fucking-believable.  I'm thinking it's time to ensure Amazon is aware of the degree to which she is willing to harass this person over a negative book review.

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ElenaMariaVidal/posts/10156043172243162

 

She has also restored her post Trolls on the Internet and Negative Reviews to her live blog,

 

It is not at all strange that having removed her account that GoodReads has also deleted her review activity on the site.  That is typical. It is also not strange that GoodReads has left up an author page for her, and a listing of her books.  As most of us are aware, remove informational listings of authors and their books is unrelated to whether or not that particular author has a GoodReads account.  Obviously Ms. Vidal is quite in the dark about several fundamental things regarding the site.

 

I know she doesn't know what the term "troll" actually means, her blog post proves that. As I've already explained elsewhere.   I certainly am not going to trust her, I don't find her a credible source.

 

Edited to add: Wanna take bets how long it takes her to delete this response:

 

 

Edited to add: She has now deleted the above response from her FB page (surprise, surprise), and posted the following update to her blog post (she seems completely incapable of getting her facts straight - which is enough to cast doubt on the historical accuracy of her novels):

 

 

BBA Ms. Vidal, Part 2

Today author Elena Maria Vidal posted on her Facebook page:

 

 

Here is the link she posted: Trianon Questions

 

These links will take you to each Question separately, so you can see the comments more easily:

 

Question One

 

Question Two

 

To be honest I am a bit surprised GoodReads hasn't removed these "Questions".

 

However, what Ms. Vidal clearly misses is the fact that while a GoodReads Author she posted a blog article attacking GoodReads users by user name and providing links to their reviews on GoodReads (as well as Amazon).  Which is a clear violation of GoodReads' TOS not to attack reviewers.  The fact that it was done outside of GoodReads doesn't help her, not when she's calling out specific users by name and linking back to specific reviews on GoodReads.

 

This is the sort of thing that can get authors banned from GoodReads.  Particularly when it's a not so subtle "invitation" for fans to target these reviewers for harassment, as we see has been done in this case.

 

While these "Questions" are not complementary, they certainly are not "harassment". In order to harass someone you have to actually interact with them.  The problem with her blog article isn't that it is, in and of itself, harassment. It's that it makes accusations against individuals and identifies them both as GoodReads users and as Amazon reviewers, as well as providing links to their reviews and comments on those sites.

 

Whether intended or not this facilitates and inspires some of her fans to "defend" her on GoodReads and Amazon, and they have done so, by attacking them in the comments of their reviews.  That is harassment.  Amazon at least also considers this sort of thing review manipulation, as it spotlights reviews an author is displeased about for the author's fans to downvote.

 

Additionally, Ms. Vidal fails to mention the "Questions" posted by a couple of her fans accusing these reviewers of "persecuting" the author. These questions are deleted now, but you can see responses to one of them here:

 

The Persecution of Elena Maria Vidal

 

We've seen this sort of thing over and over.  An author attacks reviewers in the comments of their reviews and/or instigates such attacks by their fans.  Then, when reviewers stand up to this behavior and call the author out for it, the author claims they are being "bullied" and the victim of "harassment".  If the author doesn't wise up it often results in that author being banned from GoodReads for TOS violations.

 

Here's the thing, Ms. Vidal.  YOU are the instigator here. That people stand up to your intimation tactics and advise others of your unprofessional behavior doesn't make you an innocent victim.

Reading Progress: Atlic 29%

Atlic - Sophie  Davis

They are time travelers. They've got an assignment in current time that they have to rush to start because it's "time sensitive". Because apparently it's not like time travelers couldn't just take their time, go when they're ready, and make it on time.

 

Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Some time travel stories pull this stuff off a bit better than others.

Reading Progress: Atlic 22%

Atlic - Sophie  Davis

Warning - Spoilers for the first book, The Syndicate....

 

 

The last book ended with Stassi becoming involved with a love interest, which was slow burn and very sweet.  I very much appreciated the fact that unlike most YA, there wasn't relationship angst, other than some due to circumstances.

 

Now at the beginning of this book she's giving the guy a bit of the cold shoulder, for no reason. It's a bit jarring, and it's definitely annoying.  Well, eventually we got a bit of a reason, but it's completely stupid, and she's being 100% unreasonable.  I'm hoping this gets cleared up fast or I'm going to start losing interest. Right now it's just pissing me off.  The first book did so well avoiding all the things that annoy me when a YA book insists on including a romance.  I really, really don't want to find them here.

Another BBA Bites The Dust

This one has had a relatively small impact, but follows familiar patterns, and reveals anti-reader, anti-consumer attitudes we've seen before.

 

Author Elena Maria Vidal has written several self published Historical Fiction novels, set around the time of the French Revolution, including one about Marie Antoinette which the blurb for the book claims is "...based upon the author's thirty years of research. Whenever possible the historical persons speak for themselves out of memoirs and letters." According to her bio she has an MA in European History.

 

A couple of readers with expertise in the subject matter, including The Just About Average Ms M, have posted their less than favorable reviews regarding Ms. Vidals novels, in part pointing out what they believe are significant historical inaccuracies.

 

Some of these reviews go back a couple years, some are more recent.  These reviews have been targeted by a few of Ms. Vidal's fans (and/or possible sock puppets), posting unpleasant things in the comment section.  Additionally Ms. M's own books, which I understand are academic in nature, have been victim to one-star retaliation ratings.  Of course this activity cannot in and of itself be held against the author, without any evidence she's party to it.

 

However, a few months ago Ms. Vidal posted a blog post on her blog (recently now deleted) entitled "Trolls on the Internet and Negative Reviews" in which she attempts to paint herself as the victim of "bullying" and "harassment" due to these negative reviews.  She claimed, in essence, that the other reviewer, who I won't name here, posted negative reviews of her book due to some personal vendetta against her.  As evidence she cited the fact that this person had years previous held discussions with her via her blog regarding their mutual interest of French history, as well as debating such issues with her on one of her book reviews on Amazon.  I've spoken briefly with this person and he's stated he enjoyed discussing the topic with someone who was mutually interested.  I would not be surprised if these conversations became heated or adversarial.

 

I don't believe this person was motivated by malice to post negative reviews, but out of disagreement with historical facts and claims presented in the content.  Regardless, Ms Vidal clearly feels otherwise.  She admits to having contacted this person's place of employment to inquire if he had a "history of violence."

 

Independent of this Ms M., who is an expert in the subject matter, also posted negative reviews of Ms. Vidal's novels.

 

In her blog post complaining of these reviews, Ms. Vidal writes,

 

"There are reviews which are a genuine critique of the work which can actually help the author improve. I have had many such reviews and they have helped me to grow as a writer. But reviews of the one-star variety are not meant to help a writer become more proficient at his or her craft. One-star reviews are meant to destroy. They do not care about helping anyone's writing skill, They do not want the writer to ever write again."

 

As you can see she is another who believes consumer reviews are to be "genuine critique of the work" which in my opinion Ms. M's at least obviously are, and that their purpose is to "help the author improve", and "helping" the author's "writing skill" which of course is not their purpose at all.

 

Additionally, according to her, one-star reviews serve no legitimate purpose, and posting them must be due to malicious intent toward the author.  I must wonder then why she thinks both Amazon and GoodReads offer their users/customers the option of rating a book 1 star.  According to Amazon and GoodReads it's to allow their users/customers the ability to express "I Didn't Like It", according to Ms. Vidal it's "meant to destroy." and an effort to cause the writer to never write again.  Which of course is utter bullcrap.

 

In this blog post Ms. Vidal also posted links to multiple reviews by these two reviewers, both on Amazon and GoodReads, calling these reviewers out and making it easy for fans to target them for harassment.  Some did make the attempt, and both GoodReads and Amazon deleted such comments from the reviews due to TOS violations.  In one place where she provided links she stated,

 

"I am linking to this to show how determined and obsessed they are to bully and harass me. It is psychological terrorism and terrorists need the light shown upon them."

 

Please note, she's referring here to negative book reviews.

 

Last week a couple GoodReads users posted as "Discussion Questions" of her books accusations of "persecution" and harassment of this author, referencing the blog post.  Those questions have now been deleted and the users who posted them are now no longer GR users. I suspect this is due to GR action, per TOS, but I cannot be sure.

 

As many of us are aware, all of these are common tactics some authors employ in an attempt to intimidate readers into removing, and not posting, book reviews that displease them.  Failing that, it is designed to discredit the reviewers so that readers and potential readers, disregard them and are taught not to post such reviews themselves.

 

In short - an attempt to subvert the purpose of consumer reviews as independent, unbiased, honest, consumer opinion.

 

Within the last day Ms. Vidal reported on her Facebook page that GoodReads has removed her account and she is no longer a GoodReads Author.  I have confirmed this is correct.

 

"Now this is strange. I received a message from Goodreads saying that I have been banned. It seems that some people complained about my "abusive" behavior! I assumed then that my entire author page had been taken down. But it's still there, although I no longer am a "Goodreads Author." https://www.goodreads.com/aut…/show/150437.Elena_Maria_Vidal What is really weird is that they took down all my reviews of other authors' books! I feel bad because those authors sent me their books expecting a review! I just want people to know if my review of your book is gone, it is not my doing!"

 

https://www.facebook.com/ElenaMariaVidal/posts/10156038408018162

 

 

 

Kindle Sale: The Ladies of Mandrigyn

The Ladies of Mandrigyn - Barbara Hambly

Currently $1.99 for Kindle.  I read this years ago, so I don't remember anything specific.  But I do remember I enjoyed it, and I read and enjoyed several books by this author.  If you enjoy Fantasy you might give this one a try.

Currently Reading: Atlic

Atlic - Sophie  Davis

Yes, I truly did enjoy the first one so much that rather than reach back into the dark abyss of the bazillion unread Kindle books I already have I bought this one.

Currently reading

Cleon Moon: Fallen Empire, Book 5
Lindsay Buroker
Progress: 1%