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2011 October 7
Posted by mrsgiggles

91 Responses
  1. October 7, 2011

    Oooh. Is that?! Hmm. Interessant!

  2. Mireya permalink
    October 7, 2011

    Interesting indeed …

  3. October 7, 2011

    Hm indeed.

    The question is, will anyone else bring this up and question the “ethical” implications behind this?

  4. Mireya permalink
    October 7, 2011

    @Kb/Kt: personally, I seriously doubt it. Basically, there is nothing inherently “wrong” in that picture as much as I am raising my eyebrows over here. Some of us find it objectionable or unethical, but in reality, it is all based on each individual’s personal notion of what is and what is not “ethical” or a conflict of interests.

  5. October 7, 2011

    Somebody would have to connect the dots for me first?

  6. October 7, 2011

    Does she review any her clients’ books? That’s usually a conflict of interest. I know she loves Loretta Chase. But man, that client list is like a who’s who, isn’t it? It’s good to be an industry insider sometimes :) . So now I know where that blogavanza of Nora’s newest JD Robb idea came from–good publicity!

  7. Jessica permalink
    October 8, 2011

    Veinglory, one of the owners of that company is Sarah Wendell, who I assume is the same Sarah of Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog. In as much as Sarah chirps about her romance classes, workshops, convention work, book signings, etc., she has never mentioned this obviously romancelandia connection.

    I understand that it has nothing to do with romance reading but the online community seems to have a curiosity for wanting to know the business side too and Sarah Wendell’s clients, if she is the same Sarah, are definitely “interesting” information. There was a big dust-up with Lori Perkins’ conflict of interest being part owner of Ravenous Press a while back. Sarah Wendell, if it’s the same one from SBTB, is promoting her clients’ books without telling her readers her association.

    Just my take on it. What’s good for the goose, etc. etc. But SBTB is definitely making a lot of money from the visitors and traffic hits in many ways, this being one of them.

  8. October 8, 2011

    It is the same Sarah Wendell.

    Isn’t non disclosure of a business relationship with people you are reviewing/pimping on your blog a violation according to the FTC in the US? I dunno, not my area of expertise.

  9. amousie permalink
    October 8, 2011

    Is Mollie Smith Jennifer Crusie’s daughter or am I messing up the online relationships?

  10. Saschakeet permalink
    October 8, 2011

    Wendell has sold herself as a reader advocate, just a little ol’ blogger, and now we find out she’s a paid representative for some of the biggest names in the business. Can’t speak to the legality, but it smells like a week old fish carcas to me. It’s telling that Crusie, not Wendell, disclosed. The online silence amongst the very chatty romancelandia is, what?, interesting to say the least. And not a word from Wendell.

    I, for one, look forward to Wendell pimping Nicholas Sparks.

  11. Sarah Frantz permalink
    October 8, 2011

    Can we perhaps trust that Sarah, who has done more for the reputation of romance than most anyone else and is one of the most ethical people I know, knows what the fuck she’s doing and perhaps has a conflict of interest policy in place with her clients? Instead of casting coy aspersions on her morals and character?

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 8, 2011

      Sorry, but I can’t help but to LOL at Prof Sarah’s response.

  12. Sarah Frantz permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Happy to amuse.

  13. Katie permalink
    October 9, 2011

    The reputation of romance has been saved! Thank-you Sarah Wendell!! It is freaking Awesomesauce!! Blah….

  14. Jessica permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Did we know whether Lori Perkins had a conflict of interest clause in her policy with her writers and clients, and maybe knew something romancelandia didn’t know about when everyone talked about her and her business? Just wondering.

  15. Mireya permalink
    October 9, 2011

    @Jessica: I don’t think such kind of information was ever “shared” in public, or at least, not in the few blogs I visit.

  16. amousie permalink
    October 9, 2011


    Has SB Sarah disclosed this new venture anywhere on her website, and if so, could you please point me to the location?

  17. Mireya permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Mrs. G, please remove my previous post (bad link). This is the link I was trying to post:

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 9, 2011

      I love how she made it seem as if I’d rallied the crowd to cry for her atonement. All I did was to post the link, something which was openly available to anyone who is looking for it.

  18. October 9, 2011

    You’re such a rabble rouser Mrs. G. *tsk tsk*

  19. Jessica permalink
    October 9, 2011

    “Small” company. Snicker.

    It’s just funny when the mean girls are calling out ‘mean girls’ now. LMAO.

  20. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 9, 2011

    I love how I am now being accused of “misinterpreting” things or “making vague accusations”. I just posted the link. LOL!

  21. Melanie permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Let’s be careful before we start the name calling here. I do not know Sarah Wendall, but I have followed her site for years and believe that she is basically a good person who is trying to bring together a community of tolerance for a genre she loves. Saying that she (and her business partner) are mean girls is beneath this conversation. She’s someone who is hurt that those she thought she had a good relationship wouldn’t at least talk to her or ask her about the business before making vague accusations. No, posting a link with the tagline ‘hmm’ is not an accusation but its silly to pretend that there wasn’t some intention to lead the reader by that combination. Leaving less information doesn’t make you more unbiased, it just means you are trying to be vague in the conclusion you’re trying to lead the reader to. Should Wendall have mentioned her connection earlier to avoid this confusion? Probably, but I think she is more hurt by the sources of these accusations than by the fact that they’re there. In this great world of the internet, you expect complete strangers to cast aspersions on your character almost at the moment you have any success; you do not, on the other hand, expect people with whom you’ve conversed and worked well with to do the same.

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 9, 2011

      Melanie, I have no relationship with Sarah. And I don’t have to lead anyone to any intention. The webpage that I link to allows you to draw your own conclusions.

  22. Melanie permalink
    October 9, 2011

    No, that’s actually a misconception that has long been debunked. The act of choosing a particular piece of information is actually showing a bias (I am aware this because a complicated slippery slope of subjectivity, welcome to the humanities). Nineteenth century British scholars viewed photography of India as an objective view of a culture, but they, just like you, we still framing information just by what they pick out to display and how they chose ot display it. You didn’t post the link because you thought the association between Wendall and Simple Progress was an innocent one and the tagline ‘hmm’ is not one we associate with accolades and awards, but more one we associate with doubt and skepticism. One of the questions many of Wendall’s supporters raise is why all the vagueness. If you have a question or accusation, state it and if its an accusation, have some concrete proof. If its a connection you’re curious about and you don’t know Wendall, why not phrase it as a question about whether she has a policy about the possible conflict of interest?

  23. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 9, 2011


  24. Las permalink
    October 9, 2011

    “She’s someone who is hurt that those she thought she had a good relationship wouldn’t at least talk to her or ask her about the business before making vague accusations. ”

    If I had come across Simple Progress myself, and a quick search on the blogs revealed that not one blogger saw fit to mention it, my bullshit meter would have gone crazy. There’s something incredibly shady about the idea that bloggers are withholding information because of some sense of team loyalty.

    Simple Progress is a huge conflict of interest. It doesn’t bother me, really, because many Romance bloggers cross that line all the time with the online friendships with authors, giveaways, etc. I long ago learned to take positive reviews from many bloggers with grains of salt, and since Sarah’s tastes in Romance rarely align with mine, I don’t read her blog for the reviews anyway. But her claiming to feel hurt by all this? THAT makes my brows go way up. It’s emotionally manipulative, and I don’t buy it.

  25. Just a reader permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Mrs. Giggles,

    I’m a relatively newer follower of your blog and reviews. I shared some of you quips with a long published NY Times Best Selling romance author. She replied, “Mrs. Giggles is the original Smart Bitch who reads “trashy” books.’”

    This was an interesting tidbit. I wonder when it will be referenced again should an “ethical” debate erupt on other sites!

  26. Jessica permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Here comes the pitchforks! You’re lucky you don’t write or edit books, Mrs. Giggles, or you’ll be on their Do Not Buy List next.

    It’s good to know Animal Farm is still a good book from which to learn a lesson or two!

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 9, 2011

      Don’t be scared! Just picture them as two-feet tall midget women with long beards and the whole scenario becomes far less scary.

      PS: I’m off to bed now. Comments need to be approved by me before they go up due to the insane amount of spam this blog gets, so the party is officially postponed. Sorry about that!

  27. Saschakeet permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Las, bravo! The online lovefests have done damage to bloggers’ credibility. Relationships are one thing, paid business relationships are another whole kettle of fish, smelly or not. Wendell did not disclose. Of course, people are going to comment and question. Instead of taking her lumps and learning a lesson, she’s chosen to portray herself as a victim. The irony factor is off the charts.

  28. Just a Reader permalink
    October 9, 2011


    Jane at Dear author often posts links to controversial subjects in the same manner that Mrs. Giggles has done today – she leaves it up to the readers to make comments. And do they make comments! Jane is a “partner” of sorts with Sarah on several projects.

    Sarah has grown from being ‘just a blogger’ to published author, paid consultant, etc. Yes, the same Sarah is still writing her trademark snark but she is hanging with the big boys now. It’s like an indie band who becomes mega super stars. It just happens.

    I don’t believe Sarah, on an individual level, has let her business connections influence her book reviews. But she has been a critic of some inside and outside the industry. When one takes on the role of critic, it is best to move out of the glass house.

    Now that this is out of the closet, maybe we can move on to fun things in romance!

  29. Disillusioned permalink
    October 9, 2011

    I feel kind of sick over this. I honestly thought SBTB was one of the few outposts for honest reviews, but now I’m not so sure.

    She also writes for Kirkus Reviews, which is really problematic in light of her business venture. One entry on her blog there does nothing but rave about Nora Roberts. Another recommends a Loretta Chase book. Another conveniently highlights Jennifer Crusie’s books as an example of the topic at hand. An article on “must-reads” includes Crusie, Shalvis & Chase. A “best of 2010″ list includes Chase, Crusie, Roberts, Shalvis & Julie James. One highlights a Toni Blake novel (she discloses she read the ARC and mentioned it on Twitter, yet never discloses the fact Toni Blake is her client). None of her clients are mentioned in articles discussing problems in the genre.

    I honestly don’t know what to think. The authors she recommends are all great authors. But that she’s writing about publishing, promotion, her blog, the genre, the industry etc., all while recommending books, and never once discloses the fact that some of these writers are her clients is a major problem for me going forward. It’s a trust issue. For crying out loud, she’s part of this industry on a whole lotta levels, she’s savvy, she herself complains about unethical practices, and there’s been discussion of less-than-objective review practices at her own blog. I find it hard to believe she didn’t know better.

    From now on, no more recommendations from anyone I can’t look in the eyes, methinks. I feel used. :-/

  30. October 9, 2011

    LMAO at your new subtitle. Oh dear.

    I must admit, when I first clicked on the link, saw the business partners, then the client list, I immediately associated them with all kinds of promotions I saw online, hence my mentioning the JD Robb blogavanza. I’d thought that was great marketing. Turns out that I was wrong, that SimpleProgress didn’t have anything to do with that smart idea at all.

    So I guess my quick connecting-the-dots thing came up with the wrong picture–a raging hateboner. //hanging head & trying not to laugh (But it really was* the first thing that crossed my mind, so maybe it had the same impression on a few other readers’ and authors’ minds too).

  31. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Well, the website really was quite secretive, like a special club for special authors to play with the business partners. Perhaps if they had been more forthcoming, they could have spared everyone the pain. Oh, but there is no contact address there – HOW COULD I HAVE CONTACTED THEM FOR VERIFICATION? LMAO.

    I’m personally surprised an online savvy diva like Sarah didn’t expect such questions and that she would act like a wounded doe when the link was brought up. Oh well, I guess we all have our vulnerable side.

  32. anonymousauthor permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Sorry to be anonymous, but hey, Gennita is already getting the raging hateboner for posting and am not wanting to get them on me. But yeah, I raised my eyebrows too when I clicked on the link and shared with some author pals and we talked about it. One already knew, said it was talked about quietly at conference. no, not gonna name names, but just saying that others are agreeing, thinking there is a problem. Maybe not truth but since when have the romance blogs worry about that when it comes to gossip? Happens all the time at Dear Author, Smart Bitches and even AAR in its heyday. Sarah knows that. Her blogger friends too. They just want you to blow up so they can then pick you apart, Mrs. Giggles!

  33. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 9, 2011

    Heh, thanks for sharing.

    I don’t mind if they blow me up and pick me apart. I just hope they don’t discover my secret past as a softporn queen who had affairs with half the hunks in Hollywood. That would be so embarrassing!

  34. Ann Urism permalink
    October 10, 2011

    IMO, the problem here is the hypocrisy of the witchhunt. If this had been someone not in the Romancelandia Cool Chick Clique and SB felt it her sworn duty to protect all of Romancelandia from the evil perniciousness of incestuous publishing no-nos, she wouldn’t have hesitated to drag that person through the slime.

    And then drawn and quartered that person and posted pictures on the sidebar with all appropriate links to every piece of evidence of that person’s evilness.

    And God help the person if she was an author.

  35. joanne permalink
    October 10, 2011


  36. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Is that on the Small Progress website? I really must learn how to read invisible text…

  37. Disillusioned permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Interesting. Courtney Milan claims Sarah has not reviewed any of her listed clients’ work since the earliest possible date she could have become a partner at Simple Progress, yet that’s not true of her Kirkus Reviews blog, which is ultimately more problematic.

    SBTB is a privately owned blog. Kirkus, I assume, pays her. If she’s being paid by Kirkus to provide content, and some of that content includes rave reviews of authors who are paying her to promote them in some way, well, that’s a huge breach of ethical behavior, IMO.

    It’s silly of me to care so much, but I do. I feel readers are getting the short end of the stick in the rapidly-evolving world of publishing, and this is one more example of why.

    It’s all about the marketing, the hype, the promos, the $$$. We readers are a means to an end, nothing more. Bleh.

  38. October 10, 2011

    I’m only seventeen, so I might be a bit naive – but I don’t think I’m too far off the mark here.

    I read SBTB and follow it fairly religiously. I keep up to date on the books being reviewed. And I read the recommended books OFTEN – and I like them. Often. And I agree with what SB Sarah writes in her snarky reviews. OFTEN.

    If SB Sarah wasn’t writing honest reviews, we’d know it. Because we’d read the recommended books, look at her blog and scratch our heads saying “WTF? This book sucked and she gave it an A+? Something’s not right here! These grades are not consistent! She gave a sucky book and a WOW FANTASTIC BOOK the same grade? Something must be fishy and corrupt!”

    But the truth is, we can’t say that. Because the reviews and the grades Sarah gives the books she reviews – MATCH. They are honest. They are consistent. And it’s insulting to speculate otherwise. I place my complete trust in, and backing behind, Sarah. She was a victim of people who like to maliciously speculate because they’re jealous and spiteful of other people’s success. They say ‘she’s bigger than me, better than me, so something must be wrong. Something must be nasty, rotten, and corrupt because no way can she be bigger than me and not be unethical.’

    And, on bias: hmmm, Mrs. Giggles, is a term used when a person is speculating, thinking over, or drawing conclusions about something that is not immediately obvious. By titling this post ‘hmmm’ you are implying that there is something beyond the obvious fact that SB Sarah has a JOB and has an awesome blog that might be suspicious. It was not inadvertent, you were NOT letting readers draw their own conclusions and whether intentional or not you were poisoning a reader’s mind with your own bias and suspicions before they even had the chance to click the link.

    Therefore, I ask you kindly that until you can prove otherwise, please keep your subconscious accusation TO YOURSELF.

    SB Sarah is, perhaps, the most influential woman in my life besides the woman who birthed me. She helped me feel okay about myself and what I read. She is able to poke fun at herself and her genre of choice with its pitfalls and strengths. She is informed and intelligent. When everyone in my life was looking down on me for reading romance, SB Sarah was the person writing from afar telling me in a snarky, funny way that it was alright and why it was alright. You do the entire romance genre, its readers, and all bloggers a disservice with this post.

    In conclusion, if anyone is guilty of biased posts, Mrs. Giggles, it is yourself. You, in this post, are too quick to judge. I am disappointed. Instead of talking to Sarah you decided, deliberately, to sway the minds of however many viewers to your point of view – which is made clear with your ‘hmmm’ and your subsequent comments. I am incredibly disappointed at your cattiness. I had come to love the online romance community for the sense of strength and security I felt – but I suppose I only really felt that on Sarah’s blog.

    And all of this because of a single hmmm. It’s your right to speculate – but to do so when you have all the facts, all the sides, and most importantly are actually able to do so in an unbiased fashion.

  39. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Kirkus is the same people that see no problems in charging indie authors $$$ to get reviewed, and even then, the review was for the online version only. They are not too ethical themselves, so who knows. Ultimately, it’s up to the reader to take everything they read online with a big grain of salt.

  40. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Rose, are you in love with Sarah? I don’t think she swings that way. In fact, she may swing a restraining order on you after reading your post.

  41. Ann Urism permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Rose May, do you follow all the online politics of Ro,amcelamdia, too? There’s a lot going on here of which you may not be aware.

    As for being correct. This is the internet. Anyone can say just about anything they want with or without proof. SOMETIMES they’re actually right.

  42. joanne permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Is that on the Small Progress website? I really must learn how to read invisible text…

    Actually, it’s on the SBTB’s website. Are you assuming that we believe you’ve never heard of that website or who is associated with it? If that’s the case, what’s the point of this particular blog posting? You claim you had no way of contacting anyone from that site, yet you are obviously well familiar with the website of one of the principals. Disingenuous much?

    Oh, and BTW, here is the email addresses listed on the SmallProgress website: or I used the link you provided. All you had to do was click on the “e” right next to their names. When you pass over them, it says “Send message to Mollie” or “Send message to Sarah.” I didn’t even have to use a secret decoder ring or wear my “see invisible text” glasses to see it. It’s right there for everyone to see.

  43. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Tell your BFF Sarah to make those “e” bigger. Don’t blame me if their website usability sucks and I can’t see the “e” the few times I visited the website.

  44. October 10, 2011

    Mrs. Giggles,

    I was being serious. Clearly, you are not capable of responding in an adult fashion to my accusations. That does not speak well of you. Do you get a kick out of insulting seventeen-year-olds? Or was your comment simply because you couldn’t think of a way to reasonably combat my allegations that you judge others to quickly and yourself not enough?

    I was speaking in defense of a woman who I respect and admire deeply. I was attempting to do so in a way that was dignified. I am sorely disappointed that you resorted to such a strange, personal insult as a tactic of coming back at me. While I indeed asked pointed questions about your professional nature, I never insulted you on what I believed to be a personal level. You remind me of some of the girls at my school. I don’t like them, Mrs. Giggles. And I don’t like you, either. Stop being so childish. Grow up. I’m seventeen and I can tell you’re immature.

    I believe many people look up to Lady Gaga but are not in love with her. I go to a Catholic School. When my mother found out about my first romance book she was upset. I had a teacher call me a whore for having one such book in my bag. What I read is simply NOT okay to the people who surround me in life. But I loved romance anyone. When I found Sarah’s blog, I discovered a community and a leader of the genre who showed me how it was okay to read romance and be dedicated to the genre. That I wasn’t going to be condemned and sent to hell for eternity, never marry, and die cursed because of what I chose to read. So yes, that accounts for why she is such an influential person in my life.

    Thank you for your childish insults and clear dedication to your readership. I can see you take your commitment as an unbiased, intelligent woman VERY seriously.

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 10, 2011

      If you are so serious that you put a stranger on the Web so highly on a pedestal, then yes, my response stands. Your sentiments arise from immature hero worship. One of these days, you will look back and feel sheepish about having made this post, Ms Know It All.

  45. Mireya permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I refused to post further there after my two-liner supporting Las’ POV, which I happen to share fully (and bravo to her for even trying). I have been agreeing with every single word she’s posted trying to make her point. I am also baffled with a few things I read:

    (1) The persistence by some of trying to apply journalism rules to what are nothing but personal blogs. Why is that?

    (2) Someone accusing the commenters here of “not being neutral” because, you know, we all are seeing how “neutral” the commenters there have been in the past and currently are, and particularly as it pertains to that thread in which any effort at reason has pretty much been shoveled out.

    (3) The insistence that Mrs. Giggles (and anyone else that posted about this for that matter) owed or owes anything to Sarah, and that includes courtesies of any sort… because we all know as well how “courteous” they have been in certain situations in the past.

    Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass as to Mrs. G’s motivations to post. I don’t give a rat’s ass as to what Sarah does or does not about her reviewing (I never visited that blog for the reviews, but rather for entertainment). But fact remains that Sarah put herself on a very public spot, Sarah decided to don the “champion of all things romance” mantle, and now she’s outraged and hurt over the fact that people question her and her motivations, and behaves as if people owe her something. Sadly, hipocrisy and hubris are two words that have been flashing on my mind all along.

  46. Katie permalink
    October 10, 2011

    “I don’t read her blog for reviews anyway. But her claiming to feel hurt by this? THAT makes my brows go way up. It’s emotionally manipulative, and I don’t buy that.”

    Sarah says she is pretty fluent in social media, which sometimes involves emotional manipulation. It looks like she is playing her blog followers like a fine violin. Beautifully done.

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 10, 2011

      Katie, I think her followers should pool their money to buy Sarah a basket of cookies and some unicorn figurines to cheer her up. Clearly she is withering under the relentless rape on her citadel of impregnable virtue.

  47. October 10, 2011

    Mrs. Giggles,

    Hero worship? You call it hero worship to defend the innocent? Sarah is innocent until proven guilty. You’ve tried to paint her guilty, without giving her a trial.

    Furthermore, don’t use my age as a way to write off what I say. And don’t say I’ll regret this post. I will never, ever, regret staunchly defending someone I believe to be innocent of all the slanderous words thrown against them. I would not have written these words with my blogging name attached if I didn’t mean them. Hero worship. You are SUCH a self-righteous woman. Like you can write me off because I’m ignorant or some such bull.

    As far as Sarah being a stranger – I’ve actually conversed with Sarah, albeit through email, several times. So she’s not a complete stranger. But even complete strangers deserve a trial instead of raging speculation. If I saw a freshman I didn’t know walking down the hall with girls calling her ugly names I would defend her, because it’s the right thing to do. I would stick up to the bullies because it’s wrong to slander, personally or professionally, without proof.

    What we would accuse you of at my school, Mrs Giggles, is gossiping. I don’t know if anyone ever told you that was bad manners, but I’m telling you know. Grow up. Be nice. Stop throwing around false accusations you can’t prove while trying to validate yourself and your petty insecurities by attempting, poorly, to insult someone half your age.

    And you wonder why I’m disgusted. Talk about immaturity.

    Ann Urism,

    I would not claim to know all – or necessarily all that much – about romance genre politics. However I would be delighted if you would inform me of what you know. Being new-ish to the scene and romance community, as well as being young, have contributed to my lack of knowledge influencing this. If you have anything you think I should read (articles, etc) or should know I would love it if you would contact me. All of my contact info is on my blog, and if you weren’t too busy doing what you grown-ups do all day long, I’d really appreciate anything you could share.

    Currently, I’m leaving. This has descended, much more quickly than I would’ve suspected, to silly and petty insults. I have said my piece. There’s no need for me to stay and endure your silly and childish responses. Thank you for your time and consideration, Mrs. Giggles.

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 10, 2011

      You’re welcome, Rose! Come back some time when you are older and wiser.

  48. Las permalink
    October 10, 2011

    “If SB Sarah wasn’t writing honest reviews, we’d know it. Because we’d read the recommended books, look at her blog and scratch our heads saying “WTF? This book sucked and she gave it an A+? ”

    Heh, if that’s the standard, then I guess I think her reviews are dishonest. Seriously, I don’t think that at all. It’s just that our tastes are very different and I’ve never liked a single book she’s recommended. That I know of, anyway. I haven’t read SB reviews in years…I go there for the information and entertainment. But, yes, Rose, that kind of thinking on your part is a giant sign on naivete. You’re responding emotionally to something that’s not personal. You like SBTB, great. It doesn’t mean that it or it’s owner is perfect and no one should say a negative word about her.

    I think what Sarah (and Jane, for that matter) has done with her blog is awesome. She went from starting a romance review blog to making it one of THE places to go to for romance news and reviews, to being an author, etc. She makes money (I’m assuming a good bit) from what started out as a hobby. If I had the talent, time, patience, and people skills I’d be all over something like that. I have no problem with her wearing all these hats–it’s good business, and if it were my business, I wouldn’t do it differently. So, good for her. I really mean that.

    But, that’s just me the random observer. Me, the blog reader, sees it a bit differently. I still don’t think she’s doing anything all that wrong, but what she does do affects how I perceive her blog. And when bloggers are all over certain authors and publishers and clearly making money from promoting them, I’m going to take a lot of their positive reviews and author promotions with huge grains of salt (doesn’t really apply in SB’s case since I don’t read the reviews anyway, but ykwim). That’s not a criticism of those bloggers–I’m not angry at them or at all disillusioned, it’s just the way things are, the natural evolution of a blog, I guess.

    Again, what annoys me is Sarah’s reaction to being called out. She couldn’t just respond with what was going on with Simple Progress. No, she had to rally the fangirls by acting all butthurt over her internet friends pointing out a FACT about her. Anyone who, in reaction to criticism, accuses people of being jealous instantly loses the argument.

  49. October 10, 2011

  50. October 10, 2011

    I’m trying to figure out how I got pulled into this when I never mention Sarah by name in one tweet I posted a few days ago asking a very broad question. Lots of assumption on her part for thinking I meant her. Also I find it funny she never emailed me to ask WTH is going on like she expected you, me of Veinglory to do.

    Also my full name was mentioned, as in my last name, which is not common knowledge. This smacks of wrongness. Yes?

    And the only jealousy I would have for someone if they said they had a one night stand with Ryan Reynolds.

  51. Katie permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Sarah clearly needs the support of her followers. So gather around her Awesome, Awesome crap, or whatever she’s selling.

  52. October 10, 2011

    Totally LOL’d at one comment on SB accusing you of carrying on discussions with those who share your opinion and laughing at those who don’t.

    As if we haven’t seen SBTB and DA do that many times over.

    You’re the Grande Dame of reviewers Mrs. G. so Hmmm and hate-bone away. ^_^

  53. Steph permalink
    October 10, 2011

    In the interest of full disclosure: I do read SBTB, and am fond of the site. I do not, however, have any particular attachment either to it or to MrsGiggles’ blog, so I am as neutral as one an be on this particular subject, and I’m not going to comment on it outside of the fact that I can see why readers would have a valid gripe, and why Sarah responding could clear the whole matter up (or, at the very least, provide illuminating info). I can’t speak for Sarah, don’t speak for Sarah, and pretty sure she wouldn’t know me from Eve if you told her I was here making comments. I’m not speaking to defend anyone or any particular side.

    What I will comment on – and let’s be honest, what I probably will regret commenting on – is your tone (speaking directly to MrsGiggles now) in responding to comments that question your assertions here. It’s the internet, I’ve been around for years, and I certainly don’t expect or insist on e-dialogue being civil or intelligent. Further, it’s your blog, and you *can* respond in any damn way you please.

    Whether you *should* respond that way? Well, that’s a different story. I guess you could say that I’m puzzled by it. Your responses seem trollish to me (please note that I’m not calling you a troll – I’m saying your responses are less than productive), in that you come across as being very hostile, when you don’t really have to be.

    However the way you went about it, you made a claim and provided it for public consumption. And although you say that you simply made a connection for readers to make their own minds up about, the tone of your responses indicate that you feel the need to defend a claim, which would be perfectly valid if you were defending it with facts or logic and so forth.

    As a reader, I’m open to persuasive argument that is based on fact and logical rhetoric (as factual and logical as one can be – I don’t expect perfection). What I’m not open to is defensiveness without substance, and what appears to be personal attacks instead of reasoned disagreement. I don’t mind sarcasm and spite thrown in (in fact, I tend to enjoy it), I just want some substance to focus it. I’m just not getting that from your responses.

    Give me your argument. I want it, and welcome it, even if it means that I have to reevaluate someone I am given to trusting and liking. What I don’t want? Vitriol for the sake of it, or vitriol to distract from the fact that you don’t have anything else to say (which I doubt is the case). As it stands, I’m going to leave your site doubting your conclusions (or your allusions if you’d rather) because you haven’t given me much substance. As a potential new reader, that’s unfortunate. You have only a few moments to hook me, and you’re not using those moments to your full advantage.

    So that’s it. Take it or leave it.

  54. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011


  55. Steph permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Yep, that pretty much confirms my original assessment. Thanks for making it easy for me! Buh-bye.

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 10, 2011

      Still here? Uh, okay. Bye!

  56. October 10, 2011

    Which part is the accusation? The H or one of he two m’s?

  57. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    V, they got me figured out. They knew when I wrote “Hmm”, it means “Hussy Making Money”.

  58. joanne permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Tell your BFF Sarah to make those “e” bigger. Don’t blame me if their website usability sucks and I can’t see the “e” the few times I visited the website.

    Never met the woman. Never met you either. But I can recognize sour grapes when I see them, as well as someone who cannot justify her claims, so makes contemptuous about the motivations of others (such as the “BFF” reference toward me or “hero worship” accusation toward Rose). Classic defensive behavior.

    You’ve had a blog for how long, and yet you have no idea how to recognize a link unless it bites you? YOU are the one who claimed that there was no way to reach anyone at the website you blogged here about. I called you on it and you responded with a personal insult. This is mature behavior? Perhaps you need to take some lessons from Rose, when you’re not attempting to belittle her.

    Admit it, you could’ve asked about the website, but didn’t want to. It’s soooo much more fun to stir up the rumor mill.

  59. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I have to admit, I’m especially jealous of Sarah having defenders and protectors like you. I could have started a church and become the first female Pope.

  60. anon permalink
    October 10, 2011

    It’s so much fun when they keep coming back to call you names, then going back there to call you names, then sending more back here to call you names some more :) . Young’uns, just luv em.

    Tomorrow, Monday links on DA! More linkity fun!

  61. Dhympna permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I don’t understand why Mrs. G (and Veinglory) is being held to a different standard than most bloggers (including those at DA and SBTB). Most of us post links that interest us, without emailing the parties involved in those links–sometimes with comment, sometimes without. Most of us have discussed those links. Last I checked, that was not casting aspersions on anyone’s character but just talking about something that has been publicly presented.

    Since when is it a crime to question a public link/site/blog post? Also, it is not an attack on someone’s character to point out a *possible* conflict of interest. They happen to the best of us.

    Heck, Twitter is all about posting links. Are we supposed to email the parties concerned now to ask what is up?

    My mind is boggled at the ridiculousness and hypocrisy I have seen today.

    Mrs. Giggles, if you become Pope are you going to reinstate the testicle check chair? Wait, that sounded better in my head…

    • mrsgiggles permalink
      October 10, 2011

      I just Google’d “testicle check chair”.

      …certain traditions stated that popes throughout the medieval period were required to undergo a procedure wherein they sat on a special chair with a hole in the seat. A cardinal would have the task of putting his hand up the hole to check whether the pope had testicles, or doing a visual examination.

      I also found this:


  62. Dhympna permalink
    October 10, 2011


    I will be very amused if there is a linkity to this. :/

  63. October 10, 2011

    Is that because a *gasp~* woman infiltrated the ranks–Pope Joan was it?

  64. Dhympna permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Yup. The testicle check chair was because a woman supposedly infiltrated the papacy.

    All of this is unsubstantiated legend, of course. But still amusing to ponder the habet duos testiculos et bene pendentes thing.

  65. Mireya permalink
    October 10, 2011

    @Dhympna: and what you said is a point that flew right over the heads of most. And I do feel sorry for the little hs girl who wants to be like Sarah when she grows up. The wake up call is going to be super nasty for her.

  66. anon permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I think it’s the “tone” of the “hmmm” they object to, which is funny, since they call themselves the “mean girls” because people object to their** tone. I know, kettle, pot.

  67. Jazzlet permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I come here because you Mrs Giggles are not pink fluffy candy floss, you are not sugar, though you are nicely spicy. I get sick of the anodyne excrement so many bloggers write. And the flounces just add to the fun. Keep up the good work!

  68. Petra permalink
    October 10, 2011

    I posted this on SBTB as well. In the spirit of full disclosure :)

    You know how romance reviewers also claim that there are too many stereotypical heroines in books? Stereotypical plots, etc. Well, guess what, this whole topic is sterotypical as well. Meaning that there are many people out there who think women cannot work together, they’re too back stabby, too bitchy, too snarky, they can’t get along without mud slinging. As for the topic on hand, sure, Sarah should have disclosed her assocation with the company, but she didn’t. She’s addressed it and I think she did it in a professional way. What is unprofessional though, is not recognizing that what is happening to her personally (on the personal attacks) is what she at times does to others. Karma and all that. But I’m sure she can take it, after all she is a self proclaimed mean girl and to use the word in the blog, a smart bitch. Just my few centes worth.

  69. Petra permalink
    October 10, 2011

    @Rose, your fangirl attitude is rather scary, but I see that won’t be Mrs. G’s problem. I also don’t think you’re 17 years old, but that’s just my opinion.

  70. October 10, 2011

    Based on the correlation on the front page of this blog the only way to get even more discussion would be to just post a punctuation mark, and link it to someone at random.

  71. October 10, 2011


    *applauds Petra* This is it exactly and why it’s so amusing to see. It’s easy for that crowd to dish it out but not as easy to keep silent and take it as slammed authors are expected to do.

    **disclosure time: yes I was a slamee once upon a time. ^_^

  72. Anonymoussss permalink
    October 10, 2011

    >>>>What is unprofessional though, is not recognizing that what is happening to her personally (on the personal attacks) is what she at times does to others.

    THAT. Whether or not there has been ethical crossover by anyone involved, all it has taken in the past is the APPEARANCE of it for some subset of Romancelandia to mob the flying f-ck out of people. They didn’t email to ask if it was okay first, either, and they didn’t believe it or went to great lengths to “disprove” it when their victims may or may not have protested innocence. We all see this all the time. Many of us participate in it on the mob side. If you don’t want it to happen to you…

    Actually I don’t think there is a way to guarantee it won’t happen to you, since it’s never consistent what spawns the mob. Could be a photo of your armpit. Could be a review. Could be something you put in a book. Could be something someone else said about you. Could be deserved. Could be undeserved. Now I’m depressing myself *laugh*

    Yes, I am posting (somewhat) anonymously. I’ve been mobbed before (what?? of course it was undeserved!!!), and there’s not enough Xanax in my house right now to jump into it that shit again.

  73. Mireya permalink
    October 10, 2011

    Does Las have a blog? If so, could someone please point me in the right direction?

  74. MaryK permalink
    October 11, 2011

    “An author pays me to promote their book, and I give it an awesome review everywhere even if it sucks, would that be a conflict of interest?”

    “O_O Oh, no! Who’s giving awesome reviews to sucky books?” “Oh, nobody really. There’s just this blogger who’s also a media consultant.” “Well, then, why the reference to a pay-per-review scheme? It sounded like you’d witnessed it.” “Oh, I was just asking a very broad question. Isn’t her behavior terrible?”

    @KB/KT Grant – “Also my full name was mentioned, as in my last name, which is not common knowledge. This smacks of wrongness. Yes?”

    No. Even I knew that was your last name. Before you were an author, I peripherally followed your blog to read your conference reports. Since you objected to its use, I googled to double check my memory, and your name is still prominently displayed on Fresh Fiction in association with your review blog. Incidentally, google also turned up a LinkedIn profile and a BEA interview where you listed all your names.

  75. amouise permalink
    October 14, 2011

    So what was the results of all the questions raised?

    Is Sarah still the Guy Fieri of the romance world?

  76. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 14, 2011

    Yes she is, and it seems like people are more mad at me for hurting Sarah’s feelings than anything else.

  77. amouise permalink
    October 15, 2011

    Wow. That’s quite the double standard there.

  78. October 16, 2011

    How dare you point out a piece of information on a website without first calling to check that the true information publicly posted on it is in fact true (which it is)

  79. Petra permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I think all her fan girls are mad at you Mrs. Giggles. It happens on DA all the time. It’s the sheep mentality.

  80. mrsgiggles permalink
    October 18, 2011

    That’s why many people don’t blog anything even a bit negative or critical about DA or SB. Doing so means you will get spotlighted in a kangaroo court featuring not only their fans but also the bloggers who support or are affiliated with SB/DA as well as the fans of those blogs. On blogs as well as Twitter. They pretend to be open to discussion, but they actually want me to apologize and grovel, and then they get mad when I laugh at them and tell them to get lost.

    I don’t have anything to lose by being branded as a jealous hater of SB/DA, but even I admit that I will do this at most once a month. It’s wearying having to deal with the maelstorm that results.

  81. amouise permalink
    October 18, 2011

    Well, if it makes you feel any better Guy Fieri is currently involved in a firestorm.

  82. Mireya permalink
    October 21, 2011

    Once upon a time I had a huge lot of respect for DA… until certain things started to surface, that placed them in the same category I place other things online. I know I am not making any sense, but suffice it to say, I didn’t need external help to change my mind… I changed my mind by just going there. However, I also have to say that I still read chunks of what they post because they continue to be informative. It’s the other stuff that I admit I don’t care about. As to SB, I removed it from my feed permanently, not even the entertainment value is worth it any longer. I just don’t want to be part of that, not even as a lurker.

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