The Value of Silence

Recently a small storm broke in the SF world over a vanity press book. With much fanfare–considering it was indeed a vanity press and POD at that–Of Atlantis by Lanaia Lee was announced and many, many interviews, reviews, and backpats arranged. Until, that is, some sharp-eyed reviewer noticed that the opening chapters were actually the opening chapters of the late David Gemmel’s The Dark Prince with the names changed . The usual circus ensued with people like Jane Little of Dear Author, Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, and Jim McDonald at Making Light taking various different tacks at the story and discussion. A lot of nastiness was aired–some of it deservedly, some not so much, and some of it was lunacy to the point of self-immolation.

After a while it became fairly plain–mostly through Victoria’s sifting of e-mails and other data–that this was a case of an aspiring writer (I can’t really count her previous poetry publications through vanity press as professional publication) being sucked into a rather dreadful set of circumstances due to her own laziness and gullibility–and a greed–perhaps even, to misquote Claire Booth Luce, a rage–to be published. She was a mark waiting to be taken by some sharp wolves and she was. But like many victims of the long-con, she was complicit in her own fleecing. Regardless of how you feel about that, one thing that stood out throughout the width and depth of the whole disaster was Ms. Lee’s (and her agent’s) inability–in spite of many, many admonishments–to shut up and get out of the limelight before it burned her to a crisp. She was advised by at least one writer of my acquaintance to drop the book completely and go on to something else, as this project was so completely tainted it would never emerge from its own corrupting filth as anything but an embarrassment. Obviously, I’m in agreement with that professional.

Would that Ms. Lee had listened. Alas, not only has she not taken any of that advice, now she is spamming other writers’ blogs, sites, and e-mail with a new press release that includes a copy of the still-remarkably-similar first chapter of her opus (yes, it still looks remarkably like Gemmel’s work, if not exact, still frighteningly close.) These aren’t reviewers, or critics–in one case the writer has said nothing at all in public either in support or condemnation of Ms. Lee’s book–these are just ordinary word-grinders trying to make a living and it’s abusive and foolish to spam them with further evidence of monumental cluelessness. This is not helping Ms. Lee’s case with the writing community.

The purpose of writing is not to fill every space possible with words, nor to force them down the throats of the unsuspecting. It is not simply to get published, or to bask in the glare of the public’s scrutiny no matter how negative or badly colored it has become. The telling of tales, the singing of the music of one’s soul is sometimes improved by the caesura and the ellipsis. What is left unsaid, a pause, a moment’s respite from the battering of words or sound heightens the effect of what comes after. In some cases, “the rest (and perhaps the best) is Silence.”

About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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4 Responses to The Value of Silence

  1. Oh, Lord, she’s STILL at it?!?

    [shaking head]

    As for this post, spot on, and well said.

  2. Alas, it appears so. I do feel rather sorry for Ms. Lee in having gotten into the situation one writer referred to as “front row seats at the eruption of Krakatoa,” but my kind feelings are worn very thin by her subsequent actions in public. I’d be very upset, too, if I were in her place, but her actions since the initial startling slap of cold reality haven’t been well-advised.

  3. Lanaia Lee says:

    I hired Christopher as a ghost writer because I am American and in my first book Of Atlantis, I wanted to use the old king’s English, Christopher being from the U.K. I thought he would be perfect. When I was alerted to his shady dealings, I confronted him and he assured me everything was fine. I have documenred proof of this. A friend of mine bought the book Dark Prince and a side by side comparison was done, before Of Atlantis went to press. I am a struggling writer, do people really think I would be dumb enough to keep knowingly plagerized material on my site for two years? I obtained an attorney and I am going to sue Jane Litte and Jim McDonald for deformation of character, which with my documentation, he sees no problem with a win. I have hypertension and that is why I suffered my first stroke. The doctor thinks I suffered a mils one at the end of October, due to stress, which for me is an absolute no no. We are now talking my life, this has gone TOO far. All I asked was for an apology from them, they were wrong. You even admitted they were wrong. Of Atlantis is in production at the moment, the book is good and will be a major seller, so Jane and Jim might end up hating they ever did anything Thank you for taking the time to read this!

  4. While I have sympathy for your position, your continuing public whining and finger-pointing are exactly the sort of public stupidity I was talking about. We’re all aware of the situation. If you are, indeed, working to rectify the situation with respect to the insult you did Mr. Gemmel’s estate, fine. And NO, I didn’t say–as you purport–that Jane Little and Jim McDonald were wrong. I said they discussed the issue. My allusion to “nastiness” was to the discussion in general. Your continued spamming of other authors with this sort of self-righteous garbage is losing you what sympathy you had from me.

    Please don’t spam. If you want to discuss the post, please post to the POINT, and not just another canned whine.

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