This is not a side of me that I generally allow myself to feel and be aware of.  Yet, I have to face it now.

All my life I worked hard at what I did.  It was not always appreciated, but I did it.  My ex used to tell me that I had no talent.  When I asked him why then had he bought my trilogy for the company he worked for, he told me that he had not read enough of the book to realize how piss poor my work was.  He brought home to dinner lovely young authors that he was cultivating and waved them in my face, giving them all the appreciation I so desperately craved.  After fifteen years of this, he sold an anthology to Longmeadow and the first words out of his mouth were, “write a story for it.”

I reminded him that he claimed I had no talent and he responded that he had never said that and had always told others how talented I was.  He got his story.  He then sold a reprint anthology idea that he had stolen from me and used my name as a critic as the lynch pin for getting that contract.  I had done all the research over a fifteen year period,  and the concept and execution was mine.  It went through two printings in hardcover both in a Longmeadow edition and a Border’s edition.  If you really look at the main introduction and the individual author intros, you can tell which ones are mine and which ones are his.  He was in a manic phase at the time.

I always got the things he wanted most and never achieved.  Especially the pieces in the Washington Post and the story in Amazons, which won the 1980 World Fantasy Award.  I got the review in Publisher’s Weekly that compared me favorably to C. J. Cherryh.  I was the one who got the MPAA accredited journalist acceptance.

And then, one day, I discovered by accident that he was telling everyone that he was ghosting everything that appeared under my byline.  That was a lie.  The articles and stories that I sold before I became involved with him are proof of that.  I was his tame writer on a leash, praised only when he needed me for something.

Whatever I had done growing up, he appropriated and told people that he had done them.

There is a book on the mind that does not have my name on it, except for in the dedication.  I did the research and I wrote it.  And all I got was a dedication.  That book earned over $60k in royalties.

He had gone into one of his panics,  the deadline was looming and so he shoved it at me to save him.  And I saved him as I always did.

In point of fact, I was still rescuing him right up until February of  ’08.

But that’s a story for another time.

Which brings us up to the present time and how it applies to the current situation with Sam Cox.

All of my novels that came out from Renebooks made the Fictionwise dark fantasy bestseller list.  Granted it is a small pond.  Yet it is a bigger pond than most people like Cox will ever see.

I sold over 300 articles during my Hollywood days.  I put the groceries on the table while his money went up in smoke to feed his habit.

When I got free of him, I believed that I had earned some form of cachet through my achievements.

I believed, erroneously, that those achievements should confer upon me a shield from the nitwits of the internet who cannot write to my level.

Instead, I find myself targeted by people like Dagstine, Pacione, Philbin, and now Cox — people who will never equal the things that I have done in the course of my life.

The entitlement generation demands a place at the table by walking over the metaphorical bodies and psyches of their betters.  They do not do the work.  They do not strive, as my generation did, to find that illusive perfection.  They do not grow because they already believe that they are perfect.

They have not truly suffered for their art.  They have not faced seemingly insurmountable odds and overcome them.

They have not striven with the words they have poured out upon the pages to the degree that marks the pro from the amateur.

Perhaps it is the cult of popularity in which a messageboard persona is more important than the craft.

What I see on the internet disturbs me.

The shield of achievement has been shattered by beauty contests and attention whores.