Friday, December 27, 2013

The Baffling Case Of AbsoluteWrite

There is a writing forum called AbsoluteWrite Forums. It is one of the oldest still going and is a place frequent by various industry luminaries and is a center for the crusade against the horrid vanity press PublishAmerica. In many ways, it's a great resource for writers, editors and publishers and until about a week ago I would have recommended it to anyone.

Now, I'm not sure.

I was once a member there (as zizban) and got banned for being a bad boy (and rightful so) but I still lurk there and read now and then. AbsoluteWrite strives for professionalism and a high degree of integrity. Then you get this.

Yes, professionalism at it's best.

The first thing to remember is this was posted at Stop the Goodread Bullies, a site devoted to apparently defending any vanity or self published authors on Goodreads. The people behind the operation seem kind of shady, But if you examine the thread in question you see that the banned poster and those that supported her made polite, logical arguments. Read for yourself and decide.

It gets a little weirder because it appears the owner of AbsoluteWrite is not who she says she is. Her given name is Macallister Stone and she uses it everywhere. I have no problem with this, we are all entitled to our privacy but when you ban someone from your forum because they are a "fucking bald faced liar" I have a problem.

You can't go calling people liars while you lie about who you are and hide your registration address behind a storage locker in Washington State!

So let's recap:

1. Use a pseudonym online.
2. Use a storage unit as your web site's address.
3. Accuse someone of being "A bald-faced liar".

This makes you a hypocrite.

If don't want anyone to know your address when you register a domain, there are plenty of proxy services you can use. Which makes the whole situation stranger.

To top it off, Macllister Stone's name is actually Melodi Susanne Sherman and keeps her name hidden while running a high profile website is some of kind of achievement but it raises one question: How come it hasn't leaked before now?

The reason is is she doesn't attend very many writing conferences except the famous Viable Paradise which is run in part by friends of hers. By keeping her offline profile low, she can keep her identity secret.

A less likely scenario is that her name really is Macallister Stone but the evidence is strong against this.

An even less likely scenario is that no one, not even her friends, knows her real name. I have a hard time believing this.

This whole thing with AbsoluteWrite is so convoluted and weird I doubt we'll ever know for sure.

Edit: a reader points out Macallister Stone and Melodi Sherman could be sisters or lovers. Possible but again unlikely.


A simple google search puts all doubts to rest. Melodi Sherman was once a manager at a farrier place. Macallister Stone says she is a farrier. This is what her site tag says:

So Macallister Stone is a lair and a hypocrite who committed perjury to hide her identity. It is sad and troubling, but mostly sad. Very sad.

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