Please read: addressing an ongoing issue of harassment

I know this is unusual for me, but I have to say something completely serious. I also need to say upfront that if, during the course of reading this, you realize you know who I’m talking about DO NOT NAME HER. DO NOT HARASS HER. This post is not about continuing the cycle of cyber-harassment. It’s about getting out the truth so that people can make informed decisions. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt over this, including her.

First, if you don’t know me well it’s important that you understand me as a person so you understand that this is not some sort of mean message trying to hurt someone because I’m evil or misled.

ThisiswhoIam. I am an INFP – T person who avoids/dislikes lies, manipulation, drama, any of that. I don’t present myself one way online and act completely differently elsewhere. The worst I ever do is get really upset about a topic and rant about it to a friend, but as I’ve said in a post the reason for that ranting is almost always going to be because I’m upset that other people are hurt and I can’t help them– or because I want to understand something so I can help, but I don’t understand it. That last linked post was actually not about this situation– that post was about something else entirely that was making me very angry and I am not angry at all in this post– but the basic idea that I will speak up if it gets to a certain point is true.

Santino and I have been cyber-harassed for the past two years by someone who once claimed to be our friend. If it were just someone targeting us privately, I wouldn’t say anything publicly about that because it doesn’t affect others.

But the problem is, she has been telling outright lies to the point of damaging reputations, and she has also drawn the ICoS fandom into it by targeting friends and readers. Santino and I interact genuinely with our readers and as a result over the years, some have become friends. This person has been targeting anyone who is perceived to be close to us and has told them sometimes manipulated truth and sometimes outright lies, for whatever reason she has.

This is not a misunderstanding where two people miscommunicated and there was a falling out, or where we are somehow being mean and targeting her because she said something negative about us/vented one time to one person. I would never speak out about something like that because everyone has the right to their opinion and I’m not going to get mad at someone if they express it. I support diverse opinions; it’s what makes the world interesting.

This is a situation where multiple people who are from different groups and never talk to each other have individually come up to us to warn us of the behavior because they were concerned or alarmed by the level of slander/libel being committed. This is someone who has very purposefully been trying to ruin friendships, turn people against each other, spread personal information given in confidence, and we also strongly believe has spammed friends with anon hate mail on tumblr and engaged in other inappropriate behavior to retaliate against people who didn’t believe her. There have also been some strong allegations she’s made about perceived bad behavior that didn’t exist the way she says it did.

It is also important to note that we have tried talking directly to this person in the past about the activity but she denied it all, and then later there was an attempt to give her a second chance– but the result was continued escalation and her doctoring emails to create her own “proof” of allegations. Including the very email that was sent trying to make peace with her. We have screenshots, emails, and other proof to show her lies compared to reality. It has gotten so bad that we had to seek legal advice about the libel, and were advised to no longer communicate privately with this individual for any purpose.

There is a lot that could be said on this topic but for now I am keeping this short simply to warn others that this is happening. I am speaking out now after nearly 2 years (this started in 2013) because it’s become obvious this person will not stop on her own, and because she is hurting other people in the process.

Because I’m an honest person who therefore is very consistent in the way I act, I imagine once she sees this post she will come up with reasons for how she is still unfairly being victimized, for reasons that don’t go against my personality and how I’m known to interact/act.

I imagine she will tell people that Santino made me post this because I am too nice to have done this on my own. He didn’t. I am someone who doesn’t want to hurt others, but I also do not condone bullying or hurtful behavior. Because of that, I wanted to say something about this publicly a long time ago because it upset me that people were being hurt by this, and he was the one who asked me not to because he thought if we gave her more chances she would stop. She might say that I was manipulated by people who want to make us mad at her, but the only manipulation that has occurred has been on her part. The facts speak for themselves, as do the screenshots and proof of actual conversations from multiple, independent sources.

She might also try to say something like how Santino and my friendship is fractured and somehow that is related to this–I don’t know how she might try to spin that tale, but I know she’s tried to tell people something similar in the past and that she allegedly was my advocate. That isn’t true now and none of that claim is true for the past.

She might come up with all sorts of other reasons for why I posted this. But there isn’t some dark, malicious, conspiracy theory reason for this post. It’s exactly for the reasons I’ve stated. This person has been harassing us, our friends, readers, and peers for two years. We’ve given her chances to stop and she hasn’t, so now I’m letting everyone else know it’s happening so they can directly ask us to get the full story, and develop their own opinions with all of the information instead of what is probably a very incomplete, and possibly completely fabricated, version.

I’m not telling people what to think or what to do. I just want you to know about this so your lack of awareness on the topic isn’t taken advantage of by someone who is using it to their own advantage.

My true hope for this post is that the person in question will finally stop what she is doing so everything can calm down and no one else has to be affected or pulled in. Because not only does it upset me that she’s hurting everyone else in this, I have to imagine that this behavior (constant rumination, obsessing, lying) is also not healthy for her.

In short: don’t take rumors at face value. ASK US. We want you to have the full story.

Thank you for reading this far into the post. I wish I didn’t have to post about this, but unfortunately this person has given me no choice. For anyone reading this, I hope you have a good day and I hope you have not been affected by this previously and won’t be in the future. Brightest of blessings to you and yours.

What Might Have Been: An O’Connell Agency reunion

Over the years of writing In the Company of Shadows, we learned to be very fluid with our plot. There were some things we planned to do but when it came to that time in the story it just didn’t work anymore. Other times, we pushed a scene forward or back, or had to remove it altogether. Some plots were nixed, some were expanded. Some characters were supposed to reappear but the story was too compact to fit them. And more than once, I wrote multiple versions of the same scene well in advance of something I knew was coming, and by the time it appeared that scene changed dramatically.

Any post labeled What Might Have Been or WMHB is a sneak peek into what was planned but didn’t end up happening.

For the first post:

Caoilfhionn O’Connell, aka, Keelin

My favorite model inspiration for her so far is Anna Lutoskin from storm models.

Anna_Lutoskin_20

Keelin is Owen’s younger sister. She shows up in his side story -somnia, but that wasn’t supposed to be her only appearance. Keelin was going to end up working at the Agency. Most likely, she was going to become a civilian. There was also talk of her first appearing in the main series by meeting Hsin on a bus, probably in Afterimage.

One of the things that would have been interesting about her was how it would have not only shown a civilian’s adjustment to the Agency, but also how it would have affected Owen to have his little sister so close. And how she would have dealt with the same secrecy and lies already keeping Owen apart from his family.

But when the time came when she could have appeared, it didn’t work to add her into the plot. There was too much else going on and Boyd and Hsin both are far too focused on themselves and their own problems to have noticed any shenanigans she was up to in the background. And doing an Owen POV just to have her involved would have broken up the flow of the story too much.

So, in the end, she only showed up in -somnia and was mentioned briefly in Fade. Someday, I might write a story focusing on her. I had been looking forward to writing her so I was a little sad when it turned out she didn’t properly fit into the main plot line after all.

Inspiration pics: Baby Boyd

This is the character Henry from the TV show Criminal Minds. Henry is played by Mekhai Andersen.

From the moment I first saw him, he made me think of what Boyd would have looked like as a kid (except Boyd’s eyes are lighter). The way he acts in some of his scenes also seems Boyd-like to me. More than once I thought, “Aww, it’s okay baby Boyd!” This kid is seriously too cute for words, so have some animated gifs instead:

Rock on, baby Boyd.