The Controversial Saga That’s Good for Genre Fiction—and Society

I’ve been in the book business for almost 25 years and I have never run across an author—or a series—more divisive than Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake saga. Readers seem to either love this series with a passion, or abhor it.

Begun back in 1993 with the publication of Guilty Pleasures, Hamilton’s series featuring iconic necromancer and vampire executioner Blake has spanned 20 years and—with the recent release of Affliction—a remarkable 22 novels. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that the series is one of the most significant in the history of genre fiction, because it was the first to find a mainstream audience. An unprecedented commercial success, it found a huge readership with fantasy, romance, and horror fans alike. In my mind, the Golden Age of Paranormal Fantasy officially began January 1, 2000, when LKH’s Obsidian Butterfly was released. The ninth installment in the series, this was the first Anita Blake novel to be published in hardcover. I was a bookstore manager at the time, and I can tell you firsthand that it was a landmark event. The sales of this book were phenomenal—and, not surprisingly, soon after that, the shelves were filled with bestselling paranormal fantasy sagas like Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire saga, Kim Harrison’s Hollows saga, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, etc.

So what’s all the controversy about?

In a word: sex.

There is a lot of explicit sexual content in these novels—too much, according to some readers. Some prolonged sexual encounters extend over entire chapters! But what really gets people mad, I believe, is that Anita Blake is not monogamous, and has a throng of supernatural lovers. Some sequences featuring Anita and multiple sex partners are understandably shocking for some readers.

And, sadly, those readers that can’t get past the sexual Twister aspects of the storyline are missing out on the overriding theme, which is about Anita’s very intimate—and liberating—journey of self-discovery.

The Anita Blake series is at times complicated, frustrating, and messy: nothing in Anita’s life is simple. (Just like real life!) But she handles each and every problem—be it a troubled relationship or a gruesome murder—with dignity and grace. She understands that the fleeting moments of true happiness in her life are gifts and enjoys them to the fullest. This series isn’t for everyone, but for those readers willing to follow Anita as she evolves—and as the series itself evolves—the rewards are so much more than literary escapism. Where some may see an oversexed, morally bankrupt slut, others will find an incredibly enlightened, compassionate, and determined woman whose life is filled with love, happiness, and fulfillment.

Like her signature character, LKH makes more than a few people nervous. Her reputation most definitely precedes her. She’s dangerous. She frequently tests society’s boundaries and questions its taboos; she relentlessly pokes the soft white underbelly of conservatism and intolerance with a sharp stick.

LKH put it eloquently in a now famous response to her critics back in 2006: “If you’re unhappy with my books, and have decided you never want to read another thing that I write; great. I mean that. Life is too short to read books you don’t like, so if you’re not having a good time, stop doing it. I’m sure there are other books out there that will make you happier than mine. There are books with less sex in them, God knows. There are books that don’t make you think that hard. Books that don’t push you past that comfortable envelope of the mundane. If you want to be comforted, don’t read my books. They aren’t comfortable books. They are books that push my character and me to the edge and beyond of our comfort zones.”

LKH should be applauded for having the courage to push herself and us. Because, ultimately, what would our world be like if no one questioned anything? We would quickly become a stagnant civilization, filled with boring and ignorant people.

And that is why this series has not only survived but thrived in the 20 years of its existence. Affliction debuted at #5 on the NYT bestseller list for fiction—not bad for the 22nd installment of a series!

What’s your stance on this series? Love it? Hate it? Haven’t read it yet?

  • eridani99

    The sex doesn’t bother me.

    The ardeur is my problem. It’s a removal of agency. It’s an abdication of personal responsibility. It’s a forcing of events that leads to the plausible deniability of any and all personal growth. The ardeur is the literary equivalent of “it wasn’t me, it was the one-armed man.” Forcing a character to come to terms with events that are forced upon her is a cop out compared to forcing a character to come to terms with actions she chose to take of her own volition.

    Hamilton is an amazingly talented writer. I want to read the things she writes. But when she removed Anita’s ability to guide her own sexual destiny – thereby removing her responsibility for her choices – she made that character boring as a person.

  • Melissa McAlister

    There is another way to look at the ardeur. Anita wanted to change. She fought the ardeur because it is her nature to fight. But books before the arduer hit, she was in love with two men. She decided to sleep with both of them in NIC. She had already decided monogamy was not going to be her thing BEFORE the ardeur. Granted, there were times when the ardeur was used against her by stronger entities and she slept with someone not of her choice, but how unrealistic would it have been for her to be able to control the arduer the first time it hit when it took JC years to learn control? And in Vegas, the most powerful vampire undead overpowered her and used it against her. And again, would it have been realistic for Anita to be able to defeat MOAD at that time? No. The arduer itself…helped Anita. Helped her defeat the unbeatable. And it showed her what was in her heart and the hearts of those around her in order to give her what she needed to survive. It is like any other problem in the Anitaverse, and in real life….you either learn to control it and take the pain for your lessons or you let it hurt you, maybe even destroy you. Anita is a survivor. She had no choice in accepting it, it came with the decision to marry the marks, with the decision to bind herself to the two men she loved BEFORE it became a part of her, but she wouldn’t be Anita if she didn’t take it by the throat and beat it into submission, eventually. And she has. She sleeps with her choice of bed partners and there is nothing wrong with that. Men have done it forever. Now we have a heroine who has the “balls” for it and imo, that’s amazing. The ardeur showed her her heart’s desire and helped her create it. Her family of choice is what keeps her sane. The way I look at it…the arduer kept her alive by helping her create what she needed to survive…a family of choice. Sigmund was ok, but can’t hold a candle to JC, Micah & Nathaniel when it comes to comfort and love. Anita wanted both and now she has it. I can’t see that as a bad thing.

    • E.a. Solinas

      If a heroine can’t “change” because she wants to, and can only achieve that change with an outside force “making” her change… then she doesn’t deserve to be called a heroine, let alone a “survivor.” That is passivity worthy of Bella Swan.

      And if she can’t/won’t find people who love and care for her WITHOUT a supernatural sex power, than she should remain alone. I cannot bring myself to care about the sanity or happiness of a character that pathetic.

      And that “beneficial” ardeur also had the advantage of brainwashing (yes, this is admitted IN THE BOOKS) people so they are more palatable to Anita, causing her to rape people (London), and producing convenient emergencies because she never even TRIED to control it (feeding at a distance, eating enough, etc).

      How can it show her “what is in the hearts of those around her” if it changes the hearts of anyone she has the hots for?

      Oh, and please stop playing the gender card. I’m fine with a female character who owns her sexuality and sleeps with who she pleases (barring married/taken men), but I cannot think of a single man in fiction who COLLECTS women the way Anita does men. The closest analogue I can think of is “Sister Wives,” which is a beautiful portrait of why traditional polygamy does not and never will work. And yes, that makes Anita the obnoxious child-man Kody Brown.

      • Melissa McAlister

        You said: “If a heroine can’t “change” because she wants to, and can only achieve that change with an outside force “making” her change… then she doesn’t deserve to be called a heroine, let alone a “survivor.” That is passivity worthy of Bella Swan.

        MM: So, you are saying there has never been anything in your life that was a catalyst for change? That a person, place, thing or situation has never inspired you to make changes in your life? I find that hard to believe. 🙂

        Not to mention, the only person who can truly make a change in their life…is the person themselves….which renders your argument completely redundant. 🙂

        It has been my experience that some people, I’d even say MOST people, go through some kind of experience that inspires change, sometimes even demands it. Having a heart attack often inspires new exercise & eating regimens. Often, losing one’s job inspires a new interest in education. The terminal illness of a child will often inspire their parents to begin doing charity work for other children with the same illness, with a determination to find a cure now a priority whereas before, they might have just tossed money at it and gone about their business never giving it a second thought. A newly divorced person will often “bloom,” after the trauma of a bitter divorce, damn near becoming a new person altogether because they have gained a new perspective due the loss of their lifestyle and/or life companion.

        And sometimes change is forced upon us, due to death or rape or war or a million other things. The terms “hitting rock bottom,” & “do or die,” among others, are in our everyday lexicon become most of us end up in a situation where they apply. Drug addicts in particular, usually have to hit rock bottom before they will give up their drugs.

        Anita, the woman whose main character trait is being obstinate to the point of cutting off her nose to spite her face before she will even consider change, was not a happy person in the early books. She was celibate & closed off, afraid to love again because she was still hurting from her the fact that her first love had dumped her due to his mother’s insistence that she wasn’t good enough for her son.

        But she was, like most people, healing with time and experience, & slowly opening herself up to the possibility that she might fall in love again someday, even if the thought of losing her heart again was terrifying. But, it was clear from book one, she wanted to change her life and book after book, SHE did. Because only SHE could.

        But, that doesn’t negate the fact that it was the journey of her transformation, the experiences that inspired the changes, the traumas that forced still more changes and the metaphysical changes that helped her survive, that were the catalyst for her transformation.

        But then again, life experience does that in real life, doesn’t it? Anita’s journey is authentic in that regard, despite the unusual nature of the experiences themselves. I am sorry you don’t get that, but your mind is closed off to the “suspension of disbelief” required to take Anita’s journey…because you hate the author & everything she represents. But, that’s on you. It has nothing to do with the books or the author.

        You said: “And if she can’t/won’t find people who love and care for her WITHOUT a supernatural sex power, than she should remain alone. I cannot bring myself to care about the sanity or happiness of a character that pathetic.”

        MM: Richard and JC were in love with her before the ardeur hit. She and Nate were always attracted to each other from day one. Anita just refused to admit it until forced to admit it, because that is her nature. Micah & Anita are metaphysically attracted to each other due to the Nimir-ra/raj bond. This is not something that occurs in the real world, but this is Anitaverse and just like weres and vamps are not in the real world but accepted as authentic in Anitaverse, so is the Nimir bond. I know it must be hard for you to accept that, but…those are the facts of the ‘verse, like it or no. It has nothing to do with Anita “not being able to find love “without a supernatural sex power. ” It has to do with the fact that this bond exists in this ‘verse and that it clicked into place and stuck. You might not like it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is a naturally occurring metaphysical fact in Anitaverse.

        You said: “And that “beneficial” ardeur also had the advantage of brainwashing (yes, this is admitted IN THE BOOKS) people so they are more palatable to Anita, causing her to rape people (London), and producing convenient emergencies because she never even TRIED to control it (feeding at a distance, eating enough, etc).

        MM: One of the defining traits of any successful author is to give us characters that are flawed. All good or all bad characters lack depth and realism.Why? Because that is not how humans are in real life. We are some kind of fucked up creatures. And is there anyone in lit-land more flawed than Anita Blake. I don’t think so. But I personally dig that about her. Like I said before, her defining trait is her obstinacy. I can relate. 🙂 She fucks herself over almost as much as the bad guys do. She makes colossal mistakes time and time again. She is human, that’s what we do. 🙂

        Now, I am not going to jump down the rabbit hole of discussing rape with you. It’s a subject that brings nothing but pain, because no matter what is said, there is always someone who is going to use their rape experience to attempt to deem Anita a rapist. And while I sympathize with rape victims, their experience has nothing to do with Anita’s sex life. Why? Because of the metaphysical factor. Anita is a succubus who gains power from sex. Sex literally keeps her alive from time to time. A true rape experience compared to anything Anitaverse related is like comparing apples and alligators. The person who got raped in real life gained no power from the violence committed upon their mind, body and soul. Anita gains power from it…as does everyone who sleeps with her. Mutual benefits for an act of sex where everyone has a good time and everyone remains friends afterwards AND still want to have more sex on other occasions…is not rape. The experiences are polar opposites. Apples and alligators. Imo, Anita has never raped anyone. She does however, have one hell of a messy life life. 🙂

        As far as Anita not fighting the situation…between life and death situations, she fought it. But she did it her way. Stubborn to the point of complete denial until the situation becomes untenable, then reluctantly, as in pulling teeth reluctant, accepts she has no choice but to deal with it. You hate this about her, but it is consistent with her character, your hatred notwithstanding. *shrugs* Again, I dig that about her, as I can totally relate. lol

        You said: “How can it show her “what is in the hearts of those around her” if it changes the hearts of anyone she has the hots for?”

        MM: Do you always know your hearts desire? Do you instantly know how to obtain the affection of the object of your desire? Doesn’t your heart’s desire change day to day with each new experience and stimuli? The books state often Anita’s confusion about the ardeur and how it works for her. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Laurell intentionally leaves it up to the reader to decide. If you could have your heart’s desire, would you go for it and would it be a good thing or a bad thing after you got it? Would it be even be real if a magical entity greased the wheels or flat out gave it to you? Should you fight it? This is what Anita faced when she realized what the ardeur was doing. At first, she did what she always does…denied it even as the evidence of it became more and more blatant, then she got pissed…and sad…and defiant…and…well, that is Anita. But in the end, almost everyone accepted it because they realized they were happy. And really, who throws away happiness because of the way it came to you? Life is so short….even if bad guys aren’t trying to kill you on a daily basis, but with? Each day is a gift. Why would you waste the gifts given you, especially when you live in a warzone. Anita comes close to dying…a lot. Yet she is supposed to throw away the comfort the ardeur has helped her create? Why? That makes no sense.

        You said: “Oh, and please stop playing the gender card. I’m fine with a female character who owns her sexuality and sleeps with who she pleases (barring married/taken men), but I cannot think of a single man in fiction who COLLECTS women the way Anita does men. The closest analogue I can think of is “Sister Wives,” which is a beautiful portrait of why traditional polygamy does not and never will work. And yes, that makes Anita the obnoxious child-man Kody Brown.”

        MM: LMAO – So, because it’s never been done, it shouldn’t be done? Originality is now a bad thing? I absolutely love the fact that LKH is the first to write a female character who “collects” men….if she is, as you seem to think.

        I have numerous poly buds & altho, I don’t think of their lifestyle as them “collecting” lovers, I guess a case could be made that that is what they are doing. I will have to ask them if that is how they feel. lol Should be an interesting conversation. lol

        And last, but not least, the utter contempt coming in waves off the computer screen, at anyone with an open mind and heart about ABVH and LKH, from your words is palpable. You seem to think you are well informed and telling us a thing or two. lol But in fact, your hatred of all things Laurell blinds you to even the possibility there might be something to anyone else’s opinion but yours and leaves no doubt that my words have no chance of affect you in any kind of a positive way. I know that. And I accept it. Everything a positive fan says is stupid to you and your ilk. We get that. And we don’t care. 🙂 So, I want you to know I don’t expect to change your mind about anything. I don’t think that is even possible for you. And that is why most of the positive fans stay away from anyplace the haters are. Why converse with a hater when all it is wasted time and you know that going in. Hate is toxic & positive people avoid it like the plague.

        Just this once tho, I thought a positive fan should be speak up…take a bullet for the positive team, as it were since speaking to a hater is the same thing as painting a bullseye on one’s chest. I don’t care. I am never going to let the bad behavior of others dictate my integrity. And this needs to be said….

        The ABVH series rocks. Laurell is amazing. Not perfect. Not a Goddess. Just a flawed human like the rest of us. But also, an amazing, talented, kind, down-to-earth girl next door with more talent and imagination dripping from her fingertips than any hater has in their whole.

        And nothing you say or do will ever change that. 🙂

        So, hate on, dude. Hate on. 🙂

        • Julaine

          The ardeur as a metaphor for a metaphysical rape drug is a convenient plot device for removing Anita’s sexual agency and you; yourself, admit that it has turned her into a succubus. To claim that its use isn’t rape because the victim had fun and was keep around to be further victimized is disgusting.

        • E.a. Solinas

          I have had catalysts, but I am proud to say that none of those catalysts caused me to lose completely control of my body or mind. None of them caused me to rape, murder or brainwash anybody.

          And rape is evil. Repulsive. Malignant. The excuse “oh, they had fun, so it doesn’t really count as rape” is a repellent attitude that helps shame rape victims even today if they experienced any kind of physical reaction to their rape. It is nothing short of horrendous that you would perpetuate that, merely to defend a supernatural Sue fantasy that is not real. And so if they’re kept around in a “relationship,” it’s not rape?

          So by your logic, if a child is molested by a parent or stepparent, it isn’t REALLY rape because hey, they might like it, plus they’re being kept around by their benevolent rapist!

          And anyone who can only achieve personal change via something that has those effects IS a helpless sad-sack like Bella Swan. Either that, or they are power-mad egomaniacs who can be easily called “evil.”

          And for a supposedly “positive” person, you certainly spew a lot of negativity. When you aren’t personally attacking others, you are ranting about the evil “negative fans.”

          I feel sorry for you, I really do. You don’t see what’s coming at all. And your “positive” devotion to this series and author is blinding you to the ugliness you are speaking of.

        • osh49

          I normally try and stay out of discussions like this, since I know responding isn’t going to do any good, but your response to the ardeur point made me so angry that I’m going to make an exception.

          You say that Richard and JC were in love with Anita before the ardeur hit and that Nathaniel and Anita were always attracted before that power made them act on it. Guess what? THAT DOESN’T MATTER.

          If the ardeur made these characters do things with Anita sexually that they would not have done without its influence, then they cannot give any kind of meaningful consent to any sexual encounter with her. No one who is affected by this power can. To put it in a real-world situation, alcohol can make people do things that they would never consider doing sober. And anyone who takes advantage of that fact to do something sexual is and should be considered a rapist.

          In the case of the ardeur, it does not matter if there is some higher power play at work, it does not matter if there’s politicking or other metaphysics. This power alters people’s judgment and makes them desire things that they would not want if they were not under the influence of this power. That is the very definition of a date rape drug, and it doesn’t matter if it’s metaphysical. It is still a means to skew or alter the desires of others. There is NOTHING empowering about that for anyone involved.

        • Annessa Valdez

          God, you’re boring.

  • Kathy Shattuck

    I’ve never read LKH books [although I have heard of her],
    but from your description, here, I honestly have no desire to. I don’t disagree
    with your statement, “—-having the courage to push her self and us. Because,ultimately, what would our world be like if no one questioned anything? We would quickly become a stagnant civilization, filled with boring and ignorant people.”

    What I disagree with is that I need to read her books to accomplish
    this goal. I read many authors who push my sensibilities and imagination, whether sexually or otherwise, far beyond my expectations, but it’s in a way that doesn’t slap me in the face, having sex as a dominant theme.

    I love to be challenged by a writer’s imagination, but with a whole chapter devoted to sex is just over-play, in my estimation. There are so many ways for a writer to touch a reader; these authors are out there, one just has to look.

    • Melissa McAlister

      You don’t need to read LKH to do this, but it couldn’t hurt. 🙂 The sex in the series isn’t the dominant theme of the series, it’s, as PAG stated, what the controversy is about. Anita’s journey is at the heart of the series. And just as in real life, that includes a person’s sex life, relationships, jobs, & coming to terms with who they really are & who they become when life does what life does…fucks you up. Anita’s life is a warzone and you can’t live in a warzone and not be affected. And you can’t survive a warzone with just a stuffed penguin to comfort you, at least not for long. Sex is life affirming. As are strong arms to hold you. Why wouldn’t she have all the sex she can handle when she certainly has all the pain she can handle. Isn’t not giving ABVH the series a chance due to what others have said about it like not trying pistachio ice cream because you don’t like the color green? You are judging a series without trying it for yourself. It’s a fantastic series. And I read about 20 series as they are published. ABVH is the best. 🙂 But then again, I don’t mind sex slapping me in the face. 🙂 Depending on whose doing the slapping. 🙂

      • Kathy Shattuck

        Melissa, I appreciate the effort to make me see this point. Well done, and point taken.

        • Melissa McAlister

          That would make you an open-minded intelligent person. Not because you got the point, but because you actually took a moment to consider the point and didn’t disregard it entirely because your mind is made up based on what people with an obvious grudge have been saying. Good on you. Even if you hadn’t taken the point…good on you. 🙂

      • Annessa Valdez

        God. You’re stupid.

    • E.a. Solinas

      It’s not so much “a whole chapter” as “a whole four or five chapters.”

      And LKH seems to have once again put sex on the back burner, so she can focus on more offensive aspects of the character. For instance: the newest book is nothing but whining, angst and p*ssing matches.

      • Kathy Shattuck

        Sounds like even more reasons to not read this series. I enjoy reading about flawed characters, but I like to see them grow in my stories, or at least come to some conclusion as to why they can’t. “whining, angst and p*ssing matches”, Oh, my! 😀

        • Melissa McAlister

          To each his own. Personally, I like to make up my own mind. *shrugs*

          • Kathy Shattuck

            [[[shrug]]] I have. It’s responses like this that help make up my mind.

  • EmilyG

    What an absolutely bizarre blog post. The Anita Blake series has been bleeding readers for years (and has become a pretty massive joke in the scifi-fantasy community) because the writing has become absolutely terrible. Where before it was witty and well-plotted, it has now become trite and tedious. The prose has become embarrassingly purple, the protagonist has become an unintelligent narcissist, and the plot has become an afterthought. While these books might push LKH’s personal boundaries, her assumption that her readers shared her boundaries . . . well, that assumption has gotten LKH publicly mocked for her provincialism, and I’m amazed that “Paul Goat Allen” approvingly quoted such an obvious author blunder as the “Dear Negative Reader” screed. Saying ‘you don’t like my books because you aren’t smart enough to appreciate them’, as LKH did, is the height of author idiocy.

    Readers don’t care that Anita Blake is having sex—readers care that Anita Blake spends 85-90% of the recent books WHINING ENDLESSLY about sex. (It’s BORING!!) Readers don’t care that Anita Blake is polyamorous—readers care that Anita is caricaturing what it means to be polyamorous, as rather than a relationship of (multiple) equals, Anita Blake engages in multiple relationships in which she holds all of the power and her “partners” are either enslaved to her, are dependent on her, and in one particularly gruesome instance, Anita is serving IN A PARENTAL ROLE to her 17-year-old “lover”!!!! This is not a relationship of equals, it’s abuse. And readers don’t care about the presence of BDSM—readers care that Anita Blake repeatedly engages in clearly incorrect and unsafe behavior, perpetuating false ideas about what BDSM practices are.

    And sex scenes with multiple partners aren’t exactly unique to LKH. Does the author of this post not realize it’s 2013, or is he simply ignorant about what’s available in published erotica??

    Laurell K. Hamilton certainly does not “relentlessly poke[] the soft white underbelly of conservatism and intolerance with a sharp stick”. Her ideas of gender roles are clearly rooted firmly in the 1950s, as she blithely assumes a strong woman is “acting like a man”, and obviously simply switching what gender embodies what ‘role’ is neither progressive nor feminist. LKH clearly considers herself LGBT-friendly, but her books are actually incredibly homophobic, as she makes very, very sure that every single “gay” man ISN’T REALLY GAY, but is perfectly willing to have sex with her heroine. (Yes, how very “progressive” to say that all gay men will have straight sex if the right woman comes along.) And her implicit racism is astonishing—in her most recent book, her narrator sees a black man and comments how he looks “like he should have been hunting lions with a spear”, for goodness’s sake!

    • Melissa McAlister

      Before I respond, let me make one thing clear, I am here as myself, speaking only for myself. I DO work for Laurell as her continuity editor but I am here on my own accord, as a private citizen, the same as you.

      I find it implausible that you speak for the entire sci-fi community. It is vast and there is room for everyone. That is one of the best things about the sci-fi community.

      As far as Laurell being publicly mocked, every public figure has been mocked, at one time or another. It comes with the territory. You learn to live with it. In the larger scheme of things, for example…having over 30 books published, living a fabulous life full of love and laughter and family and friends….it really isn’t that big a deal. Just the price of doing business. *shrugs*

      The “DNR” blog…..was not a blunder. It was her one true response to the haters, or as she so generously referred to them, the negative fans.

      Here are a group of people who hang on her every word, her every book, her blogs, her tweets, literally her every word. They dissect it, speculate on it, expound on it, even tho they have to make up “facts” to do so, mock it, flogblog it, get arcs and deliberately try to ruin each new book for the positive fans…and they do this daily, hours on end, And eventually, they twist her words like a pretzel until they are out and out lying about what she said & what she meant. They even say, “I don’t her, but..”..then tell a lie so they get the approval and accolades of their fellow haters. Freud would have a field day with these people were he alive.

      But…most people reading that kind of nonsense know it for what it is, know that just because a group of people insist something is true….doesn’t make it true.

      Of course, the first clue that it isn’t true is the hate boiling off their every syllable while they are saying it. That is a sure sign they are the ones with the issues, not the person they are talking about. Especially when the subject matter is an author they have never met, or have met momentarily and the fictional world she has created in her novels.

      I mean if you love a fictional world and discuss it in depth with passion, that’s fun and healthy. But if you hate a fictional world, but still discuss it in depth with passion, then you’ve made the decision to waste your short time on this earth indulging in your hatred. How is that healthy or fun? I don’t get that. Besides….It’s a fictional world.

      If you have to hate, if that is who you choose to be, HOW you choose to live your life, why not direct your hate in a more positive manner toward something that actually matters in real life? Like the Westboro creatures. But hour after hour, post after post on a fictional world and a person you can’t stand? Really? *shakes head*

      Unfortunately, every successful author/artist has to deal with haters now because this small noisy minority is something you will find in every fandom now. Actually, I am pretty sure they have always been around, but now they have a medium to vent their hate, the internet. And it has built in protection for the bullies of the ether, a computer screen and fake names so…they form cliques of hatred where they see how nasty they can be before someone either kicks them off the forum where they are spreading their hate and lies or they are driven off by people who refuse to be sheep and buy their hateful lies as fact. Or they take over the forum and reasonable intelligent people suddenly wouldn’t be caught dead in that mess, so haters are all that are left. It’s like an online leprosy colony where all the sickness is self inflicted. it’s a sad phenomenon, to say the least.

      Even sadder still is the fact that haters are usually people who were originally positive fans but somehow came to feel slighted or ignored when the object of their affection didn’t kowtow to their demands, knowing full well that is not how they would react if they were in the same position. But still they high-five each other with every hateful sentence they get away with and become “friends” in the same way that the mob with the flaming torches chasing Frankie became friends, egging on each other’s next lie to be nastier than their last one, with the expressed intention of watching someone they share a hate hardon for be mocked and figuratively, if not literally, publicly burned at the stake, over and over again.

      And yet let the person being mocked defend herself…once…just once….and they are outraged, deem it a “blunder” & insist she is the one saying bad things about them. I mean, how dare she? Double standard, much? What do you feel you can demean her daily and she can’t speak her mind politely even once? Again, this speaks to the haters psyche and has nothing to do with the subject of their hate. Ask any reputable shrink. They may be mocking her, but in fact, they are the ones who look foolish, most especially to people who do not live by this double standard. Goose/gander. Just saying.

      And no, her statement didn’t say the negative fans were stupid. She said…. if you don’t like her books, don’t read them, find something more to your liking and read them instead. Simple. Direct. And to the point. Minus the hate and nastiness being directed at her. Yet, somehow…*she* is in the wrong. Uh, no. If haters are allowed to say what they will, and they are, and they do, then why isn’t Laurell, or anyone in her position, allowed to defend herself/themselves? At least she did it calmly with grace and dignity. Common courtesy, something no hater has ever shown her.

      As far as her being homophobic. That’s one of the most humourous lies haters tell about her. She has a multitude of gay and lesbian friends. In fact, as most people know, her sister of choice is a lesbian. Laurell walks the walk, not just talks the talk. I know her personally and she is who she says she is. My hand to God. So, believe what you will, but the truth is the truth, whether you believe it or not.

      As far as Anita being homophobic….Anita was raised in the Christian faith by an old fashioned grandmother. Some things you are taught as a child and have to overcome as an adult when you get out in the world and come to the realization that all of us have to come to eventually…our parents are not perfect. *gasp* Yes, Anita has had issues about women and sex, but she overcame them. Laurell took us thru that journey with Anita in her books. But if you don’t like the books, Anita or Laurell, you aren’t going to buy that, not because it isn’t what was written, but because you are prejudiced against believing what was written. Suspension of disbelief is an effort when your heart and mind are closed to the subject matter before you ever open the book.

      I could take every sentence you have written in your post and reply with a reasonable, well thought out, intelligent truth, but I know hate when I smell it…and..I smell it. So, there is no reason to respond to your every assumption and rumor. It would do no good. Just as what I have said here will do no good. There is no room for logic in a hateful heart.

      What people need to realize is this…spewing hate tells intelligent people who YOU are, it says nothing about the subject of your hate. And it negates civil discourse.

      You have heard the term “don’t feed the trolls.” This term came into being because to address people full of hatred is useless. All they can do is cling to what makes them feel good and secure and “better than” the object of their hate, which IS their hate. It’s a sad way to go thru life, but it is a choice and therefore, I do not have any sympathy for the negative fan. Not a lick.

      Speaking out has made me a target. I know that. But I was already a target just because I work for Laurell. People who don’t know me from Adam tell lies about me on the internet now. And mock me. But guess what. I know who I am. And your approval…or disapproval….means just as much to me, as mine does to you.:)

      • Annessa Valdez

        Huh. I stopped reading after the third paragraph. Much as I did your beloved author’s books. It seems to me that neither you or she can take any criticism, constructive or otherwise. “What do you mean you don’t think the books are perfect?!” I mean they have become boring and annoying. Much like your post. Also, as the continuity editor, I’m glad you posted. The last book of hers I read a long time ago, but I personally think you aren’t doing your job or the continuity would be better. I don’t care whether you like this post or not. Deal with it. Just like we were suppose to deal with it when she posted that horrendous entry basically telling everyone that if they didn’t like her books, they were mundane. I’d rather be mundane than asinine. Thanks for your post. It was boring.

    • E.a. Solinas

      Yes, I’ve seen the numbers. This page:
      (scroll down until you find it)
      shows the chart from “Cerulean Sins” to “Bullet,” and it is a painful ride worthy of a roller coaster.

      Melissa can spin it however she likes, but there is no way sales of the same series falling from more than a quarter million (Book 14) to 115 million (Book 19). That was four books ago, and her latest book’s sales have been hilariously bad.

  • Ravi76

    The series has definitely NOT thrived. In 2006, Hamilton was selling over a quarter of a million hardcover copies. This year, Affliction was #5 on the NYT Combined Print & E-book Fiction List during the first week of its release and is completely OFF that list by the second week.

    On the USA Today bestseller list, Affliction has sunk from #6 to #61 in ONE week. The sales numbers don’t lie. It’s clear that majority of her former fans have followed the author’s suggestion and moved onto other series/authors.

    • Melissa McAlister

      Anytime a book series hits 22 with no end in sight, that qualifies as “thriving.” Book sales always vary book to book. Tis the nature of the beast.

      • Ravi76

        Just because a series continues to be released doesn’t mean that it’s “thriving.’ In order for it to thrive, a series should grow it’s readership/sales. Sales for the Anita Blake series have continued to steadily drop with every new release.

        • Melissa McAlister

          Yes, actually it does. Publishers won’t contract books that won’t sell. Laurell has over 30 books with no end in sight on 2 series. Sounds pretty damn healthy to me. And while some leave the series, many have just found the series. They are heard from everyday. In many languages from many countries. But really, the bottom line are the diehard fans and we will always buy anything LKH writes. We are who the publisher count on for sales. And we always come thru. 🙂

          • Ravi76

            Based on the steadily declining sales figures, it’s clear there aren’t enough new readers to replace the old readers who are abandoning the series. Plus, the ones abandoning the series were once diehard fans, but aren’t any longer.

            As for her other series, Merry Gentry, Hamilton has announced at least three times (2010. 2011, & now 2013) that a new book would be coming ‘next year.’ So far, it hasn’t happened.

          • Melissa McAlister

            Only time will tell. Of course, the 20 year career, the NYTBS thing, the previous 30 books thing & the “no end in sight”” might be a fairly good indicator. lol

          • Ravi76

            The biggest indicator for any author’s continued success are the sales numbers and Hamilton’s aren’t good. She hit the NYT Combined Print & Ebook list only during the first week of release and has now fallen off of it.

            If the sales don’t turn around, I expect the series will be released straight to paperback within three years.

          • Melissa McAlister

            Like I said, only time will tell. But, this isn’t the first time someone has made a prediction like this, yet somehow….20+ year career, over 30 books with no end in sight. My $ is on LKH, as always. 🙂

          • Ravi76

            Well, with her sales in steep decline, she’ll definitely need your $.

          • Melissa McAlister

            *sniff* I think it’s very touching how concerned her negative fans are about her income. lol 🙂

          • Ravi76

            I’m actually not a negative fan. Just trying to determine how you can reconcile ‘steadily declining sales’ with ‘no end in sight’ to the series. The one does not support the other.

          • Melissa McAlister

            That’s odd. From the tone of everything you have said so far, I could have sworn you were a negative fan who usually hides behind the name Raven. I guess I am wrong. 🙂 And I am not trying to reconcile anything. Laurell’s income is HER business. I don’t have a clue as to what her sales figures are. Only negative fans seem to delve into her personal business like that. Common courtesy dictates that is her business and hers alone.Or at least that is how I was raised. I just happen to like the yarns she spins. 🙂

          • Ravi76

            It would seem you’re wrong about quite a bit. The New York Times publishes sales figures every week. Have you never actually read the NYT?

            Just because you don’t know the facts, it doesn’t negate their value.

          • Melissa McAlister

            Well, I am human & wrong from time to time. It happens. To all of us. 🙂

            But, not on anything I have said here. Laurell’s track record stands on its own.

            As far as what newspaper I read…St. Louis Post Dispatch. Hometown girl, that’s me.

            But even if I read the Times, I wouldn’t care about the sales of LKH’s books beyond wishing her well and much success.

            Like I said, I just like the stories. Laurell’s personal biz is none of my biz.

            And yeah, “facts” are not what they used to be. So their value is really dependent upon the source. Kinda like when Laurell hits number 1& the negative fans cry foul as if the Times list is rigged. But when she hits #5, the Times are THE source to set your clock by. It seems to bend to their desired outcome. lmao

            All I care about is the fact that Laurell is writing and has been for over 20 years and is obviously contracted to continue. Those are facts you can take to the bank. 🙂

          • Melissa McAlister

            And on that note, it is time for me to leave this forum for the negative fans to swarm. Be sure to call me plenty of names, burn me if effigy and take this back to the hater boards for the bbq in my honor. lol

            Just know this….the hate in your heart is your burden, and when you intentionally set out to hurt someone, it becomes your karma…..not mine…and not Laurell’s. Everyone earns their own chains. Goddess be with you.

            Peace Out,
            MissyMacleod 🙂

          • E.a. Solinas

            Darling, you are not important enough in the grand scheme of things to be burned in effigy or called names.

            And the passive-aggressive advice becomes quite hilarious from someone so obsessed with “negative fans,” what they say and what they think. But I guess you learned from the best.

          • Melissa McAlister

            No, I am not important enough. I agree. Yet somehow, here you are. 🙂

          • E.a. Solinas

            Batting down the irrational and ignorant amuses me. Sort of like playing whack-a-mole.

          • E.a. Solinas

            This may be hard to understand, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not determine what authors are on top. I have never even heard of that paper.

            And I have yet to see “negative fans” cry foul about the Times list — the closest thing would be to point out how carefully her releases have been times to make sure she gets on that list. Please provide quotes, dates and sources if you are going to make such claims.

            As for being contracted to continue, if I’m not mistaken she is contracted for ONE very overdue book for next year. After that? We’ll see.

          • Melissa McAlister

            Of course you know jack shit about Laurell’s contractual obligations. lol Is there anyone out there who actually believes you do? What? She told you during that last phone call you had with her? lmao I bet it makes you feel pretty darn special tho to think you do, so carry on. 🙂

            And yeah..I feel absolutely no compunction to provide you with anything. Or prove anything to you or to any of the haters. As if. lol

            I came here for one reason and one reason only. So that for once, the positive fans have at least one person willing to wade into the toxic muck of the haters and say something positive. We talk to each other about the books, but no one wants to have anything to do the haters. Hell, I am going to have to detox from my time here among you before they will even let me back in the fold. lol

            And to paraphrase Cindy….
            “I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment, and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain, will think about me every single day for the rest of your hate.”

            “Provide me with… ” Now THAT is some funny shit. lmfao

          • E.a. Solinas

            Sorry, dahlink, but I am basing the information on her contracts on her own words. She said three books, two years in her own blog. They won’t have signed a new contract yet, since she has not yet fulfilled the old one. I don’t need to actually speak to her or you about anything, because she has spoken about it publicly. D you understand?

            And I can assume from your increasingly hysterical, poorly-edited, frenetic posts that my posts are upsetting you. Adding “lol” onto the end of each paragraph really doesn’t cover up your naked hostility. And I notice you are no longer assuming an attitude of false graciousness.

            As for your excuse about wanting to support the “positive fans” (which is somewhat redundant as a term), you popped up here BEFORE any anti-fans did. And by the by, if Hamilton is selling so well and is so popular, why is only ONE person willing to speak up for her?

            Also, I have automatic disdain for the supposed intellect of anyone who uses the word “haters.”

          • Guest

            You’re just sounding ignorant now. You’re showing how immature you actually are. You are beating a dead bush. I would stop where you’re at and lick your wounds.

          • Guest

            SLPD didn’t even have LKH on their list of top books ending on July 14. Her own town and she’s not on there…hmmmmm

          • Annessa Valdez

            You probably voted for Trump, didn’t you?

          • E.a. Solinas

            So what you’re saying is that you know she’s super-successful and her series is flourishing… but you have no idea what her sales figures are, and you consider the sales figures that are published by the NEW YORK TIMES to be her PERSONAL business.

            Uh, no. Anything that is making money for other people is by definition not “personal business,” especially if it is published in a major national newspaper.

          • Guest

            I sense butthurt.

          • Annessa Valdez

            I stopped reading awhile ago. I need more in my books than a protagonist who continually wants to talk about her relationships and cover the same ground over and over and over. Again, he told you the definition of “thrive” and when sales are falling, that is not thriving, it’s surviving.

  • Guest

    This particular series has NOT thrived. In 2006, she was selling over a quarter of a million hardcover copies. This year, Affliction was #5 on the NYT Combined Print & E-book Fiction List during it’s first week of release and is completely OFF that list by the second week.

    On the USA Today bestseller list, Affliction has sunk from #6 to #61 in ONE week. The numbers don’t lie. It’s clear that majority of her former fans have followed the author’s suggestion and moved onto other series/authors.

  • ShyGirl

    You do understand that readers are complaining about more than sex, right? You seem caught up on the idea that readers can’t read past the sex, yet you seem unable to read through the criticism of Anita Blake to understand what it is fully about. The racism, the misogyny, the rape. But the fans of the series like ignoring those aspects, particularly the racism.

    As a mixed POC, I find Anita Blake to be one of the worse depictions of an interracial character. It’s insulting the way LKH seems to think that she’s written some sort of racially progressive character and series, yet she describes a black man as ‘looking like he should be hunting lions with a spear in Africa.’ Or lets not forget the fact that out of the 30+ men Anita’s been forced to sleep with, all were white with the exception of Rafael, who had to beg Anita and Jean Claude to sleep with him. Lets not forget that when Anita needed to gain power to save Richard in Bullet, and instead of using sex like she typically does, she decided to suck the lifeforce out of two POC characters…because having sex with a black man and chinese man was apparently not an option for Anita. Look at how Anita is described as being half mexican, but yet her purest of pure white skin is constantly praised and put on display. Anita does not act mixed, she acts white, she is white. This is LKH, a white woman, pretending to be mixed because it makes her ‘special,’ and as someone who is in reality mixed I can tell you that this is incredibly insulting.

    Her heritage exists for nothing more than angst, as a way to prove that those who are against her are also racist. I really enjoy reading Anita’s one angsty story about her fiance who dumped her for being mixed, and somehow that is her big defining moment. Anita honey, you are spoiled if that’s the one big thing that’s hurt you because of your supposed ‘mixed background.’ Let me tell you some stories from my life, sometime.

    But please fans of LKH, explain away the racism. Cover it up like people usually do with racism, try to pretend it doesn’t exist because you don’t understand or think it’s not there because you didn’t grow up as a minority. You don’t understand what it’s like, the way LKH doesn’t understand yet she persists in trying to pretend that she does. She’s a privileged white woman pretending to be ‘exotic’, but not too dark, just a hint of ‘flavor’ so she can be comfortable with it.

    And if someone tries to present Doyle as evidence of LKH supporting sex between races, Doyle was constantly referred to as being ‘black as a dog, not the way a human is black.’ She constantly separated him from black americans in terms of coloring and character. Plus she gave him long, silken ‘white’ hair. Doyle is not a progressive POC character by any stretch of the means.

    Explain away, fans, I need a good laugh.

    • E.a. Solinas

      I hear crickets chirping.

      Don’t forget the whole character of Laila Karlton, or the “hunting lions with a spear” line from the newest book. Both are so obviously, painfully racist that I really ended up goggling in disbelief.

      And even for people who aren’t POCs, she used an ethnic slur against an Italian-American cop early in the series, merely because he referred to her being a woman.

      • ShyGirl

        I don’t expect anyone to answer. The fan defense of these books is to paint the critics in an unfavorable light (i.e. prudes). They can’t call me racist, but it will be funny if they try (seriously, go ahead fans, do it). When they can’t do that, then it’s on to Plan B as in Bury your head in the sand. They’ll ignore it, the way LKH ignores it while pretending to be progressive.

        I remember Laila, every cliche of a voluptuous ‘ghetto’ black woman rolled up in one. And then there’s LKH’s Asian women. Her exotic oriental dolls, every single one is described as being dainty and delicate. It’s like she goes out of her way to hit every racial cliche possible.

        The thing of it is, I’m willing to believe that the racism of these books is unintentional. LKH is simply ignorant, she’s very sheltered and has probably had little to no interaction with minorities. What little she has gotten has probably come from sitcoms and other forms of media where we see minorities filtered through the white perspective. She just simply doesn’t understand what it’s like to grow up mixed in America, she doesn’t understand race and racism. It’s similar to the Victoria Foyt and Save the Pearls fiasco. White people who don’t understand race and racism trying to write about it.

        This isn’t to say that no white author can write about non-white characters and racism, I’ve encountered some who have managed to pull it off. LKH is definitely not among them. It’s funny how she blasts the WASPs and ‘white-bread’ Americans, when LKH/Anita sound and act exactly like that.

        A little off-topic, I have relatives who live in St. Louis. Luckily they are all darker than a tan, so they’re safe from Anita’s attentions.

        • Melissa McAlister

          My boyfriend is a dark skinned black man. My best friend is a light skinned black woman. And I have friends and acquaintances of all race, creed, color & religion. And yet, somehow….I don’t take anything in ABVH as sexiest or racist. And neither do they.

          But you are certainly entitle to your opinion as well.

          To each his own. 🙂

          • ShyGirl

            You do realize that you’re using the ‘I have black friends’ defense, right?

            And yet somehow you don’t take anything as racist…you don’t think it’s racist to describe a black man as looking like he should be hunting lions in Africa with a spear? If someone used that description on your boyfriend how would you feel? Or considering all the racist stereotypes connected with Hispanics, do you see how racist it is to make every were-rat Hispanic? You don’t think it’s racist that LKH has basically taken a white character an added a slight hint of ‘color’ just to add some ‘exotic flavor’ and an angsty backstory? What about the overuse of ‘exotic’ to describe anyone not white? You don’t think it’s racist that this same mixed character’s whitest of white skin is given an eerie amount of attention and praise. Or that Anita has had sex with over 30+ guys, only one of which was not white? Or Laila…you cannot tell me that you thought Laila was a progressive and fair portrayal of a black woman.

            I’m sorry, I’m going to be blunt here, but simply because you have ‘black friends’ and a ‘black boyfriend’ does not mean that you now are an expert on racism and have special insight into what it’s like to grow up as a minority in America. Because you seem to be missing obvious things here in the Anita Blake books, these are not things I pulled out of thin air, they are straight from the books.

            Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but racism does and still exists. If something is racist, having an opinion does not change it. Opinions do not have godlike powers over the truth. An opinion doesn’t change that the books are racist.

            I really don’t get why white people think that the ‘I have black friends’ defense actually works. It’s very patronizing, I almost feel like people who tell me that are looking for some sort of praise or award for their ‘open-mindedness.’ I would be piss if I found out my white boyfriend was trying to use his ‘mixed girlfriend’ as some sort weird form of street-cred. We’re people, not freakin’ badges to wear to prove that you’re not racist.

          • Annessa Valdez

            I loved this. It was awesome.

  • E.a. Solinas

    Melissa, before you rush to defend your darkity goddess and trash all those who speak ill of her, recall that once upon a time, there was another person who reacted to the “negative readers” in the same way you did, except with slightly more dignity. When LKH found some “cooler” hangers-on, she tossed that person aside with nary a second glance.


    • Melissa McAlister

      Ooooooo Scary. lmao You have no clue as to what happened. I do. And you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. 🙂

      • E.a. Solinas

        Yes, I’m totally wrong, which is why it happened with the NEXT P.A. she got, once she had glomped all over that P.A.’s girlfriend. Or why she suddenly broke from her bodyguard after drooling after him for months.

        But clearly, you have all the answers… probably from LKH’s own mouth. Whatever.

  • Kathy Shattuck

    I’ve been reading this conversation, and observing the pros
    and cons about LKH, her protagonist, Anita, and the comparisons of both…seeing it lead to racial and sexual conflict observed by these commentators, and the sales of these books, and the insight into their decline.

    I gave my reasons for not wanting to start this series, as
    feeling the sex scenes being probably too dominant for my taste. This was a personal choice on my part. But after reading all of these posts, I would
    have say; I still decline to read this series. I agree with the stances against these books. I understand why these points had to be brought out, and I don’t see them as “hate” or “negative” statements, or even a
    personal stab at this author. These were simple facts that were brought to the surface. Any discussion worth its weight has to have both sides represented, and do it without personal attacks on the writer of that post.

    I have the feeling, here, that there are readers out there who have deeply attached themselves to this character, Anita, and in doing so they have taken a defensive stance, on Anita and this author’s behalf. Beware of the defensive, as it will cause one to attack. And taking this personal involvement skews a person’s POV.

    In reviewing books, as I think everyone understands, all points need to be looked at. Paul gave his side to reading LKH, and I understand all of the positive aspects to reading books that stretch the imagination or boundaries in one’s own personal life, but in speaking personally, when a writer takes a character to its fullest nature in a series, there comes a time for the writer to stop before the writing becomes “boring” and mundane. How many times do you repeat the same scene…..only with different characters? I used to say, once you’ve read a romance novel, you’ve read them all. I know the themes, and I know how far you can stretch them, I’ve read them all.

    I’m always willing to try new writers and genres, and trying new writers also means previously unpublished. But I base my choices on what the public has to say about them, and what trusted friends have to say, and most of the time I read many reviews before I make my final choice. I have too many
    unread books sitting on my shelf, needing to be read, to waste my time on
    boring drivel, sexually explicit or not.

    • E.a. Solinas

      Just curious: have you read other UF fiction, such as Patricia Briggs or Ilona Andrews?

      • Kathy Shattuck

        I’ve never read Briggs or Andrews. As close as I get to serious Fantasy, urban or otherwise, is with my favorite author, a surrealist, Haruki Murakami. I’m not into vampires, zombies or shifters..

        • E.a. Solinas

          Well, if you ever do get into them, look them up.

          Hail to Murakami!

          • Kathy Shattuck

            Thanks for the heads-up!

        • Ravi76

          I’m afraid I had never heard of Haurki Murakami before you’re comment, but I’ NOW halfway through Kafka on the Shore! 🙂

          • Kathy Shattuck

            Ravi76, Brava! That’s nice to hear! I hope you enjoy it. He’s in the real word, but loves to suspend your belief by taking you in and out of new emotional/visual planes. I think my favorite of his books is, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle…I’ve been to those surreal places, and he writes them with incredible knowledge. His writing is superb.

    • Melissa McAlister

      Like I said…to each his own. At least you were open-minded enough to listen to both sides. Good on you. 🙂

  • Julaine

    Here’s a actual look at LKH’s sales figures over the last decade. The numbers where all published in Publisher’s Weekly (the book industry newspaper) and were reported by Nielsen/Bookscan or by Penguin Publishing, Inc. LKH’s Publisher.

    2003. Cerulean Sins. 150,000

    2004. Incubus Dreams. 201,287
    Seduced by Moonlight. 106,396

    2005. A Stroke of Midnight. 109,830

    2006. Danse Macabre. 256,008
    Mistral’s Kiss. 170,022

    2007. The Harlequin. 245,155
    A Lick of Frost. 173,240

  • Julaine


    2008. Blood Noir. 216,121
    Swallowing Darkness. 167,958

    2009. Skin Trade. 153,004
    Divine Misdemeanors. 166,102

    2010. Flirt. 120,000
    Bullet. 115,558

    2011. Hit List. 65,390

    2012. Kiss the Dead. 29,446

    2013. Affliction. 24,828*

    *First weeks sales were reported at 19.5% down below First week sales of Last years Kiss the Dead after adjustments for 5% increase in reporting accuracy in Bookscan accuracy due to increase in reporting outlets.

    Affliction failed to reach #1 on any Bestseller List. The first time in several years for any LKH release despite her failing sales figures due to her publisher’s careful selection of timing of her release week in the past. In fact Affliction oneached #5 on the NYTimes list this time and has already fallen to #15 on the Hard Cover fiction Print and completed off the combined list for Print and EBook sales. What that says is that unlike true bestsellers she has a limited amount of fans who preorder her books (and the number is dwindling with each release) and then the books fades into obscurity; failing to gain either critical acclaim or new readers.

    • Melissa McAlister

      lmao. You keep telling yourself that. 🙂

      • Julaine

        I don’t need to tell myself anything. Luckily, I have Neilsen/Bookscan to do my fact gathering for me.

      • E.a. Solinas

        You keep denying the facts. But covering your ears and going “LALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU!” won’t make those facts vanish.

        Her drop in sales is nothing short of cataclysmic.

  • Reyna Silva

    Very well put, I love it all!! If you don’t like it go fuck your self

    • E.a. Solinas

      All the eloquence I expect of Laurell “Dear Negative Reader” Hamilton’s fanbase.

      Also, it’s “yourself,” and all your punctuation is wrong.

      • Reyna Silva

        Thanks for pointing out my grammatical & spelling errors. I also have a twitter & facebook account just in case you want to also point out any corrections I need to make there as well. I’ll take that into consideration when I actually give a fuck

  • Fasta Benj

    After reading this blog, the most generous conclusion I can make is to give the author the benifit of the doubt and assume he’s never read any of LKH’s books, her blogs, nor any of the comments or posts by any of her critics and instead was paid to write this article and spent ten minutes or less on his research.

    The comments made by the blogger are a mindless parroting of the nonsense that hamilton herself spouts, and aren’t reflected by reality in any way.

    The truth is, no one minds that there’s sex. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s not hordes of “conservatives” protesting the rampant sex in these books. Real conservatives are too busy protesting abortion, gay marriage, and other real issues to waste their time on the books of some second-rate author.

    No, Hamilton’s critics generally come from the ranks of genre readers, and the genre(s) are full of plenty of sex in all combinations.

    There are generally only two sex-related complaints made about Hamilton’s books, and neither of them are that sex is wrong. The first is that the sex is badly written. I’ve always said it reads like stereo instructions. This isn’t surprising as the books are badly written (put one of the books into an engine that determines the reading level, it’ll tell you the books are about a 4th/5th grade reading-level). It’s just, that simplistic writing “style,” full of errors in spelling in punctuation, is even worse when describing a sex scene.

    The second sex-related criticism is generally that the sex has taken the place of the plot. As shocking as it may seem, most people buy these books expecting a story. Those people have been disappointed for years, as most of the book is badly-written sex and bland, repetitive dialog. If the books were re-marketed as erotica, romantica, or similar, then I believe this complaint would disappear. Though they may still complain about the lack of quality in the sex scenes.

    Even still, the vast majority of the complaints about this author and this series have absolutely nothing to do with sex. There are plenty of things to criticise about these books:
    -They’re badly editted, full of typos, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and continuity errors.
    -The story/plot has been taking second seat for years.
    -The books are badded with page after page of bland dialog, endlessly repetitive as it’s all been said before in previous books ad naseum. And it’s full of more angst and melodrama than you’d see in a prime time teen drama.
    -Most of the books have a horrible conclusion where the bad guy of the week is defeated by Anita spontaneously manifesting some brand new super-power that just happens to save the day. Constant use of a deus ex machina crutch gets old, fast.
    -Most of the characters have no real depth, or even individual personality. They’re just carbon copies with different physical descriptions, so Hamilton can mix and match hairstyles and eye colors of who’s with Anita at the moment.

    And so on. I’m sorry, I know it makes good copy to claim that everyone hates the books cause of the sex. And Hamilton loves to spout that nonsense to give herself some moral justification, it keep her from having to face the fact that she has the writing ability of your average twelve year old.

    It’s just not true, though. Next time you write an article on Hamilton look deeper than her own blogs and posts–cause they contain more fiction than her novels.

    • Melissa McAlister

      Look Paul, your milkshake brought all the haters to the blog. lol

      • Kathy Shattuck

        Guest, I do hope you don’t consider me one of these “haters” And to be honest, I frankly don’t see haters here. All I see are people giving their opinions, with some very good reasons as to why this series is sliding backwards….and those in defense of LKH responding with pretty lame defenses, and off the topic replies.

        I do consider myself someone who is well read, and I certainly have read my share of series books, and know what they can and cannot accomplish. It looks like, in the beginning of this LKH series, there was a great deal of interest in her books, but like I said, a series can wane if the reader is not given an intelligent protagonist who moves forward in his/her life. But those that continue to read, read for many reasons, one being loyalty to the character and/or the author; two being love for the subject matter or genre, which could be anything; and three being, not knowing there is more intelligent writing out there, and the feeling that it’s not okay to stop a series without offending the author, or the characters that readers can find themselves attached to. The psychological reasons are boundless.

        I have a problem when someone is apparently defending out of loyalty, not because of story substance. I’ve been there, and I know. I’ve had my share of loyalties. I’ve also come up against authors in discussions, and when they get offended and back away, because they can’t give a good explanation as to why their characters act the way they do, I stop reading their books. I understand when an writer gets so involved in their characters, they can find themselves lost, and in the process they lose their character, and their readers.

        If people want to keep reading the same story over and over, as a lot of people like to do, then that’s okay. Not everyone can defend why they read what they do, that’s okay too. Just don’t slam people for giving good explanations for why they DON’T want to start, or continue, reading a series.

  • Archevy

    EmilyG did pretty good at summing up most of the parts of this post that left me scratching my head but one thing that i cant help but call b.s. on is Anita always handling problems with “grace and dignity”. I am not even going to go into how flashing ones thong after getting your shoe stuck in a vamps chest does not match up but whenever Anita is either verbally or physically confronted the only thing she seems to know how to do is return verbal fire or punches, often (to me at least) in overkill. An example would be how in bullet when Julia pulls away from her, rather then do the dignified and graceful thing allowing Julia’s withdrawal to speak for itself about who the dominate one is, Anita lets JC egg her on into brawl. Ditto with Reba, actually considering that Reba was the daughter of the tiger queen Anita’s actions toward her were downright tacky in addition to needlessly cruel; sort of like to supernatural version of the school yard bully (i am stronger then you, therefore i have a right to beat you up).

    • E.a. Solinas

      Oh, the shoe thing. That made me laugh until I dropped the book. And yes, she has little grace and no dignity, since Anita relies entirely on strength and rudeness to carry her through any situation. Usually “it’s how weres/vampires operate!” is her excuse.

      • Archevy

        Yes, its very “convenient” how all these different were groups with different cultures and different animals all happen to respect brutality and strength over intellect and self restraint.

  • Mouze McMouse

    Like you I find this blog post very bizarre. I stopped reading Anita
    Blake after The Harlequin and it wasn’t due to the sexual content,
    although that had upped to porn levels. I like porn, I like erotica, I
    like stories that revolve around sex and those that don’t have any sex
    in them at all.

    What I didn’t like about Anita Blake was the
    writing. It suffers from repetition, massive doses of purple prose,
    illogical plots and shoddy (or absent) characterizations. Hamilton’s
    writing skills kept declining, in my opinion, as the series continued
    and happened to coincide with when she kept on adding more sex into the
    stories – but even without sex, the books are badly written.

    sex scenes simply highlighted all these errors as you had multiple
    times within a book to notice how all the characters and situations
    repeated themselves, the characters all spoke in the same voice, deus ex
    machina replaced logic as Anita’s powers became sex based and
    manifested during the sex scenes, and the horrible purple prose Hamilton
    employs during her ‘explicit’ (read: painfully and clinically detailed)
    sex scenes since she apparently can’t bring herself to name body parts.

    readers have a problem with her sex and, moreso, her multiple sex
    partners is misleading and dismissive to the real complaints critics
    have. The books are badly written and poorly plotted and if the books
    revolve around sex (all problems are caused and solved by it), you
    shouldn’t imply the critics are prudes because they don’t like the sex
    that has replaced the plot, logic and characterization. It might make
    you feel better or edgier but it makes you look dim.

  • Eric

    When I decided to start reading books in the “Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Genre” I visited to see what I could find. The listings for each book there have a forum section where people can comment on an upcoming release, or talk about a book that has already been released. If you go to Amazon and start with “Blood Noir” you will find the same topics, transferred from one novel to the next, a lot of them either started by or featuring E.A. Solinas as a very active participant. I was surprised that E.A. had ventured away from Amazon and the comforting presence of the other posters that agree with her, hang on her every word, and join in when she personally attacks anyone who dares to disagree with her.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I enjoy a lively debate about the pros and cons about a book, movie, music, etc. What I have a problem with is when the debate veers away from the subject and on to the people debating the subject. If anyone dares to defend LKH and Anita Blake, or even says that they enjoy the series, E.A. and her cohorts descend upon them, labeling them “troos” and characterizing them as cult members who would walk off the nearest cliff if LKH told them to. Once they have driven the “troo” away, they give each other self congratulatory slaps on the back and chortle to each other about how they showed another one. Some of the so-called “troos” are disrespectful, some just want to interject their differing opinion into the sea of negativity, but all are treated the same. My question is, who is the troll in this scenario?

    • Kathy Shattuck

      I’m going to veer off topic now….or maybe it is NOW the topic of the day.

      Eric, and Everyone,

      To be honest with you, this is the only discussion I’ve been involved in, where LKH and her novels are being discussed. Whether it matters to anyone here, these are my standards pertaining to a good and honest discussion:

      I don’t appreciate posts that use direct, or otherwise, insults to posters, and the use of abusive language in that process, as I mostly see in the posts defending LKH and everything associated with her.

      I don’t know LKH, and I’ve never read her books. I only base my “wanting” or “not wanting” to read her books on what a writer-reviewer, such as Paul, or participants, such as we have here, have to say on the subject.

      Also, Eric, I don’t appreciate your off topic posts that bring up people who have been seen on other venues, and then start to categorize or criticize them. It says absolutely nothing to the topic of this blog. It just becomes another way to damage a discussion and someone’s character in that process….and by asking such a direct, divisive lead to argument, such as you have done here….”who is the troll in this scenario?”, I find, in my judgement, this to be the most offensive tool.

      As this being my first time on Disqus, I see there are no rules on this forum – anything goes… Arguments serve no purpose, so I don’t expect to be back.

      • Eric

        I’m sorry you feel this way, Kathy and I respectfully disagree with you. You are stating here, and have stated previously, that you are basing your decision on whether or not to read certain books based on the reviewer and posters and commenters. By bringing to your attention comments I have seen this person make on other forums about this topic, I was trying to give you context. This person has obvious bias against not only the work, but the author herself. You should know that if you are factoring her comments into your decision to read the book or not to read. I would encourage you to look for starred reviews from literary critics or just read the book yourself and make your own decision.

        You are correct that my trolling comment was inappropriate. I let my temper get the best of me and I shouldn’t have. Good luck to you in finding a forum where the posts are all on topic and never veer into personal attacks. I hold out hope that those types of boards exist, but I’ve gotten to the point where I think they may be unicorns.

        • ShyGirl

          I find it interesting how the fans claim that all critics of the series are just ‘negative haters’ who attack the fans…yet it is always the fans who start with the ad hominem attacks.

          I’m getting a bit irritated. We’ve posted legitimate concerns and pointed out real issues with the series, yet the fans persist in ignoring every point and instead attacking the critics on a personal level. There must be something wrong with us, we are the ones who are in the wrong. My personal favorite is the ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion…unless that opinion directly contradicts my own.’ Yet no one attempts to refute the ‘negative’ arguments directly, instead they use logical fallacies and personal attacks.

          I’m a bit disturbed by this trend considering the nature of the criticisms that have been noted. Racism, homophobia, and general misogyny. Particularly with the racism, I outlined in other comments the racist problems of the series, yet no one has bothered to attempt to explain them…except for one rather insulting comment that used the “I have black friends” defense. Instead, fans attempt to show that the criticism is a result of some sort of flaw with the critics. I cannot help but be reminded of people who attempt to explain away racism as being a problem of ‘touchy minorities’ or who try to brush off sexism and misogyny as an issue of ‘over-sensitive women.’

          The fans inability to recognize the problematic elements of the series is one thing, but when you attempt to rationalize those problems as being nothing more than ‘nit-picking haters with a bias,’ you start to malign and disparage important issues such as racism and sexism while demeaning those who are affected by it.

          When my sisters and I were picked on in school for our interracial heritage, my mother tried over and over again to get the principal to do something about it. The school, as a whole, brushed it off as normal bullying, and said we were being too sensitive about it. “Just ignore it and the kids will stop,” they said.

          I get that fans enjoy the series, I really don’t fault them for that. What bothers me is the way they try to ignore any and all problems of the series by blaming it on the critics. It is entirely possible to enjoy something while recognizing it’s flaws, flaws are inherent in everything of this world. I really would like it if the fans would stop trying to brush off the flaws of the series as being some sort of fault of the critic, worse I hate how we are supposed to be ‘quiet.’ It reminds me of how I eventually stopped telling my mother about the attacks at school, because I thought that being silent about it was better than listening to the teachers tell me that being bullied for my ethnicity was just me ‘over-reacting’ to normal teasing. I cannot help but draw similarities here when I note the racism of the AB series, then have fans tell me that I’m just a negative hater over-reacting to things.

          Eric, I’m not sure why you think the critics are the trolls, when nothing in your comments addresses the criticism directly. Instead you not only focus on the critics, but one in particular (which makes me wonder who is biased in this regard). You don’t like it when debates veer into personal attacks while labeling critics as trolls and singling out one critic, while painting a rather negative picture of critics as a whole:

          “E.A. and her cohorts descend upon them, labeling them “troos” and characterizing them as cult members who would walk off the nearest cliff if LKH told them to. Once they have driven the “troo” away, they give each other self congratulatory slaps on the back and chortle to each other about how they showed another one.”

          You dislike personal attacks…so why use such?

          • Eric


            I hvae not defended the series. I have not invalidated any of your concerns or brushed them under the rug. I share your concerns when it comes to the racism, homophobia and misogyny that is spread throughout the series. Since you shared some of your personal history with me, I will share some of mine with you.

            As a gay man, I have been confronted with the same ridicule and disdain that you encoutered due to my sexuality. When my parents brought their concerns to the faculty of the school, they were told something very similar. That I needed to be less flamboyant or that I should have kept my sexual orientation to myself. That kids can be cruel, and I needed to suck it up. It got so bad that I had to be pulled out of my high school and be sent to a high school in another town in order to stop the harrassment. So, I understand your criticisms and I echo them. The character of Asher is very problematic for me and one of the many issues that I have with the series.

            My problem isn’t with the critics or the criticisms, but with the interactions. Everyone brings their own experiences to the table when they read a book or watch a movie, etc. Some people have never been confronted with or had to deal with the harsh reality of racism, homophobia, or misogyny. They may not be reading critically. They may not see these things in the novel like you or I do. So, you are asking them to validate your criticisms, which are heady. You’re asking people who, more than likely, legitimately believe that there are none of these issues in the book to acknowledge that they are there to validate your criticisms.

            I’m not saying that all critics are trolls. The issue I have is with E.A. As I said in my original post, I have seen her be rude and condescending to people who have tried to voice their differing opinion. The majority of them weren’t rude or they didn’t start out that way. I don’t feel like relaying my experience with this person is wrong or bad. I have seen it first hand, so I don’t consider it a personal attack.

          • Ivy

            When discrediting the opinion of other commenters a good method is to directly state and explain all of the flaws in the facts and logic that they have presented to back up their opinions.

          • ShyGirl

            I understand that not everyone has experienced what I or you have, and that sometimes it can be difficult to explain prejudice and bigotry to someone who has never experienced it. I also don’t try to pretend that everyone on the side of the critics are perfect angels. To be blunt, there are assholes on both sides of the fence. Particularly on the internet, (and you know what they say about arguing on the internet…)

            I get that you’re not trying to ignore the criticisms (you have obviously noted them), but the fans are. And they do it in the most rude and offensive manner. Look at this article. It blatantly labels the critics as ‘prudes’, it brushes off the controversy and criticisms as the jealous mutterings of sexually frustrated haters. It’s infuriating, and that’s why the critics keep coming back and arguing, perhaps with more vehemence than required, but it doesn’t matter the volume of our voices. Tone policing at this point does nothing, yes people can and will be rude, but the arguments themselves are still being ignored and pushed aside in lieu of ridiculous nonsense.

            You have an issue with E.A., fine, I’m not trying to argue that. But before highlighting the behavior of the critics, look at the behavior of the fans. In the comments below LKH’s own editor chimes in with rather insulting comments that insinuate that the critics are all mentally deficient in some manner. She is also the one who used the “I have black friends” defense against the racist allegations I posted.

            I agree that the interactions between fans and critics, from both ends, are filled with unwarranted insults and rude assholes. At the same time I don’t think that tone policing is the best option, you’ve noted yourself that finding an unbiased forum is impossible. Tone policing also shifts the focus of an argument onto the people rather than the points being made, rather than discussing the concerns of the book we now discuss the people behind the comments. So I think it’s obvious that all we’ve done at this point is gone completely off-topic.

        • Kathy Shattuck

          Eric, you underestimate me and my capabilities. I do not need someone to tear another person’s credibility apart to show me on what I should, or should not base my opinion of a book. I think I’ve made that point clear. “Context” , in this manner, is irrelevant and demeaning.

          I base my opinions of whether to read, or not to read something, on many different factors. I could not care less whether someone is biased, I can read between the lines, as I’m a critical reader, and I do understand perfectly well what that person is saying. I don’t need an interpreter. What people say or do not say on other forums, as I’ve stated, is irrelevant to me. It’s what goes on HERE that becomes relevant. Everything else becomes hearsay.

          And, I know exactly what “literary critics” say about books. I’m a reader, and a writer, and I know that it is not uncommon for some critics to be paid to write favorable reviews. And, for other authors to give favorable comments on books. Thankfully, Paul gives an honest review, and I trust his knowledge and judgement when giving his opinions. By saying this, it doesn’t mean that just because he likes a book or series, I’m going to always agree with him, or run out an buy that book. I weigh everything in my decision making.

          • Eric


            I wasn’t underestimating you or your capabilities. I was basing my comments on comments that you had made to me and in response to other posters. I’m sorry that you feel that context isn’t important, but as someone who has a degree in English and is a writer themselves, I feel, and was taught, that context is criticial. I can appreciate that what someone has said in other forums is irrelevant to you, but it is not irrelevant to me, especially if I am factoring their opinions into a decision that I’m making, which is how I read your previous comments. If that is not how they were meant to be taken, I apologize.

            Again, in your previous posts, you have talked extensively about how you use commenters posts to make a decision about whether or not you will read a certain book, at least partially. If that were the case, I would think that any bias would be important to you. So, I guess, I find this post to be contradictory to some of the other posts that I have read from you under this blog post.

            Also, if you know that Paul isn’t being paid by LKH or by Penguin, I’m not sure why you would bring this up, but that is a minor quibble on my part.

            Again, I apologize if you felt demeaned by my previous post because that wasn’t my intent. You responded, I was letting you know my point of view.

          • Kathy Shattuck

            Eric, it’s time to let this go. You’re misreading me, and taking what I’ve said out of context….and I don’t have the time to go over this again. No hard feelings.

      • Ivy

        If you are looking for a good book fourm to join and if you have not already the i would recommend looking into the dresden files series by jim butcher and his book fourm at The series is urban supernateral mystery with a good amount of action (in my opinion). I have been on the fourm in the past and all of the online fans i have had discussions with have at the very least been polite and more often then not entertaining, intelligent, and in good humor.

  • Tani J

    OH lord have mercy. I’ve read all the books, including the latest one, (Dead Ice) which I liked better than anything since “incubus Dreams,” which i didn’t like at all because I had to skip skip skip too many pages of graphic, for me BORING, xxx rated porn. Boring. I liked everything prior to ID for the most part. I liked Affliction, too. Yes, the xxx rated porn is boring – FOR ME. It’s like reading a slooow detailed account of a person drinking a cup or coffee. and yes, LKH gets very very repetitive. YEAH, Nathanial has lilac eyes, for the 1000th time. But this is Anita’s POV and she is noticing it. I guess Anita forgets he has lilac eyes, or forgets how lilac they are, or how purple they sometimes get, and then she sees it again and has to say it. Remember, Anita’s POV.

    But all the complaints? What the hey? GET THE BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY like I do. STOP complaining. I’ve seen it. My god man. People jump into 5 star reviews just in order to trash the reviewers. What is that? I mean, ISIS is out there. Al Qaeda is out there. THAT is something to jump on, to hate, to get fanatic against. But a fictional book and the author? WHAT? I never heard of such drudge.

    If ya don’t like the series – STOP reading it. I continue because some of the actual relationship stuff IS interesting to me (impotant qualifier), like how they have to get 1 or 2 tigers in the marriage or whatever it is (not quite a marriage) in order to keep Mother of Dark from coming back. They have to – they don’t want to. So they have to be very careful who they pick so as not to bind themselves eternally to someone who will muck up what joy they have with what they have now.

    Anita is a SUCCUBUS – so yeah, she has to feed – and it doesn’t matter who she feeds off of if she HAS to do it, emergency. Anyone can say that LKH used the ardeur as a device to enable her to write graphic porn. Fine. Author’s intent? Not important. I don’t even consider it when I read a book, or watch a TV show.

    Whoever thinks females are not treated like mehhhh in cops or especially military is a moron. Women get raped in the military and seldom can even make a report. Sure, on TV shows it doesn’t seem to come up; lots of strong female cops there on TV, but in real life – OH BOY yes it does come up.

    If Laila was ghetto, then she was ghetto. So what? Most of the blacks I had the misfortune to run into in a not friendly way were ghetto blacks – and that experience was hell on earth. It is what it is – or it WAS what it was. MOST of the characters aren’t even human, so yeah, they are going to be exotic – orange eyes with blue circles anyone?

    It’s just extremely insane, imo, for all the hate. There is a series I just stopped reading because the boring sex, either acts, or constant thoughts about it, or chatter about it, which popped up in the MIDDLE of serious talk eg about a kidnapping, which was impossible to just skip over. It was just too much. So? I stopped reading the stuff.

    I prefer Urban Fantasy, which is what Anita Blake originally was – and then it changed to paranormal romance and well? The strange relationship stuff is interesting, the plots are back again. So? i liked Affliction – and I liked Dead Ice. I didn’t like Jason (the book). The only PR I read is LKH and Christine Feehan. I still consider Kerrylin Sparks to be UF – same with Yasmine Galenorn. Still, like with Feehan, skip skip skip, ok, back to the PLOT. She got the most unusual vamps.

    I’m Central Asian, if anyone is wondering. I never picked up racism in LKH, but I’m NOT pc at all and I hate pc. I don’t go looking for the stuff. But it’s clear Anita has a LOT of issues, and her growing up in a Nordic family is one of them – what she wanted was 1950s, white picket fence – and realizing she did NOT want that was another issue for her. That was tiresome when Richard was being a pain in the butt. Happily, she mostly got out of that. But her needing that emotional relationship IF there was sex was bogging her down. She needs to grow out of that too and eliminate a lot of people from her more personal circles. She doesn’t need to have relationships with, or go on dates with her food. Should be simple, but it’s not for Anita. The supernatural stuff is another matter that she can’t really help. She’s a succubus, thanks to Jean Claude. She never asked for it.

    I’m used to the idea that vamps tend to PICK extremely attractive or exotic types to make into more vamps – they don’t usually go looking for plain or ugly as a norm. That’s typical in vamp fiction – blame Anne Rice “only pick the beautiful to turn into vamps.”

    But sheesh. LKH is only writing about fictional people here. They’re not real. You all have no idea what she’d write if she wrote a non fiction. Another thing – why would ANYONE think that any of what she writes has to do with her personal life? Does anyone accuse Jim Butcher of writing about personal stuff? Does anyone care if he has gay or straight friends, or various ethnic friends? I don’t. I don’t even know what Jim Butcher IS, but I love his books and read all of them.

    I’m not defending LKH or accusing her. I don’t personally give a crap about the author – OR the author’s intentions! The story is what the story is. I don’t care if she’s a member of some radical group or something. It’s not relevant at all to THE STORY.

    I know what the hate is, the gang up haters. It’s plain old bullying. LKH should not pay any attention to it, or read any of it. Just write. I have to wonder if Jim Butcher gets this kind of flack. People who know her or work for her shouldn’t go online and “defend” her either. Waste of time and only asking to be trashed for it. It’s the way it is.

    Like I said. ISIS is out there – HATE THAT. I get ALL books from library. Not just LKH.

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