Don't Piss Off the Romance Community, We Bite Back

So, it must have been a slow news day for WNEP in Snyder County PA and I'm thinking they probably wish it had stayed that way.

The ABC affiliate has come under heavy fire for a piece on Judy Mays, a local
romance writer, who also, gasp, happens to teach high school English.

The reporter took it on herself to vilify Mays (who writes for Ellora's Cave, as I do) on the basis of comments from one woman. Nowhere in the piece does the journalist confirm her findings through outside sources other than one Wendy Apple. She did ask the school superintendent for a comment and managed to make the standard "I can not discuss personnel matters or employees. At this point I have no comment." statement sound like a condemnation.

As a journalist myself, I can only shake my head at the misguided, so-called reporting. What editor looked at this story and thought it was a good idea?

I have to ask the question: How did Apple find out? She had to do some digging because Judy has gone to some length to protect her privacy, probably because of trolls like Apple. So, obviously, Apple spent some time on this. Why? Does she have nothing better to do with her life?

Purely on the basis of a few minutes of videotape, Apple proves herself to be petty, vindictive and small-minded. Unknowingly (most likely), she's opened herself up to be pilloried by the court of Twitter/Facebook/Internet and rightly so. She's come under attack in a way I'm sure she never expected and she's discovering just how cruel the world can seem when you decide to stand on an antiquated soapbox and believe you hold the moral high ground.

Apple is probably crying to her husband or her children or her friends about all the mean people in the world who want to make her life miserable. She should've thought about that before she contacted WNEP to say, hey, did you know there's this teacher who writes erotic romance?

The romance community, writers and readers and publishing company employees, have rallied to Judy's defense, which made my day. I hope Judy makes a mint off the publicity. Of course, that does nothing to ease the stress created by thoughtless comments from one woman, a young reporter who may not live this down and a lax editor who should have known better.

And I hope they learned a valuable lesson: Don't piss off the romance community. We bite back. And we're everywhere.