Just a quick note

Posted by on August 17th, 2012

My attention was drawn to a post on Facebook today, which reads as follows:

“So, it looks like a guy named Steve Mosby is so insecure about his own book sales that he is deliberately and covertly going to Smashwords and using troll tactics to squash the sales of fellow Brit author Stephen Leather. Let Mosby know your views on his dirty tactics by visiting his page at: https://www.facebook.com/theleftroom?ref=ts

There’s a screenshot of it here.

Given it’s likely this rubbish will crop up again at some point, let’s make a few things clear.

The accusation above is utter bullshit. Unlike some people, I don’t even bother giving myself good reviews covertly, never mind bad reviews to others. If I was going to do the latter, I’d do so under my own name, and I would likely do so here. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that my objections to Leather centre on his marketing techniques and – in terms of some of the comments he’s made subsequent to Harrogate – his personality. I have no opinion on his writing. I went onto Smashwords today, for what may be the first time ever, curious to see what was behind this accusation. I see that Leather has a small handful of reviews (four and five star), so presumably very few people there have an opinion on his writing either. Since Mr Drake (above) doesn’t clarify what on earth he’s fucking talking about, it is both difficult and unnecessary to respond in greater depth.

Frankly, I  couldn’t care less if Leather’s the bestselling writer in the history of the world. This keeps coming up: people – including Leather himself – suggesting that the motive of his critics must be jealousy of his sales. (Although they mean envy). Firstly, this is what happens when all you have intellectually is a hammer: everything looks like a nail. If all you care about is sales, then you assume that’s all anyone else cares about as well. Secondly – and this is nobody’s business but my own – I do okay, actually. If you don’t know me, you’ll just have to take my word for this: insecure, I am not.

Unless you send a friend request, I’m afraid you can’t let me know your views on my “dirty tactics” by visiting my Facebook page. It’s set to private. However, it’s possible you might find your way here. If so, the comment thread below this post is open, so feel free to present your fascinating opinions on my “dirty tactics” there. Please be aware that without corroborating evidence (of which there is none, because the above statement is a lie), you will be soundly and viciously mocked. At a bare minimum.

**UPDATE – 19 August 2012**

Okay, I sent a message on Facebook to Jake Drake, explaining that his post was defamatory and untrue, and inviting him to reply either by return of message or in the comments below to attempt to justify and provide evidence for his accusations. Needless to say, I didn’t receive a reply. My understanding is that, instead of doing so, he posted my message on his Facebook page, along with a similar message from Jeremy Duns.

Since then, it has emerged that Jake also writes erotica under the pseudonym “Whiskey McNaughton”. His favourite subgenre of erotica is “family relationships, if you know what I mean”, which – yes – is exactly what you imagine it to be. His Amazon page is here, but basically he writes explicit pornography about men having sex with their own daughters.

(It goes without saying that you should exercise caution clicking on these links. All are technically SFW – Amazon, Goodreads, etc – but if incest is a trigger for you then please, please be careful).

Many of Whiskey’s stories have a five-star review from the same reviewer. Of one of his stories, this reviewer writes:

“This author seems to like stories involving older men and younger women barely old enough to enjoy sexually. I think Whiskey either fantasizes a lot on this topic or he gets a lot of side action from girls he knows. I hope it’s the latter and wish I was one of them, though i might be just a bit too old for him. Love this story.”

All of which is – fairly obviously – stick-your-fingers-down-your-fucking-throat stuff. I would hesitate to suggest that’s Jake himself there, but he certainly does review the Whiskey McNaughton books under his own name, for example “Night Swims With Daddy”, which you can see here.

Now, there is a legitimate discussion to be had about the acceptability or otherwise of this kind of horrendous fucking shite, but that’s for another day. For now, let’s just note that, under his McNaughton twitter identity, Drake posts that he’s just finished editing one of Stephen Leather’s stories for him. So there’s the connection. That’s likely the only relevant evidence you’re ever going to see in connection with the original accusation.

You may recall, from Jeremy Duns’s original investigation, that the writer Steve Roach advised against crossing Stephen Leather because of his “powerful friends”. And now we begin to meet them.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 5:08 pm and is filed under General, Jacob Drake, Jake Drake, Rant, Stephen Leather, Whiskey McNaughton. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


61 Responses to “Just a quick note”

  1. Luca Veste Says:

    I think John’s last point is pertinent. Reputation is important, and I’d suggest Stephen Leather’s reputation is harmed by being linked so much with Mr Incest Porn Writer.

    Whether incest porn books and there ilk should be available is not really part of this issue. However, the fact it is against Amazon guidelines to publish pornography is. Stephen Leather has someone editing his books, who is wilfully breaking Amazon’s own rules about publishing. Now, I’d be interested to know if Stephen Leather was aware of the Whisky McNaughton persona Jacob Drake was writing under, and if so, if he had any issue with those Amazon guidelines being broken by him?

    He won’t answer though. Too busy writing his Zhang goes to Harrogate book, or whatever it’s called. Anyone taking bets on a dark haired guy, with many tattoos appearing in it? Sven Moshty?

  2. stevemosby Says:

    Luca – he’s aware of it. Drake talks about editing Leather’s story on twitter, under his Whiskey McNaughton pseudonym. That’s the account Leather responds to as well.

  3. Judy Says:

    Leather has no clue about Karma …

  4. Luca Veste Says:

    Well there you have it then.

    Also worth noting Stephen Leather writes “erotica” himself. Not having perused it myself, I can’t talk about its featured content. Wonder if Mr Incest Porn edits that also…

  5. David Hewson Says:

    One simple way round would be for Amazon and Smashwords to charge a publication fee for all books uploaded to them, and to use that fee to verify a few things about it (that it’s legal and not a ripoff for example). That would sort out a lot of wheat from the chaff. Ewan Morrison mentioned an interesting statistic on Twitter (though I’m a bit unsure about what it actually means).

    ‘The brave new dawn of kindle = 1000 new authors making $11 a day or more. Stats Jeff Bezos annual letter to shareholders’. http://www.tomsguide.com/us/amazon-bezos-salary-kindle-fire,news-14847.html

    This seems to come from an Amazon release and suggests what I suspect to be true: almost all the vast numbers of hopefuls publishing fiction to Amazon are selling barely anything. Maybe this explains why they’re so damned touchy all the time. At some stage people will surely give up on this pipedream. Whiskey McNaughton has churned out an awful lot of pornographic crap. But it doesn’t look as if anybody’s buying it.

  6. John Mosby Says:

    My girlfriend has uploaded some of her short stories to Smashwords – purely as a small collection to test the waters. I think that’s a perfectly good idea, but I suspect there’s a lot of people out there presuming(especially if they’ve been told by certain authors) some massive successes and riches, equivalent to best-sellers and I doubt Smashwords will ever get 99% of its writers a living income… especially when fine-wine writing has to sit alongside Whiskey-soaked drivel.

  7. stevemosby Says:

    David – I think that’s a pretty good call, actually. I can see Amazon introducing some kind of processing fee, although there are a lot of factors there.

    The statistic is interesting. A side issue, but I’m always quietly amazed by self-pubbers who deploy the “why should I give traditional publishing a cut? What do they even do?!” argument – when they’re happily giving Amazon up to 70% of their income for doing nothing at all.

  8. Kevin Says:

    I prefer fine Whiskey-soaked writing to expensive wine drivel. But I get your point …

  9. Caveat Scriptor: Stephen Leather « Max Dunbar Says:

    […] come out of this is frankly unsettling. The bullying. The evil jokes. The casual racism. The incest pron angle that I am at a loss even to […]

  10. the left room» Blog Archive » Amazon, Kobo and freedom of speech Says:

    […] that: a) werewolf porn is basically bestiality, so what else is out there; and b) this kind of shit has darkened the corridors of the left room before, and Jeremy was involved with that. This led to a Kernel […]

  11. Christine Stoddart Says:

    What an absolutely disgusting man!I can’t imagine how he dare to say such things about Steve Mosby who is a fabulous writer and a very honourable and kind human being..especially when he writes such utter “dirt”..anyone who has read Steve’s books will know that this person is just totally full of s..t!

Leave a Reply