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.