An open letter to The Story Siren

      15 Comments on An open letter to The Story Siren

I’m sending this to you (can’t find your email…) posting it to your blog and posting here…hopefully, you’ll see it and I hope you realize I’m not trying to attack you. Personally, I have no problem with you. I don’t know you and I can’t have a personal problem with you, aside from the fact that you did exercise some seriously questionable ethics and you’ve yet to take full accountability for it.

And that’s mostly what I want to talk about…accountability.

You’ve got people on your blog…mostly your loyal followers, I’m going to assume, who claim ‘nobody likes to take accountability’ or ‘admit they were wrong’ and ‘it’s human nature’ *that comment is gone, it appears*… oh, and ‘Kristi addressed everything she needed to address.’

No.  Nobody likes to take accountability, but true leaders will, and true leaders do.  That is what separates a strong person from a weak one, what separates a champion from a chump.

You’ve yet to do it.

By taking full accountability, you simply do this… you admit, without excuses… I was wrong. I screwed up and nobody made me do it. .

Until you do it, and stop making excuses… I don’t know how it happened…. and I was under a lot of pressure… ah… I’ve written over 60 books since 2003, I have three kids and I blog. I’ve managed to do my job without stealing anybody’s work or their words.

You made the decision to do it, for whatever reasons, now you need to face the consequences. Are they harsh? Yes.

But you are in a unique position…the position where a lot of people look up to you. Do you want to be a weak leader? Pass it off as… these things happen giggle… I’ll do some educational posts on it and everybody will love me again. .

Or do you want to come off as a woman who has learned from her mistake, somebody who wants to make an improvement, and teach others? A real leader? Are you trying to be a champion? Or do you just want the people who already like you to keep gushing?

The people you’ve alienated aren’t going to be impressed by what you’re doing and the people who already follow you just don’t care. For some reason, the fact that you stole doesn’t bother some of them.

They aren’t all that bothered by the fact that you stole.

Think about the message there…how disturbing is that? Is that supposed to be okay?

A real leader would say no.  So I have to ask myself… do you want to be popular?  Or do you want to be a real leader?

You could turn this around and say guys… instead of getting angry at the people who are angry with me…listen to what they are saying. Because they have every right.

And they do. You didn’t just hurt the people you stole from. You deceived fellow bloggers who liked you. You deceived those who’d started blogging because of you. You blogged about how plagiarism was wrong, then you do it…and you deleted those posts speaking out against plagiarism.

You were deceptive.

You can’t change this, but you can fix it, going forward. If you’re trying to re-establish the position you had, it’s a possibility, but not with the route you’re taking.

Because until you take full accountability, without exceptions, without excuses, what you’re doing is meaningless.

Because while your loyal followers attack those who spoke out, and you sit silently by, you give silent permission to bully and harass.  In case you weren’t aware…yes, there were attacks.  Bullying emails sent to a number of the bloggers who spoke out.

Because while you moderate those who attempt to speak their minds…you’re making this about you.  You are just window-dressing.  You’re not trying to change or improve.  You’re trying to win your popularity back.

Because until you apologize, full stop… I am sorry no excuses, no rationalizations… all of this is empty. It makes it about you.

Your followers may see it otherwise…but are they the ones you’re trying to re-establish yourself with? They are already here.

Or are you trying to fix the bonds you broke? If you’re trying to fix the bonds you broke, you need to re-evaluate.

Again… I am not trying to be mean, and I am not trying to be harsh.  But I’ve never set myself out to be ‘popular’.  I speak my mind and I try to be fair, I try to not to be unkind.

But sometimes, the truth just is harsh.

The internet doesn’t forget things…I can remember things that happened in blogland/romanceland 5, 6, 9 years ago.  Authors, readers, reviewers…bloggers.  There are going to be people…a lot of them who look back and talk about the big YA blogger who plagiarized.  Do you want that to be what you’re known for?  Or do you want to make a change and show people that you can actually be more than that?


15 thoughts on “An open letter to The Story Siren

  1. Grace Fonseca

    Excellent leader. I loved your comment the other day. I believe that this really has rocked/stunned the blogging world. I really try so hard not to read other bloggers reviews of a book I’m reading. I like to have my own opinion. Thank you for the honesty. I believe we need some honesty right about now.

  2. Shiloh Walker

    Btw… Just an FYI, comments at my blog do not get moderated, however new comments often get held up in the spam filter. I clear them out several times a day. I’m away from my computer for most of today though, so it will be towards the evening.

  3. Tawania (Wicked Readings)

    Very well done! I am sad to say, I just heard of this from your post. I went back and reviewed all the evidence, and other post written on this incident. As you stated stealing is wrong in any form, and what she did makes all bloggers look bad. Her lack of response just put more fuel on the fire. If you have to steal someone else’s work, research, and time THEY spent reading, what is your reason for being a blogger? I blog because I love to read. I don’t do it for the ARC’s or notoriety. I do it because (and I hate to admit this)I don’t have friends/family who read the same genres that I do. I need people that I can talk about the books I love with. Why write about something you didn’t read? It’s all very confusing to me. I’m familiar with her blog, because it’s very popular, but I’ve never visited it. I don’t plan on it now. This is very sad for the blogging community, and authors who trust her to report her own findings on their work. Thanks for speaking up, Shiloh. I hope she will be accountable for her actions, and we small bloggers don’t pay for her mistake.
    Sorry for the long comment, I just had to say something.

  4. leiah

    I posted a comment on her blog not 30 minutes ago and told her that that would be my first and last comment regarding this whole plagiarism issue. And that REALLY would have been my first and last comment BUT she deleted it. Really, I thought everyone just simply doesn’t care anymore, but no, she actually deletes comments she thinks are attacking her. I hate that so many people are blinded by Kristi’s… I don’t know, popularity, I think?

    I just can’t take the fact that she’s degraded herself into looking stupid (stupid, not ignorant!). It seems like she’s blaming school for not teaching her the many variations of plagiarism when really, plagiarism is just common sense. We never had a topic about plagiarism in school either but I know one when I see it. She’s written posts about plagiarism before (which should have taken research) and she should have known better.

    I love your post though and I hate the replies your comment’s been receiving on her post.

  5. Kelli

    I sure have been enjoying your comments! Did you see that Grit and Glamour (one of the real victims) has posted again about this matter? They cited a couple of your comments in their post.

  6. azteclady

    Leiah, is this your comment on today’s post?

    LOL so you blame school for what you did, Kristi? Because they didn’t teach you what plagiarism is? We never had a topic about plagiarism in school either but I know plagiarism when I see it. And for someone who’s written posts about plagiarism before, which should have taken research, you should have known better. But anyway, this topic is really getting old, so yeah, just do whatever it is that you want. This will be my first and last comment about this subject. Adieu.

    Shiloh, this is the post at Grit and Glamour that Kelli mentions.

    Personally, I’m utterly flabbergasted.

    TSS/Kristi Diehm is responding to some comments–so far only on today’s thread–yet ignoring all the questions posed to her regarding her actions, as well as her fans attacks on those disagreeing with all that “oh poor Kristi, so brave” and “thank you, Kristi, you are sooooo smart” and the like.

    So, Leiah, don’t expect Kristi Diehm to acknowledge your comment any time soon–though at least right now is visible, I’ll say that much.

  7. Kelli

    Aztec lady, thank you for the link. I have not jumped into the fray until today. I was incensed when I read about the plagiarism week. If she needs education about plagiarism, fine, educate yourself, but don’t pose as being helpful to the rest of us when she’s really just trying to get more attention.
    The responses to today’s thread baffle me. Why not respond to yesterday’s comments as well? What really infuriates me is that she stood by and let her minions bully the real victims, never saying a word. The whole matter has been handled in such a backwards way, from the ‘apology’ and ‘clarification’ to not even putting an introduction besides, “hey! Nice to see you again!” (TSS, 2012) on the guest posts which makes things confusing. It’s just all a mess and serves to remind me why I stopped reading her blog years ago: I simply don’t like her content. The only thing I ever went to her site for was her blogging tips and tricks, which is totally ironic now, considering that many of those posts were not her own words.

  8. Traci Loya

    Before all of this came out I had never even head of Kristi or her blog site!! What a shame she can’t own up to what she did and take her lumps…she earned them!! Based on what I’ve read I have no desire to participate in ANYTHING she involving her or her blog site!! With so many sites out there that have values and respect those of us who look up to them, why waste time on those that don’t? I personally think she needs to own what she did and sincerely make ammends for it. Ok…I’m done!!

  9. Mandee

    Thank you for sharing this! You have earned my respect. Oh, imagine that…earning respect based on thoughtful & carefully written content.
    I am now & forever a fan! You totally rock!

  10. julaine

    Here’s what I have I been able to determine about this particular blog and it’s creator since this saga began:

    1. She committed plagiarism a minimum of 6 times after posted a blog about plagiarism with means that her balls are not brass but a much baser metal. Unless she’s being treated for some rare sleep Internet surf/posting disorder this was a planned out and willfulness crime not something that inexplicably “happened”.

    2. After her crime was discovered she lied. Full stop. Then she engaged in a coverup.
    We have all seen how well that works out haven’t we?

    3. Like many people in embarrassing situations she has tried to retreat and pretend the problem will go away if she ignored it and by doing so allowed her supporters to inflict more damage on her victims. This may have soothed her ego but goes to show that even more character defining flaws in Ms. Diehms ability to lead the community she built.

    4. It appears that Ms. Diehms has been accepting advertising, promotions and giveaways for books that are definitely adult in nature and content so I am not willing to accept the argument that her supporters are not mature to know right from wrong, the concept of thief, or the ability to identify who is the victim(s).

    5. Ms. Diehms could have and should have stopped the bullying of the victims and the people who spoke out at any time. The fact that she didn’t and still hasn’t spoke volumes.

    6. The cynical attempt to sweep this incident aside and actual use it to drive more traffic to her site is unbelievable and sad.

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