My latest, latest letter to RWA’s Board & Prez

Yes. Another. Why?

Well, it seems there are some people out in twitter-land getting the message from… I dunno…somewhere, gosh-darnit that RWA will cease to exist without the illustrious Damon Suede.

Now… onto the letter! Warning, I’m punch-drunk, short on sleep & patience at this point, plus on top of dealing with the asthma flare to end all asthma flares, I had to go to the ER today because my grandmother was there and I’m the nurse who has to go when family goes. It’s a thing. In other words, there are probably missing words, and there is an extra helping of sharp, biting wit, at no additional cost.

The letter:


Thanks to some tweets, it’s come to my attention that there’s a rumor circulating, one that hopefully neither the president nor any person in a leadership role is responsible for, that some people are under the mistaken belief that RWA will cease to exist if the acting president steps down.  

For the record, I want to get something out of the way real quick since we have some new board members on hand. I’m Shiloh Walker and I’m about as blunt as they come. I’m also one of the many, many, many members who is insanely tired of the lack of transparency and the utter silence coming from the majority of our leadership over the past few days.  FYI, I am not blaming the new board members for that–at all. But I’m also not going to pussyfoot around things, either.

Some people seem to have gotten the impression that Damon Suede’s stepping down will mean the end of RWA and that’s just bullshit.
I hope you’ve read the by-laws, because if you have, then you know this to be the case as well.

The by-laws were written for a reason, folks, and this is one of them. Being members of the board, I’m assuming everybody in receipt of this has read said by-laws, but just in case…

See section 10.5.4   …. for your convenience, I’m adding it below. Please see the bolded font.

10.5.4. Vacancy in the office of the President. If the office of President becomes vacant, the President-Elect shall assume the office of President, and the office of President-Elect shall remain vacant until the next general election. If at any time both such positions are vacant, the Board of Directors shall appoint a new President (who may but need not be a member of the Board of Directors at the time of appointment), who shall serve in such position only until the expiration of the Board term that ends immediately after the next general election; at the time of such election, the members shall elect a President and President-Elect.  

No. A non-profit with three million dollars in its coffers, in some way or the other, will not come to a halt because Damon Suede with his manly shoulders isn’t there to prop things up for us little women.

After all, Damon’s only been the president for a week or two, and in that week or two, two notable literary agencies have announced they are ending their relationship with RWA, several independent agents have made it clear they will not attend RWA events, Bookstore Romance Day has ended its sponsorship with RWA despite RWA being their largest sponsor, more than thirty chapters have called for Damon’s resignation… oh, and both Neil Gaiman and Chuck Tingle have made it clear on twitter that they think our president is a laughingstock. And their considerable reach seems to agree with them.

I mean, really.

Chuck Tingle's latest "Not Pounded By Romance Wranglers Of America Because Their New Leadership Is From The Depths Of The Endless Cosmic Void"

If this is what Damon does in just under two weeks, I don’t think we can handle seeing what will happen next.

There is no doubt in my mind that Damon’s machinations with the ‘secret ethics committee’ that never should have been formed, along with his manipulations have helped bring this about.

Is he solely responsible? Of course not. The racist underbelly inside RWA helped foster the atmosphere where all of this happened and simply made it this easier. But Damon’s action haven’t helped, and have, in fact, made things progressively worse.

As much as I’d like to believe it was sheer misunderstanding that led to the tweets I’ve read that both Damon and at least one board member seem to be spreading the idea that Romance Writers of America will cease to exist if a two-week president resigns as he should, well. I’ve got an expansive imagination but it only expands so far and it looks as though Damon has built a reputation where he’s known to be quite adept at telling people things that aren’t entirely true, if it seems to benefit him.

Board members, it’s your responsibility to act in the best interests of RWA. 

We don’t need to discuss the fact that a president who is misleading members, hiding from the membership and refusing to address them and has proven to have a track record of lying about knowing a popular satire author FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, as well as various members behind their backs simply to advance his own position or for his own pleasure–whatever the reason may be–isn’t in anybody’s best interests.

We simply need to focus on the optics. RWA needs a fresh start. Numerous chapters and members are calling for it, and now we’re losing the presence of agents at our conferences because this bleeding continues.

I’ve yet to see any hard confirmations of publishers refusing to attend, but I won’t be surprised if that’s next.

Is this the sort of legacy you want to leave behind? The year RWA crumbled? Because if things go on as they are, that’s what will happen.