My Experience With That Guy Everyone’s Talking About Right Now

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Once in a while, the horror writer community has to come together to expel an asshole. And one such asshole is being expelled right now.

He is a shameless user of female authors and editors. He gloms on to them, butters them up with false friendships in the hopes of advancing his career, and then calls them bigots and threatens actual lawsuits when they don’t publish his work. He lies to people about what others are saying about them and their work. He does not do any of those things to men. 

He’s a 24-karat asshole, in other words. And his reckoning has been a long time coming.

And I met him last summer at StokerCon 2023. 

Sort of. 

I’m not posting this on Twitter because it’s a tiny nothing of a story compared to what he did to others. But in light of recent revelations, my encounter with him makes a lot more sense. 

We were Twitter mutuals for a couple years. Last summer, I Tweeted I’d be taking a few ARCs of my upcoming novella to StokerCon, and he almost immediately expressed interest in one. Which made me happy. I love that story! I couldn’t wait to share it. 

I saw him all over the place at StokerCon, but he was a gregarious sort who was always chatting with other people, and I didn’t want to interrupt him. I figured I’d catch up with him eventually. 

Finally, he approached a group that included me. And he talked to the people I was standing with. But he did not so much as glance at me. His eyes slid right past me. Multiple times. I was wallpaper. I was lobby furniture. I was The Woman Who Wasn’t There. I wanted to introduce myself, to tell him I had an ARC for him. But this freeze-out stunned me into silence.

And OK. I get it. People do that to me sometimes. I’m a middle-aged fat woman, and there is a certain flavor of human who hates it when a woman is either middle-aged or fat, and a woman being both things at once is an unfathomable cosmic horror. Best not to look directly at the terrifying sight lest a man lose every shred of his sanity.

Whatever. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind, and all that. 

Obviously, I don’t know for sure why he ignored me. Maybe he just decided I couldn’t do anything for him and wasn’t worth bothering with. But for whatever reason, he cut me dead. And I thought Screw you, dude. No ARC for you. You don’t deserve a copy of this amazing book. That ARC went instead to a lovely person who has never been anything but kind. 

Afterwards, when I was looking at StokerCon photos on social media, his face was everywhere. Especially if there was a prominent author or powerful editor nearby. 

Now, this was hardly a cancel-worthy incident. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what he’s put others through. But it was disappointing coming from someone who appeared so friendly online and who seemed so popular with everyone else. Most of the people I’ve met in horror have been kind and welcoming, so the occasional turd really stands out. 

Last Monday, I jumped on Twitter to find he was getting torn to shreds and tatters. He’d finally pushed someone too far. And once she told her story, all the other women with similar stories told theirs. The dam broke and all the water came rushing out. So did his career’s lifeblood.

Among his many other awful acts, he was given to making terrible comments about people behind their backs. Including fatphobic comments. 

Yep. That tracks. 

And this behavior is so unnecessary. When Tidepool’s release was approaching, I was blown away by the bigger-name authors who did little things to help me out or talk me up just because I happened to mention the book in a chatroom or ask them for a blurb. Horror authors are generally good people who remember what it was like when their early stuff was coming out and want to pay it forward. Be polite. Don’t act entitled. You truly don’t have to be a manipulative asshole to get a foothold in the horror world.

There isn’t really a moral to this story other than me feeling vindicated that he was not, in fact, a very nice person, and also feeling a lot of sympathy for the women who probably wish he’d just ignored them like he did me. As Gabino Iglesias said so wisely about this whole mess, being a decent human being is super easy, and yet… 

By the way, I met Gabino at the same StokerCon. When I saw him passing by and called to him, he walked right over and gave me a hug. 

So maybe that’s the moral: In a world of That Guys, be a Gabino. 

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