As you all know, today is the day the title of Book 9 is announced.
Except it isn't.
Nope, now that day will be Monday, because there's something else that I want to talk about instead, something a little more important than a book title.
I've been working hard these past few months. I write the occasional blog entry, I've barely been on twitter, I've barely glanced at the Forums or the Facebook page. I'm writing, and I know you understand that, and I appreciate your patience. It's not going to be for very much longer, either. I'm planning on finishing the book next week. I have a lot to do, but I reckon I can do it.
But something has happened in my absence. Something troubling. Not on the twitter page — everyone there is funny and enthusiastic. Not on the Facebook page — everyone there is supportive and astonishingly excitable. Not on the Forums, either — they argue, debate, discuss, and at no time do they ever let these arguments spill over into anything else.
Nope, the trouble is here, in the Comments section of this blog.
Most of the Minions who comment here are my kind of people. They're weird. And I mean, unashamedly odd. I've always been so, so proud of you guys, because I look around at other fandoms and I see everyone sniping at each other and divisions forming and I'm comforted by the fact that none of that happens here.
But I've been away. I've taken my eye off the game. And now I'm seeing behaviour that could be classed as bullying.
You all know my stance on bullying. I will not abide it. The blog, twitter, Facebook, Forums... ANYTHING associated with me must have zero tolerance for bullying. I just won't have it.
The Minions who comment here, I want you to think about the comments you leave. If you never say anything negative about anyone, step over here beside me. I like you. You can be my friend. But if you think about the things you say and you're frowning to yourself? Then I'm probably talking to you.
Harsh words are one thing. We all argue. We all have harsh words. But if all you have, for one particular person, are harsh words? If you CONSISTENTLY say negative things about one PARTICULAR person? Then that's bullying. And that has to stop.
I'm not naming any names. I don't want the bullies to be, in turned, bullied by people who are annoyed they won't get the title until Monday. I don't want recriminations. But what I do want is for you to realise that we're all here because, to some degree, we're all the same. We each have enough in common, as people, as individuals, to love the same things. Do you realise how wonderful that is? To KNOW you have something in common with all these other people?
I have never called Minions "my fans". I will call them fans of the books, fans of the characters, but they're never MY fans. They're never fans of ME. Because we're all the same. I'm not better than you, just because I'm the writer and you're the reader. I have enough in common with each of you to know that, if we met, we'd get along. We'd find SOME common ground.
You're on a train. You see someone in another seat reading a book you LOVE. And you instantly smile, because you have connected with that person. So look around. See all the people who comment and the people who tweet and blog and post... there are your people. These are your friends. Let the harsh words fade away. Wipe the slate clean. Start fresh.
Where I train, in the most brutal form of fighting there is, we have a rule, and it's quite simple. We're training to fight and hurt and break and smash. On the street, we're animals. We're horrible. We're violent. We're nasty. But in the club, when we train, the rule is: Be nice or go home.
So be nice. Being nice is so much NICER than not being nice. Try it and see, and then you can come over here and stand beside me, and you can be my friend too.
But don't make me angry. You wouldn't like what I do to your favourite characters when I'm angry.