I’m not even sure how to start this post. I’m full of all the rage, and it burns hotter every time RJ Cavender opens his fucking trap. But here goes. I’ll try to be succinct.
First, why am I posting? Because yesterday I learned that another of my Seton Hill tribe was duped by RJ and paid for edits that have not been returned. Now, our SHU group is pretty open. Word tends to gets around, especially within a genre group, but most folks knew nothing about this bullshit until RJ publicly flounced on FB. And nobody’s going to know unless we go public. If I’m blacklisted, fine. I don’t want to be affiliated with anyone who’d side with an unethical fuckstick (and allegedly worse) like RJ.
I am one of the people who bought an edit package from RJ. Unlike most, I sat on my package, with his blessing, until I had something ready for his all-knowing eye*. But when that time came, I had already been hearing about the lengthy wait times for those who’d given him their work to edit. I knew two people personally who waited for fucking ever, and they knew of others. So I never turned in my stuff, choosing instead to pull a wait-and-see. I’d submit when his queue had dwindled, so I wouldn’t have to put that work on hold for a year or two (or more).
That time never came. I bought that package in November 2013 for the Stanley retreat in 2014. This past October, I heard of more sad stories about his inability to come through on an edit, and I entertained the idea of asking for a refund. But I felt I couldn’t–he was apparently a Mover and Shaker™ in the industry, being the editor of Stoker-nominated anthos, balls-deep in HWA, and a very vocal publicist for his own brand. Also, he’d accepted a story of mine for his next anthology, and his behavior on Facebook suggested he wasn’t above yanking that opportunity from me and then putting me on full blast in front of the world. I have the privilege of being married to my very own sugardaddy, so while losing that $200 sucked gigantic balls, it wasn’t a world-ender. To protect my seedling career, I kept quiet.
Until I heard about how bad this editing problem was. And how he’d taken money from people who couldn’t afford to lose it.
When I found out how many people I’d met at the Stanley Retreat and how many other people I didn’t even know had given him hundreds** to edit shit he apparently hadn’t even touched yet, I was furious. So I lodged a complaint with the HWA grievance committee, making it plain I’d never used my opportunity to edit (and thereby sparing myself the angst of waiting two years to see what incredible genius he’d deign to offer wee little me). Others who had given him their work also lodged complaints.
This? This is called a fact. Now go read this update–the first one, from April 30–from RJ about the retreat every one of the guests of honor backed out of and note every fucking word.
Here’s the graphic that was used to pimp the guests of honor, bee tee dubs:
And now, let’s begin.
Despite recent online rumors to the contrary, The Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat 2016 is still very much taking place this October. There has been a major change and drop-out with our Guest of Honor line-up, something that has always been subject to change (we had three Guest of Honor cancellations last year, no Guests of Honor at all in 2014) but that doesn’t mean that the hotel or myself are willing to cancel this event. We hope you’ll still join us in October.
Mm hmm. First, the 2014 retreat was never advertised with guests of honor, at least not that I ever saw in the year I was registered. Nobody was waiting for any to show. We expected to go, write, commune, hunt ghosts, enjoy the Colorado air, and go home. We got…mostly that. There was little writing, what with no space for such activity unless you found a table in the coffee shop, but we had fun. It was fun enough that several of us came back in 2015. And we didn’t pay egregiously more in 2015 for the joy of having guests of honor. As I recall, we had the same number as expected, except I think for one that wasn’t filled at the last minute.
This year is totally different. This year, no fewer than 13 guests of honor have been advertised, including Chuck Palahniuk. Y’know. The guy who wrote Fight Club, which became a movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Fucking Norton. The whole reason people pay that kind of money is for the chance to meet and rub elbows with people like Chuck, Heather Graham, Michael Bailey, Lisa Morton, etc. The Stanley ’16 folk didn’t shell out $250 to show up to a weekend of The RJ Show.
With the stank Cavender has unleashed upon himself between the editing bullshit, the “non-refundable” retreats, his refusal to address the grievance, his diva-like flouncing from HWA, and the multiple allegations of sexual assault, he’d be lucky to get any guests of honor at all. He went from thirteen (not fourteen, though I do like how he put himself on the guests of honor list–classy move, for sure) to zip, almost overnight. Now that his behavior has gone public, there are no last-minute fills happening for him unless he cons or blackmails someone into it. And for this, his lucky retreaters got to shovel out $250. Mind you, that $250 doesn’t cover hotel, any meals, any events at all unless there are guests of honor to offer organized chat sessions.
PS, Cavender, your grammar skillz need some work. Maybe take a class on self-editing?
If you’ve cancelled your reservations at the hotel, call back and they’ll be glad to have you re-register. But know that these Guest of Honor cancellations were something wholly unexpected and out of my control. And registration for the event is non-refundable (as stated in the campaign information when you registered) though you can transfer registration to a different event, to a different guest for registration, or I’d be glad to trade-in for editing services of equal value.
Is this a fucking joke? A contract is thusly: you provide shit for money, but if the shit you provide isn’t the shit advertised or a suitable substitution, refunds are gonna fucking happen or else. What he sold was a retreat with thirteen awesome guests of honor, talented women and men we’d all love to meet. What he’s offering now is a retreat with no guests of honor. Oh, and if you shell out some more money, you can order up some edits that, based on his record, he probably won’t get around to.
Speaking of edits…
I think I blew a blood vessel in my head at that last comment. Editing services of equal value? OMG. I’m dying here of the lulz. Are these the same kind of edits he’s been stringing along for a year-and-a-half to two years now? Also, the one person I know of who’s seen edits returned recently felt they were so poorly done, a child could have offered better feedback.
It takes a giant sack to offer edits in exchange for the retreat fee. Giant, enormous sack.
If you have any projects still pending from me, contact me after May 15th if I haven’t sent it over to you by then. I’d be glad to square up with any authors who’d like to cash in their editing packets. If you’d like to have me edit a project for your 2016 editing packets, please have those sent to me by July 15th and I’ll have them finished by the time I see you in Colorado in October.
What is this fuckwittery? Let’s break it down, shall we?
- He’s still soliciting business.
- He hasn’t returned the edits he owes.
- To my knowledge, he hasn’t addressed any of the grievances against him that led to his epic flounce from HWA.
Why the fuck the magical May 15 is a thing, I don’t know. It sure isn’t an editing deadline. There’s no way he’ll be able to finish all the work he owes in two weeks. I’m not saying he’s a lying pile of weasel shit, stuffed into a quilted-scrote sack and tossed in a bog. But I am saying he’s scored some magical fucking mushrooms if he believes this.
Any rumors you’ve read online are just that…rumors. What you’ve read about me isn’t true.
I’ll tell you what’s true: these aren’t rumors. His editing hijinks are NOT rumors. Not even close. We have proof. I can show you my own emails, including one from last summer when he solicited my business (apparently forgetting he already owed me 100 pages) and said he could make me a Stoker contender, a claim he apparently makes frequently. Nikki Hopeman can show you emails. Others can offer their own tales of woe with PayPal receipts and emails over an extended period as they tried to get their owed edits.
I’m making good on my promises to fulfill all editing projects I’ve taken on through my events. I’m also more than willing to take on projects you’ve been waiting to send me or ones rolled over from previous events. But you need to let me know what you’d like to do. So send me your requests/manuscripts after the specified dates, keep an eye on your inbox if I owe you an edit!
First, comma splice, my friend.
Second, fuck this bag of shriveled dicks. He is not making good on anything. If he were, there’d be friends in my group saying, “Wow! Awesome! I got my edits back after nineteen months.” Or maybe, “Was he sober when he did these? He keeps calling my main character Becky, but his name is Hans.” Or perhaps, “Wow! Best. Edits. Ever. Worth the wait!!!” Doubt that last one, but I guess miracles do happen.
Note also that he’s previously said (on FB, before he turned off all of his social media, tucked tail, and ran) he won’t offer refunds to anyone. He doesn’t have the money, he says, even as he’s been posting the ginormous haul of medical marijuana edibles and smokeables I’m preeetty sure his insurance doesn’t cover***. He had to hire a libel lawyer, he says, after posting a solicitation for editing work on the StokerCon FB group while active grievances regarding said editing work were still in play. These are all rumors, he says, and solicits more work via IndieGoGo while legal action has been taken against him.
In short, if you were a victim of RJ’s editorial antics, comment here anonymously or whatever. Raise your voice and make it clear these are not rumors and that the problem was egregious. I guarantee he never kept a record, or he’d be reaching out to all his victims now to ask if he can do right by them. He has no fucking clue who you are. He’ll know about me if he ever catches wind of this post, but I had a hole in my pocket, and all my fucks fell out. There might be one lodged in my sock, but I can’t be arsed to check.
Go public. Say something. We have resources. Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, HWA’s Grievance Committee. Hell, after the last two The Horror Show podcasts with Briane Keene, it seems he and his apparently empty wallet of fucks might also lend a voice. There are people who can take information, consider your proof, and help bring bullshit like this to light. We don’t have to let scammers run off with hundreds or thousands from a dozen or more authors and then make announcements inviting more of the same to new victims. So let’s not, mkay?
Oh, and if you paid RJ online for services not rendered, you can make a complaint with the FBI here. It takes all of ten minutes unless you’re a wordy motherfucker like me.
And to close out, here’s HWA’s official response after the Cavender flounce, in case you didn’t see it:
* That’s a joke. He might have done some solid editing in the past, but…
** Since then, we’ve found a few who’ve paid over a thousand dollars.
*** I am absolutely not minimizing his illness, whatever that might be. I know chronic pain from RA, I know how exhausting it is, and I know I wouldn’t turn down some of that new engineered THC that doesn’t make you high but still helps pain. I’m also a fan of legalizing marijuana. That said, I’m still judging him after witnessing his use in Atlanta at WHC and at the Stanley. Fair or not, I’m totally judging.