So long, Examiner.com

First off, according to the Constitution of the United States, I have freedom of speech, which my blog entitles me to.  This translates that I have the right to say whatever I want on it.  Second of all, I have been told by numerous people, authors included, that the way you run the Examiner is outrageous and your payment system is illegal, not to mention highly suspect.  Payment?  $30 per month is your idea of PAYMENT?  Even beggars earn more.  Stating the truth on my blog is nothing in comparison to what you and your staff have done.  Still, I was never disrespectful with the Examiner staff and always handled my complaints in a professional manner despite hostility I met on your end for requesting issues to be fixed. If it is in my power to take this up on a legal level, I definitely will.  Third of all, contrary to your accusation, I’ve noticed that I’ve brought 1500 views a month to a site that receives only 30 views in comparison.  So my Examiner reports state.  I’ve brought famous authors, writers, and a vast literary audience to the Examiner, for which I’ve received no support, appreciation, or correct compensation from the Examiner.  I had no idea you and the Examiner staff were censoring me for the financial scraps you’ve been throwing at me for hours and hours of hard work.  It is I and hundreds of other Examiners who are disgusted with the outright robbery and extortion the Examiner is getting away with.

Behold my official reply to Examiner.com.  Okay, you’re confused with where this is coming from?  Let’s backtrack to yesterday.

It seems my post, Is this goodbye?, reached the ears of the Examiner.  (On a side note, since when have they been reading my blog or care about my opinion?  They keep on underpaying their writers without a second thought and they have some really pathetic writers on the site…does the word “discrimination” ring a bell, anyone?) 

And…you guessed correctly!  They couldn’t handle the truth being slapped right in front of their faces.  So this was their response: good-bye.  Oh no, they didn’t deny my denouncements or prove I was wrong.  They had the nerve to claim that they had paid me fairly (?) and that I was the one being a nuisance.  They also had the nerve to say that my content was of little value to the site and that I had brought nothing to the site.  All those viewers, authors, friends, colleagues…I had 1500 view per month for both of my titles, for crying out loud!  The Fresno branch of the Examiner, for example, was only getting on average 30 views per day.  Hah.  I worked fricking hard for them and they dare to tell me now that I did nothing?  I’ll be seeing them again, they can bet on that.  One day… 

Oh, and by the way, oh mighty Examiner?  Stop telling all those poor prospective writers that you pay the Examiners!  Because you pay next-to-nothing, basically.  It’s a lousy pretense, this lie about payment.

Ahem.  The gist of the matter is that I’m no longer writing for Examiner.com.  Period.  And to be honest, I had already decided to quit before they threw all this in my face, so…what do I care?  They can go to hell.  Where they rightly belong.  They just threw the gauntlet at me when I’d already left the room.  They just made complete fools of themselves.  My content, my reviews, they all still belong to me.  I care less about those pageviews they cheated me of.  And that meager beggar’s pay they claim is legitimate.  Guess what, Examiner.com?  Since I was an independent contractor and not your employee, you legally cannot fire me!  I already resigned before you emailed me.  And I’m proud of that blog entry you hate.  It’s the truth, launched right at a bunch of liars and thieves.  So there.  The Examiner will get what’s coming to it.  Sooner or later.

Natalie Gorna

Uncertainty is a killer – so is inactivity

Thought #1: Me and the Examiner.  Not.  I’ve made my decision to publish infrequently in order to keep my webpages active, but I’m at a standstill.  What’s next, you think?  What direction I am headed in now?  Resounding silence from my creative spirit.  Of course.

Thought #2: I just looked at a site which compiled hundreds of freelance writing gigs.  I was immediately exhausted.  Totally exhausted.  One look, and you’d understand what I mean.

Thought #3: Why does there have to be a 2-week hiatus until the next Once Upon a Time episode?  They’re torturing us fans with suspense and longing over here. (loud growls from fellow spectators)

Thought #4 (a big one):  What do they mean, they don’t want any outside ideas for Merlin?  One of the best TV shows out there today and they won’t even consider new scriptwriters or even stupendous ideas for the plot!  Like mine, for example.

Now that Arthur and Gwen are married (thank you, season 4), the romantic spotlight has to be shifted significantly on either Merlin or the Knights of the Round Table.  First idea: Gwen has a job opening.  For a lady-in-waiting/servant.  Well, she was Morgana’s servant for years, after all.  And if Arthur has Merlin, why couldn’t Gwen have a lady-in-waiting?  After all, someone else needs to find out about Merlin’s secret, provide some sort of romantic touch to the story.  Perhaps this mysterious new female figure could be Merlin’s romance?  No worries about royal status.  She even become friends with Merlin and Gaius, be interested in magic.

From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana,...
From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana, Merlin, Arthur, and Uther

Or if this new girl turns out to be another traitor like Agravaine, we could look to the knights for an uplift.  Gawaine is pretty famous for his part in the Arthurian legend about Lady Ragnell.  I can totally see Merlin‘s Gawaine forced to marry an enchanted beastly woman on a matter of honor and then find true love when the spell is broken through the right actions of his own just heart.  Or what about Tristan?  Is he going to become a Knight of Camelot?  Don’t forget Mordred.  Not only does he know Merlin’s secret and his secret identity, he’s friends with Morgana.  Even in the “original” legends, Mordred spelled trouble in bold, big letters.  Then there’s the matter of the baby girl dragon, and Lancelot’s death.  I’ve been thinking about how Merlin deviates from the basics of many Arthurian legends but sticks to the true fundamentals, like how Merlin’s weakness is his compassionate heart or how Arthur’s weakness is his tendency to trust people too deeply and surely.  It’s a great show.  Season 5 is going to be big.  But I still want to be a part of Merlin somehow.  Despite the indirect rejection.  Because I have a LOT of great ideas for it.  Hmph.

Thought #6:  I really have to start thinking seriously about the novels I want to write.  Creating sub-plots for a TV show are just the tip of the iceberg that is my creativity wanting to break out and melt over my mind.  I have awesome ideas (well, they are!) for a Helen of Troy story intertwined with the Iliad and the Odyssey stories and another for retelling the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades.  I know the finished product could be splendid if I work hard.  I just don’t want to mess up, or worse, find out that I’m no novelist, just some pathetic review writer.  I want to be able to create.  Creating something of that magnitude, like a book, is as momentous as child-bearing.  You’re creating new life, a new world.  You’re building a brand-new door that other people, including yourself, will be able to open forever and see into your mind, your soul, and the souls of the characters you’ve resurrected or brought to life.  It’s magnificent, that feeling of being and making and modeling…art brings a sense of purpose to a person.  It’s…magnetizing.  But I have to get over my fears and try…at least brainstorm.  And who knows…maybe once I start, I won’t be able to stop.

Thought #7: I’m done thinking and analyzing for now.  I want to read.  Maybe write.  Thanks again, NetGalley, for thrilling new reads currently unpublished. 😉

Natalie Gorna

Is this good-bye?

Unfortunately for me…the Examiner is staffed by a bunch of sniveling cheats.  And that being said, today is the day I found out that my monthly pay from the Examiner, cir. $35, is going to be cut by more than 50%.  It all started with last week’s upgrades and changes to the site.

Retrospect: the Examiner not only has cheated on me by paying me (approximately) 65/100 of a cent per pageview, it has also paid me only $1 per “locally relevant” article.  And since I focus on doing book and movie reviews, I usually would insert information about where to find the material I was reviewing on a local level.  Somehow, they refuse to accept that anymore.  They are taking away that “$1 per article” solidity from me.  Instead, they want now to force me to write what THEY want me to write.  And I cannot—will not—accept that.

So…in light of how I’ll be paid around $10 a month for pageviews alone, I’m thinking that…I should stop.  2 years and 3 months and 590 reviews (in total) later, I stand on the edge of the writing precipice.  What should I do now?  Of course, I’m devastated how the Examiner, the “lying cheating snake in the grass,” has turned on me like this out of the blue.  I tortured out-of-city, out-of-state, and out-of-country readers enough with that final line at the end of all my reviews, book or movie.  I alone found the courage to contact authors directly about my reviews of their novels and accept their feedback.  I attracted the majority of publicity to my webpages.  And I have slaved, virtually or not, for 2 years at this writing.  This fruitless, dedicated, objective occupation that has caused me more pain than bliss.  And now what?

I cry when I’m angry.  Yes, just like Bella in the Twilight series.  It took me a while to figure out, but it’s a fact now.  I’m very angry about this conclusion.  Every week for…years, I published 6 articles/reviews.   For the first time, I have to come to terms with the fact that my main source of income is gone and I must decide if I want to keep writing for free.  Because ten dollars is like beggars’ cash.  Not worth spit.  Not worth my hourly toil and my outside reading.  And I don’t know what to do now that I’ve lost the discipline I gained in this weekly task and my determination to succeed.  I won the battles over payment many times, but I’ve definitely lost the war now.  And the worst part of losing is…I no longer feel like writing anymore… 😦

Natalie Gorna