Absolute Write


We recently received this letter, which was sent to several writer advocate sites:

I am a member of a small group for writers and we're quite concerned about the bad publicity building up around McAllister Stone at Absolute Write. It seems she is taking the money from her members for classes etc. and not paying the instructors. If the instructors protest, she retaliates by dropping them from the site. She is also using her members to increase her revenue from the many advertisements now displayed on the forum. And there is even a Donation button on the site, which is begging for funds.

Something isn't right here.

I hope you include the warnings from The Write Agenda and Writers Weekly on your site. I was quite amazed to see that AW still had an "excellent" rating at Preditors and Editors. This is not a pleasant forum, McAllister has an appalling attitude, and the software is glitchy. You have to actually use html code if you want spaces between paragraphs in a post. So the money McAllister is coining in is certainly not going to the upkeep of the site.

I'd also like to add here that McAllister may be experiencing financial difficulties due to the lawsuit brought against her by a literary agent. This could be the reason she is not paying out the monies she owes to writing class instructors:

This is McAllister's website registration information:

The address, where it appears McAllister has lived since 1992, was sold recently:http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1825-Douglas-Ave-Everett-WA-98201/38525564_zpid/

Some other points, which have been brought to my attention: The address which McAllister gave as her residence, in the lawsuit brought against her by Literary Agent, Barbara Bauer -- 8911 Vernon Rd., M-#165, Everett, WA 98205 -- is a storage unit at Frontier Village Mini Storage!

This is the lawsuit document:


This is Frontier Mini Storage:

"Any false information on a court document is considered to be Perjury."
  14 Reviews for Absolutewrite.com

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The site, as someone said, can help you find great people and I'm pretty sure it has over the years. But a site that's run like Absolutewrite cannot continue to get great people if they have terrible people who own the site as well as mod it.

For a site that's for writers, one would think they'd go out of their way to understand what people are saying before they say they are stupid on the forum. Mods should never attack people on the forums....NEVER. Any forum that allows that is a bully place. A place where mods can push around people and expect them to fear them. It is not ok to run a website like that. That breeds cliques and makes other posters feel like there's special treatment. Absolute Write is just like that. They allow bullies to mod. They also allow cliques to control who gets into trouble.

The site, as many have said around the internet, use to be really, really good. Now it's just $#@! because of the controlling attitude of those in charge. The idea (if I could rate them differently) would get a 3 because it is a great thing to do with start up writers, but it's not a great place for your attitude if you do more than look for critique partners. They won't let you think for yourself.

If you go to this website just look for a critique partner or help with your writing. Avoid giving your opinion. If you give it and the majority don't agree...not only will they get to insult you, you will be attacked by a mod and made out to be the bad guy.
Thom W. The owner is a liar who uses sock puppets to attack her enemies and a few mods, like RollingThunder, think they are all powerful.

The above link no longer works. Sitejabber has removed the Absolute Write thread. Fortunately, it was saved before that happened and can be viewed here:
Write Absolute Reviews 
Check out these sites for more reviews on AW:

This is another member's experience with Absolute Write, and the horribly abusive message she received from them stating she was banned: 

"Anyway as I hit the save button on a post I had been working on I get a popup window that says:
'You have been banned for the following reason:

Just get the hell off my site. You're relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a f***cking bald-faced liar. I'm done with you.

Date the ban will be lifted: Never'
The moderator used the full expletive that I self-censored here."

And a publisher was bullied and victimized by the Mac crowd:
"I'm sure regdog was well intentioned when he set up this thread and I really don't mind answering people's questions, but I feel as though it has turned into a thread bent on bashing my company rather than any real attempt at trying to learn more about it. I really don't believe that anything I say will be well received, so I'm leery about answering questions here.

I didn't come to this community to "advertise" my publishing company. I came here to connect with other writers. I only mentioned the company as a way of telling people where my focus is at the moment (aside from writing). Starting my own publishing company is something I've wanted to do for years, but I was afraid it was too big for me. It was a friend of mine, who works in the industry, who talked me into finally doing it. It's something I'm very excited about and something I'm proud of. It was a big step for me."
The Lion Song Publishing thread on AW 

The Lion Song thread was removed from AW, and can now be found in the cache. We've noticed that anything unfavourable to AW has a way of disappearing. We've taken a screenshot, before it disappears for good. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-268915.html


  1. Mike6/5/12

    Agreed, agreed, agreed and bravo this forum is a great idea. AW might think it's the biggest and therefore the best, but take a look at it, it's going downhill fast, all those ads and the donate button, man it's tacky. And the behavior towards anyone who disagrees with them is also tacky, tacky, tacky.

  2. Clancy6/5/12

    AW used to be a good site now it's just a hang out for bullies led by the bulldog Mac.

  3. Anonymous17/5/12


  4. I've been on religious blogs and political blogs, but I have never encountered a blog before where the they change your avatar as a joke and then ban you for complaining about how childish such an action is. MacAllister herself does the banning. I hear it's an old biddie's club and while it is a good place to meet critique partners, the rest of the site should be avoided at all costs. Or if you like to play games, you can go in and argue the opposite side of one of their hot button topics until you get banned.

  5. If you stick to certain areas, it is not so bad. There are a very few remaining good folks over there. But god help you if you run afoul of Madame Fuhrer MacAllister. She also uses sock puppets to attack members and, when they finally have had enough and respond, pounces on them under her real name to ban them and make her self look like she is all innocent and just "protecting" the site. She'll also go on to her twitter account after she bans you and bad mouths you there as well. Its sad to see it because it used to be a very good site. She's a frustrated wannabe writer who makes herself feel better by targeting published writers for attack.

    1. My crime, by the way, was to suggest that FDR's policies actually extended the Great Depression and Obama's similar policies will likely do the same for our current economic woes. So here came the sock puppets (Rugcat) to attack and when I said "I don't waste my time on bellowing baboons looking to just argue without really and honestly debating an issue", she switched to her name and banned me - a full 10 seconds after I had posted. Which confirmed my suspicions about the Rugcat screen name. It is what it is, she's is a vindictive little....well, you know.

  6. They're a nasty clique of misfits. Don't even think about saying anything against homosexuality or Obama. They are the holiest of holies. And they may think they're the biggest and can treat anyone who disagrees with them like dirt but they're dead wrong. I've noticed they don't get as much traffic as they used to and no wonder, there are a finite amount of writers and they've just about banned them all!

  7. Okay folks, get this. I joined AW a few months ago, and was just banned as a "sockpuppet" for writing the following message re the Cheerio's commercial with the inter racial couple that is causing such an uproar. Can anyone tell me what on earth about this message was offensive?

    "Oh what a lovely little girl. Such beautiful hair. It's been suggested that Cheerios made this commercial bi-racial to give them more publicity and show how unbiased they were. I don't, of course, believe that for a minute. I don't think they even thought about the races of those involved. The actors just happened to be white, black and mulatto.

    It's also been said that it's disproportionate how many black people are now in ads, as blacks only make up about 13% of the US population. I think, however, that this is a somewhat cynical viewpoint. Inter-racial marriage, of course, is still illegal in some Arab countries, and used to be illegal in the US until just a few decades ago. Incredible, isn't it, all this fuss about skin colour.

    We've come so far in the last little while with gay marriages and interracial marriages. This long overdue policy of inclusiveness has totally liberated and improved Western society and is part of the reason we are doing so much better today, in every way, than we were in say the 1950s."

    1. Incredible! I'd say this crowd of unwashed lefty nasties have gone totally around the bend this time.

  8. What happened to AW? Had one of the most horrific experiences of my life in a forum there yesterday. I was responding to thread in their forum about a writers organization I am part of. It turned into a vile and abusive personal attack...I was called a filthy liar and that was mild! Turns out the moderators were the worst of the lot...actually encouraging a pile-on. I emailed Ms Stone and asked for instructions on how to remove my profile (no instructions in their FAQ) and was told that it isn't permitted. Is that even legal? I used to like it there, but am in total agreement that it's dissolved into a bully brigade for those who are not in agreement with them. It wasn't until after this, that I went looking for other people who have felt victimized. I was surprised to find so many. So there is that...at least I'm not crazy!

  9. Hannah10/6/13

    Sorry about your bad experience, jacquie, but that sort of thing is commonplace at the AW ghetto. Horrible lot of savages.

  10. Anonymous12/6/13

    I was about to join this site but then to be honest, I didn't like it because it seemed... so plain. The site is bland. Thank God I saw this review before. I wanted to join a writing forum.

  11. Anonymous21/6/13

    In case anyone here was actually fooled by this blog: AbsoluteWrite doesn't have "classes" and doesn't have any sort of registration fee. You can donate to the site, but that only earns minor benefits.

    Also, this "review" constantly spells the site owner's name wrong. XD

    1. In case anyone is fooled by this "anonymous" troll, clearly from "Absolute Write": this trash site hooks very gullible, rather unintelligent types with sociopath claims of protecting them against "fraud," then trashing everybody in sight to keep these gullible fixed on them.

      Then you can get "professionally" edited by these cretins -- the "professional editors," students whom the record shows Vicki Strauss "forgot" to pay -- or you can join the totally useless "SFWA," get a totally useless newspaper, and pay for these dishonest jerks' well-deserved lawsuits. At this point they're dirtier than the old-fashioned scams they detected once every blue moon.

      And they also seem to think they're expert spellers. I've been pulling them into my twitter account and get misspelled criticism from these geniuses a lot. Not hilarious, however. You wonder if you haven't stumbled into a pit of emotionally ill people masquerading as "writers." bit.ly/12XyCrs

    2. Anonymous16/9/13

      Perhaps it might be worth mentioning here that Mr Dark, a supposed "agent", has consistently shown himself to be a tosser of the first order. No reputable agent would publicly call an editor a cunt for rejecting his incoherent submission, stalk editors, claim that dreams and psychics were guiding his submissions, refuse to mention what,if any, sales he's made, piss off every editor he's come into contact with, or indeed have anything to do with the Write Agenda (a site set up by vanity publishers upset that Absolute Write helps stop people being fleeced by them) or act like some complete and utter dick when a writer dies, basically using twitter to do a happy dance about it. And why? Because said writer spent a lot of time and energy on behalf of the SFWA outting people trying to rip writers off.

      And all that? Just for starters. That's not even getting into all the attacks he's made on people over twitter/email -- one of his clients had to ask the police to intervene after he fired Mr Dark and got a stream of abusive emails. You do not want this man to be your agent. Actually you do not want to be within a 100 miles of this man.

      Is AW a challenge? It can be -- let's face there are dicks everywhere and it's no different. But if you want to know if that agent or publisher is out to fleece you of your money, or you want good, solid writing advice, I'd suggest it's one of the better places to go. As long as you aren't a dick, because newsflash, that can get you banned.

      Although they haven't banned Mr Dark. Which seems some strange oversight

  12. Pat Benoit1/7/13

    AW is a pretty sick and nasty place. The regulars are a bunch of failed and frustrated writers taking out their ire on new members.

  13. Anonymous2/11/13

    This is really quite funny. There is now malware on AW that pops up and demands you click on it and update Java. DON'T DO IT! It's a result of all those ads they're running.

  14. There really are plenty of other places to find crit partners besides a forum run by insane bullies. It's not worth going to such a toxic site for any reason.

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  17. I'm very left wing and traditionally (TRADE) published but I was bullied there too.

  18. Richard5/11/13

    Have you noticed how many mods there are there now? Crikey, talk about too many chiefs and not enough Indians. And it makes me uncomfortable the way they attack publishers etc.unless they're one of the much revered "majors." Who, incidentally, are on the ropes due to the Internet. That lot over there just haven't moved with the times. Every book is now available on Amazon, it's the great equalizer.

  19. Absolutewrite They have mods that make all kinds of pronouncements about publishing and they are SO outdated as to be nonsense. One of the mods recommends a book from 1999 to everyone. You can't try to offer real advice to people who ask because a crazy mod will attack you and tell everyone that you are wrong and then proceed to give advice from 1999. It isn't just self publishing they don't know about,, it's any modern information about publishing. This "supermod" recommends a book to everyone that says 'you may not want to use your typewriter for you manuscript as many people these days are learning about computers." LOL That would be OK though if she didn't tell everyone else they were wrong about everything or she didn't tell them they should be ashamed if their book sells less than 20,000 copies or if the Head Admin didn't ban anyone who said anything in reply to the crazy mod and that crazy old mod runs amok all over the board insulting people.

  20. Beryl7/11/13

    I agree. Their advice would have been fine 15 years ago, but today it's so outdated it's comical. Imagine querying agents, and not any old agent but TOP ones until you get one to take on your manuscript. ha ha Good luck with than one. If I'd followed that bad advice I'd still be querying instead of which I've sold thousands of copies of my books via smaller publishers and self publishing. AW is like the stagecoach owners when the railroad came through. As for the mods, yes they are rude, and jump on everyone else who isn't even marginally as impolite as they.

  21. Beryl7/11/13

    There's no way a normal person can participate on AW. Have you noticed how any advice an "outsider" gives is immediately jumped on and trashed by one of the ignorant "regulars"? I really feel sorry for a newbie who believes the pile of donkey doo they're peddling there.

  22. Anonymous7/11/13

    You'll notice that the mods and the regulars all have the big avatars that really jump out of you. They pay for those, that's why they're given preferential treatment over the peasants with the small avvies.

  23. Anonymous7/11/13

    I meant to say 'jumped out AT you.' Sheesh, no edit function here.

  24. Harry Norton7/11/13

    Have you noticed how there aren't as many posts and posters as there used to be at AW, and no wonder. You can't treat newcomers like dirt and ban them for no good reason and expect that your overall membership and participation won't suffer. AW figures they're big enough to get away with all this abuse, but hey, they are not! Nothing stays the same or lasts forever, and I'd say AW is on its last legs.

  25. Anonymous7/11/13

    Yes, and there are a limited amount of writers. So it's not too smart to alienate as many of them as you can and boot them off the site. Terrible.

  26. Anonymous8/11/13

    Don't be fooled into thinking AW is a discussion board. It's really a retirement home for redundant industry shills and third rate hacks who can't forgive Amazon for destroying their livelihood. Their hatred has driven some of them mad. Even the board owner spends her time on Twitter talking to her sock puppets like some virtual Norman Bates. No advice you read there can be trusted, and should always be verified elsewhere. It's best not to post there at all as they delete and edit posts at will. However it's quite good fun to play "Spot the Sock".

  27. It wouldn't be so bad if the censorship was at least even-handed. But it's not. There's one law for the Mac crowd and another for the rest of the members, who are treated worse than second class citizens.

  28. Publisher W.6/12/13

    Absolute Write, in the hands of Lisa Spangenberg and her associates, is in effect a judge-jury-prosecutor platform, and one utilized on an almost daily basis to publicly humiliate, bash, defame and even scold people they have never met and do not know, as well as businesses they have never interacted with in any form whatsoever. All it takes is for one question to be asked, or one axe grinder to make an appearance, and the predators smell blood. A swarm of anonymous fairies and fops with ridiculous icons appear and begin fomenting themselves into leaps of logic, unfounded assumptions, and distortions of reality. All this would be amusing if it were not for the fact that their extensive dialogues and diatribes become public record and are ranked high in Google.

    And will the average reader always understand what kind of sociopaths he or she is witnessing. Not necessarily. They appear to speak from authority quite often, give the appearance of sincerity, and there is a background history of real scams revealed by Absolute Write. Users there like Victoria Strauss, who give the appearance of legitimacy, will rush in to show support. But as we all know, the best way to maintain the momentum at Absolute Write is to mix a few grains of truth into one continuous and hydra-headed avalanche of lie. In reality, the core site is a lie on more than one level. The owner and her sock puppets and assorted gang not only shred people all day for amusement and publicity (as someone pointed out, the mediocre writers get publicity for their poorly written books each time they post) and monetary gain (huge revenue from advertisements), the site itself purports to offer good advice to writers when in fact it does no such thing. Advice is amateurish and quite often just plain wrong.

    Regardless, the bullies at Absolute Write, herded there by Lisa Spangenberg (as we all now know) and goaded on by her at all times with great vigor, basically function as a Salem witch trial. Accusations are often baseless, but delivered and discussed with excessive zeal. Victims are displayed for purposes of torture, and anyone who disagrees is accused of being a witch also.

    One has to ask: what gives such cowardly arm-chair nerds the right to act as prosecutors, judge and jury? Nothing gives them the right. These are a bunch of losers looking for payback. I've seen it before. I've fired abnormals like this at my job because they were caught retaliating against other workers using phony online identities.

    I know the type, and I sincerely hope someone is able to bring legal action against Lisa Spangenberg and her hateful crew.

  29. Mardi6/12/13

    "I know the type, and I sincerely hope someone is able to bring legal action against Lisa Spangenberg and her hateful crew."
    Amen to that.

  30. Ditto to what I've been saying on every thread about this topic. Who the f%ck cares?

  31. Anonymous9/12/13

    You do apparently, since this is your sixth comment on the subject.

  32. Martin12/1/14

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=macallister stone

    Macallister Stone is not Lisa or Melodi. She is herself. This is the real Stone. Too many pics spread over different accounts, and more on DigitalMedievalist at Flickr as well as Stone's own Flickr account which feature her looking like Prince Valiant with dyed blonde hair and riding a big fat horse. She and Lisa are living together in WA state, about an hour from Seattle. They raise horses and little ducks and spend their spare time ripping new ones at AW.

  33. Martin13/1/14

    Well, correction. http://absolutewrong.blogspot.com/2013/12/those-pesky-legalities.html

    The detective pretty much proves Melodi Sherman and Macallister Stone are the same person. That means Melodi has been pushing herself off as Macallister Stone to who knows how many people? Obviously, the photo snappers at Viable Paradise believe she is a Macallister Stone. Little did they know they were taking pictures of a fraud, a walking and talking human sock puppet. OMG. A sock puppet in the flesh.

  34. Enough sitting on the sidelines. Let's go to W.A.R. http://writeabsolutereviews.blogspot.com

    We're looking for posters to provide specific information and links to Absolute Write incompetency and bullying.

  35. Anonymous27/2/14

    If you like killing time on the internet with miserable people, Absolute-write is the place for you. If you are trying to work your craft and learn a thing or two... look elsewhere. Just awful, bitter wannabes of the lowest ilk. I can't put it any more plainly.

  36. Anonymous2/3/14

    Wow, I had no idea my experiences on that site were so common. Mean, nasty mods.

  37. While many of the comments registered here against AW are unfortunately accurate, I'd point out that it is a private board and nobody is being forced to continue to frequent it or contribute to it.

    You have a choice... "leave". ("Check out the back, Jack; make a new plan, Stan; no need to be coy, Roy... just set yourself free.")

    That's what I did! :-)