Help L.J. Smith - The Vampire Diaries Controversy

Sunday, February 6, 2011

There are always going to be injustices in the world, whether they be in our personal lives or in the media, but I have to say I’ve been absolutely floored by the controversy surrounding the future of the Vampire Diaries series written by the one and only L.J. Smith. For those who have yet to read the series, here is a little background for you. The series begins with the premise of two vampires, Stefan and Damon (brothers), both of whom love Elena. The most powerful message in the book and television series is the feeling of love between Damon and Elena, and if you’ve missed that message, you clearly did not read the book, or you simply skimmed it.

In short, when L.J. Smith started the Vampire Diaries series, she wrote it “for hire,” meaning that while she is the author of the series and HarperCollins is her publisher, Alloy Entertainment actually owns her series. Now Alloy Entertainment no longer wants the Damon/Elena storyline (they want straight Stefan and Elena, as well as far less Bonnie) in the books, so L.J. Smith has been cut from her series. The Vampire Diaries series will now be written by a ghostwriter who has absolute liberties with the series, only barring said ghostwriter from the Damon/Elena storyline. It is Alloy Entertainment’s belief that fans of the series won’t know the difference between the ghostwriter and L.J. Smith, herself, anyway.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this to be horrid overstep by Alloy Entertainment and HarperCollins. Personal opinion be damned…frankly, L.J. Smith’s writing voice is now being stifled and silenced after years of hard work, love and determination on a popular series because she simply wouldn’t be meek, obedient and spineless. A quote from L.J. Smith, herself, “I am very, very sad—sadder than I have ever been since my mother passed away—but there is absolutely nothing I can do. There will be no more Delena in the series—although Elena may be fond or physically attracted to Damon.”

Bear in mind that an official statement hasn't been released, and I’m not sure we can do anything about this, guys, but I know that the book blogosphere is made of powerful voices and even stronger individuals. If you are as disgusted by this cruel turn of events on L.J. Smith, please help do something about it! Tweet it, blog it and make it known that this cannot and will not be tolerated! At the very least, please sign the petition HERE because like it says, “No L.J. Smith = No Book Sales!”

67 comments:

  1. I have never read or really watched this but I do know that is absolutely horrible. How can they do that to her? Poor gal. That really really sucks.

    I think the tv and film industry should be more sensitive to writers. If it wasn't for books, they would never have any new material.

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  2. I just read this on another blog post earlier this morning. I've never read a V.D. book, but this horrifies me. The meanie lawyer part of me says "well, you should have had someone advise you better before you signed the original contract." But the nicer part of me realizes that a young author has no standing against a big publisher and can't necessarily get them to change a contract like this. Still, it doesn't seem all that common to have such provisions in a contract - at least I hope not. I wonder if this is an Alloy thing.
    The annoying part is that Alloy is partially right - the casual fan probably won't realize or care that LJ is no longer writing the books.
    Kudos to LJ for actually speaking up about this. Hopefully, it will raise enough controversy that Alloy will either back down or be really embarrassed.
    I hope she can get a new contract with another publisher and write more books.
    This feels like having your child stolen away.

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  3. Thanks so much Melissa, you've said it better than me. I was too floored earlier to add too much background. I hope that we can change this, i really do. It brings tears to my eyes, so I can't even imagine how L.J. must feel right now.

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  4. I haven't read the books or watched more then 2 episodes of the show, but I think that is awful! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. :)

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  5. This story shows how careful an author must be nowadays - practically he/she shouldn't write a word without a good lawyer advising them. Very sad but I guess it is in perfect accordance with the contract she's signed. Now only fan pressure could change anything but if fans don't care (or don't see any difference) the series is doomed to be ghostwritten.

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  6. Okay. I remember seeing this series around when I was teen and thought it was neat that it was making a comeback for a new generation of readers. When I found out there was going to be a tv series, I thought it would be a nice accompaniment to the series. Now to hear that she is being fired from writing her OWN series... that just floors me. That is absolutely ridiculous and I think SHE should have the say in whether or not she continues Damon and Elena's storyline, or Stefan and Elena's storyline. Seriously. These books have been around for YEARS. Why should that give Alloy Entertainment the right to decide whether or not they want L.J. Smith to continue the series.

    In True Blood, there are a lot of creative liberties taken that are not included in the book. Certain characters were killed off in the books, and they are still alive in the tv series (or they were when I last watched it. I haven't seen season 3 yet). Why should that impact what L.J. has written, or will write?

    I hope Alloy Entertainment realizes what a colossal mistake they are making and rectify it before it gets any further out of hand.

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  7. I've never read the Vampire Diaries books, but this really, really bothers me. I understand that film and television adaptations need to take some liberties with the storyline, but to fire the author of the books from the show just because you don't like where the plot goes, is messed up.

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  8. How unfair and terrible! I haven't read the books but I have always associated L.J Smith with the series. How can there be Vampire Diaries without her?!! I hope Alloy Entertainment realizes what idiots they are being!

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  9. I guess I should add HarperCollins in conjunction with Alloy Entertainment to my post above. :S

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  10. That is really just...crappy. I haven't read the series or watch the show, but no one should be allowed to take someone's work.

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  11. Unethical. I have really enjoyed TVD books and TV series and it is dissapointing to know that an author that has creatied so much revenue and this amazing series that we all love can be dismissed that easily. We would not have any of these characters without her.

    Really maybe she should just kill off Stefan and let Damon and Elena live happily ever after.

    And really, if there wasn't this love triangle would we have enjoyed the books as long as we have? I think not.

    Hopefully as fans we can do something about this. Thanks for the post.
    K.

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  12. I've never watched or read the series but this is RIDICULOUS! The author has a vision for where things are going and knows those characters in and out. Messing with that is so not cool. These fans of the books will boycott the rest of the series because they read it for LJ Smith's writing and storyline..especially when people get wind of this. It's like stealing somebody's baby and giving them away to the highest bidder. VERY frowned upon. lol

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  13. This is horrible. I have also not read any of the series, but I think it's safe to say taht most of us associiate L.J. Smith with the series. To assume taht her fanbase won't know the difference between her writing and the ghostwriter's writing, is nothing short of insulting. Not only that - taking such liberty and cutting her off from her writing and stifling her voice, is the worst form of oppression that I've ever heard of. Shame on Alloy Entertainment.

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  14. I have not read the books, only watched the tv series. So I am not sure how dominant the Elena-Damon relationship is in the books, but if it's anything like the tv series - HOLY CRAP! You can't get rid of that!! It blows my mind that someone can just take an author's words right out from under them. They were HER thoughts to begin with!! I'm afraid this will turn bad for the books.

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  15. This news horrifies me. I have yet to read this series, but I can guarantee you I will not be buying any TVD books NOT written by L.J. Smith.

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  16. I am in total agreement! No LJ - no sales! This is an outrage! I LOVE Vampire Diaries!!! I live for it every week! I hate that authors don't have a say in anything that happens to their books. I believe if someone wants to make a book into a TV series or a movie, the author should have final say in everything. I'm so disgusted...where's that petition!

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  17. I wasn't a fan of these books (although I adore the TV series) but I find this absolutely ludicrous and completely unethical. What assholes.

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  18. Wow. This is terribly unfortunate. I read the books just prior to the television series coming out. Am a fan of the TV show too although very different from the books. But one thing that is consistent is the Damon/Elena connection.

    With that missing it will really take the heart out of the storyline and the spirit and direction the author had for the story in the first place.

    Damon in both the books and tv show is probably one of the most entertaining characters and I can't imagine downplaying his role for any reason.

    And after the last book I can't imagine how that can possibly happen and make any sense.

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  19. Vampire Diaries will not be the same without L.J! This whole thing is just ridiculous! Clearly Alloy Entertainment has no clue as to what the fans want! If you take out all the Delena, no one will care! Do they not know that Delena is one of the main reasons why people like VD so much! Down with Alloy! Delena are my favourites!

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  20. Well, I sympathize, but she took the job as a job, for a boss. And she knew the ground rules. She could have written her own vampire books (and actually, now she probably will). While it may suck for fans of the series, it's probably the best thing that ever happened to her.

    Scott Nicholson

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  21. I'll share on FB...happy to help.

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  22. Harper Collins and Alloy Entertainment are beyond out to lunch on this topic. I will never buy another book written by their ghost writer. I am totally a Team Damon member and the fact that their choices for actors portraying them show, reveal that there is no chemistry between Elena and Stephan anyway.

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  23. This is sad... I'm signing the petition! Thanks for letting us know about this, Melissa.

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  24. It is extremely unfortunate, and, of course, painful for her. Unfortunately, that's the writing-for-hire gig -- you don't own your work. And, when you pour your heart and soul into it, the people for whom you earned all the money will take it away and hand it to someone else. That is the reality of the "for hire" world.

    The only way to actually have an impact is if people don't buy the series written by the ghostwriter and it hits the publisher in the pocketbook.

    I hurt for her, it sucks that Alloy/Harper did this, but that's ALWAYS the risk you run in a for-hire agreement.

    I hope it turns out well for her -- either that Harper rethinks its position, or she goes off and does something on her own that leaves them in the dust.

    Never read the books, LOATHE the series (too much bad acting for me), but, as a fellow writer, I feel badly for her.

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  25. Such a sad and horrible thing to do! Poor L.J...

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  26. Like Ash said above, I didn't really care for the books, but I like the TV series. Either way, an author being "fired" from her own series is completely and utterly awful. And they think people won't notice the difference? I think they should give their readers a little more credit. Even though I'm not a fan of the books, I support L.J. Smith 100% in this one. She has the right to continue her series the way she wants to, considering that its HER work and HER idea.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Melissa!

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  27. I *knew* there was a ghost writer. I read/followed LJ Smith when I was in middle school/high school in the 90s.

    A decade later when more Vampire Diaries were being released, I was really excited. I read the first of the new series and was disgusted. The voice is drastically different and NOTHING like the original LJ Smith series.

    The show is atrocious --- doesn't follow the book at all. Bonnie, notorious for being an Irish ginger, has changed and Meredith (my fav from teh books) is not in the show at all.

    This truly sucks and makes me sad, but I'm also glad that I don't buy/read/follow/watch the new books or the show.

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  28. I woke up this morning and read lots of tweets about this! I was like, "Wow! Really?!" Why would they do that? :\

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  29. What!? I am so upset!!! I love the Elena/Damon 'relationship"... who do we write to to protest? So we are going to get less Damon... *heart stops*

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  30. its rediculous they were her books but i feel like she should not of sold the rights for the books to make the show without more of a say. After all the show is so much different then the books.

    Look at true blood & Sookie books or Twilight and movies there is more of an effort to follow the story lines.

    AND why the makers want to change the books so much i have no idea its not like they really use them anyways!

    The books wont be the same anymore

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  31. I was so shocked when I came across this! I've read the entire Vampire Diaries series, and I don't see anything wrong with the Elena/Damon relationship. Though the books aren't that good, why in the world would you fire an author? If Alloy Entertainment is so against it, why didn't they just stop the series earlier? Honestly, not that they're firing LJ Smith, people probably won't read whatever new Vampire Diaries books that come out as a way of protest.

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  32. This is actually ridiculous. How can they do this? Why would they even want to cut Delena? Delena is what makes the series! I haven't read all of the books, but I watch the show and I know that without Delena it would be much less interesting. LJ Smith put it there for a REASON and being a bestseller I'm sure she knows what she's on about. I can't believe this is allowed to happen. I am so very furious right now.

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  33. Well, this is pretty sucky for the author! Maybe I'm being incredibly naive in saying this, but I can't believe something like this would happen. I don't read this series or really have any vested interest in the TV show but I will definitely sign the petition!

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  34. That is intolerable!!! She IS Vampire Diaries!!!!!!!! I've read all those books and love them dearly as well as watch the shows. I think that if a ghostwriter writes them, they will lose the essence of hte books completely and fans will be turned off the show. I was already disppointed to not have a Meredith in the show but to stop the Damon/Elena/Stefan triangle and to have less of Bonnie!! What the hell are they thinking!! THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE VAMPIRE DIAIRES!!!!!!!! Then to have some outsider write the storylines that don't have the insight of all the characters because they are NOT the author of them is ridiculous!! I hope something can be done to stop this from happening. Here's my vote for L.J. Smith. She is truly a wonderful author and storyteller and needs to have a say in the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  35. it's a shame. She's the author it is HER books, no one have the right to telle her what she have to write. I can't believe it !

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  36. What I don't understand is this-- why not make two separate series? One that continues with the authors original storyline and one that is based off the television show, much like they did with the Roswell novels. I haven't read the original VD novels because one VD adaptation is enough for me, but it seems like this whole thing could be solved if they'd just create series based off of the TV series that is separate from the original...

    On a side note, in the VD series Elena goes with Damon? Really? I see the tention going that way in the series, but huh... Never would have thought!

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  37. I've blogged, tweeted AND signed the petition. I've also sent your link around to various other people. I hope we can help her retain her work, man.

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  38. I'm a big fan of the TV series, but I've never read the books. I can't believe that the publishers would cut L.J. Smith out of her own series! That's just terrible! This is the first I've heard about it, so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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  40. That's a horrible situation! I wonder what other authors contracted under Alloy think of this - I think Sara Shepard's PLL is under them, as well. Here's an article from a 2009 New Yorker that highlights the company. Sounds a bit like what James Frey's company does, althrough I hope without the horribe contracts.

    Thanks for bring my attention to this Melissa!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

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  41. Oh no, I'm so upset by this news! L. J. Smith was my first paranormal author I discovered and fell in love with. Her books hold such a special place in my heart. I feel so terrible for her! I won't buy or even read one of those ghostwritten books. Thank you for bringing attention to this.

    I'm mostly outraged that this was done to L.J. Smith, but I'm also sad because I'm a Damon/Elana fan. Does this mean the TV series also won't have any hope of them getting together? Ugh, that hope and tension was a big part of why I enjoyed watching the show. So disappointing.

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  42. Well that answers the question of who is being killed off in the tv series this season. The creators said a main character would be killed and it wouldn't be like last season: that this time it would be final and 'perhaps' result in a spin off in the coming years. Yep. Damon will die. And then the show will suck with vanilla, spiritless Stefan wrapped around Elena's finger with no decent, suspenseful, romantic plot lines anymore. I'll stop watching if Damon is killed off and this is my favorite show on television right now.

    That rant aside, L.J. Smith is an amazing author. And this middle-man entertainment company is so ego-maniacal that they've completely lost touch with reality! AS IF we readers couldn't tell the difference between the creator of a world we all love and cherish and some hack ghostwriter. At best it will be FANFIC. I WILL NOT buy any more books in this series! L.J. Smith made this world for us. We owe it to her to stay loyal!

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  43. That's terrible! And frankly, I don't see how it's even fair, but I guess we don't know the contracts and all that. Personally, I love the idea of Elena and Damon together, and their relationship kind of developing has been the best part of the newer vampire diaries books, the very best part. I don't mind Bonnie having less chapters where she's narrating, but I do love her character.
    I'll definitely be signing that petition! I won't be buying or even reading the series anymore if they take it away from L.J. Smith.

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  44. Melissa, I have yet to read this series, but this whole situation is atrocious. Sole rights should remain with the author.

    Thank you so much for being this to my attention. I appreciate your efforts.

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  45. By the way, I wrote a follow-up post HERE, inspired by your post, Melissa! Thanks again for bringing this up!

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  46. Quite frankly I have't read the books but I LOVE LVOE LOVE the t.v. series and hoestly I not much of a Stefan fan so if they're going to cut out Damon and making it the Elena and Stefan show, not only do the book sales decrease so will the audience, I speak not only for myself when I say that most of us are in loved with Ian Somerhalder!!! I going to write a follow up post! Tahnks for bringing this to my attention!

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  47. I haven't read or seen the series but this is DISGUSTING! How can they do that!? that is someone's hard work and they are like NOPE don't like it, BOOM your fired... now you.. write what I WANT! ! ARGH!

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  48. I cannot even begin to image the pain that L. J. must be going through right now. As a reader, I know how connected I become to characters, so it stands to reason that as an author that connection has got to be so heartfelt that L.J. must be feeling a lot of grief over this insanity.

    Thanks for posting abut this!

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  49. What a shame! To take away somebody's works that they have worked hard on and accomplished, just to hand it over to someone else. Very sad indeed! :(

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  50. Yes, this is hardcore ridiculous. Though I'm not quite fond of the later books in the series, I am disgusted that LJ isn't able to end the series the way SHE wants it to end. It's extremely sad that her right to write what she wants is being taken away from her :(

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  51. l read this at Narratively Speaking and can not believe it.
    I strongly believe that even if she can't do anything about it the people who do own the rights (she should, she is the creater!!!!) they should know better to do this.
    I hope something can be done about this!!!

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  52. I agree with Melissa on the whole thing that it feels like your adopted child has been taken away. Adopted because this series is more like her adopted child, rather than blood child, but she still loves it the same.

    This is downright wrong though, no matter what the contract says. She made those characters. Plus the fan in me wants to keep Delena too! And I wanna keep Bonnie! I haven't read the books, though I intend to because I love the show (and think I'll love the books even more!)

    I totally signed the petition!

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  53. Horrible! I don't often watch the TV series, but I really love the older books in the Vampire Diaries series. That they are as good as stealing LJ Smith's story (worse, mutilating it), is really disappointing. I'll so sign the petition!

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  54. What a terrible thing to do to L.J. Smith!! Is it because Alloy Entertainment is also the producers of the TV show? That's why I love the show -- the Elena/Stefan/Damon storyline. Plus, Bonnie is cool, too! They need a witch in that town. I've never read the books. However, I don't like when books have ghostwriters. I like having the same voice throughout the books and knowing one writer (or at least a team) wrote them. I agree with Kat -- it's stealing her idea and story! Wonder if a writer or creator from the TV series is going to ghostwrite the books.

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  55. That shouldn't be allowed!!! pifft. the last couple of eps seem different from the previous ones, is this the beginning?? frankly im not impressed they would take the rights from her, especially since the love triangle creates the atmosphere for the show.

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  56. Travesty! Just made a post about this and contacted L.J. too. Sad because I've been in contact with her recently to co-host a giveaway celebrating Midnight publication. I really hope this isn't true!

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  57. I cannot believe they did that. That's her *baby*, her creation.

    I haven't rewad the books and I'm not loving the show, but I don't think they should do that to the writer.

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  58. My blog comment got erased when it was uploading, so I'll repost! HarperCollins and Alloy Entertainment should be ashamed of this. What a disappointment that what happens behind the big conference room doors takes the place of what a fan wants, and especially what a writer has created. None of those suited up businesspeople would be making a dime out of this had it not been for LJ Smith's creativity.

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  59. This is frustrating even for me. I can't imagine what it must be like as the author. I remember going to a workshop with Alan Garganus once, and him saying something along the lines of ...if an author is dedicated to their own story, their own writing, they shouldn't turn it over to become a film, because it will be nothing at all like their original creation. Of course, he said it much more eloquently, but that was the gist.

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  60. I am a fan of the TV show and I've read all the books. I was looking forward to reading the next one and happy to know that more were on the way. I think that Shadow Soul was the best book so far because the story line revolved mostly about Damon & Elena. When I heard about Ms. Smith being fired,I was shocked and outraged to know that some publisher can take away your lifes work because it's not going in the direction they wanted... Any one told Tolkien how to end the Lord of the Ring Story?? I am convinced that a lot of reader were looking forward as I did to see more Damon & Elena stories. The whole thing is just very sad.

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  61. I think we should all send emails to Alloy and complain and also sign the petition. I just sent one to Alloy, I don't know if It will do any good. I am not buying any products of theirs until they resolve this issue and if they don't then I guess I never will buy any product they are affiliated with again. This makes me so angry! Let's all try to get the word out there. We should go on the Vampire Diaries message boards, especially the main one at the CW and let everyone know. Write reviews on Amazon letting people that are thinking of reading the series know that it will soon be taken over by a ghost writer.

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  62. This is Terrible! are you kidding me How could they do this to poor L.J Smith! It sounds to me like they are probably going to make it something like a t.v version of Twilight. The reason why the story was so interesting is because of the love triangle between the three main characters! Sometimes Hollywood is so stupid and it frustrates me how the Authors are the ones who are always shafted. I am definitely not watching the series anymore or reading the "New Books" by this so called Ghostwriter. Bring back L.J Smith and keep the characters the way they are! :(

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  63. While I too find it sad that LJ Smith is no longer writing the series, the fact is that she sold away her rights. She made a lot of money doing so, and as such I can't feel too sorry for her. I DO feel sorry for the fans of Delena though, as well as those of us who were original LJ Smith fans from long ago.

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  64. this is horrible if i ever meet the people of alloy entertainment, they better watch their backs....... i am so angry right now screw alloy entertainment!!!!!!!

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  65. I hate this purely because Damon is the reason that I loved the Vampire Diaries, and I also do love LJ's own writing (TBH, I prefer her other stories to the Vampire Diaries, and the Vampire Diaries becomes worthless after cutting out Damon.

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