Earlier in the year I wrote this post after I had found out that a couple of extremely popular m/m romance and erotica authors writing as gay men were actually women.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I couldn’t give a flying fuck if the books I like are written by gay or straight, boys or girls, genderqueer, trans, etc because quality is all that matters to me.
However, if an author has been deliberately misleading, if not down right dishonest, about their gender and sexuality that’s when I call bullshit.
Today, I’m calling one particular author out. Oh, yeah. I. Am. Pissed.
Oh, don’t worry about me landing in the shit. I’m sticking with my policy of not naming names.
I’m just going to play them at their own make-believe game and talk about them as an hypothetical example.
I can’t possible get blamed if you all guess who the author in question is then, right?
What if an author creates an elaborate bio and life around their pseud/persona?
What if an author hires a gay model/actor to ‘play’ them online? Posting photos of ‘their’ so-called life?
What if an author gets this gay model/actor to go to a book signing event as ‘their’ persona?
What if an author even goes to the extent of writing articles for well-known GLBTQ and review sites about ‘their’ life as a gay man, ‘their’ coming out story, etc?
What if one of the people an author works with finds out the truth and calls ‘them’ on it?
What if an author justifies ‘their’ actions by saying it was marketing strategy in order for ‘them’ to appear more ‘legitimate’ to readers?
What if the person who works with an author cuts ties completely because of their outrage at this betrayal to and blatant exploitation of the GLBTQ communities?
What if the person never discusses what happened and despite the struggle it causes within because of their own family situation?
What if the person goes on to be successful in their own right?
What if an author appears to react to some of the suspicions now surrounding ‘them’ by entering into a working and life partnership with another author?
What if rumour mill begins to churn madly about the possibility that an author’s new partner is actually ‘them’ writing under another pseud?
What if an author gets jealous of the popularity of the person who used work with ‘them’?
What if an author accuses the person of using ‘them’ as a launch pad and tells the person they should be more grateful?
What if an author goes so far as to say the person is only interested in GLBTQ issues in order to look like an ally and thus make more money?
And, what if the person, who has a gay family member, is flabbergasted and hurt by this accusation?
It makes you think, doesn’t it.
It makes you think about how hard you would punch this fucking bitch author in the face and make her life a living hell.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Those who dared:
ouaqquwcgk on my confession dkmhwgijnw on random awesomeness Kris on maybe it’s me, but… kaetrin on maybe it’s me, but… Kris on maybe it’s me, but…
Smacking is waaaay too good for that pen name author, I'm thinking…
Wow. Just wow. Wanker.
Umm. Wow? Of course I'm curious who the second author is. But hey, I think people who go to such elaborate means to create a false identity should be more cautious about who they piss off since it will likely come back and bite them in the ass eventually.
Chris: I just can't get other the lengths she will go to, especially lately when she uses one of personas to discuss the issue of an author getting to big for their boots and ignoring where they cam from and the help they were given.
Tam: “I think people who go to such elaborate means to create a false identity should be more cautious about who they piss off since it will likely come back and bite them in the ass eventually.”
It will. The most unfortunate thing about this situation is the people they hurt, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently, along the way.
Jase: Yeah, it's just me? Well, you know what a bitch I am so…
Eyre: Can't be bothered guessing, Eyre??
Can we play 20 questions?
I'll start: has this author been publishing m/m for more than 5 years?
Not according to goodreads, Alaina. They list the first book as being released in 2007.
Does it begin with an 'A'?
Is it bigger than a breadbox?
Mariana: I believe there is an 'a'… in both pseuds.
Chris: We talking bra size, ego?? You gotta be more specific, hun.
Hell, I can't afford to send my own ass to book signings, much less somebody else's.
So, let me get this straight, 'cause it's like a content editor's nightmare.
Female Author A is not only posing as Male Author A but has also concocted an affair with Male Author B, who is actually Female Author A under a different pseud. But, in fact, neither of these personages exist except in Female Author A's fertile and devious imagination.
In addition, Female Author A is insanely jealous of a former associate/(maybe)writer who has gone on to enjoy some measure of success, and is now attempting to undercut this former associate's success by launching accusations of crass motives for entering the m/m romance genre.
And somewhere in there is a gay family member and hurt feelings (but I lost track — sorry).
Yeah, okay. It's clear to me now.
(Word Veri: fuctu. o_0)
KZ: Yes. You've got it… well, up to the gay family member.
The former associate which is the subject of Female Author A's crass accusations – nice phrasing btw – has a young gay family member with whom she is extremely close and who she has been 100% supportive of since his recent coming out. The suggestion that she is acting in any exploitative way is therefore very hurtful to her. Understandably so.
Make more sense??
Will you be very hurt when I am telling I am completely clueless?? I am sooo out of the gossip mill
I'm confused. Help.
Ny veriword is turdsat. *snicker*
Ingrid & Kaetrin: I found out, not because I'm in the loop, but rather because people know I'm a bitch and likely to get uber pissed at some stage and blog about it.
That's the benefit of having an attitude problem.
Um. I thought I knew who you were talking about but now I'm not so sure!
Whoever it is, it's A pretty shitty thing to be doing. Not only to the poor author who's being treated badly but to those in the community who trust this author. It just shows how one lie can gain momentum until it's totally out of control.
Jen: “… but to those in the community who trust this author.”
I totally agree. I think there are quite a few people who are going to be hurt when this becomes public because they have believed and trusted the author in question. As much as I dislike immensely what this person is doing, it will be extremely upsetting to witness the fallout, especially the devastation of the fans and readers.
Jeebus this *person* is a real cow!!!
I need an update… something has happened to really piss you off.
my veri: ah fec u
What a jackarse.
Wow! I have a hard enough time keeping track of the bios for the characters I'm writing – I can't imagine having to do that for my own too.
I have real sympathy for those authors who might feel trapped by a male identity they created years ago, and that people have come to trust… but deception of this magnitude goes way beyond that.
I think I know who you're talking about except if it's who I think it is, the weird thing is that made up author B was writing in 2006 before author A partnered with them. So was that originally author A's name? It's hard to keep up. And while I'm guessing, does the former associates first name start with an S?
Boogles the mind that someone would go to that length to create a false identity. But the worst part is they are giving advice as a gay man when that's not who they are.
Wow. I have absolutely no problem with gender-bending pen names, and can completely understand the marketing value in writing gay fiction as a 'man' or lesbian fiction as a 'woman'. It doesn't make a difference to me who is behind the page, but I recognize that it does to others.
That said, this is just too much. The bio I can understand, and I can even overlook the photo (after all, Stephen King had someone portray Richard Bachman on book covers), but the public appearances and articles seems to cross a line.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lots of hurt to be had with this one. AJust know it.
Dear Ms Myles, (hehe)
I just wanted to say that I don't think authors are trapped by their choices. I can name many authors that first portrayed themselves as men but have since “come clean” so to speak. It used to be the thing to pretend to be a male author but that's definitely not in vogue any longer. When some of these female authors came clean, there were mild rumblings (at most) but then most readers shrugged, said they always figured that and moved on.
I think the longer it takes an author to admit their deception the worse it is. Then again coming clean and apologizing always seems to endear readers to the authors.
“That's the benefit of having an attitude problem.”
Ah! I'd been wondering what exactly the benefit was. 😀
Holy cow…I'm a newbie author in the M/M genre and I use a pen name but in my bio I tell everyone I'm female. What's the point in pretending to be someone or something you aren't? Crazy.
I just want to know how this person is managing the 37 hour day they must be living to have time for all of this!
Sheesh, I have enough trouble being Angelia Sparrow (and sometimes my children's book penname). I can't imagine being Michael Raleigh and concocting an affair with A.J. Sparks(also unlikely, because while AJ is flamboyantly gay, Michael is straight, misogynistically so) on the side. Or rather, I can, but the prospect exhausts me and I have books to write under both of my names, on top of a 50 hour work week.
My 'yeah…' was not agreeing that it was just you. It was more a lack of how to vocalize my feelings on the subject.
Errr yes interesting reading, pretty despicable behavior!
I can accept the fact that certain mm romance authors pretend being a man, but to create alter ego's, gay life with a partner and giving advise on gay life style or life in general … that is so wrong! That's deceiving and lying!
MummaJ: Let's just say there were are several 'unfucking believables' from this hemisphere followed by a very loud 'enough of this fucking shit'. Yeah.
Sean: You're being very polite… you sick or sumpin'??
Jo: “I have real sympathy for those authors who might feel trapped by a male identity they created years ago, and that people have come to trust…”
I do too… to a certain extent. I think epublishing has helped to create a totally different world for these authors which provides for more acceptance. As Kassa said, a couple of authors; for eg, T A Chase, have 'come out' with relatively little backlash so it doesn't really make sense why others cling to the male identity they created or were sometimes forced to create when the genre was in its infancy.
“… but deception of this magnitude goes way beyond that…”
That's for damned sure.
Richelle: I'm not certain about your authors A and B, but your second guess was a hit.
“But the worst part is they are giving advice as a gay man when that's not who they are.”
That's the one that really bites. It's appalling.
Sally: I think there are different reasons for pseuds, which some people may or may not totally like but do understand and are reasonably tolerant about. However, there are lines, and, yes, those have definitely been crossed in this case. To speak from/of the gay experience in GLBTQ life style articles is intolerable.
Kassa: *clutches pearls* zOMG! Are you sure?!
Juni: *snort* I'm AJust sure you do.
West: “What's the point in pretending to be someone or something you aren't? Crazy.”
Crazy, you say…
Angelia: “I just want to know how this person is managing the 37 hour day they must be living to have time for all of this!”
Exactly! Does my head in – and we all know that my head is completely fucked as it is – just trying to think about it! How the hell does she keep up all the personas?! It boggles the mind.
Jase: I get you. Hard to know what to say to this, isn't it.
Perpetua: Yup, not nice at all.
Arzu: “… but to create alter ego's, gay life with a partner and giving advise on gay life style or life in general … that is so wrong! That's deceiving and lying!”
Well said. I certainly agree with you and there will be many others who do too. This will not be pretty when it becomes public.
But it might not become public. At least not in any widespread way.
Seems that unless somebody behaves badly online and alienates scads of people, like your oh-so-delightful countrywoman to the northeast, a lot of author-related crap never really hits the community fan.
Well, the author has already been named in the comments, KZ, and I'm not into behaving even more badly than I already do so…
What I mean is, it might not explode beyond this isolated discussion — like onto the GR M/M Romance group or Wave's site or Dear Author or even smaller reader/reviewer/author blogs. People are generally reticent about “getting involved,” especially if they're not personally affected by something. So, the whole subject could simply die a quiet death.
*shrugs* Just sayin'.
I had a rant about it at Ethan Days groups 🙂 I want to be more technically minded so ican blog about crappy shitty things like this. But I'm boring and never have anything really interesting to say but I'd be really good at it coz I have kids and am used to being yelled at.
please someone email me with who the f*ck we are talking about. I thought I knew but now my 3times pregnant sapped brain is confused (yeah yeah it doesn't take a lot to make me confused…. Old joke)
Tish did you not get my email??
Umm, no still speechless.
*recovering brain function*
Well I think I figured out who the author is (thanks to the comments, or it would have bugged the hell out of me while I tried to figure it out). The whole story just boggles the mind. I'm just surprised the former associate isn't shouting from the rooftops about said author's behavior. But karma's a bitch and it's bound to catch our dear pen name author sooner or later. *insert evil laughter*
KZ: It's already gone on to other sites/groups in GR and in Yahoo, which I can tell from the site traffic feeds. As to whether it goes to the larger review blogs, I think they will be careful about legal issues before/if they do anything.
Tish & Perpetua: I assume chats offline have answered your questions??
Eva: O.o pretty much says it all really.
“I'm just surprised the former associate isn't shouting from the rooftops about said author's behavior.”
She wouldn't. She is way too nice for her own good. Luckily Karma is sometimes an Aussie chick with freckles and is much, much meaner. 😉
Tish & Perpetua: I assume chats offline have answered your questions??
Oh yeah!! 😉
Could prehaps someone be so kind and enlight me as well? It's driving me nuts! My email is
anke_gabriel at yahoo dot com.
Thanks in advance 🙂
I believe all the accusations being made 100%, however, until someone that has personally met/talked/interacted/hired this author and will absolutely verify that he is a she, it's possible for this author to continue to deny this claim. After having our own run ins with her in the M/M Romance Group, she appears so invested in her ruse that I predict she will throw around wild accusations, try and point the scandal in any other direction, say the accuser is jealous and making up stories to ruin “his” career, threaten to sue, and not come clean quietly or graciously.
Using someone else's picture with permission (I am assuming Michael is aware he is her body double, if not that is ANOTHER issue) is not in itself unusual or totally scandalous. It happens all the time in the world of the Internet.
Now, if you start giving advice and relating completely fictitious coming out stories as nonfiction you enter into the world of fraudulent behavior of which these publications (has anyone tracked down these articles or interviews?) should be pursuing legal actions and issuing retractions and corrections. Not to mention fixing their own crappy vetting process.
This all hinges on proving s/he is a woman and that she is also the other author as well.
As for the scandal widening, in the GR group, any member can start a thread. If you want to discuss it and “get involved” I encourage you to do so. The debates are fascinating.
Em – it's me again 🙂 I just surfed the pages of my friends and their friends on GR and consider me surprised, when I saw on the GR page of the author in question: Gender – female! When did that happen or was it there already and I just didn't realize?
Sorry Anke, hun, for not getting back to you sooner. Life!
For some info about what's happened since my post click on the links below, from top to bottom:
That should help explain some of the changes you have seen on some sites.
You've probably seen the 'coming clean' post. If not see the link in my response to Anke.
It says there that Michael is a friend who was kind enough to let her use his pics and to do the author signing for her. I vaguely recall that Michael made another appearance for her… with a porn star… I think it was in an interview that I read which was with her…
“say the accuser is jealous and making up stories to ruin “his” career, threaten to sue”
Oh, that already happened days ago. Apparently I was talked into being a 'mouthpiece' for the person AJ was attacking. An accusation to which her former associate basically laughed and said words to the effect of 'you try and stop Kris from doing something'.
what a mess! so early in the morning 😀
*dabs hanky to corner of her eye* sorry, I just read a come clean post.