Lack Of Judgment

I’m not a savior
I’m not a saint
I’m not an angel
I’m not that quaint

Don’t need a preacher
To be that wise
Don’t need a teacher
I’ve got my eyes

Eurythmics ~ You Hurt Me (& I Hate You)

First off this is in reference to this rather strange discussion brought up over at Dear Author by Jane. Who goes on about having a bias against reading books written by men because she would rather read a female author’s voice. OK, so what about a post op transsexuals voice? Whatever, next!

Then she brings up Josh Lanyon whom I guess has somehow become the poster boy/girl for “rumored” female authors using male Pen Names.

Now, you all who actually read this stupid blog know I talked about Pen Names and their use recently to report goings on over at Torquere Press. If I had just wanted to be a bitter asshole and take a cheap shot I am sure I could have addressed this supposed “issue” about straight women writing under supposed Gay Male Pen Names right there. If I had felt it was even an “issue” or more of an issue than what the owners are doing with their various Pen Names.

NO, I have always deeply felt writing was the great equalizer. Much like the internet it afforded you a certain amount of anonymity while allowing your talent, your words and thoughts and ideas to be read by the masses. If you were Black, Gay, Male or named James A. Baldwin, it gave all comers a chance at success through the telling of a story.

Now I am not super sensitive and never have been in my reading. Did it matter to me that Andre Norton was a woman. No, but it did matter to me when I found out why she had to use a male Pen Name to write Science Fiction (Because it was a male chauvinist club for so long). Hell, I was surprised to find out Samuel R. Delany was not only black but even gay. Wow, what was I missing there.

Would finding out tomorrow that information is all wrong and they were all a bunch of middle class, over weight, super bigoted, white guys change how I feel about their writing or their stories? No. Who they were as people never mattered one minute to me. Who’s picture was on the back cover and the color of that persons skin never mattered to me. Reading has never been about my personal agenda or the cult of personality for me and it never will be as long as I live. In fact I am most likely the guy you see running fast in the opposite direction from any given trend. All I know is my world would be a much sadder emptier place to live in if I lost even one of those stories I loved growing up just because of my own narrow mindedness.

So can a women write good stories with memorable Gay characters? Annie Proulx with her Pulitzer god damn fucking Prize sure the hell did and Mary Renault and Patricia Nell Warren and and and… Does anyone read anymore? Why the fuck am I having to discuss the obvious here? Catch a clue and go read a god damn book people!

Am I more biased in reviewing Gay Men. Well yes, yes I am, as I said before…

I think most people know I am a very nitpicky hardass reviewer who not only reads but likes Gay Romance which is written mostly by women but I also have some experience in the area of Gay Sex and being Gay and I must admit I am far harder in my reading of Gay male writers because I for one expect a Gay writer to have the total experience of being Gay and I guess I expect he probably should be able to riff on all that in unique but realistic ways even in a fictional story.

That should be pretty obvious to anyone.

Why do I like Josh Lanyons books?
As I said in the comments at Dear Author…

  • No Chicks With Dicks or Stupid Stereotypes as characters.

In Josh’s series The Adrien English Mysteries the two romantic heroes are…

Adrien English, short, scrawny, even physically fragile and relies heavily on his intelligence rather than physical abilities and seems to have no real solid connections to the surrounding Gay community in LA and I think he has serious relationship issues.
BUT! He is not effeminate, swishy, affected, or constantly in some weak damsel in distress mode.

Jake Riordan on the other hand is big, strong, alpha, straight acting in extreme and seems to have a lot of friends and sexual contacts in the Gay community and let’s face it folks he is a cop and let’s just say from having run into a few in my life Gay Cops are a little um shell shocked up there if you get my drift.
BUT! He is also homophobic, dark, hard drinking, self denial queen supreme, who is also physically violent and a lying sack of shit who not only dates but then marries a woman.

Now if you as a man or a woman were writing an easy formula Gay Romance would you or anyone else even go near these characters as your Romantic Heroes? Probably not. That is the genius to The Adrien English Mysteries because it is a Gay Mystery series with strong Romantic Elements.

  • This is not a OK Homo World.

Even though it is fiction The Adrien English Mysteries are not set in an OK Homo World where all the characters presented are either Gay or Gay Accepting. In fact the main obstacle in Jake and Adrien’s relationship is Jake would rather not be Gay. In fact he does everything in the series to undermine any chance of a HEA Gay Relationship because inside he has to reject who he is to be a real man.

  • Gay is a spice of life not the whole enchilada.

At no time in Josh’s narrative are we forced into paragraph upon drawn out paragraph of “WHAT IT MEANS TO BE GAY”. You want my biggest harshest criticism of Gay Romance? Gay people do not sit around defining themselves this way even in thought. They live their fucking life and happen to be Gay. This does not mean we do not have battle scars. Jake and Adrien obviously do. We just do not sit around contemplating our navels questioning what it means to be who we are. Do you sit around defining what it means to be a woman? Or do you just live your life as best you can?

Would I change anything I just said if Josh Lanyon was a woman?

NO

In fact good on Josh because I am way harder on Gay Men and if you read my review of his Adrien English Mysteries you will see I was extremely hard on him about being able to provide an HEA for Jake and Adrien that I would find acceptable. I also felt he needed to work on his tender romantic scenes and not rely so heavily on the slapping in sex scenes which I felt had no real buildup. I think if anything Josh is a great writer trying to work into Romance. I think that is fascinating.

Would I change anything I just said in that review if Josh Lanyon was a woman?

NO

In my own personal dealings with Josh Lanyon have I learned anything besides the fact that Josh is a caring person who is honest with opinions and who has continually supported the efforts of other writers by helping out wherever possible online. NO

Have I ever been rude and demanded to know more about Josh Lanyon, which I do know is a Pen Name? NO

I have been following Dear Author for a while and have always mostly agreed with Jane.
Authors should have the right to an opinion.
Authors should not have to run through the marketing ringer with perfect photos and perfect bios etc etc etc.

It should only be about the story, the writing.

BUT JANE! I also believe Authors have the RIGHT TO PRIVACY.

To make Josh Lanyon the impromptu little example of women writing under male Pen Names based only on rumor and innuendo was inexcusable Jane.

Don’t give me some flippant “that is not what the conversation was about” when you stepped over that line.

Josh Lanyon is a Pen Name. We all know this Jane, no duh.

That person, be they man or woman, has a right to tell you or NOT whatever the fuck they want about themselves but to imply they are lying when all you have is assumptions is wrong.

Just apologize and stop acting like you don’t know any better. DAMN!

Tags: ,

"WTF? Review The Writing Not The Writer" by TeddyPig was published on November 18th, 2008 and is listed in Gay Romance, Wank.

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Comments on "WTF? Review The Writing Not The Writer": 56 Comments

  1. Elyssa wrote,

    Teddy, I agree with you on this issue. Not only that, but now a couple of commentors are coming out against Eloisa James because–heaven forbid–she uses a research assistant as a fact checker.

  2. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    I have always deeply felt writing was the great equalizer.

    Exactly, Teddy. And this is why I (and others) have difficulty accepting any gender switcheroos. Why can’t an author let his/her writing stand or fall on its own merits? What’s the point of devising some elaborate alter-ego? What’s the freakin’ point? This is the twenty-first century, for crying out loud, not the eighteenth or nineteenth.

    I don’t know the first damned thing about Lanyon’s personal life. It never even occurred to me to speculate about it. But that’s not the issue here.

    I can and will, however, address the bottom line. And it’s this: people don’t like to be conned. In the literary world, this has nothing whatsoever to do with pen names. Most authors use them and, usually, for good reason. Pen names are just words; they have no bearing on authorial voice.

    But adopting an elaborate alternate identity complete with a pretend gender, just for the sake of lending one’s work an air of “authenticity,” is a bad-smelling shortcut on what should be a tough-it-out road. As I said before (and you essentially said), any writing should stand or fall on its own merits, regardless of the author’s sex.

  3. LBea wrote,

    I heart you, Das Bear Pork. You da man.

    Heart. Heart. Heart.

  4. El wrote,

    Jane shows her ignorance by proclaiming to read only female authors. She’s proudly written this in past blog entries. What about first initial, last name. Could she tell? Doubt it.

  5. TeddyPig wrote,

    But adopting an elaborate alternate identity complete with a pretend gender, just for the sake of lending one’s work an air of “authenticity,” is a bad-smelling shortcut on what should be a tough-it-out road.

    I don’t judge this that easily.

    “authenticity” does not equal good writing. Good writing equals good writing. You cannot fake that.

    I have no clue if Josh has family that might be effected by this career or has a job in the military or police or maybe it’s a religion issue… for whatever reason Josh might be hurt somehow if there was disclosure of all this.

    I have been in real life positions where I had to lie about being Gay.
    I can see where gaining notice as a Gay Romance writer might cause some difficulties in ones life.

    Plus, who gets to say what is appropriate regarding Pen Names and what is not and why?
    The speculation bothers me and just feels really McCarthyist in nature.

  6. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    “authenticity” does not equal good writing. Good writing equals good writing. You cannot fake that.

    Absolutely true! Which is all the more reason why a good writer should not have to engage in any role-playing shenanigans.

    I fullyunderstand and appreciate the need (or desire) to protect one’s true identity. But that isn’t the issue here. Identity fogging can be done without resorting to the extreme measure of pretending to be a member of the opposite sex.

    If Lanyon were in fact a woman (and I neither care nor have a reason to believe anything either way), what would be the point of “her” pretending to be a man . . . other than to gain more credibility in the GLBT fiction world?

    That’s what I’m talking about — deception for the sake of self-advancement.

  7. Ann Somerville wrote,

    “Plus, who gets to say what is appropriate regarding Pen Names and what is not and why?
    The speculation bothers me and just feels really McCarthyist in nature.”

    Teddy, at no point does Jane – who uses a pseud herself – do anything to attack that practice. The only question raised is whether it’s legitimate for an author to construct an elaborate persona to lend authenticity to their writing.

    You’re attacking Jane, when it’s me who made the points you dislike. So attack me if you wish, but Jane has not said anything the least bit wrong.

    Personally, if someone is pretending to be a gay man to make their gay romances seem better than the stuff women write, then I think that’s wrong. Nothing you say will make me think otherwise. It’s like pretending to be a medical doctor and writing medical mysteries. People will assume you know what you’re talking about.

  8. JL Langley wrote,

    Okay I don’t usually delve into these things, but here goes.

    What amuses me about the whole thing is that the point of choosing writers on their own merit was thrown back at those who initially said it but the point was made that several readers would not read a man writing romance because he didn’t know women. So to point back to the fact that authors should be judged on their writing, which I fully agree with, is um, kinda a moot point because they’ve said outright that they would not even give a male author a chance.

    Personally, I couldn’t stand all the generalizations floating around over there. Why do people still insist on judging people based on stereotypes? I assure you I’m female but I also assure you that doesn’t not guarantee I think or act alike every other female anymore than other people fit into a nice neat slot. It’s the beauty of human beings, there is such a nice wide variety. That said, I think it’s VERY possible for a man to write a woman well and know women, just as it’s possible for a women to write a man well. For that matter it’s possible for a man or woman to write an alien or a shapeshifter or a… well you get my point. People are individuals and while yes some genders share things in common physically, you will never convince me that they are all alike mentally. Give me a stereotype and I can find someone who does not fit it.

    As for Josh? It really doesn’t matter if he is a chimpanzee, he’s extremely talented and he does what he does well! So there will always be someone around who has to try and take away from that talent. But the bottom line is they can’t, because his writing DOES speak for him. He is a talented author and I’m fairly confident he could do justice to a straight female character, a hermaphrodite alien or a gender confused werewolf.

    My hats off to you Josh, you are an amazing writer. End. of. Story. And as always TP thank you for your undying loyalty and the respect you show us authors.

  9. Josh Lanyon wrote,

    Holy…moly.

    Thank you for those thoughts, Teddy Pig. I appreciate them.

    It has been my policy never to address this — it’s no one’s business but my own — but I will answer a couple of points here this one time.

    In my writing book I specifically say that if someone is taking my advice based on a belief that I am male, then that person is missing the point of that book — and good writing and storytelling in general.

    Josh Lanyon is a pen name.

    At one time I toyed with building an elaborate online persona — and whether some people object or not, that is still a perfectly respectable thing to do — but I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t have that kind of energy and I just really didn’t give a damn. That the work would have to speak for itself. So now all my bio says is the simple truth, that as far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the writing.

    My reasons for anonymity are my own, and — if I may be blunt — I don’t give a flying fuck if they meet with everyone’s approval or not. People don’t know what the hell they’re talking about when they make these sweeping statements about other people’s lives and what they should or shouldn’t be brave enough to do. These are the simplistic notions of the inexperienced.

    My head spins when I read some of these comments here and at DA. If I’m male, my success is based on writing like a woman — the implication being, apparently, that all women write the same or write as well as me. If this were the case, I wouldn’t have bothered to put together a writing book.

    If I’m female, my success is based on the assumption that I’m my male.

    So apparently in NO case is my success (which by the way is pretty limited compared to writers like Laura Baumbach, Ally Blue, JL Langley) based on my own ability and talent.

    Okaaaay.

    As far as the male thing…there are plenty of smart, talented, amusing male writers out there, and if they are not as “popular” as me does this have to do with my writing or…what?

    As far as who I am on line…I am exactly as I appear. I do not pretend to be funny, charming, interesting, and fond of my readers. I am those things. *g* And, yes, I am apparently a smart ass as well. But in all seriousness, I don’t share my personal info beyond the occasional comment of going to lunch with the SO (and yes I really have an SO) or the most trivial information. I talk about writing and my thoughts on writing, my political views (rarely), my general ideas and philosophies — it’s not made up. It’s me. Love it or leave it.

    More than this I will not share. I will not answer ever whether I am male or female or a m/f writing team or a space alien — speculate all you like if you’ve got nothing better to do.

    But I will say this much. If I were female and picked a male pen name, then presumably I had a reason and it would hardly serve my purpose to go around stating that I was actually female. Talk about illogical.

    That’s it. That’s all I have to say on the subject. Enjoy the books or don’t. These are works of fiction. You’re not buying ME, and buying my books does not entitle you to a piece of me. It does not entitle you to anything but the best damn story I can write.

  10. Ann Somerville wrote,

    “I’m fairly confident he could do justice to a straight female character, a hermaphrodite alien or a gender confused werewolf. ”

    Has anyone said otherwise?

    Let me ask you this, Ms Langley. If an author claimed to be black, and wrote a story about black romance or something of that sort, and it later came out the person was white – would you not at least wonder why they had to make that up?

    If someone’s a good writer, then they don’t need to fake it. End of story. Faking it means they think their writing can’t stand on its own. Using a male/ambiguous pen name is one thing. Making a persona is entirely the other, and readers have a right to be angry if any author intentionally deceives them. There have been a number of recent cases where authors have done this – claimed an ethnic background, claimed to be homeless, etc – to lend authenticty to their tales (purely with the intention of increasing sales), and when caught out, they’ve been spanked by the consumers. Ironically, in most cases, the writer was actually quite talented, and probably could have done well without this nonsense.

    This is not an issue of gay rights, nor of discrimination. It’s simply about how far authors will go to convince their audience they know their subject – and how far readers will accept an illusory background before they say, no, you’re cheating us.

  11. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    Personally, if someone is pretending to be a gay man to make their gay romances seem better than the stuff women write, then I think that’s wrong.

    That’s the core of the issue for me, too. Whatever other stuff was flying around at DA, I couldn’t help but focus on the issue of writers pretending to be someone they’re not . . . simply for the sake of increasing their authorial stature.

    I’d find that a bitter pill to swallow, talent or no talent. This is about “the principle of the thing” and has nothing whatsoever to do with any particular author.

  12. Ann Somerville wrote,

    “will not answer ever whether I am male or female or a m/f writing team or a space alien — speculate all you like if you’ve got nothing better to do.”

    Except I’ve seen you tear a reader a new one for assuming you were female – and were quite vociferous about the fact you are a gay man. Teddy was (if not now) convinced you were, when he’s more than aware most m/m male named writers aren’t. Are you saying you did absolutely nothing to put that idea into readers’ heads?

    If that’s not true, then you were outright lying. If it is true, then why do you care what we think or not?

    Strangely enough, this issue isn’t about you. Making it personal is distracting from the discussion about what credentials authors need or claim.

    “If I were female and picked a male pen name, then presumably I had a reason and it would hardly serve my purpose to go around stating that I was actually female.”

    Doesn’t seem to bother a good number of authors who do just that and who are upfront about it. I think trying to hide the truth means an author is doing it for nefarious reasons.

    I repeat – there’s a difference between a pen name and a persona. One is used for convenience, privacy and often, at a publisher’s request. The second is a construct by the author alone, and they must answer to it.

  13. LBea wrote,

    Is that Ann I see at the heart of yet another Josh Lanyon witch hunt? Imagine my surprise! How many times is this now…I’ve sorta lost count.

    The work stands for itself. I could give a flying fuck–to quote my pal j– about the rest of this crap.

  14. Ann Somerville wrote,

    Oh go to hell LBea. I didn’t bring Lanyon’s name up first, and I don’t see why he’s sacrosanct.

    If you like his work, good for you. This isn’t about the quality of the writing. I will freely admit I have as little love or admiration for him as he’s on record as having for me, but I have always stated he can write well. However, I have been convinced from the very first that he was female. Had I not seen him claim so vehemently that he wasn’t, this wouldn’t be the least important.

    We can’t discuss this subject and hold certain authors exempt. If you want another name of a ‘gay’ author I have been told is ‘passing’, Matthew Haldeman-Time is one. Erastes did so for a long time, though no longer does. There are others. It’s not a witchhunt.

  15. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    Damned if I know how this got pulled out of the realm of the theoretical and into the realm of the actual, and personal.

    Such is the nature of online discourse, I suppose. Misunderstanding abounds.

    From where I sit, this is NOT NOT NOT about Josh Lanyon!

    It’s about writers–ANY damned writers– pretending to be someone or something they’re not, simply for the sake of increasing their authorial stature rather than securing privacy.

    Oy.

  16. Ally Blue wrote,

    Maybe no one meant for this to become personal to Josh, but when a person’s name is explicitly brought up and his sex discussed, it’s hardly surprising when people see it as personal. Names should never have been mentioned if the intent was to keep the discussion out of the personal realm.

  17. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    Sorry for the confusing use of italics in my last post. Mind whirls, fingers stumble.

  18. Josh Lanyon wrote,

    Except I’ve seen you tear a reader a new one for assuming you were female – and were quite vociferous about the fact you are a gay man.

    Never. Happened.

    I’m not a “hole ripper,” Ann. That’s your style. I’ve defended myself when I’ve been attacked — and getting heated in defense is not something unique to me.

    Furthermore, you’re the one interested in carrying on hostilities — hostilities you initiated. I don’t continue to bring your name up. I don’t have any desire to keep battling with you over…what? You felt I was rude to a reviewer once? Didn’t properly acknowledge your website? This is a one-sided war you’re waging. I went home a long time ago.

    Teddy Pig, the interesting thing about all this is you’re quite right — readers DON’T give a damn about the sex of the writer. The people most concerned with my gender, i.e. my unfair advantage over female writers, are all other writers of m/m fiction.

    May I suggest they spend more time honing their craft and less time worrying about whether I pee standing up.

    And now if you ladies will excuse me, I have a deadline.

  19. Paul Bens wrote,

    I for one can say I am a gay male author.

    And so are all my pseudonyms (if I had any).

  20. TeddyPig wrote,

    Ally,

    Even as stupid as I am I know better than to mention any names as examples unless I know what the fuck I am talking about. Jane brought Josh’s name into the whole discussion on purpose. I even had to tell her that the name she wanted to use was Josh and not J.L. Langley. Her feigning ignorance for bringing up and promoting the whole controversy after the fact is pretty sad.

    But she got the attention she obviously wanted.

  21. Ally Blue wrote,

    TP, you are SO not stupid! I was referring to the DA blog, actually, since that’s where this whole drama started :)

  22. Laura Baumbach wrote,

    A traditional pen name is name on a book cover. With the arrival of the 21st century, authors have moved from isolated offices into the virtual world of the Internet where establishing themselves as a ‘persona’, if you have to label it, is critical to survival and success. The old-fashioned pen name comes with its own pre-existing personality. Trying to separate the two is illogical and unrealistic. They are forever entwined in this modern day and age.

    One point people who are claiming Josh has created a male persona to enhance his status as a M/M romance author have all conveniently forgotten. Josh has been JOSH for at least 10 years, writing successful mysteries and winning significant writing awards. Years before he started writing M/M romance. He must be one hell of a planner to have concocted this persona a decade ago just to enhance his current writing. God, I admire Josh more and more each day.

  23. Ann Somerville wrote,

    “Never. Happened. ”

    Liar.

    The person assuming you were female was batboy (again) and you and another commenter were saying how stupid he was, and how batboy could view your license if he wanted to. This was on your LJ, and the conversation was very much along the lines of what a fucking idiot the person who thought you were female was.

    “I’m not a “hole ripper,” Ann. That’s your style.”
    The same batboy you chewed a hole in here:
    http://jgraeme2007.livejournal.com/6895.html

    By all means, do shoot the messenger. Interesting how you and your little friends are upset at me saying anything, when K Z Snow is saying exactly the same thing. Like she said, this is not about you, your supercharged ego, or the m/m community. It’s about readers and what snowjobs authors deliver.

    And you, ‘sir’ have been pushing the ‘I am a gay man’ line. I call BS. You talk the talk but you aren’t walking the walk, and you have no right to make out you do when you don’t. No one does, especially over an issue of this importance. ‘Stage gay’ is an obnoxious, harmful pretence, and anyone who subscribes to it, is scum.

  24. Fascinated Audience wrote,

    Here’s a question from the peanut gallery – in the big profile cases where readers have felt betrayed by authors – the one that comes to mind right away was the author of “A Million Little Pieces”, the premise of the book was that it was autobiographical. In that case I can see feeling betrayed because it’s supposed to be at least largely true.

    But we’re talking FICTION here. You know, the stuff you make up. Why would the author being gay or not be cheating the reader?

    Because they don’t have “the gay experience”? Do you know that? Could they have “the lesbian experience” or “the bi experience” and be no less subject to discrimination, hatred, ostracism and pain?

    Maybe it’s just me that doesn’t pick up a book and see it being written by a supposed expert or member of some group and give it automatic street cred it doesn’t deserve?

    Being an author doesn’t make you more, or less, than you were before you sold that story but neither does what you were before you sold make you a better writer.

    I’ve read fiction by supposed “experts” that is truly awful. I’ve read fiction by just people who did terrific research that is GREAT.

    Honestly, just give me the damned story and make it a good one. I’d rather sit back and enjoy the story than debate to myself about who you sleep with and whether that fits with what you write. Sheesh.

    But how come it always seems to be other authors that are so concerned? Most non-author readers don’t really seem to give a bleep.

  25. LBea wrote,

    I want to state for the record that I do occasionally pee standing up. Like when I’m at the Eagle. Dude, those bathrooms could use a wipe down. And a working latch on the door. Am I right? This great strapping gal held the door for me and I pushed the garbage cans in front of the door,right? And then this…..wait..is this off topic?

    Does this mean y’all are going to out me someday…or am not enough of a credible threat? Cuz that shit would piss me the fuck off. I have kids who go to school with mean, vindictive 7th and 8th graders…and while my kids are proud that I write gay romance (and I use the term ‘write’ wildly here…er…) the kids they go to school with, the parents of those kids, the teachers, the fucking founding fathers of the town…may not be so proud. And I live in CT….home of the free. I have a right, no an obligation, to protect my family. Do I support gay romance writing, gay causes, blah de fucking blah, yeah I do. I teach Sunday school. Ask me what I tell kids who have questions about the rights of all people.

    I chose to use a pen name for privacy. Period. The end.

    It’s uncool to foist your beliefs on folks at the expense of people’s privacy. I’d be pretty fucking pissed if it was my turn up for the axing by the well intentioned m/m authors who do not have the same things at stake as I do. And even if y’all do, it’s one persons call about their own life: not yours.

    You judge me on my work (ok…well…maybe judge me on my ability to pee standing up…)

  26. Ally Blue wrote,

    As long as you wipe the seat after O_O

  27. Ann Somerville’s Journal » Blog Archive » Wearing medals you haven’t earned. wrote,

    [...] Talking here about these discussions: at DA and at Teddy Pig’s. [...]

  28. Josh Lanyon wrote,

    The person assuming you were female was batboy (again) and you and another commenter were saying how stupid he was, and how batboy could view your license if he wanted to. This was on your LJ, and the conversation was very much along the lines of what a fucking idiot the person who thought you were female was.

    Ann, I don’t know what you have confused this supposed incident with, but this did not happen. There’s the one incident and you’ve quoted it plenty — and over a year later you’re still trotting it out like your set party piece.

    “I’m not a “hole ripper,” Ann. That’s your style.”
    The same batboy you chewed a hole in here:
    http://jgraeme2007.livejournal.com/6895.html

    Holy moly. The same damn post. This is the extent of my sins — this silly, long ago post that you whip out periodically as proof of my overall evilness — and for which I apologized to batboy for on numerous occasions — and for which he forgave me. We’re LJ friends, for godssake, how big a deal could this have been?

    And I guess I could dig THAT link out too but honest to God. Who cares other than you?

    What in the world does any of this have to do with the original topic of discussion, which (if I remember correctly) was whether authors had to resort to disguising gender for credibility?

    You talk the talk but you aren’t walking the walk. No one does, especially over an issue of this importance.

    Ann, I’m writing romance and mystery novels. I’m not writing my memoirs here.

    ‘Stage gay’ is an obnoxious, harmful pretence, and anyone who subscribes to it, is scum.

    Wow. Ann, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I don’t think having a pen name and an online persona makes me scum. We’ll have to agree to differ. As for my sexuality…my personal life is my own. I’m sorry that apparently infuriates you.

  29. LBea wrote,

    Hey. Shouldn’t we all be writing? This is so deja vu! It’s..like…I’ve been here…before…

  30. Maggie wrote,

    I’m going to say straight up that I’ve never been a fan of Ann Somerville, so my comment might bear a slight bias.

    I followed the drama around batboy a while ago, and that was just one incident. Lanyon and batboy have resolved the issue, and I don’t understand why Somerville (as an outside party and definitely not someone connected to the issue) feels the need to bring it up over and over and over. She admits that he’s a good writer, but she dislikes him as a person for this one incident. Then she goes and makes up a bunch more.

    Ms. Somerville, you keep saying you didn’t bring up the topic of Lanyon first, but you did on a lot of occasions! The comment you made at DearAuthor at least indicates that you have some sick fascination with Lanyon. Lanyon’s name pops up in a post and boom! you have a comment on it (first one actually). It was a riveting first comment with reasons as to why Lanyon is actually female, complete with a disclaimer saying that your comment was not meant to be an insult, even after saying that his success was due to being female traipsing around as a male or due to his ability to ape the “female writing style” if such a thing even exists.

    Why would anyone sit around and talk with their gay male friends about whether or not some author you dislike is actually a female pretending to be otherwise? And even worse, why would anyone write out a list of reasons WHY they and their gay friends think this author is actually female?

    You took the time and cited REASONS as to why you think Lanyon is female. That doesn’t make it about Lanyon at all? Not even a little bit? I find your comments about Lanyon being egotist completely ridiculous given the fact that since you’re making all these assumptions about him and he’s just defending himself. And no one asked you for your statement on whether or not Matthew Haldeman-Time is a gay male. So stop dragging more names into the discussion. And no one cares that Erastes used a male penname before admitting that she was female. It’s none of your or anyone else’s business.

    Somerville’s kind of like Perez Hilton. Except she’s there to out all these male writers as actually females. Stop starting stupid assumptions! And even if they are reasonable ones, you don’t get to invade into someone’s private life.

  31. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    K Z Snow is saying exactly the same thing. Like she said, this is not about you, your supercharged ego, or the m/m community. It’s about readers and what snowjobs authors deliver.

    Uh, Ann . . . I only said this discussion wasn’t — for me, at least — about specific authors (Lanyon, in this case), about whose personal lives and motivations I know nothing. I sure as shit have no idea how fragile or supercharged anybody’s ego is (except my own, and I’m even a little fuzzy about that), and I don’t believe I brought up “the m/m community.”

    My point was simply–or maybe not so simply, it seems–that any elaborate deception engineered for the sole purpose of personal advancement would put me off. It’s a personal attitude, not a public accusation.

    Were I to leap to ill-informed conclusions, I’d be donning the same undeserved mantle of authority I hate seeing others wear. And that would make me more of a hypocrite than I could stand.

  32. Kendra wrote,

    I agree that the story should stand on its own and not about who the author is. However, there are authors that I have met in person and I will never buy their books again. It has everything to do with WHO they are not what they write.

  33. Kendra wrote,

    It looks like Jane doesn’t follow instructions very well either. She was sent the instructions on how to use ARe and Stanza. She is now posting that it doesn’t work. I know for a fact she was sent instructions. grrrrrrrrrr

    http://www.teleread.org/blog/2008/11/18/stanza-tips-for-bookstores-and-writers-how-to-sell-epub-books-for-the-iphone-and-ipod-touch/

  34. Anne Douglas wrote,

    I’ve never been one to get so emotionally invested in a story *cough*twilightnutjobs*cough* that I would be emotionally overwrought or disabled at just the thought of the author not being who they were said to be. I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I assumed that the majority of authors, much like actors, take a pseudonym?

    Frankly, I can understand wanting to hide who you are when there are all these crazy, loony stalker fangurls/boyz running around the place. Just because you have skill at telling a good story doesn’t mean you void all your rights to privacy.

    sidenote: I’ve quite enjoyed some of the romance stories written by men, ironically for all the reasons others don’t like them: because I got a more real ‘man-vibe’ about the Hero. I cut my teeth on male orientated action adventure novels, I like getting the male perspective in my romance, too.

    I’m with Teddy P – Review the book, not the writer.

    After all, a good story is a good story…right? Does it really matter if the author was gay, straight, female, male, bi, trans, pink polka dotted alien from outer space if they gave you a story you enjoyed reading?

    I think it was over at DA that a poster made the rough point “It’s FICTION!”. Who ever said you had to be a doctor to write medical FICTION, or a gay man to write gay FICTION, or a woman to write romantic FICTION?

    You can either do it convincingly, or you can’t, as proven by those authors who have had to bend their gender to get published.

  35. Anne Douglas wrote,

    oh oh, I didn’t close a bold tag somewhere :(

  36. TeddyPig wrote,

    Was that where you wanted it?

  37. Anne Douglas wrote,

    Looks about right, thanks TP :)

    Seems I’m having a fumble fingers morning when it comes to blog posts.

  38. JenB wrote,

    Interesting. And well said, TP.

    I dunno why anyone still gives a shit who or what an author is. It can be awkward to interview gender ambiguous authors because of pronouns and POV, but I can’t say that I’ve ever felt “betrayed” by gender.

    I just want authors to write as though they know and understand their subject matter. I’ve read amazing m/m books by straight women AND gay men. I’ve also read some really shitty books by both.

    I can’t say that I really understand or empathize with some authors’ apparent obsession for ambiguity and anonymity, but I do respect it.

  39. TeddyPig wrote,

    I think it is a mutual respect deal.

    If the author is J.D. Robb then say he, if Gill Sanderson say she.
    Always call Dr. Suess doctor even though we all know he never really made it through college.

  40. Erastes wrote,

    Well, you know I’m going hear hear, Teddy. It’s the work that’s important. I rather naively thought that I could create a pen-name that wouldn’t have a persona – and perhaps that might have worked if I didn’t blog so actively and eventually I realised that people were being attracted to me (stupidly) because they thought I was a bloke. More than one gay man admitted to having a “web-crush” – that was one reason I put a stop to it and realised that it was becoming a problem, and also when people started to make an issue of it.

    I don’t think that Josh should have been plucked out and held out in Jane’s post either – or subjected to the consequent “gossip” as you neatly described it. Either he can write, or he can’t – and I think that we all know the answer to that.

  41. JenB wrote,

    LB – If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.

  42. Dakota wrote,

    Peoples, we all know Josh’s proper name is Mr. MOM. And that’s all we need to know.

    I sure do heart me some Mr. MOM, too.

    (For those not quite as irreverent as I am toward my mentor, MOM= Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction For Kinks and Cash….)

  43. LBea wrote,

    JenB~I’m not touching that seat, sprinkles or no.

    And Dakota, you are so right! Mom better be writing, though….I’m hoping for a new book soon!

  44. JL Langley wrote,

    wait wait wait! initials do not = man. JD Robb as a he? Nora is out as JD is she not?

  45. Dakota wrote,

    Lbea-me too! Actually I may just be wearing some yellow socks or something while I wait. *g*

    Actually TGWYS comes out on my b-day I think, so I’m gonna have a double party. Or something. Either way, a full length J. Lanyon release means I’ll be pulling out my graphics suite to see what I can come up with. Don’t know if I can top my J’s Angels or my Adrien stick figures, but here’s hopin’.

    (Am I looking right at the clicky box thingy that would let me know if someone replies? I’m such a techno-boob, it’s sad.)

  46. LBea wrote,

    Dakota…what we need is a fanyon hat (bells, natch) with matching socks. Yellow.

  47. JenB wrote,

    Oh shit, LB. I thought the yellow socks had something to do with the fact that you’re not very good at peeing standing up.

    Ok, I feel better now. They have something to do with Adrien.

  48. LBea wrote,

    HEY. My socks are YELLOW cuz they are YELLOW. The floor however is another matter.

    No. Not Adrien. Josh has a new book, full length, due out soon(ish) and we’re all a twitter. The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks.

  49. Dakota wrote,

    OMG, all this talk of peeing and tinkling and….

    Did you know Lbea? Today is WORLD TOILET DAY.

    (I didn’t know either, but Dana Milbank of the WaPo tells me so: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/roughsketch/2008/11/happy_toilet_day.html )

  50. Sarah aka Secret Squirrel wrote,

    Well, have my hat on. With bells and stuff. Bit late to party!

    It a writer can hold my attention for longer than 10 minutes, especially with an ebook and keep me off the internet, they have a slave for life. (all ebooks are read on my laptop) Hence my belled hat cause Josh has saved my data cap. ;p Really, when all is said and done it is the journey they take us on, not if they pee whilst standing – and, did you know that some men sit down to pee. I shit you not.

    My socks are pink and stripy with no yellow bits. You should be careful, Jen will want to do washing again. You know how she is with jock straps!

  51. dzlynn wrote,

    OMG! I am SOOOOOOOOOOO naive!!!!!!!
    Really!!

    Thank you Ann, now I not only ‘know’ all the ‘old’ news about ‘Josh’, …is he or isn’t he??!!! (Only your hairdresser knows for sure!!!)…a he or a she….WHO GIVES, ahem, A FLYING FUCK? if he is a she, is a he? I, personally, love Josh’s humor, wit, and BOOKS!!

    Is my REAL name dzlynn? NO. I started using it, as it is/will be(IF I ever get published!!! That is!LOL) my ‘pen name’ as I realized, I want my private life to remain private. I am a very open person, but, not everyone is entitled to ‘me’.

    Finding out, just now, that ‘Josh Lanyon’ uses a pen name isn’t a big deal. The way it was done is.

    Everyone has a bad day/or moment in time–lay of ‘Josh’ and ‘batboy’ for God’s sake…they have, and thats all that counts.

    And I’m with JL Langely, please, please do not just ‘assume’ = ass u me, that initials = he….or I will have to change gendre’s….ack!

    Truly, I never assumed (hmm, there’s that word again!) that authors used pen names to deliberately hurt their readers….we all know how backwards we humans can be, and if the only way to get published is by using a pen name….go for it.

    My pen name is a mix of my initials…so I not TOTALLY lying…..just hoping my private life stays private….unless I reveal all.

    Please don’t bite my head off, but I 100% agree with TPig and friends….you go Lbea! I love MLM (lucker here!) it’s about the writing…

  52. dzlynn wrote,

    Oops. Sorry for all the mistakes in my previous comment! I was in a hurry, had to go drive school bus and didn’t proof-read!(my bad!)
    So, I’d like to finish my thoughts….

    TPig said:

    “Now I am not super sensitive and never have been in my reading. Did it matter to me that Andre Norton was a woman. No, but it did matter to me when I found out why she had to use a male Pen Name to write Science Fiction (Because it was a male chauvinist club for so long).”

    As I mentioned before, I agree 100% with him. But I would have done the same as ‘Andre’….if it was the only way to get a toe in the door. It’s a shame, yes, and the world of words is getting bigger and better every day–a great big Thank You!!!! to all those authors we love!

    ***You go Josh Baumbach & Laura Lanyon!!”

    ah,,,, Josh Lanyon & Laura Baumbach!
    ************************************

    “Gay is a spice of life not the whole enchilada.”

    Thank you TPig for putting it into words for me…being raised on the west coast, this is predominately the way one thinks. At least were I grew up out there(Northern California-PLEASE DON’T say “FRISCO!!!” say San Fran, or SF, or San Francisco!!! Ah, oh. Sorry. I’ll, ah, just get back to what I was saying…..

    I hit a HUGE cultural wall back here in the Bible Belt…..’OMG, I thought this was the 19th century???!!!!’, was all I could think, and every week I’d SWEAR ‘I HATE this place, I’m moving back to California!!!!’

    Wellllll, I’m still here, but I still would prefer to be around more enlightened people, there are some here, but we are in the minority.

    So, because of the way I was raised, I believe everyone has the right to be who they want to be…regardless of what they are. Granted, I love the photos in the back of novels, I doooooo love to put a face to a name, I’m a very ‘visual’ person. But that is a ‘perk’ not a necessity….

    As long as I want more!, more!, more! from an author, I’m happy as hell and I’m willing to try male or female writers. Whether or not I keep reading their words depends on whether or not I like the way they string those words together. And that, in a nutshell, it were it’s at for me–how they use words to build the worlds I love to visit.

    And that’s all that should matter to anyone.

    Now, I need to send a big apology to one of my favorite authors.

    JL Langley, ah, em, I REALLY do know how to spell your name correctly…..I really truly have a good reason, no A GREAT REASON, for spelling it wrong in THAT way.

    Honest, I swear, but if I tell you, then EVERYONE will know…so please except my sincere ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I’ll try not to let it happen again.’

    And I love your books! and have all of them!! Englor is a wonderful series!
    Keep up the good work!

    Nite, all.

  53. katiebabs wrote,

    At least from all of this we got LB to admit she pees standing up.

  54. dzlynn wrote,

    Quote by Dakota:

    “Peoples, we all know Josh’s proper name is Mr. MOM. And that’s all we need to know.

    I sure do heart me some Mr. MOM, too.

    (For those not quite as irreverent as I am toward my mentor, MOM= Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction For Kinks and Cash….)”

    THANK YOU DAKOTA for solving the ‘MR. MOM’ puzzle!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve been stratching my head over that one!
    LOL

  55. LBea wrote,

    Katiebabs. It was bound to come out at some point.

    er.

  56. A.J. Llewellyn: My Comment On The Whole Fucking Craptastic Mess | The Naughty Bits wrote,

    [...] for people out there I see figuring this all out… yes, you my friend are correct! We have seen this same battle with the same players pulling the same shit as before. It’s terribly boring and I really wish those losers would find something new to do with [...]

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