Coming Clean

By A.J. Llewellyn

The past few days have been an exercise in pain..as if somebody is ripping my heart out of my chest without anesthesia. I have been in despair and total agony. I have fantastic friends who have all given me advice but I simply have to address the big fat elephant sitting on my chest.

A former co-writer chose to tell people that I am a woman and the whole thing has exploded into a vicious vendetta that yes, was of my creation, but honestly was not meant to harm anybody.

When I started writing M/M four years ago I was advised to do so as a man. I chose initials instead of a name and found very quickly that I was very comfortable being A.J.

I relished the freedom being A.J. meant for me as a writer and person.

I very much identify as a man and no, I have not had surgery but I live as a man and my former co-writer knew this.

I feel as if a deeply personal struggle is being challenged and questioned…even ridiculed. It is nobody’s business, but I feel now that the next thing that will happen is for my detractors to reveal my real name.

I have an alternative career that would be destroyed if this were to happen. I feel as if this is what the detractors want.

When I started writing four years ago very few M/M authors did public appearances. My friend Michael did ONE appearance for me signing books at an event, an experience I chose not to repeat. I maintained his pics on my site, fb and twitter accounts because people who came to the signing knew him to be me.

Over the last few years people have suggested coming clean, getting rid of the pics…or even replacing the photos with somebody else so I could do more signings.

Of course, I did not do that.

I chose to do nothing. Partly it was because I feared a lack of acceptance. I feared rejection.

I haven’t exactly set the world on fire with sales but I found a niche, a voice, and then I partnered with DJ Manly, a fantastic person and brilliant author who doesn’t deserve any of the stuff that is happening as a result of all of this.

I cultivated AJ from my own experiences and feelings. I am AJ. I just don’t have a penis…yet. There are plenty of people writing in our genre who are not men and I feel their silence as all of this is happening.

When I did that book signing in 2008 I was not comfortable in my body, nor did I feel like I could come out as a woman. I liked being a man. I felt, like so many others that I was a gay man trapped in a woman’s body.

Part of why I have never revealed myself as ME is both because my work has already alienated my family who call me a prostitute and because it has also affected my career. I lost a job I love when I told a fellow co-worker what I write. They fired me because I quote, write porn.

My friend Michael appeared as me for ONE book signing. I was so excited about having my first paperback published.

The whole POD thing was new and my book was not available in the stores.

I was desperate to sell some copies and organized my own book signing.

Michael was kind and did his best as AJ. He was there for me but obviously it didn’t go very well… and AJ went incognito.

In a way it’s a relief to not have to hide behind Michael’s pics anymore but the viciousness of this attack still has me shell shocked. I can’t sleep or write. I simply don’t know what to do. I have removed his pics from my site etc but I don’t know what else to do except to say I am sorry to all my readers who feel lied to. Believe me, everything I have written in blogs and private emails is true. I love you all and love the emails, cards and IMs I receive…I am sorry if any of you feel duped but believe me it’s weighed heavily on me for a long time. I feel my work is strong enough to stand on its own whether I am male or female.

Yes, I am a biological female but I identify as a man and wish to be known that way. This is my personal preference and my hopeful desire in the future.

I apologize to DJ and Serena who are my treasured friends and co-authors. I love you both more than words can say and hope you can forgive this explosion that was not my choice…but in the end, is all my fault.

I sincerely hope my readers will forgive me and will keep reading my books. The past few days have been so agonizing I have felt suicidal. I want to thank my wonderful friends who have shown support. I am sorry I let you all down. All I wanted was to write…it’s all I still want to do.

with love,

A.J.

160 Responses to “Coming Clean”

  1. I am sorry you were forced to do this when it is clearly causing you so very much pain, there is nothing to forgive, you write wonderful stories, I will continue to buy your books gladly *huggles*

  2. Your gender is your own. Your writing is your own. Whatever you share with anyone else is a gift. Congratulations on this new chapter in your life and I hope we see you out and about at future events.

  3. In my book, you have nothing to apologize for. A transgender male is still a male. With society still struggling to understand what it means to identify as a gender that conflicts with your body, I certainly can’t hold it against you for keeping your biological identity a secret. It’s no one else’s business.

    Please, AJ, stick close to your support group. I can only imagine the pain your suffering. Don’t let the detractors win.

  4. {{{hugs}}} AJ. Talent is talent, m’dear, and will always shine regardless of genitalia, and you have Talent. Things will be rough for a while, until those who are shouting loudest stop to think, and come to their senses. You were forced into a situation a long time ago, and it seems by what you say above, that it might have been a blessing in disguise despite your present pain, and you’re well on your way to finding your true self.

    Ride out the storm, AJ, and live your life to your own rules.

    Above all, hang in there – it WILL get better – and for God’s sake, don’t stop writing!

    Chris

  5. I do not care if you are a man or a woman. I like your stuff and if that asswhipe of a so called friend could do this to you then I WILL NOT READ THERE STUFF.

  6. I just wanted to leave you a message saying that living and identifying as the gender you feel is not a lie. Your biology is nobody’s business but your own, and anybody who says otherwise needs to check their transphobic attitudes.

    Please, if you’re feeling suicidal, I’m not sure where you live but there are many free hotlines you can call to talk to someone supportive.

    Here is one in the US: http://www.fenwayhealth.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FCHC_srv_services_tollfree

    and here are some in the UK: http://www.transgenderzone.com/transpanic.htm

    Hope you’re well.

  7. AJ,
    I know you through silver and from all of the wonderful stories she has told me of your books, so I feel that I know you just as she does. Hey so what if you are gay man trapped in a woman’s body, you are who you are and that is all that should truly matter. You enjoy being who you are and if that makes people jealous of what you have then that is on them. I consider you a friend even if I haven’t met you or spoken with you, you are a friend still. As you said this is your personal business and it should stay that way. You know explosions are really only meant to make way for bigger and better things, so maybe this was the way for your bigger and better things to come. At least you now have this off of your shoulders and chest and you can move forward with your head held high. You have readers who love your books, and you have friends who will stand by you no matter what, and you have DJ who I know will stand by you through anything and everything. You have everything you need to get past this and stand tall in the end. Don’t worry about anything, don’t stress over this, do what you do best, live life, enjoy what you have and write books.

  8. I don’t feel I’ve ever been deceived, as I’ve never gone after the identities of any writers, only read them because of their work. So whoever you are are whatever your gender is of no consequence to me.

    But what DOES disgust me and turn my stomach is public crucifixion. No one has the right to do that, no one.

    Hang in there. Hope you’ll soon heal from your public stoning and get back to writing. Hugs.

  9. AJ, whether you are male or female, the fact remains you are a human being. ‘Nuff said.

    I’m sorry you are feeling this angst. Truly sorry. So many of us are ostracized for what we write. I am a woman raised in a strictly religious family, where movies and dances were works of the devil. I chose to write what I enjoy reading. My choice, right? Just as your deciding to write as a man. But my religious brother and sister have deemed me a sex-crazed-heathen because I chose to write about the sexual experience. When will society move beyond this narrow-mindedness?

    Historically, many women wrote under a male pen name for various reasons. Reasons that were their own, just as yours are. IMHO you’ve done nothing wrong. Nothing!!!

    Are you old enough to remember the old TV series, Remington Steele? A woman started a detective agency, using a man’s name. Enter delightful Pierce Brosnon. (I spelled that wrong, didn’t I? Geez, can’t spell for crap.)

    The sad part of all this is your job. I, too, hope there is no backlash. I hope your situation doesn’t come to this.

    Your “friend” who has betrayed you is, first, no friend and, second, jealous. Such pettiness. I urge you to pull your shoulders back and face this head-on…with this person…eyeball to eyeball. Slap the bitch.

    Do not stop writing. I love your stories, whether you write with a penis or not. I love the stories my fellow human being named AJ writes. And, sweetheart, to do harm to yourself would only give this viscious person a victory. Don’t give this person that power. I’m sure you have many friends who will support you, but I extend this invitation nonetheless. If you need a shoulder, email me. vonnie(dot)davis@ymail(dot)com. I’ll gladly hold your hand and listen…and support my fellow human being. HUGS.

  10. Man or woman, it is still your writing that should be judged by readers. Your personality that should be judged by friends. I hope that this will relieve stress from your life and maybe help those muses dance even more.

    ~smooches~
    Jase

  11. Stay strong, AJ. Eventually this will pass you by. Yes, maybe you decieved people, but IMO if you identify as a man, you have a valid claim to being one. Good luck. :)

  12. Jase this means a lot coming from YOU of all people. Thank you!

    Smooches back xo

  13. I’m glad you decided to write this post. I honestly hadn’t heard anything until I read this post. But I’ve been supporting women writing in the m/m genre for years and I will continue to do so with everyone…including you. In fact, I’ve even supported straight men writing m/m. I don’t like to think of authors being defined by anything or anyone…other than their writing. The writing is all that matters.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think your readers and most other authors will understand and I don’t think it will make much of a difference.

  14. Well, please count me as one of your readers who could care less what gender you were born into or identify with. I read your books for the quality of the storytelling & they happen to have some great love or sex scenes as well. But it is the quality of the story & the quality of the writing of that story that keeps me coming back.

    I sincerely hope this person doesn’t come out with your real name – that is the point of pen-names, after all. To provide that barrier between a world that doesn’t understand & judges harshly, and what can make you happy doing in a legal manner :)

    Best wishes & continued success, A.J.

  15. Sometimes we make decisions based on what we think is best at the time. I can only imagine how much this situation has affected you, but honestly hope that you can move forward and continue to write awesome books now that you don’t feel as if a time bomb is about to go off.

    We’re human; we make mistakes, so chin up and stay strong :)

  16. Thank you Ryan. You are as wonderful as ever. xo

  17. AJ, I can honestly say, I don’t care about your gender. I read your books, and that is all I care about. You have my support and my friendship.

  18. For you:

    “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers.”

    “Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself… ‘How did I get through all of that?’”

    “Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway.” ~Elbert Hubbard

    “Winning is often simply getting up off the ground one more time than your opponent.” Vincent Bugliosi

    And for shits and giggles:

    “Don’t judge another person’s life until you’ve been forced to live it.”

    “Make somebody happy today. Mind your own business.”

    “There’s no business like…staying the hell out of my business, so please stay out.”

    ***

    I fail to see why people actually give a shit you’re a woman, and why your online persona is such a problem. People write as the opposite sex all the time; people have to create personas for a variety of reasons. It’s the writing that should matter. Like readers are going to give a rat’s arse anyway. It’s only other authors who get bothered by this kind of thing. So the solution is easy. Stay off the loops, away from other authors. Please your readers by writing more books.

    Hell, while we’re at it, I’ll join you. I write as a bloke and am only just now admitting it here. Big damn deal. Crucify my arse. I couldn’t give a damn.

  19. I love your writing and that is why I read you books. It does not matter to me whether you are a man or woman. I have not heard of the controversy as to your sex until reading your blog. I don’t believe that it matters, what matters is your stories. Keep up the good work. I will still be purchasing your books.

  20. I LOVE YOU regardless of what body parts you do or dont posses and the reason is because you have a beautiful soul. I will continue to support you and your writing. Please listen to your supporters and not to the bigoted assholes that have chosen to persecute you because you are different. If I could just get you to understand how beautiful you are to me and how many times you and your beautiful words have pulled me out of the gutter and allowed me to continue each day with a smile on my face. Thank you and long may you continue to make a huge difference to the people that matter and who love you. I choose to be part of your family and promise to never judge you and to love you just the way your are.

  21. Man or woman is your personal choice and no ones business but yours. I will continue to read whatever you write and hope with the support of your personal friends that you come though this a stronger person.

  22. A. J.:

    I hadn’t heard about this either, so I don’t know if I’m out of the loop, or it’s not huge news. (A double edged sword, eh? Heh heh.) Being a fellow TEB author, I’m aware of your books, but don’t know you personally, so I hope I’m not out of line commenting on your blog post.

    I’ve never thought gender played a role in a person’s worth, so I’m always saddened when such issues arise. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me your staying quiet about your identity stemmed as much from personal confusion as society’s pressure. An understandable feeling on your part. In any case, the truth simply wouldn’t stand for remaining hidden forever. That doesn’t excuse a trusted friend for betraying a confidence, but you can take comfort in knowing that, in the end, you’re the winner.

    You sound quite relieved, and I’m glad for you. It it makes you feel any better, I automatically envisioned you as a man. HA!! More importantly, I’m betting your fans aren’t going to much care about any of this.

  23. A.J. I would just like to voice my support and say I don’t care if you are male/female or an elephant in disguise. What myself and a lot of others care about is your writing, I do not see what your sex has to do with your writing at all, as long as you continue to produce quality work then it shouldn’t matter. Now if I remember rightly you and Serena Yates owe me an incredibly fantastic Elemental Superpowers 03 & 04 (THAT is what you should be really worrying about).

    Pixie.

  24. AJ,

    My sympathies for all the drama that came down from this. I believe a writer is a writer and who they put up as their pseudonym is their own business. I’m not published, yet, but write romantic suspense under my own name and M/M under a pseudonym. This is more for ease of genre confusion than anything.

    I’ve always enjoyed what you write and I feel badly that the readers who read the stories don’t understand that the deep emotions weaved into those stores also apply to the people who write them. Unconditional love and acceptance shouldn’t be fiction.

    Keep writing

    Donna

  25. I write under a pseudonym. So have thousands of writers through history. Why shouldn’t you?

    As as for women writing m/m, in my opinion (as a biological male) women write some of the most erotic and moving m/m stories. I don’t care whether it’s a man or a woman who’s written the story. What matters is, does it work?

    As for vicious attacks, take no notice. Some ppl are just arseholes. Shrug and move on.

  26. I heard about this through MANtastic Fiction’s support tweet, but I’m also friends with Lena Grey, who I know thinks the world of you and your writing.

    As a “tomboy” who’s gone by Jack since the third grade (and even now, in my professional career), I know how some people can react when you challenge their ideas of gender — especially if you straddle lines and refuse to pigeon-hole yourself in their neat little boxes — but that’s just it: It’s *their* ideas, *their* safe categories that allow them to identify a trait of yours and ignore the rest, because that’s what’s easiest for *them* instead of listening to everything you have to say. You lost a job over your writing so it’s understandable that you’re wary of disclosing some things about yourself either online or off after that. I had a talk with my partner about how to identify myself before submitting my first author bio to a publisher — especially with the internet and social media these days, that’s something we all grapple with.

    If you identify as a man and as a male writer, then that’s what you are. Simple as that. It’s not up to other people to decide for you and tell you how to present yourself. And if people think they need to know every detail about you and your life to enjoy your books, that’s *their* issue, not yours. As for the person who thinks it’s okay to violate your trust and privacy by starting all of this wank? I hope karma kicks their ass.

    I may not know the full depth of your fear and your anxieties, but I will say that gender is a social construct and sex is a biological manifestation, but neither of them can negate the fact that you’re a good writer and have readers and friends who love your stories regardless of how you’re identified.

  27. I love you sweetie, nothing will ever change that. Keep writing and don’t let anyone get to you. I am with you all the way and always will be.

    *hugs*
    Serena

  28. Sweetie, I’m sitting here crying as I read this. And as I try and reply. Not because of feelings of betrayal, but I feel your pain! *hugs* NO ONE has the right to make you feel suicidal. NO ONE has the right to belittle you for trying to be someone you want to be. NO ONE has the right to say you are wrong, in either writing as you have, living as a man, or searching for where you belong. Those assholes who try are the ones in the wrong! Forget them. They are beneath you. You have tried to bring a level of enjoyment and happiness to humdrum lives. You have succeeded! THEY just want to bring pain. They will succeed, but only if we let them. Rise above this. “That which does not consume us, strengthens us.”

    Your writing speaks for itself. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man writing M/M romance or a female writing it. Like Ryan said above, the writing is all that matters. Those who have been in your business for years understand how rough it can be. I seriously doubt many authors will not understand. As for readers….some might not, some might. If someone takes offense and screams out about it and says they are not going to buy your books anymore, FINE. They need to take a hard look at themselves if they try and condemn you for all this.

    I guess I’m trying to say…I support you 150%. I’m a fan and I am not going anywhere. *hugs*

    Stacy Wilson

    Btw, I have said for years of myself, that I am a man trapped in a woman’s body…and I’m gay. I at times REALLY hate being female, but I don’t think I have the guts to change it. If you do, all the power to you! You will still have my support. No matter what.

    SEW

  29. Tall, Mean, and Darkly is still one of my favorite books. And I love My Zombie Pride.
    That’s all I have to say AJ. I enjoy your writing. And your personal business is just that in my book. Personal.
    I hope to read many more of your works in the future.

  30. A.J. I will continue reading yours and D.J.’s books. I think you are both wonderful and talented. There are those who would seek (perhaps out of jealousy) to destroy a person’s career over something like this when it is really just a personal decision that you made. I think the person who outed you is as bad as anyone who would out a gay man or woman. You will weather the storm A.J. Don’t ever think that the loss of a few fans or the harsh words of your critics could ever equal the need to commit suicide. I can honestly say, that you are one of my most beloved authors and I will continue to buy and read your titles as long as you continue to write. (((((A.J))))) Patti

  31. i love you no matter what and those who truly are your friends and followers aren’t going to care….

    oxoxoxoxox

  32. You are absolutely correct that your work stands on its own. The sexiest organ is the brain, my friend, and you utilize yours to write some of the best M/M works I’ve ever read.

    I hope this revelation allows you to find peace with yourself. Be true to your own soul. Maybe some readers will be put off by this, but I am sure that many more will respect you for your honesty.

    I’ve had the honor of being interviewed by you for DDR in the past and I loved that. Your questions were fun, provocative and really helped me bring my books forward.

    You are a fabulous author AJ and your fans adore you (myself included). The shape of your genitalia has absolutely no bearing on how much I enjoy your writing.

  33. Nothing to forgive. Live your life. Nothing else is important, darling… live your life. And only as defined by you.

    Laura

  34. Hang in there, AJ- and this too shall pass. It’s not the end of the world or you. Just keep writing and loving what you do. The mystery is over. Move on. xo GA

  35. I love you Ku’u lei, no matter what. I’m so sorry this is happening to you but we (your friends and fans) will stand by you thru this. The details don’t matter, your friendship and love do all the talking. You are a beautiful person and that person is a very ugly human being. Karma will come around and if it doesn’t quickly enough mayhem will. :) xoxo

    Me ke aloha,
    Cyn

  36. AJ,

    My heart bleeds for you. Man or woman what you write is so beautiful and touches your readers on every level. I support you 100% and count you as a friend. HUGS my friend as karma will be a major bitch when she comes around to this evil person.

    Dawn Roberto

  37. All I can say is that good things will come from finally being able to admit to your true self. There is no greater feeling. I can sympathize with fans who feel they have been lied to, but that gives no one the right to be mean or hurful. Though I have only read one book by you as an author I really liked it, and I wish you continued success.

    As they say “Everything happens for a reason” and I guess that reason is now its finally time to start being truly ‘you’.

  38. Nothing to be ashamed of, and you owe NO ONE an apology. Art should be gender neutral anyway. If it cannot stand on it’s own merit, why bother. And yours does. So forgive yourself. Love to you.

    Tomn

  39. Nothing to be ashamed of, and you owe NO ONE an apology. Art should be gender neutral anyway. If it cannot stand on it’s own merit, why bother. And yours does. So forgive yourself. Love to you.

    Tom

  40. AJ,
    I am not an author, but a very avid reader. I have enjoyed your stories. Does not matter whether you or man or woman, it does not change the fact that you are an excellent author. The person who did this is beyond low and not to mention, jealous of you.
    Just remember, your true friends and fans will always support you, no matter what. Be safe, love.

  41. A.J. – You are who you are and it does have an effect on your writing. That is a good thing for us as your books are wonderful.

    Please take the time you need for yourself and mourn the loss of something that you held for you and your fans and that was outed without your permission and without you doing it yourself. That is a betrayal that takes time to recover from.

    Best wishes and smile, you are beautiful.

  42. Ok, I’m a reader stumbling over this whole story through a blog and I would like to give my two cents:
    I can truly understand that there where circumstances when you started writing to assume a male person. What I cannot understand is to send a stand-in to a book-signing – if you want to stay anonymous – that’s perfectly ok, but then you should have avoided these functions. Anyway, water under the bridge:)
    How you feel – being male in a female body – again It’s something private to you and no one has the right to explore that. I think, it’s a very good step to come clear to acknowledge to your readership that you are female.
    Anything further is within your willingness to share. – and if you choose to share nothing – well, that’s perfectly fine! This reader wants to read good books and if I can put a face to the author, fine, if not, well – I will love the books nevertheless.
    So, to sum it up: Yes, for me you did something not proper in your past,but – come on – who didn’t? And coming clean now – hats off!
    I wish you many more good books and sales:)
    Anke.

  43. AJ,

    Hon, I am so sorry this happened to you. The other comments are uplifting and I feel so grateful you have friends to support you. But more than that, I can understand completely where you are coming from, and your feelings on the matter. For personal reasons, I cannot divulge the reason for my understanding, but if you email me, I would be happy to share. Stay strong, and keep writing. That’s what’s important. You are loved and charished and don’t ever forget that! *hugs*

  44. You write with your soul, not your plumbing.

  45. It’s the writing that has to stand in judgement. The sex of the writer is immaterial.

  46. *hugs*
    good grief, as if it matters! i hope whoever started this drama is feeling suitably embarrassed.
    you have nothing to answer to hun. xxx

  47. AJ, my heart goes out to you on many levels. Wish I could hug you in person but in lieu of that, please hug one of your pets and tell them it’s from me because I can’t do so in person.

    Your talent doesn’t change by what shows on the outside — it is a part of you that you have thankfully chosen to share with the world. Each of your books is a gift to readers. What is on the outside means little, it is the good hearted, sensitive and talented spirit on the inside.

  48. For what it’s worth (I’m a reader) I don’t care if you’re a man or woman; all that matters is that you write great stories! With all the women who write m/m what’s the big deal? Considering all the gay and lesbian people who decry being hated and/or discriminated against, it seems they are now doing the same thing (or whoever). Come on people, get a life! To all those doing the hating: does ridiculing and hating make you feel better? Maybe you should try being more accepting.

    And by the way, the fact that you lost a job over what you write is crazy. It should have no bearing on your work, since I doubt you were writing it or doing research for it at work. Good grief!

  49. I am so sad for you. I am tearful reading your ‘confession’ and seeing how hard this has all, obviously, been for you (and still is). How heartbreaking that a person you saw as a friend decided to expose you this way. It’s being outed without being the one to choose when and where to do so. I feel your pain. I hope that your friends and fans, alike, will stand by you and support you. Many people have to do so many things to hide their true identities in order to just face daily life that I find it truly disheartening that some people feel it’s OK to destroy others for absolutely no good reason. I hate that you have lost family, friends, jobs because of your personal choices. You seem to be a nice person and someone who helps others. What harm have you done by creating this writing persona? UGH Makes me sick that someone felt it was their ‘job’ to expose you.

    On a light note – are you an Aussie? ;o)

    PS Michael is a cutie :o)

  50. Good for you, AJ. There is no way you should even think about apologizing for who you are. Stay strong.

  51. And writing is exactly what you should be doing.

    You are who you are. Don’t change. There’s a lot people who love you for you. We all make decisions that sometimes are wrong but seem right at the time. No sweat.

    No one out there can say they haven’t.

    ANY time you want to guest on my blog, you just let me know. I’d be honored to have you.

  52. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you will always be an amazing author with a heart of gold. Keep your chin up and remember you have many friends and fans who will always adore you.
    Love,
    Andi Anderson

  53. aj,

    i am a long time fan and buy as many of your books as i can. i hope this does not come out sounding rude, but i could care less if your a man or a woman. it’s your books that i am buying, your personal life is your own. please know this too will pass and all your friends, and fans are behind you. thanks for the entertaining stories and i look forward to more. lydia

  54. You are loved…keep your head up.

  55. Seriously babe, who gives a flying fuck what anyone else thinks… we read your books because you are a bloody good author… you just be whoever the hell you want to be… it’s your life and nobody else’s. Believe me no matter what it is not gonna stop me from buying your work… take care my sweets.
    NJ

  56. A.J.,

    My heart is breaking for you. You, DJ Manly and Josh Lanyon are the 3 first writers whose books I stumbled upon when I began reading this genre. At that time–I thought everyone was a male writer=:) I recently reconnected with your writing and the Mingo McLoud series–love it–and seriously love you–you are a great man–no matter what shape your body takes–a great man who writes real characters–whom I absolutely love!

    I am so very sad that you were betrayed–I hope that all goes well as this unfolds. Regardless–you have a legacy of excellent work behind you–don’t let this garbage stop you from doing what you do so well–writing!

    I recently friended you over at goodreads—and man or woman I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
    ‘t let this tear you any further apart.

    Sammy

  57. Well chit! I am sorry for your angst but to be truthfull you can be whatever you bloody well want to be. I enjoy your books and your blogs…keep up the good work.

  58. You don’t have my support! I think you knew what you were doing when you set out to deceive. You courted the GLBT community for book sales, you should be ashamed. You still continue to lie!

  59. As much as we say we are evolved, we live in the most hardnosed society ever. We like to quote history and speak about early civilizations, and the barbaric acts of the past. Today, we are technologically advanced, well educated, and avantgarde. But, we lost the most important thing of all – the ability to feel compassion. I don’t speak for all of us, but I see this every day. On the road, how people treat each other discourteously (I live in Malta, Europe, and it’s terrible). In stores, in restaurants, on Facebook – how people viciously attack others even without knowing them. How people think they can laugh at someone else’s expense. I see it in how we don’t care about protecting children any more from too much sexualization and abuse… It’s all around us. But some good remains, AJ. I want to tell you this. There are people who love and care, I’m sure you know that. This is a challenging time in your life. I don’t know you well, but we’ve spoken before. Please know that it will get better, and perhaps this will turn out to be a blessing. Keep your head high, be proud of who you are. If you ever need to talk to a “stranger”, hit me up on FB. Hugs. Angela xoxo

  60. What an author’s real name is, or gender, etc., is irrelevant. I don’t sit here and wonder if some of my favourite M/F authors are male or female. Why should it be different if you write M/M? Isn’t that just another double standard we should all be fighting to tear down? Transgender, pre-surgery…whatever! You see yourself as a guy. More power to you. It has nothing to do with your stories. Some fans may feel peeved that is wasn’t ‘you’ at the book signing but you’ve laid yourself bare and explained your thinking at that time. We all stuff up in life, some just do it on a larger stage. If those particular fans have an issue, that’s between you and them, right? Not everyone else.

    The truth is, we love your writing. Boobs or a willy aren’t a factor. :-)

  61. Like you said, A.J., it was a choice you made. I’ve actually heard nothing about you being outed at all but had seen the picture you use a long time ago on another website with another’s name. SO, the gig was up for me many moons ago. I took it all in stride but personally, it didn’t make a good impression on me because of that.

    You need to take the professional high road and not point fingers at anyone. Do you know, without a doubt, who did this to you? So, what, you’re outed…you’re a good writer and that should be able to stand on it’s own…if you do anything other than that, you are stooping to their level. Just ignore them and move on.

    Yes, I understand this is hard. But unless you have absolute proof, it is all heresay and will get you in even more hot water. Please, take this to heart…you made a decision based upon what you thought was the best information at the time…you took a risk. Now, these are the consequences of taking that risk. Always, always, always have a backup plan. Always.

    You can’t ‘hide’ who you are. You make it worse when you do. But you did, and it’s over and it’s time to keep going. Keep writing. Keep doing what you love and the rest will take care of itself.

    Lynn

  62. I read and review your books because I enjoy your writing, your stories, your voice. Either a person can write m/m or not, and you can. I really don’t care whether you have a penis or not; but I do care that you have been hurt. Be good to yourself and allow yourself to heal.
    Look around, we’re still here with you!

    Hugs,
    Donna

  63. For centuries, writers have used “pen names” to hide their true identity and allow themselves to speak and write from their heart. Clearly, in looking at the people you have written with, it can only be one very jealous woman, who in a very Shakespearian way – sought your demise. In time, her viciousness will fall back on her and what she has done will come back to her tenfold.

    I must ask, does your publisher know what she has done? Does she or the publisher know that “defamation of character” is against the law? Regardless, I hope that publisher drops her for defaming another author with the intention of harm and financial distress. Clearly, this woman is not to be trusted!

    Please continue your wonderful work…do not let this “green-eyed monster” take another moment of your time. You are loved the world over and back again…

  64. Thanks everyone. I am so touched so many people have reached out to me. I really really appreciate it!!

    xoxo

  65. AJ,

    Why is my post still on moderation?

    Lynn

  66. AJ, I know you are having a horribly difficult time right now, but from this will come good things. You’ll be embraced and supported by your true friends and appreciative fans.

  67. You have my support, AJ. If you need anything, just hollar!!!

  68. I will continue to review your books. I love the characters and heart and soul you bring together in a novel

  69. You are an amazing author and an amazing person. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I hope you know that your real friends and fans will stick by you no matter what because it is not about what other people think but instead about how we feel. You are amazing and I hope you can get past all of this negativity and find a little peace.

  70. A.J.
    You are so loved. Your work, which is what is what’s important and not your gender, is awesome! I’ve come to love and adore you over the past 2 yrs and that gets only deeper as time goes by. Don’t let the words of a “few” um..dare I call them people? Take you from us.

    xoxo

  71. I hope you’ll be soon feel better. I do believe everything will be fine. Your work, your books are who you are, it doesn’t matter how you look like. Your heart and your mind is a very core of your being. It’s your choice to make your appearance the way you want it. You shouldn’t feel bad because you are who you are. People should accept you as a whole.
    Best wishes and don’t worry to much “:)

    (sorry for my English, I still learn :D)

  72. Well, you know, I really was willing to cut you some slack, but the fact tha you didn’t post my comment got me to really question your motivation. If everything was as pristine as you want us to believe, why your reluctance to acknowledge some profounded questions?

  73. Aj,

    I’m so sorry that something as personal and life-altering as your gender expression has been put out there for the world to judge.

    Your genitalia has nothing to do with your gender, and no one has the right to judge where you are on the spectrum, because you have or haven’t had surgery. I’m a dual-gendered author with no plans for surgery at all. A female body makes you and I no less male, just as for me, also being male makes me no less female.

    We are who we are, we write what we feel compelled to write, no one can tell you it’s wrong, or that you’re other than you know yourself to be.

    I understand the agony behind this, but don’t let them have you. They aren’t worth it. Your readers will understand, and those that don’t will be replaced by others. Stay strong in the beautiful man that you are!

    Hugs,

    ~Xakara

  74. Oh – it’s awaiting moderation again:) So, shall we bet on the outcome? Ok, I bet on none of my comments will be released:) If I’m wrong, I’ll buy another of your books, which will be a hardship, as “Kaleidoscope”, tha latest of your books I read, was rather terrible.

  75. Last comment: But you know,this behaviour is the source of all your problems:)
    The fact that you choosed to what you want to listen to and not what you need to listen to.
    Well, that’s life and I hope, you’l have a wonderful one, nevertheless.

  76. In her best New York voice and attitude, “You want I should put gum in your co-writer’s hair?”

  77. Hi A.J.,

    I don’t know your personally or professionally, but I did read about this on my Facebook account. I had to come here and “speak” to you. I’m a biological woman, I’m heterosexual, I’m married, I have kids. And I have NEVER had to apologize for any of those choices. Neither should you.

    Authors use pen names for all kinds of reasons. Adriana Ryan is a pen name. You know why I chose it? Because my real name is too difficult for the average English-speaking person to pronounce, spell, or remember. That’s it – that’s why.

    Your reason is a lot more of a reason. You didn’t deceive anyone – you chose a pen name. And once, you chose to let someone represent you. So? People need to get a life and move on. It’s not earth-shattering. It’s sad that these very same people who are oh-so-shocked can’t see that the very reason trans people feel the need to hide behind a different facade is because of people like them.

    But it’s not about them. It’s about you, your passion, and your work. Keep doing what you do. Know that there are millions of people out here who have your back.

    Hugs.

  78. AJ, you are a truly good person and have been very helpful to me. I cherish your friendship.

  79. Didn’t hear about any of this until I saw Kelli’s comment. I’m with her. You’re an excellent storyteller and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

    Hugs, Mari

  80. I am so sorry to everyone whose posts have been stuck in moderation since yesterday. It was not my intention – I received no indication they were there until I received a couple of emails.
    I am overwhelmed with the responses – I appreciate the good and the bad more than you all can know.
    Anke – you are again judging me harshly by assuming I was deleting your posts. They are all here. I hope this means you will keep your word and try another one of my books!

    AJ

  81. Dearest AJ

    Although at this point and time I am not able to read a lot, I had to come and read this post and give you as always my love. AJ is now ans will always remain in my heart a male. Nothing else has ever mattered. Not so very long ago women didn’t dare write as a female. If they dared write and publish, they had to choose a male name. Even yet today, many authors choose not to use their real names or genders and it should never matter. What matters and should only ever matter is if they, like you, are a great writer.

    I will not go further into my thoughts of why these things happen, but please know that even with my limited sight bro – I am always here for you.

    And YES you will ever be my bro as long as I know you as AJ.

    Bo

  82. You’re beloved, you’re a wonderful writer, and I know you’re down but you will find your way clear. Don’t think about today, think about next week, next month. Just give this some time. Funnel it into your writing, everything will be okay. You’ll be okay. Deep breath.
    Love ya, ((hugs))
    Mare

  83. AJ,

    I’m adding in my hugs and love. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Keep your head up. You have many, many friends who are standing by your side.

    Kristin

  84. Maybe you should have been honest up front, but hell…screw it. It’s water under the bridge. It’s always better to look forward then to the past. I wish you good luck in the future and know that we as the m/m writing community take care of our own. Look at all the support you’ve gotten!!! That’s pretty rad ;)

    TJ

  85. Your confession saddens me on so many levels. First because you have a right to privacy. Whether or not you are a woman identifying as a man or a man identifying as a woman or a vampire identifying as a were… well you get the idea. Your identity is yours to decide, yours to share & yours to keep private if that’s what you chose. Second no one gets to decide when or how you should ‘come clean’ or even force you to if that’s not what you want to do. Third many people don’t know that most writers need a steady source of income aka a day job. A lot of romance writers use pen names to protect the career that pays the bills. You should not have to put your livelihood in jeopardy because someone decided to be petty or jealous and called you out. You suck Mr/s Outer. You really suck.
    I appreciate you taking ownership of your actions. I doubt the person who ‘outed’ you is doing so. You made mistakes, you learned, you owned them. For that you earn maximum respect. So few people own their mistakes, so many blame others or trot out excuses. You didn’t. Bravo.
    I have to say I’m going to miss those pics of your friend Michael. He’s cute & has the most engaging smile. I can see why you chose him to be the ‘face’ of AJ. I’ve enjoyed so many of your posts on FB & Twitter. Keep them coming and keep your head up. People will hate, there’s nothing any of us can do about that. When things seem bleak read through the comments of the people who support you and keep on keepin’ on that’s all you can do. Good luck and best wishes.

  86. Hi AJ,

    As my dear friend Jack (J. Rocci) said. I have great respect and love for you and your writing. Thanks Jack! I totally agree with most of the eloquent replies you’ve received. I simply want to add my support, encouragement, and hope that this storm will pass quickly and you will get your sea legs back again very soon. Until you do, just try to remember that you’re not alone. We who love you, are helping to hold you steady.

  87. Much love and peace, my friend :) I am praying you find peace & healing through all this—I cannot even imagine the struggles you’re facing, because people are bigots, uncaring, unfeeling, prejudice, whatever ugly words they are. There NEEDS to be LOVE and to allow people to just BE THEMSELVES! I’m sorry I don’t have any words of wisdom, but I hope that you’ll still be around. . .

    HUGS HUGS HUGS

    Tame

  88. Well. Life is just a big pain sometimes, isn’t it? I’m sure we’ve all done something bone-headed in our lives. I know I certainly have. For those who are shocked/dismayed/intolerant I say, “Get a life.”

    A name is a name is a name. Yours is A.J. Mine is Anny. Neither are the names we were born with, but my personal philosophy is we shouldn’t be named until we’re old enough to pick our own.

    My best wishes for your future.

    Anny

  89. I personaly know nothing of you. I have saw a link to this page somewhere else. I read your story and wanted to put in my input.

    I myself am a stright female though I do have male tendancies. (the only reason my hair is not shaved is my husband likes me with hair.) I used to blow up barbie dolls and play with GI Joes. Sex should never have anything to do with your writing. Those who judge you based on your sex are not true fans. Your fans are the ones who will put their hand on your back to push you back up and kick the haters in the shins. You need to be who you are. Do not allow people to make you into something you are not. Just because you are female does not mean that you can not write certain kinds on novels. Stay strong and keep writing. As a matter of fact write your best book ever and show the haters what you can REALY do.

  90. With so many real problems and issues in this world, why are people even upset about this?

    So what, AJ used a pen name and stuck up a male pic.

    Many are constantly crapping on woman writing MM. Is it a huge surprise that someone would do this? How many others do you think are out there in this exact position that you don’t know about? This has been a long standing issue within the MM community and I am glad it’s been brought to light.

    For those who are out there tossing insults and such, well you must all live perfect lives, right? I think not!

  91. I don’t care about your gender. What I do care about are the interviews and articles where you claimed to be a gay man. You spoke about life as a gay man, which you are not. You lied about life experience as a gay man, which you are not. You claimed to be a gay man and gave life experience about sexual exploits and coming out experience. You also said you were better than female authors writing m/m, because you were a gay male. You approached your fans, the public & specifically the GLBT community as a gay male. Even if you identify as male, you don’t have the gay male life experience you so publicly claimed to have.

    Let’s not minimize this. It is not just a case of lying about gender.

  92. AJ, your gender is your own damned business. You share your words with your readers, and as an author, you’re sharing a big part of your soul. Hang on to the fact that your words and the stories you tell are your own truth. You have no reason to feel guilty or to feel as if you owe anyone an apology.

    I wish you the best, and I hope you can put the ugliness behind you.

    Kate Douglas

  93. Wow, I had no idea all this was happening to you, AJ. I’m sorry for your difficulties. My heart goes out to you. I’m sure this must be killing you inside. I can’t imagine having something of this nature taken away from you–something this private revealed, when its no one’s business but yours, and in no way affects your ability to write as an author. I can see both sides of the argument, but stand with the fact that you have the right to maintain a separate identity as an author, whatever your reasons.

    I understand why you chose to create AJ, and know clearly you are not the first, nor will you be the last to go outside your biological gender as an author identity. I only hope you can rise above this setback and not give up what you love to do. You have helped many people through your stories of love and devotion. Don’t let the jealousy and hypocrisy of one person take all that away from you. It may seem impossible, but you can choose to rise above all of it. The best way to rise above is to live well and be successful, regardless of what others would try to do to you. Don’t let them win.

    Hugs & take care! Don’t give up, and know you are loved by many.

    SammyJo

  94. AJ, most writers out there today are writing under a pen name, especially erotica writers..m/m, m/f, m/f/m, f/f..doesn’t matter, if you enjoy writing..write, that is all that matters. Your private life is just that, yours. Anyone who casts a stone better look to themselves first because there is not one person on this earth that can “honestly” cast a stone…period! And if someone does think they can….well they need their head checked because “they” are lying to themselves. No one has the right to tell you how to live or how to love. No one has the right to tell you how you have to view yourself, that is your decision and yours alone. You give people a part of yourself in everything you write, it is your blood, your emotions, your tears that go into each and every one of your books. Every author out there deserves our heartfelt thanks for every book they write, otherwise we the readers would have nothing to read. I for one, thank you AJ, for having the courage to give me a part of yourself, selflessly, with every book you write. Keep writing, keep your head up, you have done NOTHING wrong! Thank You AJ!

  95. Hi A.J.
    Fellow T.E.B. author here. I’m late to this whole insane kerfuffle. I’m so sorry you’re caught in this shitstorm. I wish people would just concentrate on the stories, not the writers. It shouldn’t matter to anyone what authors do or are in their own lives.
    I’m sorry, I’m not all that eloquent at this time of day. I just wanted you to know that you have my regard and support.

  96. To Tina, Anke, Lynn Cran
    Why don’t you all do us a favor and fall off your fucking high horses, right on to your better than thou heads! AJ admitted to making mistakes, apologized & even confessed that it has caused thoughts of suicide, which is no laughing matter & not to be taken lightly. Have you never lied? Made mistakes? Did things you regretted? Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone. Well you all have been flinging hurtful words to someone who is probably at their most lowest at the moment so, give yourselves all a round of applause!!!! You are all self righteous assholes who feel that they can cast judgement on someone who would be better off using your support or better yet, if you can’t say anything nice then keep you fucking mouths shut!!!!!!! AJ has appologized what more do you want? Blood? You might get it in the form of a slit wrist. Would that help you feel vendicated?

  97. Some people are out to cause pain. Their arguments are pathetic and irrelevant, especially as their sole purpose is to cause you emotional hurt. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I know it’s a cliché, but I find it true, what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger. Please don’t let it break you.

  98. AJ, I love your work. I also work for Barnes & Noble as well. The book-buying public can be fickle…true. Look at the backlash James Frey suffered over A Million Little Piece(not that your situation is anything like his)but people get over it and move on with their life. I could care less what’s between a M/M writer’s legs. It’s the writing and the story that counts…

  99. Just a hug of support. Rock on.

  100. Have people not heard of diversity equality. It’s your own business and if others are offended It’s their problem. You are an excellent wordsmith, and that’s all that counts. Don’t let the Ba*******s get you down

  101. Oh AJ! I just read your blog and wanted to let you know I am here for you. You helped me out a lot when I first started writing and I will never forget that. Gender has nothing to do with the marvelous talent you have. I fully understand the need for identity secrecy, especially when it involves our “real” jobs and the types of stories we love to read and write. Please know you have many, many online friends that will support you no matter what, and I am definitely one of them! Hugs

  102. @Tina Let’s not all don our white armor and maximize it into a capital offense, either. When all is said and done, this entire thing is about a person who was born female and tried desperately to shed that skin and be someone else: the person they felt they were born to be. Who knows what kind of pain prompted that, or what kind of pressure society put on AJ that would make him so profoundly reject his identity? I can’t even imagine.

    So while it’s entirely correct to say “It’s not just a case of lying about gender”, try to see it through AJ’s eyes. It may not be just a case of lying, but neither is it the hanging offense that some are trying to make it out to be. Every adult has lied. No one is pure and blameless, so I think maybe some people should stop and take a breath before howling in outrage, you know?

  103. You are still a wonderful person. Everyone has their personal demons to battle, and I don’t judge people for it. I’m sorry people have to be vindictive and hurt you with threats. While things look bleak right now, hang in there. Once the truth comes out, only good things can come of it even if you don’t see them for a while. love and hugs,
    Kellie

  104. I’m going to add something a friend just pointed out to me. Whoever has made you feel bad and accused you of deceit, who do they think George Eliot was then? There are plenty of men who write hetero romances for the female market under female pen names, either to protect their identity or because they’re told by the publishers it’s the only way they can be published because they feel the thought of a man writing such books will be detrimental to sales. Actually, I know a gay man who once did this, wrote a romance under a female pen name. Pseudonyms are common and have been prevalent throughout history, to protect one’s family and job and yes, even gender. So why is it suddenly a crime? What is this peculiar need to know everything about the writer behind the story? I know all I need to know about you. You’re a good writer. That’s all I need to read your stories. It’s just a bonus that you have a kind heart. You are not a deceitful person. Until someone or something proves otherwise, you’re one of the good guys as far as I’m concerned and anyone trying to hurt you is swiftly going to find themselves drowned out by voices of those who care.

  105. So where are all the bad comments?
    It’s one big love-fest.
    Is there no one questioning the ‘real life’ instances of bullying you described. Bullying endured because you were supposedly a gay man?
    That’s one hell of a marketing tool.
    Just imagine all the gay men who read about your experiences and could empathise. And now it’s all a big fat lie.
    But then again, this blog post is all about your pain.
    Why think of others YOU might have hurt?

    Let’s see if this comment passes moderation.

  106. I keep trying to come up with a positive thing to say to you. Because I do feel for you. You should have had the opportunity to do this at your own pace.
    I’ve bought books of yours in the past. And may do so again in the future. From what I’ve seen, your loyal fan-base remains loyal. So you can keep writing.
    I’m happy that the burden of lying is taken away. There is nothing wrong with who you really are. And it is your right to keep this private.
    Learn from the experience and move on.
    That’s all any of us can do.

  107. AJ, you are you and your talent is obvious. I’m just sorry things were such you felt you couldn’t openly be the person you really are. May you find peace with that soon.

    TD McKinney

  108. I only heard about this today and of course I don’t know the full details, but I just wanted to leave a comment to show my support. So sorry you’re going through this crap, and about the crap you’ve had in the past. My opinion is that as long as a person is happy, who cares what sex they are, what their sexual orientation is, etc… you get the picture.

    I just hope that you take heart at all the support you’re receiving and come through this stronger. And, equally importantly – keep writing! Your readers love you!

  109. AJ I can honestly say that no matter what gender you really are that has no baring on the talent you show in your writing, furthermore, I am and will continue to be a fan and I love your work! Stay strong and no that there are people out there that love you for you and cherish every moment we are blessed to be in your presence whether in person or through your writing. I for one feel very lucky to be able to sit down and say I was able to read your work.

  110. I love Kimo and Lopaka. You are a great writer. Unlike some others I don’t spend time thinking about a favorite author’s private life. I hope you continue to have a long and happy career. Also thanks for all the Hawaii travel tips! Chocolate Haupia pie. Yum!

  111. How the f**k have i missed this… gender isn’t important if a person likes what you write…I have seen this happen before with someone very dear to me and the fall out was awful…stay strong and keep smiling hun… HUGS Rj x

  112. AJ,

    I’m so out of the loop, but I did finally hear about all the brouhaha and all I can say is, in the end, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. When it comes to reading it has nothing to do with the author’s gender or any such extraneous detail. For me it’s the story, an author’s ability to completley engage my attention, my imagination and my heart in the story. And the stories of yours I’ve read have all done that–which is why I still have a large number of your books in my eTBR. :)

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  113. hey,
    i don’t care if you are a purple daisy, just keep writing and writing well. that’s all that matters. and i am typing this on my tablet w/o my formal keyboard so excuse the lowercase but then it is the message, no? not the bits? hugs.

  114. WTH, whose business is it what gender you are? Live your life the way you please. So you made mistakes. You apologized and it’s time to move on. This almost smacks of gay-bashing in reverse.

    Never heard of you before today, but you have my support. Remain true to yourself.

  115. [...] this first: http://www.ajllewellyn.com/site/2011/11/06/1360/comment-page-3/#comment-70420 Then come back [...]

  116. Thank you again everyone for your comments. I appreciate them all. Tina Haveman, my publisher at Extasy Books has asked me to make it clear she is none of the Tinas who have posted above.

    Thanks again everyone!

  117. Mr. AJ, Only heard of your predicament through a friend as I am not a member of Facebook or Goodreads but do own some of your books.

    No one is perfect and as someone already pointed out, you made your choice based on information suggested to you. It was intentional deception yes but considering our society and their issues, it is very hard for a female to be taken seriously when writing male/males stories, you made the best decision you could with the information you had received. It was not a world-shattering mistake but unfortunately there are those in this world who are not happy unless they are making someone else miserable. Although you may not appreciate this, while they are attempting to tear your life apart, they are leaving alone someone who may not have the support of friends as you do. It is hurting you right now but it will get better. Those that desert you because of this, are people you really do not need in your life and better to see this now even if it causes you this much pain. It is always darkest before the dawn and you will survive, heal and move on. Sounds like a book synopsis? Yes, but true. Take it one step, one day at a time. Embrace those that understand and support and disregard those that would treat you like a leper.

    The bottom line? It is your life and those that live in glass houses should not throw stones. We all have skeletons in our closets or regrets. Fact of life and if anyone says differently, they are lying. Yes, you may lose some readers because of this and that is sad but in time you will gain more. You do not owe your readers anything but a well-written story and for a single one of them to expect more than that, shame on them. Believe me I have read more than my fair share of male/male stories written by men that are below par and I can honestly say you are not in that category. A person’s gender does not determine their ability to write well. Keep doing what you do well.

    Hope you print out some of the nicer words of encouragement you have received thus far and keep them close to you while you find your way out of this storm. Those that know your soul, because your external anatomy does not really matter in the greater scheme of things, will stand by your side and in the end, you will be stronger. Keep your chin up.

  118. You owe the GLBT community an apology!!! If this was just a case of lying about gender, I would not feel the need to comment.

    Authors have pseudonyms, and I have no problems with that. I really don’t even have problems with authors who create a persona to go along with their pseud. What I do have a problem with is that you went BEYOND even that. SEEKING out chances to write as a gay male (which you are not), giving advice and telling stories about your own coming out. And what made the whole situation just terrible and soured me altogether is the victimized attitude and the refusal to take ANY responsibility for the idea that your deceptions just might have hurt someone else.

    Was it just plain arrogorance or to increase sales?

    I don’t think you get it. I think you are so busy playing the victim to see how your actions victimized others.

  119. No worries most of know that Tina Haveman isn’t that vile, vicious, Malicious or cruel… well unless you get on her bad side (jking)… The out pouring of support here on facebook and various other places should show you how adored you still are… Dont let the few out way the many dear… if need me i will round up all my brothers and sisters of mayhem and reek havoc on the net lol…

    chin up darling

    oxoxoxox

  120. HUGS. I’m not sure what to say, because I don’t think that you’re the first artist ever to have sent a stand-in to a public function. I don’t get it, it’s not as if you didn’t do the work. It’s not as if someone claimed to be AJ and went around pretending to be an author and we later find out this person had a ghost writer doing all the work. You actually are AJ and you did all your own work. And it’s the person whose words we love who is important not the person in the photo. HUGS.

  121. Just wanted to add my support to the many voices here. The way you portray yourself is your business. You choose what and how much to reveal, as does anyone in the public eye. Hell, there’s a whole industry in Hollywood devoted to image and public relations.

    I saw on my buddy Theo Fenraven’s site your comment that you’re still writing. I’m glad this hasn’t monkeyed with your muse.

  122. You can write and you do it well.

    That’s really all that matters.

    Don’t stop. =)

    xxx ooo, Adara.

  123. AJ:

    I applaud you posting the negative comments along with the amazingly heartfelt well-wishes. Support you have deservedly received. No one. NO ONE deserves to have their personal choices made for them. Nothing about writing has anything to do with your gender. It has everything to do with tapping into a universal emotion, or a style of entertainment, or a string of thoughts. If you find a followers ip, it’s because your words have helped them in some way. That won’t change.

    It’s ludicrous to think that someone needs to be a gay male to tL about coming out as a gay male. I’m sure my sister could talk fluently about it and with a high level of authenticity. Would her retelling of my experience be any less valid if she told it as if sine were a male even though she’s not…because she experiences it as viscerally as I did.

    Anyhow. Stay strong. Life is good and obstacles make us stronger and help us to define who we are even more. If you stop winning you lose again (and so do we). Don’t let mean, viscous, horrible people stop you from being who and what you are and from doing what you do so well.

    And to the people who have made viscous or insulting comments, AJ may be too nice to chastise you, but I’m not…if you have nothing nice to say, shut the f#%k up.

    Doug

  124. Aj, I am a reader of yours and Dj’s and many other Male and Female M/M writers. I want to tell you that what is happening with this is despicable. It is none of our business or any of the bloggers who are getting tons of hits off using your name and DJ’s names. Your life is yours. I’m sorry you are going through this. I send good vibes and blessings to you. I will still read your books. What i wish to say has been said over and over so i’ll try to add a little comedy here! IF you were DJ/AJ. Damn you write fast and alot….with the number of books you both write! That’s suppose to make you laugh. I know you are two different people! (excuse my typing I injured my hand) I think Anyone who lashes out at someone (especially with information they got third or fourth hand) is wrong and a bully. Best Wishes and please keep writing.

  125. Please don’t feel the need to apologize.
    Ever.
    You don’t need to. It’s your personal life and if you wish it to remain as such it should have always. I’m so sad that this has happened to you. I wish I could know you in person so that I could just hug and hold you through this ordeal.
    Those people that are spouting hateful things are nothing. You are a great person. It’s no ones business what your private life is.

    Please don’t let those hateful people ruin your beautiful creative mind.

    I still love you. All of these people showing their support still love you.

    It doesn’t matter to me what gender you are. What matters is who you are inside. I don’t know you personally, but I’d like to think I can tell what a wonderful person you are from all your books and blog entries. I feel I know you, and that is enough for me. You don’t need to say sorry for whatever you kept secret. It’s not shameful or anything. I doubt your fans tell you every single thing about themselves either. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself just because someone else trampled and revealed your personal life. Please, Please don’t let this bring you down. Please just believe in those of us that support you.
    We have your back.
    We’re not going anyways.

    With all my Love,
    Judianna Pech

  126. To those judgemental idiots who are saying that AJ was wrong to speak out in the GLBT community. Why was AJ wrong, AJ is male, just because AJ is stuck in a female body does not mean that AJ isn’t male. If AJ speaks he speaks from his male mind, heart and soul, the shell that houses him shouldn’t matter.
    To AJ and to those who truly understand then when AJ spoke to the GLBT community it was AJ the man inside speaking and not AJ the woman shell.
    Is it really so hard for some people to understand that it is what is on the inside that counts and not how someone looks because really I thought that humanity had come further than that.

    Just because AJ has a female shell does not mean that what he went through growing up, or when he came out, or any thing else he said wasn’t true, but this I will tell you… I would much rather tell my family that I was Gay then have to tell them that I was a man in a woman’s body who is Gay, because that they would never get their heads round no matter how supportive my family are.

    So keep your head up AJ. I am proud of how you have handled this situation and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

  127. Please do not feel like you have to apologize for how you feel or how you wish to live your life, that is your business and no one has the right to tell you how to live it. I dont see where you have hurt anyone and wish that those hateful people who have hurt you find out how it feels to be alienated from their family and those who call themselves friends, I do believe in fate and what comes around will go around. I hate that you feel so bad and that you actually feel suicidal! Please do not go that route, rely on your true friends who believe in you! You have more that what you think, keep your chin up even if it feels like there is no tomorrow, the sun will shine again! We love you! Not what sex you are, but you – your heart and spirit! I know that there isn’t much we can do, but I hope that you start feeling better soon, your fans will be lost without you!
    Sending many hugs your way!
    Trisha

  128. Be strong. @#$% the haters.

  129. Hi AJ,

    So sorry to hear about this…personally, I say screw them. They aren’t worth your time or worry.

    The world is falling apart, we have death and disease running rampant, wars that kill our children, yet people are worried about whether you have a penis.

    Being different isn’t easy, being brave even harder. Be both and be proud of it.

    hugs,

  130. I wrote this on GoodReads, but I’ll repeat it here:

    Dear AJ
    I came across this whole sorry tale by accident today. You don’t know me, AJ, although you did once kindly help me to remove my book from a pirate’s site – and it worked! I just felt I had to express my admiration for the level-headed and dignified way you’ve handled this appalling victimization that you surely don’t deserve.
    If anything good can come out of this horror then it must be that you’ve gained legions of new fans. Well, you have one here!

  131. AJ I just heard about all this happening to you & I hope you get this message…I love you just the way you are because you’re you and not only is that a wonderful person,a great friend, but a FANTASTIC author!! This person or people who have chosen to do this to you should be ashamed of themselves for doing what they did…there was absolutely no reason for it! It is no one’s business how you choose to live your life as long as your happy!

    Sending you big hugs and kisses, xoxoxo
    Sandra

  132. This would all be ridiculous if it weren’t for the fact that it’s caused you some very real pain. Frankly, I lean towards assuming that most people use pseudonyms when they publish, so I’m surprised that anyone finds this shocking. Having someone stand in for you at a signing is taking it a little further than usual, but I can understand how that might have happened. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter. You didn’t lie about anything that’s anybody’s business, and their need to make it their business doesn’t speak well of them. Your books are the only things that matter — you wrote them; readers are getting what they pay for. They aren’t paying for your personal information, and they aren’t entitled to it. I really hope you come through this okay.

  133. I posted this on goodreads too

    I would like to add something… It takes a big person to take the good with the bad… AJ has Allowed both the good and the bad both here and his blog… Unlike some other GoodReads writers.. They not only Delete posts they dont like or agree with they refuse to allow them out of moderatrion on their blogs and locked it do anyone speaking in favor of AJ or DJ for that matter are permitted in specific groups and blogs.. Let me ask you something…

    Who really has something to hide? Who fears what they did and how it blew up in their faces? Who is just an ugly nasty hateful bitty who can’t get the right kind of attention..

    To me at least this all screams DESPERATION and JEALOUSY… Must suck to be that horrible at something that you have to lash out at others. How does that saying go Those who Can’t write well Blog? I would also like to point out even though my spelling grammar and over all sentence structure blows.. The person is Question is supposed to be a well to do writer… Her posts are worse than mine when it comes to spelling ( there is such thing as a spell check might want to use it) Grammar and sentence structure sucks too.. if she blogs as well as she writes i sure as hell don’t want to buy what she’s whoring.

  134. AJ, I only know you as a fellow writer, not on a personal level. But when I heard about this dreadful situation I wanted to come and raise my voice in support. Anyone who judges you needs to step back and take a close look at themselves before they start making sweeping declarations about someone else. Don’t let nasty folk who enjoy stewing in their bitter bile win. Keep strong and keep writing.

    Hugging you in support,
    S.A.

  135. Last time I checked, talent comes from the brain and talent has no gender. Your sexuality is your own, it’s your stories that give me the biggest pleasure, tell whoever started this to kiss your TALENTED butt! Please don’t stop writing.

  136. AJ, I can’t tell you how shocked I was to hear this was happening to you. Having read your work and admired you, I’m completely disappointed that the writing community has treated you in this fashion. Who you are makes no difference in your talent or in your ability to write. You can be male, female, or a purple pig for all I care. You can be gay, bi, straight, curious or even asexual. Again, makes no difference to me. The writing is what matters. Everything else is superfluous.

    Hang in there and all this will pass. Many hugs to you.

  137. AJ,
    I have never read any of your books and I just learned about all of this today. But I just have to say that I love you. You are beautiful. You are You. And you are not alone.

  138. You have nothing to apologise for, AJ – you can’t control others’ vitriolic narrow-mindedness. You have every right to live the life that is yours, to feel proud of your accomplishments and your talent, and to protect yourself in any way you feel a need to. No one has a right to judge you in any way except in your writing. That will be judged and read or not. It’s the only thing that should be.

    btw, I think the ex-coauthor who originally made all those hateful statements should be ashamed. They’ve betrayed you in the worst way. May Karma bite them on the bum (and not in a nice way).

  139. AJ, I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS I HAVE OF YOURS!! I almost have all the series of Phantom Lover :)besides your other books. I think the person who “outed” you is a loser!!! what was the point in doing that? none! i dont care if you choose to say your a gay man. Whatever your gender is, how you feel on the inside or how you want to look on the outside, ITS YOUR BUSINESS!! dont let the idiots who say mean things upset you. Seriously! There is always someone who wishes ill will to someone else, just to make them feel better.! The books you write with DJ and Serena are great too! I will continue to be a fan and i will continue to buy your books. So no more talk about being sucidal or any of that. YOU ARE A TALENTED WRITER,and you have been nothing but kind to me and the rest of your fans. Remember that when you feel down, all you FANPOODLES, stand beside you :) I wish you the best always and keep on writing :)

  140. I haven’t read your work, yet! I am new to the m/m genre (loving it!) but I just wanted to throw my support your way. I run a blog and guest at two others (RarelyDustybooks.com is the m/m one) and most authors have pen names. Some have multiple! This is how the industry works. There are always haters and eventually they will find someone else to go hating on and leave you alone. Hang in there! and even though there is a lot of “bad press” I think you will be picking up a lot of new readers because of this (I’m here ) so in the end you will come out on top :)

  141. I love all of your books. I tell all of my friends about you, and many of them now love your books as much as I do.
    What is your gender? Male. Female.– Simply I DON’T CARE !!!
    You are a gifted writer and have interesting things to share with us.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work.
    Greatings form Poland – Bogusia

  142. It shouldn’t matter at all but unfortunately, there are haters and jealous people. Be strong and keep your chin up. Your former co-writer is a mean, hateful and spiteful person. Don’t apologize; its not warranted.

    Keep writing what you do and from the comments already written, no cares what you are, that we just like your stories. Isn’t that the point?

  143. Hi AJ, I’m another reader who wants to add my support to you in this situation. I’m not a fan of ‘trial by internet’ and have been dismayed by the nastiness on the GR discussion threads. Anyway I haven’t read any of your stuff before but I’ve bought the Nibiru Vampire Warriors series now and I’m looking forward to reading it. Hope this all blows over soon.:)

  144. I would like to make something very clear. Those of us who are upset and critical are not jealous, we are not desperate, we are not on a witch-hunt, we are not gay-bashing, we are not bullies. We are people who believe in authorial integrity and we demand that authors who purposefully lie about their authenticity simply for SALES be held accountable for their actions. If you think AJ did no wrong, then fine; you’re free to go on believing that. But just because you’re not offended doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who ARE, and it doesn’t make our feelings any less valid and calling us names because we disagree with you will not make it any LESS offensive. If you are in the oppressive majority, it’s not your call whether or not something is offensive or exploitative.

    This is not about gender, this is about purposefully deceiving people by misappropriating and exploiting a marginalized culture, and being held accountable for your actions. Quite frankly, everyone who says that this is acceptable behavior should be ashamed of themselves for being so willfully ignorant.

  145. Love your writing AJ

    I dont care if you have a dick or a vagina or a mechanical part.

    Because of you and your writing I want to travel to Hawaii and research Pele and Hawaiian culture.

    Please keep writing.
    Hugs

  146. @ Pixie and anyone else that feels as she does in regards to the name calling.

    I am neither judgmental or an idiot. I just have a difference of opinion and voiced it. I disagree with you and feel that AJ was wrong to Seek out the GLBTQ community under a False identify. We can and should voice our opinions and disagreements without the name calling.
    Authors have pseudonyms, and I have no problems with that. I really don’t even have problems with authors who create a persona to go along with their pseud. What I do have a problem with is that he (“he” because he now claims to be trangendered) went BEYOND even that. SEEKING out chances to write as a gay male (which he is not), giving advice and telling stories about his own coming out story (as a gay male, which he is not). And what made the whole situation worse is the victimized attitude and the refusal to take ANY responsibility for the idea that his deceptions just might have hurt someone else.
    I think he did a disservice to his fans, the public and specifically the GLBTQ community. He is a writer of M/M, with bestsellers (I add bestsellers to show he has supporters and a fan base). Readers and fans of this genre are very accepting and supportive of the GLBTQ community and their causes. There was no need to take the pseudonym into the real world to the extent of writing articles for well-known GLBTQ and review sites about ‘his’ life as a gay man, ‘his’ coming out story, etc.
    There was no need to do interviews or give life experience about a fictional person. A fictional person, he claimed to be real. By his own admission he has a transgendered experience not a gay male experience. That is two very real and two very different life experiences.
    By taking the pseudonym into the real world in such a way, was wrong. I feel every person has a life and a life experience that someone can learn from. If he is Tran gendered, who will believe that now? If he is transgendered, think of how that could have helped his community. Now who will be willing to hear him now? How will how this all went down affect others in the GLBTQ community? Transgendered have a hard time finding understanding and acceptance and his coming out about that would have been great. I sincerely hope that his admitting to that now, is not a lie. The fact that I question that is no fault of mine, but the fault of all previous lies told by him.
    I also feel that the great scrutiny that is taking place is partly of AJ own making.

  147. The Tina posting on this blog is not Tina from eXtasy Books.

  148. I honestly don’t understand why this is such a big deal. You write books and we enjoy them. No one deserves your personal information.

    As for the person(s) who “told” on you. Well, shame on them. They live off the drama, because their life doesn’t have enough of it.

    Don’t worry about it. Keep on doing what you love, and we’ll keep on reading what you write.

  149. Lies were told, deception perpetuated and a community and its supporters feel betrayed and hurt. The fact that these lies were revealed is no one’s fault but the person who told the lies.

    I’ve read the blogs, threads and comments made on this issue and it seems a lot of people have been hurt. I believe AJ Llewellyn’s apology was sincere and his pain very real. If people choose not to accept his apology, that is their right, but he can do no more. All he can do is the right thing now and let his writing talent and work speak for him.

    It is a shame that he has damaged his credibility, because his experience as a transgendered person and struggle with identity could be helpful to others in similar circumstances.

    But, at the end of the day, this was a situation of Llewellyn’s making and it seems he is doing all he can to right the wrongs and go forward with honesty and transparency. IMO those that support him should encourage that effort as well as love/friendship, rather than defend his self-admitted poor choices.

  150. After all that’s been said, I can only add that I am appalled at the way the deception was revealed. AJ should have been given a chance and asked to do it himself if such a personal matter it was such a big deal for some.
    *
    AJ, I love your books and you have my support.
    Hugs

  151. AJ,
    I just want to add my support. Your writing speaks for itself. How in the world people can read M/M and be prejudiced, I can’t imagine. It shocks and horrifies me. I am an M/M author and when I started writing I was under the idea that people only wanted women to write M/M. It was hell for me to decide whether to pretend I was something I was not. I feel for you!
    Love to you, Man.
    Love and support.
    Namasté
    (the Divine in Me recognizes and honors the Divine in You)
    B.G. Thomas

  152. Hey love! I don’t give a fig about what your gender is. I love your crazy talent and the support you’ve shown me since I began. I admire your skillset and your work ethic. Neither matter in regard to gender. Everyone is entitled to their privacy and in this industry it’s not hard to see why hiding who you are is a safe gaurd. I hate that you had to break down and write a blog about this. I feel so sad that you were stripped bare. I will cloak you in my sunshine and friendship and hope to bring a smile back to your face.

  153. There are some truly vicious, cruel people in this world, and they love nothing better than finding a victim to stone. I’m sorry that you are the chosen victim on this occasion. Bless you, stay strong, be at peace and keep writing.

  154. I just wanted to say the Tina posting here is not me yikes when I got an email asking if it was… NOOO I am live and let live kinda gal. I read a story based on the story itself only.

  155. AJ,
    you have nothing to apologize for. Your personal life is your own. It is nobody’s business, but yours. All that matters is that you write wonderful books that lots of people enjoy. You have your true fans who love you and love your work. And I want to offer you my support and best wishes. Please stay strong and do not take these attacks close to your heart.
    And those vicious assholes can eat dirt. Oh gosh, they are such hipocrates.
    P.S. Greetings from Russia. ))

  156. I have stopped by AJ’s site every couple of days to see how he’s doing since all this came about. At first there were just a few responses but each day the number grows, with a majority of those being supportive. I have mentioned before that I am, and will continue to be, a big fan. It is his writing that draws me in, and if I ever have the fortune to visit Hawaii I hope to get travel advise from AJ. I agree with what B.G had to say and am very surprised by the prejudice that comes across in some of the negative postings. I am also surprised by the fact that AJ being transgender instead of plain gay seems to be such an issue. AJ is not the first author to “come clean” this year, yet I don’t remember the other author receiving so much hell, even though I believe she portrayed herself as a gay male with a long term partner, and even face prejudice due to being gay. To those that continue to feel so negatively enough is enough already. You’re entitled to your feelings but stop coming to the site if the support AJ is receiving angers you so much and give the rest of us who enjoy his work a break.

  157. I’m so sorry for this. You are YOU–a talented writer. The rest doesn’t impact how I think of you as a writer or a person. I’m so sorry for your pain *hugs*

  158. AJ,I could care less if you’re male or female. I read Honeybone and Wanted and was hooked. All I care about is when I can read the next book about Mingo getting married and add another book to the honeybone series. Just like the color of my skin should not matter,your sex does not matter. You must be doing something great or the other person would not try to take you down.

  159. Your books are AMAZING, i really LOVE them. And you do what you love to and follow your heart’s desire, regardless of circumstances. YOU are amazing. Few people are so courageous. Any person who looks down on your choices are narrow minded by society dictations and are blind to your talents and passion and courage. Don’t give a damn about what such people say. They don’t see the real you and are so not worth any pain. And that co-writer who brought you all this trouble, seriously, he is disgusting to say the least.
    Take care, hugs.

  160. Aj, I’m a gay man, bio male and I continue to be a reader of your work. It seems to me that you have a male identified persona, you identify with gay men, you write beautiful and moving fiction and you celebrate gay male sexuality. I don’t feel that you have stolen or appropriated male gender or taken anything off or deprived the gay male community of anything. On the contrary, you depict gay men lovingly, respectfully and humanly. As a gay man, I don’t need straight, bi or gay women to defend my patch as a gay man. I feel no threat and you have taken no liberties. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy your work. It is as simple as that. In a sense, I feel honoured by what you have done. Too many women have expressed revulsion towards gay men and been derogatory about and to us. I am old enough to have experienced a straight woman say to me as a gay man that she would cure my and other gay mens’ homodisease, as she called it, by castration and that this would rid the world of sickies like us. so, let me say, you have much to be proud of, you have affirmed and respected gay men, nothing to be ashamed of and I respect you and your writing.

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