Sunday 13 November 2011

Monkey has stopped dancing

This morning, I woke up with one decision crystal clear in my head. I've been spending the last three days with my friend R., who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. We spent the last days talking through some heavy shit at times, about life, how we spend it, and what makes us ill, what keeps us going. What do we live for? We also laughed a lot, which is always a plus.

But this morning I woke up - and I'm quitting. That's the decision. In the last weeks, certain parts of the romance community have taken it upon themselves to harass and bully every trans writer in the m/m genre. People - my friends - have cried bitter tears, others have thrown away half-written or half-outlined stories. Others were so distressed that they have considered suicide.

Basically, I loved that community because it was so "tolerant" and "enlightened". I said that in all the interviews. That I love that sense of community. Never before as a writer have I had such close interactions with readers or bloggers. My interactions were limited to Amazon reviews and a rare email here and there before I became part of the m/m community. Wow, it's been fun. As writing is only a financial side gig for me (it's great when it covers the books I'm buying for research), that sense of community was the main thing I got out of it - something I've only recently realised.

Now that that same community has turned into a bullying, torch and pitchfork wielding mob that harasses my friends to tears, tramples on stories that haven't even been written yet, and drives artists to consider suicide, this is where I draw the line.

The very same community that cried crocodile tears over the "It Gets Better" campaign has now turned into the most vicious lynch mob I've seen in twenty years. Every transphobic asshole out there is having a field day. We'll soon have an Underwear Gestapo, taking monthly blood samples to monitor testosterone levels.

All trans writers I know in the genre are exceedingly distressed over this. My friends ask for their books to be delayed, are considering killing off their fiction writing altogether, because there's a baying mob screaming for blood.

It comes down to this: I don't want to write for bullies, for people driving my friends into considering self-harm. I'm not some monkey that dances when it sees a banana.

Now, I'm afflicted in that I have to write, but I have decided and resolved to put all m/m and gay romances indefinitely on hold.

There. Monkey has stopped dancing.

I will instead return to my roots, writing mainstream fantasy and thrillers and historical novels under a different pseudonym, which is still to be decided, but will not be released to anybody but my closest friends.

What does this mean?

Basically, that's it. As I've started "Dark Soul" and don't want to leave people hanging on the cliffhanger, I'm going to finish the mini-series (another 30-40k words), even though, it must be said, I'm reluctant as all hell about that.

I'm also going to finish a co-written project that my co-writer has committed herself to (because I can't leave *her* hanging), but after that, I'm throwing myself on the tender mercies of the mainstream.

After that, I'm done.

That means no more books in the m/m romance genre. Me and that genre are done, thanks to the nasties, the bullies, the mean assholes, thanks to the torch wielding mob of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group; and people like A.S., the old bitter troll that substitutes hatred and envy for talent and real passion; thanks to everybody who has sent a trans* writer an email demanding a geographic breakdown of their sexual organs because they are entitled to it somehow; thanks to everybody who has cornered and forced ANY writer out there into "admitting" and "telling the truth" and "coming clean".

I can't wait to share my stories with my new readers.

To my readers - I'm sorry, guys. I hope you'll enjoy those stories I'm leaving you. There's plenty talent out there, and I'm sure Riptide will help find you more great talent. I've heard they are good at that. :)


  1. *HUGS* good luck and much love with your altered path! Hope it gets you wherever you want to go!

  2. Don't do it dear friend. Please don't do it. I adore you and your writing and am right here in the m/m community with you. You are so well liked and loved and don't let the bullies win - please do not for the sake of all writers who are just starting out. Lean on me - and your other friends - please.

  3. So Sad to see you go, and as a farewell gift I will give you the most awesmazing review of Counterpunch (I will try at least).

    I wish you success and happiness and praying that you will one day come back to us.

  4. I'm definitely saddened by your decision and what led up to it. But those people don't make up the entire M/M community. I wish you'd reconsider. :(

    If you're totally settled on this path, I wish you luck. Does this mean you'd be leaving Riptide as well?

  5. This is the blog post I've been dreading thru this whole thing. There are no words to tell you how sad I am right now. How angry I am at what's happening out there. You're pitbull cheergrrl doesn't know if she wants to attack ppl, or cry.

    I know you will continue to write. I know you will rock it where ever you go, whatever you write. I wish you all the best my friend. I will miss this you and the books this you gives me so very much. So very very much.


  6. Blessings Aleks - am gonna miss ya soooooooo unbelievably, painfully gonna miss ya.


  7. God Aleks, your decision is so scaring me and especially the circumstances that led to this. Nevertheless, I'll respect your decision. It will be a huge loss for the genre and I hope we'll still be able to read and enjoy your writing ... even if it is mainstream.

  8. I'm sad you feel you must go. I think there will always be negatives in every group, and it sucks to blame the whole because of one slice, but I wholly respect your decision. It's yours to make, and I hope you're happy with what you do going forward.

    Take care.

  9. I respect your decision, even as I wish you wouldn't stop writing M/M. In some ways, it plays into the current environment, which I must believe is just one small (rabid) sector of people.

    If all the people who have convictions as you do quit the genre, what remains? (Though I certainly would understand wanting to take a break from it.) I want writers like yourself to continue, because it's the only way this loud and, dare I say, heartless group can be silenced.

    As far as your friend goes - my best wishes. A dear friend of mine is currently dealing with an aggressive and very tough cancer, and I understand what you mean about knowing what is important in life.

  10. know I love and adore you. You're the only one who would give me any help in the beginning. You're the one who took a bunny and turned him into a badger. You're the one who held my hand and coaxed me into the light. I'm forever grateful and indebted to you for that. And I'll champion you until the day I die...but I cannot in good conscience give you a nod for this, and it's based on that deep love and respect that I'm able to say what I'm going to say: As a transman, your decision hurts me more than all the bullshit that's going on. I can deal with the naysayers. They're nothing - not good enough to lick my boots, let alone read my work and weigh in with their thoughts. Who the hell are they? No one. They're existence is meaningless to me, as it should be to every other trans author. Giving in is what they want. They want us to fit into their neat little boxes. Well, guess what? We don't fit, and that's okay. If you give up, you're telling them they're right. You're saying we don't deserve to write. You're saying we don't deserve a voice. You're saying it's okay to silence bully us into nonexistence. Well, it's not okay. We DO deserve to write. We DO deserve a voice. And it's NOT okay to silence and bully us. I will write. My voice WILL be heard. I will scream from the rooftops until I've got no voice left and then I'll drink some tea and scream some more. NO ONE will bully me out of what I love. NO ONE will tell me I'm not good enough - not anymore. And that attitude is largely due to you. I won't ask you to reconsider - you've made your choice, and I hope you can live with it. But walking away doesn't show support.

    I'm sure my comment will raise a ruckus with those who are loyal to you, but to them I say this: Walk a mile in my shoes first, then tell me you'd react differently.

    As I said, I love and adore you. You remain a treasured friend, no matter what. But I can't support you in this. :-(

  11. It's a small slice of the readership. I've found that the healthy choice for me, was to remove myself from the blogosphere completely and take a year off. I said exactly the same thing about hypocrisy, torches and pitch forks, and the intolerance within the community years ago.

    I just want to tell stories about people who fall in love.

    I haven't followed this particular scandal, but the basics are the same.

    Take some time. There is a much bigger world out there.


  12. It seems to me, some people go out of their way to put themselves in positions to terrorize and destroy other people. I said that to say this, I have thought of quitting so many times. I've gotten threats, nasty emails, someone even sent me a virus that almost wiped out my system. And many a times I threaten to quit. Last year I almost did but I had great friends like the peolpe above wishing you the best and they convinced me that us writers aren't all bad. I am the strong belief that if it wasn't for other writers like Jaxx Steele and Havan Fellows I wouldn't be here. I support you my friend and I wish to heck it didnt have to end like this. But just know that not all writers are like that, some of us strive to uplift others and to welcome the new writers with open arms. I am sorry you had to go through this and I am sorry your friends had to deal with this because they didn't deserve to. But whatever you do, I wish you well.

  13. Best wishes to you and your friend Aleks.
    Be happy, doing whatever you decide to do or write. I'll miss your MM stories, but I want to see you happy!
    Hugs and my prays are for your friend

  14. I, as everyone else, is very sad to see you quit writing M/M genre. Of course, I respect your decision and hopefully in future you'll be able to come back to writing M/M even if it's the minor characters.

    I've only just starting to check your stories out. One thing I am glad: You've not quit writing. You've got talent in story-telling.

    *hugs* It's been a great pleasure to get know you through twitter.

    Zach Sweets

  15. Holy shit. If that's not a wake up call to the "community", I don't know what is.

    I said this on Wave's site, but it bears repeating: we are each responsible for our own personal mental health. If this is the path that leads to your own, Aleks, more power to you.

    This is a(nother) sad day. I'm so sorry it's come to this.


  16. I'm a fan of your writing, not the just the m/m aspect of it- more the brutal honesty of expression it exhibits. I think if you wrote sonnets about the moon landing I'd want to read it. So, I hope at some point you can provide a bridge for readers who don't care if there's any m/m romance aspect in your work to find your new material.

    I respect your decision of course, and the reasoning behind it.

  17. I'm saddened by what's been happening in the mm community lately. I'm saddened even more to see you go because of it.
    I understand your reasoning and respect your decision. I wish you luck and joy.
    We haven't known each other for long, but I enjoyed our banter, enjoyed your stories. You made me feel welcome :)

    My thoughts go out to your friend and to you, in this stressful and difficult time.

  18. Remember the "silent majority?" They weren't the majority; they just yelled loud enough to make everybody think they were. Same here. This is a very emotional time for you and a lot of other people right now. It isn't a time to make major decisions. And just because you've said this is what you're going to do, I doubt that anyone will try to throw it in your face if you change your mind. And a lot of us hope you will change your mind. Give it time. You're one of the few who keep the genre from being nothing but a reservoir of cliched hack work.

  19. Good luck, but I wish you wouldn't. "They" win when someone like you with talent bows out.

  20. I will be very sad and sorry to see you go, and for the circumstances leading to your decision, but like others above have said, you will be, and are, a great writer in any genre you choose, of that I am confident! Will miss your captivating writing, and very real, fascinating characters, very much, and I second Lee Brazil in hoping that there might possibly be a bridge to your new material for your current readers. It doesn't have to be m/m but it has to be you!
    Also wish all the best and luck to your friend.
    Thank you so much for all the stories we have been lucky enough to read, and for the ones yet to come!
    Wishing you all the best!

  21. Hi Aleks

    We haven't had much interaction but I have just discovered ure work.

    I understand your decision and respect the decision you have made. I wish you luck in your new endeavours

    Sarah S

  22. Aleks,

    As I mentioned in my message to you of earlier today I am sorry that you are leaving the sub-genre but fully understand and respect the reasons that precipitated your decision to do so. However, your absence will be felt.

    I have followed your writing going on five years now and have immensely enjoyed your stories. I've always felt (and continue to do so) that your writing transcends the boundaries of any specific genre or sub-genre and in this I believe that you will be successful in whatever categories you choose to write.

    I hope I have the opportunity to read your books in the future.

    I wish you the best of luck and much success, and send prayers and best wishes for your friend.


  23. My apology for looking stupid. I meant moral majority, not silent majority. NaNo is melting my brain cells.

  24. It feels like fans such as myself are being punished for the misdeeds of others. Your contribution to m/m has been immeasurable and its loss will be great. I have no idea what prompted this, but if this change is what you need to be happy and find peace, then I wish you the best in future endeavors.

  25. I am truly sorry to hear you will no longer be writing M/M. I understand your decision, but I also feel the loss to the M/M genre.

  26. IMO now isn't the time for such decisions, Aleks, when there have been too many misunderstandings and feelings are too raw.

    Better to let it settle, a few voices do not a community make.

  27. I wish, of course, that I could talk you out of doing this, as I really enjoy your writing (and all the contributions you've made to your fans and fellow authors in the genre). However, I also respect that this is your decision to make and will be sad to know that the bad behavior of noisy people will have been part of the reason. You're always so enthusiastic about your characters and your stories that it will be horribly sad to see that passion vanish (at least from our sight).

    Good luck, I hope you return to us (or maybe are swayed by the outpouring of positive thoughts here?). If not, maybe I'll stumble upon your other books in the future.

  28. Wow. I would never have pegged you for a quitter.

    Is your friend R. giving up? And she's got the hard job. Vastly harder than anyone should ever have to go through. You've got the easy one. Keeping writing stories you love to tell, for an audience who finds hope and validation and comfort and pleasure in the reading.

    Every community in this blessed world has the enlightened and has bullies. This community is full of individuals, all with their own opinions, and right now they're fighting with each other as they work through all the issues this controversy has stirred. That is the only way to work through controversy--talking, arguing, putting it all on the table.

    Quit, and you might as well sweep it all under the rug. Progress is not made by stopping dead in your tracks. It's made by moving forward, no matter how ugly the slog.

    You're not going to clear out all the bad and make it shiny perfect. You know by now life doesn't work that way and never will.

    This community will continue to have growing pains, whether or not you quit or a dozen writers quit.

    And larger, louder communities who would like to see m/m romance vanish from the world altogether would be delighted by your quitting.

    I hope R. kicks your ass but good over this decision, because it's the wrong one.

    Don't quit.

  29. Love you, Aleks. I was waiting who was the first one to go, and even though I am heartbroken by the fact it was you, it's understandable as hell why you had to post this. When I first started reading m/m, for me it was also the sense of community. Like I finally found where I belong. Fuck, was I wrong. I've been alienating myself from the social side of it, little by little, because of bullies. All the nasty things that go on and make me personally feel like shit. I want to read, not feel like I'm being kicked on the head multiple times a year. The T is there for a reason. LGBT. It's not pick one you like, leave the other-game.
    Thank you for being nice enough to finish Dark Soul, you're just that awesome. As long as you continue writing in English, whatever you write, I'll be there, you should know this. *hugs tight*

  30. Oh, Aleks, I wish it hadn't come to this, but I understand sometimes you have to do things for yourself. I wish you the best of luck now and in the future. :)

  31. I discovered your talent not too long ago and had a blast on the chat you hosted the other day.

    I'm heartened by the idea that, at some future date, I'll crack open a story and fall under its spell and wonder/hope that I've found you again.

    A.V., you are a CLASS ACT! My best to you and those you love.

    MRR/Mary Rockwell

  32. I don't think you're the only one that will follow this path. The only issue has left a sour taste that won't be got rid of easily.
    Good luck with your writing in which ever genre you choose.

  33. I bought Counterpunch yesterday and am looking forward to reading it. I will miss the unwritten Scorpion stories too. I love your voice and your work Aleks, so selfishly I am sorry that things have come to this.

    I wish you all the best for your endeavours and your friend every good wish for strength and comfort as she deals with her cancer.

  34. This was not about bad mouthing a "trans" writer. This was about someone who bashed female writers in hir non-fiction writing for not knowing how to write MM fiction. Gender is of no consequence to readers. Lying about your non fiction life that no one asked the author about is. I hope you re- consider, your a wonderful writer and most of my fellow MM readers are not trying to harm anyone.Why let a handful of people set change your mind about what you do so well!

  35. Oh Aleks, like so many others have said, I'm so sorry you've reached this decision - but I honour your reasons and wish you so much luck with your (new) writings.

    I've been reading your m/m stories for just under a year now and have been thoroughly entertained by them - most of your writing is incredible (just sometimes when I can't get my head around it, then I feel a little confused :( - but I know I'll come back and finish!!)

    Hopefully, there may be a compromise out there in the big wide world for EVERYONE, but until then, my respect and love is yours.


  36. AS Part of The silent Majority that seems to always get lost in the blowups I am so sorry that You are have chosen to stop writing m/m. I saddens Me that the Noisy nasty voices of a bitter few are tainting everything.

    I am one of the readers who didn't feel hurt because i understand the reality. Writers write and we own the written word we purchase. They owe nothing but good product and we have no right or say to anything else in there lives. It's none of our business.

    You are a wonderful talent and Your writing will be missed It is Our loss.

    Good Luck although with your talent You won"t need it.

  37. Hi Aleks

    I'm wondering what your decision means for Riptide?
    Will they continue without you, or are you going to keep a foot in M/M on the publishers side?
    Or means this the end for this new press before it really got out of the gates?


  38. I'm very sorry to hear this and really wish you wouldn't leave. Don't let "them* win!

  39. Wow. :( Not going to comment publicly on this whole debacle, but I hope you'll at least stay in touch with some of us! You can always hit me up via e-mail or to chat!

  40. I will miss your unique voice in this genre and I hope I'll stumble across the new pseudonym so I may read more of your work... Take care and be happy Aleks. Maybe, with time, you'll remember the vast, silent majority of the M/M Romance community really are as accepting and welcoming as you found in the beginning, and maybe, just maybe, your talent may once again give depth and breadth to the genre. Whatever you do, I hope it brings you peace, love and happiness.

    *hugs* Sue

  41. This is me being fucking honest with you.

    No. You should not stop writing if this is a genre you need to write in.

    Fuck no.

    I will be blunt. I am a gay female but I certainly don't have issues about what hangs off my body. I have two saggy tits and nothing between the legs.

    Yes, not being a male halts my progress as a m/m writer, but never did I ever imagine to pass as a male. Never. In truth I am probably bi-sexual since I am attracted to "pretty" guys.

    Who knows. I don't care. My partner feels the same way but we love each other.

    But if you cease writing about what comes naturally to you, that is wrong. For some bizarre reason writing m/m comes naturally to me. I don't know why the fuck I write what I do. It is certainly not for the money. It's my urge, my passion.

    Don't tell me you want to quit because of naysayers. Please do not quit. Please rise above this witch hunt. Don't abandon your passion.

    Please. Please stand with me.


  42. I hate to see the "bullying" that is around all this matter, and even the angry tone or the "I'm offended on the account of someone else"... I don't want to say where the reason lies, I don't know, but the general reaction (aside for some very isolated cases) was really on the level of a mob wanting to find the TRUE... that is really scaring

  43. As a fan of the m/m genre, and someone who doesn't spend a whole lot of time in Romancelandia...I'll say that the naysayers are a very small part. Your readers love your work.

    It's been my experience (both as a military member throughout the DADT fiasco, and as a southern raised female) that a majority of conflict comes from a minority of people who were (unfortunately) blessed with a very vocal self righteousness.

    Please reconsider. My heart goes out to you and your writing friends who are suffering through this.