I don’t even know where to start. It sickens me to my core that I even have to write this post. But it must be done. If my thoughts are, at time, incoherent or sporadic, please bear with me, as my mind is racing and I am all over the place right now. I am trying my best right now to hold it together and try to grasp all of this.
So here I go…
It has been brought to my attention that over the course of the last two days that there is an authors/reviewers, one in particular, on Twitter making very extreme accusations about me. Accusations of harassment towards female reviewers, both sexually and otherwise. Accusations that, to be quite frank, are NOT true. Accusations that I would love nothing more to dismiss as ludicrous nonsense, but, because they are so ridiculously untrue, I need to address them.
What you are about to read is one-hundred percent candid and from the heart. This is not damage control for my writing career. Those repercussions, although important to me, take a backseat to the fact that this is about the claims that I am something that I am NOT. The fact that I am being grouped in with what I consider to be the one of the lowest forms of scum on this planet.
I wish I could say that I have gone my entire life being the perfect gentleman. But I can’t. As I just mentioned in the paragraph above, I plan on being candid here, so to say I have been perfect would be a lie. And I will not lie here. I’ve hurt people I’ve care about; from friends, to family, to girlfriends. I wish I could say otherwise, I am a human being and I am flawed. Anyone who claims to be otherwise is a liar, or simply fooling themselves. But the one thing I can say for certain is that I have never harassed anyone, in any form.
Since first publishing my debut novel, The Replacement, in 2015, I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most fantastic people in the world. We all know Twitter has a reputation for being a cesspool of hatred. But I have come to see, if you ignore those who are ignorant and filled with hate, you’ll find that there are some amazing people out there. People with good hearts, who are willing to go out of their way to help you out because they believe and support your dreams. Some of those people I’ve mentioned, I’d go as far as to not call acquaintances, but actual friends. I consider myself to be an extremely blessed person in my professional career, not only for the success I have seen–none of which has been at the expense of anyone–but for the people I’ve met along my journey.
Now, I will admit this; I am a flirtatious person by nature. This is something I am sure anyone in my life would confirm. But I must make this clear, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I know boundaries and I know full-well to do everything to notice those boundaries and to try and never cross them. Throughout the years, there has certainly been people on social media who I have flirted with. I am not going to deny that. That’s not what I am here for. There are also people on social media that I have engaged in adult oriented conversations with. CONSENSUAL conversations between adults. Something I would have liked to, and deserved, be kept private. But I feel it must be told to get my point across. Again, as I mentioned, you are getting nothing but honesty from me. The details of these conversations will remain private because that’s exactly what they are; private. But I can tell each and every one of you this; none of those details include UNSOLICITED photos or videos. Neither do they include stalking, of any nature. Things I am being accused of, but I will address accusations directly soon.
This, by no means, means that I hit on every single person I come in contact with on social media. This also means that I do NOT assume that every female that reads my work wants to have sex with me, or even really likes me beyond an author whose book she just read. That is a straight up preposterous claim (another made over the last few days). This also means that, by no means, do I think or expect that every female that I do flirt with will be receptive to my flirtations. If I do flirt and it is obvious they aren’t interested, I would never proceed to continuously make unwanted advances at any level. If there has ever been a case where I have made anyone feel uncomfortable, I will say this now, and I mean it with every fiber of my being; I am sincerely sorry. I cannot express that enough.
Now I come to the uncomfortable portion of this post where I will address the accusations that have been made against me. I should indicate now that the ones I am addressing are ones that have been shared with me via screen shots through people who are as shocked about these allegations as I am. You see, I could not see them for myself, as the person who is making these claims decided to block me even before sending out their first tweet about it, so I couldn’t even see or defend what was being said about me. Not that I would choose to engage such a person in a verbal barrage on Twitter. The details that I am about to go into are horrendous and make me look like an utter monster. It actually pains me to write them out. I will do everything in my power to help explain to everyone reading this that there is no truth to them, and if they are built off a fraction of a fraction of any truth, I will separate the truth from the lie. I know this is a repeating line in this post, but I am here to give you nothing but honesty.
–That I have denied all the accusation made against me.
That is actually true, but this is the first time I am addressing them publicly and I have never spoken to the person accusing me of anything. So how was he to know I’d deny them. Despite the obvious lucky guess because he knows there’s no truth to these claims
Let’s get to what isn’t true.
–That I assume that every person who reads my books, reviewer or not, wants to have sex with me.
Completely false, and absolutely ridiculous. One-hundred percent insane. I am not a vain man. I do not think just because you read my work means you have any sort of sexual attraction to me, whatsoever, or that you are immediately interested in engaging me in a conversation of sexual nature.
-That I try to use sex as a means to get a positive review.
Again, completely false. I believe firmly that my work should be reviewed, no matter who reviews it, based on the content of the story. In fact, I constantly tell people who I ask to leave a review for my work to just be honest in their reviews. If any conversation between myself and someone on social media who has read my books escalates beyond their reading experience, it has nothing at all to do with my desire to get a positive review.
–Accusations of penis pictures and masturbation videos.
I have never ever sent an UNSOLICITED photo or video to anyone. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. What happens in consensual adult conversations is private, but I can tell you a picture or video was never sent at random to anyone. EVER.
-That I harassed a reviewer’s friends, trying to hunt her down after being blocked.
This is one that is a lie that is built off a fraction of truth. I woke up one morning to find out I had been blocked by a reviewer the day after she had reviewed my novel, Booth. Naturally, I was taken aback by this, so I reached out to someone I knew in her online circle, someone she had actually buddy read Booth with, and both of them had reviewed it, to see if she knew the reason for the blocking. That friend did not know the reason and extended an OFFER to find out why I had been blocked. I thanked her and the conversation then immediately shifted to the completely unrelated topic of the Lincoln Assassination. Later that day, someone else reached out to me to see what was going on cause they had heard about the blocking and also offered help to try and find out why this particular reviewer had blocked me.
I would now like to take the time to address the reviewer that blocked me, which is where I personally believe all of this has stemmed from. I am not here to attack anyone, and there is always two sides to every story. I will take this moment to tell mine.
I had reached out a few months back to someone on Instagram about potentially reviewing one of my books. I saw that they had a strong following and thought it would be good move to get a review from them. A business decision. I had made them the same offer that I had made every other reviewer. To send them free copies of my books in exchange for an honest and timely review. Among a few other terms, like a book mail story on Instagram and a post on Instagram and Twitter once they start reading or afterwards they finish, when they review the book (none of these addition terms included anything sexual at all; I feel that needs to be addressed). This reviewer agreed, so I sent them two of my books. This past May, they had indicated on social media that it was their plan to read and review Booth that month. As May was coming to a close, I noticed that they hadn’t yet started Booth (she had indicated on social media whenever she was starting a new book), so I reached out. She had explained to me that she was planning to wait until June so that she could buddy read it with her friend. She then asked if that was okay or did I need the book read before May ended. I indicated that June was fine and let it be. Once she and her reading buddy started Booth, I would comment on posts about it, whether on Twitter or Instagram, or stories on Instagram. These comments, to the best of my recollection (remember I am blocked, so the source material is unavailable to me, if it is even still up), said nothing more than that I hoped she was enjoying the novel. It is the exact same thing I’d write for anyone who’d mention on social media that they were reading any of my works.
I also reached out to her while she was reading to see how she was enjoying the book so far. This is something I that I do to anyone I know who is reading my books, not just reviewers who have strong followings on Instagram. I like to hear people’s thoughts on my work as they’re right there in the story. From my experiences, most people are happy to hear from me and love giving me feedback, whether its after they finish one of my works or while they are reading. Oftentimes, they reach out to me to comment of their experience. Apparently this particular reviewer took exception to my reaching out and felt like I was pressuring her. She felt it was unprofessional and unfair. But instead of telling me, which I would have understood, she decided to block me once she finished the book. I did not learn of any pressuring she had felt until after the fact, when she finally sent me a [nasty] email after I ‘harassed’ her friends.
One other gripe she mentioned in her email was it was unprofessional for me to ‘hit on’ reviewers (I am assuming she thought I did it to increase my chances of a better review, which is not true, as I mentioned above). What she had been referring to was a response to an Instagram story I had made where I, admittedly, was being flirtatious. I did not say anything crude, by any means, nor was it suggestive, at all. It was completely innocent, in my opinion, and I meant zero offense by it. She did not respond to my comment, which I immediately took as she wasn’t interested, which was fine, because I was not interested in engaging her in any kind of conversation that one might be assuming I was looking for. I apologized to her, or said that I shouldn’t have made a flirtatious comment (again, I am blocked from looking back at these conversations, so I am going off my memory). It wasn’t meant to be anything more than innocent, but I get that perception across social media can be taken many ways and, again, I am sincerely sorry if it made her, in any way, uncomfortable or felt I was trying to get a better review out of her. It was just me being me, and I should have known better, despite having no intentions or ulterior motives.
As I mentioned, I believe this was what started this whole campaign to label me a deviant scumbag, and it is the one thing that I can see as the foundation of all these horrendous lies and accusations. I do not hold this reviewer responsible in any way for what is being said about me. I do wish we could have gone about and handled it differently, but it is what it is. I would have liked to talk it out, but she made it clear in her email that she had no desire to continue communication with me; a request I have chosen to honor, even over the course of the last two days.
There are a few other accusations I would like to address before wrapping up this post that I shouldn’t have to be writing in the first place.
–That I used two women for ‘artwork and promotional material in return for exposure as payment.‘
What you see in quotes in exactly how it appears in the tweet. This one, if possible, is somehow the most ridiculous of them all. I have three books out. Each and every cover was designed by an artist or graphic designer that I know personally. Each designer and artist was paid for their services. The person who does ALL my promotional work for social media is the same person who puts together my book jackets for print and runs my website. We are both also heterosexual males, so I do not think offering exposure would go over very well. Only recently have I reached outside my circle of personal relationships to a super talented young lady, whose artwork I recently fell in love with, about the possibility of her doing artwork for my next novel. During that brief preliminary conversation, I mentioned that it was still a while off, but I wanted to reach out to see if there was interest. After indicating that there was, I thanked her and told her I would be in touch, hoping we could do business together if we could reach a fee that we both could agree on. By fee, I meant United States currency, and I did not mean exposure of any part of my body, nor would I assume she took it that way.
There are others that I have seen sent to me over the last two days, but these are the ones I am choosing to address. By not addressing other claims does not, in any way, mean there’s any truth to them or that I am afraid to address them. I am simply looking to wrap this up and move on with my life. I believe I have made my point loud and clear.
There is a little more I’d like to address before coming to a close. I am almost done, though. I promise.
I think men who objectify women and view them like they are possessions on the shelf of a convenience store that they can just pick up at any time they’d like are disgusting. As I admitted, I’ve been no saint throughout my life, but I try to do the best I can, and if I do slip, I face what I did wrong and I do everything in my power to do right by someone I have wronged. There are SUPPOSEDLY seven different women, confiding in the source of these accusations, accusing me of harassment. I personally do not believe this, and I know those who have reached out to me (all women who I have interacted with over the years) do not believe this either. But IF there is even ONE woman who I have ever made feel uncomfortable, felt like I had objectified or hurt in any way, I cannot apologize enough. It was never my intention, EVER. I grew up with a mother who fought her way out of long battle with depression and a sister who worked her ass off to get to where she wanted to be in her life. I have beamed with pride at stories of my four year old goddaughter telling little boys at the park that she didn’t need their help on the balance beam just because she was a girl. I have been brought almost to tears while watching females i don’t even know excel in the male dominated sport of professional wrestling. I cannot emphasize the respect I have for women, and for those who want to call bullshit and say I’m pandering to cover my ass, I say to hell with you. I believe most people who read this will know that the person I described in this passage above is the real me. Not this monster some an author I have never met–a man who is using a legitimate movement in society to discredit someone he doesn’t even know–in my entire life is attempting to paint me to be.
If I need to apologize for being a single adult male who sometimes flirts and talks with adult consenting women, then so be it. If you choose to believe these accusations over me, then so be it, as well. I am not here to change minds. Just to tell my side of a story and attempt to discredit blatant lies. For everyone who reads this and refuses to believe this nonsense, I thank you deeply. I will try my best to move past this and continue along the road to reaching my dream. I will continue to write, hoping that I can continue to give you, those who have spent their money and given their time to an unknown author with a few ideas, something to enjoy on those nights you sit on the couch or lay in bed to wind down the evening with a book.
Thank you for your time.