Jae

Sapphic Slow-burn romances

Catfishing in the sapphic fiction community

Catfishing in the sapphic fiction community

How AC Adams aka Adam Gaffen deceived readers and fellow writers

For a while now, I had intended to write a blog post about how important it is for authors to respect their readers and community, with the first and most important point being to not lie and pretend they’re someone they aren’t.

It turns out I now need to write an entire blog post just about that topic, because an author within our community has lied and deceived readers, fellow authors, and the rest of the community in a way that is inexcusable.

Let me start at the beginning to give you a better idea of what happened and why I’m posting about it.

If you know anything about me, you know I have a reputation for helping to uplift and promote my fellow authors, especially authors who are just starting out.

Last year, I was approached by AC Adams—a young, out lesbian woman from Boston… Or so I thought because that’s what her author’s bio and all her social media profiles said. This is what her author page on Amazon looked like:

AC Adams_bio amazon

 

As you can see, her author photo showed a young woman. I thought she was probably using a pen name (or just her initials) because she was an associate professor (or so her bio said) who doesn’t have tenure yet and who can’t be out at work.

She asked me to read her debut novel and recommend it to my readers, and while I didn’t have time to do that, I invited her to participate in several cross-promotions I organized, including my Advent calendar. I included her in my Sapphic Book Bingo, and I featured her as a newbie author in my Facebook group.

I introduced thousands of readers to AC’s writing, and I also gave her advice whenever she emailed me with questions.

At some point, she told me—unprompted—her first name is Amelia. Here’s a screenshot of that email:

AC Adams email name

 

I would not say we were friends—it was definitely a one-sided relationship of me helping out a new author—but she liked to name-drop and mention “her friend Jae” on social media.

This year, I noticed that she started promoting sapphic books by an author named Adam Gaffen in my Facebook reader group and on her social media, not just once or twice but a lot.

That’s when I started getting suspicious because those posts didn’t read like an enthusiastic reader giving shout-outs to a favorite writer. They read like self-promotion posts.

So I emailed AC and asked her if Adam Gaffen is a pen name of hers. She answered that Adam is just a friend who helped her promote her books, so she’s helping him in return. Here’s a screenshot of AC’s answer:

AC Adams_email1

 

But something seemed off, because she was promoting Adam Gaffen’s books more than her own.

So a few days ago, I started playing detective. I did a reverse search on AC’s author photo and found it on a stock photo site, which means it’s the picture of some unsuspecting model, not a photo of AC. I also found out the LLC set up to publish AC’s audiobook was registered to Adam Gaffen.

At this point, it seemed pretty clear to me: AC Adams wasn’t a young lesbian woman; he is actually Adam Gaffen, a straight man in his fifties. Not even the job or city mentioned in AC’s author bio are true.

At the same time, I started talking to a couple of author friends of mine for advice on how to proceed, and it turns out one of them had exchanged emails (screenshotted on her blog) with Adam Gaffen, who writes books with sapphic main characters too, and he had casually mentioned his pen name, AC Adams, as if it were no big deal.

Please don’t get me wrong. Having a pen name is no big deal. It’s actually pretty common, especially among romance authors and authors of LGBTQ+ fiction. Authors have many reasons for using pen names—protecting themselves from stalkers or having to separate their author life from their personal life because it’s not safe for them to be out. Or just because they want to protect their privacy. That’s all valid. Authors using a pen name can still build real connections with readers and fellow authors if they’re honest about everything they do reveal about themselves. I use a pen name, yet any time I interact with readers, I’m still authentically me.

There are also authors who prefer not to reveal their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or other personal details. That’s just fine too. Authors don’t owe readers their identity, and there’s a huge difference between not revealing personal information and deceiving people.

This also isn’t about men or straight folks writing sapphic fiction. I personally have no problem with that. To me, sapphic fiction is about the respectful representation of queer women and sapphic people, regardless of who writes the books. Readers get to make their own choices about what authors they want to support.

I know someone will probably bring up that women used to publish under male aliases in past centuries. That’s not the same thing Adam did. Back then, women were excluded from publishing and had no other way to make themselves heard because publishing was (and still is to some extent) a white, cishet man’s world. Adam is one of those white cishet men. He had no reason to assume the persona of a queer woman other than to deceive a marginalized community for his own gain.

No one would have stopped him from publishing sapphic books under his own name or a male pen name. If Adam thought revealing himself to be a straight man would be a disadvantage, he could have just used a gender-neutral pen name, used a photo of his cat as his profile picture, and avoided revealing any information about himself. He could have let his books do the talking instead of talking about the person behind the books.

But that’s not what he did. As AC Adams, he talked about being an out-and-proud lesbian in interviews like this one:

 

He sent out a Pride Month newsletter, passionately ranting about the injustice of queer people “like her” needing a special month to be who they are. Here’s an excerpt of that newsletter:

 

Just a few days ago, he posted a “gay ID card” signed “Amelia Adams” across all his AC Adams social media:

 

That’s way more than having a pen name. That’s creating an entire fake persona with a fake life. It’s catfishing. It’s appropriating a queer identity as a marketing tool to sell books, when he’s neither a woman nor queer—nor does he understand (or care about) all the ways in which his scheme is harming the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s not only that he swindled his way into debut author spots in my promotions by pretending to be a new author, taking away a spot from someone who actually is. Or that he got around the “no self-promotion” rule in my Facebook group by having his fake persona promote his books for him.

As AC Adams, he also published anthologies and worked with sapphic authors. He built relationships and friendships with fellow authors. Some of them were even friends with both AC and Adam Gaffen, without realizing they are the same person—so now these authors will lose not just one but two friends. Read a guest post by Nat Paga, one of the authors he befriended and deceived for a year, over on the Sapphic Quill.

I later found out that he wrote a book with a fellow author as AC Adams. That author then paid AC’s preferred editor, Adam Gaffen, to edit the manuscript! That’s not just deception; that’s fraud!

I bet he also got emails from readers opening up to him (or rather to AC), revealing personal details.

The sapphic fiction community is small and tight-knit. You can’t be a part of it without forming relationships in some way. He wasn’t lying to anonymous masses. He was deceiving people who trusted him because they thought they knew AC Adams and thought he knew what it’s like to be part of a marginalized minority.

He also harmed members of the sapphic fiction community he never even interacted with—the few men who write sapphic fiction respectfully, under their own name, without appropriating the identity of queer women. Some readers might take what Adam Gaffen did as a reason to boycott all cishet men writing sapphic fiction.

Because of Adam’s scheme, authors of all genders who write under a pen name—especially new, fairly unknown authors—might struggle to get readers and fellow authors to trust them. I have to admit that, at least for a while, I’ll probably wonder with every debut author I’m helping out whether this is Adam using a new pen name…or someone just like him, who thinks nothing of deceiving people and appropriating a queer identity for their own gain.

I’ll try not to let it affect me, and I’ll still help out fellow authors, but if someone who is part of the sapphic fiction community breaks our trust in such a fundamental way, it affects everyone.

Unfortunately, it seems Adam doesn’t understand that. Or maybe he just doesn’t care, despite claiming to be an ally.

When he got caught, he deleted AC Adams’ social media profiles as if that would resolve the problem he had created. But that will leave all the people he formed relationships with forever wondering what happened to AC.

He did send out a newsletter to the people who had subscribed to AC’s mailing list, but not everyone he formed relationships with is a subscriber, and his apology was lukewarm at best—he didn’t even sign it with his real name or admit that he, as Adam Gaffen, also publishes books with sapphic characters and built friendships with people in the sapphic fiction community.

Edited to add: He later sent out a short second newsletter that reveals his name, but only after someone called him out for not doing that before.

His apology newsletter also contains what I believe to be more lies. He says he realized months ago that he had gone too far and was planning an “exit strategy” that would “reduce the character [AC] to a pen name again.”

But if that were true, why did he post an interview where he talks about being an out-and-proud lesbian and post the “gay ID card” with his fake signature just a few days ago?

It also doesn’t take into account the friendships he has built as AC Adams and the people he deceived. There’s no “exit strategy” for that.

After getting caught, he changed his author’s bio on Amazon, but not in a way that avoids any deception. Instead of the fake personal information he shared before, it now says: “This is a pen name. This name is used to write sapphic fantasy romance novels.” The picture next to it is still the same stock photo of a young woman, though. Which means he hasn’t learned a thing or understood what the issue is. This has never been about pen names. He is still pretending to be someone he’s not, manipulating people into thinking he’s a (queer) woman who’s writing under a pen name.

He didn’t unpublish AC Adams’ books or any of the sapphic books he wrote as Adam Gaffen. He merrily continues to profit from his scheme. He’s trying to mitigate the harm for him and his career, not the harm he caused other people.

Which is why I’m posting about it. Not just to tell the people Adam harmed what really happened but also to draw a clear line between using a pen name and not wanting to put details about your private life out there versus creating a fake identity and building friendships as a person who doesn’t exist. That’s not acceptable in any literary community, but it’s especially harmful in a marginalized community that relies on working together to make our voices be heard.

If you are one of the people Adam harmed and you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can find my email address on the contact page.

Please reach out any time,

Jae

The Romance Bet by Jae

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102 thoughts on “Catfishing in the sapphic fiction community”

  1. This is shocking. He could have simply used a gender-neutral name and be an ally.
    I don’t think I have read any books by AC Adams or Adam Gaffen. I think I won’t bother.
    And I’ll share this post to help potential reader avoid him.
    Thanx for writing this post, and for everything you do for writers and readers. 🐺✨

    Reply
  2. Thank you for posting Jae. As a subscriber to AC Adams’ newsletter, I read the apology and felt incredibly uncomfortable, even after his 2nd email with the amendment stating his real name. I admit that I could not put my finger on the exact source of this uncomfortable cringy feeling so I put it aside and went on with my life, thinking the penny will drop sometime later today. Reading your words helped me put all of it in a larger perspective and realize the vast implications of such a deception. I thank you for that and I’m also grateful that you are using this story as an educational opportunity. It is so important that we learn the nuances and differences, subtle or overt.

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    • His newletter didn’t reveal the full picture–just what he thought was necessary. I’m glad I could help you and others understand what’s really going on.

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    • This is the exact same for me. I was an AC Adams subscriber & that email was so confusing. It was blatantly obvious he’d gotten caught & called out for something, but his emails explained none of that. Ok. Appropriation? What does that mean, exactly, in this instance? I was further confused when his real name was revealed & I saw he already wrote in the genre so the penname made little sense, but I wasn’t seeing the issue from how he presented it. I replied to his first email asking for clarification or context on the apology & asking if the titles under the penname were being taken down. I received a reply with no further details, just an assurance that the titles would remain available. It was obvious there was something more to all of this & I’m grateful for this clear explanation. Thank you, Jae.

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  3. Thank for sharing Jae and really sorry this happened to you and so many other people. Fortunately, I haven’t come across with his books and will definitely be out of reading my list. Hope this doesn’t put you off with all you do promoting lesfic and writing so many wonderful books.

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  4. If people who spend hours on how to be devious could just spend that time on promoting integrity the world would be much more advanced. It doesn’t take much time to do good. Thanks Jae for your informative article.

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  5. Thank you for addressing this issue and having the courage to speak out about Adam Gaffen’s deception to you and his readers.

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  6. I’m disgusted by his blatant disregard for everyone! I’m a new unpublished author who will be using a pen name. How will people like me be able to prove we are real? Posing as an editor to essentially get paid by his co-writer to edit his own work should be grounds for some sort of litigation.

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    • I totally understand your concern. I use a pen name too because when I first started publishing, my former boss didn’t like the idea of my clients being able to google me and find out I write sapphic romances. But I never lie to my readers or my fellow authors. My interactions with them are authentic. I think that most of them can sense that, and I’m hoping your readers will be able to sense that you’re authentic too.

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  7. Thank you for sharing Jae. I had read one of AC Adams books and subsequently subscribed to her, now I understand his, newsletter. I don’t mind who writes a book, if its good it’s good. But like you I don’t like dishonesty. I received the email from AC Adams earlier today and promptly unsubscribed. Vote with your feet folks!

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  8. What a dispicable thing for him to do. Thank you for the post clearing this up, he should be ashamed of his behavior but I doubt he has that self awareness.

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    • He seems to think of himself as a misguided ally. He either doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to understand all the harm he has done. I fear it’s the latter.

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  9. Thank you Jae…
    This is so not acceptable, my American friend is totally upset feeling her trust was abused.
    What on earth is wrong with people.
    So thank you again for investigating

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  10. Even while recounting this messed up, horrible story of deceit you got caught up in, you offer a sympathetic ear to those who have been equally affected.

    You’re truly a gift to this community, Jae!

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    • Thanks for your kind words! For me, my interactions with AC were business interactions, so I have a certain distance and can offer assistance to those who were hurt personally.

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  11. When he sent the email I thought, “what’s the big deal, authors use pen names”, only to realize the extent that he went.
    Thank you for tell us the whole story and what a fraud he is.
    He isn’t sorry he did it (he made money, of course he isn’t) but sorry he got caught.
    Good job following you instincts and digging into it.
    Keep up the good work and the great writing.

    Reply
    • That’s one of the reasons why I knew I had to post about this. I wanted to make it very clear the issue isn’t using pen names. The issue is lying, manipulating, and harming people within a community that is already the target of discrimination. Thank you for reaching out!

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    • That’s exactly why I knew I had to write this post. He made it sound as if the problem were pen names, when it wasn’t that at all. He not only lied to make money; he also built friendships with people who thought he was a person who doesn’t exist. He lied not just to his readers, but to people who considered AC a friend. I can’t even imagine how hurtful that must be for them.

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  12. Thank you very much for spending the time in solving this mystery and informing about. I don’t like reading a sapphic book written by a man. And as a reader I want to be informed about it. Doesn’t matter if a pen name is used. It’s my choice. Each time I felt pranked when I read somewhere that the author I assumed to be not a man is in reality one. No one of these played such a wicked game as Adam Gaffen, but still felt that someone made fun of me as I was buying books under false pretences. Hence thanks a lot.

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    • I read some great sapphic books written by men. None of them would ever deceive their readers like that. But I completely respect all those readers who prefer to make different choices.

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  13. Thanks Jae, you are an honorable person and I appreciate you. This pathetic individual will someday get what he deserves, too bad his royalties can’t be reversed!

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    • That’s a great compliment, thank you. Being honorable is important to me, although many would say it’s an outdated, old-fashioned concept. I do believe in karma. I also believe no one who does such hurtful things to others will ever be truly happy in his life.

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  14. I avoid lesbian books written by men. I’m not always sure of heterosexual women authors either.
    For example, I followed a crime novel series a few years ago, and found it strange that the more “personal” parts of the books were rather voyeuristic, and the ex-boyfriend played too much of a role, even after the first book in the series, with the author (a straight women) describing how he was “well-endowed”, etc. in a way I felt was inappropriate and entirely not germane to the main plot of the story. All the more so would I be wary of a lesbian book written by a man. Most men are still too voyeuristic about lesbians, and are NOT our allies in any way. They just want to gratify themselves and probably laugh at us if some of us fall for their lies. It’s different if a man or a straight woman incorporates a lesbian character into a mystery or general fiction book as part of the overall story, as lesbians are part of society as a whole, but to write a “lesbian” book and expect to earn part of a living or gratify your voyeuristic fantasies by dishonestly portraying yourself as an actual lesbian or queer women is absolutely wrong, in my opinion.
    If I come across a book I might want to buy and I don’t know the author, I check them out first and try to make sure they are genuine. Of course, I understand that I may be fooled, but my experience of reading that crime series and getting a feeling that something is “off”, then checking out the author and finding out she is straight, has confirmed my suspicions that it’s important to know who the authors are and that they portray characters in a genuine and respectful way. If I’m looking for a general fiction book or a book that deals with a topic I’m interested in (e.g. biographies of people I find interesting–be they female or male–or a historical novel taking place in an era I’m interested in, or Jewish subjects, etc.) then I’m ok with whoever the author is, because it’s not a specifically lesbian book. However, if I want to read a lesbian book (which I mostly do), then I don’t want to read or support voyeuristic and/or dishonest authors. If we look at this from another angle: how does an author portray a black person, or an Indigenous person, or someone from another minority group? Would a member of that group find the portrayal respectful and genuine if the author is not a member of that group themselves?
    Please understand that the above is strictly my opinion, and I believe that everyone is free to choose what they read and not read.

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  15. I’m halfway through and can’t stop laughing. Where is the problem? That a heterosexual man pretends to be a lesbian without a wig and dress?

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    • I would suggest you read the rest of the post, then I hope you would understand what the problem is. Adam formed close friendships to people, pretending to be a person he isn’t. They talked about their lives and problems with him, making themselves vulnerable. Can you imagine how hurt and deceived they feel now?

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    • Intentionally misrepresenting the issue doesn’t really make a smart or productive point. But not surprising coming from someone who’s trying to be as anonymous as possible while siding with a catfish liar who harmed a community you clearly don’t care about.

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    • This is not a trans person who started transitioning, it’s a cis straight guy pretending to be a lesbian woman for profit, he could have just published the books without creating the persona, just using the pen name without stating a gender, profession or any personal information, but this author actively decided to deceive people and build relationships with the community and fans as a person who does not exist.

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  16. Reminds me of an earlier person who did the same thing to this community…and it wasn’t the fact that he was male, but that he deceived everyone in the community and even had very personal interactions with some in the community. I had liked his books but stopped buying them after learning what he did. The sad thing is that I would have continued to purchase his books had he been honest. There are a few male authors I read because they write good books…like Erik Shubach and JS Frankel. I am so glad I haven’t purchase any of this dude’s books, and I never will! There is also a prolific Sapphic author who is female and has been very deceptive about who she is…so it doesn’t just happen with men. I stopped reading her books, too. Actually, after the first book I read and her blatantly far-right messages in the book, I wasn’t interested anyway. Like you, I try to read and lift up new authors. It is so sad when shit like this happens. But I will continue to promote Sapphic literature and its new authors…because the vast majority are not assholes like this person.

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  17. This stinks of “Robin Roseau” who turned out to be Joe Larsen aka Julie P. Lynde – the whole deception is the same. The Fox Run series, etc., was tainted by the deception and although the profile has been sanitized and awards earned still on the Goodreads and Amazon sites I will not rec or read any of his work. Check M’s review for Fox Run Jan 16/15 and comments.
    Also check: http://lesbianadvocatesagainstfraud.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/deception-by-joseph-plarson-aka-robin.html

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  18. I was one of those deceived people. I definitely liked and upvoted to promote this jerk. Straights frequently wonder why the lgbtq+ community is so tight and rely on personal connections. Now is a perfect example of why we are. The bad will take from our community as much as they can and only show a modicum of guilt when caught. I’m not going to be passive and say “meh”. Lie’s should have consequences.

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  19. Have to agree with “Thanks to a teddybear” here. If this man “identified” as a women… aka was trans and called himself a trans lesbian, half the of lesbian writing community would throw praise at him, while the other half would keep quiet, afraid of being called transphobic. But in reality, it makes no difference because either way he is lying. As Laura Yaros above notes, men writing lesbian fiction or erotica can only be writing from a voyeuristic position no matter how they identify.

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    • I strongly disagree. Adam is not a trans woman. He never identified as a woman. He pretended to be one to take advantage of the sapphic fiction community. There are several trans women who are part of the sapphic fiction community as both readers and writers. Their identity is not the same as someone willfully deceiving people. They are out as trans women, even with all the discrimination that sometimes causes. They don’t pretend to be cis women or anything else they aren’t. Please don’t equate fraud, catfishing, and deception with being trans.

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      • Agreed. Well put. I would digress for a moment and add too that many of our own in the author and well known reviewer communities are straight and bi women married to men, some of whom take heaps of abuse from inside our community for their ‘choices’ including passive/aggressive abuse those who loudly proclaim they will not read books by these authors or reviews by those reviewers. Some of these women have been made to feel very uncomfortable at sapphic literary events because of whom they’ve chosen to love. That needs to stop too.

        I’ll get off my other soap box now.

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        • I agree 100%. Community is incredibly important to me. It’s why Adam’s deception is hitting me so hard. It’s also the reason I chose to write in a language that is not my native language–because this is where I found my community. And that community includes people of all nationalities, of all religions, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities. If the entire Adam situation proves anything, it’s that we need to stand together instead of discriminating against other identities in the LGBTQIA community.

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          • I agree about the inclusion in the community. It’s so important that people who have been marginalize stand up for each other. I quit reading 2 lesbian authors after they wrote blatant racism in their works. One even gave a black character a racist nickname, amongst other things,
            The other wrote horrible stereotypes for a Latino
            character. When people called her out in reviews, her explanation was, how was she supposed to know it was offensive.
            Erik Schubach, and Geonn Cannon are two of my favorite authors who write sapphic literature. Erik‘s books include characters who have disabilities, and differences. Which I find very refreshing to read. Geonn’s books read like you are watching a movie. It breaks my heart when people like Adam make it harder for them to succeed. They don’t deserve that. Not only did Adam disrespect them, he disrespected this community in a horribly dishonest and painful way. For me this makes his works unreadable. I hope this is a learning opportunity for him.

          • As a white author, I feel I have a responsibility to educate myself to the best of my ability to avoid including things in my books that are harmful and hurtful to BIPOC people and other marginalized communities–the same as Adam had a responsibility as a cishet person to do everything within his power to avoid harming the LGBTQIA+ community. He failed miserably, and that makes me all the more determined to be better than him.

      • Trans is a deception. A male can not be a lesbian. If after being discovered, Adam claimed he was actually trans but too afraid to come out, how would your opinion of the situation change then? What makes someone a real trans women? Does he just have to say he is? Or does he have to have taken steps to transition? The point I am getting at, is that it is a lie either way. Because in today’s world, a man only has to “say” they are a woman and we all have to believe him. When we all know that our experiences as woman can not be identified in to. And again, a male writing lesbian fiction and erotica can only being doing it from a point of voyeurism.

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        • I’m not going to keep arguing with you because I am operating on zero hours of sleep, and because I know I won’t change your mind, just as you won’t change mine. Trans is an identity, just as being a lesbian is one. I respect their identity, and they respect mine.

          But this entire post is not about gender identity. It’s about a person who deceived our community. It doesn’t matter if he’s cis or trans, male or female or any other gender. First and foremost, he’s a person harming decent people. Harming our community. I hope we can agree on that.

          Adam lied about so much more than “just” pretending to be a woman when he actually is a man (although that was, of course, a big part of it). He pretended to be queer when he has never experienced what that is like. He pretended to be a 20-something person, even creating a fake communication style, tossing in words like “totes” and “fab” at every opportunity. He pretended to be a professor and told the friends he made about the worries of making tenure and teaching, when he’s not teaching or a professor at all, while they in return shared their problems with him.

          If a trans person had lied about all of these aspects (sexual orientation, job, age, etc.) of their identity, not to protect themselves, but for their own gain, I would have said exactly the same as I said about Adam.

          This is not about gender identity. This is about being a liar and a manipulator who caused harm to decent people. We’ve had an author who’s a queer cis woman deceive the community in a different, but equally harmful way a while ago (pretending to have cancer and asking for money for a treatment, when she was actually healthy), and I was just as furious about that as I am now.

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        • You’ve made up an entirely fake scenario in your head to argue a point that’s irrelevant to this situation. For what? Just so you can let everyone know how transphobic you are? That’s not even what this is about but I guess hateful people need to let others know just how much, even if it has nothing to do with the actual issue.

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  20. This is happened before in our community, and unfortunately, it will happen again. I admit to using a pen name. Many people know my real name as it was never really a secret. My pen name is to keep me from being confused with someone else. As Jae said, I’m still me behind the pen name. I’ve met many, many other authors and readers in person at conferences and online in Zoom and Discord trainings, readings, panels, and chats.

    Many, many sapphic authors use pen names. When I put an anthology together last summer that included myself and 9 other sapphic fiction authors, only one author – not me – was using their real name. I’ve met many, many more authors – many whom I call friends – whom I only know by their pen names. There are male authors who are well known in our sapphic fiction community who use their real names and some who use initials, but who never misrepresent themselves. There are male authors I’ve read and worked with who use female pen names but only when working in official capacity – say, with a contract – reveal any identity information at all including their real name or who do not hide when asked that they are male but using a female pen name. They don’t pretend anything beyond their pen name. That’s not what this is about. Those authors should not be penalized for the lies and subterfuge of Adam.

    If you don’t want to read the works of male authors of sapphic fiction and you never have, then don’t read them. That’s your choice. My point is, don’t let the most current bad apple spoil the whole pot.

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  21. Thank you for sharing this story. You eloquently focused on the deception that used up resources you provide to new authors and eroded the trust of readers in our community. I appreciate all you give of yourself to the writing community.

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  22. Jae, thank you for your research, investigative instinct and for your posting. Though, I personally have not been impacted by this Con Artist; I am wondering if your blog post was sent to Amazon to see if they would intervene on behalf of their own website. Thank you!

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    • I truly doubt Amazon will do anything. At the moment, I’m checking Amazon daily to report a person who keeps stealing sapphic books, tosses them into Google translate, and publishes horrible translations of other authors’ books on Amazon. Amazon will take them down if alerted to it, but they haven’t done anything to block the thief for good. Just to demonstrate that they don’t much care about individual authors one way or another.

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  23. Like others I’m so appreciative of you posting this! It’s hurtful to see. I remember when you included “AC Adams” in your new author stuff and had gotten 2 of the books on Kindle. I immediately deleted them.

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      • You had no way of knowing. Their actions really have left a bad taste.
        I really appreciate as well that you have bought this to light (I had the books as well, and they instantly got deleted), and it’s sad that people will deceive others in such ways. Thank you so much, Jae.

        Reply
  24. Jea, thank you for this. When I read his email yesterday something about it was off. This post definitely helps explain the whole situation. Now I and so many others can understand why the whole thing felt wrong. He definitely doesn’t understand the actual harm he has caused or doesn’t want to. I’m so glad there are people like you in this community that actively look out for others.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for informing us Jae, as a reader of sapphic fiction written by both men and women (Like Annette I read a lot of Erik Schubach, thanks for the new name to look up btw 😉) I find the deception that some on here are apparently blinded by as they seem to want to make this about if “Adam” is Trans or not the bitterest of pills to swallow. This isn’t a political platform people, it’s not a blog post about their sexual identity it’s about the fact they lied and deceived the community that would have supported them if they were a Rambo fairy unicorn or a rainbow painted ladybug if only they had been honest.

    Gender nor sexual identity should be an issue in this community, we struggle enough as it is, we should be lifting ourselves up, but we seem to be reminded like this about why we have to be careful when yes “Adam” we all want to be and live free but people like “Adam” feel it’s their right to deceive to get ahead and therefore show us we have to be vigilant in way we wouldn’t normally have to.

    Jae you are the shining light in the community that we strive to be like with your integrity and shield of justice 🦹‍♀️😉 lol sorry got carried away, just trying to get a smile, it’s my default setting. 🙄

    Reply
  26. Thankyou for sharing this with us Jae. I got the email from him & was a lil confused. Didn’t feel like an apology at all….just trying to cover up as he got caught. Feel betrayed by this man deceiving us in this community, it was a safe space which feels a lil violated. I understand why authors use a pen name & that’s fine as long as they are still true to their authentic self, in this case he wasn’t.

    I appreciate the work you have done in investigating this for Jae & clearing up the parts I was confused about.

    Reply
  27. Jae, I was remiss in not thanking you for all your hard work for our community….helping authors, organizing so many competitions, your blog, editing and so much more and you don’t HAVE to do any of it. You are a true warrior for us! Put your feet up and get some sleep if possible. Thank you.

    Reply
  28. Jae, I so appreciate all you do for our community. I’m angry at this guy’s deceit which has harmed so many in addition to costing you grief and hours of your time. I now read you’re having to again spend your time and energy trying to stop someone from stealing and translating peoples works. Many, many thanks for looking out for all of us.
    I don’t have the time to volunteer to assist you, but I can go to Ylva and purchase any of your books I don’t already own. You’re a true treasure, Jae.

    Reply
  29. This was completely new information to me. I really appreciate your concise and detailed article about it. we are very fortunate to have such a kind and compassionate leader in the Sapphic community.
    Thank you
    P.S. I love your books 😊

    Reply
  30. I appreciate this post informing us how he actively lied and assumed an identity that was not his.

    I do want to say, however, that I hope this does not discourage any aspiring transfeminine authors from joining the sapphic fiction community. Your perspectives are new and invaluable and will lead to excellent new books! (whereas this dude appears to just be an opportunistic liar)

    Reply
    • I hope the same. Yesterday, I posted a thread on Twitter about how being trans is not the same as what Adam did. There are several trans women and transfeminine authors writing sapphic fiction as their authentic selves, and they are valued colleagues.

      Reply
  31. Someone went on the internet, lied about who they are, used fake photos and made money off it; sounds like a normal day on social media to me. I get people who created personal relationships with him being pissed. Nonetheless, Life isn’t fair, people are liars, even those who tell the truth most of the time still lie about stuff when it suits. This is simply a good reminder that people generally can’t be trusted, regardless of if it’s in person or over the internet, and nothing is private once it’s left your mouth. I know we can be isolated and feel the need to reach out to others, social media has made that a little easier, but it also comes with the same risks pen pals used to pose back in the day, you have no idea who you are communicating with – let’s face it, you can live with someone and not know who you’re really dealing with, faceless interactions are even more fraught. Now, if this dude was a rapist, child sex offender, domestic violence offender etc, etc, let the holy fires of hell engulf him; fraud, lying, making money at the expense of others and pretending to be things they’re not…that’s normal life in capitalism, religion and every other major human institution for as long as we’ve walked this earth. Not exactly the worst thing he could have done, just a bit crap.
    P.S. those who are using this as a platform for anti-trans rhetoric, sit down and shut up, your poison is divisive just like every other fear-fuelled, ignorant and hateful opinion.

    Reply
    • I have a very different view of it. Of course there are even worse crimes than the ones Adam committed, but that doesn’t make it all right. He has had daily conversations with some of the authors he befriended; they considered “AC” one of their closest friends. Some of them were friends with Adam too, never suspecting they were two different people. Can you imagine how it feels to find out one of your best friends deceived you like that?

      I’ve made some very good friends in the sapphic fiction community. In fact, I met my two best friends whom I consider chosen family via sapphic fiction. They are good, decent people whom I trust 100%.

      So while people like Adam exist, there are also a lot of good people out there.

      Reply
  32. Checking my library I see I bought 2 of his books. I feel bad that I helped support someone like him but at least I did not pay full price. Agree it is not the gender but it’s the misuse and abuse of others. Thanks for such consideration with you blog and for sharing it with us.

    Reply
  33. This hurts me. And I have no right to be hurt, I know that.

    I guess I’m very similar to Adam. I write sapphic fiction, I use a female pen-name, I’ve created this false identity. I’ve formed friendships with this fake persona. It allowed me to imagine, just for a little while each day, that I was who I wanted to be.

    And with everyone I talk to, I tell them that if they ask me anything I’ll either be totally honest or tell them I’m uncomfortable in answering.

    With some such friends, I’ve been brutally honest. I’ve explained that although biologically male, I’m a closeted trans lesbian. Everyone I’ve told that to has been incredibly nice and accepting and I love each and every one of them for that.

    But it’s still lying, isn’t it? It’s still a fake persona, fooling everyone. But I need it. I need to be known as the woman I want to be, that I know I am inside this fucked-up head. I hate this ugly body I’m trapped in. So I lie. I’m honest and I lie. I’m honest about lying.

    And sure, I haven’t defrauded anyone. I haven’t done interviews or anything like that. I only have one account everywhere. But is that enough? My account still says my preferred pronouns are she/her. It still says I’m a lesbian. And I’m not, am I? Even though I am. I’m not.

    So shitty day made worse by this. It broke me. I’ve been feeling guilty about this for a long while and it was just too much. I’ve deleted every post and tomorrow I’ll delete my Instagram account.

    Right now I feel like I never want to write again. (Actually, if I’m being honest and believe it or not I really do try to be, right now I feel like ending my life I’m so broken.) Ironically, if I ever decide to write again I’ll choose another pen-name and lie and lie and lie and lie, just to protect myself and remain in the closet more safely, which is worse than what I have been doing.

    Reply
    • I want to make it very clear that being trans is not the same as being deceptive. You might not be able to be completely out about being trans right now, but you are doing the best you can. Adam’s situation is not the same as yours. He’s a straight cis male. He is not a woman; trans or cis. He pretended to be one to make more money with his sapphic books and apparently got a sick pleasure out of deceiving people. That’s all on him and has nothing to do with your situation. I do hope that you can be honest about being trans once you’ve established a friendship with someone, but I know that takes trust. Please take good care of yourself and feel free to reach out to me via email.

      Reply
  34. I’m one of the many that was duped. He used AC to refer me to him as an editor. He edited both of the books I have out there and now I feel icky with his name attached. I can’t imagine the hurt those that were much closer to AC are feeling right now. I’m so sorry.

    Reply
  35. Wow thanks for bringing this to our attention this is not something I wanna support. And honestly the moment I saw the picture I knew where this is going… It looks super real in the first place but odd if know the story is about catfishing! It’s so crazy what people do these days for their 5 minutes of fame :(

    Reply
  36. I’m so angry about this I can barely be articulate. Thank you so much for bringing this to light. I appreciate you.

    Reply
  37. I had to read the whole article after reading the newsletter. This is all new information to me, but I remember something similar has happened in the past.
    I find his actions disappointing. He went to so much trouble while he didn’t have to. If he’d been honest from the word go, some of the women who enjoy sapphic books would still have purchased, and read his books.

    Reply
  38. This is the third time I am seeing something like this and when I saw it the first time, I vowed to stay away from having any “close” contact with all authors that way. The first time was enough. Though, for me, what is worse is the guilt I feel as a reader when I enjoyed the books these “authors” wrote/write.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry–this affects a lot of people. But please know that none of this is on you. You don’t have any reason to feel guilty. I don’t feel guilty for promoting his books because I did it with the best of intentions. There was no way for me to know, just as there was no way for you to know. And please know that not all authors are like that. The vast majority of them interact with readers in a truthful, respectful, and authentic way, whether they use a pen name or not.

      Reply
  39. I admire very much your commitment to the sapphic fiction community and the writing business at its heart. I admire your care for its writers and readers, and also your willingness to take the steps necessary to protect the grounds for community trust and fair business practices.

    Thanks for not just enriching the community but also being willing to police its boundaries- not to keep diverse people out but rather to protect the community from exploitation. The more attractive the community, the more potential catfish there are out there I guess.

    Finally- I admire that you are willing to say and do the hard things – like calling others out on attitudes and behaviours that hurt others – as well as giving so much time to creating fun and enjoyment and to taking risks on making friends from the ether! There are very few people who are willing to wrap so much around their core day job.

    I hope you can address the sleep deprivation tonight!

    Reply
  40. Jae, I’m sorry to see this happened and the damage it has done to the LGBTQ+ community and trust of all who are affected.

    Reply
  41. Thank you for explaining what was going on behind our backs. You did an excellent job in this post. It’s so important to know when things like this happen in the community.
    Brina

    Reply
  42. This hurts! Like I really like Kalili’s story…To have been deceived by Adam like that is just painful. He could have been an Ally! Our community can always use more Allys and would have been able to enjoy the stories without them being tainted.

    Reply
  43. That’s awful. I had “Finding Faith” on my Kindle library, and a few weeks ago, I almost started reading it. But something stopped me, and I chose another book. Glad I did so. A shame the anthology “Roots of Love” was also marred by his scheme, as it looked like a great mix. I’ll search for the individual stories of the real authors, but yeah, a real shame.

    Reply
  44. This is wild because I had Testing Faith downloaded and finally read it and I was like “wait I swear the second one was out.” but no it wasn’t on Amazon and neither was Testing Faith and now I saw this. For the record I was AMAB (Assigned male at birth) and identify as Non Binary. I haven’t published anything but I hope to one day write queer fiction, likely Sapphic because I think it’s a very under represented genre and I’ve made a lot of Sapphic friends through twitter. I cannot understand the need for the deceipt from Adam. I’ve read Sapphic books by a couple make authors, Benjamin Medrano and Erik Schubach spring to mind, both seem to be doing just fine publishing sapphic works under their own names. It just blows my mind to lie about it. And not just lie, but double down so hard. Unhinged.

    Reply
    • It seems Adam finally took the books down from Amazon. He initially hadn’t planned to do that.

      There are several men and plenty of nonbinary people writing sapphic fiction who are open about who they are, and they are valued members of the community. Adam’s actions harm them too.

      Best of luck with your own writing!

      Reply
  45. There is nothing wrong with an author using a penname but when that penname starts telling untruths it becomes a problem. Unfortunately it is more common than many readers think. Right now there is an MM author who is lying about his age, ethnicity, upbringing and has even falsely claimed all his family are dead. It’s so twisted.

    Reply
  46. Thank you so much
    What a despicable person
    Honestly I don’t want to read sapphic books written by a man, I seriously doubt they can portray a real lesbian relationship without projecting cichet standards on us. What do you guys think?

    Reply
    • There are a couple of men who write sapphic fiction openly under their own name and do a good job. I do think that men in general will have to work harder to portray a relationship between two women in a realistic way, but then again, I have written books from the point of view of characters who are fundamentally different from me too. It takes more of an effort, but it is doable, especially if you have a diverse circle of friends and work with sensitivity and beta readers.

      Reply
  47. I’m biased towards lesbians writing lesfic. I’m not sure how a non-lesbian could write good stories about two women. Then again I enjoy sci-fi stories so personal experience isn’t needed. It’s just how I feel about it personally; I’ll likely skip a good lesbian love story written by a male. I’m totally good with pen names, even if they use pronouns they/them. That’s it though. The deceit is a whole matter altogether. I don’t read bios usually before I read the story, I would likely not have caught the deception. So thank you Jae. Deceptions (and scams) are going to be harder to sus out with AI becoming more accessible to folks.

    Reply
    • I feel that everyone has the right to write sapphic or lesbian fiction, but readers have the right to choose what authors they want to read. That’s why it’s so important for authors to not deceive readers into thinking they are someone they aren’t. Plus Adam went way further than just using a pen name. He lied and deceived just to see how far he could go or for whatever reasons I don’t understand.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

      Reply

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