A Loyal Fan’s Response To The Josh Lanyon Debacle: aka, Dear Ms. Killian, It Aint’ Pretty!

bd0002f4c949cf5ee2a93985350293c8Just to qualify everything I’m about to say, here’s something you need to know:   I’m a woman; I have sisters and daughters so I really like women. I have approximately 450 books on my Kindle Paperwhite and at least 90% of them are M/M fiction and most of those are written BY WOMEN! So I like women and I respect and like to read books written by women!  Now, with that said…

I actually hesitated to write this…. which isn’t like me; I’m a tell-it-like-it-is gal, so after I went for a long walk, drank numerous cups of coffee and pulled up my big girl pants, I decided to get my frustration out there.

***Be warned… this is a rant.  Plain and simple. I’m pissed as hell and I want to get it out of my head. There will be bad words, snarky-ass comments and I’ll probably be all over the map, so if you have tender feelings or get your panties in a wad over grown-up language and bad grammar you might want to mosey on over to the Josh Lanyon FB fan page where there’s just all kinds of huggy-kissy shit going on with the choir members!  I’m breaking this up into 3 parts, so please stay tuned because it gets positive after Part 1 :D***

PART 1:  Rant ON

I woke up Friday morning to the news that my all-time fave author, Josh Lanyon, is dead.

Actually to be precise, he never existed to begin with.  Apparently, he… is a she.  SHE is author Diana Killian.  SHE also writes cozy mysteries with themes like poetry… and yoga o.O  Just fucking great.

Here I thought we had at least one male M/M-gay romance author in the genre who brought something real to the table (and btw, there are several others to be applauded as well)… a gay MAN who not only wrote great books but who also connected with his readers… someone who obviously cared about his personal life enough not to exploit it online, privacy was paramount; who even wrote a non-fiction book about writing about gay romance!  But no. It’s all been a ruse, propagated and dragged out by Ms. Killian to… what exactly?

Huh… I got nothing.

Yes, I’ve read HER carefully worded, yet lacking, response on the Josh Lanyon blog where SHE states that it was just “time” to lower the veil and that SHE was comfortable with it… well, how very nice for you Ms. Killian!  But, just a quick question… um, why the hell didn’t you get your ‘comfy on’ about, oh I don’t know… 10 years ago!? Didn’t you think that just maybe after winning an award or two with the Adrien English series that just maybe you might need to drop the pen name and use your real name?  That maybe when you started selling enough books as Josh Lanyon to quit the day job, maybe you should be honest and forthcoming about your identity?  No?  Instead, you made a conscious choice to keep the Josh Lanyon persona alive, one of a gay MAN who writes M/M-gay romance and I’m guessing – because at this point that’s all anyone can do – you knew you could bank on the notoriety of being one of the very few gay men who write in the M/M genre and quite obviously do it very well.

This is how I see it: you had this ‘comfy’ moment and decided you were tired of the double life so you talked with your girlie posse who told you this would be the perfect time to come clean because, hey, you’re going out of the country!  I can hear the conversation now while all of you sipped Mimosas (or whatever the hell) and constructed this scenario:  So you come clean, throw a non-apologetic and weak-ass explanation on the Josh Lanyon blog and your posse will monitor the response with shit such as, “Hey, if anyone says anything bad about you, we’ll throw the word ‘misogynist’ around!”  Oooh, good one, and if they say negative shit we can tell them they are being “intolerant”!  How about this one… if they dare to question you we’ll make them out to be idiots by saying, “Are we really still having this conversation? I thought we were past all of this!”

Here’s some obviously much needed information about your readers, Ms. Killian (if that’s even your real name… but at this point I don’t give a crap!):  I am not an idiot who hates women and is intolerant.  And how very fucking dare you, and your girlie posse, make me out to be an intolerant oaf just because we think you did something that was deceitful, shady and crass!  What the fuck?  You seriously think you are above anyone’s disdain just because you’re a woman who writes M/M fiction who was posing as a gay man who is now really a woman… Jesus, my head hurts!

Oh, and thank you so much for the apology, er, I mean the blog post where you basically blame us, the readers, who are at fault for not knowing you were a man:

The years of gossip and rumors and speculation were fueled by my steadfast refusal to state whether I was male or not. Which…for God’s sake. THAT WAS THE ANSWER RIGHT THERE. Right? Certainly for most people that was the answer right there.  – Diana Killian (responding on the Josh Lanyon blog)

First of all Ms. Killian, I have been reading the Josh Lanyon interviews and the subsequent comment section discussions on your true identity since about 2009 – I can clearly remember people coming to your defense in droves when someone even remotely questioned your identity or gender. Now you can say, “Well that wasn’t me! I have no control over what people commented!”  And here I will use one of your own familiar responses… “Uh huh”

Let’s face it, for years now you have had your posse (aka, author/editor/reviewer friends) “having your back” to seclude your identity and not once did you come forward and just freakin’ put it to bed and say “Hell yes I’m a woman! And damn proud of it!”. <— THIS IS THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM!  Here’s one that I was able to still find (I have a life so, like you, I’m not taking the time to go back and find shit…):

From an Amazon.com discussion dated 2012:

Is Josh Lanyon a bona fide male ?
See latest post

Initial post: Apr 2, 2012 5:41:31 PM PDT
Robert Brace says:
Can anyone prove this absolutely ?
4 of 12 people think this post adds to the discussion. Do you? Yes No

Posted on Apr 9, 2012 3:01:07 AM PDT
J. Kay Jones says:
Yes. Interviews with him online by real interviewers who met him.

Kristel says:
And Josh is a gay man! There are plenty of people who can attest to that!

Also, can someone please explain this picture on the Josh Lanyon (who is really Diana Killian) Scribd account?  Here’s the pic with a link to the page:

This page has been, oh so conveniently, changed since I posted the screenshot. Not surprising given the source!

Does this look like Ms. Killian?  Or, does this imply anything?  Just sayin’… if I’m totally wrong and this IS Ms. Killian… uh huh.

***Rant Off (because I have a headache!)***

PART 2 – I actually love most of Ms. Killian’s Josh Lanyon books!

I have read nearly all of the books under the Josh Lanyon pseudonym and I love them!  I have reviewed and written on various blogs about the perfection of the Adrien English and Holmes and Moriarity series. Also, the fact that Unto These Yellow Sands and The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks are some of the best stand-alone novels in the genre (if not THE best). And, Jefferson Blythe, Esquire has been Pre-Ordered (I’m NOT a New Adult fan, but I’m willing to give it a chance). So, I will still purchase the books and review them, but seriously I don’t much like this new author, and that makes me sad.  I loved the “fictional” author (probably one of Ms. Killian’s best characterizations to date), but Ms. Killian is like so many others… but I’ll give her a chance to redeem herself.

PART 3:  Dear M/M author: Don’t do this!

A word of caution and some unsolicited advice from a reader – an auto-buy reader at that – please do not do this. A pseudonym is one thing, but taking on a persona of someone so much unlike your true self is disingenuous and will turn off readers somewhere down the road (hopefully after you have become hugely rich and famous 😉  Your platform/brand is incredibly important in this new age of publishing – just be yourself. And I get it, you might need to use a different name to protect yourself from the church ladies finding out you write about smexy shirtless cowboys who roll around in the hay together… but for God’s sake please JUST CHANGE THE NAME. And when you do start to make it big (*snort*) then maybe, as soon as is possible, drop the veil a little… don’t wait a decade or more of pretending to be someone utterly different than yourself and expect there not to be just a little backlash!

Whew! I’m done… I’m heading to my Kindle to read something familiar and cozy so I can get all this behind me. Oh, and I’m looking for some new authors to read… just sayin’.

*** Update #1***

The Josh Lanyon (who is actually Diana Killian) Scribd. page (the “old” one, not the new one that has like 2 billion followers *snort*) has been changed (imagine that!) – the picture of the mysterious guy has been replaced with a pic stating “You’ve Been Punked!!!”

Wow, the posse is working overtime and being oh, so sweet about things.  Really, you do realize readers see this stuff, right?

*** Update #2***

So I found out who the mystery guy is in the old Scribd. screenshot up there. Interesting… he wrote a gay novel around 2005… hmmm.  Seriously, this is like a DIY mystery book only it’s the online version. If anyone has any insight, please let me know… <smooches>


24 thoughts on “A Loyal Fan’s Response To The Josh Lanyon Debacle: aka, Dear Ms. Killian, It Aint’ Pretty!

  1. West Thornhill

    Great post and everything you say is what I have been thinking since this came out. My author name is a pseudonym, but I do not hide the fact that I am a woman. I chose to use it because of where I live (Liberty University anyone?) and to protect my son. I tell people who ask what I write. I don’t hide. But I still have to explain what LGBT stands for during these conversations. As for ‘new’ authors to read, I don’t know who you’ve read. But some of my fall back authors are Ally Blue, ZA Maxfield, Amanda Young, Carol Lynne, and Rhys Ford.


    1. Thank you for keeping your “identity” genuine while still using a pen name! As a reader who likes to connect with the authors I read, knowing WHO you are is different from knowing WHAT you are – I don’t need your address and social security number (*snort*)

      Love me some ZA Maxfield and Rhys Ford! Thanks for the recommends!


  2. kevinburtonsmith

    Boy, you got her! Yep, really nailed Josh Lanyon.

    Except that the Scrib’d account pictured does not belong to Josh. Diana’s woefully neglected Josh Scribd page is https://www.scribd.com/josh_lanyon.

    You can tell by the number of followers, right there in the heading. 160 followers?


    For someone whose books sell in the thousands?

    Her real page shows a much more believable number, more in line with other social media sites.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You’ve been pranked, Ms. Stretchy Pants.

    By the way, it that you up there drinking from the tea cup? Are you really a tea drinker, or have you been lying to us all these years?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ooooh, how very middle school of you! And I’m positive this is kind of reaction Ms. Killian wants her readers to see. Just in case you can’t see it from the screenshot I took (and saved) here’s the write-up:

      A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

      I don’t know, being just a lowly, stupid reader and all, but that sounds vaguely familiar! Just sayin’.

      *** Just a word of advice to Ms. Killian’s assistants: you might want to clean up the old stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *snort*

        I kind of figured as much. Unfortunately, Mr. Kevin Burton Smith doesn’t realize that when he lashes out at a reader, like myself, he’s doing Ms. Killian a grave injustice.

        I also noticed he writes mystery… uh huh.

        I appreciate everyone that has replied – without the bitchiness of course – and those who have pinged me. Sometimes you can feel like you’re the only fish in the bowl… peering out at the choir. I appreciate everyone’s support!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. WinterSong

    Here, Ms. Stretchy Pants. I believe the following link does a much better job supporting the point you’re trying to make with this post: http://imgur.com/e63j2JN It’s a screenshot from Josh Lanyon’s website in 2008. It shows, not only a picture of a man, but in the bio, states that “Josh Lanyon lives in Los Angeles, California with his partner, a former LAPD detective.” In recent years, JL has done a good job removing some of the more apparent lies, but in the beginning, she was clearly trying to pass herself off as a gay male, regardless of what she now claims.


    1. Thank you! 🙂 I didn’t start following the “Josh Lanyon” brand until about late-2009/early-2010 so I appreciate everyone helping me not sound like a total lunatic! 😀

      I know there’s more info out there, its just a matter of my finding the right people/sources – right now all I hear is the “choir” singing her song… and it’s so freakin’ loud! Thanks, again!


  4. Marshall Thornton

    I don’t know anything about scribd. I have a book there but it’s through Smashwords so I don’t know how profiles are set up. I suspect that this profile in question was set up by a fan who thought the image looked like Adrien English rather than someone out to “get” Josh Lanyon. Certainly, the young man in the picture would have been around seven when she assumed the Lanyon identity.

    I did get this link this morning in my inbox. http://imgur.com/e63j2JN it is supposedly JL’s website from 2008. I have no idea if it’s real or not. As a fan, maybe you remember? It does contain the “Josh’s partner is a LAPD officer” story which I’d heard in the past. It was used as a reason that Josh never posted his photo – to dangerous socially – and I have been wondering where that story came from if Josh “tried to keep everything gender neutral.”


    1. I hadn’t heard anything about that story – the whole Josh having a partner who was an LAPD cop, etc. – but I’m finding out so much now that I didn’t know before that it completely changes my perception of the JL brand and Ms. Killian in general.

      I’m currently working on a new blog post about how important it is for us readers to actually “like” the authors we read. Unfortunately, the more I get to know about Ms. Killian and her entourage, the more this train wreck reveals the less I like her – and I really hate that!

      By the way, your post “Branding or Catfishing” was excellent! Shared it everywhere!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kate Rothwell

    I was surprised, flummoxed and then entirely pleased…I was CONVINCED Josh Lanyon was male. For about five minutes, I was indignant but that’s because I felt as if I’d been fooled–and then I decided that isn’t really the same thing as being foolish and I wasn’t really hurt by the whole thing. And the fact that a writer could convince me with his/her voice floors me but in a good way. I think I believed that I could tell but nope, not at all. It proves once and for all, that for me, voice isn’t connected to genitals. And THAT is cool. Otherwise…. Unless an author is a total dickweed and tries to trample other peoples’ rights I don’t care much about his/her life. The books are what I want. And I like Josh’s writing, so I’m pleased to learn there are more titles out there to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And the fact that a writer could convince me with his/her voice floors me but in a good way.”

      But, unfortunately, it was more than just “voice”, there was some real and premeditated deception. I’m glad you weren’t “hurt” by finding out that Josh Lanyon is a woman, but let me make it perfectly clear that I don’t think “OMG, JL is a girl, I’m so hurt…” – please know that stuff like this only makes things look even worse for Ms. Killian – I am angry at the deception. It was planned, it was deliberate and just maybe it may have been incredibly disingenuous to her fellow M/M genre authors, some of whom are ACTUAL gay men who, although they aren’t the only authors in the genre who can spin a good story, they DO bring an insight to the table that others might not. Even various female M/M genre authors will contest to that – it’s elementary stuff, Watson!

      Please read these two thoughtful articles on the subject:
      “Branding or Catfishing” by Marshall Thornton, and “Pseudonyms vs. Identities” by Nathan Burgoine


  6. VVivacious

    As a big fan of M/M romance it doesn’t matter if the author writing it is a man or a woman but it is different thing altogether knowing that a author you thought to be a man is a woman is a bit disconcerting…it is just semantics and I have no idea how this will have an impact on her books but it shall be interesting. I am kind of in the middle of the Dangerous Ground series and I read the first two books having no idea as to her identity and now I am on the third one, I wonder if something changes or not. But yeah perceptions do change.


    1. It’s funny – well, maybe not – but it seems like the Josh Lanyon books started to “change” sometime after the 2010/2011 time period. I mean, Come Unto These Yellow Sands, Fair Game, All She Wrote, The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks and most, but not all, that came before was very well done and in what I think of as the Josh Lanyon “voice” – the Adrien English Series being quintessential JL – but that “voice” just isn’t in the later books.

      It’s almost as if Ms. Killian devolved somehow in her writing as JL which is most prevelant, in my opinion, in The Boy With The Painful Tattoo which I almost couldn’t finish and it pissed me off because Kit and JX’s story was one of my all-time fave storylines.


  7. Wastei

    I’m new to the books (the last few months) and I’ve only read about a dozen. She certainly had me fooled which I suppose is a backhanded compliment. I’ve read some stuff (I’m thinking of you, Charlie Cochrane) which is obviously by a woman and suffers for it. That being said, I’ve also read a lot of fanfiction on AO3 which is excellent (worth buying, actually but these guys – or gals, in reality – do it all for love of the art). OK, some of their user names imply they’re men but their bios always give readers the truth. What irks me most of all, I think, is contained in the word “fooled” from the second sentence. We’re a long way from the times of George Elliot as regards getting published as a woman so deceiving readers as to your sex (or “gender” as we’re now encouraged to say) leaves me if not angry then at least disappointed. Also the reply to a relatively anodyne and certainly polite question from someone on her website has rather put me off the author as a person.


    1. Also the reply to a relatively anodyne and certainly polite question from someone on her website has rather put me off the author as a person.

      I have been silently following Ms. Killian’s responses and oft times nefarious writing regarding the issue and I, too, am not sure I like this new-to-me author. It seems that once the veil dropped, someone quite different and unlikeable was exposed to us. The worst part, for me as a reader anyway, is the fact that her writing is suffering. Most of the books written as Josh Lanyon since about 2013 (and one or two from 2012) are not as well fleshed out or as “good” as their predeccesors. As I said in another comment, she is quickly devolving and that is a shame because regardless of what I think of her as a person/author the M/M genre needs their good, even great, authors to stay great!

      And just as a side… I REALLY wish she would stop blogging/conversing as JL. It’s offputting and borderline ridiculous at this point.


  8. Kelley

    I still check her GoodReads group and Just Joshin’ blog from time to time, but I really need to stop because she just keeps saying stuff that makes me cranky. Now that the kerfuffle has passed, I figure it’s safe to comment here without incurring the wrath of the Fanyons.

    I knew she was seriously considering ‘dropping the veil’ well over a year before she did, so it was really disappointing to see how badly she finally handling the whole thing. Granted, it wasn’t surprising given how prickly she’d been about her identity. But I was hoping she’d have the courage and grace to own up to the deception which was definitely more extensive than people realize.

    I’m a reader who made the connection between her pen names—Killian to Lanyon—several years ago and was put-off by the deceptive gay male persona. There were enough discrepancies between Josh’s story and what I knew about Diana to set my spidey senses tingling, and after I re-surfaced from the rabbit hole of Google I realized just how bad her credibility was. You can dredge-up some embarrassing stuff if you know where to look, but I didn’t want to be accused of being some crazy with a vendetta so I kept quiet. A lot of people did. Josh/Diana carped about back-stabbers more than once after the speculation about her identity intensified in 2008.

    I think the long standing deception showed a big blind spot when it came to furthering her own career versus genuinely respecting the LGBTQ community and her reader’s trust. In my opinion she used gender bias to rationalize her deceptive marketing decisions when there were other options open to her, and I agree that questioning her choices doesn’t make people misogynistic or intolerant. Faking a minority identity for profit was unethical, and nothing she’s said regarding the issue has improved my respect for her. And sadly, I don’t see her redeeming herself at some future point, either.

    So who ‘was’ the guy in the Scribd photo? The picture she ran when she launched her Lanyon website back in 2006 was a cousin. And she used photos of her teenaged niece—photo-shopped, thankfully—for another pen name she was experimenting with when she was on sabbatical. She wrote a couple of short story m/f erotic-steampunk-Victorian lit mash-ups under that pseudonym which she didn’t mention when she listed her various pen-names after the reveal. Btw, one of her siblings also started publishing m/m books about three years ago with some help from big sis.

    Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to add my two cents and let you know I appreciated all you folks that were brave enough to speak out more eloquently than I could about Ms. Killian’s behavior and just how problematic it was.


    1. LoriK

      Well, this was very interesting. Makes me want to spend some time on google but …all I’ve ever seen is the hilarious youtube Irish singing bit. I can’t remember where I saw that link but it was, maybe, a year ago.

      I didin’t care that much about her gender until her nasty rant about how slow could her fans be? to actually believer she was a man. Those were the last words she wrote, that I will ever read.


      1. “I didin’t care that much about her gender until her nasty rant about how slow could her fans be?”

        Seriously?!! I completely walked away from reading her blogs and if this is the tripe she spewed, then I made a wise choice. Nothing will turn off a fanbase faster than insulting the very readers who put her in a position to make a living off of her writing. How infuriating.

        Again, I believe she’s devolving; her writing is suffering – one only needs to read the latest few books to see the decline – and now she’s going off on another one of her tangents where she does a book about… wait for it… coloring. Now, I am actually a fan of those “adult coloring books” so I’m not knocking them at all, but what is with all the side gigs? Is writing not enough? It truly makes me wonder if she even wrote the books she’s famous for, or did she have help in some way? Why would she just stop? First it was the build-your-own-adventure book (which was horrible) and now this.

        I’m saddened by all of this, to be honest; I wanted a long history of books from JL but I’m convinced now she just doesn’t have it in her.

        Also, I’m gravitating toward more of the other M/M-gayrom authors – both male and female – and I’m finding some great alternatives. Lucky for us, the readers of the genre, the writing is getting better and better!


      2. Kelley

        Well, I kept wavering about whether or not I should mention some of the personal info, but it does kind of put the lie to her story about protecting her privacy. That’s what stood out for me when I discovered her Lanyon pen name because I knew Diana hadn’t been very concerned about privacy and Josh obviously had a monetary incentive to be.

        A pen name would have provided privacy sans the whole gay male persona thing, but she firmly believed her marketing platform had to match what she wrote, so that’s what she did right down to Josh’s, cough, real life partner being with the LAPD according to Lanyon’s original author bio. To be fair, that bio was probably the most over-the-top fabrication that I ran across. It looked like she did more than a little catfishing on listservs and Yahoo groups too, though.

        I enjoy the Celtic singing, btw. Tastes differ, so I understand YMMV, Lori. To be honest, I’ve always liked the music more than her writing which is too derivative for me. Good writing, meh plots and characters if you’re at all familiar with her personally and the writers she emulates.

        I’m curious whether she collaborated with her husband on some of the Lanyon titles myself, Ms. Stretchy Pants. And the merchandising thing she’s been doing the past several years – coloring book, Etsy and Zazzle stores, choose your own adventure book – makes me cringe but the Fanyons love it.

        Running on again so I’ll cease and desist now.


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