Carly Fleischmann - An Autistic Teen Finds Her Voice
Book Gems #13 Writing Yoga by Bruce Black

An Apology

It appears that my little short story The Things I Refused to Leave caused a bit of a stir (understatement of the year).

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone that was offended or hurt because of it. It was a work of fiction that was intended to be read as so (despite the overreaching theme of first chakra “follow the leader” behavior and other themes I feel are true in group context and attempted to tackle in short story form).

It was not a disguised rant (I don’t disguise anything…if I want to rant, I’ll put it on my blog). In fact, the story arose out of a fiction exercise I did. When a few people I know read it (and thought it was edgy and funny), I decided to publish it (especially since the direction of my writing is going into fiction nowadays).

Those people knew nothing about “the Tarot community” and thus, read it as a piece of outrageous fiction (yes, it was absolutely intended to be outrageous—especially coming from a female writer describing a female narrator who says and does some pretty disgusting things).

It was an experiment and, whether you believe it or not, I accidentally uploaded the original story rather than my edited story (edited for form, as suggested by an editor friend of mine, and edited for names, where the first-run “pulled out of the air” monikers were as presented on Amazon, by mistake).

In short, I uploaded my first draft by accident but, by the time I realized it, it was too late. And, I tried to pull my story from Amazon days ago via the KDP dashboard, but it still remained for sale. I have contacted them repeatedly to pull it.

Many writers write about outrageous characters doing outrageous things—including ones that may “resemble” real people. That doesn’t mean the writer thinks like the narrator, nor does it mean that the writer condones what a character does (one just need to read the Dexter series, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Sandford and others to get my drift).

Still, it does seem that there’s a double standard in that male writers can be over-the-top disgusting, but if a female writer does so, she is identified WITH the main character/narrator of the story. And, perhaps, seen as “batshit crazy”.

This double standard no doubt hamstrings many a female writer, which is what pseudonyms are for (and which I considered—and even had a book cover mock-up ready to go with a pseudonym on it).

As a writer heading into fiction, with a contract for my novel-in-progress sitting on my desk (unrelated to my short story), I realized that to build a fiction fan base with a pseudonym, I’d literally have to start from the ground-up to “make a name” for myself in fiction (as all authors must in this digital age of social media).

It was an overwhelming thought. I didn’t (don’t) have time to create another site, persona, blog, FB page, Twitter feed, etc. for the “pseudonymous me”.

So I figured “What the hell”, and chose to use my own name. I spent almost a decade building up a writing platform with 1,200+ reviews on Amazon,, my FB presences, Twitter feed, Newsletter and so on and figured I’d just piggy-back my fiction writing on my established non-fiction writing platform—especially since my fiction will include Tarot and other metaphysical themes in it.

My short story wasn’t “for” the Tarot community, but rather for people wanting to discover edgy fiction—and to see what people thought of my story-writing abilities.

Of course, those who already had a beef with me saw it as an opportunity to attack and discredit me…and thus, a mob was formed (which was pretty ironic, considering that such behavior WAS the point of my short story). Life imitating art, maybe?

Art is definitely subjective and what one declares beautiful, provocative or transcendent, another will castigate as disgusting, offensive or obscene. All in the eye of the beholder, yes?

I do realize that those who have a beef with me will analyze this post, continue to fuel the fire by concluding this or that—perhaps even saying I’m a liar or that this blog post is untrue and I’m not “really sorry”.

There’s nothing I can do about that. Whatever I do at this point is pretty “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Am I tired of the harassment certain people have subjected me to this year and, in some cases, the last TWO years (including hate mail, cyberbullying, following me around the web, baiting/attacking me, etc.)?


It’s pretty hard to avoid when the emails come directly to ME or attackers come to MY blogs or reviews do dump their vitriol. My disgust at the behavior of some in the “Tarot community” remains the same (and I’m not the only one, I assure you…I’m just one of the only ones that will point it out publicly).

Although I realize that individuals had to go to my Amazon author page and actually BUY my short story (which still confuses me: if you hate me, why are you at my Amazon author page? And why in the world would you plop down money to read anything of mine?)—and some would argue it’s the reader’s fault for getting offended in the first place—I still wanted to make a public apology to those that were hurt or distressed.

I would hope that the hefty bulk of my non-fiction work and support of the Tarot community (in public and behind the scenes, whether individual authors, artists, publishers, readers or brand new seekers) over the last 8 years makes up for ONE ill timed and, arguably, ill-written short story.

But if it doesn’t, there’s nothing I can do about that.

And let me be clear: my contracts with Schiffer Books was never “in jeopardy” for my behavior, past or present. Schiffer Books seeks to support the Tarot community in any way it can, so Pete Schiffer did contact me directly with his concern less than 24 hours from the time my story went live on Amazon (that stemmed from many emails and phone calls that came to him in that short period). And, no, no one from Schiffer told me to apologize or do any thing to “remedy” the situation. This blog post is my decision and mine alone.

So I will continue my work, both blogging and, now, fiction writing, and move on into the future with hope, optimism and excitement.

I hope you understand: this apology is not an invitation for discussion or debate or more attacks. As is evident, such “discussions” devolve rapidly and can’t be sustained by most people towards any semblance of understanding, good will or even forgiveness.

So make of this post what you will. I can declare it’s intended with the spirit of honesty, regret and an open heart, but I’m sure even that may come under suspicion or derision.

-- Janet


Hi Janet,
I just want to say that I appreciate you providing this explanation and making this apology. As you said, "this apology is not an invitation for discussion or debate" so I'll just leave it at that.

Janet Boyer

Why, hello, James! What a pleasant surprise to see you here, commenting on a post I made over 3 months ago. :o) Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you're well!

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