“You really don’t like me!” ~ guest post by Amy M. Leibowitz

My good friend Amy is not only a fellow blogger and a wonderful person… she is also a published author! Her recently-released novel Lower Education (purchase links below) deals heavily with same-sex relationships, as well as other controversial topics. I asked her to discuss a rather sore topic: what about those who don’t like what you’re writing? Amy graciously shared her feelings in my first ever guest post. Thank you, Amy!

Does the question, “What if they stop liking me?” ever get any easier to answer? I’ve reached an age where I think I ought to stop asking that, yet somehow, it still niggles.

I write novels. Specifically, I write fiction with gay-themed romantic overtones. There’s a lot not to like about that, actually. We can start with all my conservative Christian friends who think I’m skating on the edge of hell and continue with anyone who believes female-identified persons should not write about gay or bisexual men.

On a daily basis, I worry. My novel Lower Education came out November 1, and I have spent countless hours stressing over the hate mail I think I might receive. In truth, my real fear isn’t that people will hate me—it’s that I might deserve it.

My own self-loathing leads me to accept others’ negative view of me as absolute truth. It’s hard to let go of the fear that at the core of my being, I am an unworthy soul. Maybe this is a condition of fundamentalist thinking; maybe it’s just a struggle all creative people have. Throw in a healthy dose of being a particularly sensitive person who fears hurting others—even inadvertently—and you have a recipe for emotional nuclear disaster.

There’s no doubt that people will hate what I write and not just because they think I’m a hack. It’s also true that some of it will be personal—I won’t live up to their expectations of me as a human being. The question is, what am I going to do about that?

Answer: absolutely nothing. There isn’t anything I can do. I can’t make them like me or like my work.

What I can do is stop justifying myself in my own head. I know why I write what I do, and I’m open to explaining it to anyone who cares to ask. Far more important is that I stop feeling guilty and ashamed in my own mind. I can choose to be proud of who I am and what I write, and I can refuse to give my power to hate—real or imagined.

And for those times when it’s overwhelming, when I feel the sting of hurtful words? That’s when I trust the people who love me to care for me and remind me that I am not defined by the cruel assessments. I don’t have to do this by myself, pulling up by my bootstraps and pretending it never gets to me.

We are not alone. It’s okay to want approval. First, let’s give it to ourselves and each other. Then we’ll take on the rest of the world together.

 

Author bio:
A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.

Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lower-Education-M-Leibowitz-ebook/dp/B00NCA48TE/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473664

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lower-education-a-m-leibowitz/1120325979?ean=2940046149760

Find Amy on the Internet:
Web site: http://amleibowitz.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amymitchell29 (personal profile); https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedFaith (author page)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained (@amyunchained)

Posted in Being Real, From the Heart, Guest Post, Sexuality and Gender | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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Lower Education by A. M. Liebowitz – Cover Reveal!

Lower Education
By A. M. Leibowitz

Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication date: November 1, 2014

Synopsis:

Phin Patterson is an educational consultant dissatisfied with his job and his life. On a mission to complete one last assignment before escaping his unfulfilling career and figure out what he wants, he accepts a commission from Donald Murdock at the New York State Education Department. Suddenly, he finds himself on his way to evaluate a tiny school in New York’s Southern Tier, not far from the town where he grew up. Now his only goal is to get in, do his job, and get out before anyone from his past remembers him.

That turns out to be easier said than done. Dani Sloane, the sharp-witted administrative assistant to the principal, learns the truth about why Phin is really there. With the help of her friends, she sets out to unmask him and force the local board of education to stop the plans that could ruin their school. Discovering that her sometime-lover is an old business associate of Phin’s only complicates both the situation and their relationship.

Meanwhile, Phin, who has committed himself to keeping his emotional distance, can’t resist the charm of the town and its residents—especially the school psychologist, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in over twenty years. While Dani works to take him down and save her school, Phin wrestles with learning how to do the right thing, including telling the truth to the man with whom he’s already falling in love.

 

Cover:

Lower Education Cover

Excerpt 1:

Alex spun around and threw his hands in the air. “Why are you still here? Go find someone else to bother.”

“What if I think the information you have is more valuable?” Phin crossed his arms and tilted his head, jutting out his chin.

“And what if I think you’re wasting your time? I have nothing here that would be of interest to you.”

The corner of Phin’s mouth curled upward. “I would say you’re mistaken. There’s plenty here for me to take interest in.” His gaze traveled downward slowly, making Alex feel exposed. Heat spread across his face, followed by a surge of anger. Placing his hands on the table and leaning toward Phin, Alex replied, “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but it won’t work on me. Is this how you’ve handled your other clients?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do.”

“All right, you got me.” Phin chuckled softly. He moved in closer and lowered his voice. “I once signed an entire multi-year textbook contract on my appeal alone.” His smile faltered, and he looked away briefly. He snapped his attention back to Alex and narrowed his eyes. “You’re not the most difficult client I’ve ever worked with, though it’s close.”

“I’m not your client. There’s no reason for your behavior.”

Phin licked his lips. “I didn’t make a mistake in the bar the other night.”

Excerpt 2:

He pulled out his phone and glanced at it. “Listen, I need to go. Dani, what time do you want me to come over to help Jake draw his display board?”

“Is nine okay? We need to be at the school by eleven to set up, and the fair starts at noon.”

“Sure thing.” He grinned at the group. “Good night, ladies. Alex.” Once again, his face colored just a little when his eyes flicked to Alex. With that, he was off.

Dani watched him go, shaking her head. “Pied piper,” she muttered.

“What?” Eunice asked.

“You know—the pied piper. He got everyone to follow after him, thinking he was solving the town’s rat problem, only then he stole the children.” She laughed. “I’m just being paranoid. Where are the kids? We should get going—long day tomorrow.”

Teasers:

Phin got out of the car...

Get in a fight with a feather duster?

Elegant and sensual dance

Phin closed the gap and kissed him

Make US feel good steamy

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lower-Education-M-Leibowitz-ebook/dp/B00NCA48TE/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473664

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lower-education-a-m-leibowitz/1120325979?ean=2940046149760

Author bio:

A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.

Find me on the Internet:

Web site: http://amleibowitz.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amymitchell29 (personal profile); https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedFaith (author page)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained (@amyunchained)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life – a Poem

Life

Sometimes I can’t.
I can’t even.
I don’t even know what’s going on
but it hurts.
I don’t know why it hurts
except I do
but I don’t.

Ugh, why?
Why can’t life be easy?
Why do I feel
angry and
sad and
hurt and
Ugh.

Sometimes it’s really great
and I feel like I’m floating.
Floating.
The sun is shining, and it’s actually me!
I’m shining! I feel awesome!
Life is good.
I can do anything or be anything I want.
I help people see their beauty
and their greatness.
That makes me feel good.

And then I get down.
And I hurt.
Inside.
It aches
but I don’t even know why.

Something is lost.
Something I loved very much.
It’s gone
but I’m the one who threw it away.
And that hurts.
The tears roll down my insides
and over my aching heart
and I feel like I’m going to burst.

I know where it is. But
I know something better is coming.
I think.
Oh g-d, why?
Why?

I love myself, and
I accept myself,
even though I don’t understand myself.
And I forgive myself.

I do.

I am sad, but I have love.
I have love.
And I will give that love away.
My aching, bursting heart
needs to share the love
so it will not burst.
And I will be OK.

I will really be OK.
In fact, I will be better than OK.
I will be good!
I will be GREAT!

I can.
I will.
I am.
I am love.

Love.

I.
Love.

Love.

~Sean-Allen Douglass Parfitt
~Tuesday, September 2nd, about 1:50 AM

Posted in Being Real, Poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Recollections of Nail-Biting

I was reading results of a study on folks put through ex-gay therapy, and it reminded me of this interesting tidbit from my past.

Around my 22nd or 23rd year, I developed a theory about my “homosexual tendencies” and nail biting. See, I had been biting my nails for as long as I could remember, and I had also been attracted to men since I recognized attraction. In my Christian upbringing, addictions were often treated as a spiritual thing. Older men, first-generation Christians*, would often give testimony that when they got saved their drinking/drug/gamboling addictions would immediately disappear. Many other things, when done in excess, were also considered addictions, including nail biting, video gaming, and looking at pornography. Continue reading

Posted in Being Gay, Being Real, Coming Out, From the Heart, Fundamentalism, Thoughts on Religion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Stories #One

Today I’m going to share four short stories that I’ve written. The come randomly to me in different circumstances, usually from something I’ve read or a comment a friend has made. I would call them more Scenes than Stories, actually, but here they are. Hope you like them. Continue reading

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All the Colors!

I got this idea from my friend Penny. You can read her post here: Colors – Old Skool.

I tend to think in colors a lot. Sometimes I describe my feelings in colors rather than with adjectives. I assign people different colors or auras in my mind. When sending energy to people, it’s always in colors.

The funny part? I’m red-green colorblind!

The questions below are from Kickin’ It Old Skool. Continue reading

Posted in For Fun, Random | Tagged | 1 Comment