Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Backlashes

Last night I received a disturbing e-mail from someone I know who told me she read one of my books and although she thinks I am a wonderful author, she has a huge problem with the material. Suffice it to say that the rest of the e-mail would have all of you in uproar. It was deeply painful to hear this from someone I trusted.

In 2010 I lost everything I thought was dear to me: All my friends and my home church. I felt their pity as they stared at me, and I felt their disgust as they fled my presence. It took almost 2 years to even start trusting people again. But I did. I opened up. And apparently, I opened up a fraction to the wrong person here.

Said PERSON basically wants me to change what I write. She is very turned off by the sexual content and the love between two men. Well, one thought I had was, “Did you not read the jacket cover?” I am not sure which novel she read, but let us assume she read JOCK. I am almost 100% positive that the blurb tells you Cole falls in love with Ellis. Or implies that. It is about the relationship of two men. As I explained it to my daughter…. If you hated Panda Bears with a passion, would you read a book about Panda Bears? She said NO. Why then would a woman who disagrees with men loving men or women loving women pick up a book that clearly says:

It's easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he's gay. As he sees it, he's bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?

By the time Cole enters college, he's become an anal-retentive loner—but it's not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a "jock"!

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole's glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole's reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

….Um, “awakened libido” would imply SOMETHING! Wouldn’t it?
Said PERSON wants me to write something SHE would find acceptable. Basically, I get the impression she wants me to write a Christian novel. No sex, and heavy on the religious aspect tailored to specific beliefs of Christianity.

In one way I DO write that. I am a Christian, and I wrote a novel. (Several.) I write my beliefs INTO my characters because it is something that is important to me and I believe other feel the same search in themselves to know and understand God. Some don’t, but some do.

One question that Jodi from Smoocher’s Voice (please visit to read the entire interview) asked was:
·      Religion and homophobia play a major role in your books. You specifically focus on intolerance of Christians. Why is this a prevalent theme in your books?

I said: Because of what I personally experienced. If I am NOT gay and went through this kind of hell (hell partially because I lost ALL my friends I had had for 10 years, fyi) , then what the heck kind of crap are the real homosexuals experiencing, because that can’t be nice. So, I explore my thoughts and write about them.

I have always said I write about myself. My experiences. My pain. But INTO gay characters. If I was persecuted (Like MATT DIXON in The Cost of Loving) and I am NOT gay, then the experience for some of you out there who ARE has to be 10x worse, some 100x worse.

I went to bed early because my stomach hurt. My head hurt. It hurts now! But said PERSON basically reinforced WHY I need to write in the first place. People are na├»ve and some go through life in a church with this idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Well, that doesn’t work. There is a quote from my WIP that comes to mind:

“Understand what? Me being gay?” And yes, I just came out. Shit. Where the fuck was Keith?
“Yes. No. I don’t know. My cousin’s gay. I don’t understand him. He likes this other dude, ya know, and I don’t know what to do about it.” Bruce absently touched the side of Keith’s half-full mug. He looked so pathetic I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him.
I said, “You don’t have to do anything. Just be his cousin. Be his friend.” It seemed so logical to me. I guess I should have taken my own advice and just been myself and when someone couldn’t relate I could have told them just to be my friend. Easier said than done.
Bruce looked up. “That’s it?”
“That’s it. He isn’t a different person. You just see him differently. Stop. If you mentally paint labels on people’s foreheads, like ‘homosexual,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘puffster,’ or even a name as innocuous as ‘loser,’ it unconsciously changes your perception. Without even realizing it, you don’t see them as a person any longer, but as a definition. They are who they are. Your cousin is still your cousin.”
He nodded slowly as if considering what I had to say very carefully. “You know, you’re even starting to sound like Keith.”
I smiled. That was the first time I’d ever heard Bruce use a first name as a reference to anyone. “I guess. He’s in the bathroom if you want to talk to him.”
Bruce stood up but lingered by the table. “Nah, that’s okay. Leppo’s too egotistical. He always has to be right.”

This is going to be an amazing book. I think. I hope. I include some very good concepts. But Flynn hits my point here. People can not view people as a “definition” because it takes away their humanity. People cease being people and they become statistics.

And often, people in the church want to “fix” you, or ME. I think she sees me as a project to “fix” because of what I write. Her e-mail brought back all the feelings of fear and paranoia that followed me around for years. I started trusting people again, and here is where it's led me. Square one. Square 1.5. She wants to remain friends. I really don’t think we were before this because she obviously doesn’t know me at all. She doesn’t believe in me. And she certainly doesn’t believe that God is at work in my life.

I DO believe my writing is a gift from God and I want to strive to touch people’s hearts as I have already done, and MORE.

My characters are gay. If you can’t handle that, then DON’T READ MY BOOKS! Also, if you can’t handle getting your heart ripped out sometimes, then don’t read my books. They are all different and unpredictably funny or painful. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

That said, Multitasking Momma wrote a review that I haven’t read yet. I think I need to see what she said. I will link it HERE. When I get it….. Additional. I read it. She made me cry. Thanks J. :)
She also gave NAMES a ribbon. :)


Hugs to all my peeps. I am wounded, but not dead.

15 comments:

  1. *head explodes* Why anybody cares about this stuff is beyond me. Worry about your own life and mind your own business. That whole thing about being the first to cast the stone certainly applies here. You're not hurting her by writing what you do, and no gay person is hurting someone else by loving their own sex.
    (((hugs)))

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  2. I feel for you, darlin'. When I started writing m/m, I was an Orthodox Christian. you may be familiar with the denomination -- they're the ones whose priests lead riots in the streets against Pride marchers in eastern Europe and back Putin's demagoguery. Needless to say, I am no longer a member of that church. I'm a proud Episcopalian, in fact, at a church where three of our four assigned priests are married lesbians and our rector's wife is one of my biggest cheerleaders. And in fact I consider my writing a ministry -- I'm speaking out with the gifts God's given me, about the equality of souls and the equality of love. This self-described friend of yours has a long road ahead of her, morally and spiritually speaking. Her notions of what you should and shouldn't be writing have no bearing on what you should actually be writing, of course. But you have reason to be happy, I think. You opened a door for her that I'm pretty sure she never would have considered opening on her own. She may not choose to walk down it right now, or anytime soon, or even ever. But you gave her the option. Good work. <3

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    1. I used to be a Baptist/Church of God member and I am now also a proud Episcopalian. I wanted to be more like Jesus, and less like the Pharisees in the bible. This denomination allows me to follow my desire to live a life without judgement - without me judging, and without others in my congregation judging me. :)

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  3. It is times like this when I read things like this that make me appreciate that in my life, I can be open and free about my writing and my beliefs. I give you kudos for sticking it out. You are a very talented author and the world would be a darker place if you gave in to peer pressure (and boy, talk about being bullied - wow!) I can tell you are a fighter... go, lick your wounds and come back even stronger! We all will be rootin' for ya!

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  4. I'm glad you're re-engerized to keep going. Everything you've said here is so true...it's why you write. Keep going and know that you're supported by many, many people who love you and what you do.

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  5. People can be a little too free with how they feel something should be when it doesn't directly pertain to them. I was asked for years why I couldn't write something mainstream for a straight audience to enjoy. My response has always been "I do. You don't get more mainstream than the plots of my books. They just happen to have gay characters in the lead roles." Don't like it? Don't read it. I didn't write it for them anyway. I wrote it first and foremost for me. I just chose to share it.

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  6. You know how I feel about so called Christians who think they can tell everyone else how to live their lives. Stay strong.

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  7. I feel so horrible about what you're going through. You have it right though. This person was never your friend. A true friend likes you for who you are, not for who you might be once they have changed you to their liking. Keep your positive attitude and remember that so many of us who are touched by what you write are out there supporting you!

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  8. You have my support, Wade. I wish I could offer some more practical help.

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  9. Sara said something to this affect on Facebook, and I so completely agree, I have to say it here. Things are not the same as they were back then. You are a different person and you have a whole group of friends who accept you as you are. That won't change. We have your back. Which means that no matter what a few may say and how it may sting, you will never lose everyone in your life again. You won't be in that same position again. You won't be alone again. Never again. So it may hurt and make you sad, but don't let that past try to take over your head. You aren't there anymore. You beat that and moved forward, stronger and more aware. You've got this, sweets. And we've got you! Xoxo

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  10. It's religious idiots like these that give Christianity a bad, bad name. It's self righteous idiots like these that have made me - a once religious person - so opposed to religion that I have to check myself once in a while to remember that not all religious people are bigots.

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  11. You know how I feel and I wrote it on FB. <3 Love ya! JP

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  12. So sorry to hear you're going through this, Wade. Seriously, the gall of some people. This woman has no right to tell you what to write. Stay strong and know many people have your back. Cheers!

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  13. MANY comments. WOW. Thank you to each and every one of you. I am grateful for your support and kind words.

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  14. Ridiculously late to comment here (but I think I made up for that on FB :) )

    I HONESTLY do not understand peeps like this - why should she target you? Why would she try to amend what you write? Why should she be concerned? Why, if she is/was your friend (?) should she be so negative??

    It is NONE of her business! It is NOT her concern! She is NOT a friend!

    Stay strong - there are so many of us out there who APPRECIATE what you write, irrespective of anything else!

    You have a fan-base who love you, and your books! Nay-sayers can go to H*** as far as I'm concerned (and pretensions are SO NOT worth bothering about).

    Look for the positive (from us ) and forget (please!) the negative.

    {{Hugs}} and everything else I/we can offer you!

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