A. M. Leibowitz’s newest release, Drumbeat (Notes from Boston #3), is now available in both print and ebook formats, and I’ve managed to snag both an exclusive excerpt and a unique post from them!
Publisher: Supposed Crimes
Publication Date: September 1, 2018
Length: 230 pages
Cover Artist: Bret Kessler
Categories/tags: Contemporary fiction, LGBTQ, bisexual, polyamory, romance, disability, performing arts
Content note: eating disorders
Synopsis: Jamie Cosgrove is doing his best to recover from a break-up after years with an abusive boyfriend. All his usual coping strategies have failed, and he’s fallen back on things that make him feel safe: drumming, food, and his friend Trevor. The trouble is, two of those are still secrets, even from those closest to him.
Cian Toomey has it all. He has loving relationships with his partners and a fulfilling, creative career. The one thing he’s missing is someone to go home to at night. When sudden changes occur at one of his jobs, he’s faced with a choice to find something new or move in with his partners in a different city.
Well-meaning but pushy friends seem to think Cian and Jamie are the answers to each other’s prayers. They couldn’t disagree more. A series of random events thrusts them into each other’s lives, and they find they have more in common than they thought. But when all of Jamie’s carefully constructed walls crumble at once, both of them will have to depend on the support of their friends and family to strengthen their fragile bond.
Post and Exclusive Excerpt: I chose this excerpt from Drumbeat for a reason. In the scene, Jamie is making an agreement to be the caregiver for his friends’ child. Aside from male nannies being less common, it sounds relatively straightforward and no big deal.
Except that for some people, it would be a big deal. Jamie is a former adult film actor with a complicated history, including an abusive ex and an eating disorder. There are plenty of people who would object on any one of those points, let alone all of them put together. But… why? Don’t we all have things we wouldn’t want to share with the children in our care? Don’t we all have complicated lives and histories?
Yet this makes so many people uncomfortable, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ people. I was once told by some test readers to remove part of a scene, a non-sexual intimate moment between two grown men. The reason was that they were looking after a pair of children, and it bothered the readers to think of leaving their children in that situation. I refused to alter the scene.
That was a pivotal moment for me. I discovered I like challenging people’s notions of what is or isn’t acceptable. Sometimes that comes in the form of melding a spiritual moment with a sensual one. Other times, it comes in the form of overtly writing sex with partners of multiple genders. It might look like couples discussing why they are choosing monogamy instead of assuming it, or it might look like writing multiple ways to form healthy polyamorous units. It’s about scenes where two men share a tender moment in the presence of children. And every now and again, it’s about having an adult film actor lovingly caring for an infant, with the full support of his friends.
In what other ways can we challenge—or queer—the notions of what’s “right and proper”?
Aidan’s soft fussing broke the silence, and Jamie automatically moved to take over from Marlie. Andre got there first, since he was sitting closer, and Jamie sat back down. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw both Izzy and Nate looking at him. They exchanged an amused glance, and Jamie scowled. It annoyed him that they found it funny. Izzy shrugged and changed the subject, talking to Julian about something.
Jamie sighed. Until having friends with kids, he’d never thought much about whether he wanted any. Aidan was the first baby he’d ever held, and he’d been smitten from day one. Sage would never have agreed to kids, and Jamie thought he’d have made a lousy parent anyway. Jamie’s stomach churned, and he wished he could banish Sage from his memory. While he was trying to direct his attention back to the conversations around him, Marlie caught his eye and smiled. She nudged Andre, who looked over too.
“Your turn?” he asked Jamie.
“Yes, please.” Jamie grinned and held out his arms.
Trevor laughed. “You sure earned your Cool Uncle badge.”
The compliment made Jamie flush, and he ducked his head, unable to help the tingle in his gut over Trevor’s warm attention. To cover for it, he concentrated on babbling at Aidan and keeping his mind occupied on anything but how much he craved Trevor’s approval. A thought occurred to him.
“I—” he began, stopping when all heads turned toward him, including Aidan’s. “I could watch him.”
Marlie and Andre exchanged a glance then both looked at Trevor. Jamie’s whole head was hot. He felt exposed, embarrassed for having said anything and worried about what everyone else was thinking. The silence went on so long it became awkward.
Mack finally moved. He butt-scooched over to Jamie, plucked Aiden from his lap, and said to him, “You want Uncle Jamie to babysit you, huh?”
Aidan put out his pudgy hand and patted Mack’s face before blowing a nice, juicy drool bubble right at his chin. Mack groaned, Aidan giggled, and the tension was finally broken. Mack lasted another fifteen seconds before he hurried to hand Aidan to Marlie so he could wipe his face.
Marlie bounced the baby in her lap and said, “Trevor? Andre? What do you think?”
Andre’s brow creased. “I like the idea, but…” He cleared his throat. “Are you all comfortable paying one of our friends?”
“I’d do it for free,” Jamie said, to which an entire room full of people all chorused, “No.” Jamie flushed again.
“It’s not that we don’t appreciate it,” Andre said. “But they’re right. It’s not fair on you to expect free childcare, no matter how much you love him.”
“It’s only twice a week,” Jamie argued.
“Right,” Marlie agreed. “But one of those days is my long one because of classes, and sometimes Trevor’s out of town.”
Mack nudged Jamie’s leg with his foot. “We could use the extra, Jay.” He didn’t look at Nate when he said it, but Jamie knew it would take some of the burden off him. Nate was starting a new job soon, but it would be good to have a cushion in the meantime. His medical care was unreasonably expensive, and Jamie didn’t like to burden him more than he could manage.
“Yeah,” Jamie said.
“Then it’s settled,” Trevor told him, and he smiled in a way that made Jamie’s face heat up all over again.
“Good.” Marlie passed the baby to Izzy then stood. “Time for dessert to celebrate.”
About the Author:
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Beaten Track, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. They are an occasional host for The BiCast, a podcast for the bi+ community, as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website. They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates for the website. In between noveling and freelance editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.