On this episode of Book Journeys, Pleasance Silicki interviews Amari Ice, author of Lasting Love at Last: The Gay Guide to Relationships.

As with most people, Amari had thought of writing a book throughout his life, but it was only in December, 2016 when he actually decided to write one. His initial concept was to have a different topic for each chapter, but he then realized that that he would take a long time to write that book. Amari then thought about what his clients most often came to him for help for, and as relationships was the main topic he decided to write a book on such. He noted down that he wanted to get the book done by April of the following year, and the day after that he saw an ad for the Author Incubator. Amari joined by February, and by that June his book was published.

Amari noted that prioritizing the time to write the book was important to his completing it, as, at the start of the writing process, he had a job with the medical industry which required him to spend ten-hour days and weekends at work, as well as had some family issues that came up. He also needed to adjust his writing style, as he was, as a student most of his life, used to editing his papers as he wrote them. The process, for its part, called for him to write everything out before editing, and to enable him to do this, Amari dictated the chapters, in bits, into his iPhone. Amari then commented that he wasn’t aware, initially, that editing would take as long as writing, and he was thankful for the support provided him by the editing team, remarking that working with someone, one-on-one, to get through the challenges is one of the best ways to work.

As part of the process, Amari wrote as part of a cohort of writers who were likewise working on their own books, and he admits that participating with a group of other people might have been intimidating at the start, particularly when asking questions whose answers might be deemed obvious. Being part of a cohort, however, enabled him to learn from the questions and experience of the others, as he pointed out that his own questions were limited by his experiences to date, and that the questions others asked gave him insights he hadn’t previously considered.

Amari noted that he went “all in” where the writing process was concerned, as that is the way he rolls. Because of this, he was inspired to look at other parts of his life where he wasn’t “all in” and where he wanted to achieve some personal goals, and this caused him to “uplevel” himself during the writing process. Doing so also led him to leave his job and work full-time as a relationship coach, to better serve those whom he could help out, and the change was a good one for him, remarking that he made, from his coaching business, as much money in a few months as he made in a year in his previous job.

 

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Interview Transcript Below: Amari Ice – Book Journeys Author Interview – April 12, 2018

 

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Book Journeys Author Interview – April 12, 2018

 

Pleasance Silicki with Amari Ice, author of Lasting Love at Last: The Gay Guide to Relationships.

 

“f you want it to happen, if you really wanna do it, the time will appear. You’ll find the time.”-Amari Ice

 

Pleasance:

Hello, everybody! It’s Pleasance here, with our weekly interview. Amari, are you there? Can you hear me?

 

Amari:

I am here! Yes, indeed!

 

Pleasance:

Yay! I’m … giving you the biggest hug right now, with my mind.

 

Amari:

Aw, likewise! Can you feel it?

 

Pleasance:

I saw you were coming on this week, and I was so excited. So, for all of our listeners, this is Pleasance, author of Delight: Eight Principles for Living with Joy and Ease, which is turning two this month, I can’t believe it. And –

 

Amari:

Oh, happy birthday!

 

Pleasance

Yay! Happy book birthday. And, every week, we dive into these awesome, juicy conversations about the author process, writing our book, getting out book in the world and working with the magical, mysterious and wonderful and Dr. Angela Lauria, which I love saying, so fun. And I feel really lucky, because I got to meet Amari in person! Was that the fall? Or this winter?

 

Amari:

Yeah, I think so. Not too long ago.

 

Pleasance:

You wouldn’t remember when it was. So, it was – yeah, not too long ago. And so, I got to hear a little from you about your book and your business, and I’m super excited about … going back a little bit more and really framing it in terms of what is most helpful for people who are thinking about joining the program and who wanna become authors. So, welcome!

 

Amari:

Thanks for having me! A pleasure to be here.

 

Pleasance:

Good! Okay. So, let’s go back – your book came out – when does your book come out? In –

 

Amari:

It was published in June. June 28th.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, at what point – take me back. So, was it last winter, a year ago or so, when you started thinking about writing a book, did you always want to write a book? Gimme a little bit of your … history into how you got to the Author Incubator.

 

Amari:

Gosh. It’s a really cool story. So, … like most people, I definitely thought about writing a book when I was a kid, or … people would – suggested that I write a book at multiple points in my life, but in December of 2016 – it was actually December the first. I decided that I was finally going to write a book. And initially, I thought it was gonna be a book that had multiple chapters on multiple different subjects, so … one chapter on money, one chapter on business, one chapter on relationships, one on family, just like a kaleidoscope situation. And knowing myself, I realized that it was gonna take way too long to write that book, because it was too many frames of mind. And so, I asked myself, “What do clients come to me about the most? What have you been coaching and working with clients?” And relationships was, hands down, the most asked about question that any of my clients ask. And so, I was, “Okay, I’m gonna write a book about relationships.” And, literally, I wrote a plan on the back of … a postcard right then, that said, “I wanted to finish my book April 1st,” which was just … five months from when I made the decision, and the very next day, I saw an ad on Facebook for the Author Incubator. I was …, “Oh! This is interesting.” So, I watched a case study and different workshops and webinars that she did, and that’s what led to my decision. I saw the results that she was getting with her clients, and I was …, “Yeah, I’m totally all in for this.” And so, in February of last year, I actually find that … started the process.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. And so, was it quite – … mindset wise, was it pretty easy for you to transition to working with her and saying “Yes” to the program and … going all in? Did you find any resistance there?

 

Amari:

No. I had no resistance, because I was really clear that I wanted to do this before I even joined the program. I was clear on who my ideal reader was, which was what … in, … working with … clients are … – the previous decade, doing LGBT empowerment, so I was … clear on that, on what I was gonna write about, on the problem that my ideal reader had, that I was gonna help them solve with this book, and so, … need making the decision to join this program. It was really in alignment with what I already wanted to do. And so, for me, it felt more like a sign from the Universe, … “You wanted to do this, you wanted to do it relatively quickly, here’s a way for you to do that.” And I’m the type of person – if I am clear on what I want, and I see a way to get there, I’m not gonna shut the door on the opportunity, … it was just …, so, rather than stand in the way of my own dream, I decided to be all in. So, it wasn’t too much of a transition.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah, I think she does – I mean, I know some – a lot of it is intentional around, obviously, … her ideal client and customer are – and authors are people like us, who say “Yes” and try new things and get out of the way and have that servant’s heart, … and then, I – in my experience, some resistance came up along the way later, as we got closer to ….

 

Amari:

Oh, yeah.

 

Pleasance:

But not in that initial, “Just say ‘Yes’” and going for it.

 

Amari:

Ditto. I didn’t have any at first, but during the process, I definitely did, because … you have to become the person who wrote the book, and that takes showing up and claiming who you are and claiming your ability to truly start the people you are meant to help in this world. And so, there was a lot of upleveling that I had to do, in really becoming that person. And so, yeah, that was where … the resistance came in, for me.

 

Pleasance:

Tell me a little about some of the upleveling you did. Was it mental? Was it physical? Do you have any – do you remember anything specific …?

 

Amari:

Yes. So – it was a combination. So, physical in that – and I don’t know if this was … the direct – … I’m writing a book for now, I have to work out, … I’d already had those goals, but I was …, “Okay, I’m all in on writing this book, which is one of my goals. Why am I not going to be all in on my fitness goals, too? Why would I not be all in on all the things that I wanna do?” Because … for me, it’s important to be in integrity and to be congruent, and I’m not the type of person who likes to compartmentalize things, so … really called me to look at my life and say, “What is not working, and where am I not showing up in other areas of my life?” And so, really getting honest with myself in – in saying, “Okay, if I really wanna make this different for people, I know I’m gonna have to quit my job.” I know I’m gonna have to be all in on this, and really … serve them in this way, so one of the things – the biggest thing that I had to do was to leave my job in order to be all in on building … this heart-centered business that was really serving black gay men and helping them find the love that they wanted in their lives. So, that was the hugest thing for me.

 

Pleasance:

How did you do that? … what – is there anything that you can think of, that … you – when you were making that transition, that you identified that, …, “Okay, in order to uplevel and really go all into these clients, I’m going to need to leave my day job.” Is that correct?

 

Amari:

Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Was it – and then, what did that process look like? … did you journal, did you talk to friends, did you just make a plan with Angela, ….?

 

Amari:

All of the above.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Yes.

 

Amari:

So, I talked to friends, I h – … oh, my gosh, everything, … literally, the journaling, coming up with the plan, … – ‘cause I’m not the type of person who – I don’t just do things … without thinking about them, I’m very … oriena – and I can be very – … make my mind up, I’m gonna be all in, but I like to know that what I’m gonna do is gonna work, and – and when I say, “know it’s gonna work,” … I need to know that I’m actually gonna do the work. So, I know … in order for me to really be successful in running my own company, I needed to make sure that I was a hundred percent committing to making it work. And so, initially, my plan was just to keep working my day job until my actual company was as successful as the day job I had, but my day job was crazy in terms of my hours – I got work ten hours per day, ….

 

Pleasance:

Yeah.

 

Amari:

Multiple days a week and have weekend events, and so, it was really impractical. And at first, I was …, “Okay, well, maybe, I just won’t be able to start my own company.” … that was the actual thought that I had, and I had to reconcile that with myself, and then, “Okay, here’s an obstacle. Am I gonna give up now, or am I gonna exercise the muscle that it takes to get through this,” because if I’m running my own company, I know it’s gonna be … even bigger decisions to make than this one, … – no matter what, … – every level in life, we’re gonna have drama to manage, …, we’re gonna have obstacles to go through, but at each level, working our way through those obstacles makes us stronger and able to then handle things at the next level. So, it’s …, when we were in kindergarten and we had … challenges that were … the biggest deal in the world for us at that level, but at high school, we’re … “What? … that’s nothing now!” And it’s the same thing in business, when you’re writing a book on relationships, … at every level, you face challenges, and it’s not about whether or not the challenges exist, but whether or not you’re gonna commit and follow through and get through it anyway, because the point of breakdown is the same, exact point of break through. So, you just gotta keep leaning into it, keep working through it and stay focused and don’t let anything that’s hurt you from the difference you wanna make.

 

Pleasance:

I love that so much, and I think of how – … when you were chatting about … fitness schools and going to the gym, it’s so funny, it’s … the more that you – what I’ve noticed is that, the more that we align with … our purpose and our mission and – I call it … – I come from a wisdom tradition, so I use that language – but it’s the same – that – that … zest and zeal for life. We become more focused in other areas that we may not have been so serious about.

 

Amari:

Absolutely.

 

Pleasance:

So – and it feels … when you … have all the time in the world to write the book and go to the gym and … do all the things that is not really until you have that momentum, that energetic momentum of living your purpose and serving, that it really starts to fall into place, ….

 

Amari:

Right. Yeah, and it was – it was so cool, … before, I left my job versus after – so, I’d try to make everything happen … didn’t have time, but literally, that first month in business, and the first five months in business, … I made more than in – the entire year working at my job. And I attribute that to my being all in.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. Yup.

 

Amari:

So cool.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, you decided to sign up and going through. Tell me a little about being … part of a cohort, and what was some of the pros and cons of that for you?

 

Amari:

Oh, my gosh, … it was probably one of the best things ever, because, when you’re working one-on-one with someone, and they’re there to help you do your challenges, … you’re – you only can ask questions based on the perspective you had at the time, and you don’t always know what you don’t know, so you don’t always know what questions to ask. And being in a cohort, going through this program with a group of people and being able to benefit from the questions they ask – in my opinion, that took me so much further, faster. And so, it was like … one plus one equals two, it was more like one plus one equals a hundred and fifty, because of the – the amount of collective evolution and synergy that happened in the group. So, I’ve benefitted way more by doing this with a group of people who are also going through the process. … going my favorite part. Cons? I think the only con is, at the beginning, you think, “There are other people there, … what if … – what if my questions aren’t as -” I dunno, “- impactful,” or something like that. … that’s the only thing I could think of. Some people just don’t like to do things in groups, but that goes back to showing up. If you’re gonna be the friend who’s gonna help hundreds and thousands and millions of people, showing up in a group of like-minded people who are all going in the same direction, … that’s not a challenge. That’s a – a benefit, … these are your allies in making a difference in the world, and … what better space to make mistakes than in a safe space where everybody’s learning together? And so, I got over that pretty quickly.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah.

 

Amari:

These are … all my supporters. These aren’t people I’m competing with or people who are … grading my papers or something like that, … these are people who are going through the process, and we’re able to support each other and hold each other accountable and … celebrate each other’s successes. To this day, … I went through that program … a year ago, and I’m still really, really, really good friends with the majority of the people that I went through the group with. … ‘cause it’s only a nine-week program, and a year later I’m still great friends with many of them.

 

Pleasance:

Well – and I think it’s bec – the trust and the experience and the confidence of Angela and the program. Because of that container, you can have that trust, or that – for the group and for the setting, and it’s like when you – when she really holds us, all of us, to that same level, and you hear the way that she tirelessly … would answer our questions and work for us and show up over and over, and not be judgemental about the normal fears that come along with it, right? … I felt like she really acknowledged the emotions that I was experiencing, and then … move me forward and out of them, that I think that someone … who’s done something for a long time – … a number of times could … get tired of hearing the same questions and be …, “Okay, … let’s have my assistant do this,” or, “Let me automate that,” … step away from it?

 

Amari:

Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

So, it’s so fascinating, is … her servant’s heart is still connected to us, and us getting the message out there. And she knows the best way to do that is through that connection, ….

 

Amari:

Yes, it’s so cool, … she is so masterful at holding space for your success, and it – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone be able to pave their own path in the way that she has, which allows everyone she helps to also pave their own path. … it’s so fascinating, how good she is at not just supporting you in your journey, but guiding you to be your own guide, … it – it’s just phenomenal.

 

Pleasance:

So, these are all the good and wonderful things, and there’s not really any time but to go for it, but did you have any writer’s block, or – we talked a little about … resistance along the way and trying to uplevel, but was there anything else that came up for you, when you were writing, or through the process that was really challenging for you?

 

Amari:

Yeah, there were two things for me. So, I didn’t have writer’s block. It was relatively easy for me, because I turned all of my lessons to questions. So, basically, in every chapter, I ask the questions that I knew the readers are gonna have, and then I just answered the questions.

 

Pleasance:

…. I love that.

 

Amari:

So, that wasn’t a problem for me, but one thing that was an issue was writing forward. So, sitting at a laptop – so, writing a chapter and trying not to edit it ‘til the entire manuscript was done. And the reason that was a challenge for me is because I’ve been a student my entire life. So, I’ve just started that – the program about six months after I finished my MBA. So, I was still a grad student, and I’ve been used to writing a paper the night before it was due, and it was all written and edited all at once, and I always got A and B papers. So, it was a total … paradigm shift to write a paper – or to write a chapter or anything, and to submit it without it being fully edited. But I – I understood why I get to write the entire book before I edited anything, because you – you don’t know how it was gonna develop until it’s all done, so the way that I got around that is because typing on the keyboard is so hard …, and the way I got around that was by dictating the chapters in bits. So, I … the entire chapter, I literally spoke it on my iPhone, so it kept me from going back and doing the editing until it was all done. So, that was the first problem that I had. The second was in the editing phase, … I didn’t realize, initially, that it was gonna take just as much time to edit as it did to write.

 

Pleasance:

Oh, yes.

 

Amari:

So, yeah. That was more of a surprise to me, … a – what do you call it? A culture shock, I guess. But I got through it. It was – it was totally a lot of work, but my editor was so fantastic and supportive and … we got through it. It was done on time, it was just a lot, so, yeah. Those are the two main things for me.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. That makes sense, and I think just framing where you were coming from, with the school and getting things done and fleshing it out in – in … that framework and having to change some of that workflow, …? Did you feel like you had time – when you signed up for the program – this is one of the things I hear all the time from people is, they don’t have time to program, they’re nervous about time. Talk to me a little about your time – time mantras before and – sorry.

 

Amari:

So, we say we don’t have time for things, but we always have the time, the energy, the money, the space for what actually matters to us. And so, as an example of that, I was working full time, I still become – my work schedule was crazy. I used to work for the hospital system, and so, I was always working. I definitely had family, in a relationship. Writing the book, my family was going through stuff … – it was just a whole, crazy situation. I was helping my mom build her business, and so many other things, … I had – I was dancing. So, dancing’s one of my hobbies and I was doing a dance internship for a time, … there were so many different things happening all at once, and – I was traveling for work, because I – we do … a community event and education and such, so, on any given week, I’m doing an event, or I’m out of town dur – doing an event. And so, there was just so many different things happening, but I actually finished my manuscript three weeks ahead of schedule. Even with all that stuff happening, because this mattered to me, and I made the time.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. Right. ….

 

Amari:

So, … if you want it to happen, if you really wanna do it, the time, … it will appear. You’ll find the time.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. Yeah! I totally agree, …. Okay. So, let’s fast forward now. So, you found the time, you finished the book, and what happens? So, what’s been happening since it came out in June?

 

Amari:

Oh, my gosh. So, June was the digital publishing date. My book just came out in print, and it’s in all major bookstores in February.

 

Pleasance:

Awesome.

 

Amari:

So, I’ve been on a book tour lately.

 

Pleasance:

Oh, my gosh.

 

Amari:

I’ve gone to two cities so far. So, started in D.C., went to Indianapolis, I’ll be in the Dominican Republic next week, speaking at the Global Love conference, … it’s just – just crazy. I’ll be in Miami next month, so it’s just happening. In addition to the book stuff, … I’ve been serving so many clients, taking clients on retreats and just really enjoying the process of helping gay men find love. … it’s just so fun and so fulfilling, and … it’s so interesting to think about how different my life is, today, than it was a year ago. … it’s a totally different life.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah.

 

Amari:

It all happened ‘cause I decided to go all in on my dreams and bet all myself.

 

Pleasance:

Gosh. That’s amazing. I’m a – I love your energy. It’s so – it’s so contagious and so wonderful, and actually, I would say that, given that … I – … I do live in D.C., so the political climate and the way that a lot of people live their lives, … to actually have a conversation with … someone who loves what they do and is really successful and is really working for them and it gives them a lot of energy, is … super refreshing. I think that’s how life should always be, and I’m not always surrounded by people who feel the same way, so I’m so glad. And I have to ask you – so, the last time I saw you, you had a little … totally joyful, magical idea to hire a tour manager who was in your family – your gramma, right?

 

Amari:

Yup.

 

Pleasance:

Okay, so tell me. I need the follow-up of the story! How is it going, what happened with that she said “Yes” that day, but ….

 

Amari:

Yes. She said yes, and my grandmother is officially my publicist, and she’s been planning my entire book tour. She is the most amazing publicist ever. Oh, my gosh, … there’s nothing like having someone who already … has the skills to do the job, but also believes in you … a hundred percent. It’s just – … there’s nothing like it, and I’m so grateful to have my grandmother in my life, but also in my corner and helping me to really make this difference in the world. … it’s just the coolest thing ever.

 

Pleasance:

Amazing. And is she so crazy proud of you, for all that you’ve done?

 

Amari:

Oh, yeah. Yes. When I say she’s always been one of my biggest fans, … all my family has always been supportive. My mom is great, … – as you can imagine, but … my grandmother is – that’s a cheerleader.

 

Pleasance:

I love that so much.

 

Amari:

So, yeah, it’s just – it’s amazing.

 

Pleasance:

Okay, so, last question. Someone’s thinking about the program, someone’s thinking about writing a book, what’s your advice for them?

 

Amari:

Two words: all in. If you really wanna do this, you have to be all in. It’s not gonna work unless you commit one hundred percent to it. It’s like a relationship. It’s not gonna work unless you commit a hundred percent to it. Any goal that you have, … – there are three reasons why our goals don’t happen. It’s because we don’t have the plan, we don’t have accountability to implementing it or we don’t have the mindset, and in this program you get all three. The plan is laid out, … Angela’s helped over five hundred authors publish a book and become bestsellers. She holds you accountable, … nobody hasn’t finished that I know of. And then, all the upleveling that I’ve talked about? … she is a master at helping you to get to the level you want to be. So, yeah. Just – there’s no way you can fail, unless you don’t show up and be all in.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. I love it so much. And just wrote it on my notebook, in my big letters, … my marker, “all in.” Okay, so where can people find you and where can they find your work, and tell us a little bit about your social and your site.

 

Amari:

Sure. So, you can get a free copy of my book, Lasting Love that Lasts: A Gay Guide to Attracting the Relationship of Your Dreams, at lastingloveatlast.com, and you can also find me on social media, on Instagram at prinze amari. So, p-r-i-n-z-e, spelled the right way, and amari is a-m-a-r-i.

 

Pleasance:

Awesome. There will be links to everything on the show notes, and I just want to take a minute to close with this appreciating you and the work that you’re doing, and by being all in, the lives that you’re changing, taking care of yourself, emotionally, physically and financially, so that you can do this work and really serve others, is just a real, real gift. So, I really honor and appreciate you for being all in and doing the work that you do. So, thanks, Amari.

 

Amari:

Thank you so much, Pleasance.

 

Pleasance:

Yay! It was so nice to chat with you, have a great afternoon!

 

Amari:

You, too! Thanks.

 

Pleasance:

Thanks. Take care. ‘Bye.

 

Amari:

All righty. Bye-bye.

 

Pleasance:

‘Bye.