14 May

Do you know what I discovered this week? I did it—I’m an old fart, and I have had another baby! Actually, she arrived early (scheduled due date: May 20th). It was grueling, the gestation period was fifteen months, and I delivered her without medication—painful as a son of bitch, like a watermelon pushing through the entryway the size of a pea. But she’s here, and her name is Fleeing Oz.

Fleeing Oz Cover jpg

Fleeing Oz on sale now at Amazon!

(Kindle site to launch in 10 days)

I couldn’t be prouder of my new baby. Check out a couple of my first reviews:

“This book took guts to feel, to believe, and to put in print. It is raw beauty, love, emotion, pain, and healing all in one.”A. Gaudreaux, Freelance Writer/Editor

“. . . Though I’ve never been invested in the Church personally, I found the overall story compelling for its insight into how subtly (and then quite drastically) well-intended initiatives and institutions can deteriorate and corrupt those within. But I think my favorite aspects of the book had to do with the author’s treatment of race, namely the problem of maintaining a strong racial (and feminine) identity in the face of a predominately white- (and male-) privileging dogma. In fact one of my favorite lines in the book came rather early in the narrative: ‘It is easy to be color-blind when the people of color within a group naïvely abandon their ethnic identity to fit in, easy to share everything when you don’t own anything, and easy to love when that love hasn’t been tested.’”—Virginia Garnett, PhD, author of “The Podium in Print: The popular lecture in American literary culture, 1865–1914.”

Fleeing Oz Back Cover jpg

Fleeing Oz on sale now at Amazon!

(Kindle sales to launch in 10 days)


But don’t just take my word about what my new baby looks like, check out her birth announcement by the “doctors and nurses” in the marketing department that helped bring her to life.

“When you look around and realize that the people filling the pews in your church represent traits you find reprehensible, you can do two things. You can keep your head down and become like them. Or you can follow author Eleanor L. Tomczyk’s example, reexamine everything you believe, and write a hilarious memoir about losing your religion.

“And that’s precisely what she does. Fleeing Oz chronicles Tomczyk’s journey from a wide-eyed, eager believer to a battered but not beaten refugee of the culture wars.

“From her early days as an African-American girl living on a cult like communal farm with a bunch of white kids, to her final escape from organized religion right before Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Tomczyk tells her story with grace. Far from cruel or mocking, Tomczyk resists the temptation to do unto others as they have done unto her, choosing instead to use humor where others might use hate.

“An edgy coming-of-age tale about a baby boomer who wants to follow God without getting crushed by God’s people in the process, Fleeing Oz will cause anyone who’s ever struggled with faith, doubt, and disillusionment to stand up and say ‘amen.’

“This hilarious, irreverent, and brutally honest book tells her story of faith, doubt, and disbelief—and how she walked away from church without turning her back on God.


I am discovering that writing one’s sophomore book is harder than writing one’s debut book, and I suspect that it is even a lot harder than writing the subsequent manuscripts. Although Fleeing Oz was difficult to birth—mainly due to the unbelievable nature of some of the stories—it has arrived right on time because the media were awash yesterday with stories about Americans leaving the Christian churches in droves. All the commentators from Fox News to MSNBC have their theories as to why: boredom, too many drums—not enough drums, culture war exhaustion, and right-wing and left-wing politics. That may be some of the reasons, but I don’t think that they are all. I surmise that many Americans are trying to catch the same balloon ride out of Oz that I am on and for the same #1 reason: The modern day church is a poser (not all, but most). For the most part, the church of Christ no longer resembles the character of Christ. Check out Fleeing Oz to see what I’m talking about. Hope it makes you laugh, makes you cry, and most of all, makes you think.

Leaving Religion Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune



“’We’ve known that the religiously unaffiliated has been growing for decades,’ said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of religion research and the lead researcher on the new study. ‘But the pace at which they’ve continued to grow is really astounding.’”—Daniel Burke, Religion Writer,


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized



  1. notquiteold

    May 14, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Excellent!!!! Congrats!

    • etomczyk

      May 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks Nancy. Hope all is well.

  2. Lorna's Voice

    May 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I’m a recovering Catholic and Methodist, turned Buddhist, so this book sounds quite interesting. Congrats on the premature but healthy birth, Eleanor! Your credentials are quite impressive. 🙂

    • etomczyk

      May 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Lorna. As a recovering Catholic-Methodist turned Buddhist, you should find Fleeing Oz very engaging. You were the audience I wrote it for. As to the credentials, they are what they are because I am so freakin’ old! 🙂 Take care!

      • Lorna's Voice

        May 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        Pish posh! You have talent and it shows. Your aren’t old, your are perfectly ripe!!

  3. Elyse

    May 14, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Wonderful! I can’t wait.

    • etomczyk

      May 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Elyse. I truly appreciate your support. Now I can start to come back to the land of the living. Just have to sell a house–although we are almost at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be around to check out what you’ve been up to in a little bit.

      • Elyse

        May 14, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        Not much, at least not n my blog!!!

  4. Ann Gaudreaux

    May 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! XO Ann

    Sent from my iPad


  5. imagesbytdashfield

    May 14, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Mazel Tov!

    • etomczyk

      May 15, 2015 at 12:28 am

      Thanks Teri. Hope you’re on the mend.

  6. Dawn Quyle Landau

    May 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Bravo and Mazel, Eleanor! Love the cover and the back… So proud of you for sticking to it!! You should get yourself out there and pitch it to bigger publishers. Go to BlogHer’15 with me, in NYC this summer. It will be a blast, and you could put the word out… not to mention have dinner with me, compare notes in person, and help me keep my nerves when I speak! Oh, and donuts… there are really good donuts there. 😉

    Really excited for and proud of you, chica!!

    • etomczyk

      May 15, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Thanks Dawn. Really appreciate the support. I’m actually loving the way I’ve published. In fact, I wouldn’t sign with a big publisher for any amount of money. The only thing I’d sign for would be movie or TV rights only–everything else I can get myself or have access to. I will never give up control over my digital or paperback rights.

      Excellent to hear of your speaking gig in NYC at BlogHer ’15. Knock ’em dead! As to the donuts–I have Celiac Disease…

      • Dawn Quyle Landau

        May 15, 2015 at 12:48 am

        Oh dang! I forgot about the celiac. Our daughter has it too… Well, if you came to NYC, then we could do gf goodies. 😉

  7. zorbear

    May 14, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    You didn’t use a Holy Ghost writer, did you?

    • etomczyk

      May 15, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Zorbear, that is hysterical! 🙂 Hopefully, I did use a Holy Ghost writer “in” me. We’ll see.

      • zorbear

        May 15, 2015 at 1:42 am

        Thank you, thank you very much. I’ll be here ’till Thursday — try the veal…

  8. valentinelogar

    May 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    So pleased for you. Put it directly into my cart, as soon as I have a few more items in there I will purchase and have it in my hands.

    • etomczyk

      May 16, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Hey Val. . .that’s so sweet. Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Cricket

    May 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Congratulations! Looking forward to reading it.

  10. sondramsmith

    May 19, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I just finished reading “Fleeing Oz” I sat down to read a few chapters and found myself not being able to stop until I turned the last page and read the last sentence.
    Your story was liberating and healing to me. It finished a healing process that was begun years ago. I was also naive and idealistic and was taken in by the “Jesus movement” of the 70’s. I thought I was apart of something pure and holy that we were all on the same path. I was wrong. I continued to look for a church for years, one after another with the same disappointing outcome.
    Your book is funny, irreverent and brutally truthful. If you have found yourself disillusioned hurt and disappointed in the church you need to read “Fleeing Oz” It will set you free.
    Thank you Eleanor for another amazing book!

  11. calvin

    May 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Sitting here trying to think as to which colour suits a bouncing baby book. I know pink is for a girl, blue for a boy. Why all the colours of the rainbow seem apropos. Ride your rainbow, ‘E’ , ride your rainbow it belongs to you.

    • etomczyk

      May 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Calvin: I think you are right: all the colors of the rainbow will do, thank you very much because they equal “freedom” to me. Hope you enjoy this one.

      • calvin

        May 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm

        I knew you’d catch my inferred idiom. As you are deserving, we all belong after all. Of course I will enjoy, it will be a pleasure to see your child progress from from the first word to the last. Since reading the first, I’ve thought it would make an entertaining and poignant radio play and or play.

        Enjoy your Sunday. Me, am off to downtown Hogtown (Toronto) for a baseball game and visit some old haunts. Take care, ‘E’.

  12. composerinthegarden

    May 30, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Congratulations, Eleanor! I’m just catching up to your always amazing blog and here is big news – yay!

    • etomczyk

      June 1, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks Lynn. So glad to see you back. I visited your garden–exquisite, as always!


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