May 12, 2015

Pride Promotions presents: Leaving Flowers by Debbie McGowan & Raine O'Tierney

Author Name: Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney

Book Name: Leaving Flowers

Release Date: May 1, 2015


Shy and awkward since childhood, Aidan Degas is now a man lost. His twin—Aidan’s other half, Nadia—died tragically young, leaving him with nothing to get him through his days but his job at the prestigious Grand Heights Luxury Apartments and the flowers he lays upon her grave. When Aidan is assaulted on the job by a tenant, it’s the graveyard he turns to for strength and solace.

Patrick loves being assistant groundskeeper at the sprawling cemetery where he tends graves and offers a bit of comfort to mourners. When he sees a sad young man lingering over an old grave, his curiosity is strangely piqued for reasons he doesn’t understand. He’s never done this—struck up a friendship with a mourner. But soon that friendship blossoms into a romance.

It’s not going to be easy for the pair. Aidan is so damaged, like petals crushed in an angry fist, and even with Patrick’s warm heart and Irish charm, it might not be enough to bring him back from the edge.

Pages or Words: 67,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Somehow, in spite of the need to go home and shower off the grottiness of digging earth for half a day, Patrick didn’t feel he could take his usual subtle approach. Nadia’s passing was not recent; her grave was not new; yet here was this young man, kneeling at her feet, his eyes closed, hands resting in his lap, oblivious to the sun’s slide from the sky, the increasing briskness of the breeze, Patrick’s presence…
“Hello there,” he said quietly, stopping on the path a few feet away. The man was too far into his own mind to startle. Instead, he slowly came to, his shoulders lifting slightly as he twisted to see what had disturbed his meditation. Patrick smiled. “I’m afraid we’re locking up for the evening.”
“So soon?”
“It’s going on for seven o’clock, sir.”
“Seven…” The man’s voice petered away, his expression indicating he had no idea how long he had been kneeling there. If he doubted Patrick’s word, the confirmation came when the man tried to stand, and staggered, numb-legged. He automatically reached out to steady himself, catching hold of the front of Patrick’s coveralls, and then almost collapsed again, unable to bear his own weight.
Without a second thought, Patrick quickly grasped the man by the forearms to steady him. “There’s no rush now. You just take your time. All right?”
The man nodded and swallowed hard. “Thank you. I only came to leave the tulips.” He gestured toward the vase of closed tulips in front of the grave and in the midst of the red and white carnations.
Patrick kept his hold on the man and looked down at the flowers. “They’re beautiful,” he said. “Really lovely.”
“Thanks. Nadia loved flowers so much.” A glimmer of a happier time lit up the man’s features for just a second, before it was blotted out once more by the heavy cloud of sorrow.
Patrick felt that sorrow in his heart. He wanted to offer comfort, warmth, security, to soothe with his touch, his kiss… Oh my—no, no, Patrick. You’re way over the line. You’re standing at the grave of this man’s wife, and all you can think of is kissing him? But it wasn’t that sort of kiss he had in mind. It wasn’t about passion, or lust; just a desperate desire to take away the pain.
The man seemed a little more steady on his feet and Patrick gently released him. “OK now?”
“I think so.” He took a long, deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Thank you for your patience. I’m sure you’re eager to go home. It can’t be fun working here.”
Patrick shrugged and smiled. “I love my job. Fresh air, peace and quiet—”
“But it’s a cemetery.”
“Well, yeah,” Patrick said, the slightest hint of a chuckle in his words. It was enough to prompt the other man to lift his head. For the first time, his eyes met Patrick’s, and something bloomed inside, a heat radiating from somewhere he couldn’t quite pinpoint. It rose up through his chest, into his throat, filling his mouth and his nose, as he gazed into those incredible steel-gray eyes. There was so much pain there, and loss—anger—and yet there was more, so much more, that Patrick could almost hear the emotion, like a distant cry for help from someone who was drowning.

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I was interested to know more about the co-writing part of this book, so I asked Debbie and Raine how they met, how they decided to write together, how did it work out. Here are their answers: 

RO: I met Debbie McGowan through The Hat Party (my interview site for LGBTQ authors)—one of her incredible Beaten Track Publishing authors, Larry Benjamin was a guest and I believe (she’ll have to corroborate) that he told her about my blog. After begging and begging her to do an interview, she finally stopped by. A little later, I received a very flattering email asking if I would be interested in writing a Christmas story for a charity BTP anthology. I loved the experience and nervously broached the topic of Debbie publishing other Raine O’Tierney works.
The actual collaboration was born of my pushiness. I’m a terribly pushy person… Pestering really, I think is the word for it. Especially when I’m passionate about something. So I did what I do and I pushed right up on Debbie McG, asking if she wanted to collaborate. She was open to it and said we’d put it into the pipeline for the future. Except… yeah, I couldn’t wait. I think a week later I sent her chapter one of Leaving Flowers.
I’d say it’s worked out fairly well. We have our beautifully written novel, excellent memories of collaboration, and even a new story in the works!
DM: Yep – as Raine says, we met through The Hat Party, where I had to wear a hat! Agh! I am so not a hat person, but anyway… After my interview, I was taking part in the Don’t Read in the Closet 2014 writing event, Love’s Landscapes, and I noticed Raine was too, and I thought, “Well, this must be a very prestigious event!” I read Raine’s story (Somebody Nice) and loved it, which led to me rather boldly asking her if she would please, please, please consider writing for Beaten Track’s Holiday anthology. I couldn’t believe it when she said yes!
By then I was well into reading Raine’s other stories. I love her style, she is such a talented author, and so versatile. Her characters are deep and complex, and very real. Her stories make me laugh and cry and sit back and wonder at how marvellous they are. Needless to say there was only one answer I could give when she asked if we could collaborate. I did envisage it being a much more gradual steady process, but once you’re caught in the creative flow you’ve just got to swim with it. So that’s what we did!
And if you love Leaving Flowers, then you’d best start practising typing “curmudgeonly”. It might come in handy at a later date. J

About the authors:

DEBBIE MCGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at 17, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At 25, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!

RAINE O’TIERNEY lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow author, Siôn O'Tierney. When she's not writing, she's either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on gay romance) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you're interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!


Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

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Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon gift card

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! Congrats on the new book!