Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney for stopping by today.
Title: Where the Grass is Greener
Author: Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Debbie McGowan
Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Western
Mistakes were made, that’s for sure. But was it the night of passion? Or walking away afterward?
That’s the question Seamus Williams must face when he gets a late night phone call from someone he never expects to hear from again.
“I miss you, Shay.”
Chancey Bo Clearwater is a cowboy through and through. He spends his days finding work on whatever ranch will take him and his nights at the pool hall. He’s always done what needed doing and never thought much about what he wanted. ’Til that drunken night with Seamus.
A world of problems now stand between Seamus and Chancey exploring what might have been, the least of which being the Atlantic Ocean. On one side there’s Chancey’s daughter who mood swings from angel to demon in two seconds flat; on the other there’s the new lodger, hogging Shay’s telly and his cornflakes, and making private Skype time hard to come by.
Is this relationship doomed before it ever begins? Or can a surprise announcement from Seamus’s brother be enough to help the two find their second chance?
Where the Grass is Greener features Seamus Williams – the older brother of Patrick from Leaving Flowers.
Ten Books that influenced me
The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
I’ve no idea how many times I read this book. It may only have been once, but it’s stuck with me forever. It’s the story of a group of children—siblings and their cousin, who comes to stay with them for the summer—and the adventures they have, courtesy of the enormous magical tree in their garden. There are magical creatures living in the tree, and at the top there is a magical land that they can visit, but it’s only there temporarily, as the lands revolve, not always predictably. As a child, I read a lot of Enid Blyton, and I loved the adventures the children in the stories had, but the main way in which Blyton’s stories influenced me was to realise that we can do anything we want in fiction. Worlds can be perfect, people can have their happy ending. We can be who we want to be. There is no finer way of getting through some of the more difficult times in our lives than escaping into a book for a few hours.
The Haunted Mountain by Mollie Hunter
I learned a very quick lesson from this book: I do not like being terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.
Yours Truly, Love Janie by Ann Reit
The first romance I ever read! I hadn’t even realised how much this story had influenced my writing. My Hiding Behind The Couch series is set in England, and it’s the story of nine friends who have known each other since their school days. Only one of the friends moved away, to a ranch in Colorado. Why? Because of Yours Truly, Love Janie. It’s embedded in my author psyche.
1984 by George Orwell
Another short lesson learned: I do not like bleak dystopian novels. A brilliant book, though, even if I did read it whilst staffing a deserted ice cream kiosk on Southport’s coastal road in November.
Djinn Rummy by Tom Holt
Dear Tom Holt, I don’t know why I picked up this book and decided to read it, but it was the beginning of a long love affair with your whacky stories…
In this particular story, a young woman buys a bottle of pills from the pharmacist with the intention of ending her life. She rubs the dust from the bottle, thereby releasing a powerful genie who must grant her three wishes. Except she’s depressed, so she has no wishes, so he becomes her housemaid, painter and decorator, cook, etc. Meanwhile, he has serious genie work to do, and he’s battling another equally powerful genie whose wish maker is intent on world domination.
Pure escapism. I love it. Tom’s writing undoubtedly continues to influence my writing in so many ways, and his stories helped me to pin down exactly the stuff I love to read. Humorous, flawed characters, the good guy wins in the end, even if we’re never quite sure who the good guy is.
Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy
The quintessential ghost story for little girls. Cassedy understood lonely, misunderstood children better than any writer I’ve ever read, and she painted with the most gorgeous colors. I never forgot the story, though the title of the book slipped away from me for a while! I’ve now read all of Cassedy’s novels, but it breaks my heart that she passed away before writing more. I aspire to write with her level of beauty.
Wife in Waiting and The Sister Secret by Jessica Steele
Jessica Steele was my favorite author growing up. I own all of her 90+ books in paperback, and have recently begun to collect them in eBook and also in manga! These two books in particular have stuck with me because it was my first exposure to the world of romance, and through her barely-there sex scenes, I learned to write subtle intimacy.
When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan
This isn’t ass-kissery. When Skies Have Fallen fundamentally broke and then rebuilt me. I walked away from reading it with a wholly better understanding not only of what LGBT people went through during the mid-twentieth century, but also how those trials translate into modern society. It reached into the heart of prejudices I’d had about people’s ability to be monogamous and explained without preaching. I told Debbie that WSHF should be required reading for students, and I stand by that.
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Winner of the Newbery Award, Moon Over Manifest is an absolutely stunning example of a historical. Vanderpool is a goddess at research and made the town of Manifest come alive. I was so invested in the characters by the end that I felt my heart break at an unexpected death. Clever beyond clever.
FAKE by Sanami Matoh
Yes this is a manga, but I can’t leave it off the list because picking up the first volume of FAKE was a turning point in my writing life. Before this, I had never considered writing about gay relationships—afterward, it became my passion. I owe a lot to this little manga series.
“You’re quiet today, Seamus. What’s up?” the landlord asked.
“Just tired, is all. Got a leaky roof and the fecker was drippin’ all the damn night. And didn’t I get up this morning and kick the bucket?”
“You look alive and well to me, so you do. I say well…you look like shite.”
“Yeah, thanks very much. Think I’ll go join the lads, see if I can’t get a few more insults thrown at me.”
Seamus gave the landlord a wry grin and went over to the others, who were already well into the first of the three games they got in every lunchtime. He watched one of them take a bad shot and accidentally pot the black, the clunking of the ball as it rolled its way through the machinery of the table setting Seamus’s teeth on edge. John was right: he was dog-tired and probably did look like shite. He’d barely slept after the missed call, trying to decide whether to return it or not. His mind played tricks on him, one minute convincing him it was urgent and he should call back, the next telling him to stay strong. He’d made the move. He’d come back to Ireland. That’s what he’d wanted all along.
He had wanted it. Ever since Mam died, his sights had been set on coming home. He’d only stayed for Paddy’s sake, and now Paddy had Aidan there was nothing to keep Seamus in the States, although he was no further away from his brother now than he had been in Kansas. Never mind that he’d already made the decision before he knew Aidan even existed. No. It was a good decision. He was just—
He already knew, before he pulled his phone from his pocket: same Kansas number, same caller. His thumb hovered over the red button. Reject the call. Reject the call.
“At last! I thought I was calling a wrong number. Man, it’s so good to hear your voice.”
“Er, yeah. Yours too. What’s up? Has something happened?”
“Nothing new. I just…”
The rapid-hard thump of Seamus’s heart filled the pause, two seconds, three, four, and more. He drew breath to speak, but there was nothing to be said. Or nothing he should say.
“I miss you, Shay.”
The first call had been a drunk dial. Thank the heavenly father that Seamus Williams hadn’t picked up. Lord, the shit that might have come tumbling out of Chancey’s mouth. Now he was dead sober, but only slightly more composed. Had he really just said he’d missed Seamus? He tried for a laugh. It sounded as fake as it felt. Well he had missed Seamus. Nothin’ wrong with that.
“You gonna say somethin’?” He knew he was putting on the accent. Drawing out his vowels, droppings his g’s. His grandmother—who was from south Texas and who had an accent so deep it was digging itself a hole to the centre of the Earth—used to yell at him when he’d get lazy with his words.
You jus’ sound ign’rant, Chancey Bo Clearwater. Full name, cue snickering cousins, and young Chancey sank down low in his chair, ashamed at the way he sounded despite the fact they all talked just alike. The accent followed him when he moved to Oklahoma, where he picked up a whole set of strange ‘O’s, and even having lived in Kansas now for the better part of his life, it was still there underneath, just waiting to crop up in stressful situations.
“I didn’t expect to hear from you, that’s all.”
“Surprise.” He was trying for friendly, for calm. Trying to keep the I wanna put my fist through the wall and did you really mean to let me find out through Lulu? out of his voice.
“Isn’t this call costing you a million dollars?”
“Skype. On my phone. I bought minutes, y’know?”
“Is that right then?”
“But I didn’t think. It’s probably charging you too.”
Is it? Seamus sure as hell wasn’t saying much. There was a long pause as Chancey considered his next move. He’d called because he’d wanted to talk. Not talk. Not like that. Nothing to say on that front. Seamus had made it all as clear as crystal dropped in the mud when he’d left his parting message with Lulu down at the pool hall, Rack ’Em. In a last-ditch effort, Chancey said the only thing he could think: “Boss Tina asked after you the other day when I went around for work.”
That got a laugh out of Seamus, which gave Chancey more relief than he cared to admit.
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About the Author
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 seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, 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 wants to change the world…one sweet story at a time.
Known as “The Queen of the Sweetness” (well, a few people have said it anyway!) Raine loves writing sweet, character-driven stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and…friskiness? In addition to her solo works, she’s one half of a collaborative team with author Debbie McGowan.
When she’s not writing, Raine is either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. She believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or discussing which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Where to find the authors:
Debbie’s Social Media Links
Facebook: facebook.com/DebbieMcGowanAuthor and facebook.com/beatentrackpublishing
Raine’s Social Media Links
LGBT Author Interviews: raineotierneyhatparty.blogspot.com/
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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