Blog Tour & Giveaway: Leaving Flowers by Debbie McGowan & Raine O'Tierney

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
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Goodreads Link


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.

Excerpt 2:
“Quit then. It sounds a horrible place.”
“I can’t quit.” Aidan closed his eyes and left them closed, letting out a long, low breath. “The Grand Heights is all I have.”
He felt Patrick move, felt as he shifted across the center console, close into Aidan’s space, but he did not open his eyes. He was expecting the hug—longed for it even—and as Patrick’s arms wrapped around him, Aidan melted into the feel and warmth and smell of Patrick. Then he felt Patrick’s lips on his neck, so gentle he almost wasn’t certain he felt it at all. He was tenderly kissing the spot where Mrs. Wright had left such an ugly mark.
“I wish I could make it disappear.” Patrick’s voice was hypnotizing, the sound of rain on a tin roof. Aidan turned his face, just a little, so that Patrick’s lips caressed his cheek.
“The hickey?”
“All of it.”
Their lips met and Aidan died a little, right there, in the parking garage. It was nothing at all like when he’d awkwardly kissed his prom date goodnight, his teeth knocking against hers. Nor was it like Ms. Ashmore and her almost suffocating kisses. And it sure as hell wasn’t Mrs. Wright clawing into him, sucking on his neck like a vampire with a blood-soaked appetizer. 
“I’m sorry,” Patrick murmured against his lips. “I don’t know what I’m thinkin’, kissing you like this. I just can’t stand to see you sufferin’, Aidan Degas.”
“Oh.” Idiot, Aidan berated himself as he pulled back. He inhaled deeply and let it out on a chuckle he hoped sounded natural and not hurt. He’s feeling sorry for you. God, you always read so much into everything. “Well, I am feeling much better now.”
Patrick didn’t look convinced.

“I promise,” Aidan said, way too brightly, and turned back to the window. “I wonder if we’re ever getting out of this garage.”

Sales Links:
Beaten Track Publishing (Paperback)
Amazon UK

The ladies were kind enough to indulge our silly whims and write a blog post about... Drum roll, please... 

How to Write Convincing Characters

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
~ Carl Sagan

I’m going to cut to the chase here and rather arrogantly state that I’m pretty good at writing believable characters. I’m not going to qualify or justify; I’m just going to share a few tips based on how I do it.

1. Take Cues from the Real World
People Watching
Observe how people act and react. Think about their motivations. Analyse their day-to-day interactions in different situations. Interpolate from your own feelings: the rude and abrasive woman trying to pay for her trolley full of shopping whilst taming a screaming toddler might not be quite so obnoxious when she’s well rested and out with her friends. What is it like to be in her shoes? Follow her around for a day (in your imagination, not for real, or you’ll get arrested ;) ).

The way we communicate varies according to age, gender, sexuality, culture, our dominant language, etc. and it’s about more than the words we ‘choose’. Communication is the physical expression of how we think. For instance:

“Would you like to go to pub?”
“It’s a nice evening. Shall we go out for a drink?”
“I’m going to the pub. Want to come?”
“I’m going to the pub. Come with me, if you want.”
“Don’t suppose you fancy coming out for a drink, do you?”

The statement / request has the same outcome, but who we are shapes the way we make it.

Keep it Real
Life is not a Hollywood movie, so it’s unlikely anyone is ever going to say out loud anything quite so dramatic as…

I’ll never forget you, Johnny! I love you!
[fade to black. Cue end credits.]

People try to hide most of what they’re really thinking, or at best try to express themselves in a heartfelt but wholly non-dramatic way. In day-to-day situations, a person’s actions, expression and posture will often give away the underlying emotion and intent.

2. Invent the Universe
Borrow, don’t Steal
When it comes to creating your characters DO NOT base them on real people. As you write they will take on characteristics which you will be able to identify as just like x, but don’t do it intentionally. If they’re based on someone you know (or, indeed, if they are based on you) then your story and character development will be limited by how well you know the real person and what you’re prepared to put them through.

Get to know the character – think about who they are, what they believe in, what’s important to them, how they deal with other people. When you write them into a situation, get in there with them, and watch/listen. Let them lead.

A World of Their Own
Create a world for your characters. Again, it can be based on the real world, but you are their god. Give them the world you want them to have.

Bring in the Real World
When it comes to writing dialogue, think about how real people speak and structure your character’s speech accordingly. Think also about the situation they’re in and how it makes them feel.

3. Show and Tell
Some characters are chatterboxes. Some say very little. Your job is to fill in the gaps – show their thoughts and feelings when what they’re saying isn’t enough.

The sound of booted feet on the stairs warned of Johnny’s imminent arrival; still Ben startled when the other man appeared in the hallway. Johnny’s kit bag landed with a leaden thud, the tin mug and dish tethered to the strap clanging a muted death toll.

Ben turned and gazed out of the open window, to the train station beyond the dark, distant trees, backlit by the ochre evening sun. “I’m going to the pub,” he said, briefly glancing back at Johnny. “Come with me, if you want.”

“I’m going to the pub. Come with me, if you want.”

Might actually mean:

I’ll never forget you, Johnny! I love you!

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!


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Tour Dates & Stops: 
1-May BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook; 4-May Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic; 5-May MM Good Book Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Up All Night, Read All Day; 6-May Hearts on Fire;  7-May The Novel Approach, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words; 8-May Cate Ashwood, Bike Book Reviews; 11-May Bayou Book Junkie; 12-May The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Charley Descoteaux, Molly Lolly; 13-May Love Bytes, EE Montgomery; 14-May Amanda C. Stone, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My; 15-May Prism Book Alliance, Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews

1 comment:

  1. Not going to enter as I can't use a $ Amazon gift card from the UK, so good luck everyone!