Author Q&A + $25 GC #Giveaway | THE GRASS SWEEPER GOD by Doug Howery | @GoddessFish & @dhowery1 Present #HistoricalFiction

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual book tour for THE GRASS SWEEPER GOD by Doug Howery, a historical fiction available now. Please enjoy my interview with the author and an excerpt from the book.

Be sure to follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Click on the banner below to see additional stops on the tour.

The Grass Sweeper God
by Doug Howery


GENRE: Historical Fiction



Sixteen-year-old Smiley Hanlon is a young woman tethered to a young man's body.  In the 1950's Appalachia coal fields of Solitude, Virginia, Smiley is placed in the "Mentally Retarded Class" because he is effeminate and wears a blouse and saddle shoes to school. 

Smiley is backed by his best friend, Lee Moore who protects Smiley from a father and many townspeople who hate him.  Smiley has dreams of becoming an entertainer.  Raised by his aunt in a juke joint, as a child Smiley sings and dances on the Formica bar top into the wee hours.  Chosen as the female lead, Dorothy, in a new town production called Dorothy of Oz Coal Camp, his dream is being realized.  The triumph of the play and his dream is sabotaged by his father and classmate bullies culminating in a tragic and horrific moment that changes both Smiley and Lee, forever.

Smiley and Lee flee to NYC.  They learn that prejudice is prejudice whether in the coal fields of Virginia or on the streets of NYC. Smiley suffers at the hands of his real mother who is a religious zealot.  She tries to change who Smiley is because he is a boil on the body of Christ. Lee suffers at the hands of psychologists who practice Aversion Therapy-electric shock treatment to cure his homosexuality. 

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Both Smiley and Lee become forces of change as do countless others.  In 1969, Smiley Hanlon and his friend, Lee emerge as leaders of a gay revolution, the historical Stonewall Riots.  The riots are vicious but the real battle will be won or lost on another continent: Solitude, Virginia. 

The Grass Sweeper God is a force of nature that flows through all things...straightens out that which is bent...which is sick...



Lettie sat on the twin bed with the gun and the letter in her lap.  She noticed Brac’s graduation picture sitting on the nightstand.  She turned it face down.  She placed the love letter from Brac’s lover on top of his graduation picture.  She placed Ted’s bankbook, her letter to Ted, her cat-eyeglasses and dentures beside Brac’s turned-down picture.  She lay down on the bed.  She stretched out and placed the gun at her side and stared at the ceiling.  She thought about her children.  She had never owned them, never owned herself, and now they could choose their own road in life.  But she could choose when to exit this world and how.  She had to get out of her head, out of her heart.  Tears like the mistakes she had made in life flowed down her face.  She put the gun under her ribs and pulled the trigger.



Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The intended audience is mainstream America.  The book has been pigeonholed as LGBT; furthest from reality.  The story is about how we raise our children and accepting our children for who and what they are.

It is an important story because it is true expect for the parts that aren’t.  It is historical in nature; The Gay Stonewall Riots of 1969.  Two rural young men bring about social change.  It is topical to today’s headlines; Transgender & LGBT discrimination laws.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

My title for The Grass Sweeper God came from a book I read over 20 years ago.  It was a book about the native Indian culture.  I think part of the title was Grass Sweeper.  Indian culture worshiped mother nature and, I love pagan culture.  So, I made my title sound like the God of mother nature.  What is earthier than, “Grass Sweeper?”

Also, the title is fully explained by page 3 since I knew that people (readers) would want to know:

Book Title Excerpt Example: “The Grass Sweeper God is a force that flows through all things,” the Indian, Carr, had instructed.  “Have you ever stood in a meadow and watched as the wind whips the grass?  Listen closely and you can hear harps—angel’s wings unfold, or the drumbeat—that is the devil.”  The Indian seem to float over concrete angels in a graveyard as his last words trailed into the starry sky, “You are a force, a warrior.”  The angel’s wings unfolded upward and she spoke through a translucent light: “Jesus resurrected from the gutter.  You can see the stars from the gutter.  Your mother, like Jesus’ mother, stays behind and starts cleaning up the mess.”

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular artwork?

My cover art was designed by Mario Sanchez Nevado from Spain.  I went with that particular image/artwork because it represents an actual scene in my book.  I worked with Mario by sending him the scene.  I explained that I wanted the young man at the tombstone with an umbilical cord attached to a woman figure.  And the rest was history.  Oh yeah, the young man is an actual model that Mario used for the cover art.  His creations are breathtaking @   Check them out!  He is great to work with.  

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Permelia Corn, Alas Smiley Hanlon is my favorite character from the book.  Because he and then she was so taxing to create.  I had to create a young boy growing into a young man growing into a young woman…imagine?  To wrap my brain around that concept required much research and required me to walk a mile in transgender people’s shoes.  This character suffered even more so than today because the setting of the book is the 1950s through 1969.  When I actually wrote the full mental transformation from young man to young woman, I knew I had a fully fleshed out character:

See following Book Excerpt:

Permelia had spoken to him through the Grass Sweeper God that horrible night that seemed like a lifetime ago.  Looking back at Smiley in the mirror now was Permelia Corn.  He had carried her with him all the way to New York.  Smiley said to the face in the mirror, “Permelia Corn, not the faggot, Smiley, that Solitude had beat down.  I will never again refer, or even think of myself as a man, as Smiley.”  Permelia kissed the mirror, leaving red lip impressions smudged on the mirror.  She wrote her name: Permelia Corn in bright red lipstick above her lip impressions.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character is based upon my father, Ted, in the book.  I made him the antagonist because in real life, his fatherly characteristics were lacking.  But, I learned through fleshing out this character that he did the best he could with what he knew.  He didn’t have much love in his early life; he did not know how to love his wife or children.  It was cathartic for me.  I learned that I judged him too harshly through the years.  I learned that I am my father’s son.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

Good question, thank you.  I have often asked myself that.  I worked on this novel for 10 to 20 years before publishing it.  So, much was changed through paid professional editing (5 or more professional edits) etc.  I can’t think of anything I would change; not after all the aforementioned.  I was torn at one time or another to tone down the harshness of the storyline, but that would have taken away from the hard story that it is.  It is a hard story to read, not because it is poorly written, but as an Amazon reviewer wrote:  

By Heather G TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“The Grass Sweeper God” is a hard book to read, harder still to imagine someone living it. Ripped from the heart of what can only be an echo of personal experience and pain, this account speaks of unsinkable souls, lost identities and struggling to be who you are meant to be.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Never give up.  Suffer the rejection until you just can’t stand it anymore.  And then you pick yourself up, dust off the negativity and publish it yourself.  It so easy to do just that these days.  Don’t be a hostage to traditional publishing.  Vanity publishing is not a “bad thing” these days.  If you write it and it is good, they will come!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for allowing me the time and opportunity to speak about my writing to you and your audience.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

DOUG HOWERY has been writing both fiction and essays since 1990. His essays and familial stories have appeared in The Blue Ridge Lambda Press.

In many of his stories, as in "The Grass Sweeper God," Mr. Howery's true lode, his font of inspiration is in the passion and suffering he has experienced.

Author, Doug Howery penned the novel with insight into his own struggle for sexual identity and personal tragedy. His mother committed suicide in 1982, blaming her two sons' sexual identity in a letter and declaring herself a martyr for intolerance and social bigotry. She referred to her own sons as "Gutter Rats that Could Rot in Hell" and represents the hate and mistrust that have plagued society.

Suspense author, Maggie Grace, with the North Carolina Writers' Network writes about her cohort Mr. Howery: "What I like is the riskiness, the cutting edge of the narrative voice we hear. The moments when he lapses into descriptions of the moon, of the horse, etc. are true poetry that offers some relief from the coarseness of the story, and he places them well. He has an ear for the rhythm of the story, a natural sense of when to end--hangs fire with a new way of looking at someone or something, turning the entire chapter on its ear. I like the way he makes it impossible for the reader to stop reading at the end of the chapter."

Mr. Howery lives in Virginia with his partner of 34 years where he is at work on his next novel.




Doug Howery will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon GC and an autographed copy of the book to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please note geographical restrictions apply. United States only for the physical prize.

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A GENTLEMAN AND A ROGUE by @StephBurkhart | @GoddessFish Presents #Steampunk #Romance + $10 GC #Giveaway

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual book blast tour for A Gentleman and a Rogue by Stephanie Burkhart, a steampunk romance available now from Desert Breeze Publishing.

A Gentleman and a Rogue
by Stephanie Burkhart


GENRE: Steampunk romance



Lady Keira Russell is destined to bring compressed natural gas to Britain. Her inner courage and mental toughness rarely falter – except when Prince Edmund Windsor is involved.

Edmund of Wales is from the future. His last jaunt through history muffed up the time line. Now, he's here to set it straight and win Keira's heart.

For Keira, if it isn't one obstacle, it's another. Queen Victoria has sponsored a competition to find a cleaner fuel source than coal. Keira's father is trying to build a windmill and the Ridgecrofts are working with gasoline. Then there's Edmund, whose sensual kisses and heated stares distract her down to her bones.

Keira has a choice: trust Edmund's notorious mischief-making or put her faith in Queen Victoria to make the right decision, but if Keira makes the wrong choice, the future of Great Britain will be changed forever.



Richard pursed his lips.

"All right, then. I have orders to take you, Alice, Grayson, and Jonas back immediately."

"That ought to be fun -- especially Jonas. He's helping Keira's father build a windmill."

"Petrol and electricity are the future."

Edmund grimaced.

"No, they aren't. Alice and I tried to tell you -- Keira's compressed natural gas powers our future."

His voice filled with conviction.

"Ever since we were children--"

"History changed when Grayson came with Alice. He's here to fix it now."

Keira held up her hands.

"Now, boys, let's not raise our voices. I have a feeling you've had this conversation before and came to no resolution."

"That's true," Edmund conceded.

Richard nodded.

Edmund glared at his brother.

"I'm not leaving. Alice and I have every intention of setting history straight."

Richard sighed. 

"Besides, the only way to get back to the future is for us to warm our coin necklaces in our hands. You can't do that for us."

"Ever heard of an override switch?"

"No." Edmund's eyes narrowed. He didn't like the sound of that.

"Professor Byron gave me one."

A sinking feeling descended into the pit of his stomach.

"What other tricks do you have up your sleeve?"

"That's telling."

Exasperated, Edmund raked a hand through his hair.

"Think this through, Richard. No, better yet -- listen to your instincts."

His brother chuckled.

"What's so funny?"

"I had an interesting conversation about instincts today with Jocelyn."

Keira tilted her head slightly, a curious expression crossing her face.

"Do you know Jocelyn well?"

"I'm staying with the Dunkirks."

"I can't imagine Lord Ridgecroft meeting the suitable test with his goggles and cigars," said Edmund.

"Actually, I find Jocelyn and her father very refreshing."

"So, Richard, what are you going to do?" Edmund asked.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks.  She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
















Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

NIGHT MAGIC by Kathleen Ann Gallagher + $20 GC #Giveaway | @GoddessFish & @Kathleenwrites Present #Paranormal #Contemporary #Romance

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual book blast tour for Night Magic (Moonlight & Jasmine Ssries, #1) by Kathleen Ann Gallagher, a contemporary paranormal romance available from Beachwalk Press.

Night Magic Book 1, Moonlight & Jasmine Series
by Kathleen Ann Gallagher


GENRE: Contemporary Paranormal Romance



Krista Winter is in need of legal counsel. Several years ago she was forced to flee her life as a teacher in New Jersey after being shunned for practicing witchcraft, and her past is about to catch up with her.

Jon Bartolo is a dedicated attorney. His days are spent helping his clients with their struggles, and his nights are spent in agony, lost in a world between life and death. His mother, who died three years ago, lurks in his house, suffering from a curse for eternity, without a final resting place.

A smoldering fire ignites between Jon and Krista almost immediately, however, he’s sure his secret would frighten any woman away. An afternoon escape brings them closer, but doubts linger between the love-struck couple.

Burning questions about how to fuse their futures together with so much of their past still clouding the future becomes a heavy burden that they’re both trying to bear on their own. It will take a touch of magic if there’s any hope in sight.



Steadying herself, Krista stared into his eyes with her heart racing. As Jon moved in again and plunged his tongue deep into her mouth, he caressed her back, and she surrendered mercifully to his touch. Each passion-filled kiss felt as if he was a long lost lover who had reappeared and claimed her heart’s desire. There was no telling what might happen next. Her whole body relaxed as he nuzzled her ear, teasing her with playful nips at her neck. All rules had been broken, but it didn’t matter. His hard shaft rubbed up against her, and she swayed back and forth, unable to break away from temptation. Jon’s breathing sped up as his hands traveled up and down her back. She quietly moaned, lost in another world. Every movement brought her one step closer. Was she lonely enough to have sex with a man she’d just met? Each kiss weakened her guard. Maybe it was fate. As his hand trailed across her back, her body rocked with his. Each flicker of his tongue along the sides of her mouth was electrifying, as if he wanted to devour her, and she found herself in a trance-like state. This was what she’d been missing. Running her hand across his firm bicep, the room spun. The warmth of his body was raising her level of arousal. Here, in the middle of his office, she experienced a passion like no other. Everything seemed right. Lust took control of her senses, and she let herself go with it. With each kiss, he cradled her in his arms, his embrace warm and protective like a warrior of love. How did this happen? Had she found the man she was destined for, or was it all a dream?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kathleen writes contemporary and paranormal romance in her home in New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and their two fur babies, Luc and Chaz. She spent years working as a registered nurse in an emergency room. She is also active in Community Theater. She has three children and three lovable grandsons. Her favorite romantic getaway is Cape May, New Jersey. You might find Kathleen on a beach down the Jersey Shore, wearing a straw hat and sipping on an iced tea as she plots her next romance novel.

You can find Kathleen at the following places:

Buy Links:




Kathleen will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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