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Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Grass Sweeper God by Doug Howery - Virtual Book Tour - Interview - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Doug Howery and his new book, “The Grass Sweeper God!”  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card AND an autographed copy of “The Grass Sweeper God” - ALL to one lucky winner.  Also, come back daily to interact with Doug and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this exciting giveaway!

Please note that this giveaway is only available to US residents.  Sorry INTL – please check out other giveaways on this blog.

The Grass Sweeper God
by Doug Howery


GENRE: Historial 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.



What 3-5 words would you use to describe your book?
Emotional, Character Driven, Powerful

What is your favorite chapter or section of this book?
Chapter Two:  The Madam Luna character; the rape scene; the power of such a tragedy.

Did you come across any specific challenges in writing this book?
Yes, it is such a personal story for me.  I had to relive my history as a young man growing up in the Appalachia mountains.  I thought everything around me was so normal & it wasn’t.  Children should not have to endure what I did.  But when a child thinks that abuse is normal, that’s how that child survives to live through the abuse.

Where did the inspiration come from for naming the main character, Smiley?
The ‘Smiley’ character was named after a classmate of mine.  He was transgender back in the 1970s; just imagine the abuse he suffered.  And yet, he smiled every day that I saw him.  I drew so much inspiration from that person; he was an “unsinkable” soul.  He fought those around him with a “Smile” on his face & in his heart.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, please don’t look at others as a title such as “Gay,” “Lesbian,” “Transsexual,” etc.  There is a soul behind that title, a soul that bleeds just like the rest of us.

Would you recommend this book to someone who is not part of the LGBT Community?  Perhaps a family member or friend of a LGBT member; to help them understand more about what they are going through?
Yes.  This is a story that crosses genres.  It is not LGBT, it is mainstream.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
The book cover was so much fun to do.  I learned a lot from Mario Nevado who followed my thoughts on making the cover.  The young man at the tombstone is an actual real-life model.  This book cover represents an actual scene from the book that I alluded to in question #2.

As an author, what is your favorite word you love to include in your books?

Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you handle it?
Yes, I step away from the work at hand.  I come back afresh.  If not, I walk away again, again, again, get my drift?

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
That the story is not believable.  That says that I failed as a story teller.  But then, I get a dozen more insights that the book is “real life.”

Do you write your books with a pen or type writer or computer?
A computer.  I am a typist by trade.  So, I can type as fast as the thoughts come to mind & that is fast when I’m firing on all 6 cylinders.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Years.  I am in no hurry to tell a story.  It has to come from the heart.

When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
I have a clue who the character is.  But, I let the character go where the conflict takes him or her.

Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
Sitting on a recliner while typing on my laptop in my basement.

What book(s) have most influenced your life?
Stephen Kings, Delores Claiborne. 

Where is your favorite spot to read?
Outside @ my pond.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Traditional paper & hard books.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m reading my book, The Grass Sweeper God in order to adapt it into a screenplay.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?
This too shall pass.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
The very first Amazon review that I got made me cry.  It was written so beautifully because that person looked into my soul.  I was astounded that my words reached that person in such a beautiful way.

What advice would you give to someone struggling with gender identity?
Please seek out the professionals to include the psychologists, etc.  It is so hard for transgender people to live in a society that rejects them.  Always stay true to what you believe your identity is, never waiver.  Never allow others to tell you who & what you are.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Friend request on FB.  Contact also through Goodreads.



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.






Book Website:

Book Video Trailer:






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.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase made I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Good morning. Thank you for hosting my work. I look forward to the questions & comments. Great interview questions.

  2. congrats on the blog tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Loved the excerpt, thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Thanks for the interview! I especially loved the answer about Smiley - beautiful, sad and uplifting.

  5. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!