Friday, December 5, 2014

Bowl Full of Cherries by Raine O'Tierne: Guest Post, Review & Giveaway @RaineOTierney @Pridepromo

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Bowl Full of Cherries
by Raine O’Tierney

Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance, Holiday, Coming of Age
Porker, Fatty, Tons-of-Fun: Crowley Fredericks has heard it all. He’s dropped a lot of weight since his high school days, but he’s still a big guy, and the painful words and bullying follow him. Rejected—again—because of his size, Crowley is starting to think that maybe love just isn’t meant for huskier men.

Averell Lang and his twin are so different they might as well not even be related. So when Rell’s brother brings his roommate home to snowy Susset for the holidays, Rell expects the worst—another uptight, pretentious hipster. What he discovers instead is Crowley. Nerdy, fascinating, attractive, Crowley. Rell never expected to look at a man this way, and what he sees in Crowley Fredericks is something he didn’t even know he was looking for. If both men can overcome their hang-ups, they might unwrap more than presents this holiday season.
Carly: I was anorexic in my youth, in fact, at 5ft 7in, I weighed a mere 96 pounds, so Crowley’s struggle with his body image really hit home for me. Why did you decide to tackle such a difficult topic and what was the most challenging aspect of writing Crowley’s character?

Raine: I decided to write Crowley after realizing that there was a dearth of larger characters in M/M Romance. I thought to myself, I'm married to a husky hero, and I find him really damn attractive. Why wouldn't an MC feel the same way about handsome Crowley, with his beautiful smile? As I continued to write, Bowl Full of Cherries quickly morphed from there and I found that I wasn't just wanting to add a touch of diversity to the genre, but I wanted to shout a body-positive message as well. 

Too often in life, we're told we're too skinny, we're too fat, we're too tall,  our features are misshapen--Hell, our toes are even strange!--and we're shamed for it. That shame gets inside of us and even when no one else is saying anything to us, we still hear those words. It's not an easy thing to fix.

The most challenging aspect of writing Crowley’s character was the little doubt voice in my head whispering, “Don’t screw this up… Don’t screw this up… You’re going to screw this up…” I knew I wanted to do Crowley justice. Not only did I want to write this beautiful man, I wanted him to realize his worth by the end without any of the more typical romantic tropes. (e.g. “Rell thinks I’m beautiful, therefore I must be beautiful.”) Rell does think Crowley is beautiful, but Crowley has to find that beauty inside himself.

No simple words or story I write can erase the hurt in a reader's heart, but maybe Crowley's tale will offer comfort to people--like myself--who are still working on their journey of body acceptance.
-Raine O'Tierney
Even through the snow, Rell didn’t feel the cold. His face burned with the excitement of escaping the Livery and absconding with his brother’s best friend. He clasped Crowley’s hand, pulling him through the street. They ran and skidded and laughed, moving farther and farther away from the club.

“It’s beautiful tonight,” Crowley breathed and Rell squeezed tighter. “Doesn’t it weird you out though?”


Rell knew what Crowley was asking—didn’t even pretend that he didn’t. Stopping, he tugged lightly so Crowley came stumbling up beside him. He twined his arms around Crowley’s waist and held him for a moment, right there in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Does it weird you out? I’m your best friend’s brother.”

“Not weirded out at all.” Crowley shook his head. His dark eyes shimmered with concern. “But for you… I mean, it was loud in there and hot and fun and there was alcohol and… sometimes… things just happen and—”

“Yeah, things happen,” Rell agreed. “Except I’ve been to a lot of stupid hipster clubs with a lot of Tyler’s friends and….” He leaned forward and kissed Crowley again, letting the experience linger, melting the chill between them. He tasted like nogtini. “And nothing like that has ever happened.”

“But… do you even like guys?”

“Owl. You’re a guy. I like you.”

“But have you been with a guy?”

“Why are you over-thinking this?” Rell asked, gently cupping the side of Crowley’s face.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely adored this story! Crowley's character is amazing. He has struggled with his weight and body image his entire life. While he has made the effort to lose weight, he still perceives himself to be unlovable because of what he sees when he looks in the mirror. His quiet personality makes it easy for him to blend into the shadow of his more outgoing best friend and room-mate.

Rell is instantly attracted to the broad shoulders and solid build of his twin brother's best friend, and finds himself equally captivated by his gentle spirit, laughing eyes and their similar interests. Like a lot of people who have never struggled with weight, Rell doesn't really understand how Crowley's image of himself affects his ability to accept love and love fully in return.

Rell's own life has been spent drifting from job to job without a distinct sense of purpose, but falling in love with Crowley makes him realize that life is full of possibility. Now he needs to figure out how to achieve those dreams.

Raine O'Tierney crafted an amazing set of characters for BOWL FULL OF CHERRIES. Their emotional experiences, personalities, challenges and eventual growth brought me near tears several times. The intense and dramatic sequences are tempered with gentleness, love, and a bit of outright silliness. The subtle contrast between Crowley and Rell's families is another aspect that adds depth to the overall story line. BOWL FULL OF CHERRIES, a well written and multifaceted story, is one of the most engaging and delightfully emotional books I've read this year!
Raine O'Tierney, a passionate believer in what she calls The Sweetness, writes positive stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and.friskiness? When she's not writing, Raine can be found 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. She changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Raine lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author and sometimes writing partner, Siôn O'Tierney.

Contact her if you're interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about what kinds dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Tour Dates/Stops:
BFD Book Blog - Louise Lyons
Molly Lolly - Velvet Panic
Carly’s Book Reviews
Hearts on Fire - Fallen Angel Reviews
Multitasking Mommas
Prism Book Alliance
Rainbow Gold Reviews
Up All Night, Read All Day
The Blogger Girls
Because Two Men Are Better Than One
Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
Inked Rainbow Reads
Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings
Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews
Love Bytes - Iyana Jenna
Cathy Brockman Romances
Crystal’s Many Reviewers - MM Good Book Reviews
Queer Town Abbey - Full Moon Dreaming
Parker Williams - Amanda C. Stone
3 Chicks After Dark - Cate Ashwood
Rebecca Cohen Writes - Michael Mandrake


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Carly!!

  2. Making candy with my daughter and then going out to see the lights!

  3. Coming downstairs on Christmas morning when I was little, my sister and I were allowed to just look at the presents under the under the tree but we had to eat breakfast before opening them.

  4. Honestly, It was the Christmas I found out there wasn't a Santa that would come down a chimney at our house. All of us kids were upstairs and found a Santa suit. I remember how everyone laughed when I came downstairs dressed up in that suit. Thinking about it now makes me appreciate my parents more for everything they did to keep Santa alive for us.

  5. my daughters very first xmas is always a great memory for me

  6. One Christmas at work, my family was picked as the one to sponsor. My husband has been ill for a while, and hospitalized numerous times. I missed a lot of work under FMLA because of his illness. My coworker knew this and supported me. They surprised me with gift cards to local stores and even got some of the physicians to donate.