Monday, March 18, 2019

Guest Post: Helena Stone~ St. Patrick's Day in Dublin #Giveaway




Diverse Reader is super excited to have Helena Stone here today talking about St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, her books, and just sharing amazing things with us. Get comfy and enjoy.







St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

I realize I’m a day late with this post but, happy belated St. Patrick’s Day anyway. Although, ‘day’ has for some time been the wrong word to describe the events as they take place in Dublin. For quite a few years now, Dublin holds a St. Patrick’s Day festival, filled with a wide variety of events ranging from the traditional parade on March 17 to performances, walking tours, exhibitions, and a beer and food fair taking place over five days in various locations in the city. And, if you happened to find yourself in town after dark, it would be impossible not to notice the various buildings, venues, and spaces lit up in green.



Figure 1Image taken from St. Patrick's Day Festival Website





Or, in other words, for five consecutive days, Dublin City is basically one big party zone, filled to bursting with people looking for fun and entertainment or, as we call it in Ireland, ‘the craic’. A large proportion of those revellers will have travelled to Dublin from all over the world and most of these tourists are easy to recognize since they’re far more likely to don green outfits, mad wigs, and large leprechaun hats than the average Irish person is.





I’ll let you in on a secret. I haven’t watched the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin for years. I’m not overly fond of crowds at the best of times and to say Dublin is packed to the gills on March 17 would be a gross understatement. But, since we’re dealing with a festival rather than a day, that doesn’t mean I have to miss out. This year I will be visiting Ireland’s capital city a day early to take part in a historical walking tour of gay Dublin, one of those many events I mentioned above. I’m rather excited about this, even though the forecast warns about extensive rain on the day.

As national holidays go, St. Patrick’s Day is rather international. This is of course hardly surprising. The Irish have on more than one occasion in the past (both distant and recent) left the country of their birth in the hope of finding a better life elsewhere. As a result, many countries, all over the world, are home to people who claim and are proud of their Irish descend. Far be it from me to begrudge them the right to celebrate their heritage or to colour the rivers and their beer green while they’re at it.

In Lessons in Love, my most recent book about which I’ll share more below, Mitch and Cian spend the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin. This is the first time the two young men are on their own, without adult supervision. While they do get out and about and manage to taste some of the party atmosphere, I guess we can forgive them for being more interested in each other than they are in green buildings and parades. 😊








Lessons in Love (Mitch & Cian #2)

Release Date: March 17, 2019

18700 words approx.

Buy Links: 




Blurb

Falling for each other was easy. Staying together comes with a learning curve.

Three months after they met in the miraculous library, Cian is nervously preparing for Mitch’s arrival in Dublin. As much as he’s looking forward to three long days with his boyfriend—without parental supervision—he can’t help worrying about the fact that they will have to share both his small room and his even smaller bed. He doesn’t even own pajamas.

Their relationship is new, and Cian may be two years older, but he has little more experience than Mitch when it comes to intimacy and boyfriends. He isn’t sure what he’s doing or what’s expected of him. As a result, Cian and Mitch are in for a whirlwind weekend, filled with shocks, surprises, fun, and deepening feelings.

Against the backdrop of Ireland celebrating its national holiday, Cian and Mitch learn their first Lessons in Love.

While a Miracle in the Library was a young adult story, Lessons in Love features two young men old enough to consume alcohol and be sexually active. This book is therefore meant for readers who are eighteen years or older and contains sexual acts between two consenting men.




Excerpt

March 15

Cian looked from his empty shopping trolley to the packed shelves surrounding him and sighed. Getting a few groceries shouldn’t be this hard. In fairness, it usually took him all of five minutes to run into the supermarket, grab his usual few items, and rush out again.
Of course, when he shopped just for himself, it was easy. He knew what he liked, he knew what he was capable of preparing, and he never worried about what others might think of his choices. Not so today.
In only a few hours, Mitch would arrive to stay with Cian over the long St. Patrick’s Day weekend. They’d been planning the visit since mid-February, discussing what they would do, which places Mitch wanted to visit, and which of Cian’s favorite pastimes they really shouldn’t miss. Never once had they talked or messaged about what they would eat and drink while Mitch was in Dublin.
As he grabbed a bag of apples and put them into his cart, Cian reflected that his usual diet of frozen pizza and beans on toast probably wouldn’t cut it. Not that he thought for a minute that Mitch might expect culinary marvels from him, but Cian wanted to impress Mitch, make him feel welcome and treasured.
He slowly made his way through the shop, grabbing a few essentials as he went but still having no idea what to do about dinners. He’d made up his mind to eat out that evening. Mitch wouldn’t arrive until half past seven. Far too late to start cooking after they’d made their way to the apartment Cian shared with two other lads. But neither of them could afford multiple trips to restaurants, so he needed a plan for the other three evenings.
Ten minutes later, he was ready to give up. He’d added bread, biscuits, beer, eggs, Coke, and crisps to the apples. He chuckled softly. It was the perfect representation of a student’s larder, but until he’d talked to Mitch, he really didn’t know what else to add.
Mitch. A colony of butterflies took flight in his stomach. No matter how much he was looking forward to his boyfriend’s arrival, he couldn’t deny that the nerves swirling through his body got stronger with every passing minute. Adding both tissues and baby wipes to his groceries did nothing to settle his nerves. Their dietary preferences weren’t the only thing they’d neglected to talk about.
This was new. They’d only met three months earlier, and with Cian spending his weekdays in Dublin and Mitch preparing for his high school leaving exams, they didn’t get to spend much time together. Cian made it home most weekends, and they’d managed to spend Valentine’s Day together, but this would be the first time they’d be together twenty-four seven, without interruptions.
The cue for the till was long, which meant Cian’s wait started while he was still in one of the isles. He gazed at the shelves beside him, and his breath hitched.
Fuck. Right in front of him was a stark reminder of what they’d failed to discuss. Or rather, of something he’d avoided thinking about. Condoms. Lube. To stock up or not to stock up, that was the question. With the people ahead of him not moving at all, Cian had all the time in the world, all the time he didn’t really want, to think about that part of the upcoming few days.
Since he rented one room in an apartment with three bedrooms and the other two were occupied, Mitch would have to share with him, and not only that tiny space either. The one bed in his room fell somewhere between a single and a double in size, so their nights promised to be cozy.
At last one person paid for their truckload worth of shopping, and the line shuffled forward, but not far enough to take Cian away from the proof of how unprepared he was for the weekend.
He knew he was Mitch’s first boyfriend, that he had been the first person to kiss him, which meant that whatever intimacies he and Mitch might get up to over the next few days, they would be further firsts for Mitch.
His stomach tightened as Cian wondered whether or not Mitch expected him to be in charge, to have all the answers. The truth of the matter was that Cian wasn’t all that much more experienced. Sure, he’d indulged in a hookup or two, but even without having anything to compare it to, Cian had no doubt those rushed encounters bore no resemblance to what happened between two men who were in a relationship.
When the line moved again, Cian grabbed both condoms and two small bottles of lube. It wasn’t as if he had to put them out on display. This way he’d have them should the need arise, and Mitch would be none the wiser if it didn’t. The fact that Cian didn’t know what he was hoping for meant he had a rueful smile on his face by the time he paid for his few groceries. Who knew that it was easier to decide to stock up for the eventuality of sex than it was to decide what they would be eating?


An hour later, after he’d put away—or hidden, as the case might be—his shopping, Cian’s nerves still hadn’t settled. If anything, they’d gotten worse.
Am I mad? Until that morning, he’d looked forward to Mitch’s arrival with excited anticipation. Now he couldn’t help wondering whether or not his room was too small to accommodate both him and a guest. He couldn’t for the life of him remember if he’d even told Mitch they’d be sharing both a room and a bed. Then he shrugged. It was too late now. Mitch would have boarded the bus to Dublin about ninety minutes earlier and was scheduled to arrive in less than an hour. Whatever happened next, the moment to stop this visit—an option he’d never seriously considered— had come and gone. He’d have to console himself with the knowledge that his room was cleaner than it had been since he’d first moved in and the bed had been made with fresh sheets.
Hoping to distract himself, Cian made his way to the shared living room, studying the space for what was probably the first time in months. Also for the first time, he silently lamented the fact that the furniture they had was mismatched, old, practically decrepit really, and not all too fresh looking. He picked up a jumper one of his housemates had dropped on the floor and placed it over the back of a chair.
“What’s up with him?”
Cian turned and found himself face-to-face with Ray and John, his two housemates.
Ray grinned at John before answering. “Haven’t you heard? He’s all aflutter because his boyfriend is coming to stay.”
“Ooooooooh.” John placed a hand on his forehead with theatrical flourish and swayed from side to side. “Catch me. That’s like…sooooooo romantic.”
Blood rushed to Cian’s cheeks. He opened his mouth to tell them to shut the fuck up before remembering that only three months ago he’d played out more or less the same scenario when John’s girlfriend came to stay for the first time. “Very bleedin’ funny,” he muttered before laughing along with his friends. He couldn’t deny he’d gotten a bit too obsessive about the whole thing. He couldn’t blame John for getting his revenge when the opportunity arose, either.
“So, when’s he arriving?” John asked.
Cian glanced at his phone to check the time. “About twenty minutes from now.”
His housemates stared at him, obviously waiting for something.
Bollix. He’d been so preoccupied with his nerves he’d completely missed that he should already be out the door if he wanted to meet Mitch straight off the bus.
Ray and John snickered as he rushed to his room to retrieve his coat. “This Mitch must be something special,” Ray stated. “I’ve never known him to be flustered.”
“Yeah,” John added as Cian approached the front door. “Now I can’t wait to meet him; the man who managed to unsettle the unflappable.”
A loud burst of laughter was the last thing Cian heard as he closed the door behind him and rushed down the stairs. If he combined a power walk with the occasional sprint, he might just get there on time.



A Miracle in the Library (Mitch & Cian #1)

Buy links: Universal | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Mitch McCann has been trying to dodge his bullies for eighteen months. He isn’t out, but that hasn’t stopped the popular gang at school from tormenting him for being gay. Three weeks before Christmas, in a desperate attempt to shake his pursuers, Mitch flees into the abandoned community hall, only to discover the building is far from empty; inside he finds a fully stocked library as well as Mr. Nichols, the very welcoming librarian.

The library turns into Mitch’s refuge of choice, where he can read books that answer his endless questions, without fear of encountering abuse. His peace of mind is shattered when nineteen-year-old Cian Leavy enters his sanctuary. Cian is the boy who made Mitch realize he’s gay, and he’s more attractive now than he was eighteen months ago, when Mitch literally ran into him.

Will Cian unwittingly disrupt Mitch’s life again? Or has the scene been set for a miracle in the library?




About the Author







Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena Stone can be found hanging out in the following places:








Giveaway

For a chance to win a title from my backlist, please tell me about a St. Patrick’s Day event you’ve been to, or about a typical national holiday in your part of the world.

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6 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting me today <3

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  2. I loved both these books. So lovely!

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  3. here in nj it is all about the pub crawl every year

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  4. I don't celebrate but there is a parade in the city I live int and pub crawls available.

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  5. We usually go out for drinks and dinner.

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  6. I don't really celebrate it anymore since I quit drinking. I like to celebrate July 4th since it represents an anniversary in my life.

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