Debut Novel by Doug Howery: Historical Fiction Novel, "The Grass Sweeper God" Showcases the Nation's Historical and Familial Struggle for Sexual Identity and Equality.

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Doug Howery's Debut Novel Focuses on God-Ordained Heterosexual Identity. From the Coal Fields of Appalachia in 1950, to the NYC Stonewall Gay Riots in 1969, to the Present Day Headlines. Doug Howery Comments on The Recent News Headline That is Relevant to His Historical Debut Novel: "Little Girl, Sunnie Kahle Kicked Out of Lynchburg, Virginia Christian School for Confusing The Other Students About Her Gender Identity."

Some people are uprooted too soon, some too often. And some struggle in a place that cannot nourish their spirit.

There is a common thread weaving the Sunnie’s of present day to the Sunnie’s of the past in the historical novel, “The Grass Sweeper God.”: God-ordained heterosexuality.

In the novel, "The Grass Sweeper God," beginning in 1950 and ending in 1969, the story-line focuses on a backwater coal town, Solitude, VA. The novel juxtaposes the NYC Gay Stonewall riots and Solitude, Virginia: Stonewall meets Solitude; a family mired in secrecy, a family steeped in the bible belt of God-ordained heterosexuality must confront its own sons’ homosexuality. The main character in, "The Grass Sweeper God," gender confused, Smiley Hanlon broke down the barriers and walked through the fire. He blazed the trail which gave Sunnie Kahle the platform to seek tolerance and acceptance. However, the struggle, the fight began in the past in, “The Grass Sweeper God."

In 1950, 16-year-old Smiley Hanlon has one friend and one loving aunt who raise him as a son. But his father and many townspeople hate him for what he is: An effeminate young man tethered to the wrong body. Smiley and his friend watch their worlds unravel after his father and several local men brutally attack them. They begin a 19-year quest to find their place in life. In 1969, a woman named Permelia Corn (Smiley Hanlon) and her friend, Lee, emerge as leaders of a gay revolution (The Stonewall Riots of 1969) only to realize that their place is back where it began: The remote Appalachian coal mining town of Solitude, Virginia. Two different worlds collide: Stonewall meets Solitude; a family mired in secrecy, a family steeped in the bible belt of God-ordained heterosexuality must confront its own sons’ homosexuality— a town seething in gossip and intolerance accosts two presumed strangers who turn the tables on them—and the other cheek. Surprise and transformation makes a family of the individuals in Solitude.

In the present day headline, the Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia cast out Sunnie Kahle for not being God-ordained ("Her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity"). In the novel entitled, "The Grass Sweeper God," set in the 1950s and 1960s, the Christian brethren in Solitude, Virginia cast out Smiley Hanlon because his behavior and identity was not heterosexually "God-ordained."

Doug Howery's qualification: Just as the Sunnie Kahle's of the present and the Smiley Hanlon's of the past, author, Doug Howery suffered his own personal tragedy in the struggle for sexual identity. In 1982, he fell victim to his mother’s suicide. She martyred herself due to intolerance and societal bigotry. She left a suicidal letter in which she blamed her two sons’ sexual identity for her death—while referring to them as ‘Gutter Rats that Could Rot in Hell.’ This is the major social issue of the past and the present day headlines that is the inspiration for the debut novel, "The Grass Sweeper God."

Bassett, VA. March 29, 2014. Bassett author and former hometown Tazewell, VA native, Doug Howery has published, “The Grass Sweeper God.” A fact-based fiction novel that explores the adversities that the nation and one family fought.

For a limited time “The Grass Sweeper God” will be offered as a Pre-Order and a coupon discount @

"The “Grass Sweeper God” is as much about how we raise our children as it is about accepting our children for who and what they are—unlike the Christian School of Lynchburg, VA."

Web link address to
the Sunnie Kahle report: http: Title: The Daily Dot. "This little girl was kicked out of Christian school for her tomboy haircut." Date of report: March 25, 2014

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