Love Bytes gives a warm welcome to author Scotty Cade joining us today to talk about his new release “Losing Faith”.
Welcome Scotty 🙂
Father Cullen Kiley, a gay Episcopal priest on hiatus from the church, decides to take his boat, T-Time, from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Southport, North Carolina, a place that holds an abundance of bittersweet memories for him. While on a run his first day in Southport, Cullen comes upon a man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River with his Bible in hand. The man’s body language reeks of defeat and desperation, and unable to ignore his compassion for his fellow man, Cullen stops to offer a helping hand.
Southport Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor, Abel Weston, has a hard time managing his demons. When they get too overwhelming, he retreats to Southport’s Historic Riverwalk with his Bible in hand and stares out over the water, praying for help and guidance that never seem to come. But Abel soon discovers that help and guidance come in many forms.
An unexpected friendship develops between the two men, and as Cullen helps Abel begin to confront his doubts and fears , he comes face-to-face with his own reality, threatening both their futures.
Scotty Cade here. First I’d like to thank Love Bytes Reviews for allowing me to spend a little time with you while I talk about my latest release, “Losing Faith,” out today. This book is a very personal one to me as it was inspired by a true life incident which took place in the little sleepy town of South Port North Carolina. The incident stayed with me for so long I just had to write the story, if for no other reason than to get it out of my head and give it the happy ending it deserved.
I hope you enjoy hearing a little about the inspiration and the charming little town as well. I’m a guest on ten or so blogs over the course of this release I’ll be sharing a lot of information about myself, the book, Southport, and of course what inspires me and my style of writing. If your interested in hearing any of that, you can find all the dates and locations on my author page at www.dreamspinnerpress.com. Later in this posts you can read an excerpt and I’ll tell you how you can win a book of your choice from my backlist.
Now I want to tell you from the get go this story deals with religion, faith, and dreams. I know. You’re probably rolling your eyes, but before you move on to the next post, I want you to know I did a lot of research on all three topics over the course of writing this book and I was amazed at how much information is out there. And trust me when I say, they will be covered thoroughly during this release. But with all that said, I did do my best to handle the topics with all the education, respect and dignity they deserved.
Religion and faith are always tough topics because they are so personal to all of us but the beliefs of the religions I write about in the book are very clear and therefore left no room for interpretation. The topic of dreams was a little less black and white and there’s very limited scientific research out there from which to pull, but a lot of personal opinions.
I found that many believe that dreams can be signs or visions about the future or the past. Some also think dreams are portals to another place and time, a way to communicate with passed loved ones. But on the flip side, most intellectuals believe dreams are just our subconscious mind at work reliving the day’s activities while we sleep. So I took a few liberties with the dream scenes, which you will see if you read the book.
Next topic. Southport. Here’s a little background on how we found the sleepy little town of Southport where Cullen, Abel, and from a distance, Cole’s story takes place.
Several years back, Kell and I were aboard our boat “One Mo Time,” and yes if you were wondering. “Mo” stands for homo, on our bi-yearly trek back up north from Charleston SC where we spend the winter months. It was a glorious spring day, with fair winds and following seas, so instead of taking the two-day trip to Wrightsville Beach along the sometimes very slow Intracoastal Waterway, we chose a straight one-day shot across the Atlantic.
After leaving Charleston harbor and heading north, the logical inlet back to the Intracoastal Waterway was the Cape Fear River inlet. From there we would continue on another couple of hours to the Wrightsville Beach Marina. Over the course of the day I was looking through the Waterway Guide and saw a little marina called Southport Marina, at the mouth of the inlet. We’d never stayed there before and thought it might be fun to stop someplace new and different. So as soon as land came into view and we saw the marina, we decided it was a done deal. And boy are we happy we did.
Now I know there is a lot happening in North Carolina these days with House Bill Two, but believe me when I tell you the people of Southport were nothing but welcoming and friendly while we were there. Now Kell and I are not big on personal displays of affection and don’t usually spit sequins when we talk, so at first glance we may not have been perceived as mo’s but believe me, once you talk to us, we don’t hide it either. Anyway, we fell in love with the little town and vowed to go back when we had more time to explore.
Last fall when it was time to head back down south, we decided to make that happen and booked a full six weeks at the marina there. So from mid October to the first of December, we made Southport our home and how the inspiration for this book came into play. I won’t give too much away but I was running along the Riverwalk very early one morning and the park was empty except for one nicely dressed man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River. He was holding a Bible and this is where the story begins. It’s a story about doing the right thing, even when its sometimes difficult.
Now. If you read this blog posts and feel comfortable posting a response, I’d love to hear about any time when you didn’t do the right thing and wished you had and went on to wonder what happened to the people who were involved.
Everyone who posts will be entered into a drawing to win a book of their choice from my backlist, so please take a minute and share your story.
Now on to the excerpt. Oh wait! and I almost forgot, before you read the excerpt, here’s where you can find me and “Losing Faith”, as well as my other stories.
Buy Links “Losing Faith”:
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
Cullen remained on the park bench long after Abel had left, mesmerized by the way the sun shimmered off of the waves, making the Southport Inlet appear to be an ocean of sparkling Swarovski crystals. It was mildly blinding but beautiful at the same time.
Cullen was stretched out, hands linked behind his head, trying to enjoy the warmth of the fall sunshine, but the word stupid kept interrupting his relaxation. Then it hit him. What did I just agree to? I’m the one who’s supposed to be helping Abel with his life, and now I just agreed to be completely honest with him about mine. You know what that means. Telling him you’re gay, about why you left the church, and the hardest part, opening up about Cole.
“Stupid!” he cursed under his breath.
But in all fairness, how could he expect Abel to be honest with him if he wasn’t honest with Abel? Didn’t a friendship work both ways? Did they have a friendship? Maybe the beginnings of one. But if Cullen hadn’t opened up to anyone about Cole in the last year and a half—or why he’d left the church for that matter—why did he think he was ready to do it now?
After about an hour of figuratively smacking himself on the forehead over and over again for getting himself in this situation, Cullen gave up and left the familiarity of his park bench and the Riverwalk behind. He strolled toward the marina but stopped when he reached North Howe and heard the sound of children’s laughter.
Something about the sound instantly transported Cullen back to the Church of Saint Mary of the Harbor in P-town and the children’s Sunday morning Bible study. He felt his lips begin to curl at the edges until a full-on smile consumed his face. He remembered the sounds he’d heard every Sunday morning before service as parents dropped off their two- to five-year-olds. “Bible study” for them was more like arts and crafts time, but the themes always surrounded stories from the Bible, and the kids really loved it. Most Sundays, right after service, Cullen would say good-bye to his congregation, and he and Cole would run down to the basement classroom and spend a little time with the youngsters.
Without fail, when they reached the halfway point in the stairwell, he and Cole would hear the children’s laughter coming from the classroom. The laughter today, much like back then, warmed his heart. He and Cole had always wanted children.
No! Determined not to ruin this moment, Cullen mumbled. “I’ll leave that disappointment for another time.”
Cullen looked at his watch and decided he had time to take a little detour. He followed the laughter and the aroma of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers until he reached a quaint little square. On the corner was a sign that read Franklin Square Park. In the center of the space stood a small gazebo, and he noticed a young couple setting up for what looked like a puppet show. There were at least two dozen little children running around and jumping up and down in anticipation.
Lingering at the edge of the park, Cullen stopped and took in the scene. It could have been Anytown, USA. The massive moss-covered oak trees spread over the grounds like a natural green leafy canopy. Underneath, picnic blankets spread out everywhere, and moms entertained toddlers and infants while dads played ball with the older children. It looked like a scene right off a Hallmark greeting card. Suddenly trumpets sounded, and all the kids stopped what they were doing and ran to the gazebo. They instantly settled down in front of the small puppet stage and waited patiently.
Apparently not their first time at a puppet show!
Music started to play, the curtain went up, and two marionettes dressed like a young prince and princess started singing and dancing, bowing and leaping. Cullen smiled as the kids squealed with delight. Everyone was having such a great time. A seemingly perfect Saturday morning in a perfect little town, with perfect little families, all leading their perfect little lives.
A stab of the familiar pain hit Cullen hard. His mood quickly turned solemn, and he was once again reminded of how much he’d lost. He had no husband, no children, not even his faith. Losing faith and leaving his church had been as hard as losing Cole. The church had been his life until God added Cole to it.
And then took him away, Cullen reminded himself. God and his church had turned their backs on him, and now he had nothing.
Am I crazy? What kind of person begrudges people who are living and enjoying their lives? His smile disappeared. Crazy, bitter people! Just! Like! You!
In danger of being suffocated by the loneliness and emptiness, he turned and started walking away. As the aromas, music, and laughter faded into the background, Cullen’s first thought was to go back to the marina, ready his boat, and simply shove off. Charleston was looking better and better, and he could escape all of this if he just left. That was his plan for a few blocks. At least until his rational brain reminded him that he would be doing exactly what he’d done for the last year and a half: running away! And hadn’t he told himself over and over he was tired of running? Wasn’t that the reason for this trip, to try and bury his demons and attempt to get on with his life?
And what about Abel? Culled had initiated this, whatever it was, and he’d promised he would stay in Southport a little while longer, so he couldn’t turn his back on Abel. Not now. That would be no different from God turning his back on Cullen. Abel needed something to hold on to. And Cullen realized he did as well. Cullen’s faith was already gone, but maybe he could help Abel hang on to his.
[A1]Different way of putting it to avoid repetition.
[A2]Should be Cullen