Tuesday, March 8, 2016

may I present to you...

is this not the most gorgeous cover ever...

Sufficient Grace, the third of Jessica Greyson's novels. 
{Make sure you check out her beautiful website and get in on the give-aways that are happening with this new release!} 
I've been waiting for this story to be published for almost 5 years, and I can't even say how thrilled I am that it can now be read by everyone!

I started Sufficient Grace expecting a Western, with outlaws and sheriffs and deputies and gun fights and horses and some of the sweet romance that Jessica Greyson manages to weave into all her stories - these things are all present and accounted for. There are also school teachers, parties, a delightfully ridiculous best friend, and a horrific family secret. Out of all of these parts, Jessica has managed to create a story that is far more than a typical Western. 

Grace is no Cassandra or Annabeth. She has no dealings with kings or wars to save her country. She is not skilled with weapons. Perhaps partially because of this, her character hit far closer to home for me. The battle she wages is for her family, for her heart, for her very life - and she has been very, very broken. The stubborn strength that keeps her going was painful to see, but in the midst of her hurt she is lovable, and by the end Grace had become one of my favorite female characters of all time. 

Mitch is a main character who is far sweeter and more spiritually grounded than either Taleon or Ransom (I have to say it, much as I love them), which is exactly the kind of friend that Grace needs. At first I found him so good as to be irritating - I was on Grace's side, and wanted him to back off with his niceties and his hope, to leave her alone in the reality he did not seem to understand. But eventually she (and I) learned what exactly lay behind his cheerful smile and /why/ he was so desperate to reach her, and I could no longer fault him for his persistence. 

This is a story I love, and it is the kind that steals your heart before you realize what happened. The effect certain stories have on your life cannot well be reduced to a simple book review, and Sufficient Grace is one of those stories. 

Go check it out yourself:


Friday, March 4, 2016

Quote Quest

Myself not having had any time to come up with brilliant blog ideas, I thank the good Miss Melody Muffin for creating a link-up where I have to do no thinking, just writing. In this instance, I don't even have to do writing, because this is a snippet from an old story. :D

If you want to join or read what others have written, click the picture. :) Here is the Quote for this month:

To perhaps explain, this is an excerpt from my Faith Through Flames story, and this is the child-queen who eventually becomes the main villain in my faith-hope-love trilogy. Her 'Angel' is actually named Ariel, but she has called him Angel since she mistook him for one when she was in shock after having just watched her parents' assassination. They are very young, which hopefully explains their high-angst melodrama here...melodrama that unfortunately leads to the destruction of seven kingdoms and the slaughter of quite a few other of my favorite characters. This is why teenagers should not rule countries. Just sayin'. 

She threw herself forward, her body responding to her mind in a perfect execution of the training exercise that would end the fight immediately. But he was already rolling to his feet, there to meet her when she reached him, his blade catching hers and screeching down along it as the force of the blow dissipated, ending at the handguards with a shock that traveled straight through her.
He was breathing harder than usual, but he tossed his head, letting the wind blow the blonde hair away from his forehead, and giving her a smile as he stepped into his arm, forcing his sword – and hers – towards her as he did so. Now would be the time to whirl away, before he successfully used his greater strength against her, but this time she stubbornly stayed her ground, holding him back with all her might, watching as the silver blade dipped inexorably nearer her. Then her gaze flicked away to meet his eyes, and she laughed, feeling utterly alive and delighted to be so.
His smile widened, even as he pressed still closer – and all of a sudden he twisted his wrist, forcing the tips of the crossed swords further apart and leaning between them towards her. Then he was gently kissing her, and her eyes went wide with shock, her grip on her sword going slack.
Another gust of wind blew up, sending her long hair forward about her face, and then she was kissing him back, feeling her heart exploding within her in quick joy. It was no laughing impulse, but rather his very heart that touched her lips in a sudden overflowing.
There were a hundred lifetimes, a thousand promises, in that kiss, but suddenly Angel was wrenching himself away, stumbling away from her as he brought one hand up to cover his face, his sword hanging limply from the other hand.
The tip of her own hit the ground as she unconsciously stepped after him, feeling fear crash over her like an icy wave, terrified that he was going to simply leave it there. But he was stopping, pulling his hand away from his face, forcing himself to turn back around towards her, his head bowed, indigo eyes shielded from her gaze.
“I am sorry,” he said, his voice achingly rough with emotion. “I had no right – forgive me.”
“No! There’s nothing to forgive!” she cried, her heart leaping as she crossed the space between them without a thought, catching hold of his arm. “You took nothing I did not wish to give you!”
He looked at her then, an aching smile on the lips that had touched hers. “You know me, Razivia. A kiss is not what I want. What I want –” He seemed to catch himself, and finished, “It matters not at all, and is utterly insane beside.”
She stepped nearer him. “What do you want?”
He merely shook his head, gently pulling away from her grasp.
“Tell me!”
But he went down on one knee before her, laying his sword at her feet with a painful shake of his head. “Nay. Again I ask, forgive me. I am but the son of a dead guard. I have no wealth, will not bring you an alliance, have no name that will silence your enemies… I have nothing to offer, and you will need so much more, queen of my country –” There he lifted his head, his eyes meeting hers with azure intensity and a desperate plea for forgiveness yet in them, even as his voice dropped down to a whisper as if he could not admit it aloud, “queen of my heart!”
“Have you a heart?” she whispered, desperately wanting him to rise, to prove that heart’s existence to her again. It was aching now, that she knew, and she could not bear that thought.
He ducked his head, hiding his face from her. “Do not be cruel,” he said. “I had never meant to let you know. You must marry a prince, a king, not a landless orphan. No good can come from this – you cannot look upon me so.”
“But you did let me know!” she said, her hand upon his shoulder, trying to draw him upright, though he resisted. “And I will not forgive you. Because… now you know – that I feel the same.” She hesitated half a moment there, but though he seemed to catch his breath, he made no other sign that he had heard. She swallowed.
“A prince...” she scoffed, forcing at much derision as she could into the word, before simply bursting out, “You are my Angel! And I will make you king of this land, for no amount of wealth, no manner of alliance, could do for me what you can. I need my Angel beside me – I do!”
He shook his bowed head, and there was pain in every line of him. “You do not need me so, my queen.”
So firm. So utterly final. But she did need him. She buried the fear in her voice, but could not keep the whispered words from escaping her. “Please… do not abandon me so!”
Instantly he was on his feet, his jaw taut and his face set. “I will never abandon you. But this…” He shook his head. “Were you not my queen I would have begged you to marry me long ago. But you are my queen – and you know how the nobility would respond were you to even suggest such a thing.”
A darkness slipped across his face then, and there was misery in his eyes as she stepped closer to him. “I will be called queen-stealer and traitor if nothing worse. They will say I planned this from the first, to make you fall in love with me here that I might make myself king before any other had a chance!”
To that she merely shook her head, reaching up to slip her arms about his neck. “Did you?”
“Of course not!” he said, the pain in his voice unabated as he turned his face away from her.
“Then we do not care. Oh, Angel, my Angel. I will make you my king, though king is so much less than angel. Please do not fight it?”

Slowly she drew his face back towards her own, and this time when he kissed her, he did not pull away.


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