Readers have asked me, “Why did you go to Michigan, again?” and I thought I’d take a moment and share now that I’ve recuperated. 😉 The purpose of the trip was to meet with my new publisher and the team who will be working on my January (unless it changes) release, Deepest Roots of the Heart. This is the first book in the Legacy of the Vines series. For those familiar with my books and series I have planned, This is the first book in what was once the “Valle de Morado” series. Instead of Casa de Sueños, we’ve named it Deepest Roots of the Heart, which will have a new cover and page as soon as I get the cover from the publisher.
Five of us flew from all over the country and converged at Waterfall Press in Grand Haven. These are what the gal on the right, Sarah Price, jokingly referred to the “Fab Fiction Five.” Sarah’s awesome, by the way. Just sayin’.
From left to right is me, Nicole Deese, Christy Barritt, T.L. Gray, and Sarah Price. (Photo courtesy of Nicole–THANKS!).
While there, Dan, the Managing Editor, took us around Grand Haven, first on a trolley ride, and then for some fabulous food!
But the most exciting part was getting to meet all of the amazing people who are involved in creating our books. T. L. Gray got to hear her audio book, while Sarah Price actually got to watch hers being recorded! (Okay, the rest of us did too and it was TOTALLY fun, but I know she had an extra measure of excitement because it was hers.) We even recorded both individual Q&A sessions as well as a round table discussion with all of us. I don’t know when I’ll be able to share that with you, but I can’t wait.
Our books are being released over the next six months, but T L Gray’s book, Mercy’s Fight was released on Kindle last week! Here’s my review of the book.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about what I’d find in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be good. That much, I expected. But with reviews talking about the “sizzle” in the book, I was a little unnerved. As one who, after 44 years and 9 kids, still looks away from the TV when characters kiss, I didn’t quite know how I’d handle “sizzle” in a Christian fiction novel.
I needn’t have worried. While it is much more um… physical, than I’m used to reading, it doesn’t cross the line into inappropriate. The book stretched me in several areas–the physical contact between characters being just one. Would I hand this book to a teenager? It depends on the kid. It’s not for pre-teens and young teens, in my estimation, but I wouldn’t freak out if I found my younger kids had read it either. So that, she balanced well.
I said the book stretched me, and another way it did is in seeing a side of life I’ve never been exposed to. The inner city, drug battling, squeaking by for your existence life is something I only read about. I’ve done massive amounts of research on the topics, but Ms. Gray took all those facts and statistics and gave them names and faces. She masterfully used fiction to make real what non-fiction data could not. Impressive.
The demons Matt battles, while unique to his story, are the same demons–at the core–that we all have. The mother who remembers her mom screaming how much she couldn’t handle the kids and wishes she’d never had them–and then hears the same words come out of her mouth when it’s the last thing she ever wanted to say or feel. The teenager who feels worthless and helpless so he bullies others to hide his vulnerability. Ms. Gray takes those demons and lays them out for us, showing the one way–or is that the One Way?–to exorcise them. She does it without excessive preachiness or a reliance on the cliche. We follow the characters and rail at them when they behave like the flawed, broken humans they are. Imagine that.
Well done, Ms. Gray.
For what it’s worth, her Matt and Grace remind me a lot of my Leo and Allison from Mismatched, but it is a completely different story.