Long time no see… I’m working on so many things, I have a lot on my plate, and I’m in the midst of two writing projects and a blog project so I haven’t been around much.
But I couldn’t resist signing up for these two tours! Both are books written in honor of 9/11… Which, is… Yeah, rough. 20 years now… It doesn’t seem possible that 9/11 was 20 years ago. But then, I haven’t known anything about life before 9/11.
Crazy, right? A lot of my life has been different because of something I don’t even remember because I hadn’t been born yet.
Anyway, I don’t have reviews of these lovelies yet since I haven’t read them so make sure to check them out, read them if they sound like something you’ll like, and maybe you’ll find a fun little bonus at the bottom of this post!
Meet Anna Grace!
A chronic illness warrior, Anna Grace understands what it feels like to have questions with no apparent answer, even while still trusting God as her source of strength. Passionate about using her writing to reach her generation, she is described by her parents as a “born writer.” She can often be found reading, writing, or enjoying worship music. She also enjoys folding origami cranes and crocheting. You can connect with her here at her blog, Redeem the Time, or in her novelette, Before the World Changed.
Where to find the author:
Meet Grace A. Johnson!
Grace A. Johnson is a teenage Christian fiction authoress, book reviewer, and avid reader. She lives in beautiful (but humid) South Georgia, surrounded by farmland and forestry, with her parents and six younger siblings. She has written four novels, three of which are published, and a smattering of short stories and novellas, which you can find on Amazon. She’s also a homeschooler who loves learning about history, linguistics, art, and the world around her. You can find her on Goodreads, Pinterest, BookBub, or blogging on her website at http://www.graceajohnson.com. Join her for a virtual cup of tea and a free short story when you sign up for her e-newsletter!
All my links can be found on my linktree page:
Now, let’s find out about BEFORE THE WORLD CHANGED
This cover is just so… Impressive!
About the Book
What’s left when the world falls apart?
The only concern on Alli’s mind is planning her upcoming trip with her sister—until a bolt from a clear sky turns the world upside down. But as shock and grief close in, Alli comes face to face with others just as devastated by the events as she is, and with even more reason to fear. Can she find a way to share hope with those who need it most?
Now, I’m pleased to be sharing an interview with the lovely Anna Grace!
What inspired you to write Before the World Changed?
There are several reasons I ended up writing this. I think the main one is the ignorance I’ve seen among my generation. I, like every other person of my generation, will never know what life was like “before” 9/11. To those who remember first hand, I want them to know that I remember, and that I have chosen to never forget. And I feel so strongly that my generation will realize that too. Even though we were not there, we can choose to be ignorant, we can choose to show complete and utter apathy, or we can make the commitment to never forget. I think this book is my way of saying clearly that I have made this choice, and also a question posed to my friends and classmates: “will we make the choice to never forget?”
What was the hardest part about writing Before the World Changed?
Really, as with probably anything I’ve tried to write, I encountered little obstacles throughout the whole process. The first, and probably biggest, challenge that I always think of was after I hit the date of September 11, 2001 in the book. I knew I would be writing Ashlee and Alli’s responses, so I knew I should watch the footage, something I had only heard about and couldn’t even imagine. My friends will tell you that I took almost an entire week to prepare myself for it, until that one Friday night. I asked my parents (and maybe teachers as well) so many questions, and I think I realized it might be better for me to just know first-hand. While I don’t regret watching the footage, it. was. hard. I realized a bit later, when the impact fully hit me, that I was experiencing the second-hand trauma from watching this, well, traumatic event. At times, I wished I could have experienced it in 2001 so that I could actually know I had the rest of the country trying to process it at the same time. I guess that may have been a long-winded response, but watching the footage and writing the characters’ responses to it made this so, so real to me, but also so, so hard to process.
What do you hope readers take away from reading Before the World Changed?
I guess I answered this indirectly a little bit earlier…
September 11 has become a date of importance to me. Whether it is or isn’t for the readers, I do hope that this may help give them another perspective to consider, in multiple ways. I want my readers to see the true impact of this world-changing tragedy, and even though each person’s response may be different, I do want us to realize why we choose to never forget.
clears throat Um, well.
Before the World Changed isn’t what I expected. And, I’m going to go into spoilers only because I want to be clear. So, forewarned, don’t read my review unless you’re okay with spoilers.
Many times when service members come home from overseas they can have random, weird, or anything trigger them. That is often so when someone has PTSD, so, personally, I’ve seen the reaction when a veteran sees a woman in full dress, head covered, etc…. The alertness, the want to think it’s okay, but knowing that it might not be, the hands clenched, the bouncing leg, the need to get out. BUT, at the same time they don’t always suspect that something bad will happen. It can be the other way, they can see the truth, that not everyone is bad. They can see the mother, sister, daughter, the little girl who needs help. They see the need or the winsome spirit or the joy.
Which is why I so so appreciate the way that Anna Grace handled some very harsh topics in such … Naturally calm and loving way that points toward grace.
This little story is just so good, wholesome, and shows so much of what it was like 20 years ago.
If you read one book today, make it this one.
Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of the book!
Book Spotlight @ https://joveysjournal.wordpress.com/
Book Spotlight @ https://instagram.com/discipleshipwithjoy/
Book Review @ http://myfestivaloflife.weebly.com/
Book Spotlight + Author Interview @ https://abigailkayharris.wordpress.com/
Special Post by Author @ https://ephredeemthetime.wordpress.com
Book Review @ https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/87910387-olivia
Book Spotlight @ https://instagram.com/sewingjoyfulseeds/
Book Review @ https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/135622104-cat-t
Book Spotlight @ https://swordmaidenoftheking.home.blog/
Book Spotlight @ https://jlongbooksofficial.wordpress.com/ & https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18234014.Jaedyn_Long & https://www.pinterest.com/jlongbooks/ & https://www.facebook.com/jlongbooksofficial/
Author Interview @ https://ephredeemthetime.wordpress.com
Doesn’t it sound like something you NEED to read?! I sure think so… And, I also think that Daylight by Grace A. Johnson is need to read so without further ado here’s DAYLIGHT!
Something else I LOVE is how these stories both have sunrises on the cover… Just so beautiful!
About the book
It was too late.
The whole world knew it, the nations shaking their heads at the fallen United States, our beautiful country of hope and freedom covered in blood and ashes.
Only the devil could’ve planned something so disastrous.
Only God could save us now.
Only God could save August.
It was all my fault that he nearly lost his life, dashing back into the hailstorm of debris to save a man who was already dead. I can only hope that he’ll recover—that we will recover.
Because some things will never be forgotten.
Title: Daylight: a 9/11 short story
Author: Grace A. Johnson
Genre(s): contemporary, new adult, romance
Publisher: sky’s the limit press
Release date: sept. 11, 2021
Price: $1.99 Promotional Price: $0.99 (runs from Sept. 1-10th)
Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/graceajohnsonauthor/daylight/
Yikes. Okay, this… Wow!
Really all I can say is ouch! This little story is heartbreaking, hopeful, and just a story with a reminder of what happened on 9/11.
As short of a read as Daylight is it will tug hard on your heart and leave you wanting more!
Warning: sexy is used, romance, and some attraction.
Details: Enter the giveaway by subscribing to my newsletter. Collect more entries by commenting on tour posts and answering the trivia question. One winner will be selected and notified through email. The winner will be announced on sept. 12th on my blog!
Blog Tour/Giveaway Kickoff – www.graceajohnson.com
Character Q&A – www.thepeninspired.wordpress.com
Review – www.Kristinahallauthor.wordpress.com
Review + Interview – www.egbella.com
Review – www.teenwritersnook.com
Book Club Kit – www.graceajohnson.com
Spotlight + Review – www.whimsicalwanderings.home.blog
Author interview – www.gloryforgodalone.blogspot.com
Author interview – www.intomywritingjourney.wordpress.com
Character Q&A + Review – www.eccoltonauthor.wixsite.com/quillofhope
What Readers Are Saying About Daylight – www.graceajohnson.com
Review – www.vanessahallauthor.wordpress.com
Review – WWW.abigailkayharris.wordpress.com
Review – www.thebookcubicle.wordpress.com
Never Forget – www.graceajohnson.com
Sept. 12th: Giveaway Wrap-up – www.graceajohnson.com
Remember that bonus I mentioned?! Well, I have a short story I want to share with you! It’s about two brothers who I’m looking forward to sharing a full story from!
Kam shuddered a breath through blood-tinged lips. His lungs constricted, the air around him smelled of smoke, smoldering ashes fell from above.
Where twin towers once stood now lay rubble that boasted a wound never to heal.
Turning his head, he saw the woman he’d been trying to help huddled beside him. She was sobbing as he fought for another breath. “Hey,” he gasped around the pain, “it’ll be all right. Okay? We’ll get out of this.”
He thought of his family. His little brother, his baby sister, their mom, their adoptive parents… His dad, Ben. He felt his eyes slide shut as he thought about the first time he’d meet Ben.
The man’s chocolate skin was wrinkleless as he slipped Kam’s little sister from the social worker’s hold for the final time. Ann Merry’s eyes were bright and red as she cried her little head off. Her brilliant red hair stuck with sweat and her small fingers searching for something to grasp. Kam had waited to take her and shield her from anyone’s touch but his own but he had had to keep his hold on his little brother, Day as he fought to get away and return to their mother who had given them up for their own good, she had said.
Winching, he tried to forget the terror that Day’s face had been covered in… They had both feared they would never see their mother again. He smiled bittersweetly. They’d been wrong but that didn’t mean he would see his mother again or his siblings.
Oh, Father, help me. He moaned as a beam above offered resistance against the crumbling building.
Each breath came harder and harder until he felt as if his chest wouldn’t rise again.
“Kam, wake up, son.” The words were right next to his ear yet thousands of miles away.
Blurs came from every side as the world crashed around him once again with a viciousness he’d never imagined possible.
“It’s all right. Wake up, Kam.”
His sight was dark as he blinked awake. “Mom?” He choked through dry lips.
“Hey, buddy. It was just a nightmare.” He rolled his head against the pillow, eyes locking on the sight of his adoptive mother’s dark hair, her smooth caramel-colored hand again his pale freckled hand laying on the flannel checked blanket like so many nights before.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.” His words were a whisper of repetition as she helped him lift his head to accept a sip of water which he gulped as if he were dying.
Mom ran a hand over his head, “You don’t need to be sorry. There’s nothing to apologize for.” He looked away, unable to bear how difficult it was to breathe when he knew that he would never be anything but a burden to his family. “It hasn’t been that long, Kammy, don’t give up, okay?
Why does it have to be so hard for them? He prayed, I could bear it so much better were they not encumbered by my care!
He let the words break through his walls as his mom left the room after giving a final kiss on his forehead and a whispered I love you. The wheelchair in the corner of the white walls mocked him. He looked away and his eyes rested on the framed picture of him and his buddies in front of their firetruck months before 9/11…
The front door creaked open and closed again as he forced his eyes not to fall closed. He heard his brother’s steps as Day stumbled into their room. His eyes were dark, his red hair flashing in the otherwise dark room. When he looked up and saw that Kam was awake, he offered a smile. “Hey, bro… I guess I’ll never succeed in not waking you up when I get back from work.”
Kam grinned, any other response would have Day in a worry for the rest of the day and he wouldn’t sleep before he needed to get back to work. “It’s fine. How’d work go?”
“Same ole same ole,” Day tossed his jacket into the corner beside Kam’s wheelchair. “I’ve been thinking…” He launched himself up, grabbed the top rail on the bunk against the wall before rolling over the side that lacked a rail and folding his hands under his chin while he looked down at his brother. “I might enlist in the Army.”
Kam’s blood ran cold. He tried telling himself that he didn’t expect this but since 9/11 Day had been restless, guilt-ridden, angry. “Day. Don’t, please don’t do this.”
Day chuckled with a bitterness that Kam hadn’t ever heard from his carefree little brother, “Things don’t always go as we want, big brother,” he rolled over, his head hanging off of the bed. “Besides, it’s not like I want to work in trucking all of my life. I’ve always wanted to get out of this silly little town. You know that and you did too before you came back after…” Day stopped in his tracks like he couldn’t say the words. “I’m sorry, but I’ve made up my mind. I’m joining the Army.”
Kam forced his head and shoulders up from the bed for emphasis, “Don’t run. Day, you’ll regret this for so long. Please, trust me on this. I know what it’s like to end up running. I’ve been doing it to myself since 9/11 happened. It didn’t make anything better. I couldn’t run physically but I tried to run from my thoughts. It doesn’t help. The only thing that will really help is God.”
Day jumped from his bed, landing on his feet with a slight thud. “Don’t worry about me, bro, I got this.”
“What about God?” Kam asked as Day shrugged, pushing Kam back down onto the bed. He grabbed another pillow and helped Kam to lean back and not stay there flat on his back.
“Don’t worry, I got this.” Day repeated. His tone sure, shoulders set, and face a mask.
Kam sighed as his brother left the room, likely in search of a snack before going to bed. Resting his head against the pillow, he wished to feel the scratch of grass under his feet, the motion of waves lapping against him, or even to stand on the cool hardwood floor. He gasped a breath past the tears choking him and squeezed his eyes against the tears scattering on his face. “Oh, Lord, help me endure this torment!”
Day suddenly appeared in the doorway with two candy bars, sodas, and a book gripped in his other hand.
Day threw himself into the bean bag beside the bunk bed, he tossed a now open candy bar package to Kam, carefully opened one of the sodas and set it on the nightstand, and munched a bite of his candy bar before leaning back.
His strong voice broke the pain that was holding Kam captive as he listened to the words his brother spoke.
Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman. Not only was her first-floor flat invaded at all hours by throngs of singular and often undesirable characters but her remarkable lodger showed an eccentricity and irregularity in his life which must have sorely tried her patience. His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London. On the other hand, his payments were princely. I have no doubt that the house might have been purchased at the price which Holmes paid for his rooms during the years that I was with him…
Kam smiled as he let himself imagine the fictional world of Sherlock Holmes and drifted into a restful sleep where there were no memories of pain and only the memories of his brother always at his side, always having his back, and always being there when he needed him.
He slowly woke several hours later to the feel of Day with the bean bag pulled flush against the bed, one hand flipping the pages of another book, the other resting on Kam’s shoulder as he kept watch over him. Day’s eyes were bloodshot but when he met Kam’s sleepy gaze there was a hint of hope that left Kam knowing that one day all would be right for his brother. That he would find rest if he fought hard enough to leave the past.
And, that made the pain and the difficulty to breathe something he could and would gladly bear because he knew God was faithful.
“Just promise me one thing,” He whispered as Day set his book aside. Day sighed, nodded, and met Kam’s look with a half-concealed glare. “Don’t forget I need you, I need you to come back, bro. Okay? Just remember I need my little brother.”
Day smiled, “I know,” winking, he added, “You couldn’t do without me.”
Kam shook his head as he pushed up on his elbows. Day helped him ready for the day and swung the wheelchair out of the corner of the room, setting it up. He stepped back as Kam pulled himself into the chair. “Haha,” he accepted Day’s help with pushing out of his room. In the hallway, he let the sunlight from the windows warm him and filled him with relief at the dawning of a new day.
“I praise You, Lord. You alone ease the pain of breath after loss. I thank You.” He whispered nearly silently. “Protect Day, Father, show him Your truth. Let him seek You.” Day grabbed a mug with one hand as Kam rolled his chair to the counter.
“What are you going to do when I’m gone and you can’t get the coffee cups? You’re not going to survive without me, you know.” He said again as Kam smacked his leg.
Grinning Day set a mug of coffee on the table. “I promise not to intentionally get shot, how about that? You don’t really need me if we’re both honest. You’ve got everything you need in God.” Day’s voice was tight with hidden emotion.
Heal his hurt, root out the bitterness, please, Father.
Trying to smile, Kam shrugged, “That’s true but I still need you, little brother.”
With a cocky grin, a careless shrug, and a laugh, Day brushed off Kam’s concern and for now, everything would be right in their world until Day left.
Kam shrugged himself, he knew Who controlled their lives and all would work out for their good.
What do you think? Did you enjoy the short story? Will you be reading either of the books I shared?
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Oh, and be on the look out for my reviews of both Daylight and Before the World Changed!