Friday, October 27, 2017

OCTOBER // Blog Tour, Interview, Sneak Peek, & Giveaway


Today, I'm absolutely ecstatic to be featuring author J. Grace Pennington on the blog, sharing her book October! October (properly titled, given its release month; don't you think? 😉) releases tomorrow, and I've got an interview, excerpt, and giveaway to share with y'all! But first...


For Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up at Pleasanton Baptist -- a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green eyes, and style and posture like royalty.

A girl named October.

The months that follow are filled with magic -- the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?


Hi, J. Grace! Welcome to the blog; I'm so very excited to have you here! Would you mind introducing yourself? Favorite holidays, fairytales, fandoms...?

Hello! Thank you for having me.

Let's see... I'm twenty-seven years old, and I live in Texas in a one-bedroom second story apartment with my husband and lots and lots of plush pandas. Twenty of them, to be exact. My favorite holiday is far and away Christmas -- cliché, I know, but I can't help it. It's the best time of year. Favorite fairytales would probably be Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin (I'm a sucker for the Beauty and the Beast story archetype in general) and my fandoms are many: Pixar, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Pirates of the Caribbean, Myst, etc. Other facts -- I eat too much Chick-fil-a, enjoy knitting and crochet, and can't ride a bike.

What was the first spark of inspiration for October? How did you know that this was a story you needed to write?

I started writing it about five years ago. I was thinking about some things that were going on in my life and the lives of others that I knew, things that I was dealing with, and I began theorizing what it would be like to weave these people and topics into a story -- a fictional story based on real people and real issues. The idea took hold, and it came together from there. I wanted to tell a story that was real, in a way that nothing else I'd written was. Something that people could read and see truth in.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? (Or a planster? 😉) Do you have an outlining process? If so, how would you describe it?

I would say planster! I do have an outlining process -- when I start a new book I divide it into twelve parts and base each part loosely off the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum outline. Then I write a very basic summary of each part, then I make up the details and fill in the blanks as I go along. October was a little different, because I started it with certain scenes in my head, so I wrote a bunch of scenes and then later strung them together. But I still eventually went over it and used the same twelve-part structure to guide me in pulling it into a full story.

You indie publish, right? What does your publishing process typically look like?

Correct! After I finish the first draft, I usually get a few people to read it and give me feedback, then I do a complete rewrite -- chuck some things, add others, rearrange sections, polish prose. After that I do a few more runthroughs, then I pay someone to edit it. After that I tweak it a bit more and send it off to my formatter. Meanwhile, I hire a cover designer -- or in this case, I got my sister to do it, because she's terribly talented and her skills were perfect for what the book needed. When all the files are ready I upload the files to Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace and prepare the release!

Thank you so much for your time, J. Grace! Last question, before you go: what advice do you have for young and currently unpublished authors?

The main advice I always have for aspiring authors is to just keep writing. I know it sounds obvious, but so many writers don't carry their stories to completion simply because they give up somewhere along the way. Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. It takes hard work and dedication, and no matter how many formulas or ideas you have or how inspired you are, the vast majority of your career is going to be sitting in a chair putting one word after another even though you feel unmotivated and generally convinced that you're going to fail. When that happens -- put one word after another anyway. You can edit anything but a blank page, so just write. Write until you have something you're excited to share with the rest of the world.

Thank you for having me!

Thank you for the interview, J. Grace! 💜


The first time I saw October Blake, I was sitting in the front right pew of the Pleasanton First Baptist church, where we always sat, watching as people filed into the sanctuary. The rich organ tones of 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus resonated through the chamber under the magic of Ms. Hendrix's wrinkled fingers. Soft chatter and friendly greetings mingled with the tune. Stained-glass windows cast rainbows across the scene.

October fit the setting better than anyone I had seen enter. She didn't walk in, she glided, moving over the gray carpet with a grace that held the eye. Her thick red hair was piled up on her head like something out of an Anne of Green Gables movie, her skin almost porcelain, her eyes a pale, crystal green visible from across the sanctuary. A ruffled cream blouse left her arms bare, and a floor-length green skirt swished as she slipped down the aisle.

I watched -- stared is a better word -- as she found her way to the third pew from the front center. She laid a hand on the back of it, then turned to look at the people behind her. I hadn't noticed until then that Mr. and Mrs. Rivers were there, shuffling to adjoining seats. She didn't seem to belong to them. But then, she didn't seem to belong to anything about Pleasanton. Pleasanton consisted of farms, fields, and stores reluctant to move into the twenty-first century, with a little brick high school and long, hot summers. This girl seemed more fitted to lilac and lace and the smell of old books with long, beautiful words in them.


J. Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them down since age five. Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much as adult life permits. When she's not writing she enjoys reading good books, having adventures with her husband, and looking up at the stars.


J. Grace is giving away a paperback copy of October! You can enter using the form below. This giveaway ends tomorrow, October twenty-eighth. The winner will be announced October twenty-ninth, on tour coordinator Faith Blum's blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you so much for chatting with me, J. Grace!

Dragons, don't forget to swing by Amazon, where you can pre-order either (or both!) an ebook and/or a paperback copy.

What's your favorite holiday? Do you outline, or write as you go?


Blog tour images provided
by Faith Blum.


  1. Another Texas author!! This sounds really cool. And I almost got Once for my kindle since its free. I think I might go ahead so I can see her writing style. Awesome post, Liv!


  2. the vibes. we start using cinnamon more, it’s not weird to drink hot cocoa in the morning, the colors change of the leaves against a pale blue sky, you can smell the weather getting chillier in the air. all the vibes.

  3. Eep, this book sounds AMAZING! :D *scurries off to add to Goodreads tbr-shelf*


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