J. Grace Pennington

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Cowboys and Horses and Guns, Oh My!

Corral Nocturne eBook Cover

I love westerns. True, I haven’t read many, but I have watched dozens of old B-westerns, several western TV shows, and a handful of bigger-budget specimens. I wrote a western mystery myself, and one of the best things that came from that was a friendship with the awesome Elisabeth G. Foley, a much more prolific western writer than myself, who very kindly took me under her wing when I first published Never and showed me the various tips and tricks of promoting stories in this genre. I’ve since been able to read some of her work and have loved it.

I haven’t read her most recent novella, Corral Nocturne yet, mostly because the release date is today, but I am really excited to read it soon! The synopsis really has my attention:

Life on her brother’s ranch is lonely for Ellie Strickland. Ed’s ungracious manners and tight-fisted habits keep visitors away and his mother and sister close to home. But when Cole Newcomb, son of the wealthiest rancher in the county, meets Ellie by chance, he is struck by an unexpected impulse to rescue her from her solitude—and Ellie’s lonely summer is transformed.

When Cole asks her to go with him to the Fourth of July dance, Ellie is determined that nothing, from an old dress to Ed’s sour temper, will stand in her way. By the time the Fourth of July fireworks go off at midnight, will they herald only more heartache, or maybe—just maybe—a dream come true?

Sound a bit familiar? This couldn’t be a western version of Cinderella, could it? We’ll have to read it and find out!

But today, I’m not only promoting Corral Nocturne, I’m also sharing the Rafflecopter giveaway that goes with the release! The prize package includes an ebook copy of the novella, an mp3 of the song “After the Ball,” a pink cameo ring (in the style of a special brooch from the story), and a custom made Corral Nocturne bookmark.

To learn more about Elisabeth’s writing, you can visit her delightful blog The Second Sentence, or check out her profiles on Twitter, Goodreads, or Pinterest. I myself will be reading the newest book as soon as I can get my hands on it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d Like to Thank…

Today’s the day. The official release date of Firmament: Machiavellian. Sure, it lacks a little “oomph” because it’s not going quite how I planned — there were some problems with the paperback, so it won’t be available for a day or two, but the Kindle version is already out, so for those of you who like electronic books, you can now purchase that version on Amazon! And I’ll let you know when the paperback is up.

But somehow, I don’t feel like making this release all about me. I may be the writer, but there are so many other people that have been there for me and supported and helped me that I honestly don’t think of it as just my book. And in honor of that, I’d like to try something I haven’t done before — I’m going to post the special thanks from the book here. I want all of you to know how much I rely on all of the people listed.

To each of the following people — thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Machiavellian Special Thanks

First I’d like to thank my family, for their support of this book and my writing in general. They are my biggest fans, and the ones who have to put up with me during the days where I miss chores, stress out over deadlines, and remain in a zombie-like state while trying to figure out those sticky plot twists. I especially thank my parents, who have always encouraged my writing, and my brother Adam, who always lists me as his favorite writer. I’d also like to thank my sister Hope, who was the first person to hear this story all the way through.

Next, a huge thank you to my wonderful test readers: Jonathan Garner, Aubrey Hansen, Lawrence Mark Coddington, Jeremiah Stiles, Sarah Holman, Faith Blum, Sarah Jamrizok, Emily and Cheryl Mann, Jordan Miller, and Joel A. Parisi. Without them, this book would be a mess with glaring mistakes and lots of boring and illogical spots.

But even with all that help, the book still would have been a disaster without the hard work of my amazing editor, Michelle McDevitt. Her patience with me and her dedication to making my stories the best they can be are true blessings. And the book wouldn’t be what it is without the beautiful cover done by Michael McDevitt, who brought Napoleon to life in a way that exceeded my expectations. But while he made the outside look beautiful, credit for the inside goes to Aubrey Hansen’s legendary formatting skills. And extra special thanks to my brother Jacob for adding text to the cover and working with me for hours to get the color of the title just right.

And even though they didn’t read the book or actively contribute to it, I owe thanks to Annie Hawthorne, Heidi and Heather Salzman, and Jotham Chua. Their enthusiasm for this series and my writing is a much-needed source of encouragement! Also thanks to Martin Selbrede for his interest in my writing and his recommendation of an extremely helpful book, Nancy Sample for her contribution to one particular scene, and Daniel Schwabauer for his advice on a difficult decision.

Most of all, I thank my beloved savior Jesus Christ, without whom I would not have the strength, dedication, or hope that I need to tell stories.

Who Are You?

If you’ve been around social media at all, you’ve probably noticed that one of the most popular things to share is those personality tests… “What Emma Stone Character Are You?” “What Iconic Film Character Were You Born to Play?” “What is Your Ideal Career?”

Never let it be said that I missed out on a popular trend.

Actually, I hope to stubbornly miss out on many popular trends, but this is one I just couldn’t pass up, especially with a series full of characters! So guess what? Now you can add “What Firmament Character Are You?” to your storehouse of completely useless but nonetheless incredibly amusing knowledge!

I can’t wait to find out who you all are. I also can’t take really any credit for this test at all… my sister Hope came up with the test on her own incentive, created the questions, answers, and a complex algorithm for determining the results. My brother Jacob programmed it all into nice, easy website code, and my web designer Andrew made me a pretty button and helped me work out the kinks. So if you enjoy the test as much as I did, you have them to thank!

So take the test. Share the results. I want to know who you all are!

Firmament Personality Test

If Only I Were Rich

Because if I were rich, I could give a copy of the book to every single person who entered my Cover Justifies the Means challenge like I wish I could! But alas, I am as yet a starving artist, and I cannot afford that. Maybe one day when I am a New York Times bestselling author I can send you all something. But for the moment, there are only two winners, so I will announce who they are! But know that I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to enter, and you all mean a lot to me!

The winner of the first prize, a signed copy of the book, is…


Known fondly by me as “Renna” for all sorts of complicated reasons I won’t get into here. Congratulations, Renna! Just message me your address and you will receive your prize as soon as the book is out.

And for the second prize, a free ebook copy, the winner is…


Congratulations, Morgan! Your support throughout this process has been so valuable, and I’m happy you’ll be reading the book soon. I can’t wait for your feedback.

For those who didn’t join in the fun, you’re probably dying of suspense by now, since you haven’t been able to see the cover. Well die no longer! Here is the completed front cover, again created by the talented Michael McDevitt.

Machiavellian Cover

What do you think? Does it spark your interest? Match the other two covers well? Tell me your thoughts!

The Cover Justifies the Means

So, the second of this month’s Firmament surprises? What could it be? Well, I guess the title of this post kindof gave it away. Today is the beginning of the cover reveal for Firmament: Machiavellian! Why just the beginning? Well, you don’t get to just look here and see it. It’s not quite that easy. Instead, we’re going to give you the pieces, and you put them together. Literally!

Over the next three days, myself and Vaguely Circular and Homeschool Authors are going to be tweeting and Facebooking the nine pieces of the front cover. We will each post one piece a day for three days, so you’ll have to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to find them all. But what do you do with these pieces? Simple! Just put them together, like a puzzle, and email the completed image to theauthor (AT) jgracepennington (DOT) com. If you don’t have easy access to photo editing software, you can use pizap.com, an easy collage-making website, to stick the pieces in place.

Why would you do all this work? Well, besides the joy of seeing the gorgeous cover, each person who completes the challenge will be entered in a giveaway for the book itself! First prize will be a signed paperback, and second prize will be an ebook.

So, here are the accounts you’ll need to be watching:

J. Grace Pennington:

Vaguely Circular:

Homeschool Authors:

We’ll be using the hashtag #CoverJustifiesTheMeans, so you can also follow that. Following and liking the named accounts isn’t a requirement, but it’s certainly encouraged!

The challenge begins now, and ends 12:00 p.m. CST on Monday, October 13th. Happy puzzling!