Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Upon A Time: Excerpt & Guest Post by February Grace

I am ecstatic to feature February Grace on the blog today! February Grace is not only an extraordinarily talented writer with the most amazing ideas, but she's also one of the sweetest people I've ever "met." Today, she's here to talk a bit about her newest release, UPON A TIME, and to share an excerpt of the book.

The floor is yours, my friend!

“For every soul whose heart defies the limits of their body.”

It is with that dedication that UPON A TIME begins, and those words are more than just words to me.


Because I myself am one of those whose soul is travelling around in a physical shell that feels too weak to hold it.

I have struggled with health problems all my life, and the list is too long to get into here. Most of them can, collectively, be attributed to a genetic disorder that I was born with but not finally diagnosed with until I was 38. The rest are just an unlucky roll of the Universal dice, I suppose.

Whatever their cause, I know what it feels like to be judged by your appearance and by your disabilities, visible and invisible. Anyone who has ever experienced such discrimination and humiliation can tell you that it definitely feels anything but good.

I wrote UPON A TIME to challenge the long-standing fairy tale myth that beauty equals good. To show that the notion is just that, a myth, and those who have physical challenges can often be stronger at heart than those without such obstacles to overcome.

I also wanted to show through the story that help, and yes, even love can come from the most unlikely places and people, and that those who seem most unlikely to lead can step up, take the mantle of leadership, and wear it with grace and dignity.

Brilliant minds, loving hearts, and amazing souls all dwell within people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. If I could send one clear message through UPON A TIME that would be it. Don’t judge people by their exterior, get to know their heart. That is where true strength, and beauty, lies.

About the Book

A blacksmith’s apprentice who would be a knight. The heir to the throne, at death’s door. One woman who would save them both, if she could… Charlotte was number sixty-four in the second group of young, hopeful maidens intended to meet the Prince at a grand ball in his honor. That introduction was not to be. She returned home to her tiny village—and her visions of a future limited by it—without any warning of the drastic turn her life was about to take. Soon she would be fighting against the odds to help keep a gravely wounded stranger alive; and waging war with her own heart, as he stirred feelings in her she’d never known. When the stranger’s royal identity is revealed, Charlotte is faced with an entirely different battle: one to keep her family, village, and the injured Prince in her care all safe from a madman set on taking the throne by any means necessary.

Excerpt from the book:


The proclamation was nailed to the largest tree in every village square, announcing the Prince’s betrothal.

“Well, good for them, I hope they’ll be happy,” Charlotte said, reaching into the bag at her waist and pulling out an apple for her horse. Poor old Beau was still expected to keep up his daily duties, even though he’d barely recovered from the long trip to the palace and back for the ball a fortnight ago. Still recovering as well, it seemed, was Charlotte.

“So, he’s going to marry her, then?” A familiar voice spoke nearby, and Charlotte looked up to see her friend, the young apprentice to the village blacksmith. She had known Thomas since they were both too small to climb the tree they now stood before. It became a contest between them as the years went on, until work took the place of play full time. Now, neither could remember when last they’d raced to that tree and grasped bough after bough until they overlooked the whole of their little village.

“Looks that way. They never even made it this far out with the slipper to try it on anyone. Not that I’d have bothered. I knew it wasn’t mine.” Charlotte shook her head. “Imagine, leaving a party in such a rush you lose your shoe.” She reached out as Thomas repeatedly tossed an apple he had brought with him into the air. She snatched it away and held it out toward Beau.

Thomas patted Beau’s swaying back, noting that the horse looked wearier every time he saw him. He didn’t know what Charlotte was going to do when Beau’s days upon Earth came to an end.

The horse gobbled up the fruit and whinnied his approval, nuzzling his nose into Thomas’s hand. “You’re not really disappointed, are you? About… you know?” Thomas let the question hang in the air. He hadn’t liked this idea of the Prince selecting a bride based upon one initial meeting under such strictly controlled circumstances. How could a man ever expect to find a woman to be his partner, his equal, in such a way? Someone with the strength to stand beside him and rule the people justly? For the life of him, Thomas couldn’t fathom the idea, and he was glad that, for Charlotte, any dreams of becoming royalty had ended the night they began.

“About the Prince?” Charlotte shrugged. “I didn’t even get a very good look at him, they had him sequestered in another room most of the night, and then he just danced the golden-haired maid past us all and was gone. I know nothing of him; nothing of his character or spirit. So I can’t say I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to marry a stranger...” her voice trailed off.

“But?” Thomas looked away, examining his rough-hewn hand as if he’d never seen it before.

“The idea of a different life, for just a moment...”

About the Author

February Grace is a writer, poet, and artist from Southeastern Michigan. She has created characters with clockwork hearts, told the romantic tale of modern fairy godparents, and has now put her own spin on a classic tale in UPON A TIME, her fourth novel published by Booktrope. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with colors, music, and meteor showers.

Find out more about February Grace by visiting
Or find her on Twitter and say hello! @FebruaryGrace

Amazon (Paperback)
Amazon (eBook)

Thank you to February Grace for sharing with us today! I can definitely relate to the message behind your writing, and I can't wait to read this book!


Stephanie Faris said...

“For every soul whose heart defies the limits of their body.”--beautifully put! I've known quite a few people with health problems who have extremely strong souls. Maybe that's why writing is such a good hobby--you can soar in your imagination!

Tiana Smith said...

I loved the synopsis and premise of this book - such a beautiful idea!

Heather Holden said...

What a lovely guest post from February! I agree, being judged solely because of your looks and disabilities is such a horrid thing. I love how she turns the notion of beauty on its head with Upon a Time. That, plus the amazing excerpt, made it impossible for me to not add this book to my wish list! :)

Shelley Sly said...

Stephanie - Yes, I completely agree about soaring in your imagination. Well said!

Tiana - It really is! She's so good at coming up with beautiful ideas.

Heather - It's on my To-Read list as well! It sounds like such a refreshing change from the many tired stories about perfect protagonists.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful cover and description. I wish the author lots of success.

February Grace said...

Thank you so much for hosting, Shelley, and to Stephanie, Tiana and Heather for their comments! It is so wonderful to see the idea of the book so well received. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart.

February Grace said...

Thank you, Medeia! :)

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

I liked the excerpt and the blurb. Upon a Time sounds wonderful. Good luck to February Grace!

Shelley Sly said...

Medeia - Everything about the book sounds wonderful!

Bru - It's my pleasure -- thanks for visiting my blog!

Rachna - The excerpt definitely makes me want to read on!

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

February Grace shows a deep emotional intelligence some people can only dream to have.

Turning flipping fairy tales or showing the other is important to debunk what we've learned.

Shelley Sly said...

Peaches - I agree with both of those statements. I think February Grace has a much needed clear voice in today's society.

Nas said...

Wonderful cover and loved the premise. Congratulations!

Nick Wilford said...

As a stepfather of a child who was often judged for his appearance and disability, I really admire the concept behind the book. Congrats, February!

Shelley Sly said...

Nas - The cover really is beautiful!

Nick - Yes, she writes about subjects that are so easy to relate to.

Kelly Steel said...

Great synopsis and premise of this book, I love it!

Shelley Sly said...

Kelly - Yup, it looks like an all-around awesome book!

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