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Without further ado, here is author S.M. Boyce sharing a nice message for this holiday season. Boyce’s new novel, Treason: Book Two of the Grimoire Trilogy,is out now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

A little hope for the road…

With the holidays fast approaching and the cold already here, I wanted to give you a little hope to help you through scraping the ice off your front windshield.

It’s easy to lose hope, especially in the winter: it’s dark most of the time and cold all day long. It’s easy to forget how wonderful you are, or what you bring to the table. I think we all push ourselves too hard nowadays—we’re striving to achieve, to be better, to succeed in something before we die. We sometimes lose track of the why. Why bother?

It’s in those spiraling moments that we need a trampoline—something bouncy and a little soft. Sometimes, we’re just not strong enough on our own to remember what makes life so beautiful, or precious, or funny as all hell. So we need some help.

The trampoline can be a person. It can be the teddy bear no one knows you still have. It can be a solo hike through a forest, or an hour spent looking at adorable pictures of cats. It can be an evening laughing over dinner with a good friend.

Trampolines—and the hope that comes with them—are everywhere.

I’m analytical. So when I’m low, I write a list. It’s just for me. It’s a list of everything I’m good at doing. Things I know I can do well. It ranges from the big to the small, and it’s just for me. I’m not allowed to be modest when I write it, because that can turn into self-deprecation that makes me start to spiral again. But here’s the truth: we’re all amazing at something. A lot of us are amazing at several somethings, and it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to lose hope in ourselves and forget to love who and what we are. And if we can’t love ourselves, we can’t love anyone.

Treat yourself today, whether you’re low or not. Write a list of everything you can do well, whether you have a sweet laugh or can pick up socks with your toes. You don’t have to be the best in the world at it, but you’re good. Works for me. Write it down.

There’s always hope. Sometimes, we just need help remembering where we left it. Hold on tight. You’ll get through the low spots. And love yourself, damn it. You’re awesome.

 About Boyce

Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction author who likes sarcasm and cookies. You can find her books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Daniel: I’ve also attached an excerpt of Treason below, just click and you’ll go through to it! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Treason, Book two of the Grimoire Trilogy by S. M. Boyce
Excerpt from chapter one

Kara pushed herself to her feet. “We should probably make our way back to the mansion, Braeden.”
“Nope,” he said.
“What do you mean, ‘no’?”
“You wanted to learn to fight. We haven’t trained today. We need to spar.”
She groaned. They’d been sparring. She’d healed dozens of bruises and even a broken finger, all evidence to the fact she was barely able to react in time to a sword coming at her face, much less a magical technique. She just wasn’t a very good fighter.
“But—”
He laughed. “You’ll never get better if you don’t practice. Come on.”
He drew his sword.
Her stomach twisted. “Right here? Seriously? On a ledge? Those are rapids!”
“Yes. Today, it’s all about controlling your opponent’s movement and fighting in difficult terrain. Since you aren’t strong in this environment, drive me back up the stairs and to the forest, where you have more room to move. Also, you should never be without a sword.”
“But I don’t have one!”
“That was my point.”
“Shouldn’t I practice one lesson at a time?”
In answer, he swung his sword at her arm. She pressed her back against the cave wall, ducking the blow seconds before the blade cut the air. Goose bumps crawled up her neck.
Braeden laughed. “The best way to learn is baptism by fire. Let’s go!”
Kara ducked another swing and looked around, but she had no tactical advantage. Braeden blocked her way to the stairs. She couldn’t run past him or—she glanced over the ledge at the tumbling river below. Nope, she was not jumping into that. Her only escape was a nearby hole in a ledge that ran above her like a catwalk. If she could—
Braeden shifted his weight onto the balls of his feet, apparently ready to lunge and end this whole bout before it began.
No time to think. Just go.
Kara sprinted away, toward the gap. Braeden followed, and Kara jumped for the ledge seconds before he lunged. She grabbed the walkway, the splinters of rock digging into her arms as her momentum lifted her legs out of Braeden’s passing reach.
His fingers brushed her ankle, sending a shiver up her leg. She resisted the impulse to smile at the tingling sensation his touch left behind. It made her think of his hand on her back, of their kiss—
“Clever!” he said.
Focus, Kara.
She pulled herself onto the ledge and wished she had a witty response, but she’d learned that lesson the hard way during an earlier match. She had distracted herself by talking, instead of distracting him like she’d hoped. Braeden had tripped her and knocked her clean onto her back. Dialogue was yet another weapon, one that required practice. Let the better fighters banter. Lesser fighters focus.
Kara got to her feet and raced along the upper pathway toward the waterfall, her satchel bouncing against her back while she ran as fast as she could. Braeden would be faster, but she had to try.
The ledge curved around a bend in the cave. Her feet pounded against the rock, sending shards of cave wall sprinkling to the ground below. The walkway likely hadn’t seen action like this in its lifetime. She hoped it wouldn’t crumble.
Braeden’s steps echoed from under her as the edge of the catwalk came into view. It would end about ten feet before the stairs, so she picked up her pace. She couldn’t slow down, or Braeden would catch her.
Five feet away, now.
Two feet—
Jump!
Kara kept her eyes where she wanted to go, just as Braeden had taught her the last time they’d sparred. She’d tried to jump from a tree and wound up in a bramble bush.
Instinct and a dozen failed attempts in prior matches told her to tuck her head, to curl onto her shoulder and let the momentum propel her forward.
Rocks dug into her neck and shoulder before pushing against her back, but nothing stung. She rolled back onto her feet and took off again, not daring to look back for Braeden. She would probably trip if she did.
She grinned, adrenaline numbing her fingertips as she ran. She had no earthly idea how she would do it again, but to hell with it. She’d finally rolled!
Kara followed the path as it curved and disappeared behind the waterfall. The water misted along her neck, blocking all light as she passed behind it. She let her feet find the stairs as she bolted up two at a time. Braeden’s light breaths came from somewhere in the darkness behind her.
Green sunlight illuminated the top of the stairs, the light blocked by a thick canopy of trees. Brown blurs came into view—bark. There would be a root right when she rounded the last stair, so she had to be careful not to—
Kara’s foot hooked on the root anyway.
She shot forward and skidded along the dirt path. Sticks left gouges in her arms. Her cheek stung. She wiped her hand over her face, but that just made the stinging worse. Blood stained her fingers when she pulled away.
A sword glinted in Kara’s peripheral vision. She sprung to her feet. Braeden stood a short way off, without a scratch on him. He grinned.
“Falling was an interesting choice,” he said.
“Cute.” Kara rolled her eyes and brushed dust off her clothes.