• Grace A. Johnson

Bound and Determined Sneak Peek #4


I don't know about y'all, but I love sneak peeks! I love getting a behind-the-scene glimpse at a book, especially before it releases! I really love sharing sneak peeks! I hope I've gotten you guys hyped up for Bound and Determined, because I'm getting closer and closer to my end goal!

Now, I know I promised y'all a romantic sneak peek, but even though I've finally made it to my first real kiss scene in Bound and Determined, I'm not yet ready to share it. I'm not ready to share any of the action or drama or suspense yet either.

Why?

Well, because I've been getting a lot of spiritual revelation whilst writing this novel, and that is certainly the most important thing to share!

Back in August, I shared a little bit of Xavier's revelation and Rina's sermonizing, while I shared a deleted scene in November. For the new year, we're kicking things off with a bang! I was actually in the middle of writing an emotional and romantic scene when something jumped out at me--and, what do you know, it was the answer to all of my questions!

Just like my characters, I've struggled with the whys and the hows during the writing of this. Keaton and Daisy have a lot of complications, and they're certainly not black and white. I know what point I want made with this novel, but I didn't know how I was going to make it until recently.

Without spoiling anything, I just want to share a few paragraphs that just...came to me. In my experience, it's the work of the Holy Spirit, and I'm gonna go ahead and say that it was--is--God and only God that has brought me this far and helped me with all the controversial and problematical issues I'm discussing in Bound and Determined.

Firstly, a little bit of backstory. We all know Keaton's story--he lost his little sister and his parents, all within a year, and then was sent to live with his uncle on board Rina's ship. Keaton grew up in the church, was saved at an early age, and possessed a deep, abiding faith in Christ that could only be shaken by the sudden loss of his family--and the guilt he assumed for it.

As for Daisy? Well, I can't spoil her story, but suffice it to say, she has been through a lot. Both her and Keaton are born-again Christians. Sure, they don't always act like it, but they very much are Christians. However, circumstances have brought them both to such a low point that they aren't even sure they deserve their salvation. Some sin they have willingly committed, others they have not. Either way, they see themselves as too far gone. Lost. Too sinful for even grace to save.

And, when you consider just how acceptive they've been of some of that sin, it's kind of hard to believe that they aren't. So that's where I'm at. Where sin runs deep. (Please note that the excerpt below has yet to be edited.)

__________________________


She looked up at me, eyes bespeaking her torment as a rush of green overtook the blue and streaks of gold shot to the center of her irises. “I-I don’t know, Keaton. So much has been said, and I…I don’t know what to believe anymore. If…I believe.”

“Don’t or won’t? Because it sounds to me like you’ve stopped looking as well.”

In one way, I was the consummate expert concerning the subject of disbelief. In another, I was the absolute worst person she could be talking with. I had been here before. I was here. The uncertainty, the doubt, the wondering. It was detrimental, really. I had so readily accepted it because I’d thought it right—that after losing all that I had by mine own hand, I was no longer deserving of faith. I was too dirty a man to believe in a God so holy or a love so pure. It was false. Rina was proof. She had chosen to believe what I refused to: There are no limits to grace.

Finding that faith again, finding one’s footing whilst walking upon water, was no easy task. Not when sin ran deep. Not when it was easier to succumb to the emptiness. Not when the odds seemed insurmountable.

That was as far as I went. I was lost in limbo, stuck in between faith and fantasy. I wanted to believe again. I just…didn’t know how. I didn’t know why I’d stopped in the first place, or even if I truly had. It had seemed like giving up was my only choice, that there was no choice.

But there always was. It was simply making the right one when all one could see was the wrong.

I couldn’t give her the advice she wanted. If only she would open up to Rina, I knew she could. She had been there. In that place where belief and doubt warred violently. Where one chose the wrong and still kept on. How could one? the righteous asked, shaming the fallen. Grace had a price, they claimed, and sin and grace could not coexist. But oftentimes we mistook that price for what we thought was right. Oftentimes we cheapened our grace by relying too heavily upon it, as though it were the clearance that allowed us our way.

It wasn’t. Any good man knew that. Luther had said so over a century before, redefining whole nations by his revolutionary teachings. But it wasn’t until one was placed there in the midst of uncontrollable evil that the concept was manifest.

Grace was for tomorrow. Not for today. Not for yesterday. It was the second chance one had yet to take.

One could not apply grace to what had already happened. Mercy took over then, wiping clean the slate of every repentant heart. Grace, on the other hand, was the clearance that allowed us our way out.

With faith came repentance, and with repentance mercy, and with mercy grace. With grace, freedom.

I was not the one to tell her, though. I’d exhibited enough signs of hypocrisy within the last few days, and it was up to me to realize these things for myself before I extolled them to others.

That didn’t mean, however, that we couldn’t change together.

__________________________


Grace is for tomorrow. It is the second chance one has yet to take.

That's really inspiring, isn't it? Grace is a gift, and no one receives gifts after the occasion, right? Gifts are usually used at the moment they're given or later on. Mercy is what is applied to our past sins, wiping our slate clean. But grace? Grace is our way out, our second, third, or one hundredth chance.

Even I was unsure how my characters could continue falling into the same sin. But then I realized: it wasn't because they used grace as an excuse to keep sinning; it was because they hadn't accepted grace to begin with.

Talk about revelation! I have learned so much writing Bound and Determined, and I'm not even finished yet!

Speaking of finished, I'm sure y'all are looking for a progress report! If you'd like monthly updates on my word count, you can subscribe to my newsletter! So far, I'm on Chapter 36, in the middle of all of the climaxes--romantic, emotional, and suspenseful. That puts me at nearly 120,000 words, super close to my goal of 160k.

I don't know if BAD will end up being that long or longer, so I can't be certain if I'll be done by the end of March, but I should have 160,000 words written by then! Even now, this is already my longest project ever, with me having worked faithfully on it for nine months. My past novels have been written from start to finish in six months. I started work on BAD in December of 2019; however, I didn't start writing constantly until last March.

Anyway, I hope y'all enjoyed taking a peek into Bound and Determined with me! I promise you that my next sneak peek will be either romantic or way too suspenseful! Y'all have a wonderful week!

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