I used to be an active member of Writing.com. Now I'm just someone with an account there. It's a great site, but time constraints don't let me hang out there the way I used to. One of the greatest things I've taken from there, however, are a few good writing friends. I didn't know any other writers when I found Writing.com, so just being around like-minded folks was wonderful, even if it was only a virtual kind of hanging out.
Two of those friends have self-published some of their works, and I think it's past time for me to send them a little blog love. I'm starting today with "A Reason to Hope" by Andra Marquardt. It's a Christian Sci-Fi novella with a lesbian protagonist. If that doesn't spark your interest, then there is no help for you. I don't read Christian anything as a rule, but that even got my curiosity going.
I was lucky enough to win one of her book giveaways when the book launched originally, and I got through it in about a week. You could probably get through it in a couple nights if you have more time to sit and read than I do. (I hope you do, my reading time is so sad.)
The story starts of with very intense action, but then quiets down into more of an inner battle for the main character, but we get little bursts of action later on to keep things hopping. My understanding is that this book came as a spin off from another novel or story Andra is writing. I think the well developed world, and characters reflect this. It's clear that there is a bigger story surrounding the events of this story, and we're only seeing a single crisis as part of a bigger conflict. Yet, at the end, I felt well resolved. Maybe still a little curious about other questions beyond the scope of this story, but left satisfied.
Since gay rights is an issue I'm extremely liberally minded about, I wished that issue had gone even further, but that's the biggest complaint I can muster. I don't want to give away too much by saying more. But for anyone like me who may see the word 'Christian' next to Sci-Fi, and be turned away, I can promise that you won't be preached at in this book. Any part that even hints at preachness (and I don't think that is the right word in this case anyway) is never aimed at the reader, and is an itegral part of the story.
Now I've saved the best for last. Recently Andra has started sharing "A Reason to Hope" as a serilized story online. So you can read it for free, but if you read too fast, you'll have to wait for the next chapter. There a a bunch of chapters already posted though to get you started.
Go read it.