Before we begin today, I'm elated to announce that Stina Leicht, the talented author we've been studying for the past few months, has been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Those able to vote in the Hugo Awards will have a chance to vote for her over the coming months, and the winner will be announced at this year's WorldCon in San Antonio, Texas. Good luck, Stina!
Welcome to the second to last installment of this read of Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain, the second in her The Fey and the Fallen series. When last we left Liam Kelly, half-fey ex-IRA wheelman, he had gone unconscious in the middle of a battle with fallen angels.
To catch up or review this read, you can find all previous parts here.
Liam wakes in excruciating pain. His spine has been cut, and just in time, Bran took him, Frankie, Father Murray, and the nuns to the fey’s world to escape the police after the fallen bolted. Bran insists Liam will recover due to his fey blood despite the nuns’ opinion that he’ll never walk again. Frankie can scarcely believe where he is but assures Liam that all turned out well after the battle. Bran’s hitting on the nuns, and Frankie and Liam take bets as to which woman will shoot him first.
Reader Comments: Sweet, they all escaped. It will be interesting to see what part Frankie plays from now on. Bran certainly can’t afford to just let him go free.
Writer Comments: The climax is over. The good guys won. The bad guys either fled, died, or got arrested. Now is the time to tie up loose ends. In this chapter, Leicht assures readers that the family Seamus was holding hostage should be fine. She lets us know that Frankie is a true enough friend to accept that Liam is half-fey and not abandon him. Liam will recover. Father Murray will survive. The world is being set to rights. At least, part of it.
Liam dreams of the day after he got back from Long Kesh, oh so long ago. He walks with Mary Kate down an empty street, caught up in the mindset he had back then, before they were married, before he truly knew what he was. In part, he relives what happened back then, but it isn’t exactly the same. Mary Kate is dead and knows it, and it takes Liam a little longer to realize that he’s dreaming. They let each other know they’ve forgiven each other for past wrongs, and Mary Kate tries to get Liam to release some of the pent up anguish he’s held inside. Too, when he turns into the hound, she touches and soothes him. She accepts him. In the brief time they still have together after, they make love.
Reader Comments: This was so sweet and touching. It was more romantic and deep than any other scene the two of them have shared until this point, and sadly, I have a feeling it will be the last.
Writer Comments: This chapter is about catharsis. Liam has gone through a lot of emotional trauma over the past two books and never really dealt with any of it. Mary Kate give him opportunity. In truth, she flat out pushes him to confront himself and his past. Yet she is also tender and supportive. For readers, this may be one of the biggest wish fulfillments of the whole series so far. How much easier it would be to have the people we’ve lost and loved come back, even if just in our dreams, for a final farewell, a time to make peace, a time to heal? But we don’t get that. However, in fiction, we can dream of it with Liam. Too, Leicht doesn’t give into the easy temptation to have this fully resolve Liam’s inner conflicts. I’m sure she will use it in later chapters and books to give him a major nudge, but she’s too realistic and honest an author to give Liam and us healing and relief quickly or without really earning it. The simple fact that Liam has gone through so much gives this scene its resonance and depth. Without all the hardships he’s suffered, it would not have near the impact.
Thank you for joining me for today’s chapters of and Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht. Next Monday for the final chapters, we’ll do something a little different. Stina Leicht is generously offering a hand-made journal of and Blue Skies from Pain, which we will give to one lucky commenter on April 15. There will also be two additional prizes, so stay tuned and get ready. Until then, I’ll see everyone back on Friday for further forays into books, fiction, the speculative, and life.