Friday, March 4, 2016

Heart of the Winterland

When I started this venture, I had no idea how far it'd take me. I still can't quite believe this dream is going to become a reality. I finished up my final edits last weekend, thanks to my awesome editor Mia Darien. Everything is coming together and I'm now writing my first post about my novel, complete with cover reveal!

I'm very excited to show off the cover for my first novel "Heart of the Winterland".
Heart of the Winterland was originally meant to be a placeholder title. As time went on, it grew on me and I couldn't think of anything that would work better.

There are four points of view in this novel: Cali, Voice, . Most of the story takes place in the present, while part of it is the tale of the kingdom's past (told mostly from Voice's point of view).

The back of the book blurb:

The Princess
On her 100th birthday, the enchantment that holds Princess Calisandra in a state of apathy breaks. Full of questions about her kingdom’s history and what lies outside the borders of her snow-cursed kingdom, she leaves home in search of answers.

The Sorceress
Fate has always been against Amee. Orphaned as a baby, she grew up with darkness snuffing out what little light she could find in her life. When her spirit breaks, she sequesters herself in the border forest. Powerful and angry, she waits …

The Guardian
An orb formed to protect Cali, Voice has never had a purpose beyond caring for the princess’s needs. But as she joins Cali on her journey, her magic vanishes and she starts to wonder about her place in the world.

The Captain
Captain Kota, in forced exile from her homeland, swears that never again will she be powerless. Ascending the ranks of the Shayal guard, her latest mission is to find the one who has escaped Duke Bludgaard. 

The Fugitive
A desperate search has brought Angel far from her home, but now Captain Kota’s relentless pursuit keeps her from her task. When she crosses paths with a na├»ve princess and a sage orb, she finds more than she anticipated.

Heart of the Winterland is a fantasy that would most likely be classified as adult because of the character's ages, but it does feel YA to me. Perhaps this is because I mostly read YA.

I've been participating in the 30 Day Writing Challenge with some fellow writers, and one of the days had us doing character portraits. So here's the five characters mentioned in the blurb and their portraits.

First there is Cali. Most of the story is told from her PoV. Cali is a 100 year old princess in a kingdom that's always covered in snow. Because of her solitary life, she is very naive. Cali's character is innocent and trusting. She's got that spark for adventure, but doesn't really know what adventure will mean. Her past and her kingdom's history are a mystery to her and one of the most enjoyable elements of me weaving this story was playing out the mysteries of Winterland. Cali had a lot of growing to do over the novel and it was so much fun to put her in new situations and see how she responded.

Voice was the one character without a portrait as she is best represented as she is on the cover--as an orb. My inspiration for Voice came with the idea for a character whose words mattered. Not her physical appearance, not what she could do, but what she said. The quiet supporter, the voice of reason. Originally, Voice was invisible, but around chapter 6 I was running into issues. At that point, I wondered if the invisibility was necessary to the character. After some thinking, I turned Voice into an orb. I don't think it changed what was most important about her(what she said), and it made it easier to work with the character and not focus on trying to set up where she was and how another character knew where she was.

Kota is easily one of my top two favorite characters. Kota is the antagonist(or one of them) of Winterland and the one character who was determined to do her own thing. Writers sometimes talk about their characters as if they were real people and taking charge of their story. Kota was that character for me. I would try and plan out what I was going to have her do, and by the time I finished that chapter, she'd done something completely different. Kota was the clearest from the start who she was.
 (Kota's hair is shorter and black.)

Angel was the hardest character for me to write. She was a character I had nothing in common with and when I was trying to write her scenes, I had to work to keep her character consistent. She's the hardened character, who unlike my antagonists, wasn't . . . well, a villain. She was a good person who simply had a tough disposition. I wanted her to be generally likable to readers, but stand out from the gentler character of Cali. Angel was the character brought into the picture to push Cali, to pick at her and give her a taste of reality, but she was also a character who cared.

Amee's character was my other favorite, along with Kota. Her story is told through Voice's narrative of Cali's past. Amee was the character I most related with. I felt like I could've been her if I'd gone through what she did. Better put, I think if I had lived her life, I would've turned out the same way. 

With Amee's story, I had to tell the parts that would interest not just readers, but Cali. As she's the one listening to the story, it needed to make sense for her to here. The storytelling also needed to fit into Cali's journey. Since it wasn't flashbacks showing everything, I had to pick logical points in the trip where Voice would tell this story.

I then had to make Amee's story fit with the present. Past and present needed to match. There were times I had to go back and change something to fit where I ended up in the present. It was definitely tricky in places to write, but I loved Amee as a character.

Her portrait is difficult for me because the one I'm sharing is how she'll always look to me, though it's inaccurate. The look, the hair, the expression, all of it perfectly matches Amee and I can't get past that. But Amee would look more like Cali or Kota.

Heart of the Winterland will be coming out this spring!

And book 2 "Heart of the Sorceress" is in the works.


  1. So exciting! It's so cool to have watched a book grow from seeing the first draft hot off the press all the way to final product.

    1. Yes! You were with me when I was still pushing through the first draft, and now you'll be able to see how much has changed.

  2. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your characters! I love that you have such clear ideas of what they look like... Appearances is one of the things I most struggle with in my writing.

    1. Honestly, appearance is hard for me to. It's hard to explain, but it's like I know what their hair, eyes, and skin looks like. But the face is all blurry in other aspects. So when I first got asked the question, I was all panicky LOL.

      Amee was the only one that jumped out at me because Katie plays a similar role so well that it just felt right.

      I got lucky with Cali, as we're re-watching Smallville and I was struck by how closely Kristin resembled what I thought of Cali. When I found out her heritage, it made sense. One of her parents is of Dutch descent, and the other Chinese. Which, in my fantasy world, is about the closest "real world" equivalents to what Cali's parents are.

  3. Congratulations! Your cover looks great.

    1. Thanks! I'm really excited to get my first copy and see how it looks "in person".

  4. I love the cover! It's absolutely gorgeous!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! No, it's not painted. Just some amazing digital art. That'd be pretty cool to have a painting of it though to frame!

  6. I mostly read YA too but congrats on your book! And writing in multiple POV.
    If you’re doing any more book promotions in the future I’d like to feature Heart of the Winterland on my blog.

    1. I've really been struggling with the classification part. I've heard so many different opinions on it that I think I'm just going to focus on the fantasy part and let people decide if they'd call it YA or adult.

      I found I couldn't help but write in multiple PoV's. It's like some heads just beg to be entered.

      Once I'm at the promoting stage, I'll definitely keep your offer in mind! I'd love to see Heart of the Winterland on other blogs. :)

  7. That's so awesome! the cover looks beautiful :-)

    1. Thank you! I really, really like how it turned out. I have to keep touching it to make sure it's real.