Title: Shadows on Snow
Author: Starla Huchton
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Fantasy /YA
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Nov 3 2014
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.
Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.
Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.
I slept so soundly, so thoroughly warm, that it took a cacophony of birds to wake me. But as conscious thought returned, immediate panic overtook me.
“Good morning,” his voice rumbled in his chest, vibrating against my cheek.
A surge of fear gripped my heart, and I jerked, attempting to pull away, but his arm wrapped around me, his strength pinning me to his side.
“I believe there are a few more details you’ve neglected to share with me.”
I swallowed, attempting to control my trembling. How the devil I ended up snuggled in beside him left me baffled. Was I so tired that I had no recollection of moving into this position? “Sire?”
“For example, how it is that your hair brushes my face when I can see plainly that it rests against your head, undisturbed. Or perhaps how it is that what my eyes tell me your shape is, my other senses find quite the opposite.”
I squirmed, attempting to pull away again, but he held me fast.
“Who are you, Rae?” he asked, his voice low and edgy.
In a last effort, I relaxed my entire body before pushing myself down and away from him. I was nearly to my feet before he grabbed my arm and jerked me back to the ground, pinning me by the shoulders as he hovered over me.
“I will not be lied to. What trickery is this? Show me who you are or I’ll not release you.”
I pinched my eyes shut, willing past events to stay buried, to not invade this moment, but the more I struggled against them, the more terrified I became. That horrible night, every second of the assault on my body, exploded in my head, overlaying the present with its ghost. I needed a new face to give him, but my mind was jumbled. Images flashed by me faster than I could grab hold of them, and my grip on my magic crumbled. When his breath caught, I knew my glamour was gone.
“You…” he whispered.
The prince’s iron hold loosened a little, and I took the advantage. Displacing his center of balance, I kicked him from me and rolled away, snatching up my bow. I nocked an arrow and aimed it directly at him.
Slowly, he raised his hands, palms facing me in surrender. “I won’t hurt you.”
My chest heaved as I tried to take in enough air to calm myself. “Do not touch me again.”
“I would not think to,” he said, “but I prefer to know the truth about whom I travel with. It’s a matter of trust.”
“I saved your life, Highness,” I said, my words laced with anger. “I hardly see how my face, true or otherwise, factors into your opinion of me.”
“I would’ve better understood your hesitation over our sleeping arrangements, for starters.”
“I don’t ask for special consideration because of my gender.”
“But I would give it all the same.”
I gritted my teeth. “Precisely why I chose another form.”
We stared at each other in silence for a moment, him calm against the force of my glare. As the rush of defending myself ebbed away, my hands trembled, and I lowered my weapon. In a hurry to be away from him, hopefully to rein in my terror from reliving past tortures, I turned.
“Build a fire,” I said over my shoulder as I walked away.
“Where are you going?”
Not giving him an answer, I slipped out of our shelter.
With half a mile between us, I sank to the ground behind a large tree. My shoulders shook with silent sobs. This enduring feeling of helplessness, of revulsion at my own weaknesses and failures, consumed me for a good quarter hour before I could catch my breath. I was exhausted after living with this so long. Was there no respite? Was there no way to keep from reliving that night every time someone came too close? Would it ever fade to match the pale scar that man left on my side with his blade, or would the memory remain, raw and angry as a festering wound?
Shaky, I got to my feet once more. The road ahead was a long one, and we needed breakfast to keep us moving.
Welcome Starla Huchton! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Starla Huchton, author and freelance cover designer. I’m mom to three Minions and wife to a military husband, currently living in Virginia. I’m a huge nerd with a passion for science, Doctor Who, superheroes, nail polish, and about a million other things. I’m a Navy veteran who’s lived in Iceland and Japan, and collects knowledge about ALL THE THINGS.
Is Shadows on Snow a single title, or part of a series?
Shadows on Snow is a single title, but sort of part of a series. It’s a self-contained story. It will tie in to other books I plan to do in my Flipped Fairy Tale series, but all of them will stand on their own.
What were your inspirations for the story?
The idea stemmed from a conversation I was having with some author friends. It wasn’t anything serious, but it got the wheels in my head turning and I wondered what a completely gender-flipped retelling of a fairy tale would look like. I wasn’t able to find one anywhere, so I decided to write one myself. I’m still looking for this particular take on fairy tales, so if anyone knows of any, I’d love to hear about them!
Please share your setting for Shadows on Snow.
The setting isn’t modern day or even historical, so it wasn’t a place I could look up and google pictures of. It’s set in the fairy tale kingdom of Sericea, and I had to do a bit of world building to create this new world. It draws from plenty of Tolkein-esque tropes, as does much of fantasy, without most of the monsters. Most being the key word there. 😉
When did the writing bug first bite?
When I was about eight. I started with plays and poetry, then moved on to character profiles and scripts and short stories, eventually working my way up to novels. Any more, I find it difficult to write less than novel-length works. I just have too much to say, I guess. LOL
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Honestly? This is a really tough question. I think I’d probably pick Chuck Wendig and J. K. Rowling, as they’re both incredibly smart, talented individuals I think I could learn amazing things from. Their passion for their work and the brilliance they put out in the world, not only with their creative works, but their personal words and actions, give me something to aspire to. I’d like nothing more than a chance to learn from their mistakes and successes.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I dabble in lots of stuff, but those things tend to come and go. I was really into scrapbooking for a while, and my piles of craft stuff in my closet attests to that. I go on reading or TV-watching binges from time to time. I’ve gotten into nail polish stuff lately, though that’s mostly because I was trying to stop my nail biting habit. Now I’ve got a polish habit instead. LOL. I also collect Funko POP! figures in the superhero and Game of Thrones lines, but I’ve got a Legolas as well. Because Legolas.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
I think there’s a tie for weirdest thing I’ve seen, and both are consumables.
When stationed in Iceland, I was unfortunate enough to be singing the national anthem for an event where Hákarl was being served. Basically, it’s rotten shark that they bury and then hang to dry for several months. Yes, it smells as terrible as you think it would, and, no, I didn’t eat it. I don’t think there’s enough alcohol on the planet to convince me that’s a good idea. To illustrate, the smell from this “delicacy” filled an entire aircraft hangar on a military installation in a whopping 2 minutes.
While living in Japan, I spent several nights out at bars. So, of course I would question the sickly yellow-tinted liquid in the massive jar behind the counter, subtly planted between bottles of vodka and tequila. Why question it? Well, because there’s also a giant snake contained within this massive jar. I don’t think I would say I’d never try habu sake (literally venomous snake rice wine), but there would have to be a serious amount of bribery and shots involved before I’d consider it.
Thanks for having me here!
A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. Her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, was released as a full cast audiobook podcast, becoming a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. After releasing short fiction of steampunk, noir fantasy, and other varieties, she released the first three books of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series in 2013. All three books of the Evolution series, a New Adult Superhero Romance series, were released in 2014, as well as a Steampunk Fantasy novel, Master of Myth (the Antigone’s Wrath series, book 1), which was the first place winner of the Crested Butte Writers’ contest, The Sandy, in 2012. Shadows on Snow, a gender-flipped retelling of Snow White, releases in November 2014.
When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at DesignedByStarla.com.
Other Works by Starla A.K.A S.A.
The Endure Series
Paradigm #4 (WIP)
The Antigone’s Wrath Series
Master of Machines #2 (WIP)
Shadows on Snow (Coming this Fall)