Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Gathering Frost" by Kaitlyn Davis

Gathering Frost
(Once Upon A Curse Book 1)
by Kaitlyn Davis

Gathering Frost, the first book in Kaitlyn Davis' new Once Upon A Curse series, is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt, an interview with the author, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Shadow Soul and my blog post on The Spirit Heir.

Will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart?
Once Upon A Time meets La Femme Nikita in Gathering Frost, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Jade was only a little girl when the earthquake struck. Before her eyes, half of New York City disappeared, replaced by a village that seemed torn out of a storybook. Horses and carriages. Cobblestone streets. A towering castle. And, above all, a queen with the magical ability to strip emotions away.
Ten years later and Jade has forgotten what it is to feel, to care ... even to love. Working as a member of the queen's guard, she spends most of her time on the city wall staring at the crumbling skyscrapers of old New York. But everything changes when the queen's runaway son, Prince Asher, returns. Jade is tasked with an unusual mission - to let the Prince capture her, to make him trust her, and then to betray his secrets to the crown. In return, she'll earn her freedom. But life outside the queen's realm is more than Jade bargained for. Under Asher's relentless taunts, her blood begins to boil. Under his piercing gaze, her heart begins to flutter. And the more her icy soul begins to thaw, the more Jade comes to question everything she's ever known - and, more importantly, whose side she's really on.

Chapter One
The world ended on a Saturday in spring. Beautiful. Sunny. The sort of afternoon that pulled New Yorkers from their hibernation, urging them to shed their floor-length coats and stiletto boots, to let the sun kiss their pale skin once more.
When the earthquake began, my mother and I were in Central Park. "Pedal!" I remember her shouting. "Pedal!" And I did. My little legs pumped in circles, my heart lifted as I felt her fingers release the bike, and suddenly I was riding on my own. For the first time. The breeze whipped against my grinning cheeks, stinging my eyes.
But then the ground shook. The earth began to tremble. And I had no hope. In a flash, I was on the ground, sandwiched against the concrete as screams rose around me. Darkness stole my vision as my mother's arms encircled me, hugged me closer. Teeth chattering, I tried to be strong. But tears leaked from my eyes, the cries of a baby. Shame burned my chest.
Time passed but my young mind had lost count. Minutes. Hours. I still don't really know. But when the ground stilled, I woke to a new world.
My mother was frozen with shock, so I had to pull against her hold, straining to see. Over her shoulder, south, I saw smoke and ash rising like clouds over my skyline. The trees looked gray, the sky washed out. Faint outlines of buildings were only just visible through the fog, a mix of skyscrapers still standing or leveled to the ground.
I looked at my mother. Her arms had fallen mutely to her side. I'll never forget her green eyes, pulled so taut I swore they were about to snap. Her lips were just slightly open.
But she didn’t hear. Something behind me had her so transfixed that even her only child, her little girl, could not shake the alarm.
So I turned.
New York was gone.
Like a line driven through the ground, we stood on one side with the past while our future rested a few feet away. A future that was backward in time.
Atop a hill, a giant castle rose from the ground, surrounded by green lawns where apartments used to stand. At its base were stone houses, smoking from fires. Horses. Carriages. Carts. And people. People dressed in dull brown clothes looked at us just as we looked at them - confused and terrified.
And then she appeared.
Her gown sparkled in the sun, brilliant red popping against a dull backdrop, cinching in at the waist and then expanding into a magnificent skirt billowing in the breeze. Silky white gloves encased her hands. Jewels dripped around her thin neck. Pins held her hair so that it curled elegantly down her back, and resting right above her forehead was a golden crown.
My eyes went straight to her.
A princess. I knew she would save us. I had seen it before, so many times, so many princesses saving the day.
I ran to her, crossing the threshold without hesitation as my mother screamed at me to come back. My mom was an adult. And adults didn’t believe in these things. I knew she would see my side if I could just get the princess to help us.
She knelt as I approached. A wide inviting smile spread across her face. Her arms caught me.
"What is your name child?" Her voice was warm. It soothed me, relaxed me, filled me with hope.
She brushed my bangs from my forehead, kissed it softly.
"Would you like me to help you? To make all of your fears go away?"
"Yes!" I wanted to run to my mom, to show her she didn’t need to be afraid. The princess would help us. But I couldn't. Something stopped me.
A hand pressed against my chest, pricked my skin.
I looked up at the princess, struggling to break free of her hold, when a freeze snatched my heart, so cold that it burned. I tried to speak, but I was frozen. My limbs grew heavy, my lips felt fat, my vision started to spot.
"Don't worry, little Jade. I'm just putting you to sleep for a little while. You'll wake up soon."
I did. In a cell with other frightened girls. But I never felt the same. Icy. That's what some of us started calling it, this feeling like our hearts won't thaw. Even a fire doesn't warm me. I am hard. Frigid. Emotionless. Sometimes I think I must still be caught in a long dream.
But time has only made me tougher.
Now I know the princess by another name, Queen Deirdre, the Ice Queen.
And I wish I could say I was the hero of the story. A resister. A rebel. Someone who lived to bring an end to the queen who stole my childhood - my mother, my life, my very world.
But I'm not.
I'm not the good guy.
I'm the one who puts the good guys in their graves.

Praise for the Book
"The writing is flawless as always and I must say, way to take a classic and make such a creative and wonderful twist to it ... It's well thought out and unbelievably magnificent. I seriously couldn't put it down. Wait I never actually put it down. I started and finished in one sitting because it's just that good. This one is a MUST READ." ~ Happy Tails and Tales Blog
"I loved everything about this book! The different take on Sleeping Beauty, the strong female characters, and the overall vibe of the book/series to come. Jade is amazing and leaped off the page ... This is not just a romance! It has great action scenes where Jade is kicking some major ass and there are surprises at every corner." ~ Hooked In A Book
"I loved this book. To me is it a very loose reimagined world of Sleeping Beauty, but that is a good thing. It kept me guessing and really kept me on the edge of my seat. I stayed up late reading as I just had to know what happens next." ~ Michelle's Paranormal Vault of Books

Interview with the Author
Okay Kaitlyn, elevator pitch time! If you had to tell someone about your new book Gathering Frost in a minute or less, what would you say?
Thank you for speaking with me today, Lynda!
Ooh, this is always tough! Here goes … Gathering Frost is a dystopian reimagining of Sleeping Beauty - only this time, beauty is a ruthless soldier and the prince isn't her dance partner … he's her target! But will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart and make this unfeeling beauty learn to love? You have to read it to find out!
And if you had to describe the book in three words, what would they be?
Romantic, imaginative, and … thrilling!
This book is part dystopian, and part inspired by Sleeping Beauty. Can you tell us what this crazy world is like and how you came up with it?
As always, my imagination ran away with me! I first got this crazy idea for a fairy tale apocalypse where different fairy tale characters took over our world. And the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. The world I first imagined morphed into this creation that was half fairy tale and half real - two parallel universes have smashed together leaving a patchwork landscape behind. I decided to set Gathering Frost in New York City, and I love the way both worlds in this story intermix in New York. There are towering abandoned skyscrapers paired with an old-European-style village - a very cool mash up! And with each new book in the series, the world will be teased more and more!
So, what idea came first? Did you set out to retell Sleeping Beauty or did you come up with the story first and then rework the fairy tale aspect into it?
As the world became more and more clear to me, one character kept invading my thoughts - Jade, my main character! She's a soldier and a fighter, not your average hero. And this single phrase just popped into my thoughts, a line I included in the first chapter: "And I'm not. I'm not the good guy. I'm the one who puts the good guys in their graves." And I loved it! I started wondering how Jade would have become this way and what her back story was, and that's when the reimagining of Sleeping Beauty came to me. Only in my tale, she's not in a coma, her heart is the thing that's asleep, frozen over. And she's just waiting for the prince to make it beat again.
This is the first book in the Once Upon A Curse series. Any idea what comes next?
Of course! I'm already working on the second book in the series, Withering Rose, which is a retelling of Beauty & The Beast - only this time, Beauty is cursed and the beast is the only one who can save her! Beauty has magical powers and she's not being trapped by the beast, she's taking refuge with him. I don't like to just rehash the same old story, so each book will take an original fairy tale and flip it around somehow!
Do you have a favorite fairy tale princess?
Well, growing up I was obsessed with Belle and Ariel! Belle because she was the uber book nerd like me, and Ariel cause, well, mermaids are just really cool!
Is there a message in this series that you want readers to grasp?
As cheesy as it might sound, the moral of my story is fairly similar to that of every fairy tale (it just takes a much more convoluted path to get there!) - love wins! It can conquer any obstacle, overcome any hurdle, surprise you, give you a reason to live, give you the heart and strength to keep fighting. In the end, if you have real love, you can handle anything. Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic, but I truly believe that. 
What is the most important thing you've learned as a writer?
Trust in yourself and your fans. In my humble opinion, that is the most important thing I've learned! There will always be an agent who rejects you, a reviewer who gives you one star, or someone else out there to hurt your confidence in some way. But you as the writer must believe in your work and must keep pushing forward. Anytime I have any trouble believing in myself, I think of all of my amazing fans who reach out with such enthusiastically kind words, and I know at least a few other people out there believe in me too.
Do you ever read reviews written about your books?
Definitely! The great ones are amazing, and provide a much-needed ego-boost for those moments of complete self-doubt, but bad reviews have their place as well. No writer is perfect - at least I'm certainly not! And anytime someone gives useful criticism, I use it to improve upon my next project.
What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
What comes after! During the writing process, I get totally lost in my own world and I let the characters take me on a journey. But after, I'm thrown back into real life and that's when the doubts creep in! Will people like it? Does it suck? Is it totally boring? Is the romance completely flat? Can people see the curveball coming from a mile away? The hardest part about writing is cutting off those questions and trusting in the book I spent so much time crafting.
State 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I'm scarily obsessed with puppies.
2) I chipped a tooth while surfboarding.
3) I'm a complete candy cane hoarder around Christmastime (and a total candy corn hoarded around Halloween!).
4) I love happy endings - the cheesier, the better!
5) I detox with reality TV… and justify it as character research.
What's up next for you?
Lots … too many! I'm working on the third book in my A Dance of Dragons series, The Phoenix Born, as well as the accompanying novellas. I'm just getting started with an outline for Withering Rose, the second book in my Once Upon A Curse series. And I'm editing a new novel that I might publish under a pen name - it's a chick lit contemporary romance called Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist! The first book I've ever written without magic of any kind!
Thank you for answering all of these questions, Kaitlyn!
Thank you so much for hosting me, Lynda!! :)

About the Author
Kaitlyn Davis is the bestselling author of the Midnight Fire series(a young adult paranormal romance), the A Dance of Dragons series (a young adult epic fantasy), and the Once Upon A Curse series (a young adult dystopian fairy tale).
Kaitlyn graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Writing Seminars. She's been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to finally share her work with the world. She currently lives in New York City and dreams of having a puppy of her own.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes.