Title: The Stillness of the Sky
Author: Starla Huchton
Series: A Flipped Fairy Tale
Genre: Fantasy /YA
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Feb 2 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
"Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.
Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.
Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.”
It took my vision a few moments to adjust to the sudden brightness, but when I did, I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me. Stunned, I staggered backwards, all but falling down as my gaze drifted up from the base of the enormous plant that had sprung up overnight.
The bottom was easily twenty feet wide to either side of me, with massive leaves bursting from curled vines thicker than a man’s shoulders were broad. It seemed to be not a single plant, but three twisted around each other, leading up and up into the sky. I followed the trail of leaves spiraling around it like a giant staircase until I lost sight of them in the clouds obscuring the top.
What, by the spirits, was that thing, and how had it come to be there so instantaneously? What enchantment conjured it? Even more, how long would it remain? Eventually someone would notice it and ask all sorts of questions, and I wouldn’t have any answers for them.
I paused, hitting on one word swirling in my mind: enchantment. In running from the wolves, I’d dropped the beans. While I couldn’t prove it myself, I was fairly certain they were some sort of magic. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation, even though it was the most outlandish thing I’d ever entertained, was that the plant before me was the result of the three beans being exposed to soil and water.
“Either you’ve hit your head very hard, lost your mind completely, or found something amazing, Jack,” I said out loud, hoping that talking through the development might bring me some clarity. “As you’re not in terrible pain, let’s discount the first one for the time being.”
My feet moved without my thinking, and I carried on my monologue, trying to puzzle it out. “You might be talking to yourself, but nothing up until this moment has ever given you cause to doubt the reliability of your brain. That leaves one option.”
I stopped walking, marveling at the turn of events. As I watched, a single leaf uncurled from the base of the humongous beanstalk, spreading out on the ground before me like a carpet. Was it a greeting? That leaf led to another slightly above it, and a third and fourth after that. Each was perfectly positioned, one leading to the next.
If ever I’d been given an invitation to anything, that was it.
Not entirely sold on it, I wandered back to where I’d woken, retrieving my pack and cap from between the layers of leaves. The hat was a bit soggy when I placed it on my head, but I was sure it would dry quickly with the heat of day already growing rapidly. Again at the leaf that unfurled before me, I lifted my gaze up, following it once more into the clouds.
“I wonder how high it goes?”
The thought of being at such an elevation, looking out over everyone and everything, cemented my decision. People climbed mountains only to say they’d done it. They built larger and larger structures for no better reason than gaining a closer perspective on the stars. Why should I be any different? How many could say they’d encountered a plant such as this, and how regretful would they feel for having passed up the opportunity?
Tentatively, I set my foot upon the leaf, unsure if it would even hold me. It gave some, but easily supported what little weight I carried. A large man might find it impassable, but for me, a girl of sixteen with years of hunger under her belt, I’d have no cause to worry.
Well, no cause pending the strength of the greenery held out all the way to the top.
As many times as I’d looked to the sky, never before had it seemed so full of promise.
With a firm nod, I started up. After all, what was the worst that could happen? If nothing else, I’d finally know what it felt like to fly.
Guest Post for The Stillness of the Sky
How do you pick your next flipped fairy tale?
What’s funny about my Flipped Fairy Tales, is that I never intended to do more than one of them, that being Shadows on Snow, but I got to a certain point in that story and realized that I’d left a giant opportunity for more stories set in the same Fantasy world. Based on some things I wrote in that story (I won’t share some of those because spoilers), I picked up on those and matched them with other fairy tales.
The Stillness of the Sky was probably the easiest choice for me. In Shadows on Snow, one of the sisters is given a pouch and told not to use more than two of what’s inside at a time. Well, people being the imperfect creatures that they are, you can guess that this advice is discarded or forgotten more times than it’s heeded. And so, to me, the items in the pouch could only ever be the magic beans responsible for the beanstalk leading to the castle in the clouds.
There are more tie-ins than just the beans between the two books, however. Characters from Shadows on Snow are mentioned in The Stillness of the Sky, and while each story is a standalone, they do intertwine in some ways. My goal with each of these books is to broaden and enhance the world they’re set in while telling each character’s story. Ideally, the order they’re read in doesn’t matter so much, but they are definitely better and richer together.
I also choose which tales to do not only based on what I’ve written before, but fairy tales that I’ve loved for years. The next Flipped Fairy Tale I’m currently working on, Ride the Wind, is based on my all-time favorite, but I’m not sharing which one it is just yet, as that might give away too much of who and what’s involved. No spoilers! I’m super happy that I had a character from Shadows on Snow for the story, though. (Okay, maybe a teeny, tiny spoiler.)
So that’s my secret to my Flipped Fairy Tales. They aren’t really as hard to choose as you might think! I love where they’ve taken me and can’t wait for readers to discover more about this world, too!
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.
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*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
I first read The Evolution Series by Starla Huchton and from that moment on I promised myself to be an Internet stalker... I mean super-fan- of ALL of her work!
I was honored to read The Stillness of the Sky, which is her second flipped fairy tale, and I will continue to stalk...uh... read her work.
All funniness aside, this is a true work of art.
The Stillness of the Sky is about a girl named Jack, and she has endured loads of trauma in her life, mostly from her father. She leaves looking for her own place in the world that can be her home and what she finds means more to her than anything, she finds her own way.
Jack is such a strong female character and I loved reading every minute of her tale.
You have to read every page, and every word because the fantasy is so fantastic! I was able to loose myself in it for a time and I was so sad to have finished so quickly!
Get your own copy and read it ASAP!!~Dowie
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)
A Flipped Fairy Tale
The Stillness of the Sky (Coming Late Winter)