Know the Novel Linkup + NaNo Novel Reveal!


Hello all!!

We interrupt this blog's usual prattles about confabulated muses, blog tags and general novel nonsense to bring you a special announcement....

I'm officially embarking on my first journey into the land of NaNoWriMo this November!!!

I'm really really excited to finally take part in it this year. I had originally planned to do it last year too, but that was during the madness with graduate school....and let's face it, emotionally, I was not ready. I don't regret sitting out though.

Now, with my job hours being reduced and things taking an even keel again, I'm preparing to jump full force into this thing. Cause, I haven't really picked up any writing since July and my Muse is ready to jump out of my head because it's so bored up there.

In order to introduce this novel to y'all, I'm taking part in the Know Your Novel Linkup, created by one of my absolute favorite bloggers of all time, Christine @ Musings of an Elf!!! There are still five days left to participate in this first part, so if you would like to take part, follow THIS LINK to go to her blog!

Speaking of which.....y'all are probably wondering what I'm writing for NaNo.

Well, I'll tell you first thing - it isn't a new novel. That's right - I'm an NaNo Rebel. Let's face it though, 8 current novel WIPs is a lot and I still have that goal of finishing at least one of them this year. Well, it's gonna happen....one way or another.

So which one of the 8 is it????

It's.....



Y'all are probably thinking - AGAIN?

To be honest, this wasn't the original plan. I was going to write From the Cave, which is the sequel to this one. However, July's Camp NaNo proved that my notes and development on that particular story wasn't as sharp as I had previously thought. Plus, some pertinent history had to be settled in order to flesh out my antagonist's arc...


Currently, this story sits at about 15k words. My goal is to raise it to 65k words. Which I believe will be doable, since most of my world and my characters are developed already. All I really need is to write the actual PLOT.

Okay, I've prattled on far too long. Let us get to the main event, shall we???


1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

It's a bit complicated....but then again, pretty much everything concerning my writing is complicated in some fashion.

It all started when I was developing the idea for one of my first WIPs, which is now called From the Cave. For some reason, I was seized with a fancy to create this whole backstory (mhmm, signature trademark right there....) for these two side characters named Ealdread and Janina.

It all started with this one note:

Janina married Ealdread when she was quite young.

Later, I wrote a whole detailed synopsis/plot on a piece of paper.....and then stuck it on the farthest back corner of the Muse. After all, it wasn't really pertinent to the storyline of my original WIP.

Fast forward about two years.

Being the bookdragon that I am, I was searching Amazon for free Kindle books. (Great way to expand your Kindle library 😁) And I found this book called Pippa of Lauramore by Sherri Tapscott.

Oh my gosh. When I was reading that book, my muse was going WILD. Especially with the purity ring and the marriage tournament angles. It instantly made me think of that little story idea I had stored away, so I decided to bring it out of the shadows and give it a new life.

Later, I got inspired by a real family romance (my great-grandparents), and the book Marcia Schuyler by Grace Livingston Hill, which resulted in the age-gap romance that is featured in the book. Marcia Schuyler was also a huge influence in some of the book conflicts, such as the jealous older sister.


2. Share a blurb!

Hopefully this will be a better blurb than the last one, LOL.

A passing fancy becomes the heart’s trajectory…..

Princess Magdalena has long coveted the honor of being the Blue Star of Duventoliel – the designation of being a royal maiden fit for marriage. She dreams of a fairy tale ending – but how to find the prince of her dreams among so many dashing young men?

Her sister Princess Janina is on the threshold of her own maidenhood, and she couldn’t be happier. At last, she can be trusted with more responsibilities! But as she assists her sister in the preparations for the coming Karala Games, she cannot help but look forward to her own marriage tournament....

But mere days before the Games are set to begin, a tragic scandal rocks the royal family…

Thrust into the marriage market at a tender age, Janina must learn to keep her wits about her in the midst of sisterly jealousy, foreign sabotage, a persistent pair of matchmakers….and a dear old friend who patiently looks from afar.


3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

The story takes place in the fantasy world called Verden. It has several kingdoms and Nation-States including Ceberlandon, Jaquru (based on South America), Shaltei (based on Asia), Maisaka (based on Africa)....but the main setting for this story is a the High Kingdom of....

Duventoliel.

One of my favorite things about this setting is that the geography and the climate are turning out to be based more off of the United States (though there are definitely some UK elements in there). Almost every other fantasy story is based off of somewhere in Europe or the UK and I like to be different for once :).

The Nevada mountains are especially inspiring to me for the Fihell Sidabras, or the Silver Mountains


4. Tell us about your protagonist.

Oh goodness, what else to tell that hasn't been written in this post about Janina????

Janina (which is pronouced YAH-nee-na) is the youngest princess of Duventoliel, and daughter of King Reijo and Queen Carina. She is an Aelfdyn, which is a race that is descendant of an Elvish and human union. She is about 16 years old, has her father's light brown hair and green eyes.

She loves poetry, children, nature, and serving others. She's a natural diplomat, and is of a curious nature, but she can also become petulant, naive and hard to motivate.

She is most associated with the colors purple and white - her birthstone is Amethyst (which puts her born in Waning Spring) and her seal is a white rose.


5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

There are some old stigmas and conflicting ideas, of course - but these are minor things that help build the drama more than anything. The main antagonist is one character - one of Janina's older sisters, Magda.

Magda is 19, has darker green eyes than her sister, and has her mother's dark hair. In contrast, she is much paler than her sister and almost all Duventolians. Her colors are red and black - while she likes red, she hates black because it bleaches her out which makes her look terrible.

Like her sister, she also loves the outdoors. She's more of a survivalist though - she loves to hunt and ride horses. She loves horses a lot - in fact she has several, including some for breeding. She is also crafty - she loves to make baskets especially. Her favorite flowers are called Dragon Snappers.

Her biggest faults are that she's boldly brash, impure, and she's really vain. Her strengths? She is very organized, has a very artistic eye, and she knows how to keep to a schedule.

Another antagonist may make an appearance....but I haven't decided if it's the right time or not....





6. What excites you the most about this novel?


Well, I'll be honest - Verden is my favorite story universe to work with. Working on this novel will bring me a lot closer to cementing some details that are extremely important for From the Cave.

I also love my characters to death - especially all of the good platonic relationships between a lot of my guy characters.

And, I'm really excited to see what my alphas will think of the new scenes. So far, I've gotten some great feedback :).



7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?

At the moment, it's the first of a duology - From the Cave being the second one. At the moment, I don't have any intention of making the series any longer, but I may create a novella or two in that same universe.....


8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

Even though this has been called my most "pantsed out" novel, I'm doing my usual "plansting" style. Most of my scenes are pantsed out, guided by the outlining that is done in the synopsis and the world-building.





9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

Gahh, I hate these kinds of questions. It always makes me think I'm bragging about my story.....

So, I'm going to turn to some of the feedback that I got from my alpha readers:

1. The age-gap romance. Many people stay away from this particular trope, but in reality a lot of marriages have couples that are 5-20 years apart. In fiction, it's a huge cliche for a princess to shudder at the thought of marrying an older king.....so I thought, why not turn it on it's head??


2. The religion and ethics are heavily based in Catholic dogma, Tradition and Social Justice. As a traditional Catholic, I find it exceedingly frustrating that Catholics and the Church are often either ignored or misrepresented. And I also find it exceedingly frustrating that a lot of fantasy novels have too much sorcery/bad forms of magic in them.


3. Detailed world-building. Besides all of the varied countries and kingdoms, I have lots of details about little things like birthstones and seals. Tolkein may or may not have been an influence *wink wink*



10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

I have a whole POST devoted to these extras - the only thing that is missing is a map....which I'm still trying to create *sigh*

I'll leave you to peruse that as you wish :)


Your turn to talk! Are y'all doing NaNo? Is the new blurb more interesting? Any suggestions on how to make a good story map or where to find any map creators? Chat with me in the comments!

Scribbingly yours,

Catherine <3





P.S. Because of NaNo, I'll be taking a hiatus from Maidens for Mary AND Rebellious Writing during the entire month of November, with the potential for it to be extended to December. I'll miss it terribly, but I NEED to have my full writer's concentration on this novel.  

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18 comments:

  1. THIS IS SO UP MY ALLEY. Fantasy and political intrigue and a detailed world and just sdlkjflskjfd. I LOVE IT. I'm totally in awe at your worldbuilding skills. I LOVE how you come up with so many details. I faaaail at that. I also love how diverse the world sounds. I want to visit Verden!

    But the whole story sounds so unique and fun! Being centered on an age-gap romance that ISN'T bad is so, so original.

    Also, I love how the story came about. I am OBSESSED with backstory, so I totally relate to this. It's great! XD

    Thank you so much for sharing and joining my linkup!!! <3

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    1. Awwwwww, thank you Christine, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!!!

      I wasn't all that great at world-building at first, then I got a hold of Melissa Gravitis's world-building series - really helpful, I highly recommend!

      OH MY GOODNESS, I'm soo glad I'm not the only one who is obsessed!!

      Awww, you're so welcome! I greatly enjoyed it!

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  2. OH MY WORD THIS SOUNDS AMAZING. I love what you said about including Catholic elements. You’re right: it’s so misrepresented in our culture and media. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid to watch a comedy show with an actor playing a priest, just because I don’t want to see, for instance, that priest do ungodly things. It’s sad.

    Definitely understand about the hiatus from those blogs! NaNo is going to be intense. Good luck!

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    1. Awww, thank you so much Nicole!!!!!

      Ugh, I know.....the reverence due to priests and the church has disappeared, and I don't like it. And the portrayals in books are not much better, if they're in there at all.

      Indeed - thank you so much!

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  3. Wow, this book actually sounds so interesting! I love unique romances ;) Also, I would have figured you'd done NaNo before ;) And I love the first line of your blurb!

    This is my third year doing Nano. . . my story is called All The Other Girls and is about Zilla and her best friend, Cinderella and how a certain ball threatens their friendship . . .

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Keturah!! No, I've done Camp Nano 3 times but never have done a full NaNo. I didn't get really introduced to NaNo until I started blogging a year ago.

      Ooooohh, that sounds like a fun story! I love fairy tale retellings and this one sounds really cool!

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  4. Loving this, as always, Catherine. I agree with Christine: your worldbuilding and details are awesome. Plus, yeah, it's interesting to see the age-gap romance portrayed in a positive light.

    Good luck on your first NaNo!

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH Elanor!!!

      I really really wanted to play with this concept ever since I saw a LHOTP episode called "Doctor's Lady" - in which there WAS an age-gap romance...the ending got me though...so bad. That's when I realized that there were so many negative stereotypes attached to this sort of a union. I mean, marriages like Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood worked - and they had a similar age gap! So why isn't there more positive examples???

      Thank you!!!

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  5. This sounds like a really interesting story, especially the age-gap romance. I have to admit that the age-gap sort of freaks me out, but that's more because there tends to be a power gap as well, but it sounds really original and quite well done. I love playing with romance ideas, to make them a little less cliché.
    I also love the name :D The White Rose sounds really pretty and the cover is very elegant :)
    All the best with NaNo this year!

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    1. Thank you Chelsea!

      I think that particular effect is from all the negative stories that surround age-gap romances. Any good romance or marriage is based on friendship and not on power....which I hope to portray with Ealdread and Janina.

      Awww, thank you! Believe it or not, I was inspired by a song - and the motif of a white rose just kinda...stuck. LOL.

      Thank you so much!!!

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  6. YAY YOU'RE DOING NANO!!!

    AND THIS BOOK CATHERINE O_O_O_O_O

    THIS SOUNDS AMMAZING!!!!

    ~Ceci

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  7. As one of your alphas, I am excited to read the new scenes!! I haven't read anything new of yours in a while :( Can't wait!!!

    Lia

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    1. I know.....I haven't been writing much....I'm working on it, sis!!!

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  8. This sounds amazing as always!!! <3

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  9. OoOOOoooOoOh, your story is sounding so cool!!! I'm doing Nano for the first time this year too!!! XD

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  10. Sounds fantastic! Love the details you've added within your storyworld and the backstory of the characters. Best wishes to you this NaNo!! Happy writing! :]

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How are you, dear friend? Come closer to the fire, and make yourself comfortable! I'd love to hear what you've been thinking about, even if it's an old post! I only ask that proper decorum be observed.

I always try to reply to my correspondence! Have a blessed day!
~ Catherine