I’m currently reading Katie Mettner’s not yet released, Winter’s Rain, and I’m loving it. Katie was kind enough to allow me the opportunity to be the first to share her new cover with you. And, with a little arm twisting, she agreed to do a guest post about her own personal struggles with Bulimia, something she has in common with Winter, her heroine in Winter’s Rain.
I’m so excited because this is a great book and I am in LOVE with this cover!
Carrie Butler over at Forward Authority designed it for Katie. If you’re looking for a cover designer, Carrie is your lady. She’s incredibly talented and so easy to work with.
Anyway, back to the business at hand. Here is Katie’s guest post and
Winter’s Rain, Book Three in the Northern Lights Series.
PS: Make sure to stick around after the guest post for a GIVEAWAY and more information on the Northern Lights Series (INCLUDING PRE-ORDER LINKS), I promise you won’t regret it.
Thanks for hosting me for the cover reveal of Winter’s Rain, Dana. This is the third book in the Northern Lights Series and tells the story of Winter Cheyne and Dr. Jedidiah Raintree, two little kids who grew up on the reservation together, until fate sent them down different paths. Many of my readers know every book of mine has a character in it that is a little like me. In the Sugar series it was obviously Sugar, and in each book after there has always been a part of a character that is a bit like me, whether it’s a favorite song, a favorite food, a particular fear, or in Winter’s case, a whole lot more. When you meet Winter Cheyne in Autumn Reflections you get the immediate feeling that she’s a woman in danger. She’s hurt and she’s keeping a secret that could end up leaving her dead. Her secrets are many and in Winter’s Rain you learn what they are. As I wrote Winter’s character one of my own biggest personal struggles came out, and that was my struggle with body image and bulimia. Winter Cheyne spent the majority of her childhood, from the age of eleven to the age of eighteen, with a man who told her that she was fat and not worth caring about. (Let me make it clear here, that was not my situation. I had loving parents who cared about me. Winter’s situation is what it is due to the storyline itself.) Anyway, all my life I’ve struggled with my weight. Well, okay I really didn’t struggle with it, I was just a kid. I didn’t know I was supposed to struggle with it until I was about eleven. When I was ten or eleven I attended a program called Shape Shop. In today’s day and age it would be called fat camp, but back then it was a program designed to teach those of us with less than perfect body mass indexes how to eat, exercise, and generally lower our weight. Sounds okay, right? Well, it wasn’t. It was horribly embarrassing. It involved lots of jumping jacks with body parts jiggling, yelling at junk food in the middle of the room, stomping on your favorite ‘junk’ food and embarrassing weigh-ins that left your inner being completely humiliated and broken. Back in the 1980s Shape Shop was cutting edge stuff. This was fighting the obesity epidemic in the earliest stages, but the truth is it didn’t work. I can attest to that because I went there, twice, and I still had a weight problem when I got done, twice. I wasn’t the only ‘returnee’ either. I didn’t know quite what to do about it except that society as a whole was telling me I needed to be skinny. Christy Brinkley and Jane Fonda anyone? The fact was I was never going to be a size 2. Heck, I was never going to be a size 12, but boy did I want to try. I just didn’t know how to keep from being hungry all the time, so I did what any thirteen year old girl did who wanted to be skinny, but couldn’t give up food. I became bulimic.
Let’s take a moment and define that word. “Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, followed by frantic efforts to avoid gaining weight.” Yup, that was me. I binged and purged, being careful to avoid use of laxatives or anything to tip off my family that this is what was going on. I used babysitting money to buy the junk food, and when the guilt crashed down on me I made to sure to hide the evidence, skip meals to make up for whatever I couldn’t purge, or eat small portions as not to raise suspicions. I stole food from the kitchen, often making and eating six muffins then hiding the empty box in my dresser drawer until trash day. This behavior got easier when I could drive and wasn’t limited to the places I could ride to on my bike. The most humiliating part of bulimia is that I never lost any weight. I never gained any either, but it was a very hard thing to get on the scale every week and still be at that same number. I felt ashamed and guilty after each episode, the panic to keep anyone from knowing controlling my day-to-day life. I kept waiting and praying to get taller (like everyone promised I would), but it turns out short French people beget more short French people, so I was out of luck in that department. The older I got the more stable my weight became, but by then it was too late, I was bulimic. It took me a long time to come to understand what that even was. Everyone talked about anorexia back then, but bulimia was mentioned once in health class and that was it. There was no internet where you could read article after article, and blog post after blog post, written by people suffering from the same thing you were, so you were left in an isolation of inner pain and turmoil that never really got any better. The repercussions of bulimia are often the same as the risk factors; low self esteem, poor body image, anxiety about food, stress, and even relationships you know aren’t healthy.
This is an excerpt from Winter’s Rain where Rain calls Winter out on the subject:
“My stomach isn’t feeling that great, I’ll pass on the food,” I said quietly.
“How many years, Winter?” he asked, sitting down on his butt and hugging his crossed legs in front of him.
“How many years what? Was I with Ono?” I asked, my tired mind not making connections like it should.
“How many years have you been bulimic?” he asked point blank.
“I’m not bulimic!” I fired back angrily. “Just because I don’t want your stupid candy bar doesn’t mean I’m bulimic.”
“Phoenix told me. She’s worried you’re going to fall back into old habits under the stress of all of this.” He motioned around the barn and then dropped his hands.
I dropped my head to my chest. “She needs to mind her own damn business.”
He tipped my chin back up, “She’s worried about you. She’s in a safe house pacing the floor wondering where her best friend is and if she’s alive. Now she knows you’re alive, but she still doesn’t know if she will ever see you again. Cut her a little slack.”
“Since I was twelve,” I answered resigned.
“Twelve?” His voice was soft and held a tinge of shock at my admission.
I sighed, “Yeah, twelve. Ono wanted a four foot, hundred pound Chinese woman who did whatever he wanted. Instead he got me, a six foot, two hundred and fifty pound Native American woman who refused to listen to him.”
Winter goes on to tell Rain her story and that she will always be bulimic, but she’s learned the only person who can change the way she thinks about her body, and food, is herself. She’s right too, I can attest to that. I’m 39 and I’ll always be bulimic, but I’ve learned how to look at food as something that I can control, not something that controls me. I’ve learned how to eat healthy and not use food as a crutch anymore. I’ve learned how to exercise to be strong and healthy, not skinny. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I fall down and it takes my husband to pick me back up and say ‘I love you’ for me to let the guilt go. Going to the doctor is still an anxiety ridden event, but I’ve learned if you’re open with your healthcare professionals they can help. Sometimes I bite my tongue really, really hard to keep from saying something in front of my own children that would cause the cycle to continue, but most of all I’ve learned to forgive myself for the little everyday mistakes I make. I’ve learned it isn’t the numbers on the tags or the scale that matter. I matter. I am loved. I don’t have to pretend I’m someone I’m not to be liked.
I wanted to share this story with you today to help you better understand the character of Winter, but also to help you better understand me as a writer. In my stories I tackle the tough parts of life. The things we want to keep hidden in the back of our closet never to see the light of day. I do that because someone out there needs to hear they aren’t alone. They need to hear someone else understands. I understand. I may not have met you, but I love you. I may not be able to help you, but I’ll always listen. (You can find me on any social media site or email me through my blog). I beg anyone reading this if someone you know is suffering from any of the symptoms of an eating disorder including low self esteem, lack of control over eating, secrecy with food, going to the bathroom during a meal repeatedly, excessive exercising, or alternating between overeating and fasting please do what you can to help. Offer compassion and support while avoiding insults and guilt trips. An eating disorder is a mental health condition that needs to be treated in steps starting with acceptance, and then moving through all the reasons they became bulimic to start with. Sometimes love and acceptance from another person is all it takes for the person to fight back, but often times professional help is needed. Trust your instincts and if you think someone is suffering in silence speak out, get them help, and tell them they are beautiful. Most of all tell them you love them and they aren’t alone. Beauty isn’t skin deep. Beauty goes all the way to the soul.
“I opened my closet and stared at the clothes that hung there. They all had the tags still on them. Size 20. I didn’t cut them out because the numbers don’t define me any longer. Comfort defines me. Beauty defines me. All the rest doesn’t matter.” Winter Cheyne
Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read our story today. As they say in the Ojibwa language, Baamaapii, until we meet again.
Granted Redemption, Book One: A lifetime ago Grant Harris was an Australian surfer at the top of his sport, until one wave changed everything. Fifteen years later, Grant has become bitter, lonely, and disillusioned. Hoping to jump start his career he accepts a position in Duluth Minnesota, with no way of knowing how quickly his life was about to change.
A lifetime ago Carla Coffers was a runaway teen with no family, no money and no hope for a future. Fifteen years later, she’s a successful business woman as owner of Carla’s Kinky Café, on beautiful Lake Superior. Her friends think she’s got it all, but Carla still yearns for the one thing she never had.
A cup of coffee, a car, a confession and a cross come together to grant them redemption from their past and hope for the future.
Autumn Reflections, Book Two:
Grayson Hanson likes to pretend he’s a superhero, sent to earth to fight off the bad guys. In reality, he’s a seven-year-old boy who wears those same superheroes on his leg braces, and fights off bullies at school. His mother, Dr. Autumn Hanson, will do anything to protect her son, including leaving her prestigious position as one of Duluth’s top orthopedic surgeons. Hoping for a fresh start, she moves Grayson to Cloquet, Minnesota and opens her own clinic. Steadfast in her desire for a new life, Autumn agrees to be interviewed for a feature article in the local paper.
Kade Franco is a well respected journalist, who at forty-two has had his own share of love’s regrets. As the city’s most eligible bachelor, Kade can have any woman he wants, but he’s waiting for his meant-to-be. Where he doesn’t expect to find her is in the beautiful hazel eyes of the newest doctor in town.
Autumn finds Kade Franco’s sexy chocolatey brown eyes and strong lumberjack physique to be her kryptonite. She’s spent the last seven years building a wall around her heart, but fears it isn’t strong enough to withstand a man of steel determined to show her love never fails.
Winter’s Rain, Book Three: Winter Cheyne was a child bride, sold for the price of a gambling debt. After years of abuse she knew breaking free of his hold would be dangerous, maybe even deadly, but it was a chance she had to take. The freedom she found as Winter Rayne was an illusion, instantly shattered by the high beams of an oncoming car.
Dr. Jedidiah Raintree never knew the truth about what happened to his best friend, Winter Cheyne. Growing up on the reservation together they were inseparable, until fate intervened and tore them apart. He’s spent the last twenty years looking for the girl with the long black hair and almond eyes, but ran into dead ends at every turn. Where he didn’t expect to find her was huddled in his cabin, pointing a gun at his chest.
With the first snowstorm of the season bearing down on them, Rain convinces Winter he can keep her safe until the storm passes, but quickly learns safety is an apparition. The only choice he has is to risk everything to save the girl he once knew.
Hidden somewhere in her are the secrets she’s being hunted for. Hidden somewhere in him is the strength she will need to face them and be free. Hidden somewhere in their past is the key to their future. As the snow falls hard around them, desperation, deceit and death must work in harmony to fulfill their destiny.
Katie Mettner writes inspirational romance from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She’s the author of the four part epic family saga, The Sugar Series, Sugar’s Song being runner-up for sweet romance in the eFestival of Words awards. Her other romance series, The Northern Lights Series and the Snowberry Holiday Series, are both set in Minnesota and are a mix of new adult and romantic suspense. Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving, and married in April. Together they share their lives with their three children and two leopard geckos. After suffering an especially bad spill on the bunny hill in 1989 Katie became a below the knee amputee in 2011, giving her the much needed time to pen her first novel, Sugar’s Dance. With the release of Sugar’s story Katie discovered the unfilled need for disabled heroes and heroines! Her stories are about empowering people with special circumstances to find the one person who will love them because of their abilities, not their inabilities. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.