Monday, June 27, 2016

Guest Blog - Between the Bleeding Willows by D.A. Roach

First, I’d like to thank Fang-tasticbooks for having me on their blog today. I am D.A. Roach from Zionsville, IN, a suburb north of Indianapolis. I have three kids, an awesome husband, and am livin’ the suburban life. I used to be a pharmacist, a college teacher, but now have found my way to writing.

I was not the girl who spent weekends reading and writing in her room. My parents were immigrants and did not encourage reading outside of school work, so I did not find a love for reading until I was in my thirties. Thankfully, my sister-in-law put the Twilight series in my hands and said “Read this. You’ll like it.” I said, “I am not a reader, and those books are really big.” She insisted I give it a chance. I could not put the books down and fell in love with the story, characters, and the lore of the world she created. Since then I have read MANY books, some I have thoroughly enjoyed, and others, not so much.

One day, I had a dental appointment and the hygienist asked where our family was vacationing that summer. “We are headed to Gatlinburg. We’ve been going every year since I was 8.” She was surprised and wonder what drew us back every year. So I told her the story of our family vacation that got sidetracked by my dad’s heart attack.  We were a day away from heading home when he fell ill and ended up in the hospital for three weeks. Through some stroke of luck, we met the most amazing people who put us up in their home while our dad recuperated and we became life-long friends with them. She set her instruments down and said “I have chills. You must write that story down to share with others.” That night I went home and began writing Trusting Strangers. The book is very short but it was my first attempt at writing and self-publishing...and my first hit as I soon found I was addicted to writing. 

I then self-published a few books and had a small press publisher approach me for my work. While I did not go with that company, it did encourage me to pursue small press and give that a try. Limitless Publishing offered me a contract for my YA emotional read, Rarity and they recently published Between the Bleeding Willows, my YA paranormal. It is very different from self-publishing, in that they have a say in the covers and edits. But Limitless has amazing covers, editors, and I have made many friends, connections, and have learned so much while being with Limitless. I don’t regret my decision to publish with them as they have raised the bar and encouraged me to produce my best.

So what’s the latest? I’ll have 4 releases this year, Between the Bleeding Willows released in March, a short story in Detours in our Destination anthology will release in May, my thriller short story for the Limitless Publishing thriller anthology, entitled 13, will be out at the beginning of October, and Within the Darkest Hollows (Book 2 of the Demon Hunters series) will release at the end of October. I also will attend a few book signings between now and the end of the year.

I have a top ten list I would love to share with you, hope you enjoy and give my books a read!

Top 10 Things I would like to have known before becoming a writer

1. Your first few paychecks will only be enough to buy a meal at Taco Bell (seasoned writers admit to only making good money after their 6th book)

2. Don’t read reviews (Many authors have put down their pen after reading a negative review. Don’t risk it.)

3. If you self publish, don’t skimp on the edits, cover art, or formatting. (You want your book to look like it’s professionally handled. Don’t skimp, you’ll lose readers.)

4. Facebook has a jail. (If you post the same post too quickly in multiple groups or like too many posts, you will find yourself banned from using that feature for a week to a month.)

5. A street team is not a gathering of neighbors who meet out front to play bball in the street. (Street teams are readers, authors, bloggers who you select to help share posts, promote, and support you and your work. They are your tribe.)

6. Twitter is chaotic. (I enjoy the fact that twitter connected me with some amazingly talented people, but I almost had a seizure watching the posts fly past.)

7. Writing is only 25% of being an author...when with small or indie press. (You have to promote, promote, promote. Make connections, share and help others releasing books, interact with readers, bloggers, authors. Writing is not about putting it on paper and sitting back to wait for the paychecks to roll in.)

8. Write for yourself. 

9. Not everyone will like your book. (You can make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but not everyone likes chocolate chip cookies and so there will always be someone that can not be pleased.)

10. Write! And when you finish a book, write again! If you want to be a writer, you need to get your ideas out on paper and work hard at it.

Between the Bleeding Willows
Demon Hunters Series
Book One
D.A. Roach

Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Date of Publication: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 1680585274

Number of pages: 282
Word Count: about 64,000

Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Design

Book Description:

At eighteen years old, Cassidy has suffered more loss than most…

At the end of her senior year, her boyfriend, Jace Peters, was killed in a car accident, and her grandmother died only weeks later of a heart attack. Emotionally lost, Cassidy desperately searches for an heirloom her boyfriend was wearing in the crash—her mother’s gold ring. But during her search, Cassidy discovers more than her ring.

She finds a gate to the Demon Realm….

A battle is brewing, and Killian—head of the Demon hunters—preps his Clan for the approaching conflict. They’ve been working to secure the gate between his realm and the mortal world. But it’s been nearly impossible since Rya—a voracious demon on a quest to expand her power—devoured the soul of his Clan’s necromancer. Now Rya is possessed with the necromancer’s powers and she may break through the gate at any moment.

Apparently Rya isn’t the only one Killian has to worry about…

When Cassidy accidentally crosses into the Demon Realm, Killian can’t understand how a human girl survived the transition. Now he has to find a way to return her to her own world, or risk her being caught in the crossfire, which is a complication he definitely doesn’t need. Once back in the Human Realm, Cassidy readies herself for battle. She signs up for Krav Maga classes, where she meets Tyler Romaitis—a handsome, tenacious, humble guy. He seems almost perfect, but nothing is ever that easy.

And as the balance between good and evil shifts, Cassidy finds herself—and her ring—at the heart of the conflict for the survival of mankind.

I had no idea where the path would lead me, but I told myself I’d be fine as long as I did not veer from it. The insects hiding in the foliage sang their quiet night songs, and fireflies began to twinkle in the shadows, trying to convince me I made the right choice and would be safe. On the contrary, the trees seemed to reach out for me, unashamed of their menacing appearance. I walked carefully to keep my noise down, not wanting to draw attention to myself or scare off the voice I heard.
The path continued some ways before it joined with a clearing dotted with headstones. Blaylock Grove Cemetery. The headstones were in ruins, kicked over by vandals, no longer marking where the dead were buried. Weeds grew around the grave markers, and fallen branches cluttered the ground. What the hell was the deal with this place? There was a bad vibe here.
I crouched next to a headstone and Googled Blaylock Grove Cemetery. Wikipedia said it was a small abandoned cemetery that was known for its ghost sightings and haunted reputation. My arms got goosebumps, but I continued reading through a few sites. Some believed that the spirits were restless and angry because of the disrespect for their final resting place. In the 1950s, it became a place where couples would come to make out. There was also an increase in vandalism, and it was around this time when the burial ground became known as “haunted.” In the early 1900’s a mob boss and his goons were rumored to have dumped their victims’ bodies into the lagoon at the edge of the cemetery. I looked around and saw a clearing in the tree­line ahead; the moon shimmered off of what must be the lagoon. The image gallery showed photos of the grounds in daytime and with infrared film. Looking at the images only made me feel even more unsettled.
“Jace,” the female voice whispered to my right in a seductive tone. I stood frozen in one spot, staring in the direction of the voice, staying as silent and statue­like as I could. In my periphery, I saw a shadowy figure walk across the clearing toward the voice. I couldn’t make out a face so I stood and followed it, hoping for a closer look. In my haste, I snapped a branch beneath my foot.

The figure turned toward me. His mouth twisted in a snarl, and his eyes were solid black. Despite these deformities, the face was familiar. My heart and mind warred with each other. Instinct told me to get the hell out of there, but my heart still thrummed for the guy who had captured it four years ago.
Seeing him like this, though…

Jace Peters was a good guy, not evil like the demon before me.

The sound of fast footsteps and cracking branches gained on Jace. I looked to the sound. In the dim moonlight, I could only see a large, dark figure running at full speed. Jace took off and darted between two giant willows at the edge of the cemetery. The dark figure dove at him—and they both vanished before they hit the ground.
What the…?

I grabbed my backpack and ran to the willows, but there was no sign of them. I ducked under the weeping branches and studied the base of the tree, searching for any clue. I grabbed the trunk to steady myself, but quickly retracted my hand when I felt the wet sticky liquid. Using my phone light to illuminate, I found the willow trunk coated in a dark sap. Putting my soiled fingers to my nose, I could not smell a thing. I touched my tongue to it, and tasted the metallic warmth of blood. Shining the light up the tree top showed me the streaks started as high as I could see and ran down to the roots. I walked to the other willow and found it also oozed blood. The leaves and branches were unremarkable; only the trunks were affected.
Trees didn’t bleed, so what was going on here? Maybe this place really was haunted. Had I witnessed two apparitions tonight, one being my dead ex­boyfriend?
Why was I blaming this on mystical things? I had never believed in ghosts and I always thought those Ghosthunters shows preyed on gullible people. Well, I wasn’t a gullible person, but I sure as hell saw two figures disappear right before my eyes tonight.
I needed to get out of there and get home. After I wiped the blood on the weeds below, I grabbed my backpack. Stepping out from beneath the branches onto the path between the bleeding willows, I began falling…down…down…down…

About the Author:

D.A. Roach has been telling stories since she was a young girl in the suburbs of Chicago. In college she met the man of her dreams, her happily ever after, and married him 2 weeks after graduating. They have 3 kids together and a pet cockatiel named Gimli. D.A. did not find a love for books until after college. Her parents were immigrants from Lithuania and found tv and radio easier ways to hear stories so they did not do much reading or encourage it. But once she finished college and D.A. had free time, she discovered how amazing it was to get lost in a story.

D.A. is a full time mom and wife. When she is not doing domestic things (laundry, bills, etc) she is writing, reading, creating mixed media art, and helping beautify her kids' school landscape. Oh, and she is ALWAYS listening to music. Her favorite authors include Rebecca Donovan, Richelle Mead, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and Sylvia Day. Reading great works from authors like these has motivated D.A. to write her own stories. She hopes to make positive changes in the world with her art and writing.

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

— George Bernard Shaw

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D.A. Roach said...

YAY! Thank you Roxanne!

Mary Preston said...

A great post thank you. An interesting list of 10.