My Sister is Missing Excerpt

Posted: December 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

Thrilled to share an excerpt from my upcoming novel, MY SISTER IS MISSING. Coming soon from Killer Reads…

My Sister Is Missing cover
Chapter One
That old saying, you can never go home again, tickled the edges of my memory and floated on the back of my tongue as I accelerated through the Bare Border welcome sign in my rented Honda Civic. The car was supposed to be the ‘luxury option’. Stupid me – I’d actually expected something fancy, like a Rolls Royce. The Honda wasn’t bad looking, but as soon as it hit 45 mph, the doors had begun to rattle and shake, the wheels threatening to tumble loose, and the peppery must of cigarette smoke from the previous driver was making my temples ache. In truth, I longed for a cigarette myself, but the last time I’d smoked was, well … it was the last time I came back home.
Nine years ago, I’d come to Bare Border for my sister’s wedding, but even then, I’d only stayed for the ceremony and reception. I didn’t visit with family. I didn’t stay overnight. I’d shared the champagne toast, made a clumsy congratulations speech, then ducked out before the clock struck midnight, Cinderella-style.
I didn’t want to stay in Bare Border then, and I don’t want to be here now.
But Madeline had asked me to come; not just for a visit, but to ‘stay for a while’, however long ‘a while’ meant. She wanted to talk to me about something, but not over the phone. My big sister had never been the mysterious type; in fact, she was pretty terrible at keeping secrets, or at least the old version of her used to be, the one I remembered from my childhood.
What do I really know about her now, besides the fact that she’s a mother, and happily married?
I don’t know what I was expecting when I passed through the entrance to my hometown – storm clouds and thunder? An ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach? The theme song to Stranger Things prickling my subconscious? What I found instead was a scene from a movie script, but not the creepy, menacing variety. The afternoon sky was a silk-screen blue, the sidewalk teeming with children on bikes, and tiny mazes of houses puckered out between the only buildings in town— Maggie’s Mart, the elementary school, the library, the post office, and a couple of fast food joints. It looked downright charming and quaint.
As I passed through the town square, I spied the bingo hall that also functioned as a church, creeping up ahead on my left – where my sister was married. From this vantage point, everything about my hometown looked the same as it always had, how I remembered it…
Maybe you can go home again, an annoying voice tickled my ear.
I think the expression means that you can go home, but it will never be the home you remember. Nothing is static; everything looks different through a child’s eyes. But in my twenty-nine- year-old periphery—nothing about Bare Border had changed.
But, then again, this was as far as I’d been in just under a decade.
Rundown storefronts and residential houses faded away as I navigated up the steepest hill I’d ever climbed in my life. Even though it had been a long time, I knew I had to speed up, or else risk rolling backwards.
I punched the pedal to the floor, revving the engine up the twisty incline, instantly shifting around the once familiar curves from my past. The Honda rattled dangerously as I gripped the wheel with both hands.
It’s not until I reached the top of ‘Star Mountain’, as the locals called it, that I realized I’d been holding my breath. I hadn’t tackled this hill since I was twenty years old, and when you’re twenty, nothing seems scary. But now it wasn’t the climb itself that gave me a jolt, but the drop off on either side of it. There was nowhere to go but down, down, down if you fell … and what’s at the bottom? I wondered. I’d never really cared to ask when I was a teen.
Thankfully, the road flattened out again, and right away, I was back on autopilot, taking a right on Painter’s Creek Road and then a sharp left on Knobby Pine. There were no more children on bikes, the old farm roads abandoned. Population: nobody cares. There were just too few to count, although that number had probably grown since I’d last come back.
A thousand times I’d made these turns—making the drive back and forth from my first job at Maggie’s Mart, driving myself to junior prom after Paul Templeton had stood me up, and my first wreck, when I’d T-boned Mrs Roselle. For the record, the accident wasn’t my fault – that woman always ran the stop sign on Lowell’s Lane, which intersected with Painter’s Creek Road.
My sister’s house, and the place where I grew up, was right up ahead, exactly where I left it all those years ago…
The trees opened up and there it was: the crooked old sign for the ‘Bare Border Inn’. It whistled back and forth in the wind as I turned down my sister’s driveway. The ‘inn’ was nothing more than a two-story, eight-room house that my grandparents used to run as a bed and breakfast back in the Fifties. To me, it had always just been our house, but my mom and dad had never taken down the sign.
This place has character. History. You can’t get rid of that, my mother had told me.
The bubbly vibrations of gravel beneath my tires welcomed me home for the first time in years.
I’d ripped and roared through town, but now all I wanted to do was slow down. I wasn’t ready for this reunion – the one between my sister and I or the one with my own childhood. Going back was like returning to the scene of a crime when you were guilty: it wasn’t advisable.
But I’m not a criminal. I have nothing to run from, right?
The house itself loomed like a ghoulish shadow, a black silhouette against a backdrop of crisp summer sun. Only, the sun was fading now, a gloomy dull film settling over the rickety inn…
The driveway was longer than I remembered, and the further I got down it, the foggier the air around the Civic became.
The inn was set back from the road in a clearing, thick woods surrounding it on two sides. Almost like an appendage, like it was a part of the woods, not the other way around. I could sense movement beyond the trees … barefoot children scurrying through the branches, keeping beat with the sluggish pace of the rental car.
These were the children of summer. Bees zipping, bird wings flapping, the rolling water of the creek – all part of their never- ending summer soundtrack. In reality, there wasn’t anyone moving through the trees, only ghosts of the children my sister and I once were. The sticky taste of cherry Kool-Aid still clung to my upper lip, mixed with the sweat and dirt from running in that muggy, marshy forest…
There was a pang in my chest – the concept of family was something I hadn’t thought about in a long time.

Reserve your copy: http://smarturl.it/SisterMissingEB

Request on netgalley: http://netgal.ly/AAbtQ4

 

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How I got my agent!

Posted: December 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

I haven’t made a blog post in so long, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been writing like crazy, and focused on getting an agent this year. I finally have one! I must have read a hundred “how I got my agent” stories while I was querying. So, I’m excited to finally share my story:

On Christmas Eve 2016, I wrote “the end” on a new book called PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS. With 10 novels published by small presses, a co-written book, 5 short stories published in anthologies, and a recent hit on the USA Today bestseller’s list, I finally felt ready to take a shot at getting an agent. When I first started writing in 2012, I didn’t know anything about publishing. It was embarrassing, really. But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I couldn’t submit to any of the large independent or traditional publishers without an agent. And when I read the stats on how hard, and unlikely, it was to get one, it scared me a bit. But as 2017 kicked off, I was determined to get one.

At the end of January 2017, I started sending out dozens of query letters to agents for my new book. A query letter is basically a pitch for the book, a bio, and a request for them to read it. Writing one sounds easy enough, but it’s anything but, and every agent has different guidelines for how to approach them. There’s a format, and an art, to writing a query letter. And to be honest, it took me a while to get it right.

Over the next couple months, I received a lot of bites – agents asking to read the partial or full manuscript. But I also received a lot of rejections. Some of them were quite painful, and I’d be lying if I said that some tears weren’t shed.

By the time June 2017 rolled around, I was sitting on a big pile of rejections. And there was a THEME to them – my ending was too twisty and the story wasn’t commercial enough. I’d had my work ripped apart from the inside out, but there were good comments, too, so I felt like the feedback helped me be a better writer. All of that criticism just made me want to fight harder, write better, and be stronger. I never felt more like a REAL writer than when I was in THE TRENCHES, because it was in these up and down, struggling, lonely moments that I realized how bad I wanted it, and I also realized that I was going to write books no matter what the outcome was. I’m in this business for one reason – I love books and I want to write them, even if the only person who ever reads them is me. So, I couldn’t control what happened around me, but I could control my writing, and finally realizing that felt good. As Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “I loved writing more than I hated failing.” And that was so true in my case. I refused to give up.

Several of the agents had invited me to resubmit if I revised the book, so I got to work on revisions. But a month later, I was still feeling stuck. I felt like every change I made was making the story worse, not better. I was also way too close to the project. I needed distance from it, maybe permanent distance, and that realization was overwhelming, and disappointing, for me. But, finally, I decided to set PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS aside and start a brand new book. There is nothing harder for a writer than setting aside a book and deciding to do nothing with it, but I was going to stick it out.

I focused all of my energy into writing a brand new project, and in September 2017, I finished a story called WHO WE ONCE WERE.

This time, instead of sending it out to a ton of agents, I picked ten and sent out my queries, trying to personalize each one. I received a few quick full requests, and a couple weeks later, I got an email in my inbox: one of the agents loved the book. My eyes darted up and down her email, wondering: where is the BUT? Because, believe me, LOVE and BUT sometimes (and often) live in the same house. But there was no BUT this time – she wanted to talk to me on the phone. This is what aspiring writers refer to as THE CALL (with lots of exclamation points). I was actually holding a jar of spaghetti sauce when the email came in, and in an effort to sit it down with a wet shaky hand, it fell and smashed all over the floor. The kitchen looked like a murder scene, and I was grinning like the maniac responsible for the crime.

The next day, she called and offered to be my agent. But because I’d done my homework on agent etiquette, I knew that I was supposed to set a deadline and give her an answer by that date. This would give me enough time to notify the other agents who I’d queried, and handle the offer professionally. But what happened next was mind-blowing: over the next 10 days, I received 5 additional offers of representation. I talked to agents on the phone, and I even got to meet one of them in person. If I’m being honest, it was terrifying. But it was also very cool – getting to talk to so many knowledgeable and book savvy people who actually wanted to discuss MY book was an invaluable experience for me.

After months of getting gut-punched, you can imagine how rewarding that week felt for me. I wanted to bottle it up and keep it for all those weeks that were not so good. Even though it was exciting, it was also a stressful time. My head was spinning, and I couldn’t sleep all week, because I would have been happy/lucky to work with any of them and I had to choose. As many times as I’d daydreamed about getting an agent, I’d never once considered the fact that I might get multiple offers. I just wanted to pinch myself.

Ultimately, I had to go with my gut – and I had a “gut feeling” about one of the agents: Katie Shea Boutillier from the Donald Maass Agency.

I’d actually found Katie on MSWL Day, which is a twitter event where agents put up their “MSWL”, or manuscript wish list. I can remember thinking “she’s perfect for me” when I sent out that initial query. I also really admired her clients and her taste in books. Katie was funny and smart and enthusiastic on the phone. She knew more about my own book than I did, and she wasn’t afraid to make some suggested changes for the book despite the fact that I had multiple offers. I really respected that. She seemed interested in my career as a whole, and we just clicked.

Since signing, we’ve done revisions to WHO WE ONCE WERE and I’ve completed another new book called THE GIRL IN THE HOUSE. I hope you guys get to read them soon!

As Christmas Eve 2017 draws near, I can’t help but remember last year, when I stayed up all night on Christmas, painfully trying to craft a good query letter. I probably wrote a hundred of them before I sent one out.

I’m pleased with the goal I set for myself and accomplished this year, and I’m grateful to all of the agents who accepted (and rejected) my books. I’m also grateful for all of my writer friends, and for events like MSWL Day that help writers like me find agents, and connect with the writing community, in a way that I normally wouldn’t be able to.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! With Katie by my side, I have high hopes for the future!

WITHIN THE DARKEST HOLLOWS by D.A. Roach
The Demon Hunters Series Book 2
YA Paranormal
Tagline: The Darkness within threatens to destroy one and free another…
Cover Designer: REDBIRD DESIGNS

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ABOUT THE BOOK:
Cassidy and her mystical ring are stuck in the middle of a battle between the Demon World and the Mortal Realm…

A conflict with the demons has left Killian, head of the Demon Hunters, injured and stripped of his powerful Demon Hunter tattoo. Cassidy is tasked with caring for him in the Human Realm until he is well enough to cross back into the Demon Realm. But soon she notices he is acting strangely and begins to suspect something is wrong.

She seeks help from Serena, a retired Demon Hunter, but it’s too late…

Cassidy returns home to find Killian has gone missing. Tyler, a friend with his own set of mystical powers, shows up to tell her that Killian is at his house demanding a meeting with the Demon Queen Rya. She and Serena have to work fast to find a way to heal Killian and get Cassidy’s ring away from him before Rya is involved. Meanwhile, Tyler and his dad have their own plan to make a deal with the Queen.

The Queen has a decision to make, but not before securing her leverage…

Rya wants time to consider the offer presented by Tyler’s dad, and takes Cassidy to the Demon Realm as collateral. The Demon Queen must choose between Tyler, the mate she was promised, and the mystical ring that was forged for her years ago.

Tyler is forced to face the inner demon he has worked so hard to restrain. Will he succeed, or will he be lost to the darkness, leaving Cassidy to be sacrificed by the demons?

As both sides gain alliances, the tension between the realms grows and the time for action draws near…
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30983006-within-the-darkest-hollows

Meet 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

Publisher: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/d-a-roach/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DARoachDA
Twitter: https://twitter.com/daroach12books
Website: http://daroachbooks.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6880131.D_A_Roach

13 preorder is live!

Posted: September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

Now available for preorder!
Preorder your copy here: imagehttp://amzn.to/2cVtuLS
All proceeds go to charity.
13 has always been unlucky. But now it’s turned deadly…
Darkness has fallen. Real and unseen, evil is out there. Waiting. Watching. Biding its time. It might be your neighbor, your best friend—or something much, much worse. It might be the shadow itself. It will hunt you down when you least expect it. It will talk to you in the quiet hours of the morning and follow your footsteps when you’re alone. It’s chosen you…and it always gets what it wants.

13 dark tales await you. Ready to bring your worst childhood nightmares to life, to push you to the brink, and make you question your every decision…

The circus. Your beloved carnival rides. That mom and pop motel you pass every day on your way to work. They’ll never look innocent again. Because they’re not. No one and nothing can be trusted. Not even yourself.

Are you ready to take the ultimate dare? To spin the devil’s wheel?

Be careful…

13 will get you every time.

 

Have you joined the party yet?

Posted: September 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Come celebrate the release of 13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction on October 4th! The party will be online so anyone can attend. There will be amazing prizes and takeovers by some awesome authors!

Join today: https://www.facebook.com/events/1740513162875671/?ti=icl

 

13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction
Coming October 4th from Limitless Publishing!
Will be available in paperback and kindle boxed set.
Proceeds go to the One Mind Institute, an international mental health organization.
Cover Designer — Deranged Doctor Designs!

— AUTHORS —
Bradon Nave
Carissa Ann Lynch
D.A. Roach
Erin Lee
Jackie Sonnenberg
Luke Swanson
Marissa Farrar
Samie Sands
Sara Schoen
Savannah Blevins
Sophia Valentine
Taylor Henderson
Thomas S. Flowers

— BLURB —
13 has always been unlucky. But now it’s turned deadly…

Darkness has fallen. Real and unseen, evil is out there. Waiting. Watching. Biding its time. It might be your neighbor, your best friend—or something much, much worse. It might be the shadow itself. It will hunt you down when you least expect it. It will talk to you in the quiet hours of the morning and follow your footsteps when you’re alone. It’s chosen you…and it always gets what it wants.

13 dark tales await you. Ready to bring your worst childhood nightmares to life, to push you to the brink, and make you question your every decision…

The circus. Your beloved carnival rides. That mom and pop motel you pass every day on your way to work. They’ll never look innocent again. Because they’re not. No one and nothing can be trusted. Not even yourself.

Are you ready to take the ultimate dare? To spin the devil’s wheel?

Be careful…
13 will get you every time.

— CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS! —
LIKE their pages on Facebook!
Bradon Nave: https://www.facebook.com/bradonnavebooks
Carissa Ann Lynch: https://www.facebook.com/CarissaAnnLynchauthor
D.A. Roach: https://www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon
Erin Lee: https://www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon
Jackie Sonnenberg: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJackieSonnenberg
Luke Swanson: https://www.facebook.com/ByLukeSwanson
Marissa Farrar: https://www.facebook.com/marissa.farrar.author
Samie Sands: https://www.facebook.com/SamieSandsLockdown
Sara Schoen: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraSchoen
Savannah Blevins: https://www.facebook.com/savannahblevinsauthor
Sophia Valentine: https://www.facebook.com/SophiaValentineAuthor
Taylor Henderson: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTaylorHenderson
Thomas S. Flowers: https://www.facebook.com/ThomasSFlowers

 

Voting for SIBA now open!

Posted: September 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

Don’t forget to vote in the THRILLER category for Have You Seen This Girl and HORROR and YOUNG ADULT categories for Cheerleading Can Be Murder :-). Thank you, guys!
Vote here: http://us10.campaign-archive1.com/?u=72fc031b1b7e97c79d53f8ca5&id=598941938f