Sunday, February 16, 2014


Today, we have A. D. Roland joining us with her fabulous book, Winterborn! Now, let's hear what A. D. Roland has to say!

A. D. Writes:
When I was a kid, one of the first books I read was Funhouse by Dean Koontz. When I say ‘kid,’ I couldn’t have been more than nine or ten. Of course, the elementary school library didn’t have an adult book section. I sucked down all the R.L. Stine Fear Street books I could find. Lois Lowry, Christopher Pike, and William Sleator ended up in my backpack over and over again. Any book with a hint of horror or even just a supernatural thrill captivated me. Middle school and high school were awesome for me, because I could disappear into the library (with or without permission!) for hours. The librarians loved me. They special-ordered Stephen King and Dean Koontz books for me. I read Peter Straub, Robin Cook, Michael Crighton, all the big horror and thriller stars of the 90’s, and their entire backlists.

I fell in love with the horror genre. It’s been my dream to write it and have fans of the same authors I loved as a kid read my books. I started out writing corny B-horror-style stuff in the early 2000’s. I started hanging out with horror authors at conventions and even met Brian Keene, one of my writing role models. Being surrounded by like-minded people, I finally felt ready to tackle a serious ‘scary’ novel. It would have to be more than just a haunted-house story. It would have to be about family, about the bonds between people, and how they could overcome insurmountable odds. It would have to be about loss, and most importantly, hope found in the darkest places.

Winterborn started out, like most of my books, as a Nyquil-induced dream. It took a while to take full form, but thanks to my awesome friend R.J. Sullivan (author of the fantastic Haunting Blue series from Seventh Star Press), Winterborn was brought into the world.

Here’s what people are saying about Winterborn:

“… this book will not disappoint you.” ---Lacy, Amazon Reviewer

“This [book] reminded me of times when reading Stephen King books I would be aghast at the horrors occurring but knowing I had to turn the page to see what happened next…I am recommending this to all my friends.”-- Amazon Review

“Ten stars and two thumbs way way up!” --Gabby, Amazon Reviewer

“Roland conjures up a tightly written, fast paced supernatural thriller seamlessly woven around one woman's struggle with addiction and a cheating husband. Winterborn reads fast and stays with you long after. I wholeheartedly recommend this ambitious supernatural thriller--especially to anyone who needs a break from their steady diet of zombies and vampires. 8 out of 10.”--- RJ Sullivan, author of Haunting Blue

Winterborn is a truly terrifying read that I had to stick to reading during the day the sake of a good night’s sleep!”-- Feeling Fictional Reviews

Plagued by vivid, violent hallucinations, a recovering drug addict desperately seeks the truth. Are her waking nightmares a product of her self-medicating, or dire supernatural warnings?

Tamsyn Hallert, an artist, exists in a vicious circle of addiction and recovery, fueled by her husband Sean’s long-time secret affair. The affair ended in his lover's bizarre suicide, but not before she left a surprise on Tam and Sean’s doorstep—Kevin, the son Sean never knew he had. 

Sean moves them to the country, to his familial home near the crumbling Wraithborne Estate, the massive old house with a terrible mythos. The twisted attempt to save their marriage only makes matters worse as Sean’s obsession with his dead lover deepens, and Tam’s grip on reality grows more tenuous. A horrific plot to summon the dark spirits that possess the Estate comes to light, with Tam, Sean, and Kevin in the center of it all. Will Tam be able to save her family, or will the lure of the spirits’ promises be too strong to resist?

Here’s an excerpt from Winterborn.

      Kevin was in his bedroom with the door shut. While he’d been in the bathroom, Tam used Sean’s cordless drill to put a sheet of plywood across the broken window in his room. She went downstairs and nailed the broken cabinet door in place, then drilled two two-by-fours across both doors.
Thank God Sean never started repairing the back stairs. There was plenty of wood to bar up the broken cabinets and windows.
Tam considered putting a padlock on his door. She settled for locking herself in her bedroom with all the knives, guns, matches, and candles from all over the house. Just to be on the safe side, she tied a bell to a long piece of yarn and taped it to the top of his doorjamb, and then to the doorknob. If he opened the door, the cheap tape would come away from either the handle or the frame, and the bell would ring. She slept lightly without the benefit of drugs, so the slightest sound would wake her.
You know you’re overreacting.
“Shut up, brain.”
Tam showered and dressed in soft pants and a T-shirt. She stretched out on the bed, right in the middle, and crossed her ankles, then crossed her hands over her chest. Not once in the entire year they lived in the house had she been alone all night. When Sean worked for the sheriff's department, he managed to stay on the day shifts. He always knew she hated being alone with Kevin.
She rolled on her side and looked at the clock. Ugh. It was too late to call Sean.
Decisive, Tam slung her legs over the edge of the bed. Sean wasn't going to save them. He was weak. Too lost in his grief. He surfaced sometimes, and she believed that maybe he really tried during those times.
In the end, his pain would always be too strong.
Stronger than me. Stronger than his love for me―or whatever attachment to me he has.
If she didn't step out and do something herself, she would lose him.
Do I really want him?
After he'd cheated on her for ten years with no remorse—or have I been the other woman the whole time?—did she really want a man whose loyalty was compromised so deeply?
She heard Sharla's voice in the sounds of the night. “You could walk away right now. Leave him to me. He's happy here.” Her voice slipped into the bedroom, sugar-sweet. “You want him to be happy, don't you?”
“Not with you,” Tam replied. The sound of her own voice startled her. She looked around the room. Empty, the lights blazing, the window blinds open to the moonlight. She climbed up on the bed and stepped on the headboard, hanging on to the lower edge of the window ledge. She pulled herself up just enough to see out into the back field, the acre of grass bordered by ominous, black woods. The wind blew and made the trees sway and dance. A fox bolted across the yard, a moon-silvered streak in the grass. Her biceps quivered a warning, and she stepped off the headboard to the mattress.
Sleep would be good. Her body yearned for it. Her mind sought the relief of dreams, of the oblivion of a good, deep rest. With a heavy sigh, she double-checked her bedroom door. It was locked, and she tucked a straight back chair beneath the knob, just in case.
Just in case what? A skinny eleven-year-old tried to bust down the door?
Tam patted the handgun under Sean's pillow. Reassured, she stretched out on the bed and pulled the sheet over her hip. She tossed aside the blanket. Stress and tension made her blood pressure high, and that made her hot. Plus the thermostat was in the hall, and the huge empty house creeped her out way too much to venture out of the nest she'd turned her bedroom into. The overhead light glared into her closed eyelids. The more she tried not to, her eyes kept focusing on the bright spots. Annoying.
Can't sleep like this.
When the lights went out, the crazy came back, though.
The shadows under the bed would grow and begin to move. They would creep up the dust ruffle and under the covers, where they would find her bare, vulnerable flesh. They would come out from under the closet doors, from beneath the furniture. From the room down the hall, where the axis of evil lived and breathed.
I want to sleep.
She tossed and turned for another twenty minutes, trying to ignore the burning craving kindling in her belly. No, no, no. I’ve worked too hard—
Tam barely felt the cold floor beneath her feet. Stop, stop, stop! She dropped to her knees next to her nightstand and wrenched open the drawer.
There has to be, has to be, has to be something in here!
In the back, she made out the cylindrical shape, the dull orange color, of a plastic pill bottle. She reached in and pulled it out, reverently. Pills clicked together, against the sides.
She read the label, praying it wasn’t an old antibiotic prescription.
Sissy little brother to what she really wanted, but at the moment, she chose not to be picky. She popped off the lid. Four pills.
Good enough. She swallowed them dry and sat back against the bed. The frame dug into her back.
“Why am I doing this?” She hugged her knees to her chest. A tiny black spider crawled up the wall by the closet. She watched it until it crawled into the closet.
Her gaze traveled around the bedroom. Shabby and old, no matter how many candles she used, she could never completely eliminate the musty, aged smell. The wallpaper peeled near the top of the walls, water stains darkened the ceiling. The plumbing barely worked. During the summer, the drafty old house kept them cool enough, but in the winter, they froze.
I’m leaving. I don’t love Sean enough to spend the rest of my life in this dump.
The drugs kicked in, wrapping foggy ribbons around her brain. “You can come with me, Seanie-poo, and…not. Stay here with your demon spawn.”
She sat on the floor long enough for the medicine to take full effect. Heavy-headed, she walked over to the light switch and flicked off the overhead light. Next, the bathroom light. Barely able to walk, she crawled into bed. She flailed out with one hand and hit the touch-lamp. She rolled over and did the same to the lamp on Sean’s side.
Sean’s side.
Tam stroked his pillow. I want to think about this. I want to weigh the pros and cons. Love Sean, stay here with him, and live in a dead woman’s shadow forever. Leave, and force him to choose. Me, or his ghost.
She wanted to figure it all out, but she realized she really didn’t care.
This is why I eat pills like candy, so I don’t have to care.
Immediately, she heard the rush and scrape of scales, the minute click of claws on the floor. “I'm not scared of you,” she whispered.
The sounds stopped. They were still there, waiting. Waiting for her to get scared again. When she did, they would be all over her.
She couldn’t focus, couldn’t truly grasp the concept that swirled around in her head. Fear? Was that it?
Yeah…they can’t get me if I’m not scared.

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