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Friday, November 7, 2014


Title: The 52nd

Author: Dela  

Release date: October 27th, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Book Description:
Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived--until now.
On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.
Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.

As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn't so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.


Guest Post
Finding Your Avenues When Life Changes Course

Hi! I’m Dela (pronounced Day-La), and I wrote THE 52ND.

When I started THE 52ND I knew that I needed to create something that had never been done before. The market was saturated with incredible writers, and while I wanted to be known for that, I knew that I first needed a fresh plot that would be like a shiny gold coin mixed in a slimy pile of mud.

In searching for my ‘gold coin’ I discovered a jewel for myself: finding other avenues when life doesn’t seem to go as planned. I always thought writing had to be one way. Just like I always thought there was only one right way to load a dishwasher, or only one right way to end the book. What I learned when writing was instead of accepting the horrible parts of becoming a new writer and not knowing how to do it while simultaneously dealing with real life (“Okay, this is just how it’s going to be” was my mentality. “Okay, all writers don’t do the laundry. All writers go in a cave. All writers are this unhappy.”), I learned that it wasn’t true. There are other avenues to take when breaking a tradition (because we all know there was a whole lot of tradition breaking with me going from housewife to writer. And THE 52ND is all about breaking tradition and how you do it.

The most important avenue I learned as a new writer (and unfortunately was the last to learn) was to set a balance. I’m ashamed to say it took me waaaay to long to figure this one out. I had no concept of balance in my life when I started writing THE 52ND. I’m the personality that when I start something, I feel the need to go crazy and consume my life in it until it’s complete. But it wasn’t possible with the task of writing a novel. I was going crazy. My family was going crazy. I was home, but I wasn’t. It was incredibly hard. I don’t understand how new authors say they wrote their first book in weeks. It blows my mind. It literally took me intervention to realize how bad I was, and how good it could be! Finishing the book, nearly 4 years later, was so much better than when I started because I had balance. I knew if I didn’t get something done that day, it could get done the next day. Also a bonus for learning this: my health improved from losing all that stress!

The next avenue was how to properly set goals. Before I saw-the-ways-of-balance I set goals that were unrealistic. It drove me nuts because I couldn’t write those 5k words that I wanted if I had to take my car in the shop, or whatever else that came up and prevented me from achieving my goal. What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t those things that stopped me from reaching them. It was me. I was setting unrealistic goals and whenever anything got in the way of it I would get mad and blame them. It was so unhealthy and sad. I remember one day I had a moment where it came to me so clearly. I was missing life. I was missing my children growing up. And it made me sadder. I didn’t want to be like that or miss out on happy moments. By taking this avenue of choosing to be happy and being ‘present’ for my family, even when I had goals to work on, I was actually getting inspired a lot more for THE 52ND. I realized that living life was fun and I was happier. And when I actually sat down to write, it would come so quickly and naturally.

The last avenue I learned was to be a chameleon. When sh*! happens, adapt what you’re doing to pull you through. But whatever you do, don’t change who YOU are. I learned to be me in situations I never thought I would see myself in, let alone see myself pulling out of it alive! Curve balls were being thrown at me and instead of forking up my writing and being angry, I changed how I worked. If nighttime writing sessions worked before but suddenly didn’t work because of the exhaustion those curve balls gave me, I would go to bed early and wake up early. No matter what I kept on working towards the finish line. It was tough. But I’m so glad I stuck with it.

Now, why am I talking about this? Because who of all people had huge hurdles to overcome? Zara & Lucas. They have to break a tradition that’s been going on for hundreds of years with their LIVES at stake. For Zara, being the 52nd sacrifice and having executioners after her wasn’t easy. She was about to embark on her first year of college with friends but when you’re chosen, you’re chosen. There was no changing that. She had to learn quickly how to adapt to her situation rather than let it take over her. I think she did a pretty good job at it too. Probably better than I would have.

About the Author:

Melissa Ballard, nicknamed Dela after her maiden name De La Paz, had no
idea that her days of changing diapers and picking up spills would coerce to feeding exotic jaguars and training with gods.
When driving home from an anniversary trip in January 2011, THE 52ND’s main characters, Zara and Lucas, appeared very vividly in her mind. The relationship between the two was so intriguing that Dela returned home and immediately began writing a scene between the two. Within a few days it was apparent these fictional characters were like another child. They needed to be tended to, and too embarrassed to continue, Dela set down her laptop and continued on with her life as a mom. Only Zara and Lucas weren’t so easily ignored, and in April Dela picked up the computer again and began writing.
Dela lives in Las Vegas with her husband, three children, and two very, fat Chihuahuas.
Now, nearly 4 years later, THE 52ND will be available for release October 27, 2014.

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