Dariel's World

Hi. I'm Dariel Raye (#darielsblog), an interracial/multi-cultural paranormal romance and urban fantasy author, and every day of this journey is a learning experience. I'm also a counselor, musician, and animal lover who likes to share Indie Author tools and resources, so I'll periodically segue into things music, animal, marketing, or psychology-related. The stars here, though, are books about all-conquering love and romance, and the authors who write them. Enter a world where werewolves, vampires, shifters, angels, and all things paranormal capture our hearts...

You might also like to visit my Dark Paranormal Romance Series Site.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time For An Author's Assistant? Meet Gina B.

Need help with your blogs, social media sites, newsletters? Meet Gina B., Author's assistant. I initially met Gina online through an author friend who offered to host me and my books on her blogs. Snowed under with the joys of being an Indie Author, one of the first questions I asked was "where can I find an assistant?" We've been in touch ever since, so I invited her for an interview. I also included a contact link in case you'd like to talk to her about your business.

1.    Tell me about your journey to becoming a writers’ assistant. What were some of your first steps toward making this career choice a reality?  

     I kind of “fell” into this job. My background is in sales and marketing and
     music and film, so I figured I’d be able to learn quickly in the book/author
     arena.  It’s a HUGE world and I love learning the other side of the books. 
     I am a reader so that made it an easy transition.

2.    What 3 things would you like writers to know about you? 

     I am always looking for more authors to work with. 

I am honest.  I am trustworthy.  I can keep a secret.

3.    How many authors do you usually work with at any given time? How do you meet/contract with most of your authors?  

At present I am working for 3 authors in 3 different genres.  I know one of my authors personally - she got me into this!  I was lucky to get another author through her and then I met my next author at the RNC convention in Las Vegas.  All of my authors have given me weekly hours for which I am overwhelmingly grateful.

4.    What would you say are some of your strongest attributes as a writers’ assistant?

 I care about my work and how it affects my authors.  I like to think of these authors as friends so I take it hard when I make a mistake, I don’t like letting people down.

5.    In terms of social media platforms, I’ve come to prefer my blogs, Twitter, and Pinterest, so I use a number of tools to stay organized and active. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across for authors

Use all the platforms differently.  They each have a specific audience and you need to market to each of those audiences in unique and different ways.

6.     Which social media platform do you generally spend the most time on, and which platforms do you prefer?

Probably Facebook but I can most certainly get sucked in to Pinterest and lose time!  I use Twitter but feel like sometimes the noise in the twitterverse is too loud most days.

7.    Along that same line, what are some of your favorite resources for writers’ assistants? Courses? Websites? Blogs?

I am currently enrolled in Social Media Marketing University, and feel like I am learning a lot from that.  I have been lucky to get great information from other author assistants and have made some great contacts through bloggers and blog hops.

8.    Obviously, you stay extremely busy. How do you handle your many roles in terms of time and resource management?

I am a list maker.  There are lists everywhere!  I still use pencil and paper, I rewrite my lists when tasks are completed and keep everything.  My list making OCD takes more of my time than the actual tasks sometimes!   I set a schedule for myself and really do the best I can to stay on track.  

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Gina. I wish you great success! 
Leave a comment or question below, or
Click here to visit Gina and leave her a message.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seamless Takeover

Check out how the following amazing group of writers get inspired by this picture. Each has 100 words, no more, no less, to come up with their version which they do so well. Please click here and show them some love by reading. As always comments are much appreciated.

Seamless Takeover

“Evening, Mama.” Tina smiled.

“Evening, my pet.”

No one else saw Mama step out the back door and into the colorful lights, inspecting her masterpiece. Once merely a dark alley in the underbelly of New Orleans, Mama had turned “Dollhouse Lane” into a thriving empire.

Her spirit inhabited every room, every corner as she had for 150 years, ignoring the angel of death’s call to rest.

Mama glided back into the club and approached Tina, her entry seamless.

Mama slid from the pole, her lithe, young body swaying and twisting, lost in the music.

She needed a vessel, and Tina fit perfectly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Indie Books: 4-Reviews for 4 That Stuck the Landing

Indie Books: 4 Mini-Reviews of 4 That Stuck the Landing
Yes, I’m a gymnastics fan whose Grandmother taught her to do a straight cartwheel. It’s always thrilling when a gymnast nails a routine and sticks the landing. The characters in my books come to life and never leave me; that’s expected, so they’re not included here. On the other hand, when I read other authors’ books, meet their characters, and they remain vibrant and real weeks, even months later, that means the book is pretty darn good.

I read the following books (listed in no particular order) over the last few years and they stuck with me. Something about the writing, the characters, or both moved me to the point that I still remember them well. This list is not exhaustive, of course, and I’ll post more as the mood strikes. I’d suggest you take a look at these when you get a chance. They just might stick with you, too J

1.             Mark of Cain  by A.D. Seeley
History as we know it is a lie. An intricate web of half-truths and falsifications spun by the most infamous murderer in history: the immortal, Cain, son of Adam and Eve. All so the truth of him and his power can stay in the shadows, with every oblivious mortal his pawn. The Mark of Cain, a paranormal romantic suspense novel, reveals the truth. 

After murdering his brother, Abel, Cain was unjustly cursed by God. When the curse becomes too unbearable for him and he faces immortality alone, Cain puts his energy into claiming the Earth as his own. Now, after thousands of years living his life as some of history’s greatest conquerors, the ruthless first son of Adam finally has a controlling interest in the world with the strongest governments secretly answering to him. 

Tired of the bloodshed and manipulation that has brought him to this point, Cain is ready to relax. But God has sent someone to challenge his interests: a young woman named Hara, whose very life was foretold centuries ago. 

To keep God from victory, Cain sets out to woo and corrupt Hara, planning to kill her once she is no longer God’s Chosen One. At first, as she edges off the path leading toward the fulfillment of the prophecy, Cain can’t help but feel smug. However, the closer he gets to her, the more he finds that Hara’s charitable presence causes him to feel shame for the first time in his long life, and soon he finds that he no longer wishes her harm. But the prophecy is clear on this; she has to die for him to win. When it comes to her end, will he be as selfish as he has always been, or will he sacrifice himself for the love of his very long life?

In “The Mark of Cain,” Seeley spins an ingenious tale using an infamous Biblical character as a jump-off point. Cain, you know, the first murderer and ultimate bad-boy, is immortal, which makes sense because he was sent into the land of “Nod” long before God placed limitations on human life.

Well, now he’s tired of his endless life of mundity, so he’s decided to gain more power and conquer the world. History records many conquerors, but in actuality, they were simply incarnates of Cain in his quest for power and bloodshed to repay God for what he sees as an unjust fate.

In walks Hara, God’s “chosen” one, and God’s perfect chess piece. Cain becomes sidetracked, seeking to avenge himself by corrupting her. As added incentive, he knows that if he doesn’t corrupt her, he will lose his battle with God, everything he’s worked so hard to achieve throughout his immortal existence.

Be prepared to go to sleep with this story on your mind, and awake eager to read more. Suspenseful, full of lovable, real characters with life and death motives, “The Mark of Cain” will not disappoint. Love has a funny way of changing everything.
You can read my initial review of this fantastic book here.

2.             Perfection Unleashed  by Jade Kerrion
When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives--the in vitros, clones, and mutants--collapses into social upheaval. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war.

The alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, does not feel compelled to risk his cover of anonymity and get involved, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.

Two men, one face. One man seeks to embrace destiny, the other to escape it. But destiny has a name--Zara. Assassin.

The first in this multi-award winning series, “Perfection Unleashed” gets you primed to read the rest. In this world-building masterpiece, Danyael (an angelic name, BTW) Sabre has very little memory of who or what he is.

Later, he learns that he’s an empathy with a look-alike clone considered to be the perfect man. As Danyael unfolds the mystery surrounding his origin and past, Galahad, his look-alike, is just beginning to realize that he has a life awaiting him beyond the lab in which he was created.

Book one introduces us to a tiny, yet intriguing romance set to bloom in subsequent books. Sci-Fi, fantasy, suspense, and romance lovers will enjoy this series. Amazon

3.             Michal’s Window  by Rachelle Ayala
UPDATE: July 28, 2014: Sensual content deleted. (2nd edition) 
She lost it all in one agonizing moment… 

Princess Michal is used to getting everything she wants, and she has her heart set on the young hero David. But their passionate love affair is destroyed by her father’s murderous rage. Will David's departing promises be enough? 

David the King is no longer the charming harpist she gave her heart to. The most powerful man in Israel, he falls into the arms of the beautiful Bathsheba. 

Temptation comes in the form of a dashing Philistine warrior. Michal vows to be the only woman in David’s heart, but does she know her own? 

A novel of betrayal, forbidden love, and redemption, Michal’s Window is an imaginative retelling of King David's story through the eyes of the woman who loved him first. 

NOTE: All sensual passages have been removed. If you downloaded this book before July 28, 2014, please go to Manage Your Kindle content to download the updated version or contact Amazon support. Thanks!

I included Ayala’s note because although a work of fiction, “Michal’s Window” is an account or interpretation of the actual relationship alluded to between the Biblical David and his first wife.

Like most of the Bible, the original account of David and his many wives was encapsulated within surrounding deemed much more important than the entire life of a mere woman, so the author’s bravery and ambition in writing such a challenging piece with grace and realism intrigued me before even reading it.

That in mind, “Michal’s Window” was still an eye-opener – bringing the laws and values of Biblical times and their impact on individuals to light with poignant clarity. Viewed through the eyes of a woman who lived during a time in which women had no rights and did their best to survive solely at the mercy of men, David was a man as much a prisoner of society as his wife, Michal.

A romance even my Mother would enjoy, “Michal’s Window” is one of abiding love, loyalty, and survival, coupled with the baser nature of humanity – pursuit of power, adoration, and the folley of pride. This book will keep you riveted to the story, open your eyes to the plight of every woman in the Bible, and draw you into a world where tears, laughter, and simmering anger are par for the course. Amazon

4.             Soul Meaning  by A.D. Starrling
'My name is Lucas Soul. Today, I died again. This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.'

Soul is an outcast of the immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters.

One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. 

Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans.

Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?

Lucas Soul is nearly immortal. He has been graced or as he might see it, cursed, with seventeen lives. Starrling’s “Soul Meaning” is the first in the “Seventeen” series, and I read it before others were written.

“Soul Meaning” introduces us to Lucas at a critical time – he now only has one more life to live, and enemies at his heels doing everything in their power to take that one and end him forever.

As I said in my initial review of this book, I could easily see a movie or series springing from it for television or the big screen. The characters are intricate, complex, and likable, the action taut and fast-paced. 

Something for nearly everyone, if you enjoy action, sci-fi, paranormal, or urban fantasy, you will definitely love this novel. Now, I’ve gotta get my paws on the rest of the series. I believe there are three, now, all with reviews averaging more than four stars. Amazon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Always Running to Catch up? A Writer's Assistant Might Be Able to help With That

Ask nearly any author what they need most, and the response will be a resounding, "more time!" With social media, blog management, writers' groups, articles, marketing, promotion, and a multitude of other possibly enjoyable, but inevitably time-consuming tasks writers are required to tackle today, seems we're always running to catch up. Short of being Wonder Woman, it seems pretty much impossible. Ever thought about a writer's assistant?

Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth James, writer's assistant to award-winning author Mary Buckham. Although she's not in the market for new clients, she agreed to visit for an interview and chat a bit about being an author's assistant. Elizabeth is the first of two writer's assistants I've invited to my blog this month. Hopefully, this interview will offer a bit of insight and get you thinking about what an assistant could do for you. Enjoy, and please feel free to ask questions via comments.

1.    Tell me about your journey to becoming a writers’ assistant. What were some of your first steps toward making this career choice a reality?

My background is in marketing and it is still my main focus.  Mary Buckham is the only author that I work with.  When I first met Mary we discovered that we shared a number of common interests and shared a belief in the importance of engaging with your audience, for Mary, readers.  Mary gets the value of genuine engagement and is smart and committed.  It was an easy transition to work her needs into my client schedule.

2.    How have changes in the industry affected you and your work?

Indie-publishing has been frequently described as "the Wild West" in its current state.  Authors need more than ever to drive their own marketing and audience development efforts.  Social media is very fluid and requires a sharp eye to spot trends.  At the same time, the tools to manage it all are evolving just as rapidly. 

3.    In terms of social media platforms, I’ve come to prefer my blogs, Twitter, and Pinterest, so I use a number of tools to stay organized and active. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across for authors? Which social media platform do you generally spend the most time on, and which platforms do you prefer?

Facebook currently has the best conversion to sale rates for any of the social media platforms so you should build on that platform.  That doesn't mean ignoring other platforms.  You should use the others to enhance and reinforce the main focus.  That said, the whole environment can and will change and authors will need to adjust.  It never ends. I recommend authors begin with whatever platform feels most comfortable then try the others. If you’re not at ease chatting in 140 words you won’t excel at it, same with posting photos or showing up and engaging on Facebook.

4.    What are some things you know now about working as a writers’ assistant that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning?

Everyone has an image of authors writing in a sort of calm, idealized environment, where they have time and freedom to focus on the work.  The reality is far different, especially now that the indie-pub scene is so wide open.  The business end of things is in a constant state of change.  What worked last month may have already changed.  You need to be VERY flexible and willing to adapt to rapid change.  It also helps enormously if you have an aptitude for social media and engagement. Gone are the days of writing in isolation or even in taking a year or more to craft one book.

5.    Along that same line, what are some of your favorite resources for writers’ assistants? Courses? Websites? Blogs?

I learn a lot from the content marketing community.  They have a focus on growing audience that parallels book publishing.  Copy Blogger is one of my favorites.  Writer's Digest is the other outstanding resource.  Their sole purpose is to help writers in all aspects of writing, including audience outreach and the business of writing.  The more I am conversant in these aspects of the business, the more I can be of help to Mary.

6.    Obviously, you stay extremely busy. How do you handle your many roles in terms of time and resource management?

I use a task management and scheduling ap to keep everything together, and I live on my calendar.  The most important things to get right are, lots of clear, ongoing communication and doing effective planning, with frequent reviewing. 

Thank you for inviting me to your blog!
You are more than welcome. Thanks for your willingness to share. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dariel's Friday Flash: Showtime

TGIF! My friends and I are up to our old tricks again...gaining inspiration from the same pic, chosen by our fearless leaders, and writing 100 words about it. This one could be taken as a minor treatise on human nature and the motivation to "fit in," or you can just laugh at the irony. Don't think too hard, though, it's just entertainment :-) For more hundred word masterpieces, check out my friends' posts here

 “Stop talkin’. You fuckin’ up da whole thang!”

Achoo! Carl, you are pitifully locked into your stereotypes, aren’t you?”

“Whateva, dawg, but you want that lady, you best keep all that correctness locked up and act the part. Stop all that nerdy-ass sneezin’ too. What she say?”

Carl bends his ear and leans in, taunting Joseph. “Well? What she say?”

“Achoo! Her post on ‘People Meet’ says she wants a bad boy.”

“Alright, then. Bad boy, lady. English teacher, by yo’ damn self. Whassit gone be?”

Joseph sighs. “Aw’ight, dawg, take the damn picture fo’ I change my damn mind.”

Click! "One 'damn' is plenty, Joseph."