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. Zaidi Features Date Request

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Zaidi Features: Cover Reveal - "Endangered" by Sascha Illyvich




Blurb:
Livía Ilona, vampire queen of San Francisco, and her lover Isabella, have kept The Syndicate and their drugs out of their territory until recently when a new boss stepped in and started making strict demands. Tiring of their threats, Livía strikes a deal with The Syndicate's leader to keep out of Nob Hill. All she has to do is kill the one man who happens to be causing problems—Joséf Staganov. Except he's not just a trouble making ex-cop, he's the key to returning Livía's human soul. 

Rogue cop turned vigilante, Joséf Staganov fights to keep The Syndicate and their drugs off the streets of San Francisco, using whatever means necessary. Aware that his life is on a short leash, he trusts only himself until even that trust is betrayed by an operation gone bad. Now hooked on the drugs he's trying to eradicate, Joséf vows to take as much of the criminal organization down as possible before he dies. 

Except during a fight, the Queen of the Night comes with her lover to his rescue and to abduct him. Capture quickly turns to seduction until Joséf learns the real reason for his kidnapping: Recover Isabella's boy. The human in him still sees the good of his act, yet the beast Livía accidentally unleashes presents an all new threat. Can the threesome recover Isabella's son, topple the Syndicate and stop the threats on their lives?


Friday, April 17, 2015

Flash Friday: "Submission"




My, how time flies! It's Friday again and we're flashing as usual - 100 words to offer our take on the inspirational pic above. Click here to check out my friends' versions.


Submission

Drawn to water before birth, I always loved him.

He never noticed me.

Angry waves crash against the resistant shore, battering until sand submits, dispersing into the ocean, submersion complete, and he vanishes, mission accomplished.

He embraces me now,  nakedness honed to perfection, his viscous touch negating my chiffon sheath, every sensual desire fulfilled. 

Sinewy arms part his waves as he parts mine, long legs thrash against him, releasing a tumultuous implosion, my molecular structure realigning.

I delve deep, in hot pursuit of my destiny, then touch the shore once more in final tribute to the waning sun. I submit, consumed by Neptune as sand.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Zaidi Features: Why An Editor?






Why Editors Can Sharpen Your Story Gems
By Jami Gray, Editor for Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions

Whether you’re Indie or Traditional or Hybrid, as a writer, your editor can not only give you an unbiased opinion on your work, but they will keep your story and its many components straight.

Your character sprouts an extra arm, leg, or other appendage? Dr. Editor will amputate.

Your character is left standing at the side of the road while the rest of your cast merrily trots along? Your editing driver will send a taxi back for a pick up.

A character decides to not only change their hair color, but their height (without taking off their shoes)? Your editing beauty consultants will dash into action, adjusting color and adding (or removing) heels as necessary.

Editors chew their way through the basics—spelling, sentence structure, verb usage—all vital parts of your story, but what about the more subtle parts?  The true skill of an editor will shine when they begin to battle descriptions, active versus passive verbs, points of views, character motivation and behaviors, plausible plotlines, world crafting, and believability.

I’m a sucker for examples, so let’s head into the treacherous world of show-don't-tell. You all know this pit of despairing darkness, because as writers we don’t want to tell our readers about our characters and world, we want to show them. This requires stronger, more active verbs, closer points of view, and vivid descriptions, which will trap your readers in your story.

We’ll use a passage that won’t land me on a hit list, as the author and I share mental headroom.  This is from my first book, SHADOW’S EDGE from 2011.

The original passage read:

Raine moved like lightening to catch the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden gave a frustrated shriek and went after Ryder's face with her long nails, scoring three long scratches before her could stop her.

 Ryder cursed, yanking the doctor's arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward.  Raine didn't spare Eden a glance, but moved in to the cell. She could feel Cheveyo coming up behind her. Using her magic, Raine called up a small illuminating ball of light to chase back the darkness from the cell.

Huddled in the corner was a naked Gavin. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood mixed with sweat-drenched, tangled hair made macabre abstracts over the shaking arms, wrapped around drawn up legs.

This small passage is an action scene, which demands strong verbs, vivid descriptions, and showing the reader what’s happening, not telling them.

Take the very first line: Saying she moved like lightening is telling, not showing.
How is a writer to conquer this beast? They shall craft stronger verb usage.

Picking the right verb makes a world of difference. No writer wants their reader to get bored and move on. The key to recognizing and beating the crap out of passive voice is not to add -ing to every verb or tack on “was”, because that means you’ve begun to travel down the passive trail and meander into boring territory. Spice it up. Kick it around, make sure your sentences do something. Each chapter, each sentence must move your story forward. 

Your goal as a storyteller is to keep your reader up late through the night to finish "...just one more page" regardless of the fact that at the crack of dawn they have a meeting their entire career hinges upon.

Watch what happens when you show your readers with stronger verb use:

Raine sprang forward and caught the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden shrieked and raked Ryder’s face with her long nails, scoring three long gashes before he could stop her.

He cursed and yanked her arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward. Without sparing her a glance, Raine dashed into the cell with Cheveyo right behind her. She summoned a small ball of light to chase back the darkness from the cell.

Gavin was huddled in the corner, naked. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood, mixed with sweat-drenched, tangled hair threw macabre abstracts over his shaking arms, which were wrapped around his drawn-up legs.

Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Want to turn the page and see what happens next? This is the beauty of showing versus telling. It's worth every drop of blood you sweat as you transfer those voices in your head to paper.

Editors will be the first to nudge you off the cliff of show-don’t-tell when you can't get your feet to move. They mind the details of your story so you won’t be inundated with emails, which politely point out the errors of your story. To be a successful writer, you need to continue to grow your craft and your skill set. Editors are here to help you hone your Pen of Magic so you don’t get caught in the subtle trap of “same story, different....” You get the picture.


In need of an editor for your written gem? How about two? Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions offers two editing beasts for one smoking price.  For 10% off your editing adventure, book by 4/30/15 with code WDWSOPEN at www.wickeddragonsolutions.com


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Success: Writing Your Own Personal Definition




While reading an article by fellow author, Rachelle Ayala a few weeks ago about things she's learned after four years of self-publishing, this idea came to me - similar, but on a broader scale.

When my daughter was a teenager, I remember her calling me at work one day to tell me she was bored. "Bored?" I asked. "How can you possibly be bored?"
"Well, I finished all my homework, cleaned up, and got my things ready for tomorrow. There's nothing else to do."
Of course, being the sweet, understanding mother I am, I said "Read a damn book, girl and stop calling me at work with foolishness! How can you be bored when there's so much to be learned? So many things to explore?"

Since birth, my health has been a challenge. Born with a heart murmur, expected to be paraplegic at best after developing rheumatic heart at 5, and the saga goes on and on, I've always raced against time in a sense, striving for something. Thank God, I developed a love for books as early as I can remember, and feigned reading as a toddler after my parents had read the same books to me over and over again.

So, what is that something? Success. Each person defines success in her or his own way, based on unique purpose. Every time a child is born, that child enters the world to fulfill a purpose, unique to the individual, and only that one person can fulfill this purpose in a particular way. My definition of success is synonymous with fulfillment.

If neither money, education, location, nor time were factors, what would you do with your life? How would you spend your time here? Keep in mind that this should be something you have a natural affinity for; otherwise, it is most likely irrelevant to your purpose. In answering this question, you begin writing your own, personal definition of success, unmitigated by the response or lack thereof from others: thus, it becomes something lasting and attainable.

For me, success is defined by setting and attaining certain life goals. Leaving something tangible behind (my books, music, etc.) - not limited by monetary value, touching lives in a positive way so positive energy remains after I'm gone, and fully grasping and appreciating those fleeting moments of joy, peace, and satisfaction. An added bonus is having someone special to share it with.

What are you naturally good at? What could you be great at with some additional education and instruction? What do you enjoy? Just because you're good at something doesn't necessarily mean you enjoy it, so balance is important. What's unique about you? Could be a particular quirk people tend to remark about, or it could be a total package deal. During this short life, how can you leave your own indelible mark on the world, preferably in a positive way?

In terms of goals, there are goals specific to each area of my life that mean a great deal to me, but one thing I learned a long time ago, is that while everybody loves a winner, holding that position is fleeting at best. People are fickle. Whether you've written a bestseller or landed a fantastic job, your influence and notoriety have a shelf-life. People in general flock to the latest, hottest news for a time, then forget about it tomorrow. This is why it's so important to define success and fulfillment for yourself and never rely on the response of others.

Now you might be thinking "but what if attaining some of those goals depends on the reactions of others?" Often, some of our goals do, and the key to being satisfied with the attainment of those goals is to celebrate, record, and collect those moments, but keep in mind that the short memory of others in no way taints or diminishes the fact that you have accomplished something important to you.

One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was when I received my Bachelor's degree. I received a huge notebook filled with my accomplishments from elementary school through college. Every grade report, sports ribbon, pictures of trophies, special letter from a teacher or principal, every music recital, every writing award, college entrance exam scores, every news article, every concert, President's List announcement, sorority or other organizational award was all there.

One of my favorite movie lines from "Shall We Dance," with Richard Gere and Michelle Pfeiffer comes to mind when I think about that notebook (which I still have, BTW). Michelle Pfeiffer is talking about the importance of having someone special in your life who loves you, and says "...to know that someone bears witness to your life...that someone else shares your ups and downs..." Or something to that effect, but you get my point. This is the mark of relationship success - perfect example of having someone special to share it with.

I could go on about this for days, maybe even weeks, but in short, if you haven't already, write your own definition of success based on your natural abilities and desires. Not only is this the key to success; it's the key to living a fulfilling, focused, happy life, impervious to the whims of others.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Zaidi Features: "Spell Weaver" by Angela Addams with Interview and Giveaway




Thanks for having me on your blog, Dariel! I’m giving away a signed copy of Wolves’ Bane, limited edition Order of the Wolf keychain and a signed Cursed bookmark! All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Contest is only open to Canadian and U.S. addresses.

Interview

1.    When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality? How would you say most of your stories are conceived? Dreams? Research? Experience?

I think I must have been born with it. I’m not joking. I can’t explain why or how I decided that I needed to write my own stories but it started young. Like six-years-old young. Other than a five-year stint of no creative writing while I was in university (don’t ask, it’s a long story), I have always written stories.

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

I love roller coasters but I barf after riding them.
My mother forced me to eat liver (the thought of which makes me want to barf right now) often as a child.
I LOVE and I mean LOVE cats.


3.    What role does your family play in your writing, if any? Any pets? If so, how many and what kind?

I have one cat (I’m negotiating for another one) and two guinea pigs (which were not my idea). The cat likes to “watch” over the guinea pigs. I’m sure it’s a loving kind of obsession she has, even when she dips her paw in the cage to swat a bit… purely affectionate ;-)


4.    What are you doing when you’re not writing? Day job? Health concerns or caring for family?

Wait….there’s life outside of writing? Lol Okay, so when I’m not writing, I’m working the day job (which is top secret), taking care of my kids, the hubs usually (when he’s not sick) takes care of himself, editing, marketing, and sometimes…occasionally I get to watch a little t.v. with the hubs.


5.    Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? Jungian philosophy? What do you want readers to take from your writing?

I have a thing about strong female characters so that’s probably the most common thread you’ll see in my books. The Order of the Wolf series is all about the Huntresses claiming their powers and leading the way. The entire world revolves around them and their choice to ally with either the Hunters or the wolves. I think that women can be soft and compassionate, sexy as all hell, and still kick some ass.


6.    Advice for other writers? What are some things you know now about writing and being an author that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning?

It’s a slow build for most of us so you need patience. A lot of it. Also, everyone has their own path and no one should steer you away from yours no matter how well meaning they are. Only you know what your ultimate dreams/goals are.


7.    What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?

My writing friends really help me when I’m feeling bummed about stuff. It happens to all of us. The experience of writing is like surfing in a way, some waves are more challenging to maneuver than others and sometimes you wipe out completely. My friends really help me stay focused and also give me a kick in the ass when I need it.

8.    Other than writing, what’s your passion?
I am very passionate about Reese Peanut Butter Cups…even typing those words makes my mouth water. I also have a lot of tattoos…Halloween ones in particular. So I guess I’m passionate about pain and fear.

9.    Not limited to writing, what do you believe are some of your greatest accomplishments so far?
Getting published with Samhain was on my bucket list so I’d say that’s been my most successful and long lasting accomplishment. With six books in the queue, Samhain has been very good to me.

10.What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?
Be kind to people. Don’t get so full of yourself that you become unbearable. You can have a hundred five star reviews and still have something to learn. Only agree to help when you can help. And don’t ever forget about KARMA. 

11.What are your favorite foods? favorite places to go? Something random and uniquely you?
I love artichoke hearts. :-)
I really enjoy touring old mansions and get excited by Victorian homes.
I'm not going to say anything about chocolate, steak, or Halloween because that's obvious. I am also a book sniffer...but really, who isn't?



Scroll down to see the giveaway after the interview and blurb

Blurb: 

Coloring outside the lines can sting like hell…

The Order of the Wolf, Book 4
Shot by a Huntress, his wolf trapped within him, Dyami Storm is battling a poison that is eating him alive. His only hope is finding his mate, but without his wolf to guide him, he doesn’t know where to look.
The second the sexy bad boy stumbles into her tattoo shop, smelling of booze and oozing attitude, Summer Sinclair knows he’s trouble. She should turn him away, but a strange magnetic pull compels her to help him out with a little ink.
When Summer’s boyfriend walks through the door, Dyami senses he’s in the presence of a Hunter, and the Hunter recognizes him as a wolf. With hackles raised, a weapon coming at him, Dyami’s only choice snaps into place. Bite Summer, marking her as his—and unleashing her powers as a Spell Weaver.
On the run from Hunters and losing his fight against the poison, Dyami is in a race against time to convince Summer her power could change the course of the war…and that his fate is in her hands.

Warning: Sexually explicit. Tattooed, rock star drummer with a tender heart seeking his one true mate. Tough little tattoo artist with a special talent for spells. Lots of hot and heavy, wet and sweaty.

Bio    

Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios.
She is an avid tattoo collector, a total book hoarder and loves anything covered in chocolate…except for bugs.

She lives in Ontario, Canada in an old, creaky house, with her husband and children. 

Twitter: @angelaaddams

Samhain

Amazon

Kobo

BN

iTunes


Only 2 more stops left on the tour!
April 13thI Smell Sheep
April 14thBea’s Book Nook



Giveaway Info:
Angie is giving away a signed copy of Wolves’ Bane, limited edition Order of the Wolf keychain and a signed Cursed bookmark! Giveaway is only open to Canadian and U.S. addresses.  A picture of the giveaway was also sent separately. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, April 10, 2015

Flash Friday: "For Her"



Thanks for joining us! As we do every Friday, we're flashing today. Only 100 words to tell our stories using this pic as inspiration. Take a look at my friends' flashes for an added treat when you finish here :-) Enjoy!

I'm taking over at Southern Vixens on Facebook today. I'd love for you to stop in and say "hi!" My time is 7:00 - 7:30 EST.


For Her

Petra woke early the next morning, praying their night together meant more to him than a tryst, but he was gone.

She stood, tender in every intimate place he’d touched, including her heart, and padded to the vanity, plump cheeks and boring gray eyes staring back at her as always.

Sighing, she slid her robe on and opened the French doors to the back patio.

Live blooms filled her private lake and the jolt in her lower belly answered.

He’d filled the lake and her barren womb with blossoms just for her.

Who would have thought homely Petra could warrant the love-child of a God?



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ever Felt Like You Don't Fit In? You Might Be an Old Soul



Ever felt like you don't fit in or you're not quite normal? If the answer is yes, you're probably an "old soul." In fact, I would venture to say that while the category is certainly not limited to people in any particular profession, most sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal writers could probably be described as "old souls." In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that most artists (writers, musicians, visual artists, dancers) would describe themselves as such.

Another group of professions probably brimming over with "old souls" is the psychology group (social workers, counselors, psychologists, therapists, life coaches). It might be surprising to some, but we have quite a bit in common. There are reasons we write what we write, dance as if our lives depended on it, answer the calling to help others in distress, or get lost on a canvas or wrapped up in a musical composition, and it's certainly not for the money :-)

My Grandmother moved in with us when my Grandfather passed and I was two years old. In that sense, I was raised in an extended family. Both my parents worked long hours, so my Grandmother had a strong hand in raising us. From the time I was a toddler, she always commented about my "old soul."

Apparently, the designation is applied to people who have an awareness beyond the five senses, think not only outside the box, but beyond the norm, and generally spend their time striving towards self-actualization. Usually applied as a compliment, the beauty of being an "old soul" is easily missed by a child who doesn't fit in, often loses herself in colorful dreams, and always seems to have secrets others do not and can not understand. In other words, there's certainly nothing wrong with being a "young soul." I imagine "young souls" fit in a helluva lot better, to say the least.

Well, all that said, I found this really cool quiz I thought you might enjoy - not definitive, statistically sound, or scientific, of course, just fun. The quiz was created by Christopher of kosmiclife.com. Thanks, Christopher! Enjoy, and tell me about the "age of your soul" in comments ;-)

 

How Old Is Your Soul?
Your Result: Transcendent Souls
You're so evolved, you're not even here. Congratulations. These are people who are on their way to the next dimension and probably spend a lot of their time there already.
Mature Souls
Old Souls
Baby Souls
Young Souls