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Make Me Believe

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I originally published this article in The Romance Reviews

Make Me Believe: Intensifying Your Story With Personal Values

Why do you write? Ask nearly any writer this question and the response will be a resounding chorus of John Keating’s, “We write because we must.” Well, Keating certainly had it right when he coined the famous answer to this question, but let’s delve a little deeper. In addition to purchasing your books and lauding your praises, what should your stories prompt readers to do? This can be as seemingly innocuous as opening their minds to new possibilities, or as life-altering as becoming an advocate for an important cause.

The Emotional Hook

To borrow a famous phrase from the music industry, “writing is a jealous mistress.” Our writing infiltrates every area of our lives, easily becoming a living, breathing entity, personifying our dreams, hopes, and beliefs. I invite you to take a few moments and consider your own personal, unique answer to this famous question – “Why do you write romance?” What beliefs, dreams, or ideals do you express in your stories? Love is the most powerful force available to us – so powerful, so imperative, that no good story is complete without love of something or love of some kind.

There is no better, more entertaining way to focus on the power of love than romance. In fact, for the romance writer, love and romance are synonymous. Yes, the plot is important, but romances fraught with tension-filled relationships move us to action. Love is the strongest motive, and the greatest reward. Our characters’ love for each other draws us, captivates our attention. The more intensely we feel their ups and downs, the more satisfying their happily ever after (HEA), and the more we believe in their cause, particularly when said cause is directly related to their HEA. Surely characters capable of such powerful devotion deserve our support, right?

Romance perpetuates energy, and that energy prompts us to act. We hope and dream with them, and even if our beliefs are diametrically opposed to theirs, we are more willing to listen to their point of view because, yes, you guessed it, they love. Their love creates an instinctive, combustible force in everyone exposed to it. Actually, every book we write, every story we tell serves as our platform, not only exposing our beliefs, but encouraging others to share them.

Causes and Beliefs in Action (Exhibits A, B, and C)…

So what are your values? What do you believe, and what draws you to a story, pulls you into the characters’ world and holds you captive until their happily ever after is achieved? Something makes you care about them, convinces you that they love, and that this love is worthy of your support. Suddenly, you want to see them happy. Is it her strength in the face of obstacles? His desire to protect her? In Gary D. Chapman’s “Five Love Languages,” each person learns to recognize love based on certain characteristics or identifying factors called a love language: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

Each of my series, “Dark Sentinels” and “Dark Progeny”  exemplifies a rather intricate set of beliefs, and at least one of Chapman’s five languages of love is always evident. “Dark Sentinels,” a shifter series spawned by my admiration for ASPCA, The Humane Society, and Defenders of Wildlife, is about a race of sentinel wolf shifters created to protect nature and wildlife in the face of near extinction (sound like some place we know?), and “Dark Progeny” is about the infinity of God’s forgiveness as the descendants of Nephilim attempt to restore their relationship with “The One God,” even when their actions go against everything they’ve spent centuries believing.

In each series, the causes or beliefs of the main characters are synonymous with their purpose and existence. Although each series is different, my beliefs and values are clearly woven throughout the stories, and my heroes have quite a few things in common; mainly, they show love through Chapman’s acts of service. They are protective, supportive, and willing to do anything in their power to help their heroines resolve problems.

Consider the new YA classic, “The Twilight Saga.” The perfectly beautiful, unattainable Edward falls in love with the apparently regular, somewhat clumsy Bella, and their love necessitates the partnership between two races that have hated one another for centuries. Here, the cause is actually introduced through Jacob, the third member of the love triangle. The underlying messages include destiny, forgiveness, and love’s power to accomplish what nothing else can.

Establishing Your Platform With the Perfect Characters

One of my favorite movies is “Sleepless in Seattle.” The movie is based on a story by Jeff Arch and reminiscent of “An Affair To Remember,” and the writers’ belief that neither time nor distance can destroy what is meant to be is clearly relayed throughout the movie. Seattle architect Sam Baldwin lost his wife a respectable amount of time ago, and his adorable son Jonah calls the radio station on his behalf. The heartfelt call strikes a chord across the nation, and Annie, a research journalist is so touched by the call that she writes to him from across the nation. Just in case you’ve never seen the movie, allow me to say the ending is delightful for any romantic, and the characters are perfect.

Strong, well-developed characters espouse your beliefs for a reason. Perhaps something happened during childhood, to another loved one, or maybe they were simply born to this cause. Back story plays a very important role in establishing your characters’ reasons for believing and behaving as they do, and sometimes using your own experiences can make a good story unforgettable.

There is no better way to share a cause than with a story, and a cause that you fervently believe in can add fire and intensity to any novel. Causes, values, and beliefs can serve as micro or macro-plot points, and in a series, a good cause can be the main component linking each story to the next. Let’s face it – we enjoy a good fight, the age old battle between good and evil, and people who fight for or against something inspire us to do the same. So, what do you believe in? Love’s power to transcend time, overcome hatred, heal?  Which characters are best suited to share your beliefs with the world? Why do you write romance?

 

“Dark Sentinels Prequel” by Dariel Raye

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Sometimes a girl has to go the extra mile to capture the man she loves, especially when she’s a sentinel wolf shifter from Washington State with no possible mates for miles. Orphaned in childhood, Dr. Syreena Adler learned at an early age to depend on her twin brother, Sable, and herself, but phone conversations with a Georgia sentinel she’s never seen spark unexpected desire. 

Southern red wolf sentinel Cord Velasquez has spent his life atoning for the death of his entire family. He wants a life with Syreena, but when she surprises him with an impromptu visit, the realization of his greatest fear seems inevitable…losing someone else he loves.

Excerpt

For a split second she heard the voices of critics, but reminded herself that it wasn’t as if she would have ever met an eligible sentinel shifter without going to extreme measures. She shook her head. Syreena Adler had no intentions of dying a spinster, and due to her high standards, she’d never met another male before Cord who stood a chance.

She watched the street signs as the taxi driver took her into what appeared to be the heart of the city’s downtown business district. She raised a trembling hand and ran it lightly over her ebony hair, crossing and uncrossing her legs to keep from bouncing in her seat.

He wouldn’t be expecting her, but she simply couldn’t wait any longer. Every part of her recognized him on a level beyond time or distance. He belonged to her, and she had to see him, touch him. They’d never shared pictures–her idea, but her instincts had never led her wrong so far.

Gray walls closed in on her as soon as she stepped through the heavy glass doors and entered the office building, and she wondered how Cord managed to spend so much time here, even if it was a temporary contract. Just a few more feet to the elevator and she could be face to face with him in moments – her reason for trekking all the way from Washington state to Georgia.

She hit the up arrow and consciously stopped her right leg from trembling. There wasn’t much she could do about her shaky hands. They’d gone from a nearly imperceptible tremble to shaking like a loose motor. Damned nerves. Syreena’s wolf scented him too – sexy sentinel, all alpha male, and she didn’t care who she had to go through to get to him.

 
As soon as she stepped off the elevator, she recognized his deep, sexy draw. His raspy baritone seeped under her skin like warm molasses and forced her to stand still, seismic waves challenging every ounce of her control. She took a deep breath and moved toward the sound prompting her to move hell and high water, her feet moving of their own volition, stilletos clicking lightly on the linoleum.

Other Books in the “Dark Sentinels” series (so far)

 



About the Author

 
 
Dariel loves books, animals, and all things paranormal. Dariel
has written articles for The News Item of Mobile, and Black Health
Magazine
of Atlanta. A classically trained pianist and vocalist with a
degree in piano and vocal performance and a master’s in counseling psychology,
she completed studies for a Ph.D. with the exception of her dissertation, and
finally stopped due to kidney failure/dialysis. She is presently writing a
shifter romance series, “Dark Sentinels,”  two Nephilim series, “The Alerians” and
“Children of Cain,” several erotic romances inspired by blog flashes, a new
serial for her newsletter, “A and D’s B and B,” and a contemporary, “Fiona.” Lives
with a very spoiled Dobie/Coonhound and a passel of black cats. To learn more
about Dariel and her books and be the first to find out about her blog posts, visit her blog, her WP site,
subscribe to her daily newspaper, and join her newsletter.

Other Places Around the Web

 
 

 

Dark Sentinels Prequel Blast Starts Feb.13th!!

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In response to readers’ questions and requests, there’s a new addition to Dariel Raye’s award-winning “Dark Sentinels” series! “Dark Sentinels Prequel” is LIVE. Here’s the cover and blurb for the new release as well as information about other available books in the series.

“Dark
Sentinels Prequel”
Sometimes a girl has to go the extra mile to capture
the man she loves, especially when she’s a sentinel wolf shifter from Washington state with no possible mates for miles.
 
Orphaned in childhood, Dr. Syreena Adler learned at
an early age to depend on her twin brother, Sable, and herself, but phone conversations with a Georgia sentinel she’s never seen spark unexpected desire.
 
Southern red wolf sentinel Cord Velasquez has spent
his life atoning for the death of his entire family. He wants a life with Syreena, but when she surprises him with an impromptu visit, the realization his greatest fear seems inevitable.
Amazon            Barnes and Noble
 
 
Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable 
Sable, a sentinel wolf shifter, is captured and
locked in his wolf form until Akila, a veterinarian, tries to tame
him and unleashes a 6’5″ baby blue-eyed surprise.
Dr. Akila Marshall is a veterinarian with a calling – save
as many stray animals as possible. The only child of wealthy, yet distant parents, she’s convinced that love is not for her. Until…
Sable’s search for his twin sister leads him to Akila. Born
into a rare species of wolf shifters whose main purpose is protecting others, he has always been forced to fend for himself, but Akila’s loving, protective nature draws him – and not a moment too soon. Together, they must learn to trust each other enough to overcome a new, deadly enemy.
“Dark Sentinels
Book Two: Torin”
When greedy land developers set their sights on Dark Sentinel land, Torin turns to attorney Stephanie Bates for help, but she’ll need his protection to stay alive long enough to save his land.
Real estate lawyer, Stephanie Bates, has risen to the top of her field through meticulous sacrifice and goal setting. She has no time for distractions – and that includes pets, messy relationships, and loose ends.
Torin DuMont is a forensic scientist who chose the profession to avoid dealing with people as much as possible. Raised by a stepfather who hated him, he’s been forced to live a life of solitude, fueled by anger and distrust.
When wolves and shifters start turning up dead, Torin must battle an enemy bent on destroying those he was born to protect. His greatest challenge, however, is Attorney Bates and the surprising effect she has on his heart.
 

      Prequel– Amazon            Sable– Amazon            Torin– Amazon
                                               Paperback– Amazon
       Prequel– B&N                Sable– B&N                    Torin– B&N
                                      Jordan’sWings – Amazon
 On
the Web

 

Starts 2/13/2014 – check my blogger site
for tour hosts and dates!

New Release: Dark Sentinels Prequel

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Dark Sentinels Prequel cover3

“Dark Sentinels Prequel” New Release!!

Psst! Official release day is 2/13/2014, but it’s already LIVE!!

Sometimes a girl has to go the extra mile to capture the man she loves, especially when she’s a sentinel wolf shifter from Washington state with no possible mates for miles.

Orphaned in childhood, Dr. Syreena Adler learned at an early age to depend on her twin brother, Sable, and herself, but phone conversations with a Georgia sentinel she’s never seen spark unexpected desire.

Southern red wolf sentinel Cord Velasquez has spent his life atoning for the death of his entire family. He wants a life with Syreena, but when she surprises him with an impromptu visit, the realization of his greatest fear seems inevitable.

“Dark Sentinels Prequel” – Amazon    “Dark Sentinels Prequel” – B&N

dark sentinels

“Dark Sentinels – Book One: Sable” 

Sable, a sentinel wolf shifter, is captured and locked in his wolf form until Akila, a veterinarian, tries to tame him and unleashes a 6’5″ baby blue-eyed surprise.

Dr. Akila Marshall is a veterinarian with a calling – save as many stray animals as possible. The only child of wealthy, yet distant parents, she’s convinced that love is not for her. Until…

Sable’s search for his twin sister leads him to Akila. Born into a rare species of wolf shifters whose main purpose is protecting others, he has always been forced to fend for himself, but Akila’s loving, protective nature draws him – and not a moment too soon. Together, they must learn to trust each other enough to overcome a new, deadly enemy.

“Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable” on Amazon

“Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable” on Barnes & Noble

“Dark Sentinels One and Two” Paperback

Torin_final cover

“Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” 

When greedy land developers set their sights on Dark Sentinel land, Torin turns to attorney Stephanie Bates for help, but she’ll need his protection to stay alive long enough to save his land.

Real estate lawyer, Stephanie Bates, has risen to the top of her field through meticulous sacrifice and goal setting. She has no time for distractions – and that includes pets, messy relationships, and loose ends.

Torin DuMont is a forensic scientist who chose the profession to avoid dealing with people as much as possible. Raised by a stepfather who hated him, he’s been forced to live a life of solitude, fueled by anger and distrust. When wolves and shifters start turning up dead, Torin must battle an enemy bent on destroying those he was born to protect. His greatest challenge, however, is Attorney Bates and the surprising effect she has on his heart.

“Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” at Amazon

“Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” at Barnes & Noble

“Dark Sentinels” Trailer

jordan's wings 200x300

“Jordan’s Wings” (The Alerians – Dark Progeny Book One) 

Jordan Taylor is a feisty, take charge, Rubinesque beauty with a tough façade, but after a string of lackluster relationships, her dream of a man who truly loves and appreciates her strength seems impossible…Until she meets Canaan, the man her fiancé claims is his best friend! Instinctively, she knows her neat, if lackluster life is about to change.

Born more than 200 years ago, Canaan looks like an angel but he’s far from it. In his world, the ratio of men to women is 500 to 1, and although he’s a superior being, he’s willing to break the most sacred law of his brothers, even drink human blood, to have one meant for him alone.When he meets Jordan, he knows she’s the one he’s been searching for.  To claim her, Canaan will have to betray his friend, humble himself enough to win her love, and risk his very life.

“The Alerians – Dark Progeny: Jordan’s Wings”

“The Alerians –Dark Progeny: Jordan’s Wings” at Amazon

Kaden's Reprieve Cover

“Untameable Heat: Kaden’s Reprieve”

Get it at Amazon

Get it at B&N

Tanya has been running for her life for two years, but when Ms. Lillian, owner of the exclusive “Heaven’s Touch” match making service, graciously gives her a week’s stay at her private bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, FL, she seizes the opportunity to escape to a possible hideaway.

Kaden is of a rare and precious race prized for extraordinary abilities. He is also half-demon, remanded to Kushiel’s custody centuries ago. Allowed leave from Hell twice a year, three days each time – Beltane, and Samhain, his life thus far has been filled with slavery, torture, and despair, and he is nearly convinced that his soul is beyond redemption. Still, he longs for freedom. Can Tanya redeem him? Can Kaden dare hope for a reprieve?

On the Web

Dariel’s Blog        Dariel’s Website

Dariel’s Newsletter         Dariel on Twitter

Facebook Page            Dariel’s Amazon Author Page

Dariel on Goodreads           The Romance Troupe

Rafflecopter

Starts 2/13/2014 – check my blogger site for tour hosts!

 

 

Cover Reveal: “Dark Sentinels Prequel”

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Dark Sentinels Prequel cover3

Just finished the “Dark Sentinels” prequel in response to questions and requests, but since it is a prequel with events leading into “Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable,” it ends with a major cliffhanger. In other words, you’ll have to read book one to find out about the resolution. It introduces Syreena and tells her story with Cord. I’ll include this statement: Due to the unsettling cliffhanger at the end of this novella, it is suggested that you read “Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable” first. So…here’s the blurb.

“Dark Sentinels Prequel”

Sometimes a girl has to go the extra mile to capture the man she loves, especially when she’s a sentinel wolf shifter from Washington State with no possible mates for miles. Orphaned in childhood, Dr. Syreena Adler learned at an early age to depend on her twin brother, Sable, and herself, but phone conversations with a Georgia sentinel she’s never seen spark unexpected desire.

Southern red wolf sentinel Cord Velasquez has spent his life atoning for the death of his entire family. He wants a life with Syreena, but when she surprises him with an impromptu visit, the realization of his greatest fear seems inevitable.

Bringing in the New Year with a Reunion!

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New Year 2014

Starting New Year’s Eve, join us to bring in 2014 in style! Thirty-five authors who’ve been featured on my blog before. The pre-reunion post containing “things we love” will be live on New Year’s Eve at my blogger site. When you come by, I’ll have some easy instructions for a little game we’re gonna play. Two winners will receive an ebook of choice from the participants, and I’ve made it easy for you to see what each one’s got to offer. Something to suit every taste :-)

Every day, January 1st – 7th, will feature 4 or 5 of my friends and authors. Each one chose whether to do a book feature post, interview, or article, so you’ll have a variety of interviews, fun articles, and excerpts. There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway with mega-prizes so your chances of winning something are pretty good, and every day you comment with your email address, the chances of you winning get even better. Here’s the schedule of authors. Click here to visit. Hope to see you there!

Dec. 31st – “Three Things You Love” – Doris O’Connor, L.J. Kentowski, P.T. Macias, Chantel Rhondeau, Tricia Schneider, Kayelle Allen, R.L. Naquin, Dara Young, Zenobia Renquist, Mia Darien, Jami Gray, BR Kingsolver, Krystal Shannan, Maegan, Provan, Ann Gimpel, and Melissa Keir

Jan. 1st – Vallory Vance, Sky Purington, Doris O’Connor, Katie Jennings

Jan. 2nd – L.J. Kentowski, Catrina Barton, LaVerne Thompson, P.T. Macias, R.L. Naquin

Jan. 3rd – Christine James, Chantel Rhondeau, Tricia Schneider, J.B. Brooklin, Vanna Smythe

Jan. 4th – Kayelle Allen, Dara Young, PL Parker, Zenobia Renquist, Jessica Nicholls

Jan. 5th – Mia Darien, Jami Gray, Maya Pruett, BR Kingsolver, Lia Davis

Jan. 6th – Alexandra Anthony, Abigail Owen, Danita Minnis, Maegan Provan, Krystal Shannan

Jan. 7th – Rachelle Ayala, Ann Gimpel, Jade Kerrion, Melissa Keir, Beth Trissel

Two More Five-Star (*****) Reviews via Colleen Everly!!

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This is always a pleasant find!! Just when you’re feeling like you’ll never get the next book written or your books will never see the light of day, never seen, simply collecting cobwebs as their spark dims in obscurity, an angel comes along and not only reads one of your books but posts a five-star (*****) review!! Here they are, short and sweet with no spoilers. LOL

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“Untameable Heat: Kaden’s Reprieve”

5.0 out of 5 stars Kaden, November 14, 2013
This review is from: Untameable Heat: Kaden’s Reprieve (Kindle Edition)

Loved this book, enjoyed the aspect of two souls searching for love and finding it in what was supposed to be a couple days of sex set up by a friend. I felt so sorry for Kaden growing up the way he did.

“Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable”
5.0 out of 5 stars Sable, November 14, 2013
This review is from: Dark Sentinels Book One:Sable (Kindle Edition)

Really liked this book. Just love a good shifter story. I liked that even though he was in wolf form she still didn’t fear him. I also liked how she came to terms with him being a shifter.

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