Monthly Archives: March 2022

Who’s brave enough to disturb the paranormal mysteries of the forest? #MFRWHooks

THE next morning, Lane found something a little out of the routine, an email from a woman named Chiara DeLuna, who introduced herself as a ‘paranormal investigations professional’.

      Lane shook his head as he read the email.

      First off, if your title includes the word ‘professional’ I’m going to think you’re a little insecure. And if you’re that insecure, you probably don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

      And if you’re coming to ask me for help, then I think maybe we’re both on the trail to Pretty Well Lost.

      He read it again, strictly for entertainment value. “Dear Mr. Donatelli: Perhaps you know my name, Chiara DeLuna, Professional Investor of all things paranormal and weird? My television show on the YES cable network has won several awards, and I have busted myths and legends around the country and also on an international scale. In researching my latest project, I find that not a lot is available on mystical happenings in your local forests, other than the usual Native American spirit legends. I know your book is fiction, but something about the way you tell this story shows me you know more than you’re sharing about what goes on in those deep, dark woods. The Montana Vortex is located just north of the area you wrote about. Are you familiar with this? I’m thinking of featuring this site in one of my upcoming programs. If you’d be willing to be interviewed, I’d love to spend some time picking your brain. You could be one of my on screen sources, maybe even get in a plug for your book. What do you say? I’ll be in Missoula in a few weeks, and I’d love to get together and buy you a drink. Or coffee, maybe, at that little Butterfly coffee shop you wrote about? I’ve included my cell phone number and email address. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”

      She signed her name with a little circle above it. Or was that a halo?

      Lane chuckled. “Oh, lady, if you only knew what I could tell you about those woods.”

THE ELF GUARDIAN Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book IV): The strong Earth energies that support the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot have gone awry for unknown reasons, and the powerful forces at work have not gone unnoticed by the outside world.

Can Max get humans, mages, and elves working together in time to save the land before the energies spin out of control? Or is this the end of the elven world in the Bitterroot Mountains? 

When a paranormal investigator looking for a story to save her career is told a fantastic tale by the juvenile and disobedient elf prince Elliun, his young albino elf bodyguard Max must try to fix the mistake.

Adventure is a dog!


Hey Lyndi! So glad to be here! Thought we’d chat about the canine companion in An Angel’s Wylder Assignment her name is Adventure. Writing this book was a bit out of my wheelhouse. It’s a paranormal romance/mystery/historical/time travel/western adventure. Challenged me at every turn, but in the end I believe it’s one of my best.

Meet Adventure, canine companion, from An Angel’s Wylder Assignment by Tena Stetler

Full name: Adventure

Nickname: Addy

Gender: Female

Species: Canine

Physical description: very furry buff colored, curly tail, with blue tongue about 65 lbs, friendly but protective.

Relationship to main character: She kinda belongs to the Blacksmith shop. Killian and Chinoah took over the blacksmith shop when they arrived from the future. Chinoah and the dog bonded immediately. She promised to never leave the dog on its own again. She named it Adventure because of events in the dog’s life .

Relationship to the villain/antagonist: None

Where this furbaby came from: The dog was a stray. The old owner took her in during frigid weather and left her at the blacksmith shop when he moved due to health issues.

Do you have any working or service animals in your stories? Tell us about them.

I have several working or service animals in most of my stories. A Witch’s Journey Series is all about animal rescue. Several animals in these stories have duties. The animals in my other stories are companions, mostly.

What inspired you to create this character?

Well, I try to have companion animals in most of my stories. They add so much to our daily lives and do the same to the characters in my books. Adventure seemed to just come as part of the story when I started writing it. I’m what is known as a panster (write by the seat of my pants) so my stories are character driven. Adventure stole the story in many ways and even saved a life.

What does the main character think about this furbaby? There is a deep bond there because Chinoah is a wolf shifter. Once Adventured learned to trust Chinoah in both forms they were inseparable. Killian enjoys a good bond with Adventure but not like Chinoah. He was a bit worried she Chinoah announced that the pup would be returning to present day with them when the assignment was over.

What does this furbaby add to the story? Humorous events, Heroic event, and heartwarming details.

What about this furbaby will readers like, and why? Adventure is loyal, protective and adds another layer of feel good to the book.

Please share an interesting fact or tidbit about this furbaby.

She knows the town inside and out. Time travel or porting by magic from place to place doesn’t phase her at all.

Describe a humorous incident involving the animal character.

When Chinoah shifts into a wolf, Adventure is a bit taken back. Not quite sure what to do with this wolf in her domain. The dog gets over it rapidly.

Killian indicates Adventure must stay at the blacksmith shop while he and Chinoah port to another place in Wyoming. Chinoah disagrees and the dog jumps into her arms just as they ported. No way Adventure was going to be left behind.

Another reoccurring one is that the pup always pushes her way into the buildings first then runs straight to her rug by the wood burning stoves.

Tell us a little about the story:

Warrior Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where and stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.

Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in the year 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends.

Nothing is as it seems.  They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman.  On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time? 

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A Peek Between the Pages of An Angel’s Wylder Assignment:

Clambering out of the wagon, the knot in Chinoah’s belly tightened. She followed Ray and Lily up the narrow footpath. Killian brought up the rear. The rock walls were multi-colored layers of red, orange, and yellow rock in a deeply eroded river canyon. A filmy form of a Native American dressed in what she considered chieftain ceremonial clothes wavered over the water then at the canyon’s edge against the rock walls. She waved her hand toward the form. “You seeing this?”

“What?” Ray looked in her direction. “Not seeing anything.” He paused at a stone section where bird images and bird/human hybrids were carved into the rock. He nodded to her. She reached out hesitantly and held her hand a few inches off the face of the rock. Nothing. She blew out a breath and relaxed a little. Ray moved on.

It wasn’t until the path ended and they had to pick their way down a steep slope that the Native American spirit made another appearance. Halfway down the path, her feet slipping and sliding over loose rocks and gravel, the toe of her boot caught on an arched root sticking out of the ground. She pitched forward. Her hands came up in front of her in an attempt to avoid face-planting on the rock’s surface. Something cool grabbed her arms and set her on her feet. Looking into the misty, high cheek-boned face of the chieftain, she gawked. When she peered into his eyes, she felt sorrow, disillusion, and pain. She gulped in air.

They must be stopped. You’re destined to make it happen. A male voice echoed through her mind. A picture of a log room formed in her mind then was gone. Before she could respond, the apparition disappeared, and so did the cold that had engulfed her.

Ok, how about a little about the Author?

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal tales. Some call her crazy others creative. She deals with the voices in her head by writing them down and creating a fantasy world and characters you won’t soon forget.  Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, magic, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a fifty-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors. During the winter you can find her curled up in front of the fireplace with a good book, bowl of popcorn and mug of hot chocolate.

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The things you do when you’re broke… #MFRWHooks

When a high level government man calls your unknown mercenary ship to transport some cargo, should you worry? Or take the money and run? #sciencefictionromance #alienlove #genderfluidmenage #lovethosespacecowboys #HorizonCrossover

Valeni Pascual wants to be free to make a living hauling cargo with her spaceship and to understand the shapeshifting alien who presents sometimes as the steamy male Nik and other times as the blonde bombshell Nikki.

As a rebel insurgence builds against the oppressive government known as the Agency, Valeni and Nik/Nikki encounter a sexy Terran cowboy named Garrett Rawls. Since being pulled into this region of space by another mysterious wormhole, Garrett has looked for a way to return to Earth. After meeting Valeni and Nikki, he might have found something worth staying for.

However, dark forces may have a much bigger picture in mind for all of them. Valeni, Nik/Nikki, and Garrett are pulled into a life and death fight that lays bare all of their secrets and their desires. Will they lose everything as the battle against the Agency rages around them or can love pull them through? [A Horizon Crossover series novel]


The ones that seem so easy go sour the quickest. Every time.

     Valeni Pascual’s throat tightened. Hot sweat ran down between her shoulders, and her finger itched for her trigger. Too bad her gun was behind her on the wide leather seat of her sandrunner, gleaming beautifully in the late afternoon sun. The four men standing in front of her already had theirs in hand.

     The pack leader, a thick-necked lubber called Fat Jonny, had the nerve to laugh. “C’mon, Val, don’t make this hard on yourself. And when I say hard, I mean the application of solid lead to your silky, kaff-colored skin.” His minions snickered.

     Eight crates of cargo sat in a pile a dozen meters to the right, near her sleek ship, the Tiburon. It stood silhouetted against the rocky Marriel landscape, a swath of brown and tan sands.

     If she connected with the buyer due any minute, the profit would cover six months of expenses and her late Agency dues. The deal had been a wild, desperate risk that nearly cost her landing gear in a hasty and ill-advised takeoff from the far side of the desert. No way she could afford to surrender the cargo. She had to stand fast.

     Wishing her radio was handy, not tucked in her jacket pocket next to her sandrunner on the ground, she smirked, hoping attitude alone might shield her. “Still expecting everyone else to do your work for you, Jon? Don’t you have even a shred of pride inside those layers of pork?”

     He cocked his gun, leveled it at her. “Last chance.”

     Damn again. She’d intentionally chosen this spot way out at the edge of the tarmac for its privacy. The down side? It also left her out of public view of anyone who could offer her help. She was out of options. “Fi—”

     A voice behind the men interrupted her.

     “What a bunch of fine-looking gentlemen! Are any of ’em spoken for, or can I have my pick?”

     The men turned around. A petite blonde woman wearing a thin white scarf tied around her breasts and a scandalously short skirt greeted them with a broad smile and a charged laser rifle.

     Val nearly fainted with relief. How had Nikki known? She’d been in the bowels of the ship repairing one of her many gadgets. Now, she was the cavalry.

A new feel-good romance from Margot!


Let it Melt – a sweet contemporary romance and sequel to Let it Snowball

by Margot Johnson                                                                                                      

What’s a Sweetheart Tour without someone to love?

How on earth did Jill, a single divorcee, land on a romantic Valentine’s Sweetheart Tour for couples? Worse, she’s paired with Jack, her daughter’s brash father-in-law, and everyone thinks he’s her valentine. Stranded in a Canadian prairie blizzard, how soon can she kiss this awkward evening goodbye?

Long divorced, Jack would love to charm Jill with his toned body and dynamic personality, but his wisecracks and obsession with fitness get in the way—especially when he nabs a post at the same school where she teaches.

Even the most romantic month of the year can’t melt their differences and sweeten Jill’s feelings….or can it?


Jack burned his gaze into her eyes. “I like you, Jill. You’re honest and nice. A darn good teacher. And did I mention pretty?” He removed a mitt and ran a gentle finger under her cold chin.

Mesmerized by the starlight in his ocean eyes, she formed her mouth into a surprised O and relaxed it just in time to feel his lips brush hers in a delicious swirl of warm breath and cool breeze. Excitement and wonder squashed the air from her lungs and made her slightly dizzy. He liked her and valued her good qualities. Jack, of all people, thought she was pretty.

Author Bio ):

Margot Johnson writes feel-good stories of dreams, family, and romance.

She is the author of two sweet romance novels, LOVE TAKES FLIGHT and LOVE LEADS THE WAY, and two novellas, LET IT SNOWBALL and LET IT MELT. Her characters can’t possibly find their happy endings…or can they?

Before turning her focus to the fun writing life, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. When not writing, she loves to connect with family and friends, volunteer with SK Writers Guild, and walk at least 10,000 steps a day (except when it’s minus 40!) Margot lives in the Canadian prairies with her amazing husband and adorable golden retriever.

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Meet Jennifer Wilck and her Scarred Hearts series!

Welcome to Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Jennifer Wilck!

Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, or pets?

Sure! First of all, thanks so much for hosting me. I really appreciate it. I live in New Jersey with my husband and rescue dog, Midnight. We have two daughters—the oldest is in law school, the youngest is currently studying abroad in Jerusalem. I’m very excited because we’re going to visit her next week! I write full time, and in my spare time I like to hike, read, watch TV, and socialize with friends.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I’m a coffee-in-the-morning and tea-in-the-evening person. I never write at my desk, but move around the house throughout the day, and I must have access to chocolate!

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?

Well, I was an English major in college, and I’ve always loved writing, so I guess you could say yes. However, I spent a good chunk of time as a technology public relations professional and then as a technology write and editor for some magazines, so romance writing is completely different! My favorite romance to write is contemporary—some with Jewish characters, some without—and I love the damaged hero/brilliant heroine tropes.

Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?

My latest book, which released yesterday, is Unlock My Heart. It’s the second in my Scarred Hearts series, but each book is a standalone. The book features Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of a computer security firm, and Abby Marlow, his brand new computer programmer. He’s hard of hearing and goes to great lengths to prove that he’s no different than anyone else. He wants to be seen for more than his hearing loss and his money. She’s a computer whiz and pulled herself out of poverty to be financially independent. She doesn’t want to rely on a man for her success. Of course, they fall in love.  But then a security glitch in a client’s system indicates a hacker, and all signs point to Abby. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens and whether or not their love survives.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

I wanted to write a series about really wealthy men who use their money for good. I think I was tired of all the negativity on the news and in the world, and wanted to do something different. Each of my books in this series focuses on one of four friends, and in each book, the four guys come together and invest in a cause that near and dear to them (and has something to do with the subject of the book). Although I have some technology background, it’s really old, so I contacted a friend of mine from high school who works for Intel and she helped me with the technology parts of the book.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

My favorite thing about this book is Ted and his hearing loss. I’m actually hard of hearing, and I based his predicament on what I know—although I made his hearing significantly worse than mine. It was a little scary writing about it, because it’s not something I talk about to many people, but I was able to inject some of the funny things that happen when you mishear things.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to be an author, from the time I knew what a story was. I never actually thought it would happen, so it’s really cool to know I was able to pursue and accomplish a dream of mine. I love disappearing into the story, when the writing just flows. I’m proud of how I’ve pushed myself to accept a lot of the marketing things I’ve had to do—interviews, public speaking, etc.—that are out of my comfort zone, but essential for getting my books out there. And I think the part I dislike the most is the rejection, whether it’s from a bad review or an editor or agent who says, “thanks, but no thanks.”

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I belong to a New Jersey writing group (it used to be part of RWA but recently went out on its own), and they provide lots of resources that are helpful. I also belong to Contemporary Romance Writers. I don’t know about websites, but I’ve taken some marketing classes and plot structure classes recently that were really helpful—one about creating and sticking to my brand, and one about making sure to hit the beats in the story.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

No, I really like silence when I write. I can ignore background noise in my house, unless my husband starts talking to me, but music actually sticks in my head and makes it more difficult for me to think. However, I do like listening to music at other times and often it will inspire me to write with a certain emotion.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

My critique group is amazing. There are four of us and we meet monthly. We critique 20-25 pages of each other’s work at a time and my stories are so much better when they look at them. Each of us have different strengths and weaknesses, so we gel well together.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

I think I have ten or eleven books published so far. I started writing in 2006, and it took probably five or six years to get published. The key to publishing was persistence and constant learning and working on my craft.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?


’m working on a few things that I hope to query soon. One is a contemporary romance, and one is a woman’s fiction book. I’m also polishing book 3 in the Scarred Hearts series and hope to submit that to my editor soon. I have some appearances planned over the summer and next fall at large reader events that I’m looking forward to—one is TNTNYC.

Anything else you would like to add?

I love to talk to readers, so please follow me on social media and say hi. And of course, if you read any of my books, I’d be honored if you’d leave a review!


Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

Jennifer Wilck is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.

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Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his difficulty hearing to his clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and soon the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system indicates one of his employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together? 

Tagline: Can love break through their firewalls?

Excerpt (700 words):

Ted grasped Abby as she started to topple. Pulling her tight against him, he skated them to the rail and leaned against it, giving her time to get her feet back under her. Greg was right; Ted shouldn’t hold her like this, but no one was around and with Abby everything felt right.

And he was enjoying her body against his. He stifled a groan. Soft breasts, delicate bones, strawberry-scented hair. He wanted her, more than he’d ever wanted another woman.

She’d bragged about his success to her mother? For a man who’d grown up with a dad who called him stupid, Abby’s brag was more of an aphrodisiac than any sexy model ever could be.

He hugged her to him on the pretense of making sure she remained upright and waited for her to pull away.

Her lips moved, and he studied them, unable to hear her with the background music, the whoosh of air as they glided, the voices of the skaters, and traffic noise. He thought she said “thanks,” and he nodded. When she started to speak again, he took his finger and placed it over her lips. They were velvety soft and pink, and he would have given anything to kiss them.

Instead, he shook his head. “I can’t hear you. And lip reading is exhausting.”

He expected the usual shame to creep in. Maybe because she was out of her element here on the ice and relied on him. She clutched his hand as he guided them slowly over the ice. Maybe it was because he saw no pity. In fact, desire flashed. She blinked, and it was gone. But he’d seen it.

He could spend their entire time together wondering what conversations he missed. He could worry about what she thought, or about whether or not the CEO of the company should skate this close to his employee.

Or he could skate.

He held her close again, and they circled the rink. The cold air reddened her cheeks and nose. His hands should have been cold without gloves, but they weren’t. Holding Abby, melding their bodies together, created a furnace between them. He was surprised the ice beneath their blades didn’t melt.

They circled the rink once, twice, three times, and on their fourth turn, snowflakes fell. The sky glowed from the reflection of the lights on the clouds, which were so low, it seemed as if the tops of the buildings supported them. Abby shivered. He drew her close again as he stopped at the railing.

“Cold?” he asked.

She shook her head no.

If she wasn’t cold…he leaned toward her, and her eyes darkened. Her lips parted, and his heart thumped in his chest. He wanted to kiss her more than he wanted to be able to hear the sound of his name on her lips.

She reached out and traced her finger across his cheekbone. When she pulled back, there was liquid from a melting snowflake on the tip, and a blaze of heat across his cheek.


He caught the gist, and his shock at her comment broke the spell. “You’ve never seen snow?”

She shook her head. He wanted to ask her where she’d grown up, but this wasn’t the place because of the noise of the tourists. Besides, it was late, and if he weren’t careful, he’d do something he shouldn’t.

Like kiss her next to the golden statue in Rockefeller Center.

He steered them toward the exit, and they returned their skates. Moving away from the noise of the rink, Ted took a deep breath when he could hear again.

“You want to walk in the snow or cab it?” he asked.

The look of joy on her face was contagious as she held her hands out to collect snowflakes. He’d grown up in Ohio. Snow was nothing new to him, although he remembered how much he’d loved to play in it. He’d built huge forts in the snowdrifts, where sound was muted and light filtered through the flakes. The snowy walls offered a natural barrier and allowed him to dream of days when he’d be far away.

Like now.

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Ten (or more) Things I’ve Learned

Welcome guest author DARIEL RAYE!

Ask any writer, published or not quite yet, and you’ll get the same response – “If only I’d known then what I know now.” Of course, I suppose that could be said about life in general, but that’s another post or two, or maybe ten! For today, I’ll talk about ten things I’ve learned since I started writing to publish.

I started writing at a very young age, as soon as I learned to spell and write coherent sentences.  Writing stories and drawing paper dolls to go with them was one of my favorite things to do, but I never considered publishing anything until much later. I’ve learned a whole lot more than ten things, but that’s mostly because by the time I decided to actually try to sell some of my stories, I knew almost nothing about the industry. I was working as a therapist, and writing provided a pleasant escape from some of the harsh realities I faced daily.

One summer, a friend presented me with entry information for a short story competition. My job was slower during summer months, so I took that summer off and started writing. I didn’t win or even place in that contest, but by the time I finished my story, the writing bug had me under its spell, and eventually, I won a writing competition for my first shifter story, “Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable.” So, here are ten things I’ve learned about writing, the pros and cons, in no particular order…

There are millions of writers in the world of every caliber, and tens-of-thousands of them write romance. Now that could be a con, but considering that there are even more readers than writers (plus, most writers are avid readers as well), many readers devour three or more books a week, and there are 52 weeks in a year, there are still enough readers to get around to your books. In other words, you will not lose anything by supporting other authors. 

Along those lines, readers have to know about your books in order to read them, and marketing is harder and much more time consuming than writing the book in the first place. The positive side of this is that the many avenues available to authors today can make marketing fun (well, maybe not exactly fun all the time, but definitely doable) and engaging. There are a number of marketing courses specifically for authors, and some are free. I highly suggest taking one.

Once you’ve overcome the barriers and silenced the “nay-sayers” in your life and in your head, map out time and a place to write. Yes, this is the part about respecting your writing as if it’s already paying the bills. Treat it like your profession – your passion, even. One day soon, it just might replace that day job if that’s your goal, but you must be disciplined to accomplish anything lasting.

Learn to say “NO.” When it’s time to write, write. Don’t allow others to distract you with phone calls or tedious chores simply because you “work from home.” Most of us have a regular daily eight-to-twelve-hour gig before we even get the opportunity to write, so don’t allow anyone else to gobble up that hard earned time to pursue your dream. This does not mean neglect your relationships. Make time for friends and family as well. It’s all about balance.

Until writing becomes your bread and butter, schedule around it like a second job. For many of us, second jobs are like second nature, but life goes on. Plan time with friends and family, and teach family members to support you by helping as much as possible at home. Prepare two or three entrees at once on weekends so you can save some time during the week. Things might not get done just the way you would prefer, but they’ll get done. You’ve got writing to do, and those fantastic stories will never get written if you’re climbing out of the dishwasher, washing machine, or pray tell, the oven!

Find a quick, accessible ‘de-stresser’ to focus your mind before you sit down to write. One of the best for me is a hot shower. Gives mind and body time to relax, and I like to imagine the problems of the day getting washed away, leaving me refreshed and ready to move forward. A favorite song can also be a perfect ‘de-stressor.’ Over the years, I’ve developed a playlist of songs to listen to before walking into my house. The songs only last a few minutes, and in that time I can breathe, allow my thoughts to wander, and get ready to cope sensibly with whatever greets me once I walk through the door. As you know, when other people live with you, you never know what you’ll have to deal with when you get home, and it can be a battle to keep your goals and dreams from being gobbled up by unexpected drama. Here’s one of my favorites.

Now, you’ve de-stressed and you’re sitting down to write. You’ve also told your friends and family that unless they’re calling you to dinner or someone is bleeding out, you are not to be disturbed. Focus on getting the first draft completed. Tell your story freely, keeping in mind that you have the freedom to write as many drafts as necessary, picking and choosing just the right word here and there (later, after the first draft is done) until you’re ready to call in an objective expert – that is, an editor. Oh, and while you’re finding all the right words, be sure to make time for your physical health. Take regular breaks from the computer screen and move. Walking and dancing work best for me because they don’t require special equipment or space.

Let’s talk editors for a moment. You need one. They can be costly, and certainly not every editor is suitable for every writer, but the light the right editor shines on your story and your writing as a whole is priceless. Consider it paying for education, investing in your dream. No matter how wonderful an editor you are, you are too close to your own writing to do all of your own editing. That’s not to say self-editing should be overlooked, but don’t stop there. Get a good editor with glowing recommendations from at least three authors whose work meets your standards. You can find a list of over forty editors on my Musings blog along with a short post on finding the right one for you.

One more note about editing, I’ll count this as number nine because it’s just that important, and number eight was pretty long. Learn to use track changes. The feature will save you immeasurable hours once you reach the editing phase.

These ten things have barely scratched the surface, but join an author group and start building your support system. There’s always more to learn, and someone willing to share – that’s one of my favorite things about the writing community. Tell me about some of the things you’ve learned since you started on this journey?

 Organize your life, the space around you, and your computer files. These days, I keep calendars on my phone, desk, and online so I can check my schedule wherever I happen to be. I’m an avid user of the file feature in email to help keep track, and another handy tool I came across several years ago is Scrivener, a writing program that allows me to keep everything about my stories in one place. It’s been particularly helpful since I started writing series – stores all my details, and I’m a big fan of keeping everything in one place.

Every predator has a weakness.

When an ancient being, the last of his kind, meets a fiery woman sought by evil, neither one of them is prepared for the consequences.

Gateway is a shape-shifting demon hunter who finds, protects, and prepares the Chosen – human females with the ability to redeem or destroy demons. For centuries, he has followed the rules…

Establish connection
Complete genetic imprint
No personal attachments…

Until he meets his newest charge – curvy, fiery, headstrong, and angry with the world. Following the rules while fending-off demons is going to take everything he has and then some.

*Please Note – “Gateway” contains explicit love scenes, profanity, and violence. Must be 18+ Part of this story was previously published in the “A Darker Shade of Evil” anthology under the title, “The Devil Upstairs.”

Goodreads * Amazon



About the Author

Dariel Raye is an animal lover, animal rights activist, musician, and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of powerful paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. She fell in love with books and started reciting stories at the age of 3. A counseling psychologist, classically trained vocalist, and pianist, she plays over 11 musical instruments, and naturally incorporates behavioral psychology into her characters. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). She is also a mom, art tinkerer, and Netflix and Amazon Prime paranormal TV series binger.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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