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?


New Release: Dark Sentinels Prequel

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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


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



Four Star Review of “Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” From TRR

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1 people found the following review helpful Book Reviewed by Lynn (reviewer)
[ Review Posted: May 22, 2013 ] – See all my reviews
The struggle between the werewolves and the scientists who want to experiment on them continues in the second Dark Sentinels book, TORIN.Torin DuMont is a Sentinel for the werewolves that live in the protected Wild Lands in Florida. He is forced to seek the help of real estate attorney Stephanie Bates when land developers try to get their hands on Wild Lands. Torin and Stephanie, while appearing to be hostile towards one another, can’t seem to stop thinking about one another. And when Stephanie’s own problems put her in danger, she finds herself in need of Torin’s protection.Despite their best efforts to maintain a professional relationship, their mutual attraction can’t be denied. Even more disturbing than the land developers is the fact that Torin has to figure out why Wild Lands wolves keep disappearing. Torin learns of the problems other packs have had with Super Human, the scientists who want to experiment on shifters, and calls for support. Sable comes in to help Torin and his group, and at the same time helps Torin deal with his attraction to a human.

I enjoyed all of the new characters that were introduced and was happy to get some follow up on the status of Sable and Akila’s relationship from the first book. The brother/sister relationships are almost as fun to read about as the romances in these stories. The author does a great job expressing the love/irritation relationship of siblings. This was a great continuation of the Dark Sentinels series and I hope I get to read more.

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Four Star (****) Review of “Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable” from The Romance Reviews

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 The Romance Reviews

 Book Reviewed by Lynn (reviewer)

[ Review Posted: Mar 24, 2013 ] – See all my reviews
DARK SENTINELS BOOK ONE: SABLE is an introduction into the secret world of rare werewolf sentinels.

Sable and his twin sister, Syreena, are sentinels—wolf shifters in charge of pack security. Akila is a veterinarian who believes in the protection of all animals. Mr. Moore is a wealthy man who wants to study shifters.

When Syreena goes missing, Sable goes out searching for her, getting himself attacked in the process. Sable is shot with a drug that inhibits him from shifting to his human form and Akila is called in to help with the cantankerous wolf. While in wolf form, Sable begins to fall for the woman who is protective and caring towards him, so he returns in his human form. The attraction is powerful and the sex is lustful but Sable is not supposed to be in a relationship with a human, especially one who doesn’t know he is the wolf she protected. However, they are forced to spend time together to figure out who is harming the animals in Akila’s town.

I love a story that makes me swoon and laugh out loud and cheer for the characters. Being a short story, there were parts of the plot that seemed rushed, but the author did a great job of establishing a world for future stories. The character development was such that I can’t wait to read more about Sable and Akila and hope they are followed up on in the next book. The story also made me eager to meet more sentinels and learn about their world and how they will fight back against the humans that would use them as science experiments.

Hot off the Press! “Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” by Dariel Raye is Live!


Hi, Everybody! My new release, “Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” just went live at Amazon and Barnes & Noble today! To make things even hotter, “Dark Sentinels Book One: Sable” is on sale for 99 cents until the end of the month! Here’s a bit about the series 🙂

Who Are The Dark Sentinels?Torin_final cover

 Buy Book Two

Buy Book One

They lived millions of years ago, fatalities of fear and prejudice. Now, answers to a prayer for survival, they are among us again. Other shifters were nearly extinct, murdered by the thousands at mostly human hands. Capable of shifting at will, without the aid of the moon’s phases, they were born to protect them. Bigger, stronger, faster, and longer living, with highly developed preternatural abilities, they are prized outsiders among their packs. Prized for their ability to protect, yet destined to live as outsiders because of the very differences necessary to prevent the pack’s extinction.

Born to stand at the crossroads between pack-members and their slaughterers, Sentinels quickly learn that they are on their own – a different species. Born human, only two are born to each pack, male and female alphas, brother and sister. Pack members deny them mating privileges within the pack based on fear. No female wants to bear a sentinel because their lives are constantly at risk. When danger comes to the pack, they are on the front line, considered expendable.

When they reach mating age, they leave the pack for a time to find a mate – another sentinel. What happens when a sentinel develops feelings for a human? What happens when malevolent scientists learn how to strengthen humans by using sentinel blood?  As you can imagine, with their feral nature barely beneath the surface, their wolf barely sheathed, dark sentinel passions run high. Touch, affection, and loyalty are necessary for their survival, and they are willing to go to extraordinary measures, risk everything, and break every rule for love.

“Torin” Excerpt

Torin never understood his effect on humans. He wasn’t even sporting his usual scowl, but from the moment he’d walked in, the tension had been palpable.

“I have an appointment with attorney Bates.”

“Name, please?”

“Torin DuMont.”

“I am so sorry, M-Mr. DuMont, but I sent you a message yesterday morning.”

Torin wondered briefly if she realized she leaned away from him as her heart rate increased yet again. “A message?”

“Um, yes. I was asked to cancel your appointment because Ms. Bates has some urgent business to attend to this morning. I-I…well, I requested that you call to, um…reschedule.”

While Torin stared at her and said nothing else, she fumbled for a calendar.

She cleared her throat of the lump he’d caused and stuttered, “Um, Mr. DuMont, she can see you on—”

Torin glanced at the calendar and noticed she was looking at dates for next month. He interrupted, unable to restrain the growl in his voice. “I didn’t get any message, and I left work early to come here today. I’ll wait.”

Torin turned away before she could say anything, leaving her mouth slightly open when he moved to the opposite wall. He faced her, crossing his arms over his chest.

That bastard stepfather of mine! Torin was certain the asshole had received and erased the message telling him to reschedule.

Torin hated lawyers and couldn’t believe he’d allowed his childish desire for his stepfather’s approval to waste his time again. I shouldn’t even be here trying to help people who don’t give a damn about me. 

He watched the receptionist pick up the phone and overheard every word she whispered into the receiver following a distinct buzz from the adjoining office. “…Yes, he’s here. Obviously from the Wild Lands. Yes, I already told him…”

A sigh from the other end triggered a tingling sensation in his lower abdomen. Her voice was soft, almost musical. He blinked, then closed his eyes to savor the sound. Surprisingly, it calmed him.

“…Cindy, I can’t possibly see anyone else today. Just resched…”

Cindy, apparently the name of the jumpy little receptionist, stood and left her desk, heading in the direction of the lawyer’s office.

Torin didn’t have to leave his spot against the wall to overhear Cindy and the unavailable Ms. Bates, despite the fact that they were intentionally speaking softly.

“…I tried to reschedule, but he won’t…and he won’t leave either! Steph, you haven’t seen him. He’s huge, and he walked in looking pissed—not a good combination. I started to call for James to escort him out of the office, but I like James, so…”

Both women shared a laugh. “No, no need for all that. You offered him another appointment. If he chooses to wait, let him wait. I’ll deal with him if he doesn’t get tired and leave.” She laughed again. “I keep saying I need a peephole in this door. You’ve piqued my curiosity now. Wish I could work him in. I’m eager to meet one of these Wild Landers I keep hearing about but never seem to run into any.”

“For the most part, they pretty much keep to themselves, but believe me, you’ll know when you see one.” Cindy sighed. “Guess I’ll go back out here and try to work while he’s glaring at me. I doubt he’s going anywhere, Steph. He seems like the stubborn type.”

“Don’t worry, Cindy. If he’s still there when it’s time for you to leave, I’ll speak to him myself and try to reschedule. In the meantime, just ignore him. Maybe he’ll take the hint and leave.”

* * *

Torin stepped outside several times to stretch his long legs, finding fewer clients waiting for Ms. Bates on each return. He’d overheard everything the lawyer and her receptionist said, but it wasn’t what she had said that bothered him; it was the timbre of her voice itself—soft, smooth, and lilting—that elicited an immediate response. Puzzled by his own involuntary reaction, he wanted to hear more of it, like a cobra drawn helplessly and nonsensically to an oboe.

He sensed the sun had gone down before he stepped over to the small window and looked out. Even in the complete darkness, his eyes did not fail him, and he saw the grounds as clearly as if daylight greeted him. Finally, one man remained in the waiting room with him, but it was well after six p.m.

He picked up the pleasant scent of mint, lemongrass, and lilies and turned just in time to see shapely legs, a voluptuous body full of promise. The warm, mocha-colored face wasn’t bad either. Clearly, it was the owner of the musical voice. His wolf bristled beneath his skin, forcing an internal battle just to remain civilized. Confusion increased his frustration. He’d never reacted to a female this way before, and certainly not a human.

“Dark Sentinels” Series Trailer Update

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Just updated my “Dark Sentinels” series trailer! The new trailer still has the “Dark Sentinels” theme music which I composed. Yay! Added Torin, my hot-blooded hero from “Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin” with an action shot and cover. He lives at the edge of swamp land near the Florida Everglades. I’m still new at trailers, but learning. I’d appreciate some YouTube visits  to view the trailer and tell me what you think:-) Click here to view it!