The Gateway Trilogy Book 1
by Dariel Raye
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Every predator has a weakness.
The employee who came to get Gateway stopped short of the hallway, his blue eyes wild with fear. More symbols lined the back of the club where the offices and restrooms were, but once again, there was no time to ask about them.
As soon as we reached the small sitting area outside Gateway’s office, two men were waiting there for him.
They both held guns as they glanced at me, then at Gateway, dropping their heads in the next second as if they had broken some unwritten rule I wasn’t aware of. The whole thing was like a scene from a bad mafia movie.
Gateway immediately shoved me behind him before I could even gasp, but he didn’t let go of my hand.
“Good Evening, Mr. Savoy,” one of the armed men said.
The last thing I wanted to do was distract him, but I instinctively placed my free hand at his back for support to keep from passing out. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. I had never been one of those weak, simpering females like so many in horror movies. I didn’t mind a good fight from time to time and I had definitely won my share, but guns were different. They had a strong tendency to give the holder almost 100% advantage, if the holder knew how to use them, that is.
Gateway squeezed my hand in reassurance and for some reason I believed him. I trusted that he had it all under control. Of course, my subconscious was screaming for me to get the hell out of here and stop acting like a damn fool, but I needed to believe him because my feet wouldn’t move and my legs felt wobbly. I really didn’t need the drama right now or ever, for that matter. Hell, I was embarking on a job search the next morning.
“Evening. How can I help you?” Gateway asked as if he didn’t see the guns.
My hand tightened, clutching his back like a security blanket.
“We figured one of your staff would see the urgency of getting your attention,” the man with the gun replied. “What you can do for us is to open your safe.”
The next few seconds were a blur of rapid movement and I was still behind Gateway, so I only caught bits of the action.
Arms moved, mostly Gateway’s and feet scuffled, mostly everyone else’s except for Gateway’s. The scuffling feet were mostly the gunmen’s.
I couldn’t see how he managed to do it, and I’d only managed to do it a few times in self-defense class, but somehow Gateway took the guns from both men and dropped them to the floor. I knew I would never forget the clattering sound they made when they landed on the concrete. I know concrete is supposed to absorb sound, but the guns sounded like thunder in my ears because all of my senses were amped with adrenaline.
Then Gateway finally let me go and stepped away long enough to lift both of the men by their necks and pin them against the wall.
The sound of running water drew my attention to the fact that one of the men was pissing himself.
Both of their faces were masks of horror, eyes huge, mouths open, soundless. They just hung there, all the fight gone out of them in an instant.
I wondered what exactly were they seeing and thinking.
“Look what you made me do. You scared my lady friend, and almost made me lose my temper.”
Gateway sounded dangerously calm to my ears and I couldn’t see his face. Almost? What is he like when he actually loses his temper? “If I ever see either of you again, you’ll end up in the same condition as your weapons, except I’ll make sure to make you suffer first. Understood?”
The men nodded in quick time like bobble heads, unable to speak with Gateway’s hands around their necks.
I slumped against the opposite wall in an attempt to pull myself together. I was probably in shock, but I definitely was mesmerized by the way Gateway had dismantled the would-be robbers.
The minute he released the men and turned to face me, my feeling of relief flew out the window as the thieves ran for one exit and I ran for the other. I wasn’t running from Gateway, but from the whole near-death experience. If not for meeting Gateway, I would have sworn this day had been sent from Hell.
I glanced back like Lott’s wife in the Bible and like her, I immediately regretted it. Unlike the nameless biblical character, I was looking to see if Gateway was following me. A flash of red grabbed my attention and I couldn’t look away.
Ten (or more) Things I’ve Learned
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.
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.
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?
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.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Book Lover's Swag Pack (US only),
$20 Amazon giftcard (WW)
-1 winner each!