But maybe the differences are just on the surface and if you take the time to dig deep enough, you’ll find kindred spirits buried beneath. On the surface Remy D’Angelo – shy, socially awkward, innocent, creative and sweet – and Jett Wilson – gorgeous, outgoing, a player, never had a relationship, never been in love – were complete opposites.
But when Remy gets a job as a barista and coffee artist at Jett’s café – the sparks don’t necessarily fly but flicker steadily until the grow into something that neither of them have ever experienced before.
Will their fears and anxieties drive them away? Or will the flighty Jett finally find the one thing that will ground him?
Will the two of them realize that experiencing love is what they’ve both been looking for? It’s always worth it to experience love – Better Latte than Never.
Now let’s meet Dara!!
First off: Tell us about your books, both back catalog and what’s coming up!!
I have 2 series’ that I write under my pen name Kendel Duncan – Black Ops Heroes (the next book in that series is coming in December) & Doyle Global Securities (next book for that released July 25). Under my name I have the Healing Hearts series right now and I’m currently writing six (Yes 6!) books.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
First of all – don’t force it. I always have 4 or 5 books started at once (currently it’s 6). If one stalls or isn’t flowing, I’ll work one of the others. If one grabs onto me and flows like crazy, I’ll stick with that one until it’s done. But I never get discouraged if one just isn’t working. I can always come back to it later. The second thing is – don’t be sucked into the ‘you have to spend xxxx amount of dollars on a good editor, cover designer, formatter, etc.’ Pardon my language but that’s bullshit. If you’re good at spelling/language/grammar – edit your own damn book (I did and still do). Create an author group page on FB and ask for beta readers (they are the best). Connect with other authors in the same genre and reach out to them to see if they have time to read/comment (I do this for several other authors now). Third – don’t go into this for the money. Write because it’s what your heart needs you to do, write because there’s a story in your soul that needs to come out.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
When I first started writing, I never intended to write a series, let alone 4 or 5 of them. But then I had secondary characters in the first story that ended up being so much more and I had to tell their story – so I did. And then it happened again in the next book and so on and so on. I’ve also had readers reach out to me to ask if I was going to write ‘so & so’s’ story, which told me how much that character resonated with them, so a standalone ended up becoming the first in a series. Writing that character’s story had never occurred to me at the time. I want people to be able to read any one of my books as a standalone, so they are written that way, but they all have references to other characters/circumstances so new readers might be inspired to read other book in the series. If you’re going to do that, though, keep spreadsheets. Detailed spreadsheets – with each character’s age, eye color, hair color, height, age, build, dick size (yep, really), piercings, tattoos, background, family history, etc. If you don’t – readers WILL point that shit out if you get it wrong….LOL.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My spirit animal is an otter – forever young and playful, curious, selfless and wanting to help others. And can’t stay away from water – that would definitely be me. I actually had one swim past me at the lake I was vacationing at a few weeks ago.
As a newbie author, this question interests me: What’s the best way to market your books?
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. There are hundreds of FB reader/book groups. Join any/all that are within your genre or that are groups for all genres. I belong to well over 200. I keep notes on my phone with ‘ad’ verbiage and I copy/paste, add the book cover or a teaser and voila – marketing done. It takes me about 15 minutes to post in all of them.
How much and how often do you use social media? And do you believe it has a valuable place in your marketing strategy?
Everyday and yes it’s very valuable but it can also be a distraction from my writing. If I’m writing, I’m not logged into FB, that way I won’t get notifications of postings or anything. If I take a break from writing or get stuck on a story and need to take a breath, I’ll log in for five or ten minutes. I never spend more than thirty minutes at a time on social media.
Do you have a mental image of a particular person when you develop and write characters? For instance, my Colin is most definitely half Jamie Dornan and half Dean Winchester! What are yours?
Not necessarily a specific person but definitely a specific body type/look. I find names distracting, so I like to look at hot guys whose names I don’t know. When I picture my characters in my head, their faces are mostly blurry (it’s like my brain knows that will distract me) but I can always see their hair, muscles, tattoos, sculpted abs, piercings, etc.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t spend much time reading reviews. Bad ones used to bother me but they don’t anymore. Some people just aren’t going to like your work, it’s inevitable. You can’t please everyone. What I pay attention to a lot more is feedback – comments/emails from readers about how my work touched them, affected them. And when another author let’s me know that they read my work and loved it? That just blows me away and I love it.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be patient. I always wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing poetry since I was in the fifth grade but didn’t come up with the idea for my first novel until I was in my thirties. By then I had pretty much given up the idea of writing novels and didn’t think it would ever happen, but then the story idea just came to me and I started writing….and writing….and writing. 8 months later I had 3 books written and it hasn’t stopped since.
And don’t be afraid.
Write what’s in your heart. Write what you want to write.
Where can people go to contact you and to find your work?
I do have a website (www.daranelson.com) and you can contact me there, but the best place is Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kendelduncanauthor)
What’s next? Is there already a WIP? Where will your next writing journey take you?
What isn’t next….LOL. I have 6 WIPs at the moment, 1 in each of my current series and 3 brand new books that may or may not be part of some new series’, I also have my book review blog (http://loveunchainedreviews.com) and I’m also doing some cover designs and editing for other authors. Life is busy, life is good and love is love.
A final thought:
Be kind to others. Good things can happen if you do. Writing is my life, but I also love reading too. And when I read, I take the time to leave a review. I write those reviews the moment I finish a book, when my emotions are fresh and raw. Do I love everything I read? Absolutely not. For those stories that don’t resonate with me, I only leave stars and I never write a review saying I didn’t like a book. 2 stars is enough for someone to know that their book didn’t resonate with me. That happens. My book review blog came about because – Those books that I loved, I took the time to write a review, a heartfelt review. It didn’t take long, maybe only a minute or two for each one. But those reviews got noticed. I got comments from authors about how wonderful my reviews were. That got me thinking, so I started a book review blog. I didn’t really think much would happen with it, but low and behold, I have tons of followers and I’m at the point now where I have to pick and choose what books I want to read (for free) because my review calendar is too full to read them all. Think about that. I already read books all the time but because I took a few minutes to write reviews, I now get to read books many of my favorites for free. I didn’t do it for that, I did it because I care. I care about my fellow indie authors. I care about this wonderful MM community. And I care about love.