Frequently Asked Questions
I created Jean-Michel Raudine for a writing group called The Clandestine back in the late 90s. The idea that he was a dragon shifter came into play because the group was a collaborative fan fiction loosely based on The Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton. So, he came first. I brought him over into two other groups, one of which I shared with my writing friends, Dawn and Quincy.
Dawn decided to introduce Gabriel, who was new, to this story about a secret society underground handling supernatural issues. We enjoyed for maybe four months before Quincy was pulled away – real life comes first. Rather than using his characters, we just shifted to writing our characters and making up more and more as we went – on our own private writing pad. By the way – this was before Google was so big. We used “pads” which was an open source shared writing word processor with a big frog logo on it. Wow, dating myself!
So – the characters came before we fleshed out the worlds.
As a kid I loved making up stories to allow me to lose myself – stories a lot of other people weren’t writing for me. Also, I wrote so that I could deal with what I saw and felt, and heard around me. These were sometimes things other people didn’t or wouldn’t acknowledge.
Depends on what I’m writing. For articles, yes. For other stories where in I have an idea and am not writing spontaneously, yes. For Walking the Blade Series or for any collaborative writing exercises or hobby boards, I do not. Instead, I let the characters and the other writers lead the way on those particular pieces.
Dragon Tasker Series
The fictional locations are based on real locations I know of or have visited.
One important place revisited many times is the Kennedy Estate. It is set in the rolling hills that lead to the lower mountains in Western North Carolina. I’ve placed these mountains a bit closer to Whitley than they actually are.
Whitley? It’s a mixture of Chapel Hill and Durham. UNC is Whitley University. You will recognize some things that are mentioned if you know the area. Jean-Michel lives in a historic home on the back side of the university town. I’ve walked by that house many times.
The coffee shop where Gabriel and Jean-Michel meet several times over – where Mariah works? It’s a duplicate of a place called Caffe Driade in the forest located in the middle of the city. I have reference pictures.
The Council Chamber is designed after a beautiful set of buildings I used to walk past in Worcester, MA. The interior is from both my and Dawn’s imaginations and previous real-life experiences.
Taskers are the higher league of Crimson Agents that are allowed to make on-site decisions, including the call to kill. They are the special-forces, the secret agents among the Crimson law enforcement agency. Each Councilor is assigned a Tasker by the Director of Crimson to handle their needs. Sometimes Taskers become liaisons for their assigned Councilor. Their focus, however, should always be the protection of the Councilor they are assigned to.
Gabriel is a human Councilor – in other words, he represents humanity in the North American Crimson Council. As a Councilor, he makes sure his people are represented well in business and rule making within the Council. This is much like the congressional or parliamentary branch of a government. Crimson differs in that the Councilor also holds prosecutorial, defense, and judicial powers in each case brought before them – called “judgements”. Senias (Jean-Michel Raudine) is a Tasker who is assigned to Gabriel Kennedy (or to other Councilors as the case may be for a particular storyline). The duties of a Tasker are outlined above. However, Jean-Michel tends toward the wilder side of such duties and has other responsibilities thrust upon him, as anyone would see when they read the first book.
There is antagonism between factions many times. There are those who do not abide by the law of Crimson: mages that use dark magical energy, covens that escape the laws by covering up their secrets well enough, and an entire underworld of illegal trade that happens between worlds. Hunters that have abilities and enhancements passed down by generations that do not believe supernaturals should exist in this less magical world at all are around.
Crimson is a non-living antagonist much of the time, however it does have an antagonistic group called Tal’Secus. You will need to find out more about them by reading. They are much like the Illuminati, supposedly a group made up of various powerful people who seek to control what happens even within Crimson so that they can gain power.
I went with familiar terms – lycan (a known term for a morphing creature from the word lycanthrope), vampires, fae, elves, djinn, mages, demons, and dragon. Adjectives sometimes used are “draconic” and should not be confused with the Webster’s version.
There are cultural titles that will become important within the story, like Shaman, Alpha, Lords, Mates, Kindred and more. The dragon’s gold is called aurumn (from the periodic table or Latin, etc). A vampire’s bonded lover is called their Chosen. Demons use shadows as both weapons and transportation. These and many other ideas are used to flesh out our characters and their corresponding cultures.
There are also also race-specific communication and gestures. For instance, a dragon nuzzles the one he cares for, face to face and purrs when he is content – even if his form is human. He makes physical stance part of his unspoken communication. A lycan will “rumble” – a growling sound made deep in the chest – and hold the one they care about close. However, some growls and rumbles have a very different meaning to those who grew up in the culture. Dragons and lycan both like feeding their mates.
There are nuances to every culture that we go into.
This is absolutely Urban Fantasy. However, within it, you find multiple levels of paranormal romance with a diverse bunch of relationships.
We are both LGBTQ writers and our chorus of characters will find similar roadblocks we have faced in our lives. But the idea is to overcome. You will see mostly LGBTQ relationships with several polyamorous relationships. There are a few cis het, monogamous couples who are vanilla. However, there are also kinky, BDSM, and playful non-vanilla relationships as well.
The plots and character development always come first, however, if a reader is not into this amount of diversity in a book series, I suggest they pass.
I would not include erotica as a description for our books – but some scenes can get steamy and spicy. Also, for the prequel novels you could add Fantasy Romance and even Historical Fantasy for sub-genres as well.
Our Dragon Tasker Series, The Life & Loves of a Dragon Prequel Series, and the Kindle Vella series of the same name are comparable to Laurel K. Hamiliton’s writing, Anne Rice’s writing (particularly The Vampire stories and The Mayfair Witches), and the Sookie Stackhouse series from Charlaine Harris.
It should appeal to fans of the sub-genre that is from anime and manga – yaoi or boy love because our main characters are an MM couple and there are other MM couples all through the stories. Both Dawn and I are fans of this particular genre as well, so we would know.
People who like the above mentioned genres. People who want to see romance portrayed for people other than the normal male + female = monogamous dynamic. Those relationships are in here, too, but they are not the example. People who like to see what life might be like in our world for creatures made for another world.
The first portion of the series is called The Dragon Tasker Series. It takes place in modern times and the first main plotline will be taken care of in four books. The goal is to have 3 out of 4 of these books out by the end of 2024. We have enough material to keep going for years of publications!
The timeframe goals of the first novel set –
Doppelgangers & Deceit – Available now
Packs & Portals – Available 2023
Demons & Disaster – Available in 2024
Vampires & Vendettas in 2025
Dragons & Dreams – Available in 2026
We came to realize that many of our characters do not get enough “screen time” in the main novel plots. Therefore, we plan on also releasing stand-alone books that cover the relationships of specific characters – a companion series to The Dragon Tasker Series. We’re still trying to come up with a name for these, so let us know if you have some ideas!
Dawn and I decided to get further in-depth with the background stories of our characters. To that end, we began writing what would become a Kindle Vella series called The Life & Loves of a Dragon.
Then things took an inspiring turn! I needed a special gift for everyone who subscribed to my newsletter, so I requested the first main story on the Vella (The Pack’s Dragon) to be unpublished from the platform. We edited it, revised it and now it’s a stand alone novel that is free as an eBook when you subscribe to the newsletter. It is also available as a beautiful paperback.
We already have several novel-length stories written about specific timeframes of the past in the lives of our characters. This will become a four book series to be released concurrently with the main series.
The timeframe goals of the prequel novel set –
The Pack’s Dragon – Available now
The Vampire’s Dragon – Available in 2024
The Mage’s Dragon – Available in 2025
Unnamed Title – Available by 2026
We are continuing to add more stories to the Kindle Vella, The Life & Loves of a Dragon and plan on continuing this for the sheer enjoyment of telling these stories and making them conveniently available in bite-size, inexpensive serial pieces.
Don’t have the Zon? Don’t like the Zon? Don’t have access to KindleVella? No problem! You can get the collections of episodes on my shop – My Shop