24 October 2011
Dragons in Love/In Love with Dragons
This has been a lovely month of monsters and mayhem and it’s my turn to talk about the creatures that move me the most. Turns out, it’s all of them!
For eight consecutive childhood Halloweens, I dressed as a vampire. I loved everything about the vampire concept, from immortality to inhuman fascination. As a product of the Anne Rice Generation, I didn’t see them as monsters, but simply as people who were capable of monstrous things—just like everyone else. The paranormal romance trend couldn’t have come too soon for my taste. In fact, I would have liked to see it spread at least a decade sooner, to fill that ever growing cavern of how I regarded supernatural creatures vs. how they were portrayed in horror.
Fast forward twentyish years after reading, Interview with the Vampire, and I’m surrounded by exactly what I longed to see—preternaturals as the heroes rather than automatically the villains. That change was the first step in broadening my supernatural palate. It’s not that I didn’t feel for werewolves, the classic cursed just seemed too painful and sad to really be drawn to it. That element disappeared on the paranormal romance front and I was able to see them in the light that they always deserved.
Roleplaying games and fantasy novels moved the idea of werewolves to shape-shifters and an entire world of possibilities opened up. Feline shifters were an immediate favorite, but dragon shifters became a complete fascination. Fantasy rpgs and novels are filled with intelligent dragons that like to walk around among humankind and leave behind half-dragons, dragonkin, dragoons and pseudodragons to name a few variants. This predilection led to all sorts of ideas and opportunities to play with the dragon mythos, and the idea of sexy dragons plays into everything I wanted from every other creature.
They were ancient like vampires, could alter their shape like werewolves, were clever like fae/faries, and had layered emotions and complexities like humans, but with the wisdom of nature itself. They were people in the truest sense of the word, but a people that could be anything and everything else as well. What’s not to love?
Although I grew up on high fantasy that spawned my love of dragons, I’m not suited to write it. I’m more geared towards urban fantasy and romantic fantasy. Instead of high fantasy’s epic battles, I’d prefer dealing with the battles of the sexes and the battles of the heart. Yep, I have no classic sword and sorcery in my future to be sure. What I do have, is a paranormal romance with dragon shifters. It’s in the immediate future, Halloween Day in fact. And it won’t be the only one!
A Way To A Dragon’s Heart is the first introduction of dragons into my Therian World. The reception has led to many more ideas, one of which may be the closet fantasy/kingdoms/king’s honor type stories I’ve ever written or will write, and I’m excited. But that particular idea is a tale for another time, let me introduce you to A Way To A Dragon’s Heart.
Dragon Shifter Kryssa Drake works twenty-hour days, seven days a week racing toward a sabbatical and hiding from the dating world after a devastating break-up that left her questioning her sense of self. The highlight of her day is the two hour lunches spent listening to Near Human, Xander Luciano, co-owner of Luciano's Deli across the street, and living vicariously through his on-again, off-again relationship with Avian, Caleb James. Over the years and countless intimacies of their friendship, Kryssa has grown to love Xander and the idea of Xander and Caleb but ideas and potential are not enough to brave the pain of the past so soon.
Pastry Chef and Near Human, Xander Luciano, has spent the last two years trying to charm Kryssa out of her vow of a five year isolation following her break-up. He's spent that same two years sorting out his feelings for his college sweetheart, Caleb, and trying to figure out a way to pin the restless Avian down or to finally make peace with a few months of happiness at a time. When Caleb opens the pastry café they always dreamed about and invites him to become a partner, Xander sees the flicker of hope that maybe half of his dream is about to come true. When he's volunteered by Kryssa's brother and boss to assist her in her current projects as well as help her relax in his cabin up north, Xander thinks his persistence and culinary skills just might help him have it all.
Sometimes the only way to get a good man to settle down is to have a good woman help. And oft times the most direct way to a Dragon's heart is through her stomach.