I’m not half as interesting as my characters. My childhood dreams tended to stretch no further than the next book in my to-be-read pile, and I aspired to be a librarian so I could read all day. I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to big decisions, especially when it’s something I’ve never done before. Writing is just one in a long line of impulsive decisions that turned out to showcase my great instincts. Find out more at www.michelezurloauthor.com or @MZurloAuthor.
1.What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?
Michele: My story’s heat level is scorching hot. Dragon Kisses is an unconventional ménage story, in as much as a ménage story can be conventional. I’ve always believed the purpose of sex scenes is to move the story forward. The scenes in Dragon Kisses help us get to know the characters. Dragons regard humans as nothing more than sex pets, and that’s something the humans who find themselves stranded on Zmaj aim to change.
2.How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?
Michele: Writing is my 3rd job. I’m a teacher and a parent first, so I spend very little time sitting at a desk. I’m on my feet all day long, so when I get a chance to sit down and write, it’s sometimes the only chance I get to sit down in a day. When I do write, I’m usually poolside. One of my twins is a swimmer, and the other is a diver. These are year-round sports, so I spend 3-5 evenings in the pool seating area every week--writing.
3.What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?
Michele: I love their resilience and strength. Cassie, Niall, Arabella, and Lauren won’t accept being treated as anything less than human. They want loving, lasting relationships, and they’ll do what they need to fight for their quality of life. Jonathan, a character who finds out he’s part-human and part-dragon, is one of my favorites. He has to come to terms with the way his life changes as well as fight for Laurel’s love.
4.What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?
Michele: I think I do angst and confrontation scenes very well, probably because I can picture those most vividly. Ironically, in real life, I hate confrontation. In Dragon Kisses, Niall confronts Wynn, which forces the first change in Zmaj society and sets huge events in motion.
5.Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
Michele: I’m trying to be social media savvy. I have a Facebook presence, and I’m working on Twitter. My goal for the past several years has been to post on my blog regularly. Like any New Year’s resolution, I do great for a little while, and then I fall off the wagon. Life intrudes, and other responsibilities (like my first two jobs) take precedence. Recently I haven’t been on social media much, and I’ve found that I have more time for writing. Perhaps social media isn’t the panacea writers seem to think it is. I think that’s open for debate.
6.What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?
Michele: Life can’t help but show up in any story that rings true. In order to strike a chord with a reader, for them to be able to relate to it, there has to be a measure of authenticity that’s only found in a true experience. Little things like a barn from my childhood or a bird from my backyard populate the landscape of Dragon Kisses. Larger things like whole conversations have also found their way into my books. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.
7. If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?
Michele: Australia, the UK, Amsterdam, Yellowstone—places like that. I also want to see landscapes. I’m the geek who stops to see landforms so I can try to analyze its tectonic history. I’m sure it’ll inspire lots of stories.
8.Any fun facts about the research for your book?
Michele: I modeled Zmaj after a medieval town. Both the inner and outer city are laid out in keeping with your average medieval society.
9.Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!
Dragon Kisses #1 (Cassie and Niall)
Waking up in a strange barn was just the tip of the iceberg. Cassie and Niall find themselves transported to another world, one full of dragon shifters who want to possess them. Cassie is claimed by Illion, an electric blue dragon who shifts into five hulking men, and Niall is claimed by Wynn, a lime green dragon who shifts into two men and two women.
The Zmaj feed from the sexual energy of humans, and finding a cache of five in an abandoned barn is a momentous occasion. Convincing them to stay and protecting them from the Inamanida, their sworn enemy, is another task altogether. And falling in love? Zmaj don’t do that.
When Cassie runs away, Illion is forced to confront his prejudices and his brethren in order to save her from a fate worse than death.
Warnings: MMMFF, MMFMMM, light bondage, dominant dragon shifters
Dragon Kisses #2 (Arabella and Jonathan)
Waking with no memory, Arabella finds herself courted by three men claiming to be her mates. Dragon shifters Tobin, Gerrit, and Blakely woo her with sweet words and deeds, convincing her that she’s always lived this fairy tale existence. Life is perfect until the Inamanida King decides the experiment has gone on long enough—and Tobin is ordered to turn Arabella over to be tortured and used by the entire clan.
Meanwhile Jonathan is working to help settle the humans in Zmaj’s outer city. As the son of a prominent human leader, finds himself thrust into a leadership role and having to liaise with creatures he was raised to fear. Soon he falls for Laurel, a beautiful woman recently arrived from Earth, but as secrets emerge, he faces a stark truth that could cost him everything.
Tobin and Jonathan must risk everything and deal with consequences that could cost them the fragile relationships they’ve built with the women they love.
Warnings: MFMM, MF
Dragon Kisses #3 (Laurel, Niall, Jonathan)
In the months following Jonathan’s transformation, Laurel struggles to come to terms with her feelings for him and the horrific memories of time spent as a dragon’s slave. Jonathan struggles to be patient, but Laurel’s fear is breaking his heart. Niall and Cassie open a popular bakery and revel in the bliss of love and their new lives. Arabella pines for Tobin’s aspects to be reunited, and Nora discovers the secret of creating Zmaj offspring.
Meanwhile all Zmaj braces for the Inamanida attack that Tobin warned them about. When it finally comes, the Zmaj find themselves vastly outnumbered by enemy forces. In the violence that follows, everything changes.
Dragon Kisses #1 (Cassie and Niall)
“Cassie.” The deep voice calling my name belonged to the dragon man standing next to the one who had watched over us. “Come.”
Was it wrong that his commanding tone had me close to coming? Nora’s assurance came from, I knew, deep inside my psyche. After all, in a dream all the characters were aspects of myself. Niall was my caution, and Nora was my sense of adventure. I pried myself from Niall’s hold. “We’ll be fine.”
Even facing the weirdest situation and the worst odds, I was an optimist. Before Niall could process what I was doing, I left the safety of the group. Taking those first steps toward a new life was easy when I knew I’d soon wake up in the safety and comfort of my bed, and I figured nothing was to be gained by huddling against a barn. Plus, this would make one hell of a diary entry when I woke up, and it would help keep my mind off Chad, the jerkweasel who’d dumped me yesterday.
Laurel and Oliver followed me. Both of them seemed to be dazed and confused. The blue-haired men morphed into a dragon, and we climbed onto its back. The three of us fit easily. I sat forward of the wings. Oliver situated himself behind me, and Laurel wrapped her arms around his waist.
“Hold onto the scales,” Nora shouted.
I slid my hands around the edges of two blue scales. Each was a large as a dinner plate, but they had ridges on the top which were perfect for holding. One leap, and it took off.
Flying on the back of a dragon was unlike anything I’d experienced. My tummy fluttered from the quick ascent—or from that niggling bit of sense that told me I wasn’t playing it safe, and wind whipped through my hair. I had the feeling the dragon was flying slower than normal, and I appreciated his restraint. Any faster, and I might have freaked out.
Or not. Who could be afraid of heights or strangers in such a wonderful fantasy?
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