Jeff & Will welcome authors Mia Monroe and K.M. Neuhold to talk about their new collaboration, writing as Mika Nix for the Drake Security series. Mia and Kyleen discuss what came first, the dragons or the bodyguards, plus the origins of the name Mika Nix. They also share how Nico and Lake’s fated mates romance came together in Hot Head, and offer a few details of what’s still to come in the series. In addition, they each have a book recommendation and tell us what else is coming up for them individually this year.
Look for the next episode of Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Monday, February 13.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Mia Monroe & K.M. Neuhold Interview
- Mia Monroe website | Mia’s MM Maniacs Facebook Group | Facebook | Instagram
- K.M. Neuhold: website | Neuhold’s Nerds Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram
- Mika Nix: Wicked Hot Mates Facebook Group
- Hot Head (Drake Security Book 1) by Mika Nix
- Mountain Topped by K.M. Neuhold & Mia Monroe
- Episode 385 – Fiction Fest Panel Discussion: Paranormal Romance with Jenn Burke, Kiki Burrelli and Mia Monroe on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton
- Stars Collide (Written in the Stars Book 1) by Mia Monroe
- Ranger by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
- Smolder (Drake Security Book 2) by Mika Nix (pre-order until February 17, 2023)
- Devil’s Dance (Rebel Kings MC Book 1) by Garrett Leigh
- Galen (Sons of the Fallen Book 1) by Jaclyn Osborn
- A Traitor Shows His Hand (Covens of Eaton Falls Book 5) by Mia Monroe (pre-order until March 9, 2023)
- Demons Are So Annoying (Covens of Eaton Falls Book 6) by Mia Monroe (pre-order until May 10, 2023)
- Perfect Ten (Palm Island Book 1) by K.M. Neuhold
- Crankshaft (Big Bull Mechanics Book 1) by K.M. Neuhold
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast Links
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Will: Coming up on this episode, authors Mia Monroe and K.M Neuhold join us to talk about their latest collaboration. It’s all about dragons, baby.
Jeff: Welcome to episode 413 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, yhe show for avid readers and passionate fans of queer romance fiction. I’m Jeff, and with me, as always, is my co-host and husband and apparently dragon lover. It’s Will.
Will: Hello, Rainbow Romance Reader. We are so glad that you could join us for another episode of the podcast.
Jeff: As always, this podcast is brought to you in part by our remarkable community on Patreon. If you’d like more information about what we offer to our patrons, go to patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
It’s okay. I’ve become a dragon lover too because of Mia and Kyleen.
It’s interesting. We’ve had a bit of a theme going on over the past 10 episodes as we’ve been talking to co-writers. Back in episode 404, we had Macy Blake and Charlie Cochet. Then in 411 it was L.A. Witt and Anna Zabo. And now we’ve got Mia Monroe and K.M. Neuhold.
Now Kylie and Mia have written together before and it was a contemporary. But now they’ve come together for paranormal under the name of Mike Nix as they kick off the incredible “Drake Security” series. They’re going to tell us why they decided to go with that singular pen name, and where they got that name—which I so much love that story—whose idea it was to write about dragons, and what we can expect in this series.
You’ll hear me discuss what I liked about that first book, “Hot Head” as we chat. But after the interview, I’ll also be back with a full review for you.
Mia Monroe & K.M. Neuhold Interview
Jeff: Mia and Kyleen, welcome back to the show. I’m so excited to have you both here.
Kyleen: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Mia: Happy to be here.
Jeff: And you’re here under a combined name with the debut of Mika Nix.
Mia: We are.
Jeff: Before we get into the amazing first book of “Drake Security” series, I’d like to find out more about your collaboration. You wrote before last year with “Mountain Topped.” And that was under your individual names. How did this new collaboration for “Drake Security” come about?
Kyleen: It’s something that we’d actually been talking about for a while. You know, when we wrote “Mountain Topped,” we had the agreement together that we wanted to try a one-off and kind of see if we would mesh together with co-writing. Because, you know, you could be the best friends in the world, that doesn’t necessarily mean that co-writing is gonna be a good fit. And so, that was sort of our test, our tryout to see if we wanted to write together more in the future.
And even, I think even while we were writing “Mountain Topped,” we were already talking about other ideas and possible series that we might do. I think at that time we were talking a lot about writing more polyamory stuff together maybe. But then through the course of the year last year, Mia had gotten really into writing paranormal. And I think I was actually just very jealous because I wanted to write some paranormal too. And I was like, okay, this will be perfect. Our co-writes that we do can be some paranormal stuff. So I get a chance to dip my toe in too.
Jeff: Is this your first paranormal, Kyleen? I thought you had done others, but I might have researched wrong.
Kyleen: Well, aside from…I did one like short, it was like 10,000, 12,000 words for a giveaway. It was like a heat sex giveaway that I did last year. But otherwise, this is my first paranormal. But…
Jeff: Oh wow.
Kyleen: …I’ve been dying to write paranormal for so long. Before I was a romance reader, I was a paranormal reader. Yeah, this has been on my wishlist for a long time.
Mia: Yeah, can you believe that, Jeff? This is her first time.
Jeff: I am surprised. Yeah.
Mia: I know. Just swing and hit it right out of the park.
Jeff: Now you were saying about the pen name, Mia. How did that come about to join the names into a singular pen name?
Mia: Yeah. Well, we were kind of thinking about…so Kyleen, obviously, K.M. Neuhold is known for a very specific type of contemporary book. And my name Mia is blended with my contemporary and my paranormal, but we thought, wouldn’t it be kind of cool to have this name that people can automatically recognize, oh, that’s Mia and Kyleen together, but in a paranormal world.
So, if we were to write anything contemporary, we’d probably use our real names like we did for “Mountain Topped.” But this gives us an opportunity to just sort of make it real clear for contemporary readers mostly, and, you know, for both sides, for paranormal readers that this is definitely paranormal.
Jeff: And where did Mika Nix come from as a name?
Kyleen: Yeah, so we played around with it a little bit. We were talking about ways to blend the names Kyleen and Mia, and Mika I think was there like, at the top of our minds right away. We were like, oh, that’s perfect. Like Mika, Kyleen and Mia. And then Nix, we were thinking about a little tribute to Stevie Nicks.
Jeff: Oh, nice.
Kyleen: But then we thought with an X had more of a paranormal vibe, like just visually on a book cover. So we decided to put a little spin on it. But that was kind of the inspiration for where we came up with Nix.
Mia: Yeah, definitely came from my girl, Stevie Nicks.
Jeff: I love that connection to her. As a big fan of the music, I love that that’s there.
When we talked to you, Mia, for Big Gay Fiction Fest in 2022, paranormal was just kicking off for you. How’s that journey been so far now that you’re another six, seven months down the road from when we talked?
Mia: It’s wild actually because I never thought I would be a paranormal writer ever. I guess I had something in my mind about what it was that didn’t appeal to me for the longest time. I think I was thinking more horror than paranormal. And I’m definitely not a horror writer, I’m not a horror watcher.
I know I have an accent. So when I say that word, it comes out sounding like a different word. But y’all know what I’m talking about. I’m doing my best to enunciate. That’s all I can do.
Mia: A horror movie. Now I sound like Moira from “Schitt’s Creek” when I say horror.
And I’m the kind of person that really holds on to a lot of imagery, whether it’s in text form or on TV. And so I never could see myself getting involved in something like that. And when I realized it was Lily Morton’s book, who made me see it differently, and then I thought, well, I could maybe do that. And so now that I’ve kind of given myself permission, all sorts of interesting things are coming out. I never thought I would write shifters, but when Kyleen brought up dragon shifters, I was like, heck yeah. I have demons and witches and all kinds of interesting paranormal type of characters that pop into my head all the time now. So, I have definitely have a lot of fodder for future stories.
Kyleen: As her alpha reader and the person who spends most days trying to reign her in and vice versa, as she was finishing up her last contemporary series, it was sort of in the mix of after she had started her paranormal and she just kept wanting to like add vampires to this contemporary hotel setting in California. I was like…
Mia: What if one vampire checks in? One vampire goes on vacation, that’s all. I have another contemporary series that’s “Written in the Stars” and there’s a character from there that fans of that series are always asking about, and I just couldn’t come up with a story for him that made sense for me, but when they kept asking, I told Kyleen last year, maybe Richard should get bitten by a vampire and then go on vacation in California and it’ll be like a massive crossover event between my three worlds, but obviously, I didn’t do that. So…
Kyleen: I just love the idea though, of someone picking up your contemporary series and being like, oh, nice, some like vacation fun. Oh wait, there’s a vampire in there.
Mia: There’s a vampire.
Jeff: It would be an interesting tweak, right?
Mia: So I’m really into vampires right now in case you can’t tell.
Jeff: I was talking to somebody on the show recently, and hmm, of course, I’m blanking on this now. They’d mentioned the idea that they picked up from somebody else at like Halloween and stuff, writing their contemporary characters as paranormal and like…
Kyleen: That sounds so fun.
Jeff: …using that as like an email thing to give away. You could totally do that with Richard as like this alternate universe…
Kyleen: That’s a cool idea.
Mia: That’s good.
Kyleen: I’m banking that in the old memory bank for Halloween this year too because that would be fun.
Mia: Here’s your Richard, he’s a vampire now. I hope you don’t mind. Fantastic. That’s a really fun idea.
Kyleen: That’s funny, you got it.
Jeff: We know what to look for now when we get toward Halloween.
Kyleen, now that you’ve been a paranormal reader forever, how was it diving into your first one as an author?
Kyleen: Oh, it was amazing. I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to write more dragons. You know, every book we write or talk about so far, we’re thinking of more side characters. Ooh, we could do a spinoff and do vampires later. We could do a spinoff and do demons later. We could do a…like, it’s just so many options in this world, and I definitely could see us sticking in this universe for quite a long time together just co-writing who knows how many spinoffs, but yeah, I had an absolute blast with it.
Jeff: There’s enough nods through the book that clearly there are more than dragons and wolves around.
Mia: Yeah. That shows up even more in the second book.
Jeff: Oh, I can’t wait.
Kyleen: Yeah, definitely. And I know some of what we’ve talked about, I think it’s going to, just as the series goes on, we’re gonna see kind of expanding concentric circles like a ripple in a pond just more and more depth to this paranormal world that’s sort of hidden among the human worlds in this universe.
Jeff: How did it change up your collaboration from doing “Mountain Topped” in contemporary to now collaborating where you’re actually building out part of the world for “Drake Security?”
Kyleen: It made me a lot more annoying. I’m definitely a lot more of like a plotter and a planner, so I think I’ve been driving Mia a little crazy with that. But yeah, definitely, it takes a lot more planning. When we wrote “Mountain Topped,” I think we were pretty much just seat of our pants like, write a chapter or toss it to the other person, see what they come up with. Like no plan in place, just sort of going with it.
But with these, yeah, the story’s a lot more in depth and the world’s a lot more in depth. We usually do like weekly video chats while we’re working on it to make sure that we’re sort of on the same page and where the narrative’s going and everything.
Mia: Yeah, she wasn’t annoying, she was just more…she explained it well. She’s definitely more of a plotter outliner than I am. Like, I’m a general, this is what’s generally gonna happen in the story, but she’s a Chapter 1, this is what happens, Chapter 2, this is what happens and I’m like, okay. But, you know, I saw the benefit of it definitely because when it was my turn, I knew exactly what I was supposed to write.
You know, it wasn’t like, oh, where am I going now? I knew where I was going. And like she said, you know, paranormal does take a lot more research and world building. Book two definitely took a lot because I’m… no spoilers, but there’s some things that we had to actually historically place. So, you know, we had to actually know what we were talking about. Make it sound like the characters who are experts in this know what they’re talking about.
So you have to slow down a lot more, I think, than contemporary when…you know, we live in this world so we know what a gym looks like, we know what a restaurant, a coffee shop looks like, you know. Those are all things that we can just make up off the top of our heads, but there are, you know, other things that in a paranormal world, you have to creatively talk about how it’s gonna play out or like I said, research.
So, yeah, I would say it took us a little bit more like actual collaboration, but as far as the how we write and how we work well together, that didn’t change at all. It was not really good. Seamless.
Jeff: Where did the idea of “Drake Security” come from? I think Kyleen, you said, Ooh, I could write about dragons. Did it start with dragons or did it start with something else?
Kyleen: It started with dragons. I am obsessed with dragons. I’ve been wanting for probably at least three or four years I’ve been like desperately wanting to write a dragon book. I read every dragon book I can get. I’m just obsessed. So when we started talking about a paranormal co-write, my first thing was like, I wanna write dragon shifters. We’re gonna write dragon shifters. I can’t remember actually how the security guard aspect came about. Can you remember, Mia?
Mia: I think we were just talking about what kind of dragons we wanted them to be. What kind of a world, like a contemporary world where they’re not exposed to the public. Like, the public doesn’t know that dragons are amongst them. And then, you know, we like the whole possessiveness and, you know, surly brooding, dragon-hoarder type. And then I think it just we were like, oh yeah, bodyguards. You know, like that’s just a feasible job that a bunch of dragon brothers would have.
And as far as their name, we figured out where their origin is, where they came from, which is northeastern France. And then I looked up names that came from that time period, and it’s now Normandy, but it wasn’t back then. And then we took like a variation of a village back then and turned it into Drake, which sounds, you know, English and American for humans.
Kyleen: It’s also a word for dragon. So…
Mia: It’s also a word for dragon. Yeah.
Jeff: I like how much of the history you kind of weave in there a little bit, because they do talk about where they came from and that little bit of family history that gets shared along the way and I’m just like, oh, that is so nice.
Kyleen: I think that’s one of the really cool things about paranormal. When you think about characters who are…you know, they’re not 40, they’re thousands of years old, getting to kind of think about that like, okay, so what does that look like when they were born? What’s the world like? Where would they have been born? What would their lives growing up have been like? I think that’s one of the really neat things about writing characters like that.
Mia: And I think in contrast to vampires, I think the dragon story is cool because they’re still connected to their family. They know their parents, they’re with their families and parents and brothers, whereas vampires tend to be more chosen family because they’re old too, but usually, their entire family isn’t vampires. You know, their birth family isn’t vampires because you turn into a vampire whereas you’re born a dragon. So, I think it was nice for me from that perspective to be able to build, you know, a blood family connection as well as a chosen family.
Jeff: Was there anything interesting that you went through to create your rules of dragons that you were like, the dragon needs to do this thing, it must do this thing. Especially for you, Kyleen, since you read so many dragon books?
Kyleen: Definitely, the thing that jumps right to my mind with that question was the mating bond. That was like the first thing when we were like, okay, how are they gonna bond? And I was like, I know already, you don’t even have to ask. This is how they bond with their mates. Like it was in my head clear as day, this is what we have to do for it.
Mia: Yeah. And then we agreed right away too that mpreg would not be part of our world. And so there would be no eggs or hatchlings or things of that nature. We had some right-off-the-bat rules, if you will, for what we wanted our dragons to be.
Jeff: And now that we’ve talked a little bit all around “Hot Head,” tell everybody what “Hot Head” is about and what actually brings Lake and Nico together.
Kyleen: Asking authors to summarize their work, that’s the biggest no-no.
Jeff: We have all the time in the world.
Mia: I’m like, how much time you got, Jeff?
Kyleen: So yeah, let’s see. Try to keep it brief would be…so we have Lake, who is the client of Drake Security who’s been stalked by an ex-boyfriend. So his very wealthy father decides, you know what, you need to be safe, you need to be protected. I’m hiring this security firm that’s top-notch, and the dragon whose turn it is in the rotation because that’s how the brothers work it, whose turn is it to go deal with a human this week is Nico who is amongst the brothers, sort of known to be the more antisocial, surly, hot-headed brother. And as soon as he sees Lake, he knows that something is different about this little human.
Mia: And Lake knows that Nico is a slice of heaven and sets his sights on turning him from bodyguard to boyfriend pretty quickly because Lake always gets what he wants.
Jeff: It’s pretty easy this time out with the whole fated mates though. He didn’t have to pull too hard for that one.
Kyleen: To be fair, I mean, he is like a rich socialite. He’s used to getting what he wants without having to work that hard. So fated mates was perfect for him.
Mia: Yeah. He didn’t have to bring much of a sweat getting Nico, but…
Jeff: Lake is so interesting to me because I don’t wanna give away too many spoilers because the discovery on Lake as a reader was really something amazing. What were you looking to set out to do as you constructed Lake to bring him to the page? Because there’s so much more to him than what we just said in that brief description.
Mia: Well, the grumpy sunshine thing I think jumped out at us as what would work with Nico’s character type because he’s not easily moved by anything. And we thought, you know, what’s funnier than putting some happy-go-lucky guy with a guy that thinks there’s a black cloud over his head all the time? So that started Lake’s evolution. And then I think we just wanted to have fun with him and just let him be his fabulous self.
But we’re not the kind of people, regardless of whether we’re writing contemporary or paranormal, to write somebody that’s sort of shallow and vapid. You know, there’s gotta be some character underneath there that makes him likable. There’s a lot of rich people that we see on TV or social media that maybe he might remind you of in the beginning, but a lot of those people, there’s not a lot there that makes us actually like them or root for them. In most cases we don’t even like them, and we had to have Lake have something that made him compelling, not only to Nico but to the rest of the family and to readers, of course.
Kyleen: Yeah, I think for me it was just his sassiness and his confidence were sort of the forefront of my mind the whole time we were writing him. Just that he’s this man who knows who he is and he doesn’t make any apologies for it that I think just made him so endearing and likable, and like you just wanted to see what’s he gonna say next because he always had something quippy, but it just works.
Jeff: That grumpy sunshine thing is one of the things I love so much because they end up and influence each other so much through the book, and just watching that evolution was…I don’t know how you did this because first of all, you’ve got paranormal, you’ve got a romantic suspense subplot because it is a bodyguard thing that we’ve got going on here. So there are stakes involved, and yet it was also crazily low angst around the romance. And part of that, of course, is the fated mate side of it I think. But just also how they grew together, fated mates thing aside almost.
Kyleen: Yeah, I think that’s what definitely drew Mia and I to wanting to write together in general is because that’s something that I think is a hallmark of both of our writing styles is the love story and our stories is just that. Like, it’s not about miscommunication, it’s not about characters who spend 300 pages, talking about how they’re not good enough for the other person. Like it’s just falling in love with somebody and then there’s a story around that. But the basis of it is these two people falling in love. Well, sometimes more than two people, but two people in this case
Mia: Yeah, I agree. We’re just naturally geared towards low angst, low-relationship angst. So there may be external things in a paranormal book that are causing some stress on the couple, but the interaction between the two of them is consistently supportive and there for each other even when the romance part hasn’t even, like, they haven’t crossed that line yet. I think both of us do well at building the reason why they should fall in love.
You know, there’s a lot of connection and discovery between people, especially grumpy sunshine when two people think they’re not matched or suited for each other and then these little tiny things come out that show you that they are. And so by the time they kiss or whatever they do, the reader is like about time, but it also feels authentic to the couple, and I think that’s just naturally how we construct our characters falling in love with each other.
Jeff: Yeah. And you built it just so amazingly well everything that happened with the characters, because the end of the book, I have to say surprised me on multiple levels that I will not discuss here, but you kept subverting what my expectation was going to be and I love that when, you know, even as much romance as I read that I can still go, oh, didn’t see that coming.
Mia: Well, thank you. That’s a huge compliment.
Kyleen: I’m gonna make an assumption. I won’t say spoilers, but assuming the part that you’re talking about, that was definitely something we had also discussed probably before we discussed most of the other plotting for the book. We were like, this is how we want that aspect of the conflict to resolve because how much fun is that.
Jeff: Job well done because I was like, wow, that’s amazing.
Mia: Yeah, we were strong about that from the beginning, and I think it’s a growing point for lots of characters in the story when that takes place. And I mean, I don’t know personally. There’s, you know, in the list of compliments you can give an author, you know, unexpected is up there at the top. When you can’t see the ending coming. Yay. So thank you.
Jeff: Yeah. The part of the ending I could see coming obviously was the HEA.
Mia: That’s an expectation.
Jeff: …you know, beyond that…
Kyleen: Happily bonded for all eternity.
Jeff: It’s like, whoa. Yeah, there was so much awesome there.
Mia: I think one of the things that’s interesting for us that we work together on is because it’s paranormal, how far do we take certain elements that might be kind of dark or might be kind of violent? Because our contemporary stuff is like cotton candy, right? Like nothing bad is happening in those books. And things that paranormal characters can get away with, you know, contemporary characters can’t.
It would be very bad if a contemporary character did this, but totally acceptable if a vampire does it or a demon does it, you know. So we have to talk through a lot of those things too and that was a big discussion on the scene that you’re talking about, but we felt like given everything else around it that that was something that we could do.
Jeff: That makes a lot of sense.
As you’re working now on the second book, do you also find it that you get a little more leeway because you’re operating in romantic suspense as well where there’s a certain amount of violence that may already happen there?
Kyleen: Yeah. I would say definitely, that’s something that we both are finding a little leeway to push the boundaries on from what we normally would be comfortable with. And I think maybe book two probably has a smidge more angst outside of the relationship than either of us normally would put in something contemporary. But again, with the paranormal aspects, I think it works because you sort of need those extra stakes to see how strong the characters can be and all of those kinds of good growth things.
Mia: And there has to be a reason to hire a bodyguard.
Mia: They’re not hiring bodyguards for fun.
Kyleen: Hire a bodyguard to come to the tea party.
Mia: Yeah. And this particular bodyguard firm is kind of the ultimate one, you know. So they’re very expensive, they’re very exclusive. So you don’t go to them because you have an annoying neighbor, you know, you go to them because there’s a life or death situation you’re facing potentially. So there is that aspect of it that, you know, obviously I think our blurb will tell people that, but also, people should sort of connect as well. Like, here are dragons, bodyguards, oh bad stuff might happen.
Jeff: As you wrote, did you have a character that you wrote, or did you just trade back and forth as you went?
Kyleen: We just do back and forth chapters, which was different. Back when I used to co-write with Nora Phoenix, we would each have a character POV that we would be in charge of. But when Mia and I wrote “Mountain Topped,” we said, let’s just try writing chapter by chapter instead of splitting up the POVs and see how it goes. If we hate it, we can scrap what we’ve started and start over with character points of view. But yeah, we really like it because I think it gives it a certain kind of consistency to both be writing both characters.
Mia: Yeah. So we both get practice writing both. And I think it also helps us see consistency within the overall storyline too. Because we know that we wrote something that Nico said and then maybe the other person missed it. So we can say, oh, remember Nico does this in chapter 2, and, you know, like, oh yeah, let me go back and, you know, add that back in. We’re very in tune to what both of us wrote for both characters all the time.
And our writing styles are conducive enough that it’s not jolting to people to go, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, what’s going on here? Although I would say that we’ve both altered some of our, you know, our tells, our author tells to sort of blend in with each other more because I have some things that I do and she has some things that she does, and so I was like, they’re gonna start to pick up on that if we don’t, you know, kind of blend those habits a little bit more. And that just came through writing two books together where, you know, we started to see the pattern so then we can make those adjustments too.
Jeff: So now my favorite question to ask because, yeah, I’m gonna make you pick amongst your children now. What’s a favorite scene for each of you in the book?
Kyleen: I think that my favorite scene is the bonding/mating scene. Well, probably largely because that was one, like, just thinking about writing the dragons before we had anything planned, anything like that, like that was what was in my mind. I was excited to write a scene of dragon bonding with their mate, and I just really loved, not just the heat and how sexy that scene was, but like the raw emotions and how deep that scene ended up being. I really love it. I still like think back about that scene.
Mia: I’m glad she went first so I could think. It might not be super pivotal, but it’s so Lake that I think my favorite scene is when he just busts into Lord’s house for the first time because he had a thought and he has no regard for anything because he is just used to doing what he wants in his life. So he just busted in and when Lord asks him, you know, what are you doing in my house? He is like, well Nico’s here, ergo I am here. And so I think the reaction of all the brothers was, it just summed up Lake’s personality, you know, perfectly well and let the brothers see, you know, kind of what they were gonna be up against in the future. That’s one of my favorite scenes.
Kyleen: One of the things I love and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing as we continue to write more of this series is just, you know, these brothers have been together for thousands of years. They’re very close-knit, they’re kind of stuck in their habits, and just seeing the way that the addition of each new mate is going to kind of shake things up and change their dynamic and mess up their neat little well-kept world.
Mia: Yeah. And the next three brothers are…I mean, there’s only three of ’em left, but the next three brothers are…I mean, we’re already just rubbing our hands together for what we’re gonna do to them. Especially Valentino’s got it coming.
Jeff: Valentino, really? I would’ve thought Lord had it coming just for being practically up on high.
Kyleen: Oh yeah, we have plans for Lord.
Mia: We have plans for Lord and it’s gonna be a doozy, but I love the man whore…can I say man whore? I guess. I’m not saying horror this time, I’m saying whore now. I realize they sound exactly the same, but you know, he’s such a playboy. He’s such a, you know, I don’t need any of that business in my life that I cannot wait to bring him to his knees.
Kyleen: Personally, I’m most excited for Arson because I do love a good just chaotic black sheep kind of character and I’m very excited to write his story.
Mia: Yeah, chaos. He’s chaos. Yeah. He is the extreme opposite of Lord.
Mia: But they love him.
Jeff: He keeps that whole family on their toes.
Mia: Yeah. But they love him, and he has a magical way of showing up exactly when they need him, so he’s a good guy, he’s just, you know…5,000 years is a long time to live. You gotta keep it fresh.
Jeff: So we know we’re gonna get books for the brothers. You’ve talked about spinoffs. What can you tease about the future of “Drake Security” and its extended universe?
Kyleen: Yeah, I think definitely there’s gonna be five books for sure in this series. And then from there, I don’t think we have anything solid, but we definitely are excited to see what else we can do in this world.
I think we mentioned earlier, there’s definitely wolf shifters, there’s vampire, there’s witches, there’s magic, there’s all kinds of different stuff. So I think just leaving that open and seeing what we get excited about when we get close to finishing the dragons will be a lot of fun.
Mia: Yeah, especially seeing what other characters as we go along that haven’t even been created yet might stand out to us and call us, you know, inspiration-wise to work in their world for a little while.
Jeff: And at the end of book one, it’s Hemingway’s turn. Can you tease us anything about book two and when we might be seeing it?
Kyleen: So we are getting book two up on pre-order, so that is gonna be very close behind book one. Hemingway’s book is…so he is just a book-hoarding dragon. So that was a lot of fun. We just had this image of him as this like big burly librarian, which is exactly what he turned out to be. His story is a smidge more angsty outside of the relationship. That is still fated mates, all the swoony sexiness, and yeah, I think it’s gonna be another one that really throws readers for a loop.
Mia: His mate is not like Lake on any level. He’s much older than Lake and he’s much more demure. I would call him even a little shy. And he’s an antique dealer, so he kind of lives in the past. He deals more with things than with people, but he’s found himself in a scary situation and, you know, calls on Drake Security for help. Their book is fun because I called it like a love letter to London and antique books and antiques in general. So their vibe is really different.
Whereas “Hot Head’s” vibe is kind of, you know, fashion and glam and fabulous parties, and Nico just kind of following Lake like a puppy. Whereas these two, they’re like deep and they quote cute things to each other, and it’s just got a very different vibe to it. And that’s why the title is “Smolder” because it’s a romance that builds upon itself. it’s not a slam in your face like Lake and Nico were,
Jeff: I just imagine Hemingway’s hoard room to be like the best library ever.
Mia: Oh yeah. It’s… yeah.
Kyleen: Definitely, I like “Beauty and the Beast” inspiration in my mind…
Jeff: That’s kind of what I was thinking too.
Kyleen: … the first scene that I was writing his hoard room. Yep.
Mia: Yeah. And his mate’s reaction to it is, you know, heaven.
Jeff: Well, yeah a library.
Mia: He doesn’t care about… And dragons are funny because at least our dragons are very interested in their wealth because that’s what their hoards are about. You know, their hoards are about not only the things they like but they get a lot of jewels and actual gold coins and things like that that they wanna impress their mates with. And their mates are never interested in that stuff, their mates are interested in the thing that they like the most is the thing that their fated mate likes the most which is what you saw in “Hot Head.” So, you know, Hemingway is super excited to show his mate how much wealth he has and the mate is like, “Is that a first edition?” You know.
Jeff: Completely random question because you mentioned it, Mia, just now in kind of referencing Lake, you know, the fashion and the flash and everything. Did you all create a Pinterest board for what you were gonna dress him in?
Kyleen: We should have. We didn’t. We should.
Jeff: Because the description of the outfits is pretty amazing.
Kyleen: All right, you did derail the rest of my writing week as I spend the rest of the week on Pinterest creating a board for before release.
Mia: Yeah, sorry I didn’t get any more words this week, but I got a really good idea. Yeah, that would actually be super fun because one of the things that Lake wore, I actually was inspired because somebody sent me a music video with some Korean boy band, and what one of them was wearing, I was like, Lake is so wearing that somewhere. It was like a backless kind of tuxedo-type of thing, but it was backless and like cropped, and I was like, that is so Lake. So I did get some inspiration from the outside world for that. So yeah, Pinterest would be really fun.
Jeff: Nice. I apologize if that distracts you from your writing now. I shouldn’t have said that.
So we love book recommendations here, of course. What have you each read recently that you’d recommend?
Kyleen: So I recently have been obsessed with Garrett Leigh’s “Rebel Kings MC” series. It’s amazing. Greatest series ever. There’s only three books so far and I am very impatiently waiting for the next. It’s a little angsty, so much passion that just like leaps off the page and grabs you. Amazing. Drop whatever you’re doing and read it now unless what you’re doing is reading one of mine or Mia’s books, then do it now.
Mia: I just finished the Jaclyn Osborn Sons of the Fallen series, and she just finished the series and the last book in that series. So if you don’t know, they’re fallen angels and each of them represent the seven deadly sins, but like they embody them, not just represent them, they are those sins personified.
And the last book in the series was…so let me put it this way, I don’t cry over books, okay? I don’t cry. You can have the saddest scene ever and I’ll be like, oh that was sad but I’m still not gonna cry. And there were two scenes in that book, that my eyes got a little damp. I didn’t cry, but it was threatening. It’s very well done, and the perfect end to a long series that I’ve enjoyed all the books, but by far, Alastair was the best. But you have to read them all. It’s not a series you can jump into, you gotta start with book one and go through them all.
Jeff: Fantastic. Some series there to read in their entirety.
So besides “Drake Security” happening throughout 2023, what else can you share that’s coming up individually from you two? And, Mia, we’ll start off with you on that.
Mia: I am in the midst of writing book five of my “Covens” series and there will be six books. So right after I finish book five, I will dive into book six.
And then in the summer, I am launching a brand new vampire series, but they are vampire assassins. They are hired to get rid of things that other people don’t want around anymore, and they are very different than my Covens’ vampires, very different. And they’re much more morally gray and they are actively…like my Covens’ vampires were kind of killers in the past, but these guys are active killers and they’re hired to do so. So I’m really excited about kind of going to like an edgier place and letting my vampires be vampires in the present day. So that’s what I’ll be spending the rest of 2023 on.
Jeff: And Kyleen, what’s up for you?
Kyleen: Yeah, I have a lot going on. So right now, this week I just started working on the next “Palm Island.” So that is book four in the Palm Island series and it’s titled “Wild Goose Chase,” so it’s obviously Goose’s book. If you haven’t read the series at all, Goose is kind of a little bit of a wild card. He is the resident soap maker on the island and just sort of marches to the beat of his own drum, and he is about to come face to face with his best friend’s twin brother and unexpected sparks are gonna fly.
It’s a little bit of a opposites attract, island discovery, very sexy sweet book I think it’s gonna be. So definitely excited about that. I think I will likely also write one other “Palm Island” book this year, at least, as of right now I’m planning for that to be Easy’s book, which I just got the cover back from my cover designer and I wanted to lick the screen when I saw it, it is gorgeous. So that’s Easy and his “straight best friend” Luxe.
And then I’ve got at least probably one or two more “Big Bull Mechanics” books coming out. Augie’s book will be the next “Mechanics” book, and I’ve got some fun sweet stuff coming up for him. And then I don’t wanna give away any spoilers or anything so we’ll just see which “Mechanics” book comes after that.
And later on this year I am also thinking that I’m going to expand the short that I put in the “Dirty Daddies” anthology last year. I’m gonna expand that into a full length and hopefully release that later on this year too.
Jeff: Full slates for both of you. Very exciting
Kyleen: We like to keep ourselves busy,
Jeff: And what’s the best way for everyone to keep up with you online, not just individually, but where the Mika Nix news is as well?
Kyleen: For Mika Nix, the best place to find us is going to be on Facebook. We have a new Facebook group called Wicked Hot Mates, and so that should be a good place to find us. And I think there will be info about Mika Nix on both of our websites as well. At least eventually, if not now.
Kyleen: But Wicked Hot Mates is definitely a good place to get the updates and see teasers and all those good things.
Mia: Our individual newsletters usually contain anything shared that we’re doing as well. So you should subscribe.
Jeff: That’s right. We’ll put links to the websites, the social media and all that good stuff in the show notes.
Jeff: Mia and Kyleen, I’ve enjoyed so much talking to you about “Drake Security.” Can’t wait to see what’s coming next, and wish you both an excellent 2023.
Kyleen: Yeah, thanks so much for having us.
Book Review: Hot Head by Mika Nix
Thanks so much to Mia and Kyleen for joining us to talk about “Hot Head.” I loved hearing how they created the “Drake Security” series and some of their plans that might include going beyond this first series into an extended universe.
I talked about some of the things I loved about “Hot Head” during the conversation, but let me give you the full rundown on what I loved about this book. First of all, I love a good bodyguard story and Mia and Kyleen nailed that. Lake definitely needs help because of his stalker ex, even more so because the stalker ex is more than Lake realizes. Nico knows how to protect, but as the fated mates aspect kicks in that gets dialed up to 11, the nuances of how Nico protects as bodyguard and as mate I just loved it so so much.
Lake and Nico are also so opposite in many ways, but also so similar. They are both super stubborn and really don’t want to be told what to do. Even as Lake knows he needs protection, he still does things that jeopardize his safety. Nico meanwhile just digs in about how he doesn’t want his life to be disrupted and for people to do what he tells them to. But then there’s the opposite stuff–the grumpy, sunshine vibe here works so well here. There’s funny things that go with that too, such as Nico really having no idea about some of the pop culture references that Lake throws out. Nico may be hundreds of years old, but he is so very clueless about some things.
While both Nico and Lake have great growth arcs throughout this story, I loved Lake’s so much. He starts out as this carefree, privileged guy who really ends up adulting but the time we get to the end of this, and not only finds the love of his life, but discovers that he is stronger than he ever thought he could be in so many ways. I just loved it. He holds his own with the dragon brothers, and by the end of the story he figures out really what he’s supposed to do with his life. I can’t wait to catch glimpses of what Lake’s up to in the future books in the series.
And the romance. Of course we have to talk about that. I haven’t read many fated mates romances. I appreciated that Kyleen and Mia showed how the connection affected Nico and his dragon’s desire to protect and love Lake at all costs… but also not with the loss of Lake’s autonomy either even as t he dragon really just wanted to take care of him, and make him his own, like a part of his hoard.
It was a really interesting dynamic to the story. And I liked not only seeing how it played out for Lake and for Nico, but also for me as the reader, just to kind of understand what was going on there since I’m a little unfamiliar with this aspect of romance. And really for me the whole thing was just really swoony.
Lake, as he also felt the pull of wanting to be with Nico, and even as he learned about Nico’s dragon, was so good. He really had no fear. He seemed to know that he was in good hands with Nico even with all the revelations that came with it eventually. They’re so hot together, and they are going to be one amazing team as they embark on their HEA.
I loved everything about “Hot Head,” and bringing me a great story in a genre I don’t read much of. And I’m looking forward to continuing the story of “Drake Security” as “Smolder” comes out on February 17. As we talked about a little bit in the interview, I am there for this dragon, book-loving, book-hoarding person. Just bring it on.
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com. And the show notes page has links to absolutely everything that we’ve talked about in this episode.
Jeff: And just a quick reminder about our newsletter. If you’re not signed up for the Rainbow Romance Reader Report, you’re missing out. Every single Friday it drops into your inbox with book recommendations, what we love on TV, and news about the podcast. You can sign up for it at biggayfictionpodcast.com/report.
Will: All right, I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up on Monday, February 13th. Aw, our love episode. Phil Stamper is going to be joining us to talk about his brand new book “Afterglow.”
Jeff: We love Phil so much. You may recall that we had Phil’s books on our favorites list for 2022, and I’m so excited to talk to him about those books as well as “Afterglow,” which is the sequel two “Golden Boys.”
Will: Jeff and I, we want to thank you so much for listening. And we hope that you’ll join us again for more discussions about the kinds of stories we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then, keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.