When I first started planning the Darkling Mage series, I wanted it stuffed to the brim with all the things that initially made me fall in love with urban fantasy and supernatural suspense. I wanted mythology, gods, demons, angels, and magic. Lots and lots of magic.

Yet again and again, when readers talk to me about the books, it always comes back to the subject of my characters, and somehow, always within the context of family. Over the course of his journey, Dustin Graves makes friends out of strangers and even enemies, often incorporating them by accident into the motley little crew that he considers his family. It’s his relationships with these characters – various forms of the undead, ancient deities of old mythology, and even the occasional demon – that truly form the core of the books.

And that makes me happy. Looking back, I see a lot of my own Malaysian and Filipino heritage in the stories, mainly in the food, as Kazza has lovingly mentioned in her reviews, but also in emphasizing the importance of family. Where it differs in my fiction is with how Dustin and his pals go a little further than what might once have been considered the traditional concept of family, because all he truly has left as blood is his father. In retrospect, what really stands as the main foundation stone for the series is the concept of chosen family, of finding your tribe, something familiar to most everyone in the LGBTQIA community.

It took months for me to decide on Dustin’s name because I wanted it to reflect who he was on his journey: just a speck of dust, floating on a rock spinning through the uncaring cosmos. Yet his insignificance in the grand scale of the universe doesn’t deter him from doing his damnedest to help and occasionally save the ones he loves. I’ve never really willingly poured a lot of my own beliefs and personality into the series, but this is one area where I freely admit to fixing the books, so to speak. I share Dustin’s vision. Despite the fleeting nature of human life, our seeming smallness, we are still afforded the freedom to lead lives that we can fill with our own ideas of joy, of happiness. And whether by birth and blood, or choice and circumstance, the people we choose to include in our lives – our loved ones – can often be wonderful gifts worth celebrating.

It’s strange how my own small interactions with my readers have given me reason to reflect on the stories behind the stories I write, and I think I’m content to say that I write urban fantasy that’s filled with humor, and horror, but most of all, a lot of heart. The Darkling Mage series, from beginning to end, has always been about family, whether it’s Dustin’s dedication and loyalty to his chosen tribe or the misguided motivations of the many villains who, for better or for worse, truly only believed that they were doing their honest best to honor their families.

And I think this thread will continue, even as I branch off for a new little series of adventures spinning off from the mainline Darkling Mage books, to examine the journey of just one member of Dustin’s ever-growing family: his spiritually adopted son, the nephilim Mason. I’m looking forward to releasing the Sins of the Father series in 2020, to add on to the universe slowly expanding around the swirling nexus that is Dustin Graves’s heart and soul. I hope that you’ll join our family, too.

Many thanks to On Top Down Under for having me, and happy anniversary! Here’s to many more years of featuring the very best that M/M romance and LGBTQIA fiction have to offer.


This giveaway is for an e-book box set of books 1-3 in the Darkling Mage series. For your chance to win, simply leave a comment below before Midnight, Sunday October 20th (US EST). The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of the giveaway finishing and will need to contact us back withing 48 hours otherwise we will redraw. Thanks for joining in our blog anniversary celebrations.

Author Bio:


Hi, I’m Nazri, a Filipino-Malaysian author based in California. I’m trilingual, but I really only write in English. I can also speak just enough Sindarin and Valyrian to impress absolutely no one. My urban fantasy novels focus on realistic heroes who use wits, style, and their wildly unpredictable magic to (try) and save the day. Think sass and class, while kicking ass.

My influences come from horror and fantasy: HP Lovecraft, Anne Rice, George R.R. Martin, Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. Growing up I was shaped by the Blood Sword, Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, and Grey Star game book universes. I’m also inspired by video games, specifically the Castlevania, Final Fantasy, and Persona series.

TL;DR: I’m a huge nerd. And yes, that’s my real hair. I try to donate it to the American Cancer Society as often as I can. Also, have you heard? You can get a free book at www.NazriNoor.com