Yep. That was my 2017.
In summary, I have enough perspective to say that 2017 wasn't as bad as 2016 by default because 2016 was nothing but a continuous stream of suckerpunches to everyone's 'nads, and since 2016 set the precedent that everything was going to be awful from now on, we knew to expect nothing but awful things in 2017. That's pretty much what we got, to be honest. It wasn't all bad, but it was pretty much mostly bad, imo.
Still, I was able to snatch just a few happy moments in this dumpster fire of a year that followed up what I considered to be the definitive apocalypse. I was able to go to Los Angeles for a week and run around being silly and doing whatever I wanted. I attended Dragon*Con and met Nathan Fillion, whom I've been crushing on since 2009, as well as Ming Na Wen, Michael Rosenbaum, and Steve Blum. I've managed to sort of dig my book sales out of its shallow grave and nudge it back towards the direction it needs to be in. I wrote a sequel to my science fiction/contemporary fantasy mashup and published an all new novella for The Black Parade series, Back to Black. I was also accepted into an anthology of black sci-fi/urban fantasy based out of Atlanta that'll be hitting your bookshelves later this summer. I moved back to my hometown of Atlanta, GA and have been happy to remember what it feels like to be somewhere comfortable that's also more conducive to my career.
It hasn't been easy. I've been through some stuff this year that I never anticipated and I'm unsure if I'm the better for having endured these kinds of hardships, but I'm happy to have made it out alive. I'm happy that you guys survived it as well and I hope that 2018 treats you even the tiniest bit better than 2017. We still have a hard road ahead for us, but if we stick together, I think we can survive another year of metaphorical 'nad punching by life.
As for the future, 2018 is going to be a weird year. I've got another Of Cinder and Bone novel on the docket for this year, though it will depend on how things go with Of Blood and Ashes in terms of if I'll write and publish the third novel (working title is Of Scales and Shadows, but it's subject to change) this year. Technically, I do one book a year, sometimes two if the situation calls for it, and Of Blood and Ashes came out January 2, 2018 in the Sirens and Scales boxed set, so I've already met my goal for 2018 publications. The third book will still get written, but I guess we'll see what happens throughout the year to determine if I'll publish it in 2018. This year and next year are probably the most flexible years in my writing career, as I have the room to decide what I want to do and where I go from here, since The Black Parade's main novels are done (might do another short story collection someday, stay tuned) and this new series is about to hit its third book.
All I can say is hang in there. I've got some moves to make and I hope you want to be around for the ride.
See you on the salt flats, friends.
The day of reckoning is finally here! The Sirens and Scales boxed set is finally out! Grab yourself a copy of 20+ science fiction and fantasy tales centered around dragons, mermaids, and sirens for only 99 cents, from New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors!
Yes, you read that right. My sci-fi dragon hunting first-in-series has followed in The Black Parade's footsteps of becoming a permanently free title on all sales channels. If you haven't gotten a copy already, please check below for download links and get crackin'. Remember: the more reviews, the more readers. The more readers, the more money. The more money, the more I'm able to write at a faster pace and get new books out every year. If you want more from me, make sure you leave a review and recommend the novel to anyone who might be interested.
Happy holidays, guys! See you in 2018!
The time has finally come. You guys are going to get a taste of what's in store for Jack and Kamala in my upcoming sequel to Of Cinder and Bone, Of Blood and Ashes! Naturally, massive spoilers for Of Cinder and Bone. Do not read below if you don't want to be spoiled for the events of the previous book.
Of Blood and Ashes hits digital bookshelves via the Sirens and Scales boxed set January 2, 2018. Pre-order it on all platforms by clicking the button below.
Are you ready for the sequel to Kyoko M's Of Cinder and Bone? Well, here's what it's about! Feast your eyes!
The world's deadliest dragon, the infamous Baba Yaga, is loose on the streets of Tokyo.
Dr. Rhett "Jack" Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali have been tasked with helping the government take down a dragon the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex after it sends part of the city up in flames. Things worsen when they lose track of dragon in none other than Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest--a section of woods in Japan that is rumored to be one of the most haunted places on earth. They've also got the yakuza who cloned the dragon hellbent on getting her back, and they don't care who they kill in order to re-capture the dragon.
Jack and Kamala are joined by CIA field agent William Fry and dragon-hunting expert Juniper Snow as they infiltrate the forest to hunt the dragon before she can hurt anyone else. Between the ruthless yakuza hot on their trail and the growing mistrust in their small hunting party, it will take a miracle for Jack and Kamala to make it out alive...
Pre-order it for only .99 cents exclusively in the Sirens and Scales boxed set! Release date is January 2, 2018.
The wait is over.
That's right, the cover for my sequel to Of Cinder and Bone is finally here! Ain't she a beaut?
But that's not all! I've also got a release date for you.
Of Blood and Ashes will be released January 9, 2018 as a part of the Sirens and Scales boxed set--a set of 20+ fantasy novels from USA Today and Amazon Bestselling authors all with stories based around dragons and mermaids.
The best part? It's only .99cents! Check below for the purchase links and pre-order the set and get lost in fantastic worlds with exclusive content that will swallow you whole.
Please stay tuned for Of Blood and Ashes' synopsis. It should be posted within the next couple weeks.
1 Collection. 20+ Tales of Enchantment and Danger!
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With 20+ full-length stories of enchanting fiction, you’ll learn the secrets of Atlantis, soar to uncharted peaks, and discover creatures of wing and fin and those who love them.
Ready to set sail and catch the tide before your chance for adventure is lost forever? Then order this collection of BRAND NEW and EXCLUSIVE material from your favorite USA Today and award-winning authors before it’s gone for good!
Including material from the following authors:
Award-Winning author Pauline Creeden
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Ivy Quinn and Midnight Voss
Award-Finalist Natasha S. Brown
Rone Award Nominee C.S. Moore
Award-Winning author Carly Fall
B. Kristin McMichael
Award-Winning author Natalie G. Owens and Zee Monodee
USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren
USA Today bestselling author Kelly Anne Blount
Jennifer M. Eaton
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
D.D. Miers & B. Crow
Enter for your chance to win a FREE paperback copy of my all-new novella from the Black Parade series!
Want to know what it's about? Read more below.
Seer and demon slayer Jordan Amador has had it rough lately: separated from her husband the archangel Michael, hated by the angels who think she betrayed them, hunted by demons who want her dead or enslaved, and rejected by her friends and family for lying to them. Disgraced and miserable, she’s all but ready to lay down and die until another Seer named Myra Bennett saves her life. Myra gives Jordan a new mission: to wipe out a nest of demons that are terrorizing her family as well as the innocent people of Houston, Texas. Jordan goes undercover to infiltrate the demons’ nest and figure out how to eliminate them. Meanwhile, she’s locked in a deadly game with the archdemon Belial, who constantly visits her night after night in her dreams to convince her to give him her soul. Between the insanely gorgeous, but dangerous archdemon poking around in her head and the vicious creatures surrounding her, she’s not sure how much longer she can survive. Back to Black takes place between She Who Fights Monsters and The Holy Dark in the Black Parade series.
Read the first chapter for free here.
Deadline for the Goodreads giveaway is October 18, 2017, so enter now!
“What’s it like to be a self-published author?”
Boy, you’d think by my fourth year I’d have less trouble answering this question, but believe it or not, I think it’s actually gotten harder to answer.
It’s no surprise that 2016 was a brutal year for everyone on the planet. Half of us didn’t survive it. 2017 is infinitely better just by comparison, but 2016 really did leave us with a lot of scars. I lost my furry best friend of twelve years, for one thing, and I had such a rough year that even my book sales slid into the trashcan (probably so they could be close to me). I’ve been struggling for the past year to drag my poor book series out of the landfill and start pushing the boulder back up the mountain. It’s a long, miserable, lonely trip.
But it ain’t all bad.
For instance, recently I was lucky enough to save up my hard-earned, retail-slave-labor cash and move back to Atlanta, Georgia, my city, my hometown, my turf. I always knew I wanted to move back and it’s not just because Florida is God’s rubber room. (Seriously, what is with you, Florida? You scare me.) If I have even the slightest chance of advancing the Black Parade series and possibly even the Of Cinder and Bone series, I need to take a page out of the Little Mermaid’s book: “I wanna be where the people are.” No man is an island and I need to network, to fellowship, and to grow as an author in a metropolitan city almost as big and diverse as New York. I want to do more than shill my books to online audiences. I want to put down some roots and start collaborating to reach a wider audience and get the Word of Mouth going eventually, even if it takes years.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
It’s okay to change your mind. For instance, after I wrote The Holy Dark, I didn’t really think I’d dive back into Jordan Amador’s insane life again, at least at length, but an irresistible opportunity presented itself and I decided to explore a story that I felt was interesting without retreading too much ground that we’ve already covered in the trilogy. After all, that’s why I didn’t make it into an ongoing chronicle. I felt that Jordan’s story is the kind that’s best told with a finite number of books. It’s not nearly as large and sprawling as something like the Dresden Files or the Kate Daniels series. However, many people asked me how Myra Bennett and Jordan Amador met before The Holy Dark and I felt like it could be a good jumping off point into a novella.
Additionally, I was misguided with the first cover to Of Cinder and Bone. I thought that going for the sci-fi romance/interracial angle would draw in some readers, but it didn’t. The book tanked. It’s still tanking, but to be fair, it’s very niche and it’s long as hell. It’s going to be a real struggle to tread water, and so that’s why after Of Blood and Ashes is on digital bookshelves, Of Cinder and Bone will become a permafree title just like The Black Parade. It turns out that I overestimated my “fanbase”—which of course is not a jab at any of my fans. Rather, I got arrogant and assumed that those who had read the Black Parade would crossover and read this new series when that isn’t the case. I’m not that big of a deal and I needed to be humbled by struggling yet again to even get 10 sales a month for the new title. Well, mission accomplished. I’ve been eating humble pie for dinner every day for the past eight months. Coincidentally, that leads me to my next lesson.
It’s okay to be wrong. I was wrong about the cover for Of Cinder and Bone. I was wrong about how I thought it would do since I had an established readership before it came out. I was wrong about advertising and marketing. I was wrong about a lot of stuff. It sucks. It hurts. But as Lonely Island says, “I’M AN ADUUUUUUUUUUUUULT!” and I will push past it and get better at what I do. This business isn’t the forgiving kind, and it’s not very patient. You work or you die. That’s the way it is.
Be open to changing gears. Even though Of Cinder and Bone is in the dumps right now, I’m still hella glad that I gave it a shot. There is something almost perversely satisfying about taking something you’re really excited about and sharing it with the world, even if not that many people care about it. I haven’t broken through to the right demographic yet, but when I’ve given the elevator pitch to the novel to people, they actually seem genuinely interested in it, as it smacks of Jurassic Park, which everyone loves. If nothing else, I’ve really come to be fond of my off-kilter premise because it feels so uniquely mine. This isn’t to say that The Black Parade isn’t as well, but I am delighted that people acknowledge that it is a cool idea even if they’re not quite ready to dive into it yet. I still have to rebuild that readership from the ground up, but at least I know there is a demand for this type of mashup. It’s definitely a risk and it’s a loss for now, but I know that if I try hard enough, I can cut through the jungle and find the right readers. I think that’s one thing that the (very, very small) success of the Black Parade series has helped with, actually: giving me the confidence to go with my gut and keep writing even if the target audience is the total opposite of what I have previously written for. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamt of writing this monstrosity, let alone publishing it, but now I’m excited to talk about it and see where it’ll lead me. Even if it never reaches the level of fans that the Black Parade series has, I still feel like it was the right way to go, to explore something I find fascinating even if I’m one of few. I think that’s something everyone should do—chasing after the thing that gets their heart racing and makes their eyes all bright and shiny, in spite of its unpopularity.
Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. My God, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with over the past year. Between a full time job, a miniature social life, and a crazy cat, it’s been extremely troublesome to schedule writing time and advertising/marketing time. What I’ve learned mostly over my fourth year is that the only way not to plummet to the bottom of Amazon’s slushpile is literally weekly promotions that rotate about every 90 days. I hate it. It’s so stressful to have to plop down on my bed for an hour and pay for promotions, but it’s how I keep bread and Nutella on the table. (*sobs* I MISS BREAD I’M ON A DIET AND I WANT MY PASTRY BACK WAAAAH!) That old saying “you gotta spend money to make money” is 100% true of self-publishing.
You have to invest in marketing or you’re going to starve. You have to schedule time to write, edit, and publish or you’ll miss every single deadline you set. Authors often think we have way more time than we actually do. Life finds a way to screw you over. It’s Murphy’s law. You have to come up with crazy contingencies and have backup plans for your writing career or you’ll be doomed. (I mean, the last Dresden Files novel came out three years ago and I’m still waiting…just sayin’, Jim Butcher. Get crackin’ or I’m gonna pull a Misery on you.) At the end of the day, your readership doesn’t care how hard you work or how difficult your life has been. Make time. Literally just conjure it out of thin air or you’ll never get another word on a page.
I’ve banged my head on almost every damn hard surface there is in self-publishing. Oh well. Time to put my helmet back on and keep stumbling along towards year five.
Thanks for being here with me in the dark, readers.
Guess what? The all-new novella Back to Black hits bookshelves in just one month! To get your frothing at the mouth for it, here's Chapter One. Please remember: if you have not read The Black Parade, She Who Fights Monsters, or The Holy Dark, this excerpt has spoilers. Back to Black takes place between She Who Fights Monsters and The Holy Dark: the second and third novels in the Black Parade series. With that in mind, please enjoy! Purchase details below the cut.
You've been patient, and now it's finally paid off.
Seer and demon slayer Jordan Amador has had it rough lately: separated from her husband the archangel Michael, hated by the angels who think she betrayed them, hunted by demons who want her dead or enslaved, and rejected by her friends and family for lying to them. Disgraced and miserable, she’s all but ready to lay down and die until another Seer named Myra Bennett saves her life. Myra gives Jordan a new mission: to wipe out a nest of demons that are terrorizing her family as well as the innocent people of Houston, Texas. Jordan goes undercover to infiltrate the demons’ nest and figure out how to eliminate them. Meanwhile, she’s locked in a deadly game with the archdemon Belial, who constantly visits her night after night in her dreams to convince her to give him her soul. Between the insanely gorgeous, but dangerous archdemon poking around in her head and the vicious creatures surrounding her, she’s not sure how much longer she can survive.
Back to Black is the fifth book in the Black Parade series. It takes place between She Who Fights Monsters and The Holy Dark.
Back to Black is one of 22 urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels exclusively in the Creatures boxed set, featuring 21 other novels and novellas from New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors. Pre-order it now and get it August 15, 2017!