Yep. That's my summary of 2016 in general, and also, my year in general.
I don't think I can recall a single year in my entire life that's taken so much from me in pretty much every aspect: my career, my day job, and my personal life. I lost my furry best friend of 12 years, my book sales tanked, and the entire country went absolutely insane in the meantime. I think like most of you, I would be happy to strike 2016 from the history books and pretend it never happened, although the damage that it did can't be completely ignored no matter how hard we try.
However, as rotten a year as most of us had, there were some good things. For me, this tops them all:
Yes, ICYMI, that is indeed your friendly neighborhood author Kyoko M wrapped in the sinewy, perfect arms of Captain America himself, Chris Evans. Recap here. I won't bore you with the squee-worthy details in the meantime. However, that was my Treat Yo-self 2016 trip, and the good things that happened for me in 2016 career-wise are actually still connected to conventions.
I was able to attend the State of Black Science Fiction convention in Atlanta, GA, where I was able to be on two different panels with some incredibly talented, smart, funny, dynamic authors. It was such a fantastic opportunity to break bread with people of a similar genre and just relax and talk about writing and making a living off of this crazy thing we do.
I also was able to be in an all-new boxed set, where I met other awesome urban fantasy and paranormal romance authors. I learned some new marketing strategies and advertising opportunities along the way, and started to realize that even though the writing world is highly competitive, a lot of authors have figured out that we can help each other up the ladder one rung at a time instead of always climbing over each other. I really have come to encourage new authors, or veteran authors seeking more readership, to collaborate and find their niche with people who are like-minded. Sometimes you can bust your hump as hard as you can, and still not meet your goals, so it's great that if you search hard enough, you can find a way to break through the next barrier and find new readers by sharing the spotlight. I am elated to see that so many authors are willing to pull together and get ourselves out there. This is one of the most labor intensive jobs on the planet, so it's nice if one can find a way to share the load.
I won't be boring you with a calculation of how many copies I've sold this year. Frankly, all you need to know is "not enough, but at least I'm not dead in a gutter somewhere." After all, it could be much worse, and the main reason that my book sales fell to rancor is that I spent so much time putting my energy into my new first-in-series Of Cinder and Bone that I sadly started to neglect marketing the Black Parade series. It's hard to juggle two series at once and that is the goal I have set for myself in 2017: to learn how to adequately balance marketing and promoting both series to new readers.
I sort of forgot how hard it was getting any traction with The Black Parade, and so I'm going to take a good, hard look at the last two years that have been profitable and identify what works best to get OCAB into the hands of as many readers as possible. Sometimes when you have a good year, you take for granted what got you there and forget that it's easy to slip back down to the numbers you were at before. Hopefully, 2017 will see us back up to where we were in 2014 and 2015.
As always, I couldn't have done any of this without you, readers. I know it's been hard, but there are 352 new opportunities to kick ass waiting for us and if we pull together, we can make our dreams come true again.
Thanks for everything. Stay tuned. We've got plenty of things comin' atcha in 2017.
Happy New Year! It's been almost two weeks since my all-new sci-fil thriller, Of Cinder and Bone, hit digital bookshelves. Here are a few early reviews to get excited for what's up ahead.
December 22, 2016
Dr Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr Kamala Anjali were working over the incubator at MIT. After more than 60 attempts, the genetically modified egg was still not fertilized. They put everything away in the lab and left for a party to unwind.
As the work continued, Kam thought about the asexual reproduction that a Komodo dragon is capable of; so they again prepared the egg and implanted it in a female Komodo. The egg implanted and grew – developing faster than expected. Within a month, the eggs were about to hatch. A news conference was called to watch the ground-breaking event. As Jack checked the eggs one last time with a stethoscope, there was no longer any sound of life in any of the eggs! They injected the eggs with an epi-pen to resuscitate them, but nothing happened. As Jack and a reporter were arguing about the failure, there was a sudden loud CRACK from one of the eggs! What will this mean for the project? For the whole world? Did a dragon actually survive?
Beautifully filled with vivid description, the author brings the reader right into the story. You feel like you are right there with the characters, sharing whatever activity is going on. The characters, too, are developed in such a way that the reader feels like an old friend, knowing their thoughts and aspirations. I have never felt more comfortable in a book as I did in this one. The dialog was witty and humorous. Interspersed in the developing relationship between Jack and Kam, scientific information is shared which makes the reader feel like this is ground-breaking research going on. It was such a fresh, novel approach and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book. It’s definitely worth the read!
December 23, 2016
I liked this book. it was funny, exciting, and slightly thrilling. Dr. Rhett Jackson is smart, sweet, and lovable. Dr. Kamala Anjali is also smart, sweet, and loyal. the two characters work so well together. Especially since Jack is a nerd but secretly a macho man. I love his character. The plot and theme were also awesome. At first I thought it was gonna be some sort of shifter story but instead they created a real dragon from the 15 century. Throw in a Japanese gang and it gets intriguing. I had hoped Jack and Kam ended up together and they did but I'm worried that it wont last cause Jack has some lingering feeling for Faye and Faye has feelings for him and Kamala. its not fair to Kam and they are both playing with her heart. I liked that towards the end Jack's therapist makes him confront the issues cause he is trying to have his cake and eat it too. Looking forward to the next book to see how the drama unfolds and the trouble Japan is in with the Baba Yaga.
Corine Ann Barnes
December 29, 2016
Reading this book was like hearing a great friend's exciting adventures that you just missed. I had the impression it was a thinly disguised autobiography, and I wanted to shout, "Just tell me where the dragon is!" I loved the story line, the characters, the outcome - and I know I would love Pete the dragon!
December 26, 2016
The Broke Book Bank Blog
Of Cinder & Bone opens with Jack and Kamala in the lab working on making a hybrid – dragon DNA spliced with a komodo dragon. They’ve been working together for a year and the deadline is rapidly approaching. I love it when contemporary fantasy brings the science and melds it well with magic.
Not only are they colleagues but close friends. It’s awesome to see. They’ve got great banter. Jack is secretly in love with Kamala but isn’t a creepy jerk about it. Eventually, he lets that cat out of the bag, but you’ll have to read to find out what happens.
Kamala’s BFF and roommate Faye is an interesting supporting character. She’s a fellow grad student in a completely different field. Her and Jack have a teasing, grudgingly friends relationship. Faye enjoys baiting him and Jack can’t help but rise to the occasion.
They have an interesting dynamic going on. With the events after coming home from Japan, it’s going to get even better to watch. Bring the popcorn.
I wondered why they picked dragons of all things to “bring back” instead of known real animals. It seemed especially fishy given their activist goals of righting the wrongs of extinct animals and rebuilding the natural state of affairs humans fucked up.
Soon enough it becomes clear that dragons were real and hunted to extinction. This is the only different between our world and that Of Cinder & Bone. Thus far anyways.
It’s not until the very end though that Jack divulges the deep personal reasons for wanting to make dragons a contemporary animal. I had an automatic “aw” moment when he spilled the beans but then thought Bigfoot would be a better choice for that reasoning. Now it’s hard to take him seriously for it. Sorry Jack :/
Once they get to Japan, it’s very urban romance with lots of action, violence, kidnapping, and they’re running nonstop. Pete the New Dragon is a wonderful dragon and had me reacting stronger than when a dog is involved. LEAVE HER ALONE DAMNIT. Thankfully, Jack and Kamala are good people and treat her right. Now, if only they can get her back…
After getting back to the USA, you’ll notice there’s still many pages to go. Every reader knows this dread. It continues to wrap up the characters and loose ends. So far so good, but then the TO BE CONTINUED…knocks the damn wind out of you and you realize there wasn’t enough pages. The author, Kyoko M., starts her notes at the end begging for forgiveness and I’ll have to allow it. For now. Because I need the next one.
Kyoko M is the Amazon bestselling author of The Black Parade series.