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.
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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!
Of Cinder and Bone has been out for almost four months! What are people saying about it? Well, here's an opinion from an avid book reader. Minor spoilers ahead.
This ain't ya mama's dragon fantasy novel! The first book of Kyoko M’s new series is a fast-paced fantasy/adventure novel that features an intriguing love square, descriptive battles, and the birth of an ancient creature that could destroy cities in under an hour. This book is well worth ditching Netflix and chill for the love square alone! Who can’t relate to a love square? (I cannot relate, I am drinking a Straw-Ber-Rita and writing this review alone)
Scientists Kamala and Jack are onto something that could change the world. When this discovery blossoms into a giant, winged reptilian reality, gangsters and a rival scientist with a complex go after the intellectual love child of Jack and Kamala. Luckily, our slightly nerdy heroes are always up for a fight. Of Cinder and Bone, the first book of what promises to be a thrilling series, is a griping tale that will leave readers weeping for the next installment of the series.
Kyoko M’s growth as a writer is evident in Of Cinder and Bone. The Black Parade series was marvelous but Kyoko’s writing in OCAB is visibly more confident and finessed. OCAB is about a lot more than dragons and ex-girlfriends that happen to be lethal body guards. Readers will appreciate all of the research and thought that went into this novel. Kyoko M effortlessly feature believable jargon and builds a fantastical world that is believable.
OCAB will also please fans of relationship and family drama. Writing about relationships and family issues are not easy. This book however, takes readers into a relatable world that features a man dealing with past abuse and a strong woman of color who struggles with an overbearing father. New readers and fans of The Black Parade series will easily be able to relate to the characters and their compelling stories.
I am still waiting for a steamy boys-love Black Parade spin off (*cough, #teammilial for life, cough*) but Of Cinder and Bone is a captivating adventure and I cannot wait for book two!
Have you gotten a copy yet? Don't forget that it's free to download in exchange for a review via Instafreebie. The offer doesn't expire any time soon and it's available in most file formats.
If you'd like to support the book, please purchase a copy through any of the links below:
Barnes & Noble
Man, it’s rough when an entertainment company you love breaks their winning streak.
Marvel’s been cranking out consistently good material both in the cinematic universe and in the television universe for years now, and I think maybe we all got so used to it that we forgot it’s possible to completely miss the mark. To me, that’s what their latest venture, Iron Fist, is in essence: a swing and a miss.
To be frank, I rage quit the pilot to Iron Fist twice. Keep in mind, I wasn’t one of the naysayers who hated it before it came out and I actually didn’t listen to the early negative reviews because I knew there were people who wanted to hate it right out of the gate and nothing was going to change their minds. I saw the trailer and felt underwhelmed, but with Marvel’s excellent track record, I was willing to give it a try. This is not to say that I haven’t had problems with a few Marvel properties before. For instance, I didn’t finish Jessica Jones—not because it wasn’t good, but rather because I was not the key demographic for that show. Being an urban fantasy author, I have seen the exact same archetype that Jessica Jones is about a million times and so I was already burned out on the “inexplicably attractive but perpetually rude and standoffish private detective with super special powers” trope long before the show came around. Plus, the pacing was too slow and I wasn’t a fan of the gratuitous sex scenes with the far superior character of Luke Cage.
So why did I rage quit Iron Fist?
In order to understand why I’ve included Iron Fist in the cautionary tales catalog on my blog, let’s take a look at just what made me quit watching the pilot twice in the same day. Let’s do a comparison between the first fifteen minutes of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, and see if you can understand my utter frustration with this new show.
In the first fifteen minutes of Daredevil, here is what is established:
-How Matt Murdock lost his eyesight as a child and gained his powers saving an old man’s life
-Matt’s devout Catholicism and conflicted conscious because of how he misses his father and realizes how much they are alike in having “the devil” in them
-Matt goes down to the docks and stops a bunch a human traffickers from kidnapping innocent women
-Gives us that unforgettable opening sequence of blood over the city
-Introduces the unbelievably perfect Foggy Nelson and what he does for a living with Matt as well as the friend they have on the police force
-Introduces Karen Page and her predicament
-Introduces the dynamic between Karen, Matt, and Foggy
In the first fifteen minutes of Luke Cage, here is what is established:
-That funky, colorful opening sequence
-Introduces Pops and his shop members as well as Luke’s overall cool-as-a-cucumber-but-don’t-push-your-luck-fool attitude
-Introduces a minor character and her son who will impact the plot later on
-Establishes the relationship between Luke and Pops and hints at Luke’s powers
-Hints at Luke’s backstory and shows us his daily struggles to find rent money and his desire to stay under the radar even though he could do more if he wanted to
-Introduces Harlem’s Paradise as well as the first two main villains, Cottonmouth and Mariah
And in the first fifteen minutes of Iron Fist, here is what is established:
-A bland, forgettable afterthought of an opening sequence
-Danny thinks he owns a building
-Danny thinks people he knew over a decade ago still work at his father’s company
-Danny thinks he can talk to the CEO of a company with no appointment and zero proof that he is the founder’s son who was believed to have died in a plane crash a decade ago
-Danny thinks that two people he knew when he was a kid would recognize him as an adult and after he was presumed dead as a child
-Danny presumably has no money and no shoes and just sleeps in the park after meeting a bum who ends up not contributing to the narrative whatsoever
-Danny, still looking homeless, starts speaking Mandarin to the Asian girl hanging up dojo fliers
-Danny breaks into his old house and walks around like it’s no big deal
-Danny’s relationship with Ward is revealed as abusive
Do you see the stark difference between these shows? How is it that Daredevil and Luke Cage can establish that much story in a quarter of the runtime and yet Iron Fist establishes almost nothing in the same amount of time? This is exactly why I couldn’t get through Iron Fist’s pilot in one sitting. First of all, Danny is characterized like an entitled douchebag. We don’t know anything about him other than he’s woefully naïve and just assumes that everything will fall into place for him without concrete evidence towards his claims. We don’t know why he came back to the city or what his mission is, whereas with both of our other examples, we are quickly shown the character’s personalities and what they are working towards. All we know is that Danny thinks he owns the company, but yet we see no skillset that suggests he even could run it when he doesn’t even have the good sense to wear shoes while walking through New York or to find some kind of proof that he is in fact Danny Rand.
I’ve been describing Iron Fist’s script as “something that was written the night before it was due and was never revised.” Now that the whole show is up on Netflix, we’re starting to get stories that fill in why this show is falling flat on its face, such as the fact that Finn Jones, the titular Danny, only trained three weeks before shooting a show about martial arts. That’s unheard of. If you check the backgrounds of most actors who are cast as superheroes, they train for literal months at a time—not only so that they are physically intimidating, but so that the fight choreography is nuanced, believable, and a joy to watch. For example, one of my favorite modern fight scenes is in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, specifically Captain America (Chris Evans) versus Batroc (Georges St. Pierre) because Chris Evans trained for months to be able to do a majority of the shots in that amazing fight scene since he is in fact opposite a real UFC fighter. It is painfully obvious when Danny Rand fights that he isn’t a martial artist, and it would be different if it were like Daredevil when you have the complicated routines performed by an amazing stunt double. I didn’t make it past the pilot, but I’ve heard that Iron Fist’s fight choreography centered around Finn Jones is underwhelming at best, and it’s impossible not to make a comparison to either Daredevil or Luke Cage, which had intense fight scenes that were both unique and engrossing.
Furthermore, even if you forget the sloppy fighting, the dialogue is wooden and poorly done. Dialogue is about moving the plot forward, making complications between characters, or solving a problem, and none of that is included in the pilot episode of Iron Fist. It is so obvious that they are dumping exposition on your head. They don’t even try to hide it. Hell, the two main villains basically have a meeting where absolutely nothing gets done. They just meet to show the audience that they’re evil and in cahootz with each other. They don’t solve the problem at hand; they instead regurgitate rancid dialogue to establish their relationship.
Lastly, it also doesn’t help that Danny comes across as a pretentious college kid who spent one summer abroad and thinks he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Buddhist martial artist. Later in the pilot episode, he once again finds the Asian girl and starts condescendingly telling her that she should teach kung fu if she wants more students, mansplains that he’s supposed to “fight the master of the dojo” now that he has entered their city, and asserts that she should just give him a job even though he still looks like a crazy hobo. Understandably, she tells him to get lost, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that he’s so arrogant. The troublesome part is that arrogance is a normal thing in certain heroes like Tony Stark or Thor, but even in those movies, we are immediately shown that both of them have a heart and are just spoiled rather than truly being douchebags. Danny doesn’t give us a moment of humanity in the pilot. He doesn’t give us a reason to care about him, and at the end of the day, if you don’t do that in the first episode of your show, odds are that you are doomed to fail.
In the end, even though I can’t fully judge the show since I won’t be finishing it, I think this is a product of Marvel rushing to put something out so that they have time to work on the Defenders instead. Danny Rand is an afterthought. This whole show feels like an afterthought. It doesn’t have a flavor. It doesn’t have the careful writing or beautiful cinematography of any of its siblings. If nothing else, then Iron Fist teaches us caution—that even when you’re on a winning streak you can still bomb out if you don’t take your time and tell a story worth telling. Even the mighty Marvel can trip and fall. No one is above that.
Let’s just hope they try harder with the upcoming Defenders show.
Kyoko M is the Amazon bestselling author of The Black Parade series.