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Of Cinder and Bone Excerpt

Cover art by Agata Broncel

Cover art by Agata Broncel

We’re only a month away from the release of my new sci-fi novel, Of Cinder and Bone. Ready for a taste? Here’s Chapter 1.

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Of Cinder and Bone Cover Reveal and Synopsis

You’ve been patient. You’ve been loyal. At long last, here is the cover of my all-new sci-fi thriller novel, Of Cinder and Bone.

Cover art by Agata Broncel

Cover art by Agata Broncel

After centuries of being the most dangerous predators on the planet, dragons were hunted to extinction. That is, until Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali cracked the code to bring them back. Through their research at MIT, they resurrected the first dragon anyone has seen alive since the 15th century. There’s just one problem.

Someone stole it.

Caught between two ruthless yakuza clans who want to clone the dragon, Jack and Kamala brave the dangerous streets of Tokyo to steal their dragon back in a race against time before the world is taken over by mutated, bloodthirsty monsters that will raze it to ashes.

Release date: December 23, 2016

Advanced Reader Copies are now available. Please email me at theblackparadeseries@gmail.com for a review copy, but please understand, you must post a review in order to be considered for an ARC. If you don’t post a review within one month of the book’s release, you will be ineligible to receive an ARC from me in the future.

There will also be a Goodreads giveaway for paperback copies of the novel, so stay tuned for your chance to enter.

Keep your eyes peeled. This Friday, I will release an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Please spread the word!

-Kyoko

Poll: Of Cinder and Bone Book Cover

ICYMI, I finished my fourth novel, Of Cinder and Bone, this week!

will-smith-scream

And now you lovely readers get the chance to help me choose the cover! Aren’t you excited? No? Well, get excited already. It’s not every day someone asks you to choose something so gosh-darned important.

For your convenience, here are the two cover choices:

Cover #1:

of-cinder-and-bone-possible-cover-1

Cover #2:

of-cinder-and-bone-possible-cover-2

Click this link and you’ll be taken to the poll. It only takes a second of your life and there’s no login or account required. It’s incredibly helpful, and it means you will directly affect the book with your own two amazing hands.

As for the synopsis, please be patient! It’s on the way. If you want minor details, please check out the book announcement page and it’ll give you a preview of what the book is about.

Please spread the poll on social media. It’d be a huge help as I start the ball rolling with early promotions and marketing to let people know the book is on its way.

Stay tuned for more news! Thanks, my darlings!

-Kyoko M

Con Life

dragoncon-2016-pass

I didn’t choose con life. Con life chose me.

So let’s say for the sake of argument that you’re a totally normal person. I’m sure you’ve scrolled through my Facebook page and wondered what’s up with me dressing up like fictional characters and traipsing around a convention paying ludicrous amounts of money to meet famous people, despite having the budget of your average 20-something in the 2016 economy. “Why, dearest Kyoko,” you say in your finest British accent. “I don’t understand why you would do such a thing, especially considering how painfully awkward and introverted you are. Whatever makes you a congoer?”

“Well, thanks for pointing out my personality flaws, but the British accent makes it hurt less,” I say, adjusting my own monocle. “Allow me to explain.”

The first con I ever attended was Momocon: a tiny widdle baby con all the way back in the early 2000’s that at the time of its inception was both free and held on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA. If I’m not mistaken, I either went to the first Momocon ever, or its second or third run-throughs, where there were no guests and pretty much there were only vendors with things to sell and a bunch of nerds holding panels about their favorite anime, movies, TV shows, and games. I had a good time, and so it quickly became a tradition between me and my friends to attend each year as our own mini-vacation. As the years went by, Momocon slowly gathered steam and became a larger con. When attendance goes up, it means more money, and more money means more features at the con itself, like being able to invite guests, bigger vendors, and having more diverse panels and panelists. To my utter delight, after a certain point, Momocon got big enough to start inviting people I was excited to meet like Steve Blum, The Nostalgia Critic, Dante Basco, Little Kuriboh, the Honest Trailers Guy, Two Best Friends Play, and many others. Everything got bigger and better when the con organizers realized the con got so huge that they needed to move into the Georgia World Congress Center, thus streamlining the whole process and making it that much easier to get around to see all the things we congoers wanted to see.

Still, when you think about it, it’s an awful pricey adventure. You pay for entry tickets, gas to drive to the train station, the Marta Breeze card plus trips, food, and merchandise. With Momocon, you can probably blow through a cool $100-$200 over the weekend.

Then there’s this motherf@#er called DragonCon: the stupid, but hot older brother of Momocon.

To be frank, I consider DragonCon to be a clusterf@#k of a con. It is almost always poorly executed and frustrating because a record 77,000 people attended this year, and the con organizers think that 77k people can fit inside five hotels at once. Uh, no. That is in fact NOT a thing. You can’t cram that many people within a five block radius in downtown Atlanta. Any logical person would move the venue to the World Congress Center like Momocon did, but nooooooo. DragonCon insists it can continue to run itself at that capacity in the same venue it’s been in for the past couple of decades, despite the maddening increase in attendance that has steadily climbed over the years.

So you’d think that because you’re forced to be wall-to-wall jampacked with 76,999 other people that you’d at least be getting a service that is run properly, right? Noooooooope. It’s hard to find directions, the panels are always so overcrowded that unless you line up for them two hours prior to their start time, you ain’t gettin’ in, and on top of all of that, it’s expensive as hell. Seriously. You’re coughing up $140 for a four day pass, and that only includes entry. For God’s sake, they won’t even give you a lanyard for your pass. You have to buy a lanyard. That’s right. After $140, they still want more. I hate to admit it, but I’m quite sure I spent a cool $300-$400 at this con two weekends ago.

Am I ashamed?

Well. Yes and no.

Let the stories begin.

So on Friday morning, the day I attended by myself since my best friend was still on her way up from South Georgia, I decided to sacrifice myself to go to the con at the crack of dawn since it would mean beating most of the crowd and allowing me enough time to scope out where all the activities I had lined up would be ahead of time: primarily the times and prices for autographs for four of my favorite celebrities. In case you missed it, I hate this con, and I’ve only attended it previously because I was invited to be on the State of Black Science Fiction panel moderated by Milton Davis, which is excellent press and exposure. This year, however, DragonCon managed to entice me into attending despite no panel being held this year by inviting not one but FOUR guests I was dying to meet: Will Friedle, James Marsters, Charlie Cox, and Gillian Anderson. I mean, wow. Seriously, those are four titans of the sci-fi/fantasy television world and you’re damn right I drove five and a half hours to come see them. But I digress.

I entered into the Walk of Fame–the enormous ballroom where all the celebrities had tables for autograph signings–right as it opened at 10am, and I expected to wander past the tables to see prices for the four people I wanted to meet. Well, I was definitely on the right track, because I turned the corner and found myself staring Charlie Cox dead in the face. That’s right. Out of sheer dumb luck, the star of Netflix’s Daredevil was at his autograph table right when the WOF opened, and he only had about 14 people in his line. Let me be clear: I had actually only thought about getting his autograph, but I heard earlier that it was $60, which is A LOT for someone who isn’t even in my personal Top 10 TV Actors list (he’s probably more in the 15-30 range, to be honest), but the sheer coincidence that I happened upon him right when his line was low made me jump my happy self in line and proceed to fangirl myself silly at the prospect of meeting Daredevil himself.

So how was it?

Oh dear God. There are no words. Charlie Cox is an absolute peach.

There was an adorable older woman in front of me who apparently knew him prior, and their conversation was so cute that it put a huge smile on my face. She gave him a comic book that she liked and they chit-chatted before he gave her a hug and she left. Then it was my turn to meet him, and holy mother of God, if you think Charlie Cox is charming and handsome as Matt Murdock, you don’t know what it feels like to have him smiling at you from literally a foot away. It was damn near blinding.

However, I managed to calm myself and express that I wasn’t actually initially interested in Daredevil when it premiered and then I heard how everyone said it was so good and I was a bit skeptical, but I accidentally ended up watching “Cut Man” before the actual pilot and I was hooked the second it was over, mainly due to the incredible chemistry between Cox and Rosario Dawson. Charlie Cox was delighted to hear this, and he told me that “Cut Man” is actually his favorite episode from season one, which was a huge feather in my cap since I love that episode to death. He signed my photo and told me that he loved my name–I had him sign it to Kyo, short for Kyoko–and I joked about the lady before me getting a hug, and he grinned and said, “Come here!” and gave me a hug before I left. I was pretty much floating on air on the way to the next table to check for times.

charlie-coxs-autograph-dragoncon-2016

If you think that’s nuts, guess what? It ain’t over yet.

My second trip in the WOF was to Will Friedle’s table to do the same as I intended when I stumbled across Charlie Cox’s table: to check his autograph times and prices. Well, not only were those there, but Will freakin’ Friedle himself was also at his table right when I wandered past, and he’s not just in my Top 10 Favorite TV Actors List–the man is seriously Number Two, second only to Kevin Conroy, whom I met in 2013.

So basically I looked like this before scurrying into his line of 20 or so people:

will-smith-scream

The backstory behind why I was internally screaming over Will Friedle is because I have been in love with his character from Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis, since I was ten years old. Yes, I’m one of those nerds who actually saw the premiere of Batman Beyond live as a kid, and it stuck with me all these years. I mean, I never ever expected to like Terry as much as Bruce, but through some stellar writing and one incredible voice acting performance from Mr. Friedle, I never stopped crushing on him. I went on to continue following Friedle’s career from Kim Possible to The Secret Saturdays and when I saw his name on the roster for the con, that was the very second I bought my ticket. Meeting him is on my Bucket List and so it was more than just a moment of fangirling, but a lifelong desire to say thank you to him for portraying a character who honestly has been a part of my mental healing process.

Waiting in line for him was torture because the way the tables are set up is that the stars are against a wall and the lines wind to the side of the table rather than in front of it so that the people behind you can walk through the ballroom unhindered. So I was treated to hearing Will’s voice behind me while I waited and I had to fan myself with Charlie Cox’s autograph to keep from flipping the hell out in pure excitement.

It took a lot of effort, but when I came up to him, I didn’t scream and faint. He greeted me and I did the same and I told him that it was on my Bucket List to meet him because Terry has meant so much to me over the years thanks to his voicework for him, and I also told him about meeting Kevin Conroy in 2013, which delighted him. He agreed with me about Conroy being just the sweetest guy ever and he signed my comic book with “I am Batman” and I joked that Conroy had done the same, and he laughed and told me that when they attend autograph signings together, they pretend-fight over who is actually Batman on the fans’ autographs. I also told him that Batman Beyond has been a huge comfort to me when dealing with my social anxiety and depression, and he told me that he completely understands since he’s dealt with anxiety as well. He gave me a hug and then sent me on my way, once again squealing like a crazy person inside.

will-friedles-autograph-dragoncon-2016

Later that evening, we took a photo op together and that Friday solidified itself as one of the best days of my entire life. Dream made. Life made.

me-and-will-friedle-dragoncon-2016

Now, are you ready for this?

Because Saturday went even better.

On Saturday, my bestie and I got up early again and headed over to the con, this time with our sights on the utterly delicious James Marsters. She had actually met him a few years prior while in line with a friend of hers, so she sent me along to see him by myself, and it just so happens that he was at his table when I went past, so I jumped in line.

Now, keep in mind, Saturday was when I was in my Agent Peggy Carter cosplay that I had carefully put together over a couple months’ worth of organization. People were genuinely thrilled by it and I took quite a few pictures prior to getting in line with Marsters. I’m actually pretty happy with how it turned out, to be honest.

peggy-carter-selfie

So after several minutes of mentally preparing myself to meet Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden aka Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, what should happen?

Well, let me first preface this story by saying it is 100% true. I know I write fiction for a living, but everything I am about to tell you actually happened and I am not making this up, I swear.

The first words out of James f@#king Marsters beautiful mouth when he saw me was, “You look fabulous!”

Me:

Bedazzled sensitive Elliot sunset

I in no way was expecting that compliment. Holy crap. It almost bowled me right over. I had to mentally jumpstart my brain into the speech I had prepared because I have never had a ridiculously attractive famous person compliment me (not to my face, mind you, because Chris Evans’ backrub totally counts but that was non-verbal). Once I was done screaming inside, I told him how I actually found him via the Dresden Files audiobooks rather than Buffy the Vampire Slayer because I’m such an enormous fan of the books and my friend Maggie lent me her audio file of Blood Rites for a road trip once and I utterly fell in love with Marsters’ voicework as Harry Dresden. He thanked me and told me that the reason he’s so enthusiastic when he does those readings is that he used to be on the road a lot visiting his son and he hated it when he listened to audiobooks that were dry and boring as hell, so he made sure to inject as much life into his audiobooks as possible. He also asked me who I was cosplaying as, as did his assistant next to him, and I told him it was Peggy Carter, and then I had him record a video for my other best friend who couldn’t join us for the con. Once that was over, I floated on Cloud Nine away from the table and went about the rest of the day with my ego Over 9000.

Then, later that afternoon, came time for the photo op with Mr. Marsters.

Once again, I would like to stress the fact that this actually happened and I am not making it up.

Here’s a bit of backstory, though: Photo ops are actually lightning fast. The stars are usually taking photos with upwards of a hundred hardcore fans, and so if you ever want to meet a celebrity, I always recommend an autograph because it allows you time to chit-chat with them, whereas a photo op is about 5 seconds long. Don’t get me wrong–to this day, I still adore my photo op with Chris Evans and I don’t regret not one second of it, as well as my decision to forgo the extra autograph because if I tried to say actual words to him, I’d have just wasted $200 gross sobbing at him instead of talking. However, the upside of photo ops is the bragging rights that you met a famous person that you really admire and have physical proof forever more that you were there, next to them, soaking in all the awesomeness they naturally emit. Or, in Chris Evans’ case, soaking in all that goddamn gorgeousness. But again, I digress.

When it was my turn to go up to Mr. Marsters, his whole face lit up and he goes, “It’s you!” Flattered as hell, I giggled and went over to him and asked if we could do a hug for a photo.

Him: Oh, my wife said I’m not allowed to hug pretty girls anymore.

Me:

will-smith-fanboy-face

So, instead, we did an arm around each other, which turned out magnificent, honestly.

me-and-james-marsters

After the photographer took the photo, what does this luscious man of fame and fortune turn to me and say, staring me straight in the eyes with his arm still around me?

“You’re gorgeous.”

Me:

yoda-freaking-out

I’m pretty sure I died and this is my poltergeist writing this long ass post.

“But Kyo,” you say, smoking your pipe. “Are you telling me that driving 5 1/2 hours, spending possibly $400, and dealing with an overcrowded, poorly run con is all worth it because Harry Dresden called you fabulous, pretty, and gorgeous?”

The reason I made this post isn’t just to brag about meeting famous people, though. What I’m trying to say, in general, is that con life may be expensive and hectic and it may seem bizarre to an outsider, but the end results can be some of the most iconic, memorable moments of a lifetime. I fully admit that it’s possible James Marsters reacted that way to every last girl he met at the con, but you know what? He sold that s#@t. That’s some acting for yo’ ass, because I totally believed it, and it was by far one of the greatest moments of my entire life. It’s more than cheap flattery. It’s the fact that for the rest of my life, I get to think back to meeting my book boyfriend in person and he said I was gorgeous. You can’t ever take that away from me. That is my memory to cherish, and even if it took an insane amount of money, there was no guarantee that it would have happened otherwise. I got an unforgettable experience thanks to this con and that’s why many of us nerds make the trek every year. Every experience is unique. There’s no telling what will happen when we meet our idols, but sometimes you get situations like mine where it exceeded my expectations a thousand times over. I never would have anticipated a reaction from the guy who spent almost ten years of his life making out with super hot actresses on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To me, it was especially wonderful considering the fact that in real life, men totally ignore me. I don’t get asked out. I barely even get compliments from them, so for someone I truly admire and have a crush on to compliment me–genuine or otherwise, but I honestly think he meant it–boosted my confidence to unreal levels for an entire day. That’s something you can’t buy in a store. That’s something worth all the money in the world to me.

I guess what I am trying to say is that please don’t think congoers are insane human beings. Most of us work hard and hustle day in and day out, and so when we finally get to a place where we can spend money on something we truly desire, and it’s a con, it’s definitely worth all the trouble. I fully admit that I have a weird streak in me about meeting famous people, but it comes from my own set of personal problems. It is very hard for me to make friends. The average person that meets me thinks I’m weird, and as I mentioned before, I don’t date much because men apparently find me somewhat underwhelming. To me, meeting my heroes is life-affirming because it gives me stories to tell. Exciting, fun, colorful stories that I wouldn’t have otherwise aside from my fiction. The adventures of my fictional protagonists are many, but my own personal adventures are few and far between, and that’s mainly why I have chosen con life. It’s a chance to bring laughs and joy when I get to talk about these surprisingly down to earth famous folk who make it all worth it. That, if nothing else, is why I do what I do.

Let’s just say that con life ain’t for the faint of heart.

 

Hindsight is 20/20: My Third Year in Self-Publishing

Holy crap, guys, it’s been three years since I published The Black Parade.

Liz Lemon gets booed

“What it’s like being a self-published author?”
Dean from the Iron Giant screaming Art

Yeah. Dean’s got the right idea. I think if I could sum up the experiences I’ve had over the past year, since the last post, it’d be with the above image.

If you know any writers, personally or just through social media, most of us tell you the same thing if you ask us that question. Guys…being an author is hard. Like, really. I know it’s not as hard as being a heart surgeon or an astronaut, but people underestimate the fact that it’s literally–and I mean that, not in the overused Sterling Archer sort of way–hundreds of hours of our lives spent pouring our heart and soul into a book and then sending it out into the world, praying that it’s not a tiny garbage fire to be extinguished by the masses.

I suppose the funniest thing about being a self-pub author in my third year is that it simultaneously got easier and harder after I hit year three. That sounds nonsensical, but it’s kind of true.

For instance, the part that got easier is knowing where to search for help. Need advice about where to advertise? KBoards. Need help with research? Google yourself to death and then call someone who is smarter than you and ask them weird questions (in this case, I called an MIT post doc to grill her about her research project. It was as bizarre as it sounds, but she was more than willing to help and super sweet about it.) Need to find art for your upcoming cover? Stock photos. Need advice on how to not be a total piece of crap writer? Chuck Wendig. After three years, I have so many bookmarks saved to point me in the right direction when I get stuck.

On the other hand, the part that got harder is venturing out to try something new. I finished the Black Parade series (for now; there will be other additions to the canon next year, if things go well) and it took every bit of my will power to get it done and make sure it was the right way to end my debut series. It was by far the hardest thing I ever learned to do on my own.

Until this new novel came along.

Truth be told, Of Cinder and Bone is kicking my ass. Thoroughly. If any of you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been gnashing my teeth over it for months now, even though I started out super eager to begin a whole new series. Working on it is like pulling teeth. It’s exhausting and scary and awful and I’ve been faced with constant self-doubt as I am venturing into a totally different genre this time, away from my comfort zone of angels and demons and sarcastic loners with trust issues. Science fiction is a whole new animal, and it’s honestly trying to maul me.

But that’s probably a good thing. All writers need to evolve. Some of us can find our niche and stay there, but often authors are called away from their comfy spot to try something new because we bleed words and the words always dictate our actions. The story is bursting out of our chest like a horrible scene from Alien and no matter how much it hurts, we have to obey it.

To that end, here are a few things I’ve learned over the past year.

-To quote a catchy little song from the wonderful Zootopia, try everything. It might be cheesy and sung by an artist I honestly can’t stand, but the song really does ring true with what you should do as an author, especially a newbie. “I won’t give up, no, I won’t give in ’til I reach the end and then I’ll start again; No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything, I wanna try even though I could fail.” Do that. Is something terrifying and you don’t want to fail at it? Try it anyway. Do your best and push through the failure, because you will fail at things, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still give up on potential opportunities for growth. Do things that scare you. Do things that you would’ve sworn a year ago that you’d never be able to do, and then bask in the glow of being brave enough to try it, regardless of how it turns out. People give up on their dreams a lot in life, and you have to plant your feet and do your best if you want to be an author and share your stories with the world.

Explore not only your own genre that you write in, but those that are similar, because you can stumble across diamonds in the rough, both the books themselves and the authors. When I was preparing for my panel at Geek Girl Con, I took recommendations for books with people of color in SFF, and I actually found one I really dig even though it’s in a genre I don’t usually read often. I actually love sci-fi and I have since I was a kid, but I’m a very visual person. I tend to like sci-fi shows and movies instead of novels, but I found Earthrise by M.C.A Hogarth and I really enjoyed the hell out of her series. Then I bumped into her on Twitter and I’ve never been happier chatting with her on occasion because she’s hilarious and interesting. It’s hard to find time to read when you’re an author, but it can be very rewarding to branch out and mingle with others who have similar tastes and mindsets. You can even eventually build friendships or mutually beneficial arrangements as a result.

Allow yourself to be terrible. So I hit a low point about a week ago when I was about 89,000+ words into Of Cinder and Bone. I couldn’t finish Chapter 14 because I felt all this crushing self-doubt and my inner perfectionist was so convinced that my book was the worst thing ever committed to the pages and no one’s going to like it because it’s so atypical of the genre and I froze up every time I opened my Word document to write more. I started looking for a pep talk and of course found this fantastic article by the legendary Chuck Wendig that got me out of my rut.

Writing sucks. It’s the worst. It’s basically you sticking a huge needle into your chest and pumping your blood out onto endless pieces of paper. You’re exposing yourself, and not in a gross way. When you write, you’re putting yourself out there, and so every single author (no matter what they tell you) gets scared and thinks they’re going to be utterly rejected and thinks about quitting. I think I read that Neil freaking Gaiman did that with one of his most beloved books; he tried to 86 the whole thing because he was sure it wasn’t going to work, but then he got a big reality check from the experience and pushed through it. It’s incredibly harrowing to finish the writing process because it’s totally possible that your first draft is crap. However, another great quote I read once is that you can edit a bad story to be better, but you can’t edit a blank page. Allow yourself to write poorly at first. Just get the words down and then worry about making it better after it’s done. It’s easier said than done, but you still have to do it. Don’t give up if you really truly care about your book and know that it’s the story you’re dying to tell. You can always fix a broken story, but you have to finish it before you can save it.

Or, as Chuck Wendig puts it:

Chuck Wendig Secret to Writing

Meet people. This sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of authors are introverts like I am. A couple years ago, I’d have laughed snottily if you told me I’d be a panelist at a couple different conventions and that I’d cosplay as Lana Kane from Archer in full view of the nerd population. I’d have called you delusional. But I did that. I was on a few different panels where I was able to meet some incredibly talented people, and I’m really glad I did it. It’s not just for exposure, either. Nothing renews the fire in my soul than meeting other authors and sharing experiences in this crazy thing we call a career. You can pull yourself out of a rut by mingling with people from all walks of life and just talking to them about anything. You’ll often find something in common even if it seems like you’re total opposites. Whenever possible, get out of your own way and be with other people who are enjoyable to be around. You never know what can come from it. Life is often full of bad surprises, so that’s why it’s great when a good one comes along.

Share your experiences, even if you feel like you have nothing to offer and no one cares. I’m guilty of this flaw a lot. I feel like I don’t know anything at all. I’m just a tiny awkward turtleduck floating on the pond. I feel like I shouldn’t give anyone advice because I’m floundering around and don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But here’s the big secret: all writers are like that. You could flag down Stephen King right now and turn the mic off and he’d probably be like, “Dude, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I’m just as clueless as you are.” All writers think we’re phonies, even super acclaimed bad asses like Stephen King or Neil Gaiman or Toni Morrison.  We feel unqualified to teach people things, but you never know that the seemingly pointless anecdote can spark something in someone that helps them on their journey. It’s why I always keep my Inbox open to new authors. If you ever have a question, I will try my damnedest to answer it for you, and I try to tell people the best advice I can when they ask for help. Hell, that’s the only reason I write these yearly blog posts about my experiences. If even one droplet of advice is helpful, then my purpose on this planet has been fulfilled.

Dumb luck has a lot more to do with this career than you think. I hate saying this, but it’s true. No matter how many books you read about how to be the best author and the best book marketer, no matter how hard you work to make your book look like the best thing since sliced bread and Nutella, sometimes it all boils down to luck. There is no set way to make your book a bestseller. At all. It’s the same as how sometimes Hollywood pours millions of dollars into a project and it bombs, even though they had one of those “surefire” formulas to make a hit. Sometimes it’s just zippity-doo-da dumbass random luck. You could have a runaway hit or your book can sink to the bottom of the slush pile right out of the gate, and it’s no fault of your own. That’s where the “Try Everything” lyrics really become important. Luck won’t always be on your side. That’s unfair as hell, but one of the biggest obstacles for every last author is getting back up after a juicy, painful faceplant into the asphalt. Sometimes the stars align and everything goes perfectly, and sometimes the clouds part and it’s Jesus taking a piss right on your head. Them’s the breaks, man.

…sorry about that last mental image there, my duckies.

For all the good times and the bad times, I’ve definitely learned a ton over these three years as a published author. I hope most of all that I’ve at least been entertaining as I flail around searching for the way to go. I’ve got a lot of adventures ahead of me, and I can only hope you guys still want to come along for the ride. Thank you for sticking around, readers.

Jon Huertas You are my ROCK

To that end, don’t forget that in celebration of my third year anniversary, The Holy Dark (Book #4) will be FREE to download via Amazon Friday, July 22, 2016 and Saturday, July 23, 2016. Spread the word.

See you next time, true believers.

Price and Platform Change: The Black Parade

TheBlackParade_Revised_2 copy

Good evening, ladies and gents! I have a brief announcement for you.

The Black Parade is almost always a permanently free (permafree for short) title, but a marketing opportunity has cropped up that asks for me to unpublish the novel on Smashwords, which subsequently will take it down from the Nook, iBookstore, Kobo, and a few other smaller retailers. Don’t panic! It’s temporary. The book will go back to being permafree November 16, 2016. 

If any of my fans are referring their friends to this novel as being free, please contact me directly at theblackparadeseries@gmail.com and I can offer them a free copy myself. The title will be .99 cents on Amazon once the permafree drops when the title is pulled from other digital shelves. After November 16th, the title will go right back up as a free novel. No other  permanent prices changes will be made to the other books. Keep in mind, it has also been entered into KDP Select, so if you subscribe to them, you can read it for free there as well.

Plus, we’re fast approaching my 3rd anniversary of being a published author, and it’ll be the one year anniversary of The Holy Dark. In celebration, it will be free to download all day long July 19, 2016. I’ll make another announcement closer to the date as a reminder for old and new fans.

Thanks for hanging in there through all my crazy shenanigans. I will post about the new boxed set in just a few days, so be on the look out for a fantastic opportunity for some new reads!

Kyoko M.

The State of Black Science Fiction Convention 2016

SOBSFcon banner

Face front, True Believers! Or something like that. Yours truly just trekked up to Atlanta, GA for the first ever State of Black Science Fiction convention! What’s that, you ask? Why it’s a gathering of dozens of black comic book writers, graphic novelists, and screenwriters in one location to fellowship and meet up with the local nerd population about horror and speculative fiction.

I was invited to be on two panels with immensely talented authors: Black Women in Speculative Fiction, seen below, and The Pros and Pitfalls of Small/Self-Publishing.

SOBSFcon Spec Fic panel

(Left to right: Nicole Kurtz, Alicia McCalla, Penelope Flynn, me, Cerece Rennie Murphy, and Valjeanne Jeffers.)

“Why, Kyo,” you say, mildly confused. “Whatever are you wearing?”

“WHAT THE SHIT!” I exclaim, for I am cosplaying as Lana Kane from FX’s hit animated comedy Archer.

"Lana. Lana. LAAANAAAAA!"

“Lana. Lana. LAAANAAAAA!”

I mean, I am a tall black woman with anger issues, huge Hulk hands, and a disposition for emotionally distant dark-haired men, so it seemed like the logical choice.

I also had a little table of my own to sell books and chat with readers. I almost felt like a real author and everything.

"Stories about self deprecation and pretty men! Get 'em while they're hot, people!"

“Stories about murder, self deprecation, and pretty men! Get ’em while they’re hot, people!”

Further details about the con can be seen on their website posted above and in the Facebook group. It was an unforgettable experience, and if it becomes an annual thing, please stop by and see me! I promise not to shoot you in the foot. Probably. If any footage of the panels pop up, I’ll be sure to post them here for your enjoyment.

In the meantime, gird your loins. I’ll have more news about my upcoming sci-fi crime thriller Of Cinder and Bone coming to a blog post near you. GET HYPE.

New Novel Announcement!

Have you been clamoring for more from your favorite author? Of course! But I also have a new book coming out this summer, and here’s your first look at the title and two main lead characters!

Cool Text Of Cinder _and Bone 175189844090590

That’s right! My new science-fiction mystery novel is called Of Cinder and Bone. Who’s it starring?

JackKamala

Commission by Olieboldador. https://www.fiverr.com/olieboldador

Meet Dr. Kamala Anjali and Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson, and their dragon, Pete. These two brilliant MIT scientists live in a world where long ago, dragons existed but they were hunted to extinction in the 1400’s thanks to a worldwide obsession with dragon-hunting. After years of working on their fellowship, they managed to bring one back to life with the eventual goal of resurrecting other extinct species to replenish their populations.

Of Cinder and Bone has a tentative release date of July-August 2016. Stay glued to the blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages to be notified when the official book blurb and cover are ready!

-Kyoko M

Paranormal After Dark Boxed Set

Paranormal After Dark cover

It’s 2016. Are you hungry for more paranormal and supernatural reads? Then look no further!

Check out the Paranormal After Dark boxed set, which includes 20 novels from USA Today and Amazon Bestselling authors (yours truly included) for an unbelievable price of only $2.99, or for free if you’re a part of the Kindle Unlimited program.

Here’s the masterlist of titles and authors:

  • A Dose of Brimstone by Noree Cosper
  • End of Dreams by Kim Faulks
  • Haunt by Hambel Curley
  • Dark Crossings by Ann Simko
  • Seattle 2052 by Calinda B. Headspace
  • The Other F-Word by Susan Stec
  • Unleashed by Rachel McClellan
  • Hidden Intentions by Stacy Claflin
  • The Complete Bloodling Serial by Aimee Easterling
  • She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M
  • St. Charles at Dusk by Sarah M. Cradit
  • Wicked by Nature by Madison Sevier
  • Underlife by Marissa Farrar
  • Dragon’s Redemption by Eden Ashe
  • Milan’s Return by Grae Lily
  • The Breaker’s Code by Connor Kressley
  • The Medium by M. R. Graham
  • Wiccan Wars by Heather Marie Adkins
  • Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas
  • A Question of Faith by Nicole Zoltack

This is a limited edition boxed set that won’t be around forever, so please take advantage of that killer price tag, grab yourself a copy, and spread the word! It is greatly appreciated. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf for a future reading date.

Happy reading, folks! Stay tuned for news of my upcoming new fantasy series as well.

Kyoko M.

New Orleans Comic Con 2016

 

Me and Chris Evans aka Captain America

Your friendly neighborhood fantasy author just had an excursion to the land of awesome jazz, rich heritage, and the best damn Southern cuisine imaginable. It was basically Treat Yourself 2016 for me, and when I treat myself, I treat myself. Hence, Captain America snuggling and languishing in my arms.

New Orleans Comic Con is a younger con, but they apparently worked out something pretty incredible to snag not only Captain America himself, Chris Evans, but half of the cast of Civil War, including Frank Grillo (Rumlo aka Crossbones), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Jeremy Renner (aka Clint Barton/Hawkeye) and the Russo brothers who are directing the film. I had been on Wizard World’s mailing list for some reason and as soon as they sent word that Chris Evans would be in the South (seriously, look it up, A list celebrities avoid the South like the freaking plague, man, and I’d know) I scrambled for a ticket and a photo op. It was the opportunity of a life time to meet an actual superhero (my second one, actually, as I met Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman, in 2013) in the flesh. Plus, I’d never been to New Orleans and I was dying to get a chance to soak in some of the great things I’ve heard about Crescent City.

I flew down Thursday afternoon and stayed with a friend of mine. On Friday, we got up and had breakfast here, at The Ruby Slipper.

I had cheesecake-stuffed French toast with fresh blueberry compote and it was so delicious I’m drooling as I think about it all over again. Heavenly stuff, man.

And here’s my first street car ride!

We headed to the con to grab our badges and check out the dealer’s room, which was huge and awesome. Here are the goodies I managed to swipe for myself:

This fancy lithograph came with the hilariously expensive Chris Evans silver VIP pass. It’s basically just a glossy 11×17 photo of Captain Hotness, but hey, why not? Who doesn’t love a little smolder?

This awesomeness is a fake movie poster made by one of the artists in the dealer’s room. His concept was taking nerd culture things and turning them into the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s style movie posters, and this one is so gorgeous that I had to snag it to decorate my room. It’s just plain lovely.

Below is another one by the same artist, except it’s from Fallout 3 & 4.

Saturday morning at 10am, I attended the Civil War panel, which includes all the guests I mentioned above. Because I’m a huge nerd and this was a lifetime opportunity, I sat by one of the mics and was lucky enough to ask a question. Yes. I spoke to half the cast of Captain America: Civil War. That high-pitched sound you’re hearing is me screaming internally for hours.

Unfortunately, the audio is a bit janky, but here’s the whole panel. I got to ask a question at around the 26 minute mark, and their answers were priceless. I really encourage you to watch the entire video, and if one with better quality pops up, I’ll add it. It was a phenomenal panel, even with some fans asking weird questions, and the cast was beyond entertaining to experience live.

After the panel, I had the two most awesome experiences as a fangirl ever. First, was meeting Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter herself, for an autograph. I managed to hold it together and I told her that I was so grateful for her portrayal of Peggy as this powerful, amazing three dimensional female character and how it’s so important to have this awesome woman on a major network television show. I also told her that I truly hope she enjoys all the wonderful things that have happened and will happen for her as a result of portraying this character, and Ms. Atwell told me she was so humbled by my words. We shook hands and I was able to take this precious piece of personal history home with me to be framed on my wall.

After that, the main event happened. I waited in line in a freezing cold auditorium for around an hour, dressed to the nines and in full makeup, and then it happened. I walked up to Captain America, Chris Evans, for a photograph.

Now, the funny thing is…I’ve met celebrities before. Not any A-list celebrities, mind you, but celebrities like Maggie Q, Shane West, Bill Corbett, James Urbaniak, who are mostly nerd icons. Each time, I’ve managed to hold in the fangirl squeeing and ask them questions, even hold entire conversations.

But not with Chris Evans.

He was the first celebrity to ever make me 100% starstruck and tongue-tied.

Before the hug, I walked over and said hi and asked him if it would be alright for me to give him a hug for the photo. Mr. Evans smiled and said it wasn’t a problem at all, and then he wrapped his arms around me and I basically lost all mental faculties. I actually had a comment prepared–something about how proud I was of what he’s done with the character of Steve Rogers–but after that hug…yep, I was mush. I just mumbled thank you and tottered away on my heels, blinded by how utterly handsome he was. The hug was that good, but then there’s also the fact that before he let me go, he rubbed the small of my back and that’s what precipitated me turning into a pile of goo. My God. What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.

Oh, and here’s his autograph as well (sadly not personalized, because you had to pay an extra $200 for that and as much as I ADORE Chris Evans, paying over $600 for a photo op and personalized autograph was outside of my comfort zone.)

The rest of the trip wound down after I met Cap. I swung past the famous Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee, which were yummy. We had dinner at this cool seafood place called Mr. Ed’s Seafood Bar and then on Sunday we just walked around town to sight-see and eat at Deannie’s before I headed home. Honestly, the city was beautiful and stuffed with all kinds of feasts for the eyes (and stomach). I’m so happy that Treat Yo-self 2016 went as smoothly as it did, and I will never forget meeting my favorite Avenger in the flesh. It was Item Number Four on my Bucket List, and I’m so giddy I managed it before I turned 30. It was unforgettable.

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s my informal account of meeting Chris Evans, for poops and giggles.