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Of Cinder and Bone is now permanently free!

Cover art by Marginean Anca of BRoze Designs

Hey, guys! This is the official announcement that Of Cinder and Bone has been moved to a permanently free to downloadable novel on all sales channels in eBook form. Please enjoy it and spread the word as far as the eye can see. After all, reviews are precious and help new readers give the book a try. The more reviews, the more sales. The more sales, the more money. The more money, the more books I am able to write at a faster pace, so please remember to review it after you’re done reading it. Download links below.

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBookstore

Instafreebie

Thanks and happy holidays!

-Kyoko M

Of Cinder and Bone Christmas Giveaway

Cover art by Agata Broncel

Are you having a happy holiday season yet? Well, if not, maybe this will put some color in your cheeks: I’m releasing Of Cinder and Bone early and for free for one whole week before its official release date. Excited now?

Grab yourself a FREE eBook copy via InstaFreebie or Smashwords between now and December 22, 2016. Remember: it will go up to its full price of $2.99 on release day, December 23, 2016, so don’t miss out!

If you’re not a fan of eBooks, you still have a week to enter the Goodreads giveaway for a signed paperback copy.

Thank you so much for all your support, readers. I certainly hope you enjoy the novel and leave a review.

Happy holidays!

-Kyoko M

The Black Parade Returns to Permafree!

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That’s right, my friends! After a long, profitable summer and autumn with the authors of Secret Worlds, my first novel is back at its free status again. I apologize if anyone has been confused by it staying at .99cents for so long, but it turns out our set was doing really well so we extended its duration through to the end of the year.

Please spread the word and share the link with friends, family, and new readers whenever you can. It would be a huge help. Thanks and I’ll have more news for you soon!

Kyoko M

The Holy Dark Release Date

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April 24, 2015. Mark your calendars, my darlings. The Holy Dark is comin’ atcha.

Join the Facebook launch party for a chance to win a free copy and other prizes, or enter to win a paperback copy on Goodreads. Pre-order will be available soon, so stay tuned!

Additionally, Advanced Reader Copies are available by emailing me at theblackparadeseries@gmail.com. Keep in mind: do not ask for a copy unless you fully intend to leave a review. If you do not review it after receiving a copy, you will not receive ARCs from my other books in the future.

See you soon, adventurous readers!

Christmas Sale 2014

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Happy holidays! In the spirit of Christmas, She Who Fights Monsters is free to download via Amazon all day long! Please grab yourself a copy or share it with a friend or loved one. My gift to you, dear readers.

Kyoko’s Top 18 Most Hateable Villains (Part 3)

Welcome back to the final installment of my Top 18 Most Hateable Movie Villains in the last 20 years. Who will top the list of the most evil fiction baddies? Time to find out. Massive spoilers ahead, as always.

6. R.I.F.T from Transcendence (2014)

Various actors

Various actors

Did you see Transcendence, aka that Johnny Depp movie no one cared about? No? Good. Unfortunately, my father and I are both suckers for a seemingly decent hard sci-fi film and we sat through it. Lo and behold, while the movie was pretty lousy, it yielded one of the most hateable villain groups I’ve seen in the last twenty years.

Here’s the low down on the plot: a researcher named Will Caster (Johnny Depp), his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), and their best friend/colleague Max (Paul Bettany) are on the eve of creating the first true Artificial Intelligence. However, an anti-technology terrorist group called R.I.F.T believes that the A.I. will destroy the world and either kill everyone or turn them into slaves. They then proceed to poison an entire team of researchers associated with the project and shoot Will Caster with an irradiated bullet, dooming him to die slowly from radiation poisoning. Evelyn and Max use the last few months of Will’s life to attempt to transfer his consciousness along with the prototype of his A.I. into a singular being. They are successful, but R.I.F.T closes in and kidnaps Max while Evelyn and A.I. Will go on the run. Max is held prisoner for some amount of time and the R.I.F.T members proceed to lecture him with his own papers insisting that Will is going to take over the world and that Max should help them get rid of A.I. Will.

I don’t even know where to start with how much I hate this terrorist group, or describe which part of their “message” I hate the most. First of all, the fact that they thought they had the right to slaughter innocent people who were trying to create a technology that could help the less fortunate pisses me off. Second of all, the fact that they didn’t have the nerve to simply assassinate Will Caster in anything resembling a humane way. Dying from radiation is slow and agonizing. We watched that poor man waste away in a bed for months until his body deteriorated and he died, passing his mind into the machine Evelyn made for him. Third of all, kidnapping Max, beating him up, and then insisting that he help them stop Will, who at that point had not done one single thing to them or anyone else. Fourth of all, for having unsubstantiated claims to justify terrorism and violence and yet still being high horse about it as if it was unshakable evidence that the A.I. would turn evil. If that’s not enough, let me drop what made this movie universally panned by critics: A.I. Will’s ultimate plan? To use nanites to regrow forests, clean polluted water, and heal the sick.

I’m not joking.

Will’s master plan was to save humanity.

Not once in the entire film does A.I. Will commit an act of wrongdoing. The most sinful thing he does is after a man is robbed and beaten to death, he injects the nanites, heals all the man’s wounds, and temporarily takes over the man’s consciousness in order to speak to his wife. The people Will heals have him in their system and he can control them, and while that is morally objectionable, he doesn’t try to take ANYTHING over nor does he try to kill a single person, not even when the army teams up with R.I.F.T and shoots Evelyn (which she dies from sustained wounds thanks to these assholes) and when R.I.F.T turns on Max YET AGAIN and tells A.I. Will to either shut himself down or they kill his best friend.

The cherry on top?

R.I.F.T. doesn’t stop A.I. Will.

He surrenders because of his wife, who lies dying in his arms.

So R.I.F.T is not only a pack of murderers, they are a pack of ineffective murderers.

The final insult is that the film implies that this is a good thing, that their blind anti-tech nonsense is valid and should be argued against in the future. It leaves the most disgusting taste in my mouth. I absolutely cannot stand the way they get away scot-free with killing so many people for a result that was inconclusive and they did so to an entity that never made an attack on anyone. If that’s not evil, then I don’t know what is.

 

5. William Stryker from X-Men 2 (2003)

Played by Brian Cox

Played by Brian Cox

I think there is a special seat in hell for people who betray their own flesh and blood, and that’s probably why Mr. Stryker is so high up on my list. You all know this story by now, even if fanboys seem to prefer the preboot-quel X-Men films these days. William Stryker is a government official whose sole mission is to control or eliminate mutants, with preference to the latter.

What burns me up so much with William Stryker is that he was not only okay with eradicating an entire race of people—y’know, genocide, because that’s always a good idea—but the fact that (1) he was okay with forcing the man who fought hardest for mutant rights, Charles Xavier, to commit the actual act (2) was okay with manipulating his own mutant son into doing it (3) thought he was completely justified in his actions because of isolated incidents. I guess no one ever told him the “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch” thing as a child.

Don’t get me wrong—I hate me some Magneto. I considered placing him on my list for his actions in all three of the original X-Men films, but I think Stryker made me angrier for mind-controlling mutants and for treating his own son like an animal. He made it personal. Magneto has seen some of the worst parts of humanity and while he’s not justified, he does have a good excuse. Stryker had the power to make a difference in a good way and chose to be an evil son of a bitch instead. He’d kill millions of innocent lives all for the one that he lost, and that’s unbelievably selfish and cowardly and utterly reprehensible.

4. Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3 (2010)

Played by Ned Beatty

Played by Ned Beatty

Alright, I admit it: Lotso was the first villain to ever make me swear out loud in a children’s movie. In the theater, no less.

I couldn’t help it, and I can’t possibly be the only one to think that Lotso is by far the most evil Pixar villain ever. What a son of a bitch. Only Pixar has the power to make me despise a teddy bear to the point of shouting obscenities during the movie’s premiere. Seriously, I don’t believe in talking in a movie theater, but Lotso got me so worked up that I couldn’t stop myself.

It’s bad enough that he created a prison out of the daycare center and manipulated an innocent baby toy and took away the chance for happiness from his own friends, but Lotso goes much deeper than that. He’s just a rejected plaything who thinks everyone else deserves to be treated like they are worthless, which is exactly the way he felt when Daisy got a new bear. He’s damaged goods and he’s taking it out on the world.

Look, I get it, that would jack me up too if my little girl’s parents replaced me, but that isn’t the biggest of Lotso’s crimes. He and the other toys could have found a new owner to love them and play with them, but he made the choice to become the warden of his own sick little prison. You have to be pretty bent to inflict that kind of pain on others who have done nothing wrong, especially when it’s all they have. Toys are made to be played with and to make children happy. Sucking the joy out of their sole purpose takes a new brand of evil.

And finally, we come to The Scene. You know the one. Where after Woody sacrifices time and effort to save Lotso’s sorry ass, what does he do? Not hit the button and doom our beloved toys—our childhood memories, for Christ’s sake—to die just for ruining his plan. I can’t even describe how much I hated him in that one scene, and the fact of the matter is that he got off easy for his crime. I worked at a Toys R Us for two years and we had real-sized Lotso bears in our store for a period of time and when no one was around, I kicked one of them just to make myself feel better. Petty, but true.

If there is a Toy Hell, I hope Lotso gets Lots-O-Huggings from Toy Satan.

 

3. The Other Mother from Coraline (2009)

Played by Teri Hatcher

Played by Teri Hatcher

Coraline is one of the best non-Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar films ever made, hands down. Not surprising, as the book was written by Neil Gaiman. It’s just a fantastic story with thrills and chills and stunning visuals and excellent characters. Too excellent, actually, because the Other Mother is one of the scariest and most hateable villains in the history of anything, regardless of the medium.

In case you missed it somehow, Coraline is the story of a young girl and her parents who move to a house called the Pink Palace. Late at night, Coraline finds a portal to an alternate reality where she meets the Other Mother—a creature who looks and sounds exactly like Coraline’s mother, but instead of being grumpy and impatient, the Other Mother is sweet and fun. And she has buttons for eyes. (Which is why I am utterly terrified of Lalaloopsy dolls, consequently) Her world is magical and Coraline falls in love with the beautiful sights and exciting things to do there, but she later discovers that it’s all secretly a trap. The Other Mother tries to get Coraline to stay in her world and sew buttons into her eyes, but Coraline refuses and manages to escape home. Then it all goes to hell when the Other Mother kidnaps Coraline’s parents and she has to return to the other reality to get them back.

The Other Mother’s full backstory is never given, but the bits we do get are so scary that it’s why I would consider this film to be for young adults. She’s no one’s mother. She’s a giant spider-demon thing that lures in children, “loves them” for a period of time, and then eats them.

Yes. You read that correctly.

She. Freaking. Eats. Children.

As if that weren’t horrifying enough, Coraline meets the ghosts of the first three victims, who warn her and give her advice on how to escape. Ghosts, people. OF THE CHILDREN THE OTHER MOTHER MURDERED. I mean, do I really need to say anything more?

The Other Mother is just terrifying, even before we see her final true form in the finale, and believe me when I say it’s worth a watch. I showed Coraline to my older brother and his wife and they were both curled up in the loveseat clutching each other in horror during the final confrontation of Coraline and the Other Mother. She’s a sickening fiend and you will be impressed with how ruthless and violent and awful she turns out to be by the end of the film. You think of the classic film villains like Darth Vader or the Terminator and they ain’t got nuthin’ on the Other Mother. She gives evil a fresh coat of paint and that’s why I highly recommend that people add Coraline into their traditional Halloween moviethons. Trust me, you’ll be cheering right along for Coraline to defeat her by the end.

(P.S. I’ve heard she’s even scarier in the book. Good Lord, now that’s something to keep you awake at night.)

 

2. Stephen from Django Unchained (2012)

 

Played by Samuel L. "Motherf*cking" Jackson

Played by Samuel L. “Motherf*cking” Jackson

I admit I was a middlegrade Quentin Tarantino fan until I saw Django Unchained. It completely changed my appreciation for the man as a director. For me, everything in Django just lined up perfectly—the dialogue, the setting, the characters, the music, the action, the tone, the underlying message, all of it. I’ve watched it a dozen times by now and it’s by far my favorite Tarantino film, even over Pulp Fiction. A large part of that has to do with the fact that Django pulls an amazing Bait-and-Switch Villain trope in the final third of the film.

Stephen is one of the most sadistic bastards in film history, forget the last 20 years. As I said before, villains who make things personal truly get beneath my skin, and Stephen was a true blue snake –in-the-grass kind of villain. Calvin Candie is the over-the-top slimeball racist and you love him for it. (Leo was snubbed so hard for not being nominated for this role and I will never get over it.) Stephen, however, lies low until he finds the perfect opportunity to strike and ruin everything for Django and Hildy. What really sells it is those underhanded ways that Stephen tries to bring Django as low as he can, like after Django says he gives up and Stephen says, “I can’t hear you, ni**a!” or before Django is sent off to the Le Quint Dickie mining company to work until he dies and he rubs it in his face, saying, “That will be the story of you.”

What’s so brilliantly hateable about Stephen, for me, is two things: (1) that Django brings up how a black slaver is lower than the head of the house and (2) how his role reflects how the Number One killer of black men in America is other black men. Remember that serious Stink Eye Stephen gave Django when he rode up? He knew from the second he laid eyes on him that he was going to find a way to destroy him, regardless of who he was or how he got there. He saw Django’s choice to do that with his freedom and thought that he didn’t deserve it, so he’d take it away anyway he could.

Then there’s his true role over all that surpasses the time and the setting and becomes relevant now. Sure, racism is still going strong and has a long way to go before it’s better for people of color, but trust me nobody hates black people like other freakin’ black people. Stephen is the perfect representation of a “hater”, not the stupid shallow people rappers complain about in their lyrics. A true hater is someone who wants what you have or hates that you have a purpose or quality about yourself that they don’t and makes it their personal mission to bring you down by any means necessary. Stephen is the worst kind of betrayer to his own race during the absolute worst time in our collective history, and that’s why his comeuppance is pure gold. Tarantino’s best, if you ask me.

And my personal number one most hateable movie villain in the last twenty years is…

King Stefan from Maleficent (2014)

Played by Sharlto Copley

Played by Sharlto Copley

Unexpected, huh? Well, maybe after I explain you’ll get why this mo’fo tops my list.

I love Maleficent, and I love it more because I didn’t expect to love it. I had just seen Godzilla, which was highly disappointing, and so I went into Maleficent with low expectations, especially since Snow White and the Huntsman was of a similar tone and it was also a huge letdown despite the premise and the awesomeness of Charlize Theron. Then I watched it and instantly fell in love with the story and the gorgeous visuals and the three-dimensional Maleficent in both the protagonist and antagonist role throughout the film. It was an absolute delight and everything I wanted in a fairytale re-telling, especially since I am a dork for a good fantasy film.

But man.

I hate Stefan.

I hate him so much.

Think about it. Maleficent, as an innocent child, very kindly stopped her fellow creatures from smashing little Stefan into paste and built a friendship with a lowly boy who had nothing. She even fell in love with him. How many effing beautiful Angelina Jolie fairies fall in love with short, stumpy little farmboys? He should have worshiped the ground she floated over. But what does he do instead?

He lures her out, drugs her, and is too much of an effing coward to kill her, so he instead steals her wings. Her identity. The things that make her the way she is. Her most prized, precious attributes.

Remember how I mentioned screaming curse words at Lotso during Toy Story 3’s dramatic climax? I didn’t do that with Maleficent.

I slumped down in my chair, glaring at the screen as I watched that coward cut off her wings, and continuously  furiously muttered, “You suck. You suck. You suck. YOU F**KING SUCK!”

I’d have rather Stefan killed her than let her live with the pain of being without her wings and of knowing that the man she fell in love with, the man she gave her heart to, the man who lied and told her that he gave her True Love’s kiss, stole her wings and left her so that he could become king.

I swear, that is a betrayal on a level that is just unreal.

Look, I know the villains on my past two lists have done much worse, but as a woman, I could not help but understand completely why Maleficent did what she did and could not appreciate her more if I tried for later becoming a good person again by the end of the film. Because if it were me? Sheeeeeiiiiit.

Stefan’s ass would be scattered across the damn landscape of his own kingdom.

Some of you have had bad break ups before, male or female, so you might understand why Stefan’s at the top of my list. Nothing is worse than loving someone and then having them betray you, or throw you away as if your entire relationship meant nothing. That’s happened to me before and so Maleficent’s soul-wrenching wail after she woke up without her wings spoke to me on the deepest levels. I’ve made that sound before when someone broke my heart, and that’s why Stefan is without a doubt the lowest creature in the last twenty years’ of films that I’ve watched. No one deserves what Maleficent got. No one should go through something like that, especially not someone so kind and brave.

And I did actually get so worked up at the end of the movie that I suggested Maleficent rip out Stefan’s throat and shove it up his ass.

But you know, that’s just me.

…gee, maybe I’m the greatest villain of all.

Oh well.

Happy Halloween! Don’t forget that She Who Fights Monsters is FREE all day long on Amazon. If you spread the word, take a screenshot and you’ll be added to my mailing list to receive a free e-Book copy of The Holy Dark when it comes out in the spring. Email the screenshot to theblackparadeseries@gmail.com, or if you tweet it, tag me at @misskyokom.

-Kyoko

The Deadly Seven is FREE!

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Our lovely short story collection turns four months old this week! Can you believe it? They grow up so fast! *sobs*

In celebration, it’s free on Amazon all day long, just in case you’re new to my series or you didn’t get a chance to grab it the last time it was free. Plus, if you share this Facebook post with anyone, you’ll get an advanced preview of the upcoming sequel novel, The Holy Dark.

We’re coming into the later part of the year, so stay tuned. I’ll be announcing the plot synopsis for The Holy Dark soon, and then it’s on to a cover reveal, excerpts, blog tours, and all the other fun stuff as we approach spring 2015.

Finally, did you know that joining the mailing list or referring someone to it means you get any one of my books for FREE? Consider joining today, or send me an email with the name of the person you referred and claim your free e-book.

See you soon, readers!

-Kyoko

She Who Fights Monsters Turns a Month Old!

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They grow up so fast. *sniff*

Oh, look at our girl. Isn’t she pretty? Isn’t she looooooovelyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

Ahem. Anyhow, in celebration of my second novel being out for a month, I’ve set it to be free on Amazon all day long. If you haven’t gotten yourself a copy, grab it here and spread the word. You can also get an advanced preview of The Holy Dark, Book #3 in the series, by sharing the following Facebook post.

Additionally, The Black Parade went permanently free today. Yes, you read that right. It’s free from now until the end of time. I would appreciate it greatly if you would spread the word.

Have a wonderful day, and stay tuned for more news on the series!

She Who Fights Monsters Launches Today!

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THE CHAMP IS HERE.

Well, not really, but my new novel is. And guess what? You can buy it for FREE right here today (July 22) and tomorrow (July 23), and The Black Parade is also free as well. Tell your friends. Drunkenly shout it in the streets. DO IT NOW.

And if you don’t have anything going on right now, please join me over at the virtual launch party for a chance to win free prizes!

She Who Fights Monsters Virtual Launch Party

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TIME TO GET HYPE, GUYS.

Colbert Celebrating

 

Yes, two weeks from today, the second novel in the Black Parade series will be on bookshelves. Join me at the Facebook virtual launch party for a chance to win a free copy as well as other magnificent prizes. C’mon, you know you want to. It’s gonna be fun. See you there.

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway for it and win yourself a free paperback copy signed by yours truly.

-Kyoko