Archives for : ghosts

She Who Fights Monsters – Plot Reveal



The upcoming sequel to The Black Parade hits July 22, 2014. Here’s your official book blurb and plot reveal!

Michael O’Brien. 25. New Yorker. Lead guitarist. Commander of Heaven’s Army.

Jordan Amador. 22. New Yorker. Waitress. Investigator for souls with unfinished business, also known as a Seer.

The dynamic supernatural duo is in the middle of trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one. After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost.

When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

Excited yet? You can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 already.

The next chapter will be posted sometime soon as well as the reveal of the book cover. I’m also going to run a giveaway on Goodreads starting June 22, 2014, if everything goes according to schedule. We’re also going to do another virtual book launch since the first one went pretty well, so I hope you’ll join me for that as well.

Keep your eyes peeled for more!


The Deadly Seven Blog Tour – Stop #2

The Deadly Seven Banner 450 x 169

Evening, folks! Stop Number Two on The Deadly Seven’s blog tour is over at Mila Ramos’ blog. There’s a spotlight and excerpt ready for you to enjoy. Thanks and see you tomorrow for Stop #3!


The Deadly Seven Virtual Blog Tour

The Deadly Seven Banner 450 x 169

Today’s the day! We’re kicking off a week-long blog tour for The Deadly Seven. There’s going to be interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and more coming atcha.

Our first stop is with my good friend, Melanie, over at Fang Freakin’ Tastic Reviews. We’ve got a fun little post about who I’d pick to play the main characters of the Black Parade series if it ever became a movie.

Don’t forget that you can enter to win a copy of The Deadly Seven either as an eBook or in paperback if you visit the post above.

Tune in tomorrow for our next stop!


The Deadly Seven – Free on Amazon!


Well, it’s finally here!

The Deadly Seven is free to purchase on Amazon all day today. Swoop in and grab yourself a copy.

The Black Parade is also free all day today, May 9, via Smashwords, so grab a copy if you haven’t already.

We are also right in the middle of the virtual book launch party for The Deadly Seven, so please drop in for your chance to win prizes.

Thanks for your support!


The Deadly Seven Virtual Launch Party


Hey, you.

Guess what?

The Deadly Seven comes out this Friday. You know what you should do? Join us for the virtual launch party and win your own copy for free.

Here’s your invite. Dress classy. Top hats and monocles are a must.

If you can’t make the party, you can still win a free paperback copy. Don’t miss out!

See you guys on Friday!


The Black Parade is now on Scribd!

They grow up so fast. *sobs*

I’m back, bb!

That’s right! My little book has found a new home at Scribd, thanks to Smashwords. They’re actually this really nifty service where you can read all kinds of books for free (and some of them paid) the way Netflix allows you to rent movies.

It’s been a while since my last post and that’s because I am furiously working on The Deadly Seven–a short story collection from The Black Parade series that takes place in the two month period before the third act of the book where Jordan and Michael are learning to live alongside each other. So far, it’s looking to be released late April/early May. Anyone who signs up for the mailing list gets the first chapter for free.

Stay tuned for all-new excerpts and giveaways!


Sketch of Michael the Archangel

So I had the talented Christina of Green Sketches draw our handsome hero, Michael. Take a look:

Michael commission by Christina Gilstrap


I personally think it’s the bees’ knees, if you’ll pardon the outdated slang. I thought it’d be fun to get some visuals for the main cast of The Black Parade, so tell me in the comments who you’d like to see next: Jordan, Belial, or Gabriel?

Speaking of which, we’re closing in on the release date for “The Deadly Seven.” I’ve started a contest on Facebook. Tell me who you think could play Jordan and Michael if the Black Parade ever got made into a movie. Best answer gets a free advanced copy of “The Deadly Seven,” which is looking to hit shelves in early April. Follow the link to the page and enter for your chance to win.

Plus, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list. You’ll get all the goodies before anyone else.

See you soon!

An Excerpt from She Who Fights Monsters


You wonderful folks got this post to 10 likes, so here’s your reward! An excerpt from Chapter 1 of the sequel to The Black Parade, She Who Fights Monsters.



“I have to go to work.”


“The bus leaves in fifteen minutes.”


“…I can’t leave if you don’t stop kissing me,” I said in a mildly amused voice from around the lips of my husband who had managed to trap me against the kitchen counter. He towered over my humble 5’6’’ with his 6’1’’ frame, his long sinewy arms content to rest on either side of the counter by my waist so that I couldn’t wriggle away. It was both a nuisance and yet somehow pleasant. A conundrum, if you will.

I thought my words finally got through to him when he pulled away for a moment, but his head dipped down and his lips found the edge of my jaw, my neck, making my poor knees wobble. I could feel the roughness of the stubble that had grown on his chin since he hadn’t shaved yet and the soft tickle of his dark brown hair against my collarbone, sending involuntary shudders down my spine. Normally, when he cooked breakfast he pulled his hair back into a ponytail but I suspected he’d taken it down with the intent of seducing me. Crafty bastard.

“I’m not stopping you,” Michael drawled against my throat. His baritone voice made the hairs on my arms stand up with attention. There was maybe a centimeter of space between our upper bodies. He’d done it on purpose to tease me. He bit down softly at the point between my neck and shoulder and I jumped, my fingers gripping the counter for strength.

“You’re blocking my exit,” I said.

He finally rose to full height, smirking at me with those full lips, arrogance beaming down from his sea green eyes.

“And you’re stalling.”

He stared at me. I stared at him. I sighed and grabbed two handfuls of his shirt, jerking him down to my mouth.

“I’m gonna get fired.”

Half an hour later, my best friend Lauren Yi was shaking her head when I scampered into the restaurant and clocked in as quickly as possible. Mercifully, Colton was nowhere to be found, but he’d still know I was forty minutes late anyhow since he was the owner. I’d be in for it later and I knew it. The restaurant had been hit with the usual lunch rush so I had to get ready as soon as humanly possible.

“This is the third time in a week you’ve been late,” she reminded me as I walked towards the lockers in the break room to put my apron on. I popped mine open and checked my reflection in the mirror, piling my mussed black hair into a loose bun.

“I know, sorry. The bus was late.”

Lauren rolled her eyes. “Are you really pulling that one on me?”

I glanced at her, keeping my face blank and innocent. “What?”

“Your skirt’s on backwards and you’ve got pancake mix on your sleeve.” She arched an eyebrow and then crossed her arms.

“He caught you in the kitchen again, didn’t he?”

A flush of heat rushed up my neck and over my cheeks, thankfully hidden by my brown skin. I tied my apron on and cleared my throat, keeping my voice level and guilt-free. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The Korean girl lifted the apron and turned my skirt the right way, brushing off the remainder of said pancake mix. “It’s a sad day when Jordan Amador has more of a life than I do.”

“Should I be flattered or insulted by that?”

“Both. Now get out there and wait tables, you shameless harlot.”

I batted my eyelashes at her. “Love you too.”

She stuck her tongue out at me as we walked back onto the floor and started greeting customers and taking orders. It never ceased to amaze me how quickly I could switch into Waitress Mode. Without thinking, I became amiable, even a little charming on my better days—a direct contrast to my actual personality. Lauren had once dubbed me as a “cranky, antisocial hermit crab” and it disturbed me how accurate that description had been at the time. Michael had done a remarkable job of reversing the worst parts of my behavior over the past year.

After I took care of a couple of teenagers and a large group of people who had just gotten out of church, I greeted a redhead in a forest green suit and black tie sitting by himself at a window booth.

“Hi, what can I get you?”

His brown eyes scanned the menu, his voice a little shy. “What would you suggest?”

I lowered my pen and pad. “Well, what kind of things do you like?”

He shrugged. “No preference, really.”

“I recommend the fish and grits. The fish is fried whiting and the grits are cheesy and thick, just like down South.”


“Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, etc. I’ve never been that far down, but my boss insists it’s much better than up here,” I continued with a playful roll of my eyes.

The redhead folded up his menu and handed it to me, smiling. “That sounds good. Thank you, Jordan.”

I scribbled down his order and smiled back. “No problem.”

I gave the slip to the kitchen and grabbed some cleaning supplies to clear off a table in my section. Lauren came to help, taking the salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, and napkins off of the table before I wiped it down.

“Who’s the redhead?” she asked.

“No idea. Never seen him before.”

“He’s not part of the usual Sunday crowd. He seems…very out-of-town-ish, especially with that suit. By the looks of things, it costs more than half of my closet.”

I flashed her a grin. “Well, you do have a bad habit of buying knock off Gucci.”

She scowled. “Those who shop at thrift shops shall not throw stones.”

“It’s economical, dammit!”

She rolled her eyes at me, handing me the spray bottle of Clorox.

“You’re married to the lead singer of a rock band. You should be able to afford decent clothing by now.”

I pursed my lips, squirting the liquid on the table. “We have better uses for the money than clothing, thank you very much.”


I whirled, aiming the spray bottle at her face. “I’ll do it and say it was an accident.”

She giggled, pushing my arm down. “Relax, Dirty Harry. Or would that be Clean Harry since you’ve got Clorox?”

“Ha-ha. A comedic genius you are not.” I finished cleaning off the table and replaced the condiments and napkin container. One of our chefs called me since an order was ready and I brought them to the customers. I took the fish and grits to the redheaded gentleman, who was staring out the window as if distracted.

“Here you go. Enjoy!”

“Thank you.”

The lunch rush came and went like the tide—seeming overwhelming at first, but manageable to the trained eye. I didn’t notice anything out of order until midway through my shift when I returned to the seat that the redhead had been in to find I had a rather substantial tip waiting for me.

“He left you a hundred dollars?!” Lauren screeched from behind me, grabbing my shoulder to look as I held the bill between my hands with my mouth open and getting dustier by the minute.

“I…he…maybe he didn’t have change?” I sputtered, searching the sidewalk outside the restaurant to see if he was out there but he had disappeared.

My best friend threw up her hands. “I don’t get it. You come in late and yet you’re the one standing there with a fresh hundred bucks. Do you have a leprechaun stuck to the bottom of your shoe or something?”

Sheepishly, I glanced underneath my foot. “…no?”

“Ugh, I’d hate you if I didn’t love you so much,” Lauren sighed, scooping up the empty plate the mysterious redhead left behind. I tucked the tip in the front of my apron, staring blankly out of the window. I started to hand her a glass only to drop it as something caught my eye across the street.

A plump woman in her early forties stared back at me. Her hair was black and curly around her round face, and her brown eyes were full of worry. I knew her—not from Albany, but from the pages of a manila folder I had poured over rigorously for the past month. Erica Davalos.

A murdered Seer.

“Jordan, what’s wrong?” Lauren asked, flustered at the shocked expression on my face.

I hid my distress, stepping over the bits of broken glass. “Nothing, sorry. Just a bit clumsy today. I’ll go get the broom.”

I hurried to the break room and grabbed a broom, but I didn’t head back out there. Instead, I snuck out the rear entrance that led into an alleyway and stuck my head around the corner, signaling for the ghost to come towards me.

“Hi,” the ghost woman said when she was within earshot, her voice light and apprehensive. “My name is Erica.”

“Yeah, I know.”

She frowned, tilting her head. “Excuse me?”

“My name is Jordan Amador. I’m a Seer.”

“A Seer?”

“Yes. It’s someone who can see and hear ghosts, angels, and demons. Long story short, they’re the descendants of the original twelve disciples. I’ve been trying to solve your murder for the past month and a half.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh my goodness, I had no idea. I’ve just been wandering around for the longest time looking for someone to help me.”

I offered her a small smile. “Well, you’ve come to the right girl. I get off work in a few hours so I want you to stay in this area and meet me out front at six o’clock, okay? We’ll get everything sorted out, I promise.”

“Yes. Thank you so much.”

Did you enjoy that? Here’s Chapter 2 for your reading pleasure. Keep your eyes glued to the Facebook page for more. She Who Fights Monsters is slated for release summer of this year. I can’t wait for you to read the rest. Stay tuned, darlings!

And don’t forget that you can win a free copy of The Black Parade via Good Reads from now until Jan. 31st. Spread the word!


The Black Parade Giveaway

TheBlackParade_Revised_2 copyGuess what, my dears? The Black Parade is having another giveaway, and this time it’s the paperback version. All you have to do is enter here and you have the chance to win yourself a signed copy of my novel. It only takes a second.

Don’t be afraid to spread the word. You have until January 31st to enter. Enjoy!


On Endings


So I finished the final installment to The Black Parade series a few days ago.

Hoo boy.

Prior to the third book, whose working title is The Holy Dark if you must know, I’ve written and finished three books–two novels and a novella. However, I’ve never written a series before and the first thing I have to say is, God bless the crazy sons of bitches who write long running series. I mean, seriously, The Black Parade series is just a trilogy, and I had the HARDEST time keeping everything in line. I think as authors we tend to take certain things for granted when we write. For instance, I didn’t realize just how long The Holy Dark was until I went through and began formatting it and doing the superficial edit.

The Holy Dark’s first draft is 168,197 words. Let’s do a comparison, shall we?

The Hobbit: 95,022 words

The Fellowship of the Ring: 177,227 words

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 190,637 words

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 198,227 words

Are you beginning to see my plight here? I’m nowhere near as good as the above authors, but my word count is approaching their glorious numbers and it’s slightly terrifying. However, when I researched word counts of famous novel series, I did notice a trend. They do increase in word count the longer on they continue, and I think it has a lot to do with the process of writing towards the end of a series.

As I wrote The Holy Dark, there were all kinds of things that I had to keep in mind to tie up by the conclusion of the novel. Jordan and Michael’s stories span three books, and several storylines intersect with each other. We also meet new characters in the second and third novels who also have their own lives and stories and backstories. It’s like balancing spinning plates after a certain point. The reason why The Holy Dark took me so long to write (I started it in May 2013 and finished it just after New Years) is because I didn’t fully understand what it takes to end a series. There’s so much material to cover. There are your individual character arcs, the romantic character growth between Jordan/Michael and Jordan/Belial, the series long arc of the battle between the Seers and the demons, the ramifications of what happened in the previous novels, and then the actual plot of the current novel. Does your head hurt yet? Mine certainly does.

Endings, to me, are usually a little easier than beginnings. The original beginning to The Black Parade was Jordan reliving the night she killed Mr. N, but two separate critique groups talked me out of it because action-heavy beginnings with no context tend to work better in movies than in novels. Thus, we had our quiet but tense opening with Jordan waking up and starting her day as a Seer. However, the ending to The Black Parade was pretty much set in my head in general terms. I knew where her character would end up. Same deal for She Who Fights Monsters. The Holy Dark’s ending was a vague concept in my head, but how I got there was nothing short of a doozy. This is the first novel I’ve ever written where the beginning was a lot easier than the ending.

For instance, the first draft of THD is actually the second draft. The first time I wrote it, I got to 50,000 words in about two months. Then I stopped, read it, and panicked because the pacing was dreadful. The plot stopped and started and coughed and wheezed and begged to be put out of its misery. Thus, I had a long chat with my writing sensei and he helped figure out why the novel had such horrendous pacing issues. I had so many scenes that I wanted to write before the series ended that the flow of the novel felt unnatural and stilted. I took everything back to the drawing board, deleted big chunks, altered the narrative, and started up again. I did well for several months and then the end of the year hit. I had so many hours at my retail day job that I missed my 2013 deadline because so much of the story had piled up that I didn’t have time to type it all out. My fingers just weren’t fast enough.

What I’ve learned over the course of writing this first draft is that endings can be difficult because one worries about satisfaction. Is the end of the series satisfying? Where does everyone end up after their three book long journey? What have they learned? What have they gone through? How has it changed them? Is the conflict real and personal? Is it something readers will relate to and cherish? There are so many expectations that consciously and unconsciously crop up when you read the final novel in a series.

For example, I’m not a fan of Mockingjay because it felt overstuffed and convoluted. I liked The Hunger Games the best out of the novels because it was succinct and profound. It also had much less of the Peeta/Katniss/Gale love triangle, which I personally find to be pointless. Katniss is not the kind of girl who needs to be torn over two boys. It’s quite clear that she has romantic feelings for Peeta, not Gale, and I worry that Suzanne Collins dragged the love triangle out for the sake of drama, and not because it needed to be there. Now, granted, I’m sure I will get the same criticism in the future because I’ve got my own love triangle going in my series, but I’m just being honest. Either way, The Hunger Games is still one of the best contemporary novel series of all time. I bring it up because my expectations for where the story would end up was way different from how it actually did. I don’t think that authors should pander to their audiences and fret over what they would enjoy reading, but I do think it’s part of the writing experience anyway. It’s what I struggled with during the epilogue of THD because I had scenes that I wanted to write that I felt the readers would enjoy, but since they weren’t plot relevant, I felt the urge to leave them out. After all, nothing gets people crankier than a too-sweet happy ending. I tend to lean towards bittersweet endings because they are more realistic. It’s the same reason why Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ epilogue is so controversial–a lot of it reads like lousy fanfiction. Being too saccharine in your ending can color the whole series. Hell, my mother and I discussed this last night with the movie Sweet November. We actually liked the movie itself…until the ending. The ending blew it. It just blew. It was a dumb, unsatisfying cop out. That ending ruined the entire experience and cost the people who made it a sale (I found the movie for cheap at a game store and thought about buying it, but then I remember that FUBAR ending and chose not to instead). It’s the same with novels. You can write something beautiful and emotionally crippling, but if you screw up the ending, it can poison your entire series.

Now compact everything I’ve said and shove it inside your ear. That’s how my brain feels right now. Endings are a pain in the ass. This is a shout out to every single author who has ended a novel series: you are incredible and I hope you know that with all your heart. My stories aren’t nearly as complex as something like George R. R. Martin or J.K. Rowling, and they somehow have endings. I will absorb these authors’ wisdom into my own body like an amoeba before I start the first round of editing.

The nice thing about being an author is that you can always change. You can move chapters around. You can delete them. You can expand. You can chase down new plot threads and character arcs and nail them into place. As a wise Autobot once said, freedom is the right of all sentient beings, and I think that is most true with writing. The Holy Dark kicked my skinny ass up and down the year 2013, but it taught me more than I think the first two novels combined. It’s scary to think I won’t be writing about Jordan, Michael, Gabriel, and Belial in the future, but these characters have been beyond fun to write over the past five years. I think that’s also why the ending was so difficult. I wanted to put them to rest with all the respect that I could because they’ve been keeping me company for so long. I suppose that’s sentimental (and borderline clinically insane), but hey, that’s how I roll.

Welcome to 2014, people. Big things are in our future. Stay tuned for more.