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The Holy Dark Turns A Month Old!

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Oh, look at my darling. She’s grown up so fast. *wipes eyes*

In celebration of the third novel in The Black Parade series being out a whole month, I thought we’d do something fun. Here are some trivia and facts about the book, from story ideas to headcanons to deleted scenes. Enjoy!

  • Myra Bennett’s physical appearance is styled after Angela Bassett
  • The original word count was over 180,000 words
  • It was the first novel that caused me to miss my “one book a year” deadline, due to the fact that I couldn’t type fast enough to finish it on New Years’ Eve
  • The other Seers whom Jordan talks to in the Skype chat were originally going to have major parts in the story, but it was ultimately rewritten because it took too much time away from the main cast (Jordan, Michael, Gabriel, Belial)
  • There were plans to expand Myra’s backstory a bit more, but it was also rewritten due to the page length already being out of control
  • The Holy Dark takes place in October 2012, over the course of a week before the time skip in the final chapter and epilogue
  • The wedding scene was added in the final draft of the story after discussing what would make the fans truly happy with my sister-in-law, who was about to get married right around the time I started the final draft of the novel
  • I have a bunch of headcanons about Jordan and Michael’s wedding that I might turn into short stories or bonus chapters in the future
  • Zora was originally going to have a cameo in this book via a memory Jordan had as a dream when she was doped up on Belial’s blood, but it wasn’t relevant enough to the story
  • Though she is never directly described in the novel, Zora is short, middle Eastern, and looks a lot like Parminder Nagra (Neela Rasgotra from ER)
  • There was going to be a joke that Belial allegedly knows 314 different sex positions, but it didn’t fit into any dialogue spots, so it was left out
  • One of the earliest ideas for the plot was Jordan hunting for Belial cross-country after he betrayed her and released the Leviathan, but it didn’t have enough action
  • When the epilogue takes place, Allison has been with Jordan and Michael for about a year and a half, since it took them a while to get the adoption set up thanks to Jordan’s stint with the law
  • Beelzebub’s cameo in Hell is intentionally left open-ended for future works
  • Mammon is the only archdemon who does not appear in any of the four books in the series, including this one
  • Andrew Bethsaida’s backstory was also intended to show up here, but was ultimately decided not to be relevant enough for inclusion
  • There was also going to be a scene where Jordan finally visits Terrell’s grave, but the epilogue needed to be more than just narration, so it skipped ahead to life with Jordan, Michael, and Allison
  • Allison is eventually going to become a part time demon hunter in college, and it may later become a short story, novella, or YA novel. Same for Juliana Freitas, Belial’s daughter, whom Jordan saved in She Who Fights Monsters, and she was briefly mentioned as coming to America in the epilogue
  • The various descriptions of the circles of Hell were composed from Dante’s Inferno and some of the scenery seen in the movie Constantine (2005), along with my own ideas mixed in
  • An early, early draft of The Holy Dark had Moloch interrogating Jordan and she ultimately amuses him so much that he doesn’t kill her, but it was decided against because she is already in Belial’s favor and it would be too much to have two of the five archdemons like her
  • Neither Lucifer nor God have appeared in any of the books, though they are mentioned directly interacting with characters off-screen. This is because there are so many depictions of both that I didn’t want to even try to make my own, and because I felt it would be pretentious to make it seem like Jordan is important to warrant attention from either party face-to-face. However, my personal headcanon is that God and Lucifer don’t “look” like one particular entity; instead, they shapeshift into whatever form with have an effect on the person they are speaking to. For instance, in Hell Lucifer took the form of Jordan when he spoke to Belial because he knew it would unnerve him and he wanted Belial to kill her.
  • Ace was inspired by Ace the Bathound from the Batman comics and takes his backstory from the iteration in Batman Beyond. The only difference is his personality and breed. (Shameless, I know.)
  • Though it’s implied through his actions, Belial never once says that he loves Jordan
  • I didn’t cry when I wrote Gabriel’s death scene, but I did get choked up when I wrote the scene after they return from Hell and Jordan tells him stories about her childhood. I still to this day cannot really explain why that gets to me more than his death.
  • As I’ve mentioned in an interview before, the famous forehead kiss between Gabriel and Jordan came from something my favorite cousin Mikey did once a few years ago and I remember feeling so unbelievably safe and happy from that one gesture
  • Gabriel is never described as such, but I occasionally hear his lines read in a British accent. It makes more sense when you consider that he looks a bit like Jude Law in my head.
  • Michael’s very out-of-character suggestion of a threesome came about because I realized how much teasing Belial had done and wanted to show that Michael doesn’t always have a stick up his ass and has a good sense of humor, even when annoyed
  • The demon mercenary Balrog is quite shamelessly modeled after Crowley from Supernatural
  • The reference to Supernatural that Lauren makes early in the book (comparing Jordan to Dean Winchester) is largely because I’m a dork, but also because not one single urban fantasy TV show, book, or movie that I have ever come across has ever mentioned Supernatural
  • There was a scene I really wanted to write with Lauren and Belial meeting face to face, and it was intended to make Jordan so angry that she attacked him out in the open, blowing her cover. It was reworked once the plot was decided, but I admit I still want to see how Lauren would react to Belial if she knew who he really was.
  • This is the only novel of the three where Catalina Amador, Jordan’s mother, does not directly appear
  • I’ve been trying for almost a month, but I cannot think of one single young redheaded actor who could play Avriel if The Holy Dark (or She Who Fights Monsters, since he was in that first) became a movie
  • For a while, the title of this book was going to be either Back to Black or Once Burned
  • It is currently around the same word count as The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (176k words)

Thanks to everyone who already bought a copy, to those who have helped support me on social media, and to anyone who just read all those nerdy trivia facts. I am eternally grateful. Here’s to another month of great sales!

Kyoko

The Holy Dark is Finally Here!

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That’s right! You can bring home the final installment to the Black Parade series right now for only $2.99!

Please share this post with others, and feel free to visit the other blogs listed here that are celebrating its release. Thanks for all your support and happy reading!

Kyoko

Pre-Order The Holy Dark!

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Ah, yes, that magical time is finally here. You can now pre-order The Holy Dark on Amazon for just $2.99. This price is only going on for a month. On May 9, 2015, it will increase to $3.99, so please go ahead and order yourself a copy by that date.

However, if your pockets are light, remember that you can enter the Goodreads giveaway by April 24, 2015 to win a free signed paperback copy or attend the Facebook party on April 24th and win a free eBook copy via contest questions.

Please spread the word. It’s the biggest thing you can possibly do to show your appreciation.

Kyoko M

The Holy Dark Excerpt

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We are but a few short weeks away from the final installment to The Black Parade series! If you aren’t caught up, here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 and half of Chapter 2. Below is the conclusion to Chapter 2. Enjoy!

Continue Reading >>

Vote in Cover Wars!

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That’s right, ladies and gents! The Black Parade was accepted into The Masquerade Crew’s monthly Cover Wars contest. Please be a darling, stop in, and vote for it as many times as you can. It would be wonderful to win Cover Wars right before The Holy Dark is released in a few weeks. Thanks in advance, lovely readers!

The Holy Dark Goodreads Giveaway

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Enter to win a free signed paperback copy of The Holy Dark. Deadline is April 24, 2015. Don’t miss your chance!

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!

Headcanon Exercise #1

I just happened past a Tumblr post with a list of headcanons that piqued my interest. If you’re not aware, a headcanon is basically an idea you have about certain characters that isn’t directly seen in the canon of a work of fiction. It’s usually used in the context of television shows, anime, movies, and such, but it happens with original fiction as well. I thought this would be a fun way for you guys to get to know more about the characters of The Black Parade, so here we go.

JORDAN

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  • can they use chopsticks: Yes.
  • what do they do when they can’t sleep: She reads “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville because it is unbelievably boring and it always makes her nod off before she can finish. However, if she’s up because of a nightmare, then she pours herself some whiskey and it calms her down enough to sleep.
  • what would they impulse buy at the grocery store: Lindt chocolate.
  • what order do they wash things in the shower: Hair first (once a week), shoulders, arms, torso, legs, and feet.
  • what’s their coffee order: two creams, three sugars.
  • what sort of apps would they have on their smartphone: Kindle App, Words with Friends, and Tip Calculator (for any of her customers who can’t multiply).
  • how do they act around children: Jordan loves kids, thanks to spending a lot of time with Lauren’s daughter, Lily. She’s completely at ease around them.
  • what would they watch on tv when they’re bored and nothing they really like is on: Jordan loves terrible scary movies because she likes to riff them and talk about plotholes.

 

MICHAEL

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  • can they use chopsticks: Yes, but not that well.
  • what do they do when they can’t sleep: He’ll write songs or play his guitar until he starts getting drowsy.
  • what would they impulse buy at the grocery store: Knick knacks like laser pointers, Swiss Army knives, or any little things that might be useful on a mission.
  • what order do they wash things in the shower: Armpits, arms, chest, legs, feet, and hair last since it doesn’t take long to wash. He also shaves in the shower.
  • what’s their coffee order: He can drink it black, but he prefers a little cream.
  • what sort of apps would they have on their smartphone: Banking apps, Adobe Acrobat, Kindle App, iTunes, Excel, Flashlight, Navigator app, and Skype.
  • how do they act around children: He’s fine if there are other people around, but he gets anxious if he has to babysit alone because it’s a big responsibility and his life is pretty dangerous. He worries about putting them in harm’s way.
  • what would they watch on tv when they’re bored and nothing they really like is on: It’s a guilty pleasure, but he’ll leave on MTV or VH1 if it’s early morning when they play 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s jams.

 

GABRIEL

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  • can they use chopsticks: Yes, since he schmoozes with wealthy people a lot. Better than Jordan and Michael at using them, in fact.
  • what do they do when they can’t sleep: Goes over financial reports from his company.
  • what would they impulse buy at the grocery store: Cologne, nice watches, lint roller, breath mints, and candy.
  • what order do they wash things in the shower: Gabriel is very particular about his hair, so he probably washes it first and conditions it, then moves from head to toe.
  • what’s their coffee order: Lots of cream and sugar. He doesn’t actually like coffee that much. He prefers tea whenever possible.
  • what sort of apps would they have on their smartphone: Pretty much anything your average multi-millionaire businessman would need. When he can’t be around a laptop, he uses his phone.
  • how do they act around children: He adores them. Can’t get enough. He always tries to bring Lily a toy or trinket if he visits.
  • what would they watch on tv when they’re bored and nothing they really like is on: C-Span.

 

BELIAL

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  • can they use chopsticks: Yes, proficiently.
  • what do they do when they can’t sleep: He’ll go to a bar and find himself a date.
  • what would they impulse buy at the grocery store: Condoms. Because he can never have too many.
  • what order do they wash things in the shower: Like Gabriel, he is very particular about how he takes care of his hair. He also goes from feet to head in washing order.
  • what’s their coffee order: Cappuccino or espresso. He doesn’t like plain coffee much.
  • what sort of apps would they have on their smartphone: Anything that helps him keep up with his scores and scores of floozies, but also financial matters. He also loathes any form of social media and won’t indulge in it no matter what his company says.
  • how do they act around children: Hates them all.
  • what would they watch on tv when they’re bored and nothing they really like is on: He’s a fan of trashy reality shows. He’s also a closet fan of True Blood and Game of Thrones, so he’ll put on the DVDs if he gets bored enough.

Stay tuned! I might do a few more, if it’s not too dorky.

Happy(ish) Valentine’s Day

In honor of Singles Awareness Day Valentine’s Day, I’ve written a little short story for you, my adoring public. Enjoy! (Spoilers through the end of The Black Parade.)


 

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If there was one thing being a Seer taught me, it’s that nothing in life is ever simple.

Take my personal life, for instance. After six long months of God-mandated separation, Michael returned to me and proposed. I said yes after some careful consideration and then we had a sweet little courthouse marriage with the immediate family—Gabriel, Lauren, Lily, and Raphael. We promised to do an actual ceremony when things were less hectic, which was reasonable considering how much trouble the two of us get into on a regular basis.

A couple weeks later, I was in the kitchen peeling carrots when Michael snuck up behind me—a habit he developed because he thought it was hilarious when I jumped in surprise—with an idea.

“I just realized something,” he said, pressing a kiss against my nape.

“You’re secretly Batman?”

He chuckled. “No. We’ve never spent Valentine’s Day together.”

I paused, my nose scrunching as I thought about it. He was right. We met in August of last year and were with each other for a few months before he was sent away. “Guess not.”

“Well, I had an idea,” he continued, resting his chin on my shoulder, his muscular arms wound about my waist. It was so terribly comfortable I almost stopped peeling the carrots. “The fourteenth is next week. What if we have a late celebration?”

“Michael, it’s April.”

“So?”

“So that’s two months after the fact. You don’t want to just do it next year?”

He shrugged. “I thought this could be fun. Plus, it’d be easier to get you stuff since the holiday passed.”

My ears metaphorically perked up at the mention of stuff. I wasn’t a material girl, but I did like to eat. “Don’t suppose any of said ‘stuff’ would include chocolate?”

He angled his face towards my hair, his lips brushing my ear, dropping his voice to a seductive tone. “I’ll get you a Lindt chocolate basket.”

I shuddered. “I love it when you talk dirty.”

He laughed and kissed my cheek. “It’s a date then.”

Fast forward to a week later with me curled up on the couch blowing a quart of snot out of my nose.

Like I said. The life of a Seer is never simple.

“I cannot believe this,” I moaned through the tissue. “I should be up to my ears in chocolate! And sex. But mostly chocolate. And some sex.”

I could hear Michael’s rumbling laugh from the kitchen. “I know. I’m sorry you caught a cold, baby.”

I tossed the tissue in the wastebasket next to the couch, pulling the comforter I’d stolen from Michael’s bed tighter over my shoulders. The television blared the second season of Castle—my go-to viewing in an attempt to cheer myself up—but my pounding head, itchy throat, and congested sinuses eradicated any sense of enjoyment.

I flopped over onto my side, sniffling. “Why? Is God punishing us because we boffed like ten times in the first 48 hours of being soul-married?”

“I don’t recall there being any commandments against sex marathons,” he answered. “Besides, you work at a restaurant. There’s no telling how many people you come in contact with on a daily basis, so someone was bound to get you sick.”

He finally returned from the kitchen with a white ceramic bowl and a spoon. I sat up and he handed them to me, revealing what he’d been cooking for the past hour. Rotini pasta floated in hot chicken broth amongst chunks of boneless chicken thigh meat, carrots, and celery. I couldn’t smell anything thanks to the congestion, but my mouth watered at the sight of non-canned, non-preservative-stuffed soup.

“Thank you,” I mumbled, shoveling in a couple spoonfuls. Heavenly stuff. “This is so good I wanna divorce you just so I can marry you all over again.”

“Thanks, that’s sweet.” He kissed my forehead and sat down next to me.

I squirmed, trying to put some distance between us. “Not too close. You’ll get sick.”

Michael arched an eyebrow. “I’m an angel, you dork. I don’t get sick.”

I frowned. “Want some hot soup in your crotch?”

He bit his bottom lip, trying to hide a smile. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to rub it in. I just meant you don’t have to quarantine yourself because I won’t catch it.”

“That’s my point, though,” I said, putting the soup down on the coffee table. “This is two weeks into our marriage. You shouldn’t have to see me all gross and disgusting yet. I’m supposed to be your smoking hot wife. This stuff doesn’t come until way later.”

He shook his head. “Our lives have never been normal. I wouldn’t expect our relationship to be either. You’re still my smoking hot wife no matter what. I’m in it for the long haul, remember? ‘Til death do us part.”

The honest sincerity in his words made me glance down and fidget with my shirttail. “I’m not used to this.”

“Used to what?”

“Being taken care of,” I whispered. “Someone making me soup and saying nice things to me. Even when I was with….” I swallowed, trying to say his name without my voice cracking. “Terrell, I always hid at my place when I caught a cold.”

He didn’t say anything for a moment. Then he caught my chin, lifted my face, and kissed me very gently. “You are such a freaking killjoy, woman.”

I laughed. “Sorry.”

“You are forgiven. Now eat your soup that I slaved over a hot stove for all day.”

“Yes, sir.”

I stretched out on the couch and picked up my bowl, eating quietly while watching Richard Castle break down the door to Kate Beckett’s exploded apartment. Michael tugged my legs across his lap and started massaging my feet. Maybe it wasn’t a fairytale fake-Valentine’s-Day like we planned, but this would certainly do for now.

 

Five days later…

“I hate you.”

“I know.”

“I really, really hate you.”

“I know.”

“I’m an archangel of the Lord. How did you get me sick, Jordan? How?

“I don’t know, babe.” I sifted my fingers through his dark hair, smoothing it away from his sweaty forehead. About half of his upper body was curled up in my lap. He wore a stony expression, his nose as red as Rudolph the Reindeer’s, his eyes bloodshot, his skin a couple shades paler than normal. I wasn’t surprised that he was this grouchy. Angel or not, a man-cold was a man-cold.

“You want anything?”

“To breathe through my nose,” he groused.

I rolled my eyes. “Not what I meant, Captain Sassypants.”

He paused. “I mean, I wouldn’t be upset if you took your shirt off.”

I flicked him in the ear. “Food. I meant food.”

He sighed. “Green tea. Make like a gallon of it.”

“Okay.”

“I’m gonna pour onto my head and melt my face off so I can’t feel anything.”

I bit my lip to keep from smiling and gently slid out from beneath him. “Yes, dear.”

I walked towards the kitchen. His voice reached me before I got there.

“…seriously, though, do you have to be wearing a shirt right now?”

“Don’t make me hurt you, pretty boy.”

 


Thanks for reading! Have a happy!

 

Cover Reveal: The Holy Dark

You’ve been patient and now it’s finally here.

Cover design by Gunjan Kumar and Chris Cold.

Cover design by Gunjan Kumar and Chris Cold.

Sarcastic demon-slayer extraordinaire Jordan Amador has been locked in a year-long struggle to hunt down the thirty silver coins paid to Judas Iscariot. The mere touch of these coins is enough to kill any angel.

Jordan’s demonic opposition grows more desperate with each coin found, so they call on the ultimate reinforcement: Moloch, the Archdemon of War. Moloch puts out a contract on Jordan as well as her estranged husband, the Archangel Michael. Now Jordan and Michael will have to find a way to work together to survive against impossible odds and stop Moloch’s plan, or else he’ll wage a war that will wipe out the human race.

The Holy Dark will hit shelves April 24, 2015. You can get in paperback right now, pre-order it on the Kindle, add it to your Goodreads To Be Read shelf, like my Facebook page, or sign up with the mailing list to find out more about the series. While you wait, there are two excerpts available to read. Please spread the word!

Kyoko