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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.

The Black Parade Returns to Permafree!

TheBlackParade_Revised_2 copy

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 Predator: A Short Story from She Who Fights Monsters

Happy Halloween, my friends! In celebration of our spooky holiday, I’ve got an all-new, never-before-seen short story for you told from the perspective of everyone’s favorite archdemon, Belial. It takes place between Chapters 10 and 11 of She Who Fights Monsters (The Black Parade Book 2.)

WARNING: This is a horror story. Violence, adult language, minor gore, and sexual references abound. Plus, minor spoilers for She Who Fights Monsters. You have been warned.

Enjoy!


 

Commission by Sarah Elkins

Commission by Sarah Elkins

The list of people whom I have been unable to fuck, manipulate, or murder is very short.

In fact, there is only one person on that list.

One woman, rather.

God always did have a great sense of humor. No wonder I rebelled.

Continue Reading >>

Adventures at the Gun Range!

Nice shootin', Tex

Nice shootin’, Tex

So I shot a gun today for the first time.

Don’t worry. I haven’t finally let the monster out and become a crazy person, or one of my own characters (*stares at Belial*). This was actually part-research and part-bucket-list item. I’ve been writing about characters who use guns since high school, basically, and so this was a great learning opportunity for me to grow as an author and as a person.

Gun knowledge isn’t uncommon, of course. I’ve done oodles of research on handguns, rifles, shotguns, and so forth for scenes in The Black Parade series, but it’s one thing to see images and lists and paragraphs of information and another to actually handle a gun.

For one, the most surprising thing of all is the sound. Gunshots are…loud. Very, very loud. Like, you think you know how loud, but you absolutely do not. Remember that running gag from Archer about him getting tinnitus from so many guns being shot close to his head? That’s a brilliant gag for a reason. It’s unbelievably loud, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a handgun or a rifle or a shotgun.

Hollywood definitely took liberties with gunshots in action flicks or crime films. Don’t believe for a second that you can squeeze a few off and no one’s gonna come running or call the police, and I hear silencers do NOT muffle the sound to that quiet whisper we always see. So that was my first thing to note. The first time we went outside to the range, I jumped like twelve times because I didn’t realize how loud gunshots are.

The second thing that was interesting about handling a gun was the weight. The standard at the Gainesville Target Range is a Glock 17, which is a 9mm handgun. It’s heavy, whether loaded or not. I have long fingers, but my hand overall is on the smaller side. It was surprisingly difficult to chamber a round into the Glock 17. My instructor walked me through the process: how to load a magazine, how to pull the slider back, and how to cock the gun to chamber a round, but it’s actually a little tricky when you have smaller hands, even if you have good upper body strength. I had to practice a few times to get it right, and they always make it look easy as pie in the movies.

The third thing that was different than I thought it would be is loading a magazine. The practice gun gave me so much trouble that the instructor gave me a speed-loader. It’s a nifty little device that depresses the bullets down and allows you to slide the new one in there with little to no effort. If you’re a beginner, getting the bullets in there is kind of awkward, and again, my hands are small. The mag I had held 17 rounds, which is pretty cool because I didn’t realize there are two bullets lined up side by side inside the mag.

After we went through the gun safety course, we went out to the range itself. Amusingly enough, my very first shot ever with a gun was a neck wound. I hit the target between the meaty flap at the neck and shoulder juncture, which I’m pretty sure is either a killing blow or a crippling injury (you wouldn’t get much use of the arm after that, trust me).

WP_20150824_006

Another nifty thing to note is the recoil. It’s actually rather mild with a Glock 17. I was able to fire without flinching or my arms/shoulders getting pushed back. Aiming is pretty difficult, but I imagine after practice you know where you’re looking instead of where you think you’re looking. I did have to overcome a slight reflex problem of wanting to close my eyes when I squeezed on the trigger, though. As I said before, gunshots are no joke and you have to wear protective ear muffs to save your poor eardrums from an unfortunate death.

The most hilarious thing about the entire experience was the fact that the casings kept landing on my head. Each time you shoot, the casing gets cast aside, but for some reason, 80% of mine bounced off my head or landed on my chest/shoulders. This is also something Hollywood really glosses over. The casings always bounce off screen. One of my favorite anecdotes from Maggie Q is when she was shooting for Nikita and she was running and shooting her handgun, and a hot casing went down her blouse and gave her a mild burn, which can totally happen in real life, just not in movies.

We were given a box with 50 rounds in it so we split it between the two of us. My first five shots I did at 5 yards out, then I jumped to 15 yards (at which point I seriously only hit the target once out of five shots), and then did it at 10 yards. For the final five shots, my date challenged me to see who could get the most head shots at 10 yards.

This is what happened:

Can you tell I kill people for a living?

Can you tell I kill people for a living?

Seriously, the last shot I took was a perfect headshot right through the forehead. What are the odds? I actually won the bet, which is pretty damn cool for a first-timer. Lucky shot, of course, but still cool. I kept the paper target and a casing as a memento for the occasion. I’m a dork like that. Also, I’m proud of my one-in-a-million perfect headshot.

Overall, I quite enjoyed myself. I will personally never own a handgun, but I appreciate the hell out of the power and precision that is involved with safely operating them. It’s an entertaining experience, and if life permits, I might venture out there again one day to try my hand at a rifle.

Thanks for reading!

Kyoko

Matrimony: A Short Story from The Holy Dark

In celebration of the two month anniversary of The Holy Dark, and my two year anniversary as a published author, I’ve written a short story that takes place directly after Chapter 37 and before the epilogue. With that in mind, major spoilers for the ending to The Holy Dark. If you haven’t read it yet, I would advise you to return to this story once you’ve read it cover to cover.

To everyone who has loved the series and supported me so far, I offer you this story and my endless gratitude. Please enjoy!


 

Matrimony

"In sickness and in hell--I mean, health."

“In sickness and in hell–I mean, health.”

“I’m gonna die.”

My new husband, the archangel Michael, cocked an eyebrow up at me. I brandished the two-inch white satin stiletto that had been holding my right foot hostage.

“Seriously, not even Dr. Schols could make this abomination more comfortable.”

He chuckled and knelt, tuxedo and all, in front of me. “Sorry, babe. If it helps, you look incredible.”

He slipped the other shoe off. I resisted a small shudder as his long, strong fingers stroked my ankle and the barest edge of my calf. Judging by the sly look in those sea-green eyes, he’d done it on purpose.

I smirked, keeping my voice low, so as not to tip off the guests currently filing into the reception hall that we were both being a little naughty. “Save it for fight night, handsome.”

Michael winked. “Yes, ma’am.”

Continue Reading >>

Secret Worlds Launches Today!

 

Beautiful hair from behind swaying while looking back

Good news, everyone! The summer boxed set I’m participating in launches today!

That’s right–21 USA Today, New York Times, and Amazon Bestselling urban fantasy and paranormal romance authors packed together in one awesome set for only .99 cents! Please grab yourself a copy and spread the word. When you’re done with that, join us for the virtual launch party, where you can win tons of prizes and giveaways. What are you waiting for?! Get out there!

The Holy Dark Turns A Month Old!

The_Holy_Dark_3_final_Front

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 Release Day Blog Blitz

The Holy Dark Banner 851 x 315

Quick! Say that five times fast!

The Holy Dark is rolling out on bookshelves in style on April 24, 2015, with interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and reviews from various blogs listed below. Please tune in and visit each one on our magical release day. Prizes will be given out, so don’t miss your chance to win!

Guest blog
Mythical Books
Spotlight
Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog
Interview
happy tails and tales
Spotlight
CBY Book Club
Guest blog
GothicMoms
Topic-  “Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal”
Spotlight
Mama Reads Hazel Reads
Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books
Review
Fanatical Paranormal Romantical
Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
Spotlight
Mommabears Book Blog
Review
Fang Freakin Tastic Reviews
Spotlight
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
Spotlight
Eskimo Princess Book Reviews
Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!
Spotlight
StarAngels Reviews
Spotlight
Dark Side of Romance
Spotlight
FUonlyknew
Spotlight
Share My Destiny

 

Stay tuned for more soon!

The Paranormal 13 Box Set

Ain’t she a beaut?

So you like The Black Parade. Would you like to read other books in the paranormal genre?

FOR FREE?

Of course you do.

Then boogie on over here and pick up a free copy of The Paranormal 13: tales of werewolves, vampires, ghosts, demons, mermaids, Norse gods, and much more! It’s a collaboration of 13 authors and 14 novels for your reading pleasure. Here are the novel titles and authors:

Darkangel by Christine Pope
Twin Souls by K.A. Poe
The Girl by Lola St Vil
Rest for the Wicked by Cate Dean
Drowning Mermaids by Nadia Scrieva
Wolves by C. Gockel
The Witch Hunter by Nicole R Taylor
Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent by Kristy Tate
Nolander by Becca Mills
The Medium by C.J. Archer
Dream Student by J.J. DiBendetto
Deception by Stacy Claflin
The Black Parade by Kyoko M
The Thought Readers by Dima Zales

Just in time for Halloween, too! Don’t forget to also add the box set on Goodreads and give it a review when you’re done with them all.

And while we’re discussing Halloween, check out my review of Guillermo del Toro’s new animated film, The Book of Life. It was fantastic, and what’s more, it’s fantastically diverse. 99% of the cast is people of color. You can’t beat that.

In honor of the macabre holiday, check back here on Monday for the Most Hateable Movie Villains in the last 20 years. It’ll be tons of fun.

Kyo out.

The Black Parade Virtual Book Tour

The Black Parade Banner 851 x 315

The Black Parade is having a virtual book tour with Bewitching Book Tour!

That’s right–October 21st to November 4th 2013 I’ll be dropping by various fantasy blogs to do guest posts and author interviews. There will also be several copies of my book being given out for free each week, both eBooks and paperbacks.

What do you need to do to attend? Why, simply join the Facebook event, follow me on Twitter, or keep track of my Good Reads page. I’ll be posting each time I visit a new blog and whenever there’s a giveaway happening. The more updated you are, the better chance you have to win a free copy of the novel.

This promises to be a rollicking good time so don’t miss out!

See you soon!

Kyoko