Indie Author Spotlight – Kyoko M. and “The Black Parade”

Indie Author Spotlight – Kyoko M. and “The Black Parade”

I always enjoy introducing fellow indie authors, and today is no exception…I’ve got Kyoko M. and her novel, “The Black Parade”
kyoko - author

 

About the Author:

Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader.

Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology.

When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.

You can contact her all over the innertubes…

Website: http://www.shewhowritesmonsters.com

Blog: http://www.shewhowritesmonsters.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/misskyokom

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/She-Who-Writes-Monsters/161227150647087

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7189997.Kyoko_M_

 

And here’s her book…

cover - kyoko

You can buy it, right now, at Amazon and also at  Smashwords

 

What’s it about?

 

One bullet is all it took to transform eighteen-year-old New Yorker Jordan Amador into the last hope for souls of the dead. However, it also transformed her into a cantankerous asocial waitress with a drinking problem.

Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can communicate with ghosts, angels, and demons. Worse still, she did so on the eve of her own awakening, making her the last Seer on Earth with no one to guide her. As penance, God gives her two years to help one hundred souls with unfinished business cross over from Earth to the afterlife or she will go to Hell. Just as she approaches the deadline, Jordan finds her hundredth soul: a smart-mouthed poltergeist named Michael whose ability to physically touch things makes him distinct from her usual encounters with the dead. However, the deeper she delves solving his sudden death, the more she realizes something sinister is on the horizon.

With time running short, Jordan stumbles across a plot that may unravel the fragile balance among Heaven, Hell, and Earth. Her life is plunged into chaos as she is hunted by demons that want to use her valuable Seer blood to bring about the end of the world and discovers that these creatures have a frightening connection to her family bloodline. Plus, the budding romance between Jordan and Michael makes it harder for them to let go of each other so he can become part of the eternal black parade.

 

Here’s a brief excerpt from the book…

Crazed teeth gnashed inches away from my face. The eyes rolled back until only the whites showed. Spider-like fingers strained for my throat. I screamed and ran towards the bedroom.

I slammed the door shut and dove for the nightstand, hands shaking as I checked the chambers to make sure the gun was loaded. The door flew open with a bang. A second bang followed. Then all was silent.

The phantom was gone, but in its place stood a man in a suit beneath his dark grey duster. His hair was black and his face was growing paler by the second. He reached out his hand. My panicked eyes spotted the scarlet speckled across the palm. The room had gone silent because the gun had deafened me. The barrel was still smoking and now I could see the hole I had put through the man’s chest.

I couldn’t breathe, but somehow I could still talk, and my lips were whispering one word over and over.

“No, no, no, no…”

The man said nothing as he fell to his knees in front of me, his azure eyes locked on mine as if he were trying to tell me something, but the strength was ebbing from him in crimson rivulets. I dropped the gun and fell to my knees as well. My fingertips grazed his face as if I could bring him back to life with one touch, but we both knew it was too late. He laid a rough, scarred hand to the side of my cheek where hot tears had fallen, his lips parting to whisper in a soothing voice.

“Don’t be afraid. They’re going to come for you, but please don’t be afraid.”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, please…” I managed to gasp out in between sobs.

The man merely smiled and closed his eyes. “Don’t be. I’m ready.”

He swayed forward and I caught his heavy body, feeling his blood soak my shirt. He slid down until his face rested in my lap, drawing in a few more shallow breaths before going completely still, empty, lifeless. I sat there with my coated hands stroking his hair, still whispering over and over for him to forgive me.

Golden light poured in from all angles, nearly blinding me, and I could just barely see the outline of a man with wings.

When the light dimmed, a blond man stood in front of me with white-gold wings that stretched nearly from wall to wall of my small bedroom. His tanned body was wrapped in white linen and his skin seemed to possess an ethereal quality, glowing like he had some unique source of inner radiance. Blue eyes like twin suns shone down on me with kindness and empathy. A new feeling of shock and reverence gave me enough strength to speak.

“W-Who are you?”

“My name is Gabriel. I am the archangel of the Lord God.” His voice had an echo to it that seemed to soothe and agitate me at the same time. The angel folded his wings into his back and knelt beside the dead man in my lap. His fingers hovered over the wound the bullet had left through the man’s back.

“As I thought…he is dead.”

More tears poured as I tried to explain. “I-I didn’t know it was him. There was a monster chasing me. I got scared. I’m so sorry.”

Gabriel’s face fell into that of a pitying expression. “You are human. It was only natural for you to be afraid. However, the Father cannot overlook what you have done. The man before you is a Seer—one of the few humans in this world who can see angels, demons, and spirits. He was hunting the demon you saw a moment ago.”

“Please, I don’t want to die. I’ll do anything to make this better,” I whispered, bowing to the angel.

He touched the crown of my head in comfort. “There is something you can do to make amends, my child. You must take his place.”

I looked up in shock. “What?”

“You are a Seer, Jordan. Your abilities had not awakened until just now. That is why the demon was drawn to you. Your time to serve the Lord is now. In order to pay for the crime of taking this man’s life, you must help one hundred wandering souls cross from this world to the next. If you do not finish this task two years from this day, I am afraid your soul shall be sent to hell.”

“H-How? How do I even know which people are spirits?” I stammered in protest.

“The dead have no feet to walk upon because they are no longer tied to the Earth. Your task is to discover how they died and help them fulfill their final wish. Do not fear, for I will teach you how to free their souls. After this is done, the soul will go to the next world and I will write down the name in the Book of Penance.”

He held out his hand and a red leather book materialized, spelling out my name in gold cursive across the front. It managed to be both beautiful and macabre. Gabriel placed it by my side and carefully rolled the man over onto his back. He plucked a feather from his wings and pressed it over the man’s heart.

“Rest in peace. The gates of Heaven are waiting.”

I watched with wonderment as the feather dissipated into tiny flecks of light and felt warmth as something nearly transparent rose from the body. I realized with shock that it was the man’s soul. He hung in the air between Gabriel and me for a moment before floating upward and out of sight. His body faded seconds later, leaving only the bloodstained clothes behind. My fingers closed over the grey duster, which was still salvageable in comparison to the shirt and pants.

“I shall be watching over you always, Jordan Amador…”

 

And here’s an interview with Kyoko…

 

Who is your favorite author? Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files. I absolutely adore his work and I cannot stop gushing about how detailed, beautifully written, and masterfully played the whole series is. It’s hands down the best supernatural novel series out there, if only because it blends all the best stuff about urban fantasy together without any of the usual hang ups (a-hole protagonist, sexism/misogyny, stereotypical creatures, etc). He’s also a hardcore geek and he makes nerdy references that amuse me to no end. I’m constantly recommending him to urban fantasy writers because I think they can learn a lot from him. He just plain gets it.
How do you describe your writing style? Hard to say. I consider myself to be a character writer more than a plot or setting writer. I’m far more interested in digging into the guts of my protagonists and antagonists than anything else. I tend to focus on dialogue and social interactions rather than setting or physical descriptions. I’m also pretty sarcastic and so my characters often reflect that trait because it comes to me naturally. I have a lot of growing to do as an author, but so far, the feedback I’ve gotten suggests that I am good at writing characters one can root for and enjoy.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book? Because it’s got all of the things you love about urban fantasy and none of the things you don’t.
Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?Jordan and I are rather similar, but we depart based on our background and our approach to certain issues. For instance, I am a hardcore nerd and Jordan has a passing interest in such things. I can list all kinds of actors and voice actors I love while she’s into poetry and literature. She actively avoids social interaction while I seek it out. She also has serious denial issues when it comes to guys (it takes her damn near the whole novel to admit she’s sweet on Michael) whereas I can tell when I like a guy pretty much right off the bat.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?This may sound incriminating, but I’d actually like to switch places with my main villain, Belial. I’ve always been a polite girl to the point where I’m sometimes a doormat, and it would be nice to just not give a crap for a day. Belial is buck wild. He says and does whatever he wants because he’s the embodiment of selfish desire, and he has the power to back it up. It’s very easy to get sucked into him, and I think it’d be fun to slink around tempting people and doing whatever I pleased. Nothing evil, mind you, but I wouldn’t mind manipulating a few souls here and there to get what I want.
What books have most influenced your life? The Dresden Files have certainly molded me as an author after I read them in summer 2013. I took a good hard look at what it takes to write great supporting characters and how to create a main hero who is down to earth but also has the potential to turn awful if pushed too far. I’d also like to mention the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton as a cautionary tale on what NOT to do with my own series. The first nine books in the series are pretty great, but then the author went off the deep end and just started writing sexist, misogynist bullcrap that is perhaps more offensive than 50 Shades of Grey. She started writing the main character like she was the center of the universe and had all the other characters constantly worshiping her and never questioning anything she does. Then there’s the fact that half of the sex in the books isn’t consensual and it’s poorly written by even the lowest of standards. It’s definitely proof that there is a slippery slope when you introduce more than one love interest and if your ego gets overblown with time. Beware, kiddies. Beware.
If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why? OH YES. I have an answer for that. Changes by Jim Butcher. The ending to that novel made me so mad. You have no idea. I actually slapped the book when I was done. First of all, spoiler alert for Changes and everything after it. I wouldn’t change Harry’s death because it’s a hugely important character arc for him becoming the Winter Knight, but damn it all, I’d have let Harry and Murphy finally have sex. Those two have had so much sexual tension and he has only had sex a couple times in the last like ten years. Murphy’s only had sex once in the series, if I’m not mistaken. It’s not all about physical gratification or my inner shipper burning with fury when he died before they could do the Do. It would have actually created MORE tension in Ghost Story if Harry had slept with Murphy and then died because she’d be mourning what they finally shared after all that time of wondering what could have been. She would have been twice as devastated if they had expressed their love than the way it occurred in canon. But hey, I don’t know what Jim Butcher is cooking up for the next several books. I just seriously wanted them to have hot, dirty, violent sex because they both really needed a release, and to express their feelings with someone they care about.
Beatles or Monkees? Why? Beatles, but only because I love their rendition of “Twist and Shout” so much. I could listen to that all day. I also really enjoy “Eight Days a Week,” but I have Scrubs to thank for that.
Who should play you in a film of your life? I kind of wish I were white because I swear, Emma Stone would be perfect, but since I’m not, I’d go with Zoe Saldana. Tall, slender, but with a solid frame and an awesome, icy glare. She could definitely play me, even though I’m flattering myself by picking her–that girl is beyond gorgeous.
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