Of Dawn and Embers Of Cinder and Bone Book 3
by Kyoko M Genre: SciFi Fantasy Romance
It's been six months since Dr. Rhett "Jack" Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali had their dragon cloning project shut down by the government. Just when they think they've gotten their lives back together, an agency within the government hits them with another suckerpunch: a criminal organization has cloned dozens of dragons in order to hold vicious dragon fighting rings. The government recruits Jack and Kamala to help them track down the organization. Jack and Kamala set out to put a stop to the illegal fights before any more dragons die…or worse, escape.
Of Dawn and Embers is the third novel in Kyoko M's sci-fi/contemporary fantasy series, following Of Cinder and Bone and Of Blood and Ashes.
The world's deadliest dragon, the infamous Baba Yaga, is loose on the streets of Tokyo.
Dr. Rhett "Jack" Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali have been tasked with helping the government take down a dragon the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex after it sends part of the city up in flames. Things worsen when they lose track of dragon in none other than Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest--a section of woods in Japan that is rumored to be one of the most haunted places on earth. They've also got the yakuza who cloned the dragon hellbent on getting her back, and they don't care who they kill in order to re-capture the dragon.
Jack and Kamala are joined by CIA field agent William Fry and dragon-hunting expert Juniper Snow as they infiltrate the forest to hunt the dragon before she can hurt anyone else. Between the ruthless yakuza hot on their trail and the growing mistrust in their small hunting party, it will take a miracle for Jack and Kamala to make it out alive...
Of Blood and Ashes is the second book in the series, following the Amazon bestselling Of Cinder and Bone.
His booted feet pounded out an insane, frantic rhythm underneath him as he raced into the cavern across from Baba Yaga’s den at a dead sprint. Pieces of dragon dung flew off him and hit the ground behind him in miniature chunks. He didn’t dare look behind him to see if the dragon had risen from the ground yet, but the deafening hiss that assaulted his ears meant she’d woken up. Icy claws of fear squeezed his heart with every breath as he ran, relying on the night vision goggles, the glimpse he’d gotten of the map, and his own instincts to figure out where to go.
Jack raced around one corner too sharply and slipped on a piece of dung, crashing hard on his right side. He gasped as it knocked the wind out of him and gritted his teeth, his mind screaming at him to get up and run, run, run. He pushed onto his knees, nursing what felt like bruised ribs and a sprained wrist, and then paled as an unmistakable sensation traveled up the arm he’d used to push himself up.
Impact tremors. Boom. Boom. Boom, boom, boom.
Baba Yaga was coming.
Baba Yaga was hunting him.
Jack forced himself up onto his feet again, stumbling backwards and fumbling for the tracker. He got it switched on to see an ominous blob approaching from the right. He’d gotten a good lead on her—maybe a few hundred yards—but he had no way of knowing if he’d eventually run into a dead end. He couldn’t hide down here forever. He needed to get topside to join the others so they could take her down.
Jack blocked out the rising crescendo of Baba Yaga’s hissing and pictured the map again. A mile up to the right had a man-made exit that spilled back up to the forest. The only problem was that it was a long passage. If Baba Yaga followed, there was a good chance she could catch up and roast him like a marshmallow. He could try to lose her in the twists and turns of the cave system, but there was a good chance he’d get lost, and Baba Yaga’s superior senses meant it would only be a matter of time before she found him. It came back to the most basic survival tactics: run or hide.
Jack switched off the tracker and stuck it in his pocket, his voice ragged and shaking, but solid. “You aren’t about to die in this forest, Jackson. Move your ass.”
He barreled forward into the passageway to the right in the wake of Baba Yaga’s ominous, bubbling warning, barely suppressing a groan as a spike of pain lanced through his chest from his bruised ribs. The adrenaline would only hold for so long. He could make it about halfway there before it ran out. Cold sweat plastered the mask to his face and ran down into his eyes. The tunnel stretched onward forever before him. No sunlight in sight. Had he been wrong?
Jack ripped off the hood and cold air slapped his face, making his eyes water. He held his hands out to make sure he wouldn’t bounce off one of the cavern walls and squinted up ahead as he turned the corner into the straightaway. There, faintly, he could see the pale glow of the exit.
Gasping for air, he collapsed against one wall and tried to catch his breath before the final marathon. He had to have put some amount of distance between himself and the dragon by now.
“Who knows?” Jack panted. “Maybe she got annoyed and turned around.”
An earth-shattering roar rocked the very walls of the cavern.
Jack paled. Boom, boom, boom, boom! Boom, boom, boom, boomboomboomboom--
Mother of God.
The dragon had broken into a run.
Jack shoved himself away from the wall, lowered his head, and ran as fast as his legs would carry him.
Of Cinder and Bone
Of Cinder and Bone Book 1
OF CINDER AND BONE is Ron Howard's Ransom meets Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park!
After centuries of being the most dangerous predators on the planet, dragons were hunted to extinction. That is, until Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali cracked the code to bring them back. Through their research at MIT, they resurrected the first dragon anyone has seen alive since the 15th century. There’s just one problem.
Someone stole it.
Caught between two ruthless yakuza clans who want to clone the dragon, Jack and Kamala brave the dangerous streets of Tokyo to steal their dragon back in a race against time before the world is taken over by mutated, bloodthirsty monsters that will raze it to ashes.
Of Cinder and Bone is an all-new sci-fi thriller from the author of the Amazon bestselling Black Parade novels. Don’t miss out on this explosive first-in-series! Fans of Westworld, I Robot, Pacific Rim, and Reign of Fire will fall in love with this mashup novel that opens up a whole new world of possibilities into what we know and love about dragons.
Jack raised his gun as a man came around the front of the truck and opened fire with a roar, emptying the clip into the man’s chest. The yakuza crumpled to the road in a heap. Another one stepped out from behind him and raised his AR-15, his finger closing on the trigger. And then the dragon dropped out of the sky right on top of him. Pete slammed the man to the ground with her clawed feet and took a vicious bite out of his neck, killing him instantly. A third man jumped on top of the truck’s hood and stopped dead out of pure shock, as he was now level with her. The dragon snarled and slammed her tail into his chest. It sent him cartwheeling off the edge of the road and down into the ravine beside it, screaming the whole way. The dragon snorted once and then hurried over to Jack and Kamala, sniffing them briefly in confirmation, and then nudging them towards her large, scaly torso. “I… I think she wants us to get on,” Kamala said, dumbfounded as Pete bumped her side up against them and flapped her huge wings. “That’s impossible,” Jack sputtered. “The two of us together nearly weigh three hundred pounds. She can’t possibly lift—holy shitbricks!” Impatient, the dragon slid her neck through Jack’s parted legs and stood up, barking once at Kamala. She threw her leg over the dragon’s back. Then Pete took three mighty steps towards the edge of the road and leapt off. For three terrifying seconds, they dropped through the air like a cement block. Then, Pete’s leathery wings spread and they flew. Gunfire cracked behind them, but the dragon flapped her wings to carry them higher out of harm’s way. She wheeled to one side and they disappeared into the shadow of the mountain range, over the forest below. Jack dug his fingers into the dragon’s collar and finally opened his eyes. He stared speechless at the ground easily forty feet below them and into the cloudy horizon. Wind whistled past his ears, interrupted only by the powerful strokes of the dragon’s wings and the raspy clink of the chain still dragging below her body as they cut through the crisp air. She flew smoothly, as if she’d been doing it all her life, as if it were an effortless skill. Behind him, Kamala had locked her arms around his waist and buried her face between his shoulder blades when they’d first taken off. Now, she held one hand out flat, her palm parallel to the ground, feeling the wind rushing over it. Half-hysterical laughter enveloped them both as the dragon carried them higher still, until they were circling one of the mountain’s peaks. Enormous clouds piled high around the mountain and the air became sharply cold as they neared it. The trees stopped halfway up its craggy face and gave way to perpetual ice created from the height and upper atmosphere. As Pete circled for the fourth time, they realized she was searching for shelter. On the fifth pass, the dragon brought her wings in close to her body in a dive as they reached a cliff near the mouth of a cave. She fought the stiff wind and landed hard, digging her claws into the earth. Jack helped Kamala off and the dragon shook herself and stepped forward into the cave. The two of them called to her, but she paid them no mind. The freezing temperature and high winds wouldn’t make it easy to get down any time soon. They had no choice. So they followed the dragon into the darkness.
Kyoko M is a USA Today bestselling author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. 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 Georgia night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
To do a little backtracking, since this is the third book in the series, the idea for the first book, Of Cinder and Bone, came from two things: (1) the laughably awful but intriguing movie Reign of Fire (2002) and (2) a dream that I had about three people—two girls, and a guy—sleeping in a bed together, and all three of them were in a relationship with each other.
Reign of Fire was just a jumping off point. I originally conceptualized Of Cinder and Bone as a post-apocalyptic story about a widower and his daughter hunting dragons, but that is so not what happened. I opened a Word document and something entirely different popped out, and I ended up liking it a lot more than the original idea. I thought that it was much more interesting to integrate dragons into the modern world than to let them have already destroyed it and have a very dark, gritty story about grief and survival.
As for the characters, it’s so odd that just an image from a dream created Jack, Kamala, and Faye. The most I remember was waking up and thinking that I’d love to tackle a truly loving, mature polygamous relationship, and their personalities just came to me after a point. I joke that Jack is basically if Harry Dresden and I had a kid, and he was super into science. Kamala was inspired by Dr. Neela Rasgotra from the hit show ER. Faye was inspired by Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop (1997). The characters you’re going to meet for the first time (minor spoilers) like Bruce Calloway, Libby Calloway, and Agent Shannon are also based on different people. Calloway was inspired by the hilarious and talented actor Anthony Mackie; Libby was inspired by Maxine Gibson from Batman Beyond (1999); Agent Shannon was inspired by Colonel Richard Strickland from The Shape of Water (2017). I often have jumping off points based on fiction I truly enjoyed and want to run with a concept or physicality from a character.
Who designed your book covers?
I am very happy and excited to say that Marginean Anca of BRose Designz is my cover artist for the Of Cinder and Bone series. I adore her work. She is fast, professional, and I almost never have to ask for any changes or edits. I was particularly blown away with the cover for Of Dawn and Embers because I actually found a pre-made cover of hers and asked if she could let me purchase it and adjust it, and the transformation was incredible from the original product. I asked her to add a city landscape, and she ended up changing the color scheme to that beautiful, vibrant one that you see now. She’s awesome and I can’t recommend her enough.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I have a love/hate relationship with this question, but I’m gonna answer it anyway.
Jack is the toughest to place, because he looks very particular in my head, and so I debate on who I’d like to play him. He’s tall and on the more slender side, and he’s good-looking but not handsome, and he’s also a twenty-something. That kind of narrows the field quite a bit when you think of certain actors, but here’s the closest I’ve been able to come up with:
-Joseph Gordon Levitt
Kamala is a lot easier, since I based her character’s appearance and occupation on Dr. Neela Rasgotra from ER, so of course my pick for her is Parminder Nagra.
Faye is a little tricky as well, but I have her narrowed down to either Jennifer Lawrence or Brie Larson.
For our expanded list of characters, we’ve got Anthony Mackie as Bruce Calloway, Candace Patton or Jessica Williams as Libby Calloway, and Michael Shannon as Agent Shannon.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
So let me tell you a little story about a character named Stella.
I will not give you any context so it doesn’t spoil who she is, but I was merrily writing this little novel and I hit one of the big conflicts between the first and second act, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and this character is standing there, flipping her hair over one shoulder, demanding that I write her into the story. I had zero plans for her creation and inclusion in the story, but I swear, she just waltzed in and said I had no choice but to include her, and I just shrugged and ran with it. Stella was completely unplanned, and yet I enjoyed writing her a lot, so yes, my characters do snatch the reins from my hands sometimes and race off with me struggling to catch up.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Is it ironic that it’s actually easier to write Jack than Kamala for me personally? That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. However, it’s not so much because of their gender, but rather than motivations and personality types. I remember when I first wrote Of Cinder and Bone and I thought that maybe Jack was the protagonist the least like me in real life, until I took a trip to Los Angeles and visited the Griffith Observatory. I was absolutely in love with everything about it, and that giddy excited love I felt for science made me realize, “oh, there’s Jackie Boy. Nevermind.” Kamala, however, has very tight control over her emotions, is rational and nurturing, and isn’t a big dork (mostly), so she’s always been a challenge for me to write.
That being said, the most difficult thing about writing Jack is that I have to remember that some men don’t always like to say what’s on their mind when they’re upset, and they tend to withdraw for various reasons. Jack is a very honest person, and the most he’s held in as a character was being in love with Kamala. It was a delicate balance with the first novel, Of Cinder and Bone, between seeing the friendship between the two of them, and then seeing the romantic longing he had for her as well. He eventually does confess his feelings to Kamala only to find she developed feelings for him as well, much to his delight. One aspect of Jack that makes things a little easier for me is that Jack is very close with his mother, and so he is mostly developed in terms of his emotions, and he (later) goes therapy to work on the things he can’t bring himself to say to the people in his life. I’d say that’s how I try to overcome some of the harder parts of writing a male main lead.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Between six and eight months, usually. Sometimes it takes the entire year because I work full time and write during my spare time.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. I don’t at all consider it an excuse, either. Writer’s block can come from all kinds of sources, but the result is the same, and I think that’s why it’s an easy term to use for professional or aspiring writers. I’ve been hit with a brutal amount of it this year, for example, that was a combination of burnout from having to finish Of Dawn and Embers literally in one day—I got almost all the way done, but then my life went bonkers, and so on December 31st of 2018, I had to sit in my den alone and write the remaining 11k words to finish off the novel before 2019 started in order to meet my one-book-per-year quota—and from general anxiety about starting another novel when I wasn’t entirely sure where things would be heading next.
The Of Cinder and Bone series is the first one where all of it was not mapped out book by book. My debut urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Black Parade, was very planned out. I didn’t have the smaller details, but I generally knew what each book would be about and where they would lead, and how many books there would be. For this series, I am almost entirely flying by the seat of my pants. It’s scary and confusing and it causes me so much self-doubt that I didn’t begin the first draft of the fourth novel until March 2019. I’m working through the pain, but it’s important to acknowledge writer’s block for what it is, and learn how to get around it. There are a lot of techniques, but I think it comes down to the writer themselves examining what is stopping them and learning to overcome it.
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