Category Archives: Offers!




Due to popular demand and some outcry about inability to purchase through preferred retailers the first time, we are extending the OBSIDIO death contest for 2 more weeks. This is seriously it. No more extensions. You miss out this time, on thy head be it!

So, if you would like the chance to suffer a particularly painful death in the cold belly of space, read on. And I seriously mean read. YES, THE WHOLE THING INCLUDING THE FAQ.


Things you must do to win this contest:

  1. Pre-order a copy of OBSIDIO. It does not matter where you do this. Online. Local bookstore. Seedy back alley. Wherever.USA
    Barnes and Noble
    Book Depository



  2. Send proof of purchase (scan, photograph) to: next step is VERY IMPORTANT
  3. Along with your proof of purchase you must provide:
    a) Your name. Not a twitter handle. Not a cute nickname. Not a forum avi.
    First name.
    b) You must also include the following declaration within the body of your email:

My name is [insert your name here]. I confirm I am freely agreeing to the use of my name in the series The Illuminae Files. This permission is for all rights and uses, in perpetuity, and I agree I will receive no compensation for the use of my name. I agree the authors and publishers are not obligated to make any corrections or changes to my name in reprints.

The really, really important bit:


That gives you two more weeks to save up, rob a liquor store or concoct a complicated confidence scheme in order to get the cash for the pre-order.

We’re kidding. Don’t rob anyone. Ask for it as a birthday present or something, I dunno.


Q: Does it matter where I pre-order from?
Nope. Just mail the proof to

Q: What if I order from [random store name]?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Just mail the proof.

Q: Will there be a third competition window?
No, this is it, the design is being locked, this is seriously 100% your Very Last Chance. We’ve found a window because some of you couldn’t buy from your bookseller of choice last time, but this is it.

Q: If I’m buying from my local indie, what kind of proof can they give me if a receipt’s not possible.
We trust you and them, so whatever your creativity can conjure up will do. A handwritten note is fine. A selfie with a bookseller who’s looking pleased you just gave them money to preorder a book will do. Whatever you got.

Q: Will everyone who enters get in?
We’ve had a ton of entries already (thank you!) so there’s not room for all of you, but there’ll be a lot, and we’re going to make sure as many of you as possible show up.

Q When will we find out if we made the cut?
A When you open your copy of Obsidio — we won’t be announcing names in advance.


As an added incentive, if you spread the word about this contest, you go into the running to win loot. Just tweet or FB the following:

The #OBSIDIO casualty list competition has been extended 2 weeks! THIS CONTEST IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:

You can also include this dandy graphic if you feel the need:

By doing so, you go into the running to win a signed copies of the ILLUMINAE and GEMINA audiobooks. Behold:


Fish, chips, cup ‘o tea

IMG_2604Quick one, because I’m on deadline and books don’t write themselves. It’d be kind of awesome if they did, but then I guess I’d be back on the dayjob and wowwww is that a thought that makes me want to stab myself in the face with this keyboard . . .

But what’s not depressing enough to inspire death by laptop?


So! I’m very pleased to announce to all my UK fans that rights to ILLUMINAE have officially sold in the UK! Huzzah! Jam and Crumpets! Scones for all! Pip, pip, what ho old bean!

Publication date is September, 2015, just a few weeks after US publication. The UK edition will have its own fancy pants cover, so if you’re one of those people who needs to own every iteration of a Thing (and oh, how we love you guys), here’s another pokemon for you to collect.

In other ILLUMINAE news:

  • An awesome author whose work Amie and I both love has just finished reading the book and lurrrrved it. So looks like we’ll have a few more nice blurbs for the cover. More deets soon.
  • Speaking of covers, we should have a final one for you soon, too. We’ve seen preliminary designs and they’re cooler than a penguin with his pants off.
  • Early reviews from the first round of ARCs are coming in, and they’re AWESOME.

I think that’s it. Back to work.

*smoke bomb*

New book deal!

Hello droogies

I mentioned this a little while back, but it’s now officially announced in Publisher’s Marketplace, so I can talk a little more about it:



Which means I’m contracted to write/co-write 6 books in the next 3-ish years, so damn, all work and no play makes Jay something something.

Some more details:

I’ve been working on this series in my downtime for about 2 years now, in between LOTUS WAR stuff and ILLUMINAE stuff and other random writerly bits and pieces.

It’s an entirely new series, set in an entirely new world.

The protagonist is a girl named Mia. She’s what’s known as Darkin, meaning she can control darkness. Which sounds like a cool power until you find out . . .

. . . the world she lives on has three suns, which leads to extended periods of daylight – one or more of them are usually up, with the result that actual nighttime falls only once every two and half years.

The setting is kind of a cross between merchant-prince Mediterranean and ancient Rome. It’s a semi-high magic setting with some arcane technology thrown in for good measure. The main city in the series is called Godsgrave which is, you guessed it, built in the skeletal remains of a dead god.

I sold the series based on a synopsis and a sample of the first act. Super happy to be working with the guys at Thomas Dunne again, because they kick all kinds of ass, and I obviously wasn’t such a precious princess to work with the first time that they wouldn’t have me back. So yay!

Series Name: I’m working on this right now. Names are hard and I suck. 😛

More news as it comes in 🙂

In the Headlines

In case you CBF’ed reading the copy above, my trilogy just sold in Poland to Buchmann. They publish Tom Clancy, so maybe he can advise me on which Pacific Islands are worth buying. Hai fivez.

In other news, my month-long post-edit hiatus is now over, and I’m back to working on book two.  I’m about 80k into it, but only the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows how many of those are actually good, so we’ll see how we go once the dust settles. It’s most definitely shaping up into a “it’s always darkest before the dawn” style tale, but therein lies the trauma with all second acts. I admit that I quite enjoy torturing these tiny little people I’ve created. Plus, I actually thought of a title I’m super-chuffed with, which in my mind is 90% of the battle won.

I’ve made it over the Eccleston hump and I’m into the Tennant episodes of Doctor Who. Mickey just joined the crew, and I’m praying he gets face-huggered very quickly, or the Doctor cracks the shits with his constant “What’s goin’ on ‘ere den?” routine and flushes him out an airlock.

No further news on STORMDANCER. Edits are still with the Powers That Be. No doubt as soon as I get into the groove on Book 2, I’ll get more edits on Book 1, so rather than lolly-gagging about here on the blog all day, I’d best get back to it.

Oh btw, in case you missed it, I’ve got an author page on Facebook here. And if anyone can reveal to me the secret of changing my Author Page URL (rather than the Personal Page that admins the Author Page) I personally guarantee you a signed copy of STORMDANCER once it comes out. Or some skull-stonkingly good booze. Whichever you prefer.

State of the World Address

A few things are happening on the trilogy front, so I thought I’d update y’all with the skinny.

1) My trilogy sold to French publishers Bragelonne (who amongst other SF/F luminaries,  publish NYT #1 bestseller [huge grats] Pat Rothfuss). Bragelonne offered on books 2 & 3 sight unseen, which makes me feel pretty good about book #1. So yeah, I’ll officially be published in a non-English speaking country. It’ll be interesting translating my psuedo Jap-lish into French (I only know how to swear in French). 😛

2) My editor’s notes have come back on STORMDANCER, and I’m plunging back into the breach this weekend. The vast majority of suggestions were of the “GIVE US MOARR” variety – more detail, more world-building. I chopped a bunch of detail out of the ms in order to get to a certain pivotal point in the narrative by page 50 (mainly for the benefits of literary agents, who often request the first 50) and it feels nice to be told “leave nothing on the editing room floor”. So yeah, really looking forward to getting back into this sandbox I’ve made and building a few more castles 🙂

3) Book 2 is naturally on hold until STORMDANCER is complete, but I’m sitting about 80k and almost at the end of Act 2. It’s feeling really good, but it’ll be helpful to spend a month off from it, finish STORMDANCER and then come back with fresh eyes. My beautiful bride, as always, is serving as Beta-in-Chief and Culler of All Things Lamesauce.

4) Still trying to think of a series title. It’s hard. Harder than resisting the urge to finish this post with a witticism about other hard things…

…Jesus, mind out of the gutter, peoples.

The Auction

When I learned about the concept of manuscripts going to auction, I always imagined a very swanky affair. Agents and Editors would turn up to some old building in uptown NYC, dressed in after-nine attire, black tie as far as the eye could see. The walls would be lined with mahogany and the carpet would be the color of dried blood, and beautiful women in cocktail dresses with low-cut backs would be serving drinks on silver trays.

The Publishers would watch each other over the rims of their martinis, smoking cigars and glowering at their various nemeses, giving polite nods to the few competitors they didn’t want to glass in the face. And finally some little old english fellow would step up to a podium and announce the name of the author and the book to be bid upon, maybe read a passage or two, and commence the bidding. Little paddles with numbers would be waved and the price would spiral higher, and finally the agent of the writer in question would put in a call with the happy news that his client could finally buy that island in the Pacific he/she always wanted.

Turns out, it’s just a bunch of emails flying back and forth.

Still, not many people get to live through it, so I thought I’d spell out the process step by step. Names and exact figures will be avoided to protect the innocent and discourage kidnapping attempts upon my family members. Gather around, my lovelies, and let me take you back to a bygone decade; the halcyon days of the wide-eyed Naughties:

18 November 2010: I finish my agent requested revisions on STORMDANCER. Ms Lindsay Ribar bundles it up with some high-grade crack cocaine and sends it out to “the big seven”. Realising the States is a few days away from Thanksgiving and the notoriously slow post-Thanksgiving/Xmas slump, I resign myself to hearing nothing until 2011, and decide to devote the next seven weeks to mastering 5-star “Battery” on Expert Level Guitar Hero: Metallica.

I fail. Holy shit, those triples are murder.

7 December: I get an email from my agent, the mighty Matt Bialer. We don’t have an offer, but we have a big house (House X) asking if I’d be willing to make my protagonist two years older for the adult market. Confirming that the Pope is indeed, still Catholic, I type “omgomgomgomgomg”, then delete it and replace with “Yes, that will be perfectly acceptable, thank you kind sir.”

9 December: I wake up and check my email. I sit bolt upright in bed, look at my wife and say “Holy shit, I’ve been offered a two-book deal.” All data pertaining to the next three days has been deleted from memory banks, owing to overindulgence in smooth Kentucky malt liquor. Headache lingers for several weeks. *

*No animals were harmed in the making of this bender.

16 December: We get a second offer, this time from St Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne (I can mention this name, because… oh wait, I don’t want to spoil it…) . Still a two-book deal. More green. I enquire as to the nature of the submissions Ms Ribar sent out, and whether or not they were accompanied by burly men who threatened to break thumbs. Ms Ribar refuses to confirm or deny presence of hired goons with all SJGA subs. Intimates it would be bad for my health to continue this line of enquiry.

Xmas break: I fly back to the city that spawned me. My relatives say polite things when I tell them I have two offers on my book. They ask me what it’s about. I utterly fail to describe it coherently in less than twenty sentences. Realise that my elevator pitch is worthless to non-geeks/people outside the publishing world. I get drunk on Xmas day for the first time in my life. Hey, it was 40 degrees Celsius, and my Aunt gave me a bottle of Jacks.

9 January: I’m informed we have “interest” on STORMDANCER from a third party: House Y, which is an imprint of another bigger House, Z. Not even being able to begin to wrap my head around how these imprints work, or why Publishing Houses have imprints at all, or how the same editor can work at multiple imprints and omgbrainhurts, I instead ask what “interest” means. Apparently it’s somewhere between an offer and a punch in the baby-maker.

I say “that sounds awesome”.

12 January: House Y make an offer, a two book deal topping St Martin’s. House X drops out of the race.

14 January: Strange people start subbing to my Twitter feed. Like, editors of huge Publishing Houses who edit some of my favourite authors in the entire fucking world. The notion that this is “real” starts to dawn upon me. Brain explodes, I flatline in bed. Revived by valiant Jack Russell Terrier and his hideous early morning dog breath.

Seriously, it’s like pixies break into the house during the night and shit in his mouth…

19 January: St Martin’s come back with two different offers, both for more money. The two offers are for “World English Rights” (nice $), and “World Rights” (nicer $). I blink stupidly. My agent explains we can buy more yachts if we sell the world non-english rights separately. I tell him “I am all about the more yachts thing.” He nods sagely, and takes the World English offer back to House Y. He tells me that international affiliates of House Y and St Martin’s have been consulted, and are all getting excited about the book. He also tells me to buy some cigars.

I don’t tell him, but cigars make me feel kinda nauseous.

Same day, House Y match the offer, but put a three-book deal on the table. Welcome to Trilogy Town, Mr Kristoff, we hope you enjoy your stay, the cocaine and prostitutes are lovely this time of year.

SMP agree to also put up a three-book deal, and up their offer. House Y match the offer, with “separate accounting” as opposed to SMP’s offer of “joint accounting”.

Romantic interlude: Joint accounting means that you have to earn out the entire advance ( the value of all three books) before you get any royalties. “Separate accounting” means each book is treated as a separate advance, which must be earned by each individual book before royalties start coming in. Apparently, separate is better. I have no brain for maths, so I just nod my head (via email – Matt wouldn’t be able to see me if I just nodded my head at the computer, you are just being silly now)

At this point, it finally dawns on me that STORMDANCER is on auction. There are no swanky mahogany clubs or backless cocktail dresses, but two major publishers are bid-counter bidding on my book. MY BOOK. The one that I wrote! The one that, two months before, I was seriously considering shipping out to freelance editors so I could work out what was wrong with it, and why nobody liked it.

My wife offers to slap me. I decline with thanks.

21 January: SMP come back with more money. I’m getting the feeling they want it bad. I practice my poker face in the mirror. I realise that “holy shit, I kinda do look a little like Dave Grohl…”

26 January: House Y counter-offer again. SMP beat their offer. House Y match SMP’s bid. I’ve never had two beautiful women have a fight over me before, but I imagine this is kinda how it might feel. Like, not a pillow fight in skimpy nighties where they might accidentally kiss or anything. A full on, split-knuckle, spitting-teeth kind of fist fight.

I keep waking up at odd hours of the night to check my gmail.  I’m trying to write the sequel to STORMDANCER and I can’t really focus on it. Everything I type is worse than my dog’s morning breath.

27 January: SMP come back again with a better offer. They give me a pitch that just about blows my head clean off.

Firstly, the concept that these people are now trying to convince me to run with them is an utterly foreign one. For more than a year, I’ve been chasing around after Publishing industry folk, trying to get a minute of their time or a reply to an email. And now I’m the one being wooed. I can’t really articulate how this made me feel. Humbled and amazed. So overwhelmingly grateful that even now, typing this, my hands get a little shaky.

Secondly, the pitch is amazing. Forget the money. This had never been about the advance for me. I said right at the start of the process to Matt and Lindsay that I didn’t care about the $. That I’d rather sign with a House for $50 if they were going to push me as hard as they could, than sign for $50k to a house where I was just another deal. SMP and their sister imprint Tor UK are offering a lead spot amongst their debut authors in 2012. People with titles like “Associate Publisher” and “Executive Editor” are going to be my point-men. I’m getting to work with people who edit authors that are at the top of the industry; just mind-blowing, amazing writers.

House Y bows out. They can’t go any higher. The auction is done. I have a three-book deal. I feel like I have concussion, as if the whole world is underwater. Even now, sitting here typing about it, it doesn’t feel the slightest bit real. I tweet to the editor who missed out, saying that I was really sorry, and to give her my thanks. She was lovely, and enthusiastic and terribly nice, and I feel bad about letting her down.

A few days later, my new editors email me to say hello. And now I sit here, awaiting my revision notes, trying to get my head around it all. Utterly blown away.

That’s it. The tale is done, my lovelies. Sorry if it was dull, but it’s probably the second most important thing to ever happen in my life, so you’ll forgive me if I blither like an idiot about it for a while longer.

ot desu teg ll’uoy gnihtemos s’ti tub ,elttil a truh yam sihT

Oh, indeed.