Surprise ARCs!

I would vote for this man


This contest is open internationally.

You’d think after a couple of years of being a published author, you’d have a handle on the lingo. When you start off, you’re all “What’s a first pass page? Is that a book that tries to drunkenly hit on you in a bar?” and “Line edits? You do rails of blow then do your re-read? Does that not lead to mistakes being made?” and whatnot. But after a couple of years, you feel like you should at least have a handle on the basics.

Not so, apparently.

The problem is that different publishing houses (and therefore, different colleagues) use different terms for the same thing. For example, ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) are also called “Bound Proofs”. They are also called “Galleys”. In my mind though, they’ll always be ARCs, so when my editor mails me and says  “Hey, we’re mailing you out some galleys of ENDSINGER next week” my tiny dinosaur brain concludes that finished copies are on the way, and yay team.

And then a box of actual galleys turns up on my doorstep, and I’m all “holy shit, we’re doing ARCs for this book?

Most 3rd books don’t get ARCs, see. Publishers figure it’s not worth the cost of production, since 3rd books in series already have a certain level of guaranteed readership based on the previous two books, and people aren’t likely to buy the first two books AFTER getting an ARC of the 3rd and saying “damn, that was cool, I wonder what the FUCK was going on – I’d better read the first two books so I can make sense of it all“. BUT, apparently I’m special and get ARCs for book 3. SPESHUUUUULLLLL.

Thing is, now I have a bunch of ARCs to give away.

So, first off, I’m gonna give two of em away as consolation prizes for my ENDSINGER WIDGET contest. So, book bloggers, if you haven’t started pimping my shit, go to!



How am I going to hand out the phat lewts? With a photo contest!

Here’s what you do

  • Take a photo of your copy of STORMDANCER (or KINSLAYER). Make it as cool as you like – shaking hands with Omar from the Wire (he strollin’), rescuing screaming children from a burning orphanage, propping up your wobbly table, whatever.
  • Yes, you can use photoshop (see the pic above). You don’t have to – if you wanna shoot your SD just sitting on your shelf chilling next to GRRM or in the lap of an adorable child or just somewhere cool around your hometown, this is all good – I love seeing cool places I’ve never been. Whatever you want to do is cool with me – knock yourself out, my friends!
  • Send me the photo at Please include your mailing address in case you win!
  • Competition closes 1st of September. That’s a little under two weeks – if you need an extension because you’re headed to Mars or something on the 2nd, shoot me an email. Because SD being the first book on Mars would be pretty sweet.

That’s it! I’ll pick my five faves and post em on FB and send out the lewts to the winners in early September.

Have fun, peoples!



Is that brandy he's holding? Hell if I know...



Book bloggers! It’s that time of year again, where I start to throw bribery about like cabbages in an episode of Avatar: The Legend of Aang in the hope you awesome folk help me get the word out about my upcoming bookery.

I said bookery. Mind out of the gutter, people.

ENDSINGER is out the 25th of November, and I need your help to spread the news.

So! What you stand to win:

Copies of ALL THREE Lotus War books, slightly defaced by my almost illegible signature.

Yup, that’s a copy of STORMDANCER, KINSLAYER, and ENDSINGER, signed by yours truly.

What you have to do:

  • Click on this here. It’s a link to an ENDSINGER countdown widget.
  • Put the widget somewhere on your blog  – preferably visible, but if you want to stick it in the basement, okay I guess :(  
  • Shoot me an email at to let me know you’ve done it – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. You need to send me a mail, so I can mail you back if you win!

And that’s it!

Many thanks to the awesome Petra at Safari Poet for putting the widget together for me.

If you don’t have a book blog and want to win some signed loots, fear not, we’ll have more giveaways soon.

In the meantime, you can pre-order ENDSINGER at the links below:

Barnes & Noble






Book Depository


Hello droogies,

Alrighty, as per the usual drill, I have some more ENDSINGER artwork for you – iPhone & iPad wallpapers, plus a couple of desktop backgrounds. BAM.

BUT, before you check them out, you still have a few days to enter the ENDSINGER uber-giveaway. There’s an ENTIRE set of signed Lotus War novels up for grabs. ALL details about the giveaway can be found HERE.

And here are individual pre-order retailer links for ENDSINGER:

Barnes & Noble




Indiebound (site is down atm, wtffff)

and if you really have to (though maybe you shouldn’t)


Book Depository

Without further foreplay, I give you the pretty.




Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit

Blog BG


Beautiful people, a moment of your time, if you will.

I won’t bang on at length about this (there are many who will), but there’s some important stuff you should be made aware of.

If you are a book lover, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

If you are a reader, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

I presume you’re one of these, because you’re on my blog. So please take 5 minutes of your day, and read on.

In short:

* There is a big French publisher called Hachette. They publish many amazing authors (not me, har har, ego joke) and many incredible books. If you look at your shelves, you’ll find books from Hachette or its imprints.

* is currently engaged in “business negotiations” with Hachette, and is seeking “more favourable terms” in their new contract. In short, Amazon want Hachette to lower their prices, so Amazon can buy Hachette books cheaper, and thus, make more money when they sell them to you (for the same price they were selling them beforeyou will not save a CENT from this).

* Hachette do not want to sell Amazon their books cheaper. They sell them plenty cheap already.

* As a result, Amazon have begun listing Hachette books as “unavailable” for order on They have begun delaying the shipment of Hachette books, citing a 3-5 week delivery time (note, the books are IN Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon just aren’t shipping them).

So why should you give a shit?

Amazon sell a lot of books. They buy in bulk, and with less overheads, they can sell cheaper than brick and mortar stores. It’s natural you want to buy from them. You can do it with the click of a button, after all.

You work hard. You like books, but you’re not a fkn millionaire. If the option is between paying $20 at a store, or $15 at Amazon, you’ll likely buy from Amazon.

The result? Book stores go out of business. Borders has collapsed. Angus and Robertson are gone. More and more retail chains are folding under the constant financial pressure of competing with Amazon. The eventual result?

Amazon becomes the only store left in the market. In other words, it establishes a monopoly over the book retailing industry.

Monopolies are NEVER good for consumers. When Amazon is the only store left, they can charge what they want, and if you want a book, you’ll have to pay it. When Amazon is the only store left, they can demand whatever price they want from publishers, and publishers will have to pay it.

If you think Amazon will use its monopoly only for good, a glance at its current dealings with Hachette should give you a clue about how altruistic it is.

Amazon is a business. Aggressive and expanding and pursuing an agenda which will see it as the only power remaining in the book retailing industry. It does not give two shits about you. It is not out to save you money. It is not your friend. And when it’s able to, it WILL bend you over and grease you up, just like its bending Hachette over right now.

So what can you do?

The answer is simple. You let Amazon know its strongarm bullshit is unacceptable. Money is the only language these fuckers understand, so you talk in Money. You buy somewhere else. Order online at Barnes and Noble. Order online from an indie store. Better yet, go out to your local bookstore and buy from them. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks more. But it’s a hell of a lot less than you’ll eventually pay if Amazon becomes the last man standing.

I’m not a Hachette author (I’m published by MacMillan). I’m not some left-wing hipster twat decrying the notion of capitalism. I’m just a person who doesn’t like the idea of some big, bully corporation fucking me. I’m an author who doesn’t like the though of my author friends not be able to pay their mortgages or electricity bills because Amazon has listed their titles as “unavailable”. Moreover, it fucking infuriates me that Amazon aren’t even TRYING to hide this behavior. They have so little regard for publishers and so little fear of readers, they can literally swing their big old gorilla cock at anyone they feel like and fear NO REPRISALS WHATSOEVER.

In short, this is bullshit. But YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP IT.

If you’re a reader, if you’re a book lover, SHARE THIS POST. Spread the word. Vote with your conscience, and your wallet. Don’t be fooled into thinking the few bucks you save today by allowing these gorilla dicks to have their way will balance out the fortune you pay for your books tomorrow.

You are the people. You have the power. Open your eyes. Open your mouths. Close your fingers and make a fist.

Cover Reveal!!!!!one!




You can preorder ENDSINGER here or here.

Hello and welcome to the US cover reveal for ENDSINGER! As you know, today is the day I traditionally rain ARCs down upon thee like uncorrected mana from heaven, but alas, as a general rule, third books in a series don’t get ARCs made (noooooooooooo), so I have none to give away. So instead, I’ve put together the most mind-bogglingly awesome prize package I’ve ever given away on this blog. I trust the promise of phat shiny lewts will get you frothy enough to pimp my warez all over your internets.


To kick things off, I’m giving away an annotated/scribbled on/illustrated/signed hardcover edition of ENDSINGER. All you need to do is spread the word about the reveal.

Talk about it on facebook (make sure you tag my author page) or tweet about it. Sample tweet below if you cbf’ed making up your own (if you do make up your own, just make sure you include my my twitter handle, but not FIRST in the tweet, or I’ll be the only one to see it).

The cover for ENDSINGER is here. I am dead from the awesome. Giveaways on @misterkristoff ‘s blog.

A winning pimp will be picked on June 1. Easy as losing your kid’s college fund in Vegas!


Alrighty, ENDSINGER’s cover is launching on eight sites today:



Jean BookNerd

Presenting Lenore

Mundie Moms

Book Nerd CA

The Midnight Garden


If you click on the above links and the cover isn’t up there yet, just be patient, they’ll be there soon!

Ok, those of you who did this last year will already know the drill, but the n00bs amongst us will surely be asking: Are you deliberately wasting my time, jerkoff, why should you visit those blogs when the covers are the same on every one?

Excellent question. Fortunately, I have prepared an excellent answer:

The ENDSINGER uber giveaway

Each of those eight blogs contains a quiz question. They’re pretty easy – you’ll find the answers in the Endsinger synopsis, or in the pages of Stormdancer and Kinslayer. Follow these three steps:

  1. Get the eight answers
  2. Mail them to me at
  3. Win (hopefully)

Now, what do you win in the uber giveaway?

  • Signed copies of STORMDANCER, KINSLAYER and ENDSINGER. Yep, the entire LOTUS WAR series, signed by yours truly, in hardback. Jizz. In. Your pants.
  • A signed copy of THE LITTLE STORMDANCER. This was a picture book I did for my UK editor when she had her first baby. It’s like an MG version of Stormdancer, with far less death and sex. A signed copy of this went up on Ebay for Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders charity and sold for near 400 bucks. There are very few of these left in the world – I myself only have three. And I’m giving one away to you. DO YOU NOW UNDERSTAND THE EXTENT OF MY LOVE
  • A signed copy of THE LAST STORMDANCER. This award-winning novella (feels weird saying that) isn’t available in hardcopy anymore, so these are pretty hard to come by.
  • The vague promise of a Big Scary hug is we ever meet in person. If the thought of being hugged by a 6’7 maniac with a beard that could put your eyes out sounds less-than-optimal, maybe we can do some interpretative dance instead.

That’s it. Answer 8 questions, mail them to me at, and you’re done. This giveaway will run until June 1. It is open internationally, unless you live somewhere that doesn’t have post offices because, although I love you, I don’t love you enough to deliver it in person. :P

You can preorder ENDSINGER here or here. Kay go!

If you want to keep up with news about THE LOTUS WAR series, follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

That’s it. Comments welcome below. Thanks for visiting!

Ten good reasons to co-author a book



I used to blog about writing, because that’s what you do when you’re an author but you don’t have a book out yet. Talking about what it’s like to query (repeatedly running facefirst into a brick wall, and thanking it afterwards), what it’s like to copyedit (exsanguination via papercut), that kind of stuff. But the internet is full of LOTS of writing advice—some excellent, some more dangerous than punching a sleeping axe-murderer in the love gun—and once you’ve written one “this is what copy-editing is like” post, you don’t really need to do another, because let’s be honest Jay, you’re not that interesting and neither is copyediting.

BUT, I’m now in the middle of a process that there’s surprisingly little info on the net about, junk-punchingly dangerous or no. As you know, Bob, I wrote a SciFi novel with a buddy of mine, which is actually going to be a real book with pages and everything. Thing is, I’d never actually written a novel with another person before, and didn’t really have any idea what I was getting into. So I figure I’ll talk about it for a little while in case any of you folks are contemplating undertaking the madness and awesome that is the co-authored novel.

But before we get into the “how do you do it?” (which turns out is so long I’m going to do another post on it), let’s talk about “why by Odin’s beard and Loki’s ridiculously well-sculpted cheekbones would you ever want to do it?” (I’ve been watching lots of Vikings lately, sue me).

The pros of co-authoring a book (and this is assuming you’ve chosen your co-author wisely, and not saddled yourself with a rampant egotist, precious artiste, unreliable prick, or any combination thereof—remember, you’re dealing with authors here, and we are a flighty breed) are as numerous as hookers on the Vegas strip. I’m told there’s a lot of them—hookers, I mean. Having never been to Vegas, I can neither confirm nor deny the amount of hookerage there. So the actual Good Things About Having a Co-Author to Hookers on the Vegas Strip ratio may vary somewhat. As with the hookers themselves, I suspect, YMMV. But anyways, away we go.

1. You’re never alone with a rubber duck.

Being a writer is a lonely gig. You spend the vast majority of your time by yourself, which is both entirely necessary and a sure fire recipe for a bout of Charlie Sheen-esque, underpants-on-head-wearing madness.

When you have a co-author, all the shit you’ll have to deal with on the road to publication (editor buys a Snuggie and runs off to join a doomsday cult, agent confesses he blew your advance on crippling tentacle hentai addiction, cover looks like it was designed by a committee of blind rhesus monkeys high on PCP, etc) is halved. You have someone to share the drunken commiserations with, and wipe the tears away when you fall down go boo boo.

Everyone falls down and goes boo boo at some point.

2. Immediate gratification, we needs it, Precious.

Being a writer is a lonely road, and you can sometimes find the road you’ve wandered down has become a dead end full of spooky meth-mouth hobos. Thing is, you need to bang out a decent chunk of your book solo before you can show it to anyone and discover this awful truth (because sending it to readers one chapter at a time and asking for feedback all along the way is a jerk move, and you don’t wanna be that guy/girl), and only then do you learn if you are indeed the unmitigated fucking genius Mother always insisted you were, or if you’ve written the literary equivalent of the herpes virus.

When you have a co-author, presuming you’re writing on a “you do a chapter, than I do a chapter” model (and you don’t have to, but this is the way Amie and I usually work), you get your feedback right away. And if you are writing the literary equivalent of herpes, someone will be on hand immediately to say “you might want to rub some cream on it before it spreads”, instead of you spending six months polishing the same cold sore solo.

Yyyyyeah, that’s a disgusting analogy and I’m going to stop it now.

3. Those Elves make some damn fine shoes, son.

So you know that fairy story about the shoemaker and the elves? Dude leaves out some leather overnight, gets drunk, wakes up, bam, new shoes where the leather used to be. Co-authoring is kinda like that. With less leather. Unless you’re into the kinky stuff, and hey, no judgements here.

You write your chapter and send it off, then you sit around prank-calling the local diocese or sculpting your facial hair, and a couple of days later, your book comes back to you and holy shit there’s more of it. You didn’t do anything and yet there are MORE FUCKING WORDS WHAT IS THIS WITCHERY.

4. The loop that feeds.

I used to work as a creative in advertising agencies, which actually turns out to be a really good grounding for being a co-author. Who knew. Anyway, “creatives” (yes, that’s the job title, zzzz) in ad agencies work in pairs—a writer and an art director, and they basically get paid lots of money to sit around all day in jeans and t-shirts, bouncing ideas off each other about how to sell this new toilet paper dispenser or whatever (yeah, wankerish job titles aside, it’s a pretty good job, tbh).

But, in the BEST partnerships I’ve had, you get a feedback loop happening, where one idea propels the next, and the enthusiasm from one person feeds the other, growing both exponentially by the sum of the square roots of the remaining sides and SCIENCE, BITCH.

If you’re lucky, your co-author and you will enter the same loop. They get excited, and you get excited because they’re excited. They think of a cool idea which you’d have never come up with alone, BUT, that sets you thinking on a different tangent, which gives rise to a bunch of other cool ideas and holy underwear on the outside, Batman, it’s a feedback loop and our shields can’t withstand awesome of this magnitude.

5. There are no stupid questions.

Well, there are, really. “What was Peter Jackson thinking when he decided to make a 200pg children’s book into a three-movie epic?” is a stupid question, for example (“I need a new yacht and I can count the shits I give about what you think on no hands, fanboy” is the very obvious answer). But hearkening back to #4, even a stupid idea can spark a cool train of thought in your partner, so asking them is actually a good thing. The human brain works in mysterious ways, and being bombarded by unfamiliar input is a great way to get your own brain processing in ways it wouldn’t have alone. And what might seem a pants-on-head stupid idea to you could actually become genius you wouldn’t have spotted if left to your own devices.

There’s a great story in Stephen King’s “On Writing” (which I know all you writer-types have already read, right?) from his early days. King has an idea for a scene, which he dutifully types up, reviews, and thinks “no, this is stupid”. So he throws it away. Later, his wife is cleaning out his trash. She finds the chapter and reads it. And she smooths it out and puts it on his desk with a note that says “I think you’re really on to something here.”

That chapter turned into the first scene in CARRIE.

So the lesson is: marry someone smarter than you.

Wait, no, that’s not the lesson.

. . . But it’s still excellent advice, goddammit.

6. Reality called. It wants you back, baby.

When I was 20, I had a girlfriend. I was truly, maaaaaadly in love with this girl. I was so madly in love, one night I got drunk and was all set to charge off to the tattoo parlour to get her name painted on my chest for life. A good friend of mine convinced me to hold off a while and see how it played out.

The girl I was maaaaadly in love with attacked me with a knife a few months later.

We broke up pretty soon after that.

The point is:

Sometimes, we have good ideas.

Sometimes we have really fucking bad ideas.

Sometimes we have really fucking bad ideas that we mistake for good ideas.

And sometimes, we just need someone there to say “Dude, that’s a really fucking bad idea.”

7. Soothing the wounded ego beast.

Aka, the “Wash, tell me I’m pretty.”

Sometimes it’s nice to hear someone tell you that you can write worth a damn. To say “I loooove that bit where you put in the comma, you are so good at the comma thing”. Even if you’ve got a book deal and pretty statues on your shelf and get nice letters from nicer people from countries you’ve never seen, some days your brain will still be full of the absolute and unswerving certainty of your own sucktiude, and that suckitude will leak onto the page.

In that situation, there’s very little that’ll help more than Alan Tudyk telling you he’d take you in a manly fashion were he unwed.

Or something.

8. You are not the Harry Potter of the writing world.

You are not independently wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. You do not have a secret destiny. The clutch position on the goddamn sports team will not just happen to be open when you, an untested eleven year old, wander onto the field. But most importantly, you are not 100% fucking awesome at everything you put your mind to. Welcome to real life, kid.

All writers have strengths. All writers have weaknesses. And while you can play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses, there are writers out there who just do some stuff better than you. That’s just the way reality works. I apologize if this is news, but better you learn it from me than some dude in a bar with a broken whiskey bottle.

I think I’m kinda decent at writing violence, for example. I’m less-than-suck at writing angst. Kissing scenes with dreamy boys? Nnnnnnot so much. So if you partner with a co-author that has different strengths to you, you’ll find you’re suddenly writing much stronger work. The novel will fill itself out, just like a piece of music when you add different instruments.

In other words, you play guitar? Bully for you. But get yourself a singer? You’ve got yourself a band, son.

9. “Honey, some guy named Steve Rogers is on the phone?”

So as all those terribly amusing novelty T-Shirts told us in the 90s, “shit happens”. Sometimes you can’t crack a scene, no matter how many times you fold it. Sometimes you move house, or someone in your family gets arrested for felony cocaine possession, or the Avengers call and say “Dude, Tony’s down with space AIDS again, we need someone to wear the suit when we go kick Thanos in the junk”.

When stuff like this happens and you’re an author with a deadline, there are one of two possible flow on effects:

a)    You lose a shit-ton of sleep/hair/stomach lining making up the lost ground

b)   You blow your deadline

However, the probability of both you AND your co-author being called up to wear the Iron Man suit on the same night are pretty remote, so chances are they’ll be able to lend a helping hand when Stark comes down with a screaming case of the space AIDS.

Help you to finish the book, I mean, not being Iron Man for you, FUCK THAT.

Oh, and maybe they can help you cracking that scene, or just write the thing for you if your brain is that bent on it. If your problems are of the more mundane variety, I mean.

10. Instant Scapegoat

Last but not least, when the reviews come in and the critics and readers of the world light your shit on fire all over the internet, you can both point at each other and utter the time honoured words:

“It was all their fault!”

I’ll talk about this some more next week, but for now I gotta split – Cap’s on the phone again.


On Awards and validation

Lego Buruu approves this award.

Hello droogies!

It’s been an ice age since I posted, I know. I’m shit, I know. Shaddap.

Life’s been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as someone’s old granpappy used to no doubt say. In the last month, we’ve sold our old house, moved into a new house (moving blows serious goat), I’ve completed story edits on ENDSINGER, handed in my short for SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS and gotten about 90% of the way through story edits on ILLUMINAE.  So yeah, busy. But, my new study has an actual fireplace in it. All I need is one of those chesterfield lounges and a smoking jacket with patches on the elbows. And maybe some kind of pipe.


I had some very good news last week which I should share: I am now officially an award-winning Sci-Fi/Fantasy author. Exclamation mark!

STORMDANCER got short-listed for a few cool awards, but never quite got past the finish line. However, I’m chuffed to report my novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2013 Aurealis Award for best Fantasy Short Fiction. Which was very flattering and humbling and cool. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the show or the booze-up afterward because of the aforementioned moving house and goat blowing. Which kiiiinda sucks since I don’t get to wear a fancy suit all that often anymore, and my bride looks dynamite in evening wear. Alas.

Awards are a funny beast. It’s very nice to be nominated and even nicer to win them, but here’s the thing – I’m not sure you can let them occupy any space in your mind, or take them as any kind of validation of ability. And this is not to say I prefer the state of “not winning awards” to “winning awards”. I’m very flattered to have won. Given the choice, most artists would probably prefer the latter state of being – at least, people who rely on sales to pay their electricity bills. I am one of these, so chuffed to win, you may color me.

But you can lose or win on any given Sunday. A different jury almost certainly would’ve made a different decision. Talk to two different people, even people with common interests in genre fiction or marmoset death matches or hobo pit-fighting or whatever, chances are they’ll love and hate different elements of even the narrowest sphere. There are people out there who fucking HATE my books like poison. There are people out there who say I’m the greatest thing since time travel hover cars. Are either of them right? Both? Neither?

Dealing with a concept as nebulous as “making art”, how do you know you’re actually doing it well?

If you sell a lot of copies, does that mean you’re doing it well? Because Justin Beiber sells a lot of records and his music sounds like rhesus monkeys gargling jizz to me. 50 Shades of grey has sold more copies than any book in the history of the English language. Seriously, it’s sold more copies than the fucking bible. Lighting books on fire was a pretty popular pastime in certain parts of the world not so long ago. I’m not sure you can trust the opinions of the majority, is what I’m saying.

Awards? Again, lovely and flattering and wonderful to win them, but if awards were some kind of divining rod for quality, every show would be listing the same books, right? And one need only listen for a second to the latest shitstorm surrounding the Hugo shortlistings to get a glimpse of how far away from that sunny day we might be.

So again, very flattering to have won. It’s very nice, me ma and da were proud, and the trophy looks awesome next to my Stormdancer lego. Would like to continue winning them, if at all possible.

I guess I’m just saying this:

If you’re having fun making your art, you’re doing it well.

If it makes you feel better as a person, you’re doing it well.

If it gives you a reason to get up in the morning, you’re doing it well.

Everything else is just a bonus.

Thank you to all the judges, committee members and everyone involved with the Aurealis awards! And happy easter all!


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