ILLUMINAE – the blog tour

Illuminae Ray V6FrontOnlyA2A_V3.inddHello droogs!

Well, it’s 17 days until ILLUMINAE hits bookshelves all over the English-speaking world, and I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as some old crusty bastard who wasn’t my grandfather no doubt used to say.

BUT, today is the kick off of the ILLUMINAE blog tour! Over the next month, you’ll be able to find Amie and I pimping our warez all over the web, talking about the creation of ILLUMINAE, the production process, our inspirations, plans for the series, a bunch of behind the scenes stuff, and of course, GIVEAWAYS.

Click the links below for as much ILLUMINAE goodness as you can possibly stomach in a single lunar cycle, and much love to all the awesome bloggers helping to spread the word!

Oct 1The Fandom. Interview and giveaway

Oct 1Compulsive Reader. Review and giveaway

Oct 1Uppercase Box. Audiobook clip and giveaway.

Oct 2YAReads. Review

Oct 2Books With Bite. Review

Oct 3Addicted 2 Novels. Giveaway

Oct 4Brittany’s Book Rambles. Review and giveaway

Oct 5Icey Books. Review

Oct 5Fantastic Flying Book Club. Review and giveaway

Oct 6Ex Libris. Review and giveaway

Oct 7My Friends are Fiction. Review and giveaway

Oct 7Cuddlebuggery. Guest post

Oct 8YA Interrobang. Interview and giveaway

Oct 8JessaBella Reads. Interview and giveaway

Oct 9A Reader of Fiction. Review and giveaway

Oct 9The Ravenous Reader. Giveaway

Oct 10Good Books & Good Wine. Review and giveaway

Oct 10The Reader Bee. Review and giveaway

Oct 11The Reading Nook Review. Review

Oct 11The Eater of Books! Giveaway

Oct 12Novel Heartbeat. Review and giveaway

Oct 12Two Chicks on Books. Interview

Oct 13A Dream Within A Dream. Review and giveaway

Oct 14The Starry-Eyed Revue. Guest post

Oct 15Supernatural Snark. Interview

Oct 15Unofficial Addiction Book. Review

Oct 16Xpresso Reads. Guest post and giveaway

Oct 16Rainy Day Ramblings. Review and giveaway

Oct 17Effortlessly Reading. Review and giveaway

Oct 17Page Turners. Interview

Oct 18Mundie Moms Books Review. Review

Oct 18SFF World. Guest post

Oct 19Chapter By Chapter. Review

Oct 19Confessions of a Vi3tbabe. Review and giveaway

Oct 20Novel Novice. Review

Oct 20Nightly Reading. Review

Oct 21Live to Read. Review and giveaway

Oct 21My Bookish Ways. Interview and giveaway

Oct 22SF Signal. Guest post

Oct 22SciFiChick. Review and giveaway

Note: Some of these later dates are a little up in the air atm, so check back later in the month for final confirmation. but as you can see, we’re giving away a veritable ass-ton of books so chances are no matter where or when you lob up, there will be goodies for you to grab.



2015-09-07 15.47.18Inquiry: Who has two thumbs and two boxes full of ILLUMINAE author copies?

Conclusion: This little black duck. That’s who.

It’s a strange thing, to hold two and half years of your life in the palm of your hand. I look down at this thing with my name on the cover, next to the name of one of my dearest friends in the world, and it trips me out. I’ve done this four times now and the dissonance never goes away. Opening a box and finding a Thing you spent years of your life making. It’s like opening a time capsule, maybe. You can’t help but think about who you were when you started making it. How your life has changed.

No book I’ve ever written has changed my life the way ILLUMINAE has.

Amie and I started writing this book for fun. I’m not going to say we had no illusions about it actually getting published, because neither of us are the sort to spend months working on a project that has NO chance of flying. But we knew the odds were long. The ideas we were coming up with were too weird. The alt-format thing would be too scary for a publisher to pick up. But most of all, we kept getting told that “Editors don’t buy sci-fi“.

So we wrote it for fun. Because it was so much fun to write. Every draft we sent back and forth was titled with a pun on the word “ILL”. License to ILL. Scott ILLgrim vs the World. ILL your darlings. No idea was too outlandish. There was no budget, no brief, no constraints. Just pedal to the metal, headlights off, drive motherfucker, drive.

Let’s see where this road takes us.

We wrote it on our lunchbreaks and in stolen minutes on weekends and at 1 and 2am. We wrote it for ourselves, because we thought no house would buy it. We wrote it trying to break the idea of what a book could be. Destroying and creating. Because fuck it, no one will ever see it. And a part of my mind was whispering the whole time “Wouldn’t it be cool if it actually did get made? Because jesus, this feels like it could be awesome” but no, shut up Jay. It’s never gonna get made because “Editors don’t buy sci-fi“.

We sent 130 pages out on submission in late October, 2013. We had four major houses sniffing within a week. By the end of that week, the trilogy had been pre-empted by Random House in a major deal. They pulled their entire crew in over the weekend to get the ducks in a row. Fairy tale stuff. Like winning the lottery. My whole life changed that weekend. I think I slept about three hours total.

So many people worked so hard on this book. So many hours, so much faith and sweat invested in this thing we wrote in stolen minutes thinking no-one would ever read it, headlights off, drive, motherfucker, drive. We’ve been so incredibly lucky to land with an editor and house that believes in us so whole-heartedly. Hundreds, thousands of hours work. Everyone firing on all cylinders. Bringing their A-game, nose to the stone, balls to the wall. All of it just amazing fun. I remember working on artwork with our designer as my wife and I booted around Europe on our 10th wedding anniversary trip. Sitting on a boat watching the Mediterranean ocean float past, trying to figure out the best way to make our readers turn the book 360 degrees during a space dogfight sequence, or illustrating a nuclear explosion at an atomic level, all the while thinking “Fuck, how did this become my life?“.

How did this become my life?

Because this is two and half years of it, sitting here in the palm of my hand. This book my friend and I wrote, because we chose not to listen to the people who told us we shouldn’t. And I’m so fucking proud of it. It’s like no book I’ve ever read. We’ve done things in these pages nobody’s ever done. Because we wrote it like no one was watching. Because “Editors don’t buy sci-fi“.

Until they do.

This life is full of people who will tell you can’t. That you won’t. That you shouldn’t even try. Doubt it not, my friends, these people are your enemies. They are the death of your hope and creativity. They are walking misery, seeking your company. Don’t spare them a second, or a breath. Leave them to their “can’t'” and “won’t'” and “shouldn’t'”. Leave them choking in your dust. Standing still as you speed at your horizon.

Pedal to the metal.

Headlights off.

Just drive, motherfucker.


The Book of Faces


So I’m not sure if you beautiful folks are aware of this, but I thought I’d share since Facebook isn’t all that great at spreading the word about its own functionality.

The facey lair of Lord Zuckerberg has been shrouded in dank shrouds of dank, shroudy mystery for a while now, and most authors I know don’t really bother with it as a social media platform anymore. Not only does the Tome of Face-ishness seem oh so very Naughties, but it’s just not all that great for getting the word out about your warez, as opposed to Twitter or Tumblr or Tinder (omg all these T words) or whatever it is the cool kids are using this week.

One of the reasons companies and content creators are fleeing like virginal 16 year old protagonists in the presence of hockey-mask-wearing mass-murderers is that the Grimoire of Facery actually doesn’t show you the output all of the pages you want to see in your feed. Meaning that, just because you’ve officially Liked a writer or artist or interpretive dance master, doesn’t mean you’ll actually see what they write (unless you go looking for it). See, if you did, Zuckerberg and Co wouldn’t be able to make that sweet, sweet moolah off people/companies who want to “boost” their posts. El oh el.



There’s now a shiny new option in your News Feed Preferences that allows you to declare undying allegiance to your fave Pages and People and ensure you see MOST of the crappola they put on the Codex of Faceypants. So if you enjoy my particular brand of crappola, you now have the option of guaranteeing you get a bowlful almost every day.

First of all, if you still do the Manual of Facerinos thing and haven’t Liked me (waaaaa, why you no like me) my Facebook page can be found here.

The option you need to check is SEE FIRST. It can be found in your News Feed Prefs, and looks like this:

11863406_893372370741135_125995704311136300_nAfter clicking this option for my page of 100% badassery and profanity, you should be confronted with my crappola (or whichever brand of crappola you prefer) in your feed almost daily. Won’t that be fun?


QUICK ILLUMINAE NEWS – for those asking, that big news I promised a few weeks back is still coming. It’s just taking it’s time getting here. But it’ll be worth it when it does, I promise :)

That is all, as you were.

License to ILL


I’ve got some more ILLUMINAE updates for you folks because this book has consumed my life lately in all the best ways, kinda like the vagina monster in Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS, and how the hell are they gonna work THAT into the HBO series is what I wanna know.

First, and most importantly, if you hustle your fine selves over to the ‘Zon right now, you’ll find pre-orders for the hardback edition of ILLUMINAE available for less than ten bucks. Doth thine eyes deceive thee? Am I stricken with some fresh breed of lunacy? I say thee nay, stout yeoman!





This is almost half price, chums. It’s ridiiiiculous value, and since the Zon moves in very mysterious ways, we honestly don’t know how long it will last. So, if you were ever thinking of pre-ordering this puppy, now’s the time. You may make with the clickies here and pre-order with our most sincere thanks.

While I’m on the topic, long, slightly uncomfortable hugs to everyone who has already pre-ordered. Our editor is very happy with us, and this means she remembers to change the newspaper in the bottom of our cages and give us fresh water occasionally. So thank you SO MUCH! :D

Second bit of news, ILLUMINAE just got another starred review, this time from the awesome folks over at Publishers Weekly! You can click the link to read the full spiel, but the kill quote is as follows:

“A stylistically mesmerizing tale, where story and art are interchangeable, and words act as pictures.”

So, that’s kinda awesome. BTW, thanks to all you awesome bloggers and Goodreaders writing early ARC reviews and helping spread the word about the book. Our flint-black hearts are melting to piles of flint-black glue knowing you’re all digging it so much!

Damn, I’m using a lot of exclamation marks in this post . . .

Third! (look there I go again) It’s past the 20th of the month, so new updates are now available over at the ILLUMINAE website. This month, you’ll find a new video and all the specs on the spaceships in ILLUMINAE, from the warship Alexander, to the doomed freighter Copernicus. As always, there will be new content added to the site on the 20th of every month, so make sure you do the bookmark thing.

Fourth! We have some absolutely-fucking-awesome news about ILLUMINAE coming next week (hopefully) so make sure you’re on the Facebook and the Twitters. I’m not being a tease mentioning this, I promise. We’re super excited to tell you folks what’s up, but i’s are still being dotted and t’s are still being crossed. It’s worth the wait, I promise – you guys are gonna lose your minds :D

BTW, at Amie’s insistence I’ve joined Instagram, so if following my blog wasn’t enough and you’d like to be inundated with pictures of my dog and street art and random book stuff, now you have an outlet. YESSSS.

In other ILL related news, Amie and I have started writing the third and final book in the series, which is pretty weird considering the first book isn’t out for three more months. We still don’t have ILL tour details yet, but we’ll get them to you as soon as they land in our sticky little hands. And if you happen to be a Melbournite, keep October the 23rd free, because that’s when we’ll be holding the ILLUMINAE launch party. Drinks will drunk! Speeches will be spoken! Books and body parts will be signed! Details to come.

Okay, I think that’s it . . .

I shall leave you with what may be the single greatest book blurb in the history of book blurbs, from the ever fabulous Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. :D





starUpdates! Updates I say!

Okay, first up. Amie and I are very chuffed to report that Kirkus, the “World’s toughest book critics” have awarded ILLUMINAE a much-coveted starred review. You can read the full review here, but here’s our favorite snippet:


This is my second star from Kirkus, who also named STORMDANCER one of the best book of 2012. So, big scary hugs to the folks at Kirkus! The check is in the mail, chums.

Second! The new trailer and a brand-spanking-new character profile for our heroes Kady Grant and Ezra Mason are up online at the splendiferous ILLUMINAE website. Every month on the 20th, we’ll be updating this site with more content for you guys to bend your peepers at, so make sure you bookmark the site or I will come to your house and stand outside your window in the rain like this.

Trivia: The voice over in the trailer is done by the same actress who’ll be voicing Kady in the ILLUMINAE audiobook, which is set to begin recording in the next week or so. She sounds awesome, and we’re super-chuffed to hear the final product :)

Third! The lovely folks at Mereadalot have put together a very saucy ILLUMINAE countdown widget. You can find it here, and you know, if you love us and stuff, maybe put it up on your blog.





A cordial invitation


Hello droogs,

So this is a weird one to write, because it seems to be a sensitive issue for some folks, and lately, the map of the blogger/reader/author world is pocked with spaces marked “HERE BE DRAGONS”. I don’t really like telling people what not to do, and this post is kinda That. But I feel like something needs to be said, so excuse me while I pull on my ranty-panties and gird my loins and into the breach, like so much loin-girded ranty-panties-clad beef, leap.


If you were to head over to eBay and type in the word “Illuminae”, you’ll find a bunch of Advanced Reader Copies for sale over there. This is probably true of almost every ARC that was up for grabs at BEA/Bookcon recently. It will be true again after ALA. It’s sad to say, but there is a certain breed of person who heads to these book fairs, takes the ARCs that publishers are giving away for free, and despite the fact that they’re clearly marked on their oh so shiny covers as NOT FOR SALE, then go off and sell them. Some people call these folks “entrepreneurs”. Some folks call them “thieves”. What you call them depends what side of the fence you’re sitting on. I do hereby cordially invite you to my side of the fence.

We have cake.

Nommy nommy ragecake.

Now Pretty Please with Sugar and Possibly a Scantily-clad Person of the Gender You Prefer on top understand – the idea that there’s a market for ARCs fills most authors with a big old terminal case of the warm fuzzies. We LOVE the thought that our new series is in demand. We LOVE that you guys are so excited about cracking the spine (nooooo, not the spinnnnnne) of our latest book that if you’re forced to wait until the release date you will simply OMGEXPLOOODE. I grew up in the second most isolated capital city in the world – good bands never came there, nothing interesting ever went on there, so I understand the frustration of never having the opportunity to go to these big book fairs or lay hands on an ARC through legitimate means. Authors really, truly, deeply appreciate it when people are excited about our books and talk about them on social media and feel that if they can’t read them right now, they will simply fucking dieeeeeeeee. Love. Love. Lurrrrve.


Supporting these ARC sellers and buying an Advanced Reader Copy of ILLUMINAE (or indeed, any other book) is a kinda dodgy thing to do. And when I say “kinda” I mean “scientifically proven”, and when I say “kinda dodgy”, I actually mean “more than a little shitty”.


5 simple reasons, because hey, who doesn’t like lists.

1. It shafts my publishers. Because my publishers spent money to make these ARCs. Indeed, my publishers spent an extraordinary amount of money producing what might very well be the most awesomest ARCs in the history of ARCage. And they do this to get pre-publication buzz about the book happening, by ensuring these ARCs get into the hands of booksellers, bloggers, reps, media people, librarians and other awesome folks. And while you could say “Hey Jay, I’m a blogger, if I buy an ARC and blog about how awesomesauce it is, isn’t that good for your publishers?” I could reply “Yes, absolutely. But the truth is, not every ARC that gets snaffled by these ARC sellers makes it into the hands of a blogger, and if they weren’t being snaffled by people who only intend to sell them, they COULD have gone to a blogger/rep/librarian who went home disappointed because all the copies at the bookfair were yoinked by ARC sellers before they got there”.

Hey that rhymes.

There’s also the principle of the thing. Like, NOT FOR SALE is printed right there on the cover, people. Presumably folks who buy ARCs can read, given they have, you know, words and stuff in them. It’s as if my publisher puts up a sign that says KEEP OFF THE GRASS, and not only do folks ignore it, they set up a lemonade stand on said grass and charge passers by 5 bits a gulp.

2. It shafts other bloggers. Because by buying from these ARC sellers, you perpetuate the existence of an ARC black market. If everyone simply refused to pay these ARC sellers money, the practice of selling ARCs would fizzle. But, because the market exists, people exist to serve it, taking those ARCs away from genuine bloggers, librarians and fans who otherwise would have got their grabbymitts on them. Furthermore, when publishers and authors see how the ARC system is consistently abused, they become reluctant to print ARCs in future. Suddenly, you see the rise of ARS (Advanced Reading Samples) instead of complete books. You see very limited ARC runs being produced because hey “people are only going to sell them on eBay”, which means ARCs are even harder for legitimate bloggers to get. You see publishers who simply refuse to print advanced copies at all. Worst of all, you see an increase in the ever-growing antagonism between content creators and consumers, because sitting back and watching someone pay exorbitant amounts for something that was supposed to be given away for free makes me and a lot of other author folks want to repeatedly stab someone in the eyes with blunted pencils.

3. It shafts bookstores. Because there is already a place where you can buy a copy of my new book if you can’t get your hands on an ARC, and that place is called a bookstore. Yes, you might have to wait a couple of extra months, but in doing so, you support a bookstore by making them money, which call me kooky, call me crazy, is a kinda awesome thing to be doing. Bookstores do wonderful things like employ people (who then go on to, you know, feed their families and stuff), and foster communities and recommend great titles to you based on your past purchases and give you a place to go and be and belong. And they are hurting. They’re hurting from eBook sales. They’re hurting from book piracy. They’re hurting from a shitty economy. And yes, they’re hurting from ARC sellers.

“But Jay, it’s only a couple of bucks, I only bought one ARC what’s the difference?” you say. And I reply “A couple of bucks adds up, because it’s not just you who is supporting the ARC black market. Talk to a small business owner about the difference even a couple of bucks can make on a bad day. And at the end of the story, who would you rather support – the person who employs other people (who then go on to, you know, feed their families and stuff) and fosters communities and recommends great titles to you based on your past purchases and gives you a place to go and be and belong, or the fucking shitjizzles who are hocking books they have no right to sell in the first place?”

4. You shaft yourself. Because almighty cthulhu, I love you people, but an incomplete, unpolished and error-laden copy of ILLUMINAE isn’t worth paying 70 American dollars for. Repeat: I love you people. But damn.

5. You shaft me. Because my publishers paid me (and Amie) money to acquire ILLUMINAE. They expect to make money when it gets published. And for every copy that gets paid for through channels where my publishers don’t see a cent, they make less money. And that means they’re less inclined to pay me (and Amie) money for our next series. And “Hey, boo fucking hoo Mr big time author, dry your eyes on all those fat checks you cash” you might say. To which I say “This gig is my livelihood. I pay my mortgage with this money. I feed my family. I keep my heat and lights on. And you’re already paying money supporting these ARC thieves anyway, so why is it a huge ask that you support the person(s) who actually, you know, wrote it, and the publishers who took a chance on it, instead of the arsepony who stole it and then sold it on fucking eBay?”


ARC sellers are doing the wrong thing. It says so right there on the cover of the ARC. Supporting them, you’re giving them your permission, your encouragement, and your hard-earned money.

They deserve NONE of these things.

Okay, ranty-panties off. Thank you to all the bloggers and librarians saying lovely things about ILLUMINAE so far. We’re very humbled and pleased you’re enjoying it. We love you guys. :)

Big scary hugs.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys – Title reveal

Exclusive_Slasher-Girls-and-Monster-Boys-coverHello Droogs!

SO, I’ve mentioned in the past I got invited to contribute to a horror anthology titled SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS by the awesome April Genevieve Tucholke, and we’re a little over 2 months from launch. Over the next couple of days, every author in the antho will be revealing the title of their tale of panty-soiling dread. Eeeeeeee.

The idea behind the antho was that every author would take inspiration from a spooky tale or piece of media (mostly old horror films, but some of us played around with songs and the like) and craft a story that included

1. A girl (somewhat stabby)

2. A boy (somewhat monstrous)

How stabby and monstrous is up to the individual author, but having read through the book, there’s some AMAAAAZING work in there from some incredibly talented folks. I’m very chuffed to have been invited along. And how spooky is the fkn cover?!

For all the clicky goodness, our website can be found here.

So. What was the idea behind my SG&MB story?

I took inspiration from a couple of different places. First off, the old Hitchcock classic PSYCHO, and a truly disturbing Mudvayne song NOTHING TO GEIN (warning before you click: those lyrics are pretty heavy) which were both inspired by the story of part-time taxidermist, murderer and all round strange chap, Ed Gein. But I also drew heavily from a really cool movie called CATFISH, which is essentially about the lies inherent in online relationships, and the personae we build on the internet. The idea that we don’t really know anyone we meet online until we meet them. And then we might not like what we find.

And the title for this little tale of online romance gone horribly wrong?



Oooooh, spoooooky.

So! Make sure you check out the website, and if you truly lurve me, you can pre-order here!

Beware the IM boogeyman!





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