Ilona Andrews's Blog
April 19, 2014
The next installment is available on the Innkeeper page. Thank you so much for your patience. We’ve had a … clump, I guess, of deadlines. Jim and Dali’s novella was written and turned in. Our editor, Anne Sowards, had this to say about it:
I had such a great time with the novella, “Magic Steals”! It’s a quick, fast-paced read and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to find out more about Dali’s magical abilities, and to see how she develops more confidence in herself (and of course the progression of her relationship with Jim). I kind of loved her family and extended family and community and how they meddled whenever possible as well. It was hard on Dali, but very entertaining for me as a reader!
There are some edits, which we will have to discuss with her on Monday, but overall I’m relieved because most of the novel was written in a NyQuil-induced haze of despair. I can’t remember the last time we were so sick. My ears are still clogged. It’s been two weeks. But at least we’re able to breathe and sleep now. Thank you so much to all of the first draft readers. By the way, Wikipedia is incorrect when it comes to Indonesian mythical creatures. Toyol should be tuyul.
The copyedit of Burn For Me was due on the 15th, and was turned in also. Our editor, Erika Tsang, was really patient with us. Considering that after she very politely asked me where we were with the copyedit, I told her that those were not the copyedit drones she was looking for, Gordon and I both consider it to be a good sign.
The galley for Magic Breaks will be in this Monday. Glad to have them off our plate.
The remodel of the site has commenced. We’re trying to make sure that we clearly present information, because there is a lot of it, and you might see some wonky formatting. We do apologize.
On the personal front, we had fought off the above-mentioned sickness, survived prom, and Kid 1′s birthday party. The plan is to now work on Sweep in Peace, edits to the Magic Steals novella, continue to remodel the site, and write the next Kate and Curran book. We have the beginning and it is killing me that I can’t give you a snippet of it, but I don’t want to spoil anything. But we’re going to plot it within the next couple of weeks, so now is your chance to tell us what mythology elements would you like to see in the next book. Magic Breaks is a game changer, so we have some room to stretch out.
What’s next? The next big milestone is Romantic Times convention. It will be held in New Orleans this year and we’ll be attending. We are bringing 60 copies of Clean Sweep to give away.
So yearly schedule update for those who are interested.
1. Finish Magic Breaks.
2. Finish the Avon Book.
3. Start Innkeeper 2.
4. Attend Romantic Times.
5. Go to one day writing workshop in San Angelo, Texas. – set for September 2014. It will center on plot.
6. Comicon. Axed. We’re not going. The schedule is too tight.
7. Sort out newsletter. -Ugh. Not done yet.
8. Write Kate 8.
9. Write Avon 2.
10. Release a story collection.
11. Write a novella for Ace.
12. More Curran POVs. – You might get a Jim POV when he finds out about the end of Magic Breaks. Minn bribed Gordon for it.
13. Resolve audio and French editions. – Still up in the air. Although the audio edition of Clean Sweep is apparently selling. I’ve been checking Amazon and I didn’t realize that audio books no longer have a sales rank. So I’ve been under impression that it sold no copies. Our agent assures us that that is not the case.
Well, that’s it for this horrible long update.
April 15, 2014
We have contacted the Pack and found this awesome map for you. Don’t ask us what we had to do to get it. (Actually, the map was drawn by Julie K. who has done an incredible job.)
A version of this map will be going into Magic Breaks. We want you to take a look at it and tell us what you think. Please be nice, as Julie the Pack’s Chief Cartographer scoured the books and invested her time into making this awesome gift expecting nothing in return. We are just trying to make sure that it’s as accurate as it could be. All errors are due to our sloppy writing and not the Chief Cartographer’s skills.
Please remember that due to being half ruined, post-Shift Atlanta isn’t exactly the same as our current city, but we’d like to get it at least in the same ballpark.
Click to enlarge
April 14, 2014
Thank you to all the awesome betas who sent in their copyedit suggestions. We still have a couple of days, so if you haven’t quite gotten yours in, we’ll totally take it.
I am about to send the ARCs of Magic Breaks to the beta readers. Sorry, guys, I dropped the ball. We had prom and sickness and we are taking Kid 1 to the doctor this morning. Gordon valiantly finished the taxes. I’m going to try to nuke the copyedit.
I’ve seen some preliminary feedback on MB and looks like the book might generate some controversy. Roland didn’t quite turn out to be clear cut and the book doesn’t follow the standard Kate formula. Some people really love it and others are like, “What the heck?” It will be interesting to watch this one.
I’m terribly excited about the next one, because of the new thing Kate and Curran will be doing. But can’t say anymore or I’ll get in trouble. That’s my only regret – I wish they would’ve let us put the snippet of the next one in, but Ace has some firm guidelines when it comes to hardback.
Sweep in Peace
We are going to be changing format of Sweep in Peace. We are looking for dedicated proofreaders who will be given power to fix typos. We love you, but you as a whole can’t be trusted with typo corrections. :( You guys fight over them and one dude decided to correct typos of readers in the comments. So we’re are looking for a few good grammarians, who wouldn’t mind volunteering their time. We will probably officially “hire” at least one for a nominal fee. The target for the next post is this Friday. I’ve got half of it done.
Blog and Newsletter
As you probably noticed, this space has gone to pro-updates only. I’ve moved our personal rantings to a separate place. Twitter account will also follow the same pattern. Sorry, guys, but blogging is my therapy and I want to be able to do it in peace. If you’re a friend or family, you will get an invite so you can keep up with kid prom pictures and random musings. If I missed you, drop me a line.
As the result of this change, the website will undergo a mild redesign in the next few days. We are looking at a better laid out home page and eliminating some of the menu options. Pardon our mess while we work. We will be rolling out a newsletter sign up, which will only include pro updates. I’ll post when this will be happening.
Well, that is all.
April 10, 2014
Magic Steals, a novella in the world of Kate Daniels, is completed and turned in to our editor at Ace. This novella will be included in an anthology Night Shift. Three other authors are Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, and Lisa Shearin. Here is the blurb from Amazon.
Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight, as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals, when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.
It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.
Release date: November 25th, 2014.
Previous beta readers and Indonesian readers only: If you would like to read an early draft, half of which was written while high on cold medicine and running a fever, please email us through the website with Tiger Girl in the subject of your email.
The ARCs of MAGIC BREAKS are going out to betas today. The copyedit of BURN FOR ME is also going out today. We haven’t yet looked at the entries, so nobody is off the list yet. Sweep in Peace should resume this week or next week at the latest. We were both sick and we’re now critically behind on things like taxes. Also this weekend is the prom weekend. Our oldest daughter is attending. Thank you for your patience.
April 7, 2014
The copy edit for Avon is falling on the 9th and we have an open spot. If you are interested and you can do it, please email us through the website with the subject line “volunteering for Burn for Me copy edit.” The contents of the email are up to you. If you like to tell us something about yourself that would be very helpful, prior experience, astrological signs, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, all that. We ask that you please have it back to us no later than the 13th.
We will consider the first hundred applicants, after that we go upstairs to indulge our guilty pleasure of watching terrible shows on Discovery ID. Thank you guys so much.
UPDATE: Thank you so much, we have reached 100+ entries. No entries past this time, 1:47 pm Central, will be considered.
Update 2: Again, beta call is now closed.
April 4, 2014
If you are a blogger and would like a review copy, our publicity contact is Alexis Nixon, who can be reached at Alexis.Nixon@us.penguingroup.com. I don’t know if the ARC will be available on Netgalley. Right now it doesn’t seem to be. If someone can confirm or deny, it would be much appreciated. It should pop up shortly before release, but you never know.
I know Penguin has funky limits in place on how many hits you have to have as a blogger to request the ARC, so I am sorry in advance if you don’t get one. If you are a blogger with whom we have a long-standing relationship and you don’t get one, please let me know at the pro email address.
If you are one of the NDA’ed betas, and you are not sick of this yet and want to give it another shot, email me at the outlook address. We are in the typo and repeated words stage now. No large changes can be made, unless we seriously screwed up somewhere. Please include ARC BETA in the subject of the email or I won’t see it. The ARC is due back on 19th, so I would need corrections before then. Please keep in mind that on the 9th, I’ll have the copyedit for BURN FOR ME as well, and we only get 7 days to turn it around, so if you would rather go for BURN FOR ME, you might have to make choices.
Finally, please proofread your name. If you want it to be removed, changed, or added because we missed you, now is the time. Click the file to enlarge.
Click to enlarge. Also, semicolons will be added, now worries.
April 3, 2014
When you are trying to self-publish, you have to be aware of the associated costs. Assuming that you are outsourcing things, there are financial costs.
Cover. This will likely run between $100-$500.
Editing: $1,000-$2,000 for novel length.
But the biggest cost comes in time and effort it takes to upload all of the files to the retailers and keeping track of the money. It gets to be really expensive in man-hours. That’s why there is a whole cottage industry that sprung around the self-publishing. These firms are quick to point out that they are not publishers. They are simply facilitators. They take care of the cover, formatting, upload, money tracking and so one and for that they take a cut from profits. No money upfront.
Sounds like a good deal, right? Let’s look at that. Going by the higher cost listed above we have about $2,700 in costs for an ebook. Let’s give ourselves a little bit of leeway and say we spent $3,000. You likely to spend much less, but for the sake of the example let’s max it out.
Here is the quote from a solicitation I received (I get a lot of those.)
REDACTED is concentrating exclusively on novellas (around 70 to 100 pages) - quick reads that will be sold for $2.99 through the REDACTED platform. Of that $2.99, authors receive $1 for every single title sold. I recognize that’s less than what you’d receive through Amazon, but for what you’re giving up, REDACTED offers A LOT in return:
- You retain ALL of your rights except for REDACTED ability to anthologize your story in future editions, from which you will receive a percentage.
- Again, that’s ALL of your rights, including media rights. You could even take a book published with us and publish it through a traditional publisher once you’re wildly famous!
- Distribution on numerous platforms, including Consortium, Apple in the US, Canada, EU and Australia/New Zealand, Barnes & Noble, eBooks, Google Play and many others (let me know if you’d like a full list).
- REDACTED covers the cost of the book’s cover art.
- Instead of dealing directly with Amazon or Google or B&N, you deal with us, which means personal service and a check coming from only ONE place.
- Professional editing and proofreading services.
- You get to be in great company, with authors like REDACTED and REDACTED.
- This is NOT a vanity publisher. You put up absolutely no money up front.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use only sales from Amazon as an example. Okay, so on $2.99 release I get 70% through Amazon. That means $2.093. They take a buck, so they are splitting the proceeds with me 50/50. Let’s say, I only sell 100 copies in a year. The book earns $209, we each get $104.5. That’s a good deal for me, bad deal for them.
But suppose the book sells well. Suppose it’s a hit, and it sells, like many e-books do, 10,000 units per year.
Total earnings: $20,930
Redacted’s cut: $10,465.
What if it sells 20,000 units per year?
Total earnings: $41,860
Redacted’s cut: $20,930.
Think about it. You just paid almost 21K for services only worth about 3K and you will continue to pay them more and more money for the lifetime of the book, which can be available for years and years. Do the math before you jump.
For those who are interested, we are using our agency to distribute our ebooks, because we don’t have the time to manage our backlist. Most agencies with ebook plans in place take only 15% of the earnings, not 50%. Our agency is our partner, they offer a great list of services, and they more than earn their money.
Explore all of your options. :) Try to go for the flat-fee services if you can, or for those who offer low-percentage profit sharing. Sometimes giving up 20-30% of earnings isn’t a bad option if it means the work wouldn’t see the light of day any other way, but there is usually a cheaper option. High-percentage profit sharing typically only works in content creator’s favor when the work commercially fails.
April 1, 2014
Click to enlarge
Hidden Legacy, Book 1
Release date: October 28, 2014
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
I feel like we’ve been building toward this idea for a really long time.
It began years ago with a short story called Of Swine and Roses. It’s a story of girl from a world where magic is a normal, every-day thing and her disastrous date. There was something oddly compelling about the worldbuilding we did for that short. Magic exists in the world, magic is hereditary, and family business often revolves around the family magic. Imagine that you a pyrokinetic, a fire mage who can create heat and flame out of nothing. Let’s you you become a glass maker. You’re able to precisely apply just enough of the right kind of heat to create beautiful glass pieces. Your children are pyrokinetics too. Perhaps they follow in your footsteps or perhaps they choose to go into metallurgy or enlist in military forces and become a combat operative.
It’s such a simple idea but it allows for so much flexibility and conflict. It lends itself to a vibrant, fresh world.
We left the story alone and moved on to other ideas. Then came the world of Kinsmen, two science fiction stories that combined romance and enhanced human beings. They lived on a different planet and their families ran it, the way mafia families had once ran New York.
Now we finally come to BURN FOR ME. It grew out of those previous stories and we can’t wait to share it with you. It’s a story of a woman who exists in a world very much like our own, except this world revolves around Houses, magic dynasties. They own corporations, they dominate politics, and they feud to each other. It’s a story of over the top adventure, flashy magic, and unlikely romance between Nevada Baylor, who knows when people lie to her and Mad Rogan, the billionaire-mage who wields almost god-like power.
It’s funny and and romantic and it was so much fun to write. We’re thrilled to work with Avon on it and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
March 24, 2014
Sorry guys, we are trying to catch up. Had a rough weekend. On Friday Kid 1 reported that Tulip, one of our cats, had thrown up cat food streaked with blood. Since Tulip is tiny, she was immediately rushed to the vet, where the diagnosis of “We don’t know what’s wrong; it could be a number of things” was announced.
Her tummy was distended, which didn’t mean anything because Tulip is a little piggy. She was negative for worms, but they gave us dewormer anyway. Tulip doesn’t like dewormer. Also, unlike our other cats, Tulip doesn’t suffer indignities of having her temperature taken with stoic determination. She bit the vet. That was the last spark we saw from her. She became really lethargic after that and we thought she might have been tired from vomiting and stress of being at the vet.
Then we brought Tulip home and we had company this weekend, Gordon’s former boss, Tracy, from Savannah. We took her out to County Line, which is one of the iconic BBQ places in Austin and is always great. When we came home, Tulip couldn’t walk. I went right to “She is going to die” place. I don’t even know why. Well, I do. We lost a shelter kitten to FIP a couple of years ago without any warning and it made me paranoid. I was convinced she would die.
Baby Tulip and her big brother Edward von Gigglestein. Same parents, different litter.
So me and the kids sat with her and tried to get water into her (if you dip your fingers into water, most cats will lick it off) and then we offered her some of the special canned food the vet had prescribed. It was supposed to be gentle on her stomach. Tulip could barely stand but she ate half a can. Because she ate, we held off on going to the emergency vet.
In the morning Tulip had used the litter box but still wasn’t walking. Normally Tulip is a tiny grey lightning. Zoom this way, zoom that way, pounce. So I took her back to the vet as soon as they opened. They watched her walk. She was really uncoordinated and faceplanted a couple of times. The vet decided it was neurological and gave us some antibiotics in case of a bacterial infection. I also asked her to give Tulip some fluids, and predictably Tulip didn’t like having fluids injected under her skin and tried to bite the vet again. I bought her a bag of atrocious smelling Science Diet kitten food in hopes that she would eat. So clearly the message is, “Bite the vet = get awesome food.”
I had to work on Sunday, because of that novella we should not have agreed to do and which I now violently hate. Tulip has been under constant surveillance for the past three days. If Gordon or I didn’t watch her, the kids did.
So it’s Monday. Tulip is running around, pouncing, and annoying her older brother. We scaled the kitten deathwatch somewhat, but we’re not out of the woods. She is still a bit uncoordinated.
Now we must work on this novella. It’s like writing the last Edge book – when I think about it, I want to throw things because I don’t want to write it. It’s like that project at work you know you have to do, but you’ve been putting it off and off and now it’s due. But it’s Jim and Dali, so I’m sure we can make it fun at some point.
This is based on a popular decal, but I drew the stick figures myself, and paid for stock art. Feel free to use.
Oh, and here is the beginning for you. When I was moaning about it on Twitter, people asked for the chain mail bikini, so one is enclosed.
Please refrain from pointing out typos, stylistic “mistakes,” commas, semicolons, and arguing whether or not we had chosen the correct word. Normally I am okay with typo corrections, but as I can see from Clean Sweep, people tend to concentrate on “Let me fix your writing!” rather than the content of the posts and I would rather not deal with it right this second. Thank you for your understanding.
I looked at myself in the mirror. I wore a tomato-red satin garter belt with black-lace-up inserts. The garter belt held up black fishnet stockings. A matching bra did its best to push up my small boobs. It didn’t have much to work with. I wasn’t just skinny. When my body was made, someone had read the instructions wrong. I had tiny boobs, narrow hips, and thin chopstick legs with knobby knees.
I looked ridiculous.
The description of the bra had promised “enticing curves” and encouraged me to “flirt with your most stunning cleavage.” I leaned on the bathroom vanity and blew the air out. This sucked so much.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror. “You’re a weretiger. Confident. Aggressive. Roar.”
It could be worse, I told myself. I could’ve gone for the chain mail bikini. The lingerie shop had one of those, too.
The sales clerk had recommended a floaty pink see-through thing with bows. Buying that was out of the question. I was already short and skinny. The see-through thing would swallow me. Besides, the color was wrong. My parents were Indonesian, of Javanese descent, and my skin had a bronze undertone. That shade of pink did not look good on me. Besides, that outfit was a baby-doll outfit. Looking cute and sweet was the last thing I wanted to do, because tonight Jim Shrapshire and I had a date.
Jim Shrapshire ran Clan Cat, one of the seven clans in the Atlanta’s Shapeshifter Pack. A werejaguar, he normally served as the Pack’s Chief of Security. Jim wasn’t just a badass. He was a badass who wrote a book for badasses on how to be a badder badass. Which is why, when Curran, the Beastlord and the ruler of the Pack, had to go on an expedition to Mediterranean, he left Jim in charge of fifteen hundred shapeshifters. Curran’s been gone for about a month and Jim was keeping the Pack together with iron claws. He was smart, scary, funny, had muscles in places I had no idea muscles existed, and for some weird reason he liked me.
March 22, 2014
Click to embiggen
From across the room, [Kid 2] stated she had to go to the restroom, while students were taking a test. She was told to remain quiet during the test and will have to wait until another student returns. She then asked me, “are you bleeding from your penis?” She then demanded I send her to the AP office or ISS room while disrupting the test takers. When she was told she may go, she stated, “No, I will just sit here and bleed.” She never left the room.
The story according to Kid 2:
I was done taking the test in health class and I walked up to Mr. Crawson and asked him to go to the bathroom. He asked why, and I told him I had feminine issues.
He asked, “What kind of feminine issues?”
I said, “Feminine issues.”
Then he said, “If those are the feminine issues I think you’re talking about, I know more about them than you do, and you don’t have to go right now.”
And then I said, “Really, Mr. Crawson, you know more about it? Do you bleed out of your penis every month?”
But honestly I said penis, we were in a health class, and it’s not like it’s a bad word.
So I had lunch detention and when ladies in the office asked what for, I told them and they laughed.
As an aside, Kid 2 is not in trouble, as I completely believe her side of the story. I do also believe that upon being told that she couldn’t go, she declared that she would just sit there and bleed. Because she is my child and I would’ve done worse if he attempted to embarrass me by asking what kind of feminine issues I had.
Update (because a couple of people took this in the odd direction): This is not about the teacher’s due diligence. This is about a grown man in the position of authority telling a young girl that he knows more about menstruation and its side effects than she does. Her response is exactly the way we all feel when men try to legislate our reproductive rights.