A Thank You to Readers

Tags

, , ,

I’m not sure what it was about this Easter weekend, but my books got a lot of love, and I wanted to say thank you. It was also interesting to get them from different places: through artwork, through a note in my contact form, on my Facebook author page, in person, and through an anonymous ask box on my Tumblr.

On Saturday morning, a 17-year-old girl from New Zealand named Laya sent me this extraordinary fan art she did of a scene from Shadowplay. It’s so detailed and incredible to see a scene from my books come alive. Someone was moved enough by my words to spend what must have been hours crafting such beautiful work. And to be 17 and that talented? Wow.micahanddrystan micahanddrystan2

The next morning, I had the sweetest note from a 13-year-old from Spain, who said that my books are “two of the best books that I’ve read since the post-Potter depression. For me, that’s saying a lot (I haven’t been so nervous and expectant to see who would win the Maske/Taliesin duel since the final Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin).” I stared at that for a long time. I grew up a Potterhead, reading fan fiction, dressing up, seeing the film 5 times in the cinema, going to midnight book launches. I remember I was on holiday in Hawaii and my dad had picked up the 4th book for me but I couldn’t read it for the two days until I came back, so I asked him to read me the first few chapters over the phone, I was so desperate to read them. To hear that a total stranger, nearly half my age, found my books even slightly as meaningful as those books were to me…well. That’s an incredible feeling. 

In person, I had the lovely Ann Smyth from Twitter come up to me after the panel and tell me how much she was enjoying Shadowplay. I showed her the fan art and she said she hadn’t gotten to it, and then the next day she told me she’d reached it! Then she told me via Twitter that she’d finished. I love getting little updates like that. It’s so cool to think that yes, someone’s going about their daily lives, like a con, but reading my book in the evening before they go to sleep.

Monday, I got a message from a reader from China on my FB author page. The fact my words are being read around the world is still absolutely awesome. Lastly, I received an anonymous ask in my Tumblr, so I don’t know where they are from, thanking me and saying they bought the second book before they’d even finished the first. In the past, I’ve had people tell me my book helped them feel better about being bisexual. A parent of a school visit I did said she enjoyed my world as much as Narnia. I’ve had a genderfluid person saying it was nice to read a character that was like them. I’ve had a 15-year-old book say my books were the some of their favourite books on Earth.

I worry listing these is coming across as bragging, and that’s not my goal at all. I feel like the least I can do is say a public and heartfelt thank you to these people that have contacted me.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who’s reached out to me to tell me that they appreciated my work. It really means so much. Writing is a crazy industry sometimes. It’s full of ups and downs and vast amounts of uncertainty. Before you’re published you have no idea if anyone will want to read your projects. After you’re published, when you’re writing, it’s hard to remember sometimes that there are those out there who want to read your words. You feel like you’re sending things off into the void and you’re listening for echoes, and sometimes it can feel very quiet.

Thank you for liking what you like and feeling moved enough to reach out. I never did that as a teen, and even now I’ve only reached out to a few of my favourite artists because I’m afraid to. Getting these have made me realise how silly that is, and I’m going to try and tell more people that I admire how I feel about their creations. Receiving notes from readers is hands down one of the best parts of being an author for me. It really helps remind me that this is why I love writing: connecting with others. Not for sales figures, not for money (though money would be nice), but to entertain people with my characters and worlds.

Please, never feel ashamed or embarrassed to contact out to someone whose work you admire (unless it’s to show up at their home unannounced at their house or something. Maybe don’t do that). I can guarantee you that they’ll appreciate it. A sweet, little one line note will brighten their whole day and give them the courage to keep going, even when they doubt themselves. Which happens rather frequently, because most creators are neurotic, self-doubting creatures by nature. ;-)

Thank you for being amazing.

 

Eastercon 2014: Satellite4

Tags

, ,

This past weekend I went to a con that, for once, didn’t involve a plane ride! It was just down the road in Glasgow and only required a short train journey. This was only my second convention since my books came out (I didn’t go to many last year), and the first one where I was on the programming.

It was a good con, with plenty of old friends and a few new ones.

On Friday I took an early train in and hung around, saying hello. The only programming bit I went to was the ceilidh workshop. I ate my first burrito in…a long time, as there’s not much Mexican food in Aberdeen. After seeing my friends I was staying with, I went back to the hotel for the ceilidh! There was much dancing with my dashing date for the evening, Andrew Reid.

Action shot with Jenny in the foreground. Photo courtesy of Juliet.

Action shot with Jenny in the foreground. Photo courtesy of Juliet.

If you’re not familiar with a ceilidh, it’s basically Scottish square dancing. I first discovered it at my friend Rhona’s wedding last month and really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of skipping and twirling, basically, and it’s completely fine if you don’t really know what you’re doing, as long as you laugh about it. Me and Andrew danced nearly every dance. It was a blast.

The next day, with slightly sore legs from all the skipping, I had a leisurely meal with my friend Grant before heading back to the con. I had my first-ever panel at three, which was on future representation with Stephanie Saulter, Ian Whates, Donna Bond, and moderated by Fran Dowd. I had worried that I wouldn’t have much to say, despite writing 5 pages of notes beforehand, but as we got going it turns out I had LOTS to say. We touched on race, the conservatism of SF and yet how it can be progressive, atyptical anatomies, LGBT content, disability, fan fiction, how Hollywood can often de-diversify SF books, and much more. It was a really good panel and every single seat was filled, so that was excellent.

panel1

Photocred: Juliet Mushens

panel3

Photocred: Donna Bond

Afterwards, Juliet and Den taught a swing dance, and that night there was a bit of dancing, but not near as much as the previous night, which was probably for the best for my feet. Saturday night also was a Cards Against Humanity outing, thanks to Tracy, a fellow ex-pat American. Quite a few of my friends had never played before, but as they’re all depraved it went over quite well. ;-)

The Hugo nominations were announced, and I’m happy that my friends Wes Chu and Foz Meadows are on them (for the Campbell and Best Fan Writer, respectively), and Lee Harris of AR got a Best Editor nod, too, as well as many other good works and writers. Basically, huge congratulations to everyone except for the man whose name rhymes with Fox Ray, because he’s a racist rape apologist and the fact he’s on the ballot makes me sad (here are some posts if you’re not familiar with the background). There’s also some controversy over Wheel of Time being considered, since it’s such a longspanning series.

Sunday the late nights, bad food, and dehydration of the Hottest Hotel Ever began to take their toll and I was pretty exhausted. It was more hanging about the con, and one of the highlights of the day was making sock puppets with Sophie Calder and Lisa. It was like being back in Kindergarden. I was really proud of my sock puppet, which I named Let Them Sock Cake.

sockpuppets2

Immensely proud of the hat I made.

sockpuppets

We don’t look all that amused here, but I promise it was super fun.

In the evening, I went to the panel called Good Practice in Editing and Reviewing, which had Gollancz editor Marcus Gipps, freelance editor and writer Ruth Booth, another author/reviewer Jack Deighton, and my agent, Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group. It was a good panel looking at different viewpoints, and Gollancz editor Gillian Readfearn was an excellent moderator.

editingandreviewing

That evening we went out to the Bier Halle, which is a must-visit if you like beer and pizza and find yourself in Glasgow. So tasty! Monday was a brief visit and then a trip back to Aberdeen. Unfortunately, in the evening I started feeling pretty poorly and still feel very under the weather today.

The obligatory shout outs: I ended up mainly hanging out with: my agent, Juliet Mushens, Den Patrick, Andrew Reid, Rob Haines, Jenny Haines, Lisa, Emma Maree Urquhart, Tracy Berg, Marcus Gipps, Gillian Redfearn, and Sophie Calder. It was also nice to see some other familiar faces from twitter, such as Ann Smyth, Lor Graham, Ellie Hutchinson, Gianni Ceccarelli, Cam Johnston and more. I always feel nervous doing these shout outs because I know I’ll inevitably forget someone and feel like an idiot. Also, I’m too lazy to link all the names to their Twitter feeds, sorry.

The other cons I’ll be going to this year are: Nine Worlds, Loncon, and Fantasycon. Can’t wait!

Recent Links: #LGBTApril and More!

April is LGBT Month, and throughout the month, Pantomime & Shadowplay have been discussed out and about on the web.

LGBTMonth

LGBT Month is hosted by Laura @ Laura Plus Books and Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer.  It runs throughout the month of April and it’s here to celebrate LGBT+ readers, LGBT+ authors and of course LGBT+ books.

Cayce of Fighting Dreamer put up a great review of both Pantomime & Shadowplay: “I really loved how these books escape what’s common for most ya fantasy [. . .] and instead give us something truly unique and captivating. Pantomime & Shadowplay is so… unlike any (ya) fantasy I’ve read/heard of – I’m really glad I gave this series a chance.”

I also have a guest post on Cayce’s blog called “No Longer the Last Taboo – Intersex Characters in YA Fiction.”

Over at Uncorked Thoughts, I have a guest post on “The Somewhat Hidden Rainbow in Fantasy” with some resources on where to find LGBT fantasy.

At Dani’s Blog, Pen to Paper, I let you know 5 things you might not know about me, plus 5 things you might not know about Micah/Gene.

Over at Once Upon a Bookcase, Jo writes about intersex characters in YA, and Pantomime & Shadowplay get a mention.

Clover at Fluttering Butterflies has a post on Bisexual Characters for LGBT April, and Pantomime & Shadowplay are also mentioned there as well.

Over on the Diversity in YA tumblr, Pantomime is featured as part of a Diverse Dozen.

While trying to round up all my recent guest posts, I found this lovely review at Books and Beautiful: “Lam’s depiction of Gene/Micah’s personal story is lovely, thought-provoking, and one that I have become wholly invested in emotionally. The questions about self-identity that go through the character’s mind throughout the course of the story, the struggle to accept and understand… It felt real to me, and really got me in the heart.”

Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn says of Shadowplay: “[ . . .] it is still in my top five YA series going at this point.  The next book can’t come fast enough, I doubt I will ever tire of Micah and can’t wait to finally get some answers.”

One of the fun parts of having quotes from my book on places like Goodreads is my words end up appearing in different places on the internet, like before this adorable circus-themed wedding or this circus summer camp for kids!

This weekend I’ll be in Glasgow for Eastercon. Can’t wait!

Eastercon 2014 Schedule

Tags

, ,

In a few weeks, I’ll be in Glasgow for the Satellite4, the 65th Eastercon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I’ll also be participating in my first-ever panel. This is my only official part of the programming. Aside from that I’ll be bouncing around between other panels and in the bar. If you recognise me, please do feel free to say hello.

Sat 19 April 15.00-16.00

PANEL: Future Representation

The panel explores SF literature in the context of what stories actually are, or are not, being told. Who gets to be in the future; what happens to everyone else; and who gets to decide?

Fran Dowd (moderator), Laura Lam, Stephanie Saulter, Donna Scott, Ian Whates

Looking forward to it!

Books Read in March

Tags

,

houseofsmallshadows

Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post.

1. Fables Vol 16: Super Team – Bill Willingham.

2. Fables Vol 17: Inherit the Wind – Bill Willingham. Enjoying the new material.

3. Falconer 2 – Elizabeth May. This was a beta, but I figured I’ll count it since it’ll be released next year :-) A worthy follow up to The Falconer!

4. The House of Small Shadows – Adam Nevill. Good lord this book was creepy. And good. I love his books because they are definitely horror and terrifying, but they focus a lot on characters and the atmosphere is fantastic.

5. A Brief History of Witchcraft – Lois Martin. Vaguely book-related research, but mostly I just like learning about witches.

Plus I beta-read two other manuscripts this month. Busy!

 

Friday Fiction: Poetry: “Hide, Empty, Lose”

So. This is a poem that I’ve always wanted to share but been too afraid to. But this article written by Foz Meadows about Female Bodies and the strange, contrary messages we constantly send to girls and women has made me pensive. I really recommend you read it. If you grow up fat, if you grow up thin – you still hear the messages. They can still hurt.

I had an eating disorder when I was a teen. It was pretty severe. I have been recovered for years, but to some extent, disordered thinking around food is always going to be with me. Even if I don’t act on it anymore, inside in some ways I am still anorexic. Actually, even saying I’ve been recovered for years is a a lie – I had a brief slipup with bulimia a few months ago, though I am okay now.

As with most types of mental illness, there’s a stigma around it. But here’s a poem I wrote about what it was like for me to deal with anorexia. I have teen readers, and adult readers. I’m sure some have dealt with this, too. Male and female – everyone deals with the messages society puts on us about weight, health, and beauty.  I was lucky – I had a great support network and still do. I recognise what can be dangerous for me and listen to myself and my body. There are lots of ways to get help. If you suffer from this – reach out. People will understand. People will help. You are not alone.

Trigger warnings, I suppose. I also have a picture of me at a low weight at the end.

Running on Empty
Laura Lam

What are you doing? You can’t eat
that. How can you still let it slip
between your lips and teeth and down your throat? “I
can solve it with two fingers,” you say. Hide
the evidence in a porcelain bowl. What do you have to lose?
You’re only running on empty.

You’re full of contradictions. “When empty,
I feel full.” Horseshit. Eat
your words. Are they filling? Lose
your body, lose yourself and slip
into size two or zero. Maybe, just maybe, if you hide,
you won’t have to look anyone in the eye.

Look in the mirror. Hold one hand over your eye,
squint. Tap a rhythm against your clavicle. Hold one hand over an empty
stomach. Use the other to play the xylophone of ribs. Hunch and hide,
but glance behind you to see the scapula wings. Don’t eat
that. Have grapes or carrots instead. Don’t slip.
Where else do you have to lose?

Step on the scale. Try not to cry. You think you must lose
at least a couple more pounds. “If I only did, then I
would be thin enough. Just two more pounds.” Slip
down the slippery slope and empty
yourself again. Reasoning: in another 45 minutes you can eat
miso soup and turkey slices. Count calories to hide

what you don’t want to think about. Hide
memories. Hide fears. Hide worries. Just lose
a bit more. A tiny bit more. You can eat
after 45 minutes of cardio. Eyes
droop, muscles tremor. You’re still running on empty.
After awhile it’s only inevitable that you slip.

Standing there in the kitchen in only your slip,
you guzzle soda, shovel mac and cheese, inhale cookies and hide
from guilt, fear, anxiety, the empti-
ness. Perhaps, if you eat enough, you’ll lose
that feeling. Fill up the square hole with something round. “I
know, I know, ” you say. “I can’t have my cake and eat

it, too.” Eat, don’t eat. Slip further, slip
down, close eyes red from broken blood vessels and hide
deeper within as you lose a little more just to stay empty.
highschool

Pantomime Nominated for the Bisexual Book Awards! Cranky Ladies Funded!

Tags

, , , ,

bisexualflagYesterday, I had one of the nicest days I’d had in a long time. I didn’t oversleep (for once). I tidied up the flat so it looked lovely. Then I received the lovely news that Pantomime has been nominated for the Bisexual Book Awards, announced on Examiner.com:

I seem to be in two categories:

Bisexual Speculative Fiction [Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror]
1. Angel on the Ropes by Jill Shultz, Jill Shultz
2. The Art of Forgetting: Rider by Joanne Hall, Kristell Ink
3. Bisexual Vegetarian Zombies by Ron Albury and Eric Kilpatrick, CreateSpace
4. The Children of Gavrilek (Volume 1) by Julie Kirtón Chandler, Sly Snake Publishing
5. Coda by Emma Trevayne, Running Press Kids
6. Cythera by Jo Graham, Supposed Crimes
7. The Devil’s Concubine by Jill Braden, Wayzgoose Press
8. The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell, Harcourt Children’s Books
9. Extraordinary Deviations by Raven Kaldera, Circlet Press
10. House of Sable Locks by Elizabeth Schechter, Circlet Press
11. Hungry Ghost (Tales of the Pack Book 2) by Allison Moon, Lunatic Ink
12. Inheritance by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
13. Pantomime by Laura Lam, Strange Chemistry
14. The Queerling by Austin Gary, Deckle Press
15. Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson, Grand Central Publishing
16. The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press
17. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books

Bisexual YA Fiction [Teen/Young Adult]
1. Bi-Normal by M.G. Higgins (Gravel Road Series), Saddleback Educational Publishing
2. Coda by Emma Trevayne, Running Press Kids
3. The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell, Harcourt Children’s Books
4. Inheritance by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
5. Love in The Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, Henry Holt and Co.
6. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
7. Pantomime by Laura Lam, Strange Chemistry
8. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books
9. Tides by Betsy Cornwell, Clarion Books
10. Wonderland by David-Matthew Barnes, Bold Strokes Books

Huge congrats to Emma Trevayne, Joanne Hall, Malinda Lo, and all the other names on the list!

So after having that lovely bit of news, I went out into the actual sunshine (a relative rarity in Aberdeen) and went shopping for a dress to wear to the three weddings I’m attending this year. Mission accomplished. I then went to the cafe to get some writing done and by coincidence, there was a live jazz festival directly outside of the cafe, so I had live music while I wrote. I then met the lovely Foz Meadows to catch up and also celebrate the fact that The Cranky Ladies of History anthology funded, and we’re both on the line up! We ate food, drank cocktails, and went back to mine to hang out with my cats.

All in all, yesterday was wonderful.

And now it’s Monday. :-P

The Robin Hobb Birthday Scavenger Hunt Clue – With Pictures

Tags

, , ,

Last week, fantasy author Robin Hobb had a worldwide birthday scavenger hunt, and I was the hider in Aberdeen, Scotland. I came up with a poem for my clue, and while I hid it that morning, I took photos on my phone along the way, and thought that I’d share them now that all the presents have been found.

Before: Mowgli helped me wrap.

mowg

The present, a signed copy of Renegade’s Magic and Pantomime, were found by Louise Keating.

Location: Victoria Park, Rosemount, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

I’m going to lead you down the rabbit hole.
The place you are meant to go is named after a queen.
She perhaps didn’t scream “Off with their heads!” but she
led an empire. That’s clear enough, isn’t it?
It’s a place of greenery and trees. Perhaps you played there as a child.
Got it? Start at the entrance.

20140305_075040On your right there will be a gatehouse, looking like something out of a fairy tale.
Perhaps smoke curls from the chimney. Perhaps you wonder who lives in it.

20140305_075121Continue down the promenade, under the trees, bare in the winter chill.
There may be people there, walking dogs, urging bundled children to run about.

20140305_075327 Stop at the fountain. It is made of fourteen different types of granite.
No water runs from it. It stands tall and imposing.

20140305_075353 Look to your left. There’s a little brick gate. Go through it.

20140305_075437
A little further along, there will be the remnants of a chess board on the asphalt,
nearly erased by time, its pieces long missing.
Around you are slumbering rose bushes.
When they bloom, no one paints the white blooms red.
They’re already crimson.
You’re almost there.

20140305_075516 There are two pillars of greenery right in front of you.
Between them is a black flower box.
Dig carefully.

20140305_075859 The treasure is against the wall closest to you, just hidden beneath the new soil.
There it is.
Take it home. Unwrap it. Read the letters.
Open the cover, run your fingertips along the pages.
Fall down the rabbit hole.

Bonus picture: Spring

20140305_080037

Robin Hobb’s Birthday Scavenger Hunt!

Tags

, , , ,

scavengerhunt

It’s Robin Hobb’s birthday! She is 62 today. One of my very favourite authors for over a decade now, it’s been lovely to be able to get to know her a bit better since I started my writing journey – I sent her Pantomime and she read it (and gave a blurb!) and I met her in person at WFC last year. I was very pleased when she approached me to help celebrate her birthday.

The post has gone live here. The shorter version here is that Robin Hobb and OfficeKat have been very sneaky the last few months, finding minions around the world to help plant gifts for readers all around the world, spanning from the UK, the US, New Zealand, Italy, and France. I hid my prize this morning, and I also added a little something of my own – a signed copy of Pantomime! I liked the idea of a book of mine and a book of Robin’s hiding out together. I’m not sure which book I had (it’s wrapped up), but if it’s a book with the Fitz and Fool, I can imagine Drystan and the Fool whispering ribald jokes to each other, with Micah and Fitz rolling their eyes at their antics.

Below is my clue. If you find it, take a photo! Also, please be a bit careful with the dirt and put it back in place, if you’d be so kind.

I’m going to lead you down the rabbit hole.
The place you are meant to go is named after a queen.
She perhaps didn’t scream “Off with their heads!” but she
led an empire. That’s clear enough, isn’t it?
It’s a place of greenery and trees. Perhaps you played there as a child.
Got it? Start at the entrance.
On your right there will be a gatehouse, looking like something out of a fairy tale.
Perhaps smoke curls from the chimney. Perhaps you wonder who lives in it.
Continue down the promenade, under the trees, bare in the winter chill.
There may be people there, walking dogs, urging bundled children to run about.
Stop at the fountain. It is made of fourteen different types of granite.
No water runs from it. It stands tall and imposing.
Look to your left. There’s a little brick gate. Go through it.
A little further along, there will be the remnants of a chess board on the asphalt,
nearly erased by time, its pieces long missing.
Around you are slumbering rose bushes.
When they bloom, no one paints the white blooms red.
They’re already crimson.
You’re almost there.
There are two pillars of greenery right in front of you.
Between them is a black flower box.
Dig carefully.
The treasure is against the wall closest to you, just hidden beneath the new soil.
There it is.
Take it home. Unwrap it. Read the letters.
Open the cover, run your fingertips along the pages.
Fall down the rabbit hole.

Happy hunting!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,377 other followers