Just a flying visit with a few links of me out and about on the web:
1. I have a guest post on Gay YA called The Grey of Gender: Intersex and Gender Variant/Non-Binary Characters in YA
Just a flying visit with a few links of me out and about on the web:
1. I have a guest post on Gay YA called The Grey of Gender: Intersex and Gender Variant/Non-Binary Characters in YA
This is from Edinburgh Airport. I know that Pantomime is/was in Heathrow and Inverness airports as well. Maybe others?
I don’t really know what it means. Am I 75 across all genres? Or just children’s though those don’t seem to be children’s books)? Is that across all WHSmiths? But whatever it means, I’m going to take it as a good sign!
A huge thank you to everyone who’s picked up Pantomime so far. You are all wonderful <3.
The 3rd-6th of May was the LGBT Read-a-thon, hosted by Faye @ Daydreamer’s Thoughts. I joined though I couldn’t quite participate in everything as I was swamped with schoolwork. I read one book for the readathon, which was I am J by Cris Beam.
J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was; a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a “real boy” and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible – from his family, from his friends…from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he’s done hiding – it’s time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.
An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path – readers will recognize a part of themselves in J’s struggle to love his true self.
Transgender teens are some of the most underrepresented groups in YA fiction (Gay YA is about 1% of books published, with trangender teens about 4% of that 1%). It was a great book. J had a young, authentic voice, and he was full of so much confusion and rage. He did typical, stupid teenage things, but he grew quite a bit throughout the book. I read it in a day and definitely recommend it.
I also participated in the Twitter chat that happened Sunday evening. If you missed it, check out #LGBTread on Twitter. I answered some questions about Pantomime as well.
Faye is also hosting a LGBT Giveaway at her blog, which you can read more about here.
I hope there’s another one, as I had a lot of fun, and there’s still plenty of LGBT reads for me to get through!
It’s another one of those milestones in my fledgling writer’s life. I proved to myself that I could do it–I had more than one book in me, and I could write it over twice as fast as the other one. I could continue Micah Grey’s story and in the end, I’m really rather proud of how it turned out. In some ways, this is the beginning, as now it’ll start the process from manuscript to Real Book, but all in all, I’m pleased with my sequel. I think I raised the stakes and challenged myself as a writer. I definitely had my sticking points, overall the process wasn’t quite as difficult as I feared (I jinxed myself, though–my WIP is currently REALLY difficult to make up for it!).
Soon, I’ll go through the whole process I did with Pantomime again–more edits, a new cover, new blog posts, interviews, holding the ARC, reviews (though of course I have the fear that people won’t like the sequel as much as the first one! Ah!), seeing the finished books, sending it off into the world, hoping it flies.
But not quite yet. So, off goes my second book, which I can happily ignore for a bit while I get on with other projects, and keep dreaming and hoping.
I’ve done a couple of Pantomime events over the past few weeks.
On April 13th, I had a signing at Waterstones in Aberdeen at the Langstane Branch. It was a quiet day in the store but I still met a few strangers and sold some books. It was really wonderful to meet Lee, the manager, Pamela, the amazing bookseller who kept me company, and Dawn, a fellow Robin Hobb fan. There’s still leftover signed copies in that branch, and evidently last week Pantomime was their #1 title in store! Yay!
On April 18th, I Skyped a library in Florida, St. Johns, and spoke to a few teens for their teen coffeehouse night. It was a really nice, relaxed event. One teen even read me one of his poems and another showed me his artwork. The librarian, Alexandra, has been an online friend for years, so it was so cool to be able to talk to her face-to-face and have a glimpse of where she works.
If you’re interested in an event, such as a school or library visit, either in person or via Skype, please get in touch via my contact form on this website.
I have a signing next Saturday, April 13, at the Waterstones (Langstane branch – the one by Bon Accord St) in Aberdeen. It starts at 1 pm, and it might go until 3, or until it seems like I’m just sitting there by myself. It’d be wonderful if you could come or tell people who might be interested about it. I’m numbering the first 500 signed copies of Pantomime, so who knows, maybe they’ll be an investment down the line
Books read in March:
Geek Girl – Holly Smale (contemporary, YA, model, humour). I know Holly on Twitter and was just in the mood for a light fun read when this book came out. I devoured it in a day. Harriet Manners, self-proclaimed-geek-turned-model is clever and self-deprecating, and while the plot might be a bit predictable, it’s a fun journey. And if you think the idea of getting plucked from a mall to become a high fashion model sounds far-fetched–it happened to Holly!
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan – Jake Adelstein (nonfiction, memoir, japan, crime). Craig read this about a year ago and I finally got around to reading it. It’s a really interesting look at a world I didn’t know much about.
Writing the Other – Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward (nonfiction, writing, diversity). Considering most of my writing addresses the notion of “the other” in some way, I thought I’d give this a quick read. I felt I learned a few things from it.
The Girls – Lori Lansen (contemporary, conjoined twins, canada). A beautifully written book about two conjoined twins growing up in rural Canada. One of my favourite reads this year.
I had a nice review in SoSoGay magazine (reveals “spoilers”)
I had an interview at Pen to Paper, and Dani ran a giveaway for a signed copy of Pantomime.
That’s all for now. Finishing up edits on Shadowplay to give to my editor at the end of the month, plus lots of uni work. I do miss free time.
Today on the blog I have my fellow Inkbot, Mike Stewart. The Inkbots are an online writing group from the people who made it to the later rounds of Angry Robot’s two Open Door months. Mike has just self-published his short YA novel, Assured Destruction, and it’s an ambitious experiment on transmedia. It’s a lot of work, and it’s really interesting to see all the various outlets he’s creating for people to interact with him, his characters, and his story, and I hope it pays off. Here’s Mike!
Do you want to separate your writing from the pack? To rise above the noise? Why not employ a methodology used by major Hollywood Studios, from the creators of SUPERNATURALS to HEROES, to many major films and gaming franchises like Assassin’s Creed? It’s called transmedia!
So … Transmedia … WTF is it? The best definition I’ve ever seen is, Transmedia=Storyworld.
It’s every entry point for your readers to your story. I’m not talking where they can buy your book, or your Facebook fan page, those are marketing channels, not story … channels. Are your characters on twitter? Do they Facebook or create videos on Vimeo or YouTube? Maybe there’s a puzzle in your novel that readers can solve on an iPad app which unlocks back story? These are story extensions. Transmedia creates opportunities for readers to discover your book, to continue the story, and creates a feedback loop between fan and author.
Here’s an example, this is the Storyverse for my novel ASSURED DESTRUCTION.
The company in the book has a website, the protagonist has a blog, there’s a secret website to discover, a Facebook page and every character has a Twitter feed that reflects their personalities.
So, for example, if you follow @Heckleena, you’ll gain access to her graphic novel origin story. If you tweet at her, she’ll identify something about you to make fun of. She knows your location, whether you used an iPhone to tweet, what time of day you’re tweeting, where you live, and how many followers you have. All things she can mock, just like her character in the book. I also personally monitor all the Twitter feeds and respond where appropriate.
Transmedia is about collapsing the distance between the book and the reader. It also serves to reduce the distance to the author, so the writer can identify areas of particular interest and develop them further.
Wanna try it? Here are a few tips.
• Plan for it from the start. Should Moby Dick be a Facebook app? Should Shakespeare tweet? Maybe, but we can do better than gimmicks.
• Keep the book standalone. Don’t mess with the fictional dream. Have all content be additive to the overall experience, but not entirely necessary for a compelling story.
• Leverage existing platforms. Don’t make your readers have to find and sign into a new platform or forum. Develop content where the audience is (Hint: they’re on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube).
• This isn’t marketing, it’s storytelling.
If you want to learn more about transmedia and whether it’s working for me, like my Facebook page and you can keep track. Interested in ASSURED DESTRUCTION? See some reviews on Goodreads, or learn more on my website.
Have questions? Ask away!
About Assured Destruction
You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive…Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.
Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They’re stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.
When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.
“A fun, fast-paced thriller guaranteed to distract teens from Facebook for at least a little while.” –Kirkus Reviews
Friday the 15th was my Aberdeen launch at the local Waterstones, for my friends and family who understandably couldn’t make it out to London. And wow. I moved to Aberdeen three and a bit years ago, knowing only Craig’s immediate family and friends. About 80 people showed up to my launch. I stood in front of them and felt so overwhelmed and blessed. I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but it’s still true. The support I’ve received for the launch of my baby book has been extraordinary and I’m so touched.
So this launch went similarly to the London one, except this time I had a normal microphone as opposed to a Madonna headset. I read from a different section and opened it up for questions again, and I actually got about 10 questions! Whoohoo. And then the signing. Unfortunately, Waterstones didn’t anticipate 80 people coming (I sent them the FB event page which showed at least 70, but in retrospect I should have confirmed numbers! But I was a little distracted by London), and so there weren’t enough books for everyone.
In any case, they’re going to order more stock and perhaps hold another signing, so I’ll announce that when I know more. It felt pretty rockstar to sell out in about 2 minutes though. It was nice to chat with people and sign more books (I’ve signed 139 at the time of writing in total!). Craig bought me a fancy fountain pen for signing, though it might not be the best choice when signing more than one or two at a time as bits of the paper kept getting stuck in the nib.
Afterwards, it was a lot of flitting around between groups and speaking with people. My Aberdeen worlds collided–in the same room were: Craig’s family, people from my current job, people from my old job at the library, two of my writing groups, people from nights out, and others. I was on a nerves and adrenaline high the whole time but overall I was just so happy. My book is out there and people came to launch it in style. Thank you, everyone, and I hope you all come back for launch 2.5! <3
The Forbidden Planet launch at London’s megastore on the 7th was wonderful. I flew down Wednesday night, and the journey ended up being rather farcical as I took: a car to the airport, the plane down to London, a bus, a train I had to wait 25 minutes for, an overground that I had to wait 20 minutes for, and then a cabbie who first couldn’t find me and then got lost twice on the way to where I was staying. Oy ve. Luckily, when I was stranded waiting for the taxi with a dying phone at freezing Willesden Junction in the middle of the night, I met a nice girl and boy who walked around with me a bit.
Wednesday, I hung out with Strange Chemistry author & friend Kim Curran and then went to collect my mother, who had flown out for my launch. On the way to collect said mother, as soon as I left the Royal Festival Hall, the first person I saw walking down the street was…the girl I’d walked around Willesden Junction with at midnight the previous night! What are the odds of that? So I gave her my card and invited her to my launch.
My mother and I checked into where we were staying and then went to stalk Forbidden Planet. My mom, the obligatory paparazzi, took these photos. She also might have cried a bit, and just barely refrained from spontaneously combusting with motherly pride.
I still couldn’t believe I was in the front window. So cool.
After that, we met up with editor extraordinaire Amanda Rutter for tea and then down to begin the actual launch! I think around 40 people showed up. I was both more nervous and not as nervous as I thought I’d be. So many faces!
I was originally going to read my first chapter but then Amanda rightly pointed out that a 3 minute reading might be a little short (darn it, she caught me out!), so I improvised another reading instead, and I think it went pretty well aside from the occasional stumble and my earrings clicking on my Madonna headphone set at the start.
Afterwards there was a Q&A but only one question (which my agent asked, hehe), and so next was the signing. As I’d only signed 4 books before that day, it was still weird to scrawl in books. I was writing in books! Wasn’t I ruining them? Did people really want my scribble? I also decided to number them as I signed because I’m geeky like that. I’ve now signed 77 Pantomimes.
It was lovely to see some bloggers I’d met at the Strange Chemistry launch back in August, except now they’d read the book (and liked it, whew), plus put faces to a few people I know from Twitter and meet a few strangers (!). As ever, it was great to see familiar faces like (cue namedropping): Juliet Mushens, Kim Curran, Adam Christopher, Amy McCulloch, Tom Pollock, Anne Lyle, Adrian Faulkner, Molly Ker Hawn, Will Hill, James Dawson, Paul Cornell, Liz de Jager, Jen Williams, & Laure Eve. One of my closest friends in Aberdeen traveled all the way down–yay Lorna! I also met an online friend for the first time, Imogen, and saw online friends again for the first time in a while (Susannah & Sandra), and my cousin Dylan and his lovely Rixt were there from Amsterdam. Also: the girl I met from the tube and then on the street showed up, though unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello. Thank you for coming, Diana, if you see this!
A huge thank you to everyone at Forbidden Planet as well, who made my first launch smooth and seamless and helped put me at ease.
Afterwards we went to the Phoenix pub and though it was hard to grab enough seats and chairs, it was nice to be able to chat at length with people. I drank champagne and felt very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful folks to launch Pantomime into the world.
We finished on a note of unhealthy food at Byron burgers, and by then the adrenaline was wearing off…so I had some sugar.
I’m still on a bit of a high from how amazing it all was…and then there’s still the Aberdeen launch next week!
Well. Today is Pantomime‘s US release date. I am now a published author. It’s so surreal. I woke up this morning and when I checked my phone, Caroline Hooton had tweeted me this photo of Pantomime in the Strand Bookstore in New York.
This week has been a culmination of “is this real life?” moments. For instance, on Saturday (when at my favourite local cafe for the last time as they have now shut down, which is devastating), I was just settling down to edit when Stephen J. Sweeney was walking down the road in London and spied something in the window of Forbidden Planet:
Pantomime hanging out next to The Wheel of Time, Gail Carriger, and other famous people/franchises. I was absolutely floored! All productivity went out the window.
Again, I was so touched and amazed. I’m going to send Teacup a signed copy of Pantomime as a thank you, because how often does someone get fan music, and such gorgeous music at that?
Monday continued to be surreal. At lunchtime I went to the local Waterstones where I’ll be having my Aberdeen launch, and I made a beeline for the L section of teen books. And wahey–I was face out and there were SIX copies! I was so pleased.
…And then I stood up, turned around, and saw the table display. My mouth dropped open comically.
So here we are. Tomorrow night I’ll be flying down to London for my Forbidden Planet Launch on Thursday. I’m out there in the US officially, and a few UK bookstores have me out already.
And now, my sales pitchy stuff, where hopefully I convince you to buy my book!
Strange Chemistry is also holding a contest to capture photos of Pantomime out in the wild to win more books! For details, click here.
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
“Who hasn’t dreamed off running off and joining the circus? Laura Lam’s Micah does just that, discovering a world of clowns and acrobats, con men and tricksters, corruption and incompetent doctors, and maybe more about himself. I look forward to more from this author.”
- Brian Katcher, author of Almost Perfect and winner of the 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award
“Micah is the most wonderful, complex, brave and contemporary teenage hero I’ve read, facing issues of identity and responsibility that will resound with any reader who has felt like an outsider. Pantomime is loving in it’s detail but hints at so much scope to come, it feels like the set up for an epic sequel. I raced through this book, desperate to know what happens next. ‘Look out behind you’, Robin Hobb…”
- Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury.
“Welcome to a world of shills and showmen, fading tech and circus freaks, where nothing and no-one is what it appears. An absorbing, accomplished debut.”
- Elspeth Cooper, author of the Wild Hunt series
“A lyrical, stunningly written debut novel, which set my heart racing with every lift of the trapeze. In Micah we have one of the most original – and likeable – protagonists I’ve read in a long time. An author to watch, without a doubt.”
- Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow
“In Pantomime, Laura Lam has created a world which will take your breath away, and characters you will never want to leave. Enchanting.”
- Lou Morgan, author of Blood and Feathers
“With its cast of runaways, freaks and bullies, Pantomime blends Victorian circus glamour with grittier YA themes like identity, body image and independence. Entertaining and thought-provoking by turns, this is an assured debut by an exciting new fantasy author – Laura Lam is a name to watch!”
- Anne Lyle, author of The Alchemist of Souls
“Ancient myths, vintage tech and living wonders abound in the riotous carnival of fancy which is Pantomime. Lam paints her world with greasepaint and stardust while exploring the notion of the circus ‘freak’ with subtle brilliance. A spectacular and brave debut!”
- Kim Lakin-Smith, author of Cyber Circus
Long post is long. TLDR: I AM VERY EXCITED. I’m trying to be cool, like this:
But really I want to be all: