Shadowplay is Gay YA’s November Book of the Month & False Hearts German Deal

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Whoohoo! November may be ridiculously insane, but good news so far:

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First, The Gay YA have decided to follow Pantomime as their October Book of the Month with Shadowplay as their November Book of the Month! This is super awesome. I definitely think all the amazing events in October helped Pantomime find some new readers, and now here’s hoping more follow along to the magician’s stage in Shadowplay.

There will be more discussion questions, and probably some other goodies! Yay Gay YA!

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Next up, my 2016 title, False Hearts, has sold in Germany to Heyne Verlag! I took German for two years in high school so I might be able to pick out a little bit here any there. Really excited! So far False Hearts will be out in the UK, US/Canada, Italy, Germany, and more to come. *throws confetti*

This is the first week I’ve been able to really cut down my hours at work–I’ll work around 12 hours this week. But I had an extra lecture at university this week, which made things a bit more hectic. Also, evidently I am allergic to free time, as I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, as I said in this post. We’re almost a week in and I’m on track, at least so far. I’ve also written about 1500 words extra between blogging and uni work, though they don’t count (pout). I’m hoping I can keep up the pace, as I’m enjoying it. It’s nice to focus so entirely on one project, and not find excuses to do something other than put actual new words to actual paper (or screen).  At the end of the month, though, I’ll have more university work to do, though, but even if I tail off, it’s a lot of headway in a book I’ve been thinking about since July.

And now, off to tackle today’s word count…

Books Read in October

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Thanks to grad school, I read a lot in October! Mini-reviews as usual because I have All the Words to write for NaNoWriMo.

jane-eyre1. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë. I read this as a teen so it was fun to revisit it a decade later. Though I seriously side-eyed Rochester’s attempts at wooing. Maybe DON’T dress up as a gypsy to try and trick your crush into revealing her feelings about you. Or maybe don’t pretend to love someone else to see if your crush gets jealous. Also, maybe don’t have a hidden wife in the attic. I wrote a 2,500 word essay on fairy tale illusions in the book as well.

2. The House of Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also read for uni. The only other book by Hawthorne I’ve read was The Scarlet Letter. I enjoyed this well enough, but a lot of the characters were a little flat for me.

3. Down on the Other Street: Volume 1 – Jennifer Cie. Read this as a judge for the Bisexual Book Award, so no comment.

4. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James. Another university read. I enjoyed it mightily at the start, thinking Isabel was lively and good fun. Then it got rather depressing as her light went out. Still well-written, but man, so long.

5. Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer – Kelleher & Kelleher. Research for Brainfreeze Book. Fascinating and chilling. Serial killers are separated by type with case studies for each major type: poisoning, angel of death, crime or profit, sexual violence, team killers, etc.

6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. Finally got around to reading this, just before going to see the film. Had some issues with it, but overall it was a compelling read.

7. Dirty Work – Chris Farnell. A short story anthology Chris asked me to read, which I really enjoyed.

8. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf. Also for university. My first stream of consciousness novel. I enjoyed it, and it made me want to re-watch The Hours, as I feel I’d get all the references I missed.

Total books: 62 so far in 2014.

Writing in November

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I’ve tried NaNoWriMo a few times in the past, and I’ve always failed. 1667 words a day consistently for 30 days is a pace hard for me to keep up. Often I didn’t plan enough before starting, so that the iteration of the novel I did two years ago had to be completely thrown out (though I’m still not giving up on the premise). I didn’t think I’d ever really try it again.

But, cue to this year. I’d just started drafting a book anyway: the option on my 2 book deal, codenamed Brainfreeze Book. I’ve finished the first draft of Masquerade and it needs to sit for a month anyway. The 31st of October marked the end of me having to work 5 days a week at the day job–I’m now ad hoc, probably working around 12-15 hours a week. I have my Masters, but the hours worked for that are flexible, since it’s mostly reading and I’m only actually in lecture 4 hours a week. I might never have this much free time in November again, or be right at the start of drafting a project, with lots of planning and research collected over the last few months.

So, what the hell. I’m doing NaNoWriMo.

I cheated a bit by adding the few words I already had on the project to day 1’s total, as that way I can easily update the word count with the total project. Though it would be nice to win properly, at least once. But at the same time, I have a bunch of school projects due around December 5th, it’s the run up to Christmas, and I have a long weekend booked in Glasgow for my husband’s birthday.  I’ll aim to get to around 54k to make up for it, but even if say I only make it to 50k in total, that’s fine by me. Or really, as long as I made headway in this draft, I’m happy.

Best of luck to anyone else trying this insane thing!

The Gay YA’s First Book Club: Pantomime

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The Gay YA has been amazing, doing so much to promote Pantomime as its Book of the Month. They’re also launching their first Book Club, which should be fun! So if you’ve not read Pantomime but you’ve been curious, now would be a great time so you can discuss it with others if you fancy. There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway, with a chance to win an e-Vestigial Tales bundle, a signed Pantomime or Shadowplay, or a piece of Laya’s artwork.

The Full Post with the Details

And pasted here:

“We are reading our very first book, a steampunk/fantasy called Pantomime by Laura Lam. You can check your library, or order it online from Amazon US, UK, or Canadian, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Powell’s,Book Depository, Waterstones, Hive, and Chapters. You can also buy the e-book from Kobo and The Robot Reader. (Consider grabbing a copy of the sequel, Shadowplay, too. That’s next month’s book!)

Follow the book club on our tumblr, and in the #GayYA Book Club tag. We’ll also be on Twitter, where you can keep up with the book club on the #GayYABookClub hashtag. Most of the action will be happening on tumblr, however. Keep up with Laura at lauraroselam and on twitter at @LR_Lam, and the wonderful fan base at lauralamfans.

The book club will begin with non-spoilery posts on 10/13, and then follow this schedule:You can participate by:
– Posting something on your own Tumblr blog and tag the post #GayYA Book Club— we’ll reblog it.
– Submitting something to our Tumblr atthegayya.tumblr.com/submit

– October 16-23: Pages 1 through 199
– October 24-31 Pages 200 through 392

You can express your feelings about Pantomime however you choose — reviews, analysis, questions, fan art, gifs, quotes, a video blog… the world is open to you! And, of course, you can reblog other people’s posts to add your own thoughts and responses.

We’re also running a giveaway until the start– we got some great prizes up for grabs! Enter now, because it’ll be closing on 10/14! Giveaway is open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, we’ll be interviewing Laura Lam this Sunday (10/12)– if you have something you’d like us to ask her, send it our way!”

Tales of a Hybrid Author : Month 4: “The Card Sharp”

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Background if you’re new to my blog: I’m self-publishing some short stories/novellas set in the same world as my Micah Grey series (PantomimeShadowplay and this month I shared the title of the third book: Masquerade). There’s going to be a bit of delay in getting Masquerade to market. I was hoping to have the Kickstarter go live this month, but I’m still waiting to see what’s going on with the rights to the first two now that Angry Robot has been bought by a new owner. These short stories/novellas are to help break up the wait and teach me about self-publishing.

This month had the launch of the last story, “The Card Sharp,” which tells the story of what happened to Drystan before he joined R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. Laya has made some awesome artwork for it:

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Drystan in the Naiad Green.

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Jane Cress.

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Tavish Antiaris

So cool. Laya and Victoria from The Gay YA have also started a Tumblr for fans of my books, which is probably one of the coolest things to ever happen to me.

“The Card Sharp” went up later in the month than the other three, because I fell behind on my schedule due to summer conventions and starting university.

Total Sales:
Paid (Amazon): 63
Borrowed (Amazon): 5
Paid (Smashwords): 0
Total for September: 68
Total Sales to Date: 326

Per Story in September:
“The Snake Charm”: 4 (plus one bought and refunded)
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 14
“The Tarot Reader”: 12
“The Card Sharp”: 28

Total Sales/Borrows per Story:
“The Snake Charm”: 138 (plus 395 free ones)
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 104
“The Tarot Reader”: 56
“The Card Sharp”: 28

Total Gross Income for September: £59.01 ($94.24)
Total Gross Income to Date: £276.07 ($440.87)
Costs: £132 for 10 ISBNs
Total Net Profit: £144.55 ($230.84)

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September sales

Reviews as of today: 
“The Snake Charm” on GR: 46 ratings (21 reviews)
“The Snake Charm” on Amazon: 8 (US),  9 (UK)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on GR: 21 ratings (8 reviews)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on Amazon: 2 (US), 2 (UK)
“The Tarot Reader” on GR: 19 ratings (8 reviews)
“The Tarot Reader” on Amazon: 2 (US), 2 (UK)
“The Card Sharp” on GR: 10 ratings (4 reviews)
“The Card Sharp” on Amazon: 0 (US), 0 (UK)

As ever, if you’ve read any of the stories, leaving a short review on Goodreads/Amazon would be so greatly appreciated. Especially on Amazon, as it means more casual readers might pick them up.

Overall, I’d say this experience is a success. I made back my costs and made some profit, I’ve had nice reviews, and it was fun. Did I make loads? No, but I didn’t expect to. These sales are a result of no paid advertising. I put up that they were available on social media, and that’s it.

Did they affect Pantomime/Shadowplay‘s sales? It’s hard to say. I think it’s probably more than affecting sales, people who enjoyed the books were also happy enough to pick up the Vestigial Tales. The only real information I have on sales is the Amazon Author Central account in the US. It doesn’t show e-books & doesn’t show all paper copies either, so it’s an inaccurate tool at best. But, if overall trends are like this, than in the last few months, sales picked up or at least remained steady:

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I haven’t shared the numbers since it’d be so inaccurate anyway, and I don’t know if the publisher would be okay with it. The largest spikes are release weeks.

This month I was paid for July’s sales and received a check from June for my UK sales (which reminds me, I still need to deposit it).

Non-self-publishing stuff this month: I was paid the first installment of my UK publication advance. I’ll officially be leaving my day job in a month or two. I was also able to announce the Italian translation deal. I’ve done a few creative writing workshops around Aberdeen and have one or two left. I’ve also been doing my masters in Creative Writing, which is going well so far.

The Vestigial Tales are done for now, though there might be some more in the pipeline for Masquerade‘s Kickstarter, if/when that happens. *mysterious face* I’m hoping I can figure out what’s happening with that soon as I desperately want to make plans and follow through but am still unsure which path is best and what my options are.

Plans for next month: Finish the draft of Masquerade. Re-read Pantomime & Shadowplay in preparation for edits. Finish planning/researching Brainfreeze Book, so I can start drafting properly in November (NaNoWriMo?). Keep on top of school work and day job and try not to implode.

I’ll leave you with the link to the Vestigial Tales page. Please do consider picking them up if you enjoyed my books. As mentioned before, all proceeds are being bookmarked for self-publishing Masquerade, should that be the path it takes.

Books Read in September

No time for reviews again, but here’s what I’ve been reading this month:

brokenmonsters1. Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes. Fantastic, genre-busting thriller.

2. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. Team Mushens ftw. Beautiful book.

3. I am Not a Serial Killer – Dan Wells. Tor option book research.

4. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker – Tobias Smollett. 18th century epistolary novel. For my Novel Ideas class. Did skim some of the letters.

5. The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentlemen – Laurence Sterne. For my Novel Ideas class. Also some skimming because this is a book about Shandy’s fictitious life and he’s not even born until Volume 3 of 9.

Total: 54 books so far in 2014.

Recent News and Such

Some news that I’ve announced on Twitter/Facebook, but haven’t put up here on the blog yet.

False Hearts news:

1. False Hearts officially has a US home with Tor. My US editor is Marco Palmieri. I am excited! It’ll be out the same time as the UK – January 2016.

2. False Hearts also has an Italian home with Fanucci Editore! My first-ever translation deal. There’s also another one in the works, yay, but I can’t say which language/foreign publisher yet.

3. False Hearts has its first blurb, from none other than freaking Peter F. Hamilton! He calls it “A smart debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” (I keep feeling the need to qualify that this is my adult debut).

Other news:

4. I’m going to be a full-time student/writer soon, or nearly so. I asked my work if I could go down to 2 days a week, but they couldn’t find anyone to job share with me. They may still keep me on for holiday/busy period cover. So, I’m taking the plunge and giving it a go! This will make things easier as:

5. I’ve started a Masters in Creative Writing at University of Aberdeen. I’m excited to learn some new skills, and the long-term aim is to perhaps get into teaching at the university level. I’m taking poetry and a class on the history of the novel’s form.

6. The third Micah Grey book has a title! I’ve been keeping it semi-under wraps as I’ve felt strangely superstitious about it. I’ve been calling it “Beloved Book” as evidently I like giving books “B” monikers. However, as of today I’ve finished the climax, which was the hardest part, and so now I’m comfortable sharing it. The third book in the Micah Grey series will be called….Masquerade!

7. Kickstarter research for Masquerade is continuing apace. I’m still not exactly sure when it’ll go live. I’m hoping late October/early November. It still feels like such a huge task, but I’m breaking it up into little chunks to tackle one at a time.

The Last Vestigial Tale: “The Card Sharp” is now Live!

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The Last Vestigial Tale, “The Card Sharp,” is now up on Kindle. By happy coincidence, today is also Bisexuality Visibility Day, and Drystan is bisexual.

“The Card Sharp” is almost 16k words long and stars Drystan before he joins R.H. Ragona’s circus of magic. It has magicians, card counting, drug lords, Vestige, and a heist.

It’s in Select so it’ll be exclusive with them for 90 days before being released elsewhere. I know having Amazon have the exclusive can be difficult for those who don’t want to purchase through them, which I understand. They are such a large part of the market, though, that having the chance to lower the price/make them free/let people borrow them if they have Prime is too good to resist. By the end of the year, all tales will be out of the exclusive timeframe and I’ll put them up on Smashwords or D2D to be distributed to other retailers.

This is the end of the Vestigial Tales project for now.  I have no more plans to self-publish any more short stories/novellas this year. I’ll keep doing monthly roundup posts about my self-publishing experiment.

I’ve really enjoyed writing them, editing them, and putting them up myself. Traditional publishing has long timeframes by necessity, but this has given me something to do in the meantime and I’ve learned absolutely loads. I’ve discovered more about Drystan and Cyan by writing “The Snake Charm,” “The Tarot Reader,” and “The Card Sharp,” which has influenced Micah Grey #3.

As with the other tales, proceeds from these stories are being earmarked towards self-publishing the third book in the trilogy. There will also be a Kickstarter for that soon as well.

A huge thank you to everyone who’s helped me every step of the way: Dianna Walla, cover artist extraordinare, and my betas: Erica, Craig, Mike, Wesley, Vonny, Jennifer, Lisa, Kim, Amy, Collin & Emma. Thanks to Diana Sousa and Kim Curran for early e-formatting help, everyone who looked at the first blurb as I was trying to figure out the formatting. Thanks to my copyeditors: my mother, Sally, and my mother-in-law, Sheila.

I hope you enjoy “The Card Sharp” if you pick it up. Any help in spreading the word to others would be greatly, greatly appreciated: tweeting, sharing on Tumblr or Facebook, leaving a review on Goodreads and Amazon, telling your friends offline. I have wonderful readers and appreciate each and every one of you more than I can say.

TheCardSharpCoverUntold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Card Sharp

“He always mourned that moment, when the high began to fade. It was like he moved from who he wanted to be to having to face the reality of who he was. He’d rather feel supernatural. More than Drystan Hornbeam, a seventeen-year-old-boy who had made a lot of foolish mistakes and didn’t seem to be changing his habits anytime soon.”

Before Drystan became the White Clown of R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, he was a Lerium addict struggling on the streets of Imachara. When a mysterious woman gives him a chance at a new life, he takes it, even if it means falling even deeper into the dark underbelly of the capital of Ellada. Drystan knows that selling Lerium to the powerful men and women who bet at the high stakes card tables is perilous, especially when he still battles his own addictions. Yet when he meets a man who can help him learn to cheat at cards and swindle them out of enough money to start a new life, he dives headfirst into more danger.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

The Card Sharp

PURCHASE: 

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

ISBN: 978-0-9929428-4-7

Information on the other three Vestigial Tales (“The Snake Charm”, “The Fisherman’s Net” & “The Tarot Reader”)

#WriteCity Workshop in Aberdeen at Northfield Library Today

I have a creative writing workshop today at 5.30 in Aberdeen as part of their creative writing festival, #WriteCity. Please come along if you’re in the area! It’s a free event, though they ask that you book so they can have an idea of numbers.

Start Time: 17:30   End Time: 19:00

Venue Detail:

Northfield Library,
Byron Square,
Aberdeen AB16 7LL

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