When Words Leave Off, Music Begins

I wrote a little bit about the songs that remind me of False Hearts for Author Allsorts last week. Fancy some songs about murder and criminals this Monday morning?


“When words leave off, music begins.” – Heinrich Heine

I often listen to music as I write. I go to cafes a lot. Sometimes the thrum of background noise and whatever jazzy music they play is fine, but other times it’s distracting–so in go the earplugs.

Like a lot of writers, sometimes words with lyrics can be horribly distracting for me. Not always, but usually. Too much of my mind wants to focus on the lyrics, or sing along if it’s a favourite. So, usually during drafting or editing sessions, I just choose one of the “focus” playlists on Spotify. I’m currently listening to one called “Musik Produkt.”

But like Helen’s post earlier in the week, I find music outside the actual act of writing very inspiring as well. I collect playlists of songs that remind me of various books, and listen to them if I’m just browsing online, or cleaning…

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New Website!

I’ve been saying for the last few years that I’ll get around to moving my site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. I kept playing around with templates on here but couldn’t get all the features I wanted.

Someone on Twitter I didn’t know with the same name as me was complaining about me not using it as a “proper domain” (in a sort of rude way but whatever–that’s what I get for searching my own name on Twitter). It did end up being the impetus I needed to finally sort out my website, at least, especially as I’m on a break between deadlines. So now–a new look! I’ll be leaving all my old entries up here for searchability, but there will no longer be any updates on this site.

Go on over to lauralam.co.uk to see the new site!

Note: In a little while, I’ll ask WordPress to move my subscribers from here to the new domain. So you can either resubscribe or wait a little while. Thanks, subscribers!

It’s not totally finished–I plan to make some more banners for the home slider (read: ask Craig very nicely to help me make some more banners–or if anyone’s bored and fancies a small project, let me know and I can repay you with some e-copies of Vestigial Tales or maybe a False Hearts proof?). I’ll add a FAQ at some point, too. Otherwise, though, it’s pretty much ready to go. Giant thanks to Emma Maree, who helped me figure things out, as I was having a really hard time getting everything to work properly. If not for her, I might have given up and abandoned the whole endeavour!

If you come across any dead links or anything, feel free to let me know. I really like the new theme and how customizable it’ll be down the line if I want to give it a bit of a different look with each release.  Going to the library and seeing all my book covers makes me happy.

So, goodbye old website. You’ve served me well for the past 3+ years. I started it right before I went to my first ever convention, and a few months before I got my first writing contract. Goodbye, old WordPress!

Monthly Roundup: November 2015

Books Read:

1. Five Go Glamping – Liz Tipping

Glamping Check list

Festival tickets
Double check best Instagram filter
Avoid thinking about work/Connor/five year plan!!

A four day break from her hectic life to relax in the countryside and hang out at a local festival (for free!) is just what Fiona Delaney needs. With her best friends, great tunes and a cool looking hat her Instagram shots are going to look A-Mazing!

Until suddenly glamping starts to feel a lot more like camping and Fiona’s in desperate search of a comfy chair, wi-fi and a chilled glass of wine. But when she finally makes it to the local pub she discovers this trip could be more than just a holiday, it might just change her life forever…

2. Lagoon – Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human.

‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’

3. Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – Gordon Jarvie

This is a collection of Scottish fairy tales, folk tales and legends, which have been passed on from generation to generation, and have been brought together in this one volume.

4. Ariah – B.R. Sanders

Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.

As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.

5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magiccracks open a world of wonder and joy.

6. An Anthology of Scottish Fantasy Literature – Colin Manlove

Presenting traditional fairy tales, dream allegories, travels, other worlds and ghost stories, this collection includes the supernatural works of such writers as Robert Burns, James Macpherson, R.L. Stevenson, James Hogg, J.M. Barrie, Alasdair Gray, George Mackay Brown and Iain Banks.

7. The Vagrant – Peter Newman

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Total: 66

Plus I beta read a short novel for a friend.


This month was sort of the anti-NaNoWriMo; I did very little drafting. I integrated two rounds of beta comments and then sent Shattered Minds to my agent, Juliet. While waiting, I did some more research and plotting for Betwixt Book, and fleshed out another thriller idea (guess it still needs a nickname. Memory Book, maybe). Shiny Project progressed from around 20% of the first draft done to 30%. Juliet’s notes came back, and I integrated those comments, plus another couple of beta notes, and sent Shattered Minds off to my editor, Bella! I did it! It was a difficult book to write, but so far people seem to enjoy it, so that’s a relief.

Travel & Life:

At the beginning of the month, I took a day trip to Glasgow to see Dianna Walla, teenage friend and illustrator of the Vestigial Tales covers! She was in town seeing her family and family friends, so we wandered around the city and caught up, and it was just one of those days you wish you could bottle and go back to, it was so nice. Dianna’s currently in Norway doing a Masters in Linguistics, so one of these days I’ll have to pop over to see her.

Near the end of the month, my mom flew out for my Masters graduation! I now have an MLitt in Creative Writing. I didn’t write much about the masters on here; I enjoyed it well enough but I’m not sure if, long-term, it’ll really help my career much. Maybe I should have done an MFA instead. But, hey, another piece of paper!


After that, my mom and I flew out to Belgium. It was a weird trip because at first we were a bit nervous to go to Brussels because of the lockdown. We even tried to see if we could cancel and just stay in Scotland instead, but we sort of had to go when the airline wouldn’t change. I’m glad we went, in the end, as it was, if anything, probably safer there than anywhere else at the moment. We spent most of our time in Ghent and Brugges, with only a day in Brussels. I’ll do a travel roundup at some point.

Goals for Next Month:

I have some admin to do; catch up on my tax spreadsheet, and it’s long overdue that I rejig my website and make it a little slicker. I’ll also play around with drafting Betwixt Book, Shiny Project, and Memory Book. I’m someone who can split my attention between drafting, and I’m not really sure which one to focus on the most, so I’ll dip my toes into all of them. As I’ve turned in my last book that’s under a deadline, I’m in that strange sort of limbo when I want to work but am aware I can’t approach my publisher for another contract until my first book is out and they have sales figures. Yet I’m also not someone to rest on my laurels–next year will have a lot of promo and a few edits to tackle, so I might as well take advantage of my weeks at home in my wee flat as winter grows stronger outside.

Pantomime & Shadowplay are BACK in ebook!

Yay! After 11 months, Pantomime & Shadowplay, the first two books in the Micah Grey series, are back in ebook through their new publisher, UK Tor. Pantomime‘s £2.99 or basically the price of a latte!

If you’ve read Pantomime but not Shadowplay, here’s a roundup of the plot of book 1 if you want to refresh your memory.

Please consider spreading the word about these books–it’d mean the world to me. Strong e-book sales would really help in terms of print runs for the paperbacks (out in the UK next year in November & December), or maybe help other publishers come on board, and all that good stuff. Reviews on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble–all also worth their weight in gold. There’s only so much I can yell about my own books without feeling like a shill, so word-of-mouth from readers who liked these books is so very greatly appreciated.❤

About the books!

Gaslight fantasy set in the circus.

E-book re-release: December 3, 2015
Paperback re-release: Late 2016

Originally published in 2013 by Strange Chemistry Books.

In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more.

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom, not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?


Amazon UK / Amazon US Barnes & Noble / Booksamillion / Waterstones / Fishpond / iBooks

Praise for Pantomime:

Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.”
– Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer trilogy

“Pantomime is a fantastical, richly drawn, poignant take on a classic coming-of-age story . . . a vibrant tale told with surety and grace.”
– Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy & Six of Crows

“Set in a vividly imagined world with wonderful steampunk touches, Pantomime is a fable-like story as beautifully unique as its main character.”
Malinda Lo, author of Ash, Huntress, and Adaption


Gaslight fantasy set on the magician’s stage. The sequel to Pantomime. YA Fantasy.

This book will be re-released by Tor UK December 3, 2015 in e-book, with paperbacks to follow starting late 2016!

Originally released in 2014 by Strange Chemistry.

Don’t quite remember all the plot points of Pantomime? I wrote a “Previously, on Pantomime” summary!

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?


Amazon UK / Amazon USBarnes & Noble / Booksamillion / Waterstones / Fishpond / iBooks

My Favourite Authors – Robin Hobb

All of this. Read Hobb if you haven’t already. Thank me later.😉


I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post ever since I started this blog series. I’m not sure I can convey what Robin Hobb means to me as an author. She’s my all-time favourite writer. She’s my greatest influence. Her stories pull me in and shake me up like no others. I have a circle of wonderful friends I wouldn’t have without her books. I’ve met her twice, and have five of her books signed. Her stories are magic… beyond compare in scope, depth, and intricacy.

And nothing about that paragraph does justice to how I feel about her work. The only way I know to share that feeling is to get people to read her books. But I started this blog series knowing she was top of the list… so here goes.

I received Assassin’s Apprentice from my best friend for my 18th birthday. I’d never…

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The Grey of Gender

In the build up to the ebook re-release of Pantomime & Shadowplay on December 3rd (they are available for pre-order), I am reposting some of the articles I wrote in 2012/2013 for the initial blog tours.

Content note: genital surgery. 

Before writing Pantomime &Shadowplay, I was interested in gender, but now I’m passionate about it. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I was always surrounded by different sexualities, races, abilities, and gender presentation. But for all of that, when I decided to write about a character who fell between genders, I knew I needed to learn more. I am always consciously aware that, as a cis-gendered woman, I am very much an outsider looking in, and my goal is to tread carefully and with respect. I’m not sure I always succeed, but I do always try.

I read a few books on gender theory, and then started researching intersex especially. What I found made me cry. I had no idea that babies a few days old were operated upon to make their genitals look “more normal,” even though that can take away a lot of sensation and, of course, the doctors half a 50/50 chance of choosing the sex that the child’s gender identity won’t identify with. I didn’t realise that a lot of the time, those surgeries can later have complications, resulting in many other surgeries.

Read the read on the Uncorked Thoughts blog.

Why the Circus and Elladan Worldbuilding

In the build up to the ebook re-release of Pantomime & Shadowplay next month (they are available for pre-order), I am reposting some of the articles I wrote in 2012/2013 for the initial blog tours. Just a note that the end of this article makes it seem like Gene and Micah are two people rather than the same person–this was the marketing approach taken the first time around, but that’s not the case this time.

Why the Circus and Elladan World-building

Big Show Main Entrance

This question has come up a few times in various interviews—why did I set your book in a circus? And the answer is that it was a happy accident.

Micah Grey was 27 when I started his story. I started a book with him in 2007 or so, but I kept struggling with that book. I thought a good idea would be to write about my character as a teenager, and I thought it would be interesting if he had been in a circus: it’d give him strength, flexibility, and theatrics. So I started a “short story,” which then became a long short story, and then a novella, a novelette, and then a novel. With sequels.

Read the rest on the Book Adoration blog!