2014 Resolutions

new-years-resolutions

I like resolutions well enough, even if often I don’t stick to them. But here’s what I’m planning for next year:

Writing:

1. Finish editing Bonkers Book and send to my agent by March.
2. Finish one of my two other WIPs, though which one depends on certain factors I’m waiting to hear about. (I hate waiting).
3. Finish my Ellada short stories and perhaps self-publish them in summer.
4. Apply for a couple of things that would be really awesome. *cagey*

Life:

1. Bump up the exercise. I’ve been good at exercising more consistently in 2013, but I want to do it more often and push myself more.
2. Eat better. As ever – I get into a good habit for awhile and then it all falls apart. My mood is so much better when I’m eating healthy food, though. I can’t be too stringent, or I take it too far, but I’d like my usual habit to be good food, with the odd splurge when out with friends.
3. Sleep less. I’m a chronic oversleeper and I hate it. I really want to train myself to get up early as I’m productive in the mornings.
4. Freak out less. Yeah, this probably won’t happen, but it’s worth trying. My anxiety has been more manageable in 2013 than 2012, but there’s room for improvement.
5. Be off the internet/computer more in the evenings. I spend far too much of my life looking at a screen, between the day job, the writing, and watching TV. I should spend more time doing things in the real world.

Reading:

1. Read at least 80 books. No other stipulations – I can read whatever genre I want, re-read, what have you.

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Kirkus.com and California Events Reminder

I hope everyone’s having a lovely holiday season!

A few days ago, Leila Roy of Bookshelves of Doom wrote a lovely feature about Pantomime & Shadowplay for Kirkus.com.

“[Pantomime] stars Micah Grey, an immediately likable and somewhat naive runaway who has some completely understandable trust issues. It’s a very personal story . . . at the same time, it’s also a HUGE story . . . Seriously, the worldbuilding is so excellent: rich and sprawling, but not overpowering . . . I very much enjoyed spending time in Ellada again, and I especially loved being behind the scenes of a magic show and a fake seance or two . . . So if you haven’t read Pantomime yet, DO. Go out and read it, and then read Shadowplay.” – Bookshelves of Doom at Kirkus.com

In other news, I’m back in California and it’s lovely so far to see friends and family again. It’s so bright and warm and sunny…why did I leave again?! Last night I had a reunion with a bunch of folk from my youth group as a teen. It’s so strange to see us all grown up now – some of them have children, and it’s interesting to see which fields and jobs people have fallen into. I’m also looking forward to my two California events:

January 4th at 3 pm – Shadowplay launch at Borderlands Books, Valencia St, San Francisco

January 8th at 6 pm – Reading at California State University East Bay, Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward

Those both link to the Facebook events pages.

If you’re in the area, please do feel free to come by or invite others that you know who might be interested.

2013 Round-up: Writing & Non-Writing Life

2013 was, overall, a very good year. Busy, and at times stressful, but overall, good. There were no catastrophes. My health was sound. I was surrounded by friends and family, did not have to worry about finances, and was able to travel. I had my first book out and now, at the end of the year, my second book has arrived and evidently is already available in some shops. I have a lot of be thankful for.

So, writing round-up. In 2013 I:

– Launched Pantomime, out into the big, wide world.
Edited Shadowplay at least 3 times. No idea of word count, as 10k was cut overall but there were plenty of tweaked scenes and such.
– Wrote 15k of Project GSS before I started over and re-wrote the 30k I had from 3rd person to 1st person. Then I decided it still wasn’t working so I changed the setting and plot and started over again and wrote 40k. Feedback says the 40k is vastly improved but needs more development, historical research, and expansion before I move towards the rest of the story, which is what I expected to hear.
– Wrote Bonkers Book, which was originally 66k, and has now grown to 74k in the second draft. That’s out with betas.
– Wrote 18k of Project M, and will hopefully be writing more of that in the new year.
– Wrote a Drystan short story called “The Snake Charm,” which is 10k.
– I’m a bit into another Drystan short story called “The Card Sharp,” which I’ll maybe finish by the end of this year, but unsure. I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll do with these short stories.
– Planned a Cyan short story called “The Tarot Reader”, but haven’t started it yet.
– Wrote a very short story for Halloween called The Ghost of Gold and Grey, which ties into project GSS.
– Wrote a poem of linked haiku called “Bamboo Moon” which is a lesbian re-telling of a Japanese fairy tale.
– I wrote about 40 guest posts, plus kept this blog up to date
– Events: spoke at Napier University, Gordonstoun school, Keith Academy, and Dollar Academy, appeared on SCHMU Radio, had a Pantomime launch at Forbidden Planet in London and Waterstones in Aberdeen, had another signing at the other Waterstones branch (now sadly closed), went to WFC in Brighton, and was a guest at the Inverness Book Festival.

Non-writing-wise, I continued to work full-time at my job as a document controller and did half of a PgCert in Information Management, which I received in May 2013. I’ve been better about fitness and go to the gym around 2-3 times a week, mainly doing yoga and running. I was able to travel, and went to the Czech Republic and Germany at the end of last year/start of this year. I also went to London and Edinburgh a few times, to Brighton, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and soon I’m flying back to San Francisco.

Put together – goodness me, but I was busy. No wonder I’m always tired.

Here’s one photo from each month, which I think gives a good overall picture of the year:

January:
2013januaryCesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.

February. I’m doing two photos for this month as in March I was a hermit and can’t find any photos of anything during that time:

2013februaryWaterstones Aberdeen launch.

2013february2
London launch at Forbidden Planet.

April:

2013April
Signing at Waterstones Langstane (now sadly closed).

May:

2013May
Pantomime on the bestsellers paperback list at Gatwick airport in London.

June:
2013june
The only photo I can find from that month is me showing off my spray tan. Yes, that is me with a spray tan. I am very pale.

July:
2013july
My friend Erica and I outside the Dali Museum in Figures, Spain.

August:
2013august
Heusden, Netherlands.

September:
2013september
With James Smythe, Sam Copeland, my agent Juliet Mushens, at Kim Curran’s and Bryony Pearce’s joint launch for Control and The Weight of Souls in London.

October:
2013october
A quiet evening with one of my cats, Mowgli.

November:
2013november
The best photo ever taken with a langoustine & Tad Williams. WFC 2013 in Brighton.

December:
2013december
Me with Pantomime & Shadowplay!

Shadowplay Teaser 10: The True Temnian

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10. The True Temnian

“If the Kymri are more predisposed to worship the sun, then the Temnians have more respect for the lunar cycle. During the full moon, or the night the Penglass glows under the stars, there is a huge celebration and feast. Elders dress as the moon and stars and bestow blessings upon those who need them. Special food is created that may only be eaten that night sweet mooncakes and small sips of a drink called Dancing Water made from almonds, fermented honey, and small gold flakes, which is meant to be an elixir for long life. Small amounts of the drug Lerium are also sampled. On this night, men and women are meant to become closer to the Lord and Lady and their prayers will more likely be heard and wishes granted.”

– The Former Elladan Colonies, Professor Caed Cedar, Royal Snakewood University

Interested in more? Shadowplay, the sequel to Pantomime, will be released January 7, 2014.

Pre-order links:

UK: Amazon – The Book Depository – Hive
US: Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Indiebound – Powell’s
Canada: Amazon – Indigo
Australia: BookAdda
NZ: Fishpond

The Shadowplay Blog Tour

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The Shadowplay Blog Tour begins today, December 20, and runs until around January 12th. Last year I had 39 stops, which was a bit overwhelming, so this year I’m down to 23. Below are the places I will be appearing, and I’ll come back and edit as the posts go live.

Pantomime‘s Blog Tour round-up is here, if you’d like to go back in time and visit the posts I wrote nearly a year ago.

Here we go:

Some earlier posts:
11th December: 12 Days of Christmas Interview: Nicky Peacock
17th December: Winter Holidays in Ellada: Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot/Exhibit A

20th December: The Grey of Gender: Uncorked Thoughts
21st December: Making the Magic in Shadowplay: Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
22nd December: Interview: Rachel Monte
23rd December: The Micah Grey Series and Slipping Through Society: Catherine Lundoff
CHRISTMAS BREAK
27th December: Interview: Winged Reviews
28th December: The Post-Publication Roller Coaster: A Fantastical Librarian
29th December: Interview: It was Lovely Reading You
30th December: Diversity in Pantomime & Shadowplay: Readaraptor
31st December: 5 Favourite YA Fantasy Novels: Book Fairy Haven
NEW YEARS BREAK
2nd January: Shadow Plays and Shadowplay: Lost in Thought
3rd January: Magicians in Ellada: YA Yeah Yeah
4th January: Interview: Author Allsorts
5th January: 10 Magic Books: Bookshelves of Doom
6th January: Fitting Writing into the Rest of my LifeAuthor Allsorts
6th January: 5 Things I Learned Writing Pantomime & Shadowplay: Diversity in YA
7th January: My Favorite Bit: Mary Robinette Kowal
7th January: Exclusive Extract on Tor.com.
8th January: Interview: My Bookish Ways
9th January: From the Circus Tent to the Magician’s Stage – On Changing Settings: Feeling Fictional
10th January: 10 Questions on Shadowplay: Terrible Minds
11th January: A Brief History of Ellada and its Colonies by Professor Caed Cedar: YA-Sisterhood

Additionally, I’ll be putting up 10 Shadowplay teasers on my blog in total.

Early Shadowplay reviews:

Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow: “You know those times when you read a book that leaves you wishing so sincerely that you’d been able to read it when you were a kid, or in your teens? That feeling might be a little bittersweet, but let’s focus on the sweet, because honestly – I wish I’d had this (and Pantomime) to read fifteen years ago.”

Leo @ Jet Black Ink: “In short: Lam is a genius, she writes beautifully and everything about this book was a complete and absolute pleasure. If you loved the circus, you’ll fall in love with the complex and fascinating world behind the stage of Shadowplay and the Kymri theatre Micah now calls home.”

Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm: “Parts of Shadowplay reminded me of The Prestige, with old style illusionists gripped in an ancient grudge. I loved the atmosphere of the theatre and the images conjured up by their performances.”

Lyndsey @ Page After Page: “Not only do we have a dual between Maske and his rival magician but the new characters shed light into the world that Lam has created. Lam also tackles issues such as sexuality, politics and discrimination and they are all written about wonderfully. The plot is incredibly unique and one that had me hooked. I couldn’t stop reading this book and now that I’ve finished it, I want even more.”

Richa @ City of Books: “This series is a must-read for all fantasy lovers. I literally couldn’t put this one down! Shadowplay is captivating and enticing, with the most complex characters you’ll ever come across. I loved every bit of this, and I’m now impatiently waiting for the next installment.”

Nina @ Death Books & Tea: “Shadowplay, plotwise, is very different to  Pantomime. We learn a few things about Micah that you really don’t expect.”

Sam @ River & Sam: “Lam once again gives readers a wonderfully woven, extensively smart novel that handles topics of sexuality, discrimination and transition with such ease. It’s so easy to fall in love with her characters and follow their lives [. . .] I loved Shadowplay as much as I loved Pantomime, if not more, and I look forward to seeing where Micah’s adventure lead him.”

Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts: “I really enjoyed Laura’s first book but this one blasted it straight out of the water. It’s in this book that I fully fell in love with Micah and Drystan, Cyan and Maske. I feel like I’ve left some best friends behind in the pages of Shadowplay.”

Shadowplay Teaser 9: Mirror Maze

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9. Mirror Maze

“I had to sell another of my automata today. Each time, I sell my least favorite, but that means that each time I part with the next, it grows harder. I sold the golden tamarind monkey, and it was a shame. I hope its new owner cherishes it.

“At least soon it will be the Night of the Dead, and I should have more bookings for séances. It will delay the date I must sell the next.

“I still have all of Taliesin’s automata. Those I shall never part with, no matter my finances. Someday I’ll figure out how he makes them tick. Then I’ll be one step closer to revenge.”

– Jasper Maske’s personal diary

Interested in more? Shadowplay, the sequel to Pantomime, will be released January 7, 2014.

Pre-order links:

UK: Amazon – The Book Depository – Hive
US: Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Indiebound – Powell’s
Canada: Amazon – Indigo
Australia: BookAdda
NZ: Fishpond

Free Fiction Friday: Sonnet: “My Love, a Glittering Vampire”

This was the first sonnet I wrote at university (and to date I’ve written the grand total of…two!). I decided to take the form, which can be quite formal (whoo iambic pentameter!), and poke a little fun at Twilight. I think it worked all right, and it got a few chuckles when I shared it with the class in 2008 (can’t believe I wrote this 5 years ago. My life is speeding up).

adonis

“My Love, a Glittering Vampire”
A Gentle Satire of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight
Laura Lam

Of marble, or the gilded monuments,*
his body is that of a statue, such as
the forgotten Adonis. His eyes, warm topaz,
gaze with intensity as he scents
my warm blood. How we wishes he could rend
the delicate skin of my neck. O, Edward,
how you fear you will slip, with me murdered
from your thirst. But how I wish our blood could blend!
Then you would never need to watch me sleep.
I could live forever, so that one day
it will not be so strange that you were born a century
before me. If you leave me, I will weep
and become a zombie, the wrong creature. Allay
my fears. How many books until you bite me?

*The slightly reworded first line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55

If you enjoyed this poem, please consider purchasing my full-length work, Pantomime & forthcoming Shadowplay. Thank you for reading.