Top Ten Settings I’d Like to See More of in YA Fiction

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. This one is a Top Ten Tuesday from January 2013.

I found this guest post very interesting to write, as settings in YA are something I’ve thought about but never fully articulated. Normally, I speak more about characters, but a setting brings a character to life. I’m enchanted by rich worldbuilding.

It also sparked some interesting Twitter discussions when I put out a call for what other people want to see more of in YA when I was stuck on the 10th setting.

  1. Asian-inspired fantasy. I recently read Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Mariott, which is a pseudo-medieval Japanese Cinderella and Count of Monte Cristo fantasy. Whew. But it was absolutely wonderful and one of my favourite reads of 2012. I also recently read Eon by Alison Goodman, which features dragons and a girl disguised as a boy, which I enjoyed. There’s Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, and the Tales of the Otori books by Lian Hearne, which I haven’t read. But there’s not all that much, and I’d like to see more as there’s such rich mythology in that corner of the world.
  2. African-inspired fantasy. I realized… I haven’t read any except for Frostfire by Zoe Mariott, and though that had a wonderful cast of (diverse!) characters, didn’t feel super African-inspired, perhaps because for that book the reader is in the isolated setting of the hill guard. I can’t believe there aren’t more. In adult fantasy, I’ve read Anansi Boys and there’s Zoo City. I put out a call on Twitter and had a couple of recommendations: Akata Witch and Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor. So there’s a gap in the market. Any others out there?

Read the rest of the list on the Bookworm Dream blog!


Autumn & Winter Holidays in Ellada

In the build up to the ebook re-release of Pantomime & Shadowplay next month, I thought I would repost some of the articles I wrote for the initial blog tours onto this site. This is a piece about winter holidays in Ellada that originally appeared on Starmetal Oak’s blog in late 2012, which closed down not long after.


The holidays are upon us. In the country of Ellada in the world of the Archipelago, the pseudo-Victorian world where my debut Pantomime is set, the winter holidays are both similar yet different to ours. Pantomime is set in spring and summer, so these holidays don’t appear until Pantomime’s sequel, Shadowplay.

There are two main autumn and winter holidays. The night before the longest night of the year is called The Night of the Dead. It’s slightly similar to our Halloween in that many feel the barrier between the living and the dead grows thinner. Many people hold dinner parties with séances for entertainment. Others who are more superstitious will stay inside, windows shut tight, so that the dead cannot come to haunt them.

The longest night of the year is known as the Lady’s Long Night or the Long Night of the Lady. Elladans and most others in the Archipelago worship two deities—the Lord of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon. The longest day of the year is, coincidentally, the Day of the Lord, but it’s not as largely celebrated, at least not among the common people. Micah Grey doesn’t celebrate it in the circus, for instance. After all, they already spend most of their waking hours in daylight.

But the Lady’s Long Night is a lavish affair, when people celebrate that the worst of the winter and darkness is over. A huge procession twines through downtown Imachara, the capital of Ellada, with floats topped with people dressed as the Chimaera out of myth dressed all in white. Many go to the cathedrals to listen to choirs and pray to the Lady of the Moon. Gifts are exchanged. It’s a time of hope and cheer to remind them of the good in life, just after they were reminded of the sinister in the Night of the Dead.

Monthly Roundup: October 2015

Books Read:

  1. Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) – Leigh Bardugo

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

2. Sequel to the Potion Diaries – Amy Alward

This was a beta read, but since it’ll be out next year, I’m counting it. It’s just as fun as the first!

3. Zer0es – Chuck Wendig

Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex known only as “the Lodge,” where they will spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, these misfits dub themselves “the Zeroes.”

But once the Zeroes begin to work, they uncover secrets that would make even the most dedicated conspiracy theorist’s head spin. And soon they’re not just trying to serve their time, they’re also trying to perform the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they’ll get out alive. Packed with electric wit and breakneck plot twists, Zer0es is an unforgettable thrill ride through the seedy underbelly of “progress.”

4. The Girl with All the Gifts – M.R. Carey

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad

5. A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter #3) – Megan Shepherd

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

6. Fevre Dream – George R.R. Martin

When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something’s amiss. But when he meets the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York, he is certain. For York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet. Nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York has his own reasons for wanting to traverse the powerful Mississippi. And they are to be none of Marsh’s concern—no matter how bizarre, arbitrary, or capricious his actions may prove.

Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve—coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare…and mankind’s most impossible dream.
Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.

I also beta read a synopsis and fifty pages, a short story, and a novella for three friends.

Total: 59.


This month I finished the first draft of Shattered Minds, going from 85k to 93k. I then did the first read-through/preliminary edit, where it expanded to 97k. It’s now off with betas, and I’ve had a few sets of comments back. No big rewrite required at this stage, so that’s good. This month I also worked a fair amount on Shiny Project (first draft is around 1/5 done) and did a little more research on Betwixt Book. Lastly, I did proof pages for most of False Hearts. So pretty productive.

Events-wise, I had two workshops at the Central Library and one session at Robert Gordon’s College. I also went to a training workshop on creating creative partnerships, and have some leads I still need to follow up on.


This is the first month I didn’t travel anywhere in a few months. It’s been nice to stay at home.

Goals for next month:

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. I was tempted, but it doesn’t really work with my schedule this time around. I’ve never been a super fast drafter, but consistently writing 20-25k a month adds up to 250-300k a year, so, ya know, that’s fine. My goal is to finish False Hearts proofs and integrate beta comments on Shattered Minds, hopefully either finishing or making good effort on the next draft. Then I want to keep working on Shiny Project and still keep doing my background research on Betwixt Book.

Pantomime & Shadowplay are Available for Pre-order & All Vestigial Tales are Free for 5 Days

Pantomime & Shadowplay

Yaay! After 10 months, Pantomime & Shadowplay are now back up for pre-order for the e-re-release (is that a word?) on December 3rd, 2015. The books also now have new, official blurbs. Some of the pre-order links are still percolating through the various systems, hence the slew of (TBAs).

Pantomime is only £2.99 on ebook on Amazon at the moment! Pre-orders would be very, very appreciated. You should be able to purchase them in any country. Strong ebook sales would mean bigger print paperback runs, more bookstore presence, and the hope of Micah Grey finding more readers. Thank you. :-)


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?


Indiebound (TBA) / Amazon UK / Amazon US Barnes & Noble / Powells (TBA) / Booksamillion / Waterstones (TBA) / Fishpond


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?


Indiebound (TBA) / Amazon UK / Amazon USBarnes & Noble / Powells (TBA) / Booksamillion (TBA) / Waterstones (TBA) / Fishpond


In celebration, I’ve updated all the Vestigial ebooks with the new Micah Grey covers and info and the back, and have made all of them free! The Card Sharp went live as free on Sunday and will be until the 29th, and the rest went free today and will be until Halloween. It took me a bit of faffing around to re-format them (after 10 months I’d gotten rusty–what do I zip again? Save it as webpage or webpage, filtered?), hence the slight delay on the others. So please consider downloading them off of Amazon. 60k of fantasy stories for free!


Untold 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 Snake Charm

“To most, Drystan was just another buffoon in the collective of clowns. But behind the inane grin, he saw everything, keeping the secrets he discovered close, like precious gems to barter.”

Mutiny is brewing in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. When Linden, the leader of the clowns steals one of the ringmaster’s most prized possessions, Drystan, the white clown, finds himself caught in the middle. Tasked with retrieving the Lethe, he’s forced to betray Linden or risk his troubled past coming to light. But the Vestige artifact has its own history and its own power. Drystan will learn what it can really do, and who it can hurt.

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…


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


Untold 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 Fisherman’s Net

A humble fisherman in a village of the coast of the island of Linde buys a trinket at the market, which he discovers is Vestige. The poor man soon becomes the best fisherman in the village and marvels at his newfound wealth. One day, he ensnares a most unusual catch: a Chimaera sea maiden that isn’t meant to exist. And he’s not sure if he can let her go.

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…


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


Untold 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 Tarot Reader

“Cyan didn’t want to read fortunes.”

Cyan Zhu is the best tarot reader Riley & Batheo’s Circus of Curiosities has ever seen. Too good, some say. She reads the cards, but she can also tell more about her customers than they could ever suspect. Two people walk into Cyan’s cart to have their fortunes told and change her life forever: Oliver, a sailor with a pretty grin, and a mysterious man with a blurred face, who sends her terrible visions that might come true.

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…


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

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…


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

Listen to my Halloween story, “The Ghost of Gold and Grey”, on Pseudopod!


Happy almost Halloween, everyone. I have one of my short stories, “The Ghost of Gold and Grey,” available for a listen on Pseudopod, a horror podcast. I wrote it a few years ago, but was lucky enough to have it picked up for audio. This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone else reading my words aloud, so that’s pretty cool. My story starts around the 20 minute mark and the reader has a Scottish accent, which fits perfectly. There’s also lots of great stories by other authors who are on Team Mushens, aka have Juliet Mushens as their agent (save Edward Cox). If you’d rather read but not listen to it, it’s on my blog and Wattpad, too. My story is based on the WIP I’ve codenamed Betwixt Book, which I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog. Ghosts! A castle! The Scottish Highlands! My main character yelling a blasphemous curseword!

Official description and link:

PseudoPod 461: Flash On The Borderlands XXVIII: Britshock II

by Severity Chase, Richard Kellum, Laura Lam, Andrew Reid, Taran Matharu, & Edward Cox

A gaggle of new Flash Fiction to warm your heart and chill your bones…

Absolution by Severity Chase
Read by Khaalidaah Muhammed-Ali
Severity is mystery.

My Daily Vampire by Richard Kellum
Read by Graeme Dunlop
Richard’s not only an author (Fantasy/Horror) and daydreamer. he’s a fellow podcaster who, along with Chris Brosnahan (Who’s own serial you should totally be reading too), hosts Early Draft. He’s on twitter here and blogs at Elf-Machines From Hyperspace.

The Ghost of Gold and Grey by Laura Lam
Read by Tatiana Gomberg
Laura, geek, author, Californian can be found on twitter here and she blogs here. Her upcoming books are False Hearts & Masquerade. Out now: Pantomime, Shadowplay & The Vestigial Tales.

Run Forever by Andrew Reid
Read by Joe Scalora
Andrew Reid – Cook, climber, teacher, writer and one of the most fiercely articulate, creative people it’s my honour to know. He and I, along with Lou, survived redshirting World FantasyCon together last year. That may mean at some point we open a bar. We’ll let you know… Andrew blogs at My God It’s Raining and tweets here.

Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing by Taran Matharu
Read by Marguerite Kenner
Taran, is the author of the popular book Summoner: The Novice (read 6 Million times and published in 11 languages) and can be found on twitter here.

Gravemaker by Edward Cox
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Edward, author of THE RELIC GUILD and THE CATHEDRAL OF KNOWN THINGS can be found on twitter here and blogs here

And that’s our stories, supplied by The Mushens Agency. I’d like to thank all our narrators and authors for turning in stories that show just how diverse and vibrant a genre horror is.

The stars are right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do, a band of innocent authors has accomplished. After vigintillions of years the Flash Fiction Contest is loose again, and ravening for delight. Each week, batches of stories will be released into gladiatorial pits to fight for supremacy. The floor will be churned to mud with the blood of the fallen until the mightiest stories remain for your delight and dread. Head over to the forums, take up your stone, and join us in the harvest festivals of the October Country.

It’s easy to be become a member. Sign up for a forum account and make a single post so we know you’re not a bot. This is a good thread to start with. From there, head over to “The Arcade” as the contest thread will not be visible until after you have made at least one post. Authors, encourage friends and families to come over and participate – you just can’t tell them which stories are yours. Visit our forums for rules and details.

Patron of Reading


I’m now available to become a Patron of Reading.

My short bio (which is also on the Patrons Available page): Laura Lam is a writer of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults with Tor/Macmillan. She’s the author of the award-winning Micah Grey series (Pantomime, Shadowplay & Masquerade) for teens and upcoming thrillers False Hearts & Shattered Minds for adults. She’s very interested writing diversity and making sure everyone can see themselves reflected in fiction. She’s available to be a patron for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, or Edinburgh based schools.

Patrons of Readings are writers who partner with a chosen school for at least one year. Essentially, I would work with a school to foster a love of reading for pleasure, as a sort of antidote to the constant pressure of tests within schools. I’d do occasional visits (most of which are paid), and also coordinate a few other activities (which are volunteer based), such as writing newsletters, making book quizzes, etc. More information can be found on the Patron of Reading website.

So, if you work for a school local to me or know someone who does, please consider getting in touch, either with me directly or via the Patron of Reading website.  If you’re not looking for a Patron of Reading but would still like to invite me for a visit, please see my Visits & Events page for more details.

Monthly Roundup: September 2015

Books Read:

    1. private-life-stately-homesPrivate Life in Britain’s Stately Homes: Masters and Servants in the Golden Age – Michael Paterson

The Victorian and Edwardian eras in the run-up to 1914 marked the golden age of the English country house, when opulence and formality attained a level that would never be matched again. The ease of these perfect settings for flirtation and relaxation was maintained by a large and well-trained staff of servants. Although those ‘in service’ worked very long hours and had little personal freedom, many were proud of their positions and grateful for the relative security these gave. Indeed, the strictly hierarchical world below stairs could be more snobbish than that of a house’s owners. Michael Paterson skilfully and entertainingly explores the myths and realities of this vanished world, both upstairs and down.

2. Lost Highlander – Cassidy Cayman

Grad student and cocktail waitress Evelyn Merkholtz has plenty to deal with. Too much to deal with. So, when her runaway best friend calls with a mysterious and urgent request to join her in Scotland, she is secretly more than happy to drop everything and oblige.

She’s faced with an ancient curse, an adorably hunky villager, and a super hot (but possibly murderous), Highland warrior from the 18th century – and realizes that getting burned at the stake is a really bad way to get out of writing her thesis.

3. Snow Crash – Neil Stephenson

After the Internet, what came next? Enter the Metaverse – cyberspace home to avatars and software daemons, where anything and just about everything goes. Newly available on the Street – the Metaverse’s main drag – is Snow Crash, a cyberdrug. Trouble is Snow Crash is also a computer virus – and something more. Because once taken it infects the person behind the avatar. Snow Crash bleeds into reality. Which is really bad news for Hiro – freelance hacker and the Metaverse’s best swordfighter (he wrote the code) – and Y.T. – skateboard kourier, street imp and mouthy teenage girl – because reality was shitty enough before someone started messing with it …Exploring linguistics, religion, computer science, politics, philosophy, cryptography and the future of pizza delivery, “Snow Crash” is a riveting, brake-neck adventure into the fast-approaching future.

4. Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) – Leigh Bardugo (re-read)

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

5. Seige and Storm (The Grisha #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

6. Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Chosorcerer-to-crown

In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the eminent Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, but a malicious faction seeks to remove him by fair means or foul. Meanwhile, the Society is failing its vital duty – to keep stable the levels of magic within His Majesty’s lands. The Fairy Court is blocking its supply, straining England’s dangerously declining magical stores. And now the government is demanding to use this scarce resource in its war with France.

Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life, and a visit by the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.

At his wits’ end, the last thing Zachariah needs is a female magical prodigy! But together, they might just change the nature of sorcery, in Britain and beyond.

7. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North

August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’ This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

I’ve also read about half of a manuscript for a friend and some of a screenplay.

Total: 53


The month started with me finishing up False Hearts copyedits. Then I had to take a few days off because I had LASIK surgery at the beginning of the month! It took me about 5 days to get back to full productivity. At the end of August, the draft of Shattered Minds stood at around 60k. This month my goal was to write at least 20k, and I beat that. The draft at the end of the month was just shy of 85,000 words, and now I’m nearly done (so close. So cloooose). I’m hoping to finish by mid-October at the latest, so I can let it breathe while I do False Hearts page proofs, then go back to edit it so it’s in decent enough shape for beta readers. I’m aiming to have an editor-worthy draft in December or January.

I did a tiny bit of planning of Betwixt Book, but not much. I also started a fun side project in the last week, but won’t say too much about it. This month also saw 2 writing workshops out of 4 at the local Central Library. I’m working with a group of 7 young adults, and I’m enjoying having the chance to develop linked lesson plans.

This month had a lot of admin as well–I emailed all the local Aberdeen schools, introducing myself and gently urging public schools to apply for Scottish Book Trust Live Literature funding, with the hope of additional workshop bookings in the new year. Several private schools have gotten in touch about visits earlier than that. I developed a brochure and flyer to send them. I also did 3 months of tax expenses, which is always so fun.


I spent a weekend in Edinburgh to see Elizabeth May and Emma Trevayne. We were actually decently productive and did a mini writing retreat in Elizabeth’s flat.

Goals for next month:

Finish Shattered Minds! Proof False Hearts. Keep playing around with Shiny Project. Finally figure out what property law for castles in the Highlands in 1910 was so I can finish planning Betwixt Book. Do more yoga.