Recent Links: #LGBTApril and More!

April is LGBT Month, and throughout the month, Pantomime & Shadowplay have been discussed out and about on the web.


LGBT Month is hosted by Laura @ Laura Plus Books and Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer.  It runs throughout the month of April and it’s here to celebrate LGBT+ readers, LGBT+ authors and of course LGBT+ books.

Cayce of Fighting Dreamer put up a great review of both Pantomime & Shadowplay: “I really loved how these books escape what’s common for most ya fantasy [. . .] and instead give us something truly unique and captivating. Pantomime & Shadowplay is so… unlike any (ya) fantasy I’ve read/heard of – I’m really glad I gave this series a chance.”

I also have a guest post on Cayce’s blog called “No Longer the Last Taboo – Intersex Characters in YA Fiction.”

Over at Uncorked Thoughts, I have a guest post on “The Somewhat Hidden Rainbow in Fantasy” with some resources on where to find LGBT fantasy.

At Dani’s Blog, Pen to Paper, I let you know 5 things you might not know about me, plus 5 things you might not know about Micah/Gene.

Over at Once Upon a Bookcase, Jo writes about intersex characters in YA, and Pantomime & Shadowplay get a mention.

Clover at Fluttering Butterflies has a post on Bisexual Characters for LGBT April, and Pantomime & Shadowplay are also mentioned there as well.

Over on the Diversity in YA tumblr, Pantomime is featured as part of a Diverse Dozen.

While trying to round up all my recent guest posts, I found this lovely review at Books and Beautiful: “Lam’s depiction of Gene/Micah’s personal story is lovely, thought-provoking, and one that I have become wholly invested in emotionally. The questions about self-identity that go through the character’s mind throughout the course of the story, the struggle to accept and understand… It felt real to me, and really got me in the heart.”

Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn says of Shadowplay: “[ . . .] it is still in my top five YA series going at this point.  The next book can’t come fast enough, I doubt I will ever tire of Micah and can’t wait to finally get some answers.”

One of the fun parts of having quotes from my book on places like Goodreads is my words end up appearing in different places on the internet, like before this adorable circus-themed wedding or this circus summer camp for kids!

This weekend I’ll be in Glasgow for Eastercon. Can’t wait!

Guest Post: Introducing BREAKSHIELD by J.B. Rockwell

J.B. Rockwell is one of the members of my online writing group, the Inkbots. She’s recently sold her debut to Zharmae, and so I invited her here to show off her cover and blurb and a bit about the book. Take a look! 

When Laura Lam offered me some space on her website to show off the cover of my upcoming novel Breakshield, I jumped at the opportunity.  After all, who wouldn’t want a shout out from someone who writes such wonderful and truly amazing stories as Pantomime and Shadowplay?  So thank you, Laura, for hosting me in your virtual home!

As for Breakshield, it hits the shelves on March 27, 2014.  I was beyond excited to get the official okay to post the cover art, and here she be:

breakshieldFound at the intersection of life and the afterlife, the Between is a place where science and reason are replaced by magic and violence. It is a place where Typhon and his Huntsmen of the Dark Waste spread like a plague and where Talents go to die. 

The only thing standing in Typhon’s way is Morgan Quendalen and the people of the Shining Lands. They are sworn to protect the last remaining Talents, a precious few who teeter at the edge of extinction.  Morgan valiantly fights, protecting these last remnants of magic in a war he’s not sure he can actually win. 

When Jamie Aster, a mortal Talent with undiscovered powers, is put under his charge, Morgan weighs his oath against a desire to save the Shining Lands. Could he kill a Talent if it meant saving his people?

Breakshield is my debut novel and the first in a series of three that I’ve signed with Zharmae.  As for the cover, well I absolutely love it.  Love-love-love it.  It’s pretty and badass all at the same time and – really – what else could I ask for?  The artist is an up-and-comer named Yanmo Zhang and he’ll be doing the cover art for the other two books in the series as well.  The man on the cover is Morgan Quendalen, the protagonist of this story, and he’s looking pretty badass as well.  I can’t wait until Breakshield  comes out because I think you’re gonna love it as much as I love the cover.  After all, it’s got everything a good fantasy story needs: swords and sorcery, evil beasties with long claws and sharp teeth, and it’s even got a fox familiar named Kitsune. 

Find out more about me at my author site, and follow me on Twitter if you like what you see.  Oh yeah, Breakshield is up on Goodreads if you’re interested, and check out these sites for cover reveals:

Winter Holidays in Ellada, and Pantomime for £1

snowflakeI have a guest post on the Strange Chemistry website about what winter holidays in Ellada are like. There’s also a brief Shadowplay snippet, and using the promo code, you can buy the DRM-free e-book from the Angry Robot Store for £1 today only, as it’s only a few weeks now until Shadowplay‘s release (egads), it’d be a good time to pick it up :-).

Winter Holidays in Ellada

Out and About


Guest post on Strange Chemistry on my recent school visits to Dollar Academy, Keith Grammar, and Gordonstoun School

I’ve made a page about my visits and events this year, including booking information and testimonials

A review and Interview for YA Pride at More Than Just Magic

There’s another peek at my workplace, on this post at Author Allsorts you can also have a sneak peek at the first chapter snippet of Shadowplay, the sequel to Pantomime

Pantomime was featured on the DiversityinYA tumblr, which was cool!

Guest Post: Mike Stewart on Adding a Dash of Transmedia to your Writing

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!

MikesHeadDo 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!

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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

Find Mike elsewhere:

About the Book:
Assured Destruction Series
Assured Destruction on Goodreads

Get the Book:
Itunes, Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Guest Post: Andrea Stewart: Submitting Stories Again, and Again, and Again…

I’m thrilled to welcome Andrea Stewart to the blog today. We met via AbsoluteWrite, as she was a hopeful through this year’s Angry Robot Open Door month, and so she joined our online writing group. I’m even more thrilled to say that Andrea has just won FIRST PLACE in the quarter finals of this year’s Writers of the Future contest, having her work judged anonymously by the likes of Time Powers & Larry Niven. Please welcome Andrea to the blog as she discusses perseverance.

Sometimes I think you have to be a little bit crazy to want to be a writer. Instead of spending your spare time playing video games, running around parks, or going out with friends, you type words on a keyboard. These words, taken together, may or may not be any good. And even if they’re good, they may not reach the level of great, and may or may not ever get published. Or read. It’s a lot of time and emotion to invest in something that might not pan out.

I ended up trunking my first manuscript, after a long period of querying. About a year ago, as I was working on my second manuscript (about a young woman who must balance her addiction to blood magic with saving a country and the people that she loves), I came up with an ill-conceived plan.

I like to write epic fantasy, and I like the sweeping, globe-trotting aspect of it, which means I tend to write long. Although I got partial and full requests for my first manuscript, agents expressed misgivings about the length. I thought if I could sell a couple short stories to pro markets before I started submitting my second manuscript, then I could put those credits on my query letter and ease those misgivings. It made sense to me at the time!

What I didn’t realize was that there aren’t a lot of professional markets out there for short speculative fiction. And since I was writing stories that stretched past the 5,000 word mark, I had even fewer to submit to.

I tried them anyways and was summarily rejected. Each time I wrote a new story, I thought it would be the one to get published, only to be proven wrong. And then I wrote The Story—the one that my writers’ group loved, the one that just seemed to have the right flow and rhythm. I submitted it to F&SF, and received a kind personal rejection. Clarkesworld: form reject, two days. Daily Science Fiction: another kind personal rejection, expressing that it was a hard decision.

The Writers of the Future contest was always on my peripherals, but I never submitted there. There was something intimidating about the contest aspect of it. But I submitted the story in June, not expecting much after the prior rejections, and resolved to self-publish it if I didn’t hear back.

In November, I got the call that my story was a finalist. On December 10, I got the call that my story had won first place.

I can’t completely express how overwhelmingly exciting this is for me (so exciting that I’m abusing adverbs!). This is the first time something I’ve written will be available in bookstores. It will be published this summer. It will be read.

So maybe writers are just a little bit crazy. The kind of crazy that doesn’t care as much about the piles of unread writing, about the time and the emotional investment, the long nights and frenzied drafting. Because getting that one “yes” can make it all worth it. It did for me.

Andrea is by day a contract specialist for California and by night a speculative fiction writer. We haven’t bullied her into getting a Twitter (yet), but you can find out more about her and her writing on her website. I have no doubt we’ll see plenty more from Andrea in the future!