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?

AUTHOR ALLSORTS

“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!

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!

PantomimeCoverTorPANTOMIME
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?

Purchase:

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

 

ShadowplayCoverTorSHADOWPLAY
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?

Purchase:

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.😉

Panoply

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!

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!