Art, That’s Special

Happy Chocolate Egg day!

I watched Boyhood on the flight home from California. Many details overlapped with mine and (especially) my brother’s childhood. I liked this short clip so I’m putting it on my blog, about work ethic + natural talent.

Mr. Turlington: Who do you wanna be, Mason? What do you wanna do?
Mason: I wanna take pictures. Make art.
Mr. Turlington: Any dipshit can take pictures, Mason. Art, that’s special. What can you bring to it that nobody else can?

In other news, Shadowplay made the longlist of the Tiptree Award. I love Tiptree’s work and always harboured a hope to be on that list because the Micah Grey series is all about exploring gender, so that was a nice boost to yesterday, when I was having a rough day. Congratulations to the winners and everyone on the list. 🙂

Before I Wrote…I Drew

I was procrastinating on all the various things I should do and poking around what my FB page looks like to the public again. It’s sort of fun doing that because the only content that is visible is stuff from around 2007, so it’s like I step back in time. This time I found a link to a bunch of my artwork I had photographed and put up in a contest. They didn’t win. What’s sort of strange though is that some of the motifs I drew are now in my fiction.

I used to draw quite often. I found it soothing, and the intricate ones were especially good for my anxiety. I’d listen to music full blast and draw away, my mind wandering, feeling calm. Even if the pieces look anything other than calm.

When I have more time (if I ever have more time), I’d like to get back into art with ink and graphite instead of just art with the printed word.

There are more below the cut (warning: there’s one drawing of a nude woman):

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Continue reading Before I Wrote…I Drew

Final Pantomime Cover Reveal & Tour!

The final cover artwork has landed and is out in the world:

I absolutely adore the typography and the ticket stub/circus poster peeking from the top to show my name (my name!) and my title (my title!). I think it works really well and is so striking.

The cover has been making the rounds today. I’ve collected the links below.

The first unveiling was at the infamous Book Smugglers. They’re one of my favourite blogs and I’ve been following them for about 6 months. They are also running a giveaway for two ARCs of Pantomime! So please go over and enter if you’re interested in winning an advance peek at my book. have also unveiled the cover and put up a two chapter excerpt! This was another bit of awesome–I’ve been following their blog for years.

Cuddlebuggery put up three alternate covers for Pantomime. I dunno, what do you think about them? 😉 Did I miss out by not going to them first?

A beautiful reveal at Leo Cristea’s blog, who interviewed me for Fantasy Faction. I beamed from ear to ear when I read it.

Cover reveal at Jana’s blog The Book Goddess.

The lovely Memory, who was one of my beloved beta readers, has unveiled the cover at her blog, Stella Matutina.

Cover reveal at Sharon M Johnson’s blog!

Daphne over at Winged Reviews also reveals the cover!

Catherine at CallieachsDevoir says lovely things about the cover here.

And last but not least, Kaye over at Paper Reader shows off my cover.

If anyone else puts up a cover reveal, send a mention to @LR_Lam or drop me a line on my contact page and I’ll put the link up on this entry.

People have been saying lovely things about the cover. A huge thank you to Tom Bagshaw, a truly talented artist, my editor Amanda Rutter for the spot-on art brief, and Marc Gascoigne for the gorgeous lettering.

Goodreads now has the little cover image on it, hooray! It’s also been added to the Amanda Rutter’s Pinterest for Strange Chemistry cover art, and if you’d like to repin it and help spread the word that way, I’d be very grateful.

Hokay, link salad complete. Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered for this cover reveal and for all the sweet things you’ve said about the cover. I am a-okay if you decide to judge my book by this cover, as I think it’s one of the most beautiful book covers ever. (I am a little biased. But only a little).

And in the Dragon was a Story: The Edinburgh Book Sculptures

This past Saturday was the launch of the Scottish Tour of the Edinburgh Book Sculptures. Most bibliophiles will know this tale, but if you haven’t heard about it, an anonymous artist gifted libraries, a theatre, book festival tents, and a bookstore around Edinburgh with lovingly crafted sculptures made from books. With them she (all we know about her is that she’s a she) left little notes. A delightful little mystery took place around the city and word spread around the world as ten sculptures appeared, and then a surprise eleventh for Ian Rankin, the author whose books had been used in several of the other sculptures.

I’d read the news articles last year when it spread across the internet, and I was really excited when they came to my library where I used to work. The GiftED tour was arranged by the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh’s UNESCO City of Literature Trust. They’re in Aberdeen until September 6th and then they’ll be travelling to Dundee, Wigtown, Glasgow, Dunfermline, and then back to the Scottish Poetry Library.

The first thing that struck me about the sculptures from afar when I snuck in was that they seemed so small and innocuous. I couldn’t get a clear look at them until after the launch, which was great. Two writers, one with the awesome name of Rapunzel Wizard with dreadlocks to the back of his knees read short, humourous poems, some of which had props. In the photo to the left he was finding anagrams to various officious terms. I particularly enjoyed his distilling of his favourite books into haiku. Martin Walsh, the other writer, didn’t have quite as flashy a style, but his work had a quiet humour and complexity that I also enjoyed.

I expected to enjoy seeing them in person. What I definitely didn’t expect was to be moved to tears by them. I had to blink rapidly. Seeing all ten at once in their displays was almost overwhelming. So much time, care, and love had been spent on these, and to not take credit and gift them to the world to show how important reading and words and stories are is simply incredible. Whoever you are, mysterious artist, thank you. Onto the photos. Unfortunately my camera phone does not do them justice. For proper photos and for more of the photos of how they fit together, you can also look at Chris Scott’s photos on his blog Central Station.

Worth mentioning is that a book about the sculptures has been published, entitled Gifted – The Tale of 10 Mysterious Book Sculptures Gifted to the City of Word and Ideas. While the editors of the book have no idea who the artist is, they were able to communicate with her via a pseudonymous email address, and in it is a note from the artist and a lovingly illustration on how to make a “poetree” as well as a map of Edinburgh as the end paper. It’s a really beautiful book and £10, and for my it was a tenner well-spent. Some of the proceeds go to helping libraries.

When the curator of the tour introduced the exhibit, she also said that just that morning she had received a very exctiting call from Edinburgh–the anonymous book artist had struck again, leaving 50 paper flowers with a quote by Orson Welles scattered about the Ediburgh book festival. So maybe each year she (or another artist) will gift us with more little paper wonders to remind us of the power of libraries, books, words, ideas…

Photo: The Edinburgh Reporter

Pantomime Cover Artwork Revealed!

It’s been an exciting last few days for Pantomime. Last week I received my structural edit from Strange Chemistry, which is a milestone! This edit was fairly light (whoohoo!), though I’ve got some tweaking to do, definitely. 

The next exciting milestone is that I can finally share the cover art for Pantomime! The text is still to be confirmed. I am so, so, so happy with it it’s unreal. It’s my wallpaper at work, at home, on my phone…everywhere. I had a couple of image ideas in my head as I was writing the book, but I’d never thought of having my main character in a mask, and it works so well. Amanda’s vision brilliantly encompassed the mystery, magic, and secrets of Pantomime. Tom Bagshaw aka MostlyWanted has made a truly gorgeous and stunning piece of artwork. Go look at his online portfolio to see more incredible art.

But first, take a look. Is it Gene Laurus, or is it Micah Grey?

About Pantomime, and my first two lovely, lovely blurbs:

R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

“Micah is the most wonderful, complex, brave and contemporary teenage hero I’ve read, facing issues of identity and responsibility that will resound with any reader who has felt like an outsider. Pantomime is loving in its detail but hints at so much scope to come. I raced through this book, desperate to know what happens next. ‘Look out behind you’ Robin Hobb…”
– Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury and winner of the Leeds Book Award, 2012

“Welcome to a world of shills and showmen, fading tech and circus freaks, where nothing and no-one is what it appears. An absorbing, accomplished debut.”
– Elspeth Cooper, author of the Wild Hunt series

More information on Pantomime at Strange Chemistry’s page for the book, including some places where it’s available for pre-order. *cough* Also, stay tuned for another reveal of the final artwork later on!