Books Read in April

I’ve been slack on the blog, but here’s the books I read last month:

Jennifer_Finney_Boylan_Shes_Not_There_sm1. She’s not There: A Life in Two Genders – Jennifer Finney Boylan. My mom lent this to me, as it was the Freshman Read at my alma mater last year. It was a wonderful memoir of a MTF trans woman and her experiences. Funny and moving.

2. The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black. Holly Black is one of my authors I go to for a comfort read.They always have characters you root for, a great atmosphere, and tight plots. This one is set in a small town of Fairfold where the fae are always nearby and have a way with meddling with lives.

3. The Martian – Andy Weir. I listened to this on audiobook. It was an interesting book, and how if I’m ever trapped on Mars, I’ll know how to grow potatoes.

4. In the Woods – Tana Franch. I loved this book. Excellently written and a great mystery. Detective Andrew Ryan is in some ways frustrating and unlikeable (though understandable considering the massive amount of stress he’s under in this book), but his partner Cassie Maddox is the real star of the show. Really want to read The Likeness now, as it stars her.

5. Waverley – Walter Scott. Re-read for an essay for uni, plus about a book’s worth of articles and excerpts of analysis. I’m writing about the supernatural and Gothic allusions in the book.

6. Loose Changeling – A.G. Stewart. Andrea is in one of my writing groups and she came to my Shadowplay launch in SF. I was excited to read her first book and it was fun, fast-paced urban fantasy with fae. A perfect palette cleanser after the rather dark In the Woods and the very dense prose of Waverley.

7. Second Position – Katherine Locke. If you love ballet films with Center Stage, do yourself a favour and read this book. It’s a romance about two ballet dancers whose lives have fallen apart. After four years, they run into each other again and wonder if they can ever hope to pick up the pieces.

8. Turning Pointe – Katherine Locke. Technically this is a novella, but I’ll count it anyway. It’s a prequel novella for Second Position and was just as lovely, and very sad as it’s set around the events that drove Zed and Aly apart four years before the book.

Total books in 2015: 25

A 2014 Roundup, or: Well, That was Quite a Year

Well, 2014. That was a year. Here’s a brief roundup.

Reading from Shadowplay at Borderlands Books in San Francisco

January 2014: This month had a good start. Shadowplay (Micah Grey #2) was released. I was lucky enough to be able to fly back to San Francisco for this, where I did a few events: a book launch at Borderlands Books, a talk at my alma mater, California State University East Bay, a visit to one of my professor’s classes, and another visit at my old high school, Hayward High. I was also able to do some research trips around San Francisco for the book I’d just finished drafting. I found out Pantomime had been listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association Rainbow List. The end of January was less pleasant, for I found out there’d be no contract for Masquerade, Micah Grey #3. I was, frankly, beyond devastated.

Favourite book read in January:  either City of Dragons by Robin Hobb or In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters.

Waterstones Aberdeen Launch. Photo credit: Laura Benvie.

February 2014: Licked my wounds, battled depression and anxiety, and kept promoting Pantomime & Shadowplay. I went down to Newcastle for the North East Teen Book Awards, which ended up being very, very timely. I’d been tempted to take a writing hiatus (because I knew I could never quit completely), and here were teens saying my books were some of their favourites of all time, wanting to take photos and have my sign things, and just in general being so sweet and so enthusiastic about books and reading. I came back and threw myself into the new project I’d been editing. I’d finished the first draft at the end of November 2013, and after some great beta reader comments, I was working on turning it into a workable draft. I called it Bonkers Book on social media. I also announced the Vestigial Tales, or my plan to self-publish some short stories/novellas set in the same world as the Micah Grey series. I also had an Aberdeen launch at Waterstones for Shadowplay, and was really touched by how many people came out for it. I seemed pretty on top of things. Behind the scenes, I was still a mess, though I was getting myself together.

Favourite book read in February:  Unteachable by Leah Raeder.

Mowgli assisting with the Robin Hobb scavenger hunt.
Mowgli assisting with the Robin Hobb scavenger hunt.

March 2014: I’d been approached to write a short story for an anthology and in March I was able to announce it as Fablecroft Press did a funding drive for the Cranky Ladies of History, which blasted through its goals. I also got to participate in Robin Hobb’s worldwide scavenger hunt (post with pictures illustrating the clues), and am now friends with the girl who found my present, Louise, and we meet for coffee occasionally. I found out Pantomime had been nominated for the Bisexual Book Award—yay! I went to my friend Rhona McKinnon’s wedding and danced at my first-ever ceilidh.

Favourite book read in March: The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill.

Laya’s first piece of fan art for the Micah Grey series

April 2014: There were some good events for #LGBTApril I participated in. I went to my first convention of the year—Eastercon, in Glasgow. As the conventions are usually in England, it was nice to only have to travel 2 hours to get to one, for once! I was on my first panel. I had fun but it was also a difficult convention, as my mental health was still patchy.  There was more ceilidh dancing. I finished editing Bonkers Book and was working on the Vestigial Tales. Laya drew her first (of what proved to since be many) fan art pieces, and I also received some fan mail. I was so touched I wrote an emotional thank you to readers. I finished editing Bonkers Book & sent it to my agent and worked on the Vestigial Tales.

Favourite book read in April: This was a good reading month so I had three: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, and Cress by Marissa Meyer.


May 2014: Pantomime was listed as a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month! I shared the first Vestigial Tale cover and blurb, for “The Snake Charm.” I went to my friend Elizabeth May’s wedding in Gretna Green and ran my first race, a 10k. By this point my mental health was a lot better. I’d been accepted into a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen.

Favourite book read in May: Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. THIS BOOK. THIS. BOOK. I love it so much.


June 2014: Pantomime WON the Bisexual Book award! I posted my acceptance speech. I released “The Snake Charm,” and it had a great first month! I shared the cover and blurb for “The Fisherman’s Net.” My short story “They Swim Through Sunset Seas,” was accepted in the Solaris Rising 3 anthology. I was nominated for Best Newcomer for the British Fantasy Awards and wrote musings on being a baby writer at the beginning of my career. Strange Chemistry, the publisher of Pantomime & Shadowplay, announced that it was closing down very suddenly. I participated in a rowing competition for work dressed as Princess Leia. Behind the scenes, I’d received and implemented edits from my agent on Bonkers Book and it was getting ready to go out on wide submission.

Favourite book read in June: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.


July 2014 aka THE MONTH MY LIFE CHANGED:  Vestigial Tales: I posted a roundup of “The Snake Charm” and its first month sales, launched “The Fisherman’s Net,” shared “The Tarot Reader’s” blurb and cover, and went on the local radio. Tor/Macmillan offered pre-emptively on Bonkers Book aka False Hearts, changing my life. It was right before a big work audit and I was trying to concentrate on spreadsheets while internally screaming with glee. The press release went live on July 25th. I told work I wanted to stop working full-time. My friend Erica came out to visit from California.

Favourite book read in July: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and Natural Causes by James Oswald.

Best selfie ever: Ewa, Kim, Mahvesh, Me, Anne, Jared. Photocred: Mahvesh Murad
Loncon3. Photo credit: Mahvesh Murad

August 2014 aka THE MONTH OF ALL THE CONS: Vestigial Tales: I posted my month 2 roundup of being a hybrid author, launched “The Tarot Reader,” and unveiled the cover and blurb for “The Card Sharp.” Erica and I took a day trip to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. I went to Nine Worlds in London and had a great time—definitely my favourite con of the year. I went to some other London events such as the Broken Monsters launch for Lauren Beukes and the Fantasy in the Court event at Goldsboro Books, where I got to meet some people from my new publisher, like my editor Julie Crisp, for the first time. Then it was time for another convention, Loncon3. I went back to Aberdeen, exhausted.

Favourite book read in August: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters.

Reading from False Hearts at Fantasycon


September 2014: Vestigial Tales: another monthly roundup and launching the last of the Tales (for now), “The Card Sharp.” The cons weren’t over! I journeyed down to York for Fantasycon. My husband and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary/10 years of being together. I did some events for #WriteCity in Aberdeen, doing both public events and school visits throughout the city. I started my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen and began reducing my hours slightly at work. I was able to announce that False Hearts will be published in the US through Tor/Forge and in Italy through Fanucci Editore. Peter F. Hamilton blurbed the book (!), calling it: “A smart debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” I went down to Winchester for Amy Alward’s beautiful wedding. I became a British citizen!

Favourite book read in September: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.

More Laya art! Aenea on the trapeze.
More Laya art! Aenea on the trapeze.

October 2014, or THE MONTH OF NO FREE TIME: I did my full-time masters. I did more school visits. I worked around 30 hours a week at the day job. I tried to write, but that didn’t really happen. Pantomime was listed as Gay YA’s October Book of the Month and they did lots of great promotion. I managed to post another Vestigial Tale monthly roundup. I really missed sleep and free time, but by the end of the month, my replacement had started and been trained and I dropped down to around 12 hours a week for work. I finished the first draft of Masquerade, finally.

Favourite book read in October: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (for uni).

Traffic cone or wizard hat? Glasgow.
Traffic cone or wizard hat? Glasgow.

November 2014: I did my full-time masters. I worked part-time. I stupidly decided I’d do NaNoWriMo because who needs free time, right, though I had to adjust my goals to include blogging and university work. My nephew, Theo, was born on November 5th. Shadowplay was Gay YA’s November Book of the Month and False Hearts sold in Germany to Heyne Verlag. Shadowplay was nominated for the ALA Rainbow List! I posted another hybrid author roundup. I took a weekend trip to Glasgow. I “won” NaNoWriMo by the skin of my teeth and swore I’ll never do it again, but it does mean I wrote a good chunk of Brainfreeze Book, my option book for Tor. Things happened behind the scenes regarding *stuff.*

Favourite book read in November:  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, with an honourable mention to the Complete Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather.

The double rainbow in Arran.
The double rainbow in Arran.

December 2014: I finished up the first semester of my Masters degree. I went to London for my agent’s Christmas party. I went to the Isle of Arran on my first-ever writing retreat with Elizabeth May and Emma Trevayne, editing Masquerade for beta readers. I waited to hear about *stuff* and tried to be patient (and failed). I was called back into the day job almost full-time for a little bit. Stress. Stress. Stress. Aaaaand relax. Got ready for Christmas. Ate all the food. Now: reading, watching a lot of TV and slowly editing what I wrote of Brainfreeze Book and sorting through Masquerade beta comments.

Favourite book read in December: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

And that was my year. Let’s see what 2015 brings!

Recent Links and Things:, Glaze Launch, etc.

I’ve been interviewed for the Bisexual Book column over at!

Jim at YA Yeah Yeah discusses My Indie Bookshelf, and he included Pantomime as one of his recommendations :-) It’s a cool programme because if you buy via these recommendations, then a small percentage goes to the indie bookshop of your choice to help support them.

I was on an SF Signal mind meld about things I’ve learned since being a debut author, along with a lot of other great folks.

This past weekend I was down in London for the launch of my friend Kim Curran’s awesome new book, Glaze! It was at a cool cafe/pub by Waterloo station called Topolski, and it was a great turn out. Kim has been hard at work lately on a blog tour and launching it. Her publication story for this book is interesting – she self-published it, yet ended up partnering with the small press, Jurassic, to provide a (gorgeous) limited edition hard copy.

Here’s some info about Glaze:

GLAZEBuying options

UK ebook

US ebook

PETRI QUINN is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.

Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.

As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.

I blurbed it!

‘In Glaze, Petri is a strong heroine, desperate to be part of the hooked-up society, only to discover that it’s not the paradise promised – quite the opposite, in fact. Glaze is reminiscent of authors like Scott Westerfeld, yet Curran has a voice all her own, and she’s one of the strongest YA writers in science fiction today.’ – Laura Lam, author of Pantomime & Shadowplay


The Shadowplay Blog Tour


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
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
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
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.”

Links & News

yalsaPantomime has been nominated for the American Library Association YALSA 2014 Popular Paperbacks list in the Books with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer-questioning, Intersex, Asexual individuals, and their Allies Category! Very cool and honoured to be included.

I’m interviewed by Malinda Lo on her blog for her awesome YA Pride event.

There’s a short interview and a giveaway for a copy of Pantomime at Books for YA.

I’ve been updating my website and have added some discussion questions and sample assignment prompts for teachers, librarians, book groups, or what have you. Spoilers, of course! I’ve also added a Works Consulted/Resources list to round up some of my research for Pantomime & Shadowplay.

Around the web:

If you are a comics writer, there’s a queer sci fi/fantasy comics anthology now taking submissions.

Here’s some 1910 postcards that predicted the future of year 2000.

Did you know Marmosets have conversations that sound strikingly human? Or that they have discovered a purring primate in the Amazon?

Michael J. Sullivan on When it Comes to Publishing it Pays to Think Outside of the Box.

Recent Links

I had an interview for the YA Debut Author Bash hosted by YA Reads over at Book Bandit‘s blog. She also wrote a nice review of Pantomime here.

My agent, Juliet Mushens, has a great guest blog entry at Windmill Books about what she actually does as an agent.

Reminder: Pantomime‘s ebook is still on sale for super cheap, but I’m not sure how much longer the deal will be on. The highest I saw it get on Amazon was ranking #2,446, hitting #22 in Social Issues for Children and #74 Childrens SFF, Mystery & Horror!

A few months ago, Pantomime was reviewed by the American Library Association’s Booklist online, which I missed. A nice review: “At around page 90 in Lam’s impressive debut fantasy novel, there’s a reveal so stunning that it makes it difficult to discuss without spoilers. Still, difficult hardly means impossible, especially as Lam’s memorable characters and rich world building stand tall in their own rights. Using a flashback structure to show both why noble-born Iphigenia Laurus runs away and joins the circus and how she changes her identity to become trapeze-artist Micah Grey, Pantomime does feature standard YA elements such as parental estrangement and problematic romance—yet marvelously transfigures them.”

And lastly, Pantomime had another lovely review on the site Fantasy Faction: “Micah is one of the most sympathetic, well-realised and bravest characters I’ve read about in a long time. . . Well-written and intelligent fantasy with characters I loved and a wonderful protagonist, in a fascinating world. I really enjoyed Pantomime and I can’t wait to re-enter Ellada and continue to unravel its secrets.”


My short essay The Grey of Gender: Intersex and Gender Variant/Non-Binary Characters in YA, which originally appeared on GayYA, was reblogged on the DiversityinYA tumblr.

Jo Stapley at Once Upon a Bookcase had a Pantomime-themed day for her LGBTQ YA Month, which you should all check out. She had an in-depth review (some spoilers, but she also wrote a spoiler-free review a few months ago), and an interview from me.

There was a really lovely review from Ingrid at the Magpie Librarian which I can’t help but share.

If you’re near Inverness on August 6th, I’ll be appearing at the Inverness Book Festival.