An Update on Pantomime & Shadowplay

pantomime-shadowplay

It’s 2015 so I can talk about it now.

As of today, the rights to Pantomime & Shadowplay have reverted to me. They’re no longer offered in e-book. It does look like there’s a few print copies still on Amazon and a few other retailers. My guess is that they’ll sell out this stock and that’s it. So you could still grab them in print over the next few days.

When will they be back up again? I’m sorry, but I don’t know just yet, but hopefully it won’t be too long. I’ll let you guys know as soon as I can.

Thank you again to all the readers who have enjoyed the series and told others about it. Word of mouth was all the series had to go on, and kept it ticking along and finding new readers.

It feels a little strange to technically be unpublished again; I’ve no books available for sale. But this is a transitional phase. These will be back up at some point, along with the third book, Masquerade. And there’s False Hearts to come in January 2016 (now only 1 year away!), which I’m very excited to share with you.

In the meantime, if you want to explore the world of Ellada, the four Vestigial Tales are still up, and they’re all off Amazon exclusivity. The novellas star secondary characters in the series and the last is a short fable.

Happy 2015! May it be awesome.

the-tarot-reader-cover the-snake-charm-cover the-fishermans-net-cover TheCardSharpCover

New Blurbs & Photos

I’ve had two new endorsements come through recently, both of which I was very honoured to receive:

“In PANTOMIME, Laura Lam has created a world which will take your breath away, and characters you will never want to leave. Enchanting.”
 -Lou Morgan, author of Blood and Feathers

“A lyrical, stunningly written debut novel, which set my heart racing with every lift of the trapeze. In Micah we have one of the most original – and likeable – protagonists I’ve read in a long time. An author to watch, without a doubt.”
Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow 

I also found this photo of us at the Strange Chemistry launch on KatieA3′s Flickr:

Amanda Rutter (editor), Kim Curran (Shift), me, Jonathan Howard (Katya’s World)

And lastly, one of Ms Robards’ students, Caroline, sent me this photo from after my first talk at Hayward High. I have her permission to post it. They’re posing with my Kindle, which has Pantomime on it.

Worldcon 2012: Chicago Style

I am still recovering from the Chicago Worldcon, but it was a blast. Here’s some bulletpoints of the week:

The week was a lot of hanging around, eating, drinking, and uh, not going to many panels on my part. The next con I’m going to I’m going to plan my time better.

That’s not to say I was in the Big Bar the entire time. Because the Angry Robots took over Worldcon, we did a few events. We went out for pizza, we went bowling, and there was a book reading at The Book Cellar. I went to the Tor party and sat through part of the Hugos, but it was so packed I couldn’t stand in the back the entire time, so we followed via Twitter.

I was really impressed by the Hugos, which I’d not followed that closely in previous years. Out of the 17 categories, 11 of the wins were of women, and there was a good parity between genders in the nominations. As so many award ceremonies have been male dominated, that was refreshing. Another goal next year is to read all the nominations next year and vote.

All dolled up for the Hugos. Adam Christopher, Stephen Blackmore, and me.

This con was a lot about meeting people I’ve known online for some time. Foremost was meeting Wesley Chu, who I chat to on gchat pretty much every day, so meeting in person and staying at his house was a treat. Also invading Wesley, his lovely wife Paula, and their dog Eva’s home was my husband, Craig, my editor, Amanda Rutter, and Adam Christopher.

Me and Kim at Lucky Strike!

I also met many of my Strange Chemistry and Angry Robot stablemates for the first time: Gwenda Bond, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ramez Naam, his girlfriend Molly, Lee Collins, his girlfriend Victoria, Chuck Wendig, and Matt Forbeck. Saw Lee Harris, Anne Lyle and Kim Curran again. New people met: Mur Lafferty, Stephen Blackmore, Stacia Decker, Anne Zanoni, and Josh Vogt.

Adam Christopher, some dude who won a Hugo, and me

Also, I said a brief awkward hello to Neil Gaiman (photographic proof to the left!) and then ran away from Neil Gaiman to say a quick hello to Scott Lynch, who is one of my favourite authors. Yay! I’m sure I’ve forgotten people and will have to go back and slyly edit this.

Overall, it was a great, if exhausting week. Now I’m in California hanging out with my family, so stay tuned for a California post later!

Ladies that Launch

This past weekend I went to London for two launches–the Strange Chemistry Launch at the British Library, and Kim Curran’s launch for Shift at a pub in Richmond.

It was an amazingly fun weekend, though also rather terrifying as I was giving my first reading of Pantomime to a roomful of strangers. This tinged Thursday with anxiety as I had a busy morning at work, travelled for five hours, got ready as quickly as humanly possible at Kim’s, downed a gin and tonic in nothing flat for a bit of Dutch courage, and then made my way to the launch. Amanda, my editor and the mother of Strange Chemistry, looked lovely in a floral dress. There were three SC authors there–Kim Curran, Jonathan Howard (guess he’s not a lady that launches), and me. There’s me reading to the left. I’m amazed at how happy and relaxed I look in that photo, considering my knees were shaking the whole time.

It was great to put faces to a few online names, such as Kaylie who interviewed me last week. I also met Sam Copeland, Kim’s agent and the agent who pointed me in the direction of Juliet, my now-agent, and agents Molly Ker Hawn and Jenny Savill.

Lou Morgan, Juliet Mushens & moi
Icarus
Man as Machine

The next day we went to the Wellcome Centre and I saw an exhibit I’d been really keen to see–Superhuman. It detailed the ways humans have been striving to enhance themselves from ancient times to modern day and postulations to the future. There was a prosthetic toe from the Egyptian era and a plan of how near scientists feel we are to the singularity. It was both inspiring and really, really depressing. Humans are both extraordinary and terrible creatures.

Then in the evening was Kim Curran’s launch for Shift! It was really wonderful to see all her friends and family supporting her and I bought my signed copy of Shift. It was very relaxed. I met James Dawson, author of Hollow Pike, who was lovely, and met a few of Kim’s friends. I also met Kim’s good friend Miranda Dickinson, author of The Fairy Tale of New York and It Started with a Kiss, among others. To the left is Kim beaming as she signs her book.

Saturday was a day of lazing and then far too early on Sunday I was back in Aberdeen. Now it’s frantic packing and I’m off to Chicago and Worldcon! Hooray!

Strange Chemistry & Angry Robot Books Open Door Period: Now Open!

Are you unagented? Do you have a complete, polished, awesome YA SFF novel or an adult Classic/Epic Fantasy novel? For the next two weeks, Strange Chemistry Books are accepting YA SFF and Angry Robot Books are looking for adult Classic/Epic Fantasy.

If you’re thinking of applying, read the both sets of guidelines and follow them to. a. letter. Absolute Write already has a thread for both Strange Chemistry and Angry Robot’s Open Door, so if you have some questions, people on there may be able to help. You have until April 30th to enter!

I subbed last year and it changed my life. Be patient, keep the faith, and keep writing. Best of luck to all who enter.

My Road to Publication: Or, the tale of 1,000 (100,000) email refreshes

I meant for this blog post to be fairly short. But I got carried away and so here is my somewhat long story of how I transitioned from an aspiring to professional author.

Right away, I’ll admit that I’ve had an easy time of it, comparatively. This is my first completed novel, and it went to the fist publisher to see it. That’s not to say it wasn’t difficult, and stressful, and frightening at times, but the whole process was shorter than many.

I dabbled with writing as a teen, starting and abandoning a truly heinous third of a fantasy novel in California, which was an utter mess of tropes. But I bonded with my future husband over it, because he was writing a novel as well, so all was not lost. His novel is salvageable. Mine most definitely is not.

I then decided to focus on reading instead, and so for the next few years I read 100-150 books a year, in all genres: classics, sci fi, fantasy, YA, contemporary lit, graphic novels, memoir, nonfiction, what have you. I was and am a promiscuous reader, though SFF was my true love. I wrote reviews of them for a time, several of which are still scattered about Goodreads, which helped me pinpoint what I liked and disliked about certain novels, regardless of format or genre. My favourite books tended to be ones that meshed several genres.

At university, I bounced between several majors and settled on English literature and creative writing. I wrote some short stories and poetry. I placed in a few poetry/fiction contests, which gave me some cautious optimism that I was a halfway decent writer. I came up with a cool idea for a novel and researched and started it, but my confidence flagged and I kept setting it down.

After I graduated university, I moved 6,000 miles to be with the afore-mentioned husband. I had my shiny piece of paper and thought doors of employment would magically open to me now that I had a degree.

Ahahaha. Haha. Ha.

I ended up working some very boring jobs that kept my hands busy but required no mental effort. And so I started daydreaming, and returned to that novel idea I had come up with in 2007. This time, I decided to write a “backstory” of my character, Micah Grey, as a teenager. I day-dreamed the plot while I filed, thinking up various scenes and sometimes scribbling during my lunch and tea breaks. I started it in December 2009 and finished in March 2011, while also occasionally working on the adult novel. I then promptly subbed the novel about the teenage Micah to Angry Robot Book’s Open Door Month.

That was a newbie error. You probably shouldn’t sub a first draft. But, I had no expectations of getting past the first round, and I was proud that I’d sent it off and harboured a tiny, little hope that they’d like it anyway. I subbed on the second to the last day. I didn’t show my cover letter to any of my friends because none of them had read the book and I didn’t want to spoil the plot. I wasn’t sure if it was even an adult novel or a YA novel—it seemed to me like it could be either. I’m glad I didn’t know as much about the publishing world then as I do now, or I would never have been brave enough to send it off with nothing but a deep breath and some crossed fingers.

Three months later I got a nice email message saying they’d enjoyed the first 5 chapters and would like to see the rest, signed by someone called “Amanda for Angry Robot.” I was road-tripping around the East Coast of the USA with my mom, and I hadn’t been on the internet that much. I saw it, freaked out, and really quickly read through the whole thing one last time while my mom drove from DC to Philadelphia, finding some last-minute typos and reading some of the sticky bits out loud.

And I sent it off again, certain it’d get rejected but hoping anyway.

One month later, I went to Amsterdam with my best friend, who was visiting from California. I should note that I’m not constantly traveling, by the way. I had a carefully neutral email from that very same Amanda for Angry Robot, asking a question about my book and if I had plans for a series. I sent her an email back and then flew back to Scotland.

And the next day I got another email saying that I’d gone to editorial! Said best friend, Erica, did not miss the opportunity to take a photo of me freaking out. So here’s me, without makeup, very excited. And very pink.

She also mentioned that she felt the book was more YA, but that she did know that Angry Robot were thinking of going in that direction. And so I started biting my fingernails and waited.

And waited. I had very short fingernails for months. They’re only just now starting to grow back.

You hear about the glacial pace of publishing all the time, but here was my proof of it. Every morning I’d rush to my inbox, certain something would be there. The weeks passed and obviously the level of panic I had at the beginning subsided, replaced by a low-level anxiety.

I also committed more newbie publishing errors: I started querying this book that was not ready, with an absolutely awful, 600+ word query letter monstrosity for the first ten or so, and then a more manageable 250 word query for the others. But that 250-word query letter was still pretty terrible, mainly because the manuscript had some lingering issues. Learn from my mistake: don’t do this. I burned through 20 or so agents, wasting their time and mine. I did more research than some, but I could have done a lot more.

During the wait, I turned to people online, which ended up being really helpful. 20-something of us made it to the editorial level out of 1000 or so submissions to AR’s Open Door Month. Most of us congregated on AbsoluteWrite’s Open Door Waiting Thread, and we ended up creating our own little private forum (calling ourselves the Anxious Appliances) where we could angst without the Robot Overlords potentially lurking. I’ve made some really close friends through this, and even though the Open Door period has long since passed, we still post on the forum. I’ve beta-read most of their work and we’ve given each other advice and shared resources. I hope our forum continues well into the future.

Additionally, I met Anne Lyle on Absolute Write, an Angry Robot author. Because I had someone I could speak to, I decided to go to FantasyCon in Brighton in late September. I found out that I really liked conventions and meeting other authors and industry professionals. I also met Amanda. I had a very scary but cool lunch with Angry Robot, where I pushed salad around on my plate and hoped I didn’t look as petrified as I felt.

I went to editorial in mid-July. I received my next verdict in late November. Amanda was the one who emailed me, because now she was no longer the reader—she was an editor in her own right of Angry Robot’s new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. She gave me suggestions and then over the next few months, I worked really, really hard on my MS.

I finished the rewrite on leap year, 2012, and it felt auspicious to query the same day. The last agent I queried ended up being the one to offer. Juliet Mushens of Peters, Fraser & Dunlop requested the MS in 5 minutes, sent me an email an hour later saying she was loving it, and offered the next day. We spoke on the phone and just clicked. I knew there was no way an agent would be more enthusiastic an advocate for me than Juliet.

Amanda read the new version, loved it, and everything just clicked into place. I received The Call two days after Juliet offered, and now a day before Eastercon, I’m out there. I’m an author! There’s no going back! Not that I’d want to.

But it’s a heady rush of emotions. Elation, terror, painful excitement, holding in the burning desire to tell everyone but not being allowed to just yet. My book will be out there. Some people will love it, some people will not. A year ago, if you’d told me this is what would happen I have laughed. I’ve loads of other milestones to look forward to. So here we go.

Thanks for reading me prattle on, and I hope you’ll take a look at Pantomime in February 2013. You can read my press release here.  To read the first chapter, click here.