“Some of this book — perhaps too much — has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it — and perhaps the best of it — is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
~Stephen King (On Writing~A Memoir of the Craft)
It’s been a long time since a story truly captured my imagination the way The Mortal Instruments has. This is an incredible series. If you haven’t read these books, do. This week I’m posting CITY OF GLASS, the third book in the series, all though I am actually already on the fifth book.
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.
March 22, 2013 | Categories: Current Reads, Reading, Young Adult Novels | Tags: art, books, Cassandra Clare, City of Glass, laney mcmann, Literature, Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunter, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass, YA Fiction | 2 Comments »
HA! It’s finally here!
THE FIRE BORN NOVELS
Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.
Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.
Or is that all in her head?
Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.
No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?
The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.
In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.
Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?
The answer may never be far enough … away.
RELEASING IN PRINT & E-BOOK SEPTEMBER 9, 2013
More info at J. Taylor Publishing
Add it to Goodreads
So … What do you think??
February 25, 2013 | Categories: A Fire Born Novel, Books, Cover Reveals, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases, TIED, Young Adult Novels | Tags: Publishing, Author, Literature, laney mcmann, E-book, Book cover, art, Book, TIED, The Fire Born Novels, TIED by Laney McMann, Blurb, Fire Born, The Fire Born Trilogy, J. Taylor Publishing, new releases for 2013, teens, young adult novels, young adult urban fantasy, young adult paranormal romance, Teen books, teen novels, new young adult releases, Layla & Max | 5 Comments »
There is a moment now and then when writers may catch themselves and think … wait, should I write that?
I think her words are both honest and true. There is a fine line writers walk between fiction and fact. Fantasy and reality. So much of who we are is embedded in our stories. Our words, our voices, our hearts … our sometimes crazed imaginations. Elena writes, ”Just because you write about an axe murderer, doesn’t mean you are slightly unhinged and could lose it and carry out your protagonists actions in the middle of the night – just because you think it, doesn’t mean you would do it.”
People judge you as a person when you put your stories out there. And we can judge ourselves as words fly from our fingertips in a flurry of ideas. Whether you write horror or paranormal romance, people will either love your work and sing your praises, or wonder if you are indeed unhinged.
Does it matter? As a writer who has chosen to share their work with the world–it probably shouldn’t. It’s the risk you take when you decide to go public. It’s the reason every writer hears those few words of caution, “Grow a thick skin. You’re going to need it.”
Not everyone will praise or even like your work. Some people may hate your genre, your ideas–your imagination. And they will judge you. But we can’t please everyone and we can only write what moves us and hope our words resonate with readers.
So I leave you with this to ponder:
“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow
So the question is, Are you willing to put yourself out there? It’s the risk all writers have to take. The difference between owning what you love and hiding it. The difference between being public or private. Published or tucked away in a drawer.
SO WRITE ON WRITERS. Take your best shot.
*** Re-posted from April 2012 ***
February 1, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Fiction, laney mcmann, novel writing, The Fire Born Novels, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 15 Comments »
Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.
Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.
“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”
Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?
Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?
If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.
December 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Arts, Author, Author of The Fire Born Novels, Chats and Forums, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Goal setting, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, Publishing, Word count, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 6 Comments »
Which one are you?
I’m the latter. Definitely.
Although I’ve always written, my love of the written word began before my sentence structure did. My imagination of worlds far and beyond sparked at a very young age. Writing the stories I imagined in my own head, came later.
I realized recently, after having a conversation with a fellow writer, just how different the above breeds of writers can be. When I began my novel and truly delved into learning craft, I found reading for my usual enjoyment difficult, and suddenly lacking. Instead of the story I saw sentence structure, grammar use. I would hear myself questioning the decisions the author made and wondering what I would have done differently. I couldn’t see the stories anymore. I’d lost the magical quality that had originally turned me on to writing. I’d lost what I craved most. The story.
Writers who are readers pick stories apart. Readers who are writers, read. For the sheer enjoyment of it. To be transported. To live in someone else’s shoes.
I learned that when you are only looking for errors, they are all you will ever see. And when you are editing your book as a writer, they are all you should see. But when all of that is done–you should see your story.
Now, I have to shut off the writer brain (as hard as that is sometimes) and turn on the reader one. If I don’t, I find myself reading as I would a text book. But if I do… I remember why I love to read. Why I love to write, too. I have worlds I want to share. Characters and plots. I have to stories to share. That’s the aim, right? To share good stories? And at the end of the day, after all the edits are done and proofreads have been finished, I want to be able to read my book through the eyes of a reader. If I can’t do that — if I can’t still feel the emotion that sat me in front of the laptop for months on end — if I can’t see and feel what I need the reader to see and feel — well, what exactly have I been doing? Remember that readers read because they want to be carried away. You need to see your book not only through your eyes as a writer, but more importantly, through the eyes of your readers. They are the ones who matter. They are the ones who will make or break you as an author. Every single time. And readers, the vast majority of them, are story cravers, not editors, not writers, just readers.
Write the best book you can. Get the best editor you can. Nit pick the crap out every tiny detail in your novel. Then go back and read it. And remember why you wrote it in the first place. The best grammar in the world will not save a crappy story. But…an awesome story will trump a few overlooked grammatical errors. Check out some book on the best sellers list. Readers aren’t looking for perfect. They aren’t looking for the same things writers are. They’re looking for that one story that digs into their soul. The one story they can’t stop thinking about. The one they read over and over again. That’s the book we as writers should be writing.
WRITE ON, WRITERS! And tell your stories.
November 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Author, Fiction, Grammar, laney mcmann, Online Writing, Reading, Reading (process), Short story, The Reader, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 9 Comments »
“I believe legends and myths are largely made of truth …”
November 7, 2012 | Categories: Author, Quotes, Writing | Tags: art, Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien, laney mcmann, Literature, Lord of Rings, Middle-earth, myths, Myths and Folktales, Quotes, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.
September 29, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: 20th Century, American, art, Author, breakfast at tiffany, Capote, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Literature, Quotes, Truman Capote, World Literature, Writer, Writers Resources | Leave A Comment »
I am elated. Elated!
That’s all I’m going to say. More to come. Soon, I hope.
- The Publishing Roller Coaster (laneymcmann.com)
September 27, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writing | Tags: art, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel writing, Publish, Publishing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
A few days ago I received an email. A request for my manuscript in full to be sent to a publishing house I queried. And then I received another one.
Am I thrilled? Absolutely.
Do I feel terrified and on the verge of throwing up? Definitely.
I remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt when I completed TIED. Edits, beta readers, and all. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. For about an hour. Maybe.
A few weeks later, I queried my first publisher with shaking hands, and terror replaced accomplishment. Still, I sent it anyway. I had to. All of us writers have to. This whole process is well…part of the process. I think we need to go through it. It makes us a little stronger.
Now, after sending off my baby that I’ve loved and coddled for two years, I have a different sense of accomplishment. One that is mixed with the discomfort of judgement. The word all writers hate. But you know what? It’s a great feeling. It is. Because whether or not they decide to take my book on, they believed enough — and saw enough — to give it further than a glance. And although this could be the only elation I feel in a long run of disappointments — I plan to appreciate it for what it is – THE BEST FEELING I’ve had since I jumped on this roller coaster ride of writing.
I love what I do. And I’m thankful to be doing it. Even more thankful, too, that my betas also love my stories and I’ve been given a small pat on the back by yet another interested party. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Wish me luck.
September 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Editing and Proofreading, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Publish, querying process, Writer Resources, Writing process, YA paranormal romance author | 6 Comments »
I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty… you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.
A friend reminded me of Salinger today — I had to share one of my favorite excerpts.
September 7, 2012 | Categories: Author, Writing | Tags: Adolescence, art, Author, Book, Catcher, Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, J D Salinger, laney mcmann, Rye, Shopping, Writer, Writer Resources | Leave A Comment »
“Art is the lie that tells the truth.”
August 28, 2012 | Categories: Quotes, Writing | Tags: art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Henri Matisse, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Pablo Picasso, Paris, Philosophy, Philosophy of Logic, Quotes, Truth Definitions, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity (Thank You!) knows that I’ve been working on my novel for two years. Two years full of a wide swing of emotions. Now, as I am officially on submission, I feel…uneasy. Anxious. A little bit afraid.
For the first time, I’m nervous about simply letting it go.
When I started working on my cover art, I felt excited. When I received the first layout, my heart skipped. Mine. My words. My name.
The second layout was similar. The fourth and fifth layouts had me feeling downright overwhelmed.
When my first wave of edits rolled in, I thought, okay, this is doable. Not so bad. When the second wave of fine toothed edits came over with suggestions and corrections everywhere, I panicked.
Oh my god. I’m actually doing this?
All those little insecurities welled up again and sat there on my shoulder, taunting me.
This wasn’t the plan, you know. You were just writing….just writing. Like always. Are you sure you want to do this? You can back out. Keep this story tucked away like all the other ones. No one has to know!
Overreacting. All part of the process. I get it. I am supposed to be putting all my efforts toward TORN, the second book in the series. I am supposed to submit the first book, forget about it, and move to the next. I know.
But…this is hard.
August 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Editing, Life, Publishing, Reviews, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Arts, Blog, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Publishing, Self-publishing, Social media, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED by Laney McMann, Twitter, Writers Resources, Writing, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 4 Comments »
“You look like you just rolled out of bed.”
….leaving a lake-like gleam across the surface of the ocean.
“She doesn’t like you.”
“It felt like….”
Apparently, I really like the word, LIKE.
Like is a weak word writers use as a crutch. A crutch to tell rather than show readers what our characters are seeing, feeling, experiencing. It’s a lazy word. I was shocked to discover how many times I’d used it in my MS. Shocked.
Beta readers see what we, in a flurry of writing excitement (or drudgery), sometimes miss.
** I also like (see, I did it again!) the word AS. Oh, and felt. Yeah, felt. The worst!
SHOW DON’T TELL.;)
July 30, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Arts, Beta, betareader, Chats and Forums, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Feedback, laney mcmann, Manuscript, Organizations, Reading, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them.
Author Joanna Penn, creator of The Creative Penn, has a wonderfully inspiring post on her blog this week. Recommended Book For Creatives: Turning Pro By Steven Pressfield This is a must read post by Joanna as well as a must read book, The Art of War being the prequel.
Anne R. Allen’s blog this week features a post by her co-blogger Ruth Harris. An interesting and humorous read. 11 Reasons Writers Get Rejected—And Why Only 3 Of Them Matter
Indie Author Lindsay Buroker has an informative post up on her blog. Is It Harder Today for Self-Published Authors to “Break-in” at Amazon?
- A Week In Links (laneymcmann.com)
July 5, 2012 | Categories: Writing, Books, Publishing, Blogging, Inspiration, Author, Self Publishing, Writer, Social Media, Writing Tips | Tags: novel writing, Writing, Blog, Social media, Literature, Twitter, laney mcmann, blogging, Facebook, Self-publishing, Writing Advice, Amazon, Anne R. Allen, art, Creative Penn, Joanna Penn, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author, ya fantasy author, Lindsay Buroker, Traditional Publishing, Steven Pressfield, Art of War, Steven, Ruth Harris, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles | Leave A Comment »
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
English novelist Mary Anne Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot.
- Tuesday Poem – Roses, by George Eliot (janisfreegard.com)
- The house where George Eliot spent the last few weeks of her life in 1880 (kimbofo.typepad.com)
June 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Life, Quotes, Writer | Tags: 19th Century, art, Arts, Author, British, George Eliot, laney mcmann, Literature, Mary Ann Evans, Quotes, Victorian era, World Literature, Writer Resources | 2 Comments »
During my usual perusal of blogs, I ran across Joanna Penn’s interview of Jeff Goins. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must watch. Especially for those of us who are new to the writing scene. No aspiring here, just real writers writing. Watch. It’s worth your time.
June 11, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Facebook, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Jeff Goin, Joanna Penn, laney mcmann, novel writing, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
After I posted my novel cover, and publication target date, to all of my social media sites, I felt a combination of relief, trepidation, and…naseau.
Truth — Besides the writing community and my very close friends and family–No One knew what I’ve been doing for the last two years. Why?
Fear of what people will think, what they’ll say.
All that crap that means absolutely nothing.
I mustered the courage to send my cover photo to a few friends and family, and went ahead and bit the bullet and posted it on my personal facebook page. Sad thing—that scared me more than anything else. Great thing—the response was overwhelmingly positive. And still somehow, I’m uncomfortable when my friends say, “I can’t wait to read your book!” or “That is so awesome, Laney!!”
I love them. Every one of them, for supporting me. But… I also understand what it feels like to put your soul into something and have that little devil sitting on your shoulder. The one who says, What are you thinking? You really think you can pull this off? Seriously?
As a former classical dancer, I know what it means to walk on stage and swallow fear. I’ve done it more times than I can count. After a while, it becomes old hat.
As a Chef, I know the feeling you get when someone sends something back to the kitchen because they hated it, or it was under cooked, or over cooked, or who the hell knows why. It stabs you a little.
And as the daughter of a Fine Artist—I know what it feels like from the other side of the street too. My mom has always said, “Not everyone will like, or even understand what I do. I don’t care. I’m not painting for them.” And she’s right.
Grab support where you stumble upon it, but don’t expect to find it if you go looking. That’s not what this is about. If you’re writing for the hopes of fame and fortune, pats on the back and great reviews, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write for you. Dance for you. Paint for you.
The ONLY person you need to convince of your talent, your drive, your passion—is you.
Just don’t buy into the hype.
May 16, 2012 | Categories: Author, Dance, Inspiration, Publishing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Arts, Author, Chats and Forums, Fine art, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Online Communities, Social media, Social Networking, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Exercises, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
I scratched my cornea two days ago. Forgive any typos as I’m writing this with one eye.
As I am rounding out the last of my revisions and running to the final edits stretch of my novel, I’ve hit a speed bump. I have to cut three chapters. Ghaack! It’s about…7700 words. NOT that I’m a word counter. You can read why if you’d like here: Word Count Goals And The Pathway To Hell
But that’s another subject… When you’re a pantster, like I am, and when you write as slow as a turtle, like I do, you may find that what worked a few drafts ago simply doesn’t work in the final draft. That’s okay. Sometimes scenes no longer fit.
Yes, it creates headaches. But I am a firm believer that cutting makes your work stronger. It makes you look deeper, think harder, and search farther outside the box, which in fantasy, is very important. (Yeah, I write fantasy.)
As I’ve said before, if something doesn’t feel write, it’s because it isn’t. Follow your instincts, listen to your gut, and cut the scene (or at least rewrite it).
May 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Editing and Proofreading, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Online Writing, Revisions, Word count, Writer Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Exercises, Writing process, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 4 Comments »
“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”
Without truth, our words die on the page.
April 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Glass Menagerie, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, New Orleans, Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee, Tennessee Williams, tennesseewilliams, United States, Wikipedia, Writers Resources, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »