Hi you guys,
So recently, a lot of writer, author, blogger, and book reviewers have had problems with WordPress shutting their blogs down. Per our terms of agreement, apparently we aren’t allowed to post third-party links (even though WP gives us that option).
This means, as an author, if I link to my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Goodreads, etc … I may be seen as breeching this agreement.
It also means that if I promote a fellow author, which I do often, and include links to their books, it might be seen as a violation.
If I post music videos (something else I do A LOT), I might be breaking contract.
Other book review blogs were shut down over the weekend for linking to external sites like Goodreads.
Several of them.
As with some of my fellow authors, I’m letting you all know this is happening. If you click on my blog at some point, and it’s gone, it wasn’t me.
If you are subscribed through WordPress to get new post notifications (A LOT of you are) that service will obviously end. If you are subscribed through email, you’ll be fine, since I can forward the new blog I’ll create on a different site if mine gets shut down.
If you are subscribed to my newsletter. You will get updates there to all Fire Born related posts still.
IF this happens, I will post updates to my new site’s whereabouts on my Facebook Page (in my footer), on Twitter (@laneymcmann), and on my website at laneymcmann.weebly.com. Hopefully it won’t come to this.
Writers/authors/reviewers are a community that depend on one another to get the word out about upcoming books, reviews, blog tours, writing tips … the list goes on. We work really hard at what we do (it isn’t only writing books) and we depend on sites like WordPress to support those endeavors.
I’ve been with WordPress for over four years, and I have a ton of posts, both writerly, authorly (be quiet, it’s a word), and musically, so getting shut down would be a big hit, but I’ll deal if it comes to that.
Thanks to all the subscribers, you guys rock.
*** To any author/writer/reviewer who would like to read more in detail, go to JennyKellerFord.wordpress.com. She has two posts dedicated to this topic, one of which tells how to back up all of your content. I’d give you the links, but you know ….
Thank you, Jenny for all the alerts.
***** Also, I have a author spotlight post promoting Terry Rochenski’s sequel to Eye of the Soul, which is scheduled to go live tomorrow. If it doesn’t for some reason, please check out her new book!
My publisher made me aware of an anti-bullying campaign happening across social media called, Writers Against Bullying, and has asked me to join in on the movement and speak up.
I thought for the sake of this post that I would look up the definition of bullying. Most people seem to assume it only, and I use the word ‘only’ very, very lightly here, means being knocked around. It doesn’t.
The definition per StopBullying.gov defines bullying as the following:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
I never thought I got bullied as a kid, and then I read this definition and realized I was wrong. Honestly, after reading that definition it would be safe to assume that everyone has been bullied at one point or another.
I write young adult fiction, and I remember being a teenager very clearly. Everyone talking about everyone else, spreading rumors, excluding people, making fun, it seemed so normal. Thing is, bullying can have life long, and sometimes devastating, consequences. When I was in middle school, a guy grabbed my butt in the hallway. I sank my nails into his arm, detaching his hand, and he called me a bitch and slapped me. Across the face. In a crowded hallway. And No One did anything. Including me. I was shocked and pissed and suddenly afraid. Too afraid to say a word to a teacher, or the dean, or even my mom. I didn’t think that was bullying. But it was. Hell, when I was in middle school, no one even talked about bullying. I avoided that kid like the plague for two years in middle school.
Now, I’m a mom, and I dealt with my son getting bullied on and off from Kindergarten through Fourth grade. I was told by more than one teacher that, “Boys will be boys.” Those words triggered the same anger I felt in the hallway when I was 13 years old. Boys will be boys. Boys can do what they want and not get in any trouble for it, because, you know, that’s what ‘boys’ do. Thing is … it’s NOT what all boys do, and it’s NOT okay to use a cliche as an excuse for that kind of behavior.
After my son got punched in the stomach, I told him to fight back. He did. The bullying stopped. And that’s the messed up part. As a parent you want your kids to be safe, follow the rules, do the right thing, but … when bullying keeps happening, and that’s just the issue, it can and does in some circumstances, go on and on and on, what then? What’s the right answer to tell your kid then? Be afraid? Avoid that other kid the way I did, always wondering when he’ll do it again. Let him stare you down in the hallway? I told my kid to fight back after he’d been knocked around too many times, and the school did next to nothing, because by that point, I knew he had to defend himself or it would continue. Bullies like having the upper hand. It’s a power trip.
I’m not telling anyone to haul off and hit someone, don’t misread me. But we do need to teach our kids to speak up. Tell someone. I should have, and I think a lot of kids, like I was, are too afraid it will happen again, or get worse, if they say something. But it’s never okay to lay your hands on someone. Guy, girl, kid, adult, alien, superhero, whatever, it needs to stop.
And sadly, I’m only talking about physical stuff in this post. Verbal attacks, being excluded, and singled out, can be just as bad, if not worse. As a girl, I know how mean other girls can be, so don’t think I’m not calling the girls out, too. Girls should be supportive of each other instead of tearing each other down. I have never understood what that’s about.
As writers we have a strong voice that can be heard by a lot of people, so this is a call to all you writers out there to get behind the #WritersAgainstBullying movement. Post pics on Twitter, Facebook, (your page and the Writers Against Bullying FB page), your blog, wherever you’re on social media, and speak up.
Today, I have fellow author, and friend, Alexander Nader on the blog to talk about his newly released adult urban fantasy title, Beasts of Burdin.
First let’s see what the book is about:
Release Date: February 10, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Urban Fantasy
Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.
In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.
He’s retired from that. Remember?
Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.
Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.
This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.
Yeah, it’s a good read, but let’s hear what Alex has to say about the series and other stuff:
LM: The story line around Beasts of Burdin contains a good number of demons. Did you pull from mythology, your imagination, or both?
AN: All of the demon names in B.o.B. are real and most of the abilities are too. I took some liberties with the physical descriptions to make them suit my needs. There really is a demon made of eyeballs, though. I didn’t make that up. As soon as I read about it I was like, “I have to find a place for this guy”.
LM: Researching is one of my favorite aspects of writing. It’s crazy what you come across. Was is it the demons that inspired the story or something else? And I really liked Ty Burdin, he isn’t your ordinary demon hunter, where did the idea of his character come from?
AN:The idea for the story came from a twisted version of a song lyric. The original lyric was, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing me that I was him”. I played around with that in my head until I ended up with, “The greatest trick humanity ever pulled was convincing itself the devil existed”. From there it rolled into people creating demons with their minds. All of the demons just came from ideas. Human mythology is pretty deep, so when I needed a war-demon, I just searched until I found something.
As far as Ty goes, he is the adoptive child of this whole hard-boiled noir phase I’ve been going through lately. It started when I read a comic book re-imagining Wolverine as an old school private eye. After that, I read The Maltese Falcon and then moved on to Philip Marlow. The brutal honesty of the characters struck me enough to want to make that modern. Hopefully, that’s what I’ve accomplished.
LM: I like the idea of reinventing a song lyric to suit your story telling needs. And speaking of writing itself, how long have you been writing? Did you always aspire to be an author?
AN: I was born to be an author! *Looks around to see if anyone is buying it* Nope. *Slumps* Well, I wrote a comic book about a cat with super powers in third grade and I may or may not have dabbled in some terrible song writing over the years. Other than that I started my first novel a little over two years ago. (Not Beasts of Burdin, it was actually the third novel I wrote. The first two sucked. (I put them in the corner to think about what they’d done)
I’ve always kind of jumped from hobby to hobby, but writing is the first one that has really felt right. It’s the first thing I can actually see myself doing.
LM: 🙂 Looks like you found your calling. Any of those hobbies you care to share with your readers? And speaking of hobbies, what else do you do with your time when you’re not writing?
AN: As a kid it was mostly extreme sports of one sort or another. BMX, rollerblading, snowboarding, skateboards. I was never any good with the board sports though. Most of my teens were wasted on video games and cars, if you can call that a hobby. Then it became guitar. I would probably still be playing guitar if I didn’t hate the sound of my own voice. I go through spurts where I exercise a lot followed by long periods of physical dormancy. A little bit of everything really.
Nowadays, when I’m not writing I’m usually just trying to catch up with my wife and kids. I work a lot, so any time not working is family time. I’m currently learning a lot about Pokemon and Beyblade, while teaching about Mario and super-heroes. It’s a pretty awesome trade-off.
LM: That’s a great trade-off. So, for anyone who might not know, Beasts of Burdin is a series, can you tell us anything about book 2?
AN: Burdin 2 (Burdin of Choice) is done. When this is posted I think I will be working with the my publisher on the cover art. It should hit the shelves November 10th. It’s definitely going to feel a little different, but the story gets bigger. There are more characters, more suspense, more intrigue, more jerkwaddery (<- I don’t know how Laney feels about language on her blog, so that’s a nifty little bit of self-editing.), more demons, more alcohol, and more cigarettes. Don’t worry though, all of that stuff is in the first book too, there’s just more in the second book. People will be able to pick up Burdin of Choice and feel like they were right where they left off; listening to the drunken ramblings of a vaguely retired demon hunter.
LM: Thanks for the self-editing on my account. 😉 I think we’re good. Any tips you can give other writers hoping to be published one day?
AN: Write for you and no one else. When you stop worrying about whether or not someone will publish your writing is when you’ll write something worth publishing. That’s how it worked for me anyway.
LM: Couldn’t agree with you more on that. Plotter or Pantser?
AN: Little bit of both. I make a thoroughly detailed outline of about twenty sentences and go from there. I guess I vaguely plot the entire book and then kind of pants the individual chapters. If that makes any sense.
LM: ‘Pants’ the chapters is one I haven’t heard yet. 😉 Coffee or Tea?
AN: BOTH! Green tea only though, I’m not big on black tea anymore. I prefer my coffee with chocolate, but have been known to drink it straight, no chaser, when in a bind.
LM: Tea for me, unless it’s iced coffee. E-Book or Print?
AN: BOTH. I like to have books on my shelves. It looks good and makes me feel all accomplished and such, but it’s hard to argue the convenience of ebooks. I keep the Kindle app on my phone and try to sneak in a couple pages every time I’m waiting for something.
LM: Me too. Introvert or Extrovert?
AN: An introverted extrovert. HA! How’s that for clarity. Yeah, I’m a little on the fence. About everything, apparently. Anyway, I seem to be okay at talking to people and functioning in groups, but I don’t really like it and try to avoid it at all costs.
LM: I think that sways you pretty far into the introverted group, like so many writers. 😉 Thanks for taking time out to talk with me, Alex. It was fun.
“Ty Burdin! Answer the phone already. It’s your brother.” The voice comes from the next room in a tone usually used by stress-fried mothers, not twenty-something-year-old receptionists. The harsh words crack through my whiskey-soaked brain like someone snapped a bullwhip in my ear. I pick my head up off the desk and wipe the drool from my mouth, as she bursts in the door.
“He’s adopted, and good morning,” I say, opening the drawer to my desk and digging through it.
“It’s not morning. It’s past noon, you lazy drunk.” Her tone is accusing, but there’s a slight smile to her ruby red lips. I really do think Nora gets enjoyment from trying to keep me in line. Her rockabilly style, all tattoos and polkadots, might scare some people off, but honestly, I think it’s kind of cool.
“Fine, I was wrong about the time, but you’re wrong, too,” I say.
“Oh, yeah? How’s that?” Nora kicks her hip to the side and props a hand on her leopard print skirt.
“I’m not drunk. I’m hungover.” I pull out a flask full of scotch and take a long drink. “I’m working on getting back on track, though.” I tip the flask toward her.
“I swear someone’s gonna find you in a ditch one day.” Her voice has a trace of concern, but it’s mostly drowned out by annoyance.
“In my line of work, that’s almost a guarantee. Now, can you tell me why you disturbed my ugly sleep?” Ugly sleep is a gross understatement. No amount of alcohol ever seems to drown out the vision of the young, innocent girl burned into my memory. The scene is even more ominous in my dreams than it was in real life.
A thunderclap breaks the silence of my memories. Nora stares down at me, hands stuck together. “Wake up, drunkard. Hartnet’s been trying to reach you on the phone for the past fifteen minutes.”
The pocket of my jacket buzzes, probably been ringing the entire time. Nora walks over to where it hangs by the door and withdraws the phone. “Jesus, Ty. You’ve got four missed calls, ten new messages, and over twenty emails. Do you ever check this thing?”
“No.” I have the phone, but honestly, I hate it.
Nora sets the still ringing phone on my desk, puts her hands on her hips and, using only facial expressions, guilts me into picking up.
“Hello,” I say into the phone that smells of smoke. I use my free hand to dig out cigarettes and a lighter.
“Ty! Finally, man, where you been?” Hartnet asks.
“Oh, you know me. I just got back from hiking the Swiss Alps with Edmund Hillary.”
“Real funny, Ty, but I imagine you’ve been spending more time with Jim or Jack.”
“God, no, I hate southern whiskey,” I say. “I prefer a fine scotch, Macallan to be specific.”
“You prefer whatever’s in front of you as long as there’s a proof label on the bottle,” Hartnet says.
I don’t have any argument for that. “So, what do you want?”
Here’s my review of the book:
I could say that the plot was tight, the story moved at the speed of light, and I liked the new approach on demons versus the world, and that would all be true, but even more than that— what kept me turning the pages was Ty. His voice is fresh and witty and sarcastic, and I found myself getting wrapped up in his words, the way he talked, the way he saw life. Really a great book that pulled me out of my own head and put me in someone else’s. For me, that’s the benchmark of a good story. Can’t wait to see what Ty gets into in Burdin 2.
So go on, check it out for yourself.
And here’s a chance to win a signed copy along with a few other book goodies, and an Amazon gift card:
Enter the Rafflecopter HERE
Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas. When he’s not doing that he’s working at a bookstore and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and mixed martial arts.
He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.
February 21, 2014 | Categories: Blog Tours, Giveaways, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases | Tags: Adult Urban Fantasy, Alexander Nader, Author, Beasts of Burdin, Book Giveaway, book tour, Fiction, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, Ty Burdin, Upcoming urban fantasy 2014, Writer | 1 Comment
The blog tour for TIED is just around the corner, and I want to say Thank You to all the bloggers/reviewers who have signed up for the tour, as well as give readers (and writers) the schedule to follow if you want to check it out. 😉
We start on September 9th. The day TIED releases onto the masses. 😉
J. Taylor Publishing
If you are a blogger or a reviewer and you’d like to be a part of the TIED blog tour,
I still have a few spots available.
You can sign up here: J Taylor Publishing
Thanks again for everyone who is participating!!
July 31, 2013 | Categories: A Fire Born Novel, Blog Tours, Fire Born Updates, J Taylor Publishing, New Releases, TIED, Upcoming Releases, Young Adult Novels | Tags: Arts, Author, Bibliophilia, Blog, Book Launch, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, Readers, Reading, September 9, The Fire Born Novels, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED Blog Tour, TIED by Laney McMann, Writer, YA Books, YA Fiction, YA New releases, young adult book releases 2013, young adult paranormal romance, young adult urban fantasy | Leave a comment
Really, in the end, the only thing that can make you a writer is the person that you are, the intensity of your feeling, the honesty of your vision, the unsentimental acknowledgment of the endless interest of the life around and within you. Virtually nobody can help you deliberately — many people will help you unintentionally.
*Originally posted October, 2012
July 26, 2013 | Categories: Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Editing and Proofreading, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel creation, Quotes, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing process, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
~ Joseph Conrad
April 9, 2013 | Categories: Inspiration, Life, Novel Writing, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Fiction, Inspiration, Joseph Conrad, laney mcmann, novel writing, Quotes, Writer, Writing Advice | Leave a comment
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
Like many writers, I have spent the last few years trying to ‘do it all.’ Whether I’m drafting another blog post, tinkering with Twitter, shouting out to writers on Triberr, checking my Facebook profile, posting on my Facebook author page, pinning on Pinterest, reading the dozens of emails I receive daily, or finishing my novel revisions, everyday is filled to the rim. In my mind, the most important of these is my novel. It’s the reason for everything else. Yet everything else seems to overwhelm it most of the time.
I read all day long, in one form or another. In order to write well, you must read. A lot. Preferably in your genre, although reading in general is the point. I try to stay current with the latest books, all the advice on book marketing, social media reach, blog hits, and on and on. It’s endless.
Yesterday I read an article that stated people aren’t reading less in the digital age, instead people are actually reading more. Wanting more. More to download. More, more, more. Readers want books NOW. How are they reading them all? Who knows.
What it means for writers is what concerns me. Many authors are now attempting to hammer out three….four, five books a year to stay in the game.
The industry standard has forever been…one book per year.
But with the introduction, and popularity, of ereaders the standard is changing. Rapidly.
For me, and many others, that’s an issue. Besides the fact that I write at turtle speed, and revise at snail, I’ve worked myself to near exhaustion trying to do everything, and be everywhere. How are we supposed to do it all? We can’t. And we shouldn’t try to either.
Balance is the key.
I’ve talked about balance a lot in prior posts, but I didn’t know how to attain it. I’ve had to force myself to step back, and breathe. Step back and realize that NO ONE can do it all, and do it well. Not going to happen. Not for long anyway. I still believe that through all the chatter and advice, all the constant information flying everywhere, that our main goal as writers should be creating good content.
We can market until we are blue in the face and crawling. Put our names out everywhere and brand until everyone knows it. But none of that will matter if our books suck. Writing is hard enough without trying to master social media.
I know we as writers are a helpful and supportive group. We want to help each other succeed. We want to feel like someone else gets it, and we aren’t wandering around alone searching for answers in the dark. So we read everything, follow a hundred blogs, and basically overwhelm ourselves with information. Not the best mindset to have when we are trying to write an 80,000 word novel.
Slow down. Really.
I don’t have this thing figured out either, but it occurs to me that a few things are obvious.
**Write your books and write them well. No good book—no reason for social media.
**Write your blog posts, tweet your shout outs, engage. But put a time limit on it.
**Back to writing.
Remember the reason why you are doing all of this. Is it to write stories? To get lost in those worlds? Yeah? Go get lost then, and create the best worlds you can.
The other stuff at the end of the day is secondary. Important, yes, but still secondary.
So tell me, what part of this industry have you found the most difficult?
**first posted in May 2012 before I landed the book contract, so let’s add that once thrown into the mix, things got busier. The difference? Now, I feel like everything else finally matters. 😉
November 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Editing, Inspiration, Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Blog, bloggers, Book, book marketing, E-book, editing, exhaustion, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Pinterest, Reading, Revisions, Social media, Triberr, Twitter, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing process, Writing Tips | 12 Comments
“You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream while you are awake, intentionally.”
November 24, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writing | Tags: Author, Book Writing, Dream, Dream Sharing, Haruki Murakami, Inspiration, Interpretation, Japan, laney mcmann, novel writing, Psychology, Social Sciences, Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Writer | Leave a comment