Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Posts tagged “ya fantasy author

My Music Monday

This week on My Music Monday:


Thursday’s Off The Beaten Track ~ Bear Hands

For this week’s Off The Beaten Path Track …

Bear Hands ~ Giants

although recently released, I’m already hearing this song everywhere. Probably won’t be off the beaten path for long …

(this track is explicit)


Nobody tells this to beginners …

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

~ Ira Glass

English: Ira Glass of This American Life givin...

English: Ira Glass of This American Life giving a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


TIED (Fire Born #1) Book Blog Tour Recap Wk 2

 A big Thank You to everyone who participated in the second week of the TIED blog tour.

Got some awesome reviews, and had some great conversations. 😉

Here’s how the week went:

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September 15:

Cremona over at Mythical Books had an incredible 4/5 Star review of TIED, and she’s shouting out the word of the continued Group Giveaway.

September 16:

Julie and I talked about daydreams and pizza toppings at Bookarooju

Aimee knows that I don’t eat Ben and Jerry’s and who in the world, dead or alive, I’d like to meet most and whyAimee Laine’s Blog

Julie and I talked about TIED and writing, and the GIveaway continues over on her blog: Julie Reece’s Blog

September 17:

The YA Book Addict had another great 4 STAR review of TIED.

Crazy Four Books had another awesome review of TIED!

September 18:

The super cool, Juliette Cross and I talked Books, Baubles and Bad Boys in her guest post.

September 19:

The Reading Diaries gave TIED 5 beautifully enthusiastic STARS. 🙂 Plus an interview and the GIVEAWAY continues.

TIED earned 5 STARS from Happy Tails and Tales Blog and I am seriously humbled now. 😉

September 20:

J Keller Ford and I talked PJ’s and Quidditch. Which position would you play?

Emi Gayle knows why I never snuck out of the house in High School and what color my prom dress was.

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AGAIN, Thank You so, so much to everyone who hosted, shouted, tweeted, liked, reviewed, and interviewed this week for the blog tour.

You guys are sooo awesome!

See everyone next week for round three!


#TIED Blog Tour Wk 1 Recap

As the first week of the TIED blog tour winds down, I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who shouted, blogged, interviewed, and took the time to review.

Here’s a quick recap of where I was, and who I was talking to, this week.

TIED-Banner

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September 9:

First up, of course, my publisher, J Taylor Publishing has the honor of announcing TIED’s release.

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September 10:

Next, I was over at Kindle Obsessed talking about what I believe makes a worthy read.

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September 11:

Over at Musings of a YA Reader I had a great interview, and discussed inspiration for the book, as well as mythology. 😉

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September 12:

Fellow Author, Terri Rochenski hosted me on her blog, Scribbler’s Sojourn where I counted down my favorite fantasy books. There are some great ones.

Author, Danielle Shipley had some really fun questions for me, including how I fell into the author thing backwards, in her interview at Ever On Word

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And I can’t leave out Known To Read who wrote a staggeringly awesome 5 Star review of TIED on her book blog. I will be over there on September 24th talking about inspiration. Can’t wait.

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Thank you so much again to all who hosted me this week.

Next week the GROUP GIVEAWAY continues, as well as a few more interviews with yours truly and probably a guest post or two. 😉

tied-slideshow-


My Music Monday (TIED Countdown) Wk 4

With TIED only under a month before going live, the last few songs of the playlist are going to get crammed in  before launch on September 9th. (I think I lost count somehow.)

Here we go:


Road Trip Wednesday ~ Best Summer Vacation Destination?

In this month’s Bookmobile selection–OVER YOU by Amy Reed–the main character and her best friend try to escape their problems with a summer trip to Nebraska. If you could escape somewhere (anywhere!) for the summer, where would it be?

YA Highway RTW

Good question.

If I could go anywhere in the world for the summer … it would be Ireland. For tons of reasons. 😉

How about you guys? Any special location to escape to for a few months?


Road Trip Wednesday — Love is in the air

Jumping on the YA Highway’s Blog Carnival this week in honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

This week’s topic: What do you love most about writing (and/or reading)?

I’m going to pick reading because I will forever be a reader before a writer. Why do I love it so? For me, reading fantasy and paranormal, which are my all time favorites, is like walking into another world–into someone else’s shoes–and living there for a while.

It’s the ability to transport somewhere else–somewhere you never even dreamed of. It’s magic.

How about you? Why do you love reading and/or writing so much?


Wait … Should I Write That?

There is a moment now and then when writers may catch themselves and think … wait, should I write that? 

My fellow writer, and friend, Elena Ransley wrote a post titled, Just because I write it, doesn’t mean I did it.

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 ***

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Light the fireworks: www.shotsforpassion.com -...

Light the fireworks: http://www.shotsforpassion.com – New domain name for my blog! (Photo credit: Shots For Passion)

Here’s how the THE NEXT BIG THING blog hop works. I get tagged to answer a bunch of question about my current book, (while simulataneously getting more word out), thanks to J.A. Belfield for the tip, and then I tag YOU, and you get to share in the love on your own blog to get the word out about YOUR WIP.

I’m supposed to tag eleven bloggers, but I’m cheating a little and tagging all of you who have WIP’s to play. Why? Because there are a lot of you. Yay me. 

I questioned being involved in the hop considering my current WIP is kind of under wraps, while my current finished book is on its way to publication–but, I thought this would be fun.

SO …. I’m going to pretend that my current finished novel is actually a WIP–even though it’s not. K? K! 😉

Here goes:

What is the working title of your book?

The title of my book is TIED, and it’s the first book in The Fire Born Novels series.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is one of those questions that’s hard to answer. Ideas sort of pop into my head and I run with them. Some work, some don’t–The Fire Born worked.

What is the genre of your book?

I write young adult dark/urban fantasy, paranormal romance, with bit of mythology mixed in.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

No clue. If I had to choose, it would probably be from people who aren’t even actors. 😉 I think it’s really hard to peg the right face/personality to a character you’ve dreamed up in your head.

What in one sentence is the synopsis of your book?

Yikes! Honestly, I don’t even think I’m allowed to tell you guys that yet—-under contract and all that. BUT–soon, so very soon.;) So, I’ll leave you with the hook that’s flying around on all my social media pages:

How far would you go … to protect the one you love?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?

All of The Fire Born Novels will be published by J. Taylor Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hm … first draft took three months. All subsequent drafts took — forever. Seriously. A longgg time.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I wouldn’t. Funny–I was just thinking about this. My play off fantasy and paranormal feels a bit different than what I read–and I read a lot. I guess the readers will have to decide ultimately. But, my intention is always to speak from my own voice and let it roll. Whatever comes, comes. I’m not aiming to compare my books to anyone else’s.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Another loaded question that’s difficult to answer. I’m not sure that any one particular thing inspired me, necessarily. A ton of factors led me to continue to write this book and see it through to the end. Not all my novels have made it to completion. TIED spoke to me in a way nothing else has. So I guess you could say, the story itself inspired me.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The blurb will be out very soon, and I can’t spoil that, so I’ll just say that if the hook I mentioned before intrigues you–just wait 😉

*** That’s it for me. Anyone want to jump in and let us know what all your blood, sweat and tears are pouring into? Leave me a link so I can check your book out!! 😉 ***


What The New Year Holds …

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year 2013 (Photo credit: sangak)

Happy 2013, everyone! I’m so excited about the new year.

TIED, the first book in The Fire Born Novels series, will be released September 9! And in preparation of that upcoming event, my blog will be undergoing a few changes.

In January I will be hosting an interview with fellow author, L.S. Murphy about her upcoming release, REAPER, a young adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I will also have a special cover reveal for fellow author, J.A Belfield’s upcoming release, CAGED.

In March I will host fellow author, Aimee Lane, for her SILENT ECHOES blog tour.

In addition, marketing will begin for the release of TIED, which will include the cover release, blurb, excerpts and more!

Hold on tight, the ride’s about to get bumpy!

 


Happy Holidays!

BW949 Tree Branches - Holiday Lights

BW949 Tree Branches – Holiday Lights (Photo credit: listentoreason)


Cliffhangers

Rock climbing stanage

Rock climbing stanage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cliffhangers.

Some readers hate them, while others love them–especially fans of a series. Cliffhangers keep the story moving forward from book to book. They have the ability to leave the reader wanting more.

Or … less.

Some readers get so furious when a story leaves them hanging that they give up on the series entirely. The majority, however, cling to the book, wanting more, more, more!

So, as a reader, do you hate a cliffhanger ending, or do you love them?


Still Aspiring?

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.”

GHAACK!

Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?

Then WRITE.

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.

~ Author Unknown

~ Author Unknown


What’s In Being A Contracted Author?

Our computers

Our computers (Photo credit: aranarth)

Fear.

Yep, I said that.

Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.

It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.

From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.

But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. 😉


Anything Is Possible …

“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

~ J. K. Rowling

English: J. K. Rowling, after receiving an hon...

English: J. K. Rowling, after receiving an honorary degree from The University of Aberdeen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Writers Who Are Readers and Readers Who Are Writers

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.

Books

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

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.


The Treasure That You Seek

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It’s Official!

 I can finally talk again and share my big news! Details below:

Laney McMann signs three-book contract with J. Taylor Publishing for her Fire Born trilogy, a dark, Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, including TIED, TORN and TRUE.

Apex, NC – October 24, 2012 – With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney McMann developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. By the time she reached her teens, Laney had accumulated notebooks full of poems which led to short stories and finally novels, specifically in the young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology genres.

“A lifelong love of writing fantasy led me to write TIED, ” says Laney. “TORN and TRUE naturally followed.”

That love of writing brought her to J. Taylor Publishing. “The premise of the Fire Borns compelled us to read TIED, the first of the trilogy, ” says J. Taylor Publishing, adding, “and the romantic possibilities, and intrinsic conflict placed up on the main characters won us over. We had absolutely no hesitation contracting this work.”

Figuring out life is a tremendous element in many young adult novels, and TIED is no different as it explores the facets of growing up, discovering oneself and deciding what parts of a future are important to the main characters.

”The tie in to lesser-known mythology truly captured our attention,” says J. Taylor Publishing. “We’re very excited to add another YA novel to our catalog and expect adults and teens alike will enjoy this series.”

TIED is planned for release in September 2013 with, TORN in late 2014 and TRUE to follow one year later.

About the Publisher

J. Taylor Publishing is an Independent Publisher who, thanks to the Internet, has a worldwide reach. Our debut authors are in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The company produces print and electronic books. For more information about J. Taylor Publishing, please visit www.jtaylorpublishing.com.

 


Myth Must Be Kept Alive.

“Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world.”

~Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


SQUEE!

UPCOMING NEWS IS ON THE WAY REGARDING TIED!   *SQUEEEE*

Gemini at Cedar Point is a steel hybrid roller...

Gemini at Cedar Point is a steel hybrid roller coaster using steel track on a wooden structure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Imagination Is More Important…

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Virginia Dare

~Michael Scott — The Warlock

Michael Scott promotional photo

Michael Scott promotional photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Make Your World Breathe

 

Just breathe

Just breathe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is no such thing as too much description.  Okay, maybe later on when you’re a few drafts in some details will need to be scaled down. But in the beginning when you are just writing, just write. Tell your story and every little detail that you see in your mind. First drafts need to be loaded with details. There will be too many but come draft two and three you can pick  and choose what’s important enough to stay and what needs to go. And through those changes your story will start to become alive.

 

Every character in your story needs a voice and I don’t only mean the ones who can talk. I mean EVERY character. The buildings, the car, the woods, the town. The world you’ve created needs to breathe. It needs life. Life in writing is created through details. The edge in someones voice, the creak of a clock tower, the feel of a touch, the sweetness of a flower. The ripped, faded jeans. The wickedly flirtatious smile. The racing blood. The charred forest. The reader needs to see it, taste it, feel it, hear it and know it. They want to walk in the world you create, to feel what the characters feel.

 

I think we all can get caught up in writing dialogue. It is no doubt, extremely important but at the end of the day, if all you have is dialogue, where’s the setting? Why does the reader care if he can’t see your characters sitting on the hillside, or fighting in the alley? The only way to create your world is to give it a personality of its own. Give it an identity and make it come alive in the minds of all who read it.

 

WRITE ON, WRITERS!

 


You’re Actually Writing, Right?

You wrote your first book. Now you’re marketing it on every social media site you can think of. Or maybe you’re on submission and you’ve chewed your fingernails to bits with nervous energy at the thought of rejection. Either way, you’ve started your second book right? Right?

The tale goes that most writers need to have between three and five books in the marketplace before they will take off and be seen. If they do at all. There are exceptions, of course.  So are you writing those three to five books and beyond, or are you putting all your efforts toward promoting your first, and only, book?

I won’t lie and say that I didn’t go into a state of panic when I went on submission, or that I didn’t freeze into a no writing phase for about a week afterwards. I did panic. I did freeze. Then I realized I was wasting both time and energy, and I continued on with TORN, the sequel to my first book, TIED,  now on submission. I realized that regardless of what happens with TIED, I needed to move forward with writing. It was the only thing I could control. And if everything did work out with book one, I would need to have book two in the wings, finished, ready and waiting to go live.

The turnover with e-book technology is simply too quick. What I learned when I continued on with book two was that my anxiety decreased, my reason for writing in the first place resumed, and I fell back in love with my story. For me, that in itself is all I can ever ask for. To love what I’m doing regardless of where it leads.

Now, I won’t lie and say that marketing doesn’t scare me to death, or make me uncomfortable. It does. And I am only doing a fraction of marketing now compared to what I know will be required of me when I do publish. But even then, a balance will need to be struck. Because in order to sell books, you have to continue writing them.  There needs to be something to buy within a reasonable amount of time after you’ve created a buzz with your first masterpiece. So market away, submit away, but remember, this is a writing game we’re in. We need not forget that.

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

So, what about you? Are you in a terrified state on submission? Marketing your Indie book? How’s it going?