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Happy Halloween, Friends!

October 31, 2018– Halloween is officially my favourite holiday. Ok, so it’s not really a holiday, but I think of it as one. The decorating with skulls, black cats, and spiders inside and outdoors, candy, and of course, costumes! What is there NOT to like? I admit we go all out for Halloween because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. So, in celebration of this beautiful day, I’m going to share some interesting facts with you about one of the greatest spooky books of all time, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

  1. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 18 years old and by this time, had two children. Frankenstein was published by the time she was 20!
  2. Frankenstein was born out of an unusual climate. It was when Lord Byron suggested a ghost story competition while the Shelley’s visited Switzerland during the year without summer. The group of friends was forced to stay inside most of the time because of the immense amount of rain and they read ghost stories to beat the boredom. Of course, Mary was the winner!
  3. Mary got the idea for Frankenstein from a dream. She began working on her story the next day, and said, “What terrified me will terrify others.”
  4. Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster! Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to throughout the book as monster, creature, demon, and it.
  5. The book was slammed by critics. Of course it was, insert eye roll here, because people didn’t understand it. In 1818 when the book came out, critics bashed it and said about the work, “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents.” Sigh, I hope one day someone will say that about my works.

I hope you learned some things you didn’t already know about this amazing novel, written by an equally fantastic woman. If you haven’t read Frankenstein, I highly recommend it. Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at Pandamonium Publishing House!

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All About Writing for Magazines!

October 29, 2018– I’m happy to say that I’ve been published in various magazine publications dozens of times over the years. It’s pretty cool to see your story on the magazine rack and know that it’s going to be circulated to hundreds of thousands of readers! If you want to be successful, look at your work through the eyes of a magazine editor. Here are some things to keep in mind before you submit to your favourite mag:

  1. Does the story I’ve written belong in this magazine? I know that this seems painfully obvious, but a magazine about cooking is probably not interested in an article about construction sites. Check out what the magazine has printed in the last couple of years to know if what you’re writing about works for them. If you can’t find out if your idea would work or not, just go ahead and submit, what’s the worst that could happen?
  2. Have they done a story similar to this before? And if they have, how recent was it? If it’s too recent, you’re wasting your time, and it would be better to set your sights on a different topic. If it’s been long enough, at least make an effort to put a fresh spin on things!
  3. Do you know what sells? If you thumb through any magazine on your coffee or end table right now, I can just about guarantee that there’s a diet story in every issue, especially if it’s any type of magazine for women. Why? Because that’s what sells. If you know your market and what sells, you have a better chance of being published, because what you’re writing about, sells copies! Do your research before you submit.

I hope that you get the chance to write a piece for your favourite magazine, it’s so much fun and I think it’s a pretty cool experience to work towards!
X LLB

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Just a few of the magazine issues that I’ve been published in! 
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Where to Get Great Ideas…When Great Ideas Aren’t Coming

October 26, 2018– Content is hard to come by, for me anyways. I often wonder how many other bloggers have this problem, especially those who write daily. I blog three times a week, or twelve times a month and let me tell you, it can become difficult. I know it’s hard to think, but sometimes it feels as though we’ve run out of things to talk about. The truth is, there’s always something to talk about, and there are still lots new ideas for content, we just aren’t being creative enough, and we aren’t thinking outside of the box.

I hate rehashing the same old stuff over and over, so that’s why I try my absolute hardest to come up with new and exciting tips and topics! Here are a few of my personal tips about where to get great ideas:

  1. Shower. A lot. Seriously, some of my best ideas come to me when I’m standing there in the shower with the water beating down on me. Apparently, this is a thing, and there’s even science to support it! Brains give us our best ideas when a lot of dopamine is released, and dopamine is released by, you guessed it, taking a shower! Dopamine equals happiness and the next great idea.
  2. Subconscious. This is a true story; when I was in college, I remember doing some crazy math problem and no matter which way I tried it, I couldn’t figure out the formula. I finally said screw it and went to bed. I swear to you that when I woke up, I had the answer and the formula was as clear as day in my mind. Yep, to this day, I never go to bed without asking my subconscious a question and rarely does it not answer or work out a solution. Try it, it works!
  3. Study. Read everything you can get your hands on. The newspaper, magazines, online, books, tutorials, instruction manuals, and so on. Why? Because this alone will trigger an idea to write about. You can write about the time you were so blocked in your writing that you became desperate and read the instruction manual to your vintage VCR. But seriously, read it all. Especially stuff that is regularly out of your genre. That’s where some of my greatest ideas have come from.

There it is, my ideas for creating content. And remember, when you’re stuck, get unstuck by following the above tips.
X LLB

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The Drawbacks to Being Friends…

October 24, 2018– Being friends with an author has its perks; coffee shop visits, visits to bookstores together, talking books, and of course getting the inside track on what we’re working on (if you care) are the good things. Let’s talk about the downfalls to being friends with an author.

  1. We will put you in a book. Whether directly or indirectly, we will put you or a piece of you in a book. We can’t help it. Little personality quirks, funny superstitions, physical traits all have to come from somewhere and being an author means that we choose those who we are closest to write about. Also, if you piss us off, we will kill you…figuratively.
  2. We are forgetful. Yes, we are a forgetful bunch, but not because we mean to be, but because we remember the important things. We may forget the anniversary of our friendship, but we’ll never forget that time when we made you laugh so hard that you spit your drink out. We won’t forget the sparkle in your eye when you tell a joke, but we will forget that you butchered the punchline. We will forget what you were wearing last week to the movies, but we won’t forget the single tear we saw you shed when the main character died. We can’t remember everything, but we never forget the important things.
  3. We are scattered. We change directions from one second to the next and sometimes the conversations we have with the characters in our head come out when we’re talking to you. Our desks are a mess, we switch ideas in the middle of things, we are absent-minded and can never seem to find a pen. We lose things including our train of thought, but we are among the most disciplined people you will ever come across; how could we ever finish writing multiple novels if we weren’t? How could we possibly sit our ass in the chair and not get up until we’re finished if we weren’t? We’re scattered and we’re apologetic for it. We can’t stop the noise in our head.

So, if you’re friends with an author, consider yourself fortunate, because we don’t have a lot of friends typically and we keep the ones we have, close. X LLB

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Me with my best friend
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Why You Should Diversify…

October 22, 2018– As authors, sometimes we leave a lot of stones unturned especially while first starting out. It can be scary to make the leap from full-time whatever to full-time writer, it’s a massive leap of faith, financially, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Here are three ways to generate income while still working on your next great Canadian/American/Wherever you’re from, novel.

  1. Editing services. Chances are if you’re a writer, you can edit pretty well especially if it’s someone else’s work. Editing our own stuff is the hard part. Check into your area to see how much others are charging for this service and price your services accordingly.
  2. Public Speaking. Yes, you need to charge for this because what you have to say is important. The list of topics to talk about is endless. As an author, you could speak about establishing a writing routine, how to outline a novel, how to make money on the side while writing, side hustling, as I like to call it, and of course, where ideas come from while writing. Everyone is an expert on something, and people will pay to hear your advice.
  3. Copy Writing. No, not copyright-ing, the other one. Writing copy is important for ALL businesses, and as a writer, you’re a fountain of words. Use your wordsmith skills to generate copy for companies and to fund your bank account. Look for real estate agents, restaurants, law offices, and wherever else you think your services could be used effectively.

Of course, this is not a complete list by any means, and there are a TON of other ideas to generate income. The only limit is your imagination, and as an author, we know that this is NOT in short supply! Find ways to get creative and make the income you need to keep writing! Here’s to your success! X LLB

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How to Make Your Very Own Mini Pants!

October 20, 2018– To celebrate the book launch of Pants, by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Erin Cutler, we wanted to help you make your own mini pants! Here’s what you need to make 1 pair:)

Materials: Ask an adult to help you gather the things below:

Felt sheets or brightly coloured fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns
Cotton stuffing
Cardstock or construction paper
Scissors
Marker
Thread
Sewing Needle

Instructions:

  1. Draw a pants shape on a piece of cardstock or construction paper with a marker
  2. Cut out the shape
  3. Put the pants shape on the piece of felt or material
  4. Cut out the shape two times so that you have 2 pieces
  5. Thread your needle and sew the two shapes together remembering to leave a small hole for the cotton stuffing
  6. Stuff the pants
  7. Sew up the final hole
  8. Display your pair of mini pants with the storybook Pants, written by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Erin Cutler! Read the book again:)

Ask an adult to help you cut out a shape similar to the one below and sew it together! 

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pants cover

 

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Prequels…Why I Wrote One

October 19, 2018– When I wrote Obsessed with Her, I knew exactly how it was going to end, and I also knew that there was going to be a prequel. A prequel yes, a sequel no. Lacey, what the hell are you talking about? Ok, let me back up for a second.

A prequel, as you know, is a story that precedes that of a previous work. It’s a story that comes before a story, but it doesn’t need to be written or released before the original. Does this make sense? Whereas, a sequel is something that comes after the original work and is only published after the first book or movie comes out.

When I wrote Obsessed with Her, I deliberately left out a bunch of information. Not so much that the reader would have a bunch of loose ends and questions floating around, and not so much that the book would be unfinished, but enough that there would be room for a prequel. I decided on this method because it was imperative that I told the story in this way. I began with the end in mind and chose to tell it in such a way because it matters to the plot and the development of characters. That being said, the prequel to Obsessed with Her is a story in its own right, it doesn’t just fill in the gaps. The prequel allows readers to pick up either book in whatever order and have a full, edge of their seat story that can stand alone…the prequel just makes it that much better.

Prequels, when done correctly, do the following things: 

  1. They preserve the original material. Both stories should fit smoothly together.
  2. They resolve unanswered questions. A character’s backstory can allow questions to be answered as to why they are who they are and why they act in such a way now.
  3. They tell us something that we don’t already know. Prequels shake up the way the readers view the original characters.

I hope that you’ll take the time to read both books, Obsessed with Her and Becoming James Cass (coming winter 2020). And I hope that you’ll consider writing a prequel to your book.

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A One Page Pitch…

October 15, 2018– Wow; This is a great infographic on how to pitch your novel or screenplay! As a traditional publisher, I cannot tell you how important it is to get your words on the page concisely and effectively, because publishers and movie makers expect this. It makes things easier for everyone and allows us to make a decision quickly and intelligently. Check out the info below from our friends at bang2write.com and keep this in mind the next time you pitch your work. Best of luck! X LLB

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This is Cool and Useful…

October 12, 2018– Ok, fellow writers; I found this online and it’s pretty exciting! Check out this list of bones, organs, cells, and blood in the human body. Why is this interesting and valuable you ask? Because depending on the genre that you write, a list like this may come in handy especially if your characters are going to be fatally injured. Once again it all comes down to credibility in your writing!

Let’s say your character gets cracked in the ribs or needs open heart surgery, now you know a bit more about what you’re talking about and your reader will appreciate your knowledge. Here’s a little taste of a scene I just cooked up; I hit him so hard that the next day in emergency, the x-ray showed I had fourteen broken bones in my left hand. I never thought I’d be a southpaw when it came to fighting, but I guess it was just a matter of survival. 

Happy Writing! X LLB

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