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Secret

November 30, 2020-You’re in a movie theatre, watching the new horror flick. The audience knows something that the main character does not. The audience sees the character’s actions are not in his best interest. What’s that feeling — the one that makes you want to shout at the screen? Christopher Warner identifies this storytelling device as dramatic irony. Directed by Ben Pearce, narrated by Christopher Warner. Let’s watch the Ted-Ed below:  Christopher Warner: In on a secret? That’s dramatic irony | TED Talk

 

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Breakdown

November 18, 2020-What are your goals as a writer? What are your financial goals as an author? What are your publishing goals? Many you will answer, but a lot of you won’t because you have no idea what they are. Goal setting can take us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, and from stalling to success. If you haven’t written down your goals, do it now before we continue.

Let’s say that your financial goal as an author is to earn $1,000.00 a day. There are 24 hours in a day (and don’t tell me that you won’t work 24 hours a day, because technology allows us to make money while we sleep!) so, 1000/24=$41.60 per hour is what you need to hit your target. Wow, Lacey, $41.60 per hour is a lot of money! How can I possibly do that every day? Let’s break that down. If you made $1000.00 per day every day, then at the end of the year, you would have earned $365,000, minus taxes off that, and you’re probably around $140,000 per year, depending on where you live.

So, let’s use the $41.60 per hour. If we need to earn this each hour, we can look at how many book sales that would equal. If each book is priced at $14.99, you’d have to sell 3 per hour every hour.

Now, looking at the number 3…does that seem as impossible as the $1000.00 per day or even the $41.60 per hour? When you break down your goals into manageable chunks, NOTHING is impossible. No more excuses, no more I can’t mentality, get out there and make things happen. Listen, we have the ability to connect virtually with people right now more than ever before! If you have an online store, customers can order your products and services. You can pre-record social media posts and info about your products and schedule for them to run while you’re sleeping or on vacation or to reach new customers in different timezones. Goal setting allows us to reach targets and to focus our attention on small tasks that make a big difference to our bottom line.

Let’s use another example; we’ll say that your goal is to write an 80,000-word novel in 12 months. We’ll do the math again, 80,000/12=6666 words a month/30 days is 222 words per day. That’s it. Only 222 words per day. What’s your excuse for not finishing your book? Whatever you’ve accomplished up until this point in time is only a FRACTION of your potential.

I have an author on my team, Tonya Cartmell who has set an amazing goal of selling 1 MILLION copies of her book, The 12 Days of Rescue (which you can get here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/the-12-days-of-rescue/) and I have no doubt that she will reach her goal!

Math and hard work don’t lie. And whatever your goals are, they can always be broken down to show that they aren’t that intimidating! Don’t let big goals scare you, the bigger the better! They are more than manageable when you break them into easy, bite-sized chunks.

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The Benefits of Reading Books

October 18, 2020– Check out this infographic on Reading, the Road to Success! I know that we’re Canadian, but sadly, our numbers are close enough to these ones in the United States.  Literacy matters.

 

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Spotlight on Alex Goubar and The Magic Pumpkin Farmer

October 17, 2020- Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with our very own, Alex Goubar; we’ve taken questions from kids and their parents, about her book, The Magic Pumpkin Farmer and Alex has answered them! Her answers are in bold.

Q:  The Magic Pumpkin Farmer is such a colourful book, what inspired the colours you used?
A: Something about bright exciting colours reminds me of magic, I imagine that magic is the opposite of dull. Kate, to me, also feels like the type of girl that would love bright colours such as these (it seems to match her personality!)
Q: What program do you use for illustrating books? What do you like most about it?
A: I used to use Paint Tool Sai, and now I’ve switched over to Procreate on the iPad Pro. What I love most about it is that I can take it anywhere, I’ve drawn book pages in many places and countries!
Q: How did you find the information on the princesses and what they wore as traditional dress from their respective countries?
A: I found information on princesses by doing lots of research on the internet and checking those facts with many sources.
Q:  Have you ever grown magic pumpkins? If yes, what was magic about them? and if no, what would you want your magic pumpkin to do?
A: I’ve never grown magic pumpkins but if I ever do, I would want them to attract all of the neighbourhood cats so I could play with them!
Q: Which princess in the book is your favourite and why?
A: I think Kate’s cat is my favourite princess. Real answer? I am biased and I love the Russian princess because that is my heritage. However, all of them are super unique with such interesting backgrounds and outfits and traditions, they’re all awesome!
Q:  Is that your cat in the book that sleeps on Kate’s pillow? Do you have any pets?
A: Kate’s cat is loosely based on Lacey (the author’s) cat Simba! I have two cats, one Hilander named Athena and one Himalayan named Willy.
Q:  Kate was a farmer when she grew up, what did you want to be?
A: My aspirations have changed probably every month. I wanted to be a writer, an actress, an illustrator, etc. As long as creating was in my future I was happy.
Q: What was the hardest part to draw in the Magic Pumpkin Farmer?
A: All the princesses’ garments took a while to draw, but the Indian-inspired princess was the most difficult because of all her jewelry!
Q:  How long have you been an illustrator for?
A: I would say as soon as I was capable of holding a pencil. Professionally, I started getting paid illustration jobs in the first year of college (as of 2020, 5 years now!)
Q:  What’s the most favourite book you’ve worked on and why?
A: Panda the Very Bad Cat; Farm Frenzy was my favourite. I loved the farm theme and drawing all the cute animals!
Thank you, Alex, for answering the readers’ questions! Did you know that Alex is also the AUTHOR and ILLUSTRATOR of 2 books? The Celestial Squid and The Clouds Above Lamasol Island? How cool is that? Check out her collection of books here:
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E-Books (The Future of Publishing?)

September 25, 2020– I attended the London Book Fair in England a few years ago, and I was fortunate enough to participate in many classes to continue my education. One of the subjects that came up was e-books, and how they are changing the face of publishing. Here are four reasons why electronic books are essential to offer your customers if you’re an author, especially a self-published one:

  1. Portability. You’ve just bought a new book series to read while on vacation-did you pack your paperbacks, or did you download the books onto your phone, tablet, e-reader, Kindle, Kobo, or laptop? I’m a fan of paperback books, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m on vacation, I like to lounge by the pool and read. I can’t fit all of the books I can read in a week in my suitcase, so I choose to download them instead.
  2. Sharable. A lot of e-books contain bonus information such as additional chapters or new release teasers via hyperlinks. We add hyperlinks to our e-books because our readers can click on a link and be brought to our website where they can find similar titles they may be interested in. Plus, e-books can be shared with friends.
  3. Highlightable. Non-fiction books especially fall into this category. Most people skim the contents looking for things that are relevant to them, and they can highlight which parts they want to remember or refer back to without ruining or damaging the book like they would have if they had highlighted a paperback.
  4. Environmentally friendly. There is no paper or ink or shipping materials used for e-books, which is an absolute advantage to the environment. There is no waste and nothing to throw away.

I’m not saying that I prefer e-books over print books by any means \(nothing beats the textile nature of holding a book in your hands, flipping the pages, and the smell of them). I’m saying that they have their advantages and have a place in publishing. As an author, make sure you’re offering e-books to your readers; it’s essential to give them as many options as possible to enjoy your work. If you search any of our books on Amazon, you’ll find a paperback version and an e-book version; this is just one of the ways we commit to serving you better.

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Run Your Way to Inspiration

September 10, 2020-As long as it’s not raining, you can usually find me running outside in the early morning in my neighbourhood. I love saying hello to familiar faces and smiling back at the people who give me cheery grins and waves. There are people walking and biking, some are on rollerblades, and most have dogs; it’s usually the same crowd day in and day out with a few exceptions.

I like to make up stories about the people and things that I see while I run; Where are they going after this? What if their dog could talk? Does their dog talk to the other dogs it meets? Where does that staircase lead? What is that skunk doing, and what is he digging for? What if we were all running from Zombies? Would I survive? And the list goes on.

Sometimes the ideas are silly, and sometimes the ideas are stuff that I can work with. The point is that I’m observing the things around me and being inspired by them.

Inspiration comes in all forms; let’s explore:

  1. Setting-Sunsets, trees, trails, staircases, houses, waterfronts are all examples of settings you’ll see on your run that could make it into your story.
  2. Animals-Skunks, foxes, birds, squirrels, coyotes, and rabbits are all animals that I’ve seen on the running trail that would make great characters for stories!
  3. People-runners, rollerbladers, walkers, older adults, middle-aged people, workout buffs, personal trainers, kids, and teenagers are great examples of people to write about.
  4.  Professions-Garbage collectors, construction workers, road pavers, gardeners, roofers, dog walkers, and babysitters are some professions that could start your story off right.

Looking at this list inspires me! How many ideas can you think of using the list of things above? Happy Writing, X LLB

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What’s Your Reason?

August 24, 2020-What made you want to be an author? Have you ever been asked this question? I get asked at least once a week, if not more. This is what I say, and I mean every word; I’ve been writing for a long time. I started writing stories when I was around eight years old, but I didn’t always want to be an author. I wanted to be the person who stitched up NHL players’ faces. The first letter I wrote was a piece of fan mail to my hockey idol, Cam Neely. It’s funny that I did that as a little girl because now, the books that I’ve written are at Neely House (a support home and facility for cancer patients) in Boston. I remember going there to donate my books and bursting into tears because it was such a dream come true to make that connection. 

I’ve always been a writer, whether it be short stories, non-fiction diary entries, or poetry; I was continually writing. Then as I got older, I was published in a magazine called Women’s World for the first time. From there, I’ve been published internationally about 15 times, and in 2015, I opened my own publishing company and have never looked back. 

What made me want to be an author was my sheer love of books. As a child, I would read everything I could get my hands on, backs of cereal boxes, hand me down Baby Sitter’s Club books from my cousins, and magazines that were passed on from a neighbour.  As an adult, I read approximately 60 books per year on every subject. Also, I read up to fifteen hundred manuscripts over 12 months that are submitted to me for potential publication. At the age of 33, I finally decided that I wanted to be an author full-time because I love storytelling, creating characters, and inventing worlds. The characters become part of me, and they feel like home. Writing gave me a place to escape to, and it still does. I suppose I wanted to be a writer to inspire others to share their stories and hopefully ignite a love of literacy in everyone I meet.  I hope I accomplish that because that’s my most important mission and the reason why I was put here.

That’s why I strive to publish books that people love to read. Literacy matters, and literacy is directly linked to a better future for all of us. What’s your reason for wanting to be an author?

 

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Red Riding Hood

May 4, 2020– Anyone who had European grandparents growing up, knows that fairytales aren’t always fluffy and feel-good stories; we were read the Grimm’s version of fairytales as children and the stories were edgy and downright scary at times. They were anything but Disney-fied. I remember hearing the story of Little Red Riding Hood and my grandmother glancing over her glasses at me and saying, “Why would anyone go into the forest wearing a bright red cape unless they wanted to be stalked?” That sent shudders through my whole body as a child and makes me grin from ear to ear as an adult. Turns out that my grandmother was on to something! She had a different perspective entirely.

The Grimm’s Fairytale version of Little Red Riding Hood sounds more like the plot of a Hollywood horror, and some versions of the fable say that Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, both sat down to eat Grandma…disturbing, yes, but also very intriguing. Fairytales were created to teach children lessons that were scary enough to keep them on the straight and narrow.

We can take insight from fairytales that are a little more dangerous and risque than the typical type-we can use them as inspiration to push the envelope in our own work. Take risks, write a darker version of your work to see what it feels like, what it sounds like, and how it makes YOU feel. It’s empowering to write books with less than a happily-ever-after ending. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it at least once, you’ll be surprised as this simple exercise can open your creativity and allow you to see your characters and themes in a whole new light. Happy writing! X LLB

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Romantic Reads

February 14, 2020Ahhh, today is the day of love and to celebrate being in love. Whether it’s your spouse or a partner or yourself, here are some unconventional choices  (that are my personal recommendations as I’ve read each one) that will help you fall in love with reading. For the record, love should be celebrated every day.

  1.  The Bride Test by Helen Hoang– Khai Diep avoids relationships because his autism makes him feel unable to love.   His well-meaning mother takes matters into her own hands and tries to find him a wife. Khai will soon find out that there is more than one way to love.
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens– My personal favourite. The driving, all-consuming power of love. And the loneliness of loving someone so much and never having them love you back. Enough said. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne-Oh man, this one is gut-wrenching, but another one of my most favourite love stories. Adulteress Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A to shame her. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, who she will never identify to the masses, is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger Chillingworth, seeks revenge.
  4. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory-A really fun read about two people who get stuck in an elevator together and agree to pose as a fake couple at an ex’s wedding. Such a great book with a less than typical romance.

I hope that you’ll check out the list above! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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