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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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Why You Need a Mentor…

October 16, 2019– A mentor can be defined as an experienced and trusted advisor. It’s bewildering to me the amount of people that ask for advice from people who have no experience and who are not doing better than them. Never ask anyone for advice that you wouldn’t be willing to trade positions with. Read that again.

Here are three reasons why it’s imperative to have a mentor:

  1. Mentors provide essential information and knowledge. Let’s face it, whatever you’re planning on doing (writing a book, included) someone out there has already done it. They’ve probably done it better and faster and have worked out all of the kinks. They have tips and tricks up their sleeve which will make your life easier because you’re not reinventing the wheel.
  2. Mentors encourage you to do better. Mentors should be people that we look up to, people that we aspire to be like. If you hang around with turkeys you become one. Did you know that you become the five people you hang around the most? Why wouldn’t you hang out with someone who encourages you to be the best  that you possibly can? Mentors force us to level up. That’s why you MUST choose the right ones!
  3. Mentors keep us accountable. The best mentors are the ones you check in with and who check in with you. They ask you how your project is going, they want progress reports, and they want to know what stage you’re at in your work. We have to answer to them and the last thing we want to do is disappoint them along with ourselves.

Whatever you aspire to do or be, make sure you have a mentor. Don’t have one? Get one. It’s essential to your success.

X LLB

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The Best Times to Post…

October 2, 2019– Check out this cool info-graphic about the best and worst times to post on social media; it’s important to create a content schedule so that you can keep in touch with your readers and to ensure that your posts have maximum impact!

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We Know Him As Scar…

September 4, 2019– Wow! This is so cool; check out this video of how Scar became…well, Scar! I’m always interested in the villains of the story. There is a reason why they are the way that they are.

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Our Guest Blogger Today Is…

August 7, 2019– I’m thrilled to invite author, Samantha Nemeth to our blog to guest post today! She’ll be talking about all things Terrible and she’ll give you a sneak peek of her book! Check out her post below:

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a vivid imagination and I’ve loved telling stories; I didn’t want to be read to, I wanted to do the reading. Before I could even read I’d sit with a book and come up with my own stories from the pictures. I’d write plays with my friends and force our families to watch, and our favourite game was “spies”. We’d come up with these crazy stories about people being kidnapped with us being the heroines to save them. Before you ask, yes we roamed the streets not-so-sneakily “spying” on passersby who were our imaginary kidnappers and then run away giggling when they noticed us. So, I guess you can say that being an author, creating something from nothing but a thought, is somewhat of a childhood dream of mine.

My book “DJ the Terrible”, is definitely inspired by my friends and I and all the trouble we got ourselves into, but the original idea for it came from a drawing. My now-fiance and I were being silly one night coming up with the funniest sounding names we could, and drawing pictures to match them. Our favourite was titled, “Djeaneautha, la Terrible Jeune Fille”, who had crazy hair, a unibrow, and a evil genius cat named Godfrey. After that, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the chaos that this terrible girl and her cat would have caused and from there, DJ grew into this wacky, fanciful character who reflects all the awkwardness, burning curiosity, and complete comfort with herself that my friends and I grew up with.

The story follows DJ as she navigates the roller-coaster ride of being the new kid in a suburbia where everyone plays by the rules, no one has any uniqueness, and they haven’t even heard of deep-fried waffle tacos. When she realizes that these people don’t like her because she’s different, she quickly decides to go undercover with her sidekick Godfrey the Super Cat to assimilate with her new neighbours, AKA “The Borings”, gain their trust, then turn the town on it’s head! The only thing is…blending in simply isn’t DJ’s strong suit. With her inventive, mischievous mind, wild hair, and clumsy demeanour, Terrible trouble follows this Terrible girl wherever she goes!

I was lucky enough to grow up in a time before social media and its high standards really hit its peak and I was able to truly be myself, let it all hang out, and simply be a kid; mistakes, tangled hair, unfashionable hand-me-downs, and all. Along with making kids laugh, and sparking creativity, I hope that “DJ the Terrible” can help show today’s youth that it’s okay to be yourself, to be different, and in fact, our differences are something to be celebrated, not hidden away. I would love for at least one reader to walk away from the book knowing that what matters isn’t having the most friends, or the coolest hair, or following the trends. What matters is staying true to yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

Her book DJ the Terrible will be available on October 1st…but we have a special announcement coming soon!