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Recommended Reading…Make Your Bed

November 14, 2018– We read a lot of books around here at Pandamonium Publishing House, as we should because we are writers. I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write.  We like to read all types of books including books that aren’t always in our genre. I’m currently reading an interesting and pretty short book that’s non-fiction and it’s written by Admiral William H. McRaven (talk about a cool name) who is retired from the United States Navy. The book is called, Make Your Bed, Little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.

Admiral McRaven gave a commencement speech to the University of Texas students, which you can view on Youtube. His school of thinking is that if you make your bed every morning, you’ll have accomplished the first task of your day. He also believes that making your bed reinforces the fact that the little things in life matter and if you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

This is my second time reading this book in a year. I read it at the beginning of the year and I’m re-reading it now. This book is fantastic because McRaven is right! I made my bed every single day except for four days over the past year and let me tell you, boy did it make a world of difference when I didn’t! When I neglected to make my bed, I went to bed restless, had a terrible sleep, couldn’t shut off my brain, and felt unsettled. That’s not to say that every day that I did make my bed was a great day, but the point was that no matter what life threw at me, I could come home, get into my perfectly made bed, and disappear from the world. Daily life requires structure and making your bed is the first step.

I hope that you’ll read this book as there are a lot of fantastic stories and lessons within. (My favourite chapter is number four, the sugar cookie story!)

X LLB

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All About Audiobooks…

November 9, 2018- Ahhhh, audiobooks. There is nothing better than an audiobook, other than a paperback of course. In fact, I pick paperback first, then audiobook, then e-book. So what are the benefits of audiobooks and what place do they have in the literary community?

  1. Audiobooks can bring the characters to life, especially when the voice actor is amazing. Let me use an example; if you’ve ever read the Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money and so on, by Janet Evanovich, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The actor who does the voices for the audiobooks, Lorelei King, is so amazing that she sounds exactly how you would expect Stephanie and Lula to sound like in real life. This can also be a downfall, however! All it takes is a bad voice actor to ruin your favourite book. Like the person who reads the Murder, She Wrote series. Umm…why the hell is Angela Lansbury, not the voice? Exactly.
  2. Audiobooks are perfect for people who are on the go. You can listen to audiobooks anywhere, on planes, trains, and in automobiles. They are totally portable and you don’t even need wifi to use them. I bribe myself with an audiobook when I have to do things that I hate…such as the treadmill, or running. I plug in my earphones, turn on my audiobook and forget what I’m doing as I’m immersed in the story. Using audiobooks, I was able to “read” 60 books last year. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t have audiobooks to listen to while I traveled.
  3. Audiobooks make non-fiction books go faster. A lot of non-fiction books can be utterly boring, especially when they’re about something that you’re not particularly interested in such as sales or the stock market. You can speed up your audiobook, skip to the end, and listen to them while you’re doing the dishes or making dinner. I know that audiobooks are different than Ted Talks, but I put them in the same category. Ask me when I don’t have a Ted Talk on…not very often! I think that we can learn things by listening and I’ve amazed myself more than once with the information I’ve retained by listening to audiobooks.
  4. Audiobook are excellent for auditory learners. I am an auditory learner in that I learn best by listening and not doing or seeing something. I’ve always learned this way and let me tell you, that schools do not accommodate this way of learning which is a shame. I was the kid that read each question out loud while doing homework because that’s how I learned. There are a bunch of different ways that people learn; Kinesthetic learners are people who learn by doing rather than by listening to a presentation or by watching a demonstration. Visual learners are those who learn by seeing something such as a graph, chart, or diagram. And as mentioned before, auditory learners who learn things by hearing/listening. I can’t tell you how much information I’ve learned from audiobooks, but it’s a lot!

So, if you’ve never downloaded an audiobook because you think it might not be for you, I urge you to reconsider! Give it a try, you just might love it.

X LLB

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Authors Born in November…

November 7, 2018– This month we’ll be focusing on authors that celebrating birthdays in November. Most of the authors we are going to talk about are deceased, but they’ve left such a mark on the literary landscape, that they’re impossible to forget.

Tomorrow, November 8th is Bram Stoker’s birthday! To celebrate his birthday and the genius that is his writing, here are some interesting facts about him:

  1. He fought with Oscar Wilde over a woman. Wilde, Florence Balcombe, and Stoker were all part of an intense love triangle! Stoker ended up winning the fight and married Florence.
  2. He got to meet two presidents. Stoker met Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley while he was visiting the United States as part of managing an actor by the name of Henry Irving. Stoker’s trips revolved around managing his client.
  3. He wrote romance novels. Stoker is known and much beloved for his supernatural works such as Dracula, but he also wrote romantic novels, in fact, over half of his works of fiction were classic Victorian romance pieces.
  4. Dracula was inspired by a woman. In fact, it was an essay by Emily Gerard titled, “Transylvania Superstitions,” that inspired Stoker’s Dracula. Oh, and remember Henry Irving, who Stoker managed? He was the physical inspiration for Dracula.

Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker! He would have been 171 years old tomorrow if still living…now that would be really something to write about!

X LLB

 

 

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E-Books Vs. Print (Are Print Books a Dying Breed?)…

November 5, 2018- It really depends on the generation that you grew up in as to how you answer the question above! I personally think that e-books have their place in the world, but nothing beats a paperback.

I love e-books for specific things, especially non-fiction because quite rarely do I ever read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. I end up skimming the pages for the information I need, highlighting it, and then leaving with the info that I came for. It’s easy and free when you subscribe to something like Kindle unlimited.

That being said, nothing beats the smell of a paper book. The feeling of turning the pages, the sound of the pages turning, folding down the corner of the page to mark where you left off (I know, I’m a monster!), and the kinesthetic involvement of the entire experience is the absolute best. E-books don’t hold a candle to traditional paper in my opinion.

Now, I know what some of you are going to say, “But I love my Kindle for the portability of the books when I go on vacation!” Yes, I do too, but if I could bring along seven or eight of my favourite paperbacks without taking up too much room in my suitcase, I would.

Let’s look at some reasons why paperbacks are making a come back.

  1. Physical books make a better gift. When was the last time that you gifted someone an e-book? That’s what I thought, probably never. There’s something about the process of wading through a bookstore to find the perfect book for someone you love. They open the gift bag or tear off the wrapping paper and immediately flip the book over to read the back cover, then they thumb through the pages and tell you that they can’t wait to snuggle up and read it tonight!
  2. Physical books are easier to share. Yes, you can share e-books and lots of people do, but paperbacks are easily shared from reader to reader. Do you know how many times I’ve lent friends books never to see them again…the books not the friends. Yep, it’s true, paperbacks make their way into the hands of many people. My suggestion is that if you love a particular title, buy two of them because the one you lend will never return.
  3. Reading a print book sets a good example for your kids. We want kids to read, we want them to experience the magic of books, and we want them to use their imagination. What better way to get kids to read than to be caught reading, ourselves? Monkey see monkey do.
  4. Paper books are easy to scribble on. I know that some people are gasping in horror while reading this sentence. Yes, I mark important passages in books and I even scribble down thoughts in the margins. As an author, there are a lot of ideas that pop into my head while reading and sometimes a certain passage will speak to me. I highlight the words, underline sentences, and box off really important points.

So, which camp are you in? E-books or paperback? Sound off in the comments below!

X LLB

 

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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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As an Author, Are You Doing This Right?

October 10, 2018– Social media in this day and age is of the utmost importance when you’re self-employed. As authors, this includes us, because if we don’t have a proper, effective platform, how are we going to sell books, connect with readers, and participate in discussions?

Anyone who signs on with my company knows that I expect them to start building their social media platform BEFORE their book launches. This is because I want my authors to have a solid space to promote themselves where they can get readers excited about what’s to come. It’s never too early to start talking about your work and about what you do. Authors often question, ” My book doesn’t come out for another year and a half! Isn’t this too soon to start promoting it?” The answer. No. And here’s why it takes at LEAST EIGHT times of humans being exposed to the same message for them to even take NOTICE! Yep, that’s how much noise is coming at us every day and how much of that noise we filter out. So, it’s NEVER too early to start talking about your book.

But, Lacey! What do I post on social media if I don’t have a product? Easy.

  • Behind the scenes looks at your work
  • How you came up with the idea for your book/ inspiration behind it
  • A typical workday for you when writing
  • Sneak peek of the manuscript title
  • Any art sketches if applicable
  • What your goals are with writing
  • What books you’re currently reading
  • What books your book compares to
  • Why you became an author
  • Why your story matters
  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • And everything else that relates to your book that you can possibly think of

So, here are some tips on building a solid social media presence.  You need to be on Facebook, preferably with business page, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon author profile, and you better have a blog or a website. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Ummm I don’t want to waste my life and time just posting to social media! Trust me, there are days when I want to detox the whole process of this craziness entirely out of my life, but I know how important it is so I don’t. Don’t worry, I got you, there’s a cool tool that can take away the stress!

  1. Hootsuite is a social media posting tool that allows you to schedule posts to Facebook business pages, Twitter, and Instagram. Get the app, it will change your life, I promise.
  2. Stick to a schedule. Figure out what you’re going to post about and when.
  3. Be consistent in your posts. Yes, I admit that sometimes I fall off the face of the social media world, but in a couple of days, I’m back in the saddle, and I ALWAYS answer questions and comments.
  4.  Hashtags. Know what they are, what they do, and use them effectively, ESPECIALLY on Instagram. Why? Because this helps more people find your posts, let’s them know what you have to say, and it leads to more followers.
  5. SEO. If you don’t know what this stands for, learn it immediately and start implementing it on your blog/website NOW.

At Pandamonium Publishing House, we teach this stuff. Drop me a line if you want in on the next custom course, pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

You can do this. It may seem like an impossible hurdle, especially if you’re not part of the generation that grew up with this stuff. It’s never too late to learn. And the more you learn, the more you earn.

X LLB

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All GOOD Authors Are Streetwise…

October 8, 2018- Trust me when I tell you this, all authors are streetwise. Well, the good ones anyway. When people ask me what I do, I usually answer, “Whatever it takes.” To be a good author, not only do you have to be a good writer, but you have to be a good publicist, an excellent salesperson, a ruthless business owner, and a brave performer. Authors are streetwise because we have to be. We trust our guts, go with our intuition, and chase down ideas for stories that lead us down darkened alleyways, into sketchy situations, and across the ocean in pursuit of them. It’s the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Every author I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting has always had this drive, desire, and gleaming personality that could charm the toughest of customers into buying their work or at least engage them into talking to them!

We’re streetwise because we don’t have any other option, especially when it comes to self-publishing because if we don’t do it, who will? Us authors have a willingness to go through hell and back to reach our goals. We do most things in pursuit of the end game, in pursuit of selling one book, or in selling one-more-book. We fight hard to have our voices heard, to have our books displayed, to be best sellers, to cement and earn our reputations as wielders of words. We are ferocious, dedicated, and our biggest critics. We do this because we love it and because we believe our stories need to be heard. We do this because we believe in something bigger than ourselves and because we want to leave this earth with something that outlives us.

So, as any type of author, traditionally published or self-published, let me remind you of your importance in this world; the world shines brighter because you’re in it and because of the stories you tell. The world is a better place because you’re willing to do what it takes to realize a dream. Don’t ever forget your purpose; to tell stories that change lives.

So here’s to all of my streetwise colleagues, I salute you.

X LLB

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