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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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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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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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Fall Reading Challenge…

October 5, 2018– Ahhhhhh Fall; what a wonderful season! It’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up and read. Check out the fall reading challenge below, but feel free to substitute where you need to. Happy fall and happy reading!

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Let’s Talk About Book Clubs…

October 3, 2018- Ahhh, book clubs! I will say that I’m a huge fan of them and the discussions that take place over wine or coffee with friends. A couple of years ago, I started a book club, and our first meeting was in the summer in my backyard; it was also our last meeting. We read The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the book, and I hoped for a lot more from it from what I had read on the back. Sometimes that’s a problem, isn’t it? We expect the inside of the book to be as good as, the back cover. But, now I’m rambling. Here are four tips for hosting a book club:

  1. Get some friends together and figure out what you’re going to read. What we did in our group when it came to choosing a book, it was the hostess picks first, then we take turns by birth month. If you have two people who are both born in the same month, the person with the earlier date goes first. It’s pretty diplomatic this way, and it also allows you to read outside of your genre which I’m always harping on!
  2. Set a time, date, and timeline. You need to decide how long the book will take to read, how long the book club meeting should be, and when the book club meeting will take place. For example, your book club could take place every third Tuesday of the month, the discussion is an hour long, and the book needs to be read in a month. It’s easy when you have a schedule to abide by.
  3. Choose a location. Again, what we did, was give each person a turn to host the book club in their home. If we were reading your book choice for the month, you were also the host of the book club meeting. Don’t feel any pressure to use this method though, you can comfortably host a book club at your local library or even a park, restaurant, or public place.
  4. Get your thoughts together. At our book club, w decided that we were just going to have an open discussion about the book and the characters with really no end game in mind. Sometimes the questions got off topic, and sometimes we were able to really stay in the moment. What I would recommend this time is to have a list of questions prepared. Perhaps every member could bring three questions or subjects to discuss that have to deal with the theme, characters, or even the style of writing. You could also talk about the ending, the parts you didn’t like, and why.

Unfortunately, life got in the way of us carrying on our book club, and we kind of let it dissolve on its own. I’d love to start one up again one day soon, and in this day and age, there are so many ways to stay connected! Think outside of the box and maybe think about hosting a Skype-based book club or a chat room book club, but most of all, have fun!

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (And how it helps your writing!)

October 1, 2018– Back when I was an official student of Marketing and Business, (I say official because I still consider myself a student of both, just not in a typical classroom setting) we learned about Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. It was fascinating and captivating to see what humans need and that we are unable to move from one level to the next if there are any gaps in the previous level. Let me explain; as we look at the chart below, we see that the very basics of human need are food, water, and shelter. If we don’t have these needs met, we can’t move on to social stability, achievement, and experiencing our unique purpose.

I know what you’re thinking…umm… thanks for the lesson but what does this have to do with writing? Well, think about the hierarchy below; how does your character fit into this? Does your character lack love and belonging and to they need to resolve this issue before moving on with their life? Is your character dying to be unique? Maybe your character is questioning their morality?

This chart will also make you credible. We know that human nature is to take care of the basics. If we have no food, our first goal is to find food and feed ourselves. Have you ever been so hungry that you can’t even think straight? I’m sure you have, we all have and for various reasons. How are we supposed to think about self-actualization when our stomach is growling so loudly that we can’t hear ourselves think? You get the picture.  Now, I know that some of you may argue the point that someone like Gandhi was able to reach self-actualization because he deprived himself of food, and yes there is merit to that argument. My point is, that with most people, including your characters, we can’t ignore our basic needs and we’ll do whatever it takes to meet them.

Happy Writing! X LLB

 

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

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The Business of Books…

September 28, 2018– A lot of the time what happens in the book business is that new authors don’t treat it as such. I’m not only talking to our self-published friends, I’m talking to our traditionally published peeps as well. The easiest part of being an author is writing the book, and the hardest part is marketing it, hands down, that’s the absolute truth, and that’s coming from someone who has a marketing and advertising background.

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the publisher do all the work while I get to sit behind a table at (insert name of bookstore here) and sign copies of my books for all of my adoring fans while they bask in my genius? The short answer? No. The long answer? F#*& No. Newsflash: You are NOT Stephen King, and no one is here to see you.

Harsh but true. Here’s the thing, traditionally published authors are expected to market themselves alongside the publisher. If you’re not willing to put yourself out there and help with the marketing, promotion, publicity, and you’re not willing to put the work in you’re going down in flames, I would bet my business on that. It’s even more of a challenge for our self-published friends! My advice? Get a strong business background first and go from there, learn as much as you can and then implement the good stuff. And if something doesn’t work, you can always pivot and change directions with your marketing plan. In order to become any kind of successful author, or to be successful at anything for that matter, you’re going to have to do whatever it takes, and it’s going to take everything you’ve got.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given when I started all of this was, “When you’re writing a book it’s an art. When the book is finished, it’s business. Never confuse the two.” That piece of advice has been instrumental in me making decisions as a writer and business owner.

Keep your chin up, keep writing, remember that this is a business, and take all of the good advice you can get. Remember, you get what you work for, not what you wish for.

Write that on my tombstone.

X LLB

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What Motivates Your Antagonist?

September 24, 2018– This great little info-graphic gives us some ideas for motivation for our Antagonists! Brought to us by our friends at Author in Training.

 

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