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What a Novel(la) Idea

May 15, 2020– Did you know that adults have an average of five minutes per day to read recreationally? I’m not kidding. We are so pressed for time because of the pace of society that we skip reading in favour of other things. As authors, how does this information help us? Novellas. But wait, what exactly is a novella, how do you write one, and why should you write one?

What it is: A novella is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.

How to write one: Publishers typically accept a word count of 15,000 to 40,000 for novellas depending on the House. Be sure to pack your book with action from beginning to end. There is no time for backstories, and your characters need to be fully developed in less time. Because the word count is so low, you have to make your point and make it fast! Your manuscript should be nice and tight in order for your story to be wrapped up within the allotted word count. Don’t leave loose ends!

Why you should write one: A novella will test your skills as a writer, and will make you a better writer by forcing you to cut the unnecessary words and dull plot points. With such a strain on time for readers, it makes sense that authors should write books that fit busy lifestyles. Not only will you have the potential to sell more books, but you’ll also churn your books out more quickly; instead of writing a book a year, you could do 2 or more.

Novellas are here to stay! Check out Bookshots (books that are under 150 pages and leave out all the boring parts! All thriller, no filler) by James Patterson. Happy Reading! X LLB

james p

 

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Special Teams

March 9, 2020– Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge hockey fan. Publishing, for me, is a lot like hockey in the sense that there are coaches, teammates, and special teams who kill penalties/score on powerplays.  Why is it important to have special teams in publishing, and what are they? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Illustrators/Graphic Artists-These are the teammates that we depend on when we’re in a dire situation. These are the teammates behind the bench that are stitching us up after we’ve been hit with a puck to the face, and they’re making sure we can get back on the ice quickly and safely. They are always performing their best, and they stick to deadlines. Without them, our books would be black, white, and grey. They bring colour and imagination to an otherwise dull world. These are the teammates that I call on when we need changes made quickly and accurately. Thank you, Alex, Erin, Emily J, Emily K, Shamayal, Chris, Sarah, Dani, Nikki, Danielle, and Chi. 
  2. Editors-These are the teammates that are sent in to kill penalties and ensure that the House is protected and error-free in each and every manuscript that we publish. We depend on them to make sure we won’t be caught doing something stupid. They check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and sentence structure. They make sure that we are putting out our best work. Thank you, Helen. 
  3. Authors-These are the teammates that are sent out on a powerplay. They’re the ones who drive the business forward by selling their books, they do book signings, and get people interested in our publishing company. They are the ambassadors of our team, and they represent us well. They score the goals when the opportunities arise.  They are the storytellers and they bring their genius to every project. Without them, there would be no team. Thank you, Tamara, Tim, Ken, Michelle, Samantha, Tonya, Joanne, Gina, Lindsay, Paul, and Rachel. 
  4. Coaches-This is me. I’m the one drawing up the plays on the ice and coming up with strategies. I say where we go and in which direction we’re headed to contend for Lord Stanley. I put the players where their strengths are and make adjustments as needed. I see the best in them and work with them accordingly for the benefit of the entire team. I’m on the ice with them for every practice, and at the end of the day, the team will rise to the level of their training. It’s my job to make sure that we are profitable, winning, and that everyone succeeds. I, like any other coach, am focused on developing my team to be the best that they can. And I’m also hoping to keep my job…

Special teams in publishing are so crucial because the entire team has different roles and will be called upon at various times to help the team where and when it needs it most. I’m not sending in our penalty killers when we’re on the powerplay. X LLB

 

Bruins vs Hurricanes
Ask my team if this is what they look like when I yell…

 

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What’s Your Third Favourite Reptile?

February 7, 2019– Today, I’ll be visiting a school in my neighbourhood where I’ll be reading my book, Mount Fuji has Free Wi-Fi, to some grade three classes. School visits are so exciting and fun for not only the students but for me too! Here’s why author visits matter.

  1. Kids can’t be what they can’t see. Children need to see the things that they can be. That’s why it’s essential as authors for us to go into schools to show them that we are just ordinary people behind all the stories that they see in the library and on bookshelves. And if we can be authors, so can they! As authors, we can use this opportunity to speak to them about the importance of education and what it takes to become authors from an academic perspective.
  2. We hope to ignite their passion for reading. Interactive and fun presentations of your books help get the kids excited about reading and writing! Get them involved with storytelling games and activities that will make them want to read and participate in your visit. I leave activity sheets after every presentation and challenge the class to read five more books each than they read last year.
  3. You learn something and get new ideas for new books. As much as we like to think that we teach the students something, we’re the ones who are being educated. Children are the best teachers, and the best stories come from school visits. I’ve never been asked more interesting questions than when I visit primary classrooms. Kids make us think and keep us on our toes. Some of the questions I’ve been asked range from what is my third favourite reptile (Komodo Dragon), to how much money I make (Buckets full), to how old am I (37) and what’s my mom’s name (Catherine). These visits have given me so many ideas for new books based on the characters I meet in classrooms.

Literacy matters. And the children are our future.

teaching-4784914_640

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Our Guest Blogger is…

September 11, 2019– Today, our guest blogger is Tim Ford. Check out his post below about his work, current and upcoming projects, and some insight into his success.

My name is Tim Ford, and I am a writer. I believe everyone has a story inside them to tell.  For yours truly, I have several. Having said this, it took many years to realize my words, or thought process was not just some mumble jumble of words on paper. 

Three things specifically helped me to move forward:

# 1, Confidence in myself. Like with anything in life, confidence is either your best friend, or worse enemy. I have never taken a course on creative writing, in fact when I was in high school, it was all about the girls, sports, partying. Hey, it was the 70s.

# 2, Music. Now just bear with me. When I hear a song, or even a certain note, it consumes me. I am drawn into it like a dream. I can feel the pain, joy, violence, sexuality. When I write, I also need the perfect song to draw me in.  To put me into almost a manic mode, riding that note like a surfer would to shore.

# 3, Editor, this is what completes me as a writer. They tie up my loose end. The majority of my writing takes place at nighttime, and I mean right up till the sun comes up. The fatigue will open up another dimension of writing, but sometimes I am throwing darts all around the bulls eye, but I can’t nail it. The perfect editor, they guide my hand, and put me in the bulls eye.

I currently have several projects on the go. On February 7, 2016. I released the first book in a series called “Strong, A Warriors Journey Through Hell And Back. It is about the making of a career criminal. That book is title Santa Dies Once Again.  The opening scene takes place in 1991. Main character is being interviewed by the cops, they give him the option of the electric chair, lethal injection, or become a rat. The whole series goes back to how and why he got himself into this clusterfuck of a mess.  Other published books in the series are “Summer of Love – Fall of Hate”, “A Jungle Is Still A Jungle”, “Criminology 101”, and to be released this fall, “Chasing Dragons – Slaying Demons”. I am currently in book 12 of this series.

I was also lucky enough to pitch an idea to Lacey Bakker of Pandamonium Publishing House about a DNA conspiracy book. So many twists, you will need a chiropractor after reading this. This book is being written 3rd person along side Lacey… Something I have never done before, but with Lacey’s guidance, and yes support, things are progressing quite well.

Also started a stand-alone book about a 39-year-old strait-laced Canadian who has an affair with an 19 year old American hippie. This takes place in 1969. And it also has to do with the music scene back then. So, you know my heart and soul is truly going to be into this.

Thanks for having a look.

Keep Rocking, Tim Ford. 

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3 Simple Things You Can Do…

August 30, 2019– It’s ME! In this video I talk about three simple things that you can do to market yourself as a self-published author. Subscribe to our channel on YouTube Pandamonium Publishing House if you want to see more content!

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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!

 

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 14, 2019– Let’s check out today’s question!

Q: “Lacey, I’m working on a couple of novels at the same time and I’m having a hard time keeping things straight! I’ve mixed up my characters and plots in a couple of points during the story and am driving myself crazy. How do I fix this?” 

A: Well, kudos to you for working on not one, but two novels! That’s very exciting. Yes, it can be difficult when working on multiple projects to keep things in order. I can’t tell you how many manuscripts I’ve edited that have had the wrong name (or the previous name) of the character written down in later chapters. The good news is that it happens to everyone. The other good news is that it’s easy to fix! 

  1. Sticky notes are your friend. Before sitting down to work on either one of your novels take a sticky note and write the main character’s name in BOLD, BLACK, marker. Stick it to the screen of your laptop. This is a visual reminder of what you’re working on and which character/book requires your attention.
  2. One thing per day. Section your week into specific days that you will work on each project. For example, I write Becoming James Cass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and I write I am Jessica Westlake on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It’s much easier to write on certain days rather than to spend the morning of each day working on project one, and the afternoon working on project two. You’ll be less inclined to make a mistake…unless of course you’re like me and you never know what day it is.

Keep the questions coming! I love helping out fellow authors and answering your questions:) X LL B

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What Exactly Do You Want?

June 12, 2019– This is a question we ask ourselves that changes over time and certainly as we get older. The question of what exactly do you want also is based on what matters most in our lives at that moment and is shaped by the experiences we’ve had.

As an author, I ask you this question! You have to define what you want before you can ever succeed in getting it. People who don’t have goals (especially written down) are like rudderless ships adrift at sea…they’re going nowhere, fast.

It’s important to write down exactly what you want for your life and to be as specific as possible while making your list. This list is very personal so please don’t filter yourself and don’t ever think that anything you want is too big to consider. The bigger you dream, the better. Don’t box yourself in by thinking small!

After you’ve made your list, STOP doing all of the things that WON’T get you to your dreams. For example, if one of the things on your list is to finish your novel, then stop wasting time, stop playing on your phone, stop getting distracted.

If we all just took five minutes a day to work on each item on our list of goals, imagine where we would be in a year, I bet a lot of those dreams would be accomplished!

So, get started on your list; What Exactly Do You Want?

X LLB