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Are They Aware?

September 18, 2020-What do you see when I say the word McDonald’s? For some people, this word will conjure up the image of burgers, fries, broken ice cream machines and chicken McNuggets, and some will immediately see the infamous golden arches. It doesn’t matter what came to mind first, the food or the logo, because both things achieved the same goal, to make you aware of their brand and what they sell.

Are people aware of what you sell? Do the covers of your books come to mind when they think of you? Do they see your company logo? Do they know what you offer? If not, here are some good ways to make people aware of you, your brand, and your books:

  1. Business cards-Always carry a stack of business cards with you. It should say who you are, what your occupation is, website, email, phone number, and have your logo/slogan on it. Mine is black with a silver P, on the front with my name and owner of Pandamonium Publishing House.
  2. Brochures-These are great tools to hand out to people to explain your business offering, product samples, book excerpts, reviews, and services. Be sure to include your logo, colours, website, email, business name, how to order, and social media information.
  3. Postcards- I use postcards a lot for many different things. I use them to write notes to clients, to include in our subscription book boxes, to say thank you, and for appreciation notes to anyone who orders off our site.
  4. Banners/signage- These are essential for shows and events that you’re attending. Include your logo, brand colours, slogan, and website/email/social media info. Be sure that everything is large enough to read from a distance.
  5. Letterhead- This should include your company name, email address, website, address, and logo.
  6. Email signature- Some days, I’ll send up to 50 emails per day, depending on the circumstance. An email signature is a great way to let prospective clients know what you do, who you are, and how to reach you and your social media handles. Also, if you have a writing business, your email signature is a great way to let everyone know what your hours are or when you’re out of the office/away from your desk.
  7. Social media-Amazon author page, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram- You should have all of these things and more. People need to know where to find you, and you need to be consistent with your posts. Use a social media scheduler like Hootsuite to pre-schedule your posts so you’re not tied to your phone when you could be doing something more valuable with your time. Your social media should all be linked to each other and be informative, educational, and entertaining while adhering to your brand message and aesthetic.
  8. Blog-How your blog looks and what it does are synonymous with your brand awareness and what you do/offer. Your books should be for sale online as well as your services, an about section about you and your company, and your logo, colours, and common theme should run throughout. If you’re a romance writer, for example, you could have topics on your blog that include things such as the elements of writing romance, specific genre information, how to write characters etc.
  9. Logo and colours-Our brand colours are black, white, and purple; this follows through to our cards, brochures, postcards, signage, letterhead, and blog. Our logo is a black box with a white letter P in the middle.

Every time you create content or interact with people, you are representing your brand. Do it well.

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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 Do You Do?

September 9, 2020– How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?” Probably a lot, especially when at a gathering where you’re meeting new people. I was at a party once where this question came up (which was not directed toward me), and the person answered, “Oh, I’m just an author. Well, not really an author, I publish my own stuff, but I don’t have a publisher or anything…” From across the room, I watched as the woman squirmed in the corner and shifted her feet with cocktail in hand, and I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, look into her eyes, and say, “Start again, this time with confidence! Repeat after me, I AM AN AUTHOR. Period. That’s a complete sentence.” 

How many times have you downplayed your writing skills or talents? A few, I’m willing to bet, especially since most authors are introverts who don’t like to toot their own horn. But it’s crucial that you say you’re an author with conviction because if you don’t believe it, no one else will. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re published, unpublished, in the submission phase, have a few things in small publications, a blogger, a poet or whatever else, YOU ARE AN AUTHOR. 

Why does this matter? Because sooner or later, what you say and think about most, becomes reality. As long as your writing and improving your craft, it’s only a matter of time before someone says yes after a whole bunch of no’s. It drives me insane when authors say that they’re not real authors because they’ve self-published. All that means is (if they did it right and invested in a quality editor, cover designer, and formatter) that they wanted to keep control of their project and work from beginning to end. Yes, there are a few self-published works out there that give the good guys a bad name, but for the most part, self-published books (when executed properly) are impossible to tell from traditionally published books. 

So, start believing in yourself! You’ll be glad you did. X LLB 

 

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An Excerpt from Life Supports

August 12, 2020-If you haven’t read Life Supports by KG Watson, you should. It’s a fantastic book that examines the important things in life. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“It was during a search of my basement music storage for material that the ladies unexpectedly came across the box of cookbooks. I had forgotten I put them there, maybe I didn’t, maybe the kids put them there when they cleaned out the kitchen prior to the arrival of the students.

The Evercare bus had dropped me off at my house after the service. After I handed my just-used material back to the digitizers, I went to find what I thought I needed for next week. I had pointed to the boxes I wanted to look through and Margaret had hoisted them up the stairs and onto a cleared corner of the dining room table for sorting.

When I opened the first box there they were rank on rank of cookbooks, ragged with loose paper sticking out of them it was not what I expected. While Trudy and Jessica continued their perfected ballet with my music scores and the electronics, Margaret diverted her attention to scan this new trove. If it looks like a book, Margaret is helpless within its sight. The kitchen library has been stacked into the box spine up. There were fat volumes of cookbooks separating words of pamphlets on the top layer.

With the removal, a packet of letter size sheets and plastic archive folders that have been stuffed down the side, fell over onto the lower layer of pamphlets. Margaret pulled a page and couldn’t help noticing the title on the top peeking from beneath the rusting pinch clamp that held the clump together. Gingerbread Cookies it said in bold print, I sighed.”

There are recipes included in this book and I think that we should attempt to make a couple of them. Gingerbread just happens to be my absolute favourite cookie of all time!

I hope you enjoyed the above excerpt from Life Supports by KG Watson. Now available on Amazon and soon on our site!

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It’s Funny

August 5, 2020-No matter what you’re writing, an element of humour should be present. This is especially true for those of us who write mysteries, thrillers, and psychological books. I think Josh Whedon said it best, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” It’s important when writing heavy subject matter to relieve your readers once in a while! Here are three ways to inject humour into your manuscript:

1) Dialogue-Get your character to say something funny. Have a weird exchange between two characters, get your character to reminisce about something humorous that happened to them.

2) Situation-Put your character in a situation where something funny happens to break the tension (when it fits) such as tripping or ripping their pants, or mistaking one thing for something else. In my book Obsessed with Her, James overheard a conversation he thought for SURE was about the girl he was holding hostage, but it turned out to be a missing dog.

3) Embarrass them. Embarrassing things happen to us all the time and I’m sure to me more than others…sigh. Embarrass your character eg. spinach in teeth, static underwear stuck to the back of their outfit, spilling coffee on themselves etc.

The point of adding an element of humour to your writing is to make your characters three dimensional, real, and relatable.

Happy Writing! XLLB

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How Many Books?

July 1st-I know that we’re moving at breakneck speed lately when it comes to pumping out books around here, so to ensure that no one is lost or unaware of what’s available and what’s coming up, let’s recap our collection:

Children’s book (ages 3-8 depending on reading level)

-Panda the Very Bad Cat
-Panda the Very Bad Cat Farm Frenzy
-Panda the Very Bad Santa Claws
-Deer Diary
-Phillip Star
-The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Trouble with Trolls (A Halloween Tail)
-The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Baseball Bedlam
-Sammy the Singing Cat
-Spiders Wearing Sweaters
-Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog
-Mount Fuji has Free Wi-Fi
-Miranda the Very Loud Mouse
-Pants!
-Grandma’s Table
-Zoe’s Princess Pants
-Lost and Monkey Around (Coming October 2020)
-Twelve Days of Rescue (Coming October 2020)
-The Midas Haircut (Coming October 2020)
-The Clouds Above Lamasol Island (Coming July 2020)

Middle-Grade Novels (Grade 4-6 depending on reading level)

-Unfrogged
-DJ the Terrible
-The Old Farmer’s Treasure
-Grandpa’s Gift (Coming September 2020)

Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction

-Obsessed with Her
-Becoming James Cass
-Duty’s Dad
-Duty’s Daughter
-Duty’s Son
-Acts of Remembrance (Non-fiction)
-Life Supports
-Dealer
-114 World Series in 1 Book (Non-fiction)
-Advice from a Publisher (Non-fiction)
-Machinia (Science Fiction, Coming October 2020)
-Silent Anvil (Coming October 2020)
-My Name is Jessica Westlake (Coming August 2020)
-Acts of Kindness (Non-Fiction, Coming November 2020)

All of the books are and will be available on our site under SHOP and available on Amazon as paperbacks and e-books. We’re also exploring film options and audiobooks, so stay tuned for more information!

Thank you for supporting our work, we appreciate you.

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Cancelled

June 19, 2020– Things in the world are so weird right now, but at least some restrictions are lifting, and hopefully, the quarantine will be entirely over soon. I know that there are things that are more important going on than the festivals and events that we look so forward to all year, but these chances to connect with the community face to face are so special to us, and they mean a lot.

So, there will be no It’s Your Festival, no SuperCrawl, no fall fairs, and no Peach Festival, to name a few events that we would have been scheduled to appear with our books and authors. Although these events have been cancelled, here is a list of things that are not:

  1. Reading to your kids. This is the most sacred time between parents and children that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Kids will remember reading bedtime stories and snuggling with you forever; reading with them will ignite their love of literacy and create lasting memories for both of you.
  2. Virtual book clubs. Book clubs, oh how we miss you, but virtual ones still make them possible. We are revamping our international book club program as we speak, so check back here for more information in the coming weeks! We’re doing a read around the world program where we feature books from different cultures and countries. I’m so excited, so stay tuned!
  3. Virtual storytime and book launches. I’ve had the pleasure of reading my storybook, Panda, the Very Bad Cat for Frontier College online. What a great idea to help kids find new books! We also do online book launches for our new releases, and it’s a great idea because you can still connect with your readers and audience through Facebook Live and Instagram Live; it’s a new way of doing things, but still a lot of fun.
  4.  Reading outdoors. Nothing beats a cold beverage on a hot day, except adding a great book into the mix! Hit the deck or patio and escape into another world for a few hours under the sun.
  5. Writing. Now is the time to work on your novel or next writing project. If you’re working from home and keeping typical hours, consider waking up a bit earlier to have some writing time. Get inspired with ideas by reading blogs and writing in a journal.
  6. Spending time in nature. This is one of our most favourite things to do at Pandamonium. Nature seems to reset us and allow us some much-needed downtime. This is also where some of our best ideas blossom! Grab a notebook and pen and head out for a hike or a walk, you’ll be glad you did.

While it’s easy to focus on all the things we still can’t do at this point, it’s better to focus on what we can do. Enjoy these summer days, and stay positive! X LLB

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Excerpt from chapter 2-My Name is Jessica Westlake

May 29, 2020– I’m almost done my next thriller novel titled, My Name is Jessica Westlake. Today I thought I’d share an excerpt from chapter two. I hope that you enjoy it! Look for it online and in stores on July 1st, 2020.

Sunlight drips through the window and onto the floor. I open my eyes and disappointment sets in; I had hoped I wouldn’t wake up, and I wish that I hadn’t made it through the night. I feel cheated because I want nothing more than to join Benjamin, to hold him, and tell him that I love him. I want to apologize to him because I failed as a mother. My one job was to protect him, and I didn’t. I would give my life a hundred times over for him to have a chance at survival; every thought is of him, and every second of consciousness torments me and shreds my soul into strips of grief. There is no way that I can go on; there is no point anymore because the mother that I prepared myself to be is gone, and an empty shell takes her place. Cloudy thoughts and tears fill every moment; it is as if there is an unquenchable reserve of fresh torture that replays over and over each time I wake up. I can’t help but think that teenage girls who are barely out of high school can have children; women who live in Third World and war-torn countries are able to deliver a child who is not born asleep. I wasn’t even able to manage that. Each breath feels like wasted effort; I’ll never hear him laugh, never see him smile, and I’ll never be able to rest his body on mine or feel his heartbeat. What is the worst part? All of it. Every single horrific moment.

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Be Our Guest (Blogger)

May 13, 2020– Today I have the pleasure of introducing our guest blogger, Scott Morissey, who I had the wonderful experience of working with on his book, 114 World Series in 1 Book (Fun, Interesting, and Amazing Facts about the World Series). Scott knows more about baseball than anyone I’ve ever met! So without further delay, let’s read what he has to say.

Sometime in the summer holiday of 1990, my father bought me my very first sportsbook, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Tennis. For all of $6.99. Back then, my family would take long trips to New Brunswick to visit my grandparents. My father believes I had the whole tennis book memorized by the time we returned to our home in Dundas about two weeks later. My path towards a sports encyclopedic-life had officially begun.

While at my grandparent’s place, I’d stumbled upon old copies of old baseball books written in the 1950s. I made sure to return East with them. In the coming yeas, other books, such as Roger Kahn’s classic, “The Boys of Summer,” and a book about “Shoeless Joe Jackson”, were brought back home. My baseball library was including books from decades past. My love of sports history was expanded to baseball (My older brother and father were Jays’ fans back then, getting some autographs of Toronto players in Spring Training of 1988), and then soon hockey by around the time I was twelve.

The Toronto Blue Jays finally won in 1992, and I made it a point to see the World Series that year. I saw White’s catch in game three. It nearly started a triple play. There’s only been one in the Fall Classic, back in 1920. And it was unassisted!

As I grew up, my father would tell me stories of following the New York Yankees in the Mickey Mantle-era. There was heartbreak, though, despite reaching the World Series eight times in the 1950s and five straight times in the 1960s. The Yankees lost a memorable seven-game classic to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960.

In 1993, having sat next to a passenger with a magazine that previewed the upcoming baseball season, I must have made an impression with him. When exiting the plane after landing was delayed, the passenger (Who of course, I was destined never to see again) gave me the magazine. I still have it my possession, and I hope I thanked him for it.

The next year, we drove down to the Keys, with three extra days added to my (And two brothers) March Break. I brought my copy of the 1993 World Series to Cheeca Lodge where we had the use of a VHS. While there, I met a young couple playing golf. They were from Philadelphia. I panicked. The Toronto Blue Jays had beaten the Philadelphia Phillies a mere five months earlier. Were they Phillies fans? Of course. I told them I was a Toronto Blue Jays fan from Southern Ontario. It seemed that no matter where I travelled, I couldn’t get away from baseball if I tried. By that time, I was collecting the Toronto Blue Jays media guides for 1993 and 1994 (I had the one from 1987, too).

My father bought me a book called, World Series, when I was fifteen. I poured over it especially concentrating on an alphabet-listing of trivia for the Fall Classic. It included teams, players and managers, and even politicians.

So, sometime in 2010, I’d accumulated enough sports knowledge to start my own sports blog. Even though I’d include some hockey, basketball and tennis, it seemed baseball was my focus of expertise, given how there were 101 different stats to choose from. I soon realized that I could keep this blog going.

In a short time, I came up with some niche’s, most of all, baseball. Then I began writing my own interpretation of the various trivia from what I learned in my research. Reading World Series was a great inspiration; but I realized it covered up 1993, forcing me to really dig deep to find Fall Classic trivia. My intense read led me to find errors which I then enjoyed correcting as I wrote my comments. Soon I had enough material to cover almost every World Series year. When I reached 2015 without having a 2014 entry of trivia, I’d make sure to come up with one.

About six years ago, I stumbled on an article, Making Money Because of Your Blog – Indirect Methods (https://problogger.com/making-money-because-of-your-blog-indirect-methods/) and while I determined there was no chance of making cash via any of the nine ways suggested in the article, what I read intrigued me. The very first reason listed was “consulting”. Though it didn’t say it directly, I took this to mean that if you wrote enough about any topic, you could be perceived as an expert. And I knew one of my schticks was having a great memory for detailed sports history. Also mentioned was “Book Deals”. I had not decided to go ahead with my first book at this point. Business partnerships were mentioned, too. “One of the benefits of blogging about a niche topic that interests you is that you will begin to connect with others who have similar interests and expertise.” Indeed, some of my posts had certainly caught the attention of one reader to the point where I was asked a question in the comment section of my blog. Then, there were speaking opportunities, a potential venue to demonstrate myself as having great expert knowledge.

At times when I became frustrated with my writing, my parents were concerned that I was in over my head. But I was not discouraged for long and was determined to go ahead with it. One of my own fears was spending nearly a quarter of a decade of eating and breathing sports stats and history and then not knowing quite how I would use all the material. The blog was one way to use it and get feedback. The book, though, that was something new altogether. I imagined feeling great self-satisfaction if it was well-received. Having a book published, a piece of my own creation, would give me such a sense of pride. My dream was that all my research would finally come together and be appreciated; what a great feeling.

In the summer of 2019, when Lacey Bakker at Pandamonium Publishing told me she’d shown my manuscript to various baseball people who were impressed, I felt like I finally was recognized as an author with genuine baseball expertise. My book became a reality, a very exciting moment in my life. Moreover, to create my own page on Facebook, and add a book slideshow to YouTube, have helped me to achieve recognition, not just as a bona fide baseball junkie, but also as an author with expert background research.

I consider myself a lifelong baseball devotee with a unique take on the sport I love. Anyone who reads my commentaries will appreciate that they are, without a doubt, based on my dedicated analysis of details and honed skill. Recently, someone wrote on my Facebook (Author) page: “No doubt among one of the best sportswriters out there! Scott makes you feel like you are actually there; very vivid, the stories flow. Great reading from cover to cover!”

Follow Scott on social media: @sportsscott (Twitter),  @hardballfacts (Twitter), @scotty7676 (Instagram) http://scottsportsworld.blogspot.com/ and purchase his book here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/114-world-series-in-1-book/

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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

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