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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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James Patterson Said it Best

May 6, 2020– Author James Patterson said it best, “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading and kids who are reading the wrong books.” I agree wholeheartedly and believe that we can encourage our kids to read by doing the following things:

  1. Let them read whatever they’re going to read. Yes, this means comic books, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, and anything else they can get their hands on. Reading is reading is reading, even if it doesn’t always come in the form of a book! Check out our collection of books for kids to see if there’s something that they might like: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/
  2. Monkey see monkey do. Set an example and let your kids find you reading. It’s important to ignite a love of literacy within them by showing them your passion for books and the written word. Read together and find out what type of books your child enjoys most. Take turns reading chapters and talking about the plot, setting, and characters.
  3. Read the book, see the movie/play.  Yes, the book is always better, but the experience of reading the book and then seeing the movie or play opens up dialogue between you and your child; ask them what they liked most, what they liked least, what they would change, and if they thought the right actor was cast to play their favourite character-why or why not?
  4. Keep track and make it fun. Set up a reading challenge chart with stickers, markers, or whatever your creative mind can imagine to make reading fun. When children are challenged to reach a goal, they usually exceed it because it becomes a game! Seeing their progress can be the ticket to getting them excited about reading.

Literacy matters and studies around the world show us links between illiteracy, poverty, crime, substance abuse, and mortality rates. Reading is power, knowledge, and freedom. X LLB

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It’s Time

April 22, 2020– What if I told you that you could totally transform your life by doing one simple thing? Would you believe me? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s true, but there’s a catch…You have to decide which one thing. As writers we are often absent-minded, disorganized dreamers who would lose our head if it wasn’t screwed on; I may be only referring to myself in that last sentence, but I digress. So, what is it that you must do right now to change your entire writing life? Here’s the secret: CHANGE ONE THING.

Yep, that’s it. That’s the magic right there. You know the areas of your writing life that need improving, but for ease of explanation, I’ve included some examples below. Pick ONE thing to change because studies show that making too many changes at once, results in failure. Once you’ve changed one thing and have stuck with it for 21 days, pick another thing to change while still adhering to your new habit.

1. Change your frequency. If you’re writing infrequently it’s time to increase your daily word count. Make a schedule and stick to it. Try to write as many days in a row that you can. It will help you develop discipline and a routine; before you know it, you’ll have finished writing that novel.

2. Change your mindset. Get away from negative thinking. I cannot stress this enough-what you focus on EXPANDS, so concentrate on what you WANT. See yourself as a professional and start showing up as her. If you’re not published yet or have received a bunch of rejection letters, welcome to the club, that just means that with every NO, you’re that much closer to a YES.

3. Change your space. Is your desk or writing area a disaster? Do you lose the same things over and over again, such as pens and pages of your manuscript? Do you spend more time looking for stuff than you do writing? If yes, it’s time to make a change and get organized.

4. Change your timing. Get up earlier or go to bed later if that’s what it takes to change your writing life. Don’t wait for inspiration to write because if you do, I promise you won’t write another word. Writing and being an author is a discipline that needs commitment. We don’t write when we’re inspired, we write and then the inspiration shows up. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Pick your area of weakness and change one thing about it. Old ways won’t open new doors. X LLB

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This is Not a Joke

April 1, 2020– It may be April Fool’s Day, but this post about research is not a joke. I started writing my new thriller titled, My name is Jessica Westlake, around a year and a half ago. It’s in the final stages of completion, and it was a hard book to write because a lot of the content was about things that I’ve never had to deal with personally. A lot of writing advice says, write what you know, and I think that’s the easy way out. To be a good writer, we must spend a ton of time researching different topics, events, and people. Credibility in our writing is essential because as soon as the reader doesn’t believe what you’re saying, you can kiss them goodbye. This is especially true for crime scene buffs, books with a medical or legal slant, and locations if they exist in real life.

So, how do you protect the integrity of your own work when writing fiction? Here are three tips:

1) Talk to the experts. I enlisted the help of the head of homicide at the TPD to help me with my book Obsessed with Her because it had a major crime scene in it, and I needed to be accurate. If I had just thrown together something that I thought was correct or close enough, my seasoned crime readers would have thrown my book across the room and would have never read another thing I’ve written. With my new novel, I joined a grief counselling group online and read the comments, I visited funeral homes and asked about the process from beginning to end, and I spoke with a police department detective in my city.  It’s imperative to be precise when writing so that your readers can take you seriously.

2) Consider the source. The internet is an excellent reference for information, but be careful to consider the source.  Along with facts and figures, there can be a lot of fiction. Be sure to get your information from reliable sources such as Google Maps (which updates frequently), City of (insert your city here), and police department websites.

3) Get to the library. Books are a wonderful resource, especially when it comes to writing historical fiction! Plus, the more you read in other genres, the stronger writer you become.  When looking for books to research your own, be sure to find as many as you can in your specific interest so that your research will be well rounded. For example, if your main character is a reiki healer with a magic touch, and you’ve never had a session in your life, grab a book or five on the subject. Learn as much as you can because your readers will thank you for it!

Research, research, research and remember to acknowledge those who have helped your book along the way with their expertise. X LLB

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You Are Worthy

February 19, 2020– If I told you I liked your face, would you say thank you and then let it go or would you say, I like your face too and deflect my compliment? As authors, we’re pretty humble; after all, art is subjective, isn’t it? Not everyone is going to love us, but a lot of folks do! When people say they think we’re great authors, or they really liked our last book,  or that they look forward to our next novel, why can’t we just say thank you and leave it at that? Why do we have to be self-deprecating? It can be for several reasons. There’s nothing more vulnerable than putting your words out in public for the world to read and to be able to refer back to until the end of time. So how can we overcome this over the top feeling of unworthiness as authors? Here’s how:

  1. No one can tell your story like you can. You have a unique power, and that is no one sees the world the way that you do. Remember that you have an individual perspective, which makes it impossible for anyone to tell your story but you. That’s pretty special, so remember that the next time someone pays you a compliment!
  2.  You inspire others. Trust me. You inspire people who pretend to not even see you. The truth is, a lot of people want to be published authors and seeing you signing your books or on social media with your novel encourages them to perhaps do the same one day! So, every time you downplay yourself or your work, you’re quite possibly cheapening someone else’s dream. Imagine this conversation, “Wow, how exciting! You’re a real-life author!” “Yeah, it’s not that great…we aren’t that interesting.” Talk about making that person possibly question their choices or hopes for the future. Raining on their parade if you will. The way we speak to children, especially, is of utmost importance. Always speak well of yourself, not arrogantly, but kindly.
So, my challenge to you, fellow authors, is to take compliments and believe them. Don’t deflect, don’t change the subject, take the compliment and feel great about who you are and what you do. There’s no one like you.
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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.

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