January 15, 2021-Today we have our very own Paul A. Moscarella joining us with a personalized greeting for our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! This month we are reading his debut novel, Machinia. Join us every Friday morning at 11 am on Facebook Live as we chat about his new science fiction book. http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/machinia
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- People-runners, rollerbladers, walkers, older adults, middle-aged people, workout buffs, personal trainers, kids, and teenagers are great examples of people to write about.
- 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
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
May 20, 2020-An excellent way to develop characters is to use the SPICE method that I’ll explain below. Even though not all of these elements will make it into your character’s story, you need to know everything about them as a writer.
- S-Social status. What is your character’s social status? What is their importance in relation to other people in society? Where do they fit in?
- P-Political/Religious beliefs. What does your character believe in? Where do they stand from a political viewpoint? What matters to them, and why?
- I-Interaction with their environment. How does your character interact with the world around them? How do they function in their space? What does their home look like? Are they organized or disorganized?
- C-Cultural aspects. What kind of clothes do they wear? What do they like to eat? What is their ethnic background? What type of music do they listen to? What is their highest level of education?
- E-Economic status. What is their career? Do they have a job? How much money do they make? What do they spend their money on? What does their lifestyle look like? Are they materialistic? Are they philanthropic? Are they a spendthrift? Are they a saver?
Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a good handle on who your character is. Again, don’t include every single thing about them in your story, just the important parts; let the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks you leave. Happy writing! X LLB
January 10, 2020– Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to our very special guest blogger, Christopher Botting, the illustrator of Unfrogged! Let’s check out what he has to say about his experience as an illustrator with Pandamonium Publishing House.
Hello friends and fans of Pandamonium Publishing! My name is Chris Botting, and I am the illustrator for the ‘Unfrogged’ book; Pandamonium Publishing’s second book offering. One day back in two thousand and too far back to remember right now, my sister (Tamara Botting), had written a story she greatly desired to publish someday. She was asking me to do the artwork for it. I made a half-hearted attempt at some rough ideas, but in the end, I told her that publishing companies would have the final say on the art direction they were looking for and not necessarily something I may come up with. That it would be a waste of time to try anything before a publisher picked up her manuscript. What a big bother brother I quite often turn out to be. Well, time went on and one day I did receive a phone call….from a publisher…wow! (Good for little sis, she stuck with her dream and never gave up). Pandamonium Publishing’s very own Lacey Bakker was interested in seeing a sample of my art portfolio. She was hooked! She absolutely loved the idea of a brother/sister team working on their first published book together. (Bucket list items for both siblings!). There were meetings and deadlines made. The rough copy art sketches were approved and used for the final pieces after colour and corrections were added. Did I ever learn a thing or two about books; They have chapter titles to illustrate. They have front covers to draw. They have a back cover too…what? Whodathunk? Do you know what else they have? A spine that needs artwork! My first book art job, and it was a ton of work! But it was all well worth it! Someday, when I see a well-worn copy on a used book store shelf, I’ll know a second generation is about to enjoy something my sister and I put so much of ourselves in to; I’ll know we’ve ‘made it’. I believe that when you do something or create something, in the brief second that follows the last pen stroke, or saw cut, or screw turn, or musical note, or whatever; that your creation, your project, art piece is instantly a classic. Just in that moment, the passing of time. Because, when you look back at your accomplishment, finished or not, there’s that feeling of ‘I remember doing that’. And ‘it’s out there, other people are going to see it, and remember seeing it, and to them, it instantly becomes a classic. Because they’ll remember it too. Something ‘vintage’ with the passing of more time’. I know people enjoy our work, I can tell by the time they spend absorbing it and taking it in. By how long someone will look deep into a drawing I have done, and make positive comments. I really enjoy doing art and sharing it with other people. I hope it makes them feel good inside, peaceful. Open a sense of awe in them and myself that the world can be a beautiful place. I am so thankful for the experience of working with Pandamonium Publishing and my little bother sister on ‘Unfrogged’. They are creating great friendships and books along the way. Check them out and enjoy some instant classics!
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!
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!
- 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.
- 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
May 17, 2019– Today on Publisher’s Corner, I’ll answer a question that everyone wants to know!
Q: “Lacey, is it hard being an author?”
A: Yes. Done. Thanks and see you next week. Ok, but seriously, yes-it’s extremely difficult to not only become an author but to stay an author. Let me explain the rollercoaster:
- Beginning: You’ll be rejected more times that you can count. You will think you’re a no-talent hack and that’s on the good days. You’ll cry yourself to sleep and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again. You’ll suffer from insomnia and find yourself asking, WHAT THE F*CK at least once a day when your characters refuse to speak to you.
- Middle: You’ll finally get a book deal and be on top of the world! You’ll feel like you’ve made it, but now the work truly begins. You worry about the next book and what if the publisher hates it, what if you’re a one-hit wonder, what if people hate your book? You’ll feel totally vulnerable and second guess every single word you write. The waiting is the worst part as it usually takes 2-5 years for a book to be released to the public. You’ll want to throw in the towel but don’t! You still have to fight with your editor and publisher when they recommend taking out the best part of your story.
- End: Your book comes out and now your work has increased four hundredfold. You have to market the book, (yes, even if you’re traditionally published), sell the book, talk to people about the book, set up your displays, network, make contacts, do book signings, lug your crap from place to place and sweat your ass off while doing it in 5 inch stilettos. You’ll have people tell you to your face that they don’t like your work or even better, that they don’t like you. Some days you’ll go home with your tail between your legs because you didn’t sell a single copy of your book even though you tried with all of your might.
But listen, it’s not all bad. Being an author has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And the icing on the cake? Reading my nephews and niece the books that I WROTE and dedicated to them. You’ll make friends with amazing people and those friendships last for life. You’ll have fabulous opportunities around the world to talk about your books and visit international book fairs in various countries. You’ll be asked to be a guest speaker at major events and you’ll get to read your book to kids in schools all over the city and the country. People will find your books on the shelf at major stores and around the world. Your books make a difference and one day, someone will tell you that YOU are their favourite author. The GOOD outweighs whatever bad there is. The world needs your art so go out there and create something that outlives you. X LLB
April 24, 2019-Hello, friends; I love this short and sweet Ted Talk about the Power of a Great Introduction. Click on the link below to check out the video!
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!