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How Far…

July 3, 2019- This is a really cool graph about travel that will serve our historical fiction writers well! If there are any vessels that you are unsure about, Google them to find out more information and the time periods in which they were used. Remember, just because you’re writing fiction, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be credible in your research. Happy writing! X LLB

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TED Talk…Great Introduction Carolyn Mohr

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!

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Your Next Novel Could Already Be On Your Bookshelf…

February 13, 2019– First, let me say a very happy birthday to my momma. I love you and thanks for supporting me in everything. You are the best, and I’m so glad you’re my mom.

You read the title of this post correctly in that your next novel or storybook could very well be sitting on your bookshelf right now! I’m not talking about plagiarizing or copying other artists work, I’m talking about inspiration. As authors, we own a ton of different books that range from fiction to non-fiction, to romance, thrillers, biographies, magazines, historical fiction, and everything in between because we read as much as we write.

A few months back when I decided it was time to pitch a children’s story to some agents in New York, I knew I needed some fresh material. I also knew that I made a promise to myself that in 2019 I would use what I have. Now, normally, I would have gone to the bookstore and bought a bunch of books for inspiration, but this time, I went to my well-stocked library and pulled a book off the shelf. I was determined to take an idea and make it into a story, and that’s precisely what I did. I can’t give you any more details on this until it’s the right time, but I’ll update this post with news from what transpired with the agents:)

So, how can you use what you have on your shelf to write a great story that’s your own? Here’s how:

  1. Start with non-fiction. You’ve heard the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction and if you’ve ever thumbed through a newspaper you’ll know that it’s true! Use headlines from your daily delivery that catch your attention. Here are few that I’ve put in my back pocket for later use: Woman searched for 24 years for the daughter she was forced to give up, Kitty hitches 40 km ride to Grimsby in a garbage truck, and Spiders Alive-The eight-legged exhibition. Also, think about using some headlines from around the world, a quick Google search will help you find inspiration.
  2. Page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3– This is a fun way to start a story! Quick, go to your bookshelf and choose a book. Turn to page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3. Here’s what I found from the book that I chose by following the above directions: Toe wrestling began in the town of Wetton in 1970. How awesome is that for a starter? You can do this with any book and with any numbers you choose.
  3. Turn to professional publications– I subscribe to a bunch of publications that are relevant to writing and publishing and one of my favourites is Writer’s Digest. It’s always packed full of information and good advice and sometimes even an idea or two. Pick up your trusted magazines either digitally or the ones that are covering the sofa and flip through them for ideas. Here’s one that I picked up from the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest: Investigative reporting often involves tracking down reluctant sources… Are you thinking what I’m thinking? What about a story about a reporter who goes to get answers from a source and they end up running for their life? What if they’ve uncovered a secret that’s too big to keep hidden? What if the reporter finds out that the reluctant source is their spouse? And the list of ideas go on and on.

There you have it; inspiration for your next book is almost certainly lurking in the corners of your bookshelf! It’s up to you to find it:) Happy Writing! X LLB

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What’s in a Name?

January 11, 2019– Man, there are some pretty cool names out there. I remember the first time that I thought, “Whoa, that’s a cool name that totally suits his profession!” The gentleman I’m talking about is a real person named Harvey Karver. Want to know his real-life profession? Butcher. No joke. How perfect is that?

Naming your characters properly is as essential as picking an excellent title for your book, and really, they do the same thing; they let your reader know subtle information about the book or the person, both if you’re a pro. So, what do I mean when I say you’d better pick a great name? Here are three simple tips!

  1. Get your era right. You’re not going to find a Chase, or a Stormi, or a Madison in a period piece or historical fiction novel. Know the names that were popular in the era that you’re writing about or risk your credibility as an author and your entire career for that matter.
  2. Don’t do trends. See the names above? Chase, Stormi, Rayne, and Colt are names that sound like they’re ripped from the Kardashian’s Baby Naming Handbook. These names are unique enough but tend to be overdone in romantic fiction especially. Plus, anytime that you use a trendy name, you take a chance of aging your book too soon.
  3. Say them out loud. Does your character’s name sound right? Does it sound like it belongs in the genre you’re writing? Does it have a nice ring to it? Does it work with your character’s profession and personality? If not, choose something different. There are thousands of names out there and if you’re not stuck on yours, keep trying until you find something that you love and that you believe. Because if you don’t believe it or like it, chances are that your reader won’t either! There is name-generating software available on the web. Do a quick Google search for fictional character names or name generator.

Oh, and one more important piece of advice; if there’s any possibility that you’ve named your fictional character after someone in real life, be sure to put in a disclaimer at the beginning of your book in order to keep from getting sued…especially if that person is still living!

Happy writing! X LLB

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Surprise; You’ll Want In On This!

November 21, 2018– This was a really fun idea for us to come up with and I’m so excited to share it with you guys! Pandamonium Publishing House is offering you a chance to read what we’re reading each month with a surprise book, mailed right to your home. Currently, this option is for adults only, but I’m sure we’ll have something for kids in the works, soon!

We read a ton of books around here, last year the total was sixty! We read everything from non-fiction, self-help, business development, mystery, romance, thrillers, all types of fiction, and basically anything that we can get our hands on.

Our surprise book is shipped out every month on the 5th. Your book comes gift wrapped for an extra element of fun! Here’s how the program works:

  1. Go to SHOP at the top of this page
  2. Click on the MYSTERY BOOK OF THE MONTH option
  3. Enter your payment and shipping info
  4. Wait for your surprise book to come in the mail

That’s it! Pretty simple and there are no subscriptions required if you want to join one month but not the next, no problem, the choice is yours!

As an added bonus, there will be a list of questions emailed to you for discussion with us or your book club. We’ll review each book on our site as well. This makes a fabulous and unique gift for the hard to buy for person in your life…we all have one;)

Here’s to making reading exciting,

X LLB

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E-Books Vs. Print (Are Print Books a Dying Breed?)…

November 5, 2018- It really depends on the generation that you grew up in as to how you answer the question above! I personally think that e-books have their place in the world, but nothing beats a paperback.

I love e-books for specific things, especially non-fiction because quite rarely do I ever read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. I end up skimming the pages for the information I need, highlighting it, and then leaving with the info that I came for. It’s easy and free when you subscribe to something like Kindle unlimited.

That being said, nothing beats the smell of a paper book. The feeling of turning the pages, the sound of the pages turning, folding down the corner of the page to mark where you left off (I know, I’m a monster!), and the kinesthetic involvement of the entire experience is the absolute best. E-books don’t hold a candle to traditional paper in my opinion.

Now, I know what some of you are going to say, “But I love my Kindle for the portability of the books when I go on vacation!” Yes, I do too, but if I could bring along seven or eight of my favourite paperbacks without taking up too much room in my suitcase, I would.

Let’s look at some reasons why paperbacks are making a come back.

  1. Physical books make a better gift. When was the last time that you gifted someone an e-book? That’s what I thought, probably never. There’s something about the process of wading through a bookstore to find the perfect book for someone you love. They open the gift bag or tear off the wrapping paper and immediately flip the book over to read the back cover, then they thumb through the pages and tell you that they can’t wait to snuggle up and read it tonight!
  2. Physical books are easier to share. Yes, you can share e-books and lots of people do, but paperbacks are easily shared from reader to reader. Do you know how many times I’ve lent friends books never to see them again…the books not the friends. Yep, it’s true, paperbacks make their way into the hands of many people. My suggestion is that if you love a particular title, buy two of them because the one you lend will never return.
  3. Reading a print book sets a good example for your kids. We want kids to read, we want them to experience the magic of books, and we want them to use their imagination. What better way to get kids to read than to be caught reading, ourselves? Monkey see monkey do.
  4. Paper books are easy to scribble on. I know that some people are gasping in horror while reading this sentence. Yes, I mark important passages in books and I even scribble down thoughts in the margins. As an author, there are a lot of ideas that pop into my head while reading and sometimes a certain passage will speak to me. I highlight the words, underline sentences, and box off really important points.

So, which camp are you in? E-books or paperback? Sound off in the comments below!

X LLB

 

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The Importance of Research…

August 22, 2018- Research when writing (even/and especially fiction) is very important. As fiction writers, we’ve all been given the advice to write what we know. Well, we can’t possibly know everything there is to know about any given situation, so that’s why we research!

People often assume that  because you’re writing fiction, you can make everything up! This, of course, isn’t true. Research comes in handy when we are writing about things we don’t know about and about things we’ve never experienced. For example, if your main character is a brain surgeon, and you’re not, I suggest that you do sufficient research before you embark on your novel. There are so many questions that you need to ask yourself and that’s why it’s imperative to make a list of what you need to know.

Let’s assume that your main character is a mechanic for example. Here’s a sample of questions that you need to research:

  1. Where does my character work?
  2. What does he look like?
  3. What does he wear to work?
  4. What does his work entail?
  5. What is the vocabulary he would use?
  6. What tools does he use on a regular basis?
  7. What does a mechanic’s shop look like from the inside?

You’d be amazed about the places I’ve been able to visit while researching my book! I’ve been taken on private tours of locations, colleges, hospitals, emergency rooms, jails, schools, countries, and countless other places! I’m so fortunate that people are willing to help with the research and I thank them by acknowledging them in my books.

You get the picture. Research, research, research ESPECIALLY if you are writing about locations!

I do caution my crime/thriller authors to write about cities that they HAVE visited before. It’s hard to write about a location accurately if you’ve never been there. Let’s say that they’re writing a thriller that’s based in New York; if they’ve never been to NYC it will be hard to mention landmarks and to get the locale just right, not to mention they’ll miss the essence which is huge. Anyone who lives in New York that reads the book, will be ticked off by the inaccuracies and may stop reading as soon as the author’s credibility is shot.

If you do choose to write about a place you’ve never visited before, you need to research the hell out of it. What do the streets look like? Where do they intersect? What is the population like? How is it segmented? What is the weather like? Are there major landmarks that you need to be aware of? Does the entire town shut down at ten in the evening or is there amazing nightlife, is it the city that never sleeps? And the list goes on and on. This is why it’s much EASIER to write about places you’ve been.

Writing fiction is fun, but it is a lot of work! Don’t lose your credibility because you didn’t do your research; this is the fastest way to lose readers forever.

X LLB

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What Do You Have To Say? Why Morals Matter

August 15, 2018– We’ve all been in awkward situations when we meet someone or where we’re at an event and the person who corners us, has nothing to say. What do we talk about? Where can I escape to? Where the heck is my husband to rescue me? Usually, talking to people is easy for me because I like to keep informed about a little bit of everything that’s going on in the world, however, there are times where I find myself with nothing to say because the conversation has run its course or perhaps the other person and I have nothing in common.

Guess what? The same holds true for everyone who reads your novels. It happens. There are novels out there with nothing to say, and fiction readers have high expectations of being engaged on a deeper level when they pick up a book.

Here are some interesting facts that you should know before you write your first or next novel.

  1. All stories have underlying morals. If they didn’t then no one would bother to read them. Morals are the glue that holds us together. For example, in my novel, Obsessed with Her, there are a TON of morals. Some of the questions that the reader must ask themselves while reading my book are pretty dark. What would they do if their child was missing? How far would they go to find out what happened to her? Would they do the same thing if they were in the main character’s shoes? Every novel must possess some kind of moral fork in the road; if it doesn’t, your reader will be disappointed, snap your book closed, and hurl it across the room.
  2. Readers seek out stories that are on par with their own beliefs. For example, romance readers are largely female, mystery/thriller readers are somewhat conservative with a longing for justice, and techno-thriller readers are most often military personnel. Every reader believes in something, and it’s our job as writers to make them question their beliefs…which leads me to my next point; the number of fiction readers who deliberately seek to have their morals changed are slim to none. This does not mean that they don’t want to be stretched or see the world in a different light, they do! They just don’t want their own beliefs and morals converted.
  3. Readers are not looking for what is comfortable, familiar, or politically pleasing. Fiction is most interesting and unputdownable when points of view and beliefs are different, engrossing, compelling, and detailed. Take your reader to the edge of what they believe, and you’ll make a long-term connection. Plus, they’ll love your book, hopefully, and become a life-long reader of your work.

The moral of this post? Have a moral in your story. Make it interesting. Push the limits.

Happy writing, X LLB

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Submissions are Closed!

June 17, 2018- Thank you so much to everyone who submitted their manuscript for consideration! I am overwhelmed and so grateful for each of the 172 submissions that I received this month, and I sincerely thank you for your interest in becoming an author at Pandamonium Publishing House. Submissions are currently closed, but I can say that I’ll be accepting manuscripts again in September 2018. Thank you!

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How To: A quick and dirty guide to get the creative juices flowing!

June 1, 2018- We’ve all been there; we’re on our sixth cup of coffee, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been staring at our blinking cursor on a blank page for almost an hour. The sound of our head thudding off our desk is the only sound except for the voice in our head that screams, “You’re a failure! You’re a no talent hack who can’t write!” And this is on a good day! Ok, maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, we’ve all been stuck at one time or another while trying to write the next New York Times Best Seller. I want to arm you with some tools for your toolbox the next time you get stuck, so I’ll share with you my dirty little secrets for getting inspired!

  1. I change ANYTHING. Seriously. When I’m stuck creatively, I change anything that I possibly can. There were two weeks where I switched sides of the bed with my husband to see if I could get out of my creative writing rut and guess what? It worked! Why? Because any time you change up your perception, creativity happens! It’s true, sometimes the simplest switch in your routine is just the kick in the ass that you need. Also, try switching up your location, go to the mall, go for coffee, sit in nature for a while, do whatever it takes to get inspired.
  2. Read outside of your genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, read anything fiction based. If you are writing a thriller, read a romance, if you’re writing a romance, read a biography. Reading outside of your genre does two things to help your creativity, it expands your imagination, and it lets you take a much needed mental break. I write books that are psych thrillers, and sometimes I need a break from the genre so what do I do? I pick up the total opposite to read during my leisure. My choices have ranged from The Unauthorized Biography of Axl Rose to cozy romances, and everything in between. It works and lets me escape from the murders and dismemberments that I have created.
  3. Use writing prompts. The internet is full of writing prompts and my advice to you, if you’re stuck is to start writing ANYTHING. Scour the headlines for something that you can expand into a storyline, go on Pinterest and type in writing prompts and I can assure you that you’ll come up with something.  Re-write one of your favourite fairytales or movies to have a completely different ending! The important thing is to write and keep writing.

What tips do you have for other aspiring authors? What’s the best advice that you can offer them to get unstuck? Sound off in the comments below!

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