I know that this is a bit behind schedule, but I thought that I’d post some upcoming events anyways!
Monday, February 12– Author Visit- I’m excited to present Deer Diary and Panda the Very Bad Cat to the JK to Grade 2 children at two schools in St. Catharines.
Thursday, February 15-Author Visit- I’ll be presenting Deer Diary and Panda the Very Bad Cat in the morning to some students, and then I’ll be attending a literacy event in the evening at another school. I know it’ll be an excellent event and I can’t wait to meet some eager readers.
Saturday, February 17-It’s a Family Affair Event-This event takes place in Burlington at 10 am until 4 pm, and I’ll be there signing copies of all of my books! Stop by and say hi if you’re in the area, I’d love to visit with you.
Friday, February 23-Author Visit-I’ll be presenting a publishing workshop to some students in senior grades seven and eight, and we’ll also be talking about character development and the mechanics of book creation!
Sunday, February 25– Meet the Author event at Nest- I’ll be signing copies of my books at Nest from 1-4 on Sunday, February 25th and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be invited! Robyn Allan is the owner of this fabulous store that supports artists from Hamilton and the surrounding area. Nest is located at 171 Locke St. South in Hamilton. Check out their site at nesthamilton.com.
Wednesday, February 28– Join me at the Terry Berry branch of the Hamilton Public Library as I present a publishing workshop to the Hamilton Mountain Writer’s Circle members from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm. A very special thank you to Professor Barry Gotlieb for the invitation!
March looks like it shaping up to be just as exciting! Stay tuned for upcoming events.
January 2, 2018- I’m happy to say that my brand new thriller, Obsessed with Her will be hitting store shelves on Saturday, January 20th from 1-4 pm at my official book signing. The event will take place at Indigo Stone Church in Hamilton where I will be signing copies of my newest thriller. To mark the occasion, I’ve decided to run a fun little contest called The 20 Days of Giveaways! Each day from January 1st to 20th, I’ll be giving away a gift card that coincides with what is happening in each chapter. So far, an Air Canada gift card has been awarded on day 1 and we are well into day 2 with the prize being a Starbucks gift card! Follow me on Facebook to find out how to win! I hope to see you at my book launch and Happy New Year to all of my readers, family, and friends.
December 12, 2017- The Old Farmer’s Treasure is a middle-grade novel that will be coming out sometime in 2018-beginning of 2019. Here’s a tiny excerpt from the book:
“What do you mean there’s something in the box?”
“I mean he’s keeping a secret, I know what I saw.”
“If you’re right, our entire lives are about to be changed…forever.”
I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on this book-it’s a page-turner that’s for sure!
December 8, 2017- Hi Friends, I’m really excited to share a little piece of a book that our very own Shamayal Hayat is working on as we speak! It will be released in the spring of 2018, and the title of this children’s book is Phillip Star. Phillip Star is larger than life and I can’t wait for you to meet him! Stay tuned for more updates and new releases from Pandamonium Publishing House. We have some really exciting things in our lineup for the next 2 years not only for kids but for adults too. Remember to follow us on Facebook!
December 1, 2017- Did you know that a new word is added to the dictionary every TWO HOURS! How crazy is that? Between now and your lunch break, a new word will be put into the dictionary. In one year, FOUR THOUSAND new words are added!
Here are a few words that were added in 2017:
“Seussian”- This is by far my favourite word that was added this year. It means of, or relating to the works of Dr. Seuss.
“Face-palm”- I think that this one is pretty self-explanatory.
“Prosopagnosia”- An inability to recognize faces.
I think it’s interesting that a lot of slang is entering the dictionary based on how much we use it every day! Sound off with your thoughts below and remember to comment on what word you think should be in the dictionary, but isn’t yet!
December 1, 2017- I absolutely love coming across new writing prompts. Not only does it help writers sharpen their skills, but it also allows us to write about things that we may not normally write about. There are different types of writing prompts and here are a few examples below. Try a couple of these per day!
November 28, 2017- I’m very happy to announce that school visits are in full swing for this year and into 2018. It has been an absolute pleasure to visit students in various schools to read them my book Deer Diary. I’m always inspired by what they have to say, and they often give me new and exciting ideas for upcoming books; This is precisely what happened during a school visit in Hamilton on Friday! The students wanted to know if next time, I could write a book about different woodland animals, as I had left out some of their favourites! When I asked them what animals they would like to see in the future, the answer was unanimous: They picked a wolf, a fox, and an owl! That being said, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve decided to write a sequel to Deer Diary with a whole new cast of characters that will include the animals that the students suggested. Of course, this means that I will dedicate Deer Diary 2 to the students of that school! Look for Deer Diary 2 in the summer of 2019:)
November 25, 2017- Here’s a quick and dirty guide to creating characters. This is just a taste but feel free to contact me for more information about the classes I teach!
- Without characters what is the point- Characters are the heart of your novel
- What a character wants- It’s critical for the reader to know what your character wants from the start.
- No one has to like me- The reader doesn’t have to like your character let’s get that straight but they MUST be able to give the reader a reason to follow him. To continue to read his story.
- But they must care about what happens to him, they might want to see him dead but wishing him dead invokes strong feelings.
- Tension creates awesome characters, it shows your reader what they’re made of. Put them into tense situations and see how they fare.
- Choose your name wisely! Stay away from things like Skye and Storm…publishers are sick of seeing these names over and over.
Here is a basic character creating checklist:
- Name, sex, right or left handed, age, height, build, eye colour, hair colour, distinguishing marks eg. Tattoos, scars, birthmarks etc.
- Parents, siblings, marital status, significant others, children, other relevant relatives, pets, friends, enemies, other relationships eg. The person they buy lottery tickets from every single day etc. religion if applicable, beliefs and superstitions.
- Occupation, status, wealthy or not, living space, mode of transport, workspace, are they a neat freak or are they messy
- Fears, secrets, eating habits or food preferences, sleeping habits, hobbies, pet peeves, how they relax, attitudes, stressors, obsessions, addictions, ambitions, how are they seen by others and how are they seen by themselves
The bottom line is the more that you know about your characters the better. Of course, you don’t have to include everything on the checklist in your book but the point is to know your character so well that it comes through in your writing. Let a little of your character seep out at a time and be sure to show and not tell.
- Make your character memorable but believable
- What are the characters flaws? Arrogance, lust, greed, self-destruction, martyrdom, self-deprecation, martyrdom, stubbornness etc.
- Don’t forget about facial expressions, body language, and emotions
- Make sure you know your secondary/supporting characters, as well as you, know your protagonist
- Remember that the secondary characters don’t know that they are secondary characters
- Don’t let your characters have what they want
- Ask yourself how you can make your character’s situation worse
- Build flaws and conflict into the setting
- Create conflict between characters (not only the protagonist and the antagonist but also between the characters who are friends and allies)
- Increase the consequences of failure for the hero
- Remember to blur the lines! The hero doesn’t know who to trust or the hero has clashes with the law, the hero hurts those closest to him, society turns on the hero.
- Do terrible things to your character. Make them suffer a horrible loss or maim them if necessary.
- Creating characters is the most important thing you do. If you get it wrong your story will be wrong no matter how well plotted.
- These are the characters that you need to STOP writing! The hunky, brooding, and mysterious guy: mystery does not mean substance. The Mary Sue: the perfect main character who always gets everything right but doesn’t see it, everyone loves her and she can do no wrong. The popular girl: she’s mean and hates the protagonist for no reason. The nerdy sidekick: make sure their existence means something or kill them.
- Make sure your character is always acting in character. Don’t make them do something that they wouldn’t normally do. Eg. Your character never combs his hair because he’s bald. Make sure you don’t put him in a bathroom with a comb, brushing his hair.
- Give every character a reason to be in the story, if there is no reason for them to be in the story then kill them off.
Hope you enjoyed a tiny piece of character creation! Now get writing:)
November 16, 2017- I’m really excited to share this with you guys! Here is a special, never seen before, sneak peek of an up and coming character, illustrated by our very own, Shamayal Hayat. This children’s book will be launching in March 2018 so stay tuned for details! Until then, I’m not giving anything away…nope, not even the title!