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Do Author School Visits Matter?

August 13, 2018- I do a lot of school visits as an author, and someone once asked me the question, “Do author visits make a difference in kids’ lives?” I took a second to think about that. “Yes, they do. And let me prove it to you.” More on this in a second.

I love, love, love going to schools as a visiting author with the opportunity to read my books to young people! It is such a unique and wonderful experience that no two schools are the same. I leave with a sense of gratitude for the young minds that allow me their attention for even a brief time and for the teachers and librarians that welcome me with open arms, into their schools and their spaces. The questions that the children ask are fun, funny, and sometimes very personal! But, enough about what we as authors get out of school visits, what do the children receive?

According to a recent study that was conducted in 2013, by California State University, children receive the following benefits from author school visits:

  1. Author visits motivate children to read more. Kids passion for reading is ignited before, during, and after an author visit. They get excited about things that they can relate to such as an in-person visit from someone who is real! I often hear them say that they too want to be authors when they grow up.
  2. Author visits inspire creativity and expression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a school where the kids have created a comic book for me, complete with illustrations, or how many times they’ve created a poem or handmade card.
  3. Author visits motivate children to write more. Children often hurry home after an author has visited their school because they’ve suddenly caught the writing bug. They want to write about anything, and everything, plus, author visits can also spark ideas to write about.

It is always beneficial to have an author visit your school! There are so many reasons why you should book a visit for the upcoming school year. Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational and entertaining.

I do in-person school visits, but I also offer live Skype visits and readings with schools that are abroad. Please contact pandapublishing8@gmail.com for more information.

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What is Your Definition?

August 10, 2018- What is your definition of being a successful author? This is the question that I ALWAYS ask the authors that I work with; whether self-published or traditional, it’s important to be able to answer this!

You are the only one who can define success and everyone’s definition and idea of success is different. Here are some answers I’ve received over the years after posing the question:

  • If I sell $1 million dollars worth of books
  • If kids read my book in their school
  • If I have a huge house, and an in-ground pool, and a convertible
  • If people line up to see me at book signings
  • If I become famous around the world
  • If someone tells me I’m their favourite author
  • If my book helps one person
  • If a celebrity reads my book and gives me a shout out on social media
  • If I’m a bestseller on the NY Times list
  • If I get a tv interview
  • If my book gets turned into a movie

So, as you can see, there are a lot of DIFFERENT versions of success and it’s all dependent on how you choose to define it! Write down your version of success and start working towards that goal. There are no wrong answers! Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Here’s to your success, whatever that may be.

X LLB

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Margaret Atwood’s Creative Process

August 6, 2018– As you know Margaret Atwood is the Canadian author of The Handmaid’s Tale. Hugely popular as a television series on Netflix, we thought it would be a fabulous idea to share this Youtube video with you that gets inside of her brain to find out what her creative process is. If you haven’t READ her books yet, do it! What are you waiting for? Here’s some advice from a legend.

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If I Can’t Take My Book…

July 13, 2018- If I can’t take my book I’m not going! I saw this scrawled across a t-shirt while in Starbucks one afternoon and I chuckled to myself because that’s entirely me.

I bring a book with me wherever I go. I’m not kidding; I’m a fan of paperbacks, which works well most of the time for convenience and portability, but every now and then I will bring my Kindle or read on my phone. I know, nothing beats the feel and experience of a real book in hand, but desperate times…

Last year I was able to read 52 books in a year, that’s one a week, and here’s how I did it. I read during the spaces in between as I like to call them. I read on planes, trains, and in automobiles. I read while waiting at the doctor’s office, while waiting for clients, and I even listen to books if I’m commuting somewhere. There are so many choices for voracious readers that I ask you, what do you choose? Are you a die-hard Kindle user? Do you prefer hardcover books? Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you carry a paperback with you wherever you go? Sound off in the comments below and let me know where and how you choose to read!

You can order this If I Can't Take My Book I'm Not Going t-shirt design on several different sizes, colors, and styles of shirts including short sleeve shirts, hoodies, and tank tops.  Each shirt is digitally printed when ordered, and shipped from Northern California.

 

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So, You Want to Kill a Character? Let Me Help;)

June 18, 2018– This complete guide to knife blades is totally awesome and useful when it comes to killing people. Let me be clear because I know the FBI or whatever we have in Canada is reading my posts… and I’m on a list somewhere after writing Obsessed with Her. What I mean is, this is a cool guide for killing off your character in your novel should you choose to do so by way of stabbing. Or cutting up into bits. Or dismembering. Sigh, I love the smell of murder in the morning! This guide will lend to your credibility as a writer and nothing is better or more important than getting your facts straight. Check out the guide below!

Guide to knife blades

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Infographic First Person

June 4, 2018-I LOVE writing in First Person narrative! Why? Because it allows my reader to sit beside the main character and feel everything that he feels and experience everything that she experiences first hand. Check out this handy infographic on ways to start a first-person story! Brought to you by our friends at NowNovel.com

How to start a story in first person: 8 pointers

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Places to Write…

June 1, 2018- Where is your favourite place to write? What place inspires you? Do you enjoy writing outside? In different countries? At home on your dining room table?

As an author, I most definitely have my preferred places to write. I enjoy writing in these spots because they inspire me and I’m able to get fresh ideas and conversations for my books.

  1. Different Countries: I’ve been fortunate enough to write in many places around the world. Some of my favourites include, Jamaica, London, and Tampa Bay. I also really loved writing in Havana and was very lucky to have visited the bar Floridita where Ernest Hemingway frequented. This was SUPER inspiring, not only because one of the greats visited it, but because the atmosphere and the energy it has.
  2. Outside: One of my favourite places to write is on my back deck. I love being outside with my laptop while listening to nature and the sounds of birds bickering back and forth and occasionally the odd neighbour! There’s something to be said about escaping the same four walls every once in a while to reconnect with your characters. Another place I love to write is the beach. The sand, surf, and salty air will be featured in my upcoming beach novel that is set to debut in late 2019.
  3. On Planes: I do a ton of editing while flying, but I also do a ton of writing. I’m a huge believer of writing during the spaces in between and not wasting minutes. What better time to write than during a seven or eight hour international flight? I get super inspired on flights because we all know the many characters that are on board! Sometimes we can find the perfect character inspiration sitting in the seat next to us.
  4. In Bed: “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry”…wait, didn’t Drake say that? I know that experts say that the bedroom should only be reserved for sleep and sex, but there is something magical about writing in bed. The fluffy, white covers, two sleeping cats, a snoring husband, and if I’m really lucky, there will be a thunderstorm! This is by far my most favourite place to write and when I look around at who I’m surrounded by, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet, because I have everything I’ll ever need right there.

Where do you like to write and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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Where Does Inspiration Come From? By Erin Cutler, Illustrator for Pandamonium Publishing House

Inspiration

Hello! My name is Erin, and I am the illustrator of the upcoming book Pants written by Tamara Botting! I am thrilled to be working on this book because the writing is excellently crafted and I am honoured to be working amongst such great talent at Pandamonium Publishing. To share a bit about myself and the way I work, I’d like to talk about inspiration. As an artist, inspiration is important, but not always accessible. As any creative person knows, being inspired is not something forced upon you, it is a process, and it can strike at any time… anywhere. This is why I feel that my best work is based on my interests, and I often find true inspiration in nature. Exploring colours, movement and textures around me naturally weaves its way in and out of my creative process. Along the way, I have learned that creation is about the process and the techniques. Every piece that I work on, I am striving to make it better than my last piece, which is why I work even when I’m not inspired. The more I create, the more I learn and grow as an artist.

Interests never leave you, there will always be something that strikes your curiosity. Therefore, interest is a much more reliable way of working.  I believe that we never stop learning and that the time to make great art is always now. If you love to learn, and aspire to become the best creative person you can then get out there and start creating things! Let passion be the reason you pursue your creativity and trust that inspiration will come naturally along the way.

Thanks,

Erin

 

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The Beach is my Happy Place…

May 3, 2018- I was fortunate enough to spend time at the beach last month. It was pretty cool that I was able to finish writing my novel in the same place that I started it. The entire process felt as though it had come full circle. From the salty waves to the sandy, sunny shores, I can confidently say that the beach is my happy place. I was inspired by the peaceful, lapping waves and the gentle sounds of seagulls talking to each other. The creative process flowed easily and naturally in this type of environment; I can’t wait to return.

Where is your happy place? Where do you go to escape or get revitalized in your writing routine?  Is it the mountains? Or the bubbling brooks that are hidden in valleys? Is it the ocean and the secrets it keeps? Are you inspired by old towns and new places? Let me know in the comments below.

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My Happy Place-the place where creativity grows and good energy flows