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What’s Your Reason?

August 24, 2020-What made you want to be an author? Have you ever been asked this question? I get asked at least once a week, if not more. This is what I say, and I mean every word; I’ve been writing for a long time. I started writing stories when I was around eight years old, but I didn’t always want to be an author. I wanted to be the person who stitched up NHL players’ faces. The first letter I wrote was a piece of fan mail to my hockey idol, Cam Neely. It’s funny that I did that as a little girl because now, the books that I’ve written are at Neely House (a support home and facility for cancer patients) in Boston. I remember going there to donate my books and bursting into tears because it was such a dream come true to make that connection. 

I’ve always been a writer, whether it be short stories, non-fiction diary entries, or poetry; I was continually writing. Then as I got older, I was published in a magazine called Women’s World for the first time. From there, I’ve been published internationally about 15 times, and in 2015, I opened my own publishing company and have never looked back. 

What made me want to be an author was my sheer love of books. As a child, I would read everything I could get my hands on, backs of cereal boxes, hand me down Baby Sitter’s Club books from my cousins, and magazines that were passed on from a neighbour.  As an adult, I read approximately 60 books per year on every subject. Also, I read up to fifteen hundred manuscripts over 12 months that are submitted to me for potential publication. At the age of 33, I finally decided that I wanted to be an author full-time because I love storytelling, creating characters, and inventing worlds. The characters become part of me, and they feel like home. Writing gave me a place to escape to, and it still does. I suppose I wanted to be a writer to inspire others to share their stories and hopefully ignite a love of literacy in everyone I meet.  I hope I accomplish that because that’s my most important mission and the reason why I was put here.

That’s why I strive to publish books that people love to read. Literacy matters, and literacy is directly linked to a better future for all of us. What’s your reason for wanting to be an author?

 

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Daring to Read

July 27, 2020- In some parts of the world, half of the women lack basic reading and writing skills. The reasons vary, but in many cases, literacy isn’t valued by fathers, husbands, even mothers. Photographer and TED Fellow Laura Boushnak traveled to countries including Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia to highlight brave women — schoolgirls, political activists, 60-year-old moms — who are fighting the statistics.

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International Book Club

June 22, 2020-Today is an exciting day; I’m pleased to announce that Pandamonium Publishing House will be starting an International Virtual Book Club! We’ll be reading books by authors from six of seven continents (If anyone knows of an Antarctic author, please email me, and we’ll add it to the list), starting with South America. We hope to help expand our reading diversity, and we hope to read titles that you have yet to explore.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We announce the book on the last Monday of each month. This month’s read is The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.
  2. Each Friday, we do a virtual check-in on Facebook Live to talk about the book so far and what our observations and thoughts are, and we take comments and questions from readers. You can send us your comments/questions via email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com or by joining our Facebook Live event.
  3. All you have to do is download or purchase your copy of the book from your favourite bookstore or app to participate and follow us on social media!
  4. Each book has an allotted completion date of approximately one month.
  5. Stay updated by subscribing to our blog, podcast, and newsletter at pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Send us an email, and we’ll add you to our list!

That’s it! Easy peasy! I’m excited to converse with you about our upcoming book choices, talk about the messages within the books, and chat about the authors and where they’re from. I hope you’ll join me! X LLB

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Teach Me to Read

May 25, 2020-Literacy matters. The sooner we teach our children to read, the better! People who have low literacy skills have problems finding and keeping employment, they’re afraid to get medical help because they’re unable to prescription orders or read discharge papers. And what’s worse? Their illiteracy has a long-term effect on children because their kids will never hear a bedtime story or get homework help because the parent can’t read. Illiteracy has the potential to become intergenerational and here’s what we can do to help our kids learn to read:

  1. Pre-reading. Awareness of print, tracing the letters with fingers and saying the letters of book text aloud. Rhyming is important as well as sounds such as CH, CK, AH, BL, ST etc.
  2. Learning letters. Repetition matters! Don’t be afraid of the alphabet being spoken out of order, that can come later. Lots of visual exercises should be incorporated such as flashcards and labelling things around the house such as Door, Sink, Toothbrush etc.
  3. Sound it out. Visual cues are important in this step as you should point to the word and blend the sounds. For example, if there is a picture of a cat, sound it out and blend the letters together. Start with C-A-T, CA, T, CAT.
  4. Sight words. These are short words that should be used frequently! Flashcards and games help with memorization and visualization.
  5. Word families. Start with 3 letter words with short vowels. E.g. if they can read Hat, they can read Cat, Sat, Bat, Fat, and Pat.

Ignite the love of literacy in your children by reading to them as much as possible!

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DJ the Terrible!

May 18, 2020– If you haven’t read DJ the Terrible by Samantha Nemeth, illustrated by Nikki Ernst, you don’t know what you’re missing! Meet the Terrible girl with the Terrible name and her Terrible Cat! DJ 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 its 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! The perfect book for the middle-grade reader in your life!

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 1:

Djeaneautha closed her diary with a thump and let her chair scrape the floor as she pushed herself away from her desk. She bounded over to the mirror and judged her reflection. “If we’re going to gather Intel on the locals, we’ll have to integrate and blend in with them, Godfrey!” She said as she examined herself.  

Now, blending in is not something that came naturally to Djeaneautha, and there are a couple things you should know about her. Number one:  Everyone that she met said, “Djeaneautha? What a Terrible name and a Terrible girl.”  “I’m not Terrible, I’m just unique,” Djeaneautha would say, but no one ever heard.  Djeaneautha didn’t think her name was Terrible at all. It was created from herGrandmother’s names, Jeanneau and Dorothea. She was proud of her name and ignored all the teasing from the other children. They would scream and taunt her, “D-d-jeaneautha, D-d-jeaneautha, she’s Terrible it’s the Truth-ah!”  “It’s JEN-OOTH-AH! The D is silent!” Djeaneautha would correct them. But no one ever heard.  Number two: In most ways, Djeaneautha was like all the other girls her age. She liked going on adventures, art class, ballet and of course playing with dolls. But in some ways she was quite different; her feet were too big, her legs too short, her arms too long, her two eyebrows had grown into one…and her hair?  While the other girls had soft, smooth hair that their mothers could braid or pull into flowing ponytails, Djeaneautha had frizzy lion hair with a mind of its own. If Djeaneautha wanted it straight, it went curly, if she wanted it curly, it went flat. With every attempt at a ponytail, more and more hair would slip out of the tie and tickle her face. Every morning her mother would say, “What shall we do with the Terrible hair?” But no matter what they tried, every day, her Terrible hair sat smugly like a dust bunny on her head.
 
Djeaneautha, with her dust bunny hair and awkward limbs, spent most of her time with Godfrey, her best friend. The cat was rather round, his belly almost scraped the floor, and his grey fluffy fur grew in a tuft that decorated his head like a majestic crown. He had a sassy smirk, the mind of a genius, and was always ready for adventure. Djeaneautha’s favourite thing about him was that he refused to meow like all the other cats and would simply chirp like a bird. Godfrey also shared the love of Djeaneautha’s favourite snack: cheese.  Many days Djeaneautha would open up her bag at lunch to find that Godfrey had snuck into her backpack and hitched a ride to school. Much to her dismay, she’d also find that he had eaten all of her cheese!

and check out my interview with Samantha on our Pandamonium Publishing House channel on Podbean (available for download on Google Play and iTunes) https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-xixvs-ba6201
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Guest Blogger, Annie Kittiphanh

May 15, 2020– It’s my pleasure to introduce our guest blogger, Annie Kittiphanh. She is the author of Dealer, a new thriller coming out on July 1st from Pandamonium Publishing House! Let’s hear a bit about Annie in her own words:

My name is Anne-Marie Kittiphanh, I’m 34 years old; I went through a lot of familial adversity & nearly lost my life from a hereditary disease, I had a huge comprehension issue growing up – I had a difficult time expressing myself verbally & literally, I wasn’t even able to write a correct “E” in my name it was the lower case, upside down & backwards(if being illiterate was an understatement & being only 3 years old).

As a toddler I was pulled out of normal lessons of classes to learn how to understand certain words in the English language when I was first taken for special lessons; in my mind, I thought I was in trouble for something I did, later on, I began to understand what I was doing & just went with it – I went from hating school to overly immensely enjoying my literary lessons.

As a preteen I wanted to do something in the medical field, helping people who were not well; giving back kind of thing, like being one of the front line people – someone who gets called to help in unpredictable situations, whether I get praised or not I know that I was doing something for someone.

As a teenager I had high hopes of becoming something or someone in the world, it wasn’t until I got faced with 2 different challenges of a lifetime one involving an older brother who was in a car accident & Lupus S.L.E. that nearly took my life straight from under me; I wasn’t exactly able to write anything down throughout my life, because of fear of what my family would think of me – as my brother’s ordeal got better, my condition slowly became worse.

By the time I was 16 my older brother was better & I ended up fighting for my life, the one thing that helped me get through my darkest year; is the music of my favourite boyband(The Backstreet Boys “BSB”), when I was finally able to get better at 17 I was able to meet the youngest member of the band which helped give me a full recovery; by this point, I was only able to do some writing, mostly diary entries one every day to help with my thoughts – which helped a little bit while dealing with bullying & peer pressure.

The year I turned 20, I did research on what I had Lupus S.L.E & my favourite boyband(BSB); I found out that there was something in common, an older sibling of one of the members had passed from Lupus Cancer – I was able to meet that band member through their foundation(DLF) when I met that band member he gave the biggest sound advice of my life.

When I explained to the band member what I had, he said “You’re strong, you can help others with your story”; after that everything else became history, I began to research fan fiction. I have done lots of visuals, several novels(some lost or deleted); from aspiring Nurse to Author.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming this remarkable writing to our House! We can’t wait for you to meet her.

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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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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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Our Guest Blogger, Jake Evanoff

January 24, 2020- Today, I have the pleasure of introducing fellow author, Jake Evanoff, creator of the children’s storybooks Jacob’s Ladder and Oswald’s Surprise. Check out what he has to say, below. Be sure to click on the links to purchase your copies!

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/jacobs-ladder-by-jake-evanoff/

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/oswalds-surprise-by-jake-evanoff/

Hey there! My name is Jake Evanoff and I’m really excited to be able to share my story with you, but first I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Lacey Bakker and Pandamonium Publishing House for making this possible.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and I’ve had a love for storytelling ever since I was a child. I shot my first film on my parent’s camcorder when I was 7 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. All throughout high school, my friends and I filmed and posted comedic shorts to YouTube, which eventually brought me to Humber College where I took Film and Media Production. After deciding that I still didn’t quite know what I wanted to write, I went back for one more year to attend their Television Writing and Producing program. It was in this program that I discovered my passion for writing children’s content. I started out by writing spec scripts for my favourite kids’ shows and from there moved onto some original concepts.

After school, I knew that I wanted to be writing children’s content and I also wanted to get it out into the world in a way that would give me full control of the entire process. That was when I decided to start self-publishing my work. The first book I wrote was ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – It’s about two best friends, Jacob and Halley. They meet up in Jacob’s treehouse every day after school to start their next adventure, but one day Halley doesn’t show up! We follow Jacob on his mission to find out just how far he’ll go to find her. The entire process from jotting down my first idea to physically holding a copy in my hands was about 7 months in total. I couldn’t believe how much I had learned in that time! From editing to working with an illustrator, to marketing not only my books but myself as an author
Writing Jacob’s Ladder was such a fun and exciting experience because it was something new to me. I was used to writing scripts for films and tv shows, where you had all of this time to lay down exposition and explore the world you’ve created at any pace you see fit. Whereas with kid’s books, you’ve got this extra challenge because you’re typically working with 24 pages of content and that’s it. Now, I’ve always written in a non-linear fashion, so what I’ll do first is jot all of my ideas down onto cue cards. It could be anything from a single word or phrase, to a specific interaction between characters or even just what I want the underlying message to convey. From there, I start to move them around like puzzle pieces until I find my story. I remember when I was doing this for Jacob’s Ladder, I wanted to be sure that every single page had value. So I wrote out all of my cue cards and if one could be removed without being a hindrance to the progression of the story, it would be scrapped. I’m incredibly happy with the way the book turned out, and if you want to check it out for yourself it’s available on the Pandamonium Publishing shop along with so many other wonderful books! I also just released my second book ‘Oswald’s Surprise’ and it’s about a golden retriever that wants nothing more than a family that will love him with all of their hearts. He finds just that when a young couple adopts him from the shelter, but over time he worries that his parents might be getting ready to bring home a new puppy and Oswald isn’t sure if he’s quite ready for a new sibling. It’s a story that I hold dear to my heart because it’s actually true!

If there’s one thing I can leave you with it’s that if you’ve got a story inside of you, I would strongly encourage you to share it in any way you can. Whether that’s with a book, or music, even an interpretive dance! Let’s all take a moment to put down the screens and pick up the pens because there’s a whole world out there waiting to hear your story.
-JE

 

 

 

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November Giveaway…

October 30, 2019– I’m so excited to share this with you! During the month of November, we will be matching purchases and donating them to schools to promote literacy. What does this mean? It means that any time you purchase one of our books on our site, in person, at an event, or at the book store, we will send a copy of that book to a school that we’ve chosen. We believe that literacy matters and that knowledge is freedom! If you would like to have your school considered for this amazing event, please send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com. We will be choosing four schools to send our books to this month. You can see the titles we offer by clicking on the link:

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/?orderby=popularity

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