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What Will You Leave Behind?

July 3, 2020– I was listening to Spotify a couple of days ago, and a song came on that’s been around for a while, but I never listened to the lyrics until now. One of the verses said, “…the sharp knife of a short life, well I’ve had just enough time.” This tiny sentence made me think long and hard about things and what I’m doing with my own life as a business owner, entrepreneur, and author.

I think that the point of our lives is to touch the lives of other people and to leave them a little better off than how we found them. It’s to build something that outlives us and to leave a legacy to our families that they can be proud of; that’s why I think that everyone should write a book.

There are so many things to write about, and if you’ve ever thought about writing a book, I urge you to reach out to us! We can help make it a reality send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com for more information. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Memoir-One specific event/aspects of the writer’s life. This could be something that you’ve overcome in your life or something that was very special to you, beating an addiction, a special talent, or long lost love rekindled. Of course, this is very personal, and you can choose any event of your life that meant the most to you. (Acts of Remembrance, by KG Watson and Engelina Aasman Hummel) is a great example of this!) Check it out here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/acts-of-remembrance-by-k-g-watson-and-engelina-aasman-hummel/
  2. Autobiography-The writer’s entire life organized chronologically. From your birth to present day, you’ll cover the events and people that shaped you into who you are today.
  3. Family Recipes-Do you remember making peach pie in your grandmother’s kitchen? What about recipes that have been passed down in your family for generations? What dish are you always asked to bring to celebrations? (Fun fact Grandma’s Table by Michelle Pontefract, illustrated by Erin Cutler combines family recipes and a children’s book! Check it out here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/grandmas-table/
  4. Family History/Family Tree-Do you know your history? Where do you come from? Who are you historically related to? Are there family members that you’ve never met before?
  5. Children’s book-Writing this type of book is magical because you’ll be able to have your kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews, godchildren etc. read your words before bed. Talk about a special connection! Imagine having a hand in igniting a child’s love for literacy with your stories…that’s a big deal.
  6. Journal-Was there a time in your life that you reflected on through journaling? Maybe it was the birth of a child or a special event or having to say goodbye to someone you loved.

Write the book. Do it while there is still time because it’s important, and the legacy you leave matters.

*If you’d like more information on how the experts at Pandamonium Publishing House can help you with your book, email us at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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How Many Books?

July 1st-I know that we’re moving at breakneck speed lately when it comes to pumping out books around here, so to ensure that no one is lost or unaware of what’s available and what’s coming up, let’s recap our collection:

Children’s book (ages 3-8 depending on reading level)

-Panda the Very Bad Cat
-Panda the Very Bad Cat Farm Frenzy
-Panda the Very Bad Santa Claws
-Deer Diary
-Phillip Star
-The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Trouble with Trolls (A Halloween Tail)
-The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Baseball Bedlam
-Sammy the Singing Cat
-Spiders Wearing Sweaters
-Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog
-Mount Fuji has Free Wi-Fi
-Miranda the Very Loud Mouse
-Pants!
-Grandma’s Table
-Zoe’s Princess Pants
-Lost and Monkey Around (Coming October 2020)
-Twelve Days of Rescue (Coming October 2020)
-The Midas Haircut (Coming October 2020)
-The Clouds Above Lamasol Island (Coming July 2020)

Middle-Grade Novels (Grade 4-6 depending on reading level)

-Unfrogged
-DJ the Terrible
-The Old Farmer’s Treasure
-Grandpa’s Gift (Coming September 2020)

Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction

-Obsessed with Her
-Becoming James Cass
-Duty’s Dad
-Duty’s Daughter
-Duty’s Son
-Acts of Remembrance (Non-fiction)
-Life Supports
-Dealer
-114 World Series in 1 Book (Non-fiction)
-Advice from a Publisher (Non-fiction)
-Machinia (Science Fiction, Coming October 2020)
-Silent Anvil (Coming October 2020)
-My Name is Jessica Westlake (Coming August 2020)
-Acts of Kindness (Non-Fiction, Coming November 2020)

All of the books are and will be available on our site under SHOP and available on Amazon as paperbacks and e-books. We’re also exploring film options and audiobooks, so stay tuned for more information!

Thank you for supporting our work, we appreciate you.

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Cancelled

June 19, 2020– Things in the world are so weird right now, but at least some restrictions are lifting, and hopefully, the quarantine will be entirely over soon. I know that there are things that are more important going on than the festivals and events that we look so forward to all year, but these chances to connect with the community face to face are so special to us, and they mean a lot.

So, there will be no It’s Your Festival, no SuperCrawl, no fall fairs, and no Peach Festival, to name a few events that we would have been scheduled to appear with our books and authors. Although these events have been cancelled, here is a list of things that are not:

  1. Reading to your kids. This is the most sacred time between parents and children that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Kids will remember reading bedtime stories and snuggling with you forever; reading with them will ignite their love of literacy and create lasting memories for both of you.
  2. Virtual book clubs. Book clubs, oh how we miss you, but virtual ones still make them possible. We are revamping our international book club program as we speak, so check back here for more information in the coming weeks! We’re doing a read around the world program where we feature books from different cultures and countries. I’m so excited, so stay tuned!
  3. Virtual storytime and book launches. I’ve had the pleasure of reading my storybook, Panda, the Very Bad Cat for Frontier College online. What a great idea to help kids find new books! We also do online book launches for our new releases, and it’s a great idea because you can still connect with your readers and audience through Facebook Live and Instagram Live; it’s a new way of doing things, but still a lot of fun.
  4.  Reading outdoors. Nothing beats a cold beverage on a hot day, except adding a great book into the mix! Hit the deck or patio and escape into another world for a few hours under the sun.
  5. Writing. Now is the time to work on your novel or next writing project. If you’re working from home and keeping typical hours, consider waking up a bit earlier to have some writing time. Get inspired with ideas by reading blogs and writing in a journal.
  6. Spending time in nature. This is one of our most favourite things to do at Pandamonium. Nature seems to reset us and allow us some much-needed downtime. This is also where some of our best ideas blossom! Grab a notebook and pen and head out for a hike or a walk, you’ll be glad you did.

While it’s easy to focus on all the things we still can’t do at this point, it’s better to focus on what we can do. Enjoy these summer days, and stay positive! X LLB

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The Idea Muscle

June 15, 2020-Did you know that it’s easier to come up with twenty ideas than it is to think of ten? Let me explain. If you’re thinking of ideas for storylines for your novel and you can’t think of ten ideas, then you’re putting way too much pressure on yourself. Perfection is the enemy of ideas. Stop stopping yourself and go ahead and write down those terrible ideas! How does this help?

1) It forces you to get uncomfortable. The bad ideas never have to see the light of day, so don’t worry about them coming to fruition, just get the ideas down on paper. Your brain will scream, NO! THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! YOU’RE GOING TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF! Who cares, write it down.

2) A great idea will come from bad ones. The more bad ideas you write down, the better! Once we get the bad ones out of the way, there’s more room for the good ones. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads and stop overthinking. Here’s a terrible idea-Snow White and the Seven Sins.

3)You’ll take action. So, you’ve written down your ideas (good and bad), and now what you need to do is write down the first steps to take. Do this for ALL of your ideas, even the bad ones. Snow White and the Seven Sins: Step 1-Research what the seven sins are and leave it at that. Move on to the next idea and next step.

This method of idea generation has led me to some of the best ideas I’ve ever had and I know it will work for you too. Happy writing, X LLB

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Grow Your Author Mind

June 10, 2020-It’s crucial to have a mindset that allows you to grow as an author, and this attitude of continual learning will be imperative to your success! Ask yourself these five questions each day to stay on track and within a growth mindset.

1) What did you learn from today’s writing? E.g. I learned that I need to do more research about the topic I’m writing about in order to add credibility to my work.

2) What steps did you take to make yourself successful today? E.g. I wrote an entire chapter as soon as I got up in the morning and I didn’t check my phone for one hour while I was writing.

3) What are some different strategies you could have used during your writing to overcome any obstacles you faced? E.g. I could have shut the door to my office and disabled all Facebook notifications so that I wouldn’t get distracted.

4) How did you keep going when things got tough? E.g. I wrote myself into a corner and had to restart a chapter. I wrote complete garbage, but I reminded myself that writing anything is better than nothing.

5) What did you learn from any setbacks today? E.g. I learned that I need to be more disciplined in my writing, that I need to remove distractions, and that what matters most is getting words on the page.

If you ask yourself these five questions every day, you can’t help but succeed! Happy Writing! X LLB

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The OHIO Method

June 1, 2020– Have you heard of the OHIO method? Did you know that this way of doing things can increase your productivity by 80 percent?

The OHIO method stands for Only Handle It Once. A lot of the time, we go around in circles trying to multi-task and completing things on our to-do list that aren’t really that important. Here’s how you can improve your writing life and publishing business by sticking to this simple principle:

  1. Chunk into groups. If it takes 2 minutes or less to complete, do it right away. For example, emails, social media status updates, scheduling meetings, paying a bill, or rebooking a client, taking 2 minutes to deal with these things will ensure that you only handle it once.
  2.  Prioritize big tasks. If you’re writing a novel, you know how difficult it can be to start writing and to continue to write long after the spark and ideas have gone. But, it’s essential to keep going and finish what we start as authors. What is the most significant task that you have today to write your novel? Is it outlining? Perhaps it’s character development or plot lines, whatever it is, choose the most important and get to work. Remember, this is not about editing, it’s about getting words onto the paper at this point. By doing this, you only handle it once, and you can go back later and refine your work.
  3. Set limits. The OHIO method is a great time saver because it frees up our options. I do this with my illustrators- every Friday like clockwork, they give me a progress report. This lets me know what they’re doing and how things are moving along and how close we are to completion on projects. By setting limits on when you’ll respond to emails or when you have staff meetings, this allows you to utilize your time more effectively and only handle it once.

The OHIO method works great once implemented, and you’ll realize that you have more time for the things you need to do and want to do.

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Excerpt from chapter 2-My Name is Jessica Westlake

May 29, 2020– I’m almost done my next thriller novel titled, My Name is Jessica Westlake. Today I thought I’d share an excerpt from chapter two. I hope that you enjoy it! Look for it online and in stores on July 1st, 2020.

Sunlight drips through the window and onto the floor. I open my eyes and disappointment sets in; I had hoped I wouldn’t wake up, and I wish that I hadn’t made it through the night. I feel cheated because I want nothing more than to join Benjamin, to hold him, and tell him that I love him. I want to apologize to him because I failed as a mother. My one job was to protect him, and I didn’t. I would give my life a hundred times over for him to have a chance at survival; every thought is of him, and every second of consciousness torments me and shreds my soul into strips of grief. There is no way that I can go on; there is no point anymore because the mother that I prepared myself to be is gone, and an empty shell takes her place. Cloudy thoughts and tears fill every moment; it is as if there is an unquenchable reserve of fresh torture that replays over and over each time I wake up. I can’t help but think that teenage girls who are barely out of high school can have children; women who live in Third World and war-torn countries are able to deliver a child who is not born asleep. I wasn’t even able to manage that. Each breath feels like wasted effort; I’ll never hear him laugh, never see him smile, and I’ll never be able to rest his body on mine or feel his heartbeat. What is the worst part? All of it. Every single horrific moment.

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Personally…

May 27, 2020– I get asked by my co-op students and high school volunteers for advice on how to write different types of papers; one topic, writing personal essays as instructed by their professors, can leave them scratching their heads.  What exactly is a personal essay? Simply put, it’s about something that matters to you and can include a person, event, or life lesson. The whole purpose of it is to share something about yourself. It’s important to think about the reader when writing your paper because you want them to think about what you’ve written, and make them feel something. That’s the whole point of writing, to make the reader feel something, to get them to ask questions, to get them to put themselves into someone else’s shoes.

As with all writing, you should use an outline, and your work should have a beginning, middle, and end. Ensure that you revise and tighten just like you would with any other piece of writing. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to write about for your personal essay, browse the list below for possible topics:

  1.  A “first” in your life
  2. How you overcame adversity
  3. Something that scares you the most
  4. Something you’d never do again
  5. A loss
  6. Something that fundamentally changed you
  7. A person who has influenced you or a personal hero
  8. A childhood memory

Remember to focus on a single topic and don’t get confused with a memoir or autobiography, which is entirely different. Show, don’t tell and be honest; don’t sugarcoat your story.

I challenge you to write your personal essay this week. Happy writing! 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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SPICE Up Their Life

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

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