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 30, 2017- There are only a couple of days remaining in 2017, and I for one am extremely excited about the new year and new possibilities in 2018. Author and creator of the Nightmares series, T.F. Prophet has joined our team and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board at Pandamonium Publishing House. His graphic novel works are original, creative, and most of all, they will make you question everything you think you know. He’s also the creator of this awesome logo. Check out his website at http://www.nightmaresbytfp.com
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 6, 2017- Here’s an excerpt from my untitled novel that is coming out late next year (2019). Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Before I close my eyes I catch a glimpse of his tiny body covered in my blood; he has two perfect hands and feet, and a beautiful face. I struggle to stay awake to hear his cry, but the room is silent; at that moment, I know that our son is dead.
November 30, 2017-Well, it took me long enough! After visiting the London Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, in March of this year, I’ve finally decided to share a few of my notes. The presenters were phenomenal, and I learned so much. I’m happy to say that at Pandamonium Publishing House, we are constantly trying to implement these ideas in our works. Here’s just a taste of a seminar I attended titled, Children’s Picture Books, Today and Tomorrow which was presented by Christine Baker…she’s the person who introduced Harry Potter to France!
- Visual and aesthetic changes based on what is coming out of Europe
- Core is sharing a story between kids and adults
- Globalization of illustrative talent
- Smaller publishers=different esthetics, different graphic styles, RETRO styling and online media influence of graphic styles
- The changes currently are in regards to children’s books polarization in how to sell to people in the market. Books about food (donut on the front or about a shopping trolley sell insane amounts of books in supermarkets)
- There is a large spectrum of illustrations, and a slightly alternative style is forthcoming
- DIVERSITY IS HUGE. Be willing to take risks and be experimental, this will open a lot of doors. It’s good to see things from other countries because that itself lends to diversity. The Gruffalo is a great example of this.
- Rhyming books can be hard to translate, and books for kids don’t always need to rhyme, but rhyming is fun if you do it right!
- Non-Fiction Narrative is up and coming in this market
- Unusual measurements-BIG HUGE books are popular
- Push the boundaries of art
- The scale is almost furniture size for up and coming picture books. A couple of kids gathered around a huge book as they read it in front of the fireplace on the floor.
- Digital content-This is not so important to have books in an app because there isn’t really a demand for it.
- Non-fiction books can have illustrations rather than photographs. Eg. Great White Shark
- Screens and tablets can never replace books
- Physical touching of a book is best, kids with their parents turning the pages, sitting on laps
- Apps are only good if what you’re doing is interactive. It must be intelligent because apps are difficult to sell.
- Heavily illustrated early reader novels (5-8 years) are here to stay!
- Kids always read up!
- Cross over books are books between picture books and middle-grade novels
- Tons of writing is told in the imagery
- Be untraditional, non-traditional, odd, with a different style. Don’t look like everything else in the market! Stand out!
- Define and describe new categories illustratively
- Your book is a work of art, be unique and interesting.
- It’s all about fantastic stories, adventure, characters kids care about that they want to share with their parents, intriguing covers make you want to know what the book is about.
- The US is the biggest market for books right now, but the UK is the biggest market for picture books.
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 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!
November 3, 2017- There seems to be a lot of confusion around three little words…Middle-Grade Novel. Let’s dive into the basics and explore what elements make up a middle-grade novel.
- Middle-grade books are for kids in grades 4, 5, and 6-ages 9,10, 11.
- This is a diverse group of readers, and the middle-grade word counts are as follows: books for younger kids are 20,000-25,000 words and the books for the older kids usually contain 35,000-40,000 words.
- These books are usually large print, fast reads. A great example of a younger middle-grade novel is Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and a great example of an older middle-grade book is our very own Unfrogged by Tamara Botting.
Middle grade interests include the following things:
- PEERS– I capitalized this word because it’s the single most crucial thing to middle -graders and it’s important to know that kids care what their friends think above anything else at this age!
- Family-The child is the main character, the child is in the middle, and everything revolves around him or her. For example, parents are getting divorced what does that mean to the child?
- Self Concept– How do I belong? Who am I? Kids at this age are just starting to figure this out and ask the questions that will eventually shape them into adults.
- Puberty-Looks, development, gender, opposite sex and relationships.
- Future-Upon who does the future depend?…It depends on the main character of course!
So if you’re planning on writing for middle-graders, keep the above things in mind!
October 30, 2017- I know that Halloween isn’t until tomorrow, but I thought that I’d share some fun news from Pandamonium Publishing House! Next year, just in time for Halloween, The Adventures of Milan and Friends (Trouble with Trolls) will be published. This book will be available for A LIMITED TIME in a LIMITED QUANTITY as a COLLECTOR’S EDITION to celebrate my favourite time of year! Be sure to get your copy and feel free to contact me if you’d like to go on a pre-release list.
This children’s picture book is geared towards children in the age range of 3-5+ and will be available in major bookstores as well as online through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
Stay tuned for sketches, later next summer, as well as sneak peeks behind the scenes of character development and illustration. I’ll also be releasing some information about each character and what the inspiration is behind it!
Thank you so much to each and every person who continues to support my work and who make it possible for me to do what I love. Without you all, there would be no point.