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Fear Hierarchy

July 26, 2021– This week, we’ll be wrapping up Public Speaking for authors, which was our theme for July! Today we’re going to focus on something really cool that I had no idea existed until a few days ago; let’s dig into Fear Hierarchy and how authors can use it to overcome their fears of public speaking!

What is Fear Hierarchy? It’s defined as a list of fears in order of least afraid to most afraid with the goal of exposure to the situations to dispel the fears listed. As you immerse yourself and check your list off one by one, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be speaking in public as an expert in no time!

Sample hierarchy list: (Remember, this has to be unique to you! Write your list from least to most afraid)

  1. Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
  2. Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
  3. Make a toast. When you’re out to dinner with family or friends, make a short, impromptu toast to celebrate being in each other’s company and enjoying your time together.
  4. Host a book club talk. By hosting book club, you’ll get to dig into subjects that matter to your participants. Maybe you want to talk about plot structure, setting, or character development, but whatever you choose, leading the talk will help you practice speaking to a larger group with a clear idea in mind.
  5. Speak to a small group about a subject you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s in a library setting, at a local chapter of crime writers, or a writing group of up-and-coming authors who are interested in publishing children’s books. Testing your skills in a small group is less intimidating than standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. This will let you test the water, answer real questions, and interact with your listeners.
  6. Host a workshop or class based on your knowledge. Now it’s time for the big show! You’re the featured speaker, and this is the thing that scares you most on your list! By now, you’ve had some great exposure and are ready to share your knowledge with your audience confidently.

Make a fear hierarchy of your own and expose yourself to the public speaking situations that intimidate you. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro who has no fear of getting up on stage and saying your piece!

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What Makes a Great Book

January 18, 2021-You can’t have a best seller if you don’t have a great book. I know, I know, there are people yelling at their laptops right now saying, “What about 50 Shades of Grey?” “What about Twilight?” It’s hard to tell what readers will like, but here are a few tips. There is one thing that is a common thread throughout that makes a great story no matter the genre; get the readers to invest in the characters, make the reader care about the character and what happens to them.

What makes a great children’s book?  Children’s books should be colourful, fun, and have a great story with larger than life characters. The illustrations should help tell the story and should also be representative of what real children look like. Different abilities, ethnicities, sizes, traits, and characteristics should be present. Kids can’t bee what they can’t see! Have a theme/message, but be careful not to come across as preachy. It’s not your job as an author to preach to kids, it’s their parent’s responsibility. The cover art should be eye catching and include an excellent title. Alliteration is great for kid’s book titles, but rhyming prose is a no-no unless it’s perfection (which is extremely rare and hard to do).

What makes a great novel? The recipe for a great novel, no matter the genre, is like baking a cake; your recipe should include a few characters (3-4) that are flawed and go through multiple challenges, a climax with a ton of action, and a sprinkling of mystery and romance. Please remember to resolve all conflict by the end of your book and wrap up all loose ends with a bow. By the end of your book, the reader should have all their questions answered!

What makes a great YA novel? Young adult novels are in a league of their own. They’re usually written with readers ages 12-18 in mind. The older reader appreciates more mature themes, but themes that are real and relatable are best for all readers. Things to include are veritable issues that young adults are experiencing such as family matters, divorce, blended families, body changes and challenges, bullying, school  dynamics, and finding themselves. It’s important to write about these things in this genre because it allows the reader to know that they are not alone. Interestingly enough, a lot of adults read and enjoy YA novels.

Whatever you’re writing, ensure that you’re doing the best for your readers. Give them what they want and you’ll no doubt have a best-seller on your hands! To join our Best Seller Bootcamp, click here for more info: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

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Year in Review

December 31, 2020-This year was different, to say the least! No one could have predicted what 2020 was going to look like, but we got through it and we didn’t just “get through it” we flourished. Here are some of the highlights from 2020 from Pandamonium Publishing House-we couldn’t have done this without you, our loyal supporters. Thank you for everything. 

  1. We signed a bunch of new authors: Regan McAulay, Dale Shipley, Tonya Cartmell, Alex Goubar, Rachel Adema-Hannes, Annie Kittiphanh, and Paul Moscarella bring mega talent to our team! Welcome aboard and thank you for creating such awesome works.  We can’t wait to collaborate again soon on new projects. 
  2. We created new books: 17 to be exact not including our client projects! From One Christmas to the Next by K.G. Watson and Alex Goubar, Inside Looking Out by Tim Ford, Acts of Kindness by collaborative authors, Machinia by Paul A. Moscarella and Alex Goubar, The Celestial Squid by Alex Goubar, Lost and Monkey Around by Rachel Adema-Hannes and Erin Cutler, The 12 Days of Rescue by Tonya Cartmell and Emily James, The Midas Haircut by Lacey L. Bakker and Emily Keown, The Magic Pumpkin Farmer by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar, The Clouds Above Lamasol Island by Alex Goubar, Dealer by Annie Kittiphanh and Alex Goubar, Life Supports by K.G. Watson and Alex Goubar, Becoming James Cass by L.L. Colling and Alex Goubar, Grandma’s Table by Michelle Pontefract and Erin Cutler, The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Baseball Bedlam by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar,  Advice from a Publisher by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar, and Acts of Remembrance by Engelina Hummel, K.G. Watson, and Alex Goubar. 
  3. We increased our website traffic: As of 8 am this morning, we’ve had 17, 267 views of our website which was an increase of +106% over last year, 10, 259 visitors which was an increase of +160% over last year, 129 likes which was an increase of +93% over last year, and 38 comments which was an increase of +52% over last year. 
  4. We did a collaborative book: Acts of Kindness was a collaborative book by many authors from Canada and the US. Authors shared their stories of how kindness touched their lives with heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking experiences. Thank you so much to each contributor, we appreciate you! Keep spreading kindness. We’ll be working on another collaborative book in 2021, stay tuned for details! 
  5. We had 5 best sellers: The 12 Days of Rescue by Tonya Cartmell and Emily James, The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Baseball Bedlam by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar, Advice from a Publisher by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar, The Magic Pumpkin Farmer by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar, and Becoming James Cass by Lacey L. Bakker and Alex Goubar. Thank you SO much for supporting our work, Canadian authors, artists, and illustrators! I  am absolutely sure that 2021 will bring us more bestsellers, we can’t wait:) 
  6. We started a book club: Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club was born and we have readers from around the globe! In 2020 we read authors from 6/7 continents and in 2021 we’ll be reading and discussing our own CANADIAN authors which we couldn’t be more excited about! Currently, we have 225 members and hope to increase our membership each year with membership reaching 1,000 by 2025. 
  7. We started a subscription book box: This was a super fun option to set up for our readers! We currently have 127 subscribers that receive books each month on a variety of subjects, genres, and authors. We hope to grow our membership steadily over the years and have 1,000 members by 2025. 

To all of our readers, subscribers, supporters, and people cheering us on-YOU matter to us. Without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. Thank you for believing in our business and for championing Canadian artists, authors, and illustrators. We appreciate you and it’s a pleasure to write for you. 

To our clients-THANK, YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You make us a better business and we are so thankful for you and your trust in our company. We are so happy to work with you and help bring your wonderful stories to life. We adore you all! 

To my team-You are an epic group of individual voices with unique experiences that give you so much power as authors, illustrators, and artists. Without each one of you, there would be no Pandamonium Publishing House. Your hard work, positivity, and work ethic are inspiring and uplifting on my darkest days. All of you keep me going during the toughest challenges. THANK YOU Tamara Botting, Tim Ford, Michelle Pontefract, Alex Goubar, Erin Cutler, Rachel Adema-Hannes, Christopher Botting, Ken Watson, Tonya Cartmell, Paul A. Moscarella, Samantha Ramos, Annie Kittiphanh, Gina Nateo, and Maryanne Smith.  It is an absolute honour to work alongside each one of you; thank you for believing in me and in Pandamonium Publishing House. YOU who make this company a pleasure to lead and remind me that I have a great responsibility to each of you. 

Happy 2021! Wishing you much success, happiness, and love, now and always. X LLB

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How to Write a Book (Ted Talk)

April 5, 2019-Love this Ted Talk by Mattie Bamman! Check it out by clicking below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cfBIrzwigA

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E-Books Vs. Print (Are Print Books a Dying Breed?)…

November 5, 2018- It really depends on the generation that you grew up in as to how you answer the question above! I personally think that e-books have their place in the world, but nothing beats a paperback.

I love e-books for specific things, especially non-fiction because quite rarely do I ever read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. I end up skimming the pages for the information I need, highlighting it, and then leaving with the info that I came for. It’s easy and free when you subscribe to something like Kindle unlimited.

That being said, nothing beats the smell of a paper book. The feeling of turning the pages, the sound of the pages turning, folding down the corner of the page to mark where you left off (I know, I’m a monster!), and the kinesthetic involvement of the entire experience is the absolute best. E-books don’t hold a candle to traditional paper in my opinion.

Now, I know what some of you are going to say, “But I love my Kindle for the portability of the books when I go on vacation!” Yes, I do too, but if I could bring along seven or eight of my favourite paperbacks without taking up too much room in my suitcase, I would.

Let’s look at some reasons why paperbacks are making a come back.

  1. Physical books make a better gift. When was the last time that you gifted someone an e-book? That’s what I thought, probably never. There’s something about the process of wading through a bookstore to find the perfect book for someone you love. They open the gift bag or tear off the wrapping paper and immediately flip the book over to read the back cover, then they thumb through the pages and tell you that they can’t wait to snuggle up and read it tonight!
  2. Physical books are easier to share. Yes, you can share e-books and lots of people do, but paperbacks are easily shared from reader to reader. Do you know how many times I’ve lent friends books never to see them again…the books not the friends. Yep, it’s true, paperbacks make their way into the hands of many people. My suggestion is that if you love a particular title, buy two of them because the one you lend will never return.
  3. Reading a print book sets a good example for your kids. We want kids to read, we want them to experience the magic of books, and we want them to use their imagination. What better way to get kids to read than to be caught reading, ourselves? Monkey see monkey do.
  4. Paper books are easy to scribble on. I know that some people are gasping in horror while reading this sentence. Yes, I mark important passages in books and I even scribble down thoughts in the margins. As an author, there are a lot of ideas that pop into my head while reading and sometimes a certain passage will speak to me. I highlight the words, underline sentences, and box off really important points.

So, which camp are you in? E-books or paperback? Sound off in the comments below!

X LLB

 

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What Do You Have To Say? Why Morals Matter

August 15, 2018– We’ve all been in awkward situations when we meet someone or where we’re at an event and the person who corners us, has nothing to say. What do we talk about? Where can I escape to? Where the heck is my husband to rescue me? Usually, talking to people is easy for me because I like to keep informed about a little bit of everything that’s going on in the world, however, there are times where I find myself with nothing to say because the conversation has run its course or perhaps the other person and I have nothing in common.

Guess what? The same holds true for everyone who reads your novels. It happens. There are novels out there with nothing to say, and fiction readers have high expectations of being engaged on a deeper level when they pick up a book.

Here are some interesting facts that you should know before you write your first or next novel.

  1. All stories have underlying morals. If they didn’t then no one would bother to read them. Morals are the glue that holds us together. For example, in my novel, Obsessed with Her, there are a TON of morals. Some of the questions that the reader must ask themselves while reading my book are pretty dark. What would they do if their child was missing? How far would they go to find out what happened to her? Would they do the same thing if they were in the main character’s shoes? Every novel must possess some kind of moral fork in the road; if it doesn’t, your reader will be disappointed, snap your book closed, and hurl it across the room.
  2. Readers seek out stories that are on par with their own beliefs. For example, romance readers are largely female, mystery/thriller readers are somewhat conservative with a longing for justice, and techno-thriller readers are most often military personnel. Every reader believes in something, and it’s our job as writers to make them question their beliefs…which leads me to my next point; the number of fiction readers who deliberately seek to have their morals changed are slim to none. This does not mean that they don’t want to be stretched or see the world in a different light, they do! They just don’t want their own beliefs and morals converted.
  3. Readers are not looking for what is comfortable, familiar, or politically pleasing. Fiction is most interesting and unputdownable when points of view and beliefs are different, engrossing, compelling, and detailed. Take your reader to the edge of what they believe, and you’ll make a long-term connection. Plus, they’ll love your book, hopefully, and become a life-long reader of your work.

The moral of this post? Have a moral in your story. Make it interesting. Push the limits.

Happy writing, X LLB

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20 Days of Giveaways is in Full Force!

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.

X LLB

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Writing Prompt of the Day

December 11, 2017- I love to start Monday mornings by drinking coffee and writing things that are outside of what I’m currently working on. I think that writing prompts are important for expanding ourselves as writers and that reading and writing things that are outside of our genres is essential for growth. Today we have a picture that I love because it’s so refreshing. The premise of this exercise is to write a couple of pages, a paragraph, or whatever length you want, about said picture, and today’s particular image can have so many themes! My head is spinning with ideas already:)  Happy writing!

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