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Not In My House

May 15, 2021-Since were talking about writing for kids this month, I thought I’d post an interesting link about what a lot of people think of celebrity kid’s books. Turns out I’ve been right all along…kids want chaos, fun, danger, bright colours, and larger than life characters and ideas!

Check out this father’s take on kid lit written by celebrities below:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/meghan-markles-new-childrens-book-the-bench-wont-be-on-our-three-year-olds-reading-list-aidan-smith-3231286?amp

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Editing: The Greatest Challenge to my Writing by guest blogger, Paul Moscarella

April 30, 2021-Today we wrap up our theme of Pushing the Envelope in our writing! Thank you to everyone who read our posts and special thanks to my authors for sharing their methods and ideas in how they push the envelope in their own books. Paul Moscarella, author of Machinia, is our guest blogger today.


​The writing process for me has always been a peculiar outlet that demands my obedience yet gives no instruction for compliance. This manifestation of my active imagination into words began when I was in grade 4. I had selected a book on the shelf of our art class, The War of the Worlds, because the cover art intrigued me. It was a difficult read, but the tale of the Martian invasion had me riveted. After reading that book, I knew that I wanted to share the things that I imagined into something others could experience. But right away I saw that there was a limit to what I could express, mostly because at age 9 emulating the classic writing style of H.G. Wells was beyond my ability! It was a challenge, but I gave every story I submitted in my English class that extra effort that went well beyond what was required. The endeavour paid off as my submissions were always given praise (and high marks). Those were the exciting days, when what was put to paper rarely saw revision greater than a few erased words. The written word was magic, and my pen was the sorcerer’s wand.

​Since that time, the greatest challenge to my writing has been the revision process. Imagination for me has always come easy. Shaping the rough draft into a cohesive well-written form takes continuous effort. Too little self-editing and the rough edges mar the prose. Too much, and the creative inspiration becomes a bland stream of clarified beige. And then, more challenging still, the editor’s feedback! I can get a sentence or paragraph rewritten to the point where I feel it is perfect only to get comments that ask for clarification or a slash through the writing with a simple “No!” So, following the advice I was given numerous times, I’ve learned not to fall in love with sentences, or paragraphs, perhaps even whole pages.

​When the first draft of Machinia was completed in 1992, I never dreamed that a novel of over two hundred thousand words would ultimately be subjected to a thirty-year editing cycle. It eventually emerged as a ninety-thousand-word triumph. It taught me that no piece of writing worth reading ever reaches the published page without the struggle and meticulous challenge of revision. In many ways writing is revision, and each reread gives clarity to what we truly wanted to say in the first place. And whether it takes hours, days, or decades, I’ve learned to treat the revision process as if seeing the prose for the first time.*

*author’s note: this submission was subject to several revisions and my wife’s editing notes.

Get your copy of Machinia here: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/Machinia

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Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club 2021!

December 30, 2020– I’m so excited to announce our book club lineup for 2021! We’ll be reading books from our very OWN authors at Pandamonium Publishing House. Here’s what you can look forward to and the best part? If you’re a book box subscription member, you’ll get all of our book club selections included! 

January- Machinia by Paul A. Moscarella Cybersecurity officer Damon Maxwell wakes from cryogenic sleep expecting to be ten years into his future but instead finds himself in the root ruled empire of Machinia, 2156! Welcomed by Machinia’s omnipotent leader, the Universal, Damon learns that his extraordinary journey is part of a complex plan by the Universal to bait Machinia’s deadly enemy, the Underground, into action. But the Universal’s brilliant robot aide, Nepcar, fears his leader’s dangerous scheme and pairs Damon with the beautiful and mysterious Cynthia Lhan hoping their union can prevent a catastrophe. Yet, even as the Universal’s plans fall into place an enigmatic figure appears in Damon’s life that even the mighty Universal is powerless to control. Will Damon ultimately be the destroyer of the robot race or its saviour? Machinia – Pandamonium Publishing House

February- Life Supports by K.G. Watson Is it because we don’t have stuff anymore that we feel so lost in a place like this? I ask myself this all the time. When we give up those memory chains Hiram spoke of, do we lose the anchor they connected us to? I don’t think I feel it as keenly as some others here. I have my organ and wall of memories for refuge when I feel unable to bear the loneliness of others about me as well as my own. It is the time between concerts, like now, when I find myself most strongly in retreat.  “Life supports by K.G. Watson is a wonderful reminder of what matters most and his work asks us to think about what our legacy will be.” Life Supports – Pandamonium Publishing House

March-Once Upon a Vision by Gina Collins Ramkissoon and Lindsay V. Rose Becky hoped for a life full of adventure in New York City, but after a failed marriage and business, she returns to her childhood roots in Savannah, Georgia, to start over. Unsure of what her future holds, she settles into a charming loft above a Carriage House on a beautiful estate where she meets the Riley Family members. Was it by chance, or was it meant to be? Instinct draws her to read Tarot at a quaint Tea House down by the river. Becky finds her inner-self emerging. One day a mysterious woman comes into her life, and then another. Is there a connection between these two women? Will Becky’s intuition expose a hidden family secret? Will Becky trust her inner strength to unfold the mystery? Once Upon a Vision: Amazon.ca: Collins Ramkissoon, Gina, Rose, Lindsay V: Books

April-Becoming James Cass by L.L. Colling The prequel to Obsessed with Her, Becoming James Cass, is finally here. Find out what makes James the man he is today and what life-changing events forced him to take inventory of his life. Will he become the man he needs to be, or will he be left with no options except to fight his way out of the cage that he’s built around himself? This psychological thriller from L.L. Colling will make you question human behaviour and will leave you wondering just how much one person can take. Rated R for violence, language, and explicit content. Becoming James Cass – Pandamonium Publishing House

May-Duty’s Dad by K.G. Watson Duty’s Dad is a story of bravery, loss, life and love. It accompanies the book, Duty’s Son, by K.G. Watson. “Watson,” he said without preamble, “I want you to print up a poster offering a reward for the apprehension of Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie and his rebel leaders-one thousand pounds for Mackenzie and five hundred pounds for the others!” Richard was stunned by the size of the rewards. That sort of money was a life-long pension that would keep any family in comfort. He flashed back to his youth in Limerick when similar rewards for rebels or their weapons were shouted out in the parade square of Limerick Castle. He recalled the silent response, hundreds strong, from his neighbours facing the regiment and its gold-braided Colonel. He remembered that not one person claimed the reward. Would it be the same here? Would your barn ever be safe if you turned in any one of them? Duty’s Dad – Pandamonium Publishing House

June-Duty’s Son by K.G. Watson A delightful, historical fiction novel that Hamiltonians will enjoy! Lots of entertaining facts about the city as well as major events that shaped Canada. Dundurn Castle, Niagara Falls, and The Great Western Railway are just a few of the places featured. Duty’s Son by K.G. Watson is a wonderful trip back in time. John Harvey Watson was a courageous soldier, a gentleman, and a man of duty. This is his story. Duty’s Son – Pandamonium Publishing House

July-Duty’s Daughter by K.G. Watson Duty’s Daughter is a remarkable story about a courageous young woman who refuses to play by the rules. She is vibrant, fearless, and defiant. This historical fiction novel by author K.G. Watson is part of a series that includes Duty’s Son and Duty’s Dad. Duty’s Daughter – Pandamonium Publishing House

August-Obsessed with Her by L.L. Colling  What would you do if your child was missing? How far would you go to find out the truth about what happened to her? Obsessed with Her is every parent’s worst nightmare; with twists and turns so shocking, it will leave you breathless until the very last page. “Totally shocking, disturbing and NOT for the easily offended or squeamish.”-Goodreads “Thrilling, scary, jump off the edge of your seat entertaining. “-Goodreads “Four stars for scaring the bejeezus out of me.”-Goodreads “Don’t read this when home alone if you are bothered by gore.”-Goodreads  Obsessed with Her Novel – Pandamonium Publishing House

September-DJ the terrible by Samantha Nemeth This hilarious middle-grade novel will make you stand up and cheer for DJ the Terrible and her equally terrible cat, Godfrey. Djeaneauth (D.J) 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! DJ (Djeaneautha) The Terrible! – Pandamonium Publishing House

October-Unfrogged by Tamara Botting Her parents are gone, she’s a klutz, and her cousin hates her. Plus, there’s a weird frog! This is the story of Princess Meredith and her unforgettable adventure of friendship, courage, and tea with three shakes of pepper and a pinch of hot sauce. This is definitely not a typical fairy tale! Unfrogged – Pandamonium Publishing House

November-From One Christmas to the Next by K.G. Watson He hadn’t counted on going in. He’d just been too darned lonely house-sitting the place while its owner studied overseas. He really resented the inane or gratuitously violent TV offerings. So, after his TV dinner, he’d just gone out, walking, till he got tired enough to sleep – just like every other night for the past six months. But who counted? He had seen the bustle from a block away. Cars had been trying to get into the plugged parking lot. Lines of bundled-up families chatted excitedly and called to each other as they converged. Bright light bathed the spire and filled the windows. He found himself trapped between clumps of people ahead and behind and fenced in by the solid row of parked cars to his left. The human tide simply herded him off the sidewalk with them and up the broader approach to the double doors. Rather than step out of the line into the knee-deep snowbanks, he decided he’d just go with the flow. It wasn’t that he didn’t know the drill. It was Christmas Eve. How many similar services had he conducted through his lifetime? It’s just he couldn’t do it anymore. And he had nobody to not do it with either since Margaret had died back in the Spring. From One Christmas to the Next – Pandamonium Publishing House

December-Acts of Remembrance by K.G. Watson  Revolution is in our land.  In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, cannons stand on every street corner.  A Curfew is at 7:30, but the people are standing by the front door listening to others who are rioting. The rioters are so fed up with things they are marching through the street singing. For punishment, they have no light or water. It was not smart. Many were shot. Now, what do you do? A death sentence is carried out on everyone who does not obey.  These words are straight from the pages of a young girl’s (Engelina Aasman Hummel) diary during the Second World War. They are true, haunting, and raw. Acts of Remembrance is a book that you’ll never forget. Acts of Remembrance by K.G. Watson and Engelina (Aasman) Hummel – Pandamonium Publishing House

We hope that you’ll join us for this year’s line up as we celebrate Canadian authors! For more information please email us at pandapublishing8@gmail.com 

 

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Reluctant Readers

December 29, 2020-Let’s talk about reluctant readers! What are they and what can we do about it? Reluctant readers are defined as any child who does not show an interest in reading. They may actively resist reading, mask their dislike by clowning around or misbehaving when asked to read, become easily frustrated during reading, or need to be coaxed into picking up a book.

We know that literacy matters and that it’s the key to success; that’s why we need to encourage children to enjoy reading at a young age, the sooner they learn to love books, the better! Illiteracy impacts 12 million Canadians, here’s how to ensure that your child does not become a statistic: 

  1. Start early-One of the most critical time frames for brain development in children is 6-12 months old. Read with your child. Although they may not understand what you’re saying or the words on the page, you’re setting them up for success! You’re introducing them to sounds, words, visual stimulation, and spending valuable time with them bonding over books. 
  2. Start small-If your reluctant reader is a bit older, start small-start by reading the back of the cereal box, street signs, grocery items, and other daily use items. Label the items in your home and make a game of it! 
  3. Focus on their interests– Whatever your kid wants to read, let them! Whether it’s short stories, Manga, poetry, comic books, or graphic novels, let them read! Do they love sports? Maybe they love fashion, adventures, or animals! Whatever they want to read about that interests them, encourage it!
  4. Go graphic-Graphic novels are still novels! Yes, they have pictures, but if your child enjoys reading these types of books, allow them. Any reading is better than none. 
  5. Read together-Spending time reading together as a family makes magical memories that will last a lifetime! Take turns reading to each other and carve out some time each day to read. Treat it as a ritual, something sacred and special!
  6. Make it fun– Pair interactive activities to encourage reading. Have your kids read the book before seeing the movie and have a discussion afterward of which was better and why. Host a scavenger hunt with themed items from the book e.g. An acorn, bird’s nest, a daisy, a blue car, etc. Set up a reading chart with stickers for each book completed and see how many books can be read by the end of the year for an epic prize (maybe a new book, bookmark, or digital book download). 

Reading is power! Books are portable magic that expand our minds and imaginations! You cannot be a good writer if you don’t read-remember that. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the tools to write, it’s that simple. 

Here are some of our favourite options for the reluctant reader in your life: 

The Old Farmer’s Treasure – Pandamonium Publishing House
Unfrogged – Pandamonium Publishing House
DJ (Djeaneautha) The Terrible! – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Schedule of Events

December 2, 2020- Hi Friends, I though that today it would be beneficial for us to post our schedule for the upcoming month so that you know what’s on the agenda! Here’s what’s coming up at Pandamonium:

December 2-Book Box Subscriptions go out in the mail! Check it out here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/book-box-3-month-membership-1-book-box-month-for-3-months/

December 3, 4, 5, 6, 10,11,12,13,17,18,19,20- St. Jacob’s Market from 10-6 every day. We’re in the outlet mall building!

December 4, 11, 18- Check us out on Facebook every Friday at 11 am as we discuss Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club book, A Long Way Gone. To join, send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com

December 7- Check out my interview with our very own Tonya Cartmell where she answers questions from readers about her book, The 12 Days of Rescue! It will be on our social media and YouTube Channel at 7 pm.

December 12-24- Tune into our YouTube Channel Pandamonium Publishing House each night at 7pm where I count down my 12 favourite Holiday books! Snuggle up and read with me.

If you’re in the area and would like to stop by and say hello, we’d love to see you. This year, give the gift of literacy.

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Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club

October 7, 2020- Each Friday on our Facebook Page (Pandamonium Publishing House), we discuss the book of the month that we’re reading. For the past three months, we’ve chosen a book from 6 of the 7 continents (Antarctica has been impossible to find an author), but we’ve visited South America (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist), Asia (Bali Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows), North America (Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes) and now, Europe (Alex Michaelidis, The Silent Patient). We’ll be visiting Australia and Africa next! Each week, we discuss themes, political issues, character development, plot, conflict, and narration within the books. We take questions and comments from readers sent in via email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. If you’ve ever thought of joining a book club, but haven’t had the opportunity, here’s your chance! Send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com, and we’ll add you to our member’s list.

The benefits of book club:

  1. Reading goals. Did you know that most adults read 1 book or less per year? Yikes, that’s not a good thing! By joining our book club, you’ll be able to set and reach your reading goals!
  2. Perspective. Since we chat about the book each week, we can get a different perspective on the characters, themes, and plot from everyone who participates in the discussion.
  3. Unique/Diverse Voices. We choose books that maybe you’d never think of reading because it’s outside your genre, or you’ve never heard of the author. We try to include authors’ unique and diverse voices from a wide range of countries, backgrounds, beliefs, and writing styles.
  4. Friendship. Joining a book club allows you to chat with other members, find things in common, and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.

We hope that you’ll join our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! We’ve got some exciting new titles for the rest of the year and 2021. Hope to see you online:)

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An Excerpt from Life Supports

August 12, 2020-If you haven’t read Life Supports by KG Watson, you should. It’s a fantastic book that examines the important things in life. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“It was during a search of my basement music storage for material that the ladies unexpectedly came across the box of cookbooks. I had forgotten I put them there, maybe I didn’t, maybe the kids put them there when they cleaned out the kitchen prior to the arrival of the students.

The Evercare bus had dropped me off at my house after the service. After I handed my just-used material back to the digitizers, I went to find what I thought I needed for next week. I had pointed to the boxes I wanted to look through and Margaret had hoisted them up the stairs and onto a cleared corner of the dining room table for sorting.

When I opened the first box there they were rank on rank of cookbooks, ragged with loose paper sticking out of them it was not what I expected. While Trudy and Jessica continued their perfected ballet with my music scores and the electronics, Margaret diverted her attention to scan this new trove. If it looks like a book, Margaret is helpless within its sight. The kitchen library has been stacked into the box spine up. There were fat volumes of cookbooks separating words of pamphlets on the top layer.

With the removal, a packet of letter size sheets and plastic archive folders that have been stuffed down the side, fell over onto the lower layer of pamphlets. Margaret pulled a page and couldn’t help noticing the title on the top peeking from beneath the rusting pinch clamp that held the clump together. Gingerbread Cookies it said in bold print, I sighed.”

There are recipes included in this book and I think that we should attempt to make a couple of them. Gingerbread just happens to be my absolute favourite cookie of all time!

I hope you enjoyed the above excerpt from Life Supports by KG Watson. Now available on Amazon and soon on our site!

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It’s Funny

August 5, 2020-No matter what you’re writing, an element of humour should be present. This is especially true for those of us who write mysteries, thrillers, and psychological books. I think Josh Whedon said it best, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” It’s important when writing heavy subject matter to relieve your readers once in a while! Here are three ways to inject humour into your manuscript:

1) Dialogue-Get your character to say something funny. Have a weird exchange between two characters, get your character to reminisce about something humorous that happened to them.

2) Situation-Put your character in a situation where something funny happens to break the tension (when it fits) such as tripping or ripping their pants, or mistaking one thing for something else. In my book Obsessed with Her, James overheard a conversation he thought for SURE was about the girl he was holding hostage, but it turned out to be a missing dog.

3) Embarrass them. Embarrassing things happen to us all the time and I’m sure to me more than others…sigh. Embarrass your character eg. spinach in teeth, static underwear stuck to the back of their outfit, spilling coffee on themselves etc.

The point of adding an element of humour to your writing is to make your characters three dimensional, real, and relatable.

Happy Writing! XLLB

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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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Publisher’s Corner…

May 24, 2019-On this week’s segment of Publisher’s Corner, I tackle a subject that is close to my heart. Let’s check it out!

Q: “Lacey, You say reading is important for writers, but I barely have time to breathe let alone read! How do you find time to read so many books?” 

A: I love this question! In 2018 I read 60 books; to be clear, I should say that I completed 60 books because I used a variety of mediums to do so. Here’s what I recommend to help you reach your reading goals: 

  1. Audiobooks– These are fantastic for people who are constantly on the go. I use audible.com and iTunes to download books on all topics and I love their portability. You can listen to them anywhere-I listen to them while I drive, while I’m waiting at the airport, on the beach, on planes, exercising, and while I’m doing household chores. You wouldn’t believe how many books you can get under your belt just by popping in a pair of earphones.
  2. E-books– Of course, I prefer paperbacks, but when in a crunch, I pull out my trusty e-reader. Again, the portability is great because you can download as many books as you want without taking up a bunch of room in your suitcase. You can whip out your phone and read a few pages of a book any time you have to wait somewhere!
  3. Read in-between time– During the day we find ourselves with a few minutes here and there. Sometimes we have time between meetings or half an hour before our kids get home from school and we end up playing on our phones or checking our email. I urge you to consciously look for the times-in-between and use them to get some reading done! Five minutes here and there add up over time and before you know it, you’ll be done a novel or two.
  4. Set a realistic goal– 60 books a year may not be realistic for you based on your lifestyle. Set a goal that you’ll be able to reach based on what you think you can achieve-don’t set a marker so high that it’s unattainable, but not so low that it’s unmotivating.

Reading is addictive and once you start, you may not be able to stop. Consider yourself warned:) X LLB

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