December 10, 2018- This is super fun! Each one of our books is very special in their own right. Check out the details below on what’s hiding in our books!
- Did you know that in Miranda the Very LOUD Mouse, there is a hidden piece of cheese on almost every page? Can you find them? Also, on the page where Miranda is at the museum, there are some pretty famous art pieces that include Michelangelo’s David statue, Starry Night painting by Van Gogh, The Scream painting by Edvard Munch, and of course, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
- The book Pants, by Tamara Botting, has different pieces of fabric that were digitally scanned in to get the colours and textures on the page. This book also contains colouring pages at the back for kids to design their very own pair of pants!
- Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog and Spiders Wearing Sweaters are both hand painted and then scanned in digitally to an illustration program! That’s why both books have such a unique look. Also, Spiders Wearing Sweaters can be ordered with or without the adorable plush spider that came in your kit!
- Sammy, the Singing Cat, features some very famous Jazz artists on the wall of one of the music schools; Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra make a cameo, but this time in animal form!
- The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Trouble with Trolls (A Halloween Tail) has the titles of our books on the spine of the books that are featured in the treehouse! Plus, there’s a tribute to all of our animal friends that we have lost, on the wall of the same page. Also, Milan is a real golden retriever in the author’s life!
- Phillip Star has the best ending! You’ll have to read it😊
- Panda, the Very Bad Cat, is based on the author’s real cat named Panda and a smug shot of said cat is featured in the back of the book. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this title is donated to animal shelters to help animals in need.
- Deer Diary features a sneak peek on an overlapping character! There is a poster on the wall of the last page that features the character Frog from Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog.
All of the books by Lacey L. Bakker, feature a PANDA in one form or another as a hat’s off to the book that started this entire company and adventure which was Panda, the Very Bad Cat!
- Unfrogged, by Tamara Botting, features a princess named Meredith who is based entirely on the author and how clumsy she is. Tamara let this book sit for ten years before getting it published!
- The Old Farmer’s Treasure– is based on the author’s husband’s childhood in Northern Ontario. There is also a sequel to this book coming in 2019 where the boys are all grown up!
- Obsessed with Her– Was consulted on by the head of the Toronto Homicide Unit for not only credibility in some scenes, but also accuracy! This book is rated R and had to have a sticker put on the front of it because of the complaints that we were receiving. It has mature themes, language, and violence, and is not for the easily offended or squeamish. Also, the PREQUEL to Obsessed with Her, titled, Becoming James Cass, will be available for pre-order on our site in January 2019 and will be released in February 2019. This book currently has a 4.5-star rating on Good Reads. While the author was writing this book, her husband was away for five weeks, and she had to stop writing because she was scared to be alone! A lot of people think the author of this book is a man, but they are mistaken. And one more thing? The front cover gives away the ending:)
November 21, 2018– This was a really fun idea for us to come up with and I’m so excited to share it with you guys! Pandamonium Publishing House is offering you a chance to read what we’re reading each month with a surprise book, mailed right to your home. Currently, this option is for adults only, but I’m sure we’ll have something for kids in the works, soon!
We read a ton of books around here, last year the total was sixty! We read everything from non-fiction, self-help, business development, mystery, romance, thrillers, all types of fiction, and basically anything that we can get our hands on.
Our surprise book is shipped out every month on the 5th. Your book comes gift wrapped for an extra element of fun! Here’s how the program works:
- Go to SHOP at the top of this page
- Click on the MYSTERY BOOK OF THE MONTH option
- Enter your payment and shipping info
- Wait for your surprise book to come in the mail
That’s it! Pretty simple and there are no subscriptions required if you want to join one month but not the next, no problem, the choice is yours!
As an added bonus, there will be a list of questions emailed to you for discussion with us or your book club. We’ll review each book on our site as well. This makes a fabulous and unique gift for the hard to buy for person in your life…we all have one;)
Here’s to making reading exciting,
November 16, 2018– This year, November 18 falls on a Sunday where most libraries are closed, but that’s no reason not to celebrate this super cool day a couple of days early.
Let’s face it, librarians are akin to superheroes…in my book anyway, no pun intended. The amount of help that they have provided me over the years is staggering; from finding reference books for research purposes, or recommending the next best thriller, to having me as a guest speaker at an event that they’ve organized, I take my hat off to them for all of their excellent service and knowledge. Thank you for everything.
It saddens me that where we are, librarians are being phased out in schools and there’s no such thing as a library anymore, it’s been replaced with something called a learning commons. I remember as a student relishing in the days that we got to go to the library to pick our books and the magic that the choosing entailed. Our librarian would read us a story before we chose our books and that was the best part of the day. It’s terrible that kids won’t experience this anymore as cutbacks and the bottom line seem to be the topic of conversation in the school system these days.
My elementary school librarian fostered my love of reading and perhaps subconsciously, she added to my desire to be an author and to be surrounded by books at all times.
So, today, tomorrow, and on Monday, be sure to high-five your favourite librarian! They deserve to be appreciated each day of the year, but especially today.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
October 31, 2018– Halloween is officially my favourite holiday. Ok, so it’s not really a holiday, but I think of it as one. The decorating with skulls, black cats, and spiders inside and outdoors, candy, and of course, costumes! What is there NOT to like? I admit we go all out for Halloween because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. So, in celebration of this beautiful day, I’m going to share some interesting facts with you about one of the greatest spooky books of all time, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
- Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 18 years old and by this time, had two children. Frankenstein was published by the time she was 20!
- Frankenstein was born out of an unusual climate. It was when Lord Byron suggested a ghost story competition while the Shelley’s visited Switzerland during the year without summer. The group of friends was forced to stay inside most of the time because of the immense amount of rain and they read ghost stories to beat the boredom. Of course, Mary was the winner!
- Mary got the idea for Frankenstein from a dream. She began working on her story the next day, and said, “What terrified me will terrify others.”
- Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster! Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to throughout the book as monster, creature, demon, and it.
- The book was slammed by critics. Of course it was, insert eye roll here, because people didn’t understand it. In 1818 when the book came out, critics bashed it and said about the work, “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents.” Sigh, I hope one day someone will say that about my works.
I hope you learned some things you didn’t already know about this amazing novel, written by an equally fantastic woman. If you haven’t read Frankenstein, I highly recommend it. Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at Pandamonium Publishing House!
October 3, 2018- Ahhh, book clubs! I will say that I’m a huge fan of them and the discussions that take place over wine or coffee with friends. A couple of years ago, I started a book club, and our first meeting was in the summer in my backyard; it was also our last meeting. We read The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the book, and I hoped for a lot more from it from what I had read on the back. Sometimes that’s a problem, isn’t it? We expect the inside of the book to be as good as, the back cover. But, now I’m rambling. Here are four tips for hosting a book club:
- Get some friends together and figure out what you’re going to read. What we did in our group when it came to choosing a book, it was the hostess picks first, then we take turns by birth month. If you have two people who are both born in the same month, the person with the earlier date goes first. It’s pretty diplomatic this way, and it also allows you to read outside of your genre which I’m always harping on!
- Set a time, date, and timeline. You need to decide how long the book will take to read, how long the book club meeting should be, and when the book club meeting will take place. For example, your book club could take place every third Tuesday of the month, the discussion is an hour long, and the book needs to be read in a month. It’s easy when you have a schedule to abide by.
- Choose a location. Again, what we did, was give each person a turn to host the book club in their home. If we were reading your book choice for the month, you were also the host of the book club meeting. Don’t feel any pressure to use this method though, you can comfortably host a book club at your local library or even a park, restaurant, or public place.
- Get your thoughts together. At our book club, w decided that we were just going to have an open discussion about the book and the characters with really no end game in mind. Sometimes the questions got off topic, and sometimes we were able to really stay in the moment. What I would recommend this time is to have a list of questions prepared. Perhaps every member could bring three questions or subjects to discuss that have to deal with the theme, characters, or even the style of writing. You could also talk about the ending, the parts you didn’t like, and why.
Unfortunately, life got in the way of us carrying on our book club, and we kind of let it dissolve on its own. I’d love to start one up again one day soon, and in this day and age, there are so many ways to stay connected! Think outside of the box and maybe think about hosting a Skype-based book club or a chat room book club, but most of all, have fun!
September 5, 2018- We’ve all heard of brainstorming and I’m confident that as writer’s, we tend to do this to a fault. I say to a fault because of how much time we spend brainstorming instead of writing, which is really what we should be doing instead.
Brainstorming, as we know, is where you start with a blank piece of paper in front of you and you’re supposed to come up with new ideas. There’s a problem with the rigidity of this. We think that we’re just supposed to write down ideas, single words, and we are encouraged to think laterally.
What if I told you there was a better way? Enter Stormwriting! Here’s how to do it:
- Gather writing materials
- Find a cozy place
- Write down your idea at the top of the page
- Write down EVERYTHING that has to do with your idea.
- Use Yes and What if as your guiding questions.
- Keep writing, don’t edit! Just get it on paper.
Let’s do an example from one of my own novels set to launch next year:
My Name is Jessica Westlake (is the title so I put this at the top of the page)
- Her name is Jessica Westlake, why is her name Jessica Westlake? Has this always been her name?
- She is blonde with blue eyes, tall, trim, married, no children, having an affair with her neighbour
- Her husband is a high profile lawyer, he cheats on Jessica with the mistress that works for him
- They are rich in money but poor in morals
- They have a big house, a maid, and nice cars
- Jessica grew up poor, her parents were horrible and they did things to her that are inexplicable
- They live in Boston in a very expensive neighbourhood
- Her husband is abusive and treats her like garbage
- What if the husband catches Jessica and the neighbour? What if he seeks vengeance for what they’ve done?
- What if things were more complicated? What if the neighbour was also cheating with the husband?
See what I mean? It’s pretty easy to go down the rabbit hole on this exercise, isn’t it?
Also, this contains ZERO spoilers for my next novel:) I wouldn’t ruin it for you! Now get stormwriting!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
August 13, 2018- I do a lot of school visits as an author, and someone once asked me the question, “Do author visits make a difference in kids’ lives?” I took a second to think about that. “Yes, they do. And let me prove it to you.” More on this in a second.
I love, love, love going to schools as a visiting author with the opportunity to read my books to young people! It is such a unique and wonderful experience that no two schools are the same. I leave with a sense of gratitude for the young minds that allow me their attention for even a brief time and for the teachers and librarians that welcome me with open arms, into their schools and their spaces. The questions that the children ask are fun, funny, and sometimes very personal! But, enough about what we as authors get out of school visits, what do the children receive?
According to a recent study that was conducted in 2013, by California State University, children receive the following benefits from author school visits:
- Author visits motivate children to read more. Kids passion for reading is ignited before, during, and after an author visit. They get excited about things that they can relate to such as an in-person visit from someone who is real! I often hear them say that they too want to be authors when they grow up.
- Author visits inspire creativity and expression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a school where the kids have created a comic book for me, complete with illustrations, or how many times they’ve created a poem or handmade card.
- Author visits motivate children to write more. Children often hurry home after an author has visited their school because they’ve suddenly caught the writing bug. They want to write about anything, and everything, plus, author visits can also spark ideas to write about.
It is always beneficial to have an author visit your school! There are so many reasons why you should book a visit for the upcoming school year. Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational and entertaining.
I do in-person school visits, but I also offer live Skype visits and readings with schools that are abroad. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
July 23, 2018- What a beautiful poem about a book and a reader. I wish I could give the poet credit, but I can’t find the writer. Enjoy!