November 30, 2018– C.S. Lewis’ birthday was technically yesterday (November 29) but Mark Twain’s is today! Let’s celebrate both authors right now by sharing some interesting facts about them and their works. We’ll start with C.S. (the beloved author of Chronicles of Narnia)!
- C.S. stands for Clive Staples. He was known by his initials rather than his full name because, at the time, it was considered more formal and intellectual to be known professionally by initials rather than first name.
- He hated his first name. So much so that he nicknamed himself “Jacksie” after his childhood pet (a dog) that was struck and killed by a car. As an adult, he went by the name Jack.
- J.R.R. Tolkien was one of his BFF’s. Both met at Oxford University in England where they were professors. They were life-long friends even after some heated discussions and disagreements about each other’s work!
Let’s talk about Mark Twain, most famously known for writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (two of my most favourite books ever!)
- He wasn’t expected to live. Mark Twain, whose real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was very sickly as a baby and well into childhood to about the age of seven. Twain was born two months early and was the sixth of seven children. He was one of three to survive into adulthood.
- He almost drowned… nine times. Before the age of thirteen, Twain almost drowned a documented, nine times. I wonder how many times weren’t documented!
- He was born two weeks after Halley’s Comet. The comet crosses the Earth’s skies every 75 years. In 1909 Mark Twain predicted that he would die with Halley’s comet the next year. Just as Mark Twain predicted, he passed the night after the comet lit up the sky at the age of 75. It was the second death he predicted, the first being his brother’s.
I hope that you’ll take the time to celebrate both of these iconic authors by reading some of their works! Happy Birthday to C.S. Lewis and Mark Twain.
October 19, 2018– When I wrote Obsessed with Her, I knew exactly how it was going to end, and I also knew that there was going to be a prequel. A prequel yes, a sequel no. Lacey, what the hell are you talking about? Ok, let me back up for a second.
A prequel, as you know, is a story that precedes that of a previous work. It’s a story that comes before a story, but it doesn’t need to be written or released before the original. Does this make sense? Whereas, a sequel is something that comes after the original work and is only published after the first book or movie comes out.
When I wrote Obsessed with Her, I deliberately left out a bunch of information. Not so much that the reader would have a bunch of loose ends and questions floating around, and not so much that the book would be unfinished, but enough that there would be room for a prequel. I decided on this method because it was imperative that I told the story in this way. I began with the end in mind and chose to tell it in such a way because it matters to the plot and the development of characters. That being said, the prequel to Obsessed with Her is a story in its own right, it doesn’t just fill in the gaps. The prequel allows readers to pick up either book in whatever order and have a full, edge of their seat story that can stand alone…the prequel just makes it that much better.
Prequels, when done correctly, do the following things:
- They preserve the original material. Both stories should fit smoothly together.
- They resolve unanswered questions. A character’s backstory can allow questions to be answered as to why they are who they are and why they act in such a way now.
- They tell us something that we don’t already know. Prequels shake up the way the readers view the original characters.
I hope that you’ll take the time to read both books, Obsessed with Her and Becoming James Cass (coming winter 2020). And I hope that you’ll consider writing a prequel to your book.
October 8, 2018- Trust me when I tell you this, all authors are streetwise. Well, the good ones anyway. When people ask me what I do, I usually answer, “Whatever it takes.” To be a good author, not only do you have to be a good writer, but you have to be a good publicist, an excellent salesperson, a ruthless business owner, and a brave performer. Authors are streetwise because we have to be. We trust our guts, go with our intuition, and chase down ideas for stories that lead us down darkened alleyways, into sketchy situations, and across the ocean in pursuit of them. It’s the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Every author I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting has always had this drive, desire, and gleaming personality that could charm the toughest of customers into buying their work or at least engage them into talking to them!
We’re streetwise because we don’t have any other option, especially when it comes to self-publishing because if we don’t do it, who will? Us authors have a willingness to go through hell and back to reach our goals. We do most things in pursuit of the end game, in pursuit of selling one book, or in selling one-more-book. We fight hard to have our voices heard, to have our books displayed, to be best sellers, to cement and earn our reputations as wielders of words. We are ferocious, dedicated, and our biggest critics. We do this because we love it and because we believe our stories need to be heard. We do this because we believe in something bigger than ourselves and because we want to leave this earth with something that outlives us.
So, as any type of author, traditionally published or self-published, let me remind you of your importance in this world; the world shines brighter because you’re in it and because of the stories you tell. The world is a better place because you’re willing to do what it takes to realize a dream. Don’t ever forget your purpose; to tell stories that change lives.
So here’s to all of my streetwise colleagues, I salute you.
August 29, 2018- I love writing prompts and today’s prompt is especially fun! This works really well when I have writer’s block and when I want to start the creative juices flowing.
Happy Writing! X LLB
August 8, 2018– Flash fiction is something that can be very valuable to you as a writer. I know that it is to me! Writing flash fiction is something that I use when all of my focus has been on a more significant writing project such as a novel or a series of books.
So, what is it? Flash fiction is a concise form short story that is usually between 500 and 1,000 words, but no more. The point of using flash fiction is able to condense your entire story into a tiny space. Compressing your story in this way is an excellent exercise for ALL writers! It helps develop the following skills:
- It gets to the heart of the conflict.
- It boils the plot down to its bare bones.
- It lets you write without the excuse of having no time. It’s short and sweet and to the point.
Your flash fiction should include essential elements of conflict, climax, and resolution; Also, you should stay in one character’s point of view. As a bonus, writing this way often breaks the dreaded writer’s block. I challenge you to write some flash fiction today!
June 17, 2018- Thank you so much to everyone who submitted their manuscript for consideration! I am overwhelmed and so grateful for each of the 172 submissions that I received this month, and I sincerely thank you for your interest in becoming an author at Pandamonium Publishing House. Submissions are currently closed, but I can say that I’ll be accepting manuscripts again in September 2018. Thank you!
June 1, 2018- We’ve all been there; we’re on our sixth cup of coffee, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been staring at our blinking cursor on a blank page for almost an hour. The sound of our head thudding off our desk is the only sound except for the voice in our head that screams, “You’re a failure! You’re a no talent hack who can’t write!” And this is on a good day! Ok, maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, we’ve all been stuck at one time or another while trying to write the next New York Times Best Seller. I want to arm you with some tools for your toolbox the next time you get stuck, so I’ll share with you my dirty little secrets for getting inspired!
- I change ANYTHING. Seriously. When I’m stuck creatively, I change anything that I possibly can. There were two weeks where I switched sides of the bed with my husband to see if I could get out of my creative writing rut and guess what? It worked! Why? Because any time you change up your perception, creativity happens! It’s true, sometimes the simplest switch in your routine is just the kick in the ass that you need. Also, try switching up your location, go to the mall, go for coffee, sit in nature for a while, do whatever it takes to get inspired.
- Read outside of your genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, read anything fiction based. If you are writing a thriller, read a romance, if you’re writing a romance, read a biography. Reading outside of your genre does two things to help your creativity, it expands your imagination, and it lets you take a much needed mental break. I write books that are psych thrillers, and sometimes I need a break from the genre so what do I do? I pick up the total opposite to read during my leisure. My choices have ranged from The Unauthorized Biography of Axl Rose to cozy romances, and everything in between. It works and lets me escape from the murders and dismemberments that I have created.
- Use writing prompts. The internet is full of writing prompts and my advice to you, if you’re stuck is to start writing ANYTHING. Scour the headlines for something that you can expand into a storyline, go on Pinterest and type in writing prompts and I can assure you that you’ll come up with something. Re-write one of your favourite fairytales or movies to have a completely different ending! The important thing is to write and keep writing.
What tips do you have for other aspiring authors? What’s the best advice that you can offer them to get unstuck? Sound off in the comments below!
January 3, 2018- Often times, as a writing exercise, authors will use prompts to get the creative juices flowing. I like to use images sometimes because it jump starts my imagination. This image is a powerful one. While using this prompt there are some questions that you should answer: Is the person looking at the elephant a person at all or are they another animal? How did one come across the elephant? Where were they headed? Where did they come from? etc. Happy Writing!
December 26, 2017-I found this awesome cheat sheet for creating conflict from Sacha Black! Enjoy and keep writing:)
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!