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Publisher’s Corner…

May 31, 2019– This is an interesting question that I got from a reader during a book signing that I was at with Obsessed with Her. I’ve been asked this on more than one occasion so I thought it might be good to share!

Q: “Lacey, why did you write a prequel to Obsessed with Her? Why not a sequel, and did you have this in mind from the beginning?” 

A: I wrote a prequel to Obsessed with Her because the story wasn’t finished yet. I needed to release the books in this order for the story to make sense and for quite simply the sake of interest in the character and his development. I didn’t want to leave my readers with a ton of backstory to start with so the manuscript demanded to be written and released this way.  

I didn’t write a sequel to Obsessed with Her because the ending is final. There is no chance of a sequel and that’s all I’ll elude to as to not spoil it for those who have not finished or read the book yet. 

Yes, I had this prequel in mind from the beginning, I hadn’t written it yet, but it was always going to happen. Obsessed with Her is unfinished without the prequel and leaves the reader with too many questions. The prequel shows why James Cass behaves the way he does and what type of person he truly is. Obsessed with Her will make perfect sense after the release of, Becoming James Cass (prequel) that is set to hit the shelves this October! 

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Publisher’s Corner…

May 17, 2019– Today on Publisher’s Corner, I’ll answer a question that everyone wants to know!

Q: “Lacey, is it hard being an author?”

A: Yes. Done. Thanks and see you next week. Ok, but seriously, yes-it’s extremely difficult to not only become an author but to stay an author. Let me explain the rollercoaster:

  1. Beginning: You’ll be rejected more times that you can count. You will think you’re a no-talent hack and that’s on the good days. You’ll cry yourself to sleep and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again. You’ll suffer from insomnia and find yourself asking, WHAT THE F*CK at least once a day when your characters refuse to speak to you.
  2. Middle: You’ll finally get a book deal and be on top of the world! You’ll feel like you’ve made it, but now the work truly begins. You worry about the next book and what if the publisher hates it, what if you’re a one-hit wonder, what if people hate your book? You’ll feel totally vulnerable and second guess every single word you write. The waiting is the worst part as it usually takes 2-5 years for a book to be released to the public. You’ll want to throw in the towel but don’t!  You still have to fight with your editor and publisher when they recommend taking out the best part of your story.
  3. End: Your book comes out and now your work has increased four hundredfold. You have to market the book, (yes, even if you’re traditionally published), sell the book, talk to people about the book, set up your displays, network, make contacts, do book signings, lug your crap from place to place and sweat your ass off while doing it in 5 inch stilettos.  You’ll have people tell you to your face that they don’t like your work or even better, that they don’t like you. Some days you’ll go home with your tail between your legs because you didn’t sell a single copy of your book even though you tried with all of your might.

But listen, it’s not all bad. Being an author has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And the icing on the cake? Reading my nephews and niece the books that I WROTE and dedicated to them. You’ll make friends with amazing people and those friendships last for life. You’ll have fabulous opportunities around the world to talk about your books and visit international book fairs in various countries. You’ll be asked to be a guest speaker at major events and you’ll get to read your book to kids in schools all over the city and the country. People will find your books on the shelf at major stores and around the world. Your books make a difference and one day, someone will tell you that YOU are their favourite author. The GOOD outweighs whatever bad there is. The world needs your art so go out there and create something that outlives you. X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

May 10, 2019– On this episode of Publisher’s Corner, I answer a question from someone who is struggling with outlining. Ahhh, outlining is an old friend who I don’t particularly like to be honest. I’ll explain why in my answer below, so let’s dig in!

Q: “Lacey, Outlining is something that I’ve struggled with in the past. Which method do you tend to prefer?”  

A: This is an excellent question and I’ll be real and say that EVERYONE struggles with outlining! Why? Because some information out there is so damn complicated without needing to be. I agree that outlining is difficult because it’s often a case of not knowing how to organize your thoughts as an author. Organized thoughts and author in the same sentence? I know, eh? Crazy. There are a few different methods to outlining, but you have to discover which is best for you as a writer. I prefer the Get-it-all-out-and-sew-it-together method, which is kind of like putting pieces of a puzzle in place. You choose whatever is best for you! 

See you next Friday, Happy Writing! X LLB

 

 

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Ted Ed…Anti-Social Skills

May 6, 2019-Check out this Ted Talk! I absolutely love this short video and I think it’s sweet and to the point, but very helpful. Click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flthk8SNiiE

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How to Make Your PowerPoint Presentation Not Look Like Sh*t…

April 22, 2019– We’re (and I mean, me) are getting pretty creative with titles around here as of late (insert eye-roll here). As authors we often find ourselves teaching seminars and workshops about writing and the business of writing. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, one as a teacher and the other as a listener; there’s nothing worse than having/listening to a terrible presentation that is boring and non-educational. PowerPoint presentations can be valuable tools for your audience if done correctly, so naturally, let’s chat about what makes a sh*tty PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Crowding slides with too much text. Your audience isn’t here to read every word you write, they’re here to LISTEN to your presentation and maybe jot down a few important points. Leave your slides with plenty of blank spaces, not only does it look better, but it allows you to stick to the most important points and dialogue with your audience. If all of your content is on the slides why would your audience need you?
  2. Visual distractions. I’m talking about graphics (too many, too large, too small, too stupid) and backgrounds. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Same goes for meaningless animation-save it because this is business.
  3. Impossible to read. There’s a client of mine who used a font in his email that looked like handwriting; it drove me nuts because I had a hard time figuring out what he was trying to say. Not only did this waste both of our time, but it also came across as extremely unprofessional. Use your fonts wisely and make sure that whatever you choose, that it’s readable. Remember that every PowerPoint presentation is a VISUAL aid for a live presentation.

The bottom line is to create a presentation that will engage your audience rather than overwhelm/put them to sleep.  X LLB

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Did You Blow It?

April 12, 2019– Uh oh, did you totally screw up? Did you drop the ball? Did you blow your one and only shot at properly marketing your book? Well, the good news is, you can start over and begin again, this time more intelligently. Today we’re talking about the top three book marketing mistakes that authors make. Is this you? I hope not.

  1. Starting too late. This is the number one thing that will KILL your sales and have you spending money like it’s no one’s business. Waiting until your book is published before marketing it is a terrible idea. It is NEVER too early to start marketing your book. NEVER TOO EARLY.
  2. Scattered efforts. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. I say this all the time. Same goes for your book launch. If you’re scattering your marketing efforts then you’re also scattering your money and time. Please don’t market your book to everyone! This is a huge mistake and such a waste of energy.
  3. Phase Fatigue. Hold the phone, there’s more marketing? Honestly, where did you think you were coming today? Yes, of course, there is more marketing to be done. Marketing is like a human baby, if you don’t feed and water it daily, it’s going to die. Ok, maybe I should have used a plant as a better example. The book launch is only the FIRST phase of your marketing plan! If you don’t continue to nurture each phase of your launch, your book will wither and die (annnnd there’s the plant analogy).

If you’ve done any of these things or haven’t done them properly, stop. STOP. RIGHT. NOW. Focus your efforts, come up with a plan, and start again. I’m always here to help if you want a free consult (30 minutes) all you need to do is email me (pandapublishing8@gmail.com) and I’ll guide you back onto the yellow brick road.

Here’s to your success! X LLB

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Structure and Environment (How They’re DIRECTLY Related to Your Success…)

March 27, 2019- Did you know that structure and environment are directly linked to whether you fail or succeed? If you’re not reaching your goals, your environment and structure of activities may be to blame! Let’s take a look at this concept from a writer’s point of view; we’ve set this up as a case study for the fun of it!

Barb is a full-time writer who has a home-office in a room at the back of her house.  Her desk is barely visible under the piles of papers, sticky notes, and half-full coffee cups. She has two school-aged children who she has to put on and take off the bus at eight am and four pm, and she is a single parent. She is trying to get another book deal with a major publisher who would be a perfect fit for her work since her original publisher told her that they didn’t have a place for her current story. Her phone is constantly ringing and buzzing with updates from social media and email.  Barb has been struggling lately with staying on task since it seems that everything is vying for her attention and pulling her in different directions.  She is currently two chapters behind on her manuscript. How can structure and environment help Barb reach her goal of submitting her finished manuscript for consideration?

  1. Get organized (Environment) First and foremost Barb needs to clean up her office and get her desk nice and tidy. If her work space isn’t clean it will distract her from her work and make it impossible for her to get anything accomplished. She’ll spend most of her allotted working time looking for things.
  2. Assess her time and set a timer (Structure) Barb has from approximately 8:30 am to 3:30 am each day to work on her book and submissions. That is 7 hours of good, core time to get things done. She needs to use the Pomodoro technique which is where she would set a timer and work uninterrupted for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. She could later extend this once she becomes more focused.
  3. Set a routine (Structure & Environment)  Every morning Barb could set an hour aside, let’s say from 9 am to 10 am to check her email, social media, and return phone calls. Other than the allotted time, she should turn off all social media and email notifications as well as any other distractions.
  4. Set goals (Structure) Barb could set a word count goal for each hour of writing. She could start with a small goal such as 250 words per hour. This small goal is better than having a blank page.

There are many other things that Barb could do to improve her environment and the structure of her day; what are you doing each day to reach your goals? Does your environment and daily routine support your success? X LLB

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The Willpower Instinct…

March 13, 2019– If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen me post about a book I was reading last week; The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, is an excellent read for anyone who wants to know how self-control works and how our brains process things. There are three key sentences that really stuck out and I’ve since employed them for the business/writing tasks that I don’t love to do.

  1. I will.
  2. I won’t. 
  3. I want. 

That’s it, pretty simple, right? Now, let’s combine them to make a powerful statement. If you’re struggling with doing mundane tasks consider the examples below. The more specific you are, the better this works!

  1. I will write 500 words in an hour and I won’t get distracted by social media during that time because I want to reach my goal and finish my book.
  2. I will wake up early to finish my blog post and I won’t answer return emails until this afternoon because I want to go for a walk with my spouse after breakfast.
  3. I will finish my fabulous presentation on grammar by Tuesday and I won’t turn on my phone until it’s completed because I want to show my boss that I deserve a raise.

You guys get the point! This will work in many areas of your life such as organization, education, writing, reading, leisure activities, relationships, and more. It works because I will, I won’t, and I want, allow us to be clear on what our priorities are and they draw a firm line in the sand showing us what we are willing and not willing to do and what the pay off is. This technique works really well and I hope that you’ll try it yourself! Let me know if you do and if it worked for you by sending me an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

 

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The Benefits of Writing Groups

March 8, 2019- Up until about a year ago, I was a regular member of a local writing group that met each Saturday at a coffee shop in town. It was super relaxed and there were around eight of us, laptops in hand, armed with new ideas, and ready to write. It was a fantastic experience and some of the things I learned along the way, I still carry with me today. The only reason why I stopped going was that I ran out of time and my writing business took over with events that were held on weekends. Being part of a casual writing group was a great experience and here’s why you should consider joining one:

  1. You’ll get inspired and beat writer’s block. There’s something to be said about gathering in a small group and sharing ideas. Some of my best book ideas have come from just chatting with others and listening to their perspectives on different topics.
  2. You’ll develop discipline. Every Saturday for two hours from 9 am until 11 am is when our group met and started writing. This helped me develop discipline; it made me realize that I could sit down for two consecutive hours and write, uninterrupted.
  3. You’ll get and be able to give constructive criticism. This was the most important thing that I got out of joining a writing group. My comrades gave me constructive criticism and made me take a hard look at my writing. They saw the holes that I was blind to. They asked the tough questions that made me a better writer and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I was also able to give feedback and trust my instincts that I knew what I was doing and what I was talking about as a writer.
  4. You’ll get to network with like-minded people and make some friends. There are people that I’m still friends with from this group and I’ve also been able to do business with a few of them. We still talk about writing and bounce ideas off each other every once in a while.

I highly recommend joining a local writer’s group! You’ll have a blast and be able to hone your skills at the same time. Happy writing! X LLB

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Character Sketches and Why You Need Them

March 6, 2019– Character sketches are essential to writing because characters are the people in your book that your readers care about the most! If you don’t have a strong, character-driven story, chances are that people won’t continue to read your work. While writing, authors try and develop characters that readers can relate to. We want characters with real-world struggles of the human condition that intertwine us and make us comrades in this life. As readers, we want to look at a character and see parts of ourselves.

So what exactly is a character sketch? A character sketch is simply writing down everything that you need to know about a character from what their favourite food is to what motivates them. It may sound silly, but I always encourage my authors to write down absolutely EVERYTHING about their characters even the stuff that won’t make it into the book, because knowing their character intimately allows their quirks and personality traits to bleed into their writing. For example, Jenna may hate spaghetti, but the reason behind it may be because it was her abusive ex-husband’s favourite dish.

Let’s elaborate and use Jenna as a character sketch:

  1.  32 years old
  2. divorced
  3. no children but two pit bull dogs
  4. Aquarius
  5. loves old movies
  6. hates spaghetti
  7. favourite food is roast beef
  8. tall 5’8
  9. brown eyes and blonde hair from a bottle
  10. second born of three children (Older brother, her, younger brother)
  11. parents are dead
  12. biggest fear is being alone
  13. listens to opera music but only while in the shower
  14. a non-reader other than gossip rags
  15. spare time is used to scour antique shops
  16. mid-level income
  17. American Italian
  18. biggest goal in her life is to find true love after four failed attempts

I think that’s enough examples and you guys get the point! So, where does this information come in handy? Let’s use this to create a scene.

Jenna threw her keys into the dish on the counter. She scoured her brother’s almost bare fridge for anything edible but the only thing left was day-old spaghetti. She chucked the pasta in the trash with such force that the container burst open and some noodles stuck to the wall. Memories of her cheating ex-husband came barrelling to the surface as she held back tears. It was his favourite meal and the first meal they shared as husband and wife. The cold, stringy pasta was a horrible reminder of the man who betrayed her trust and slept with her best friend.

How in the world did we get all of this from spaghetti? See what I mean? This was going out on a ledge, but we must remember that people have their reasons for everything that they do or don’t do. They don’t do, or like, or hate things for no reason, there is always an explanation.

So, I hope you’ll take the time to sketch your characters! It will make a world of difference in your writing. X LLB