Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Pushing the Envelope with (the one and only) Tim Ford

April 28, 2021-I am so excited to wrap up this month’s theme of pushing the envelope in your writing! I hope that you will enjoy our guest blogger Tim Ford, who is the author of the Mitch Strongbow series! If you haven’t read his work yet, you’re missing out on a brilliant mind and even more brilliant storyteller. Here what he has to say:

My name is Tim Ford, and I am a writer. Well, truth be told, I am a storyteller, the editor truly makes me a writer. For me, my whole writing career has been a challenge, a challenge that I met head on, no surrender. I never graduated high school; in fact, I don’t even have grade 10 English. But as I stated above, I am a storyteller, self-taught.
Approx. 14 years ago, I was working night shifts over the Xmas holidays. I truly felt pissed off leaving my family, and heading to work. Everyone was enjoying Christmas dinner, and for me, well mine was packed up and taking to work to be nuked.
I have always had this storyline, character in my head. From time to time, I would write some stuff out, put it away until I felt the need to write out more of the story. So, while working over Christmas, I could have sulked, felt sorry for myself and turn that 12-hour shift, into a shift that seemed to never end, or do something that truly made me happy, my joy to my world, my celebration. Pulled out my notes, brought up a Microsoft Word page, and started to bang away on the keyboards. The feeling was rather euphoric, I felt so alive. Time meant nothing, that crazy Irish imagination of mine was firing on all cylinders. And you know what, I couldn’t wait to my next shift. To bring more of Mitchell Strongbow to life.
Now confidence is either your best friend, or worst enemy. I thought I had a solid storyline, but I realized, my lack of education quickly rose to the surface, we are talking warp speed. The fear was real.
Luckily for me, several curious coworkers asked what all was I doing pecking away on the keyboard like a chicken. I explained my story. I could tell I intrigue them by my storyline. They would ask for me to send them some stuff. Nervously I did, and the feedback was outstanding.
Originally my storyline was just this 17-year-old asking out a classmate to a New Year’s Eve party. Now, heck, I am in book 17 of the series.

My new challenges are not repeating the same storylines. Remember who all the characters and plotlines are, and also for each contract kill Mitch performs, it has to be unique, not the same bang-bang their dead.
I have also recently retired. I preferred to work night shifts. I would say 80% of my writing would take place between 22:00 and 04:00. My thought process would peak during these hours. Now, no way can I stay up that late. So, I need a new peak writing time, that has been a bit of a challenge, discipline will be the key for me.
And also, the Covid world, it is truly a dark world, not much sunshine in the world these days. The Strongbow series gets very dark at times. It was hard going down the Strongbow rabbit hole as when I came back up, the world much like Mitch’s world, still surrounded by darkness.

Check out his collection here: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop

Posted on 2 Comments

Best Selling Author, Tonya Cartmell is Our Guest Blogger!

April 26, 2021– Our guest blogger today is none other than the one and only Tonya Cartmell! You know her as the author of the number 1, best-selling children’s bookThe 12 Days of Rescue! Available here: The 12 Days of Rescue – Pandamonium Publishing House

Let’s see what her take is for pushing the envelope in her writing:

How do I push the envelope in my writing?  That is an interesting question and one which being a new author with only one book published, I am not sure I can offer a lot of insight into.  What I can tell you is this:

Push yourself and believe in your ability to accomplish your dreams – For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer.  Several times a day I will see, hear or read something that makes me think of a story idea, an opening sentence or a “What if?” scenario.  The problem was because I never believed that I could create something that someone would want to publish, I never pushed myself to make my dream a reality.  I also did not invest in things that could help me accomplish my goal. 

Around 14 years ago, I decided it was time to go back and finish my university degree.  I took an adult leadership course and the final paper required you to analyse a situation and suggest leadership skills or strategies that could be used to recognize and improve employee satisfaction and workplace workflows.  There was a situation outlined that we could use however, it was close to Christmas and there was a song playing on the radio that I thought was a perfect example of unhappy employees about to mutiny.  If you have not heard Elf’s Lament by the Barenaked Ladies, listen to the words.  I decided to try and base my paper on that song and was able to apply the leadership skills and strategies I had learned about in that class to it.  Pushing myself to come up with something original made my paper stand out amongst the others.

In 2019, I faced turning fifty.  Not a big deal to many people but, to me it was the kick in the pants to finally push myself to stop dreaming and start doing.  I made it my goal to write a book and submit it.  I also signed up for a writing course.  The one I choose was offered by Pandamonium Publishing House.  It provided me with many writing tools and someone that I could ask questions to.  The next hurdle was coming up with something to write about.  How do I turn a few sentences or an idea into a book?  What worked for me was making myself write.  I have always been one who writes things in my head and then sits down to put it on paper.  While this worked well for school papers, it was harder for a book.  I started keeping notebooks everywhere to jot things into when I did not have my laptop and have even used the voice memo feature on my phone in the car.  I started doing photo prompts which I had never tried before and now love to do.  I even submitted one to Pandamonium in May 2019 and it was picked to be posted in their blog the next month.  That was the turning point that made me realize I can really do this.  From there I did write a children’s book, Twelve Days of Rescue which was published by Pandamonium in September 2020.  All because I finally believed I could do it and pushed myself to work for it.

Try new things – What better way to write and learn about things, then by trying new experiences that relate to the story you are going to tell.  The middle school novel I have almost finished is called The Second Hand Witch.  Another that I have outlined is Called the Dead Boys.  All I knew about witches and ghosts is what I have seen on tv, in movies, read about or stories I’ve heard.  Luckily, I have two friends who are always up for an adventure or whatever crazy idea I may have.  So, to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and to experience new things, I get them to come along.  Together, we have taken classes on crystal ball reading, witches broom making, spell casting, done gravestone rubbings, participated in a Samhain ceremony, slept in a haunted hotel and hostel, participated in the ghost investigation of a cemetery and Fort Henry and done many ghost walks.  I love paranormal things but would never do these things on my own. With them, I have met some wonderful people, learned new things, been scared and had tons of laughs.  You can be sure that some of our adventures will be in those two books.

Explore a new genre – I want to branch out from writing children or middle school books but was unsure what to move to.  One thing I love is the Irish history my husband and I have learned while visiting Ireland, so I thought I would try my hand at an adult historical fiction novel.  This is something I have never done or even considered before, so it is a big leap for me.  

The word count is a little intimidating, so I know I am going to have to push myself to be organized, create character sheets, and outline my chapters in more detail than I normally do.   I know the time period I want to set the story in and have an idea for some of the characters but learning how to tie a fictional story into actual events that happened makes me want to ensure I have my facts right.  To do this, I am going to have to do research.  With COVID, our local library is closed and there are not a lot of books easily available here on the event I am researching. 

I decided to try something I have not done before and requested to join a private Facebook group dedicated to the events I am trying to learn about.  From here I met someone with connections to that time period who has helped me find books on the subject as well as shared some stories with me.  This has increased my excitement for the project, and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops.

For me, these are the ways that I push myself to try and improve my writing. 

Awesome job, Tonya! Stay tuned for more guest bloggers as we wrap up this month’s theme of pushing the envelope.

To check out our writing classes, click here:

Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House 

Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House

Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

Novel Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

Kids Creative Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Start, Stop, Never Finish

March 8, 2021– We’ve got a great question today that seems to plague a lot of authors! Let’s dive right in:

Q: “I’m a new writer with a ton of ideas and a very active imagination. I have (no exaggeration) hundreds of story starters which help me write a few chapters, but then my writing fizzles out. I can never seem to finish what I start! This includes not only writing, but hobbies, crafts, and classes. Please help!”

A: I hear this a lot, so you are not alone. It’s wonderful that you have so many story starters; sometimes starting a novel is difficult, but it sounds like the ending is the hardest part in your case. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you writing yourself into a corner? Sometimes what happens is that we write ourselves into a corner. What this means is that we write with no clear direction and we end up hitting a dead end with no where else to go. Outlining can provide you with a specific plan that allows you to know everything you need to know about your story to keep writing.
  2. Are you outlining? Outlining, as mentioned above, allows us to know what happens in our story in regards to characters, character developments, plot, climax, and all of the elements of our book. Without outlining, we don’t have a target. And you can’t hit a target that you can’t see!
  3. Are you setting a specific time to write each day? Sitting down to write every single day is a discipline that takes dedication. Carving out time in your schedule to get the words on the page is the best way to ensure that you finish your work. If you’re having a hard time starting, set a timer to write for ten minutes.
  4. Are you beginning with the end in mind? I’ve never written a book where I didn’t have a clear picture of how it ended. If you don’t write with the end in mind, you’re more likely to get stuck and not finish what you’ve started. Some writers like to have their characters tell them what to write, but I prefer to direct them to where I want them to go.
  5. Are you remembering your past successes? Sometimes we can be discouraged when we write and feel as though we’re getting nowhere. But, take a second when you’re feeling low to remember all of your past successes and everything that you’ve finished! You can do this, you just need to get organized and excited to write!

If you’ve answered these questions and you’re still having trouble with finishing your work, we can help! Send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for more information and check out my number 1, best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Best Sellers Read A Lot

January 27, 2021– You can’t expect to be a best selling author if you don’t make time to read each day. It’s just not going to happen. Lack of reading leads to lack of writing skills, plain and simple, but let’s back up for a second-sometimes authors tell me that they don’t read because they don’t want their work to be influenced. Puh-leese, get over yourself (insert eye roll here) this is such a flawed way of thinking and the height of arrogance and ignorance. Here’s how reading makes you a better writer:

  1. Other Styles- Reading exposes us to other styles of writing. We may read a flowery prose or a stunning haiku that will make an impact on us and our future writing without even realizing where the inspiration came from until years later.
  2. Other Voices-When we read, not only do we get to experience other types of narrative, but we also get to enjoy a myriad of author voices. This allows us to develop our own sense of voice, and experiment with different narratives that maybe we wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t read any books.
  3. Other Forms-Reading lets us see different types of formatting, style, stylistic elements of speech, how paragraphs are formed, what’s old, what’s new, and what stands the test of time.
  4. Other Genres- When we read other genres of writing that are different than our own, we expand our creativity and improve our work. If you usually write romance, pick up a psych thriller or a mystery. If you usually write thrillers, pick up a cozy romance or a non-fiction biography. Anything outside of your scope is excellent for creating new ideas and can help your writing improve immensely.
  5. Other Emotions- Reading creates deep connections to our own experiences and emotions. It lets us know that we are not alone when we read about characters facing the same challenges that we have. Reading makes us better writers and a better communicators.

Stephen King said it best when he said,  ” If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. Simple as that.”  If you have reading goals, we’d love to help you reach them! Check out our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club or our Subscription Book Box: Book Box! Yearly Membership (1 Book Box/month for 12 months) – Pandamonium Publishing House 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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/

Posted on Leave a comment

Publisher vs. Author Role

January 15, 2021– We are officially half-way through our Best-Seller Bootcamp!  Today we’ll be talking about the Publisher vs. Author role when it comes to marketing a best seller. For my self-published friends, guess what? You’re both! You are the Publisher AND Author, so you especially will get a lot from this post. The publishing industry has changed in the fact the publisher is no longer solely responsible for the marketing of your book. The author and publisher together are responsible for collaborative efforts to get the book to the top of the best-seller list! So let’s break it down to see what the expectations are; that way we find clarity, and there are no miscommunications between either party.

Publishers are responsible for: 

  1. Formatting, publishing, editing, and designing your book. We know what’s saleable and we know what the market is looking for in terms of genre, look, voice, and story. We work with teams of people to bring your book to the marketplace and to put it into the hands of readers.
  2. Marketing materials/digital advertising. Signage, postcards, brochures, business cards, press releases, and displays. We craft the messages and deliver the materials to publicists, the media, book sellers, our social media, and to the public. We create specific, targeted marketing plans for our individual authors and their works and then we execute those plans.
  3. Book signings/ events. The publisher is responsible for booking events and signings on your behalf. We make sure that you’re in the spaces that you need to be such as book stores, community events, digital events, and special events such as Comicon etc. We pay for you to be there to chat with your readers and sell copies of your books.
  4. Getting your book into distribution channels. Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Booksellers, independent and local bookstores, online stores, and different countries around the world are where we send your books! As publishers, we work hard to ensure that your book gets exposure by being available to readers everywhere and in as many places as possible.
  5. Digital copies. We ensure that your work is formatted as an e-book so that readers can enjoy it as a digital download. We don’t want any barriers to getting your book to the masses.
  6. Sales. We are responsible for sales (not solely) and royalty payments to the author. Why in the world would we put in all the work above and behind the scenes if we didn’t care about sales? Publishing is a business!

Author responsibilities: 

  1. Writing and edits. Write a great book, this is just the *beginning*of your job as an author. Once you’ve written the book, the real work begins. The editor will make notes and suggested corrections and you are required to fulfil them.
  2. Social media. You are responsible for your author platform. You need to be engaging with your audience, you need to be consistently posting your work and behind the scenes stuff that your readers care about. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon author page etc. are all places to start if you already haven’t. Your author platform should be built BEFORE your book hits the shelves.
  3. Availability. You need to let your publisher know your schedule so that you can be available for upcoming events including in-person and virtual. Commit to doing your part in making your book as successful as it can be. If you put in the work and do it consistently, your book will be a huge success.
  4. Code of conduct. You represent your publisher and are a DIRECT representative of the company. We do not tolerate racism, hate speech, inequality, or anything else that is a violation of the way that we interact with our readers and the public. We expect you to treat others the way you want to be treated and to treat them with kindness, respect, and authenticity. Don’t be rude, check your attitude at the door, and realize that you have an opportunity that most people never get.
  5. Sales. Yep, you read that right. You’re responsible for part of your sales. You are not the only author that the publisher is responsible for, so you had better get to work. If you want that nice, juicy royalty cheque, then take initiative by helping sell your work. You do this by all of the things listed above and by having the right work ethic and attitude. You can tell by your royalty cheque each month how much effort you’re putting in. Don’t like the numbers? Then put the work in and they’ll start to change.

If you’re leaving it up to your publisher to do the work that you need to be doing, you need to re-evaluate your role and contemplate if you should even be writing at all. If you decide that your work ends when you finish writing the book, you will be sadly disappointed. Your publisher has published your book, completed the behind the scenes things such as metadata, marketing, online events, press releases and more, but now the public wants to meet YOU. Have you ever looked at the inside of the book for the publisher name? Probably not. Why? Because we don’t matter, the author matters and the illustrator/graphic designer. The AUTHOR is who people want to meet.

Don’t disappoint your publisher either by doing a half-assed job on your part. Pull your weight, do the things that you’re responsible for because if you don’t, why should we invest SO much time, energy and MONEY into someone who doesn’t care. Plus, if you let us know that you’re not willing to put the work in and do your part, or if you flake out on commitments, or make excuses for not doing your share,  we probably (me ESPECIALLY) won’t invest another CENT into publishing your work or any future works. If you’re not committed, why should we be? That’s the hard truth and I’m not the only publisher who abides by this code of conduct. You want to be a professional author? Then act like it. If you show me that you don’t care, I’ll double down. Those are the rules if you want to play on my team. And if you think that’s harsh, find another publisher, because I won’t lower my standards. DO. YOUR. JOB. because I always do mine.

We want you to succeed! We want you to be a best-seller, but if you don’t do your part, it won’t happen. It’s a lot of work, but worth it! Check out our Best-Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A Special Greeting!

January 15, 2021-Today we have our very own Paul A. Moscarella joining us with a personalized greeting for our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! This month we are reading his debut novel, Machinia. Join us every Friday morning at 11 am on Facebook Live as we chat about his new science fiction book. http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/machinia

Posted on Leave a comment

2021 The Year You Become a Bestseller

December 28, 2020– It’s only a few more sleeps until we usher in 2021! Here’s to happiness, adventure, and realizing our writing potential in the new year! Is 2021 the year that YOU become a best selling author? I hope so; we’re here to help with a variety of options to get you to your goals. Imagine what it would be like to sign copies of your book at major bookstores, to be interviewed about your work, to have your book reach number 1 on Amazon, and to have people tell you that you’re their favourite author!

By writing your story, you can make a difference in the lives of others; stories are used to educate, entertain, and provide an escape. What are you writing about? Whatever it is, we can help you make your dreams come true. Whether you’re looking for editing or ghostwriting services, crafting the perfect query, or interested in getting your book noticed and increasing your sales, we’re the experts that can guide you!

We’ve helped writers become number 1 bestsellers, hone their craft, get publishing deals, and have shown them how to get paid for their writing, plus we’ve coached them to sell more books, how to market their work, and how to connect with their readers. For more information on our services send us an email pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a price quote. 

Do you have a list of writing goals? Where do you want to be next year? Are you ready for success? Do you dream of seeing your book on shelves? What are you waiting for? Let’s make 2021 your best year yet! 

Check out some of our valuable services here: 

Novel Editing 56,000 to 79,999 words – Pandamonium Publishing House
Novel Editing 80,000 to 89,999 words – Pandamonium Publishing House
Novel Editing 90,000 to 100,00 words – Pandamonium Publishing House
Mini-Course Crafting the Perfect Query – Pandamonium Publishing House
Picture Book Manuscript Consultation – Pandamonium Publishing House

Posted on Leave a comment

Dear Fall

October 1, 2020- A few weeks back, we had posted a photo writing prompt on our blog asking readers to send in a 500-word short story, poem, or journal entry about what Autumn means to them. Here is the entry we’ve chosen, written by Kinga Ulazka McDonald:

Dear Fall,
 
The cooler weather means a lot of things for me. The colour means pumpkins and the excitement I feel while decorating those round vegetables with not just flowers, but with different colours. Those pumpkins mean plaid, flavoured coffees, and hats to cover messy hair from early dark skies. Saturdays in October mean multiply blanket covers, golden colours and scary spooks. 
 
Going out may be chilly, but staying in is scary. Horror classics run through my mind with ideas of death, fright and uncertainty. Fall is cold and during normal times, not optimistic. These are not normal times, but the times happening now is bottled Fall: cold, darkened, unknowing, and involves the intention of dying with a promise of regrowth. Fall is these times and what comes next is scarier and unpredictable. 
 
With Fall also comes the joy of Halloween; the fear, the feel and the darkness of all those that still creep, wander and that are still here. 
 
The colours are warm, yet do not bring smiles during sunset. 
 
Fall, for me, is particularly ideal. The struggle with body image becomes less pressured since layers are added. Covering up makes me feel at ease, and somehow lessens the unwanted stares from exposure in dresses. 
 
It sounds unnecessary, but it runs through many minds. Words on dusted pages help with the darkness that creeps up every night. 
 
The workhorse kicks itself into overtime, while seasonal depression comes unwelcomed into the night with uneasiness and sometimes distress. 
 
Fall, you are both inspiring because of the idea of new light, but you are scary at the same time because of the death you bring. This year seems especially grim and not hopeful. 
 
Fall, please be kind, please do not bring the second wave and please continue with the pumpkins, the floral opportunities and the fear of horror classics. 
 
Fall, welcome the great pumpkin, welcome the idea of new, but do not forget about your traditions, and why we do not need any new ones. 
Thank you, Kinga, for this beautiful glimpse of Autumn.