My New Thriller…Obsessed With Her

July 14, 2017-Hi Friends, as many of you know, I am an author of not only children’s books but also books for adults. Obsessed With Her is the name of my upcoming thriller and you can find out more information by hopping over to my site to check out the latest news, upcoming events and more!

See you there!


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The Rule of 3…

April 19, 2017- This is really cool! Did you know that doing 3 things per day can move you closer to your goals? It’s simple, let me show you how!

  1. Make a list of areas in your life that you’d like to improve, e.g.,. Health, Business, Social, Relationships, Organization, etc.
  2. List the 3 things in each section that you can start doing immediately! For example, let’s say you want to improve your Health, three tiny things you can do to make that happen are a) Drink 8 glasses of water per day b) Run for 30 minutes c) Meditate
  3. Re-do your list every day and check each item off as complete!

That’s it! It’s simple, fun and effective, plus it gets you into the habit of writing down your goals and accomplishing them. This is a super effective method and I use it every day for my business goals!

Keep me posted on how this works for you!


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Ren’s Pets Depot Adoption and Book Signing Event with Pet Patrol Rescue!…This Saturday from 11-3


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Bear Creek Sanctuary…

April 19, 2017- As most of you know, we a Pandamonium Publishing House love animals. Not only that, we love helping animals in need. Through the sales of our book Panda the Very Bad Cat, we donate to many different charities, and Bear Creek Sanctuary is one of them. Bear Creek Sanctuary is located just west of Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Here is an excerpt from their website: “If we have the ability to help an animal in need, then we are morally obligated to do so”

“If we have the ability to help an animal in need, then we are morally obligated to do so”

“Extinct is Forever!”

“We are a volunteer driven non-profit organization dedicated to the survival of rare and endangered species. We are also involved in humane wildlife rescue and rehabilitation of animals involved in public concerns, and as always, we provide a safe haven for unwanted, abused and injured exotic and zoo surplus animals.”

These animals cannot be placed back in the wild because they’ve been humanized and would not be able to survive in any other scenario.

I sincerely hope that you will check them out and that you’ll think of supporting their amazing work. I’ve attached a link to their site that you can click on, and it will take you right to their main page where you can browse through FAQ’s, see the various animals that they help and even see some of the things that are on their Amazon Wishlist! It’s a really great way to get involved if you have the resources and Amazon will even ship it directly to Bear Creek Sanctuary! There’s even the option to SPONSOR an animal!

Here’s a link to their Amazon Wishlist:

This is Lola, a resident at Bear Creek Sanctuary…


Interview With Our Newest Author Tamara Botting!…

April 17, 2017- I would sincerely like to welcome new author Tamara Botting to our team at Pandamonium Publishing House. She brings with her not only a wonderful story of magic, adventure, and friendship through her book Unfrogged which is slated for release on July 1, 2017, but also an extensive writing and interviewing background. We are so happy to have her aboard, and I can’t wait for you guys to read her book! And here’s a fun fact, her brother, Christopher Botting is the illustrator of Unfrogged; it’s pretty cool to see a brother and sister team up on this one! Let’s see what she had to say about becoming an author.

Lacey: Why did you decide to become an author?

Tamara: I knew pretty early on, probably Grade 2 or 3, that I wanted to write for a living. I did a co-op at a community newspaper in high school, and after I graduated from university, I called the editor to ask for a reference. He offered me a job instead, which I gratefully took. I’ve been there ever since.

It was years later, through my job as a community newspaper reporter, that I connected with Lacey Bakker and Pandamonium Publishing (actually, re-connected, because we went to high school together).

I guess the moral of my story is, work hard and be nice to people in your youth because you never know how it will affect your life as an adult! (laughs)

Lacey:  How long have you been writing for?

Tamara: Since I’ve known that I wanted to write for most of my life, I’ve pretty much always been making up stories. Over the past decade, I’ve been very blessed in that I’ve gotten to write and pay my bills with my job at the newspaper.

Lacey: What is your favourite book now and your favourite book when you were a child?

Tamara: I’ve always been an avid reader, so it’s kind of hard to limit myself to just a few books!

Except for Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, both of which I discovered in high school, these are a few of the books that I read as a kid and still love today: Virgil Nosegay and the Wellington Boots, Robert the Rose Horse, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Little Women.

Lacey: Tell us about Unfrogged and where you got your idea for the story from.

Tamara: I wrote Unfrogged probably about ten years ago, if not longer. As I recall, I did it kind of as a writing exercise. I’ve always loved fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast and the Frog Prince being among my favourites. Since I didn’t think I could bring anything new or different to the story of Beauty and the Beast that hadn’t already been done before, I decided to write a novelization of Frog Prince.

Even though I love fairy tales, I always did find them a bit annoying on some parts, in particular, that the princesses always seemed to be so perfect, and that the romance generally springs up out of nowhere. I wanted my version to be more realistic; I hope I’ve achieved that.

In my story, the princess, Meredith, is very much a fish out of water. She’s living with her aunt and uncle, the queen and king because her parents have passed on. Her father was the kingdom’s second-born prince, so Meredith had never been expected to act like a princess before. Add to that the fact that she’s very clumsy and withdrawn. When she meets Frog, they become very close friends, and he encourages her to come out of her shell more.

Lacey:  Is there a particular character that you relate to the most in Unfrogged?

Tamara: Frog’s sarcasm is all me, unfortunately. (laughs) Also, I’d say I’m a lot like Meredith at the start of the book, because she’s such a hot mess; something I definitely relate to! (laughs).

Meredith at the end of the book is more who I’d like to be: someone who’s confident, using her unique talents and abilities to help others, and not letting fear stop her from doing what she knows she should do.
Lacey:  Anything else you want to tell us?

Tamara: A story that has always resonated with me is the one about a man watching a young boy walking along the beach, throwing starfish that have washed up on shore back into the ocean.

The man goes up to the boy and tells him that he’s wasting his time; there’s no way he can save all the starfish. What he’s doing isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

The boy bends down, picks up another starfish, and throws it back into the ocean.

“Made a difference for that one,” he says.

One of the messages that I hope people take away from this book is that we all have special talents and abilities. You are the only person who can make your unique contribution to the world. So use your gifts to serve others, to make this world a kinder place. Even if you have to do it one day, one person, at a time.


Submission Guidelines for Authors…

April 17, 2017- I get a lot of requests from authors in regards to taking a look at their manuscript, and while I’m more than happy to do so, I’ve decided to post some submission guidelines. Pandamonium Publishing House is a boutique publishing house that publishes up to ten titles a year of all types of fiction. Currently, we are at our max for the year regarding publishing but are still accepting submissions of fiction and non-fiction for all ages.

  • Please send a synopsis of your work (include the ending of the book) and please make it one page only. A synopsis is a brief summary of your book.
  • Please include the first five pages of your manuscript pasted into the BODY of your e-mail. I won’t open attachments unless they are from a trusted source.
  • Please allow 4-12 weeks for a response from me as this allows me the much needed time to properly address your manuscript. I will send you a response either way via e-mail so remember to include your contact information!
  • Please don’t take anything personally. Sometimes I reject manuscripts for different reasons, maybe we’re at our maximum publishing quota for the year, maybe the story isn’t a great fit for our publishing house, perhaps there are too many errors within the manuscript. Whatever the reason, please don’t take it personally. Keep submitting and keep trying!

To send me a submission of your work following the guidelines above, e-mail me at and include SUBMISSION in the subject line. I look forward to reading your submissions. Stay tuned for a future blog post about how to successfully get published.


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Meet the Newest Member of Our Team at Pandamonium Publishing House…Shamayal Hayat Illustrator!

I’d like to take a second and introduce you to Shamayal Hayat, our newest illustrator at Pandamonium Publishing House! Shamayal will be illustrating Deer Diary coming October 2017 and I wanted to do an interview with her so without further adieu, here she is! Plus, here’s a treat from behind the scenes of Deer Diary:)

  • Why did you decide to go into illustration and how long have you been an illustrator for?

I have been an illustrator for 3 years now and currently completing by BA of Illustration at Sheridan College. I decided to go into Illustration because I wanted to create characters that people can relate to. From there, I realized that I really wanted to create children’s book illustrations because of the joy and happiness children get from reading books. I want to create characters that children can look up to and ones that can leave a lasting impression on them.

  • How do you think of characters and what they’ll look like?

 It takes a lot of rough sketches and references for me to really figure out how I want a character to look like. Before I start the rough sketches, I first compile a folder of references of how I imagine the character should look like. I go through my library of inspiration to figure out styles and colour palette approaches while also keeping true to the personality of the character. I then begin sketching out my ideas in a sketchbook. When I have done a number of sketches and ideas, I go through which character I feel personally relates to the type of personality I want to show. The character that best fits with the story line is the character I clean up and finalize on Photoshop.

  • How long does it take you to draw a character?

This depends on what the character is, how important it is to the story and if I have experience in drawing characters like that before. For a main character like Duncan specifically, I spent a lot of time on the initial ideation stage and figuring out how to design him than on the final so that I could get a true essence of his character. I would say that the longest I have spent really figuring out a character has been around 2 days and that is including figuring out style and colour palettes. For smaller characters, it usually takes afew hours.

  • What was your favorite book growing up and why?

I wouldn’t say that I had one favourite book but my favourite author growing up was Roald Dahl. I really enjoyed how different and interesting his work was and constantly found myself rereading my favourite short stories from his books. What I especially liked about his work was that his stories were so unpredictable. For someone like me who doesn’t like scary books, it was his scary stories that kept me engrossed.

  • Who inspires you and why?

I am constantly inspired by my grandmother who first got me interested in art. While growing up, she would try to involve me as much as she could in her own little projects which really inspired me to pursue art as a career. She has also been very supportive of my journey.

I also look up to a lot of artists and constantly use them as inspiration for some of my own work that I come up with. Some of these artists include Loish, Katherin Honesta and many more.

Roughs by Shamayal


How Characters are Created…The Process…Pandamonium Publising House

April 2, 2017- We’ve all done it before. Each and every one of us. Either we’ve fallen deeply in love with a character that stirs our souls and makes us empathize with the problems they face in every chapter of the book. Or we’ve wished sudden death and pain and suffering upon a character who’s actions and words make our stomachs churn, and our brains seek revenge for what they’ve put our beloved hero through.

So how are characters created? Where do we find them as writers and how do we plant the seed of them onto paper from our minds? Take a good look around you right now, wherever you are, and you’ve got an idea or ideas for character development. You could be sitting in a hut in Timbuktoo, isolated and alone but you still can create characters. The character could even be you! Here are a few steps that will help you get started with creating characters:

  • Use your memory-Think back to a particular time or place in your life and remember the people that were around you. What did they look like? What did they sound like? What quirks and oddities did they possess? Did they have any special features or skills? What was their occupation? What was their family life like? What did they wear? What did they smell like? Using your memory and senses of people you’ve already met or are close to is a surefire way to create believable and memorable characters that readers can relate to. We can all relate to Uncle John who wore thick black glasses, worked as a grocery store produce manager who had the disgusting habit of picking his nose and looking at it. You get the point! Characters are all around you!
  • Observe your surroundings-This advice goes part and parcel with the previous point. Sit at the mall for an hour and observe the people that walk past you. What are they doing and why are they at the mall? What are they thinking about? Why are they in a rush? Why are they wearing that? What are they mumbling under their breath? When I have writer’s block which happens to everyone once and a while, I go out! I leave the house and either go to the mall or sit in Starbucks and do this exact thing. Before long I’m scribbling page upon page of ideas for characters. Trust me on this one, it works!
  • Write an outline for your character-So important and I do this with EVERY single one of my characters. Let’s use Jessica Westlake, the protagonist in my upcoming thriller, The Ravaged Silence. I know everything about her as I should because I created her! Without giving too much of her away, I’ll just mention a few things about her. She is married, to a successful lawyer. She grew up in a trailer park with abusive parents. She’s had a traumatic brain injury from an accident. She has romantic feelings for her neighbour and wants to escape from her horrific marriage. Her mother was murdered and her father is dead. I also need to mention that it is SO important to write about your character thoroughly right down to the most minimal quality or quirk. The reason is, even if you don’t say it to your reader eg. Jessica loves spying on people while she eats chocolate chip ice cream in her apartment, it will still come through in your writing!

In conclusion, readers don’t need to know every single minor detail about your characters but as an author, you do.


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How to Write a Memoir…Binbrook Women’s Institute Presentation…

March 29, 2017- I’m absolutely honoured to speak to the members of the Binbrook Women’s Institute today about the Do’s and Dont’s of Memoir Writing. I’d like to share my points with you so that if you’re ever inclined to pick up a pen and start writing your story, you’ll know where to start.

Memoir- Is a French word that means memory or reminiscence. The dictionary defines it as a historical account or biography that’s written from personal knowledge or special sources.

It sounds like memoir and autobiography are the same, but in the publishing world, they’re not.

There’s a key difference that publishers use to define each—the timeline covered in the writing. An autobiography focuses on the chronology of the writer’s entire life while a memoir covers one specific aspect of the writer’s life.

How to start your memoir The Do’s and Don’ts

  • (DO) Decide if you’re going to write a biography or a memoir-This is super important if you’re going to a publisher with your story. We want to know if it’s a complete work of your life or just a fascinating piece of it. This helps us as publishers, to position the book in the market.
  • (DO)Do an outline-I cannot stress this enough. An outline is an invaluable tool that allows you to stay on track and know where you’re going with your story. And let’s face it, your life is a story, everyone’s is. Without an outline, it’s very easy to get sidetracked, lose your place and procrastinate.
  • (DON’T) If you’ve chosen to write a memoir, don’t begin at the beginning. Remember the difference between memoir and biography. In memoirs, readers want to know the most exciting or emotional point in your life. Eg. The summer of 1978. Be specific in your memoir.
  • (DO) Use all of your senses while describing your scenes. Eg. The air was thick with humidity, and the rumble of thunder (Sound) in the inky blue sky (Sight) made the skin on the back of my neck prickle (touch). I loved the smell of the salty ocean especially on days like this. Seagulls flapped above the patio as I took a long drink of beer (taste) from a frosted glass. (Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell).
  • (DO BUT DON’T) Show don’t tell! This is SO important! As an author, I’ve been browbeaten with this term, and I also obsess over this with the authors that I publish. Don’t tell me the moon is shining…show me how it drips across broken glass in an abandoned parking lot. Show me how it catches in his eyes and illuminates his face.
  • (DO) Tell the Truth-This might seem obvious to all of you but there have been plenty of scandals on tv about people writing fiction and passing it off as their own life or true story. Does anyone remember the man who wrote a book about meeting his wife at the concentration camp? He was on one side of the fence, and she was on the other, and she gave him an apple. His story was so compelling that he was on Oprah twice. Once for the story and again to apologize to the public. The only way you would get away with lying about your life story is if everyone you know is dead and if you were planning on moving to a place where no one has ever heard of you. You will eventually get caught though when someone asks you questions about your life/book, and you can’t corroborate your story.
  • (DO)Sit the reader next to you- What I mean by this is, illustrate your life in the first person. This makes sure the reader is involved in your story. They have more empathy, and they’re more engaged. You don’t want them to be an outsider looking in, you want them to be sitting right next to you. Here’s an example. Who wants to read a story that starts with, “Lacey L. Bakker was born on June 14th, 1982. She was 6 pounds 12 ounces and had 10 fingers and 10 toes.” Honestly, no one cares. Sorry to say but you need to start your story out with something interesting. It needs to engage the reader if you ever want a chance of being published. If being published is not something that you care about then, by all means, start your story off with facts. But, how much better does this sound? On June the 14th at precisely 8:00 in the morning there was a lot of screaming. Not just from me but from my mother as well. I was stolen from my place of comfort and darkness to be plunged into the light by a perfect stranger surrounded by people in masks and gloves. I was naked and covered in someone else’s blood. See what I mean?
  • (DO) Create an emotional journey-Make your reader feel something. Whether you’re concerned with getting your book out to the masses or just a few people this piece of advice stays the same. Make your reader feel something, and they will always come back for more.
  • (DON’T) Don’t live a boring life!-If you don’t have anything interesting to write about, then you need to get out there and do something worth writing about. You don’t want your life story to be: I was born, I worked, and I died.  Life is to be lived, and there’s an entire world full of adventure in front of us.
  • (DO) Have fun-Make sure that you’re having fun with the process of writing as well as the writing part. Add humour if it’s something you want to add, be silly, show your readers who you truly are and don’t leave the funny, fun or embarrassing parts out! These things allow us to all be connected. They show everyone that we are the same. People will relate to you and after all, isn’t that the point? To relate to each other and say, I know how you feel!

Check Out Our Newest Thing!…

Hi Friends, I just wanted to quickly tell you about the newest thing happening at Pandamonium Publishing House! I’ve started a weekly newsletter titled The Panda Post and I hope that you’ll enjoy it. It offers new books, general information about what’s happening in the publishing and book industry, trends, events and more. Here it is…Enjoy!

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