Seabass’ Diary…Day 148…Change of Direction

June 12, 2017-Dog had his arm around my throat, and I could feel the cool metal from the switchblade against my skin. It was now or never, and if I didn’t do this right, I would be in serious medical trouble.

I glanced over at Simba one more time and gave him a quick nod. I grabbed Dog’s forearm with both hands and clamped down on him with all of the force in my jaw! I bit down until I tasted blood.

“AHHHHHHHHH!” Dog screamed. He simultaneously dropped the blade and released me. Hugo turned around, his eyes were filled with fury, and he loomed over top of us.

“RUN!” I yelled to Simba, and we both started sprinting in the same direction.

I heard a loud THUMP and turned to look back; Hugo was slithering toward us with great speed, and I knew that it would be a matter of seconds before he caught up to us. Dog was seething with anger as he gave chase, I could hear his heavy breathing and see the blood dripping from the place that I had wounded him.

“Follow me!” Simba commanded, and he turned on his heels in the opposite direction.

I obeyed and glanced behind us again, Dog’s feet skidded under him as he tried to pivot directions. He lost his footing and slid on the grass for a few seconds before regaining his momentum.

“Please tell me you have a plan!” I laboured. My breath was short, and my heart was pumping hard.

Simba’s eyes darted from side to side, and I knew that he was looking for an escape route. Hugo was gaining on us, and I could almost feel the thunder of dog’s footsteps closing in on us.

“Quick, in here!” Simba gasped as he grabbed me by the collar and pulled me into darkness.

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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.

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Seabass’ Diary…Day 140…Unsure

April 20, 2017- My guts churned as I realized the facts. The tall, thin woman missing from the group meant that she was still at large. I didn’t want to think about her on the loose, lurking around our neighbourhood, waiting for her next opportunity to cause chaos in our seemingly normal lives.

There were so many things I’d have to sort out; the new found power of Simba and what he was really capable of, getting Bernard back to his family, making sure that the prison was secured and not in imminent danger, among a laundry list of other things. I hated feeling this way; so unsure of what was to come and the feeling of not knowing who was really around me.

All of us except the small, stupid human were taken back to the prison in a police car. She was being taken to the hospital because of her injuries. The large, stupid human took Bernard back to Monty’s house where his family was waiting; I watched from the window of the prison as the large, stupid human explained the ordeal to Bernard’s parents. Thankfully they looked shocked and sympathetic and seemed happy that Bernard was safe.

“Sebastien, may I speak to you for a moment?” Simba asked. I half-heartedly turned around and expected a lecture.

“I’m glad we’re all safe, I’m glad that this didn’t turn out as a worst possible scenario,” he continued.

“I’m glad we’re back too,” I paused for a moment and wondered if I should say anything else. Before I got a chance Simba spoke, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

I gave him my full attention and sat in silence at the prospect of what he was about to say. I braced myself and held my breath.

“I’m not who you think I am.”

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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.

LLB

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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!

Free Amazon Giveaway!…

October 19, 2016- I get a lot of requests from people that I meet about how to get started writing children’s books. I try and share some of my knowledge that I’ve gained over the years from the courses I’ve taken, seminars and workshops I’ve attended and of course from my own hands on experience with Panda the Very Bad Cat. Awhile ago I decided to write it all down and offer it as an e-book on Amazon.com and today I’m happy to say that it’s a FREE DOWNLOAD for the next 5 days! If you’ve ever wanted to know more about writing for children, now is your chance, just search my name, Lacey Bakker on Amazon.com to find the download or click on the link below! Happy Writing!

XO

Lacey

https://www.amazon.com/Authors-Guide-Writing-Children-ebook/dp/B01HXDA7C2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1476882982&sr=8-2&keywords=lacey+bakker

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Seabass’ Diary…Day 21…

April 18, 2016-I had one foot out the door and could feel the sunlight on my face, what a glorious feeling! I turned around and took one last glimpse of Simba, he was sitting behind me and he smiled and waved…I had been mistaken about him and I was sorry. I would miss that old chap and would remember him fondly from this moment on. I turned back to freedom and was met with a sloppy, wet, lather of an enormous tongue that hit me directly in the face.

I lost my balance and skittered back into the doorway in shock, what was  this thing? The light blinded me momentarily and the creature came at me again, I could feel Simba’s hands on me once more as he pushed me towards the massive animal. I dug in my claws with all of my might and resisted. At the same time my vision restored itself and my eyes fell on the rope that the smaller human was holding… at the end of it was a canine.

The canine was the biggest that I had ever seen! He stood ominously over top of me and I shook in fear as he scanned my body, I was frozen in terror. My brain rattled around for a second and I screamed out, “TRAITOR!” at Simba who was laughing at my expense. This was why he pushed me towards what I thought was freedom! I swatted the canine across the face and made a break for it but alas my attempt to flee was in vain.

The small, stupid human scooped me up and embarrassed me in front of the the canine. She scolded me publicly and said, “Seabass, where are your manners? Monty is going to be our guest for a week while his family is on vacation.” She pulled me into herself and cuddled me, I wanted to rip her face off but was still panicked from my encounter with the hell hound so I did nothing.

The small, stupid human took the rope from the other stupid human and the prisoner transfer was completed. I glared at Simba…he loved canines and would have no problem conversing with or tolerating the wretched animal; I on the other hand would make this a week for the record books…I would not rest until I tortured the poor soul into leaving.

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This hound should be very, very worried.

Seabass’ Diary…Day 7

There was much excitement within the prison walls yesterday, a moth had entered somehow. I watched the winged creature flutter about and my thirst for it was insatiable. The poor thing! It had no idea that it’s fate would soon be upon it; and such a nasty one at that.

I was laying on the dining room table as I usually do and was basking in the glorious glow of The Sunbeam. The Sunbeam is my only solace in this hell and I am quite surprised that it finds it’s way inside this deep pit of despair. I saw the winged creature and my eyes widened…could this be? I stretched into a magnificent arch and sat up…yes, there it was again. I watched it fly from the ceiling fan onto the light fixture and then into the window. I pounced and tried to grab it with my paws but alas, it slipped right through.

No matter, I would try again and this time be victorious! I followed it into the living room and swatted at it again…this time it suffered a near fatal blow at my strength. It flew to the floor, disoriented and injured! I ran to the living room rug and tried to find my prize…Simbicile was already there…his mouth was moving slowly and he seemed to be eating something…he had claimed the prize as his own and was finishing off the last delicious morsel.

A rage as hot as lava filled my being. How could he claim the prize that was rightfully mine? He had not suffered the labour of catching the thing! I stared at him; there he sat, a abhorrent figure of laziness. He was  licking his chops and cleaning his face. He looked at me smugly and smiled.  I attacked him with all of my might, our bodies entangled in a fury of fur. I bit down on him as hard as I could and he kicked me in the face. I retreated…this time he had won, but make no mistake…I am plotting my revenge. The small human awoke and saw the destruction of the living room, tumbleweeds of my luxurious black coat dotted the carpet. She came to find me but I hid…I did not want to see her, I had been defeated in battle and that was enough for today.

 

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Sloth…