musings, Pandamonium Publishing House

Putting the Pieces Together

July 17, 2020– She’s one of our own and we love her to bits! You know her as the author of Pants and Unfrogged, Tamara Botting; she’ll have two more books coming in 2021, so be sure to look for them in stores, on Amazon, and on our site. I’m thrilled to have her guest blog for us today!

I’ve had a longstanding love of Disney’s animated masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast. I wore out my first VHS copy of the film (yes, I’m that old and yes, it can be done). I bought the DVD as a teen, then bought the DVD again a few years later when the special collector’s edition came out. (So far, I’ve resisted the siren’s call of the Blu-ray). To this day, I can quote the opening of the film verbatim.

So, when I found a 1,000 piece Beauty and the Beast-themed puzzle, I decided to splurge a bit. (Hey, it’s not like I was going out, so why not bring a little entertainment home?) The thing is, as much as I like the idea of puzzles, I’ve only worked on a few over the years, mostly when I’m at a friend’s house, and they have one in progress.

Now that I’m working on one all on my own, I realize it’s a much bigger task than I’d anticipated. There’s a lot to work with, and a lot of pieces to try and fit together. And sometimes it takes a really long time to realize that what you thought was part of Belle’s dress is actually Beast’s waistcoat.

In a way, working on a puzzle is sort of like working on a book. Sometimes you find it’s easier to work on the framing; other times, you find yourself diving right into the middle of it. Sometimes the piece you thought should go in one place actually belongs in an entirely different spot.

It can be really easy to get discouraged when you have part of it coming together in one spot, part of it coming together in another, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out how those two parts come together.

But if you keep picking away at it, keep coming back to it, and keep on just telling yourself that you’re going to stick with this and get it done, eventually the parts will fit together. The bits that seem to have no home prove to actually be really important parts of the whole picture.

And once you have it all put together, you get to enjoy not only the completed project, but also the fact that your table is now clear, and you have room to work on a whole new project.

Because let’s be honest – whether writing or puzzles, it’s pretty hard to stop at just one.


musings, Pandamonium Publishing House

The Perks of Being an Author

April 8, 2020-Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope that you’re having a great week so far. As I sit in my home office during self-isolation, I can’t help but be very grateful to be in the line of work that I’m in. Of course, I miss the public events, book signings, and opportunities to meet my readers face to face, but I know that sometime soon, I’ll be able to do that. Have you ever wondered what the perks are to being an author? Here are some of my favourite things that  writing has done for me:

1. Friendship– I have met so many delightful people over the years through conferences, social media, and events. Some of us have stayed in touch and connect frequently through social media. It’s always fun to meet an old group of friends at writing conferences and to make new ones! I’m so grateful for each friendship that’s been cultivated through writing.

2. World Travel-New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and London are a few of the cities that I’ve been to because of my career as an author. I love travelling so much, especially when it’s for continuing education to improve my writing skills. Learning new ideas and ways of conveying those thoughts are what keep my mind sharp and my storylines interesting. Next on the list are Paris, Moscow, and Milan once things settle down!

3. Seeing your book on the shelf or in a major publication-This is a pretty cool feeling; walking into a book store and seeing your book on the shelf or reading an article that you wrote with your name on it in a major magazine is kind of surreal and it never gets old. A lot of other fun things happen with this as well, such as being chosen as a featured author at Indigo or Barnes and Noble and being interviewed for different media outlets to talk about your books. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work in Women’s World Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Best Health Magazine, Angie’s Diary, and newspapers.

4. Additional opportunities-There are things that never occurred to me when I first became an author, such as the fantastic opportunities that I would have in different fields. In the past I’ve been a speaker at The Ontario Library Super Conference, I’ve been the guest presenter to students in almost 100 classrooms, I’ve given talks and taught classes on writing at various campuses, and I was nominated for Best Local Author in 2019 for my city. I’m so grateful for each opportunity that comes my way, and there are so many things that are available to authors to help them connect in their communities.

5. Open closed doors-Hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours of research go into writing a book. As authors, we’re fortunate to be able to access things that are not necessarily available to everyone; when writing my novel, Obsessed with Her, I got advice and guidance from the head of Toronto Police,  Homicide Division. I was able to ask them questions about specific scenarios to make my work more credible. I’ve stayed at some of the best hotels and have had some of the most amazing experiences in the name of research for a book, and people have been more than accomodating and so wonderful in helping me get things right for my novels.

6. Creating something that outlives you– As an author in Canada, we have to register our books with the Library and Archives of Canada. That in itself is a pretty special honour, we have effectively created something that will outlive us. Long after we’re dead and gone, our work will be available for generations to come.

Again, I’m so grateful that I get to do what I do; I’m thankful for so many people, and I’m forever appreciative of being able to tell stories and create art. Thank you. X LLB

New Releases, Pandamonium Publishing House

Introducing…Tamara Botting!

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.