Monday, March 30, 2020

The HUNT is ON! YASH SCAVENGER HUNT Spring 2020

Welcome to YASH FALL Scavenger Hunt at LM Preston's House

LM PRESTON's HOUSE
YASH SCAVENGER HUNT


SEE ALL PARTICIPATING TITLES:  Goodreads

YOU ARE AT THE PURPLE TEAM STOP
Please welcome authors of MERGED to my blue house! And don't forget my secret number is mumbo number 3

PRESENTING PLAIN JANES by Cecil Castellucci


A DC COMIC!!!!
Buy HERE






When artsy misfit Jane Beckles is forced to leave her beloved city life behind for the boring suburb of Kent Waters, she thinks her life is over. But then she finds where she belongs: at the reject table in the cafeteria, along with fellow misfits Brain Jayne, Theater Jane, and sporty Polly Jane. United by only two things-a shared name and frustration with the adults around them–the girls form a secret club dedicated to fighting suburban apathy with guerrilla works of art scattered around their small town. Armed with her sketchbook and a mission of resistance, the PLAIN Janes are out to prove that passion, bravery, and a group of great friends can save anyone from the hell that is high school.

TEASER



Hello my fellow art adventurers. 

My name is Cecil Castellucci.  In my book (with Jim Rugg on art) The Plain Janes, the Janes form a guerrilla art group that do art attacks in their small town of Kent Waters.  The Main Jane, Jane Beckles, uses this as a coping mechanism to combat PTSD that she has and to deal with her trauma from a bombing in fictional Metro City.  I believe, as she does, that Art Saves.  One of the first times that I remember really seeing street art when I was growing up was Keith Haring's Chalk Drawings in the NYC subways.   Everyday walking in the subway, there would be new drawings that people would walk by or walk on.  That was when I started to really appreciate the beautiful graffiti that used to be on NYC subway cars and big wall murals .  I love that art can be stitched into the day to day and be delightful. That’s what the Janes do in my book.  They do yarn bombings projects. and little toy dioramas and sound installations.  All to make the people of their town stop for a moment and see the world in a new way.  That’s what art does.  I was going to walk around Los Angeles, where I live and take pictures of little hidden beautiful things, but that’s not really possible now.  So here are some links to cool art installations that happened around the world. Maybe you will do  something in your front yard, as you social distance?  Something that those walking by can see and be delighted by while remaining safe.  Because art and books will help us now!

All best,  Cecil Castellucci 

Website, Buy Book Here

Also, I'm having a little giveaway of my own for FREE $5 Amazon Gift card and copy of Insatiable Darkness: CLICK HERE



FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY!
JOIN THE FUN- MORE PRIZES 


CONTINUE TO THE HUNT at author Eliza Tilton 

CLICK HERE


Monday, March 23, 2020

YA Scavenger Hunt Time!!!!

The TEAMS are LINING Up

Check it out! Did you hear the news? The YA Scavenger Hunt, otherwise known as YASH, is almost here! Are you excited? I know I am. For those of you who are dying to know what to look forward to, here’s a sneak peek of the teams.

The "hunt" is just a simple math problem. You will write down all the secret numbers on a team, total them, and submit the answer to be entered for the grand prize.

There are 4 grand prizes being offered, one for each team. The team prize is a book from each author on that team.

Pick a Color:

Guess what color team I am on?

Red
Blue
Purple
Gold

Da da da!

What Books Can I Win During YASH?






There you go.
All eighty books you could win during the upcoming YASH.
Which team are you most excited about?

But How Do I Hunt?
If you’re new to the YA Scavenger Hunt, don’t worry. I have a YouTube video that tells you everything you’d ever want to know.

1) Read blog post
2) There will be a link at the bottom of the blog to the next link until you finish each author and finish the hunt
3) OR go to the YASH I'm STUCK PAGE

YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ENTER A GRAND PRIZE CONTEST from 4 DIFFERENT TEAM and YOU GET A BOOK FROM EACH TEAM
...and there's more, each author may have individual giveaways

You will get a SNEAK PEAK of something from their book or series


Okay, So I’m Interested, Now What?

Now all you have to do is wait for the hunt to start. You can begin hunting on my blog on March 31st, or to make sure you don’t miss out, you can head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page, scroll down, and sign up for notifications with your email on the right, or you can sign up for my personal newsletter on my website and I’ll be sure to let you know when the hunt begins every season, which happens twice a year.

And You’re Revealing Secret Stuff?
That’s right! This coming season of the YA Scavenger Hunt I’ll be revealing some sneak peeks of my new book, SCEPTER OF FIRE.

 To win a prize, you’ll have to check out the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Also, here's a quick Giveaway For you!

CLICK HERE FOR GIVEAWAY $5 Amazon Gift Card and MORE

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Reading and Teaser of Insatiable Darkness now ON SALE and FREE in KU


INSATIABLE DARKNESS READING


BUY HERE: Amazon

☆ ☆ ☆ READING of INSATIABLE DARKNESS ☆ ☆ ☆




THE Vigilant Series:

EmVee didn’t know what to think about this new town her father’s passion for boxing lured them. It was an unlikely location for her to pursue her dream of going semi-pro. Just when she started getting used to the school with gorgeous jocks and strange cheerleaders, the depth of the danger her father’s choices dangled them in front of became clear. EmVee hoped Silas and Kayson will be able to help her uncover the mystery identity of the person who is threatening her family. The question is, will she survive to expose the mystery.

The VIGILANT SERIES
Insatiable Darkness - Book 0 - prequel to Caged Fire
Caged Fire Book 1: March 7th, 2019
Unbreakable Darkness - Book 1.5 - prequel to Book 2

JOIN THE FACEBOOK PARTY: Click Here
JOIN MY FACEBOOK READER GROUP: Click Here

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Life Versus The Writing Cave


THE Vigilant Series


The FOURTH book in this series has been a struggle to write.  Life has a way of stepping into a writer's life and smacking things down.

The first deadline has come and gone, and now I am on a tight deadline to finish edits, get it formatted and uploaded for ebook release. 

The paperback release will be a month after the ebook release.

And when will the release of the next book come? The story of what happened to Dexter Lewis? Since his sister EmVee (aka: Vida Emily Lewis) story has come to light?




FIND OUT MAY 1st.



Monday, November 11, 2019

Events I Have Done As an Author At Libraries




Library Events That Brings Stories Alive
When I was young, I would spend hours in the library. Although, I loved reading, story time, interactive events and recreations of stories were some of my best memories. As an author, I’ve created those events at various libraries. Kids love hands on, and becoming one with stories. To bring stories to life within the library doesn’t take a lot of effort. It takes imagination. Kids are open and eager to make believe, and the libraries are the best places for them to experience new stories, new places and many adventures.

Some events I’ve run that were great successes as an author can be used at libraries, done on websites, with parents, or created as a challenge.

Dungeons And Dragons Adventure Based On Author’s Book
As an author, I’ve created D&D like experience for readers at libraries that model my stories. These have been fun events that can take on a life of their own. Kids hate leaving these events early and have tons of enjoyment by getting into their characters and experiencing adventures within a story. We start with a video book trailer of the book. Then each participant is given a character with different characteristics. The author or ‘dungeon master (reader)’ creates the scene, acts as narrator to the story and leads characters into key points of their ‘quest’. It can go on for hours and even be a theme for the month.

Living Stories
To create a living stories event in a library, creating a theme based around a popular story can gain participation even from the teenage readers. Have readers vote on a book, or base it off the book club selection of a book. Once the book of choice is chosen invite kids to do art projects to create a scene from the book and even have a prop building contest. Create areas through the library that mimic a scene in the book, encourage the child to read in the area, dress up as a character, then lead to an art or interactive activity.

Story Scavenger Hunts
Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt. Creating an adventure with clues to books from different authors is an amazing way to introduce young visitors to the library to new books. Having a monthly scavenger hunt to find and reveal new books, coming titles, or newly acquired books to the library is a way to get readers excited early. Having a consistent monthly event builds readers anticipation. It can even be part of the building up to a book club.

Library Camp Out
Camping, smores, ghost stories are ways to kick off a library day camp out. Kids can come with their blankets, camp snacks and check out their favorite book. A room in the library can be decorated like an enchanted forest, a space station, a desert camp grounds or more. Readers can be invited to pick a book with the camp location them and read away in their own camp spot. Smores, treats, and prizes can be given to the camper that retells the best stories based on what they’ve read.

Story Reenactment
Story reenactments can allow kids to further immerse and enjoy stories. Having a reenactment doesn’t mean the kids have to had read the stories. Small and short scenes can be replayed by the kids or the librarian. There can even be areas in the library that scenes from books in that section can be acted out. For the savvy library, having videos strategical placed can lead the reader on a library adventure where they can participate in the fun.

As an author, and a kid at heart, finding enjoyable ways to tell stories captures kids and adult interest alike. Taking events, activities that people love, and bringing that to the library continues to make the library the most adventurous place a reader can go.

By: LM Preston, fiction and non-fiction author, www.lmpreston.com and www.empoweredsteps.com, Twitter: LM_Preston, Blog: www.lmpreston.blogspot.com and http://homeschoolandwork.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Scepter of Fire Pre-Release Teaser

I am writing this 3rd novel in The Vigilant Series, Scepter of Fire, and it's going to be a thrilling ride for our young Dexter.


TEASER for YOUR EYES ONLY

Dexter kept his eyes closed.  The binds at his wrist were cold, unforgiving and rigid chains. He needed to stay calm, take it all in and wait until they’d left him alone. His shirt was loose, and his sleeve covered one of the chains on his wrist while the other was rolled high on his shoulder.
  “Doctor Rutherford said to hold him until they come to take him,” a woman who adjusted his head on the pillow mentioned.
  “How long has he been like that?” a male asked.
  Dexter remained stone still, keeping his breathing even as his eyelid nearly twitched from the man’s breath near his face. He felt the lift of his eyelid. Keeping his eyes still, while the man flashed a light into them was nearly impossible. Dexter forced himself not to focus, but noted the man’s dark skin and brown eyes. He could have sworn the guy winked at him. Still, Dexter didn’t trust it, he didn’t budge. The man let Dexter’s eyelid go. Dexter almost sighed. It was hard to not blink. He had to wait though, for that one chance to get out.
  “The others he came with will be taken also. Don’t get in the way of those that come to collect. If you do…” the woman warned.
  Dexter forced his fist not to clinch at the mention of his family that was in the car crash with him. He remembered when they sunk into the water. He’d fought to get the door opened and his younger siblings out. Then something hit his head, and he’d drowned in water when everything went black.
  “Like you, I just work here for the paycheck. This hospital needs to be condemned anyway. I was there when they bought them in from the emergency room. I wanted to see how he was doing myself. I swear he wasn’t breathing when they pumped his stomach of water from the lake.”
  “Nathan, just give him the shot and clear out, you don’t want to be here when they take them. It’s never pleasant. I like you. You’re new here, and if you want to keep your job, you will stop asking questions.”
  “Got it.”
  Dexter heard footsteps. Light, and sure, it was the female nurse. Nathan remained there though, still, but the heaviness of his presence was over Dexter.
  “I can’t help you much, but if you have it in you, get the hell out of here. The hospital is going up in flames. Your father and oldest sister, are on this floor, the others... Sorry we couldn’t help all of you.”
  Dexter didn’t trust it. He remained still as the chains on his feet were removed.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Welcome to YASH FALL Scavenger Hunt at LM Preston's House

YOU ARE AT BLUE STOP ~ LM PRESTON's HOUSE
YASH SCAVENGER HUNT


ARE YOU READY For the DEETS?

Take a peek at all the participating authors books here on Goodreads

Please welcome authors of MERGED to my blue house! And don't forget my secret number is mumbo number 5



Teaser and Excerpt
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT


It’s only five-thirty, and her eyes are as sharp as they are at mid-afternoon. Sister Mo is
already sipping coffee at the long wooden table marred with a thousand nicks and gouges,
surrounded by twelve chairs on with side and three at each end. The kitchen is also at the ready:
frying pans on the stove, tower of plates stacked on the counter, eggs and bread and butter
waiting to be lovingly-transformed into breakfast for the kids of St. Catherine’s.

“Out all night again, you,” Sister Mo says in her thick, Kingston lilt.

I drop my canvas bag on the well-worn but impeccably clean, linoleum floor. “You know
I can’t paint during the day.” We’ve had this discussion, like, a few hundred times.

“The devil prowls at night,” she says, rising to her six-foot height. “You need breakfast.”

“Thanks, but I’m not hungry, Sister,” I try. Even though she doesn’t like me out all night,
she supports my obsession, my need to tell a story through paint.

“Nonsense.” Sister Mo springs to the ancient gas stove and clicks on the gas burner. She
slices and tosses three pats of butter into a hot pan before cracking three eggs in. Pops and
sputters fill the room.

I blurt out what I’ve wanted to say from the start. What I want the world to know. “I
really did it. I captured The Last Supper!”

She drops a couple scoops of hash browns next to the eggs, and then lets out a long,
disapproving sigh. This is as close to a curse as Sister Mo ever gets.

“Sister, I know it’s good. Better than good. And mixing the New York Rangers with The
Last Supper may not be Guernica, but you can’t say it isn’t creative, and it just might make
someone’s day.”

“Kevin, you think you’re doing something meaningful with your alley pictures, but it’s temporary. Fleeting.” Sister Mo drops two slices of bread into the eight-slice toaster. “You could paint something that lasts. Something people will see for hundreds of years.”

“I want people to see it now. Not only old, rich people with a lot of money to go to fancy
museums and buy million-dollar art for their living rooms. Everybody. Where they live so they
can see it every day—”

She dismisses my words with a wave. “You work all night, and it’s gone in months,
sometimes days. You should go to art school. Really learn.”

“I’ve studied in my own way,” I say.

 “You don’t know what you think you know.” She slickly retrieves the toast, brushes the
slices with butter, slides the eggs onto a plate, adds mountain of hash browns, and sets the
overwhelming breakfast in front of me.

Her deep-set brown eyes pin me in time. She stabs a long, thick finger at me. “Eat
something, you.”

I’m exhausted and not the least bit hungry, but when Sister Mo says eat, you eat.
“Anyone see you?” she asks, surprisingly casual for someone who five seconds ago was
arguing that I was wasting my talent.

I cram a piece of toast into my mouth and hold up a finger to buy some time. I don’t want
to tell her about Rosa, but there’s no lying to Sister Moses, there’s only delaying the inevitable.

Her eyes are glued to me until I swallow.
“Just a girl.”
“A girl? What about ’dis girl?” Her voice is a mix of whimsy and concern.
My brain needs three days of sleep before I’m ready to have this conversation, but there’s
no escaping her now. She’s given me a huge plate of food, enough for a hockey player the night
before a game. Nobody wastes food at St. Catherine’s. I’m not leaving this table until it’s gone,
and until Sister Mo has squeezed every last detail out of me.

“Her mom was working, so she hung out on the fire escape while I painted.” I don’t tell
Sister Mo that we talked all night, or that Rosa took a photo of Take This Cup. I also don’t tell
her what Rosa’s mom does for a living. “Don’t worry. She doesn’t know my real name or how to
find me.”

Sister Mo studies me, and I swear she’s been aware of every thought I’ve ever had. “She
see the painting?”

“Yeah.” I recall Rosa’s face when I unveiled it. “She saw it.”

Sister Mo leans forward. “She like it?” It feels like she’s cataloging my every inflection,
every nervous twitch.

I can’t contain my excitement, and a huge grin breaks across my face. “She really liked
it.”

“Good, then.” Sister Mo smiles, eases back in her chair, and lets out that wonderful laugh
that always makes me feel like all is good with the world.





Also, I'm having a little giveaway of my own for FREE $5 Amazon Gift card and copy of Colliding Souls: CLICK HERE


CONTINUE ON THE HUNT
NEXT STOP ON THE HUNT IS at KELLY DEVOS' HOUSE

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Hunt is on, Are you a Book Scavenger?

I’m very excited to be a part of Team BLUE this season. Check out the amazing books that will be featured during the 2019 YA Scavenger Hunt. This season I’ll be announcing two very special projects, showing you the first glimpse of a brand new cover, and you’ll get to read some never before released bonus material from a bonus chapter of the Vigilant Series! Get ready to hunt, people. It’s going to be a good one.





Friday, August 16, 2019

Finding Inspiration and Motivation

MY CRAZY UNPRODUCTIVE MONTH


Sometimes I have to re-read my books in order to get a grasp on where I was when I last wrote in my fictional world.

This last month I've been promoting my non-fiction book. Although, it's been great, a labor of love, it's not my most fun experience in writing. I really enjoy writing fiction as I can be so creative and just get lost in a new world while experiencing that world through different characters.

Sadly, I didn't get much written and I have a personal schedule of three months to write the next book in the series.

WHAT I HAVE DONE THAT GOT ME OFF TRACK WITH WRITING

Marketing and promotion. It's a lot of work. In my case it paid off with this happening! I can't believe it, I got to #3 on their Hot New Release list.


Hiring assistants to help me do some of this didn't work out too well for me. I literally hired and had to end three assistants until I decided to hire people I knew did certain things well and then do the rest myself.

Then parenting, family and job jumped in my way. Oh my!

Now, even though all of those distractions were beating me down, my characters and story just keeps churning in my head.

MY GOALS FOR THE REST of THE MONTH

To finish one last course that goes with my non-fiction. Then to jump back into my fiction story, Scepter of Fire which is the 2nd book in my The Vigilant Series and I am only 5% done, sigh, but I will get back on track.

IN OTHER GOOD NEWS

My daughter treated me to a GIRLS TRIP! Woot!! It was so much fun, I relaxed, we toured the place, and even went to a dance club (where I was in the corner reading while my daughter danced). Today, it seems guys like to watch the many girls dance alone on the dance floor or dance while watching them. This generation has some communication differences than mine did. Oh well, I consider it good research and had a great time. 




Monday, August 5, 2019

BUILDING A PLATFORM FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS


I have started many small micro-businesses. I even consulted a few people. It’s hard starting from scratch, but with proper planning and the power of social media you can go from a nobody to a somebody really quick. There are some quick start tips, but the truth is, for momentum, you have to put out the feelers and the foundation for your online exposure early.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PERSONAL VS BUSINESS
I advise setting up two different social media accounts. Setting up a media account for your business, with your business name, logo, and professional photo on all social media platforms. Once you set up your accounts, use tools like IFTTT (If this, then that) to make each post to your social media platforms count. This tool will take a blog post and replicate it to post on twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. Also, use tools like Hoot suite or Socialoomph to do the same.

Creating a blog and posting to it weekly gives you content you can push to all your other social media platforms to create an ever running presence.

GETTING EXPOSURE FOR YOUR NEW PLATFORM
In order to boost your presence you need to start collaborating with other likeminded businesses, people, and prospects. The easiest places to find them is on Quora, Facebook, Instagram, Forums, other Blogs. You can set up a collaborative blog hop with other bloggers or twitter chat with other businesses. Usually, it just takes asking the question and you will be surprised with how much people will help you for free.

Other options is to purchase exposure or trade it. If you have a newsletter, then you can request someone swap information in their newsletter for yours. Both of you get exposure. Collaboration with others is the best form of exposure. It’s like an unwritten word of mouth.

WRITE ARTICLES AND SHARE YOUR BLOG POST
There are services for media calls like HARO. You can also post it on other open sites like Medium, Reddit, LinkedIn Articles and ask other bloggers to post.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN PRESS RELEASES
Every stride your business makes, share the news through press releases. There are many free press release sites to use and doing so gets your name and your business name out there to a different set of readers. You can pay to have your press released shared to newspapers and magazines, just don’t make the message too sales focused, and more about sharing of information or ways your business is helping the community.

ADVERTISE FOR FREE and BUY ADS
After you have your social media sites set up, and you have a working and chiming feed of information from your random post and your blog post, start to purchase ads. By this time you should know your audience and have somewhere that is filled with information and others of like mind to interact with through your channels. Budget and test your ads before you pour your money and efforts in other areas.

First, go for the free options such as sharing videos, webinars, and promos on your blog, Facebook page, website, and some of your collaborators blogs. Take your videos and post that are doing well on Facebook as a boost, then create an ad based on your findings. After you have utilized the free exposure, then consider google ads, Facebook ads, optimization of your website and promo wherever your content resides. Then consider buying ads where your product is sold.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Tip of The Mountain - Author Roundup


That's the face of a tired yet eager author

My monthly wrap up comes with me doing the one thing that I have to make myself stop - taking on a bit more than I can chew.

This past month I've been scrambling through hiring of two virtual assistants that weren't able to perform duties as assigned, then interviewing three additional ones only to decide to break the task I had planned for them to do up into pieces and attempt to do it myself - again.

How did that end up for me? Total chaos! Yet, in spite of that, my non-fiction book is starting to take on a bit of buzz magic and have hit the top 20 on Amazon's Best Seller's in its category at least 3 times in June.


This is the baby that caused such a stir birthing!
It's now on sale and the print copies are published

This is one book I am considering and researching doing in audio book. Although, I am thinking it will have to wait until later this year or next year.

Should I do the voice? Read it? OR >>>> Should I hire someone? What would you prefer?

With the book marketing planning being done, my overbooking didn't stop there. I started to do my edits, sent to proof-reader, and still have some minor fixes to add.

Since I don't have a Virtual Assistant that felt comfortable rounding up book reviewers, I did that myself also. I thought getting about twenty people would be great, well over three hundred inquired!

This is the course I just finished this month.

I finished uploading the modules for the course and it took a lot of late nights. Literally, I had to wait until everyone was out of the house or sleep. That meant going to bed at midnight to attempt to finish at least two modules a night.

Ah! The life of a business owner.

And guess what? I love it!


Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Struggle of Writing Two Genres At Same Time


Yep, the struggle between writing my Non-Fiction Books and my Fiction is real

SPLIT PERSONALITY

It's hard to create the platform for your Non-Fiction books when you have a long standing as a fiction author. Your current readers are not likely to be interested in your non-fiction books. 

Trying to decide to create two separate platforms is daunting. I must say I already have 3 distinct blogs, Facebook pages, and websites - but I draw the line at twitter and Instagram. It's just not manageable to me to have so many social media accounts for my works.

MY COURSES I AM CREATING TOO!

I have lost my mind. Yes, and I have to have these done by August, or else I won't be able to start writing the two books to kick off my 2020 release schedule.




MY LOVE OF WRITING FICTION

Fiction is the expression of my imagination. It's my therapy, my vacation, my passion. I simply love writing it. However, to get my non-fiction done, I have to force myself to put off my fiction writing in order to meet my non-fiction obligations (books, courses, articles, blog post, press releases - and my work of technical documents for my day job - oh my!)

I've gotten off to a good start with the outline being finished. I've even started writing when I've checked off all the items on my list for my non-fiction.

HOW TO FIND MARKETING TIME FOR NON-FICTION

This is my biggest obstacle. Ugh! I already have a well oiled machine for fiction, but have been struggling with this non-fiction platform.


I'VE BEEN UP TO A lot..

This month I've been editing my Homeschooling and Working While Raising Amazing Kids and creating the Free mini-course (just released - softly), and trying to find someone to coordinate my blog tour for it. Interviewing Virtual Assistants (one fell through unfortunately she was awesome, so I know anyone else will be just okay). 

My fiction writing I was able to sneak in about 4209 words between editing and creating course content. Attended a graduation, closed homeschool for my son that is still homeschooling. Worked my day job (which gives me great material for my fiction books by the way.)

And the beat goes on.