Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exiled by Rashelle Workman

NYIA! Our Teen Book Reviewer is in the house. *Sniffle* and she's started her own blog. They grow up so fast, but she's agreed to still post her reviews here as a guest.

Amazon Blurb:
EXILED: Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together, Only love will save them.

BUY HERE - Click

NYIA's Review:

I really loved this book so I thought I’d tell some people about it’s amazingness. The author did a great job of making a simple science fiction novel. I liked that the book didn’t have a bunch of complicated language or super long explanations about nothing. The book was filled with adventure, secrets, and romance, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The concepts introduced in the book weren’t hard to understand or keep up with. I liked that the author wrote the book in various two points of view, but focused mainly on Venus. I would recommend the book to girls who want romance with more action in it. I suspect that the book is the first in a series because it ended with a lot of unanswered questions. I give the book a 4 out of 5 only because I was mad about love triangle going on. Hope you decide to read it; it’s really a good book.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teens Can Plan For Success

This week at my kid's high school they are selecting their schedule of courses. Not to mention, I watched Waiting For Superman, a movie about the school system and how inaffective it is for supporting the majority of students in their journey to personal successful learning.

I fight the battle of motivating my kids to be challenged, to figure out ways around boundaries and to stay positively motivated to do their heart's desire.

But it's been hard. I've had to teach them to fight for their education as well.


My 9th grader is an acceptional student. She always scores high on test and with me fighting for her she was placed in the Gifted and Talented courses. But she wants more.

AP courses were offered to her this year, but I think outside of the box in everything and I wanted her to forego AP courses and just go direct to Community College to take some of her classes - and I found out from taking my daughter to the counselor at the community college that she could take classes at the community college that could go towards her High School diploma while giving her credit for her degree!

So we asked her High School Counselor to approve my daughter's registration. The woman told me "I don't know why you would want to waste your money on that when she can just take AP classes"


I couldn't believe the woman was discouraging me in supporting my daughter with MY MONEY. Had I not known that it was possible to send a student in this direction (I had done the exact same thing for my son - and had to fight even harder to do so) then I would have just agreed with the woman.

BUT I will take a "No" and create my own "Yes"


One thing I told my daughter when we left was, "You can do or be anything, and that is a lesson that the road won't always be easy. You always need to look for your detors."

HOW HAVE YOU as a young person TURNED a 'NO' into a 'YES' by not giving up?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Explorer X-Beta is now on KDP and Amazon!

I'm excited to announce that my second book in the my middle grade science fiction adventure novel, is available for FREE in ebook kindle format on KINDLE DIRECT and only $0.99 on amazon until release day of the Paperback version April 1st.

The paperback release date is April 1st and will be kicked off with a twitter party TWITTER PARTY is April 3rd, 2012 and BLOG TOUR the week of April 8th-17th.

LM Preston Tour and Stops:

Farpoint Convention (Baltimore, MD) 2/17-19th
Public Library Conference (PA) - 3/12th
Twitter Launch Party (Promo Explorer X-Beta) - 4/3th
Explorer X-Beta Blog tour - 4/8-17th
Book Expo America (NY) - 6/6-7th
Otakon (Baltimore, MD) 7/27-29th
Shore-Leave (Baltimore, MD) 8/3-5th
Baltimore Book Festival - 9/28-30th
Capclave (Baltimore, MD) - 10/12-14th

Weekly on Twitter:
#MBPA twitter chat on Thursdays at 9pm hosting as board member of Mid Atlantic Book Publishers Association
#Yalitchat twitter chat on Wednesday as Moderator and support of

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Underworld Awakening - Movie Review

Fandango Blurb:
In the years since she and her human-lycan lover, Michael, defeated Elder Marcus, vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) has been taken captive by humans, while they wage an all-out war against both lycans and vampires. Awakening after more than a decade, Selene discovers that Michael is dead, but that she has given birth to his daughter, Eve. Shunned by nearly all surviving vampires, save one (Theo James), even Selene seems powerless against her latest opponent: a genetically enhanced lycan.

My Review:
Action Overload with just enough of a plot to tease you. I have to admit it, I'm a lover of the Underworld movies series. They have vamps that don't count on their 'sexy' to get them a kill and lycans that make me want to run and hide in the theatre. A sprinkle of romance laced the earlier movies but there's no time for love in this one only a few touching lovey moments. This was 100% action, killing and vamp vs lycan war. This was so fast paced I didn't even realize the ride was over until the end. And Selene (Kate Beckingsale) kicked but like before and I loved it. Not much bloodsucking in this one, but a lot of fighting, shooting and blowing stuff up. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because again there was little plot and I'm a vamp and lycan lover that loves action.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discovering A Hidden Muse

If you are a writer, dreamer, actor, artist of any sort then you are always looking deeper. Studying people, trying to connect with something or someone that will allow you to create.

As a writer I like to study people. Never take anyone for granted since you can't figure out a persons life journey by just looking at their faces.

Well this weekend I discovered something about one of my kids that I'd missed.


Parents usually seem to make assumptions about their kids without actually studying them. Getting to know them. Know what makes them ticked.

Well this weekend I learned something about my 8yr old that I've taken for granted. Only because the kid is always around me.


While in Downtown Disney, my oldest son (17yr old) started dancing. My 8yr old copied his dance moves, but about 5 minutes into their duo and a large crowd later,my 8yr stole the show. I didn't even know this kid could dance like this. He did break-dancing, flips, and moves he'd been watching on several Dance Crew shows and the boy actually absorbed it all. He had a huge crowd and my mouth was hung opened because I so didn't know this kid!


The writer in me just soaked it in - after my tongue made it's way back in my mouth. And I tucked that knowledge away to put into one of my characters to come. That little something that gives them a ZING, BOP ... and makes the reader cheer for them.


That's what writers need to continue to do. Find time to get out and discover people - discover your art. And have fun too!

Don't be afraid.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Warriors Omen of the Stars by Erin Hunter

Hello ya'll my new Middle Grade Book Reviewer - MIA is here to give a review of a series she absolutely loves!!

The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

Warriors: Omen Of the Stars

Amazon Blurb:

Four warrior Clans have shared the land around the lake as equals for many moons. But a prophecy foretells that three ThunderClan cats will hold the power of the stars in their paws. Jayfeather and Lionblaze know that they are two of the cats in the prophecy. Now the brothers must wait for a sign from StarClan to discover the identity of the third cat.

Meanwhile, Dovekit and Ivykit—kin of the great leader Firestar—are poised to become ThunderClan apprentices. Soon one sister will have an ominous dream—and will begin to realize that she possesses mystical skills unmatched by any other cat.

In the midst of a cruel season that threatens the lives of all four warrior Clans, bonds will be forged, promises made, and three young cats will start to unravel the secrets that bind them together.

MIA's Review (5th Grader)

First of all, I love animals. I wanted to read a book about them and I found the Warriors series at the library. I can't stop reading them. When I read it I like that I can see the story like a cat would see it. The adventure was about helping the ancestors. It makes me think of the cats like sort of an tribe. They close family and I really got attached to Dovepaw and Jayfeather.

I liked the first two series the most. But haven't read all of them yet. Every one of these books have cats that have a great adventure.

PARENT Review (by LM Preston)

My 5th grader wasn't always a reader. She loved graphic novels but would shy away from chapter books. Until we found a series of books of topics that interested her - animals. She loves animals and this series seems to wet her appetite. This series is more for a upper middle grader, but I read it with my daughter and she did well with it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I've Been Inspired!

The beginning of the year I was exhausted. And started to think, maybe kicking out three manuscripts was a tall order. Maybe, I didn't want to write for a small while. You know take a break, evaluate if this is something I need to keep doing - for myself.


Then my 10yr old daughter came to me with her manuscript - YEP, she had written five full pages of her story. She loves animals and wrote a story about a baby lion named Theo who wanted to unite the species of his land.

OMG! This is why I write - not just for me, but for myself and others. My little girl told me, "I want to write like you mommy. Maybe you can help me with my story."

MORE ... and MORE

Then I get an email from one of my writer friends, telling me she needs me to motivate her to finish her book.


Then it came ... another idea for a series. And the promise to my little girl to help her write her story.

AND IT BEGINS AGAIN ... inspiration

FIND Yours ... and share :-D

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Dead and The Enemy by Charles Higson

My teenaged son is a Zombie addict. Not to mention and action junky. And Charles Higson delivers - BIG TIME in these two books of his 3 part series.

Read THE DEAD (pre-qual to The Enemy) first even though it was written after THE ENEMY.


Goodreads Blurb:
This second entry in Charlie Higson's terrifying series about children battling zombie grown-ups begins one year before the action in THE ENEMY, when the disease first strikes.

My Review:

*Read this BEFORE The Enemy*

Intense! Smart kids! Suspenseful zombie drama I could not put down. I found this while searching for a good zombie book that would keep my teenaged boy reading. There is no lovey dovie romances in this one, straight horror, fighting for your life and even death to the teens in this books. Sure there are some parts where I'm like why didn't they do this or that, but the only challenge I had was keeping up with all the characters. However, my son loved the mishmash of different characters coming and going. This is a nail biter that my husband even loved. Even though this was the 2nd book in the series (a pre-qual) I'd read this one first since the second book takes awhile to understand some of the reasons for things happening and even this book doesn't fully resolve the reason why people are getting sick and turning to zombies. I give this a 5 out of 4 stars simply because there were a few left open questions.

Goodreads Blurb:
A sickness has afflicted everyone over the age of 16; anyone who is a "grown-up" has become a decomposing, brainless creature that survives by feeding on children. The children and teens have barricaded themselves in fortified buildings, fighting off attacks from the grown-ups who travel in packs, like hungry dogs. Before long, the young survivors are promised a safe haven in Buckingham Palace and make their way to it, crossing London on a perilous journey that will test them in harrowing ways. But their fight to stay alive is far from over—the threat from within is as real as the one on the outside.


I love it! I couldn't sleep at night, I read this instead of watching The Walking Dead. Of all the characters, I really got connected to 'Little Sam' and his survival during this "Sicko" zombie infested world. I'm glad I read the first book though because this one does little to explain the cause of this disaster. In this one, the body count is also high. It's brutal, intense, suspenseful and frightening....everything a teenaged boy or girl will love in a gory horror filled with smart, weak, hurting, surviving kids. I gave this one 4 stars out of 5 for the unanswered questions regarding the origin of the disaster.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Life, Liberty, and Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn

NYIA teen book reviewer is in the house! She's looking at a sweet romance called Life, Liberty, and Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn.

Amazon Blurb:
When college-bound Eliza falls into a cruise-ship pool, she doesn't expect to fall in love. And when navy recruit David pulls her from the water, he finds her surprisingly hard to resist. But a whirlwind of rescues, candlelit nights, and beachside misunderstandings pulls them into a four-day love affair that threatens to break their hearts before their love has a chance to start. When David leaves for endless drills and physical training in boot camp, and Eliza returns to Albuquerque to prepare for Princeton in the fall, they dare to keep loving each other and struggle to imagine a future when they can be together. But when miles and mistrust pull them apart, they are forced to choose between keeping true to their dreams and having the courage to love.

Awwww! This story was so cute. I really liked Eliza and wanted her and David to work out. But I think I would have liked a bit more drama. I didn't mind how fast they fell for each other but I was sad about the long distance relationship since I couldn't see anyone being able to do that even with talking on facebook. I really enjoyed it though and give it 3.5 lifeboats out of 5.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Editing Sucks! But there are tools to make it Better

Editing is a big issue for many writers. Not to mention that one doesn’t usually have the money to pay for a professional editor prior to submitting their novel to Lit Agents or Publishers.

But there is software available to help a writer tighten up their manuscript prior to sending it out for submission. In cases of publishing their own works, using these tools can help get a manuscript as clean as possible prior to sending it to an editor.


Editors are human. They make errors, don’t find things, and unknowingly miss obvious errors in works also. No book is without room for improvement. An author should always try to get their work in the best possible shape BEFORE it goes to the editor to ensure that their work is represented at its best.

I’ve paid editors to edit work and there were still errors – even had proof readers after final edits. But the human eye, and talent for editing is rather unique with each editor used.

For example, if you had a bowl full of cherries, some good and some rotten … wouldn’t you rather start cleaning up the bowl with less rotten cherries and wouldn’t you most likely be able to clean up all the messy cherries when there aren’t too many?


Use these tools when you have personally edited your manuscript as best as you can: after you have had your work critiqued by other authors and beta read at least 3 times, with cleaning it up yourself thereafter.

Once the above steps are completed, then purchase short membership and use of tool for specific types of errors.

Autocrit – I’ve used Autocrit to find my repeated words and phrases mostly. It has a free offering for testing it out on it’s website. Just use the free feature if you only produce a book a year, but if you are like me and kick out three a year a minimum subscription really helps. I do the gold membership for $47 since I edit in small pieces.

Grammarly – I have a habit of using the wrong word in cases where there are two words that say the same thing but doesn’t mean the same thing. Grammarly is a great tool for helping me find these issues. It’s cheap at $19.95 a month and I only use it the month I want to edit my book. Then I cancel the subscription. I use this on my 2nd and 3rd drafts prior to submitting to agents or an editor for my small press to publish.

MasterEdit – This is a good tool at just $30 if you plan on using it frequently. I haven’t used it yet myself but plan on purchasing it and trying it out next year for the three manuscripts I have planned. I hope to use it after my 3rd run through critique partners and beta readers.

MyWriterTools – This is also a cheap tool, now on sale for $24.95 that works within MS Word as an add-on. It covers all of the features of the above tools and can be useful while writing that first draft. I’m planning on using this also so that I can have a cleaner first draft. Hopefully, it won’t slow my progress.

StyleWriter is also an add-in but for me personally it looks too complex. It has great customizable features though and is free for downloading and trying out. So check it out and see if it meets your needs over the above.

AutomatedEditing – This monthly membership works in a similar way as Autocrit but you can also try it out for free. I prefer Autocrit over this one but most likely due to personal preference.

Kibin – Use this site for a critique of sorts. Great feedback is given here and if you are having problems securing good beta readers (I get mine from and yalitchat) or a critique partner here’s a good resource for feedback. Just have thick skin.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Staying Positive for The New Year


When I look at all the wonderful and amazing things that happen to me in 2011 I get a shiver of excitement. Now don't take that to mean that there weren't some serious pitfalls, struggles, sadness and heart clenching moments - there were many. But even though bad things happened, some really wondrous things happened too!

THE BEST THING - DREAM I could DREAM CAME TRUE but with tragedy

I always wanted to meet author, LA Banks, who was a best selling author of the Vampire Huntress series. After stalking uh...following her on twitter, Facebook and such I reached out to her to be a guest on since she had just self-published her first YA novel, Shadow Walker.

WOULD you believe it, she contacted me and the invite grew to a friendship. Because, well even though she was a Best Selling Author ... she had a heart of pure gold, a loving nature and a giving spirit. She encouraged me to write the then WIP I told her about.

BUT it gets better! I invited her to an event in April, the Maryland's Writer's Convention and she came. Meeting her was a breath of fresh air. She also returned the money we gave her to come as a donation to the organization.

THEN tragedy struck when I found out just 4 months later that she was dying of cancer.


I knew at that moment she visited me with the possibility of knowing that she was ill. And all she did was smile and talk about how blessed she was.

and if you believe it, make a plan, be happy with your accomplishments ... who knows you will achieve it or more!