Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Post: LM Preston

Today I have debut author L.M. Preston, author of Explorer X - Alpha (a sci-fi MG novel) here to take over. So without further ado, I give you L.M. Preston:

When I sit down to write my novels from a teenaged perspective, I have a lot of material to pull from. I was called all sorts of names, teased, and jeered at. I wasn't the lowest on the totem pole, but I was somewhere near the bottom middle of the middle school pecking order. Yet, through these experiences I learned something about myself. I was a survivor and I was never a follower.

The kids in my neighborhood would spend tons of time making up games. One we played was truth or dare. Usually I wasn't invited to play because I was the youngest kid in the neighborhood. However, this particular time, they allowed me to play. It seemed like the best day of my life. I was going to play with the big kids, and no longer follow behind them. That day, I had arrived at the table with the big boys. Talk about the strut of acceptance, I was on cloud nine.

The game went on as usual. Dare's were made, secrets were told and the bottle was spinning. Finally, it was my turn. My moment, my acceptance, and then it came. The kid that had made the last spin, looked at me with a sneaky grin, and I knew immediately that I was doomed.

"I dare you to eat this beetle!" the kid said. I gulped. Then I compared the penalty for not going through with a challenge. The penalty was to let every kid spit in your face. The decision was difficult, the choices were both gross. However, I refused to be made to eat something that I didn't want. Something that was dead, big, black, squishy and downright disgusting. It had the ooze of entrails dried on each side of its gut. Yuck!

At that moment of recognition, I felt strong and fierce. Okay, no, really I was scared to death. However, I stood and said, "I renege on the dare!". There were gasps, snickers, and whispers. I held my ground, stuck out my chest and licked my lips. "You know what that means, don't ya?" the kid with the dead fat beetle snickered.
"Yeah, and I don't care!" I said, and swallowed as a tear ran from my eye. Man I was so angry. The other kids bustled to stand in line in front of me. Never before in our game of Truth or Dare had someone challenged their fate. I was the first, and they relished in the chance to demean me further.
There I stood, as each kid gathered as much saliva in their mouths as possible and spit in my face. My eyes closed as I felt the thick, cool, wet globs slide from my forehead, down my nose to my lips. I held back a gag.
Finally, it was over. My best friend, who was last in line did a fake spitting sound that held little or no power. Then she took out a tissue and wiped my face. "Why didn't you just do the dare?"
I opened my eyes and smiled at her, then said, "Cause I didn't want to."

I love to write about kids that go against expectations. Kids that, like me, were oddballs, imperfect, unpopular - yet strong. I was a lot of things, but no one (except my parents) had the ability to make me do something I didn't want. I had an inner stubbornness that just didn't let me concede. That attitude saved my life many times. If ever you don't want to follow your friends, dig deep, stand up, and be a leader.

In EXPLORER X - Alpha, Aadi does this even when he is not sure of the consequences. Staying true to yourself is the best thing you can ever do - for you!

Wow, thank you for the story and such an inspiring message L.M.! Click on the links to learn more about L.M. Preston or Explorer X - Alpha!



  1. I agree, very inspirational. Great post, LM! And, uh, I would DEFINITELY NOT eat that beetle. *shiver* I like how even as a kid, you had the signs of a writer! "Renege?!" Lol. :)

    And, Lea, Lucas-bashing time! But, nahh, maybe we can just cheer pacifically for Jack. :D

  2. Wow. Great post! Quite moving actually.