April 24, 2024

Former Osceolan publishes book and launches micropress

Deb Preston joins the list of Clarke alum authors

In Mrs. Helgeson’s third grade class at Clarke Elementary, a dream was sparked in Deb Preston (then Guzman) - a dream to one day write books. Preston remembers Helgeson letting their class write and illustrate stories and bind them together.

“I just loved it,” said Preston, who kept all of the books she made.

Preston held onto that third grader’s dream, and in 2016 dove into writing for her self-named website and others, plus creating merchandise and self-publishing two books.

On Feb. 2, her first traditionally published book, “Girls Can,” officially hit the market, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and anywhere else books are sold.

Girls Can

Published by Black Rose Writing, “Girls Can” boasts that it is the “heart-to-heart that every girl aged three to eight needs to hear. It celebrates that girls can play princesses... or brave knights! Its pages follow powerful and confident young girls as they skateboard, build robots, adventure outdoors, and explore careers as doctors, pilots, farmers, law enforcement, and more.”

The idea for the book, Preston says, was inspired by her daughter.

“[She] loves to skateboard, hates the color pink and princesses, and is the strongest kid in her taekwondo class. I wanted a book that not only encouraged girls that they can do anything…but that also equipped them with some mental scripts to bolster their confidence,” said Preston.

One review of the book on Barnes and Noble read,

“What a powerful message to share with young girls who might feel they don’t fit the proverbial mold. This teaches them they are special the way they are and can accomplish what they were created for. I love the potential for building self-esteem! Girls Can! is fun and provides encouragement and acknowledgement for the uniqueness of every girl.”

The book’s illustrations are courtesy of James Henry Dufresne, a coworker and friend of Preston’s who specializes in horror film art. Both Preston and her daughter are featured in illustrations in the book, the latter in the form of the blonde skateboarder.


Today, Preston lives near San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and daughter. She works full-time managing a customer service team for Disney Streaming, and writes in her spare time.

Preston said that the process of writing and traditionally publishing this book has inspired her to launch her own micropress, Brighter Side Publishing, LLC. She intends to publish not only her own works, but in the future those of other authors as well.

Her first adult book with Brighter Side Publishing, LLC will come out April 13, and is titled “Learning on the Fly and Laughing Till I Cry: A Journal of Mothering My Daughter From Ages One to Seven.”

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.