Time

December 2nd, 2015

Time

As I write this post, my hands are trembling. I can barely think straight. A dear friend of mine passed away in 2009. Today, 12/2 is her birthday. I received the reminder via Facebook. I visited her Facebook Page just to “visit” and reminisce when I found a post that she made on 11/28/2009. You see, my friend was a fellow poet. She sent me a Facebook post that read that she had some new poetry that she wanted to share with me. Because the message wasn’t “liked,” I don’t think I ever saw her post. Less than a month after making her post, my friend transitioned to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don’t know what became of her poems.

This was a stark reminder to me that we do not have an infinite amount of time to walk this earth. We all have a purpose – a reason why we have been planted on this earth. My prayer is that all of us complete our purpose before we are called Home. A poem that I have written comes to mind that I’m sharing with you below. This poem is from my upcoming book, The Altar Will Alter You, which is coming out in December 2015.

God’s Time

There was a time
When I took the time
To listen to the birds chirping in the morning.
I loved to hear them praising the Lord in a way that only they can praise Him.

There was a time
When I took the time
To go for a walk early in the morning
It was just me and the Lord and His Kingdom that He created just for us.

There was a time
When I took the time
To count the stars in the clear evening sky
To watch an airplane flying in the distance and wonder where it was headed
To smell the sweet evening air
And feel the cool evening breeze as it tickled my eyelashes

There was a time
When I took the time
To enjoy and marvel over the wonders of the earth
That God has freely given all of us

There was a time
When I took the time
But…. Now… I have… No Time.

John 9:4 – “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2015 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Happy Anniversary

October 1st, 2015
Hands joined in circle wearing pink for breast cancer against wooden cross

Hands joined in circle wearing pink for breast cancer against wooden cross

The date was October 1, 2014. A cliché comes to mind because it started out as any other day. Monday through Friday, my day begins with Good Morning America (GMA). One of the benefits of being semi-retired and working from home as an Author’s Virtual Assistant is I can set my own hours.

Watching GMA as I gradually transition from a good night’s sleep to full alertness is a guilty pleasure. October 1, 2014 turned into an unintentional wake-up call. October 1st is the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and GMA celebrates. On October 1, 2014, in the midst of the celebration, I felt the lump in my left breast. My initial thought was that I was dreaming. But, the lump was real and breast cancer became my reality.

My head literally spins when I think about everything that I’ve gone through since October 1, 2014. But here I am one year later looking back on something that many do not survive. I know I am blessed. I was blessed before the diagnosis, but going through a life or death crisis is a wake-up call. It’s a reminder that although we like to think that we have all the time in the world to fulfill our destiny, we do not know the day or time when our time on this earth will end.

We know that what God has for us is for us. We know that age is just a number and that God knows how old we are when He has laid an assignment on our heart. I also know that many before me have gone on to meet their Maker and have taken that book, that poem, that song, that assignment – whatever it may be – with them. Yes, God’s Will will be done. He will accomplish what He has set out to do. But that doesn’t mean that we can sit on our destiny and treat it as if we have all the time in the world.

This past year I went through 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 35 rounds of radiation treatments, and breast surgery – in addition to side issues and ailments that were not related to the breast cancer. There were times when I was so tired I couldn’t lift my head to take a drink of water. I thank God for my caregivers (especially my brother) and my prayer warriors. I know God was there every step of the way.

I thank God for second, third, and many more chances. I thank God that I am here to say “Happy Anniversary!”

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2015 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 78 of 100 Days of the Joy of the Lord

April 3rd, 2015

Winter_Summer“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~ Anne Bradstreet. This thought process could be expanded to include, “If we had no rain, we would not appreciate the sunlight.” And, “If not for darkness, we wouldn’t appreciate the light.” No one wants to go through anything that has a negative effect. That’s no surprise. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not what we go through; it’s HOW we go through.

Many of us are anxiously waiting for spring-like weather. This winter was cold and dismal with too much snow and too much ice. Spring-like weather is taking its time to make an appearance. The calendar says it’s April, but the thermostat seems to be stuck in February. “In all things, give thanks.” Yes, I thank God for giving me another day – as chilling as it may be. I thank God that I have the warmth of shelter over my head and warm clothing when I must weather the outdoor chill of this extended winter. I give thanks that even though winter 2015 seems to be lasting forever, that eventually warmer weather will come. And therein lies my Joy!

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2015 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Social Media Marketing for Authors

March 2nd, 2015

Social Media Logotype BackgroundIt’s never too soon to begin marketing your book. This holds true even if your book is still in the thought process. One of the preliminary steps in social marketing is to establish a relationship with your target audience. Social Media allows you to hang out in groups and on websites with your target audience while you’re establishing and cementing a relationship with them. Social Media equips you to convert a potential customer or follower into someone who will not only purchase your book, but will recommend your book to their friends and acquaintances. Maintaining a presence in Social Media requires approximately one hour each day. This timeframe can be shortened by scheduling your posts through Facebook, Buffer, or Hootsuite or other Social Media Marketing vehicles.

Facebook – Creating a Facebook Author’s Page is essential. It offers your followers a way to follow you and get to know you. Your Facebook Page should include information regarding your book, in addition to information relative to the topic of your book. The split should be 10% about your book and 90% information that interests your followers. For example, if your book is about cars, then you would want to carry information that a car enthusiast would find interesting. When posting, be sure to include links to where your book can be purchased. Note that posts that include images or video attract more traffic.

Joining Facebook Groups AND participating will increase your visibility and exposure. Ask a question on a group page while inviting the reader to visit your page and if they are interested, they can like your page. Thank each individual who likes your page inviting them to offer comments and feedback on your page.

Guest Blog Posts – If you don’t have your own blog page (or even if you have a blog), guest blogging is an excellent way to increase your social media exposure. Again, you want to guest blog on sites where your target audience resides. Find blog sites that you enjoy, build a relationship with the blog owner by commenting on some of their blog posts, then ask if they would consider allowing you to post to their site as a guest blogger.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn has 300 million users that are waiting for your status updates. Exposure on LinkedIn can be enhanced by following these steps. LinkedIn status updates should be posted at least twice a day, 5 days a week. Engage with your connections by commenting and sharing their posts. Communicate directly with your connections on a regular basis – at least 3 or 4 times a week. Be sure to congratulate your connections for promotions or on their birthdays. Joining LinkedIn Groups AND participating will also increase engagement and exposure.

Twitter – The busiest days and times for Twitter posts is Thursday and Friday between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. Therefore, it makes sense to post your most important Tweets within that timeframe. Tweeting 2 or 3 times a day is appropriate. As with other Social Media, follow individuals and groups that your target audience follows. In conjunction with the 140-character limit, images, audio, and video can be shared on Twitter.

Pinterest – Pinterest is often considered the new kid on the block for Social Media. Pinterest followers convert to sales three times more than Facebook users. Pinterest Pins are shared more often than Facebook posts or Twitter Tweets. Pinterest allows you to create boards to post your pins. As with other Social Media platforms, you want to hang out where your target audience hangs out.

Instagram – According to Social Media Examiner, Instagram 15 times more engagement than Facebook or Twitter. Instagram is 100% visual. The pictures you share should be reflective of what your followers would find on your other Social Media platforms. Consistency is key. Going back to the example of car enthusiasts, you wouldn’t want to post pictures of flowers unless those flowers were positioned next to a sleek car.

YouTube – A YouTube book trailer will bring your book to life. Imagine a video clip beginning with the roaring engine of one of the cars featured in your book. There would be a short narrative of what the reader would find in your book. According to statistics, there are 1 billion YouTube users. Can you imagine them viewing your book trailer and then rushing out to buy or download your book?

Hashtags – Hashtags will pull all of your social media themes together under one topic or heading. For example, #cars, #ilovecars, etc. Take advantage of popular hashtags that have a proven track record for your brand or topic. For example the top hashtag on Instagram is #love.

Social Media Marketing for Authors or any other profession can be time-consuming. You will notice that the common thread with Social Media Management is consistency. Establishing a plan is important to ensure that all areas – or most areas – are covered. It’s not necessary to engage on all platforms. Consistency is important so that your followers know where to find you. Engaging with your followers gives your followers an opportunity to get to know you beyond the pages of your books. In doing so, they will be your cheering section when your next book is published. Social Media Management is here to stay. If you’re not in a position to manage your social media platform, then you will want to consider hiring someone who will manage your platforms and increase your visibility in areas where your target audience resides.

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2015 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+go

Day 77 of 100 Days of the Joy of the Lord

January 5th, 2015

I am the WayDay 77 – When I die, I don’t want it to be said that I lost my battle with anything – especially cancer! Dying is not losing! “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8) How can this be considered losing a battle?

Every day is a victory. The victories do not have to be large. Today I awoke in pain, but today’s pain is less than yesterday’s pain. It’s not raining today. Rain seems to increase my level of pain. Today, the sun is shining and I’m one-step closer to being pain free. That is my victory. And therein lies my Joy! www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 76

December 13th, 2014

TheGift“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings. Are you living the life that God intended you to live? All of us have been instilled with God-given gifts that are uniquely ours. Some of us are still searching within to discover that gift. Others have identified their gifts, but they hesitate to walk into their gifting because of the opinions of others. Have you ever tried to wear a garment of clothing that is too small for you? It’s an uncomfortable feeling that remains with you until you remove that garment. It restricts your movement and literally strangles you until you’ve removed the garment and replaced it with the proper size. The same thing occurs when one does not embrace their God-given gifts. It’s uncomfortable. It’s restricting. It literally takes your breath away. On the other hand, embracing your God-given gift, accepting it, and sharing it is re-energizing. Walking in the Light is illuminating to say the least. I thank God for what He has instilled within me and I pray that I will continue build on that gift and share it with the world… And therein lies my Joy! www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 75

December 12th, 2014

Faith2“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ~ Molière. When met with a challenge, part of me is a little apprehensive because the challenge is often something I’ve never experienced before. But, a part of me is excited at the possibility of mastering or overcoming something that initially presented itself as a challenge. I remember that if I stay focused, there is nothing that I cannot achieve because we know that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” us. This doesn’t mean that we will not make mistakes. This doesn’t mean that the journey will be easy. This means that if I keep my eyes on Christ Jesus; if I keep an open mind, open ear, and open heart inclined to the Holy Spirit; if I do not faint, I will succeed and God will get the glory. And therein lies my Joy!

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 74

December 5th, 2014

SalvationI woke up this morning with this hymn on my mind:

“I’m running for my life (4xs)

If anybody asks you what’s the matter with me.

Just tell them I’m Save, Sanctified,

Holy Ghost Filled, Fire Baptized

I’ve got Jesus on my side

And I’m running for my life.”

…And therein lies my Joy!

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 73

November 30th, 2014

God Bless Mothers“I cannot forget my mother. She is my bridge.” ~ Renita Weems. Last week a dear friend of mine celebrated the birthday of her Mom who transitioned to Glory several years ago. This morning, a member of our church family reminded us that this is her first Thanksgiving after the passing of her mother. When I saw this quote, I was compelled to write about my bridge. Just as with many of us, my mother and I had a special mother-daughter relationship. We had our disagreements – especially when as a teen I thought I knew everything. As an adult, my mother and I became best friends. We liked the same things – plays, museums, music, shopping together, etc. We talked on the phone every day and never ran out of things to talk about. (She would have loved “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder”) 🙂 Even though it’s been more than 4 years since her transition to Glory, there are still times when the phone rings and I have to remind myself that she’s not on the other end of the line. I have such wonderful memories of my Mother. Yes, I miss her, but I am so blessed to have had her as my mother. I can still hear her encouragement when I’m trying something new. I can still hear her praising me for whatever I’ve done because she was my biggest cheerleader and my hero. She was and still is my bridge. And therein lies my Joy. www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com

Day 72

November 22nd, 2014

DadOn November 20, 1977, my father transitioned to Glory. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I remember that my mother’s sister, Auntie Bert, asked me what she could do to help. At that time, it was important to me that we learn to move forward. I knew that was what my father would have wanted us to do. Yes, we would miss Dad. I still miss him. Since this was right before Thanksgiving, the funeral was planned for the Friday after Thanksgiving. I asked Auntie Bert if she could prepare Thanksgiving dinner at our house. She did. It was the first Thanksgiving without Dad. It was sad. It was somber. But, it was also a celebration of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It was a reminder that in all things we give thanks. And therein lies my Joy.

Lorraine Castle is a virtual assistant who works with authors, coaches, trainers, and speakers to get speaking engagements, write their books, publish their books, and market their books. Contact Lorraine for a free consultation to find out what she can do to help you develop your gift.

You can download Lorraine’s free eBook “Turn Writing Your Book Into a Marketing Success” here.

Lorraine is also featured in “Seek Your Peak to Find Your Spark” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HONV230 . She is also featured in “It’s A God Thing” on sale on Amazon at this link. http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Stories-Experience/dp/1605875503/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416586239&sr=1-12&keywords=the+god+thing

Written by Lorraine Castle ©2014 www.castlevirtualsolutions.com