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Fiction Freebie, 4 Book Recommendations, and An Author Table

Freebie for April

I’ve decided to post a tiny bit of previously published writing each month. 

“Guidance Counseling”

Previously published at The Drabble in November 2016. 

“A Guide to Succeed in 100 Worlds!”

The pamphlets strewn across the table in front of Ghent had a dizzying array of colors and languages that flashed across their surfaces in a blinding cascade.

Ghent closed his four eyes against them. They didn’t have a track for his chosen profession at this back-planet secondary school.

His counselor, a blue-haired Wispan, leaned over him, “Ghent?”

Ghent mesmerized her, bribed the principal with information he found in the school network, and sauntered out, re-assured of his purpose.

Perhaps even future villains needed a boost in the right direction after all.

4 Late April Book Recommendations:

1. Whale Day and Other Poems by Billy Collins – an excellent and fun poetry read that I’m currently reading (haven’t finished it quite yet).

2. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – a hilarious, slightly dark, and excellent older YA Fantasy. Think Harry Potter, but with snark and high stakes danger lurking in every chapter. 

3. Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron – a fun, middle-grade super-powered story. 

4. The Business of Writing Short Stories: Writing, Submitting, Publishing, and Marketing by Shannon Lawrence. See full review below:

This book is the definitive work on the business of writing short stories. It has everything you need, from non-nonsense tips on writing short stories, publishing short stories, and marketing short stories. It is jammed full of information, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to write short stories successfully.

I have been writing short stories for over three decades and I wish someone had given me this book back in college, or ten years ago. I highly recommend it as a book for any student of writing, any writer who wants to make a go of it, and anyone who needs a little help going in the right direction with the business side of writing short stories. 

*Truly an excellent book and a must for any writer’s shelf. 5/5

Next month, I will be reviewing: Cassadark by Alex J. Cavanaugh, The Portal by Shana Dow, a non-fiction book, and a poetry book (TBA). I am trying to read about 50% non-fiction and poetry books this year.

An Author Table

This week, I am at BBQ2U in Gig Harbor, WA at the author table. The owner of the restaurant is a patron of local artists and authors, providing us with a place to sell our wares every week in a prominent spot by the front window. I had a shift at the author table last fall, and I’m back again this week. It’s good for me, since I find author events to fill me with a bit of author-social anxiety, which is akin to going to an interview when someone comes up and I need to figure out how to talk about books without being too pushy, but yet with bold confidence in the books I’ve written. Sitting at the author table for seven days in a row usually takes me from nervous to comfortable because it’s so daily. I’m thankful for the experience and thankful to be there. I hope I sell a few books, too, or at least garner enough interest for someone to pick up a business card and go search out my books online.

Events and Appearances

In-Person 2022 Events

I plan to add to this page as events come up.

GIG HARBOR ARTS FESTIVAL

Author Table

July 16th-17th

BBQ2U AUTHOR TABLE

Gig Harbor

August 15th-21st, 3-7pm

Gig Harbor Senior Center

Author Talk/Presentation

August 17th, 1pm

ATTENDING THE FOLLOWING EVENTS

I will be a general attendee at the following events, but not presenting as an author. If you would like to come and hang out with me, that would be great.

CREATIVE COLLOQUY READING AND OPEN MIC

May 16th at 7pm at Harmon Restaurant, Tacoma

I might read something for the open mic section, I might not. 

REALM MAKERS CONFERENCE

July 21st-23rd, Atlantic City, NJ 

IWSG, Notes from an Author Table, A New Logo, and a Class Invite

The IWSG is a place to vent concerns and give encouragement!

Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this blog hop has grown to support writers all over the world with a website and social media pages. 

Many thanks to the co-hosts this month: Kim Elliott,

Melissa Maygrove,

Chemist Ken,

Lee Lowery, and 

Nancy Gideon!

To join, go here: IWSG Sign Up

May 4 Optional Question – It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Ah, I’ve had good times and bad times. I hope I’ve already had the worst of times, and I hope I haven’t had the best of times yet. 

My writer highs come when I get some writing in, whether it’s a line of poetry, a list of words, a paragraph, or 10,000 words. Each word counts. 

I also love seeing my work in print online, in paperback, or just about anywhere.

My writer lows come on the days when writing just seems too daunting to start, or when I feel overwhelmed by all the marketing stuff, or the business side of things – like knowing I need to fix all the links in all of my e-books. I’m not a big fan of rejection letters, but I know those are part of the business so sometimes they are part of my lows and sometimes they spur me on to work harder.

Speaking of working harder, life, as always, is pretty busy, but I had an Author Table last week and I have a writing class online this week. If you would like to sign up for the latter, there might be spaces still available. 

Notes from an Author Table

Last week, I spent a week at an author table at a BBQ restaurant in my home city. The owner has a rotating group of authors who take the table for a week at a time, all the time. He’s super supportive of local authors and artists. The space is by the window, right next to the exit door so customers have to walk by it, and there is a chalkboard on the other side of the table, visible to most in the restaurant. Here is what I rediscovered from my second time at the table in the last six months:

  1. Being present in the world is the most important part of sitting at an author table. People get to see me and know that I seem mostly sane and friendly. This is key to actually getting sales, whether they are there at the table or later online.
  2. Being engaged at the author table is the second most important part. If I have something I am doing, so I am not just staring down anyone who wants to approach the table or smiling maniacally (I do this when I’m nervous), people actually come talk to me. The important key here is having the right thing to do, so I can greet people, but also not overwhelm or look distracted. Tasks that work for me: writing in a journal (not a laptop, which looks “closed for business” to most people), drawing, and origami. Things I’ve seen other authors do: play cards, knit, talk to other people around them (if at a multiple table venue). 
  3. I need to keep my gaze moving. I can’t stare into space, stare at potential customers, read a book, or even look too long at any task I’ve given myself to look busy. 
  4. Changing activity levels always helps. I can stand up, rummage around my book table – really, how many ways can I fiddle with my display? – sit, change chairs, take a short walk in the general area, or do some performance art by writing a poem or hint fiction story on a large chalkboard (this was available to me at the restaurant so I used it). 
  5. Business cards are the best swag. I know they aren’t really swag, but honestly, they are the thing that the second most interested customers pick up from my table. The top interested customers pick up a book. 
  6. The second-best swag for me: tiny stories and poems on small pieces of paper for potential customers to take for free. These are all stories and poems I’ve had previously published. 
  7. Remember, being present is the most important part. If I make live sales at the table, that’s a bonus. If I hand out business cards, about half of the number that get picked up represent the number of sales I have online afterward. 
  8. Trust the customer to ask the questions. 
  9. Keep any “sale” talk to a minimum and keep it simple. “I write science fiction and fantasy with strong heroines and a touch of faith” is about enough. If people ask me about specific books or ask about a cover, then I can say more. If I say too much too quickly, sometimes they run.
  10. Long pauses while they look at my books are good. Dramatic effect does wonders for sales. Talking too much drives people away – at least for me. 
  11. Having an “interest” item on the table that’s visible from ten feet away is good. I bring my fencing foil or saber with me. I don’t let kids pick it up, so I have to keep an eye on it, but it definitely draws customers to come and talk to me about it, which leads me to talk about my books and writing fight scenes. 
  12. If someone won’t take a book after they’ve paused and talked, try to get them to take a business card by offering it to them. 
  13. Take advantage of my surroundings. I used the chalkboard visible to most of the restaurant to display some of my poetry – each day I wrote a new (previously published) poem on the board. It gained some attention from customers and gave me way to engage with them. One regular customer of the BBQ restaurant offered to read my work out loud with theatric hand gestures in a booming voice. I let him have at it and it was great. 
  14. Thank the venue. 

Invite to a Class

You are invited to: 

The Writer’s Workshop Series, Four-Sentence Exercises to Boost Creativity and Sensory Description 

Friday, May 6, 2022

7:00 PM  8:00 PM (PDT – Seattle/LA Time)

In this class, writers will engage in listening, discussion, writing, and sharing to learn how to:

·       Create a micro-fiction story.

·       Utilize short writing exercises to hone their writing craft.

·       Increase their sensory descriptions beyond visual description.

Please note all virtual gatherings are live streamed on Facebook to amplify accessibility. 

Zoom link will be sent just prior to the start of festivities. 

Go to the following link to register for #FREE: https://www.creativecolloquy.com/all-events/four-sentence-exercises-to-boost-creativity-and-sensory-description

NEW LOGO

I have a new author logo from the excellent creators at Miblart!

I received the final artwork a few days ago, so I haven’t put it in all the right places yet, but I’ll be dedicating post to the process of getting this logo done next week!

And…

Wishing you all the best of writing times and life times! 

Four Sentence Stories Workshop Notes

Four-Sentence Stories

 If you viewed my Four-Sentence Stories Workshop with QuaranCon 2022, you might have seen me get a bit nervous a few times, but I kept going and taught the class mostly as I meant to. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH-v3YyGzM0

Either way, I thought I could reiterate some of the points of the class briefly here and add in a few extra writing prompts if you are interested.

What are 4-Sentence Stories?

  • Exactly what they say they are: stories in four sentences. 
  • Part poetic brevity, part fiction, these stories force focused word choices.
  • Always include a character, a problem, and an ending/hint of resolution
  • Yes, this can be done.
  • Yes, they can be fun to write.

Why write 4-Sentence Stories?

  • Explore characters
  • Explore ideas
  • Fill the creative well
  • Play with words
  • Focus on sensory words, active verbs, or another area you want to work on. 

Example of a 4-Sentence Story:

This is one of mine, but there are many more to be found in Jessa Forest’s newsletters and at online markets which I will link at the end of this post.

Solution by Tyrean Martinson

Gilly touched the railing of her childhood home.

Painful memories lodged like splinters under her skin.

She could change that.

The match caught easily on the gasoline-soaked wood.

What happens if you don’t follow the 4-Sentence Format EXACTLY?

If you have too few sentences, consider it a win. 

Consider rounding it out, or leave it as, if you are satisfied.

If you have one or two too many, consider it a win. 

You wrote. You finished a super short story. You conquered the blank page. 

OR you can play around with the words or grammar and try to tighten it to four sentences. 

The point is: enjoy the writing. Have fun with it. Overcome the blank page and play with words!

Writing Prompts to Use:

  • Put your character in a white room and show what they do there.
  • Put your character at the edge of a cliff, top of a castle tower, underwater, trapped in a spacesuit that’s running out of oxygen and show what they do there. 
  • Take away the sense of sight and make your character rely on sound, smell, taste, or touch for the duration of a four-sentence story. (This forces a focus on writing other sensory description.)
  • Take a character you already know and put them in a weird or impossible situation. Dump Athena into a modern fast-food chain and see what she does.
  • Something came over the horizon. 

Questions to ask yourself after writing the story:

  • What did I learn about this character?
  • What did I learn about this character’s dilemma?
  • What did I learn about the ending/hint of resolution in this story.

What can I do with a four-sentence story?

  • Query them. There are markets for four-sentence stories, markets for hint fiction, and markets for micro-fiction. 
  • It is true that most of these markets are non-paying markets, but you can build up your writing resume and your ability to query by starting with these.
  • Use them in a newsletter as a free giveaway.
  • Use them at an author table as a free giveaway. 
  • Collect them and print them in a collection.  

Markets for Four-Sentence Stories and Super Short Fiction:

Four Sentence Stories https://www.foursentencestories.com/

The Drabble http://thedrabble.com/

Nail Polish Stories (hint fiction of 25 words)

https://nailpolishstories.wordpress.com/

A Story in 100 Words http://entropy2.com/blogs/100words/ 

Make sure to read all of their submission guidelines first!

And please note, these editors are volunteering their time and they are all decent people. They don’t accept every story, but they will give yours good consideration.

More Uses and Examples

Four-Sentence Stories can be used by friends, families, and in classrooms for creative storytelling games out loud, for writing games on paper, or even as acting improv games. Try them, you just might like them. 🙂

On Medium:

Most of Jessa Forest’s newsletters: https://jessaforest.com/

Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry by me.

Many thanks to Quarancon for hosting my workshop!!! The wonderful creatives who are in charge of the con are awesome writers and artists!

What’s Next for this Workshop:

I’ll be teaching a Four-Sentence Stories Workshop again in May with Creative Colloquy! I’ll be sure to freshen up the material, use different examples and prompts, so if you did attend this one, there will be more to explore! Please join me there by going to here to sign up: https://www.creativecolloquy.com/all-events/four-sentence-exercises-to-boost-creativity-and-sensory-description

QUARANCON 2022

Quarancon started in 2020 as a free online fantasy and SF convention because we were not allowed to go out and have fun at in-person events. Now, two years on, the convention is still going, and it started on April 7th.

There are lots of panels with fantasy, horror and SF authors from all across the world. It runs from 7-11th April 2022. You can find the full schedule here, and all of the panels will be streamed via YouTube etc.

I have two events this year with Quarancon: a reading, and a workshop.

On April 9th, I’ll be reading from Liftoff, my sci-fi novella which I wrote, had professionally edited, and published in 2020. Imagine an American teen trapped inside a movie theater which turns out to be an alien spaceship during liftoff, add in a cute alien dude, a high stakes space-chase, and some fist fighting, and you have Liftoff, the first book in The Rayatana Series. If I have time, and there aren’t many questions, I might also share a bit from Dark Blade, my ongoing Kindle Vella series. The reading link for Youtube.

On April 11th, I’ll be teaching a workshop entitled originally Four Sentence Exercises to Boost Creativity and Sensory Description which the organizers cleverly renamed Four Sentence Stories to Boost Creativity, and I am hugely thankful for the rename. The workshop is essentially what it says it is. I’ll talk about micro-fiction and using it to keep the creative well full and to build writing skills. The workshop link on Youtube.

I highly encourage you to join me, but also join in by check out all of the events at the con. It’s free, fun, and I’ve already seen some panels I’ll be revisiting to watch again.

Nexus: The Rayatana Book 2 is Available!

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.


Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.


She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.


Nexus: The Rayatana Book 2 is available for all online, retail, and all ebook platforms. Published by Tyrean Martinson with Wings of Light Publishing, LLC. Young Adult – Science Fiction/Adventure/Sweet Romance. ISBN for Kindle: 978-1-7357695-5-4,ISBN for Paperback: 978-1-7357695-6-1, and ISBN for EPub: 978-1-7357695-7-8.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BMHPQ1X

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1105272 

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2/id1586906824 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4248677708 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/nexus-the-rayatana-series-book-2-by-tyrean-martinson 

What Readers Are Saying About Nexus: The Rayatana, Book 2:

“This is a terrific read! The world-building is incredible with a fascinating array of characters, settings, and technology. All of that creates a wonderful backdrop for Amaya’s powerful story. As the story opens, Amaya and her friends are facing a trial for violating the laws of the Neutral Zone. Amaya has to learn who to trust, who to listen to, and how to believe in herself. You’ll find yourself caught up in the magic of the story in no time. A fabulous read!” – Jemi Fraser, Author and First Reviewer