Ryan M. Oliver interviewed me for The Mighty Books Podcast and it went live today. If you would like to give it a listen, it’s here:
Ongoing and Upcoming Events
At my Substack, I’ve started a story podcast entitled Tyrean’s Tales (yes, I’m pretty stuck on the name) and so far I’ve shared a few stories, with more to come. In each story episode, I read the story out loud, then discuss why I wrote it or what the process of writing it was like. If you’re interested in giving it a listen, note that I do not have perfect elocution, but I am working on my skills.
Thank you, TCC!
I’m thankful for the class I taught Winter Quarter at Tacoma Community College with their Continuing Education program. Thank you, TCC! I hope I can teach with you again, sometime.
In April, I will be at Norwescon.
If you aren’t familiar with it:
Norwescon is the Pacific Northwest’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention, and one of the largest entirely volunteer-operated regional conventions in the United States. While maintaining a primarily literary focus, Norwescon is large enough to provide a venue for many of the other aspects of science fiction and fantasy and the interests of its fans such as comics, costuming, art, gaming, science, technology, and much, much more.
So, I’m super excited to be a part of seven panels, one author reading, and an author signing!
Reading: Tyrean Martinson
Scifaiku: Rebecca A. Demarest (M), Brian U. Garrison, Tyrean Martinson
Between Worlds: Writing Multi-Genre: Camden Rose (M), Sonja Thomas, Jessie Kwak, Brianna Tibbetts, Tyrean Martinson
Girl Power: Camden Rose (M), Heather S. Ransom, Cait McKinzie, Tyrean Martinson
Disability Literacy: Joseph Malik (M), Xander Odell, Tyrean Martinson, Casey Dunn
Build A Story On The Fly: Frank Morin (M), Brenda Carre, Tyrean Martinson, Sonja Thomas
Autograph Session 1
P. Djèlí Clark, Michael Damian Thomas, Lynne M. Thomas, Grace P. Fong, Nisi Shawl, Benjamin Gorman, Brenda Cooper, Brianna Tibbetts, Carol Berg, Caroline M. Yoachim, Casey Dunn, Curtis C. Chen, D.L. Solum, Daryl Gregory, David D. Levine, Ellis Bray, Eva L. Elasigue, Evan J. Peterson, Frank Morin, Gabe (G.S.) Denning, Gordon B. White, Heather S. Ransom, Jack Skillingstead, Jeff Sturgeon, Joseph Brassey, J.P. Barnett, Julie McGalliard, Kimberly Unger, Marie Bilodeau, Agathon McGeachy, Joseph Malik, Mikko Azul, Nancy Kress, Patrick Swenson, Remy Nakamura, Rhiannon/R.Z. Held, Scott James Magner, Tyrean Martinson, Greg Dubos, Steven Barnes
Poetry Isn’t Scary Unless You Want It To Be: Greg Robin Smith (M), Ellis Bray, Thursday, Tyrean Martinson, Rachel Swirsky
Boundary Setting 101: Alaina Ewing (M), Sar Surmick, Sheye Anne Blaze, Tyrean Martinson
So, will you be there? Do you go to cons? Drop a comment!
Friday Fandom and a Few Musings
Ongoing Reading Challenge
I have a huge stack of library books which I am working my way through, but I haven’t finished many of them, and realized today that a few of them I probably won’t finish at all. This makes me sad, but also glad I found those books at the library.
What I have finished this week:
34. Miracles by C.S. Lewis. I read this non-fiction, Christian apologist book with some students in a homeschool cooperative class. We mined it for gems and quotes and enjoyed some of Lewis’ humor and sassy opinions as well as his thoughtful, logical argument for miracles and for faith.
35. Princess of Secrets (Fairy Tale Adventures, #2) by A.G. Marshall was a fun, adventurous, light-hearted YA romantic fantasy novel I had tucked away on my Kindle for a rainy day, and since it rained, I had reason to read it. 🙂 The romance is clean romance, and this adventurous retelling of The Frog Prince story had some wonderful, funny scenes.
36. Remade by Danielle Novotny was another book I had tucked away on my Kindle from a Christmas giveaway with a bunch of clean romance and Christian authors. This action-packed sci-fi adventure followed the main character through a fatal car accident into a new life after she’s been remade by an alien scientist who wants her to fight for the galaxy’s king. Seen as a freak by other soldiers, the main character hides her abilities and struggles with PTSD from her accident, finally finding a place in a special unit of soldiers led by a Captain who is kind of swoony… but this remains a clean, slowburn romance with all the action coming from the battle scenes. I really enjoyed the book and plan to read the sequel eventually.
37. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling has been a fun and enjoyable re-read. I’m honestly not sure how many times I’ve read this book. I’ve read it on my own at least four times now, read it out loud to my family, later listened to it on audiobook, and read it again. This time around, I read some chapters in my old, hardback copy that I’ve had for ages, and listened to some on audiobook. Jen Chandler invited readers to join her with reading this book and we’ll be starting the next soon. It’s a gentle sort of challenge, and Jen knows loads of Harry Potter lore, so check it out. We’re starting book 2 soon.
Musings and Stories
I haven’t listened to anything huge this week, or watched anything much other than a show I’m half-and-half about, so I thought I would share a bit about my current musings and a story podcast I’ve started.
I have been writing poetry off-and-on for many years, but lately, I’ve been writing a bit more, sending it out into the world via magazine submissions and on my Instagram page dedicated to poetry. Poetry captures my attention in a different way than fiction reading and writing. It feels both more challenging and more restful and rewarding.
I started a podcast at my Substack. I’ve thought about starting a podcast for years, have written lists about how it “should” be, and then when I finally started one, I just started it. I was tired of overthinking it and decided I would rather stumble to a start if that’s what it took to start. So, if you are interested hearing me work on my elocution/speaking skills and hear a few stories I’ve written, check it out.
Cover Reveal for Katherine Briggs!
I’m excited to join in the #coverreveal for The Eternity Gate by @katherinebriggs_author releasing from @enclavepublishing in September 2023! This first book in The Threshold Duology, a YA fantasy series, is available to preorder in hardcover today.
When I went to Realm Makers last summer, I was in an odd spot as an author. I had books out in the world, I was writing like mad, but I still felt a bit wonky and out of sorts going to a conference, filled with frizzy nerves.
Standing in line at the hotel check-in area, I met this warm, encouraging woman full of light and encouragement. Her name: Katherine Briggs.
So, of course, I’m helping her with her cover reveal and I will happily help her with any book campaigning she needs. She’s an awesome person, and I’m excited to read her book which will come out in September 2023!
Destroy the key. Save her people and herself.
The Eternity Gate is found, and kings and monsters battle over its legends of treasure. But rumors whisper that someone stole the gate’s ancient key.
Seyo, handmaiden to the princess, keeps three secrets. First, she’s gifted in fire, not light, and may as well be cursed. Second, she translates a prophecy warning that the gate does not offer treasure but judgment. Third, Jorai, the scorned prince and Seyo’s confidant, entrusts her with the key and disappears.
Surrounded by war, Seyo and her companions embark on a journey to seek help from a faraway empire and find Jorai, unaware of the trap awaiting them. But what should Seyo do with the key? Who can survive judgment, especially someone as flawed as her? Will hiding the key—or destroying it—save her people or ensure their defeat?
Writerly Book Review: bird by bird by Anne Lamott
bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, Author of Operating Instructions, is a book on the writing life that doesn’t pull any punches about the journey to publication and the journey after it as a writer.
And yes, the title is really in lowercase, which seems like a strange juxtaposition after reviewing a grammar book last week. Trust me, when I show students this book, I want to change the title and use capital letters every time, but that’s not how it’s written.
I read this book while I was in college, near the end while I was student-teaching and too busy to be reading anything other than my students’ essays, but I’m me, so I read it anyway. The book was brand new. I think one of my professors recommended it. My copy has yellowed pages, some dog-eared pages because I annotated my copy and didn’t like using tabs at the time, and many handwritten notes added on the first read, the second read, and onward. For a while I had two copies of it, a nicer version that I would allow others to see, and my own personalized version. I finally gave my nicer version away because I wanted to share it and I decided I will own up to my annotated personalized version which has been much beloved.
For those of you who are horrified by the idea of annotating or dog-earing a book, you have my sympathy for I am horrified those who break the spines of books to save their pages while reading, but I still annotate and dog-ear books I intend to keep and reread for life. I do use bookmarks, but the dog-ears or occasional usage of tabs is meant to help me find my favorite parts beyond the initial reading of a book. I don’t dog-ear any library books or borrowed books, and only start dog-earing when things are so good I know I’ll keep the book forever. My copy of bird by bird may have to be replaced someday, if I read it too often, but for now it is still good, and I can find all of my notes every time I pick it up.
bird by bird has instructions and tips on how to pursue a healthy writing practice, but it also includes the aches and joys of writing and the writing life. I recommend reading it for both those reasons.
Here’s a small, and fairly well known sample from the book:
“The first useful concept is the idea of short assignments. Often when you sit down to write, what you have in mind is an autobiographical novel about your childhood, or a play about the immigrant experience, or a history of – oh, say – say women. But this is like trying to scale a glacier.”
…. (Skipping a beautiful section of prose here)
“…I finally notice a one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk to remind me of short assignments.
It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.”Anne Lamott, bird by bird
What Anne Lamott gets at here is that instead of trying to climb the entire mountain of a book in one sitting, we need to start with a short assignment we can finish in one sitting. It’s brilliantly written, entirely applicable, and refreshing.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t take my word for it. Go to the library or the nearest bookshop and find this book. It’s worthwhile reading for writers.
bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
My beloved, annotated copy.
Fandom Friday and Five Writing Prompts
This is the post where I update my 2023 Reading Challenge Stats, discuss what I’ve been watching/listening to, and as part of a new twist, I’ve decided to add in five writing prompts. I’m doing something like this at my Substack, and thought I would try it here, but this will probably be the only “repetitive” post between the two places this month.
2023 Book Challenge Additions:
29. The Posy Book: Garden-Inspired Bouquets That Tell a Story by Teresa H. Sabankaya is a beautiful book on posy creation and the language of flowers with how-to tips, sample bouquets, and gorgeous photography. Non-fiction. Special interest.
30. The Ghost Cat, Totem #5 by Christine Rains is a paranormal, shifter urban fantasy set in Alaska and is the fifth book in a series about three polar bear shapeshifting sisters. These books are warm to slightly heated romance, but with closed doors, and the suspense and paranormal elements, along with the character and plot development create enjoyable satisfying reads. Urban Paranormal Fantasy Romance.
31. Write Your Own Cake: A Worldbuilding Essay by Jennifer Estep is a short eBook read for authors utilizing the cake layering method for world-building. Non-fiction. Writing.
32. Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story is a great non-fiction read for authors at the beginning or middle of their journey. Non-fiction. Writing.
33. Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson is a YA Romance read with strong ties to Pride and Prejudice, but even if you aren’t into the original Bennet sisters, read this book. It’s good. While this book doesn’t hide from heartbreak or tough circumstances, it does show great character growth in Marne, the main character who realizes suddenly that she is the Mary Bennet family. Determined to break her habits, she goes on a transformational journey with plenty of bumps and turns along the way. This book is sweet and heartwarming, but also thought-provoking and sometimes hard to read. I laughed and cried. YA Contemporary Coming of Age with some Romance.
Listening/Pivot and Watching
I’ve been listening to a few podcasts lately. One Hope Church has a Lenten Bible Study podcast, and then I’ve also checked out a few other podcasts that I might share next week.
While I meant to give up some film/show time for Lent, I had a change of heart (pivot), and decided to do some intermittent fasting from food, and some fasting from negative self-talk/general grouchiness. So, I have been watching a few things, like:
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: So much fun! I loved the world-building and the wild variety of life in the quantum realm. Nicely done, MCU. Admittedly, I would have left out a few scenes, but I liked this movie overall.
The Jesus Revolution: I laughed, cried, clapped, and yes, watched this in a very full theater. If you are curious, or you are already a Christian, I recommend it.
5 Writing Prompts
- Imagine a character overhearing an unexpected conversation that disturbs them What do they do?
- At the crime scene in the house of a known recluse, something stood out to the Detective. What was it?
- The Chinese fan on her windowsill reminds her of when…
- Out of the merry band of friends in a photo on her desk, only two remained alive. The others…
- The senior living home’s new management had to do something soon; the residents were moving out in droves. So, the manager decided to…
This post is sponsored today by:
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These stories are set in near-future, alternative world, and far future science fiction and fantasy worlds. Some characters fly spaceships, and some wield swords.
IWSG: March 2023
Today is blog hop day for The Insecure Writers’ Support Group, started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by:
Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose!
Many thanks to all who participate and make IWSG possible!
The March 1st Optional Question is:
Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?
Heck yeah. I think the first author envy I had was as a kid. I wanted to write like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They made it look effortless. My first novel draft written at age 12 went into the garbage can because I thought it was terrible. I envied/hoped/longed to be able to write well.
I still have that yearning, even after finishing several books, stories, and poems, even after getting some of my work published by professional small presses and traditional places, as well as publishing my own work. Even after I took second place in a poetry contest just recently. The yearning to improve my writing craft and become a “really good” author is still there.
However, I don’t throw my stuff out anymore. I mine it for rough cut gems and polish them.
Yes, some days I read a book and sigh with amazement and envy over another author’s perfect words, characterizations, plot twists, or resolutions, but then the longing to learn and improve and become the best author I can be with my strengths comes back to me. With that in mind, I head back to work.
I write to writing prompts, I read craft books, I write stories, poems, songs, articles, novels, and I keep on keeping on, hoping to learn, improve, and discover more heights and depths in my writing along the way.
The reality is, I’m not going to be an author just like someone else, and I have realized that I don’t want to be an author just like someone else anymore. I want to be the best author I can be, which means constantly moving forward. My writing has improved and continues to improve as I lean into my strengths and work slowly at my weaknesses. I’ll never be Tolkien or Lewis, but I’ll be the best Tyrean Martinson author I can be.
What about you? Do you ever struggle with author envy?
How do you work on and take ownership of the best version of your writing?
NEWS FROM THE WRITER’S DESK
I started a Substack. It’s here: Tyrean’s Substack
Dark Blade: Tempered (Dark Blade. Vol. 2) is going well on Kindle Vella.
Dark Blade: Forged is going through preparations for eBook and Paperback release.
Resonance (Rayatana 3) is spinning in a time loop, but eventually I will finish it.
I have a pseudonym (or two) and will be writing about that here in a few weeks.
And, as always, my family keeps me on my toes, and my health is making turtle-like progress.
Writerly Book Review: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
If you don’t think a book on grammar can be funny, entertaining, or interesting, you haven’t read Lynne Truss’s book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
This gem of a book with a super cute cover (the American version has pandas on it) made the rounds in 2003, but it’s applicable to today’s grammar and I have to admit I wonder what Truss thinks of ChatGPT, but I couldn’t find that information on her website. As I prepared this, I also wondered if she had an anniversary edition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, but I didn’t find one. I did find a few workbooks, and a number of other books I did not know she had written, so it seems I have some reading ahead of me, which is wonderful.
I freely admit, I’m not sure I want her to read this post, for fear I’ll make some glaring typo or other error that she would find with her clear, grammarian eyesight.
All that aside, I am thankful for the humor she includes within its pages and the pacing of this excellent guide to punctuation grammar. It is written by a UK author for UK grammar, but Lynne Truss points out the differences between UK and USA grammar in several places, so I believe it’s a good book for any author who writes in English (American or British).
As a writing teacher, an English major, and an author, I like to think I know what I’m doing with grammar, but I have a tendency to sprinkle in commas like I’m quoting William Shatner’s version of Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek, and I am quite capable of producing monstrous numbers of typos.
Even if you feel you have perfect grammar, I recommend this book for the humor. Here’s a small sample of that and the reason for the title of the book:
“A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
‘Why?’ asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder.
‘I’m a panda,’ he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Even if you aren’t a writer, you might like this book. My mother-in-law, who once taught Spanish and French classes to high school students and prides herself on excellent written and spoken grammar loved reading it when I gave her a copy for Christmas a while back. She also loved Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, which I will be showcasing next week.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves can usually be found at libraries and in bookshops, as well as the usual online places.
Why read it? I’ll leave you with a quote from the book to answer that:
“The reason it’s worth standing up for punctuation is not that it’s an arbitrary system of notation known only to an over-sensitive elite who have attacks of the vapours when they see it misapplied. The reason to stand up for punctuation is that without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning.”Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Fandom Fridays: Reading 2023, Watching, Listening
This is a post to update anyone interested in my 2023 Reading Challenge, as well as some extra bits about fandom and creatives.
2023 Reading Challenge Update
24. Blade of Ash: Scepter and Crown Book One by C.F.E. Black is a romantic fantasy with Christian thematic elements and clean romance. The characters are fun to read, and I loved this “enemies” to “lovers” story in which each character has a growth arc, and there are plenty of action and intrigue scenes within this fantasy world.
25. Emma’s Three Christmas Wishes by Elena Shelest is a sweet, young teen fantasy read with clean romance, silly moments, and character growth. I have loved some of Elena Shelest’s books in the past, but this one felt younger than the others, and I felt like I wasn’t quite the right audience for it. However, if you are looking for a clean, young teen romantic urban fantasy with Christian themes and Disney Channel vibes, this is the book for you.
26. The Posy Book: Garden-Inspired Bouquets That Tell a Story by Teresa H. Sabankaya is a beautiful, non-fiction book about creating posy bouquets with meaning through the language of flowers. I felt inspired by this beginner level book of posy creation and I loved the descriptions, the photos, and the easy-to-follow directions.
27. Defy the Stars by Cathrina Constantine is an older YA fantasy romance (with some behind the door moments) with plenty of twists, turns, and action-packed intrigue as the characters work to discover their past and how it may inform their future. Fantasy Romance. YA. Indie Read.
I am taking a partial break from movies and shows for Lent. While it may be traditional to fast from food from Lent, the most meaningful type of fasting I’ve ever practiced has been around my reading, viewing, or entertainment practices. HOWEVER, it’s also traditional to take a break from fasting every Sunday (as we celebrate freedom on those days), so I may still watch a few movies and shows on Sunday afternoons/evenings. BTW, I am not Catholic; I grew up in a “new to faith” family and have slowly discovered the faith practices which have the most meaning for me. Lent is not about “tradition” for me, as much as it is about taking a purposeful time to reflect on how my faith actually works out and through my life.
If all of the above paragraph was hard for you to read, I hope you can bear with me. I know faith is a loaded word for many, but it the most healthy and beautiful foundation of my life.
Podcasts I’ve been listening to include: The Happy Writer hosted by YA author Marissa Meyer and Therapy and Theology hosted by Lysa Terkheurst. Are these very different podcasts? Yes, but I like them both. I’m also listening to and participating in The One Hope Church Lenten Bible Study Podcast – and by participating, I mean I am creating some of the episodes.
In audiobooks, I’m listening to A Sense of Danger (A Section 47 Book) by Jennifer Estep – spies, romance, and magic all rolled into one with a sarcastic heroine. This is my evening treat when I’m not watching something and if my family isn’t doing game night. Is this in any way a Christian title? No, not really. But it is fun, and I feel that listening to audiobooks is a way to work on my writing skills (voice and pacing), and work on my listening skills at the same time. (And we all need to work on our listening in this world, am I right?) (I finished the story today, and I have to say that if you are looking for clean romance, skip chapters 35 and 36).
Storytelling in all forms fills me with joy and thanksgiving and gives me rest and renewal. As a writer, I feel listening, watching, and reading to stories in various forms, I am gaining some skills slowly while I’m enjoying the stories.Tweet
My Kindle Vella Story, Part 3 (Vella to Novel)
For many writers who used or heard of Kindle Vella in the Beta phase, the issue that stood out had to do with the rights of authors who wanted to take their completed work from the Kindle Vella platform and turn it into Ebook, paperback, and/or audiobooks.
Originally, the KV program was extremely strict about what could and could not be done with Kindle Vella materials.
From my understanding, as I write this post, things have changed (and may change more), to help out authors. As soon as a KV book is ten episodes in length, the author may take the book (ten chapters and beyond), and publish it on other platforms, given that the material is not given away for free.
I am currently in the process of taking my Kindle Vella novel Dark Blade: Forged and turning it into an eBook and paperback title (audio is still under consideration). I plan to release it in June and leave the original KV book in place on KV.
There is also an option for authors to request a book be taken off the KV platform, but I don’t have any desire to do that at this point. The KV version is still earning me some revenue and I do not see a need to give that up. If readers prefer that version, then I want to leave the option open.
Dark Blade: Forged book is getting another edit/proof, and I am using Atticus to format it for print and eBook. The debate of creating an audiobook shouldn’t be a debate, because I know audiobooks are awesome. The trouble is, I have yet to create one without a great deal of cost.
I’m reusing the image and design I used for the KV cover as the cover for the print and eBook formats, so all of them will tie together easily. Here is what I have so far:
This is the KV cover:
Here’s what I have for the eBook.
There are some slight differences, and I feel like I’m not done yet.
I could keep the square Kindle Vella cover image and add bands of black around it for the eBook and paperback, but I’m not sure I want to do that. I feel like it would take something away from it.
There is always some work to do.
If you have ideas for creating cost-effective audiobooks, let me know!