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

  1. Imagine a character overhearing an unexpected conversation that disturbs them What do they do?
  2. At the crime scene in the house of a known recluse, something stood out to the Detective. What was it?
  3. The Chinese fan on her windowsill reminds her of when…
  4. Out of the merry band of friends in a photo on her desk, only two remained alive. The others…
  5. 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:

No matter how hard circumstances are, there is hope for survival, even if it means making one simple choice in the right direction or standing up in the face of impossible odds.
But the question remains: What is the right direction and which way is up?

In these 25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains, we meet over 25 characters faced with impossible odds and difficult choices. Each story offers a unique perspective on what it means to be human, to survive, to live with hard choices, to have purpose, to love, to succeed, and to have hope.

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.

Check it out at Amazon.

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?


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.

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!

My Kindle Vella Journey, Part 2

This is the second post in a series. If you would like to read Part 1, please go back to last week.

Kindle Vella has challenged me to learn a great deal as a writer. It forced me to learn more about my own process of writing, as well as what works on the platform.

I started using Kindle Vella when I didn’t know what I was doing. I made many mistakes over the first year.

But I had projects waiting in the wings, which I could upload, and I started doing that. One might think I would be satisifed using old material and sticking with that idea for the duration of using Kindle Vella, but that’s not the case.

I liked writing newly revised material for Kindle Vella. The process of writing the “right kind” of episodes challenged me to reconsider several things about the style of my writing, what I liked, what I didn’t, and what could change.

Once I finished Dark Blade: Forged, I decided to start the next book. Dark Blade: Tempered has episodes prepped through the end of March, and it’s currently already sitting at 12-13 episodes. I’m writing 1-2 episodes each week and adding them to the back end, in the hopes of staying ahead of it, no matter what life throws my way.

I also started a non-fiction project that is ten episodes strong, and which I have outlined and prepped to end by Mid-March. This is actually under another pen name. (Again, I’ll get the pen name shenanigans in another post.) I have written these primarily using talk-to-text first drafts, and written revision.

Did you know why I decided to upload it? $ Yes. I don’t mean to be crass, but I would like to become more commercially successful, and currently Kindle Vella is paying me more than I’m making through my other eBooks and paperbacks.

My writing has become stronger since I started writing episodically and getting paid for it. I received a few emails from authors and readers who think Dark Blade: Forged is my strongest work yet, and this made me glad, but it also made me take a serious look at why episodes work for me.

Part of the reason this work may be stronger is because I started out by revising old projects per chapter as I uploaded them, taking a long look at specific details.

Another part of the reason I think episodic writing works for me, is that I love my short stories and my poetry. I have often been paid well for those.

Maybe I’m putting too much stock in the “wow, this is your best writing” emails, but they made an impression, and while I have a number of old projects in binders, and new project ideas, which may not fit with the KV model, I’m going to keep using it for now.

KV may work for you if:

  • If you like short chapters (between 600-1400 words).
  • If you already have a 65,000-word novel that’s been edited or critiqued,
  • If you have a ten-chapter non-fiction project you can break into short episodes.
  • If you have a group of ten linked short stories about the same characters you can break into linked episodes.
  • If you are okay asking readers to click the thumbs up button every single episode, then asking for faves and reviews.
  • If you are okay mentioned each episode you published as they publish via your social media channels.
  • If you write excessively long blog posts and chapters, but are willing to break them into smaller chunks. (600-1200 words)

KV episodes are like chapters, but different. Each one needs a tiny intro. Each one needs a tiny hook. They have to end in just the right place. I’m finding the learning process slow (as demonstrated by this long blog post), but I have found I enjoy the challenge presented in the KV platform style.

To see what I mean, compare the first three free episodes of Dark Blade: Forged and those of Dark Blade: Tempered.

Come back in next week for: My Kindle Vella Story, Part 3 (KV to Novel)

This post is brought to you by:

Dark Blade: Tempered

This is a sequel. Read Dark Blade: Forged first! Dan and his friends encounter new troubles at the Watch Tower, as they each attempt to complete their training. Dan must master the dark blade, and while he may have given up his noble title, political intrigue plagues him due to his friendship with Prince Alex who seems determined to fall in love with a pirate, while his faltering faith life concerns his friend Farrald, who should be training to become a Shepherd and not a Guard. Episodes air on Tuesdays.

Don’t Steal This Book, a Book Review for Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon is a book I’ve raved about in the past at other places and times, but I feel like it is worth saying again.

But before I get to my actual review, please note that despite the title, this is not a book about plagiarism, and in fact, Austin Kleon is strongly opposed to plagiarism.

So, with that aside, let’s go onto the actual review:

This short book is full of serious insights with a side of humor and fun for writers, creators, and artists who want to build a foundation of history in their work. If it’s been written before? That’s fine. Find out where, find out by who, find out who inspired that person, and then who inspired person B, then who inspired them, and so on, until you have a creative family tree, or idea family tree, or a foundation to build your old-but-new-in-your-voice work on. That’s not an exact quote. Kleon actually says:

“Climb Your Own Family Tree.”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

“Chew on one thinker – writer, artist, activist, role model – you really love. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat…”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

“Think about… your creative heroes. What did they miss? What didn’t they make? …If all of your favorite makers got together, what would they make with you leading the crew?”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

One of the things I appreciate about Kleon is that he also spends quite a bit of time discussing how to find your own voice, so again, this is not about “copying” in the sense of plagiarism or in the sense of just doing what’s exactly been done before.

More Thoughts on This Topic

One of the reasons I agree with many of Austin Kleon’s thoughts about creativity is that we know we’ve all thought at one time or another: “what if someone’s written this before?”

Your uniqueness is going to shine through whatever you create, even if you rewrite Cinderella again.

How many times has the Cinderella story been told? More times than I can count.

Let’s say you want to write the next boy wizard vampire who falls in love with an innocently powerful woman who is new to his world and who joins him in the battles against his trickster brother only to discover his brother has been trying to save him and their world from a greater evil.*

If you wrote that mashup, it would be unique to your writing style. *If you know of the three famous storylines I’m referencing above, please state them in the comments.

Then, there’s the other fear we all face – have I gone too far, or if I’ve twisted the symbolism in a way others don’t “get.”

Your uniquely creative symbolism is not wrong, even if the writer next to you in class also has ravens in their story, but their ravens are evil and yours are good, or in your story the rain only comes down when the character is sad and in your critique partner’s story the rain is a metaphor for new life.

Write what you write. You can create with your voice, and know you have a family tree of artists and authors.

Have you ever purposely based one of your stories or storylines on a fractured version of a fairy tale, a fable, or those five blockbusters you watched five summers ago?

Fandom Friday: Reading, Listening, and a Newish Idea

This has been a week of downs and ups. My mom-in-law spent some time in the hospital. But, as always, I was doing some reading (partly because that’s how I deal with stress or happiness – either way, reading increases my happiness and relaxes me, so I don’t find it to be a chore).

Reading Challenge 2023 Continued

19. Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story. I loved this book and I wrote a review of it on Monday. Non-Fiction for writers.

20. Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux is a beatiful and informational guide specific to Victorian flowers and bouquets. Non-fiction.

21. Oracle of Life; The Lord’s Gambit Series, Volume One, A Dark Mythological Fantasy Epic by Katherine D. Graham. This story takes readers on a dark twisting adventure with Nariah, an oracle who hopes to save her people from doom, but who discovers not all is at it seems. This story went through some darker turns than I expected, but Nariah had resilience to see her hope fulfilled in one way or another. Fantasy Romance.

22. In Darkness, the Vampire, a paranormal fantasy clean romance novella by L. Diane Wolfe is a sweet surprise of unexpected adventure that reminds more of quest fantasy novels from the past, while adding in a fresh perspective, an intrepid human woman, and a vampire leader. While “sweet” and “vampire” don’t often go together, that’s what makes this book refreshing and fun to read because of the sweet, clean romance in the midst of a quest with vampires. Paranormal Fantasy Romance.

23. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a thrilling adventure set in a gorgeous new world of fantasy by a Nigerian-American author, so it’s shiny new in its own, unique way with some of the standard build of friendships and romance you might expect in a YA fantasy adventure with some romance. The characters are awesome, and Adeyemi is a brilliant author – so much so that I want to study exactly how she brought me into the world so seamlessly. YA Fantasy. Diverse read.

Listening this week

Songs that I listened to more than once this week include: “My All in All” by Phil Wickham (worship), “Echo” featuring Tauren Wells and Elevation Worship, “Café Mocha” by Jesse Cook, “Love Someone” by Lukas Graham, “The Warrior” by Patti Smyth, “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, L.V., “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring, and “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift.

Yes, my playlist is a bit eclectic.

A Newish Idea

My brain is a bit bouncy, but that means I typically bounce ideas around for quite a while before I decide to do them. What may seem like a hasty “yes” or “no” may actually be something I’ve been bouncing around in my head for years, or months, or at least, weeks. I make pro-con lists. I debate ideas in my journal. I do brainstorm a lot of ideas, and sometimes, still, I am hasty in starting something new.

This week, despite all that was going on, maybe because of it, and because of some the great posts I’ve been reading by Substack users, I decided to start my own Substack, even though I have this website and my newsletter. I may be working the details out for the first three months or so, but if you are interested in joining the freebie level, check it out here:

If you have an interest in my newsletter, check that out here:

My Kindle Vella Journey, Part 1

If you’re a writer or a reader, you may have heard a bit about Kindle Vella. There are plenty of articles all over the web with specific analytics to help writers decide if they want to use Kindle Vella or not. This is not that kind of post. I won’t be using graphs or charts or telling you to absolutely use it or not. I’m going to share my experience with it.

When I started using Kindle Vella, it was in the Beta phase. Not many authors were using it, no readers who weren’t authors were reading it. I didn’t know what I was doing. I debated trying it out with something new, and instead, decided to throw some episodes onto the platform from a project I had in a binder on my shelf.

I have many unused projects on binders on my shelf, so I chose one, then another. One I wrote on Kindle Vella under my own name, and one under a pen name. The one under my name, Dark Blade: Forged, is a prequel for Champion in the Darkness, several years before that book begins, and focused on Dantor when he is young Lord Dan Torren, a noble who is attempting to escape his father’s machinations at court. (Right choice.)

The other project I chose wasn’t finished and I wasn’t in love with it, but it had the benefit of being “romance” which I told myself sells well and I thought I could use the KV platform to push myself onward to finishing it, but I wrote it under a pen name. (The Mistake: Thinking a new platform was a good place to attempt to finish something that I didn’t love. This whole idea crashed and burned around my ears. So… I won’t be doing that again.)

While I decided to change the entire back half of the Dark Blade: Forged book, had some life shenanigans go on, and lost my schedule cycle for episodes due to both of those, Dark Blade: Forged had a tiny bit of success.

When I say, tiny, I mean tiny. However, despite not earning a great deal on “readership” per episode for the time it took me to write it, I earned some nice bonus money on every single episode.

The bonus money on Kindle Vella makes it worthwhile even for authors who make mistakes but who continue to upload content on to the system.

So, what did I learn:

  1. It’s nice to earn money regularly for my work, episode per episode. It’s really nice, actually, even if the bulk of it has been bonus money.
  2. Readers want regular updates on Kindle Vella – once a week, or twice a week, three times a week, or even five days a week. Dark Blade: Forged was finished in fits and starts, and ended up with about nine regular readers with more readers hopping on board when the serialization was complete. It’s still gaining readers now.

Once I had the rest of the episodes prepped for Dark Blade: Forged and I had them on a semi-decent publishing schedule, I decided on pulling out another binder book from my shelf and started uploading it under a different pen name. (I will come back to the pen name thing in another post.) That particular book is going fairly well. I did have a few slow moments with it, and a few episodes that I thought went live, which didn’t, and well, some system hiccups added to some issues for me, but the series is still going and continues to have readers.

So, is that the end of my Kindle Vella story? Nope. I’ll be sharing more of the specifics of what I’ve learned in the next post on this, next Wednesday the 15th of February.

Over the next month or so, I will be sharing a bit about why I decided to use a pen name for some of my writing, and why I have a shelf full of finished and half-finished book projects in binders.

By the way, if you are curious about Kindle Vella, check out the first three free episodes of any Kindle Vella book. Here’s a few of mine:

Dark Blade: Forged – I’ve learned a few things since the first twenty chapters, but you can get a sense of what the platform looks like here.

Captain’s Dilemma – This is that pen name story, so obviously not a super-secret pen name, but this story is a bit different.

Here’s one from another author:

Dust Freaks and Demi-Gods by Milo James Fowler – an author who has done really well on KV. He has many KV and regular book titles, but this was the first KV title.

This post is sponsored by:

Dark Blade: Forged

Dan Torren enters the Watch Guard for training, hoping to break away from his father’s expectations. Instead of freedom from politics, he gets saddled with Prince Alex who blames Dan for his “punishment.” With recruits from all over Aramatir, the Watch Guard has its own troubles, especially after Dan is claimed by the Dark Blade, an artifact and sword of power unlike any other in the history of Aramatir. Readers may recognize Dan as Dantor from The Champion Trilogy.

Writing Book Review: Your Writing Matters by Colleen M. Story

Photo of Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story, and my current journal.

If you have ever doubted your call to be a writer, then I highly recommend reading this book. With gracious words, kind invitations to consider your own life, concise summaries of why writing matters to your health and mentality, and excellent exercises at the end of each chapter, Colleen M. Story truly delves into what it means to be a writer, how one can banish self-doubt, and what it takes to truly trust yourself and go the distance in this book.

I took my time with this one because the exercises grow in intensity near the end of the book. I think it is a worthwhile book to simply read, but I found a great deal of benefit in reading and doing the exercises.

Although when I started this book, I already had proclaimed I am a writer, by the end, I felt more firmly convicted of that truth. I am leaning into the confidence of who I am meant to be as a writer more and more these days, and this book helped me on my journey as an author.

To give you an idea of what this book covers, I’m going to share the Table of Contents with you.

While this book is for writers, I actually found the information in the “Writing to Heal” chapter to be information I hope to share with family members and friends who don’t consider themselves writers. I have thought that writing had health benefits, but this chapter gets detailed about those benefits.

So, even if you are not a writer, I recommend this book. It has great information, is motivating to read, and includes a combination of hard truths about writing and a way forward.

And now, I am going to start reading another book by Colleen M. Story. Check out her website here: