Monday, February 23, 2015

A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts by Tyrean Martinson

It's my absolute pleasure to feature this book today: A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts by Tyrean Martinson.


Personally, I enjoy reading through prompts for inspiration. The more open-ended they are, the better. These prompts were the best, because they were specific enough to get an image in your head, but brief enough that I didn't feel restricted to a particular type of writing.

There were prompts that fit all kinds of genres. Realistic stories, magical stories, stories for adults, stories for children... there truly is something in this book for everyone.

Today, I'm interviewing author Tyrean Martinson about this book and others. Here's what she has to say:

What made you decide to write A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts?

I started writing and collecting writing prompts at the request from parents at my home-school co-operative where I teach classes. Four years ago, it began as a list of a 100 prompts for summer writing, and then it grew each year in a messy jumble of prompts. Over the years, I discovered I like prompts out of order, not in line with a season or theme, because they prompt me to think outside the box.

(Side note from Shelley: I like prompts out of order too, which is why your book and I really get along!)

Do you have a favorite prompt (or prompts) from the book?

It’s hard for me to pick because I like all of them, but here are a few that stand out to me, today:

- in the wide, waiting land
- dear, angry henchmen
- a damsel not in distress
- an uncomfortable relative
- it is not impossible that I will make the catch

(I made a list of the ones I plan to write about, and "an uncomfortable relative" is one of my favorites on the list!)

Can you tell us about your other books?

The Champion Trilogy, a Christian YA fantasy series, came out of a conversation I had with my daughters and a dream image of a young woman cowering on a muddy battlefield while holding a sword struck by lightning. As a short story, it kept getting rejected with the words “it sounds like a chapter from a novel,” so I took it to novel length. After three years and seven content drafts, I realized that Clara, my MC, needed a trilogy to share her journey. The dream image starts the first novel, Champion in the Darkness, and acts as a prophecy that she must try to avoid to save someone she loves.

Ashes Burn is an experimental micro-fiction series that is coming out in seasons. Wend is on the run, Teresa is hunting down the man she loves, and King Bryant is trying to take over the kingdom and cover up what really happened to his parents and brother.

My other book-length published projects include a poetry collection called Light Reflections, and a speculative short fiction and poetry collection called Dragonfold and Other Adventures. In addition to those, I have some individual short stories available in e-story format, including “Seedling,” which is a perma-free MG urban fantasy story.

(Can't wait to check these out!)

Do you have any upcoming books in the works?

Yes!

Ashes Burn will continue coming out over the next two years.

Three writing curriculum books, Dynamic Writing 1-3, which were previously published privately just for my writing classes, will be released publicly over the spring and summer.

Plus, the final book in The Champion Trilogy, Champion’s Destiny, will come out in September. Clara will discover a secret about the Champions of Aramatir that has been hidden for hundreds of years, but revealing the secret comes with a price.

(Wow, you write a whole lot! I'm impressed!)

Thanks for having me here today, Shelley!

My pleasure! Guys, if you're looking for inspiration, I encourage you to check out A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts!

Tyrean Martinson, an everyday writer, likes to write in jeans and old Christian concert t-shirts while drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee, preferably served up in her Tinkerbell or Eeyore mugs. She teaches writing classes to home-school teens once a week, and she writes fantasy, science fiction, space opera, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing help and curriculum books. You can find her online at Everyday Writer, Tyrean Martinson.

Her latest releases reflect her love of everyday writing: A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts eBook with the companion paperback, A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, and the additional Jumble Journals. The eBook version is only 99 cents at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review of BAD HAIR DAY by Adrienne Vincent Sutton

You guys must know by now that middle grade is my favorite genre. I can't emphasize enough how much I love a good middle grade voice, and I'm always so excited to find a character with a voice so strong that it sticks out in my mind.

BAD HAIR DAY by Adrienne Vincent Sutton has one of those memorable voices.


A summary (from Goodreads.com):

Gabby McGee is a 12-year-old girl trying to shed her “bad hair,” her parent’s strict rules, and her insecurities—all at the same time. If only she could change her hair from nappy, kinky, and unruly, to straight, long, and flowing, she could finally fit in. But she soon learns that going behind her mother’s back to get a chemical hair relaxer isn’t the way to do it. After a failed trip to the hair salon leaves her in debt, she devises a hair-brained scheme to pay it off, which involves her crush, a French kiss, and a bake-off. Is it just crazy enough to work? Is changing her hair really what she wants? Or, could the money troubles of a classmate at her snooty private school cause her to change her attitude instead?

Gabby was such a fun character to follow around. Anyone who has ever felt insecure about anything regarding their looks will relate to her troubles. I recommend this book for kids and adults who love middle grade! You can find BAD HAIR DAY on Amazon as an e-book and paperback.

Have you read any good middle grade books recently?

P.S. Not to try to jump back in the spotlight when it's on somebody else today, but if all goes well, I'm planning to release ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS on March 11! I'll keep you guys updated on its release!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Introducing... One Hundred Thirty Stars

I previously mentioned that I have a new book coming out. It's called ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS, and it's another contemporary middle grade book.

Everything's really coming together for "Stars," and I'm planning to release it in mid-March. (Exact date will be determined soon!)

If you're curious, here's what the book is all about:

Eleven-year-old Kelly “Birdie” Knotts has the perfect summer vacation planned: she’s finally going to visit her dad, Arthur. Birdie hardly knows him, but she has high hopes that he’ll be the one family member who understands her.

Too bad her vacation is nothing like she imagined it would be.

Arthur’s plans for their father-daughter visit revolve around a video game convention, where he dresses head-to-toe in costume and makes a boisterous scene every chance he gets. When he isn’t shouting gleefully in the hallways, he’s belting out off-pitch tunes in the karaoke room. Birdie’s new plan? Hide under a rock for life.

It’s impossible for Birdie to get to know Arthur when he insists that he’s a video game character. And if he doesn’t step up and start acting like a dad, it might be game over.


ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS is already on Goodreads, so click here if you'd like to add it to your To-Read list!

I had a lot of fun with this story, especially all things video game-related. The game that Arthur is obsessed with is a fictional video game called Otto's Quest. And thanks to the fabulous and talented Heather R. Holden, you guys can get an idea of what the characters of Otto's Quest look like:


If you read "Stars," you'll hear a lot about the video game characters shown above! Please check out Heather's site at www.edgyauthor.com if you're interested in a commission of your own -- she's really fantastic!

Lastly, if you feel like getting involved in the release of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS, please feel free to fill out the form below. (If the form doesn't work for you and you still would like to get involved, please email me at shelleysly2 at gmail dot com.)



Stay tuned for more info, including the cover reveal (March 3rd) and the official release date!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dear Journal...

I'm a writer, so it would make sense if I kept a journal, right?

Except I don't.

I've tried and tried over many years. When I was a kid, I had a little purple and blue diary with a lock on it. I only wrote in it for a few weeks. As a teenager, I tried all different kinds of notebooks. Ones with cute animals on the cover, ones with inspirational quotes on them, big books with wide lines, small books with narrow lines... and each time, I just couldn't stick to it.

I'm even surprised I've blogged this long. Today it's been five years exactly since I started this blog as "Stories in the Ordinary," a blog that I hoped would help me to connect with other writers. And I've met so, so many lovely people here. (Most of my old posts have been removed, but I can explain that another time.) But before this one, I had at least five or six blogs that I attempted to start and eventually lost interest in.

Do you journal? If you do, do you have any advice for maintaining a journal?

I'm hoping to find just the right notebook, or maybe just the right time in my life to start journaling for real. In the meantime, I've been trying to blog more frequently again (or at least not take as many long, long breaks) so at least that's something, right?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Get Real: Thoughts on Realistic Fiction

I'm a big fan of realistic fiction, which is why majority of my manuscripts fall into that category. Don't get me wrong: I love fantasy and sci fi and magical stories, too. I even wrote a couple of manuscripts containing magical elements before I realized that it just wasn't my strength. But contemporary, realistic middle grade is my passion.

I think realistic fiction in general has the risk of appearing boring. Magical stories might deal with grand conflicts such as defeating an evil wizard or saving an entire planet from destruction. By comparison, a realistic manuscript's plot revolving around failed friendships, complicated relationships, or trouble at school/work (as examples) might seem a little too... ordinary. (Though, of course, there are genres such as suspense and mystery that are both realistic and intense. I just tend to write quieter stories.)

But here are some things I love about writing and reading realistic fiction:

- That I've-so-been-there feeling, when a character does something that you can totally relate to. As a writer, I like to pull things from personal experience and incorporate them into a story.

- That I-feel-like-I-know-you-from-somewhere feeling, when characters and settings feel so real to you. I remember feeling like this as a kid when reading the Babysitter's Club books. Kristy and Claudia and everyone may as well have been girls I went to school with.

- That I-can't-stop-laughing feeling. I love a humorous book that causes me to reread the funny parts a second and third time. I'm looking at you, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Of course, the above list is applicable to fantasy and magical books, too. But since I read way more realistic fiction, I experience the above much more frequently with that genre.

What are your thoughts on realistic fiction? Do you tend to read/write it, or do you favor sci-fi/fantasy/magical stories?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Things in a New Year

It's already 20 days into 2015, but Happy New Year, everybody!

Hope everyone's year is off to a good start. There are plenty of new things happening and about to happen around here, such as:

1) NEW house -- As I've probably mentioned before, we're in the middle of the (long, complicated, exciting, terrifying) process of moving across the country. I'll spare the details on this blog, but if you want to know more about our journey, just ask.

2) NEW email address -- Well, it's not 100% new, since I'd used it as a business email for a while now, but as of this month, I'll be using it as my personal email address, too: shelleysly2 (at) gmail (dot) com. Email me anytime!

3) NEW book -- I'll make an official post about this soon, but I plan to release my next book in a few months! It's a contemporary middle grade novel called ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS.

4) NEW WFW news -- Check back sometime this spring for something new related to my first book, WISHING FOR WASHINGTON!

What new things do you have going on in 2015? Feel free to share info on book releases or other happy news!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Build Your Own Story (And Win One, Too!)

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting to each of the third grade classes at a local elementary school. (They've always been so incredibly kind to me at that school -- I couldn't ask for more support!)

Rather than rambling on and on about how a book is made, I led an interactive activity called, "Build Your Own Story," where the students and I... well, built our own story.


I gave them one category at a time (characters, setting, what does the character want, what's in the character's way, how does the character try to get what he/she wants) and they raised their hands and gave me some really creative and brilliant answers! Here are some (abbreviated) ideas that they came up with:

Princess Sally, who lives in a kingdom made of gold, wants to find the treasure that's hidden under all the gold. But what will she do about the evil witch who tries to stop her?

Detective Looker is investigating a robbery in a museum when another detective gets in his way. Who will solve the mystery first?

A chicken named Bob dresses up as a human in order to go to school with the children in his town, but he gets caught and is sent home. How will he find a way to go to school when chickens aren't allowed?

They came up with great endings for the stories, too. I'm so impressed with the fun story ideas they had! "Build Your Own Story" was a success, and I hope to do more presentations in the future.

Another exciting event happening this month is the Goodreads Giveaway for WISHING FOR WASHINGTON. If you'd like a chance to win a signed paperback (giveaway ends Thursday, Dec 4th) then feel free to enter:



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Wishing for Washington by Shelley Sly

Wishing for Washington

by Shelley Sly


Giveaway ends December 04, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win



Any other interesting or exciting things going on lately? Feel free to share!
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