Monday, May 22, 2017

Diverse Characters - H + I + J

Join our book discussion on our Goodreads page. 

The starter discussion has simple, fun questions anyone can answer, if even you didn't read the book.



There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below 

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol

Here are the diverse characters for H:


Image from Pixabay


Image from Pixabay



Hindu Bride


Homeless Individuals 

Here are the diverse characters for I:

Icelandic Individuals


Indians (India)

Image from Pixabay

The Irish

Islamic Individuals 

Images from Pixabay



Here are the diverse characters for J:

Individuals from Jakarta


Image from Pixabay

Japanese Individuals

Japanese Americans

Jehovah's Witnesses 

Jewish Individuals

SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with H, I, or J, let me know and I will add them to my list.

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?

*All images are free to use.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Reasons to Read and Write Short Stories by Tyrean Martinson / Hero Lost Blog Tour

Reasons to Read and Write Short Stories
(In the Wild or At Home)

by Tyrean Martinson

1. Interruptions: I’ve had four in the time that I intended to write this guest post. 

With a short story, we can quickly pick up where we left off and know that we haven’t been interrupted “too long” to enjoy reading or writing them. 

2. Limited Time or In the Wilds (anywhere but at home)

Reading: Short stories fit in limited time spots – on a lunch break or a coffee break, in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store, or anywhere else where we find ourselves “in between” things. 

Writing: The same principle applies with supplies we can easily take with us. Use the talk-to-text feature on a phone to talk a short story into life, type up a hint fiction or flash fiction story in the notes section of a phone, or bring a notebook and a pen wherever you go, and voila – writing space! Write any story that springs to mind or use the surroundings or surrounding people to jumpstart a short story. If we’re at home, a short story can fit into the time that it takes dinner to cook (although I have burned a number of meals this way), or they can even fit inside commercial breaks during a beloved TV show – although I only recommend hint or flash fiction for this super limited time frame.

3. Discovery of New Places

Reading: I’m madly in love with the world of story – anywhere fictional or simply not my regular reality where I can sink in and experience something new. Short stories allow me to plunge in for a short while and come out ready for whatever’s next in the real world.

Writing: I love to write about something new and sometimes something “new” can be explored more easily in the tight confines of a short story. Plus, if I have a shiny, new idea, a short story is a good place to give it a quick run before I commit the idea to a longer space of time and length. In the Wild world outside of home, anything seems possible and this principle applies to discovering new places in new ways (what if a warrior like Xena stopped at the local coffee shop for a cup of joe?). 

4. Discovery of New People

I admit it’s taken me most of my adult life to enjoy meeting new people. It’s still not my best skill set. However, I do like to meet new characters in fiction when I read and I do like to create new characters when I write. If I use my “out and about with short stories” idea, I can find new “characters” to work with pretty easily. I look in other people’s grocery carts or eavesdrop for character ideas – I know this is probably terribly rude, but I’m a writer so I consider it research.

5. Creating a Deep Understanding of Narrative

Reading helps us become better writers. When I read (and re-read) short stories, I am memorizing the story form. It’s true that there are many different styles of writing, but short stories give me an easy way to study these different styles without committing to read a full novel in some forms that I’m not sure I’ll enjoy.

Writing short stories gives me a way to explore new writing concepts and styles. There’s no reason not to finish a crazy dialogue writing exercise from a writing craft book by turning it into a short story that I might, just might, be able to get published somewhere.

After many years, I convinced my mom to read short stories and she is growing to like them. She says, “they’re just enough to give me something to think about.”

Do you read or write short stories?

Daydreamer, writer, teacher, believer – Tyrean Martinson lives near the Puget Sound with her husband and daughters. With her B.A. in Ed. and English, she teaches writing classes to home-school teens and she writes speculative, contemporary, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing books.
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Of Words and Swords

In a time of dragons and dragon-slayers, Maud has lost his taste for battle. He wants only to put his swords to rest and follow his life-long dream to become a bard.

Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Empowering Women - Alyssa Milano

Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:

Alyssa Milano

Image from Wikimedia Source
Author Tom Sorenson

Alyssa Milano came to fame playing Phoebe Halliwell on Charmed. Phoebe was an advice columnist who once channeled Lady Godiva and rode naked on horseback in San Francisco to protest against a restaurant owner’s treatment of her sister when she was breastfeeding her baby. I find this interesting considering this is a fight Alyssa has fought in real life.

She has two children and has openly discussed breastfeeding, something that all women do to nurture their babies and give them life. Once, her breast milk was thrown out by airport security. “Every ounce of milk I’m able to produce for my child is nothing short of a miracle, and to watch that milk be thrown away without any regard for my baby was heartbreaking.”

Public breastfeeding has become a hot topic of debate lately with people strongly being on one side or another. For or against. Alyssa has raised a question: "why it’s okay to show a photo of Miley Cyrus wearing only two suspenders covering her breasts, but it’s not okay to share images of nursing mothers."

She also pointed out how breasts have been sexualized away from their natural purpose. “Biologically, they’re not made for sexual things, that’s what we’ve done to them.”

Alyssa has argued against even using a blanket to cover up, prompting if you’d eat under a blanket and adding that women shouldn’t have to hide their nursing babies.

She’s famously shared her breastfeeding journey with her kids on Instagram.
“When I post pictures of me breastfeeding Bella, it’s not that I’m trying to be very outspoken about breastfeeding, it’s that it’s a very special moment in my life.”

QUESTIONS: Did you ever watch Charmed? It was one of my favorite shows. What do you think of breastfeeding in public?

Inspiring Song: 

Monday, May 8, 2017

#IWriteBecause + Books for Writers: Bird by Bird

NOTE: I'm coming down with a cold, so it might take me some time to return comments.

Reedy's #IWriteBecause goes live today!

Hop on over to Twitter and use the hashtag #IWriteBecause to share why you write with us.

Let's get trending!

I submitted a video for their campaign and explained why I write. My video was only 18 seconds, because I am nervous doing recordings, so I'll share a little more here. 

Ever since I was a child, I've loved to write, especially after my mom would write children's stories and read them to us. I started writing was my destiny. A story idea came to me in the strangest way when I was twelve, and the rest Is history. lol 

As a disabled adult, writing is the one thing I can do. Thanks to the steel rod screwed into my spine, I often deal with back pain and restrictions that limit me from working normal jobs. Having the freedom of a writer gives me a purpose, a way to express myself, and it makes me feel like I'm doing something. It may not be a "real" job, but it's my job. It's my life.

#IWriteBecause it's my FREEDOM.

#IWriteBecause it's all I know.

#IWriteBecause I can!



One of my all-time favorite books written by a writer for writers is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The subtitle: “Some Instructions on Writing and Life” is on par. If you don’t like how-to books, this isn’t one. This book is charming, funny, witty, and real. We get a glimpse into Anne’s life, family, and writing as well as sage advice about writing…and life.

Some chapters you’ll encounter are “False Starts,” “Plot Treatment,” “How do you know when you’re done,” “Broccoli,” “Someone to read your draft,” and “Writer’s Block.”

I jotted down many quotes from this book, and I want to share them:
“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches and trams around.” 
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” 
“The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” 
“…my writing is like a person to me—the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me.” 
“…other than writing, I am completely unemployable.”
“You are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won’t have much of a story.”
“Just don’t pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t.”
“Of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”

QUESTIONS: Have you read Bird by Bird? What's your favorite book by a writer for writers?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Submit a Video to Reedsy! + Hero Lost Release / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers.

May Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

I've researched MANY things for my books, but the weirdest was for a zombie WIP. I researched voodoo, viral diseases, and things that made me cringe. 



The IWSG would like to add Members' News to our newsletters! 

Do you have something you'd like to share, such as an acceptance, publication, award win, etc? 

Send me an email at with 1-2 brief sentences detailing your success. You can include one link to be attached to your name.



Reedsy is doing a video campaign for writers to share their #IWriteBecause stories. For every writer who shares their story, Reedsy will donate $10 to Room to Read — a non-profit organization that seeks to provide girls in Africa and Asia with access to education.

Take a 30-second or less video and submit it here: #IWriteBecause on Reedsy

Their video campaign will go live on Twitter on May 8th!

There's a simple Google form for you to file out. TIP: Click the link they have to submit the file for your video first before submitting your completed form.

This is a cause I believe in, so I submitted my story, and so should you. 


My Writing Life Update:

I still haven't started writing the final book in my series, but I DID edit Flaming Crimes (Book 4) and submitted it to my publisher. I went through it once and didn't even use a beta reader. That's how confident I was (still am)!

I have done a tiny bit of writing, though. I wrote a rhyming picture book. It's less than 500 words, but that's something! I'm submitting it to agents just for fun. That's how I'm going to look at submitting projects from now on. It's for fun. :)



Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!


OPTIONAL JUNE QUESTION: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Broken But Not Dead (Promo) + My Cat Clan / Monthly Mishmash

On April 1st, I added to my tattoo...a ladybug, four-leaf clover, and the dragonfly's wings were colored in. It was an early birthday gift to myself. April 12th was my birthday, and I had a lot of fun with my family. We had a picnic and went fishing. 

Promo for Joylene Nowell Butler! 

Maski: Broken But Not Dead
By Joylene Nowell Butler
Psychological Thriller
$4.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844385

An IPPY Silver Medalist!

To the Breaking Point...

When Brendell Meshango resigns from her university professor position and retreats to her isolated cabin to repair her psyche, she is confronted by a masked intruder. His racial comments lead her to believe she is the solitary victim of a hate crime.

However, is all as it appears? After two bizarre days, the intruder mysteriously disappears but continues to play mind games with her. Taught by her mother to distrust the mainstream-based power structures, and with her stalker possibly linked to a high level of government, Brendell conceals the incident from the police. But will her silence keep her safe?

Then her beloved daughter, Zoë, is threatened and Brendell takes matters into her own hands. To save Zoë, Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.

Purchase Links:

“Joylene Nowell Butler gets straight to the story, taking you from one happening to the next and keeps you turning the page.” - Martha A. Cheves, author

“A psychological thriller filled with suspense, action and drama...” - John Bell, 93.1  CFIS-FM: Prince George, BC

“Riveting and beautifully written. You won't be able to set it down.” Judith S. Avila, author


Meet My Cat Clan:

This is Otis:

He is a real sweetie. When I first rescued him, he didn't like to get very close. And still he shies away, but he'll sneak onto my bed at night and curl up right next to me, as if I won't notice. He loves to get petted, and he's the only one who likes my nephews. My other cats run and hide. Except for Cole, who stays out in the open and hisses at them.

Otis also goes by these names:
Baldy (He likes to lick himself a lot)
Bald Butt
Big Boy
Handsome Boy
Sweet Boy

This is Clover:

Clover is the smallest of the four, and he has a tiny meow that I like to mimic because it sounds like a long squeak. When he lies down, he first stretches his legs out as far as he can before lowering the rest of his body down. I don't know why. He also likes to touch. He'll put his paw or leg on your leg.

Clover also goes by:
Da Baby
Silly Boy

This is Milo (Otis' Twin):

Milo is the wild one. The rule breaker. He likes to meow obnoxiously in the middle of the night. When I get up to close my door, he shoots out into the living room, because he knows he's been bad. He scratches on the carpet, even when I stand there tapping my foot, scolding. And, yet, he's a sweetie. He likes to take naps with me. All I have to say is, "Milo, wanna take a nap?" and he jumps up to follow me to the room.

Milo also goes by:
D' Milo
Bad Butt
Sleepy Buddy
(He used to be so skinny, but now he's bigger than his twin.)

This is Cole:

Cole is my baby. My big baby. He's fluffy, fuzzy, and fat. When he was a kitten, he liked to hop, so he earned the nickname "my bunny." When I say it with a high-pitched silly voice, he knows I'm calling him. He's a lover, not a fighter. When the other three have...disagreements...he's the only one who avoids it. He's so sweet, and yet he hisses at my nephews. *sigh*

Cole also goes by:
My Bunny
Fuzzy Bunny
Fuzzy Butt

If you can believe it, they are all brothers by birth. They came from the same litter.

Collectively they go by:
My Boys
Piggies (when I feed them)
Stinky Butts (when I change the litter)
Bad Butts (if they are all being naughty)

And the twins also go by:

You can tell them apart because Milo has a lighter face. Otis is darker.

You probably see a trend of the word "butt." It's said out of love.

Am I a crazy cat lady?



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop + Empowering Women - Gal Gadot aka Wonder Woman

Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop

Hosted by Libby Heily. Visit other participants HERE.

The kick ass girl I want to highlight is Gabi Hernandez from Gabi- a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. 

I fell in love with Gabi while I read this book. She's so refreshing because she's not cookie-cutter perfect. Gabi is sixteen years old and facing many of the things that real kids face nowadays. Her best friend Cindy is pregnant, and her other best friend Sebastian is coming out. Her father is a meth addict, and her mother is strict. 

She is Mexican-American but feels as though she's not Mexican enough for her family and not white enough for Berkeley. What we're reading is her diary. She talks about race, ethnicity, gender, weight issues, bullying, rape, and sexuality in a real, though-provoking way. She also finds passion in poetry. My favorite parts of this book was reading Gabi's poems.



Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:

Gal Gadot

Image from Wikimedia
License Author Gage Skidmore

Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman in Batman Vs. Superman. Everyone loved her performance and said she was the best part of the whole movie. So, it’s no surprise that they decided to do a Wonder Woman movie (set to release June 2nd). Before she became an actress and had her break out role in the Fast and the Furious franchise as Gisele Yashar, she had a far more fascinating life.

Gal Gadot is Jewish and was born in Israel. When she was 18, she won the 2004 Miss Israel Competition and competed in the Miss Universe Pageant. Two years later, she served two years as a solider of the Israel Defense Forces.
“You give two or three years, and it’s not about you. You give your freedom away for a while. You learn discipline and respect. The things I’ve been through as a soldier prepared me to deal with career things as well.”
Following her time in the army, Gal studied law.

If you’re still doubting that she’s a bad ass, how about this: She’s a motorcycle rider and did most of her stunts in the Fast and the Furious movies. On top of that, she’s a mom and the second-highest paid actress in Israel.

The fact that she’s the first non-American to portray Wonder Woman makes me love Wonder Woman that much more.
“It is so important for girls and boys to have a female, strong superhero to look up to.”

 Inspiring Song

This song is about bullying by Elise Estrada. Listen to it! The song and video are dedicated to Amanda Todd who committed suicide when she was 15.

QUESTIONS: Who is your favorite Kick Ass Girl of YA? Do you like Wonder Woman? Did you watch the Fast and the Furious movies?

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