Monday, March 15, 2021

Author Insight March 2021 with Cathrina Constantine and The Upside Down of Nora Gaines


Cathrina Constantine has eight novels published with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly, a small independent press, and has received Literary Classics Gold and Silver Awards, the New Apple Medal Award, Reader's Favorite International Awards, and recently, Top Shelf 1st Place award for YA/Mystery. The Upside Down of Nora Gaines is her first attempt of self-publishing her own work. 

Author Insights Interview with Cathrina Constantine

1.     Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I believe the most important advice I can offer aspiring writers is perseverance! Persevere in honing your craft, whatever best practices works for you. Read. Read. And read, is a no-brainer. If you are lucky enough to land a publishing contract within a couple of months I applaud you, but typically it takes a writer endless months, if not years of rejections, and with those rejections the need to develop a skin of armor. That's where perseverance comes into play. If you have a polished, wonderful story, remember, it only takes one Yes! 

2.     Tell us about yourself. (like what you do for a living, hobbies, etc..)

At this point in my life I am babysitting grandbabies most of the week, which is a blessing. Besides writing and reading, my other hobbies are baking, cooking, hand-quilting, crocheting, cross-stitching, and gardening. 

3.     What is your writing process? (A special place or how you outline, or do you just jump into it. Or, what you need before you sit down to write: coffee, tea, cookies)

I like to sit near a window with a cup of coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon, a cookie is essential. I wish I could outline, I can't. I am a true pantser! So I guess, I just jump in IF something, an idea pops into my head. I finished editing a new fantasy story, and since then nothing new has popped. At present, my writing is lacking. I have been mulling over an idea of making this fantasy into a duology because the end does sort of hint at more to come...

4.     From start to finish, how long does it take for you to complete a novel?

I am a turtle writer. It amazes me when I see authors pumping out books every couple of months. I never took creative writing classes. I learned by endless reading, the art of grammar, dialogue and so forth. In the beginning it took a year or two of reworking and revising before completing my first draft. However, I can now have a first draft completed within 6 months time, and then the real work begins. 

Cathrina's Social Media Links:


Twitter: @cathconstantine


The Upside Down of Nora Gaines

Nora has visions of horrific things. Things that lurk in the shadows and feast on bones. After moving with her mother into an old farmhouse, Nora discovers a blank journal that fills itself with an ominous warning. A cursed beast is coming for her and time is running out. When the blood moon rises, so shall the beast.

Local teen, Rebel, has his own trepidations about the house. His parents, both paranormal scientists, were investigating it when they died under mysterious circumstances. His growing feelings for Nora motivate him to battle the ghosts of his past, if it means keeping her safe.

Allies to turn to enemies. Fiction turns to fact. The past and the present collide. All in an epic battle to claim unfathomable power. Can Nora unlock the secrets buried within the farmhouse in time to save herself and those dear to her from a grisly fate?

Thanks for stopping by for an Author Insight Interview, Cathrina!

If you're visiting this blog and you haven't read any of Cathrina's books yet, I recommend them! 

Also, if you haven't connected with me via my monthly newsletter, you can check out the March Edition Here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG March: Risk Taking in Writing and Author Bio Question


It's IWSG Blog Hop Day! A time to consider our writing, to share our insecurities, and to encourage one another! Many thanks to found Alex J. Cavanaugh, the whole volunteer admin team, and the co-hosts this month:  Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR MARCH - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

(Eek, I have the wrong question up! Sorry. It's actually about reading. Okay, so is this the question for next month? Idk. Oy.) Well, here's the answer for the question I asked myself, I guess. 

In brief, I am a risk taker in my short fiction and poetry. I've tried writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POV for short fiction and poetry. I've tried experimental fiction forms and poetry forms I didn't know existed ten years ago. I've written in present and past tense. I like experimenting with short fiction and poems.

When I write anything longer than 5,000 words, I fall into a pattern of third person point of view in past tense. I tried to write a first person novel in present tense and somewhere between the second and third chapter in my rough draft, I switched back to third person in past tense. I tried rewriting the chapters, and reverted again. I ended up with a mess. So, for now, I am a third person POV writer who experiments in first and second person only in short stories.


I have always struggled with author bios. I have said too little, too much, and written things oddly in a way that raised a few eyebrows like in one bio when I described my family and used the phrase: multitalented husband. I didn't mean it the way it was taken, but yes, it was commented on, my daughters were embarrassed, and my husband had a few chuckles.

Here are a few of the bios I've used, and one more at the end. If you have time, please let me know which one you think I should use and why in the comments.

1. The longest one is actually a page on my blog and I decided not to rewrite it here. Let's just say I plan not to go with it in the future.

2. I love words. I love the shape and taste of them. I find refuge in words and stories. I don’t always get it “right,” but I write anyway. It’s in my bones. – Tyrean Martinson

3. Tyrean Martinson lives near Gig Harbor, has a BA in English Education from WWU, works as a property manager and tutor, enjoys walking, and has recently taking up kickboxing. She’s the mom of two college-age daughters who are both into engineering and who don’t like Star Wars or Shakespeare, which means their mom didn’t brainwash them enough, although she really tried. Tyrean is an indie author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction, and has had over 100 short works published. She’s an admin for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and a member of the SCBWI. She’s on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and has a blog at

4. Tyrean Martinson, lifelong SFF fan, fenced foil and saber in college, once acted in plays, and then became a teacher and writing tutor, which gives her plenty of opportunity to use Star Wars and Marvel movies as examples, and gesture theatrically when she makes a point.

5. Tyrean Martinson (she/her) changes her bio nearly every time she submits a story. Why can’t she decide on the best one? Because decisions are hard. Life is too full of possibilities and wonder. Tyrean writes science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, terrible poetry, devotions, and any idea that feels shiny with wonder. Her newest novella, Liftoff, was something she wrote to entertain herself during early quarantine, a “popcorn movie” style YA novella she hopes will be fun for readers, too.

6. Tyrean Martinson writes for her old self: the child who found refuge in the library, who found hope in stories, especially those which showed evil defeated by the roar of a lion, a small hobbit with a sword, a faithful friend, a bar of chocolate, or a band of unlikely heroes. Writing is in her soul and her bones, a part of who God created her to be as a daydreamer, creator, teacher, and believer. Tyrean is a member of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a critique group, and the SCBWI. Tyrean has written and published The Champion Trilogy, Liftoff, Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry, Dragonfold and Other Stories, A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, 5…4…3…2…1…Write: Speculative Fiction Prompts; Light Reflections (a poetry chapbook), and Dynamic Writing curriculum. She has also had over 100 short works of short fiction and poetry published in various magazines, ezines, and anthologies. Tyrean has a BA in English Education with additional teaching certificates in social studies and humanities. She has certificates from the Commercial Fiction Class of 2000, and the Advanced Commercial Fiction Class of 2001 from the University of Washington continuing education program. She also continues to take classes and teach classes in creative writing.

*Tyrean pronounces her name with a hard “e” sound in the second syllable. Her parents created this name for her, and only later discovered it was out there in the world already, with other pronunciations.  

What do you think? Are any of them useable? The last one just feels way too long for me. Do I take out some of the specific titles? And, do I include a pronunciation guide or is that a nerdy/rude thing to do?

In addition to these options, there's one where I tried to include that I'm the daughter of an amputee and someone with mental health issues, and have a multi-racial extended family. I was trying to give reasons for writing a story with an amputee and diverse characters, but it all felt wrong and awkward.

Please help, otherwise, this is me, running between options, probably way more confused than The Weekend in this gif: