By Kasy Long
Aug 17, 2022
When Sycamore Kiaya (Powell) Martin, ’11 looks at the sky, she doesn’t only see clouds. She also sees a story.
Martin, who earned her B.S. in family and consumer sciences and her M.S. in human development and family studies from Indiana State, has turned her passion for education and helping children into a career as a children’s book author.
Her first book, Blue Bullet Rides in Mommy’s Mustang, was published this spring by Fulton Books (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Walmart.com, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and other sellers). Martin has written 19 additional books in the series that are set to follow in publication – two per year.
“I have always been drawn to creativity, and my education at Indiana State helped me learn more about life, diversity, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world,” Martin said. “The sky is the limit, and these endless opportunities shaped me into the woman I am today.”
It was a leap of faith for Martin to become an author. Like many writers, she struggled to put her ideas into action. She had always seen stories in her surroundings, but said she lacked the self-confidence necessary to enter the competitive literary world. Much to her surprise, she arrived home one day to find that her husband, Matthew, had purchased a laptop, printer, and other tools for her to finally write down her creative story ideas.
“Everyone needs someone to encourage them to follow their dreams,” said Martin. Once she began writing, she couldn’t stop – and she continues to tell her unique stories today. “It took me 35 years to build up the confidence to follow my ideas and passion.”
“I’m still in shock that this is happening to me,” she added. “There are so many children’s book authors, but I never thought I would be one, too.”
Martin’s debut book, Blue Bullet Rides in Mommy’s Mustang, takes children on a comical, heartfelt maiden road trip with a Great Dane in his mother’s Mustang convertible. Like many children’s books, Martin’s books provide an avenue for children to learn from and relate to Blue Bullet’s experiences in an entertaining way. The book’s main character is based upon Martin’s own Great Dane, Bullet.
“Great Danes are fun and playful, but they are also vulnerable, and they have an incredible insight of their surroundings,” the author explained. “I want my books [about Blue Bullet] to be funny and comical, but also educational to children.”
Blue Bullet’s future journeys from his home in Rome City, Indiana, will be featured in the upcoming titles Blue Bullet Races the Dirt Bike Rider, Blue Bullet Goes Ice Fishing, Blue Bullet and the Firefighter [inspired by Martin’s husband, a volunteer firefighter], Blue Bullet and Peek-a-Boo Baby, Blue Bullet’s Christmas Cruise, and Blue Bullet’s Coffee Shop Christmas.
Children’s book author is a natural role for Martin, who has always enjoyed jobs involving children, including as a preschool teacher in Montgomery County, as a teen clerk for the Limberlost Branch Library and assisted youth programs for the Kendallville Public Library, and as someone who was and still is involved in community activities near her home in Northern Indiana. Martin and Bullet are recognized by children and families throughout the community.
“I always wanted to be a part of children’s lives by helping them become the best version of themselves,” she remarked. “I want to be a positive role model and make people smile.”
Martin’s “can-do” attitude and creativity were key to her success as an Indiana State undergraduate and graduate student. She was editor and historian of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority’s scrapbook and she served as a student volunteer for Special Olympics Indiana’s Summer Games.
Her original goal was to become a college professor. While earning her master’s degree from Indiana State in 2011, she worked with retired Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Ed Kinley, Ph.D., to gain insight into higher education careers. Involvement in the Office of Information Technology helped Martin learn about video production and ignited her passion for technology.
That interest continues today as she works with music producers from SoloSound to produce promotional jingles, written and performed by Martin, for each book. Martin also has her own online retail site, Blue Bullet Bone-Tique Apparel with Extreme Graphics, LLC. For every book, a new logo will be released and available as a clothing item.
Writing became a focus in Martin’s life after she met Matthew and the couple married in 2013. She has found writing her books for children to be a rewarding experience. Martin wants kids to open the pages of a book for a sense of discovery and wonder, and, quite possibly, as an escape from today’s stressful world.
“No matter what is going on in the world, children can read books. Reading shapes their minds and allows them to be creative – to create a world around them,” she said.
Martin said she has enjoyed meeting children during her summer book tour. She frequently visits libraries, community fairs, and coffee shops, including the first franchise of Five Lakes Coffee Shop, owned by Russ and Allyse Yoder, where Martin works as an assistant manager. She is also preparing for a school book tour.
Children shouldn’t be surprised to see the real-life Blue Bullet at these book events also.
There are many more playful, tail-wagging stories to come. Martin says she intends to write books about her beloved Bullet for the rest of her life. After all, a writer never stops finding inspiration.
And Martin always has a story to tell.