This hot, Tennessee September does nothing to remind me of growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, except for the humidity.

Septembers in the swamps were usually wet. If you weren’t running away from hurricanes, then you are wearing galoshes and raincoats as you are dodging downpours walking the mile or more to school every day. We didn’t have the pretty fall leaves like you do around here most years. Our trees went from green to brown and there was nothing fun about having to rake up a bunch of dead brown leaves from the yard…especially when you never knew what critters might be buried under that pile of wet, rotting leaves.

But despite all of that, it was my favorite time of year back then and now. The weather starts to get a little cooler. Mornings get a little chilly…sometimes even with a bit of frost on the windows or leaves and it won’t be too soon before you can see your breath fogging up things on your way to school. 

It also meant it was almost time for the annual Fall Festival at the Catholic Church in town. My father was Catholic, although not a practicing one until very near his death and my mother was Methodist. Mother raised her children in the Methodist faith, but to her, church was church and the summertime meant Vacation Bible School at both Methodist and Baptist churches, and carnivals at the Catholic Church come the Fall.

There always seemed something mysterious about the Catholic church in my hometown. It was built in an almost Spanish mission style and whenever I walked inside those gates, I always wondered if a tribunal sat somewhere on the other side, just waiting to hear my confessions. Despite my nervousness, the Fall Festival was a time for music, dancing, carnival games, good Cajun food, and my favorite…bingo!

I never played more than a card at a time, but watched in fascination other people who scattered six or more cards in front of them at one time…brooding over them like a mother hen as they covered each number with a colored tile until the excitement of being able to shout “BINGO!” propelled them from their chairs in search of the prizes they had won. I only remember winning one year and it was a beauty. A robin egg blue porcelain lady’s cologne bottle in the shape of a high laced boot, with a dark round blue velvet pincushion on top. To this day, I still don’t know what sewing had to do with the perfume in that bottle but back then, my 9 year old mind thought I had won the French lottery!

Writing was a bit like playing  bingo. Putting all your cards out on the table and playing the best way you can. Investing your blood, sweat, and tears in the possibility you might have a winning story. And when you finally hear those sweet words “SOLD”, it’s like winning the bingo jackpot and you float to the stage to accept your prize of a publishing contract and go home happy you were brave enough to even be in the game at all!

Ahhh, don’t you just love Fall?







Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?




donna - Copy


Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming soon to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!


Donna L

Hybrid award winning author; aspiring sketch artist; and 4th Degree Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. Host of BOOK NOOK REVIEWS. Member of SCBWI. Mom to fabulous son and adventurer delving into the tricky world of indie-publishing.

2 thoughts on “TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Smells Like Fall

  • September 23, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I’m sure somewhere in town there were colorful leaves falling from trees when we were kids. But I can’t remember ever seeing any of them. And we were outdoor girls, so we would have seen them if they were anywhere near our neighborhoods. Those carnivals were so much fun, too.

    • September 23, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      I also enjoyed the Halloween festivities happening at the Methodist Church, but if I could have only attended one each Fall, the Catholic carnival would have won my vote, hands down! 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!


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