My mother was a heavy smoker all during my childhood. I would even consider her a chain smoker because she would typically light her next cigarette with the end of her last one. I found out as I got older she was probably smoking so much to dull hunger pangs because some days she barely had enough food on the table for her four children must less herself.

While I never had the urge to pick up that particular habit, I was fascinated with the smoke itself. I thought it was so cool to hang this little stick thing from your lips and watch puffs of smoke float up to the ceiling. In an otherwise dysfunctional house, it seemed pretty normal to smoke. I was about 10 years old when I became fascinated with Mother’s smoking habits and wanted to see if I could do the same thing.

There wasn’t extra money lying around our house but occasionally Mother would give us a nickel to spend on anything we wanted. I would usually go to Touchet’s grocery store and load up on about 15 to 20 pieces of “penny” candy. It was a really big deal then that I chose only one pack of bubble gum cigarettes on one of my coveted candy trips.

I can remember going with my sister to the local park…one of the few places we were allowed to visit on our own…and sitting on the slides just waiting for someone to drive by. There was a road curving through the park and the slide was close enough for people to see how cool we were “smoking” our cigarettes…but far enough away to not realize they were fake. And if I timed it just right, I could blow on one end of the cigarette and puff out some gum powder residue that kinda sorta looked like the real thing.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anybody but to a shy kid trying to find her way to some kind of normal, even mimicking a bad habit was better than nothing…




HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover


Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

Eleven-year-old Emma misses her father who’s serving in Europe during World War II. He leaves behind a treasure box with six compartments to be opened during her birthday week. He also tells her to watch for the gris-gris while he is gone. Looking out for swamp creatures and dealing with wartime rationing is hard enough, but now there’s a British refugee staying at the house! How will Emma enjoy her birthday and keep her decision to hunt the gris-gris a secret with a stranger following her around?


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 flash fiction, 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 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: Going Up In Smoke

  • June 15, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    I remember one day at the park, when you ‘blew smoke’ an older girl said, “Hey! Little girl, you’re too young to smoke!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *