TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Find Me A Crawdad Hole…

crawfish

 

As a child growing up near the swamps of southern Louisiana, there were a couple of things I was sure of….

Alligators could come to visit us whenever they wanted.

Crawfish were fun to play with.

Growing up poor on the bayou didn’t give me many opportunities to play with the fancier toys other children in my small hometown would, so I would make up my own unique forms of play…like hunting for crawfish.

There was a tiny ditch zig-zagging its way through our back yard at one of many houses I lived at during my childhood. Whenever it rained my siblings and I would get ready for what we knew was going to happen. That little ditch would fill up with water and before you know it, crawfish would be drawn to that mini-bayou in our back yard. 

I never knew how they actually got there, but as soon as mother told us we could, we would run barefoot through the squishy backyard to that ditch. My brother David, who was six years older than myself and far braver than I would ever be while living in that house, would calmly tread his way in that water from one side of the yard to the other. He was using his toes as bait for the crawfish we knew were hiding just under the surface. Of course it would hurt like the dickens when one of those mudbugs caught a toe with those front pinchers, but my brother would just scramble out of the water to toss his prize into a nearby bucket we brought for just such an occasion.

You would have to ask my sister, Janet, if she ever followed our brother into the ditch. My memories feel like she did, but I just might be putting her on a bravery pedestal like I did my brother. Scaredy-cat me, I did the next best thing. Stretching out a long piece of string, I dipped one end into the mudholes I would find nearby. Even at six years old I knew crawfish liked to burrow themselves into the mud after a rain and I’d never met a crawfish that didn’t like to grab onto anything that got in its way. Patience eventually paid off and I could pull that string up with one or sometimes two angry crawdads clinging on for dear life.

We never caught more than a handful, but it was just enough to have some crawfish races on the sidewalk. All Cajuns knew crawfish ran backwards when they’re trying to get away from something so the “finish-line” was always placed behind them.

When you’re a kid and dirt poor, there are always ways to have a little fun on the bayou…

 

crawfish

 

 

 

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? Batten Down The Hatches

Amelia

 

Amelia Earmouse used to kick back in her favorite chair and read a little over the weekend. But she made a New Year’s resolution this year to be more adventurous now that our new series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, is off to a good start.

Book three, “Hunting Gris-Gris”, is almost complete and set to be released later this Spring. That means Amelia will be back on the road promoting our latest book. That is, if I can only figure out WHERE DID AMELIA GO?

There were huge storms coming in this weekend, so while I made a mad dash to the grocery store before the winds hit, Amelia doubled back to the house and was batting down the patio hatches when I pulled into my driveway. I managed to grab my phone and take this picture before she headed out on her next adventure.

I just hope she comes back in time for our Barnes & Noble author spotlight event next month…

 

patio

 

*************

 

Donna's Books

Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

***********

 

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 chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Beth Stilborn Interviews Me!

donna

 

Normally, when an author does an interview, they simply post the link to the site where their interview can be found. Unfortunately, I can’t do that, so this is my work-around.

My good friend and fellow writer, Beth Stilborn, asked if she could interview me and of course I was thrilled! Beth supplied such lovely, thoughtful questions which really gave me the opportunity to share my writing journey and my plans for the upcoming year with the world.

Normally, she would have uploaded her post to Facebook as well as other sites, but Facebook’s lovely procedures are being a wee bit snarky today and won’t let us attach a link to Beth’s blog.

If you would like to know more about my writing journey, how I became a “hybrid author”, who the heck is Amelia Earmouse, and my future plans for Story Catcher Publishing, just click on this link and it will take you to my interview…

http://www.bethstilborn.com/donna-martin-and-her-historys-mysteries-author-interview/

Happy New Year everyone!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Here A Ghost, There A Ghost…

 

 

ghost

 

 

I know there are people out in the world who do not believe in ghosts. 

I’m not one of them.

While I don’t claim to have been visited by E.T. or little green men from outer space, I HAVE seen evidence of spirits in the house both my parents died in. This week I’ll share the story that happened to me when I was about ten years old.

The house we lived in at the time was actually the oldest house built in Gueydan. At almost 100 years old, the house had a front parlor converted into an extra bedroom. It shared a pass through closet which connected to my bedroom just on the other side of the closet door.

One winter, I woke up in the middle of the night, chilled because I had forgotten to throw another blanket on my bed. Our house had no heating or air conditioning. One space heater sat in the living room and one window unit hung in the dining room window. Throwing back the covers, I sat up and prepared to make a mad dash to my closet for a blanket when I saw the closet slowly open and my winter coat slowly float towards me. It was hovering near the ceiling almost over me when I let out a loud “NO”, and I watched it fly backwards into my closet and the door slam shut.

Chilliness forgotten, I buried myself back under my covers and didn’t come back out until the sun came out and the shadows left my room.

I’ve told this story to my sister before as we shared weird stories of us living in that house. I’ve always hesitated sharing some of these stories with others though. I know I will be looked at differently after the telling of my brush with a ghost.

That wasn’t my only encounter with the supernatural while living in that house, and I began to think someone…or something…was watching over us. Why else would there be a coat floating through the air in an attempt to cover a shivering child?

 

sleeping

 

***********

 

Donna's Books

Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

***********

 

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 chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

 

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? Getting To Know All About You…

magnifying-glass3

 

Some of you have already met the mascot of the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series. Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Meet Amelia Earmouse…

 

Amelia 1

 

My incredibly talented illustrator, Estella Hickman (www.estellahickman.com), first introduced me to the idea of a mouse mascot for my historical fiction chapter book series. Estella knew me better than I knew myself and she knew her sassy, time-traveling, globe-trotting rodent would be just what I needed to introduce each new title in the series. 

But I didn’t think having a fabulous illustration alone would be enough to help launch my new series. I thought I could use a little more tangible prop to help children connect with each story. That’s when I came up with Amelia Earmouse version 2.0…

 

Amelia.jpg

 

I shared the original illustration with my critique group, and  my friend, Rinda Beach (www.rindabeach.com), came up with the perfect name…Amelia Earmouse…in honor of the sassy, adventure-seeking historical icon, Amelia Earhart. 

That’s when things got a little strange. Amelia seemed to take on a life of her own and pretty soon it felt like we were almost twins…

 

me.jpg

 

Oh, the adventures we went on in search of little known historical events and even a touch of mystery! Who knew a little mouse would know so much about history? The only problem? Amelia’s favorite game is hide and seek, so the minute my back was turned, off she went! 

Now, I’M the one on the trail in search of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES’ mascot, and all I can say is WHERE DID AMELIA GO? The last time I caught up with her, she was chilling out in the basement children’s department of the downtown library…

 

library.jpg

 

I took a quick picture, but before I could grab her, Amelia was on the move again. Maybe I’ll catch her next week! If you see her somewhere and attempt to grab her, be careful… you know how quick mice can scatter…

 

mouse.jpg

 

*************

 

Donna's Books

 

Looking for a way to spend that Christmas cash? Gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

*************

 

donna

 

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 chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Home Baked Goodness

homemade

 

 

Every morning when I reach for my store bought loaf of bread, I remember how it was when I was a kid. My mother raised four kids on an offshore cook’s paycheck and in the early 70’s that wasn’t much.  Try as she might, my poor mother simply couldn’t stretch her pennies to pay for store bought bread, even when the price was less than fifty cents a loaf.

So she baked.

Three or four times a week I would wake up knowing my mother would be in the kitchen kneading the dough, flinging the flour, and filling the house with the heavenly smell of fresh baked bread.

If it was a school day,  I knew there would be several loaves sitting on the counter to greet me when I returned home. If it was the weekend, I would sit at the kitchen table to watch my mother’s hands make quick work of mixing the ingredients and filling the greased pans with the shaped dough. Then it was the countdown and eager anticipation to eating a fresh slice of hot, homemade bread smothered with butter. Even the butter was homemade by my diligently shaking a mason jar filled with fresh cream for what seemed like hours.

Bread bought from a store may be convenient in today’s world, but it will never replace the love you could taste in every slice of my mother’s homemade bread…

 

bread.jpg

 

**************

 

Donna's Books

Looking for a way to spend that Christmas cash? Gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

*************

 

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 chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Where In The World Is Amelia?

where         question mark.png

 

 

Well, here’s a sneak peek at a new feature I plan to introduce into my blog. Beginning next week three things are going to happen here…

 

ONE

 

I will go from a five day a week blog to a two day a week blog for a couple of reasons. My publishing house, Story Catcher Publishing, is starting to ramp up and takes more of my focus going into my company’s second year. There are just so many hours in the day and a lot of time 10-12 hours of those days are used being the Program Director/Center Manager of my Taekwondo school, so I have to free up some of those other hours to take care of the publishing side of things. Another reason I will be reducing the overall number of weekly posts, is because I will be shifting some of those types of posts to my quarterly newsletters I will start sending out this year.

 

TWO

 

Due to reader request, the blog will retain my Monday, TALES OF THE BAYOU, post as I will bring you other interesting, quirky, and downright weird moments from my childhood growing up near the bayous of southern Louisiana.

My FLASH FICTION, BOOK NOOK REVIEWS, and WIRTERLY WISDOM posts will be shifted to my quarterly newsletters and hopefully also include author, illustrator & agent interviews as well as other goodies to share with my email list.

 

THREE

 

Finally, my THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY post will shift to the Friday slot and will be renamed to WHERE IN THE WORLD IS AMELIA? This new series will take a lighthearted look at some of the unusual or interesting place Amelia Earmouse might find herself.

It’s kinda following Susanna Hill’s tour of her picture book character, Punxsutawney Phyllis, a few years back. Susanna did a remarkable “tour” by sending Phyllis around the world while allowing her author friends to take pictures and write blog posts of Phyllis’ adventures globe hopping. Amelia’s travels will be on a much smaller scale, at least at first, but you never know where she might end up or what mischief she might get into…

 

Amelia

 

 

*************

 

Donna's Books

Looking for a way to spend that Christmas cash? Gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

************

 

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 chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.