Temporarily Closed For Construction…

This year has been quite the roller coaster ride for many people…hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, murder hornets, furloughs from work, unemployment, and of course, a pandemic!

In the middle of it all, I’ve worked hard to juggle three careers…running a martial arts school, researching and writing book four of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series, President Lincoln’s Balloons, and finishing the publishing details of the re-release of my picture book, The Story Catcher. I also have a number of other projects and events I’m juggling, including the Star Catcher Young Writers Contest in October, the creation of my quarterly newsletter, and my upcoming year-long PAY A BOOK FORWARD event.

In order to be able to meet all my writing deadlines through the rest of 2020, I will have to step away from my blog for the next three months in order to focus on those writing commitments. I will continue all the activities I do on Facebook but will return to my blog with the new year and hopefully the world will have settled into a new “normal”.

Here are the plans for the rest of my 2020:

  1. My picture book, The Story Catcher…My illustrator, Estella Hickman, has completed all the new illustrations for the re-release. I’m currently working on the editing & formatting of the manuscript and with a little luck, I will have it ready for the 2020 holiday season.
  2. My Star Catcher Writers Contest…the second annual writing contest for ages 10-18 would normally take place during the month of October. I have a few more days to determine if I will be able to run the contest again this year or if I delay it until the fall of 2021. This contest would create 25 winners in five different categories for an anthology to be released by the spring of 2021.
  3. My book four, President Lincoln’s Balloons, of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series…this book is behind in the research stage. I need time to finish the research and complete the manuscript before editing, formatting, sketching, and setting up the book for production. Estella has already sent me the book cover but it’s the guts I need to work on.
  4. My website…there are some updates I want to do with my website and decide the continued direction of my blog for the new year. I will be creating a FB poll to find out what my readers want to see so I can ensure I’m providing quality content for my blog.
  5. My most ambitious project to date…the PAY A BOOK FORWARD event happening for the entire year of 2021. I have been blessed to be able to donate over $165,000 worth of books to different school and local libraries over the years. Beginning in January I will be giving away 10-15 books a month for FREE by authors from around the globe! I will also have a few signed or extra special books to be given away. A TOTAL OF 200 BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY! Home school groups, pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and even individuals will be able to have a chance to win one or more of these books as my way of giving back to the Kidlit community while continuing to support children’s literacy. More details to come!
  6. My house…I live in a 95 year old house. The passage of time has created a number of repair jobs that can no longer be put off so in the middle of ALL the things going on in my life, I get to spend the rest of this year with various strangers coming in and out to fix things around the house.
  7. My drawings…I’d like to get back to my sketches sometime in the not too distant future. I have an evergrowing stack of ideas and pictures I’d like to get my hands on and see where they take me.

Fall brings with it cooler weather, but I’m hot on the trail to complete several projects at once. Like my Corona-Crazy World isn’t hectic enough, I have a whole new level of “Jumanji” to deal with through the end of the year.

All I can say is…bring it on…and I hope you will send me a friend’s request through Facebook so we can keep in touch until I return after the beginning of the new year!

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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 HISTORY’S 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?

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Nomadic Life

While I never had a pet camel growing up, I certainly know what it’s like to live the nomadic life. My family moved into five different houses in the first twelve years of my life. We were considered one of the poorest families in my hometown with my mother trying to make ends meet on one cook’s income and six mouths to feed. It was a challenge just to keep food on the table much less pay the rent. So we moved around. A lot.

The first house I lived in on Second Ave I don’t actually remember. I was a baby but I’ve been told it was in a rundown state with walls not quite reaching the ceiling which allowed unwelcome critters to spy on my crib. 

Fortunately the next home we moved to, 202 8th Street, had a large back yard where Mother could raise rabbits for extra food. That was where I ran away from home for the first time with candy my sweet reward but that’s another story for another time…;~)

Then came 510 Garland where I did everything from collect loose baby teeth for the tooth fairy to accidentally breaking the collar bone of a childhood friend. Yet another story for another time.

The next home, 313 McMurtry, was where I started school, ran away from home for a second time, and collected some of my favorite childhood memories.

The last house I moved to before leaving home for good was 407 McMurtry. The house itself was steeped in local history…as well as spirits. It was where both my parents died, I discovered secret passages and had ghostly encounters…more fodder for more tales later…

I think living the nomadic life helped shape the person I am today. Not only do I appreciate the stability of having my own home now, but moving so many times taught me to think small…to minimize the material things in my life and to reevaluate what truly matters. To make sure wherever I go, I keep what’s important to me…like friends and family…close to my heart at all times.

Thanks Mom and Dad for that nomadic life!  

++++++++++++

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 HISTORY’S 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?

++++++++++++

est-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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Cleaning House…

My mother was a woman raised knee deep in tradition and old school ways. That way of thinking usually meant whenever she got an itch to change things up at the house, we would all be dragged into a cleaning frenzy. Most of the time it happened in the springtime, but the change in seasons from summer to fall didn’t stop her from taking stock of her surroundings with the idea “out with the old and in with the new”.

Anything worn out, broken down, or just outgrown would be tossed to one side to make way for upgrades. Clothes were tried on and handed down the line so you can imagine, as the baby of the family, how many times I actually got to wear brand new clothes in our poor family. After summer clothes were gone through, Mother would drag out the winter clothes that had been stored since the last cold snap, and the whole process would start over until all four of her children could walk into the new school year knowing they would be prepared no matter what Mother Nature threw at them.

Then came the house.

We literally would scrub that 100 year old house from ceiling to floor as my mother took the saying “top to bottom” quite literally. I thought a lot about those childhood cleanings this past Labor Day weekend as I went through my own home and tossed out items I no longer needed. I’m finally getting a chance to upgrade things a little around my house and what better time than in the middle of a pandemic?

I’m joking of course…why in the world would I add home repair stress to the rest of my Corona Crazy world I deal with every day? Because in the midst of all this uncertainty I’m dealing with when it comes to my day job, my writing career, my publishing house, and just life in general, it’s kinda nice to focus on improving the atmosphere inside my home. For the next few months, I will have some projects completed to turn my own nearly 100 year old house into the “beach house” of my dreams.

I am taking “before” pictures now as I tear everything down to the bare walls and will take the “after”pictures once everything is done. It’s kinda nice to have some “normal” decisions to have to make like what color paint, or where to put the new bookcase I ordered.

Simple.

Normal.

Just the kinda thing to put a smile on my face and make me think of my mother’s own cleaning days…

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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 HISTORY’S 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?

+++++++++++++

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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Where Is The Love?

Heart, Sky, Clouds, Blue Sky, Love, Heaven

On my way to doing my laundry today I saw an elderly lady walking down the sidewalk towards the same laundry mat I was about to enter. I was too far away to hear what she was saying but the fact she was raising her middle finger in protest as her face showed she was clearly angry. I didn’t need to hear the actual words to know she wasn’t sharing a little love with those around her.

And that got me to thinking.

This pandemic has forced humanity to physically separate from each other in the name of safety. No welcoming kisses for our visiting relatives. No hugs from the teacher. No pats on the back or congratulatory high fives from coaches or instructors.

It’s a strange world we live in these days where every step or gesture we do to distance ourselves from others seem to reinforce the emotional disconnect from other people. And we blame COVID-19 for our stress, our frustration, even our fear and anger over the uncertainty of the unknown.

But does it really need to be that way?

That poor, frustrated elderly woman who vented her anger at the world could have just as easily have been you or me if we let outside influences dictate how we weather this pandemic. We can shut out our spouse. We can dump our frustration on our children. And we can emotionally distance ourselves from our neighbors because it’s “just too hard” to be kind. It takes too much energy to be “courteous” to a stranger. It’s just “easier” to live in our own self-induced cocoon of self-pity at the cruel fate dealt us and turn our back on the rest of the world.

But does that leave any room for love?

Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame, once said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I’d like to think that’s as true today as it was when Mr. Rogers first said it. Because it’s the helpers who spread the love during these uncertain times. They bring simple comforts to those in need, lift the spirits of the heartbroken, pray with those in spiritual crisis, and look for ways to share the love every day.

The Black Eyed Peas sing, “Where Is The Love?”.

I’m a firm believer it still surrounds each and every one of us.

We just have to put aside our anger, fear, and frustration long enough to see it…

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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 HISTORY’S 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?

+++++++++++

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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Walking In The Rain

rain

 

As kids are going back to school, it makes me think of my own school day memories of first day anticipation.

Louisiana and parts of Texas had to delay their school beginnings last week as two hurricanes barreled their way through the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall on Thursday. In the twelve years I attended school in southern Louisiana, we NEVER began our school year on schedule because of some hurricane coming through our area. 

Most of the time my father was stuck out in the Gulf…being a short order cook on an oil rig afforded its own challenges and most of the time he was ordered to remain off shore instead of being dropped in the middle of a tropical storm tearing a path up the coastline.

When Mother wasn’t filling up bathtubs with water or gathering up the kerosene lanterns in case of the inevitable power outages, she was stocking up on raincoats and galoshes. Late summer, early fall was a very rainy season for my hometown. Since the only way I was going to get to the elementary school half a mile from my house was to walk there, I had to be prepared for anything Mother Nature threw at me. 

One of my memories of first grade was my teacher, Miss Madelene, and her low tolerance of any student who failed to grab their galoshes from the cloak room at the end of the day. These were the days of strict obedience of the rules and swift justice at the end of a wooden paddle for the child who neglected to follow them.

I only forgot once.

Walking in the rain at the end of the school day helped shield my tear stained face from anyone wanting to tease me about my forgetfulness. It also gave me the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Fred Astaire as I danced and sang my way home…splashing through puddles in my hard won galoshes from that first grade cloak room.

Ahhhh, the memories of my youthful bygone days…

 

puddles

 

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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 HISTORY’S 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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Get Down, Get Funky

pug

 

I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things this week. About how the heart hurts when you have to say goodbye to a good thing. I got comfortable over the past three years with certain routines…maybe even complacent…and that’s not always a good thing.

Maybe that’s why the whole world seems to have tilted on its axis and shook my life to its very core. While the rug was pulled out from under me, I landed with a thud and now I have to reinvent my world into some kind of “new normal”. 

But I’m not alone.

Everywhere I look, I’m seeing and hearing from friends all over the world who are experiencing the same thing. THEIR world has tilted as well and we are ALL having to rethink how we are going to continue to move forward in our lives.

While dodging a pretty mean virus.

And battling hurricanes.

And wild fires.

And social unrest.

And a tanking economy.

And a political upheaval counting down to an epic election.

I’m almost afraid to wonder what is next in 2020.

So I’ve decided to set aside all the craziness associated with the Cornona Crazyland we live in these days and just go crazy on a whole different level.

Have a little fun. Get down and get funky. 

Dance a little.

Laugh a lot.

Walk around in nature.

Have a big, ol’ heaping of self-care. Then I can brush myself off, take a deep breath, and get back in the dance! Who will join me?

 

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dance

Friendship Dancing

 

chicken

Funky Chicken Dancing

 

Uptown Funk

 

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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 HISTORY’S 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.

 

 

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Adventures of Billy

baby

 

Every kid needs a sidekick when they are young. Somebody to be the buffer between them and the world. Someone to tell their secrets to.  My sidekick was Billy.  I don’t know at what age Billy came into my life…maybe when I was three or four years old…but he remained a steadfast confidant to all my hopes and dreams until I was well into my teenage years.

I can remember one Fall when I was about six or so when every day my mother would go into her bedroom and all you could hear was the whirring sound of her old sewing machine. Sometimes I was allowed to watch her as she put together my new school clothes. But when that door was closed, it meant secrets were happening in that room and no amount of begging would get my mother to tell me what she was doing.

It wasn’t until Christmas that year when I found out. She found a small citrus crate and covered it with the old sticky contact paper people used to line their pantry shelves with. It was white with small flowers on it and magically changed that old wooden crate into a lovely baby’s bed. Then she spent hours sewing and stuffing the mattress, pillow, and sheets to go with it. She must have spirited Billy away from me in my sleep so she could measure him because that Christmas he also had a new wardrobe of baby clothes. I spent many a happy hour putting that doll to sleep and reading him stories.

But life for Billy wasn’t all fun and games. Even the life of a baby doll can be harsh. One day while I was playing with him outside, the neighbor’s dog took an instant liking to Billy and wanted him for himself. A tug-o-war ensued with one of poor Billy’s jointed legs being torn from his body. Taking his prize, the neighbor’s dog ran off while I sat on the porch steps crying over the loss of a plastic limb. Then I did the only logical thing a six year old could do. I didn’t want my poor friend to go through life with only one leg so I promptly pulled off the other leg!

For the rest of Billy’s existence in my life he seemed quite content to get around by bouncing on his butt. You see, it didn’t matter to me that Billy was “handicapped”. He still knew how to keep my secrets and that meant the world to me.

Years later, I returned to my old home after both my parents died and I was named executor of their small estate. Tucked away in the back corner of the attic was a box and inside, wrapped in an old blanket was Billy. I was amazed my mother had kept him but then I’m sure she realized how much he’d meant to me all those years ago. Maybe it was just her way of keeping HER “baby” close to her long after I had left home…

 

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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 HISTORY’S 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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Be The Light

lighthouse

 

I’ve always had a fascination with lighthouses. I don’t know if it’s because they symbolize standing alone against the elements which I’ve had to do a time or two in my lifetime. Or maybe it’s because they are also a symbol of welcome to anyone looking for shelter. It even could be the fact that lighthouses provide protection to those out on the sea against the perils of a foreign shore.

But lighthouses can also be a symbol of hope when the world is just a little bit darker than it was before.

Like our world has been for the past six months.

Political turmoil. Civil unrest. A worldwide pandemic. Mother nature rebelling with wildfires and hurricanes. Reopening schools or online learning. Take your pick. It’s all enough to make a person want to scream in frustration.

But there  is something ALL of us can do during these uncertain times.

BE A LIGHT.

It doesn’t require money or influence to be a light…although the more money or influence you have, the greater your light can shine.

BE A LIGHT.

All it takes is a willingness to put others first. Share a smile with a stranger because you don’t know if it’s the only light in their day. Hug your child to let them know while the rest of the world is tilting, THEIR world is still rock solid.

BE A LIGHT

Pray for those on the front lines of our lives. Doctors, nurses, police officers, child care workers, teachers…anyone who’s job is to serve others when sometimes the natural instinct is to bunker down inside.

BE A LIGHT

Call a friend in quarantine to let them know they aren’t alone. We’re all in this together. Send a card to the soldier serving half way around the world…and those serving down the street…to let them know we fully understand their sacrifice in serving our county in these darker days.

BE A LIGHT

There are as many ways to be a light in the darkness as there are people in this world. And you never know…YOUR light might be the one to push back the darkness surrounding someone else’s world. A beacon of hope to shine on the hopeless.

Makes you look at a lighthouse with newfound respect, now doesn’t it?

 

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Light

REMEMBER THE LIGHT

 

cat light

LOOK FOR THE LIGHT!

 

bird light

SHARE THE LIGHT

 

 

BE THE LIGHT!

 

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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 HISTORY’S 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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Don’t Worry…About A Thing

Just when I thought my world couldn’t get any stranger, my local news says there’s possibly a tiger roaming free on the east part of town. They don’t know where it came from and it could be hiding anywhere. Well THAT got the rumor mongers spinning their tales and the next thing I knew, the tiger was seen behind a middle school in the south part of town. Then I heard it wasn’t really a tiger, but a cougar. And then things got really confusing because I thought cougars could be found mainly out in the western part of the country, but what do I know? I guess it could have been just as likely someone telling me they sighted a black bear in their neighborhood and then someone else saying, “Oh no, it was actually a Grizzly on the prowl out west of town!” Grizzlies certainly live out WEST but I don’t think MY town’s “west” is far enough WEST for that!

See how rumors can run wild if you let them?

Then there’s my little friend up above…just sitting in a bird’s nest like it’s only natural for a CAT to be resting there. Does that make it a CATnary?

After nine months of 2020 where anything could go wrong…and it usually did…where every possible punch from Mother Nature could come along…and it has…where so-called experts have tossed around advice on how to deal with the surreal world we now find ourselves in…and most of their “wisdom” is wrong…I’ve decided to listen to the one person who seems to have figured things out…

Bob Marley.

I listened to this song and realized Marley had it right. Why am I tossing and turning at night worrying about things I have no control over? Why have I stopped LIVING because I’m worried about where my LIFE these days will take me?

“Don’t worry about a thing. Every little thing’s gonna be alright.”

So from now on, I’m going to lean a little more on my faith and stop worrying about things I have no control over. And should I forget, I’ll just crank up this song…

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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 HISTORY’S 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?

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Summer Time Jobs

lawnmower

 

There are some kids who do nothing all summer long but hang out with their friends, chug glasses of coke or iced tea, and watch the days drag by. Hot sunny days stacking up on top of each other, one by one, until it’s time to head back to school.

I was never one of those kids. I loved to read and spent every waking second pouring through books whenever Mother let me.  Thankfully she was a voracious reader as well but her tastes ran mainly to westerns written by Zane Grey while I was into everything else.

But it was the variety of jobs done around the house as well as offered around the neighborhood for pocket change which occupied the bulk of my summer days.

One of the first jobs I can remember doing…and it was probably just to help my brother out…was rolling up tons of newspapers and putting rubber bands around them before stuffing all of it into his carrier. I think my sister, Janet, went on some of his routes with him but I definitely remember my blackened hands from all that ink and a few sore fingers from broken rubber bands.

We also used to cut a few of the neighborhood yards and I can remember actually cutting the grass but don’t remember being able to keep much of the money afterwards. Unfortunately my mother had a rather large cigarette habit and I have a feeling a good portion of the yard money was used on tobacco products.

Jobs around the house included literally scrubbing all the walls down in each room, shucking corn that sometimes nearly reached the ceiling of our enclosed porch, climbing mulberry trees at our neighbors to have canned or frozen berries during the winter, pulling weeds from the vegetable garden or harvesting the crops, cutting back the bamboo that grew between our house and our next door neighbor’s (THAT job earned me five massive hornet stings on my head and more over my body when Mother unexpectedly stirred up their nest), and babysitting my next door neighbor’s young son. 

As I got a little bit older I had the chance to work at the local cafe but that only lasted a short while because the owner quickly realized my sister and I made a better team than their own children. We were way more popular with their customers and they couldn’t have that so I was let go and my sister quit shortly afterwards.

All those summer time jobs taught me a number of things…

1) The important things in life usually come with a price whether it’s actually dollars or sweat equity.
2) A hard day’s work never killed anybody but sometimes it really FELT like I was gonna die.
3) Cherish the down time because you never know when someone’s gonna yell at you to get back to work.
4) Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today cuz Mother still has more plans for you tomorrow!
5) Do the job you hate the most first. That way the rest of the work will seem like fun.
6) Even the most demanding job will eventually come to an end and when it does, there is always iced tea and a good book to read!

My summers these days are crammed full of work and kiddies and not as much reading as I’ve done in my youth, but at least I’m not running from hornets any more and I still get the chance to sneak in a book or two when my boss isn’t looking…;~)

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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 HISTORY’S 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?

 

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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.