TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Dodging Mother Nature

hurricane

 

I’ve always had a connection with hurricane season. Growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, it always surprised me that our school year began when it did. The first day of school almost always matched up with the arrival of the latest hurricane or tropical storm that chose to stop by. 

I would miss the first days of school…like everyone else in my hometown…as we battened down the hatches and weathered Mother Nature’s fury. I always knew when the old kerosene lanterns came out and my mother started filling up the bathtub  with fresh water, a major storm was about to hit our little abode.

Mother had a knack for keeping four young children calm during the howling winds and torrential rains by making the fact the electricity went out more of a game than something to be nervous about. As I got a little bit older, there were even times when she would take us outside when the eye of the storm was overhead so we could see the beauty and power of the elements. Then it was a mad dash to get back inside before the howling started up again when the backside of the hurricane passed over.

I feel for the people in the Caribbean. There were many years we were trapped in our house with no way out because Mother didn’t drive and my father was stuck in the middle of the Gulf on an oil rig. And there were other times when my entire family stood huddled in the high school gymnasium as my father lifted me up to look out the windows just in time to see rooftops and trashcans go sailing across the street from us. Later, he would drive us back home, taking a very long detour because of the aftermath of flooding, and even to my young eyes, I recognized the devastation Mother Nature could bring to one tiny town on the bayou…

 

devastationn.jpg

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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?

 

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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 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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

author

 

Author Event Planning

by Donna L Martin

 

I’m already lining up author events for when HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams comes out so I have put together a list of ten things I need to keep in mind as I get closer to my book’s release date. Hopefully some of these ideas might help someone else as well…

1. If you have ready-made Event Flyers for the personnel at your event to hand two weeks in advance, it will help build momentum prior to your arrival. Include things like the title of your book, how they can purchase it, book cover with blurb, date & time of the event, and who to contact for more information.

2. Add a Bookmark to those event flyers and your audience will have information regarding pre-orders or even directing them to your website.

3. Plan a Talk instead of just a book signing. Interact with your audience to help them feel connected to what you have to offer.

4. What about holding your event somewhere other than a bookstore? Maybe at a local youth group community center? Or out in the open? The library closest to my house sits on the corner of a small park and there is a pavilion large enough to have a table, chairs and even displays with grassy areas for the audience to lounge on the ground picnic style.

5. Pair up the purchase of your book with something else…i.e. two for one sale. You might want to bundle your current book with an older one as a package deal. Or maybe if they purchase your picture book, you can include some illustrator coloring pages as well for free. 

6. Make sure you have a way to contact the people attending your event. Have a sign up sheet for email addresses and offer some type of incentive for providing that information. Maybe you already have a newsletter you send out just to your email subscribers. Maybe you have worked out a deal with your publisher to offer 10% off their purchase if they sign up to receive occasional emails from you.

7. Arrive an hour before your event and greet the store personnel. Thank them for their assistance in helping to create a successful event. If at a bookstore or other retail space, mill around and hand out copies of your event flyer. Encourage people to come by and visit with you later.

8. Make sure your local newspaper, radio, and TV stations know about your event. If your publisher doesn’t send press releases, make sure YOU do. A lot of media outlets have community boards or ways of getting the word out about local talent. Announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any other social sites you regularly participate in. Ask your friends to help get the word out about your event.

9. After the event send a thank you note to the person in charge of opening the doors to you in the first place. If your event was at a bookstore offer to come back at another time to autograph any pre-orders once they are delivered. It’s going the extra mile to impress them so you will get a return invitation for your next book!

10. Take a moment to make notes about your impressions of how things went. Even if you just sit in your car after loading things up, write down estimates of how many attended, if you know how many books were purchased or ordered, what kind of questions were asked, if the audience seemed engaged as well as things you might need to work on before your next event. If you wait until you are back home, you might forget something you really wanted to remember during the excitement of the day.

Anything I left off this list? What do YOU do to make your author events special? Let us know in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Trusting My Instincts

trust

 

 

The world of martial arts is demanding. Techniques, forms, mindset…all of these things come together to form the foundation of a martial artist. Pretty much like the world of writing. A writer must have good story lines, strong sentence structure, and the right mindset to pull it all together. I think that is where trusting one’s instincts come into play.

 
I’ve trained and taught TaeKwonDo for almost twenty years now. When I began that journey, I had no clue of what I was doing. I didn’t know a crescent kick from a jump spin side kick and I sure didn’t feel I could trust my instincts I was on the right path to this new life I had chosen. It took me some time and a lot of hard work to get to a point where I am comfortable being a martial artist. I now trust my instincts where my teaching is concerned and I try to encourage and mold my students into a better martial artists every time they step onto my mats.

 
I think writing is a lot like training in the martial arts. Everyone has to be that “white belt”. That beginner writer just starting out with an idea…a vision of creating something new…if they only knew what they were doing. It’s hard to trust one’s instincts when you are a beginner writer and unsure of protocol regarding the written word.

 
That’s where hard work and constant practice comes in. New writers are eager to learn everything there is to know about this world they’ve stepped into and if they are smart, they will choose strong teachers to show them the way. With each lesson learned in developing their own writing style, that new writer will start to trust their own instincts about what is right for them on that path they chose for themselves.

 
Although I have been writing for over 45 years, I consider myself a “new” writer. One who is committed to learning as much as I can about the “techniques” of being a good writer, cultivating a pool of strong story ideas, and greeting each day with the right mindset to mold that nugget into a polished, finished product. But while I’m doing all that, I think what I will work on the most, is learning to trust my “writer’s instincts” of what is right for me. Because when the day is over and I look back on what I have written, I want to be proud of my work. I want it to say a little bit about the person I am and to show the world that I learned to trust my instincts as a writer.

 
What about you? Are you letting go of the self-doubt and learning to trust your own instincts about the writer you were meant to be?

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

BOOK NOOK REVIEW: Kevin Henkes

waiting

 

Title: Waiting
Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Publisher: Green Willow Books
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

Look at the owl
and the pig
and the bear
and the puppy
and the rabbit
What do you think they’re waiting for?
A visitor?
A surprise?

 

Why you should read it:

 

I’m drawn to picture books with simply drawn illustrations showcasing a deeply thought out story line. This masterfully written story by author/illustrator Kevin Henkes reminds me of THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein; one of my favorite picture books of all time.

I can’t help but be drawn to the facial expressions of everyone waiting on the window sill for different things. I was even touched by the artwork when I read, “Once a visitor arrived from far away. He stayed for awhile, then he left and never returned.”

This beautiful book helps teach patience to those of us destined to have to wait. And for young and old alike, THIS lovely book was definitely worth the wait!

 
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

 
**Rating scale**

 
5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

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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 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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Unicorn Lake

 

lake.jpg

 

Softly their hooves drummed over the rocks leading down to the water. Take a step, sniff the air. Take another step, ears rotating to catch any hint of sound riding the slight breeze ruffling their coats.

The Old one threw its head high, his long horn piercing the early morning fog. Something didn’t feel right but he couldn’t put his hoof on it. Cautiously he continued to lead the herd to the water’s edge. It was almost time for the sacred trilogy and only the Old one knew the ancient dance.

The last of the herd had just cleared the forest when the high pitched sound of golden netting being released from catapults shattered the early morning stillness. Rearing up on his hind legs, the Old one snorted a warning trumpet, scattering the herd like rustling leaves before turning to charge the hunters crouched on the edge of the  forest.  

It almost worked.

The herd scattered in different directions, racing to escape the falling netting. All were saved, but one. The Old one fought with all his strength but the long horn, his crowning glory, tangled in the golden strands and brought him to his knees.

Twenty sets of eyes stared in shock as their leader was quickly bound in ropes and loaded into the cage.

Who would lead them now?

Who would perform the ancient dance and save their magic?

 

Okay, your turn! How will the Old one be saved? Will Unicorn Lake lose it’s magic forever? Add to my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

 

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?

 

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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 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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Riding The Ferry To Nowhere

ferry

 

My hometown was surrounded by rice fields and swamps. Canals ran everywhere and sometimes there was literally no other way to get from one place to the other than by boat.

Once a month, my siblings and I would pile into our old car and my father would drive north to the ferry. The only way we would get to the next biggest town was to float across the boggy swamps on an ancient boat pulled across the murky waters along steel cables laid across the bayou. I would watch my mother with her feet peeking out the passenger window as she patiently waited for the sluggish ferry to reach the other shore.

I, on the other hand, was terrified to be on that ferry. I always imagined some freakish accident happening; the cables breaking, and being swept down the canal to some mysterious place where the “gris gris” or Cajun swamp monster lurked. My mother used to tell me the “gris gris” would come to visit if I didn’t go to sleep right away each night. What a scary thought!

 

swamp.jpg

 

Writers sometimes find themselves bogged down by writer’s block, self-doubts, and insecurities when it comes to their writing. They impatiently wait for muses who sometimes never show up while deadlines rush to meet them. They need that ferry to pull them along a river of creativity, carrying them to the other shore and setting them on the path to publication…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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?

Available in ebook, paperback, and hardback beginning October, 2019.

 

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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 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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

village.jpg

 

 

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

by Donna L Martin

 

It’s incredible the number of things that need to be done before a book’s release. And I’m not even talking about the editing, revising, proofreading, illustrations, formatting, creating ebook files, or any of the other things I’m doing while I wear my publisher’s hat as Story Catcher Publishing so Book One, Ship of Dreams, from HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, a new historical fiction chapter book series for 9-11 year olds, can be released on October 14th of this year.

I’m thinking about how I as an author have to be prepared on my end for release day. This week I’m focusing on future book reviews of my manuscript. The Kidlit community is a wonderfully supportive group of incredible writers who are always willing to help spread the word about the next great children’s book. Reviews are a GREAT way for readers to show authors they value all the hard work we put into our stories. It even helps online sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. to validate the hundreds of thousands of books being uploaded to these and other online retailers every year.

 


HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

If you are curious about my new children’s series, be sure and send me your email address! Starting on Monday, September 16th, I will be emailing a FREE PDF copy of Book One, Ship of Dreams, to anyone who would like to send me a request to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com. Be sure to put Ship of Dreams PDF request in the subject line. It will be the same format readers will find in the ebook version. All I ask is that as a book reviewer, you read the entire book (80 pages) and then leave an HONEST REVIEW on Amazon for me. I will include the direct links to leave a review on Ship of Dreams in the email

 

Titanic front    s                        Titanic back

 

And for everyone who requests a PDF for review, your name will go into a drawing for a chance to win one of these commemorative Titanic coins for your very own! I will be giving away FIVE of these throughout the month of October to help celebrate the birth of my new children’s books series. I hope you will join me in the celebrations. There will be more surprise announcements and giveaways as we get closer to the October 14th release date!

I know some will like my book while others might not find it to be their cup of tea. But that’s okay! I value ALL reviews…positive and constructive…because I see validation of my work in the positive and challenges to improving the commercial appeal of my stories in the constructive. Always a lesson to be learned on that path to publication.

And I’ve even worked on a special classroom section from Amelia Earmouse for anyone who decides to purchase either the paperback or hardback versions! As a gift to all my readers, I will be loading some of those extra pages on my website (www.StoryCatcherPublishing.com) under an Amelia’s Kid’s Korner tab in the very near future. These handouts would be a great addition to any classroom discussion!

I’ve also listed some blogs and websites below who offer all types of book reviews. Some support the smaller presses, some are on a much larger scale but ALL have one thing in common…a deep, sincere love of books!

School Library Journal…http://www.slj.com/about-us/review-submissions
Publisher’s Weekly… http://publishersweekly.com/pw/corp/submissionguidelines.html
The Children’s Book Review… http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/media-kit/submission-guidlines
Bergers Book Reviews…http://bergersbookreviews.com
American Library Association… http://www.ala.org/offices/booklist/insidebooklist/booklistproc/proceduressubmitting
Kid Lit Reviews…http://kid-lit-reviews.com/policies-ratings-reviews/review-policies/
Kirkus Services…https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author-services/indie/
Midwest Book Review… http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm
YA & Kids Books Central… http://www.yabookscentral.com/info/10892-write-a-review
The Horn Book…http://www.hbook.com/about-us/submissions/
Book Page…http://bookpage.com/content/submission-guidelines
Booklist Online…http://www.booklistonline.com/get-reviewed
Association for Library Service to Children… http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb/ncbsubmissions
Library Journal… http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/about/submitting-titles-for-review/
The New York Times… http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/books/books.html
Through The Looking Glass… http://lookingglassreview.com/books/
Kids Reads…http://www.bookreporter.com/book-submission-inquiry
Readers Favorite…https://readersfavorite.com/

What about you?

Do YOU have a children’s book blog? If so, I’d love to chat with you about possibly reviewing my book! Do you know of a book review blogs or websites to add to my list? If you do, please share in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.