BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: A Special Interview

 


Amelia Earmouse

Story Catcher Publishing caught up with the adventurous Amelia Earmouse recently and are excited to share the spotlight interview with you…

 

SCP: Amelia,  so glad you could stop by and chat with us before heading out on another adventure. Can you share a little bit about yourself with our readers?

Amelia: Well, I’m the youngest of 172 siblings and with that many brothers and sisters, you can get lost in the crowd! I tried different things to stand out…putting on some dark glasses and walking around with a white cane, running up and down a clock, helping out a lion with a nasty thorn in its paw, and even swabbing the decks of the Mayflower!. But nothing seemed to help until the year I turned 10.

SCP: What happened then?

Amelia: That’s when I realized I wanted to share my adventures with everyone. So many stories and so little time!

SCP: You’ve lived an amazing life. Why chose Ship of Dreams for your first story to share?

Amelia: Everyone loves the Titanic! And who doesn’t love a little mystery? Each one of my stories will spotlight a little known historical fact and mix in some of the mystery surrounding what happened.

SCP: So when do we get to check out your new chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES?

Amelia: Book One, Ship of Dreams, will hit bookstores October 14, 2019. 

SCP: So you have more planned?

Amelia: Oh yes! Book Two, Chocolate Train Wreck, about an unsolved mystery involving a train and twenty tons of chocolate is set to release in November, 2019! 

SCP: Wow! We can’t wait! Do you have any other things planned for your new series?

Amelia: I’m also going to have a contest when the first book comes out where up to ten lucky winners can receive a beautiful commemorative coin showcasing the Titanic. All readers have to do is ask for a free copy of Ship of Dreams and then leave an honest review on Amazon for a chance to win…

 

Titanic front.jpg Titanic back.jpg

(FRONT/BACK)

SCP: Sounds like a win/win! We’ll definitely follow up and share the contest details with all of our readers! Thank you so much, Amelia Earmouse, for stopping by and chatting with us.

Amelia: Any time! Now I’m off to dig up a little WWII mystery down in the swamps of Louisiana for Book Three. Catch you on the flip side!

 

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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: Ship of Dreams


HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

Check out the sneak peek at Ship of Dreams…coming October 14th, 2019. Want to know more?

 

Chapter One

The Journal

 

 

Wednesday, March 20th, 1912

Dear Journal,

This is my first time writing in you. I got you for my birthday today from Aunt Alberta. Momma says every young lady should keep a journal of her most private thoughts. I asked her what kind of thoughts a ten-year-old girl would have that was important enough to write down. Momma told me not to be so saucy. There’s just no talking to Momma when she scrunches up her eyebrows and her smile turns upside down, so here I am, scribbling on this blank page just to be able to tell her I wrote my thoughts today.

Well, there is one thing I can tell you DIDN’T happen today, Journal, and that’s the maiden voyage of the White Star Line’s newest ship. They call the ship Titanic and I hear it’s the biggest one ever built! Momma and I were supposed to meet Papa down at the docks to say goodbye to all those folks traveling to faraway places like America. It was going to be kind of special, it being my birthday and all. I must remember to ask Papa at dinner tonight what happened. Papa sure is lucky to be one of White Star Line’s tally men. He might oversee loading things onto the ships, but he hears all the latest gossip down on the docks as well. That means Momma and I do too…

 

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Amelia Earmouse

 

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 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?

 

Tell your friends to mark their calendar!!

 

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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 1th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Not Your Normal Zen Garden

 

zen

 

One of the houses I lived in as a child had a rather large area at the back of the house filled with tall bamboo trees, giving it (at first glance) a rather Zen feel to that corner of yard. I could stand next to those trees towering over me and dream myself away to some far away land where anything was possible.

My mother, on the other hand, lived a very practical existence and all those trees meant to her was another back breaking chore to be done by hacking the branches back into some resemblance of order instead of the wild array of branches they typically displayed.

The only problem with trimming those wild trees, was the fact we never knew of the multitudes of hornets who called those plants their home.

That is, until the day Mother decided to hack into their nest and unleash their outraged fury on my poor head and shoulders. I remember there was a lot of screaming on my part and numerous lumps left all over my head on the part of the hornets.

While the pain subsided eventually and the bumps finally healed, the memory of that horrible day was etched into my soul forever. Even to this day, if any winged creature ventures too close to my head, I will still do the dance of the deranged to try to escape another possible attack.

I don’t think hacking is such a good thing for a writer either. A few years ago my own computer was hacked by a gentleman out of South Africa, posing as an author trying to be a part of my WRITERLY WISDOM series at the time. While I chose not to allow him to participate, he decided to hack into my yahoo email account at the time, as well as my Facebook account, and delete two years of detailed research I had been doing for a project I was working on at the time.

My computer at the time was very old and really didn’t allow much back up capabilities. There was nothing I could do to recover from being hacked.

Sometimes things happen to our writing that devastates us. The pain to our writerly spirit is as real as the pain caused by those hornets so long ago.

But we have to remember it’s not the end of the world. Some of our work may no longer be around, but the spark that chose to take on a particular project is still there…deep within us…leading us to even bigger dreams than we might have first imagined. I know, because my latest book is a dream come true…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

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 worker’s 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 1th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

HOW KROGER HELPED MY MARKETING PLAN

by Donna L Martin

 

I woke up this morning wondering what I would write about today and for some reason my grocery shopping trip this past weekend popped into my head. I don’t know if you have a Kroger where you live, but it is one of the largest grocery store chains in my town. Over the years I’ve shopped at different stores depending on my mood and what sales were running. I’m not one of your “brand” shoppers. Or at least I didn’t think I was until it dawned on me this morning how subtle Kroger’s marketing plan has been to win me over and yet so “in my face”.

 

1. OFFER SOMETHING CONSISTENT

 

Kroger sends me an email every week tempting me with their latest specials. They aren’t shoving their wares down my throat but every week I know I can depend on that little email saying “hey, come take a look at what’s happening over in my corner of the world”. A writer serious about expanding their fan base can learn from that. If you have a blog then have a regular posting schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what goes into that post as long as you are consistent about it. If your blog is a writer’s blog then don’t start writing about how you are crocheting your dear aunt a sweater for Christmas…unless of course you can tie that back to writing somehow. My blog has always been aimed at writing/seeing the positive side of things so I always make sure whatever I write falls under one of those two categories. I’ve written many blogs and if you look at any one of them you will find that is the driving theme in all of them.

 

2. OFFER SOMETHING TEMPTING

 

Every week Kroger offers a Free Friday coupon. They send me an email on Wednesday to tweak my interest about visiting their website on Friday to discover what the free coupon might be. The item doesn’t usually cost much…this week is was Marie Calendar’s Breakfast Pot Pie. Some weeks I’m not interested in picking up their free coupon but EVERY week I make sure I visit Kroger’s website because I don’t want to miss out on the possibility of treating myself to something free. Kroger doesn’t bang on my door and yell at me to buy their stuff. They simply send a friendly reminder saying, “we want to show our appreciation for your loyalty by offering you a gift as a way of saying thanks”. I don’t HAVE to take them up on their offer but in this day and age of rising costs and diminished customer service, even one small gesture like Kroger’s Free Friday coupon subtly reminds me why I like shopping there in the first place. I’m going to continue tweaking the look of this blog in the next few months and will be adding some free things as MY way of showing my appreciation for all the wonderful visitors who take a moment out of their busy days to stop by. Yes, it’s smart marketing but it also ties into the caring and sharing person I am so I’m excited about being able to do this for my readers.

 

3. OFFER A “BRAND” TO IDENTIFY WITH

 

There are many other grocery stores in my city…just now I thought of about six other companies offering basically the same thing…but when I need a loaf of bread I immediately think Kroger. For me, they have managed to capture my attention in such a way that their BRAND is seared forever into my brain when it comes to grocery shopping. I will still look at the other store’s ads but unless there is a HUGE difference in pricing, Kroger will see my smiling face every Saturday morning for many years to come.

I’ve been working on creating my own “brand” and the title of my books makes it somewhat easier. To me, Story Catcher Publishing is who I am…a writer trying to catch the right words to tell an engaging story. My new business cards show an open book…hopefully inviting future readers to stop by and take a peak.  My Facebook fan page is titled Story Catcher Publishing. I even have magnets on my car doors announcing I’m associated with Story Catcher Publishing and directing them back to this website. I’ve had those magnets on my car for about a year now and I’m many double takes and passing looks. People are pausing to read my sign and last week a server at the Burger King drive thru stopped and asked me about my sign. She told me her granddaughter loves to read and I told her about my book. Maybe she will pick up a copy of my latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, coming out October 14. 2019 and maybe she won’t, but I know if she sees my “brand” enough, she might decide it’s a brand worth being loyal to in the future…**

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

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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 1th, 2019.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Step By Step

 

footprint.png

 

It’s mornings like today that remind me of walking to school when I was a kid. We only had one car in the family and my mother didn’t drive…not because she didn’t want to but I think because that was one more responsibility she didn’t want to add to her overloaded plate.

So I walked. Everywhere.

I’d like to say the walk to school was at least a mile from my house and maybe it just seemed that long to a little kid toting a backpack full of books, but every morning I would head out and make my way through town to the elementary school. I never minded the walk because I LOVED to learn and it got me away from the house for a few hours. Despite the fact that I was incredibly shy, had no friends, and was constantly teased because I always managed to become the “teacher’s pet”, school was a sanctuary for me in those days.

Gueydan is an extremely tiny town, population around 1500…numbers which might actually include residents of the local cemetery…and nothing exciting ever seem to happen there. Except during the fifth grade when my elementary school burned to the ground.

I remember walking with my sister to school that day. Everything seemed normal until we got a couple of blocks away and we heard the siren from the firetruck. We were both shocked to finally get to the school to see smoke billowing out of the building as they tried to put the fire out that actually began in MY homeroom. The entire building was destroyed and we spent the rest of the school year attending classes on half days. Our high school building was located next door so I ended up going to school from 7:30 until around 11:30 each day and then Janet, being in ninth grade at the time, would have her classes from 11:30 until 3:30. It was a challenging school year until the new elementary building was completed but somehow we made it work.

Walking home the same way every day could become boring so I liked to change it up whenever I could. Mother expected me to get home quickly. If I took the longer route that cut through the park so I could sneak in a couple of twirls on the merry go round, I had to make up for it by running the rest of the way home. Sometimes I would even start running straight from school to the park because that was where the library was and if I was lucky, I could sneak in and visit the books.

Even then books held a spell over me. I would dash in just to say hi to the librarian and maybe take a quick look at the newest arrivals so I could start dreaming of which book would I check out next. Then it was a mad dash to get home before Mother suspected I hadn’t walked straight home like she expected me to.

I wonder what the kids I went to school with would think about me now that I am a children’s book author? So many steps taken from those old school days to where I am now and yet I find all those steps STILL lead me to the one thing I’ve always loved more than anything else…books.

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

 

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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, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Rick Starkey

 

Rick Blues Bones.png

 

Title: At The Crossroads, Blues Bones Book Two
Author: Rick Starkey
Publisher: Make It Magic Publisher
Ages: 10+

 

Synopsis:

 

Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has discovered the secret of playing every song in the world. Hoodoo!

Rodney’s dream of joining a real band has come true, and the bandleader has already booked their first gig—her cousin’s birthday party. Now, Rodney has a week to learn the most difficult guitar part ever for the birthday girl’s favorite song. Failure could mean his rival, Eddie Manford, taking his place.

Rodney has dabbled with spells before, and he knows there can be consequences. Like losing his voice after trying a spell to help him sing, and a car accident that may take someone’s life. Rodney’s search for a magical fix leads him to a crossroads at midnight, waiting for a man to tune his guitar. Some say the man who shows up will be the devil—coming for Rodney’s soul!

Can Rodney afford to pay the price?

 

Why you should read it:

 

Being born and raised in southern Louisiana, the culture of voodoo is something I’ve heard about since I was a child, but never really paid much attention to the idea. Since moving away from Cajun country, I wasn’t quite expecting to ever hear about it again. Then I got a chance to read At The Crossroads, and was quickly drawn into the possibilities of that world.

In book two of his BLUES BONES trilogy, author Rick Starkey weaves an interesting tale  of music, magic, and one boy’s wish to make a mark on his teenage world. While you don’t necessarily need to read book one in order to keep up with the action in book two, there was an occasional moment for me when I wasn’t clearly understanding the dynamics between some of the characters. I also had challenges with the musical references, but that is merely due to my general ignorance of the technical side of the music industry.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Rodney’s journey into dabbling in the world of voodoo and can’t wait until I can find out what happens next! A nice addition to any home library.

Rick Starkey’s latest book is set to be released July 26th and can be found at the following links…

Walmart Ebooks: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/at-the-crossroads-19
Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/at-the-crossroads-rick-james-starkey/1132465057?ean=9781733142519
Apple iBooks : https://books.apple.com/us/book/at-the-crossroads/id1472646856
Amazon Print:  https://www.amazon.com/AT-CROSSROADS-Blues-Bones-Book/dp/1733142509
Amazon ebook:  https://www.amazon.com/AT-CROSSROADS-Blues-Bones-Book-ebook/dp/B07V6KYRZC
Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46870471-at-the-crossroads?

Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5…think about it!

Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Flipper Sunday

 

dolphins

 

Ariel liked the feel of the sun heated sand between her toes. It was almost a ritual by now…waking up every Sunday and making the 30 minute trip here. It used to be their favorite hideaway. That is until a rainy night and a slick turn of the highway took him from her. It was six months since Ariel buried Brandon. Six months to wonder if the pod was still nearby but no energy to make the trip.

That is, until last night when she could hear them in a dream calling to her. Wondering why she no longer visited them. Nudging the little ones to the surface , hoping to share the wonder of them with her.

Maybe it was better this way. Maybe she’d find Brandon waiting for her just beyond the horizon. Maybe the pod could take her there.

Sugary sand became darker, more dense and cooler to the touch as Ariel got closer to the water’s edge. She never thought about it before, but her parents named her well. Nothing to tether her to this world, Ariel was better off returning to her past.

Removing her windbreaker, she folded it carefully and lay it on some nearby rocks. Methodically, Ariel removed the rest of her clothes, as if saying goodbye to everything reminding her of her old life, before calmly striding into the surf.

It wasn’t long before she could hear them. Low at first, their song broke through the waves and she saw the leaders diving through the surf as they raced towards her. Now Ariel knew for sure Brandon was waiting for her. Why else would he have sent the dolphins for her?

Now it’s your turn! Add to my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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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, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.