BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Tony DiTerlizzi

Ted

 

Title: Ted
Author/Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishers
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

This is the story of a father and a son and a big, raspberry-colored, fun-loving, troublemaking best friend who brings them closer together.

 

Why you should read it:

 

Most children, at some point in their lives, discover a best friend to hang out with. I know I did. But I don’t remember my friend being as creative or as special as one boy’s new friend, Ted.

Author/Illustrator Tony Diterlizzi entices readers to join the adventure when a life size bunny/pig like creature stops by one day to play with a lonely little boy. Mr. Diterlizzi has captured the essence of youthful exuberance in Ted’s facial expressions and I especially love the look on Ted’s face when he is to trying to convince the boy to help him build an indoor swimming pool.

 
Nothing is impossible in Ted’s world, but Dad is less than pleased with the outcome of their various adventures because he doesn’t believe Ted is real. It takes a scary turn of events to make the boy’s father finally realize that his son’s new friend is as real as he needs to be and can even help a father discover a secret from his own past.

A great addition to any home library!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 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 or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Wash Your Troubles Away

 

washboard.jpg

 

If you look in most homes today, you will probably find a modern washer/dryer combination tucked away in some corner of the house. For those, like myself, who either don’t have adequate room for those modern conveniences, or don’t have the financial ability to pay for a set, there is always the local laundrymat. But go further back in time…to my childhood…and you wouldn’t find even those luxuries at my house. 

My earliest memories of laundry day is my mother pulling out a large metal tub and wash board like this one. She would scrub until her knuckles were red and raw, before ringing out each piece by hand and then taking each load outside to hang on the clothesline. Backbreaking work for my mother but necessary when you have a husband and four active children to look after.

Next came  the wringer washing machine…a contraption with two huge rollers ran by a crank positioned over a tub. Mother still had to use the washboard but at least it saved her hands from the  wringing. She still used the clothesline but by then, I was old enough and tall enough to do the clothesline work for her.

Finally came the day when my mother had saved enough money to buy an actual washing machine. Wedged between our old bathtub and the linen closet in our narrow bathroom, Mother worshiped at its rattling, clanging alter for most of my teenage years. She never did save up enough for a dryer, but at least she was able to retire from rapping her knuckles on that metal washboard.

These days I use the convenience of a local laundrymat, but a part of me misses the days of hanging clothes out in the fresh air and later watching dragonflies flit from clothespin to clothespin in the summer sunshine. I did most of my daydreaming during that time…creating poetry I would chant to myself before dashing back inside to write them down. I enjoyed walking between the rows of drying wash, hiding from the world around me and letting my imagination carry me off to distant lands where knights and dragons awaited to save this damsel in distress.

Writers have a knack for creating stories, no matter their surroundings, and even a steamy, old-fashioned wash day can carry an aspiring future author away on a grand adventure…

 

clothesline.jpg

 

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STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

reject.jpg

 

7 Ways To Get Over The Rejection Blues

by Donna L Martin

 

In case you just landed here from some distant planet, let me let you in on a little secret…

If you’re submitting your manuscript to any agents or publishers, you WILL get rejected. More than once. Maybe enough to lose track. The initial sting never changes. The hopeful surge of anticipation quickly followed by the sharp pang of disappointment. It comes with being a member of this wild and wonderful industry that is part subjective, part hard work, and part luck. But while you can’t get around the ‘no entry” message hidden within every politely worded rejection letter, there are ways to help get over the rejection blues.

 

HAVE A GOOD CRY…

 

Or a good scream off the top of some grassy knoll. Take a moment to acknowledge the pain and get it out of your system. Beat a pillow. Throw some darts. Stomp through the house saying it’s unfair. You’re human and of course it hurts. But remember…you are in this for the long haul and drowning in a pity pool will only keep you from your dream agent…or your dream publisher…or whatever lofty writing goal you have set for yourself. So have a good cry and then move on.

 

GO FOR A WALK…

 

Return to the gym. Or if you’re like me, head to a martial arts training facility and kick something. Do something physical to take your mind off of those little gremlins running around in your head trying to tell you you’re not good enough for this kind of life. Because you are. Know how I know? Because despite the fact you KNOW there will be rejections coming your way, you’re still brave enough to send your story out into the world all alone while you wait at home hoping for good news. So go for a walk and reconnect to why you do this thing you love so much.

 

HANG OUT WITH BEN & JERRY…

 

Come on, you know sometimes the only thing that can take the edge off the rejection blues is a pint of Chocolate Peppermint Crunch. So go ahead and give yourself permission to grab some Ben & Jerry…just don’t go diving into a gallon of the stuff…you’ll wake up after crashing down off that sugary wave wondering just what the heck happened.

 

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY…

 

I know it can be hard to do. Impossible sometimes if that rejection letter is particularly harsh. But most people “play nice” these days so the generic letdowns are usually easy enough to deal with. There are many reasons why our manuscripts get rejected…i.e. similar stories in the publishers existing lineup, not a good overall fit for the agency, not enough of a passionate connection for the agent or publisher to fight for it. That does NOT mean your story stinks, it just means it’s not right for that particular person. Remember the whole subjective thing I mentioned earlier? Keep that in mind and try not to take those letters personally.

 

REMEMBER PRIOR SUCCESSES

 

One of the ways is to make a conscious list of prior successes, no matter how small. Sometimes when there is a hurdle placed in front of us, it’s easier to think NOTHING has gone right. But even something as small as adding another paragraph to an existing story validates your worth as a writer and serves as a reminder that you are still heading in the right direction.

 

SHARE WITH OTHERS

 

Writing is a lonely occupation to begin with so when we get a rejection letter, it can be easy to think we are the only ones going through this. This may be the time to reach out to others who have experienced the same disappointment. See how they have dealt with the blues and come away better able to deal with that part of the publishing path we are all on. One word of caution though. Drawing on the loving support of this wonderful writing community is one thing…putting down or talking negatively about the person generous enough to review your manuscript and give their subjective opinion as to whether it’s right for them or not is unbecoming of a true writing professional and will always do more harm than good.

 

KEEP ON WRITING

 

Probably the most important thing to remember when you are feeling the rejection blues is to keep on writing. Every day. Your creativity and storytelling ability is a muscle which will atrophy if not used on a regular basis. It’s also proven the more you write, the better the chance you will improve your overall writing skill. If the rejection letter offers specific reasons as to why your manuscript was turned down, take the time to seriously consider the merits of the reasons. But no matter what, just like Dory in Finding Nemo, when it comes to your writing…just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

 

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STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

**********

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: In A Flash (Fiction) It Was Gone…

 

COOKIES

 

In honor of Halloween, I had a really tasty short story to share with you today. One to give you the shivers and get you ready for the night. But something happened on the way to this post. What should have been a spooky, chilly holiday tale, suddenly morphed into this wonderful picture book story and in a flash, my flash fiction today was gone like a gourmet cookie and all that was left was a hint of what might have been…

That’s one of the things I like about writing. The freedom to twist and turn your words into something different than what you originally envisioned. A fleeting thought can become an idea which blossoms into a story which before you know it, becomes a five book series. In real life, I’m an organized person who takes only calculated risks…never straying far from the path I planned out for my life.

In the world of my imagination…oh, that wonderfully twisty, turny, never-ending world in my mind…I am free to create whatever those unlimited boundaries will allow. And so, when my flash fiction laughed at me, removed it’s mask, and revealed it was a creepy, quirky picture book manuscript, I decided to go with it. Instead of capturing one moment in time, I find I have stepped into yet another world of my own making and I will follow it wherever it might lead me.

But just in case you are wondering what you might be missing, here are the first couple of lines from what WAS going to be this week’s flash fiction piece…
Its dark and creepy, with just a little peeky,
As we sneak to the gloomy ghoul hall.
While outside drooping, silently swooping,
Birds of the night will eerily call.
With eyes gleaming, gnashing teeth showing
A scary scarecrow welcomes one and all.
Lumbering clouds drape the moon like a shroud
As stars light our way to the gloomy ghoul ball.


Now, don’t you wish it would have stayed a flash fiction piece so you know what happens next? 

 

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

 

STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Marjorie Dennis Murray

 

 

halloween.jpg

 

 

Title: Halloween Night
Author: Marjorie Dennis Murray
Illustrator: Brandon Dorman
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Ages: 4 to 8

 

“Twas Halloween night, and all through the house
Every creature was stirring, including the mouse;”

 

Synopsis:

 

Everyone from the witch to the banshees are getting ready for the best Halloween party ever. Too bad they never thought to warn their guests about what to expect on the scariest night of the year!

 

Why you should read it:

 

Rich artwork by illustrator Brandon Dorman combine with a tantalizingly familiar tale by author Marjorie Dennis Murray about getting ready for party guests to arrive. It’s minutes before midnight and everyone in the old haunted house is getting ready to party. I enjoyed all the colorful pictures but it was the whimsical, rhyming storyline that kept me flipping the pages just to see how this would end. I especially liked the look on the party guests’ faces when the old witch opened the door to invite them in!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 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!

 

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Hunting Gris’ Gris’

gris gris.jpg

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since book three of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES coming out in the spring of 2020 will be titled Hunting Gris’ Gris’, I thought I would give you a little “teaser” from the bayou legends of this swamp monster and the mystery surrounding my hometown in southern Louisiana. I promise my chapter book version will be MUCH tamer…

 

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Long, grey strands of Spanish moss wrapped its way around the branches of the old cypress tree, dipping low into the murky waters of the swamp. Dusk was fading fast and the night songs were starting to echo in the wind, carrying with it the stench of rotting vegetation and something else Collin couldn’t quite make out.

His friends dared him to spend a night on the bayou alone. “Chicken” and “scaredy-cat” they’d called him, taunting until he had no choice but to accept the challenge. With all his friends gathering to see him off, Collin barely had time to grab a lantern and blanket before he was hoisted into the back of Tommy’s truck and headed out to the edge of town to be dumped where the bayou beckoned the fool-hearted.

Sinking into the spongy, marshy ground, Collin looked in vain for a drier place to camp and finally settled for the base of the old cypress tress, wrapping the blanket tightly around him to ward off the damp mist rolling across the water in his direction. Using his cigarette lighter to ignite the lantern, Collin could just make out the shapes of turtles resting on a fallen tree trunk to his right and heard the deep, baying sound of an alligator somewhere off to his left.

He thought he’d never be able to sleep at all, but hours later he woke with an ache in his bones from remaining in that cramped position for so long. He realized with dismay the low flickering of the lantern meant it was about to go out, plunging him into a world of darkness, except for the pale moonlight peeking its way through the strands of moss. Collin was about to stand up to stretch his cramped legs when a strange sound came from somewhere directly in front of him.

Low at first, a deep throated growl could  soon be heard ringing throughout the surrounding trees. Collin’s breath caught in his throat as he suddenly remembered every tale Paw Paw had told him about the Gris’ Gris’. A half-man, half-beast born of the bayou, children were told bedtime stories of how the Gris’ Gris’ would come out of the swamp to get them if they didn’t fall asleep right away.

Collin always thought it was just old Cajun tales but as the sound drifted closer and closer, he desperately willed his numb legs to move as he stumbled toward the levee surrounding the swamp. Tripping over a root, Collin felt his breath rush out of his lungs when he hit the ground, momentarily stunned by the force of the fall. Rising to his knees, Collin began to stand up when he felt a hot breath slide across his neck, the stench of rotting flesh causing his stomach to recoil as his scream bubbled through his chest before echoing into the night…

 

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contest prizes

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: My Porch Sanctuary

porch.jpg

 

I had the long-awaited opportunity to sit on my backyard patio yesterday. For someone allergic to the sun and who becomes violently ill from the heat/humidity found in East Tennessee, I take solace in the fact Autumn is finally here, and with it the chance to seek out my patio sanctuary whenever I get the chance.

Growing up in a small, swamp town in southern Louisiana, every porch or patio on every rental house I lived in while growing up held a special place in my heart. Even the long, enclosed porch of the house my parents were finally able to buy on a poor cook’s salary, is forever etched in my heart for different reasons.

Back in the early 70’s when I was much younger, the porch of each rental house was a place where my sister and I could play with our dolls…not cooped up inside, but still under the watchful eye of our mother. I could drag out chairs and blankets to build a fort or clubhouse where I entertained my stuffed toys with grass tea and mud cookies. My sister and I even used those porches as our stage as we sang to an imaginary audience sitting patiently on our front lawn…cheering us on as we gave them everything we had in the way of fashion shows and singing talent.

But it was the last house I lived in before moving to the big city of Lafayette that stays with me the most. It was there I shucked a mountain of corn so that my family wouldn’t go hungry during winter time on the bayou. It was there I could swing on that rickety wooden contraption my mother called a porch swing…squeaking to the rhythm of my toes pushing my self back and forth while buried in the mesmerizing story of my latest library treasure.

So many memories from so many porches…they were all my sanctuaries where I could turn my back on the stark reality of my family’s poverty, or even the cruelty of being ostracized at my school. There, I was the queen of my front porch palace…the ruler of my young writing destiny…and I could imagine a world of MY choosing…all for the cost of a little push of a worn out swing on a well-loved porch…

 

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STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.