BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Susanna Leonard Hill

llama.jpg

 

Title: When Your Llama Needs A Haircut

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishers

Ages: 0-4

 

Synopsis:

 

Does your llama need a haircut? When your llama needs a haircut, you’ll first need to pick the perfect style…

 

Why you should get it:

 

 
When I found out my friend, author Susanna Leonard Hill, was releasing a new series of board books, I offered to review one. My friends know I’m not likely to give a favorable BOOK NOOK REVIEW unless I sincerely like the book I’ve been given.

The day WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT came in the mail, I was having a very rough time at work. I thought I would give Susanna’s book a quick read and then delve deeper into it at a later time. I found myself actually chuckling out loud at some of the adorable illustrations Daniel Wiseman created to compliment Susanna’s cute story, like this one…

 

llama 2.jpg
It brougt me back to the days of my own youth when I tried wearing a perm myself, as well as those days of trying to tame my own son’s curly locks. It is also written in a similar vein as author Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give…” series which makes WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT a very enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read other books in the series like WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES.

 
Young readers will laugh at the whimsical artwork and parents will find their own little ones asking to hear this delightful story “just one more time!” 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 it or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

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

 

Donna's Books

 

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

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

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

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: End Of The Road

desert.jpg

 

Stacey kicked the tire one more time. Dust puffs swirled in the hot breeze blowing across the arid terrain. What a rotten place to break down. She could see mountains far off in the distance but in the desert, there was no way to tell if it was one mile or twenty miles away.

Leaning through the open window, Stacey reached for her phone lying on the dash. After punching in several numbers with no luck, she tossed it back in the car in disgust. Of course there’d be no signal! Whatever possessed her to accept that job interview in the first place? Now she was going to miss maybe getting that new job and all she had to show for skipping work was a busted radiator, a dead phone, and a sure-fire argument with Brad once she made it back home.

The thought of another senseless fight with her boyfriend made Stacey kick her tire again in frustration. That particular relationship had been going downhill for the past few months and lately she’s felt like it was headed for a dead end, just like the road in front of her. Scanning the horizon in search of any movement, Stacey wiped the sweat from her brow and tried to settle the angry butterflies beginning to swarm in her stomach.

Not a soul in sight. 

Too late now to wish she had grabbed a drink before heading out. Stacey could feel the heat starting to get to her. All she could do was crawl back into the car and wait for help to show up.

Too bad she forgot to tell anyone where she was going today…

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Man’s Best Friend

 

TROPHY

The way I love cats as an adult, you would think I was around them all my life.

You would be wrong.

Growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, I guess it just made more sense to have dogs around….to alert us to strangers coming around the house as well as helping to fight off any strange animals that might come out of the bayous surrounding my little hometown.

 

JACKIE

 

The first dog I can remember was a beagle named Jackie. I don’t remember much about her other than I know she was a part of the family. I was around 2-3 years old, but I can still remember playing with her. She was my first companion because my siblings were much older than myself and it would be a couple more years before I was old enough to run around with them.

 

CHI CHI

 

Next came Chi Chi. She was a full blooded chihuahua and there are only two things I remember about her. One, she had a sharp, yippy-yappy kind of bark and used it when she didn’t want me to play with her. Two, she loved eating acorns she would find in our front yard. I never met another dog who ate acorns like Chi Chi did

 

PENNY

 

At the same time I had Chi Chi, we had a mixed chihuahua-mutt named Penny. Oh, how I loved that dog.  For most of her life, my mother kept her tied up outside. It broke my heart to see her captive like that, but there was nothing I could do to change things. Penny would patiently let me dress her up or try to teach her tricks, but you know what they say about old dogs…

Animals have always been a large part of my childhood. I was always bringing in some stray critters home or my sister would have a few strange ones of her own. They brought comfort, companionship, warm snuggles, and could soak tears from a heavy heart quicker than a sponge. At one time I even thought I would grow up to be an animal doctor, but instead, now I just write about critters…

 

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

 

Donna's Books

 

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

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

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

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

pass.png

 

WHY REJECTION LETTERS ARE NOT A BAD THING!

by Donna L Martin

 

Some of you might think I’m crazy. Others might wonder what I put in my drink. There might even be a wild thought it might be time for me to hang up my writing pen.

But just hear me out…

While I’ve been writing for more than 40 years, I only became a professional writer ten years ago. I try to find time for my writing every day. I’ve sent my “babies” out into the world and dealt with almost every kind of rejection letter out there.

The “no response at all” rejection letter early in my career.

The generic email rejection letter letting me know my story isn’t the right fit.

Occasionally the personalize rejection letter with kind words of encouragement.

It doesn’t matter how we receive it, getting a rejection letter can still hurt our writers’ pride. And sometimes it makes us doubt our own skills as a storyteller.

But it shouldn’t any more.

While we’re never going to do the happy dance over being rejected by yet another agent or publisher, there ARE three treasures hidden inside each one:

 

THE PERSEVERANCE TEST

 

Becoming a published author is a long, slow process. Dues have to be paid, sincere industry connections made, and in a way, writers have to prove themselves worthy of their future audience. Writing isn’t for the faint of heart or those in it for the quick buck (cuz there aren’t any quick bucks to be made I’m afraid!)

 

THE CHANCE TO EVOLVE

 

Every rejection allows us to work on our presentation. Maybe our query letters need tweaking. Maybe our agent or publisher list needs updating. Even the stories themselves might benefit from a little more polishing. When we incorporate the lesson found within each rejection letter, we become stronger writers who are one step closer to that coveted book contract.

 

THE RIGHT TO CELEBRATE

 

Rejection letters make any successes we receive along the way, no matter how big or how small, all the sweeter. They help remind us we are stronger than our temporary setbacks. They allow us to show compassion for our fellow writers when they feel their own sting from being turned down in their pursuit of publication. There is also a camaraderie which allows us to do that happy dance even for the birth of a book not of our own making.

So I say bring on the rejection letters. I KNOW in my own heart I’m a good writer. Just because one of my “babies” haven’t found a home yet doesn’t mean it isn’t loved. And when the time is right, someone else will learn to love them as well!

 

baby

 

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

 

Donna's Books

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

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

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

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: New Things Coming Your Way…

blog

 

I’m a firm believer the day you stop trying new things is the day you stop growing as a writer and as a human being. I worked on lots of new things this year…some great…others not so great. But all came with a lesson to learn.

I feel like I’ve grown in my writing as well. My original goal at the beginning of the year was to post five days each week and for the first ten months of 2019, I managed to stay consistent. But Fall came along and my life went into hyperdrive with three books lined up to be released October, November, and December! By the time the holidays came around I got the news I would also have another book coming out in January, as well as two more books in the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series.

With the sudden flurry of manuscript and publishing deadlines, I’ve had to give some serious thought to my blog and I’ve come to a decision I hope is agreeable to my followers as I strive to balance the many career pans I have on the fires in my life.

Beginning January 6th, I will be cutting back on some of the blog posts and shift some of those weekly posts to a quarterly newsletter. This helps me continue to connect with my wonderful readers, but still gives me the opportunities I need to hit my writing and publishing deadlines.

I will also be testing a new post series that I’ll reveal with the new year…;-)

If there is any particular type of posts…Monday’s TALES FROM THE BAYOU, Tuesday’s FLASH FICTION, Wednesday’s BOOK NOOK REVIEWS, Thursday’s THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, or Friday’s WRITERLY WISDOM…that you want to continue to see on a weekly basis instead of in a quarterly newsletter, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!  

And if you are new to my blog, or visit but haven’t “followed” me yet…it might be time for you to leave your email so you can get my quarterly newsletter and keep up with all the latest Story Catcher Publishing news including more contests scheduled for 2020, updates on each new title being released in the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series, as well as other goodies I have planned for the new year!

Counting down the days to a new year and a new surprise…

 

surprises

 

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

 

Donna's Books

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

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

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

TWAS AN EVE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Donna L Martin

donkey

 

Twas An Eve Before Christmas
By Donna L Martin

Twas the eve before Christmas,
When all through my little house,
I’d just finished a story
About a cat and a mouse.

Next year I would be busy,
Many stories still to write,
But what if I’m not published,
Tho I try hard as I might?

I shut down my old laptop
And then I turned off the light,
When suddenly a loud noise
Began ringing in the night.

I moved quickly to my door
To get a sneak peek outside;
There stood a gnarled old wizard
With a donkey he named Clyde.

He said his name was Berlin
And he came bearing a gift
Of a brand new computer
From bags he could scarcely lift.

He asked could he come inside,
And get out of the harsh cold?
Well, I gladly let him in
After the story he told.

He was going to Vegas
To try his luck with the dice,
But got lost near the North Pole
And met a dude who was nice.

“I’ll help you get to Vegas,
If you stop along the way.
I don’t have time to visit
The Martins by Christmas Day!”

Then Berlin opened his sack
While books spilled out on the floor.
Lots of writer references;
And stories that I adore.

“Here’s all the magic you need
To make the right dreams come true.
It takes belief in yourself.
Hard work. It’s all up to you!”

Then smiling, he turned to go
Out into the winter night.
But I heard words softly said
As I turned off the porch light.

“Good luck in the coming year,
With a book contract or two.
Should you run into that dude,
Clyde wants a blanket in blue!”

***********

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE & A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

FLASH FICTION: I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

 

 

uso

 

***During this Christmas season, we need to take a moment to remember those of us who might not be able to spend the holidays with loved ones. Our freedom to open presents under the Christmas tree shouldn’t be taken for granted. Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy my little story.***
Gracie stepped onto the tarmac and looked around. Just another stop in a long line of shows to help with troop moral. She’d never guess it was almost Christmas by the look of the grey barracks surrounded by the mud and slush of a dreary December afternoon.

Tugging her coat closer to her, Gracie ran the last few yards to the mess hall where a temporary stage had been built for the entertainment. She had just enough time to get ready before her curtain call. How many times had she stepped onto one of those stages to sing for men so far from home? One look into their war-weary faces and Gracie could tell the only Christmas wish on their lists was a one way ticket home.

Papa told her when he left her at the train station it would be hard traveling so far away during the holidays. Turned out he was right. But in her heart she knew she was still where she belonged.

“Little girl, you make sure you sing your heart out for those guys. Poor blokes, some won’t see another Christmas.”

“I will, Papa.”

“And remember, look for the northern star and know your mama is always watching over you.”

Tears misted Gracie’s eyes as she thought of her mama while getting ready for the show. The pain was still a dull ache in her chest even after three years but Gracie knew her mother would be proud of what her little girl was doing.

Gracie did a final check of her makeup and slowly smiled back at her reflection before heading onstage. Outside the world might have forgotten about Christmas but for the next two hours she planned on bringing a little bit of the holiday spirit indoors…

***Okay, it’s your turn! Does Gracie help those soldiers forget they’re so far from home? Could there be a special surprise waiting for her as well? Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own. Join the fun and see where this picture prompt takes us!***