TALES FROM THE BAYOU: All Creatures Great And Small

cricket

 

Growing up, my love for animals wasn’t just for stray pets like cats and dogs. Oh no, my fascination with all living things expanded far beyond the ordinary and I spent a lot  of time outdoors studying nature. If it crawled, hopped, flew, or otherwise moved I was interested in it.

Hot summer days now remind me of Mother’s wash days. Whether she was using the old ringer washer and scrub board or the washing machine she finally got when I was much older, Mother never had a dryer in the house. She would carry the wet clothes out back and hang them on the line. I don’t know if it was the fact the clothes were wet or if it was all that flapping in the wind, but you could always count on dozens of dragonflies to make a stop on the clothesline…dancing in the hot summer sun along with the clothes as they dried. I was mesmerized by those creatures and would spend many an afternoon trying to sneak up on one so I could examine their dainty, translucent wings as they fluttered in the breeze.

I like to think it’s the Cherokee blood in me that connects with nature but I’ve always hated to see any harm come to one of God’s creatures.  Even things like going fishing bothered me. While I enjoyed the actual fishing part, I never had the heart to be the one to send a worm to its watery demise. Either my parents or my brother had to load the hook and cast the line before I could be tempted to hold the pole.

But one Saturday afternoon, I took my love for all creatures great and small to a whole new level…

I was in elementary school at the time and every Saturday we would gather around the television to watch westerns like Bonanza and Rawhide. It was during one of those shows when a small cricket managed to get into our house and make it’s way into the living room where I lay on the floor watching TV.

I don’t remember who heard the chirping sound first but all I wanted was to capture the little guy and put him back outside. My brother, on the other hand, decided he was going to do what most boys his age would have done and hunt the cricket down like prey. Before I could stop him, David had killed it and I was devastated. I cried my little heart out and begged my mother to allow me to have a burial service for the cricket. Not only did she say yes, she found a matchbox to bury him in and made us kids go outside in the middle of the shows so I could have a proper funeral for him.

I’m sure my brother wasn’t too happy about missing his westerns, but you can bet he never tried to kill another critter that managed to get into the house as long as I was around!

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

Eleven-year-old Emma misses her father who’s serving in Europe during World War II. He leaves behind a treasure box with six compartments to be opened during her birthday week. He also tells her to watch for the gris-gris while he is gone. Looking out for swamp creatures and dealing with wartime rationing is hard enough, but now there’s a British refugee staying at the house! How will Emma enjoy her birthday and keep her decision to hunt the gris-gris a secret with a stranger following her around?

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donna - Copy

 

Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Amelia Griggs

 

goal

 

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

 

Setting Goals and Self-Publishing Tips

by Amelia Griggs

 

          2020 is a leap year, and what a strange year it is indeed! While we are practicing safe social distancing, we can use the extra time to write down some goals, plan for the future and strive to do something we have never done before. If you’re thinking about writing a book, now is the best time. If something is holding you back, let go of it. There is no time like the present to follow your dreams and make things happen. Make 2020 the year you make your dreams come true. Dream a little…dream a lot! January 13, 2020, was Make Your Dreams Come True Day, but it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. Dream a lot and dream big to prepare for September 25, 2020 which is World Dream Day!
          If you have an idea about something you want to do in 2020, write it down before it flies right out of your head. I keep journals and notebooks, both paper and electronic all over the house, because you never know when the next big idea will pop up.
          I’ve been getting a lot of questions about KDP vs. IngramSpark, and which is better. KDP is free to create, upload and update a book listing. IngramSpark is usually $49 for a book listing and $25 to upload updated files; BUT if you use coupon code INGRAMSPARK2020, all fees are currently waived. I have used KDP for most of my books (which are tech books and children’s books so far), but for the hard cover versions of my children’s books, I used Ingram Spark since Amazon’s KDP does not currently have a hard cover option. The quality is good with both but there are some differences. I created a video comparing quality of both which you view here if you are interested.  
          If you could go back in time, what advice would you tell the Amelia who was just starting on the self-publishing path?
          I would tell myself that it takes time, so be sure to plan your schedule accordingly for all aspects of the writing, formatting, and self-publishing process. Also, it’s important to build your brand and become familiar with the marketing and promoting process as well.
           What advice, in general, do you have to give novice writers of picture books who would like to self-publish them?
           Proof, proof and proof again. Hire an editor as well as a proofreader, and always be sure to order your proof copy to review and approve before you put your book live and announce it to the public.
          For more self-publishing advice, I would like to give a shout out to Picture Book Planet for interviewing me and publishing this article about the self-publishing process: https://picturebookplanet.com/self-publishing/
Happy Writing!
Amelia
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Amelia book
***The Bella and Mia Adventure Series! ***

The third book in the series: Snowflakes With Sugar

Mia and Bella are decorating for the holidays and decide to make a special treat which is a family tradition. Mix flour, eggs, vanilla, sugar, a little of this and a little that, plus lots of love, and what do you get? Can you guess what it is? When the doorbell rings, Bella and Mia wonder…who can it be? This charming holiday-themed rhyming story includes the recipe and a little history about this surprise treat!

The Bella and Mia Adventure children’s book series is designed to foster love within families by promoting fun activities with parent and child. It also introduces rhyming to children. Rhyming helps children with memory and promotes learning. Reciting rhyming is also an excellent bonding activity for parents and children, or in a group setting with children.

Each story is inspired by warm childhood memories of me watching my mother cook all kinds of scrumptious foods and the fun times we had in the kitchen. Recipe included in the back of the book!

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Amelia picture
Amelia Griggs is a Learning Design and Development specialist, Instructional Designer, Writer and Authorpeneuer. She enjoys researching, designing and developing all kinds of educational materials, writing instructional articles, blogging, and composing fictional short stories. She is currently working on educational eBooks, how-to guides, instructional YouTube videos, and children’s coloring and activity books. Amelia has always loved writing for as long as she could remember. She also loves writing short stories, rhymes and poems, and there’s even a historical fiction novel in her future.

She has a Bachelors of Business Administration with a Major in Computer Science, and a Masters of Science in Instructional Design and Technology.

Please visit all of Amelia’s websites and social media:  https://linktr.ee/ameliagriggs  

Reach for the stars and be all you can be. 🙂
May success, happiness, good health and prosperity be yours!
Happiness is doing what you love!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Kid Next Door

chocolate

 

Growing up in a small town allowed me to get friendly with our neighbors every time we had to move to a different house. I grew up during an era where you didn’t have to lock your front door at night. Heck, most nights during a hot Louisiana summer we wouldn’t even close the door in the hopes a light breeze would makes its way through the house since we didn’t have air conditioning either. 

The last house I lived in before I graduated was next door to a lady named Rowena and her young son, Damian. Rowena worked at the local beauty shop and was a single mom. Not something you saw much back then, but she was friendly and seemed to have money for the kind of luxuries I could only dream of.

Sometimes when Rowena worked late she would ask me to babysit her son on the weekends. The first time she asked if I could watch Damian I was shocked to hear my mother give her permission. I was never allowed to go anywhere, but I suppose the fact I was a mature 12 year old and it was only for a couple of hours at the house next door, Mother was persuaded it was okay. It didn’t even matter much to me that any money I made would end up buying cigarettes for Mother…the freedom and independence from being away from the house was intoxicating enough.

Damian was about 6 at the time and a cute kid, but I quickly realized the first time I went over to his house that his station in life far exceeded anything I could ever hope to achieve. That kid had every toy known to man and I took full advantage of playing with as much of his stuff as I could. My favorite was the Fisher Price Family Play Farm. I could play with that thing for hours and even confess to loving the animal sounds coming from the barn doors as I swung them open to let the critters out.

But it was what was in the kitchen that kept me going back every chance I could. Rowena was an extremely indulgent host and told me I could eat anything  I wanted whenever I looked after Damian. Her son, not used to wondering where his next meal was coming from or what ingredients might be in it, was quite content to eat hot dogs when I came over. 

I, on the other hand, stumbled across one drawer in their refrigerator that literally stopped me in my tracks. Pound after delicious pound of chocolate candy was stuffed in one of the crisper drawers.  Free for the taking and take it I did. By the handful. To someone like myself who only saw candy on the rare holiday, I simply couldn’t fathom the reasoning behind having a treasure trove of goodies whenever the sugar high mood struck you.

I don’t remember much about those babysitting days beyond that toy farm and the candy, but I do remember two things…

 

  1. Damian never had any interest EVER in eating any of that candy.

 

  1. I knew Damian HAD to be an alien from outer space.

 

It was the only way I could figure out why he would turn his nose up at the chance to dive into all that chocolatey goodness…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

 

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Debbie Dadey

Debbie quote

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Pandemic Swing

By Debbie Dadey

 

I spent a lot of time on my swing when I was a kid. It wasn’t a fancy wooden one like you seen in the backyards of MacMansions today. It was red metal with a painted wooden frame my daddy had attached to the bottom. The frame was supposed to keep it from rising off the ground or turning over. It didn’t work. We never turned over completely, but we did lift the frame off the ground almost every day. We would swing for hours. Sometimes I’d sing or sometimes I’d talk with my brothers or friends. The wooden frame made a seat for me to tell all my troubles to my dog, Spike.

On a really good day, our neighbor, Dougie, would come over. He would stand in front, on the frame stage, and give us a comedy show that was better than the Brady Bunch. It didn’t matter if I’d flunked a spelling test or I was in trouble with my mom, the entertainer would help me forget it all.

I realize I’ve been on a pandemic swing lately. Perhaps you have as well. My frame has been wobbling up and down, making me nervous the whole thing will tip over. I admit I’ve been singing around the house perhaps more than usual. On Easter morning, I stood on my porch looking at the sunrise and sang, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today!” at the top of my lungs. Not sure what my neighbors thought about that.

I’ve also called and texted my family and friends more than usual, just to make sure they aren’t sick. It’s comforting to face similar problems, like neurotic hand washing, with someone else. It’s not the same as sitting side by side on a swing set, but it’s still a comradery that’s soothing. My dog has even suffered through some teary talks and came out wagging her tail.

But mostly, what has helped me to keep moving has been entertainment. My husband and I have been watching a movie a night, when we would normally watch one a week at the most. I am averaging a book a day, when usually one might last me a week. I tried reading classics, but I needed comfort fiction, which for me is Christian Historical Romance. I needed books I enjoyed and swept me away like an old Calgon bath commercial. After all these years, I still needed the diversion of the arts to take me away from the troubles of the day. I keep my regular ‘work at home schedule’, but I make allowances for ‘comfort time,” because we must be kind to ourselves as we face this pandemic swing. We will not tip over, but soar on.  

 

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Debbie book

 

Pearl needs her merfriends’ help when she’s named Winter Princess and finds out she’s going to be a big sister in this sparkling Mermaid Tales adventure.

Pearl is over the moon when she gets the fin-tastic news that she’s been picked to be the next Winter Princess! She can’t help gushing to Shelly, Kiki, and Echo about the beautiful dress she’ll get to wear and how all eyes will be on her when she makes her big speech at the Winter Festival. She can’t wait to tell her parents!

But her parents have some news of their own…Pearl is going to be a big sister! They’re adopting a baby boy, and he’ll be coming home with them right around the time of the Winter Festival. Suddenly, instead of glittering gowns and princess tiaras, Pearl has to talk about new cradles and baby toys. How can her new brother be stealing all of her parents’ attention before he’s even here?

Can Pearl convince her parents that a messy, noisy baby is the last thing they need? Or will she discover she’s more suited to being a big sister than she thought?

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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Debbie picture

 

Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 176 traditionally published books, including the upcoming Mermaid Tales book, The Winter Princess. It is available for pre-order before the July release (pushed back because of the pandemic). Debbie is working to help homeschooling needs by providing content on her website and with a YouTube live reading every Friday at 2:00 Eastern through the end of May, which will be available on her YouTube channel afterwards. During National Library Week, Debbie will read aloud an entire book, Marty the Mudwrester, on FacebookLive at 9:00 Eastern, which will be available afterwards in her Facebook library. Find out more about Debbie on debbiedadey.com, Facebook.com/debbiedadey, Twitter.com/debbiedadey, or youtube.com/debbiedadey

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A “Military” Family

 

Daddy soldier 1

 

Today is Memorial Day. A time in the United States when we honor those who paid the “ultimate sacrifice” while serving their country.

But I say there is more than one type of “military” training and more than one way to serve one’s country. I thought I would share how my family have served this country for more than 100 years…

 

Daddy young boy                        Daddy soldier

 

I’m not sure if my father dreamed of going into the military when he was a young boy living near the bayous of southern Louisiana. But by 1950 he was a young man serving in the Air Force as part of the military police division. While he never served his country overseas during the Korean War, he did manage to offer up his two front teeth in a home front battle. He caught a beer bottle with his mouth one night while trying to stop a bar fight. My father adapted to the changes a military life provided but I’m not sure he was prepared for the pretty little thing who crossed his path during those war years.

 

Mother young woman

 

My mother came from sturdy country folk living in the hills of the Ozark Mountains. Her lineage included full blooded Cherokee Indian and an ancestor who served in a distinguished Cherokee division of soldiers during the Civil War. When she was 17 and living in California, World War II broke out . My mother, who once sewed together baby bibs, geared up to do her duty for the war effort when her factory began to create war time fighting equipment. She further “served” her country by raising three children and three grandchildren to follow a “military” lifestyle while serving their country in different ways.

 

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup                                  David soldier

 

My brother joined the Navy once he turned 18 and served for twenty years with the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise before retiring as a Naval officer. He continued serving as a high school teacher before retiring again a few years ago.

 

Patrick and Robert young boys

 

Patrick soldier                  Robert soldier

 

My brother raised two of his children to become military men as well. Both followed in their father’s footsteps, joining the Navy once they graduated high school and served their country for a few years.  The one on the right continues to serve during the pandemic by becoming a long haul truck driver.

 

Carol young girl                          Carol soldier

 

My oldest sister joined the Navy a couple of years after my brother. She spent a tour serving in the southeast and married another Navy man. 

 

Donna young girl                                  Randy young boy

 

Randy & Donna tkd

 

And then there is MY family. My son and I both began training in the ancient art of Taekwondo years ago. It is a self-defense program based on military training and a code of ethics which promotes service of others.  The two of us served our school and the children who came there for years, before my son chose to change career paths. He is now a traveling nurse serving in Missouri during this pandemic. For myself, eighteen years later I continue to serve my community…my country…in various ways. I continue to teach children how to become strong community-minded individuals who have the confidence to defend themselves should the need arise. I also serve others by supporting children’s literacy  and proud to know I’ve helped donate over $130,000 worth of books to local elementary school libraries as well as worthy literary causes all over the country.

My family is steeped in decades of military duty or service to others, but it all started with my father’s decision to join the military and eventually marrying my mother. When my father died, I was put in charge of his estate and I thought it fitting he receive a 21-gun salute at his funeral. There is nothing so haunting as the echo of a military farewell to a fallen soldier, whether from the ravages of battle or the end of a long life. It will be a memory I will take with me to my own grave. Besides a heartfelt thank you for service to his country, there is only one other thing I can think of to say to my father…

Good bye, Daddy. I hope you are at peace now. 

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

 

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Sue Bradford Edwards

battery

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Recharging Your Creative Battery

By Sue Bradford Edwards

 

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, picture books or novels, writing takes emotional energy.  That is why I advise my writing students and critique partners to charge their creative batteries.

To do this, it helps to know your character strengths.  To find out what they are, visit the VIA Institute on Character and take the Character Strengths Survey.  This isn’t a quick Facebook quiz to learn what job you held in medieval Prague or which House the Sorting Hat would assign you. This psychological evaluation rates you on twenty-four personality traits.

My five top strengths are:

  • Creativity which includes artistic creativity and developing new ways to think of and do things.
  • Love of Learning new knowledge and also new skills.
  • Judgement, which might also be called discernment, meaning an ability to think things through and examine them from all sides.
  • Gratitude which includes being aware of good things and expressing thanks.
  • Bravery in acting on or speaking up about what is right. 

Knowing your strengths can help you chose ways to recharge your batteries. One of my favorite things to do is take MOOC (massive online open courses), most often at Coursera.  I’ve taken classes on Osteoarchaeology, The Science of Well-Being, How to Organize an Empire the Assyrian Way, Ancient Marine Reptiles and Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.  I enjoy myself because I’m learning something new and I very often find new story ideas as well.

I also like to make things.  In the winter, I bake bread and desserts. I bead, knit and crochet. Last year, I bought a loom. That’s been the most challenging of my hand crafts, but I always come away from my weaving ready to write. 

What should you do to recharge?  It will depend on your strengths.

Maybe your top trait is gratitude.  Spend some time thanking people for the things they do that you appreciate.  Write a note to the friend who dropped off a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread.  Send a message to a neighbor whose front garden is a cheery addition to the neighborhood.  Or pass on kind words to someone who put a lot of effort into something that benefited your community. 

Or your top trait might be humor.  Spend some times reading a collection of humorous essays.  Or watch your favorite comedian on YouTube.  Or you could watch an episode of your favorite sit com.  Spend some time laughing out loud and you will discover new energy. 

If kindness is your top trait, practice random acts of kindness.  Or even not-so-random acts. Pick up the litter in your neighbor’s front yard. Give a stranger a compliment. Reconnect with an old friend – this can be as simple as messaging someone through Facebook.

Charging our battery means that you are taking a break in a meaningful way. Find ways to use your strengths every day. Do this and you will keep a positive charge on your creative battery. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just saw a video on how to make a paper rose. I feel the urge to try something new.

—SueBE

 

roses

 

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hero

 

“​Hidden Human Computers discusses how in the 1950s, black women made critical contributions to NASA by performing calculations that made it possible for the nation’s astronauts to fly into space and return safely to Earth. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.”

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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Sue

 

Sue Bradford Edwards is a nonfiction author with twenty-six books ranging from The Ancient Maya and The Evolution of Mammals to The Who. If you are interested in writing children’s nonfiction, but don’t know where to start, she teaches Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults at Women on Writing and is creating a new class on writing nonfiction for children and teens. To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards, check out her blog, One Writer’s Journey

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Fruits…and Veggies…of Her Labor

 

Canning, Fall, Apples, Nature, Window, House, Black Cat

 

 

I always have two memories when I think about summer. One is the fact that I am highly allergic to the sun and all the lovely high humidity coming from living in eastern Tennessee. But the other memory is all the summers growing up in Louisiana where my mother was the undisputed canning queen of the south. If there was a way Mother could stuff a fruit or vegetable into a canning jar she would find it!

At every house we moved into over the years Mother always made sure there was room for a garden. The last house before I moved out on my own boasted a flower garden  by the driveway where Mother grew her beloved tulips. But if you looked closely enough you could see the mint, green onion, or dill plants she hid among the flowers. On the other side of the house was a row of potato hills and a large fig tree where Mother would spend hours over the summer harvesting the fruit and freezing the peeled figs sprinkled with sugar so we could have frozen treats throughout the winter.

But it was the back yard where mother communed with Mother Earth the best. I was raised in a home with one small income and six mouths to feed. Back in those days there wasn’t the expanded Food Stamp program like you find in the states today so Mother would depend on what was left over from Daddy’s paychecks after the bills were paid, a monthly “food pantry” type distribution in the next town thirty miles away, whatever she could barter away from an old man who visited our town once a week with extra produce and any vegetables she could managed to grow at each house we lived in.

Mother’s backyard garden had everything from lettuce and tomatoes to beans and cucumbers. Rows of corn stood tall next to cabbage and cauliflower. One year I even remember her growing a row of tall sunflowers along the back fence. I was fascinated by those flowers and watched all summer long as they grew taller than my father with their heads almost touching the ground, so heavy with seeds I was surprised their stalks didn’t snap in half from the weight.

I knew the routine. Weed pulling in the morning, harvesting anything that was ready in the afternoon, and canning on the weekends. By the end of summer every spare inch of space in the dining room would be stacked with jars of summer goodness.

My mother was creative when it came to storing those jars. One summer she found someone in the neighborhood getting rid of two old televisions. This was back in the day when the inside of the TVs held one large picture tube and a few other wires. Other people would have simply thrown those broken TVs in the trash and not given it another thought.

Not my mother.

I remember wondering what in the world were we going to do with them, but soon Mother had thrown out the picture tubes, built shelves inside the wooden frames and put curtains on the front of each before stacking them on top of each other in one corner of the dining room. Viola! Instant food pantry! We never had to worry about not having enough to eat during the summer.

This is the time of year when I can walk through my local grocery story and see canning supplies on the shelves just waiting for the summertime harvest. It always makes me smile and remember my mother and how hard she tried to keep her family fed during hard times. What a pioneer spirit she had…

 

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For all you young adult fantasy readers, check out LUNADAR: Homeward Bound on Amazon…https://www.amazon.com/Lunadar-Homeward-Bound-Donna-Martin/dp/1732327815/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Lunadar+homeward+bound&qid=1589763041&sr=8-1

 

lunadar-cover-jpg

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Heather Kauffman-Peters

dog

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Put Your Imperfect Face(book) Forward

By Heather Kauffman-Peters, author of Blizzard on the Plains

 

Don’t be so hard on yourself has become my mantra during this once-in-a-century pandemic. While those not directly impacted by the virus are posting quarantine accomplishments online – for writers that includes conferences they’ve attended, word counts they’ve added to WIPs, promotional videos they’ve recorded, and poems they’ve written – you may be tempted to feel like a slacker or, worse, a wastrel. I know I have.

During lockdown, I’ve felt compelled to explore the ever-multiplying options for bettering myself and my craft from re-forming a writers group that disbanded years ago, to attending free author seminars, and even writing this blog; but, I’ve also spent days binge watching Legends of Tomorrow and not showering or changing out of my pajamas. Does that make me lazy? A bad person? I don’t think so and I hope you don’t either. Let me explain why.

As a member of my state’s cooperative preschool executive board, I’ve been gathering supportive advice from teachers to share with parents who are feeling overwhelmed. One message keeps coming up – parents don’t have to be perfect. Preschool teachers want to reassure parents that it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel anxious, and it’s okay to forgo any formal learning or school activities during quarantine. In other words, our teachers want parents to be kind to themselves above all. The same sentiment applies to everyone – parents, writers, employees, spouses, students, etc. We may be witnesses to a terrifying and fantastical history but that doesn’t mean we need to accomplish Herculean feats. Instead we can choose to savor extra time with our kids, read, journal, relax, get outside, lie on the couch. Do what we can or do nothing. It’s all okay. History will count us as survivors either way and that’s the most important accomplishment we can achieve at this time.

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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blizzard

 

FREEZING TO DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION WHEN YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEPENDING ON YOU TO SAVE THEIR LIVES… On January 12, 1888, the people of the Dakota territory were enjoying an unusually warm day, the first break from the snow they’d had in weeks. Children walked to school and homesteaders did chores completely unaware that a dangerous storm was barreling toward them. That morning, new immigrants Carl and Carrie arrived at their one-room school house. Carrie was eager to practice English while Carl secretly plotted to return to Norway and leave America and its hardships far behind. He’d been attacked by a wolf, bullied by a classmate, and over-worked by his father who’d insisted Carl help carve the family’s new farm out of the tough prairie sod. But, soon, 14-year-old Carl would face something far worse – the deadliest blizzard in U.S. history. 

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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peters

 

Heather Kauffman-Peters is the author of Blizzard on the Plains, an adventure novel for 3rd through 8th graders about a group of one-room schoolchildren who find themselves in the center of a historic and deadly blizzard in 1888. To survive, the children are forced to rely on their pioneering ingenuity. Blizzard on the Plains is available through Amazon, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Kauffman’s second book, Fire on the Island, is scheduled for release in January of 2021 and is about a 12-year-old boy and his firefighting mom who battle an unexpected volcanic eruption on the island of Heimaey, Iceland in 1973.

For more information, visit www.firstcirlcepress.com.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: It’s Getting Hot Out Here

 

garden

 

With the rising temperatures announcing the arrival of Spring, my thoughts turn to vegetable gardens. One image I will always have from my childhood is my mother planting her vegetable garden no matter where we lived. Small yard, large yard, she always found the space to supplement her meager grocery allowance for our family of six with food fresh from the garden.

Every spring I would look through the Burpee seed catalog as my mother made plans for her latest endeavor. Green beans to potatoes to carrots and radishes, everything had a place in my mother’s garden. But the one vegetable I remember the best are her tomatoes.

No starter plants would do except for the free ones she could get from the local sewage processing plant. I imagine most people stayed away from that place due to the overwhelming smell alone. 

But not my mother.

Every year, we would make our way to the fields surrounding the processing building, and my mother would dig up the young tomato plants that had managed to make it through the sanitation process to start their new lives among the rich fertilizer to be found nearby. Maybe not the sweetest smelling beginning, but those plants provided some of the juiciest, most flavorful tomatoes around come harvest time. I guess she could have bought them from Burpee, but the hard work put into the initial harvesting made the ending worthwhile.

It’s the same with our writing.

We can try planting just any old generic idea and hope it grows into something appealing. Or we can go in search of that stronger plot…even among the smelly muck of our own self-doubt …and transplant it into a field rich with  imagination and skillful writing to produce a flavorful story worthy of our readers sinking their teeth into…

Let the harvesting begin!

 

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sale

 

***SALE***SALE***SALE***SALE***

 

From May 1st through May 15th, book one of my historical fiction series for 8-12 year olds, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, ebook edition is on sale for only 99 CENTS! If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go here and grab it… https://www.amazon.com/Historys-Mysteries-Dreams-Donna-Martin/dp/173232784X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ship+of+dreams+donna+l+martin&qid=1588549888&sr=8-1

 

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HM HGG ebook cover jpeg 3-16-20

 

 

SoD Reader's Favorite 5 star seal (web)

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Rinda Beach

 

Life

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

How I Get by – In Good Times and Bad

by Rinda Beach

 

When Donna L. Martin put out the call for this post, she asked for something “humorous, uplifting, inspirational, or in some way helpful to parents and children struggling to deal with being at home.” I thought about what I do in hard times, and that’s when I came up with this list. They’re my guiding principles, in good times, but especially in hard ones.

  1. Listen to your body. I’ve learned over time to listen to my body talk, whether it’s tired or hungry. I used to make myself push past those things. Sometimes I could, but sometimes things just got worse. I learned to listen.

Now if I’m tired, I take a quick nap. If I’m hungry, I eat something. If I’m craving chocolate, I eat it, in moderation. Too much of anything is a bad thing!

What do you need? Try letting yourself have it. This is a trying time. It takes a toll on our bodies, and they demand things from us. Listen, and let them have it, in moderation.

  1. Make time for the things you love. This feels a little like my first principle. I love to read. When I’m going through a tough time, I feel better when I read. I escape problems and live someone else’s life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make time for the people you love. This is hard for me, personally. I’m a work-horse, but I’m grateful I wrote less over Christmas, and later when I saw my grandgirl baptized. My family was all together. I held out till early evening. I tried not to feel guilty, to enjoy the gift of my family. I’m glad I did, especially now when we’re all locked into social distancing.

What do you love? Try doing it. You’ll feel better if you feed your soul. Maybe you’ll have to find another way to do it, like playing soccer. You won’t have your team, but find something for a goal, and practice your skills. Game on! You need to have fun!

  1. If something bugs you, flip it. Is there another way to do it, like soccer? One of my favorite things is to look at something bad as an opportunity, flipping bad to good.

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I hate it! I think how tired I’m going to be the next day, and it only makes it worse. I love laying in bed in the morning and taking time to get up. What if I flipped it? What if I thought about night time as time to curl up in my bed and enjoy being curled up there? I bet if I did, sleep would come easier to me.

How about you? What is bugging you? I’ll bet there’s a way to flip it and find the opportunity in it. It’s worth a try! If you can’t think of it, ask a parent, a friend, even email me. Good luck looking for opportunities!

  1. Talk! I love to talk! When I was in school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was quiet and shy. I learned to be more social, probably because I became a teacher.

Now when I’m upset, excited, sad, whatever, I talk. It helps to get those emotions out. Before I think I bottled it up, and then you either explode or grow bitter like vinegar. Talking gives you ideas, possible solutions. Sometimes it just gets you empathy. Having someone understand you always feels better.

So, reach out and talk to someone! You are lucky. Back in dinosaur days, I only had a telephone. Now you can talk via the internet on places like Facebook or Snapchat. You can even see people half a country away thanks to things like Skype and Facetime. You can even play games with people a world away. Who do you want to talk to?

  1. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. I started doing this when I started teaching. Thinking ahead for the worst gives you time to prepare for it, to come up with a plan for how you want to handle it. Hope is always a good thing. It pushes away depression and helps you stay positive, which helps you make better choices.

If I look at the Coronavirus and think worst, for me that’s death. I’m old and a diabetic. That’s 2 strikes – YUCK! Hope for the best, I love that! I hope to see my family soon, especially my mother and my grandgirl.

How do I make that happen? I stay home a much as possible. I wash my hands way more. When I go out to get groceries, I use hand sanitizer when I’m in the store. I use a towelette in the car when done. When I get home, I wipe off/wash most of my groceries. With things that can sit out, I leave them out for 3 days. I hope it all works! At least it keeps me busy!

How about you? What are you most worried about? Look it straight in the eye, and think what is the worst thing that could happen to you. Just looking should make you feel better. Next, think of the best thing that could happen to you. Don’t you feel even better? And the last step, remember that worst thing? What can you do to keep it from happening? Remember, you’re not alone. If you need help, talk! You’ll get ideas and feel even better.

Now, get out there, or stay home, and get by! You’ve got this! You can do it! If you don’t think you can, remember, you can always talk to parents, friends, even me. I’m only an email away!

 

lake

 

This is Norris Lake, Tennessee. My family has been going here for years. It inspired my newest book, coming out in late May, LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME. It’s part picture book, part souvenir. A digitized version of this photo will soon become my book’s cover. On one side of the page you can read a story about Norris Lake. On the other side you can write/illustrate about your own lake.

 

rinda

 

Rinda was a second-grade teacher who read and told stories, until she met a bat in Germany. She learned to edit, thanks to SCBWI classes and critique partners. Rinda substitutes to stay connected to the kids she wants to write for. She established Beach Girl Press to publish her first book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. Her second will arrive in late May, LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME.

Visit her blog and book review at www.rindabeach.com