TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Easter Traditions

easter

 

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, but it didn’t feel like it. No early morning church services. No Easter egg hunts. No large family get together around a food laden table. Strange how COVID-19 shadows just about everything we do these days.

Back when I was growing up, Easter was one of the few times a year when I could look forward to some extra treats and especially store bought candy.

Being so poor usually meant the only sweets we would see is things like Mother’s greasy donuts or sometimes cookies but even then I wasn’t a huge fan of  her orange peel ones. But at the first sign of spring I would start counting down to the Easter Bunny’s arrival.

If my father was home from working on an oil rig as a short order cook, he would threaten to take his old shotgun and shoot the Easter rabbit but every year that sneaky bunny managed to make his delivery and still escape with his tail intact.

There were no magic pills back then to turn water into colorful dyes so Mother would boil at least six dozen eggs…a dozen for each of the four kids and the rest for deviled eggs, pickled eggs, and egg salad sandwiches. Once we got the okay, everyone would gather around a mound of hard boiled eggs on the dining room table where we would create a rainbow of colored eggs using as many crayons as were available. 

Easter morning we would wake up and race to see what was in our baskets. The one prize I waited to receive every year was a hollow Binks Bunny. Things like jelly beans and marshmallow eggs were nice to see, but that chocolate rabbit nestled in the middle of all the candy like a king on his throne was my sign that all was right with my world.

In this COVID-19 crazy world we live in right now, maybe celebrating our holidays are the best way to be reminded not everything in our lives have changed…like finding a chocolate bunny in your Easter basket…

 

bunny

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

NOW AVAILABLE IN EBOOK, PAPERBACK & HARDBACK ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AND OTHER FINE RETAILERS!

 

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donna

 

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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is now available in ebook, paperbook & hardback everywhere!

 

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? Homeward Bound…

Spring, At Home, Summer

 

It seems almost surreal that less than two weeks ago I woke up in a world which seemed very “normal” to me where I could walk into an indie bookstore or go out to eat or even just hug my Taekwondo students.

Now my world consists of temperature checks, face masks, and latex gloves. New words like “social distancing” and “COVID-19” are now added to my daily vocabulary and I’ve shed more tears in the past few weeks than I have in the past two decades. 

Amelia, on the other hand, has been quite the traveler these past few weeks…flitting around like a butterfly from flower to flower…until she heard the call to “stay at home”. Imagine my surprise to step inside my house this week to the sound of Aerosmith rocking out from my study and finding a certain someone in my favorite rocker. Apparently she plans on staying awhile…

 

rocker

 

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NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH!

 

While we all, including Amelia, hunker down at home to wait out this pandemic, Story Catcher Publishing and a wonderful number of amazing authors from all around the world, are coming together to shine a little light into the gloomy corners of the world.

Starting next Friday, April 17th, check out the FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series on the Story Catcher Publishing blog. Authors will help us laugh, feel inspired, and maybe even learn a new skill or two while we all find ourselves stuck at home. 

Tell your friends, share the good news, and be sure to come back next Friday for a little fun, a little laughter, and a whole lot of positivity!

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER…WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART!

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

NOW AVAILABLE IN EBOOK, PAPERBACK & HARDBACK ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AND OTHER FINE RETAILERS!

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is now available in ebook, paperbook & hardback everywhere!

www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: An Easter Tradition

Easter Egg

 

 

My sister will probably laugh when she sees this picture. She will probably THINK she knows the tale I will tell today. Maybe she will be correct. And maybe she will learn a thing or two.

Card-giving is a billion dollar business. Today there are cards for every conceivable situation so finding one that says just what the sender wants it to say is kinda like shooting fish in a barrel…odds are in your favor.

But when I was about 8 years old the card selection wasn’t that great. I didn’t have the money to buy something other than this card to give to my big sister for Easter. I didn’t even take the time to sign it and truth be told, Janet kept the card…only to return the SAME card back to me the following year. She says she did it simply because she really didn’t like the card in the first place and was just trying to get rid of it.

Maybe that’s true. Then again, maybe she was just starting an Easter tradition that has stood the test of time. Year after year, decade after decade, this card has traveled back and forth from my hands to hers. In between it is tucked into safe keeping until it is time to take it out again and send it on it’s special journey back into another sister’s hands.

I can’t even tell you what it says on the inside but I CAN tell you what it whispers to me before I tuck it away for another year.

I am still here.

The sisterly bond has not been broken.

Love has endured despite births, deaths, marriage, divorce, illness, and all the other possibilities of the human condition to tax our minds and spirits. That little card has reminded me of this fact for FIFTY YEARS of passing from my hands to my sister’s. It is a symbol of the most cherished part of my childhood and I pray God allows us to carry on our Easter tradition for many more years to come…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

NOW AVAILABLE IN EBOOK, PAPERBACK & HARDBACK ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AND OTHER FINE RETAILERS!

Www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is now available in ebook and paperbook everywhere!

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? Patiently Waiting…

 

Kid, Girl, Child, Childhood, Summer, Day

 

If you’ve read any of the previous posts in this series, you realize Amelia considers herself a world/time traveler. When she’s not uncovering her latest little known historical event, she’s playing hide and seek with me. 

It’s a game I used to play all the time when I was a child.  I imagine Amelia feels the same nervous excitement I used to feel when she peeks out from her hiding spot and sees me moving ever closer to making a discovery of my own. The challenge is to see how long she can patiently wait…not moving or making a sound…before I finally find where she is hiding next.

But today is bittersweet. I visit many elementary schools and public libraries as a children’s book author. Walking through those halls, listening to the pitter-patter of busy little feet, hearing the laughter of young voices at play, I find much happiness in that environment. 

Unfortunately, the atmosphere right now is filled with uncertainty. WHEN will schools and libraries reopen? Will the world ever be the same once this pandemic is over? But the more I think about it, the more I know in my heart where I will find Amelia. All I have to do is look for the nearest elementary school…and some books…

 

Dolphin

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

NOW AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AND OTHER FINE RETAILERS!

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is now available in ebook and paperbook everywhere!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Entertaining The Troops

 

Live Concert, Concert, Stage, People, Crowd, Audience

 

One of the houses I lived in when I was growing up among the bayous of Louisiana had a sidewalk running off the front porch. It split the front yard into two sections which, to my young mind, provided the perfect venue for my world of make believe.

My sister, Janet, and I would spend hours using that front yard to share our budding talents with our “audience”. Whether it was dressing up for an impromptu fashion show or grabbing a hairbrush microphone to sing to the troops, we spent many a summer day hanging out on that front porch.

When I wasn’t with my sister, I would sit in that front yard and watch the lazy bees flit from one patch of clover to another. I would make flower necklaces and lie in the cool grass, watching puffy clouds float by. Sometimes, if I was really lucky, I could just make out some magical creature smiling back at me from the sky above.

Funny how simple childhood games come back to me during these fearful days. The whole world holds its breath to see how this pandemic will ultimately change their lives. And as the world around us gets so small we can’t see beyond our front yard, I’ve made a place of my own to be able to sit and watch new clouds go by…

 

patio2

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

NOW AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKS A MILLION, AND OTHER FINE RETAILERS!

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is available in ebook and paperbook everywhere!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Dreaming On…

band

 

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother was a true, hard-core country music lover. I mean shows like The Grand Ole Opry, and Hee Haw was ALWAYS on at our house. The radio only played classic country artists like Dolly Parton, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette. I didn’t even know there was any other kind of music until I was a teenager.

The summer I turned 14, my mother allow me to start working part time at a cafe downtown that served true Cajun food as well as hamburgers and french fries. There was a small jukebox and dance floor in one corner of the building. I really enjoyed my job because I got the chance to work with my sister. 

One day while I was serving a customer, someone decided to drop a dime in the jukebox and selected a song that would change my life forever. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” started playing and it literally stopped me in my tracks. 

That voice.

That guitar.

Those drums.

The lyrics were hypnotic to me, and I spent the remaining time I worked at that cafe spending half of my paycheck each week on that jukebox. I was never told anything but you would think the owners would have gotten tired of hearing that song. Maybe they thought some other customer was dropping all those coins in the machine. Or maybe they loved the song as much as I did.

Either way, more than forty years have passed since I first heard that song, but even now, when I hear the first chords of that tune, I’m transported back to that little cafe, dropping nickels in the jukebox and dreaming on…

 

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

Coming to a bookstore near you in the spring of 2020!

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is scheduled to be released later this spring!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Mud Puddles & Mud Pies

mud puddle

 

Rainy days like today remind me of my childhood back in the swamps of Louisiana. I was raised to be a country girl while living in a small town on the edge of the bayou. We weren’t the poorest family in town but came pretty darn close.

I had a few toys to my name, but had to use my imagination just as much to entertain myself on a rainy day.

If it was really storming outside, Mother would let my sister and me take over the dining room and turn it into our own private fortress. We would take covers off the beds and drape them over the table top to create an instant cave to hide in. Dining room chairs could be turned over to make walls to protect us from the monsters waiting in the other room. Flashlights for reading in the semi-darkness, and if we were lucky, some of mother’s cookies and Koolaid to tide us over til lunch time.

If it was a light, summer rain, I would hang out in our garage. There was a large pool table there where I would challenge Janet to a game, but most of the time I just sat on the hard, dirt floor and played house with my dolls. Mud and grass mixed together made some fine mud pies and all my stuffed animals would always ask for more!

It didn’t take much during those kind of days to keep me occupied.

Just a little bit of rain and some mud…

 

mud

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris
Eleven-year-old Emma misses her father who’s serving in Europe during World War II. He left behind a treasure box with six secret compartments to be opened during her birthday week. He also told her to watch out for the gris-gris while he was gone. Looking out for swamp creatures and dealing with wartime rationing was hard enough, but now there’s a British refugee coming to stay at the house! How will Emma enjoy her birthday and keep her decision to hunt for the gris-gris a secret with a stranger hanging around?
Coming to a bookstore near you in the spring of 2020!

 

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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 three, Hunting Gris-Gris, is scheduled to be released later this spring!