TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Take A Ride On The Soul Train…

 

record player

 

I discovered early on that I was born to love music. I don’t mean I’m able to tolerate it or that I simply enjoy listening to songs. I LOVE MUSIC! 

I was born to a mother who was part Native American and Cherokees sure do love their music. Then there was my father who was part Cajun and most people have heard of the Zydeco thing. Add to that the fact my maternal grandfather was a composer who built his own violin and my father would play the accordion for me growing up, I had no choice but to learn to appreciate the beauty of listening to great sounds…everything from the Grand Ol’ Opry to Doug Kershaw.

I didn’t know there was any other kind o music until my middle teens when I was allowed to start watching shows like American Bandstand to Soul Train and The Midnight Special.

There’s something about music, no matter the style, that connects with me and lifts my spirit. Even when it was time to grow up and leave my hometown I made sure my records traveled with me…a lifeline during hard times and a way to light up my future. Even today…years later…you can still find me rocking out to a good tune in my car and remembering some of the good musical moments from my childhood down on the bayou…

 

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Just A Little Sleepwalking

sleep

 

Sleep for me is a commodity hard to come by. Summers have me working with my students 12 to 14 hours each day and then coming home to work on my writing for another 3-4 hours before going to bed. Doesn’t leave much time for resting. But when I was growing up, maybe I shouldn’t have tried to sleep so much.

I was a sleepwalker.

Not exactly the kind that roamed the streets at night but the kind my siblings could get to do funny things when I was unaware of what I was doing. 

I remember one time I was napping during a hot Saturday afternoon and I later discovered my sister came into the room while I was sleeping. Did I mention I was also prone to talk in my sleep?  I can’t remember if she tried to get me talking but the one thing I DO remember is suddenly waking up inside my closet where I decided I needed to change my clothes instead of finishing my nap.

Then there was the time I was SURE it was time to get ready for school and I sleepwalked into the kitchen so I could make myself a fried egg sandwich. I woke up with the frying pan in my hand and Janet smiling at me.  My sister would typically watch out for me…sometimes laughing at my antics…but always playing the big sister to make sure I didn’t get into too much trouble.

I eventually outgrew the urge to wander in my sleep but unfortunately it was replaced with nightmares and night terrors until I graduated high school. With THAT kind of vivid imagination, maybe instead of writing children’s stories, I should focus on thrillers instead?

 

thriller

 

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: In The Land Of Mythology

mythology

 

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I started out with poetry around age eight and completed two volumes of poetry…including some collaborations with my sister…by the time I reached my teenage years.

Growing up in such a strict environment didn’t always allow me to blossom and by the time I was a teenager I had become an extremely shy, introverted girl. While I excelled in anything academic, socially I was invisible in the hallways of my school. I spent a lot of time in the library and poured over books like I had uncovered some long lost treasure.

This was about the same time I discovered mythology and would spent my lunch time pouring over the adventures of Hercules and the power of Zeus. My favorite stories came from the Greeks and the Romans so it was no surprise to me when I decided one day to start researching those ancient tales. I wanted to contrast and compare the different mythological characters I came across. I even thought about writing a children’s book where you could look up one hero’s name and discover if they were called something different in another culture.

After months of research I had managed to fill up several notebooks with information and I was quite proud of my fledgling efforts to become a nonfiction writer.  I thought my mother would be proud as well because she was known for her extensive research of country and western artists. My mother had several notebooks filled with the words of her favorite songs and tidbits of information on the top country performers of her generation so I felt she knew what it meant to love the thrill of the hunt for knowledge.

 

Sadly, I was wrong.

 

I can remember one hot summer day when Mother was rocking on the front porch swing. I was about thirteen at the time and decided to share my love of mythology with Mother by showing her my research notebooks. To say my mother wasn’t happy with what she considered a waste of paper and a good pencil would be an understatement. She thought it was a foolish endeavor and forced me to stand in front of her while I tore up every page of my notebooks. No amount of begging or tears could save all my hard work and I left my dreams of becoming a nonfiction writer on the floor that day.

But over the years I have discovered many surprising things about myself. One thing I’ve discovered is that while I thought my dream of writing nonfiction was shattered, it was just lying dormant until the day I felt strong enough to pick up my pencil again and write. Last year I even began researching an idea my sister told me about and that nudge of encouragement from her has blossomed into a story title, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck, which I published through Story Catcher Publishing in 2019.

Either way, I feel like I have taught my younger self a valuable lesson. There will always be people in the world…even those closest to you…who might strive to shatter your dreams and laugh as those dreams lie in shards upon the floor. But it’s what you do in those low moments which gives the world a glimpse of the writer you have yet to become. I could have let my mother’s indifference destroy my love of writing.

I chose to follow a different path…

 

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Going Up In Smoke

 

smoke

 

My mother was a heavy smoker all during my childhood. I would even consider her a chain smoker because she would typically light her next cigarette with the end of her last one. I found out as I got older she was probably smoking so much to dull hunger pangs because some days she barely had enough food on the table for her four children must less herself.

While I never had the urge to pick up that particular habit, I was fascinated with the smoke itself. I thought it was so cool to hang this little stick thing from your lips and watch puffs of smoke float up to the ceiling. In an otherwise dysfunctional house, it seemed pretty normal to smoke. I was about 10 years old when I became fascinated with Mother’s smoking habits and wanted to see if I could do the same thing.

There wasn’t extra money lying around our house but occasionally Mother would give us a nickel to spend on anything we wanted. I would usually go to Touchet’s grocery store and load up on about 15 to 20 pieces of “penny” candy. It was a really big deal then that I chose only one pack of bubble gum cigarettes on one of my coveted candy trips.

I can remember going with my sister to the local park…one of the few places we were allowed to visit on our own…and sitting on the slides just waiting for someone to drive by. There was a road curving through the park and the slide was close enough for people to see how cool we were “smoking” our cigarettes…but far enough away to not realize they were fake. And if I timed it just right, I could blow on one end of the cigarette and puff out some gum powder residue that kinda sorta looked like the real thing.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anybody but to a shy kid trying to find her way to some kind of normal, even mimicking a bad habit was better than nothing…

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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.

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?

++++++++++

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Someone Throw Me A Lifesaver

 

lifesaver

 

You would think a gal who was raised in and around the swamps of southern Louisiana would know how to swim like a snapping turtle, but that was one life skill I never quite learned how to master.

When I was seventeen, I traveled to San Diego to spend some time with my older brother. He was in the Navy and stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  I thought I would have the time of my life, romping on the beach and cultivating a tan.

I was wrong.

My first day at the beach, my brother and one of his Navy buddies decided it would be funny to grab me, drag me out to water over my head and dump me in the Pacific Ocean to see if I could get back to shore. What they didn’t bargain on was my getting disoriented and nearly DROWNING before they realized what was going on and had to drag me back to dry land.

That is one memory I’ve carried with me for almost forty years, coloring my fear of water I can’t see through and preventing me from enjoying the local pool each summer.

A worldwide pandemic can turn everyone’s world upside down. It can instill fear in some; frustration in others.  As writers, we sometimes allow all the daily tasks and writerly deadlines weighing down our plates to try to drown us to the point of immobility.  We can’t seem to see a light at the end of the tunnel and allow our fears to drown us in a sea of overwhelming uncertainty and lack of confidence in our ability to achieve our daily goals.

Here are some of the things I have done to help keep my head above water during these challenging times…

 

  1. Find a way to write daily whenever possible. In the past, when my computers have gone haywire, my boss generously allowed me to use the school’s computer to write my weekly blog posts so I wouldn’t get behind.  My local library also allows access to their computers in two hour blocks for quick tasks I can do there. It also gives me a chance to check out the books and do research for book four in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series!
  2. Set priorities. If there are submission opportunities with deadlines, I made sure I found a way to meet those deadlines in time.  Some of my other writing projects will have to wait until next month.
  3. I’m taking this “down time” to work on either researching book four in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series or revising/cleaning up old manuscripts that I have hard copies on hand. I can always transfer the info to my files and databases later, but for now, I’m staying productive.
  4. Use my smartphone for keeping in touch with my social sites so my friends and other connections won’t begin to think I really have drowned.
  5. Take this time to make sure I’m getting extra rest and ready to hit the ground running next month when hopefully, things return to something closer to normal. I’ve been going to bed well before my usual midnight lights out, and have actually found time to do some leisure reading this weekend that I NEVER get the chance to do anymore!

Some of these ideas might work for you, and maybe you will come up with some ideas of your own to prevent you from drowning under the stress of dealing with quarantines during this pandemic.

If you come up with something that really works for you, please share in the comments below. You never know when you might be saving another writer needing a helping hand!

 

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***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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READER’S FAVORITE 5 STAR REVIEW 

 

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.