TALES FROM THE BAYOU: One Saturday Morning

 

Donald Duck

 

I was flipping through television channels this past weekend and caught a glimpse of what passes for children’s cartoons these days. A part of me kinda felt like that duck above. So many wonderful children’s programming and  fun cartoons aren’t being shown anymore unless you hunt them down somewhere on an old cable show. Then I happen to look through some of my sketches I’ve created over the past few years and realized all those amazing shows influenced my art without my even knowing it…

 

 

Foghorn

 

The Bugs Bunny show had many different characters besides just a funny, saucy rabbit. I like one particular rooster who was followed around by one classy chicken and a daredevil little chick. Who remembers his name?

 

 

Odie

 

 

I was also a sucker for Garfield and his slobbery pal, Odie. That puppy was so gullible but Garfield usually was the one getting in trouble.

 

Pigs

 

Then there the fun loving piggies who would rather spend the day wallowing around in the mud than go on any adventures. It made me envious that they got to lie around when I had to do so much outside work during my summers.

 

 

Snoopy

 

And who didn’t love watching the Peanuts Gang? Between the regular cartoons, comics, and holiday tv shows, I could get my Snoopy fix any time I wanted.

 

 

Space

 

 

Who remembers those two outer space alien types…the little Martian and the Gremlin? This guy reminds me of them.

 

 

Wile E Coyote

 

 

One of my favorite cartoons involved a road runner and a less than cunning coyote who ran all over the desert but never actually seemed to get anywhere. I never could decide if I felt sorry for that coyote for being so dumb, or if  I simply enjoyed seeing the different ways that road runner always seemed to get the better of him.

 

 

Jack

 

There were lots of good ol’ Saturday morning cartoons to keep me happy when I was a kid, but I loved it when the holidays came around and I got to watch some of my favorite holiday cartoons of all times. One is straight from my childhood and the other when I was a young adult but both created such fun loving memories that all I have to do is look at these pictures to feel like a kid again.

 
Grinch

 

I always felt so sorry for that puppy….so full of joy for the Christmas season and always stuck with that grumpy ol’ Grinch! But even he had redeeming qualities and I would watch with bated breath when I was a kid to see if I could catch the moment the Grinch discovered what Christmas was all about.

I don’t think it really matters whether I watch cartoons of my childhood or even try some of the ones on television today. I think what’s the most important, as a writer of children’s stories, is that I never let go of the sense of wonder I had as a child because isn’t it better to laugh at a Saturday morning cartoon than to cry over a Friday night news report?

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)             HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover.jpg

       SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT!                                CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Rainy Day Sunday

 

storm

 

My weekends are always so busy, it’s hard sometimes to simply slow down and catch my breath. I try to slow down on Sundays…taking a moment to calm my spirit and reconnect with the things that are important to me.

Like the rain.

Wait…what?

When I was growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, a summer time rain was something my sister and I eagerly watched out for. It was a three step process…

PREPARATION

 

Whenever Mother  told us it was going to rain on a particular day, we would scramble to find  just the right rainy day clothes to wear. Nothing too heavy to weigh us down, nothing too skimpy to give us a chill and cut into our play time.

 

ENGAGEMENT

 

If there was no lightning, we were allowed to dance out in the rain. We would race each other around the front yard and simply enjoy connecting with Mother Nature. Buckets would be set out to collect rainwater because everyone knows washing your hair in rainwater makes it so much softer! If we were lucky, we would get a few chances during the summer to  play in the rain so we took advantage of every chance we would get.

 

CHALLENGES

 

When you grow up poor, everything is a challenge. Putting food on the table, keeping the wolf from your door, and even something as simple as going for a swim. Summertime rains gave us a chance to do just that. If the rainfall lasted long enough, the very deep ditches dividing our front yard from the road would fill up, creating a little river inviting us to jump in. We would run to the local appliance store down the street and beg for their refrigerator boxes. Cutting them flat, they made the perfect slip ‘n slide into the ditches.

The things kids will do to have a little fun on a hot summer day. No electronics. No battery operated gadgets to do our thinking for us. Just some kids using their imagination to create a little summertime fun…

Writers use the same process to create their writerly worlds. Research and brainstorming helps them prepare to write their stories. The words they juggle with finesse and skill allow their characters to engage their readers and entice them to come with them on their journey. And if they come across challenges along the way, the confident writer doesn’t allow it to get in their way of crafting the ultimate ending to keep readers coming back for more…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

Nine-year-old Abigail thinks nothing exciting ever happens in Hamilton. But things change one stormy night when an airborne train and twenty tons of chocolate shower down on the sleepy village. Even local police and the FBI are puzzled over what caused the train to derail. Abigail and Billy team up to find out who’s behind the CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK, but will all they find is more questions?

There’s a mystery hovering over Hamilton—and it smells like CHOCOLATE!

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Not Your Normal Zen Garden

 

zen

 

One of the houses I lived in as a child had a rather large area at the back of the house filled with tall bamboo trees, giving it (at first glance) a rather Zen feel to that corner of yard. I could stand next to those trees towering over me and dream myself away to some far away land where anything was possible.

My mother, on the other hand, lived a very practical existence and all those trees meant to her was another back breaking chore to be done by hacking the branches back into some resemblance of order instead of the wild array of branches they typically displayed.

The only problem with trimming those wild trees, was the fact we never knew of the multitudes of hornets who called those plants their home.

That is, until the day Mother decided to hack into their nest and unleash their outraged fury on my poor head and shoulders. I remember there was a lot of screaming on my part and numerous lumps left all over my head on the part of the hornets.

While the pain subsided eventually and the bumps finally healed, the memory of that horrible day was etched into my soul forever. Even to this day, if any winged creature ventures too close to my head, I will still do the dance of the deranged to try to escape another possible attack.

I don’t think hacking is such a good thing for a writer either. A few years ago my own computer was hacked by a gentleman out of South Africa, posing as an author trying to be a part of my WRITERLY WISDOM series at the time. While I chose not to allow him to participate, he decided to hack into my yahoo email account at the time, as well as my Facebook account, and delete two years of detailed research I had been doing for a project I was working on at the time.

My computer at the time was very old and really didn’t allow much back up capabilities. There was nothing I could do to recover from being hacked.

Sometimes things happen to our writing that devastates us. The pain to our writerly spirit is as real as the pain caused by those hornets so long ago.

But we have to remember it’s not the end of the world. Some of our work may no longer be around, but the spark that chose to take on a particular project is still there…deep within us…leading us to even bigger dreams than we might have first imagined. I know, because my latest book is a dream come true…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal worker’s strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 1th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Can You Can It?

 

canning jars.jpg

 

Memories of my childhood would not be complete without remembering all the canning my mother would do each year to store up enough food in anticipation of a long, hard winter with four young mouths to feed.

Everyting that flew, swam, ran, or even grew on the vine would find its way into one of Mother’s canning jars. Nothing was overlooked and I never had to wonder what we would do with our garden bounty. Late July and early August  would have my mother pulling out all the old mason jars, counting which ones she could use and how many more she thought she would need. First it was time to count the lids and seals. A bad seal, meant precious food would spoil and we might not have enough to eat during the dead of winter. Next, it was the back breaking work of actually harvesting everything out of the large gardens Mother created every year. Finally, it took an entire weekend to steam, par boil, and blanch everything that went in the jars, freezer bags and other containers used to store away every ounce of extra food that we could.

While other folks in my hometown would make do with store bought goods to fill their bellies on a cold winter’s night, we would dine on fresh vegetables basking in the warm Cajun sunlight just months before. Finish that meal off with frozen, sugared figs straight from our back yard or an ice cold banana “pop” and I’d think I was in heaven!

As writers, we store up story ideas in notebooks, on computers, even scribled on restaurant napkins, with the hope that one…or more…will someday develop into a beautifully woven writerly masterpiece to be shared with the world. Those stored up ideas take the same amount of nurturing and dedication when creating a manuscript to feed young minds as it took my mother all those years ago to make sure four young bodies were fed every winter…

 

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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 book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Falling In And Out Of Love

 

sandals.jpg

 

In my current day job as Program Director and Center Manager of a martial arts school, I don’t really worry too much about the shoes I wear. Most of the time I’m barefoot out on our mats so nothing stays on my feet long enough to really matter.

But when I was a kid back in the swamps of southern Louisiana, it was almost like a status symbol to have some cool shoes to strut around in. And my sister had what I thought was the coolest pair of shoes in our hometown.

I’m pretty sure my sister didn’t realize just how much I admired her when we were growing up. I thought Janet had it all…a witty personality, a bevy of friends, and the coolest wedge sandals I had ever seen.

I’ve been 5’10” since I was eleven years old. Tall enough to tower over most of the other students in my class which didn’t win me any popularity contests, but the thought of adding another 5 inches to my height was too tempting to resist. Besides, to a gangly pre teen, those shoes represented about the sexiest thing I had ever seen.

My sister let me borrow those shoes one day and I strutted around the playground like I was the Homecoming Queen. That is, until I tried to turn the corner of a building and ended up falling off those shoes.

Hitting the concrete face first.

In front of a group of cute boys.

Who started to laugh and point at the goofball on the ground trying to gather her dignity and her high heel wedges before slinking off to hide in the girl’s bathroom for the rest of recess.

For one moment in an otherwise mediocre elementary school career, I was on top of my world! But after falling off those shoes, I fell out of love with the notion of walking on stilts and stayed closer to the ground the remainder of my school career…

 

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donna

 

International 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 book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

 

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Weathering The Storm

 

hurricane

 

As I watch the news channel talk about all the turbulent weather currently sweeping the country, I thought it would be timely to talk about all the times I had to deal with bad weather as a kid.

Growing up so close to the Gulf of Mexico made it almost a sure thing I would see a hurricane or two roar through my hometown. It seemed like every fall I would never actually get to go to the first day of school because we were always under a hurricane watch.

Sometimes, we would just get a little rain, but on September 16th, 1971, Hurricane Edith bore down on my hometown of Gueydan and only my mother stood between me and the storm.

My father, an off shore cook, wasn’t always around when hurricanes came to town. My mother would hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Filling up the bathtub with water to drink, buying extra kerosene for the lanterns in case the power went out, and storing up enough canned food to feed an army.

Mother never showed fear, even when the wind howled and the roof threatened to tear away from our house. She was the rock in the proverbial storm. I never felt afraid even when Edith caused a water surge of up to 8 feet in some areas, and I watched the wind spin trash cans like frisbees before crashing them into houses across the street from our home.

Writing a good story can be a bit like riding out a great storm. Ideas sometimes swirl around in our brain and characters crash into each other as plot lines rain down on us. We wade through the debris of false starts, and ride out the storm to a shaky ending.

But sometimes everything becomes a perfect story storm surging out of us to touch the lives of others…

 

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donna

 

International 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 book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Murder On A Saturday Afternoon

 

murder.jpg

 

When I was growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, there wasn’t much to watch on TV during a heat drenched Saturday afternoon. Mostly just old John Wayne movies involving a lot of dust, some Indians, and quite a few gun fights. The killing wasn’t real and the good guys always won.

Except for one Saturday afternoon when a murder happened right in front of me and for a moment in time one little girl changed how others saw the world.

Another cowboy was riding the range and more Indian were planning another attack when I hear a strange sound close to where I lay sprawled on the floor in front of our old TV.

My brother heard it too and before I could stop him, a lifeless cricket lay crushed at my feet.

I was inconsolable.

Fortunately for me, my mother loved nature as much as I did. When I decided to have a service for that little cricket, Mother found a matchbox casket for its final resting place. She even made my siblings attend the funeral out in our front yard.

One cricket was sent properly to its final chirping resting place and for just a moment on one hot Saturday afternoon down on the bayou, a little girl changed the way others saw the value in ALL living things…

 

cricket.jpg

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

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donna

 

International 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 book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.