September PAY A BOOK FORWARD Book Bundle Is Here!

Who doesn’t love a good book to read? While most kids are back in school, what better way to celebrate a tiny step back toward normalcy than to win some FREE books! This month’s drawing runs from today, September 10th, through Monday, September 20th. Anyone who comments on this post, or the Facebook post, or Twitter tweet will have a chance to win this book bundle for their favorite school, local or home library! If you’ve already posted on previous months, keep posting for a chance to win! And the best part?

IT’S ALL FREE!!

Every month during 2021, I am giving away a bundle of newly purchased and gently-loved books to one lucky winner. This month’s book bundle includes:

Sofie the First: The Halloween Ball by Lisa Ann Margoli

Moonlight Ocean by Elizabeth Golding

Beachcombing: Exploring the Seashore by Jim Arnosky

Little Mouse’s Rescue by Ariane Chottin

Queen of Hearts by Mary Englebreit

The Beginner’s Guide to Bears by Gillian Shields

Pepper Picks a Pumpkin by Linda Bleck.

Plants VS Zombies: Petal To The Metal by Paul Tobin

I’m Not Afraid Of Halloween by Marion Dane Bauer

On The Spot: Volcanoes by Angela Royston

The Usborne Detective’s Handbook by Anne Civardi, Judy Hindley, Angela Wilkes, Donald Rumbelow, and Heather Amery

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Finding Dory: The Deluxe Junior Novelization by Suzanne Francis

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

American Girl: Molly’s Short Story Collection by Valerie Tripp

Help me get the word out about these FREE books! Tell your favorite teacher! Tell you favorite librarian! Let all your book-loving friends know to check out this month’s book bundle and leave a comment for a chance to win this book bundle!!

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KidLit 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

www.storycatcherpublishing.com

www.twitter.com/donasdays

www.facebook.com/donasdays

www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

www.goodreads.com/author/show/18279692.Donna_L_Martin

WE HAVE A JULY WINNER! WOOT! WOOT!

I’m so glad to be able to announce we have a winner for the July PAY A BOOK FORWARD book bundle giveaway! Woot! Woot!

Word continues to get out about the hundreds of books I will be giving away for FREE throughout 2021 which makes THIS book lover very happy!

Put your hands together for July’s PAY A BOOK FORWARD winner…

Joy Wright who attends Story Teller Academy!

I’ll be sending Joy a FB message so I can get her books in the mail to her hopefully this upcoming week.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this month’s PAY A BOOK FORWARD event! Make sure to come back on August 10th to see what’s in store for the next big giveaway!

In the meantime, share a little book love with a child in your world. Give them the first step into a magical, life-long love of reading!

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Hybrid published 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. You can check out Donna’s books on her website (www.storycatcherpublishing.com) or through her Amazon author page (www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin).

Want to connect?

Pick your favorite…

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

A TREASURE RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE…

A couple of weeks ago I took a day trip to Pigeon Forge. It felt weird because I hadn’t been anywhere outside of town in almost two years. Like so many other people, the pandemic had shrunk my world to a triangle of home, work, and grocery store. But going over to Pigeon Forge reminded me there were still people out there trying to find their new “normal”. There were still “treasures” to uncover almost right in my backyard.

If you know where Patriot Park is near the outskirts of town, not far from the Mill stores is a little sign tucked away on a side street. Long Story Short is a locally owned store displaying an eclectic collection of books, wall art, and so much more. There I met two cool ladies, Katie and Lisa, who are eager to help people find just the right treasure to add to their home collection.

The first thing I noticed was this guy just chilling on a shelf.

If I had known about this shop before I remodeled my house with a coastal theme, I would have brought a lot of this home with me!

The mermaid on the top shelf and the octopus wall art were almost too tempting...

If you’re looking for a medieval theme or even a little Hogwarts’ flavor, Long Story Short is the store for you!

There is always money in my budget for a few more books to add to my collection…

For all you safari hunters out there, they had a cute collection of animal heads that didn’t involve actually killing anything!

This reminded me of Dr. Who, even though it wasn’t painted blue…

And look what I found tucked away on the children’s book shelf. One of Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s books!

I didn’t want to leave. So many treasure to uncover…so little time…

And for the steampunk lovers out there, they had this wonderful display of fascinating artifacts.

I’ve visited Pigeon Forge for almost thirty years and never uncovered this wonderful local treasure before, but you can bet I will be visiting Katie and Lisa at Long Story Short a lot in the future!

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Hybrid published 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Pick your favorite…

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

CONFESSIONS OF A PANDEMIC LIFE: The New Home

Just in case you didn’t get a chance to check out part one, The Old House, in my post about life during the pandemic, you can click on this link to see how I had to live in my home last year.

In late November 2020, work FINALLY began! Huge truckloads of materials were delivered to my house…although I did have to fight with one company who was determined to ship a box truck of material to my P O BOX!!

I found out last week that after being on a waiting list for FIVE YEARS, I was finally approved for a city grant for a partial weatherization of my house. This new heat pump was installed as well as much needed insulation which hopefully lowers my HUGE monthly electric bill. Fingers crossed…lol.

My contractor sealed up my chimneys both outside and inside so I never have to worry about another soot implosion. I have touches of coastal living EVERYWHERE! Can you see some of the ocean reminders in my living room? One of my students had a special beach-themed tumbler made with my name on it and it fits perfectly with my “beach” house.

In another corner of my living room is this special driftwood looking piece I found while treasuring hunting at one of my local thrift stores. I bought quite a few things over the months while my house was being repaired and now I get to place them in their forever spots! The tray of shells is one of my many DIY projects around the house.

In another corner of the living room is one of my desks. I love the wall decals, and if you look real close, you will see one of my mermaid figurines watching over me while I work. I also have a rolling desk that I am actually using as I type this blog post. I can roll it into any room of the house if I’m working on a project and want to take it with me.

Remember that bathroom from Monday’s post? My bathroom is extremely small, so the contractor had a wonderful idea to pull the regular door and install a sliding barn door. Not only does it modernize the room’s look, visually the room appears HUGE.

I LOVE my new shower! I almost can’t remember what that hideous old bathroom looked like!

I found this lovely shower curtain to help continue the beach theme in the bathroom.

Gone are the leaky sink and toilet. I found that beautiful mirror for $10 through a local online marketplace.

I’m keeping everything minimalistic and simple. I found the seahorse through Wish.com and that cute little plant is another DIY project of mine.

Moving into my study/writing room, one wall will be for author visit supplied, the craft of writing books and supplies, and other items I need to tuck away for later. Did you catch my pirate parrot friend sitting up high? He just might end up in one of the planned HISTORY’S MYSTERIES titles I’m working on for the future.

On one wall in the study is this cool credenza I found with an old world map design on it. Another touch of beach decor and it ties right into the rest of the room.

On the other wall, that cabinet holds extra copies of my books as well as the marketing props I use for my author events. I still have some organizing to do but after a year of living like a nomad, just looking at these pictures warms my heart.

Right next to it is my roll top desk. When I bought my house 23 years ago, I told myself if NOTHING else gets bought, I will have my rolltop desk I’ve dreamed of having all my adult life. Now, it sits in front of a window facing my back yard in a freshly painted room. Oh, the stories I hope to write at that desk!

This chimney also imploded, but not nearly as badly as the one in my living room. Now it’s sealed off ad my SEAL family chills out under another DIY project I did for this room. Literally every single shell was strategically placed on that mantle and I even put actual SAND under them. The fabric angel I found at a thrift store and it inspired me to write a poem about it.

Here’s the sea inspired poem that hangs next to that fabric angel.

Next, take a look at my kitchen sink. Remember that old, rusted metal one from Monday’s post? Now I have a new sink/counter top combo that I love as well as beautiful curtains and a shell rug to carry my beach theme throughout the house.

I know it’s silly to be giddy about a counter top but THIS counter top does two things for me. It tucks my new hot water heater out of sight behind a false front under that counter and it provides extra food prep space I’ve NEVER had before in this house! Silly I know, but I also love my hanging hooks under that corner cabinet for my cooking utensils.

I found a distressed book case at a local furniture store and converted it into a baker’s rack for storing pots, pans, and small appliances.

Those grey curtains blend in with the wall color and hide the built in pantry behind it. The new bathroom tower that I found on Walmart.com offers a little more organizational storage in the kitchen.

The last room in my house is my bedroom. My sanctuary. One of the first things I bought for the bedroom was this cool sea turtle clock from Wish.com.

Here’s another one of my DIY projects. I found this unusual shaped, blown glass bowl on a piece of driftwood in a local home decor store and instantly imagined myself at the beach. What do you think?

If you look closely, you will see my beach terrarium on my chest of drawers, my arrangement of seashells and my sea turtle I found hidden away at a local second hand furniture store.

I can not express how happy my spirit feels when I see my redecorated bedroom. My new bedcover and pillows carry the beach theme and gone is the bland dirty, beige walls with drab, boring wall art. I found that headboard for $20 at another local thrift store and it helps brighten up the room.

Across from my bed is my lovely reading nook. Isn’t that egg-shaped chair so cute? I was so excited to find that tapestry and it REALLY sets the tone of the room. That toy chest is holding extra blankets and that wire plant tower is now a modern book case. And in case you didn’t notice, that adorable wire lighthouse is another thrift store treasure.

Here’s my new baby. My old Kia had 241,000 miles on it and had served me well for seven years. This is my new-to-me car…a Nissan Versa.

Another view of my new car.

One last look at my new baby…

There were a few good things that came out of 2020 where my writing was concerned. One was book three of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES historical fiction chapter book series came out. Hunting Gris-gris takes place during World War II and tells the story of the mysterious bayou monster I grew up with down on the bayou in southern Louisiana.

Book one, Ship of Dreams, and book two, The Chocolate Train Wreck, also did great last year!

Both of those books won five star ratings from the READERS’ FAVORITE organization! It makes a writer happy to have their hard work recognized and it encourages me to keep sharing my stories with the world!

My house is about 90% back in place and hopefully by next month I will be able to get back in my writing study and focus on book four, President Lincoln’s Balloons!

So tell me, dear readers, what do you think of my repaired, remodeled, new-to-me home now?

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Hybrid published 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Pick your favorite…

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

CONFESSIONS OF A PANDEMIC LIFE: The Old Home

***Warning! Some of these pictures are disturbing!***

Or at least they are to me because they are the result of my 98 year-old house trying to fall down around me while I was still living in it. It all started around 2012 when a major ice storm came through town. My 50 foot oak tree that used to stand in my front yard fell on my house, striking the chimney and causing more than $35,000 worth of damage.

What no one knew at the time was that the insides of my chimney were about to come outside! A build up of decades of greasy soot had been loosened by that falling tree and about a year after my house was repaired, that unstable chimney imploded. Fifty years of greasy soot roared through my house like a mushroom cloud, settling on every inch of the house and destroying just about everything in it’s path.

What has that unfortunate incident have to do with the pandemic you ask?

Everything.

The insurance company refused to pay any more on the claim so I lived the next eight years in a home desperately needing repair with no money to do it.

A LOT of bad happened in my life last year. A small fire in the kitchen. The kitchen sink shearing in half and flooding the room before I could stop it. The initial public reaction to the virus threatening to rock my 20 year martial arts career. My fledgling publishing company nearly drowning in the backlash of school visits and other writer events being canceled. Ten of them to be exact that were cancelled almost overnight before I could even catch my breath. The pandemic closed down many contractors and it took almost a year to find one willing to work on my house. At a price I could afford.

But some good came out of last year. A stimulus check to start repairs. A pension plan I could cash out without penalty to be able to finish the work.

At last there was light at the end of that greasy, sooty tunnel that my house would one day look like new again.

What I hadn’t planned on is it taking the contractor six month of hard work to bring my dream of having my own beach themed house to life.

I lived like a refugee for months, dragging buckets of water from an outside faucet into the house because the interior pipes had begun to leak and the water inside the house had to be shut off.

This year has started out pretty rough as well. My old car with it’s 241,000 miles finally had a fatal breakdown and I had to get another car. A family member suddenly died. My writing had dried up like the Sahara Desert and I worried I wouldn’t be able to find the creative will to write again.

But this past month has showered many blessings on my life…on my home…and my writing. Come back on Wednesday to take a peek at my new “beachy” sanctuary and learn about all the good that has come out of living this pandemic life. You will be amazed!!

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Hybrid published 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Pick your favorite…

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

ReFoReMo…Weeks Two and Three Results

I’m sure some of you are thinking…”What do you mean week three results? We’re just beginning week three!”

Well, I’m on vacation this week, so I actually read week three required reading for ReFoReMo this past weekend because I’ll be doing other things during my time off. I will be reading the daily posts, but wanted to go ahead and share my thoughts on this fabulous collection of picture books shown above.

For those of you who don’t know what ReFoReMo stands for, it’s READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH. It’s a month long challenge to read tons of great picture books as mentor texts and really study the different components of what makes up great writing.

I’m going to be reading over 100 books during the month of March for this challenge, and reading the blog posts like this one…http://www.reforemo.com/2021/03/reforemo-day-11-literary-agentauthor.html…to determine how things like tension, character arc, point of view, etc. helps a writer create a stronger story.

My local library still couldn’t get me all the books required for this challenge, but I’m getting enough to understand and appreciate some of the really special books out there just waiting for someone to take them home for a little read time. Here are my favorites from this past week…

GIANT SQUID by Candace Fleming…such a magical integration of fluid, flowing descriptions with innovative, captivating illustrations to pull readers into the dark, underwater world of the giant squid. I’m drawn to the ocean and all the creatures who live there, so of course I had high hopes for this book and it did not disappoint! I think I may have to add this one to my growing picture book collection…

OUTSIDE IN by Deborah Underwood…on my first read through my friend Deborah’s story, I felt like it was a very quiet story. And I like quiet stories. When I read it the second time, I felt the beautiful watercolor illustrations draw me “outside” where perfectly chosen words reminded me of all the reasons why I love being out in nature. And with a year like we’ve had in 2020, I’m all for the “quiet” books that touch our souls and calms our spirits…

THE UNDEFEATED by Kwame Alexander…I enjoyed reading all of the books this past weekend, but THIS book impressed me the most. It wasn’t the story, although I thought the way each person’s contribution to our collective history was well written, it was the illustrations that stopped me in my tracks!

I opened this picture book and was stunned by the rich textures of layered colors I found on each page. It was like each person was leaping off the page to draw my attention to what they had to offer. Such expressive drawing is beauty in motion that I don’t always get to see in books these days. Kadir Nelson is a true artist and I spent a long time studying each page so I wouldn’t miss out on anything!

My local library can only get five more books from the reading list. A part of me is disappointed I didn’t have access to all the book selections suggested. But I will always be grateful to Carrie Charley Brown and Kristi Call for sharing ReFoReMo with the world each year and exposing me to another world of books I might have otherwise overlooked…

I can’t wait to see what week four will bring!

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KidLit 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

www.storycatcherpublishing.com

www.twitter.com/donasdays

www.facebook.com/donasdays

www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

www.goodreads.com/author/show/18279692.Donna_L_Martin

ReFoReMo…Week One Results

For those of you who don’t know what ReFoReMo stands for, it’s READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH. It’s a month long challenge to read tons of great picture books as mentor texts and really study the different components of what makes up great writing.

I’m going to be reading over 100 books during the month of March for this challenge, and reading the blog posts like this one…http://www.reforemo.com/2021/03/reforemo-day-5-literary-advocate.html…to determine how things like tension, character arc, point of view, etc. helps a writer create a stronger story.

My local library couldn’t get me all the books required for this challenge, but I’m getting enough to understand and appreciate some of the really special books out there just waiting for someone to take them home for a little read time. Here are my favorites from this past week…

  1. SWASHBY AND THE SEA by Beth Ferry, illustrated by JuanaMartinez-Neal…This one is my FAVORITE book of week one. The drawings are lovely and I really enjoyed the heartwarming way Swashby’s neighbors took the time to connect with him.
  2. MABEL: A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins. It’s adorable how Mabel deals with being “different” and how she changes her mindset by the end of the story.
  3. FRY BREAD by Kevin Nobel Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez Neal…I just realized this is the same illustrator as the one for SWASHBY which is why I probably enjoyed the artwork of this book. I’m also part Cherokee, so learning more about Native American traditions interest me.
  4. I AM DARN TOUGH by Licia Morelli, illustrated by Maine Diaz…I work with kids every day and love how the main character in this book finds the inner strength to overcome the obstacles in the story.
  5. LIFT by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat…this book comes in a very close second to SWASHBY as my favorite mentor text for week one. I adore the illustrations by my KidLit colleague, Dan Santat, and the story is such a lovely tribute to a child’s imagination. The almost graphic novel style doesn’t hurt either…
  6. DO I HAVE TO WEAR A COAT? by Rachel Isadora…Picture books celebrating the seasons will almost always capture my attention and this one is no different. The artwork is whimsical and all the different options for the seasons evoke fun adventures.
  7. PARKER LOOKS UP by Parker & Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson…There are many things I admire about Michelle Obama, and I found this book both a lovely tribute to the strong woman Michelle is as well as all the wonderful possibilities to be found for one special little girl.
  8. NO SMALL POTATOES: Junius G Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Don Tate…This book’s artwork is created by another Kidlit colleague favorite of mine. And I absolutely love the “rag to riches” story of this fabulous, hard-working man who created his own destiny through hard work. This one is technically for week two, but it came in early and I couldn’t wait to read it!
  9. THE NEXT PRESIDENT by Kate Messner & Adam Rex…I LOVE how my KidLit colleague, Kate Messner presents an angle on our presidents I’ve never seen before! The artwork is beautiful and the story is captivating!

I can’t wait to see what week two brings!

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KidLit 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 offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Children’s Book Insider and AWAI. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Temporarily Closed For Construction…

This year has been quite the roller coaster ride for many people…hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, murder hornets, furloughs from work, unemployment, and of course, a pandemic!

In the middle of it all, I’ve worked hard to juggle three careers…running a martial arts school, researching and writing book four of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series, President Lincoln’s Balloons, and finishing the publishing details of the re-release of my picture book, The Story Catcher. I also have a number of other projects and events I’m juggling, including the Star Catcher Young Writers Contest in October, the creation of my quarterly newsletter, and my upcoming year-long PAY A BOOK FORWARD event.

In order to be able to meet all my writing deadlines through the rest of 2020, I will have to step away from my blog for the next three months in order to focus on those writing commitments. I will continue all the activities I do on Facebook but will return to my blog with the new year and hopefully the world will have settled into a new “normal”.

Here are the plans for the rest of my 2020:

  1. My picture book, The Story Catcher…My illustrator, Estella Hickman, has completed all the new illustrations for the re-release. I’m currently working on the editing & formatting of the manuscript and with a little luck, I will have it ready for the 2020 holiday season.
  2. My Star Catcher Writers Contest…the second annual writing contest for ages 10-18 would normally take place during the month of October. I have a few more days to determine if I will be able to run the contest again this year or if I delay it until the fall of 2021. This contest would create 25 winners in five different categories for an anthology to be released by the spring of 2021.
  3. My book four, President Lincoln’s Balloons, of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series…this book is behind in the research stage. I need time to finish the research and complete the manuscript before editing, formatting, sketching, and setting up the book for production. Estella has already sent me the book cover but it’s the guts I need to work on.
  4. My website…there are some updates I want to do with my website and decide the continued direction of my blog for the new year. I will be creating a FB poll to find out what my readers want to see so I can ensure I’m providing quality content for my blog.
  5. My most ambitious project to date…the PAY A BOOK FORWARD event happening for the entire year of 2021. I have been blessed to be able to donate over $165,000 worth of books to different school and local libraries over the years. Beginning in January I will be giving away 10-15 books a month for FREE by authors from around the globe! I will also have a few signed or extra special books to be given away. A TOTAL OF 200 BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY! Home school groups, pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and even individuals will be able to have a chance to win one or more of these books as my way of giving back to the Kidlit community while continuing to support children’s literacy. More details to come!
  6. My house…I live in a 95 year old house. The passage of time has created a number of repair jobs that can no longer be put off so in the middle of ALL the things going on in my life, I get to spend the rest of this year with various strangers coming in and out to fix things around the house.
  7. My drawings…I’d like to get back to my sketches sometime in the not too distant future. I have an evergrowing stack of ideas and pictures I’d like to get my hands on and see where they take me.

Fall brings with it cooler weather, but I’m hot on the trail to complete several projects at once. Like my Corona-Crazy World isn’t hectic enough, I have a whole new level of “Jumanji” to deal with through the end of the year.

All I can say is…bring it on…and I hope you will send me a friend’s request through Facebook so we can keep in touch until I return after the beginning of the new year!

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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 HISTORY’S 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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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: Walking In The Rain

rain

 

As kids are going back to school, it makes me think of my own school day memories of first day anticipation.

Louisiana and parts of Texas had to delay their school beginnings last week as two hurricanes barreled their way through the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall on Thursday. In the twelve years I attended school in southern Louisiana, we NEVER began our school year on schedule because of some hurricane coming through our area. 

Most of the time my father was stuck out in the Gulf…being a short order cook on an oil rig afforded its own challenges and most of the time he was ordered to remain off shore instead of being dropped in the middle of a tropical storm tearing a path up the coastline.

When Mother wasn’t filling up bathtubs with water or gathering up the kerosene lanterns in case of the inevitable power outages, she was stocking up on raincoats and galoshes. Late summer, early fall was a very rainy season for my hometown. Since the only way I was going to get to the elementary school half a mile from my house was to walk there, I had to be prepared for anything Mother Nature threw at me. 

One of my memories of first grade was my teacher, Miss Madelene, and her low tolerance of any student who failed to grab their galoshes from the cloak room at the end of the day. These were the days of strict obedience of the rules and swift justice at the end of a wooden paddle for the child who neglected to follow them.

I only forgot once.

Walking in the rain at the end of the school day helped shield my tear stained face from anyone wanting to tease me about my forgetfulness. It also gave me the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Fred Astaire as I danced and sang my way home…splashing through puddles in my hard won galoshes from that first grade cloak room.

Ahhhh, the memories of my youthful bygone days…

 

puddles

 

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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 HISTORY’S 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: Summer Time Jobs

lawnmower

 

There are some kids who do nothing all summer long but hang out with their friends, chug glasses of coke or iced tea, and watch the days drag by. Hot sunny days stacking up on top of each other, one by one, until it’s time to head back to school.

I was never one of those kids. I loved to read and spent every waking second pouring through books whenever Mother let me.  Thankfully she was a voracious reader as well but her tastes ran mainly to westerns written by Zane Grey while I was into everything else.

But it was the variety of jobs done around the house as well as offered around the neighborhood for pocket change which occupied the bulk of my summer days.

One of the first jobs I can remember doing…and it was probably just to help my brother out…was rolling up tons of newspapers and putting rubber bands around them before stuffing all of it into his carrier. I think my sister, Janet, went on some of his routes with him but I definitely remember my blackened hands from all that ink and a few sore fingers from broken rubber bands.

We also used to cut a few of the neighborhood yards and I can remember actually cutting the grass but don’t remember being able to keep much of the money afterwards. Unfortunately my mother had a rather large cigarette habit and I have a feeling a good portion of the yard money was used on tobacco products.

Jobs around the house included literally scrubbing all the walls down in each room, shucking corn that sometimes nearly reached the ceiling of our enclosed porch, climbing mulberry trees at our neighbors to have canned or frozen berries during the winter, pulling weeds from the vegetable garden or harvesting the crops, cutting back the bamboo that grew between our house and our next door neighbor’s (THAT job earned me five massive hornet stings on my head and more over my body when Mother unexpectedly stirred up their nest), and babysitting my next door neighbor’s young son. 

As I got a little bit older I had the chance to work at the local cafe but that only lasted a short while because the owner quickly realized my sister and I made a better team than their own children. We were way more popular with their customers and they couldn’t have that so I was let go and my sister quit shortly afterwards.

All those summer time jobs taught me a number of things…

1) The important things in life usually come with a price whether it’s actually dollars or sweat equity.
2) A hard day’s work never killed anybody but sometimes it really FELT like I was gonna die.
3) Cherish the down time because you never know when someone’s gonna yell at you to get back to work.
4) Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today cuz Mother still has more plans for you tomorrow!
5) Do the job you hate the most first. That way the rest of the work will seem like fun.
6) Even the most demanding job will eventually come to an end and when it does, there is always iced tea and a good book to read!

My summers these days are crammed full of work and kiddies and not as much reading as I’ve done in my youth, but at least I’m not running from hornets any more and I still get the chance to sneak in a book or two when my boss isn’t looking…;~)

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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 HISTORY’S 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.