TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Entertaining The Troops

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

patio2

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris

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

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

 

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donna - Copy

 

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

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Beth Stilborn Interviews Me!

donna

 

Normally, when an author does an interview, they simply post the link to the site where their interview can be found. Unfortunately, I can’t do that, so this is my work-around.

My good friend and fellow writer, Beth Stilborn, asked if she could interview me and of course I was thrilled! Beth supplied such lovely, thoughtful questions which really gave me the opportunity to share my writing journey and my plans for the upcoming year with the world.

Normally, she would have uploaded her post to Facebook as well as other sites, but Facebook’s lovely procedures are being a wee bit snarky today and won’t let us attach a link to Beth’s blog.

If you would like to know more about my writing journey, how I became a “hybrid author”, who the heck is Amelia Earmouse, and my future plans for Story Catcher Publishing, just click on this link and it will take you to my interview…

http://www.bethstilborn.com/donna-martin-and-her-historys-mysteries-author-interview/

Happy New Year everyone!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Susanna Leonard Hill

llama.jpg

 

Title: When Your Llama Needs A Haircut

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishers

Ages: 0-4

 

Synopsis:

 

Does your llama need a haircut? When your llama needs a haircut, you’ll first need to pick the perfect style…

 

Why you should get it:

 

 
When I found out my friend, author Susanna Leonard Hill, was releasing a new series of board books, I offered to review one. My friends know I’m not likely to give a favorable BOOK NOOK REVIEW unless I sincerely like the book I’ve been given.

The day WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT came in the mail, I was having a very rough time at work. I thought I would give Susanna’s book a quick read and then delve deeper into it at a later time. I found myself actually chuckling out loud at some of the adorable illustrations Daniel Wiseman created to compliment Susanna’s cute story, like this one…

 

llama 2.jpg
It brougt me back to the days of my own youth when I tried wearing a perm myself, as well as those days of trying to tame my own son’s curly locks. It is also written in a similar vein as author Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give…” series which makes WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT a very enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read other books in the series like WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES.

 
Young readers will laugh at the whimsical artwork and parents will find their own little ones asking to hear this delightful story “just one more time!” A great addition to any home library…

 
Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…grab it.

 
**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take it or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

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Donna's Books

 

Looking for a way to spend that Christmas cash? Gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

TWAS AN EVE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Donna L Martin

donkey

 

Twas An Eve Before Christmas
By Donna L Martin

Twas the eve before Christmas,
When all through my little house,
I’d just finished a story
About a cat and a mouse.

Next year I would be busy,
Many stories still to write,
But what if I’m not published,
Tho I try hard as I might?

I shut down my old laptop
And then I turned off the light,
When suddenly a loud noise
Began ringing in the night.

I moved quickly to my door
To get a sneak peek outside;
There stood a gnarled old wizard
With a donkey he named Clyde.

He said his name was Berlin
And he came bearing a gift
Of a brand new computer
From bags he could scarcely lift.

He asked could he come inside,
And get out of the harsh cold?
Well, I gladly let him in
After the story he told.

He was going to Vegas
To try his luck with the dice,
But got lost near the North Pole
And met a dude who was nice.

“I’ll help you get to Vegas,
If you stop along the way.
I don’t have time to visit
The Martins by Christmas Day!”

Then Berlin opened his sack
While books spilled out on the floor.
Lots of writer references;
And stories that I adore.

“Here’s all the magic you need
To make the right dreams come true.
It takes belief in yourself.
Hard work. It’s all up to you!”

Then smiling, he turned to go
Out into the winter night.
But I heard words softly said
As I turned off the porch light.

“Good luck in the coming year,
With a book contract or two.
Should you run into that dude,
Clyde wants a blanket in blue!”

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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE & A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

THANKFUL THURSDAY: A Little Christmas Magic

This year has been a whirlwind of writing projects, publishing challenges, and promotional events. I’m delving deeper into the world of publishing, expanding my brand, and strengthening the partnerships that have helped me get where I am today. 

During this holiday season, I took several opportunities to give back to one of my elementary schools that inspired and supported me in 2019.

 

Colleen gift basket 1

 

This young lady stopped by my author booth at Barnes & Noble this past weekend and supported my writerly efforts by purchasing both HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck. This gave her a chance to win a Titanic themed gift basket, and from the looks of it, the basket was a hit!

 

Lana dolphin 1

 

Lana Shelton-Lowe, principal at Dogwood Elementary, received an acrylic spinning cube of the Titanic. I can’t thank her enough for her continued support of my books and Story Catcher Publishing. 

 

heather xmas tree

 

And last, but not least, is librarian, Heather Lynn. Not only is she wonderfully creative (just look at that awesome book tree), but also very generous in her support of my writing by purchasing several copies of books one and two of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series.

I’m just your average writer who experiences ups and downs on her publishing journey. But every once in awhile, I stop my hectic life just long enough to catch my breath and say a prayer of thanks for some of the lovely people who have become part of the fabric of my life…showing their loving support through so many acts of kindness, my heart can hardly believe it.

And THAT, is the true magic of Christmas…

 

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Amelia travel.jpg

 

Amelia is traveling the world to let everyone know HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck is on sale right now…just in time for Christmas! But hurry, only 16 more days until Christmas!

 

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: The Stranger

Rainy weather

 

Amy glanced again at the clock on the mantle. Where was he? she wondered. Her friends were wrong. It’s not the knowing that kills your spirit. Its the gut-wrenching waiting and  not knowing that slowly breaks you. When she got the call he was finally coming home, she decided she would just wait.

No judgement.

Just the mind numbing waiting as she counted the raindrops sliding down the window. When is he going to get here? All she had were random letters between deployments. He said it was better if he stayed away, rather than drawing her into his madness. But now he had no choice. Injured, he was coming home and if Amy was honest with herself, she didn’t know if she still loved the stranger he had become.

No judgement.

Having to do something…anything…Amy began pacing back and forth. Never taking her eyes off the rain coated window. Any minute now he would walk up those steps and ring that doorbell. Just like a stranger in his own home. Would she open the door? Of course she would. You can’t just turn your back on thirteen years of marriage like it never happened. But what about the next thirteen? How would she get through them?  Yes, her friends were all wrong. It was the not knowing that ate at her like a poison, until there’s nothing left but crippling doubt. And oh, so many questions.

The sudden peal of the doorbell ringing startled Amy out of her daydream. She’d been staring out the window the whole time, but was buried too deep in her thoughts to see the military car pull up to her curb. A stranger was standing on her doorstep and the time had come for Amy to decide what those marriage vows really meant.

Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened the door to the stranger standing there. All it took was one glance at the fear hiding behind the doubt in his eyes and she knew. 

No judgement.

Opening her arms wide, Amy stepped into her future…

 

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books

They make great stocking stuffers!

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Wash Your Troubles Away

 

washboard.jpg

 

If you look in most homes today, you will probably find a modern washer/dryer combination tucked away in some corner of the house. For those, like myself, who either don’t have adequate room for those modern conveniences, or don’t have the financial ability to pay for a set, there is always the local laundrymat. But go further back in time…to my childhood…and you wouldn’t find even those luxuries at my house. 

My earliest memories of laundry day is my mother pulling out a large metal tub and wash board like this one. She would scrub until her knuckles were red and raw, before ringing out each piece by hand and then taking each load outside to hang on the clothesline. Backbreaking work for my mother but necessary when you have a husband and four active children to look after.

Next came  the wringer washing machine…a contraption with two huge rollers ran by a crank positioned over a tub. Mother still had to use the washboard but at least it saved her hands from the  wringing. She still used the clothesline but by then, I was old enough and tall enough to do the clothesline work for her.

Finally came the day when my mother had saved enough money to buy an actual washing machine. Wedged between our old bathtub and the linen closet in our narrow bathroom, Mother worshiped at its rattling, clanging alter for most of my teenage years. She never did save up enough for a dryer, but at least she was able to retire from rapping her knuckles on that metal washboard.

These days I use the convenience of a local laundrymat, but a part of me misses the days of hanging clothes out in the fresh air and later watching dragonflies flit from clothespin to clothespin in the summer sunshine. I did most of my daydreaming during that time…creating poetry I would chant to myself before dashing back inside to write them down. I enjoyed walking between the rows of drying wash, hiding from the world around me and letting my imagination carry me off to distant lands where knights and dragons awaited to save this damsel in distress.

Writers have a knack for creating stories, no matter their surroundings, and even a steamy, old-fashioned wash day can carry an aspiring future author away on a grand adventure…

 

clothesline.jpg

 

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STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.