FLASH BACK TUESDAY: Who Stole My Eggs?

 
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Pete pushed the door closed with his foot before setting down the rest of his things on the floor by his bed. 

Man, was he tired.

The next time he ran into Nick, he’d have a thing or two to share with the old guy. Every year after the holidays, they met for dinner to swap tales and try to outdo each other’s horror stories.

Last year Nick had won with his closer encounter of the grandmotherly kind. This year Pete was sure he would come out the clear winner with his battle of the bulldog story. 

Quickly pulling on his pj’s and bunny slippers (a gift from his mother he didn’t have the heart to refuse), Pete could feel his stomach rumbling with hunger. He was so busy making his rounds last night, he’d forgotten to eat. Not matter,  he knew exactly what he would have for breakfast before hitting the hay. Humans weren’t the only ones who waited all year for a tasty Easter egg.

Hopping over to the basket he had filled just last night before hiding the others around the neighborhood, Pete stopped short and stared in shock. Grass was strewn all over the floor where the basket lay broken. 

His eggs were gone.

The first batch each Spring was always a little bit more special than the others, so why shouldn’t the Easter Bunny have first choice? But who would do such a dastardly deed? And to the number one rabbit in the land? He couldn’t wait to share this mystery with Nick. Pete was sure to take home the prize this year…

Okay, it’s your turn! Put your creative cap on and continue my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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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: Staying True To My Roots

 

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For many years when I was growing up, the whole family would pile into the old family car every summer and make the trip over the mountains to visit my Aunt Betty and Uncle Elmo. They lived in Oklahoma, not far from the Cherokee Indian Reservation, and ran a small gift shop and general store just outside the reservation lands. We would even sometimes visit some the buffalo farms scattered among the rolling hills not far from where my aunt and uncle lived.

I grew up knowing I was part Cherokee. It comes from my mother’s side of the family and I can only imagine what my mother’s ancestors must have been like. My mother was many things, good and bad, but the thing I remember most about her is what a strong spirited woman she was.

At least one branch of the Ownby family tree was made up of full-blooded Cherokee and my grandparents even traveled from North Carolina by covered wagon…from an area where the Eastern Band of Cherokees remain today… to eventually settle in the mountains of Arkansas where my mother, eight siblings and her parents lived in a log cabin barely big enough for all of them. Mother was one of the oldest and worked hard on the farm to help put food on the table.

During the summers when we would make the trek to Oklahoma, I would get a chance to visit with some of mother’s relatives from the Cunningham side of the family and I knew right away they were descendants of the Western band of Cherokees. Those Cherokee were the people who survived the Trail of Tears and settled on the reservation set up for them in Oklahoma. Today I wonder if my Oklahoma cousins actually lived on the reservation back then…maybe my sister knows…but I always felt like I had stepped into another world when I would visit.

I can remember helping out in the general store and shyly hiding behind the counter to watch the people from the reservation as they would come in to do business with my aunt and uncle. Black hair and deeply tanned skin wouldn’t match my auburn hair and very fair skin but still our spirits called to one another and I knew in my heart my roots would always be with the Cherokee people.

For many years one of my favorite souvenirs was a small indian doll dressed in buckskin dress that was given to me on one of my visits. I’m not sure where that doll is now, but I still have the cherry colored doll house dining room set my Aunt Betty gave me for my birthday one year. It had belonged to her mother and is now more than 80 years old but I still have it…a reminder of my annual trips back to the reservation and a step back in time to the world of the Cherokee…

 

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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.

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Terri Rocheski

 

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Six years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week we learn…

 

The Importance Of Having A Blog Tour
by Terri Rocheski

 

 
Let’s face it – in today’s publishing world of ebooks, if you have no online presence you’re doomed to fail sales-wise. You not only need to get your cover out there, but yourself as well. I’m not talking about just setting up a twitter account and a facebook page either. I’m talking BLOG TOUR.

 

What is a blog tour?

 

A virtual book signing. It’s ‘visiting’ various blogs with guest posts, author or character interviews, tens lists, excerpts, giveaways – or any other idea a host might throw at you. My favorite requested post was a letter to one of my characters. Doing so gave me an incredible insight into him, and made for better scenes in the sequel I was working on.

 

So, how do you set up a tour?

 

I use a google doc sign up / spreadsheet to keep my hosts and posts organized, but you can simply print out a calendar page – heck, write the dates of the tour down – and record peeps who agree to host you on those. Compile those email addresses and send them a media kit (I do a word doc) with the blurb, purchase links, bio, personal links, Goodreads link to your book, and the rafflecopter code or link if you’re doing a giveaway. Don’t forget to attach the cover and head shot of yourself as well.

 

How do you find hosts???

 

Do you belong to any online groups? Yahoo, WANA, critique sites, Goodreads, Book Blogs – go a’beggin! Contact review sites as well. There are countless ones out there, and you’ll find a lot are more than willing to help out. Don’t shy away if the blog only has 150 followers, either. Check to see how consistent they are and if people comment. THAT is a sign of a successful blog.

One of the most important things I can say … visit your host on post day. Thank them in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to those comments. Respond to everyone else who takes the time to read whatever your fingers typed up. Even if they don’t stop back to read your reply, it shows others that you’re proactive in the tour, that you’re likeable and worth following.

Heck. It’s polite!

Twice now, I’ve run two tours for myself at the same time. I’ll admit that it’s easy for me since I’m so crazy organized – like sick organized. This is why Roane Publishing asked me to become involved in their marketing department. Now I get to set up blog tours for fun.

Yes. FUN. I’m having a blast.

How ‘bout you? Blog tour or no blog tour? Questions? Need suggestions? Shoot me an email. I’m all about helping my fellow author. terrirochenski at yahoo dot com,

 

Terri
Terri Rocheski started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

Website: http://www.terrirochenski.com/

Blog: http://terrirochenski.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerriRochenski/?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerriRochenski

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832199.Terri_Rochenski

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Where’s Yoda?

 

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A friend of mine challenged me to share eight things about me some people might not know. I tend to keep a lowkey profile so I had to think a bit to come up with this list. Here goes…

 

NUMBER EIGHT…

 

I am Cherokee/Scots-Irish on my mother’s side and Cajun/Atakapa on my father’s side. While I enjoy listening to most Cajun music, it is the bagpipes that will bring me to tears and I hope to visit Scotland one day.

 

NUMBER SEVEN…

 

I was sent to Waikiki Beach many years ago by a company I was working for at the time to provide a deposition in a legal matter. While I was there I ended up in the middle of a volcano and have the pictures to prove it!

 

NUMBER SIX…

 

I LOVE animals and have had a menagerie at different times in my life, including rabbits, quails, pigeons, dogs, cats, turtles, fish, guinea pigs, and hermit crabs.

 

NUMBER FIVE…

 

I almost committed suicide by drowning when I was 14 but was saved by my guardian angel. My story was later bought by Chicken Soup For The Soul and is part of the Angels Among Us edition.

 

NUMBER FOUR…

 

I ran away from home for a day when I was about 12 and ended up on the other side of town at a horse stable run by my next door neighbor at the time. He let me hang around and feed the horses, even giving me a ride on one before taking me back home. My mother never found out.

 

NUMBER THREE…

 

I started writing poetry when I was only 8 years old and later collaborated with my sister to create new work that ended up in two volumes of poetry by the time I was about 15.

 

NUMBER TWO…

 

If I could only take one food with me to a deserted island, it would be Kroger chicken, hot from the deli. I used to think KFC made the best chicken but I was wrong.

 

NUMBER ONE…

 

I can actually speak  like Yoda, but don’t do it often and only a handful of people have ever heard me.

 

I’d love to know more about my readers, so why not share one thing about YOU in the comments below that others might not know?

 

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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.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Redemption Road

 

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Marcus stared out the window over the plane’s wing. Puffs of clouds floated by and reminded him of the cotton candy Lydia loved to eat every time the circus came to town. Had it been only eight months since she went missing?

Try as he might, Marcus couldn’t stop their last meeting from running through his mind. Spring break had just started and Lydia wanted to catch a plane to the coast. He could even hear her voice floating on the wind racing over the wings hanging outside his window.

“Come with me, Marcus. We could have such fun, you and I, ” Lydia teased him.

“Why would I want to spend my spring break shaking sand from my shoes and dodging air headed dames looking to pick up some rich dude?” Marcus argued.

Lydia threw her arms around his waist and pressed her body closer to his. “You could always give me your ring. That way every girl there will know you’re taken.”

She’d been hinting for the past several weeks she wanted to take their relationship to the next level, but Marcus never took the bait. As much as he loved Lydia, he just wasn’t sure he was ready to settle down.

Now he’d never know.

Lydia went to the coast on her own and vanished without a trace. The police at the time did whatever police do, but with so many college kids coming in for Spring Break, it was like finding a needle in a haystack.

The touch of the flight attendant’s hand on his shoulder startled Marcus back to the present. Turning to look at her, he had to really concentrate to hear her voice over Lydia’s.

“Would you like something to drink, sir?”

Impatiently dismissing her with a wave of his hand, Marcus turned back to the window, desperately trying to hold on to Lydia’s voice, but it was gone. Nothing seemed to matter any more after Lydia disappeared. Finally, Marcus decided to go after her. Maybe he would stumble over something the police missed. Maybe he’d get a chance to tell Lydia how he really felt about her. 

It was no longer about a little fun in the sun.

It was about redemption…

Okay, it’s your turn! Put your creative cap on and continue my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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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: Summer Time Reading

 

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Summer is almost here and for me that means BOOKS! It’s not like I don’t read books the rest of the year, but during the summer I read to my Adventure Camp kids at my TaeKwonDo school every day for the ten weeks of summer. I read 3-4 books every day so by the time the new school year comes around, we have gone through at least 200 books…and this is sometimes the ONLY time some of my kids get to enjoy a book!

Reading to me has been the foundation of my childhood. It let me escape from the drama surrounding me. It allowed me to visit new places…meet new people…all from the comfort of my bedroom or front porch. I lived in a very small town and this was the library I visited as often as my mother would allow.

I still remember the day I was finally old enough to check out my own books. I was about 5 or 6 and there was a special row of books located behind the librarian’s desk where first timers could go and pick out ANY book from that shelf. It’s not like today where there are literally millions of books a kid could get their hands on, so those 20 or 30 books I was allowed to browse as a first timer was like giving me a golden ticket to OZ and I just had to figure out which train to catch!

 

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It might find it hard to believe, but the very first book I selected to take home was a DICTIONARY! I was fascinated with the illustrations and wanted to learn more about the words hidden inside. The librarian gave me a funny look because why would a little kid want to read a dictionary, but today I wonder…why did she put it on the first-timer shelf for me to select it? ;~)

I ran home with my treasure and it took me a week to read through the entire book. Granted, it was a small beginner dictionary but when I told my mother the next weekend I was ready to go back to the library for another book, she didn’t believe I had read it. She sat me down and literally gave me an oral test on random words from that book. I don’t know who was more surprised..my mother because I answered every question correctly…or myself because I remembered what those words meant. In any case, she let me go back to the library that day and from then on I made it my summer time goal to always read a minimum of 100 books before going back to school in the fall.

 

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The summer I turned 9 or 10 my library ran a writing contest. The theme was something about being proud to be an American and I entered the contest. I was big into horses back then…even thought I would either be a vet when I grew up or would one day own my own horse ranch…so when I found out first prize for my age group was a copy of MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE, I just had to enter! I don’t remember what I wrote about but it must have been impressive because I ended up winning first place and have read my copy of Misty many times since that day. It holds a special place on my bookshelf…a reminder of how books have been a life long friend to me.

The Gueydan library is still open for business, still tempting children with tantalizing dreams of adventure to faraway lands. And I’m sure they probably still have an old dictionary or two just waiting for another little girl to come in and discover the magic hiding within those well worn pages…

 

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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.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Patricia Hope

 

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Six years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week we learn about the ten things to keep in mind when writing query letters…

 

TEN THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN WRITING A QUERY LETTER
By Patricia Hope

 

There are as many ways to write a query letter as there are editors to read them. After a lifetime of reading and writing them, I think most editors would agree writers should follow a few common-sense guidelines if they want their query letter to be read and responded to in a positive way.

A writer feasts or starves on ideas, said Robert J Hastings in his book How I Write. So do editors. That’s not to say they don’t get lots of ideas but good ideas are often turned down because the writer didn’t spend enough time presenting his idea. The following list is 10 of the things I’ve learned about writing query letters after decades of writing and selling articles, both for print and online publications. As a former newspaper editor, I’ve read my share of queries, as well. It would take many blogs to give you examples of what some writers have said to make editors say no, but hopefully, this list will help you get more yeses.

 

Do your homework.

 

Read the publications’ guidelines, if available, and follow them to the letter. If no guidelines are available, read several issues of the publication so you will know what style of writing it uses and what subject matter it covers. When I queried The Writer a few years ago on the idea of writing about my own writing critique group, I had been reading the magazine for more than 20 years, yet, I carefully read and re-read their guidelines.

 

Begin with Why.

 

Every good writer knows you must have the “who, what, where, when and why” to tell a good story. But first, “Why do you want to write this story? Why did you choose this publication?” Be honest in evaluating why this story matters to you and your potential readers. My “why” for the writing group piece was because we had been together 30 years and we had all reached success as writers.

 

Keep the query to one page.

 

An editor sifting through hundreds of letters and emails will be grateful. That’s basically four or maybe five paragraphs. The first two paragraphs should say why you think your idea is good for this publication and who is involved, what they are doing or have done, where all this takes place, and when it happened or will happen. The why should become obvious as you explain what your article is about.

 

Don’t be cutesy or sloppy.

 

No colored paper or flashing emails. Be as straightforward and professional as you can be, whether sending a query by snail mail or email, be sure you check and re-check, things like grammar, spelling, capitalization, formatting, tenses, everything. Your query Letter is a prelude of what your article will be. It’s your salesman with his foot in the door. Don’t blow the only opportunity you might have with this publication by being sloppy.

 

Never address the query to “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

 

Know the editor’s name and the correct spelling. It’s your job. This information should be on the masthead of the publication but if you can’t find it any other way, call the company and and get the spelling of both first and last names.

 

Do enough research to know where your finished piece is going.

 

 

Try to think of what your story opening would be. Something made you want to write about this idea. What makes your angle unique? My opening that got me an assignment from Ford Times about Dollywood, in Sevierville, TN began with, “It’s as country as a Tennessee Barn Dance and as colorful as a July Fourth fireworks display. It’s as down home as grits and gravy and as gauche as rhinestone-studded boots. It’s Dollywood . . . superstar Dolly Parton’s way of bringing something home.”

 

Share the meat of the story but don’t say everything.

 

In my query to The Writer, I went on to say, “You name it and we’ve written it. . . . We’ve won hundreds of contest awards, two members have columns that have run more than 25 years, one member has published a historical novel and one member has two novels for children. One has a play that was produced by a major university . . . . All have been included in anthologies . . . . five have taught creative writing classes, four have worked as newspaper editors . . .” What I saved was how we achieved all of this and the influence our critique group had on our success.

 

Be careful about adjectives and adverbs.

 

Don’t say “I have this wonderful article” or “I think your magazine is the best one I’ve ever read.” If your idea is a good one, it will stand on its own, without the sugar-coating.

 

Be truthful.

 
Don’t say you can get an interview with Justin Beiber if you have never met him. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver and don’t agree to deadlines you can’t keep. The editor will respect your honesty more that broken promises.

 

Save the last paragraph in your letter to tell about you.

 

List your credits and say if you are an expert in a particular field as it relates to your article. If you have not been published don’t say anything, and especially, don’t play on sympathy, i.e., “I’ve never written anything but if you give me a chance I know I could.” Remember, even club newsletters, church bulletins, and local newspaper guest columns can lend credibility to your writing.

So, go, and cultivate your ideas, then pick no fewer than five publications where you think an idea will fit and begin your query letter writing. Choose the publication first where your article idea is most likely to sell. Keep these ten steps in mind as you submit your queries. Don’t be discouraged if you get a rejection, just go to the next editor on your list and keep submitting. If an editor says something personal in his rejection, take it seriously, especially if he invites you to send him something else. Keep your query letters going and it won’t be long until the assignments will fill your inbox and/or mailbox. Happy writing!

 

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Award-winning writer Patricia A. Hope has published widely in anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and literary journals including the online literary journal Maypop and a short story in Muscadine Lines. Her articles have appeared in Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage, A Tapestry of Voices, Rocking Chair and Afternoon Tales, The Writer, Blue Ridge Country, An Encyclopedia of East Tennessee, These Are Our Voices, An Appalachian Studies Teacher’s Manual, and numerous more. She has written extensively for area newspapers including the Knoxville News-Sentinel and The Oak Ridger. She is Past Chairman of the Tennessee Writers Alliance (TWA) and Editor of the first TWA anthology, A Tennessee Landscape, People, and Places. She is the Past President of the East TN Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, winner of the American Cancer Society’s statewide Best Media Coverage Award and winner of a Tennessee Press Association Award. She co-founded and served as Executive Director of Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc.(TMW), a non-profit writing organization. Because of her work with TMW, earlier this year she was recognized by the Arts Council of Oak Ridge (ACOR) as one of its “arts champions.” She lives in Oak Ridge, TN.