TWAS AN EVE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Donna L Martin

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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!

FLASH FICTION: I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

 

 

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***During this Christmas season, we need to take a moment to remember those of us who might not be able to spend the holidays with loved ones. Our freedom to open presents under the Christmas tree shouldn’t be taken for granted. Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy my little story.***
Gracie stepped onto the tarmac and looked around. Just another stop in a long line of shows to help with troop moral. She’d never guess it was almost Christmas by the look of the grey barracks surrounded by the mud and slush of a dreary December afternoon.

Tugging her coat closer to her, Gracie ran the last few yards to the mess hall where a temporary stage had been built for the entertainment. She had just enough time to get ready before her curtain call. How many times had she stepped onto one of those stages to sing for men so far from home? One look into their war-weary faces and Gracie could tell the only Christmas wish on their lists was a one way ticket home.

Papa told her when he left her at the train station it would be hard traveling so far away during the holidays. Turned out he was right. But in her heart she knew she was still where she belonged.

“Little girl, you make sure you sing your heart out for those guys. Poor blokes, some won’t see another Christmas.”

“I will, Papa.”

“And remember, look for the northern star and know your mama is always watching over you.”

Tears misted Gracie’s eyes as she thought of her mama while getting ready for the show. The pain was still a dull ache in her chest even after three years but Gracie knew her mother would be proud of what her little girl was doing.

Gracie did a final check of her makeup and slowly smiled back at her reflection before heading onstage. Outside the world might have forgotten about Christmas but for the next two hours she planned on bringing a little bit of the holiday spirit indoors…

***Okay, it’s your turn! Does Gracie help those soldiers forget they’re so far from home? Could there be a special surprise waiting for her as well? Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own. Join the fun and see where this picture prompt takes us!***

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Making Christmas Traditions

Christmas Tree, Ornaments, Christmas
With Christmas just two days away, it’s time for me to reflect on other Christmas memories.  I realize those memories provide an insight into the kind of writer I want to be in the future…

Circa 1971…The Ghosts of Christmas Past

When I was small, Christmas was probably the happiest time of my life.  We were extremely poor, but my mother always managed to make Christmas magical to me.  We had some family traditions back then that laid the foundation of how I celebrate the season today.  There was always the trip out in the country to hand pick our real Christmas tree.  Then came the stringing of popcorn and red berries, along with handmade ornaments to decorate it.  Huge globes of colored lights twinkled in the darkness as we sat looking at our work of art on cold December nights.  Homemade hot cocoa and decorated treats made by my mother are so real to me that I can almost taste it today.  My brother even got good at learning how to unwrap and then rewrap our gifts on Christmas eve without our parents ever finding out. And I can’t forget the antique musical church that had a wind up key in the back.  How I used to beg to wind up that church. I would sit for hours as Away In The Manger played and the doors of the church swung open to display the lighted nativity inside.  One Christmas I had strep throat and my mother forbade me to speak but when she left the room I would whisper sing that song because even at that age I was starting my own holiday traditions. That church still holds a place of honor by every Christmas tree I display today.

Circa 1991…The Ghosts of Christmas Present

My son is about 4 years old and wants a baby doll for Christmas.  He is old enough to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays and I am a single mom on a very tight budget.  We have no money for a Christmas tree so he and I take green poster board and draw a tree.  We tape it up on our wall and color homemade ornaments to tape to it (thanks, Mom, for the memories of homemade ornaments from Christmases past).  I drape the only store bought item I have, gold tinsel, all over the tree and I set a small table under it for our meager presents.  On Christmas Eve we drive around to look at the pretty Christmas lights on other people’s houses, and my son is worried Santa will come before we get back.  We arrive back at our small apartment to see the lights of an airplane overhead and my son is SURE this is Santa.  He becomes upset because we are not asleep in bed yet.  I reassure him that Santa has many stops to make before he gets to our place.  We race up the stairs to put out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots and peanut butter/raisin treats for the reindeer and tumble into bed so we can fall asleep before the big guy arrives.  I even promise my son Santa will be able to get into our apartment even though we have no fireplace because we leave the front door unlocked for him this night.  I will never forget the surprise on my son’s face when the next morning he discovers grass clippings on the floor leading to the door and all the treats half eaten.  But I will carry with me the wonder of the holidays always as my son unwraps his present from Santa to find the baby doll he names Fred…paid for from many pennies saved over the previous year.

Circa 2019…The Ghosts of Christmas Future

My son is grown up now, married, and works as a traveling nurse.  I have tried to teach him about the magic of Christmas and the strength of tradition but he is young and is more tied to the techno world of today than the traditions of the past.  For myself, this past year has been a year of surprises and growth for me as a writer.  I have made new friends, learned new lessons, and set new goals for the upcoming year.  But I have not forgotten what my mother taught me so many years ago.  Traditions create a foundation families can cling to if the future turns dark.  And I can hold my own holiday traditions close to me, my Christmas Memories, to help flavor all the writing I do in the future.  And who knows?  Maybe one of my stories will help create someone else’s Christmas Memories in their future!
Merry Christmas to all my online friends and may the new year be one of fabulous wishes coming true for us all…
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Donna's Books
If you’re looking for that last minute gift, check out my books on Amazon and on other online retailers. From picture books to chapter books, young adult fantasy to inspirational journal essays, there’s something for everyone on your Christmas list!
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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: Gifts To Remember

 

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As we move closer to Christmas Day and edging toward the end of the year, I’m thinking back to my childhood and some of the Christmas gifts that made a lasting  impression on my young mind.

 

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The earliest Christmas gift I remember was when I was about three or four years old. Santa brought me a large plastic frog attached to a long yellow tube with a bulb at the end of it. If you squeezed the bulb, air was forced through the tube and the frog jumped. I loved that frog, thought it was the coolest toy ever, and spent many hours playing with it.

 

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When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I received a baby doll I named Billy. With movable arms and legs,  I loved on him for many years. I remember the time a dog got ahold of Billy and he ended up with one less leg than he arrived with. Not to be undone, I simply tore off his other leg and let him move around by bouncing on his butt. Long after I grew up and moved, Billy was stored away, just waiting for me to return. When my parents died and I became the executor of the estate, I uncovered my old friend tucked away in a box upstairs in the attic and took him back with me to Dallas. Unfortunately, Billy wasn’t able to travel with me when I later moved to Tennessee and I hope he found a new forever home where a child would love him as much as I did.

 

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But my favorite Christmas present from my childhood was the year my sister and I received matching blue bicycles. I was about 9 years old and all we wanted to do was be able to sail down the road on those things. We ended up crashing them and bending the frames on our very first solo rides, but THAT is the topic of another story. Simple to say that bike allowed me a greater sense of freedom than walking ever would, and my favorite destination, of course, was our local library.

I’m not a child any more and I’ve seen a lot of Christmases, but I still get excited with unwrapping each gift which comes my way. It never matters what is inside each package. The monetary value means nothing to me. It’s the thought the giver put into each gift that touches my heart more than words can say. It’s probably why I put my heart and soul into each story I write…to share a little magic I found during this time of the year, whenever I can…

 

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If you’re short on time, just remember books make great #stockingstuffers! My books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers. #StoryCatcherPublishing #books #christmas

 

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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: Keeping the Awe

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When I was growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, this was about the time my father would load my mother and the four kids into the car to go in search of THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

My father owned a small tract of marsh land outside of town and there were some trees on it. Every year we would make that trip to select a sturdy tree, chop it down, and bring it back home. There, mother would hammer the red and green tree stand to the bottom of it, toss a couple of aspirin into the water to help prevent the needles from shedding and then she would let us loose with the decorating.

Children today would not be impressed with our cut out decorations wrapped in shiny foil and tied to the branches with bits of yarn. They wouldn’t spend hours threading popcorn and holly berries on string before laying it on the branches. And they wouldn’t have created color garlands from strips of construction paper stuck together from vats of homemade glue paste. 

Finally came the strands of tinsel that would clump together if you didn’t throw them around the tree just right. I was in awe of how a simple tree cut down from the swamp could be turned into a magical stopping point for Santa Claus every year.

I hope as I grow older, I continue to remain in awe during this time of the year. To drink in all the magic of the season and hang on to the simple memories of what is important during Christmas…sharing the magic and making memories…

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

 

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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!

 

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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.

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Oh Christmas Tree…

 
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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route but I’ve decided to take a different path.

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Having a live Christmas tree is almost a novelty these days in some homes, but when I was growing up in the bayous of southern Louisiana, live trees were just about the only thing you could find. I never even saw my first artificial tree until I was about five years old. We had just moved into a different neighborhood and our new neighbors had much more money that we did. Their house had  the latest amenities and that included a sparkly white artificial Christmas tree with a multi colored rotating light panel, casting that tree in a different hue as the panel rotated.

We, on the other hand, had pine trees growing on our own plot of land out in the country. Every Christmas our family of six would crowd into an old black truck and head out of town to our land. Hiking deep into the  over the woods, a debate over tree selection often ensued, but in the end, one was chosen and we returned home to kick off our holiday season.

Mother would cook up batches of popcorn to be strung along with whole cranberries on our new tree. Then would come the hand made and vintage ornaments before showering it with shiny tinsel. We would then cover a cardboard cutout star with aluminum foil and stick it on the top of our tree. 

I was raised to believe simple things are what the holidays are all about. Taking the time to reconnect with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Christmas season…

May you enjoy the most joyous of holiday seasons!

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***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!***
***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!***

I’m happy to announce the Grand Prize winner of my TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR free giveaway! Ariel Ramey has won the twelve fantasy novels, including an autographed copy of LUNADAR: Homeward Bound. Thanks for entering my contest. Congratulations! Look for my email on how to get your prizes…

***Also, both ebook and paperback versions of LUNADAR: Homeward Bound are on sale through the holidays! You can grab the ebook copy for just $1.99 and the paperback for $12.49 through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Nook, Books A Million or dozens of other online retailers. Books make great Christmas gifts!

 

LUNADAR cover jpg

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?

 
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.

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Have A Cookie?

 

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route but I’ve decided to take a different path.

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The holiday season is truly my favorite time of year for many reasons. The smell of cinnamon and ginger bring me back to my childhood when the holidays would fill our kitchen with the frantic baking of Christmas goodies.

My older brother and sister were stationed in the Navy so my mother was never sure if they would make it home for Christmas. Every December, my mother would roll up her sleeves and whip out her recipe book as she made dozens of gingersnaps, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, cutouts with royal icing, peanut butter thumb prints, and many more. A care package from home carried only the best sweets mother could produce and there was trouble to be had if I dared to sneak one for my own. 

When it came time for me to move out on my home, I eagerly waited for the holidays to come around because I knew I would receive my own care package from home…filled with love and Christmas cookies. I got a chance to open four holiday boxes before my mother died and I inherited her recipe book.

Mother loved making the holidays extra special for us and whenever I eat a Christmas cookie now, I think of her and remember love can come in all shapes, sizes, and cookie flavors…

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! MAY THE REASON FOR THE SEASON FILL YOUR HEART WITH JOY AND WONDER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

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Week Twelve

 

***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!***
***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!***

 

I’m happy to announce the winner of week eleven of my TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR free giveaway! Marya Ashworth has won the $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. Thanks for connecting with me on Facebook! Congratulations! Look for my email on how to get your prize…

***DON’T FORGET! It’s week twelve of THE TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR giveaway and this week you get a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE of the twelve fantasy books shown above! Just click on the pile of presents to the right of this post and choose how you would like to enter the FREE giveaway. Winners will be announced every Monday in my INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY post!

***Also, both ebook and paperback versions of LUNADAR: Homeward Bound are on sale through the holidays! You can grab the ebook copy for just $1.99 and the paperback for $12.49 through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Nook, Books A Million or dozens of other online retailers. Books make great Christmas gifts!

 

 

LUNADAR cover jpg

 

 

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?

 

 

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.