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…

 

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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!

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Leaving A Mark

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I want to warn everyone that this week’s tale might be disturbing for some people. It won’t hurt my feelings if you choose to skip this week and come back next time. If you choose to read on, remember…I warned you.

Growing up when I did, I knew each school year where I would sit in the classroom and even who I would sit behind. Teachers always arranged their classrooms by alphabetical order and since my hometown was small, there weren’t any new faces at the beginning of the new school year to disrupt the order of things.

Every year I sat behind the same boy. I don’t know if he had an issue with me because I was a girl, because I was poor, or maybe he was just a jerk and it had nothing to do with me. But one particular year when I was in fifth grade, there was two incidents that literally left their mark on me and changed my life forever.

I don’t even remember what caused our argument. Bickering between school mates over something dumb I’m sure. Before I knew what was happening, the boy turned around in his chair and stabbed his pencil in my arm.

I was surprised, to put it mildly.

The teacher was more excited than anything and proceeded to drag me to all the classrooms in our building where she showed off the pencil still sticking out of my arm. She hadn’t bothered to pull it out before creating the pathetic circus performance I became a part of. I”m pretty sure nothing ever happened to make that boy accountable.

Then came the next pencil encounter.

Later that same school year, again there was some disagreement between this boy and myself. I don’t know why, because I liked his older brother very much. Anyway, the bickering escalated until the boy swung at me again with another pencil.

This time,  it wasn’t my arm that was his target. 

The pencil was stuck in my eye!

It landed in my left eye near my tear duct and luckily this time, it wasn’t left in place while I was paraded around like some monkey in a cage. I really don’t remember if there was ever any repercussions for him, but by the sixth grade I was forced to wear glasses and now years later, I have issues with that eye which might eventually lead to blindness down the line.

Either way, that boy left his mark on me and I will never forget him. I hold no ill will. Kids can be dumb sometimes and lash out in anger or stupidity. But no matter his reason, when it comes to being blessed enough to  see the cover of my eleventh book being released later this spring, I’m seeing just fine!

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris HB 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?

Coming to a bookstore near you in the spring of 2020!

 

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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 scheduled to be released later this spring!

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? BIRTHDAY TREASURES

steampunk

 

All this rain I’ve had to deal with over the past two weeks makes me think of spring. You’ve heard the saying spring showers bring May flowers”? At the rate things are going around here, there will be no shortage of blossoms in a couple of months!

Spring also reminds me of two holidays…Saint Patrick’s Day and Easter. Whether it’s searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or collecting colorful eggs, treasure hunting can come in many forms. 

I choose to hunt for treasure which might be hiding in the corner of thrift stores and second hand bookstores. Amelia travels through time and around the globe to uncover treasures linked to great stories.

 

No photo description available.

 

Like this special treasure box she found one day while visiting the bayous of my hometown. Inside are messages from a dad caught in a war he never wanted, to a daughter heartsick with missing her father. If you want to know what’s hidden inside, you’ll have to wait until book three of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series comes out later this spring. Amelia took off running right after I took this picture. Can’t wait to she what treasure she uncovers next…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris HB 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?

Coming to a bookstore near you in the spring of 2020!

 

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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 scheduled to be released later this spring!

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Slip Sliding Away

Rain, Boots, Umbrella, Wet, Rain Falling

 

I’ve always loved rainy days. Especially when I could just hang out and listen to it or watch it fall. I especially liked when it would hit one of the metal awnings around my childhood home…pinging and slapping the metal in a rhythmic sound that always had a calming affect on me.

I’m not a huge fan of lightening though. Storms in southern Louisiana can get pretty intense and the lightening was almost always followed by the crashing, booming  rolls of thunder that would drive me under the covers when it happened in the middle of the night. 

But then there were those times when there would be a light rainfall and my mother would let me go outside to play in it. Donning galoshes and a raincoat,  I would dance in the rain…not a care in the world…and create streams in the mud where leaves with stick sails would travel to another world in my mind.

If I was really lucky, the water would collect in the deep ditch in our front yard. My sister and I would then take a thrown away refrigerator size cardboard box confiscated from the local hardware store dumpster and cut it open to create a homemade slippy slide leading from our front yard into the pond created in that ditch.

It didn’t matter we were poor and didn’t have a real pool. It didn’t matter that the water wasn’t crystal clear surrounded by white, sandy beaches.

In my mind, I was diving into a blue lagoon on some deserted tropical island and having the time of my life! My mother didn’t choose the life of poverty her children were born into, but she did allow us the freedom to use our creativity to have a little fun on a rainy day…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris HB cover

 

***COMING MARCH 20, 2020!***

 

Book three of the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series, Hunting Gris-Gris, is scheduled to be released this spring, just in time for Easter!

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 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 scheduled to be released later this spring!

WHERE DID AMELIA GO? Getting To Know All About You…

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Some of you have already met the mascot of the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series. Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Meet Amelia Earmouse…

 

Amelia 1

 

My incredibly talented illustrator, Estella Hickman (www.estellahickman.com), first introduced me to the idea of a mouse mascot for my historical fiction chapter book series. Estella knew me better than I knew myself and she knew her sassy, time-traveling, globe-trotting rodent would be just what I needed to introduce each new title in the series. 

But I didn’t think having a fabulous illustration alone would be enough to help launch my new series. I thought I could use a little more tangible prop to help children connect with each story. That’s when I came up with Amelia Earmouse version 2.0…

 

Amelia.jpg

 

I shared the original illustration with my critique group, and  my friend, Rinda Beach (www.rindabeach.com), came up with the perfect name…Amelia Earmouse…in honor of the sassy, adventure-seeking historical icon, Amelia Earhart. 

That’s when things got a little strange. Amelia seemed to take on a life of her own and pretty soon it felt like we were almost twins…

 

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Oh, the adventures we went on in search of little known historical events and even a touch of mystery! Who knew a little mouse would know so much about history? The only problem? Amelia’s favorite game is hide and seek, so the minute my back was turned, off she went! 

Now, I’M the one on the trail in search of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES’ mascot, and all I can say is WHERE DID AMELIA GO? The last time I caught up with her, she was chilling out in the basement children’s department of the downtown library…

 

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I took a quick picture, but before I could grab her, Amelia was on the move again. Maybe I’ll catch her next week! If you see her somewhere and attempt to grab her, be careful… you know how quick mice can scatter…

 

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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

 

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.

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: New Things Coming Your Way…

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I’m a firm believer the day you stop trying new things is the day you stop growing as a writer and as a human being. I worked on lots of new things this year…some great…others not so great. But all came with a lesson to learn.

I feel like I’ve grown in my writing as well. My original goal at the beginning of the year was to post five days each week and for the first ten months of 2019, I managed to stay consistent. But Fall came along and my life went into hyperdrive with three books lined up to be released October, November, and December! By the time the holidays came around I got the news I would also have another book coming out in January, as well as two more books in the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series.

With the sudden flurry of manuscript and publishing deadlines, I’ve had to give some serious thought to my blog and I’ve come to a decision I hope is agreeable to my followers as I strive to balance the many career pans I have on the fires in my life.

Beginning January 6th, I will be cutting back on some of the blog posts and shift some of those weekly posts to a quarterly newsletter. This helps me continue to connect with my wonderful readers, but still gives me the opportunities I need to hit my writing and publishing deadlines.

I will also be testing a new post series that I’ll reveal with the new year…;-)

If there is any particular type of posts…Monday’s TALES FROM THE BAYOU, Tuesday’s FLASH FICTION, Wednesday’s BOOK NOOK REVIEWS, Thursday’s THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, or Friday’s WRITERLY WISDOM…that you want to continue to see on a weekly basis instead of in a quarterly newsletter, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!  

And if you are new to my blog, or visit but haven’t “followed” me yet…it might be time for you to leave your email so you can get my quarterly newsletter and keep up with all the latest Story Catcher Publishing news including more contests scheduled for 2020, updates on each new title being released in the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series, as well as other goodies I have planned for the new year!

Counting down the days to a new year and a new surprise…

 

surprises

 

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU

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There’s a difference between my childhood in the swamps of Louisiana and living now in the shadow of the Great Smokey Mountains. Here, when I’m lucky, I get to see Mother Nature dance in shades of yellow, orange, and red to celebrate the coming of Fall. Back then, the seasons went from muggy, hot summer, to a little less muggy, rainy Fall. No change in colors. No celebration of lovely autumn foliage. Just a quiet shift in air around you and the marking off of days on the calendar to let you know Halloween was fast approaching.

Mid October would have my mother going in search of the best pumpkin to make the scariest Jack-o-Lantern in our neighborhood. Then would come the choosing of our costumes. When I was little, it was hand me down clothes until the year mother could afford to buy those cheap, plastic ones. I still remember how hot and sweaty it was behind my cat mask but I felt so modern in it instead of another year of going as an old lady.

Then came time in the kitchen, helping my mother make her annual Halloween popcorn balls rolled in syrup. She would make me grease up my fingers with butter before hand molding freshly popped popcorn with karo syrup into balls that would be handed out to trick or treaters. We couldn’t afford store bought candy to hand out so we made do with what we had around the house.

Finally it was time for Mother’s Halloween cake. Oh, how I lived in anticipation of that cake. For a house that seldom stocked store bought goodies, Mother’s cake was the ultimate in decadence to a young girl. Yellow cake with chocolate icing, it held every kind of mallow cream bat, cat, half moon, pumpkin, wheat stalk, and witch a sheet cake could hold! If I was lucky. I would win a corner piece and could drown in the sugary delight my mother’s annual Halloween cake could bring! 

No wonder I’m eyeing the calendar with childish delight and find myself counting down the days to my favorite holiday of the year…

 

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

The HISTORY’S MYSTERIES historical fiction chapter book series is finally here! Now available on Amazon, local bookstores, nd other online retailers. The Chocolate Train Wreck 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.