THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Thanking My Lucky Stars

 

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When I was about four years old, my mother owned and ran a local ice cream stand across from the high school’s football field. My grandfather built it for her soon after she married my father and it was THE place to hang out after school and on the weekends.

All the kids called us LUCKY because they thought we could eat ice cream any time we wanted.

The reality was that if we were LUCKY, the store brought in just enough money to help pay the bills, and by the time I was in school, my mother was forced to sell the business.

There were two things she took with her when she locked up for the last time. One was the famous framed mirror of my ghost story and a five foot wide plate of glass that had fit in a window separating the kitchen area from the small jukebox dance and game room.

A couple of days after leaving the ice cream stand, my sister and I were jumping up and down on some mattresses that were stored in an extra room at our house. I can remember how LUCKY I felt to have this homemade trampoline at my disposal.

That is, until we heard the horrendous cracking sound…

Apparently my mother thought storing that plate glass between two thick mattresses would ensure nothing would happen to it.

She didn’t factor in my notorious bad LUCK.

I guess you could say I was actually LUCKY that day though.

No one got hurt and I actually got to walk away from that “adventure” with my backside still intact!

LUCK is a tricky thing. Some people like my son seem to have the good kind in abundance. And then there are others, like myself, that have nothing but the frustratingly annoying kind that seems to test one’s patience every day.

But being the eternal optimist, I’d like to think we have a hand in determining our own LUCK, so why not wake up each morning with the idea that Lady LUCK is on YOUR side? I can think of many ways I can count my LUCKY stars…

1. I have a skill for storytelling and continue to strengthen that skill every day.

2. I have people I count as dear friends who support my writing dreams.

3. I have seen my stories published in the past and God willing, will do so again in the future.

4. I have many stories running around in my head…though not always enough time in the day to write them down.

5. I feel the love and support of this wonderful writing community and I’m truly blessed to be able to count myself a part of it!

I hope you have an AWESOME day today, my DCSPeeps, because you deserve it

 

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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: An Unlikely Hero

 

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day and all around the country I’m sure mothers everywhere celebrated with family or friends. I lost my own mother when I was 21 and when she left this world, we were on slightly strained speaking terms. More like two strong spirited women who didn’t always appreciate the other’s point of view.

But when I think about my mother now, I’ve come to realize the many gifts she gave me while growing up in the swamps of Louisiana…

 

CREATIVITY

 

I can only imagine what went through my mother’s mind each day as she struggled to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs. As a child, I hated to sit down for a meal because I was never sure what would be waiting for me on my plate. Things most people disposed of would end up on the menu…fish HEADS, chicken FEET and rooster COMBS, pig’s INTESTINES…and we were expected to eat it or get beaten for refusing it. As a child I often wondered why Mother was so cruel to force us to eat those things. As an adult I now realize it was either eat that or NOTHING. I now realize the sacrifices my mother made so her children had something… anything…in their bellies each day. As an adult, I have a very simple palette where food is concerned and appreciate the fact there are some foods that will NEVER have to cross my lips again!

 

INGENUITY

 

My mother was the queen of patching things up…making things last (a result of living through the home front challenges of World War II I imagine)…and being the youngest of four kids, I was usually stuck with everyone else’s hand me downs. It was bad enough I had to walk around in my sisters’ cast offs, but when I was forced to attend school in a dead woman’s dress, I wanted the ground to swallow me up! Mother had one of those old trundle sewing machines, and one day when she’d heard about a yard sale for a neighbor who recently died, she decided to buy all those old lady’s dresses just so she could rip out the seams, cut them down to our size, and sew them back together for our new school wardrobe. Can you imagine what went through my ten-year-old mind when I was forced to wear THOSE hand me downs? As a child I was teased and bullied just for the clothes I wore and I know I felt anger at times that my mother would do this to me. As an adult I can appreciate the fact my mother had little money to clothe her children and was only doing the best she could at the time. As an adult I do not covet expensive clothes and appreciate the fact I have enough to wear in the first place.

 

PIONEER SPIRIT

 

My mother loved being outdoors. Mother communed with nature and grew everything from vegetables to flowers at every rental house we lived in during my childhood. Mother had been raised on a farm in the Ozarks and was used to hard labor just to survive in a family of eleven. I spent many long hours during hot Louisiana summers either working in Mother’s garden, or visiting a neighbor just to harvest figs and berries from the trees in their back yard. On Sundays we would all pile into an old black truck, riding around the countryside checking our crawfish and turtle traps or even bringing home a stray snapping turtle or armadillo we’d found along the side of the road. As a child I hated all the hard work necessary to keep our family fed. As an adult I am strongly connected with nature because of all those years working outdoors.

Life was not easy back then for a family of six living deep in the swamps of southern Louisiana with very little money to their name. But when I think back to all the things my mother did every day to care for her children, I realize she was a most unlikely hero of my childhood. She instilled me the very foundation that allows me to tackle the obstacles in my own life with the same creativity, ingenuity, and pioneer spirit my mother inherited from her own mother. 

It’s sad to think I did’t realize the precious gifts of spirit my mother gave me as a child, so I never had the chance to thank her while she was living for all I’ve learned from her over the years. The best I can do to honor her now is live my life to the fullest since she worked so hard to make sure I had a chance to even have one…

Happy Mother’s Day Mom…

 

mom

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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: Donna L Martin

 

soccer

 

The 5 Things Needed To Win The World Cup…And Succeed At Writing

 

I know a lot of people watch soccer field battles going on around the globe. Everyone has their favorite team and I’m sure plenty of friendly wagers are being placed on who will ultimately win the World Cup each year.

Being the writer I am and not a huge follower of ANY sport, I found myself analyzing some soccer games from an entirely different viewpoint and discovered there are a number of reasons a particular team came out on top each time.

 

1. SKILL

 

These teams are not amateurs but seasoned professional athletes. They spent a lot of time honing their skills and any victories earned have come from hard work at perfecting their craft. Writers prepare for the challenge of winning at the publication game by studying and fine tuning the art of storytelling until their skills as a writer are razor sharp.

 

2. SPORTSMANSHIP

 

Most of the time you will see athletes act in a respectful and courteous manner, even when they lose. They can still feel a disappointing loss while congratulating others on a well earned win. Writers who whine about a negative response from a publisher or agent sometimes forget the walls have ears and others are watching…and many will be looking for a professional response at all times.

 

3. TEAMWORK

 

World Cups are never won by ONE person. It takes a group of individuals depending on each other to help and support one another all the way to the top of their game. Writers can depend on peer groups, critique groups, agents, editors, and publishers as well as friends and family to help them along the road to publication. And when the time is right, those same writers should lend a helping hand to those following in their footsteps.

 

4. PERSEVERANCE

 

I wonder how many times the players on a soccer team have missed a goal during practice? How many times they have made a misstep and fallen? Did they just lie there, drowning in their tears of frustration or did they get up and try again until they succeeded? There will ALWAYS be writer’s block, rejection letters, poor sales, etc. It is what we writers DO when that happens which determines our success at our chosen career. Whether we become a door mat or get back on our feet separates the winners from the losers at this writing game.

 

5. LUCK

 

Despite all the other areas a world class team may excel in, there will still always be a level of pure luck in claiming that World Cup trophy. All the stars need to be in alignment and somebody needs to be holding that lucky rabbit’s foot because when all is said and done, soccer is still just a game and there are no guarantees in sports. It’s the same with writing world. Writers can’t control being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time but they CAN increase their chances of winning the writing jackpot if they perfect the other areas…

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Trusting Your Gut

 

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The summer after I graduated high school I decided to visit my brother in San Diego. He was in the Navy, stationed on the USS Enterprise and 6 years older than me. Remember, I am an extreme introvert, so when one of his Navy buddies invited me to go out with him one Saturday, I trusted my instincts and said yes.

At almost eighteen, this was my first date ever and I kinda expected a meal and a movie.

I was mistaken.

What I got was an all day hike up the side of a mountain to a place called the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

Did I mention I was terrified of open heights?

Or that I later found out a group of climbers fell to their deaths a few weeks before off the very trail I was on?

Ignorance is bliss and the young blindly trusting as I was that day. I climbed like a mountain goat to the peak so I could gaze at the beautiful, if not dangerous, bowl shaped vista below me.

A once in a lifetime moment and it comes to my mind as vividly as if it happened yesterday. Trust is a powerful thing and can lead you to great moments waiting for you in the not too distant future:

Trust the rightness of beginning your writing journey if you have been hesitant before now to take the leap of faith.

Trust and follow blogs of writers who have been where you are right now and have writerly wisdom to share. Like these great blogs:

https://janefriedman.com

http://www.thecreativepenn.com

http://writersinthestormblog.com/

http://writerunboxed.com

http://www.kidlit411.com

http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

http://www.taralazar.com/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

 
Trust that you have people in this writing community who will offer loving support to help lift you up when you are struggling with self-doubt.

And finally, trust there is a happy writer version of you just waiting on some mountain peak to greet you with open arms.

All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and start climbing!

Have an awesome day today because you deserve it!

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: You Can Be THAT Kind of Writer

 
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There are many movies made from books coming out these days. Movies portraying characters first born in the mind of a writer. A few years ago I went to see TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE. This book turned movie was based on a true story about the life of Solomon Northup. In 1841 he was a free black man living in the northern United States. Through certain circumstances, he ended up spending the next twelve years of his life as a slave in the deep south. I got wrapped up in the portrayal of this one man and even had tears well up during certain scenes. But as I walked out of the theater and stepped back into reality I began to wonder what was it exactly about the movie that moved me so?

Was it the fact one of my favorite actors, Brad Pitt was in it? Although he played a lovely Canadian, I don’t think so. Was it because the movie covered a dark part of US history I will NEVER understand? Even the time frame wasn’t responsible for my being drawn into what was happening on the screen in front of me.

Then it hit me.

It was the words. I should have known. Those beautiful, mesmerizing, gut-wrenching words created by someone reaching out to the universe through the power of the written word. Blood, sweat, and tears dripping across the page to leave their mark on someone 160 years into their future. How did the author telling Soloman’s story know exactly which words to write?

Honestly? I don’t think they did. I think they must have tried and failed and tried and failed until the combination of thoughts were perfect. I think Solomon’s writer had a wish to share his story with others and a hope it would leave it’s mark on the heart of history. I think they would have been astounded to discover the changes in the world today and the lives they have touched with their words.

I want to be that kind of writer. YOU can be that kind of writer! The kind of writer who motivates through their words. The kind who inspires with their stories. Someone who weaves their magic to skip across the page and entice readers to join the dance. No matter the genre, no matter the day and age, there will always be writers to take us on that journey of discovering the deeper side of ourselves.

So I wonder…what kind of writer are you?

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

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?

$16.99

 

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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

 

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Take Pride In Your Pride

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It’s human nature to want to belong to the pack. Practically hardcoded in our DNA to seek out social interaction from the day we are born. Animals feel it too. The urge to become part of a larger group, even when it results in a pecking order. Lions are known to live and hunt in groups called prides. Guided by the wisest alpha male, these prides of lions can maintain generations of family members through tight bonds and familiar relationships. This writing community is like that pride of lions.

We take care of the new cub writers and help them assimilate into the larger group. Through nature and nurture we welcome our newest members into the community. We smile at their first hesitant steps because we well remember our own first steps on this path to publication. We nudge and encourage until one day we see those new writers begin to grow into their writer’s voice.

Wisdom comes with time and lessons are learned along the way. Soon those newbies aren’t cubs anymore, but young authors who carve their own path in the writing wilderness. Sometimes they challenge the leaders of the day with various outcomes, but it is done for the greater good of the group and leaders can change with the seasons.

I look around this writing community and realize I am no longer that newborn cub who gazes in wonder around her. I am a member of a pride of writers who are fiercely loyal to their own. I am still young on this journey and have much still to learn. I am comforted by the knowledge others are watching over me. Ready and willing to lend a helping hand and offer words of support as I grow into the writer I was meant to be. Take pride in your pride for nowhere else will you find a family quite like this one.

Run with the pack and enjoy the ride…unless, of course, you are that lone wolf with something to howl about…

 

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lunadar

(Available now as ebook on Am

azon)

 

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?

 

Author Profile Pic
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), ebook edition, is now available from Amazon.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Dreaming Big

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When I was little, I had little dreams. Dreams about getting my first bicycle. Dreams about getting a puppy. But as I got bigger, my dreams got bigger. Dreams about becoming a writer. Dreams about seeing my name on the cover of a book.

No matter how big the dream might have been, I knew if I can dream it I can do it.

Eighteen years ago I walked into a martial arts school. I had a little dream of maybe learning a little martial arts. I worked hard even though I was scared I might not be able to get it right. I even managed to break my little toe the first week I started my training when my toe turned one way and the rest of my body turned the other.

But still I kept the dream.

After my first belt testing came along and I didn’t die from fright, my dream got a little bit bigger. Maybe I can make it all the way to first level black belt.

If I can dream it, I can do it.

The years passed, my training continued, and I discovered every time I replaced my belt with a new one, the dream continued to grow. I wasn’t held back by the confines of my limitations. Instead, the challenges to overcome my “disabilities” only served to feed my passion until I received my Four Star Fourth Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo. My dream stayed big enough to carry me to a place I almost didn’t believe I could reach until I actually did it.

Story Catcher Publishing is like that black belt to me. A dream that means the world to me. Something bigger than I ever thought possible. But if I dream it, I can do it. And there is nothing wrong with a little dreaming…

 

lunadar

(Buy at Amazon)

 

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?

 

Author Profile Pic

 

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), ebook edition, is now available from Amazon.