TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Not Your Mama’s Flower Garden

 

 

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With this new year, I’m turning more of my focus into making Story Catcher Publishing the best little publishing company I can. My company’s motto is “catching great stories…together” and to that end, every Monday from now on I will be sharing a little story from my childhood growing up around the swamps of Louisiana. I promise every story is true and maybe you will even discover a little bit of your own childhood in my TALES FROM THE BAYOU…

 

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There was nowhere else my mother would rather have been than outside. Born and raised on a farm in the Ozarks, my mother taught me at an early age to appreciate the beauty Nature could provide…especially with it’s flowers.

Every year my mother would faithfully look through the Burpee Seed catalog and plan two things. One, which vegetables to plant in her family’s veggie garden. And two, a new batch of tulip bulbs to plant in a garden created solely for her own viewing and smelling pleasure.

My mother loved tulips and had a small garden of them right outside the door of our house at 407 McMurtry Street. She also liked to plant them around the base of the large tree standing in the front yard. Every year I could count on those lovely reds, yellows, and other shades of tulip sunshine to brighten my mornings.

One year, however, Mother noticed the tulip bulbs she planted around the tree base had been dug up by some mysterious creature. Not to be outdone by what she thought was a stray cat, Mother planted some more in the same spot. Within a week all that was left were a few pieces of chewed up leaves and newly clawed up earth. What in the world was eating her tulips?

It didn’t take long to discover who the mystery invader of Mother’s flower garden was. Early one Spring morning my mother stepped outside to tend to her veggie garden when she startled a family of armadillos as they were making their way back from a forage through her tulip bed. Dumbfounded at the sight, Mother could only stare as mother armadillo and her babies scurried out of sight under the house.

On one hand she was glad to discover the mystery tulip thief, but on the other she had no clue on how to get rid of them. She didn’t have to wonder for long as Mother Nature decided to take matters into her own hands.

Shortly after the discovery of the armadillo family, Mother noticed stray cats no longer meandered through our yard. While it never had been a huge problem, still it was surprising to not see any at all. It was about that same time we started hearing strange, menacing noises coming from under the house.

Soft and low at first, the sound would increase in volume until the deep throated rumbling roar could be heard clearly all the way over to the surrounding neighbor’s yards. This went on for days and the cats continued to disappear until Mother finally figured out what was causing that demonic sound coming from under our floorboards.

She called the local game warden and requested he come to the house to pick up the 8 foot alligator who decided to make our yard his new home. And the armadillo family? Well, I’m sorry to say they made a tasty snack for that old alligator, but at least Mother got her tulips back…

 

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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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Nomadic Life

 
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As we step into the new year, I’m turning more of my focus into making Story Catcher Publishing the best little publishing company I can. My company’s motto is “catching great stories…together” and to that end, beginning today and every Monday from  now on I will be sharing a little story from my childhood growing up around the swamps of Louisiana. I promise every story is true and maybe you will even discover a little bit of your own childhood in my TALES FROM THE BAYOU…

 

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While I never had a pet camel growing up, I certainly know what it’s like to live the nomadic life. My family moved into five different houses in the first twelve years of my life. We were considered one of the poorest families in my hometown of Gueydan, Louisiana and with my mother trying to make ends meet on one cook’s income and six mouths to feed, it was a challenge just to keep food on the table much less pay the rent. So we moved around. A lot.

The first house I lived in on Second Ave I don’t actually remember. I was a baby but I’ve been told it was in a run down state with walls not quite reaching the ceiling which allowed unwelcome rats to peek over the top and spy on my crib.

Fortunately the next home we moved to, 202 8th Street, had a large back yard where Mother could raise rabbits for extra food. That was where I ran away from home for the first time, with candy my sweet reward but that’s another story for another time…;~)

Then came 510 Garland where I did everything from collect loose baby teeth for the tooth fairy to accidentally breaking the collar bone of a childhood friend. Yet another story for another time.

The next home, 313 McMurtry, was where I started school, ran away from home for a second time, and collected some of my favorite childhood memories.

The last house I moved to before leaving home for good was 407 McMurtry. The house itself was steeped in local history…as well as spirits. It was where both my parents died, I discovered secret passages and had ghostly encounters…more fodder for more tales later…

I think living the nomadic life helped shape the person I am today. Not only do I appreciate the stability of having my own home now, but moving so many times taught me to think small…to minimize the material things in my life and to reevaluate what truly matters. To make sure wherever I go, I keep what’s important to me…like friends and family…close to my heart at all times.

Thanks Mom and Dad for that nomadic life!

 

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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: 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?

 

xmas cookies.jpg

 

 

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.

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: A Holly Jolly Christmas

 

church

 

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.

*******************

I love everything about Christmas. The decorations, the food, the hunt for the perfect gift of the special loved ones in my life, and of course…for me…the story of the Nativity. Growing up in a small town in the swamps of Louisiana, we had real trees, strings of popcorn and cranberries, and a musical church which played “Away In The Manger” while the church doors opened up to display a lighted Mary and baby Jesus. I loved singing Christmas carols and would wind up that church every night and sing along.

I remember one Christmas I was sick with strep throat and my mother forbade me to do any singing. I waited patiently until she was out of the room, and then I snuck over to the church, wound up the music box, and whispered the words to the song that carried me through every holiday season until I left my childhood home.

When my mother died, the church came to me and every Christmas it sits in my living room to welcome in ta new Advent season. The doors don’t automatically open anymore and there is no light shining on the family inside, but the music box still plays. I would love to find someone to repair the treasure but I also fear letting it out of my sight. So I will wind it up and slowly open the doors myself…and softly sing that glorious hymn of my childhood…

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

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

I’m happy to announce the winner of week ten of my TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR free giveaway! Amy Spisak has won the beach themed tea light holder. Thanks for signing up to be part of my Lunadar Street Team! Congratulations! Look for my email on how to get your prize…

***DON’T FORGET! It’s week eleven of THE TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR giveaway and this week you get a chance to win the $10 Barnes & Noble gift card 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.

UNEXPECTED HIATUS…

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I thought once I bought a new computer, my troubles would be over. Now it appears I need to do more work on merging my files, internet connections, and existing programs onto the new computer and it’s proving to be more of a challenge than I expected.

I have no doubt I will be able to set up the new computer in due time but right now, the rest of my life, work, and upcoming holiday obligations are eating up any spare time I have to be able to work on setting up my new computer.

This leaves me with one option and that is to begin my holiday hiatus earlier than planned. Originally, I was going to be away from my computer from 12/21/18 through 1/2/19 for any work related issues. I would still be on Facebook and other social sites, but was going to focus on a much needed rest. For now, I will pause my blog posts until after the New Year so I may have time to get this new computer set up correctly and can tackle the new year properly.

I will still find a way to load my Monday posts for the next three weeks to complete my TWLEVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR freebies contest but that’s about it for now.

To all my readers, I wish the very merriest of holiday season for you and your family. I hope Santa brings you everything you might wish for, and I hope you return to this blog with the new year to find out about all the new and exiting things I have in store for Story Catcher Publishing!

And if you are in the area next Saturday, I will be at the Barnes & Noble in west Knoxville from 9-2, signing copies of LUNADAR: Homeward Bound as well as my story in Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us. See you there!

 

ornaments

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: A Holiday Countdown

 

relaxing.jpg

 

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.

*******************

Christmas is just weeks away and here at Story Catcher Publishing, I’m gearing up for the holidays. This past weekend I checked off everything on my family and friends’ wish list. My living room is pile high with various bags and boxes from my search for the perfect Christmas gifts. Even my book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound, is on sale for the holidays. The ebook version is listed at $1.99 and you can get the print version for $12.49 through the end of the year.

I’ve also started the next book in the LUNADAR series. Indie author fans are no different from traditionally published author fans. They all want to be the first to read the next book and the longer you wait between books, the more impatient they can become. Besides, I can’t wait to find out what else happens to Ariana, Kaspar, and Candra in LUNADAR: Candra’s Revenge.

I’m also sorting through a number of book contests I can possibly submit my book to over the next few weeks. Winning a book award helps validate an indie author’s writing and shows the world their book just might be worth reading.

These next few weeks are going to be hectic for me, so please forgive me in advance  if I seem a bit distracted.  I also have an extended vacation coming up and plan to catch up on some much needed rest…

 

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Week Ten 2 (1)

 

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

 
I’m happy to announce the winner of week nine of my TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR free giveaway! Laura De La Cruz has won the Yorkie Book Stand. Thanks for following me on Twitter! Congratulations! Look for my email on how to get your prize…

 
***DON’T FORGET! It’s week ten of THE TWELVE WEEKS OF LUNADAR giveaway and this week you get a chance to wish you are at the beach with the beach themed tea light holder 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.