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. 

 

 

 

 

 

HERE A CONTEST, THERE A CONTEST, EVERYWHERE IS A CONTEST!

 

Misty

 

I have always enjoyed entering contests. I might have gotten that love from my mother, who I remember entering several contests throughout my growing years. She gathered S & H green stamps…letting me lick them before pressing them into the books she kept in the kitchen drawer. I loved looking through the catalogs, dreaming of all the cool things she could buy with just a little more licking and a little more stamping. Occasionally there would be a contest where she could win extra S & H green stamps and my mother would carefully fill out her entry form before sending it in.

I entered my first contest when I was eleven years old. My hometown library was sponsoring a 4th of July writing contest on patriotism. I ended up winning first place in my age bracket, and won a copy of Misty of Chincoteague. I STILL have that book after all these years…a reminder I was a writer back then and still driven by the written word decades later.

I want share my love of contests by sponsoring not one, not two, but THREE contests during the months of October and November.

 

CONTEST ONE:

 

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AMAZON REVIEWERS’ CONTEST…

If you purchased or received the PDF copy of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, and left an Amazon review, your name has been entered in the Amazon Reviewers’ Contest where five lucky winners will each win a Titanic commemorative coin. Deadline is noon on Monday, October 14th in order to have your name entered into the contest. Winners will be selected Monday night.

 

CONTEST TWO:

 

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SHIP OF DREAMS CONTEST…

This contest is part of a month long book birthday celebration of my newest release, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams. Book One takes place in Southampton during 1912…one month before the world famous ship, Titanic, would arrive in Southampton before leaving on her maiden voyage to America. There are three ways to enter this contest:

  1. Follow this blog between Tuesday, October 15th and Saturday, November 2nd.
  2.  Share this blog post on your social media sites and tag me so I can add your name to the contest.
  3.  Leave an Amazon review on Ship of Dreams by clicking on this link…https://www.amazon.com/HISTORYS-MYSTERIES-Dreams-Donna-Martin-ebook/dp/B07WD1B7X8/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ship+of+dreams+history%27s+mysteries&qid=1571022945&s=books&sr=1-1

Contest deadline is Saturday, November 2nd. Nine winners will be announced on Monday, November 4th.

 

CONTEST THREE:

 

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STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITERS’ CONTEST…

This publishing contest runs from Monday, October 7th through Friday, November 15th and is for young writers ages 10 through 18 years old. There are five catagories…fantasy, humor, horror, mystery, and miscellaneous and each entry must be between 750-1000 words long. There will be 25 winners with 25 prizes AND all winning entries will be published in an anthology by Story Catcher Publishing. Contest Rules can be found by clicking on this link…  https://storycatcherpublishing.com/contest-rules/

There you have it. Three contests from someone who has been entering contests since the days of my childhood. If you know of anyone who loves contests as much as I do, please help me get the word out about these fun and rewarding contests!

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

Now available in ebook, paperback, and hardback in all major bookstores and online retailers.

 

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In Book Two, nine-year-old Abigail thinks nothing exciting ever happens in Hamilton. But things change one stormy night when an airborne train and twenty tons of chocolate shower down on the sleepy village. Even local police and the FBI are puzzled over who caused the train to derail. Abigail and Billy team up to find out who’s behind the CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK, but will all they find is more questions?

There’s a mystery hovering over Hamilton–and it smells like CHOCOLATE!

 

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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, will be released in November.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE

by Donna L Martin

 

It’s incredible the number of things that need to be done before a book’s release. And I’m not even talking about the editing, revising, proofreading, illustrations, formatting, creating ebook files, or any of the other things I’m doing while I wear my publisher’s hat as Story Catcher Publishing so Book One, Ship of Dreams, from HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, a new historical fiction chapter book series for 9-11 year olds, can be released on October 14th of this year.

I’m thinking about how I as an author have to be prepared on my end for release day. This week I’m focusing on future book reviews of my manuscript. The Kidlit community is a wonderfully supportive group of incredible writers who are always willing to help spread the word about the next great children’s book. Reviews are a GREAT way for readers to show authors they value all the hard work we put into our stories. It even helps online sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. to validate the hundreds of thousands of books being uploaded to these and other online retailers every year.

 


HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

If you are curious about my new children’s series, be sure and send me your email address! Starting on Monday, September 16th, I will be emailing a FREE PDF copy of Book One, Ship of Dreams, to anyone who would like to send me a request to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com. Be sure to put Ship of Dreams PDF request in the subject line. It will be the same format readers will find in the ebook version. All I ask is that as a book reviewer, you read the entire book (80 pages) and then leave an HONEST REVIEW on Amazon for me. I will include the direct links to leave a review on Ship of Dreams in the email

 

Titanic front    s                        Titanic back

 

And for everyone who requests a PDF for review, your name will go into a drawing for a chance to win one of these commemorative Titanic coins for your very own! I will be giving away FIVE of these throughout the month of October to help celebrate the birth of my new children’s books series. I hope you will join me in the celebrations. There will be more surprise announcements and giveaways as we get closer to the October 14th release date!

I know some will like my book while others might not find it to be their cup of tea. But that’s okay! I value ALL reviews…positive and constructive…because I see validation of my work in the positive and challenges to improving the commercial appeal of my stories in the constructive. Always a lesson to be learned on that path to publication.

And I’ve even worked on a special classroom section from Amelia Earmouse for anyone who decides to purchase either the paperback or hardback versions! As a gift to all my readers, I will be loading some of those extra pages on my website (www.StoryCatcherPublishing.com) under an Amelia’s Kid’s Korner tab in the very near future. These handouts would be a great addition to any classroom discussion!

I’ve also listed some blogs and websites below who offer all types of book reviews. Some support the smaller presses, some are on a much larger scale but ALL have one thing in common…a deep, sincere love of books!

School Library Journal…http://www.slj.com/about-us/review-submissions
Publisher’s Weekly… http://publishersweekly.com/pw/corp/submissionguidelines.html
The Children’s Book Review… http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/media-kit/submission-guidlines
Bergers Book Reviews…http://bergersbookreviews.com
American Library Association… http://www.ala.org/offices/booklist/insidebooklist/booklistproc/proceduressubmitting
Kid Lit Reviews…http://kid-lit-reviews.com/policies-ratings-reviews/review-policies/
Kirkus Services…https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author-services/indie/
Midwest Book Review… http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm
YA & Kids Books Central… http://www.yabookscentral.com/info/10892-write-a-review
The Horn Book…http://www.hbook.com/about-us/submissions/
Book Page…http://bookpage.com/content/submission-guidelines
Booklist Online…http://www.booklistonline.com/get-reviewed
Association for Library Service to Children… http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb/ncbsubmissions
Library Journal… http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/about/submitting-titles-for-review/
The New York Times… http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/books/books.html
Through The Looking Glass… http://lookingglassreview.com/books/
Kids Reads…http://www.bookreporter.com/book-submission-inquiry
Readers Favorite…https://readersfavorite.com/

What about you?

Do YOU have a children’s book blog? If so, I’d love to chat with you about possibly reviewing my book! Do you know of a book review blogs or websites to add to my list? If you do, please share in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Donna L Martin

 

HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Title: HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams
Author: Donna L Martin
Publisher: Story Catcher Publishing
Ages: 9-11

 

Synopsis:

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

I think you should read it:

 

You might think any review I would give this particular book would be biased.

Of course it would. I mean I DID write it! But let me tell you WHY you should read it.

First of all, who doesn’t like the Titanic? Romance and mystery surround her wherever she goes. People read any stories about her, visit the museums in her honor, watch movies and documentaries about her. 

So what’s different about THIS book. you may ask?

Well, it takes place about a month before the great ship sailed and follows the adventures of a fictional character as she interacts with real historical personalities. There is also a small mystery weaved throughout the story and who doesn’t love a mystery?

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale

  

I’ll let YOU be the judge. The ebook version of HISTORY MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams is now available for pre-orders through Amazon with paperback and hardback becoming available October 14, 2019. And don’t forget to help an author out by kan Amazon review!

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: A Special Interview

 


Amelia Earmouse

Story Catcher Publishing caught up with the adventurous Amelia Earmouse recently and are excited to share the spotlight interview with you…

 

SCP: Amelia,  so glad you could stop by and chat with us before heading out on another adventure. Can you share a little bit about yourself with our readers?

Amelia: Well, I’m the youngest of 172 siblings and with that many brothers and sisters, you can get lost in the crowd! I tried different things to stand out…putting on some dark glasses and walking around with a white cane, running up and down a clock, helping out a lion with a nasty thorn in its paw, and even swabbing the decks of the Mayflower!. But nothing seemed to help until the year I turned 10.

SCP: What happened then?

Amelia: That’s when I realized I wanted to share my adventures with everyone. So many stories and so little time!

SCP: You’ve lived an amazing life. Why chose Ship of Dreams for your first story to share?

Amelia: Everyone loves the Titanic! And who doesn’t love a little mystery? Each one of my stories will spotlight a little known historical fact and mix in some of the mystery surrounding what happened.

SCP: So when do we get to check out your new chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES?

Amelia: Book One, Ship of Dreams, will hit bookstores October 14, 2019. 

SCP: So you have more planned?

Amelia: Oh yes! Book Two, Chocolate Train Wreck, about an unsolved mystery involving a train and twenty tons of chocolate is set to release in November, 2019! 

SCP: Wow! We can’t wait! Do you have any other things planned for your new series?

Amelia: I’m also going to have a contest when the first book comes out where up to ten lucky winners can receive a beautiful commemorative coin showcasing the Titanic. All readers have to do is ask for a free copy of Ship of Dreams and then leave an honest review on Amazon for a chance to win…

 

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(FRONT/BACK)

SCP: Sounds like a win/win! We’ll definitely follow up and share the contest details with all of our readers! Thank you so much, Amelia Earmouse, for stopping by and chatting with us.

Amelia: Any time! Now I’m off to dig up a little WWII mystery down in the swamps of Louisiana for Book Three. Catch you on the flip side!

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

Flash Fiction Tuesday: Ship of Dreams


HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

Check out the sneak peek at Ship of Dreams…coming October 14th, 2019. Want to know more?

 

Chapter One

The Journal

 

 

Wednesday, March 20th, 1912

Dear Journal,

This is my first time writing in you. I got you for my birthday today from Aunt Alberta. Momma says every young lady should keep a journal of her most private thoughts. I asked her what kind of thoughts a ten-year-old girl would have that was important enough to write down. Momma told me not to be so saucy. There’s just no talking to Momma when she scrunches up her eyebrows and her smile turns upside down, so here I am, scribbling on this blank page just to be able to tell her I wrote my thoughts today.

Well, there is one thing I can tell you DIDN’T happen today, Journal, and that’s the maiden voyage of the White Star Line’s newest ship. They call the ship Titanic and I hear it’s the biggest one ever built! Momma and I were supposed to meet Papa down at the docks to say goodbye to all those folks traveling to faraway places like America. It was going to be kind of special, it being my birthday and all. I must remember to ask Papa at dinner tonight what happened. Papa sure is lucky to be one of White Star Line’s tally men. He might oversee loading things onto the ships, but he hears all the latest gossip down on the docks as well. That means Momma and I do too…

 

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Amelia Earmouse

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

Tell your friends to mark their calendar!!

 

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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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 1th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Not Your Normal Zen Garden

 

zen

 

One of the houses I lived in as a child had a rather large area at the back of the house filled with tall bamboo trees, giving it (at first glance) a rather Zen feel to that corner of yard. I could stand next to those trees towering over me and dream myself away to some far away land where anything was possible.

My mother, on the other hand, lived a very practical existence and all those trees meant to her was another back breaking chore to be done by hacking the branches back into some resemblance of order instead of the wild array of branches they typically displayed.

The only problem with trimming those wild trees, was the fact we never knew of the multitudes of hornets who called those plants their home.

That is, until the day Mother decided to hack into their nest and unleash their outraged fury on my poor head and shoulders. I remember there was a lot of screaming on my part and numerous lumps left all over my head on the part of the hornets.

While the pain subsided eventually and the bumps finally healed, the memory of that horrible day was etched into my soul forever. Even to this day, if any winged creature ventures too close to my head, I will still do the dance of the deranged to try to escape another possible attack.

I don’t think hacking is such a good thing for a writer either. A few years ago my own computer was hacked by a gentleman out of South Africa, posing as an author trying to be a part of my WRITERLY WISDOM series at the time. While I chose not to allow him to participate, he decided to hack into my yahoo email account at the time, as well as my Facebook account, and delete two years of detailed research I had been doing for a project I was working on at the time.

My computer at the time was very old and really didn’t allow much back up capabilities. There was nothing I could do to recover from being hacked.

Sometimes things happen to our writing that devastates us. The pain to our writerly spirit is as real as the pain caused by those hornets so long ago.

But we have to remember it’s not the end of the world. Some of our work may no longer be around, but the spark that chose to take on a particular project is still there…deep within us…leading us to even bigger dreams than we might have first imagined. I know, because my latest book is a dream come true…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal worker’s strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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

 

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 book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 1th, 2019.