CONFESSIONS OF A PANDEMIC LIFE: The New Home

Just in case you didn’t get a chance to check out part one, The Old House, in my post about life during the pandemic, you can click on this link to see how I had to live in my home last year.

In late November 2020, work FINALLY began! Huge truckloads of materials were delivered to my house…although I did have to fight with one company who was determined to ship a box truck of material to my P O BOX!!

I found out last week that after being on a waiting list for FIVE YEARS, I was finally approved for a city grant for a partial weatherization of my house. This new heat pump was installed as well as much needed insulation which hopefully lowers my HUGE monthly electric bill. Fingers crossed…lol.

My contractor sealed up my chimneys both outside and inside so I never have to worry about another soot implosion. I have touches of coastal living EVERYWHERE! Can you see some of the ocean reminders in my living room? One of my students had a special beach-themed tumbler made with my name on it and it fits perfectly with my “beach” house.

In another corner of my living room is this special driftwood looking piece I found while treasuring hunting at one of my local thrift stores. I bought quite a few things over the months while my house was being repaired and now I get to place them in their forever spots! The tray of shells is one of my many DIY projects around the house.

In another corner of the living room is one of my desks. I love the wall decals, and if you look real close, you will see one of my mermaid figurines watching over me while I work. I also have a rolling desk that I am actually using as I type this blog post. I can roll it into any room of the house if I’m working on a project and want to take it with me.

Remember that bathroom from Monday’s post? My bathroom is extremely small, so the contractor had a wonderful idea to pull the regular door and install a sliding barn door. Not only does it modernize the room’s look, visually the room appears HUGE.

I LOVE my new shower! I almost can’t remember what that hideous old bathroom looked like!

I found this lovely shower curtain to help continue the beach theme in the bathroom.

Gone are the leaky sink and toilet. I found that beautiful mirror for $10 through a local online marketplace.

I’m keeping everything minimalistic and simple. I found the seahorse through Wish.com and that cute little plant is another DIY project of mine.

Moving into my study/writing room, one wall will be for author visit supplied, the craft of writing books and supplies, and other items I need to tuck away for later. Did you catch my pirate parrot friend sitting up high? He just might end up in one of the planned HISTORY’S MYSTERIES titles I’m working on for the future.

On one wall in the study is this cool credenza I found with an old world map design on it. Another touch of beach decor and it ties right into the rest of the room.

On the other wall, that cabinet holds extra copies of my books as well as the marketing props I use for my author events. I still have some organizing to do but after a year of living like a nomad, just looking at these pictures warms my heart.

Right next to it is my roll top desk. When I bought my house 23 years ago, I told myself if NOTHING else gets bought, I will have my rolltop desk I’ve dreamed of having all my adult life. Now, it sits in front of a window facing my back yard in a freshly painted room. Oh, the stories I hope to write at that desk!

This chimney also imploded, but not nearly as badly as the one in my living room. Now it’s sealed off ad my SEAL family chills out under another DIY project I did for this room. Literally every single shell was strategically placed on that mantle and I even put actual SAND under them. The fabric angel I found at a thrift store and it inspired me to write a poem about it.

Here’s the sea inspired poem that hangs next to that fabric angel.

Next, take a look at my kitchen sink. Remember that old, rusted metal one from Monday’s post? Now I have a new sink/counter top combo that I love as well as beautiful curtains and a shell rug to carry my beach theme throughout the house.

I know it’s silly to be giddy about a counter top but THIS counter top does two things for me. It tucks my new hot water heater out of sight behind a false front under that counter and it provides extra food prep space I’ve NEVER had before in this house! Silly I know, but I also love my hanging hooks under that corner cabinet for my cooking utensils.

I found a distressed book case at a local furniture store and converted it into a baker’s rack for storing pots, pans, and small appliances.

Those grey curtains blend in with the wall color and hide the built in pantry behind it. The new bathroom tower that I found on Walmart.com offers a little more organizational storage in the kitchen.

The last room in my house is my bedroom. My sanctuary. One of the first things I bought for the bedroom was this cool sea turtle clock from Wish.com.

Here’s another one of my DIY projects. I found this unusual shaped, blown glass bowl on a piece of driftwood in a local home decor store and instantly imagined myself at the beach. What do you think?

If you look closely, you will see my beach terrarium on my chest of drawers, my arrangement of seashells and my sea turtle I found hidden away at a local second hand furniture store.

I can not express how happy my spirit feels when I see my redecorated bedroom. My new bedcover and pillows carry the beach theme and gone is the bland dirty, beige walls with drab, boring wall art. I found that headboard for $20 at another local thrift store and it helps brighten up the room.

Across from my bed is my lovely reading nook. Isn’t that egg-shaped chair so cute? I was so excited to find that tapestry and it REALLY sets the tone of the room. That toy chest is holding extra blankets and that wire plant tower is now a modern book case. And in case you didn’t notice, that adorable wire lighthouse is another thrift store treasure.

Here’s my new baby. My old Kia had 241,000 miles on it and had served me well for seven years. This is my new-to-me car…a Nissan Versa.

Another view of my new car.

One last look at my new baby…

There were a few good things that came out of 2020 where my writing was concerned. One was book three of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES historical fiction chapter book series came out. Hunting Gris-gris takes place during World War II and tells the story of the mysterious bayou monster I grew up with down on the bayou in southern Louisiana.

Book one, Ship of Dreams, and book two, The Chocolate Train Wreck, also did great last year!

Both of those books won five star ratings from the READERS’ FAVORITE organization! It makes a writer happy to have their hard work recognized and it encourages me to keep sharing my stories with the world!

My house is about 90% back in place and hopefully by next month I will be able to get back in my writing study and focus on book four, President Lincoln’s Balloons!

So tell me, dear readers, what do you think of my repaired, remodeled, new-to-me home now?

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Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Pick your favorite…

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

PAY A BOOK FORWARD January Book List

I’m excited to share with you the books I will be giving away for the month of January. Here is the breakdown of January’s list:

  1. Hop on Pop written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
  2. Bear Stands Up For Christmas written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Janet Chapman
  3. Crankenstein written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat
  4. Incredible Ned written by Bill Maynard and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
  5. The Very Special Valentine written by Christine Tagg and illustrated by Maggie Kneen
  6. Little Critter Little Red Riding Hood written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
  7. I Love You Daddy written by Jillian Harker and illustrated by Kristina Stephenson
  8. The Snuggliest Snuggle in the World written by Sarah Nash and illustrated by Daniel Howarth
  9. Finding Nemo by Disney/Pixar
  10. The Grouchy Ladybug written and illustrated by Eric Carle
  11. Look and Find Disney Princesses by Disney
  12. A Snowman Named Just Bob written by Mark Kimball Moulton and illustrated by Karen Hillard Crouch

A wide variety of books for young readers and a great addition to any library! I had the pleasure of reading all of these books…some of them old favorites. I grew up reading Mercer Mayer…actually one of the reasons I became a writer of children’s books myself…is because of great stories like these that encouraged me to dream.

If you are interested in possibly winning this bundle of books, you need to come back any day between the 10th and the 20th to leave a comment on my official January PAY A BOOK FORWARD blog post, or the one I share on my Facebook page, or on my Twitter account. A random winner will be announced on the 20th and they will have until the 25th to provide a valid mailing address so I can send them their FREE book bundle. If I don’t hear from the winner by then, I will select an alternative winner who will then have until the 30th to contact me. If no winner contacts me by the 30th, I will then donate that month’s bundle to a local school or library in my area.

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There is also the opportunity to win the BONUS PRIZE each month. This month the BONUS PRIZE is a cute book signed by my author friend, the lovely Tammi Sauer! QUIET WYATT is near and dear to my heart because I was the quiet kid growing up. As an adult I have excelled in martial arts, just like Wyatt, because this type of training doesn’t require a loud voice to achieve your personal goals. Readers will LOVE going on a “quiet” adventure to discover new friendships on a school field trip.

For a chance at winning this signed book, all you need to do is post a picture of a book YOU are planning to share with others during this PAY A BOOK FORWARD event on my Facebook or Twitter post any time between the 10th and the 20th of this month. Of course I would love for it to be one of MY books you pay forward, but ANY book you share with a reader is a win-win for both of you!

Words can be magical. They can lift a reader up and help them soar to new heights or even discover new worlds. Writers are the magicians who pull those stories from deep in their imaginations to sprinkle the world with the gift of words!

Come back on the tenth for your chance to win some FREE books!

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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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

www.amazon.com/author/donnalmartin

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?

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!

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?

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?

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: It’s Getting Hot Out Here

 

garden

 

With the rising temperatures announcing the arrival of Spring, my thoughts turn to vegetable gardens. One image I will always have from my childhood is my mother planting her vegetable garden no matter where we lived. Small yard, large yard, she always found the space to supplement her meager grocery allowance for our family of six with food fresh from the garden.

Every spring I would look through the Burpee seed catalog as my mother made plans for her latest endeavor. Green beans to potatoes to carrots and radishes, everything had a place in my mother’s garden. But the one vegetable I remember the best are her tomatoes.

No starter plants would do except for the free ones she could get from the local sewage processing plant. I imagine most people stayed away from that place due to the overwhelming smell alone. 

But not my mother.

Every year, we would make our way to the fields surrounding the processing building, and my mother would dig up the young tomato plants that had managed to make it through the sanitation process to start their new lives among the rich fertilizer to be found nearby. Maybe not the sweetest smelling beginning, but those plants provided some of the juiciest, most flavorful tomatoes around come harvest time. I guess she could have bought them from Burpee, but the hard work put into the initial harvesting made the ending worthwhile.

It’s the same with our writing.

We can try planting just any old generic idea and hope it grows into something appealing. Or we can go in search of that stronger plot…even among the smelly muck of our own self-doubt …and transplant it into a field rich with  imagination and skillful writing to produce a flavorful story worthy of our readers sinking their teeth into…

Let the harvesting begin!

 

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sale

 

***SALE***SALE***SALE***SALE***

 

From May 1st through May 15th, book one of my historical fiction series for 8-12 year olds, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, ebook edition is on sale for only 99 CENTS! If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go here and grab it… https://www.amazon.com/Historys-Mysteries-Dreams-Donna-Martin/dp/173232784X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ship+of+dreams+donna+l+martin&qid=1588549888&sr=8-1

 

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SoD Reader's Favorite 5 star seal (web)

 

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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 flash fiction, 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.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Someone Throw Me A Lifesaver

 

lifesaver

 

You would think a gal who was raised in and around the swamps of southern Louisiana would know how to swim like a snapping turtle, but that was one life skill I never quite learned how to master.

When I was seventeen, I traveled to San Diego to spend some time with my older brother. He was in the Navy and stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  I thought I would have the time of my life, romping on the beach and cultivating a tan.

I was wrong.

My first day at the beach, my brother and one of his Navy buddies decided it would be funny to grab me, drag me out to water over my head and dump me in the Pacific Ocean to see if I could get back to shore. What they didn’t bargain on was my getting disoriented and nearly DROWNING before they realized what was going on and had to drag me back to dry land.

That is one memory I’ve carried with me for almost forty years, coloring my fear of water I can’t see through and preventing me from enjoying the local pool each summer.

A worldwide pandemic can turn everyone’s world upside down. It can instill fear in some; frustration in others.  As writers, we sometimes allow all the daily tasks and writerly deadlines weighing down our plates to try to drown us to the point of immobility.  We can’t seem to see a light at the end of the tunnel and allow our fears to drown us in a sea of overwhelming uncertainty and lack of confidence in our ability to achieve our daily goals.

Here are some of the things I have done to help keep my head above water during these challenging times…

 

  1. Find a way to write daily whenever possible. In the past, when my computers have gone haywire, my boss generously allowed me to use the school’s computer to write my weekly blog posts so I wouldn’t get behind.  My local library also allows access to their computers in two hour blocks for quick tasks I can do there. It also gives me a chance to check out the books and do research for book four in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series!
  2. Set priorities. If there are submission opportunities with deadlines, I made sure I found a way to meet those deadlines in time.  Some of my other writing projects will have to wait until next month.
  3. I’m taking this “down time” to work on either researching book four in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series or revising/cleaning up old manuscripts that I have hard copies on hand. I can always transfer the info to my files and databases later, but for now, I’m staying productive.
  4. Use my smartphone for keeping in touch with my social sites so my friends and other connections won’t begin to think I really have drowned.
  5. Take this time to make sure I’m getting extra rest and ready to hit the ground running next month when hopefully, things return to something closer to normal. I’ve been going to bed well before my usual midnight lights out, and have actually found time to do some leisure reading this weekend that I NEVER get the chance to do anymore!

Some of these ideas might work for you, and maybe you will come up with some ideas of your own to prevent you from drowning under the stress of dealing with quarantines during this pandemic.

If you come up with something that really works for you, please share in the comments below. You never know when you might be saving another writer needing a helping hand!

 

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sale

 

***SALE***SALE***SALE***SALE***

 

From May 1st through May 15th, book one of my historical fiction series for 8-12 year olds, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, ebook edition is on sale for only 99 CENTS! If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go here and grab it… https://www.amazon.com/Historys-Mysteries-Dreams-Donna-Martin/dp/173232784X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ship+of+dreams+donna+l+martin&qid=1588549888&sr=8-1

 

HM HGG ebook cover jpeg 3-16-20

READER’S FAVORITE 5 STAR REVIEW 

 

SoD Reader's Favorite 5 star seal (web)

 

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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 flash fiction, 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.

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:

 

SHIP OF DREAMS Amazon Reviewer Prizes 10-13-19.jpg

 

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…

 

Titanic front.jpg Titanic back.jpg

(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!!

 

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

 

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.