TALES FROM THE BAYOU: How About Some Fish Head Soup?

 

fish

 

 

There were times growing up when I heard people complain about what they ate for dinner at their house…

“I’m tired of having to eat pork chops three times a week.”

“Awww, not chicken again! We just ate that night before last.”

I should have been so lucky! But no, ours was a six member family on a one member salary and fifty years ago that particular salary didn’t add up to much. So my mother did what anyone would have done in her shoes…she made do.

If anyone would have stopped by on a Sunday at our house, they would have seen a banquet of southern delights…fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob…all the goodies to be found in a southern Louisiana home. A day to enjoy Mother’s good cooking and go to bed knowing your belly was full.

Not so much on the other days of the week.

You never knew what would be waiting for you in the kitchen when you got home from school. Sometimes it was a metal wash tub full of pig’s guts just waiting to be cleaned for your next meal. Or maybe it was a cow’s stomach lying in the kitchen sink just waiting for someone to tackle it. And then there were the half rotting vegetables my mother bartered from the local farmer who made the rounds with produce on the back of his truck to all the families in the area. We were the last stop on an otherwise profitable route. What other families would consider unpalatable often found its way to our dinner table.

There was a term used by the elders in my hometown…”awfuls”…and in Cajun talk that meant the parts of a critter that should have been thrown away. My mother wasn’t a proud woman when it came to trying to feed her four children. When Daddy’s paycheck didn’t stretch enough and the government’s monthly food subsidy ran out before the month did, Mother relied on whatever could be found to fill our stomaches…even if it didn’t exactly enhance our taste buds.

First was a mystery concoction that one might possibly call chicken soup, except for the fact the parts of the chicken being used were the rooster combs and the chicken feet. I kid you not…I can laugh now, but it was a strange thing to sit down to eat and try to eat a meal made out of that! Then there was Mother’s fish head soup…where you could lift the lid and literally see that fish staring back at you with it’s bulging eyes.

I can even remember walking home from Sunday school one day and seeing an armadillo being hit by a passing car. Not knowing what we might have been forced to eat when we got home, my brother decided to accept what the good Lord placed in our path and we took turns dragging that thing by its tail down the back alleys to our house. I was only 4 or 5 at the time and I can still remember taking my turn to help bring food to our table.

Some reading this week’s tale might find what I was forced to eat as a child revolting, but that was just a small sample of what was done to survive. I understand why people would feel this way. But growing up back then in such desperate times enabled me to grow into a person with an extremely compassionate nature toward my fellow man.

I’ve known the fear of not knowing where the next meal would come from or if I could even keep it down in the first place. I’ve known the humiliation of being teased and tortured at school because my mother could only clothe me in old lady dresses she bought for pennies after our neighbor had died. And I’ve known the stress of not knowing if I would have a roof over my head at night when we moved from house to house as my parents struggled to come up with fifty dollars a month for rent on a poor man’s paycheck.

A life of little means helps me to appreciate all God has seen fit to bless me with now. It has helped keep me humble. I take nothing for granted and I share what little I may have with those around me because I still remember the scars of my childhood. And with the understanding as an adult myself of just what my mother went through for the sake of her children, I actually consider myself lucky…and grateful I had a chance to eat some fish head soup…

 

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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: A Bicycle Built For Two?

 

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Despite living in a small town, there was a lot of ground to cover if the only means of transportation were your feet. Gueydan had only two main roads running through it with two segregated schools on one end where poor folks like my family lived and the “upper class” folks living on the other end of town. Our houses on McMurtry Street were only a few blocks away from the library where my oldest sister worked during the summer.

Usually I didn’t mind walking all the way from our house to the library and back. It gave me a few moments of freedom away from my home life, but it also gave me a chance to fill my head with dreams of faraway places and worlds where my life had more meaning. But my favorite time going to the library was when my mother used to tell me to walk my sister’s bike to her so she could ride it back at the end of her shift.

I was only about eight or nine at the time but thought I had the perfect plan for being able to teach myself how to ride that bike. You see, Carol was the only one who had a bike. Mother thought I would hurt myself trying to get on it so she forbid me to ride it over to the library. So I walked it…that is until I thought I was out of sight of the house…and then I would hop on and wobble my way down the road several blocks until the library came into view. Then I would hop off and walk it the rest of the way.

Day after day I rode the bike that summer, never realizing my mother was actually watching me from the safety of our front porch, until I became quite proficient at handling it without running into the parked cars along the way. Oh the thrill of those clandestine rides, summer sun warm on my cheek and the wind lifting the ends of my hair like little bird wings as I soared down the street toward my daily destination.

I truly thought this would be my only chance to travel by any other means than my own two feet, so imagine my surprise when Janet and I received two bright blue bicycles from Santa Claus that Christmas. We could hardly contain our excitement and Mother let us ride it in front of the house on Christmas Day but told us we were never allowed to ride it when she wasn’t around. A simple enough rule to follow…that is if you didn’t count the temptation for two eager children full of the need to test the speed of their new bikes.

Later that day my parents had to make a run to the grocery store and wouldn’t be back for about an hour. Just enough time for two girls to hatch up a plan to ride our bikes some more without Mother’s knowledge we were breaking her number one rule. There was a narrow gravel road that ran for several blocks behind our house and we thought it would be safe to ride our bikes there for just a few minutes. There would still be plenty of time to return the bikes to the garage before Daddy and Mother returned home.

Everything started out fine and we rode side by side until we suddenly came upon a car parked in front of us. We were going too fast to stop in time but there was just enough room for us to pass on each side…me going to the left and Janet to the right…and we would continue down the road once we got past the car.

Or so we thought.

Imagine our horror when we miscalculated the distance between our front tires and with a sickening crunch, crashed into each other just as we cleared the car in our path. Tumbling to the ground, we sat for a moment in stunned silence and almost too afraid to check for any damage. Knowing we couldn’t just sit there forever, we got up to inspect our brand new bikes and discovered both front tires were badly bent.

It’s moments like those that make a kid want to run away from home and never look back. We KNEW this was a beating offense should our mother discover our misdeed and yet we desperately tried to think of a way to conceal it from her without any luck. Unfortunately this is where I have to leave my story an open ended tale as I honestly don’t remember what happened next other than I remember having to walk our brand new bikes back home because they were too damaged to be ridden. Maybe Janet can help my memory out and let us all know if we ended up not being able to sit down for a week or if, by some miracle we managed to keep Mother from finding out. All I know is by the time the dust settled from our foolish accident, there was only enough good parts left of those two bikes for ONE bike for the two of us to ride…

 

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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

 

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

 

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: A Cup of Love

 

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My mother was a very strict disciplinarian. Many, including a younger version of myself, would have labeled her an abusive parent. But with age comes wisdom, and over the years I have come to realize that upbringing and circumstances molded my mother into the person she had become by the time I had joined an already crowded family. I hold onto some of the better memories and recognize now my mother’s attempt to show her children how much she cared…like when we came home on cold, rainy school days.

By the time I was in first grade, I pretty much knew what would be waiting for me after walking home in the pouring rain. I was the youngest of four siblings and as a toddler, watched as Mother would go through the same ritual every year for my two sisters and brother as they walked through the back door in their rain-soaked clothes.

Hours before Mother would be in the kitchen with her trusted collection of recipes and whip up a huge pot of homemade hot cocoa. Food in our home was always carefully rationed out…except for on Hot Cocoa Day.

On Hot Cocoa Day a bone-chilled, dripping wet kid could always count on two things. A towel warmed by a gas space heater to wrap up in and an endless mug of Mother’s hot cocoa. I wouldn’t be far off saying I lived for Hot Cocoa Day. As a pre-schooler I would watch as she mixed all the ingredients into a huge stock pot and impatiently waited as it slowly simmered into a rich brown vat of childhood delight.

Once I began school I would walk home a little faster on rainy days because I knew what was waiting for me. After stuffing newspaper inside our wet shoes to help them dry, we would hover in front of that one tiny heater in the living room while Mother took turns holding the towels up to the flames to reheat them until we were dry. Then, and only when she made a new batch of hot cocoa, we were allowed to fill our mugs with as much of that chocolate goodness as we wanted. Any leftovers was stored in pitchers to be rationed out for days afterward. If we were lucky, there would be slices of homemade bread straight from the oven, topped with fresh churned butter or maybe even some snickerdoodle cookies to nibble on.

While my mother was not one for showing much affection, I now know this was one way she showed her children how much she cared. And even though it’s been more than forty years since I’ve had my mother’s hot cocoa, every time I sit down to drink some on a cold, rainy day I think of her and realize there was a lot of love in that cup…

 

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Snickerdoodle Cookies
by Ferol Lavergne

1 cup shortening
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix shortening, butter,sugar, and eggs. Blend all dry ingredients.

Stir in with shortening, butter, sugar and egg mixture. Roll into balls the size of a small walnut. Roll in mixture of 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown and still slightly soft. Allow to cool completely and store in airtight container. Makes 16 dozen.

 

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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

 

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

 

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: A Cry In The Night

 

baby

 

There were forces at 407 McMurtry beyond the norm. Spirits…ghosts if you believe in that sort of thing…and there even if you didn’t. My sister even managed to capture one on film during some remodeling my mother was doing at the front of the house. But it was a cry in the middle of the night one summer which sent chills down my spine and had me giving prayers of thanks for one of those ghostly encounters.

The last house I lived in before graduation was one of the oldest homes in Gueydan. Almost 100 years old when my family moved in, that house had seen quite a few people die within it’s four walls (including both my parents) before it was torn down in the name of progress.

It had 12 foot ceilings and tapestry wallpaper Mother painted over as soon as we moved in. At the front of the house was a formal “sitting room” she converted into a bedroom, with a pass-through closet connecting it to a smaller bedroom on the other side where my sister and I slept. At the other end of the house was my parent’s bedroom and in between was a long narrow bathroom, dining room complete with French style doors, and a drafty living room. Large enough to accommodate my family and still within their financial budget.

Just outside my parent’s bedroom was a massive beveled mirror. It was a keepsake taken from an ice cream parlor my parents owned when I was younger and hung in a place of honor in the dining room. Every morning for years my mother would come out of the bedroom and walk past that mirror on her way to the kitchen. Except for that one night my mother never varied the route from her room to her morning coffee.

Everyone had gone to bed and the house was quiet. Some might say so quiet you could hear a pin drop…or even the faint cry of a baby. Rousing from a deep sleep , my mother strained to pinpoint the origin of the sound. There it was again. Now thinking one of her children was calling out to her, my mother did something she had NEVER done before that night and never did again for all the years she lived in that house.

My mother padded barefoot through the bathroom on her way to the other side of the house to check on us. After discovering all of us still sleeping soundly in our beds, Mother decided to stay up for the day. Heading toward the kitchen, my mother soon realized just how lucky she was to have heard that ghostly cry.

Turning on the dining room light, she stopped in shock and looked at broken glass scattered everywhere. A mysterious hand had removed that massive mirror from the wall and thrown it with such force it shattered when it hit the floor. If my mother had taken her normal route to the kitchen that morning, she would have sliced up her feet or even fallen face first onto the huge shards of broken glass.

We never could figure out how the mirror ended up in the middle of the room when it needed two strong people to lift it in the first place. And why did Mother choose to pass through the bathroom that night on her way to check on us? She never had before nor since. We also wondered why no one woke up to the sound of it hitting the floor. And only my mother heard the baby’s cry. We came up with many different theories but the one thing everyone could agree on…we were all thankful for that cry in the night saving my mother from harm…

 

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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

 

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

 

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: A Special Kind of Poor…

 

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Whenever I post my TALES FROM THE BAYOU stories, I’m not trying to garner sympathy. I’m not trying to get my readers to say, “awww poor, POOR Donna”. What I AM trying to do is tell these tales in such a way as to draw my readers back in time to a place I called home many years ago and during a time…as Billy Joel likes to say…”when I wore a younger (wo)man’s shoes”. I guess I will let my readers be the judge…

Circa 1964…I wasn’t much more than a toddler but I can still remember the old “icebox” Mother had in the kitchen. Some of you might not have even heard of the word icebox before but it was called that because quite literally there was a compartment on top where you would place a huge block of ice to help cool the perishable items stored in the compartment below it. I can remember the rides to the ice house in the back of a beat up old Chevy truck…way before the time people thought it too dangerous to throw four young kids in the back and just let them bounce around as you go down the road. What a grand adventure it was! I knew when I got to the local ice house there would be some guy with a pair of huge ice pick tongs eager to throw that fifty or one hundred pounds of solid ice onto the blanket laid out in the back of our truck. Then it was back to the house to load it into the back of our ice box so we could have something cool to eat or drink the next day. I never stopped to think that everyone else in town probably had REAL refrigerators…I just thought trips to the ice house on a Saturday morning was what everyone did.

Then there was Mother’s little habit of needing a smoke. Mother chose cigarettes, probably not because she liked them so much as the fact it helped kill her appetite. Back then cigarettes didn’t cost anywhere what it does these days but even so Mother couldn’t scrape enough together at the end of Daddy’s paycheck to get the store bought kind so she had to roll her own. I can still remember that big ol’ can of loose tobacco and the bundle of papers she had to roll it in. Not one to be outdone by circumstance, Mother even made sure to tap a cheap filter into one end of her homemade smokes to give a little bit of class to what she was reduced to doing.

I can even remember when store bought bread was 20 cents a loaf but since we didn’t have the extra money to throw away on such frivolous things, Mother would make homemade bread several times a week. I can easily remember the heavenly aroma of a freshly baked slice of bread slathered with homemade churned butter. There were many times I was forced to eat things you just never considered to be edible, but Mother’s homemade bread wasn’t one of them!

But I think it was when Mother couldn’t pay for the gas to heat up her morning coffee that she became the most creative. At first I didn’t make the connection between the utilities being cut off and Mother’s lack of morning hot beverage. I would just follow orders when she’d tell me to go lay the garden hose out on the grass in the back yard where the hot summer sun could beat down on it. I always wondered if it was some kind of ritual she performed to the “garden gods” so we could harvest a lot of vegetables.

I discovered the truth when I caught my Mother coming out of the house one day and making her way to the garden hose with cup in hand. Quickly she turned on the water and captured the solar heated liquid so she could mix it with the instant coffee waiting inside. She may not have heat to cook a meal, but by God, she was going to figure out a way to have a cup of hot coffee to start her day! I can only hope a little bit of her creativity has rubbed off on me…;~)

 
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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

 

 

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

 

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: Not Your Mama’s Flower Garden

 

 

tulip.jpg

 

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…

 

croc.jpg

 

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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

 

 

 

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

 

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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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.