THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Broken In The Most Delicious Way

 

eggs.jpg

 

When my sister and I were growing up, we helped our mother with the holiday baking. My brother and oldest sister were both in the military.

That meant every year my mother would spend hours in the kitchen preparing a sweet, culinary care package to ship out to places throughout the country as my siblings waited to receive some homemade love in a little brown box.

Cut out sugar cookies covered in colorful royal icing, thumbprint cherry cookies, oatmeal cookies bursting with golden raisins, and snickerdoodles I would only see at Christmas time.

Everything had to pass the MOM test before it could go in the box.

You would think my stomach would have ached with the taste testings of so many sugary delights.

You would be wrong.

We actually weren’t allowed to EAT any of those cookies.

Not one.

They were for the ones in faraway places, while the burnt, BROKEN pieces were just as flavorful as the rest.

The next time you start to create perfect characters for your stories, realize it’s the broken and flawed personalities that connect with your readers, not those demigods on Mt. Olympus. Broken people like…

The ditzy neighbor that’s a little bit OCD.

The strong, leading man that tears up at sad movies.

The work driven female that can’t seem to complete any home projects.

Take time for another look at your stories and see how you can break those perfect characters into more realistic people. And don’t worry whether a flawed main character will be welcomed by your reader. They may be broken, but they’re are ALL just as sweet!

I hope you have an awesome day today because you deserve it!

 

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

 

contest prizes

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

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

 

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, was released in November.

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: In A Flash (Fiction) It Was Gone…

 

COOKIES

 

In honor of Halloween, I had a really tasty short story to share with you today. One to give you the shivers and get you ready for the night. But something happened on the way to this post. What should have been a spooky, chilly holiday tale, suddenly morphed into this wonderful picture book story and in a flash, my flash fiction today was gone like a gourmet cookie and all that was left was a hint of what might have been…

That’s one of the things I like about writing. The freedom to twist and turn your words into something different than what you originally envisioned. A fleeting thought can become an idea which blossoms into a story which before you know it, becomes a five book series. In real life, I’m an organized person who takes only calculated risks…never straying far from the path I planned out for my life.

In the world of my imagination…oh, that wonderfully twisty, turny, never-ending world in my mind…I am free to create whatever those unlimited boundaries will allow. And so, when my flash fiction laughed at me, removed it’s mask, and revealed it was a creepy, quirky picture book manuscript, I decided to go with it. Instead of capturing one moment in time, I find I have stepped into yet another world of my own making and I will follow it wherever it might lead me.

But just in case you are wondering what you might be missing, here are the first couple of lines from what WAS going to be this week’s flash fiction piece…
Its dark and creepy, with just a little peeky,
As we sneak to the gloomy ghoul hall.
While outside drooping, silently swooping,
Birds of the night will eerily call.
With eyes gleaming, gnashing teeth showing
A scary scarecrow welcomes one and all.
Lumbering clouds drape the moon like a shroud
As stars light our way to the gloomy ghoul ball.


Now, don’t you wish it would have stayed a flash fiction piece so you know what happens next? 

 

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

 

STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Proud To Be A Loser

loser.jpg

 

LOSER


When I was a senior in high school, I was the editor of my school paper. I took great pride in making sure I produced the best paper I could and thought I was a winner at that task.

That is, until the day I lost my position on the paper.

Call it a conflict of viewpoints or even a difference in artistic perceptions, but when the teacher overseeing the paper decided one day it was okay to completely “rewrite” a submitted poem because he didn’t like author’s interpretation of the subject matter, I walked away from my position in protest.

I felt like a loser that day. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to someone demeaning someone else’s creative words. If I could have sent the ME I am today back in time to the ME I was back then, I would tell that insecure, introverted teenager that words are worth fighting for.
 
There are even some words in the English language that just seem to get a bad rap and loser is one of them. It used to be if someone called me a loser, I would hang my head in shame. My spirit would be shaken and my self-esteem would deflate like a pricked balloon. 

But words can be a powerful ally when used in the right way. I should know because one of my dual careers is in the writing field. As an author of inspirational essays, picture books, young adult fantasy, and historical fiction chapter books, I can confidently state I know a thing or two about words. 


Take a word like that mean, little ol’ word loser.


All I have to do is shine it up a bit, give it some lovin’, and before you know it, it’s a word I’m proud to claim as my own! For example: 


Today I’m a LOSER of negative self-talk. 



Today I’m a LOSER of “haters” who try to get between me and my writing goals. 



Today I’m a LOSER of low self-esteem and zero self-confidence in my writing ability. 



You see, all it takes is looking at certain words from a different perspective. I love this writing community and I proudly stand up for all the beautiful LOSERS I see here! 

How about YOU? Are you a LOSER too? 

Have an awesome day today because you deserve it!

 

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

contest prizes

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Racin’ & Writin’

 

horse.jpg

 

What does the horse racing world and writing have in common?

Handicaps…you know, those obstacles placed in the way as an attempt to either “level” the playing field or hold something back from achieving a higher goal.

I don’t really follow horse races like the Triple Crown races anymore. But I have been fascinated with one race horse for as long as I can remember.

Man O War.

Why, even the name seems as regal as the horse himself. No one had any idea just what amazing feats this one horse could do when he was a foal. That is, no one but the horse himself. And once Man O War starting showing the world what he could do, everyone began putting handicaps in his way. Despite all the handicaps, this horse managed to win every single race during his career…except one…and that was the rider’s fault, not “Big Red’s”. His own owner refused to put this horse in the Kentucky Derby because he judged him to be “too young” for such a race. And yet Man O War went on to win the other two races of the Triple Crown. The HORSE knew what he was capable of, but his OWNER decided to throw a handicap in his way of superstardom. Officials within the racing circuit would even add lead weights to his saddle…up to 30 pounds and more…just to try and slow him down because apparently he was “embarrassing” the other horses by being faster than them.

Wait a minute…isn’t that the point of horse racing? To SEE who is the fastest?

Writing can be seen as a sort of race as well. A challenge for the individual to get to the finish line…whatever that may mean to that individual. Maybe the goal is to write the next great ________ (fill in the blank with novel, play, song, etc…you get the idea) or maybe the goal is to be the family historian and capture those moments in a personal history before they are forgotten.

My goal is to become a great children’s books author. I don’t mean “great” as in well-known, although I certainly wouldn’t turn my back on that…lol…but I mean the BEST I can be without allowing handicaps to stand in my way. I’ve realized in the past that one of my MAJOR self-induced handicaps was the fact I doubted my own writing ability. That wall of “what ifs” held me back from embracing the love I have for writing. What if no one likes what I write? What if I fail at becoming a children’s book author? What if I succeed??? The many “what ifs” weighed me down until I simply stopped trying.

Then I decided it was time to let go of the handicaps and do the thing I love to do…to write. To learn how to become better at this and allow others to participate in my journey should they decide to come along. To take the critiques given with an open mind for all the lessons to be learned and to NOT see them as a “handicap” holding me back, but as an “incentive” to keep pushing me forward toward my own finish line.

So what is YOUR handicap? That thing you have placed in front of you to slow down your own race? Wouldn’t it be more fun to enjoy the ride as Man O War did and leave the “handicaps” for other people to worry about? Well done, Man O War, for not letting others tell you how GREAT you could become but just believing in your own ability…well done!

 

***********

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?

 

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

 

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, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also coming soon to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Trusting My Instincts

trust

 

 

The world of martial arts is demanding. Techniques, forms, mindset…all of these things come together to form the foundation of a martial artist. Pretty much like the world of writing. A writer must have good story lines, strong sentence structure, and the right mindset to pull it all together. I think that is where trusting one’s instincts come into play.

 
I’ve trained and taught TaeKwonDo for almost twenty years now. When I began that journey, I had no clue of what I was doing. I didn’t know a crescent kick from a jump spin side kick and I sure didn’t feel I could trust my instincts I was on the right path to this new life I had chosen. It took me some time and a lot of hard work to get to a point where I am comfortable being a martial artist. I now trust my instincts where my teaching is concerned and I try to encourage and mold my students into a better martial artists every time they step onto my mats.

 
I think writing is a lot like training in the martial arts. Everyone has to be that “white belt”. That beginner writer just starting out with an idea…a vision of creating something new…if they only knew what they were doing. It’s hard to trust one’s instincts when you are a beginner writer and unsure of protocol regarding the written word.

 
That’s where hard work and constant practice comes in. New writers are eager to learn everything there is to know about this world they’ve stepped into and if they are smart, they will choose strong teachers to show them the way. With each lesson learned in developing their own writing style, that new writer will start to trust their own instincts about what is right for them on that path they chose for themselves.

 
Although I have been writing for over 45 years, I consider myself a “new” writer. One who is committed to learning as much as I can about the “techniques” of being a good writer, cultivating a pool of strong story ideas, and greeting each day with the right mindset to mold that nugget into a polished, finished product. But while I’m doing all that, I think what I will work on the most, is learning to trust my “writer’s instincts” of what is right for me. Because when the day is over and I look back on what I have written, I want to be proud of my work. I want it to say a little bit about the person I am and to show the world that I learned to trust my instincts as a writer.

 
What about you? Are you letting go of the self-doubt and learning to trust your own instincts about the writer you were meant to be?

 

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

 

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?

 

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

 

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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: My Favorite Day of the Week

 

type.jpg

 

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Twenty-four hours of silence filled with the feeling of being wrapped up in words and nowhere to have to go.

No appointments.

No commitments.

No one tugging at me, asking for my help or demanding my time. Just the words are there…waiting for me…like little puppies lined up for a belly rub and I dive into the middle of them, drowning in the visions and sensations all the lovely words have to share with me.

Sometimes I don’t know where to start. I’ve fought my way through another hectic week and my mind searches for the words I know will feed my spirit. Softly they whisper “come follow me” and soon I’m down the rabbit hole on some grand adventure to visit the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts.

Or maybe they call to me to take a leap of faith and we fly to Never Land where the lost boys are. Words dancing and prancing across the pages, leading me on a merry chase until I fall exhausted onto my bed. Wrapping myself up in the soft words of a bedtime story, lulling me to sleep with their stories of the night.

Words.

You have the power to hurt, the power to heal, and the ability to create a little magic in the mind of one weary time-traveler. So for now, I’ll catch my breath, say a prayer of thanks for the ability to read because so many in this world can’t, and go in search of some words…

 

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

 

HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)     HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS (OCT 2019)                THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK (NOV 2019)

 

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

 

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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Step By Step

 

footprint.png

 

It’s mornings like today that remind me of walking to school when I was a kid. We only had one car in the family and my mother didn’t drive…not because she didn’t want to but I think because that was one more responsibility she didn’t want to add to her overloaded plate.

So I walked. Everywhere.

I’d like to say the walk to school was at least a mile from my house and maybe it just seemed that long to a little kid toting a backpack full of books, but every morning I would head out and make my way through town to the elementary school. I never minded the walk because I LOVED to learn and it got me away from the house for a few hours. Despite the fact that I was incredibly shy, had no friends, and was constantly teased because I always managed to become the “teacher’s pet”, school was a sanctuary for me in those days.

Gueydan is an extremely tiny town, population around 1500…numbers which might actually include residents of the local cemetery…and nothing exciting ever seem to happen there. Except during the fifth grade when my elementary school burned to the ground.

I remember walking with my sister to school that day. Everything seemed normal until we got a couple of blocks away and we heard the siren from the firetruck. We were both shocked to finally get to the school to see smoke billowing out of the building as they tried to put the fire out that actually began in MY homeroom. The entire building was destroyed and we spent the rest of the school year attending classes on half days. Our high school building was located next door so I ended up going to school from 7:30 until around 11:30 each day and then Janet, being in ninth grade at the time, would have her classes from 11:30 until 3:30. It was a challenging school year until the new elementary building was completed but somehow we made it work.

Walking home the same way every day could become boring so I liked to change it up whenever I could. Mother expected me to get home quickly. If I took the longer route that cut through the park so I could sneak in a couple of twirls on the merry go round, I had to make up for it by running the rest of the way home. Sometimes I would even start running straight from school to the park because that was where the library was and if I was lucky, I could sneak in and visit the books.

Even then books held a spell over me. I would dash in just to say hi to the librarian and maybe take a quick look at the newest arrivals so I could start dreaming of which book would I check out next. Then it was a mad dash to get home before Mother suspected I hadn’t walked straight home like she expected me to.

I wonder what the kids I went to school with would think about me now that I am a children’s book author? So many steps taken from those old school days to where I am now and yet I find all those steps STILL lead me to the one thing I’ve always loved more than anything else…books.

 

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

 

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams (Paperback)

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?

$10.00

 

 

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

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, 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.