THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Step By Step

 

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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.

 

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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 - 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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Don’t Get Too Comfortable

mason

 

When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot. With extreme poverty came the constant need to find living arrangements that matched my paren’ts dwindling financial funds.

My father worked every type of job from construction to offshore cook, but it was hard to get comfortable when you never knew if next month you would be moving again.

Finally my parents saved up enough money to put a downpayment on a century old home and we could put down roots. Their mortgage was $50 per month, but it could have easily been $5000 as I watched my mother struggle each month to come up with enough money to keep her children comfortable in their “forever” home.

Being comfortable and knowing the wolves are no longer at the door is okay when you’re a kid, but as a writer, the worst thing we can get is too comfortable with our stories.

When we stop striving to challenge our characters…stop throwing obstacles in their way to overcome…we short change ourselves and fall short of the stronger writers we can become.

And what’s the fun in that?

 

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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 - 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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: A Case of Mistaken Identity

 

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I grew up surrounded by animals. Just about everything that crawled, swam, or walked, found it’s way into my childhood at one point or another.

When I was about 12 years old, one of my pets was a chihuahua mix dog we had had for many years named Penny. She was a sweet, tolerant animal…but then again, she had to be with four children always vying for her attention.

As she grew older, she tolerated the peskiness of a pure bred chihuahua named Chi Chi we added to our family, and even my poor attempts to teach that old dog some new tricks. Penny always tried to please me and would eagerly run to me whenever I called her name.

But one day, my poor dog developed a case of mistaken identity that brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.

Back in 1974, Elton John released a single titled “Benny and the Jets” (https://youtu.be/p5rQHoaQpTw). If you’ve never heard of it, it was a weird, catchy tune, but then all of his songs were great to dance to when you’re a kid. I would take my transistor radio outside in the back yard to hang out with Penny and every time that song started playing, I would crank up the volume as high as it would go and wait for the chorus.

My poor dog would hear Elton John and think he was calling HER, instead of Benny, and she would take off running for the radio…barking at it every time she heard “Benny”…as if to say “I’m here! I’m here! Can’t you see me?”

I’m pretty sure poor Penny was glad when that song fell off the charts and wasn’t played any more.

We writers sometimes deal with mistaken identities as well.

Sometimes our main characters aren’t really the main character at all and it takes a good critique to shine the light on who is really driving our stories.

Sometimes we send out submissions and classify our story as a new age when it’s really a steampunk…or a middle grade when it’s better classified as a young adult.

And sometimes we even classify ourselves as a failure just because we haven’t been published yet. We think we have a mistaken identity daring to call ourselves writers on those days when our negative thoughts cause us to doubt our own abilities to weave a story.

But we need to be more like my dog, Penny, and at least SHOW UP every time those ideas call out to us. We need to hang out with them for a while and see if, just maybe, it wasn’t a case of mistaken identifty at all, but more of a new way to see ourselves…even one day to be able to call ourselves by our new identities as published authors!

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Hiding In Plain Sight

 

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Up until about the 5th or 6th grade, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants in my school. The dress code allowed skirts just above knee level (although a lot of girls…myself included…would roll up the waist band a time or two to shorten the length of those skirts to a more “acceptable” level for pre-teens girls attempting to catch the eye of pre-teen boys.

One year I began the school year only to discover the school board changed the rules and girls were now allowed to wear pants in school. Everyone quickly went out to purchase a hefty supply of cool looking blue jeans.

Everyone, that is, except me.

Coming from a poor family and being the youngest of four children, the chances of a snowball in Hades was greater than my being able to avoid going to school in hand me downs. But a girl’s gotta have a dream and I dreamed of a bright blue pair of jeans so I could dress incognito to hopefully blend in with the “in” crowd at school.

I still remember that Christmas and how excited my mother was for me to open one particular present. At first I thought all my youthful dreams had come true when I uncovered a beautiful pair of blue jeans in just my size. I was thrilled. That is, until I took it out of the box and discovered it was trimmed at the bottom with about three inches of a tacky plaid cuff. My mother was waiting to see my reaction and for a moment I couldn’t speak.

I KNEW if I wore those pants to school I would be mocked and ridiculed for not only being poor, but now I would be considered a dork as well. But one look at my mother’s face and I also KNEW it had taken her time and precious money she didn’t have in order to, for once, give me a chance to wear brand new, store bought clothes.

What else could I do but thank her and wear the jeans?

Sadly, my peers were just as unforgiving as I expected and whenever I was forced to wear those jeans I wanted to become incognito for an entirely different reason…

Writers sometimes hide inside their main characters in order to see the world through their eyes…to better understand what they might be going through as they deal with their own struggles. Writers may want to wave to the world from inside their story, but experien0ced authors realize to stay hidden is to stay objective to the potential twists and turns of every situation the main character encounters.

Readers should never have even a hint the author is living incognito, somewhere within the pages of their manuscript. The audience doesn’t necessarily want to be influenced by the writer’s persona, but rather, wants the freedom to slip on that cloak of being incognito right along with the main character and hopefully experience the adventure of a lifetime.

And who are we to say they shouldn’t do just that?

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Covering All The Bases

 

baseball

 

I wouldn’t consider myself the world’s best athlete growing up. I was incredibly shy and self-conscious about my appearance, so when I was forced to pick a sport to “master” during high school as part of my PE grade, I decided on soft ball.

I didn’t have the jump to play basketball, my sister cornered the gymnastics arena, and my brother was the boss of the football field. Surprisingly enough, I found that I was fairly adept at my chosen sport and ended up playing both short-stop or second base. I wasn’t superstar material by any means, but I always managed to cover the bases any time I stepped out on the playing field. Whether catching fly balls, stopping grounders, or even taking my turn at bat, I focused on multi tasking to get the job done.

Juggling an active writing career is very similar to covering second base. There are even times when juggling things like revisions, queries, contests, research, and other writing commitments cut into actual writing time and we find ourselves wondering how we are going to be able to cover all our writerly bases.

I don’t have all the answers, but as I go into this busy, busy summer season, I plan on keeping a few things in mind:

1. MAKE A WRITING PLAN & FOLLOW IT DAILY

 

I might only get to write for 15 minutes some days but I will focus all my energy during those 15 minutes on my latest project.

 

2. DO MY RESEARCH & NARROW MY AGENT LIST

 

Some of my queries need to be followed up on while other submissions need to be sent out.

3. TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY OCCASIONALLY

 

It’s hard for me sometimes to take time just for me but past experience has shown me I need ME time in order to be able to put my best effort into my writing.

Before you know it, summer will be gone and the kids will be back in school. The sounds of the crowd and the smell of popcorn will fade from the baseball field, but at least I will have something to show for covering all my writerly bases.

What about you? How do you plan to manage your busy summer and still get your writing in?

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Dreaming My Life Away…

 

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When I was growing up, I had a very vivid imagination. I still do. But sometimes my imagination would get the best of me and I would step beyond my DREAMS to blend fantasy with reality by sleep walking or sleep talking.

I wouldn’t do it often, but my siblings enjoyed seeing just how far they could take a conversation with me until I woke up and realized I was somewhere different than the place my imagination had led me.

I’ve walked into my clothes closet thinking I was walking into another room.

I’ve gone into the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon during a nap and tried to cook breakfast because I thought it was time to get ready for school.

I’ve even had DREAMS of frightening events that continued to play out in front of me long after I finally woke up.

DREAMING…good or bad…has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Now, as a writer, my DREAMS take on a very different meaning.

I DREAM out the plots of my latest picture book stories like the one I woke up to yesterday about the magic to be found on a teeny tiny corner of one teeny tiny town.

I DREAM to work out a tricky part of my fantasy novel revision that I’ve struggled with during the day time. Now, the answer to my problem seems so clear.

I DREAM of the day my name will appear on another published manuscript. That one might not be too far into the future as I currently study the details of my latest offer of publication.

DREAMING is what we writers do and if we are really lucky, some of those DREAMS might even come true!

 

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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.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Being Accountable For Your Accountability

 

 
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The saying goes that kids will be kids, especially teenagers, no matter which generation of youngsters we might be talking about.

With my shy, unassuming nature, I was by no means a rebel back in my own teenager years, but there was one time I stepped outside the boundaries of convention, leaving me with a question still unanswered even today…

One of the first things I did, once I moved out of my parent’s house and into a boarding house room 50 miles away, was to find the nearest movie theater. I had just turned 18 and up to that point in my life I’d only been to one picture show.

I was lucky enough to find one on the bus line not far from where I lived and the 50 cent ticket price for a Saturday matinee was within this poor girl’s budget.

But the concessions were not.

Being the resourceful gal that I was, I decided to pack some fried chicken and a drink to take with me before heading out. It was Halloween and I wanted to watch a scary movie, but coming from a very secluded childhood, let’s just say it was a HUGE culture shock once the movie began…

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

It was an enlightening education both to my naïve young mind as well as some lessons learned on social interaction and audience participation.

I sat there in stunned silence by the exit door, mindlessly nibbling on the food I’d brought with me, as I watched the chaos between screen and movie goers unfold in front of me.

It wasn’t until I’d left the theater and was safely back on the bus for the trip home when I realized something.

I’d left my trash on the seat next to me.

My mother had always taught me to be ACCOUNTABLE for myself and I had rudely forgotten to clean up. But instead of castrating myself for bad manners, all I could was laugh.

Imagine the poor employee who uncovered what would appear to be some kind of ANIMAL SACRIFICE in the back row of a darkened movie theater.

I bet that was one Halloween they would never forget!

Remember, guys, we are ACCOUNTABLE for every decision we make in our writing careers. The characters we create, the worlds we build, even the submissions we send out. If we are at the beginning of our publishing paths, we’ll probably make more mistakes than we’d care to admit. If we’re established writers, we have an obligation to our readers, agents, publishers, etc. to provide the most polished work we can give them. So whenever you feel like there is no rhyme or reason to your writing day, just remember one thing…

Be ACCOUNTABLE.

PLAN your next move.

TRACK your journey.

SUCCEED by remembering all the victories, big and small, along the way.
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We can do this! YOU can do this!

I hope you have an AWESOME day today cuz you deserve it!