FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Natasha Wing

 

kids laughing

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Using Joke Books to Lighten the Mood and Teach at the Same Time

by Natasha Wing

 

Like sneaking grated vegetables into a recipe, joke books are a great way to get your kids to read without it feeling like reading. There’s no chapter to finish. No stressful plot or conflict. But skills are still being learned. Kids learn about humor and what’s funny and how to play with language. They learn how to read aloud and get comfortable in front of an “audience.” They learn how to memorize. All while building their vocabulary.

Here’s an example of the fun you can have with a joke.

Why do Europeans walk funny?

They convert feet to meters.

This is silly on several levels. First, picturing people walking funny IS funny!

Then having their feet change into something else like meters is silly. Adults may think of meters as a measurement, but younger kids might imagine a real object like parking meters.

From here, you can now turn this into a learning experience. Find out the conversion rate of feet to meters. Then go around your house and measure things in feet and see if your child can convert to meters. See, you snuck in a little math, too!

If you want to extend this further, you can have your child draw a caricature of a person walking with meters instead of feet. Look up what caricatures are and study the different exaggerated styles, then draw. Now you’ve snuck in an art class!

Here’s a way to expand language. When writing jokes you don’t want to give away the answer in the question, just hint at it. For example, there’s a joke in Saltwater Sillies: 300+ Jokes for Buoys & Gulls about seals. If I had written, “What branch of the military did the seal enlist in?” it would have been too simple to guess. (Navy Seal) Rather than using the word “seal” in the question, I used another word for seal which is pinniped. Pinniped means fin or flipper-footed and refers to the marine mammals that have front and rear flippers. This group includes seals, sea lions, and walruses. Finding this out allowed me to substitute pinneped for sea lion and walrus jokes, too. Your child will now know another word for seal, sea lion and walrus!

Here are some fun ways to use joke books while sheltering in place.

  1. Make sure your household and the grandparents’ household each has the same joke book. Then during Facetime or Zoom chats you can take turns telling each other jokes. It’s a fun way to connect and make each other laugh. Plus it gives your child an opportunity to ask their grandparent what a word means.
  2. Challenge your child to come up with a new joke.

Give him or her a list of words that sound alike such as:

See

Sea

Si

C

Then see if they can come up with a joke using one or more of those words. Have them share it out loud with someone to test it out.

  1. Have your child write a joke on a postcard and mail it to a friend or teacher that your child misses. Ask the friend to mail one back.
  2. Play a game of make up the answer.

Write down three joke questions. Then ask your kids to supply their own answer. Have everyone vote on the funniest answer.

  1. Play act out knock-knock jokes. Two people can participate in this: one says knock-knock and the other asks the question, Who’s there? The children can dress up by wearing hats, or can act by pretending to be a character and change their voices. If you want to add music to this stand-up comedy act, have another child with a drum, harmonica or a kazoo make a funny noise with their instrument after each joke answer. Record it and send it to a friend or family member.

While you’re at home teaching, use joke books to lighten the mood, and feel good about developing your child’s sense of humor and vocabulary.

 

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Natasha book

 

Where do king crabs live? In sandcastles! Hundreds of ocean-themed jokes for kids ages 5-10. Knock-knocks, tongue twisters, one-liners, and puns will keep them laughing all the way to the beach. Also includes fun facts, and kooky caricatures for kids to color in. Packable size to take on trips. Crack your friends and family up with a gift of humor!

Available on Amazon (https://amzn.to/2XsuFez) and other online retailers.

 

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Natasha picture

 

Natasha Wing is the author of a funny children’s book using bakery puns called Bagel In Love. She has also published three joke books: Lettuce Laugh: 600 Corny Jokes About Food; Buzz Off!: 600 Jokes About Things with Wings; and Saltwater Sillies: 300+ Jokes for Buoys and Gulls. More of her books can be found at natashawing.com. Friend her author page: facebook.com/natashawingbooks.

 

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Take A Ride On The Soul Train…

 

record player

 

I discovered early on that I was born to love music. I don’t mean I’m able to tolerate it or that I simply enjoy listening to songs. I LOVE MUSIC! 

I was born to a mother who was part Native American and Cherokees sure do love their music. Then there was my father who was part Cajun and most people have heard of the Zydeco thing. Add to that the fact my maternal grandfather was a composer who built his own violin and my father would play the accordion for me growing up, I had no choice but to learn to appreciate the beauty of listening to great sounds…everything from the Grand Ol’ Opry to Doug Kershaw.

I didn’t know there was any other kind o music until my middle teens when I was allowed to start watching shows like American Bandstand to Soul Train and The Midnight Special.

There’s something about music, no matter the style, that connects with me and lifts my spirit. Even when it was time to grow up and leave my hometown I made sure my records traveled with me…a lifeline during hard times and a way to light up my future. Even today…years later…you can still find me rocking out to a good tune in my car and remembering some of the good musical moments from my childhood down on the bayou…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

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?

 

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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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Lori Degman

 

connected

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Staying Connected in a Disconnected World

by Lori Degman

 

Thanks, Donna, for asking me to write something for your Feel Good Fridays series!  It’s such a great idea! I’ve definitely had my share of sad and lonely times over the past month.  Not being able to see my mom, kids and grandkids has been really hard, but we Facetime and Skype often to keep in touch.  I also do Zoom meetings and Hangouts with different groups of friends and that has helped!

One thing that’s been discouraging for me is that my newest book, Travel Guide For Monsters, comes out April 15th and I’m not able to share it with kids.  I had five bookstore events and six school visits planned to help celebrate the book and of course they were all canceled.  It has made the release of this book feel so much different from the others – there’s just not the same energy and excitement about it.

I was encouraged when I saw some authors had made videos of themselves reading their books.  I loved the idea because I really wanted to connect with kids, but I was nervous about doing it.  I knew they wouldn’t be perfect – and they’re not!  But that’s ok, because kids need to see adults making mistakes too!  Now I have Youtube videos for each of my six books and I hope people are enjoying them.

Another thing I’m doing is virtual visits with students.  For one school, they weren’t able to do anything “live” so they sent me questions from the students and I recorded and shared my answers with them.  I’m also scheduled to do readings and Q&As with classes on Instagram Live and Zoom.  I love interacting with kids so, if any teachers reading this would like me to join your zoom classroom sometime, let me know.  You can email me at Lori@Loridegman.com.

Thanks again, Donna!

 

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Lori book

 

Taking your monster on a road trip this summer? Or letting your favorite beast tag along on a family beach vacation? Wherever you and your monster are traveling, Travel Guide for Monsters is full of essential tips to help you both enjoy the sights from coast to coast–and avoid monster-related mishaps.

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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Lori Picture

 

Lori Degman is the author of the award-winning books: 1 Zany Zoo, Cock-a-Doodle Oops, and Just Read, as well as Norbert’s Big Dream, Like a Girl, and Travel Guide For Monsters.  She was a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Lori lives in Vernon Hills, Illinois, where she spends her days writing, visiting schools and playing with her grandkids (once this quarantine is over).  You can find her online at http://www.Loridegman.com.

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Just A Little Sleepwalking

sleep

 

Sleep for me is a commodity hard to come by. Summers have me working with my students 12 to 14 hours each day and then coming home to work on my writing for another 3-4 hours before going to bed. Doesn’t leave much time for resting. But when I was growing up, maybe I shouldn’t have tried to sleep so much.

I was a sleepwalker.

Not exactly the kind that roamed the streets at night but the kind my siblings could get to do funny things when I was unaware of what I was doing. 

I remember one time I was napping during a hot Saturday afternoon and I later discovered my sister came into the room while I was sleeping. Did I mention I was also prone to talk in my sleep?  I can’t remember if she tried to get me talking but the one thing I DO remember is suddenly waking up inside my closet where I decided I needed to change my clothes instead of finishing my nap.

Then there was the time I was SURE it was time to get ready for school and I sleepwalked into the kitchen so I could make myself a fried egg sandwich. I woke up with the frying pan in my hand and Janet smiling at me.  My sister would typically watch out for me…sometimes laughing at my antics…but always playing the big sister to make sure I didn’t get into too much trouble.

I eventually outgrew the urge to wander in my sleep but unfortunately it was replaced with nightmares and night terrors until I graduated high school. With THAT kind of vivid imagination, maybe instead of writing children’s stories, I should focus on thrillers instead?

 

thriller

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

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?

 

++++++++++++

 

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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Margot Finke

survival

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Margot’s Magical COVID-19 Survival Kit!

by Margot Finke

 

The threat of COVID-19 has changed the way we must live.

 

***Ways to alleviate the stress of being isolated indoors***

 

I go out into my garden and work among the flowers, soak up the sunshine, and take many deep, lung-enhancing, breaths. My husband mows the grass, cooks, and is setting up the usual small seed pots on every windowsill and available space – for spring plantings!

We read books on our Kindles (Library is closed), and I catch up on cupboard cleaning while I listen to music. Groceries and fruit are ordered on line and delivered into the trunk of our car – no humans contact! I am always reminding Hubby to wash his hands. I am also in charge of sanitizing everything we buy or touch. We are older, so we protect ourselves to the best of our ability. Doing this gives us a great comfort. 

 

***Take advantage of  “Contact” that is Virtual and Safe.***

 

In the Internet age, no need to feel isolated!

Using Skype or Zoom will put you in touch with friends and relatives. Just Google them, download the program, and you can enjoy virtual visits! FREE. Grandkids feel closer when you Skype together, suggest books for them to read, or play online games together. Most teens (or even younger) know their way around the Internet. Ask them for computer help. They will love you for making them feel so smart and useful.

Use your email or text, and reach out to anyone you feel like chatting with. And for the really techie challenged there’s always your phone. A neighbor who lives alone would love a call from you, or an offer to order their groceries and have them delivered. They will feel less alone, and you will feel the power of friendship, and doing a good deed.

 

*** Keep your sense of humor sharp, and ready for any fun that “virtually” floats your way!***

 

Join Facebook’s Social Distancing Society for giggles, jokes, and good information. Choose TV shows and movies with uplifting themes.  Search online for places and people who realize “This too will Pass.”

Decide to make the best of a really scary and dreadful situation. Gather those you love into a large virtual community that shares ideas, help, and the determination to beat this virus – no matter what!  With a little online help from the INTERNET, BOOKS, FRIENDS, PHONE, TEXT, and FAMILY, you can do it, and feel proud of yourself as well.

 

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Margot picture

 

I am children’s author, Margot Finke, originally from Australia. I now live in the US with my husband, three children, and four perfect grandchildren. 

Margot’s Magic – my 16x Books, for ages 4 to 14 years, are all on Amazon. Some of my books have Aussie themes, and I also offer “Content” Editing  +  Writing Guidance.

My Book Catalog is FREE  —  Email: mfinke@frontier.com 
https://www.margotsmagic.com/2019/11/margots-books.html

 

Margot books

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: In The Land Of Mythology

mythology

 

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I started out with poetry around age eight and completed two volumes of poetry…including some collaborations with my sister…by the time I reached my teenage years.

Growing up in such a strict environment didn’t always allow me to blossom and by the time I was a teenager I had become an extremely shy, introverted girl. While I excelled in anything academic, socially I was invisible in the hallways of my school. I spent a lot of time in the library and poured over books like I had uncovered some long lost treasure.

This was about the same time I discovered mythology and would spent my lunch time pouring over the adventures of Hercules and the power of Zeus. My favorite stories came from the Greeks and the Romans so it was no surprise to me when I decided one day to start researching those ancient tales. I wanted to contrast and compare the different mythological characters I came across. I even thought about writing a children’s book where you could look up one hero’s name and discover if they were called something different in another culture.

After months of research I had managed to fill up several notebooks with information and I was quite proud of my fledgling efforts to become a nonfiction writer.  I thought my mother would be proud as well because she was known for her extensive research of country and western artists. My mother had several notebooks filled with the words of her favorite songs and tidbits of information on the top country performers of her generation so I felt she knew what it meant to love the thrill of the hunt for knowledge.

 

Sadly, I was wrong.

 

I can remember one hot summer day when Mother was rocking on the front porch swing. I was about thirteen at the time and decided to share my love of mythology with Mother by showing her my research notebooks. To say my mother wasn’t happy with what she considered a waste of paper and a good pencil would be an understatement. She thought it was a foolish endeavor and forced me to stand in front of her while I tore up every page of my notebooks. No amount of begging or tears could save all my hard work and I left my dreams of becoming a nonfiction writer on the floor that day.

But over the years I have discovered many surprising things about myself. One thing I’ve discovered is that while I thought my dream of writing nonfiction was shattered, it was just lying dormant until the day I felt strong enough to pick up my pencil again and write. Last year I even began researching an idea my sister told me about and that nudge of encouragement from her has blossomed into a story title, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck, which I published through Story Catcher Publishing in 2019.

Either way, I feel like I have taught my younger self a valuable lesson. There will always be people in the world…even those closest to you…who might strive to shatter your dreams and laugh as those dreams lie in shards upon the floor. But it’s what you do in those low moments which gives the world a glimpse of the writer you have yet to become. I could have let my mother’s indifference destroy my love of writing.

I chose to follow a different path…

 

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

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?

 

++++++++++++

 

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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Barbara Renner

 

birds

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

FLOWERS KEEP BLOOMING AND BIRDS KEEP SINGING

WE WILL BE OKAY

by Barbara Renner

 

Arizona has two seasons, Spring and Summer, and most people think it’s nothing but rock lawns and brown dirt. But when the calendar marks the beginning of Spring, the desert bursts with color of flowering wildflowers and cacti. Sometimes along with the blowing pollen comes allergies, and this year 2020, the COVID pandemic, which has forced the desert rats and rest of the world to hide inside their homes under a strict quarantine.

As a nature lover, I can get pretty restless cooped up in the house all day. Luckily, I can still go on my long walks and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors the desert offers this time of year. Walking makes me happy, and I can step in stride to my favorite Pandora tunes through my ear buds. On my walks, the blooming wildflowers look like carpets of yellow and orange, and the bougainvillea bushes climb the block walls with candy apple red. Even the Palo Verde trees, which means green stick, grow a bushy head of yellow blossoms this time of year. Recently, I picked some wildflowers to put in a vase by my window. They only lasted a few days. Like me apparently, they also need to be outside in the fresh air.

Another benefit to living in the desert is being able to open the windows during our lovely 70-degree Spring weather. Being a bird lover, I enjoy listening to the birds as they announce dawn. Birds sing to attract potential mates and defend their territories. Some people believe that birds who sing loudly first thing in the morning are proclaiming that they are strong and healthy enough to have survived the night. It sounds like a good philosophy for us to follow, especially during this pandemic.

Sometimes I make up words to the birds’ chirpings, “pretty me, pretty me” or “tweedle dee, tweedle dee.” It’s the small things that keep me occupied. As a matter of fact, The Cornell Lab of Bird Academy is offering a course on how to identify birds only by their songs using mnemonics like “drink your tea” or “sweet, sweet, sweet, isn’t it sweet.” With all this extra time on your hands, perhaps you will want to make up phrases to the bird songs too – or maybe not.

What am I doing to keep a positive outlook during this strange time of depressing news, mask wearing, and toilet paper hoarding? I go for walks in the mornings, marvel at nature’s bounty, breathe fresh air, and soak up the Vitamin D the sun provides. I sit outside in my wicker rocking chair in the early evenings realizing that after every rain, the sun will continue to shine and the flowers will still bloom. I marvel that the birds go about their business without a care in the world, singing their songs and nesting so their species will survive. Tweedle dee.

 

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loon

 

Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story about Trumpeter Swans

When Pen and Cob realize it’s time to find a place to build their nest, they are shooed away by a beaver and a muskrat.

 

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Barbara

 

Barbara and her husband have lived in Phoenix, Arizona for over 40 years, but travel to Minnesota in the summer to escape the desert heat and fish. After retiring from teaching, Barbara pursued a career writing children’s picture books about wildlife. Even though her stories are fiction, they contain interesting facts about the main characters as well as QR Codes so readers can hear actual animal sounds and calls. Not only does Barbara love nature and wildlife, she adores all breeds of dogs. Larry is a Yellow Labrador mix who came to live with the Renner family almost 7 years ago. Barbara is currently creating a book, Larry’s Words of Wisdom, that includes his cutest photos and most profound words of wisdom. A portion of sales will go to the facility where Larry was rescued. Information about Barbara and her books about Lonnie the Loon, Quincy the Quail, and Trumpeter Swans can be found on her website: www.RennerWrites.com. She is also a member of SCBWI. Keep in touch with Barbara on her social media sites:

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Going Up In Smoke

 

smoke

 

My mother was a heavy smoker all during my childhood. I would even consider her a chain smoker because she would typically light her next cigarette with the end of her last one. I found out as I got older she was probably smoking so much to dull hunger pangs because some days she barely had enough food on the table for her four children must less herself.

While I never had the urge to pick up that particular habit, I was fascinated with the smoke itself. I thought it was so cool to hang this little stick thing from your lips and watch puffs of smoke float up to the ceiling. In an otherwise dysfunctional house, it seemed pretty normal to smoke. I was about 10 years old when I became fascinated with Mother’s smoking habits and wanted to see if I could do the same thing.

There wasn’t extra money lying around our house but occasionally Mother would give us a nickel to spend on anything we wanted. I would usually go to Touchet’s grocery store and load up on about 15 to 20 pieces of “penny” candy. It was a really big deal then that I chose only one pack of bubble gum cigarettes on one of my coveted candy trips.

I can remember going with my sister to the local park…one of the few places we were allowed to visit on our own…and sitting on the slides just waiting for someone to drive by. There was a road curving through the park and the slide was close enough for people to see how cool we were “smoking” our cigarettes…but far enough away to not realize they were fake. And if I timed it just right, I could blow on one end of the cigarette and puff out some gum powder residue that kinda sorta looked like the real thing.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anybody but to a shy kid trying to find her way to some kind of normal, even mimicking a bad habit was better than nothing…

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

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?

+++++++++

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.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS: Donna Boock

 

birthday

 

(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness? 

BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART

For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)

 

Quarantine Birthday Party Ideas – Ways to Celebrate Virtually

By Donna Boock

 

 

About a month ago, I went out like everybody else and stocked up on supplies to get us through a few weeks in quarantine. Canned soup – check. Frozen pizza – check. Extra chocolate – check and double check. We were ready, we thought.  However, I never imagined we would still be quarantining more than a month later. And it certainly didn’t occur to me that we might be celebrating birthdays in quarantine.

But both of my kids were born in April, and as it came onto the horizon, and no end to social distancing was in sight, it became clear we’d be home alone celebrating. It was time to get ‘virtually’ creative.

 

Flat Matt

 

My son Matt’s birthday was first on the calendar. I wanted to find a way to make this birthday spent in isolation feel somehow less isolated. I came up with the Flatt Matt project. If you’re familiar with Flat Stanley, this idea springboards from that. I found a picture of Matt, blew it up and removed the background using Canva.com, then printed and cut out copies (If the people you are sending to have printers, you could just text or email as well). Then I wrote a letter to friends and family who I thought would have fun with the idea and asked them to make a short video using the Flatt Matt action figure as I called it, and either tell a favorite memory, or what they can’t wait to do with him when this is over or simply sing Happy Birthday. I asked them to please text it to him on his birthday. I was in awe of all of the creativity people put into it, and he loved getting all those fun videos as they trickled in throughout the day. It was like an all-day video celebration!

Riley, my daughter, was up next. Having been recently thrust into online school, I knew all of her friends would have Zoom downloaded so we planned a Zoom meeting birthday celebration. I masked up, grabbed my hand sanitizer and dashed in & out of the grocery store to buy individual cupcakes to drop off to her local friends and family (doorstep delivery only, with a text to let them know their cupcakes were outside). Before we lit the candles and sang, we asked everybody to share one favorite story or memory of Riley. She loved that her friends got to share in her special day, and I loved the stories they shared. You can even download certain apps that allow you to interact and play games through Zoom!

Some other ideas on my brainstorming list were:

  • Camping out in the backyard (Pitch a tent indoors if it’s too cold where you live)
  • Video game “party” using a system that allows kids to interact virtually & schedule a time with parents so kids all can game together
  • Zoom, Skype or Houseparty call (with cupcakes or pizza delivery optional)
  • Create an Escape Room at home (search on Pinterest) or reserve a virtual one with friends here https://lokeysescaperooms.com/

So, if you or someone you love has a birthday coming up, and you are looking for ways to make it special even if you can’t be together, I hope these ideas inspire you and allow the distance to melt away.

 

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Donna books

 

The whole class is going on a field trip to the zoo!

But too bad for classroom rivals Kinzie and Ben. Neither of them can go thanks to getting—and sharing—pink eye. To make it even worse, Ben’s mom can’t take off from work, which means Ben has to come to Kinzie’s house for the day. And there’s no time to make a Kinvention to stop that.

Kinzie and Ben decide if they can’t go on the field trip, maybe they can create their own backyard zoo instead. What could possibly go wrong with that great idea?

Available on Amazon and other online retailers.

 

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View More: https://bobbirattaiphotography.pass.us/donna-headshots

I am a children’s book author originally from the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. There I lived on a lovely lake where there were no fish, bears or snakes. (wink, wink)

I now live in Venice, Florida which is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World and is named for the abundance of sharks’ teeth found on the shores.  But that doesn’t scare me at all. Why should it? The sharks here obviously don’t have any teeth! As an extra boost of luck, there are no alligators or snakes here either.  (wink, wink)

In case you can’t tell, I write funny fiction. That means I make up a lot of things and people laugh at me – often.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: All Creatures Great And Small

cricket

 

Growing up, my love for animals wasn’t just for stray pets like cats and dogs. Oh no, my fascination with all living things expanded far beyond the ordinary and I spent a lot  of time outdoors studying nature. If it crawled, hopped, flew, or otherwise moved I was interested in it.

Hot summer days now remind me of Mother’s wash days. Whether she was using the old ringer washer and scrub board or the washing machine she finally got when I was much older, Mother never had a dryer in the house. She would carry the wet clothes out back and hang them on the line. I don’t know if it was the fact the clothes were wet or if it was all that flapping in the wind, but you could always count on dozens of dragonflies to make a stop on the clothesline…dancing in the hot summer sun along with the clothes as they dried. I was mesmerized by those creatures and would spend many an afternoon trying to sneak up on one so I could examine their dainty, translucent wings as they fluttered in the breeze.

I like to think it’s the Cherokee blood in me that connects with nature but I’ve always hated to see any harm come to one of God’s creatures.  Even things like going fishing bothered me. While I enjoyed the actual fishing part, I never had the heart to be the one to send a worm to its watery demise. Either my parents or my brother had to load the hook and cast the line before I could be tempted to hold the pole.

But one Saturday afternoon, I took my love for all creatures great and small to a whole new level…

I was in elementary school at the time and every Saturday we would gather around the television to watch westerns like Bonanza and Rawhide. It was during one of those shows when a small cricket managed to get into our house and make it’s way into the living room where I lay on the floor watching TV.

I don’t remember who heard the chirping sound first but all I wanted was to capture the little guy and put him back outside. My brother, on the other hand, decided he was going to do what most boys his age would have done and hunt the cricket down like prey. Before I could stop him, David had killed it and I was devastated. I cried my little heart out and begged my mother to allow me to have a burial service for the cricket. Not only did she say yes, she found a matchbox to bury him in and made us kids go outside in the middle of the shows so I could have a proper funeral for him.

I’m sure my brother wasn’t too happy about missing his westerns, but you can bet he never tried to kill another critter that managed to get into the house as long as I was around!

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HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover

 

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORYS MYSTERIES.

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?

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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.