Monday, April 2, 2018

Where, Oh Where Did I Go?






Remember, dear readers, all my blog posts will now come from my Story Catcher Publishing website. Click on this link and start following my journey to indie publishing my young adult fantasy novel LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND. And if you like what you see, be sure to click on the FOLLOW BLOG link so you won't miss out on all the fun! 

See you over there!



Author Profile Pic


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.



Monday, March 26, 2018

Caution: Dead End Ahead...






By dead end, I don't mean the kind where I fall off the face of the earth and you never hear from me again.

The kind of dead end I'm talking about is where I no longer load my blog posts here. 

Starting Monday, April 2nd, there will be a new place for all of my followers to hang out...






This is the logo for my new website, STORY CATCHER PUBLISHING . I would love for you to check it out and tell me what you think!

Also starting, Monday, April 2nd, I will begin my new series, "Journey To Self-Publishing: where I talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly during the months leading up to the release of my young adult fantasy novel LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND in early 2019.

I will share all the tips, tricks, and products I am using to make this new writing venture a success. I'm also revising and updating the info on my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. The posts written by authors, agents, editors, and publishers are still pertinent to all writers today and covers everything from WHY even become a writer, all the way to HOW to market your published books. 

Please make sure to enter your email address on my new website to follow me because that's going to be the best way to get the latest updates of everything going on in my busy, busy life.

Will you join the ride with me on my new venture?






All About Me


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.
 


Monday, March 19, 2018

Old Books Are Finding A New Home...





I'm a firm believer that every story can find it's way into a forever home. Not necessarily in MY home, but somewhere out in the great beyond, all those books I discover in the nooks and crannies of a used bookstore are like those puppies at the pound. Pages wagging with excitement, all those little titles look at me with those well-loved covers and seem to whisper, "Are YOU the one to take us home today?"


I'm addicted to the written word and I discovered a new booky playground in Knoxville.










After meeting Heather Hamilton (what a cool name), manager of Scruffy City Books, located at 2700 Hoitt Ave, I knew I wanted to interview her and find out more about this cool lady who seems to love books nearly as much as I do!



Me: Considering our struggling economy, what made you want to open up a second hand bookstore?

    

Heather: We're a small and flexible business with our hands in both e-commerce and retail.  We've seen e-books plateau and slightly decline while physical books have grown in popularity over the past year or so. People love books and are going to continue to buy books in whatever market conditions exist.  While retail,  in general, has had its struggles over the past few years, we believe that niche markets that offer real value to customers will always have a place at the table. Moreover, we believe that low prices and great customer service are strong points that we can provide no matter the economic conditions






    


Me: I noticed you have an expansive inventory in a lot of genres. Where do you go to find the books you stock?

    

Heather: Thank you, we are always working to expand and better organize them. Our sources for books are always changing, but have included recyclers, auctions, and books brought to the store for trade-in.  Usually, when we receive books in our warehouse they arrive in large pallets, which are then sorted through.  We organize them by genre and then bring them into the store to shelve.  Whatever we are unable to use, we recycle.







Me: Tell us a little bit about your store...i.e. pricing, genres covered, any specials my readers need to know about?

    

Heather: The great thing about our store is the affordability.  The majority of our kid's books are $1, and standard books are $3 with the exception of some popular titles which are priced as marked.  We also have a growing selection of CD's and audiobooks for $3 each.  Another popular deal are our bulk bins, where customers can fill a bag (which we provide) of kid's books from our bulk bins for $10.  We love to see how many books people are able to fit in the bags...I think the current record is 110 books.







   

We are also excited about the loyalty program we just launched, which allows customers to earn points for in store coupons.  Customers are able to enroll in this program at check out.

   

We have books of many different genres, but one of my personal favorites is the vintage section.  The books are just so pretty and unique, they really don't make them like that anymore.




 




Me: Do you have any upcoming events we need to know about?

    

Heather: Since we are such a new business, we do not have any events on our calendar yet, although we are floating several ideas around and I'm certain we will plan something special for our anniversary in August as well as Small Business Saturday in November. 








Me: If a customer is looking for something in particular you might not have in stock, are you able to locate it for them? How about shipping options if someone wanted to order direct and have the books sent to them?

    

Heather: While we don't control which particular new titles we recieve, we bring in and sort through thousands of books a week, so we are often able to locate titles for customers that we do not currently have in stock, although we cannot guarantee it.  Even if we are unable to find a book for a customer, we appreciate these requests as they help us have a better idea of how to stock our shelves and what titles readers are looking for.  



We don't have many requests to ship books, but the handful of times we have it is simply the price of the items plus standard shipping costs.








Me: What genres of books do you or your partner read? Favorite books?

    

Heather: Really, I enjoy reading a little bit of everything, but I probably read more science fiction and fantasy. Right now I'm reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and it's been a lot of fun so far.  As far as favorite books, there are so many and with the list always growing, it's difficult to know where to begin. 

    







Me: What's the best way for new customers to reach you? Are you on social sites like Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?

   

Heather: We are on Facebook and Instagram as Scruffy City Books, and we try to be as responsive as possible on each of those, whether it be via comment or direct message.








Me: What are your hours? What's something unique or special about you that my readers would find interesting?


Heather: Saturday 9:00-5:00 and Sunday 1:00-5:00. Scruffy City Books gives back to our community through our work with Title 1 schools via the Knoxville Dream Center.  This has included everything from donating books, donating a portion of our sales, and providing teachers with coupons for free books for their classrooms.







Me: Do you have any local author events scheduled in the future like book signings, reading to kids, mini workshops, etc?

       

Heather: Not at this time, but that is certainly something we would love to look into.  



 





There were so many lovely books to choose from, I was disappointed that I couldn't bring them all with me to a forever home. And I imagine, so were they...






International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.


Monday, March 12, 2018

My Special Interview With Best Selling Author Debbie Dadey (Part Two)




(Best Selling Author Debbie Dadey)




Last week I shared Part One of my interview with best selling children's author Debbie Dadey. If you missed it, you can click on this link (http://donasdays.blogspot.com/2018/03/my-special-interview-with-best-selling.html).


I was lucky enough to meet Debbie when I attended her ABC's of Writing For Children workshop at the Rose Glen Literary Festival a couple of weekends ago. I have read many of her 166 authored and co-authored books, including those from her ADVENTURES OF THE BAILY SCHOOL KIDS series, and GHOSTVILLE ELEMENTARY.




See the source image




Her latest series, MERMAID TALES, are already winning her new fans with READY, SET, GOAL being released later this year. Now, keep on reading to learn more about the writerly processes of the amazing Debbie Dadey...



6. What has been some of the best ways to market your books?


     Ha, if only I knew the secret! Here are some things I do:
  • Scheduling book signings (I've had ones where tumbleweed rolled through and where kids were literally lined up around the block).
  • Visiting libraries and schools (libraries are usually free if they are close, but unless it is my 'home' school I charge). There's nothing more fun than sharing your stories with kids!
  • I produce a teaching unit for each new book now. I wish I'd done this from the beginning, but life got in the way. Each MERMAID TALES book has a complete teaching unit to go with it on my website teacher's page. I am a former teacher and librarian, but you can model yours after existing ones or ask a teaching professional for assistance. I also have started making mini trailers for my new books-what a learning process that is.
  • Attending writing conferences and offering programs.
  • I am late to the social media party, but I do try. I think the key is not to harp on your books constantly. I'm at www.Facebook.com/debbiedadey. You can always contact me through my contact page at http://www.debbiedadey.com/Contact/index.php.

7. How do you select the names of your characters? 

     Very rarely a character's name will just come to me. Most of the time I select them out of a baby name book and/or the phone book. Sometimes I look for a name that 'goes' with my story. For instance, how could I not use Shelly as a mermaid name in TROUBE AT TRIDENT ACADEMY?

8. How long on average does it take you to write each book?

     There isn't an average. For books that are under contract there is always a time limit. For instance, there was a period of several years where Marcia Thornton-Jones and I wrote a book a month. Whew!
.
9. What's one thing your fans might not know about you?

     I can still do a cartwheel! I found this out the other day and was rather surprised myself.

10. What's your latest book about and where can readers get a copy?

     My newest book is READY, SET, GOAL! When the team at Trident Academy gets to go to the Championship games, they have high hopes to win. But that's before Shelly sees a cursed fish. Can they break the curse before it's too late? Hope you'll buy the story to see how I tried to weave in my research about Atlantis and sports curses into the story. Then I hope you'll share it with your favorite young reader!

Be sure to leave a comment below and share a little love with Debbie by telling her which one of her books is your favorite!
     
Thanks, Debbie, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for my readers. For more about Debbie, check out her website (www.debbiedadey.com), find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/debbiedadey/?ref=page_internal), hanging out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DebbieDadey), and even on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/debbiedadey/).












ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 international bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US last fall.


 



International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.










Monday, March 5, 2018

My Special Interview With Best Selling Author Debbie Dadey (Part One)




(Best Selling Author Debbie Dadey)


I consider myself a connoisseur of the written word...anything from picture books, chapter books, and young adult novels to adult fiction, self-help, and inspirational/motivational essays.

I've been writing for almost forty years...eight of those professionally...while being blessed to meet and make friends with many authors all around the world. But last weekend, I managed to meet someone whose writing I have followed and admired for many years.

While attending the Rose Glen Literary Festival, I met best selling author Debbie Dadey who was hosting her ABC's of Writing For Children workshop.


See the source image


She was very approachable, somewhat surprising considering she is the author or co-author of 166 children's books, including the extremely popular chapter book series ADVENTURES OF THE BAILEY SCHOOL KIDS (42 MILLION copies sold so far!), GHOSTVILLE ELEMENTARY, and her latest series MERMAID TALES.

After a very informative workshop, I took a chance, requesting an interview with Debbie and she graciously accepted. Below is Part One of some of the burning questions inquiring minds, myself included, wanted to know...


1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

     I laughed when I read that question. I'd love to be superman-make that super writer! My writing Kryptonite has to be a bit of a catch 22. It's reading! I love to read and believe reading helps me to be a better writer, but the danger comes when I put off writing to read. I usually keep regular office hours to avoid that.

2. What are some common traps for aspiring writers?

     Writing clich├ęs was my first trap-I wrote the giraffe with the too short neck and the Christmas tree that no one wanted. It's not that they are bad ideas, they have just been overdone and are difficult to sell. Another trap that I've been guilty of is researching, researching, and more researching. I think research is important. I do know many ways to become a werewolf, thanks to writing books like WEREWOLVES DON'T GO TO SUMMER CAMP and WEREWOLVES DON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT, but continuing to research when I should begin writing is definitely a trap. I researched for eight years for CHEROKEE SISTER. Another thing to avoid is putting too much of your research into your fiction book. It has to fit naturally with the story and can't just be thrown in because you learned this fabulous fact.

3. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you research before beginning a book?

     The research I do definitely depends on the story. Currently I am researching the Wild West, saints, oxen, covered wagons, bioluminescence, and the porpoise. What a strange mix!
     

4. What was your first published book and how did it change your writing process?

     VAMPIRES DON'T WEAR POLKA DOTS, which I co-authored with Marcia Thornton-Jones, was my first book. I was very interested in writing books for reluctant readers and for students needing something between a picture book and a novel (I still am), but I hadn't even thought about writing a series. I found out how fun it is to get to know your characters through many adventures. That first book turned into a series of 51 numbered books in THE ADVENTURES OF THE BAILEY SCHOOL KIDS, Super Specials and Holiday Specials, and two spin-off series.

5. What is your favorite childhood book?

     There was a series called CHERRY AMES, STUDEN NURSE that was a favorite.

Be sure to leave a comment below and share a little love with Debbie by telling her which one of her books is your favorite!

Stop by next week for Part Two of my interview with best selling Kidlit author, Debbie Dadey. And thanks, Debbie, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to help my readers learn more about the life of a best selling author. 

For more about Debbie, check out her website (www.debbiedadey.com), find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/debbiedadey/?ref=page_internal), hanging out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DebbieDadey), and even on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/debbiedadey/).








ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 international bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US last fall.



 





International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.