Monday, February 12, 2018

Sharing Your Love With Others...






To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

PASSION

This week will mark the age old tradition of sharing a bit of friendship...and maybe some secret love...with some special people in our lives. I can remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of Valentine's Day with all the PASSION of your typical third grader back in the day.

I would spend time drawing on and decorating my paper bag with all the usual hearts, cupids, and doves; hoping among the many homemade cards I would receive, I would get a coveted store bought card and maybe even a piece or two of candy if I was lucky. There was even a boy or two I had my heart set on, and I took special care to infuse a little puppy love PASSION into those special cards...

Writers fall in love with their own manuscripts all the time....creating those special worlds with such PASSION...and are sometimes surprised when agents or publishers don't share their PASSION over a particular story.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out if your main character will tug at the heart strings of the publishing gatekeepers. If the world you create is strong enough to stir the PASSIONS of an extremely subjective audience. But just like the kids in my third grade class, there are readers out there waiting to share a little readerly love...you just have to have the PASSION to keep at it...







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, February 5, 2018

Riding The Ferry To Nowhere...






To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

FERRY

My hometown was surrounded by rice fields and swamps. Canals ran everywhere and sometimes there was literally no other way to get from one place to the other than by boat.

Once a month, my siblings and I would pile into our old car and my father would drive north to the FERRY. The only way we would get to the next biggest town was to float across the boggy swamps on an ancient boat pulled across the murky waters along steel cables laid across the bayou. My mother could be seen with her feet peeking out the passenger window as she patiently waited for the sluggish FERRY to reach the other shore.

I, on the other hand, was terrified to be on that FERRY. I always imagined some freakish accident happening; the cables breaking, and being swept down the canal to some mysterious place where the "gris gris" or Cajun swamp monster lurked.

Writers sometimes find themselves bogged down by writer's block, self-doubts, and insecurities when it comes to their writing. They impatiently wait for muses who sometimes never show up while deadlines rush to meet them. They need that FERRY to pull them along a river of creativity, carrying them to the other shore and setting them on the path to publication...






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, January 29, 2018

Someone Throw Me A Lifesaver...






To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:



DROWNING

You would think a gal who was raised in and around the swamps of southern Louisiana would know how to swim like a snapping turtle, but that was one life skill I never quite learned how to master.

When I was seventeen I traveled to San Diego to spend some time with my older brother. He was in the Navy and stationed on the battleship USS Enterprise.  I thought I would have the time of my life, romping on the beach and cultivating a tan.

I was wrong.

My first day at the beach, my brother and one of his Navy buddies decided it would be funny to grab me, drag me out to water over my head and dump me in the Pacific Ocean to see if I could get back to shore. What they didn't bargain on was my getting disoriented and nearly DROWNING before they realized what was going on and had to drag me back to dry land.

That is one memory I've carried with me for almost forty years, coloring my fear of water I can't see through and preventing me from enjoying the local pool each summer.

As writers, we sometimes allow all the daily tasks and writerly deadlines weighing down our plates to try to DROWN us to the point of immobility.  We can't seem to see a light at the end of the tunnel and allow our fears to DROWN us in a sea of overwhelming uncertainty and lack of confidence in our ability to achieve our daily goals.

Since my faithful computer died last month, I have been DROWNING in a never ending pile of writerly deadlines inching closer and closer toward me. Here are some of the things I have done to help keep my head above water...

1. Use other computers whenever possible. My boss generously allows me to use the school's computer to write my weekly blog posts so I won't get behind.  My local library also allows access to their computers in two hour blocks for quick tasks I can do there. It also gives me a chance to check out the books...and was a great resource for story ideas during Tara's Lazar's STORYSTORM this month!

2. Set priorities. There were a couple of submission opportunities with January deadlines so I had to make sure I found a way to meet those deadlines in time.  Some of my other writing projects will have to wait until next month after I get my tax refund and can purchase my new computer.

3. Take this "down time" to work on either generating new stories or revising/cleaning up old manuscripts that I have hard copies on hand. I can always transfer the info to my files and databases later, but for now, I'm staying productive.

4.  Use my smartphone for keeping in touch with my social sites so my friends and other connections won't begin to think I really have DROWNED.

5. Take this time to make sure I'm getting extra rest and ready to hit the ground running next month when I am fully, technologically functioning again. I've been going to bed well before my usual midnight lights out, and have actually found time to do some leisure reading this weekend that I NEVER get the chance to do anymore!

Some of these ideas might work for you, and maybe you will come up with some ideas of your own to prevent you from DROWNING under the weight of revisions, submissions, manuscripts, and other writerly deadlines this year.

If you come up with something that really works for you, please share in the comments below. You never know when you might be saving another writer needing a helping hand!




ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 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, January 22, 2018

Is There A Computer Heaven?





I think I have been extremely fortunate over the years when it comes to computers. My first couple of computers were given to me by my techy son who liked to change computers almost as often as he changed his underwear.


After the last one he gave me finally died a few years ago, a techy friend of my boss gave me a used school computer for free. It wasn't as versatile as I would have liked but how could I not be grateful when it was FREE?

When that one died in 2016, the same techy friend gave me a second used school computer and I thought I was destined to plug away at my writerly career on cast off computers salvaged from the local high school.

Two weeks ago my current computer decided to do something REALLY hinky and forget it's own server! Then came it's confusion on figuring out what the internet was and what it was used for. Finally it decided it was having so much fun swirling around in a vortex of bouncing around between the missing server and trying to figure out what the internet was used for, it stopped even attempting to close down itself at all!

Being a non-techy person in a highly techy world, I have tried to figure out what type of computer I need that will fit within my poor gal's budget. I've finally figured out what RAM means, and I'm pretty sure I've deciphered gigabytes and processor capacity. I've even gone to places like Staples and Best Buy in search of a new computer but my eyes started to glaze over staring at all those pretty computers with all their pretty price tags.

WHO needs a computer that costs $3000? A secret agent? The government of some poor, obscure  third world country who wouldn't even know what the internet was, much less how to turn the darn thing on?

Which makes me wonder...

Is there a computer heaven out there where faithful units get to go at the end of their usefulness, trolling the internet all day and playing endless rounds of online games? Or are they simply cast off like unwanted trash to pile up in a corner somewhere...fried and forgotten?

Goodbye old computer. We had fun working together to create many a manuscript and blog post over the years. Thanks for the tireless hours of research you provided in our mutual pursuit of the next writerly idea. You will be missed, but I must move on and forge a new bond with my next best friend just waiting for me to discover it somewhere out there in that great big techy world just beyond my door...














ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 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 past 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.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Susanna Leonard Hill




 
 
Title: When Your Llama Needs A Haircut

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishers

Ages: 0-4 





Synopsis: 



Does your llama need a haircut? When your llama needs a haircut, you'll first need to pick the perfect style...


Why you should get it:


When I found out my friend, author Susanna Leonard Hill, was releasing a new series of board books, I offered to review one. My friends know I'm not likely to give a favorable BOOK NOOK REVIEW unless I sincerely like the book I've been given. 

The day WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT came in the mail, I was having a very rough time at work. I thought I would give Susanna's book a quick read and then delve deeper into it at a later time. I found myself actually chuckling out loud at some of the adorable illustrations Daniel Wiseman created to compliment Susanna's cute story, like this one...





It brougt me back to the days of my own youth when I tried wearing a perm myself, as well as those days of trying to tame my own son's curly locks. It is also written in a similar vein as author Laura Numeroff's "If You Give..." series which makes WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT a very enjoyable read. I can't wait to read other books in the series like WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES.
Young readers will laugh at the whimsical artwork and parents will find their own little ones asking to hear this delightful story "just one more time!" A great addition to any home library...


Like-O-Meter Rating:   5 out of 5...grab it.




**Rating scale**



 
 5 out of 5...grab it!
 4 out of 5...think about it.
 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.
 1 out of 5...forget about it!







 







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

 







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 past 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, January 15, 2018

Recycling Vacations...






To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

RECYCLE

Growing up, my mother was the queen of RECYCLE. It didn't matter if it was food, clothes, furniture, etc. With six in the family and one poor man's salary, my mother had to be extremely resourceful to keep all of us clothed and fed.

Being the youngest of four, I resigned myself to wearing the RECYLED hand me downs of my older siblings, but the ultimate humilation to living the poor life came when I was about nine years old. My mother was a proficient sewer so most of our school clothes were home made which stood out in a small town fueled by rich rice barons and the upper "nobility" who certainly didn't include any of my family. 

But the icing on the cake came on the day my mother thought the best way to get new material for dresses to start the new school year should come from the estate of a very elderly neighbor who had gone to meet her maker.

My mother carefully undid the seams of all those "old lady" dresses and RECYCLED them down to our size, but no amount of lacy trim could hide the fact I had to attend school in geriatric attire. Food for the bullies, but it was in my nature to simply endure what couldn't be changed and wait for the next growth spurt.

Writers RECYCLE all the time...in fact, some of us can consider ourselves the KINGS & QUEENS of RECYCLE. A revised manuscript until it rises like a pheonix from the ashes of multiple drafts...a hurridly scrawled story idea born of participating in Tara Lazar's Storystorm...or even reworking a plot written out during Julie Hedlund's 12X12. Look around in any serious writer's study and you will find snippets of ideas and partial manuscripts just waiting to be RECYCLED into that next treasure to share with their readers... 

On a funnier RECYCLE note...this past Christmas, I went on a writer's retreat to the beach where I hoped to get a lot of writing done while recharging my physical and emotional batteries. The day before I was scheduled to leave my home, someone decided to steal my trash can I had been assigned by the city.

It made no sense to me who would want my trash, but I gave it little thought while away. Unfortunately I became very ill during my vacation and was unable to participate in almost all of the activities I had planned. Upon returning home I got ready to return from work one day to discover what I thought was my replacement trash can sitting in my back yard. 

I was mistaken about my "new" RECYCLE bin.

The following day I received a call from the city. I thought they were following up to make sure I had received my new trash can, but they were actually calling me to say when they attempted to deliver the new trash can, they found my original RECYCLE bin waiting for them.

What I thought was a NEW trash can was in fact my OLD trash can, all cleaned up and returned to me. All I want to know is, how can my RECYCLE bin end up taking a better vacation than ME???  




ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 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, January 8, 2018

A New Year's Blessings...



To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

BLESSINGS

When a new year rolls in, it can be a good time to look back on the BLESSINGS of the previous year...

All my Christmas' have always been spent at home. Growing up, it included things like decorating a real tree my father cut down from land we owned, baking cookies to send to my older brother and sister who were both serving in the Navy, and getting to choose one gift to open on Christmas Eve.

This year, I was given a chance to spend my holidays returning to a place I hadn't seen in over 25 years. I eagerly anticipated indulging in everything from whale watching and lighthouse climbing to seafood buffets. Instead, Mother Nature and Karma decided I was to spend my entire vacation struggling with everything from multiple illnesses which kept me in my room most of the time to buffeting winds and freezing temperatures to keep me away from my beautiful waters. 

Of course I could have sat around and moped, but instead I took that time to think about the year gone by and the BLESSINGS I had been given...

1. I started 2017 with both a home and a job. With so many homeless and jobless, how could I NOT be grateful for such gifts?

2. Despite my current illness, I have been able to look after my own health and well-being this past year without becoming bogged down in the complications of participating in a poorly executed health reform program. 

3. I've met and made many new friends over the past twelve months...each of them becoming a part of the fabric of my life and I cherish each new connection.

4. My third book, an inspirational anthology called Are YOU The Missing Piece?,was released in October last year and immediately became a #1 International Best Selling book and continued my streak of releasing a new book once every two years since 2013. It makes me wonder what will happen in 2019?

As a writer, we are all challenged to continually question the What If's of our world and use the answers we uncover to breathe life into our manuscripts. While reflecting on past accomplishments, don't forget to also look forward to this new year of possibilities. I'm currently participating in Tara Lazar's STORYSTORM where I will read inspiring posts to help me generate 30 story ideas in 30 days. I've already generated six promising ideas so this new year has already been a BLESSING to me!

And, I was BLESSED enough to get out of town before a winter storm rolled in...

 






ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 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.