Monday, May 22, 2017

MURDER ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON...









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:

KILLING

When I was growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, there wasn't much to watch on TV during a heat drenched Saturday afternoon. Mostly just old John Wayne movies involving a lot of dust, some Indians, and quite a few gun fights. The KILLING wasn't real and the good guys always won.

Except for one Saturday afternoon when a KILLING happened right in front of me and for a moment in time one little girl changed how others saw the world.

Another cowboy was riding the range and another Indian was planning another attack when I hear a strange sound close to where I lay sprawled on the floor in front of our old TV.

My brother heard it too and before I could stop him, a lifeless cricket lay crushed at my feet.

I was inconsolable.

Fortunately for me, my mother loved nature as much as I do and when I decided to have a service for that little cricket, Mother found a matchbox casket for its final resting place and even made my siblings attend the funeral out in our front yard.

One little girl changed how others saw the value in the living.

*******

The life of a story isn't very different from that poor cricket. 

We breathe life into our dreams and put words on paper in the hope others will see the same value in them as we do. But sometimes as writers we have to KILL our own darlings and say a few words over a lifeless manuscript before we can move forward on that path to publication.

But even if we are the ones doing the KILLING, we remember the value of the dream...and continue to dream on...

 




Children's book 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 and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse

 
 

Monday, May 8, 2017

DREAMING MY LIFE AWAY...








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:


DREAMING



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!







Children's book 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, middle grade chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse

 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Mike Berenstain

 
 
The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories: Read-Along Classics  -     By: Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, Mike Berenstain
 
 
Title: The Berenstain Bears: 5 Minute Inspirational Stories
Author: Stan and Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain (author)
Publisher: Zonderkidz 
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
 
Join Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear, plus all their friends in this treasury full of Bear Country fun. This collection of twelve classic stories features full page artwork bringing each adventure to life. Whether it's bedtime, lap time, or just 5 minutes of story time, readers will love seeing their Bear clubs in action.
 

Why You Should Consider It:


Stan and Jan Berenstain have provided generations of children with wholesome, family-friendly stories since 1962. Now their son, Mike Berenstain, carries on the tradition with the latest in the Berenstain Bears collection.

5-Minute Inspirational Stories is a collection of twelve Berenstain Bears following Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear as they find biblical principles in every day life. 

Young readers will find real life application stories in everything from how to deal with disappointment and being a faithful friend to forgiving others and what it means to be courageous.  

For parents of young children who are looking for value based stories to help inspire staying on the right character path, the Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories would be a nice addition to any home library!


Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5...think about 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!

Image result for book look blogger


(Disclaimer:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”) 
 
 

Monday, May 1, 2017

ITS GETTING HOT OUT HERE...





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:
 
PLANTING
 
With the rising temperatures announcing the arrival of Spring, my thoughts turn to vegetable gardens. One image I will always have from my childhood is my mother planting her vegetable garden no matter where we lived. Small yard, large yard, she always found the space to supplement her meager grocery allowance for our family of six with food fresh from the garden.

Every spring I would look through the Burpee seed catalog as my mother made plans for her latest endeavor. Green beans to potatoes to carrots and radishes, everything had a place in my mother's garden. But the one vegetable I remember the best are her tomatoes.

No starter plants would do except for the free ones she could get from the local sewage processing plant. I imagine most people stayed away from that place due to the overwhelming smell alone. 

But not my mother.

Every year, we would make our way to the fields surrounding the processing building, and my mother would dig up the young tomato plants that had managed to make it through the sanitation process to start their new lives among the rich fertilizer to be found nearby. Maybe not the sweetest smelling beginning, but those plants provided some of the juiciest, most flavorful tomatoes around come harvest time. I guess she could have bought them from Burpee, but the hard work put into the initial harvesting made the ending worthwhile.

It's the same with our writing.

We can try planting just any old generic idea and hope it grows into something appealing. Or we can go in search of that stronger plot...even among the smelly muck of our own self-doubt ...and transplant it into a field rich with  imagination and skillful writing to produce a flavorful story worthy of our readers sinking their teeth into. 



 
Tomatoes, Vegetables, Red, Delicious
 


Let the harvesting begin!
 
 




Children's book 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, middle grade chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse


 



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEW: James Markert

Image result for angels' share james markert




Title: The Angels' Share
Author: James Markert
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books
Ages: Adult



Synopsis: 
 
Now that Prohibition has ended, what the townspeople of Twisted Tree, Kentucky, need most is the revival of the Old Sam Bourbon distillery. But William McFee knows it'll take a miracle to convince his father, Barley, to once more fill his family's aging house with barrels of bourbon.


When a drifter recently buried near the distillery begins to draw crowds of pilgrims, the McFees are dubious. Yet miracles seem to come to those who once interacted with the deceased and to those now praying at his grave. As people descend on the town to visit the "Potter's Field Christ," William seeks to find the connection between the tragic death of his younger brother and the mysterious drifter.


But as news spreads about the miracles at the potter's field, the publicity threatens to bring the depth of Barley's secret past to light and put the entire McFee family in jeopardy.


Why You Should Consider It:

For admirers of historical fiction, THE ANGEL'S SHARE will certainly meet, if not exceed, their expectations.


The story begins just at the end of Prohibition when the McFee family had to close down the family bourbon distillery. They managed to survive, and even succeed, in living well while those around them struggled to deal with their changing financial situations.


In the middle of this social and economic chaos, a homeless person is found dead. The only logical place to bury him is in the local "Potter's Field" but soon miracles begin happening and the little town of Twisted Tree becomes a mecca for souls struggling to find meaning in a world turned upside down by the Great Depression.


Author James Markert weaves an captivating story around true historical places and events in Kentucky history like the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, Rose Island, and Lakeland Lunatic Asylum.


Anyone interested in learning more about the bourbon industry and exploring the possibility of true miracles will enjoy reading THE ANGELS' SHARE. Worth considering adding to any home library.





Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5...think about 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!

Image result for book look blogger



(Disclaimer:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

TAKING CHANCES & ROLLING THE DICE...




Yahtzee, Dice, Luck, Game, Throwing, Fun



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:


CHANCES



When I was in high school, I won the coveted position of editor of my school paper. Coveted by me, but not so much anyone else in the school.

You see, I've always wanted to be a writer.

Started reading when I was four years old.

Started writing poetry when I was 8.

Won my first writing contest when I was 11 and the grand prize? You guessed it...a book!

I took CHANCES back then with my writing. Sometimes the words I wrote worked and sometimes they didn't, but I always respected the freedom I had to choose whatever words I wanted to use at the time.

Back to the high school newspaper thing...

Halfway through the school year I asked for poetry submissions for our latest edition. Poems flowed in and I selected which ones I wanted to take a CHANCE on. The teacher who overlooked the paper didn't like my choices and decided to REWRITE the poems to suit his personal taste.

I was shocked and angered at what he did. So I did the only thing I could do.

I walked out in protest.

I took a CHANCE my protest would get the result I wanted...the freedom to run the paper as I saw fit...and after three weeks the teacher caved and asked me to come back. He promised he wouldn't touch the poetry again so I returned as editor for the rest of the school year. 

As writers we take CHANCES all the time.

CHANCES we will finish our manuscripts.

CHANCES we will find just the right critique group, agent, publisher, etc. to help our stories come to life.

CHANCES we will find some level of success on this publishing path we travel.

And what are the CHANCES anything will come of our writing?

No one knows...but if you would have told me back in 2010 when I became a professional writer that in a few years time I would have two stories published, a blog read in over 20 countries, thousands of people reading what I write online, and tons of awesome writerly friends all over the world...I probably wouldn't have taken a CHANCE on believing any of it.

But today, I just sent out a full manuscript request of my YA fantasy romance novel, LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND, to a publisher that just might take a CHANCE on me. So I say, lets roll the dice and take a CHANCE there's another publishing credit in my future!


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







Children's book 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, middle grade chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Billy Graham

 

 
http://www.booklookbloggers.com/art/_240_360_Book.2170.cover.jpg
 
 
Title: Hope For Each Day
Author: Billy Graham
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books
Ages: 9-12



Synopsis: 

 
A daily devotional for kids ages 9-12 years old from Billy Graham, one of the world's most beloved preachers and motivational speakers. Each day's devotion corresponds with the theme and scripture of the adult version of this devotional, making it easy for families to share devotional time together.

Why I like this book: 
 
There are some great evangelists found throughout history and others not so great. Then there's Billy Graham.

For more than 60 years, Billy Graham has shared his love of the gospel with the world and this latest devotional shows his charismatic flair for bringing the scriptures to life in captivating, theme based stories young children will understand.

Tweens can work through the 365 daily devotional by themselves or choose to use each day's story to open a line of communication with other family members.  HOPE FOR EACH DAY is aptly named because anyone reading these stories will find hope and inspiration all within the pages of this well written devotional by one of the greatest evangelists of our times.

Definitely worth adding to your 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!
Image result for book look blogger



(Disclaimer:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)