Monday, June 12, 2017

COVERING ALL THE BASES

 
 
 
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:
 
BASES
 
I wouldn't consider myself the world's best athlete growing up. I was incredibly shy and self-conscious about my appearance, so when I was forced to pick a sport to "master" during high school as part of my PE grade, I decided on soft ball. 
 
I didn't have the jump to play basketball, my sister cornered the gymnastics arena, and my brother was the boss of the football field. Surprisingly enough, I found that I was fairly adept at my chosen sport and ended up playing both short-stop or second BASE. I wasn't superstar material by any means, but I always managed to cover the BASES any time I stepped out on the playing field. Whether catching fly balls, stopping grounders, or even taking my turn at bat, I focused on multi tasking to get the job done.
 
Juggling an active writing career is very similar to covering second BASE. There are even times when juggling things like revisions, queries, contests, research, and other writing commitments cut into actual writing time and we find ourselves wondering how we are going to be able to cover all our writerly BASES. 
 
I don't have all the answers, but as I go into this busy, busy summer season, I plan on keeping a few things in mind:
 
1. MAKE A WRITING PLAN & FOLLOW IT DAILY
 
I might only get to write for 15 minutes some days but I will focus all my energy during those 15 minutes on my latest project.

2. DO MY RESEARCH & NARROW MY AGENT LIST
 
Some of my queries need to be followed up on while other submissions need to be sent out.
 
3. TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY OCCASIONALLY
 
It's hard for me sometimes to take time just for me but past experience has shown me I need ME time in order to be able to put my best effort into my writing.
 
Before you know it, summer will be gone and the kids will be back in school. The sounds of the crowd and the smell of popcorn will fade from the BASEball field, but at least I will have something to show for covering all my writerly BASES.
 
What about you? How do you plan to manage your busy summer and still get your writing in?
 
 




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

     



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS

 
 
 
 
 
Title: NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible
Publisher: Zondervan
Ages: 9-12



Synopsis: 
 
The NIV Kid's Visual Study Bible brings the bible to life with full-color illustrated splendor. Featuring over 700 illustrations, color photos, engaging maps and important facts located near the relevant verse.
 

Why You Should Consider It:


From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the latest publication of the bible, people are always interested in having a better understanding of the lives of key people and events during biblical times.

The latest in available versions is the NIV Kids Visual Study Bible.  Older children will find easy access to an array of reference materials all in one easy book, including explanations of terminology or events, beautiful photographs, and detailed maps.

All of this, along with easy to understand verse gives readers a strong foundation to grow in their faith. A great 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, June 5, 2017

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT...





  


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:

INCOGNITO 

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

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

Everyone, that is, except me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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 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