Monday, October 23, 2017

Not Your Normal Zen Garden...






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:


HACK


One of the houses I lived in as a child had a rather large area at the back of the house filled with tall bamboo trees, giving it (at first glance) a rather Zen feel to that corner of yard. I could stand next to those trees towering over me and dream myself away to some far away land where anything was possible.


My mother, on the other hand, lived a very practical existence and all those trees meant to her was another back breaking chore to be done by HACKING the branches back into some resemblance of order instead of the wild array of branches they typically displayed.


The only problem with trimming those wild trees, is the fact we never knew of the multitudes of hornets who called those plants their home.


That is, until the day Mother decided to HACK into their nest and unleash their outraged fury on my poor head and shoulders. I remember there was a lot of screaming on my part and numerous lumps left all over my head on the part of the hornets. 


While the pain subsided eventually and the bumps finally healed, the memory of that horrible day is etched into my soul forever. Even to this day, if any winged creature ventures too close to my head, I will still do the dance of the deranged to try to escape another possible attack.


I don't think HACKING is such a good thing for a writer either. A few years ago my own computer was HACKED by a gentleman out of South Africa, posing as an author trying to be a part of my WRITERLY WISDOM series at the time. While I chose not to allow him to participate, he decided to HACK into my yahoo email account at the time, as well as my Facebook account, and delete two years of detailed research I had been doing for a project I was working on at the time.


My computer was very old and really didn't allow much back up capabilities. There was nothing I could do to recover from being HACKED.


Sometimes things happen to our writing that devastates us. The pain to our writerly spirit is as real as the pain caused by those hornets so long ago.


But we have to remember it's not the end of the world. Some of our work may no longer be around, but the spark that chose to take on a particular project is still there...deep within us...leading us to even bigger dreams than we might have first imagined. I know, because my latest book is a dream come true...





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.

 






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, time at the beach, and good stories.

 






Monday, October 16, 2017

Waves Upon Waves of Stories...


 


  


 
 
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:
 
STORIES
 
I feel like I've been writing all my life. I have copies of poetry I wrote beginning at age 8. Even then, voices whispered in my head...calling to me and wanting to spill out onto paper. By age 11 I was entering writing contests, and even won a contest sponsored by my hometown library to receive a copy of MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE. It even had a book plate on the inside with my name inscribed on it and I thought I had won the lottery.
 
Over the years I've written snippets and full manuscripts of hundreds of stories...picture books, chapter books, young adult fantasy, essays...stories swirling and dancing through my mind  when there was no one else around to keep me company. 
 
Writers ALWAYS have another story waiting to be told. It might go into hiding and we have to work hard at enticing the muse to show themselves. And sometimes the stories tumble out of us so quickly, we stumble over them, just trying to write all of them down before they fade from our memory.

But there is one thing that ALL writers have in common. It is "written" in our DNA to gather words together in the hopes we can create a strong enough picture to leave our imprint on the world...


My latest book, Are YOU The Missing Piece?, is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. Last week, it became a #1 bestseller  in Austrailia, Canada, the UK, and the US. All those stories now flowing out into the universe like waves in the ocean...and maybe one day, flowing back to me...
 
 






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, time at the beach, and good stories.

 
 
 

Monday, October 9, 2017

DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE...






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:

COMFORTABLE

When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot. With extreme poverty came the constant need to find living arrangements that matched my paren'ts dwindling financial funds. 

My father worked every type of job from construction to offshore cook, but it was hard to get COMFORTABLE when you never knew if next month you would be moving again.

Finally my parents saved up enough money to put a downpayment on a century old home and we could put down roots. Their mortgage was $50 per month, but it could have easily been $5000 as I watched my mother struggle each month to come up with enough money to keep her children COMFORTABLE in their "forever" home.

Being COMFORTABLE and knowing the wolves are no longer at the door is okay when you're a kid, but as a writer, the worst thing we can get is too COMFORTABLE with our stories.

When we stop striving to challenge our characters...stop throwing obstacles in their way to overcome...we short change ourselves and fall short of the stronger writers we can become.

And what's the fun in 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, time at the beach, and good stories.

 

 

 

Monday, October 2, 2017

STORING UP FOR THE WINTER...





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:

STORE

Memories of my childhood would not be complete without remembering all the canning my mother would do each year to STORE up enough food in anticipation of a long, hard winter with four young mouths to feed.

Everyting that flew, swam, ran, or grew on the vine would find its way into one of Mother's canning jars. Nothing was overlooked and I never had to wonder what  we would do with our garden bounty.

While other folks in my hometown would make do with STORE bought goods to fill their bellies on a cold winter's night, I could dine on fresh vegetables that had basked in the warm Cajun sunlight just months before. Finish that meal off with frozen, sugared figs straight from our back yard or an ice cold banana "pop" and I'd swore I was in heaven!

As writers, we STORE up story ideas in notebooks, on computers, even scribled on restaurant napkins, with the hope that one...or more...will someday develop into a beautifully woven writerly masterpiece to be shared with the world. Those STORED up ideas take the same amount of nurturing and dedication when creating a manuscript to feed young minds as it took my mother all those years ago to make sure four young bodies were fed every winter...









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, time at the beach, and good stories.

 


 

Monday, September 25, 2017

FALLING IN LOVE WITH FALL...



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:

FALL

I'm pretty sure my sister didn't realize just how much I admired her when we were growing up. I thought Janet had it all...a witty personality, a bevy of friends, and the coolest wedge sandals I had ever seen.

I've been 5'10" since I was eleven years old. Tall enough to tower over most of the other students in my class which didn't win me any popularity contests, but the thought of adding another 5 inches to my height was too tempting to resist. Besides, to a gangly pre teen, those shoes represented about the sexiest thing I had ever seen.

My sister let me borrow those shoes one day and I strutted around the playground like I was the Homecoming Queen. That is, until I tried to turn the corner of a building and ended up FALLING off those shoes.

Hitting the concrete face first.

In front of a group of kids.

Who started to laugh and point at the goofball on the ground trying to gather her dignity and her high heel wedges before slinking off to hide in the girl's bathroom for the rest of recess.

I never wore those wedge shoes again, but for one moment in an otherwise mediocre elementary school career, I was on top of my world!

Writers FALL in love with their stories. They are passionate about those writerly relationships,  sometimes extending the "honeymoon" phase of loving their main characters long past what is best for the overall storyline. That's where a good critique group or critique partner comes in.

An outside pair of eyes will catch weaknesses in those manuscripts, preventing those main characters from FALLING into the dark hole of the slush pile.

For writers looking for a critique partner or critique group, here are a few links to check out...

 http://thewritersmatch.com/

https://www.ladieswhocritique.com/ 

 https://thewritelife.com/find-a-critique-partner/

 http://lisapoisso.com/2016/07/26/find-critique-partners-groups/










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, time at the beach, and good stories.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS...Rachel Hauck

   
 
Image result for the writing desk rachel hauck reviews
 
 

Title: The Writing Desk
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Ages: Young Adult, Adult



Synopsis: 
 
Tenley Roth's first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she's locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer's block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart's been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she'll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn't know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.
 

Why You Should Consider It:


When is an old writing desk not a desk anymore?

When it becomes a bridge, helping to connect the lives of two women living in vastly different worlds set in a time one hundred years apart from each other.

Birdie Shehorn is born during the Gilded Age in New York, where young ladies are expected to bow to their mother’s wishes and marry some titled aristocracy from across the ocean in order to secure their place in high society. Too bad if Birdie has other dreams of how her life should be…like writing romance novels.

Tenley Knickerbocker, on the other hand, is very much a modern woman, riding high on the success of her first blockbuster novel. But Tenley’s life isn’t all smooth sailing either. Pressure from her publisher to produce her next best seller is causing writer’s block. Pressure from her boyfriend to go away with him to Paris at a time when her life feels like it is unraveling. Pressure from her estranged mother to go to Florida to help her through chemotherapy.

But maybe the very essence of life isn’t very different no matter whether you live in 1900 New York or modern day Florida. We all want to be able to choose who we will one day fall in love with, determine the paths our own lives will take, and  feel in control of our own destinies.

Author Rachel Hauck does a superb job of taking us deep into the lives to two seemingly different women and weaving a tale of how one desk helps connect them to their deepest desires no matter their individual circumstances or even the ocean of time standing between them.

A nice 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!

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, September 18, 2017

A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY...





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:

MISTAKEN IDENTITY


I grew up surrounded by animals. Just about everything that crawled, swam, or walked, found it's way into my childhood at one point or another.
 
When I was about 12 years old, one of my pets was a chihuahua mix dog we had had for many years named Penny. She was a sweet, tolerant animal...but then again, she had to be with four children always vying for her attention.

As she grew older, she tolerated the peskiness of a pure bred chihuahua named Chi Chi we added to our family, and even my poor attempts to teach that old dog some new tricks. Penny always tried to please me and would eagerly run to me whenever I called her name.

But one day, my poor dog developed a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY that brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.

Back in 1974, Elton John released a single titled "Benny and the Jets" (https://youtu.be/p5rQHoaQpTw). If you've never heard of it, it was a weird, catchy tune, but then all of his songs were great to dance to when you're a kid. I would take my transistor radio outside in the back yard to hang out with Penny and every time that song started playing, I would crank up the volume as high as it would go and wait for the chorus.

My poor dog would hear Elton John and think he was calling HER, instead of Benny, and she would take off running for the radio...barking at it every time she heard "Benny"...as if to say "I'm here! I'm here! Can't you see me?" 

I'm pretty sure poor Penny was glad when that song fell off the charts and wasn't played any more.

We writers sometimes deal with MISTAKEN IDENTITIES as well. 

Sometimes our main characters aren't really the main character at all and it takes a good critique to shine the light on who is really driving our stories.

Sometimes we send out submissions and classify our story as a new age when it's really a steampunk...or a middle grade when it's better classified as a young adult.

And sometimes we even classify ourselves as a failure just because we haven't been published yet. We think we have a MISTAKEN IDENTITY by daring to call ourselves writers on those days when our negative thoughts cause us to doubt our own abilities to weave a story.

But we need to be more like my dog, Penny, and at least SHOW UP every time those ideas call out to us. We need to hang out with them for a while and see if, just maybe, it wasn't a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY at all, but more of a new way to see ourselves...even one day to be able to call ourselves by our new identities as published authors!








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, time at the beach, and good stories.