Monday, January 23, 2017

INCHING OUR WAY ALONG...




Free coiled tape measure healthy living stock photo Creative Commons (3209939998).jpg


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:

INCHES

An incremental way of judging our successes, INCHES can also be a way to measure the thin line between life and death…

When I was 17, I moved out of my parent’s home and started a new life 50 miles away from my hometown. I was still dealing with my social anxiety issues, but managed to become friends with the assistant manager of the Taco Bell where I was working.

It was the holidays and I was riding in her little Pinto Hatchback to her apartment to set up for a Christmas party. Time has blurred some of the details, but I remember we were waiting to turn left off a very busy road that had no protected turn lane. Cars were racing by just INCHES from our stopped car.

Then it happened.

I heard her yell out just seconds before the impact.

A truck in our lane going 50 miles an hour slammed into a car behind us, shoving that car into the back of ours.

The police later told us we were lucky to be alive. If the car behind us wouldn’t have turned its wheel  INCHES to the left before the impact, the Pinto’s gas tank would have exploded with us trapped inside.

INCHES between life and death.

INCHES also helps us measure our publishing journey. Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back on the road to seeing our name on the cover of our book. Other times it’s a giant leap forward in signing book contracts and launching book birthday parties. And sometimes it’s the INCHES we fight for every day as we tighten and shine our stories into being the very best version of themselves they can be…

Never give up the fight for those precious INCHES my #DCSPeeps, for it can be the difference between a dream of one day becoming a published author and actually being one!

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
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

TRUSTING YOUR GUT...



 
 
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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:
   
TRUST
 
The summer after I graduated high school I decided to visit my brother in San Diego. He was in the Navy, stationed on the USS Enterprise and 6 years older than me. Remember, I am an extreme introvert, so when one of his Navy buddies invited me to go out with him one Saturday, I trusted my instincts and said yes.

At almost eighteen, this was my first date ever and I kinda expected a meal and a movie.

I was mistaken.

What I got was an all day hike up the side of a mountain to a place called the Devil’s Punch Bowl. 

Did I mention I was terrified of open heights?

Or that I later found out a group of climbers fell to their deaths a few weeks before off the very trail I was on?

Ignorance is bliss and the young blindly trusting as I was that day as I climbed like a mountain goat to the peak so I could gaze at the beautiful, if not dangerous, bowl shaped vista below me.

A once in a lifetime moment and it comes to my mind as vividly as if it happened yesterday. Trust is a powerful thing my DCSPeeps and can lead you to great moments waiting for you in the not too distant future:

Trust the rightness of beginning your writing journey if you have been hesitant before now to take the leap of faith.

Trust and follow blogs of writers who have been where you are right now and have writerly wisdom to share. Like these great blogs:

           https://janefriedman.com
            
           http://www.thecreativepenn.com

           http://writersinthestormblog.com/

           http://writerunboxed.com

           http://www.kidlit411.com

           http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/

           https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

           http://www.taralazar.com/

           http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents


Trust that you have people in this writing community who will offer loving support to help lift you up when you are struggling with self-doubt.

And finally, trust there is a happy writer version of you just waiting on some mountain peak to greet you with open arms.

All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and start climbing!

Have an awesome day today because 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, January 11, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Ann Abramson





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Title: Who Was Anne Frank?
Author: Ann Abramson

Illustrator: Nancy Harrison
Publisher: The Penguin Group

Ages: 8-12





Synopsis: 

Who was Anne Frank?
  • A high-spirited child always playing pranks?
  • A young Jewish girl forced into hiding for two years?
  • The author of one of the best-loved books in the world?
  • All of the above!
Here is an illustrated biography about Anne Frank and her world.


Why you should read it: 


 
Anyone studying the history surrounding World War II will have probably heard of Anne Frank. I, myself, have read many different versions of the now famous story of one girl's plight during one of the world's most violent eras.

While I thought I was very familiar with Anne's story, I was quite surprised to discover there were quite a few things I didn't know about her earlier life before the Nazis invaded her adopted home of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Illustrator Nancy Harrison creates vivid artwork to compliment Ann Abramson's touching retelling of the everyday struggle in war torn Europe during the 1930's and 1940's. Ms. Abramson helps her readers identify with one's girl's simple wish of one day becoming a writer and hoping her words might one day inspire the world around her.

Too bad Anne Frank never lived to see how her diary touched so many lives since those horrific days of World War II, but at least we have books like Who Was Ann Frank? to help us to never forget one girl's dream of a better tomorrow.

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

A STORM IS COMING...













 
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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:
 
STORMY
 
When I was growing up, every first day of school would be at the beginning of hurricane season in southern Louisiana. And most years we could never actually GO to the first day of school because my hometown would be in the path of a hurricane.
 
STORMY weather can be a scary thing to a six year old. I can remember my mother filling up our bathtub with water just in case that would be all the six of us would have to drink or clean with for the next few days. 
 
Hurricane lanterns would also be filled, with matches ready as most of the time we lost electricity as the STORM raged around us. The batteries in our small transistor radio would be changed out for new ones to make sure we would always have contact with the outside world.
 
There were even times when we had to evacuate and make a run for the high school. Cots would crowd the gymnasium floor and you could almost smell the fear radiating from strangers now huddled together like family...all waiting to see what destruction would come with the STORM beating on those glass panes.
 
I still remember one time my father lifting me onto his shoulders to look outside a tiny window as one hundred mile an hour winds tore shingles from a teacher's house across the street from the school and trashcans became airborne, flying like missles into cars parked on the road in front of us. 
 
Later when I was an adult living in Dallas, I lived through a tornado crossing over the top of my mobile home one night, but in my mind, nothing could compare to those childhood STORMS.
 
Choosing to become a writer is very much like choosing to be a STORM chaser. Whether it's the illusive story idea you try to catch or even the rarer publishing contract, STORMY elements surround your writing, raining on your parade of becoming an author...
 
Publishers rejecting your submissions.
 
Writer's block in the middle of a project.
 
 Agents refusing representation of your work.

We who live to write sit in the eye of the STORM every day and balance those stories calling to us. We hold them close and protect them until the time comes when the STORM passes and all we can see ahead of us is clear sailing on that path to publication...


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I hope you have a awesome day today because 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, January 4, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Michelle Phoenix






Title: Of Stillness and Storm
Author: Michelle Phoenix
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books
Ages: Adult



Synopsis: 

 
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.


Why you should read it: 

 
It can be easy for a person to look around at their own picture perfect life and think they could never understand the depth of someone else's emotional dilemma when that person lives on the other side of the world.

But author, Michelle Phoenix, manages to overcome that obstacle with the finesse of a master word player as she draws her audience into Lauren's struggle to acclimate to life in Nepal.

Her husband, Sam, strongly feels God's calling to become a missionary among the remote tribes living in the mountains, and leaves his family to fend for themselves for weeks at a time in a place as alien to them as some distant planet.

At first we can understand, and even sympathize, with Sam's wish to make a positive difference in the world. It's a commendable trait, but this clever author also forces us to acknowledge a life changing event based on good intentions doesn't always guarantee a happy ending.

The harder Lauren tries to honor her marriage vows by supporting her husband's dreams, the deeper the wedge driven between herself and her son, Ryan, who deals with his own struggles of being uprooted from friends and family to live in a country he has come to loathe.

Add to this powder keg of emotional upheaval a ghost from Lauren's past in the form of Aidan, who is dealing with his own struggle to come to terms with a life threatening illness. Aidan reconnects with Lauren via the internet, but this rekindling of their childhood friendship only adds fuel to the emotional and spiritual fires already threatening to destroy this family.

If we had a crystal ball, we could predict the epic storm coming, but when the escalating tension finally breaks in a life altering conclusion, it's not just the characters of this story who are left to access the emotional roller coaster ride Ms. Phoenix has just taken us on.

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 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, January 2, 2017

CHANGING THE CHANNEL...






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:

CHANNELS 

In this day and age of endless technology, it's sometime hard to imagine a time without cell phones, cable TV, or hundreds of radio stations jamming the airwaves.

But when I was growing up in that small town in southern Louisiana, cell phones didn't exist, and the only TV we had was a small, black and white TV with rabbit ears antenna that got three CHANNELS.

That's right.

Three CHANNELS summed up my childhood life and if I didn't like what I saw on one station, all I had to do was change the CHANNEL.

Then in the early '70's my father brought something home I will never forget.

My first portable radio.

This was during a time before FM was even invented and I remember the first song I heard on that wonderful invention was Charlie Pride's "Kiss An Angel Good Morning." My mother was a die hard fan of the OLD style country music so the only singers I recognized were people like Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

Finally at around age 16, I discovered there was a whole other world out there...rock 'n roll...and all I had to do was change the CHANNEL on that old radio to find music more in tune with the person I was becoming.

Writing is kinda like those CHANNELS.

Years ago there were only a couple of ways to write and the same amount of ways to get published.

Authors wrote their stories, mailed hard copies to publishers...and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

If they were lucky, their stories became published. If not so lucky, it was back to the drawing board.

Today, authors can become published through many venues. Some, like myself, travel the route of looking for an agent to help them accomplish the dream of sharing their stories with the world. Others have options submitting to large publishing houses, small independent publishers, and even a number of options to self-publish your stories.

Many CHANNELS to choose from.

With the right amount of research, any of these CHANNELS offer a way to become a published author.  

Which one do YOU use to get your stories out there? And more importantly, WHY chose that particular CHANNEL?

I hope you have an awesome day today because 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
 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Twas An Eve Before Publishing...



(I first posted this silly poem on December 24th, 2012. I hope you enjoy my sharing this with my readers again...)
 
 
 
Twas An Eve Before Publishing
By Donna L Martin


Twas an eve before publishing,
And when all throughout my house,
I’d just finished a story
About a cat and a mouse.
 
Next year would be busy
With many stories to write,
But what if I’m not published,
Tho I try hard as I might?
 
I shut down my old laptop
And turned off the light,
When suddenly a noise
Rang out in the night.
 
I rushed to my door
To sneak a peek outside;
There stood an old wizard
With a donkey named Clyde.
 
He said he was Berlin
And came bearing a gift
Of a new Mac computer
And a bag he could scarcely lift.
 
He asked could he come inside,
And get out of the harsh cold?
Well, I gladly let him in
After the story he told.
 
He was going to Vegas
To try his luck with the dice,
But got lost near the North Pole
And met a dude who was nice.
 
“I’ll help you get to Vegas,
If you stop along the way.
I don’t have time to visit
The Martins by Christmas Day!”
 
Then Berlin opened his sack
While books spilled to the floor.
Lots of writer references,
Author stories I adore.
 
“Here's all the magic you need
To make the right dreams come true.
It takes belief in yourself.
Hard work. It's all up to you!”
 
The wizard smiled, then turned to go
Out into the winter night.
But I heard words softly said
As I turned off the porch light.
 
“Good luck in the coming year,
With a book contract or two.
But should you run into that dude,
Clyde wants a blanket in blue!”

 **MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE**