All the Dog Books

I am not very electronic but I am ordering some of those dog books on my NOOK and will

review them for my local daily paper, The Baytown Sun in Baytown Texas.

People in Texas love dogs. Looks like Soldier Dogs if the first one.

Keep up the good work.

JoAn W. Martin

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It is a New Day


When I go to schools to present my books, I am often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” or  “What made you write that book?” A hard question to answer. So I started figuring out how that story came out of my head. What experience gave me the inspiration to write down those words?  Pine Cones and Magnolia Blossoms is my most recent book.

I grew up in the South during the times of so called “separate but equal” schools. After seeing the movie, “The Help,” I remembered many incidents of discrimination and cruel treatment of the women who worked in our homes. They were the nurse for the white babies and cleaned houses, ironed, cooked for the white ladies.

I wanted to expose children to the same story that adults were reading about and seeing at the movies. There must be a way to tell the story with children as the characters.

So I invented two eleven-year-old girls, Sarah Sue, white, and Princetta, black, who live in a South Alabama town, during World War II. Sarah Sue doesn’t even know people who are poor until she becomes friends with Princetta, the daughter of their black cook. She has the same attitude of the times. She knows her friends will make fun of her if she has a colored girl for a friend.

But Princetta is so smart and so much fun, Sarah Sue is attracted to her and they become best friends.

Sarah Sue gets Princetta and herself into trouble, daring anything for fun.

Sarah Sue begins to question the whites only signs, the differences in their schools, and the way the black people are treated. Princetta’s school is across the tracks and has no lunch room, few books, and a falling down building. Princetta’s mother can’t try on a hat in a store unless she buys it. Eventually Sarah Sue comes to know, “Not as much separates blacks and whites as we thought.”

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Computer Agony

I refuse to give up, but it is so tempting. If I hadn’t gotten into this writing business, I’d never had to suffer trying to learn how to navigate computers. After an agonizing two days, I finally uploaded my latest novel, Pine Cones and Magnolia Blossoms as an E Book. Now I need a paperback since most of my customers don’t do E Readers. I contacted CreateSpace, thinking they’d simply take the e book and change it into a print book. HA! The instructions are impossible for me to understand so I am imposing on all my younger friends for help. I got such a complimentary e mail from my grandson that made It worthwhile.  Back to the computer screen.


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Remembering Ben Clayton has been the pick for

Remembering Ben Clayton has been the pick for Baytown Reads. Not my type, I thought, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop. It was paperback, tiny print, had to read in the morning while I could almost see it. Ever read a novel in which the protagonist dies on the first pages? Not much flashback, but lots of mystery and intrigue to keep you turning the pages. Many TX places and areas are settings, almost become characters – Abilene, San Antonio, Ranger, Austin. Stephen Harrigan (TX Monthly) is the author. The library had him to speak, very well done to catch our interest without giving anything away.

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May 9, 2013 · 2:16 pm

My New Favorite Author

My book club meets tomorrow and I am giving the review. I chose Maeve Binchy’s new novel, A WEEK IN WINTER.

I have read nearly all of her books and they follow a pattern, a wonderful pattern that always works.

     Like all of Maeve Binchy’s novels, everyone who came in contact with the Stone House gets a chapter of their own.  Binchy piques the reader’s interest in each guest that comes to the B & B on a winter vacation. Minor characters becoming major as Binchy uses the behaviors and attitudes of the characters to create conflicts between traditional and contemporary Irish culture. A WEEK IN WINTER confirms that problems are solved by making decisions.  All the characters who vacation there become changed and empowered. She has a talent for making the rural landscape a character in her stories.Her descriptions of the countryside help set the mood for the story.

How does a writer take such everyday characters and occurrences and make the reader care enough about them to continue reading. The enthusiasms and experiences of the group at the inn draw us in. Some make a strong first impression, others take a while for the reader to get to know.

Sadly, Maeve Binchy died in July of last year, 2012 just after she finished A WEEK IN WINTER. I hope I can learn just a tiny bit from the way she writes.


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View from 92

My Aunt Beverly died on Good Friday, appropriately so. She had expressed many times her desire to go on. “Why am I still here?” I know she wanted everything to go back to like it was. Don’t we all? I must discipline myself not to be like her. She had good health, money, a good mind, a lovely home with her son, but she could not seem to be happy. I talked to her last fall, the last time I’d seen her, about letting go of angers, irritations, miserable memories. Her last words to me last week were, “I love you.” My sister had to tell me what she said, but in spite of her being in hospice, she was dying, but still aware of what was going on. We will miss her, but she is so much better off, considering she could not be thankful for all her blessings. I want to learn some lessons from her.


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What A Movie!

I watched Schindler’s List and tears slid down my face. Years ago I tried to read the book. It was so gruesome, I had to stop partway, then saw the movie and could finish the book. Now I see it again and it seems soooo much worse? better? I couldn’t wait for Oscar to leave the the women alone and get involved in saving his people (Jews). Once again, how do people live through such horrors? How could people say it never happen? Should be mandatory everyone see it.


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