Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: 'Trace of a Ghost,' the latest in the Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series

Publishing a book is akin to having a baby. It's a long process that comes with many pains and worries but in the end what a joy!

Today, I'm birthing my own ebook spotlight, the third book in my Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series.

Well, sort of. The book is available as a pre-order. (publication date Valentine's Day) but until then it's only 99 cents! Get it now for after Valentine's Day the price returns to normal.

"Trace of a Ghost" has travel writer and ghost sleuth Viola Valentine treking down the historic Natchez Trace of Mississippi. Traveling with her is an adventurous heiress who’s been dead since 1860 and a living fellow travel writer who’s not what he seems. In the end, it’s a showdown between good and evil, and a bargain made with the devil at the crossroads may be Viola’s final undoing.

You might wonder where I get all these ideas. I'm a travel writer myself and this past year took my own trip down the Natchez Trace, ending at the historic town of Natchez, one of my most favorite places. Viola's story also includes a stop in Florence and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, close to the northernmost point of the Trace in Mississippi. Viola flies into this magical town and then joins fellow travel writers as they head south to Natchez. I've been to Florence and Muscle Shoals twice writing stories (the magazine kind) and absolutely loved it as well.

So, yes, art does imitate life.

Want to buy the book? Click here for Kindle and here for Kobo.

Want to see where I got the inspiration for the book? Check out my Pinterest board here.

Louisiana Book News is written by award-winning author Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her first book in each series is FREE to download as an ebook, including "A Ghost of a Chance," the first Viola Valentine mystery.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Upcoming Louisiana literary events

Its a new year and time to stay true to those resolutions. If one of them is writing the book or story of your heart, heres a few ways to learn the craft, keep those fires burning or spread the word about books already written.
The Writers & Readers Symposium will include poet Catharine Savage Brosman, art writer John R. Kemp, award-winning thriller novelist Michael Rubin, critically acclaimed author Genaro Ky Ly Smith and New York Times best-selling author M.O.Walsh on Feb. 17 at Hemingbough. 
The 15th annual Jambalaya Writers Conference will be March 3 at the Main Library in Houma. Authors, poets, editors and publishing professionals will be part of a full day of workshops, lectures, readings and more. Visit mytpl.org for more information.
Richard Ford
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will be March 21-25, bringing more than 130 authors, actors and musicians to New Orleans. In addition to the festival, the organization honors writers with awards and accolades. One of the authors appearing at this years festival is Pulitzer-Prize winner Richard Ford. 
Award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines will be the featured “Great Southern Writer” at the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival: Celebrating New Iberia, Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown April 6-8, in New Iberia. The event celebrates literature and its impact on Louisiana culture with storytelling, workshops, theatrical vignettes, music, local cuisine and much more.
The second annual West Feliciana Childrens Book Festival will be May 5 in St. Francisville and feature presentations by authors and illustrators. There will also be a sidewalk chalk art contest, face painting and book sales and signings.
The Walker Percy Weekend will be June 1-3 in St. Francisville and includes food, spirits, live music and books, all to celebrate the acclaimed novelist's life and work.  For information and tickets, visit www.walkerpercyweekend.org.
            Later this year is the annual Louisiana Book Festival, the New Orleans Book Festival, The Bridge to Publication writers conference in Lake Charles and much more.

Call for authors
Authors are invited to participate in the “Authors, Artisans and Aromas Fair,” a book-selling event from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 7, in conjunction with Books Along the Teche Literary Festival. The fair will feature book sales via tables on New Iberia’s Main Street.

Applications are available at BooksAlongTheTecheLiteraryFestival.com and at Books Along the Teche bookstore in New Iberia. Entrants may email, mail or drop off completed applications to Howard Kingston at the bookstore (contact information is on the application), along with $20 once authors are notified of selection for the book fair. Participating authors will be asked to submit .jpeg files of book covers to have the book included on the festival’s website. Lunch is provided on April 7 for participating authors. The Books Along the Teche Literary Festival will be Friday through Sunday, April 6-8, in New Iberia.

Book events the week of Jan. 14-20
Mary Webber signs “Miracles Still Happen…Trust Me,” a story about a young African American woman overcoming life tragedies, at noon today at Barnes & Noble Citiplace in Baton Rouge.

Jessica H Schexnayder and Mary H. Manhein present and sign “Fragile Grounds,” a book of stories and photographs of endangered cemeteries throughout Louisiana’s coastal zone and beyond, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

Tyler Bridges, co-author of a new book titled Long Shot, will speak about the 2015 Louisiana gubernatorial race at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library of Metairie.

The Friends of the Lafayette Library Mystery Book Sale will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Main Library.

Sisters in Crime New Orleans Chapter meets at 1 p.m. Saturday at the East Bank Regional Library of Metairie.
Chere Coen is the author of several Louisiana non-fiction books and the Viola Valentine Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cantrell's 'Perennials' pairing of week at Coppola Winery

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Julie Cantrell grew up in Louisiana and set her third novel, “The Feathered Bone,” in Livingston Parish, her childhood stomping grounds. Her fourth novel, “Perennials,” came out in November and is currently a Kindle Deal for $1.99. But that’s not all. The book's been selected by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery for the Pairing of the Week. How cool is that?

But don’t miss out on nabbing a copy of “Perennial” for the discounted price of $1.99 at Amazon.com. The book’s price returns to normal after Jan. 31 so act fast.

Here’s the book’s description:

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, they discover unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Redbook Magazine wrote: “A stark exploration of the idea that home might not be the place it seems, 'Perennials' is the perfect literary escape to cozy up with this fall.”

Southern Living wrote: “When Lovey is enlisted to help her father create a memory garden for her parents’ 50th anniversary, she learns about herself, her roots, her mother’s perennial garden, and the importance of family bonds that can never be broken.”

For more information on Cantrell and her books, visit www.juliecantrell.com.

Louisiana Book News is written by award-winning author Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her first book in each series is FREE to download as an ebook, including "A Ghost of a Chance," the first Viola Valentine mystery, and "Trace of a Ghost," now available for pre-order for only 99 cents.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: 'Magic Spark'

Louisiana author Em Shotwell has teamed up with authors Sara Dobie Bauer and Wendy Sparrow for an "Enchanted" anthology that debuts today. Titled "Magic Spark (Enchanted Book 1)," the collection of romantic stories is the first of a trio of trilogies which have two things in common: magic and romance!

Here are the story descriptions:

“When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow:
As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death?

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:
Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book. A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

“Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer:
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

Louisiana Book News is written by award-winning author Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her first book in each series is FREE to download as an ebook, including "A Ghost of a Chance," the first Viola Valentine mystery.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Reading the universe, Cajun crime novels and more new Louisiana releases this week plus book events

Monroe teacher of mathematics James Robert Rogers tackles the universe in a new book, one he expanded from an article in the “Mensa Bulletin,” titled “How to Read the Universe: A Little Book About Everything.” Rogers hopes through his book and theories that readers will find the meaning of the universe that leads to enlightenment and absolute love. Much of the message is based in mathematics and, I must admit since I stopped my math education in high school, a bit over my head.

“As a young man, I once asked God to make me know — not just believe — whether He exists; even as rationally as mathematics exist,” he said. “For many years, I have been receiving the message of this little book by observing the details of the universe. Now, as an old man, I am at peace.”

Rogers is a frequent contributor of mathematics-based articles and the author of “A Uniform Approach to Rate and Ratio Problems: The Introduction of the Universal Rate Formula.”

Michael Verrett is a multi-talented prolific writer, producing a dozen books and contributing art for two dozen more! Some of the children’s books he’s completed in 2017 include “Beyond the Wall,” “No Hug For A Kaylea Bug” and “The Dinosaur Tree.” He also writes chapter books with black and white illustrations. You can find his books online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other distributors. 

Verrett is a board member with Creative Minds and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Another writer hard at work is Karen Yochim of Arnaudville, who has written several Cajun crime novels, all available on Amazon. “Swamp” is a historical novel and the rest take place in fictional St. Beatrice Parish. Her latest is book seven in the St. Beatrice Parish crime series, “The Devil Takes Care of Its Own.”

“I have dedicated the last 20 years to living immersed in Cajun culture so I can write authentically about their great independent spirit and their resourcefulness,” Yochim wrote me.

At the Lafayette Library
Lafayette Reads Together (LRT), a community-wide reading experience from the Lafayette Public Library, the Lafayette Parish School System and many local organizations, has chosen “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander. There will be free copies of the book at city libraries starting Wednesday and several corresponding programs. “An Evening With Kwame Alexander,” in which Alexander will share a bit of conversation, a dash of storytelling and a splash of performance from his recent children’s books, will begin at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Main Lafayette Library. A book signing will follow.

Here are a few related events:
Spoken word artist, author and poetry educator Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson will offer a workshop on the art of self-expression for ages 9 and up at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Main Lafayette Library and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the East Regional Library.

Homeschool Hangout, an afternoon of learning stations for homeschooling families revolving around different themes, will be held in January and February for ages 5–12. January’s poetry theme will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at North Regional Library and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Main Library.

Faulkner Society
The Faulkner Society of New Orleans is divesting itself of Words & Music, Inc., a non-profit festival created 20 years on what would have been William Faulkner’s 100th birthday. The festival will be transferred this month to One Book One New Orleans.

In other society news, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition will begin accepting submissions on Jan. 15, with the deadline for all submissions May 1. The competition is open to anyone, anywhere writing in English, offering significant cash prizes in eight categories. For more information, visit faulknersociety.org.

The Society also plans to host multi-author free literary events featuring the new work of both established and debut authors. The first such event will be March 25 in New Orleans and will feature Dr. Martha Boone, author of the debut novel, “The Big Free,” based on her experiences as a resident at the old Charity Hospital. 

ULL Humanities
UL-Lafayette professor Mary Ann Wilson will be teaching her annual Friends of the Humanities class and this year the theme is “A Cannoli is Worth a Thousand Words: Fiction, Food and Film.” Films to be shown include “Babette’s Feast” and “Heartburn,” along with food scenes from famous movies. Books will include Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” and Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle.”The classes will be Jan. 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7 and 21 on the ULL campus with a dinner out possibly on Feb. 22. The cost is $75 for Friends members and $100 for non-members. For more information, call Wilson at 298-0406 or email maw0383@louisiana.edu.

Book events the week of Jan. 7-14
Nathaniel Rich, author of “King Zeno,” will discuss his novel with Katy Simpson Smith, author of “The Story of Land and Sea,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans. Also at the store this week is Martha B. Boone discussing and signing her book, The Big Free,” at 6 p.m. Friday.

Peter J. Marina presents and signs his new book, “Down and Out in New Orleans,” with photographer Todd Norman at 6 p.m. Thursday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Marina is associate professor of sociology at University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and the author of “Chasing Religion in the Caribbean: Ethnographic Journeys from Antigua to Trinidad.”

Just in time for the Oscars is Linda Thurman speaking of her new book “Hollywood South: Glamour, Gumbo and Greed” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. Thurman will discuss the film industry, movies made in Louisiana, and the corruption scandal that occurred in 2009.

The North Louisiana Storytellers and Authors of Romance meets Saturday at the Bossier Library History Center, 2206 Beckett St., in Bossier City. Kimberly Lang will speak on the writing process. For information, visit http://nolastars.com/.

Mary Webber signs “Miracles Still Happen…Trust Me,” a story about a young African American woman overcoming life tragedies, at noon Sunday, Jan. 14, at Barnes & Noble Citiplace in Baton Rouge.

Chere Coen is the author of several Louisiana non-fiction books and the Viola Valentine Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Riley's 'Cajun Bride'

Romance author Eugenia Riley offers a special price this week on “Cajun Bride,” a book set in antebellum New Orleans. Riley is the bestselling author of dozens of historical, contemporary and time-travel romances, including "A Tryst in Time" and "Bushwhacked Bride." She has written for publishers including Avon, Bantam, Warner, Harlequin and Dorchester and has numerous romances available in Kindle.

Here’s the book’s description.


Orphaned at seventeen, Cajun beauty Angelique Fremont is left to the tender mercies of her profligate Uncle Giles in antebellum New Orleans. Then Giles cruelly betrays his niece, offering her on the auction block to his depraved poker companions! Only the intervention of Jean Pierre Delacroix, notorious rogue turned Cupid, saves innocent Angelique from a fate worse than death. Yet Jean Pierre knows he can never make this untouched angel a proper husband, so he engineers a marriage of convenience for Angelique with his wealthy, enigmatic cousin Roland.


Angelique is stunned to find herself forced into marriage to handsome, formidable Roland Delacroix. All too soon she is Roland’s bride and mistress of Belle Elise Plantation. Angelique’s mysterious bridegroom both allures and unsettles her, and she struggles between her pride and her budding desire for him. Why does her masterful husband seem to want her one moment, then shun her the next? Why is he so jealous, so determined to control her every move? What are the terrible hurts, ghosts, and betrayals haunting Roland, painful secrets he withholds from her even as their passion ignites? Barely past girlhood, Angelique must confront a woman’s dilemma and fight for Roland and their marriage. For only through overcoming Roland’s demons can the tempestuous couple find true passion, love, and happiness together.

Louisiana Book News is written by Chere Dastugue Coen, award-winning author of several non-fiction books about Louisiana. She also writes romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her novel series all begin with a book that's available as a FREE download. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book highlights of 2017, Part II

On this the last day of the year I conclude my year in Louisiana books, spotlighting some of the literary highlights of 2017. Please remember its only the highlights. Itd be impossible to include all the great news that happened this year. Id love to hear what books you loved this past 2017. Please post your favorites on the Louisiana Book News Facebook page.
William Joyce
Young readers
Im a huge fan of Kimberly Willis Holt and her young reader books, but her latest, Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel, became my favorite. It concerns 13-year-old Stevie who loses her parents in a car accident and is forced to move in with her grumpy grandfather, Winston, who owns a run-down motel in Esther, Texas.

Atheneum Young Readers published several of William Joyce’s children’s books this year, under the label of “The World of William Joyce.” There was “Bentley & Egg,” “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” (Joyce produced the film adaption known as “Meet the Robinsons”) and “Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo,” among others.

Just in time for Hurricane Season was the young adult novel “Into the Hurricane” by Neil Connelly, an author who weathered five hurricanes while living in Lake Charles and uses that experience for this action-packed story where two teens finds themselves riding out a fierce storm off the Cameron Parish coast.

Evangeline Riley is quite happy living at the bottom of the world in a small fishing village known as Bayou Perdu in Plaquemines Parish until Hurricane Katrina arrives in Joanne O’Sullivan’s young adult tale “Between Two Skies.”

Saving Louisiana
C.E. Richard has published “Land’s End: Field Notes from the End of the World,” a collection of essays about Louisiana’s coastal erosion with photos by Frank McMains.

“Ain’t There No More: Louisiana’s Disappearing Coastal Plain” by Carl A. Brasseaux and Donald W. Davis spotlights the neglect of our coastline and the result of man-made flood control measures in aiding to the erosion of Louisiana’s coast.

Another University of Mississippi Press book detailing the Mississippi River and efforts to reign in this beast is James F. Barnett Jr.’s “Beyond Control: The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.” Barnett insists that even with the US Army Corps of Engineers Control Complex at Old River, which keeps the Mississippi from emerging through its historic channel and heading down the Atchafalaya Basin, the river will one day change course.

Lucy Buffett, who owns Lulus in Gulf Shores and Destin, tackled the Louisiana dish with Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking.

Megan Braden-Perry takes readers on a delightful tour of snowball heaven with “Crescent City Snow: The Ultimate Guide to New Orleans Snowball Stands,” published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press.

Dixie Poché of Lafayette published a sweet culinary history book with recipes titled Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding & Sweet Dough Pie.

Melinda Winans discovered 250 recipes of her father-in-law and published them in “The Fonville Winans Cookbook: Recipes and Photographs from a Louisiana Artist,” published by LSU Press.

2017 Book News
A Sisters in Crime chapter began in New Orleans this year, a national organization that promotes the advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. The group meets at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.

The annual Dave Robicheaux's Hometown Literary Festival has been renamed the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival: Celebrating New Iberia, Dave Robicheaux's Hometown.

Maple Street Book Shop of New Orleans closed Aug 26 after 53 years in business.

The Conundrum, the latest independent bookstore to open in Louisiana, is now going into the publishing business. The St. Francisville bookstore has created Feliciana Publishing Partners.

The Festival of Words literary festival in Grand Coteau celebrated 10 years this November with featured authors Darrell Bourque, Allison Joseph and Patricia Smith.

The 20th anniversary of Words and Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans, sponsored annually by the Faulkner Society, was celebrated this month. 

Book awards
Freedom in Congo Square, a picture book set in New Orleans that’s illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford, took a Caldecott Honor Book award and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book award.

Author, illustrator and pioneer in the digital and animation industry William Joyce was honored as the 2017 Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

T. Geronimo Johnson of New Orleans won the inaugural Simpson Family Literary Prize, which awards $50,000 to “an author of fiction in the middle of a burgeoning career.” Johnson is the author of “Welcome to Braggsville,” longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and winner of the 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

Steve Rabalais’ book, “General Fox Conner: Pershing’s Chief of Operations and Eisenhower’s Mentor,” won the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award in the field of biography for books published in 2016.

Louisiana author, songwriter and musician Johnette Downing was awarded the 18th annual Louisiana Writer Award at the Louisiana Book Festival in October.

Jack Bedell, professor of the Humanities at Southeastern Louisiana University, was chosen as the next Louisiana poet laureate.

Jesmyn Ward, associate professor of creative writing at Tulane, received the 2017 National Book Award for “Sing, Unburied, Sing.” Ward is a past National Book Award winner for “Salvage the Bones,” a novel about a family facing a hurricane on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Historical Association awarded Rashauna Johnson’s “Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions” the winner of the 2016 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History.

Jack E. Davis won the 2017 Kirkus Prize for “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” an environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that considers the ravages of nature and man.

New Orleans writer Ladee Hubbard’s novel, “The Talented Ribkins,” was named winner of the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. 

Photographer Philip Gould and cultural anthropologist Maida Owens won the 2016 and 2017 James Williams Rivers Award for Louisiana Studies.

Chere Coen is the author of several Louisiana non-fiction books and the Viola Valentine Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.