Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Louisiana State Librarian Hamilton wins Carlberg Award

Rebecca Hamilton
From the Louisiana State Library:

For her outstanding contribution to libraries, Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian of Louisiana, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Lynda Carlberg Award, an honor established in 1998 in memory of Lynda Carlberg, director of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library system from 1978 to 1997.

Hamilton was appointed State Librarian in 2005 by then Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. The appointment made her the fourth State Librarian in the agency’s 97-year history, and the youngest State Librarian in the United States. Hamilton has since been reappointed by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and most recently Billy Nungesser, who she works with today serving Louisiana’s 4.7 million citizens, 340 public library branches, and 68 public library systems. 

“I am deeply proud of State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton’s work promoting literacy and love of reading, skills that in today’s knowledge-based economy are critical to Louisiana’s overall economic growth,” said Nungesser. “Her commitment to public access to educational and cultural resources is second to none, and the State Library has thrived under her leadership. This award could not have been bestowed on a more deserving individual.” 

Under Hamilton’s direction, the State Library of Louisiana underwent a reorganization, streamlining operations and identifying efficiencies. In her first full year in office, Hamilton doubled the amount of state aid to public libraries—the largest increase in the history of the program and the first increase in 20 years. In the following years of her appointment, and with no additional resources at her disposal, Hamilton implemented a new interlibrary loan system, oversaw the addition of content to statewide databases, and secured a line item in the annual budget for public library training. 

Additionally, Hamilton directed the rebuilding of the State Library’s internal network and backup systems, and, as a result, the State Library never lost Internet connectivity during the storms of 2008, while all other offices in the state government were down. She also worked closely with SOLINET to obtain a $12 million grant to provide temporary library facilities and other support after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the coast of Louisiana and neighboring states. It was during this time that Hamilton worked tirelessly alongside her fellow state librarians impacted by these storms to ensure that FEMA change their definition of essential services to include public libraries. As a result of the role of public libraries during a disaster, Hamilton has published widely and created university-level coursework on the roles of public libraries during disasters, as well as giving presentations across the United States reporting the best practices set in place by Louisiana Libraries after natural disaster events. 

Hamilton, a champion in the fight to bridge the digital divide in Louisiana, oversaw the submission which won the State Library an $8.8M grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the Department of Commerce in 2010. The grant provided the State Library the resources to deliver technology and soft skills classes to over 26,000 participants, purchase laptops for checkout in public libraries across the state, implement Homework Louisiana, and obtain accessibility equipment and software for every parish, among many other impactful accomplishments, all geared to promote workforce development and make a difference in the lives of Louisiana citizens. 

Hamilton was awarded the Anthony Benoit Mid-Career Award by the Louisiana Library Association in 2012; has been named an outstanding graduate of the LSU School of Library and Information Science; was awarded the LSU Community Partner Award in 2014; and was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the Baton Rouge Business Report in 2007. 

She will be presented with the Lynda Carlberg Award today, Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Libraries Southwest Author/Award Dinner. Libraries Southwest is a nonprofit corporation of libraries, librarians, trustees, and individuals interested in the promotion and enhancement of libraries and library services.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Alexandrea Weis' 'Damned'

This month, Alexandrea Weis publishes the first Magnus Blackwell Novel titled “Damned” (Vesuvian Books) and the Kindle version is only $1.99.

Weis is a native of New Orleans and an advanced registered nurse. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted and certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife.

Other books include the prequel “Blackwell,” “The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine” and the Corde Noire series.

Here’s the description of “Damned,” which the Midwest Book Review said, “is absolutely riveting, an absolute page turner”:

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’s crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Books to get you in the Halloween mood

It’s that time of year, when the days shorten and shadows grow, when a nip in the air sends a chill up our spines. (Or at least we hope there’s a nip.) And books about ghosts and other things that go bump in the night appear on bookstore shelves.

Cheryl H. White and W. Ryan Smith, two academics from northern Louisiana, examine the tales of those left behind in “A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations,” published by The History Press. Most people will recognize the Myrtles among their pages, with its story of a disgruntled slave who haunts the property, but there are also wonderful stories that may be new to readers. There’s the duelists of the Natchez (Louisiana) Cherokee Plantation, the strange oak trees of Houmas House that appear to suffer through grief and the haunts of mansions along the Cane River. White is also the author of “Historic Haunts of Shreveport.”

Also by The History Press, as part of their Haunted America series, is Marita Woywod Crandle’s “New Orleans Vampires: History and Legend,” which examines several local myths surrounding Big Easy creatures who do not die. There’s the story spun on city ghost tours about the Caskette Girls turning into vampires on the ship over from France, the mysterious Comte St. Germain who supposedly spent time in the city and the notorious Carter Brothers who in the 1930s apparently kidnapped, bled and killed victims, only to escape. Crandle runs the Boutique du Vampyre in the French Quarter and the private vampire nightclub Potions. Although she loves all things vampire, she writes the book with a skeptical slant because, as she admits in the afterword, “Are vampires real? Nobody loves vampires more than I do, but reason and common sense tells me no, they are not.”

Other books to consider:
Last year, Laura Roach Dragon compiled 13 scary campfire stories with Louisiana settings in “The Bayou Bogeyman Presents Hoodoo and Voodoo,” published by Pelican Publishing of New Orleans.

And there’s my own History Press book, “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana,” full of ghost stories ranging from university dorm rooms to dramatic opera houses and everything in between. There’s also those unique but creepy Cajun folktales such as Madame Grand Doight who uses her long fingernails to open doors that might keep you up at night. And if you want to add a little mystery, my Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series featuring a New Orleans ghost sleuth-travel writer is now available in paperback at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com and as an ebook at all online bookstores.

Sweet Louisiana
Author Dixie Poché will host a cooking demonstration and book signing from 1 pm to 2 pm Saturday at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Poché is the author of “Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding and Sweet Dough Pie” and “Classic Eateries of Cajun Country.” SophiP Cakes from Lafayette will be demonstrating their techniques for baking cupcakes and Leah’s Pralines of New Orleans will have samples of their pralines to showcase the traditional sweet.
Book events the week of Oct. 15-21
Marita Gentry launches her latest children’s book, “The Cajun Cornbread Boy and the Buttermilk Biscuit Girl” at 10:30 a.m. today at Octavia Books of New Orleans. She wil be joined by Dianne de Las Casas, the illustrator. Also at Octavia this week is Christopher Schaberg signing “Airoportness at 6 p.m. Wednesday and John Magill’s signs “The Incomparable Magazine Street” at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Former U.S. representative and Louisiana Gov. Charles “Buddy” Roemer signs copies of his new book, “Scopena: A Memoir of Home,” at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes and Noble, Shreveport.

C. Morgan Babst discusses and signs her book “The Floating World” at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thom Gilbert discusses and signs his book, "Blue Suede Shoes: The Culture of Elvis" at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans.

Feng Shui Master and author Denise DuBos will discuss Feng Shui at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Jones Creek Regional Library of Baton Rouge. DuBos is author of the book “Feng Shui: The Invisible Art of Communication.”

O’Neil de Noux will teach “How to Write & Enjoy Reading Novels in a Series” from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Covington Library, 310 W. 21st Ave. in Covington. Register online at www.bit.ly/stplregister.

Paige Bowers, author of “The General’s Niece: The Little-Known de Gaulle Who Fought to Free Occupied France,” will speak about her book at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Jones Creek Regional Library of Baton Rouge. A reception and book signing will follow the author’s presentation.

Errol Laborde, Peggy Laborde and Lawrence Powell will speak about their book, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library, Metairie. Books will be available for sale through the Friends of the Jefferson Public Library. The event is part of the 2017 season of Coffee and Conversation, a literary initiative sponsored by the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the Jefferson Parish Library.

The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library will conduct its semi-annual Big Book Sale from Thursday to Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Pontchartrain Center of Kenner.

Author Tom Franklin will speak about his book, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” at 10 a.m. Friday at the Tangipahoa Parish Library. He will also read from and autograph his book. The following day, Saturday, the Hammond Regional Arts Center will host Franklin at its Gallery on Thomas Street.

Kathryn K. Fontenot will sign “The Louisiana Urban Gardener” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at The Conundrum of St. Francisville, part of the opening afternoon of The Southern Garden Symposium.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances and the Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Letters About Literature contest now underway

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announces the 25th annual Letters About Literature contest, a Library of Congress national reading and writing competition for students in grades 4-12 and coordinated in state by the Louisiana Center. To enter, fourth through 12th grade students write personal letters to authors, living or dead, explaining how the authors’ book, poem, play, or speech changed the students’ views of the world or themselves.

Students may enter through their schools or local libraries, or on their own, in one of three competition levels: Level 1 for grades 4–6, Level 2 for grades 7–8, or Level 3 for grades 9–12.

The national Letters About Literature team selects finalists from each participating state for each competition level; then Louisiana winners are chosen by a panel of judges including teachers and librarians from throughout the state. Louisiana winners receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place and are honored at the Louisiana Book Festival. First place winning letters are submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition with the chance of winning up to $1,000.

Each student’s letter attached entry coupon—available online for download—must be sent directly to the Library of Congress address on the entry coupon instructions by Jan. 12, 2018. The entry forms and information, as well as a teacher’s guide with lesson plans, may be downloaded at www.read.gov/letters.

The 2017-18 writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and by gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations.

In Louisiana, the contest is made possible by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana with the assistance of the Louisiana Writing Project and the Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation. Funding for prizes is provided by the Library of Congress grant.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

'Streetcar Named Desire' a One Book, One Festival selection for this year's Louisiana Book Festival

The Louisiana Book Festival has chosen Tennessee Williams’s iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning play “A Streetcar Named Desire” as its official 2017 One Book, One Festival selection. The play, which opened 70 years ago on Dec. 3, 1947, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway, is considered to be one of Williams’s greatest and has been in near continuous production and adapted to film, television, opera and even ballet. 
A performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire” opens Friday, Oct. 13, and runs through Oct. 29, 2017, at Cité des Arts of Lafayette.
Inaugurated in 2008, the One Book, One Festival program invites attendees to read the same title in advance and later join the scholar-led discussion with others during the festival on Saturday, Oct. 28. This year’s discussion will be led by Gary Richards, associate professor and chair of the Department of English, Linguistics & Communication at the University of Mary Washington and scholar of southern literature. He is the author of “Lovers and Other Beloveds: Sexual Otherness in Southern Fiction, 1936-1961” as well as numerous essays on southern fiction and drama.
This year’s festival will also include a program featuring WYES’s Peggy Scott Laborde, host of “Steppin’ Out,” in conversation with WWL-TV news anchor, Eric Paulsen. Eric, an award-winning journalist who has spent the last 30 years on WWL’s highly-rated morning and noon news programs, conducted the last broadcast interview with Williams, an interview held on the second floor of what was then “Marti’s” restaurant on the corner of Rampart Street in New Orleans. The program at the 2017 Louisiana Book Festival will include a screening of excerpts from that last interview.
The Louisiana Book Festival is free, open to the public, and takes place annually in the heart of Baton Rouge in the Louisiana State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, and tents on neighboring streets. For more information, visit www.louisianabookfestival.org.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Linda Joyce's 'Bayou Brides'

Linda Joyce’s latest novel “Bayou Brides,” book four of the Fleur de Lis Series, has just been published and it features Nola Dutrey, who is as dedicated to her jazz singing career as she is to her kids’ community band in New Orleans. When she meets her best friend’s brother, her heart beats with a newfound passion. But falling in love with someone whose life is in New York has no future. 

Restaurateur and music enthusiast Rex Arceneau is in town to settle his father’s estate. He must get the financials into the black before handing over the family restaurant to his sister. To reduce expenses—the weekend singer must go. However, he meets Nola, and their connection sizzles. When he hears her sing, he’s hooked. 

Nola’s torn between powerful attraction and life in New Orleans. Rex is determined to use music as a secret weapon to entice Nola north. Will she ever be a bride at Fleur de Lis or will life’s dissonant notes ruin their harmony and once-in-a-lifetime love? 

Here's a short excerpt where you meet Nola, and she's seeing Rex for the first time:

His mesmerizing blue-gray eyes drew her farther through the open window. A sensual
smile slowly rose on his lips. He winked. A bluesy 12/8 beat thumped in Nola's chest. The
entire world melted away. A daydream took over. Just the two of them promenading down the long drive, like it was in antebellum days. He, in cutaway tails, and she, twirling a parasol and coyly giggling at something clever he said.

The illusion was abruptly shattered. Her sister grabbed the back of her shirt and yanked her inside the room. “What!” Her daydream had popped like a string on an overplayed guitar.

“Get in here.”

“Why?” Her perfectly wonderful dream had been cut short.

“You were about to fall on your head. I gotta go.” Biloxi headed for the door. “I want to meet this guest.”
“You're a married woman. A mother of three,” Nola hollered at her. “Hussy! Strumpet! What will I tell my nephews and niece?”

“Darlin', a woman can look. Come with me? You're single. You can touch,” she teased.
Touch him? No. He was too…vivid, too real. Virile. Oozed with sensuality. Just too male.
The man made her hear the blues. In the best possible way.

Here are the links to purchase "Bayou Brides:" 



Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Festival of Words to offer writing workshops

The Festival of Words Writing Workshops on Saturday, Nov. 4 are now available for registration. You can register online to take a 2-hour class with any of the festival's stellar authors at the Thensted Center in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Visit festivalofwords.org and choose ANNUAL FESTIVAL, then choose WORKSHOPS. Some workshops request a $10 donation, but organizers say they will not turn anyone away.

Artist: Patricia Smith
Event: Poetry Writing Workshop: Exploring Ritual, Discovering Family
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 p.m.

Artist: Dr. Charles “Chas” Womelsdorf, Jr.
Event: “Mystery Workshop” performance art, oral histories, and the self as text.
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 p.m.

Artist: Chere Coen
Event: Show Don’t Tell: Using your five senses to make your writing come alive.
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

Artist: Allison Joseph
Event: Is Poetry Scary?
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

Artist: Darrell Bourque
Event: "How Did I Get Here-Where Do I Go From Here"
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Artist: Jeanette Poole
Event: Writing your Family Cookbook
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Artist: Dana Judice
Event: Publishing Children’s books
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and paranormal mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.