Wednesday, September 20, 2017

NOLA ParaCon this Saturday

NOLA ParaCon, a half-day literary festival featuring one dozen local paranormal romance writers and editors, will be from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. The festival is free and is open to the public. Registration is not required.

Paranormal romance is a subgenre of romantic fiction and speculative fiction. It includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation – frequently ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, and time travel - blending together themes from the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror. Paranormal romances are one of the fastest growing trends in the romance genre.

NOLA ParaCon Agenda
10 a.m. - Welcome 

10:15 - 11:00 a.m. - Indie Awesome: Indie Publishing 101
Authors: Amanda Lanclos and Roux Cantrell; Moderator: Gillian Zane

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Cliches in Paranormal: Too Much, or Not Enough?
Authors: Eden Butler, Julie Wetzel and Alexandra Weis; Moderator: Lila Felix

Lunch Break 12:00 noon - 12:45 p.m.

12:45 - 1:30 p.m. - Crossing Those Wicked Genre Lines
Authors: Pamela Kopfler and Juliette Cross; Moderator: Dawn Chartier

1:45 - 2:30 p.m. - Realism in Fiction, Blending the Real with the Paranormal. Authors: Sarach Tolcser and Marita Crandle; Moderator: Alys Arden

Alys Arden lives in New Orleans. “The Casquette Girls” is her first novel. Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked around the world. One dreary day in London, she missed home and started writing “The Casquette Girls.” Her debut novel garnered more than one million reads online before it was acquired by Skyscape in a two-book deal.

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of fantasy, mystery and contemporary romance novels. She is the nine-times great-granddaughter of an English pirate which she says might explain her affinity for rule-breaking and rum. When she's not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends time watching rugby, “Doctor Who” and New Orleans Saints football.

Roux Cantrell is the author of three novels in the Enforcers Series: “Guarded,” “Vowed” and “No Bounds.” “Second Chances” is expected to be published this month. She lives on the North Shore.
Dawn Chartier grew up in New Orleans where her parents owned a bookshop. She came to writing later in life. She sold her second book, a contemporary erotic romance titled “Diamonds.” She also authored “Not An Angel,” a Poryria Vampire Novel Book One, in 2012. She lives near New Orleans.

Marita Woywod Crandle has been writing and storytelling since she was a little girl. She has always had a fancy for the magical side of life, making New Orleans, with its very creative atmosphere, a perfect match for this German transplant. Marita is currently working on a novel dedicated to French Quarter legends, the Carter Brothers, and the book “Drinking Mistakes,” her memoir as a Bourbon Street bartender. Marita has also written the holiday children’s book “Rufus, the Yuletide Bat,” available at her gift store.

Juliette Cross says the moment she read Jane Eyre as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance and even then, she wanted to create her own. She has written at least a dozen novels, including “The Vessel Trilogy,” “Dominion,” “The Nightwing Series,” “Vale of Stars” series, and the “Vampire Blood” series.

Lila Felix refused to go to kindergarten after the teacher made her take a nap on the first day of school. She staged her first protest in middle school. She almost flunked out of her first semester at Pepperdine University because she was enthralled with their library and frequently was locked in it. Now her husband and three children have to put up with her rebel nature in Louisiana where her days are filled with cypress trees, crawfish, and her books and writing. She writes about the ordinary people who fall extraordinarily in wild, true love.

Pamela Kopfler was unemployed and living in the rural south. She said she took stock of her skills and thought the only one of any use was writing. She compiled the stories she’d told on the NPR member station and published “In-laws, Outlaws, Friends and Foes” with Pelican Publishing Company. Kopfler said she had so much fun writing the stories, she offered workshops on writing anecdotal stories at area conferences, club meetings and local libraries. She’s now writing novels.

Amanda Lanclos is from a small town near Baton Rouge. She is the author of at least 10 works including the “Wounded Souls” series and the “Unwavering Faith” series. She says she has always been a huge fan of books and reading, and is now doing what she always loved about other authors: she is writing to help others escape real life, just as these authors have done for her.

Sarah Tolcser lives in New Orleans, where she “wrangles iPads and rogue computers at her day job.” A graduate of St. Lawrence University, she double majored in writing and philosophy. She enjoys video games, NBA basketball, and books about girls who blow up stuff. Sarah writes young adult fantasy and science fiction. Her first book “Song of the Current” was released this past summer; Booklist said: “First-time author Tolcser has created a hearty sea adventure, laced with romance and fantasy.”

Alexandrea Weis was raised in the motion picture industry and began writing stories at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she wrote her first novel, “To My Senses.” Since that time she has published many novels.

Julie Wetzel is originally from Ohio and dreamed of a job in science, perhaps astronomy or the study of volcanoes. In 2007, she moved to Mississippi and began to write. She has written at least half a dozen paranormal romances, including the “Ancient Fire Series.” She has also embarked on a series of books titled “The Dragons of Eternity.” 

Gillian Zane is an Amazon bestselling author specializing in dark genre fiction for adults. She defines herself by the city she was raised in, New Orleans. She’s tried moving away a few times but always comes back. At the age of ten, she decided she would be a writer and has been determined ever since. She has served in the military, worked as a bartender, became a cog in the corporate marketing wheel as a person “that makes things pretty” and has been laid off too many times to count. She currently writes full-time, but still continues to “make things pretty” by designing book covers and websites for her fellow authors and bloggers.

For more information regarding this event, contact Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Cogburn's 'Ava's Place' and Byron's 'Body on the Bayou'

Baton Rouge author Emily Beck Cogburn has followed up her charming debut novel, “Louisiana Saves the Library,” with “Ava’s Place,” a story also set in Saint Jude, a small South Louisiana town filled with colorful people. One is newcomer Ava Olson who juggles a part-time newspaper job while raising three young children on her own, she meets Ford, a café owner and a single dad who must bring his daughter to New Orleans on weekends to share custody with his ex-wife. The two hit it off until Ava gets a call to move to the big city for a new job, not to mention an important news story.

Ava's Place is discounted to $2.99 from now until October 1!

Cogburn is a freelance journalist and fitness instructor currently living in Louisiana. She has a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota, a master's degree in philosophy from Ohio State University, and a master's degree in library and information science from Louisiana State University. Her interests include cooking stinky food her children hate, yelling at her class participants to do “just one more rep!” and trying to read while handling requests for more chocolate milk. She has two children, two dogs, one cat, and a very patient husband.  Read more in the Advocate and 225.

The Kindle edition of Ellen Byron’s “Body on the Bayou,” the second book in her award-winning, bestselling series, is on sale for $1.99. The book was nominated for a 2016 Best Humorous Mystery Lefty Award.

Here’s the book description:
“The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation BnB might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they've managed to survive the scandal. Now there's a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat's nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties--the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa's cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger's lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There's a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa's own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron's funny and engaging follow-up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.”

Read Louisiana Book News’ review of the book here.

“A Cajun Christmas Killing,” the third book in Byron’s series, will be released on Oct. 10.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and 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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Historic New Orleans to offer two program on Storyville

Two events coming up from the Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) looks at the notorious red-light district of New Orleans known as Storyville, which thrived on the edge of the French Quarter from 1898 to 1917.

Pamela Arceneaux, senior librarian and rare books curator at THNOC and co-curator of THNOC’s current exhibition, “Storyville: Madams and Music,” discusses her book on Storyville at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center in New Orleans. “Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans,” published by the Historic New Orleans Collection, offers a study of the blue books, which functioned as consumer guides that promoted commercialized prostitution as bourgeois leisure, promising lavish goods and services, without mentioning sex.

Then on Wednesday, Oct. 11, THNOC and Dickie Brennan’s Tableau Restaurant will serve up “A Historic Storyville Dinner,” a six-course feast crafted by Tableau’s Executive Chef John Martin, coupled with period-inspired cocktails and historical commentary. Speakers will include Arceneaux and Elizabeth Pearce, founder and owner of Drink & Learn and the author of “Drink Dat New Orleans” (Countryman Press, 2017). Early-bird admission tickets are available for $85 through Sept. 20; regular admission is $100.

Birthday celebration for Josie Arlington (seated at left); February 8, 1908; gelatin silver print by John N. Teunisson, photographer; The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of anonymous donor, 1993.55

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Louisiana's Ronlyn Domingue returns to fantastic world with concluding story of 'The Keeper of Tales Trilogy'

Ronlyn Domingue of Lafayette, who received her master’s of fine arts in creative writing from LSU, has been tackling an impressive, innovative and intricate trilogy spanning a thousand years in a fairy-tale land in “The Keeper of Tales Trilogy.” She began with a second person narrative in “The Mapmaker’s War,” followed by the introduction of heroine Secret Riven and her gifts of speaking with animals and trees and seeing into the past with “The Chronicle of Secret Riven.” This month “The Plague Diaries” concludes the series, as Riven represses her telepathic powers while working for the magnate Fewmany’s private library and falling into his lavish lifestyle, only later understanding her connection tied to the region’s history.

In the trilogy’s second book, Riven’s mother dies mysteriously after receiving an arcane manuscript she has been hired to translate. In this latest book, Riven finds the manuscript in Fewmany’s library and believes that her ability to translate what her mother could not might lead to answers about herself, her mother, the war that occurred so long ago and the symbol she has dreamt about and discovered in mysterious places.

If it sounds complicated, it is, which is why Domingue includes footnotes in this her latest novel, clues to peruse the previous books and recount what readers may have forgotten. And if you haven’t read the books to date, I recommend buying all three to read together, like a Netflix binge. It’s an amazing body of work — adventure, myth, legends, and symbolism spun together in a tapestry of tales that are colored with a fascinating use of language.

Domingue will sign copies of “The Plague Diaries” at 4 p.m. today (Sept 17) at the Baton Rouge Gallery in Baton Rouge and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Barnes & Noble Lafayette.

Want to read reviews of the previous books in the series? Click here for the Louisiana Book News’ review of “The Chronicle of Secret Riven” and here for the review of “The Mapmaker’s War.”

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press has published two new books – “Angels in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond,” a collection of Crescent City stories about young African Americans by William Barnwell and “Scopena: A Memoir of Home” by former U.S. representative and Louisiana Gov. Charles “Buddy” Roemer. Barnwell will sign books at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Ashé Cultural Center and at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at Octavia Books, both in New Orleans. Roemer will sign copies of his book at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books, 1 p.m. Saturday at Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge’s Town Center and at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 at Barnes and Noble Baton Rouge-Citi Place, at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at Barnes and Noble Baton Rouge-Perkins Rowe and 2 p.m. Oct. 17 at Barnes and Noble, Shreveport.

Book events for the week of Sept. 17-23
Monroe author Jamie Mays will speak at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Main Branch of the Ouachita Library in Monroe.

Christopher Kelly signs “America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans. Also at the store is Patty Friedmann, author of “An Organized Panic: A Novel” at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Michelle Norwood, a notary public since 2012, will present “The Louisiana Notary Public” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. This event is free and open to the public.

Louisiana genealogist and historian Jari Honora, who worked on the Georgetown Slavery Project and the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” will discuss methods of tracing enslaved ancestors and slave owners and their descendants from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Nicholls State University. The talk is part of the Ellender Memorial Library’s traveling exhibit from the Historic New Orleans Collection, “Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865.”

New Orleans native Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, will talk about the political and financial pressures on American journalism beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at in the Grand Salon of the Ogden Honors College’s French House at LSU. Tickets are not necessary for this roundtable conversation that’s open to the public.

Karen Wallsten, author of “The Adventures of Shiko and Walter: A Southeastern Louisiana Backyard Tale,” will host storytime at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at The Conundrum bookstore in St. Francisville.

Cheré Coen is the author of the “Viola Valentine” Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: 'Louisiana Hotshot'

Edgar Award-winning and New Orleans resident Julie Smith offers the first book in her Talba Wallis series as a free download. “Louisiana Hotshot,” a humorous New Orleans murder mystery, features Wallis answering an ad placed by confirmed grump Eddie Valentino: “Wanted: Hotshot P.I. with near super-human skills.”

Here’s the book description:

And thus was born the dynamic duo of New Orleans private detectives, one cynical, 65-year-old Luddite white dude with street smarts, and one young, bright-eyed, 21st century African-American female poet, performance artist, mistress of disguise, and computer jock extraordinaire. Think Queen Latifah and Danny DeVito.

In "Louisiana Hotshot," their job is to hunt down a sociopath and pedophile who’s molested the 14-old daughter of their client, hangs out on the ragged edges of the rap and recording industries, and has more powerful allies than a Cabinet member.

But both detectives have unfinished business from the past—in Eddie’s case, something he deeply regrets; in Talba’s, a personal mystery, one so frightening no one will help her investigate. But she knows she won’t sleep till she solves it—and the truth will change her forever.

The Clarion-Ledger wrote of the book: "Can’t wait for the next Evanovich? Louisiana Hotshot's Stephanie Plum with Tabasco, dawlin’.”

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and 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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Butler, Williams examine former Mississippi River port town in 'Bayou Sara" Used to Be'

If you’ve ever been to St. Francisville and headed down to the river’s edge, you’ll notice the road dips down to what used to be the ferry landing. The Mississippi River bank was once home to Bayou Sara, a vibrant port town in the 19th century that served the region’s businesses and plantations. Anne Butler and Helen Williams examine the history of this town that once sported numerous cotton warehouses, businesses and the homes of hard-working immigrants who gravitated to Bayou Sara for work and to become entrepreneurs in “Bayou Sara: Used to Be,” published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. The book includes the town’s history, its residents, river travel to and from the region and the town’s many floods and fires, the latter documented in several photos and one of the reasons for the town’s demise.
Butler is the author of more than 20 books and owner of a West Feliciana plantation home. Williams is the director of the West Feliciana Historical Society.

Butler will speak about the book and the history of Bayou Sara at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lafayette downtown public library, part of the Bayou State Book Talks sponsored by the Center for Louisiana Studies. The authors will also speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the United Methodist Church in Clinton and the Yellow Leaf Arts Festival Oct. 28 and 29 in St. Francisville.

Lafayette Library Book Sale
The Friends of the Lafayette Library will host its semi-annual book sale Wednesday through Saturday at the Heymann Convention Center Ballroom, 1373 S. College Road in Lafayette. Gently used hardcover and paperback books are sold by the inch. The sale will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. A special Friends Night for Friends of the Library members will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. But don’t feel left out. You can join Friends the night of the event and it’s only $5 for individuals, $10 for families, with all proceeds benefitting the library. For information, visit

New Orleans Storycon
New Orleans Storycon, what organizers call a “Mardi Gras for readers,” will be Sept. 15-17 and feature best-selling authors Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong as keynoters, plus special guests Charlaine Harris, author of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and the Midnight in Texas series and Christine Feehan, author of numerous best-sellers. There will be a Mardi Gras party, panels, book signings and more. For a list of participating authors, tickets and other information, visit

Comic Con
The Terrebonne Comic Con will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Main Library in Houma. The event includes a Wonder Woman drawing demo, fandom trivia, comic book swap, games, anime artists and more. For more information, visit or call Naomi at (985) 876-5861, Option 3.

Book Fest needs volunteers
The 2017 Louisiana Book Festival, to be Saturday, Oct. 28 in Baton Rouge, is seeking volunteers in a variety of capacities, including welcoming presenters, escorting authors, monitoring rooms in the State Capitol, manning festival information booths and more. Festival volunteers who register by Oct. 6 will receive a free 2017 Louisiana Book Fest t-shirt. Those interested in volunteering should visit and can sign up at

Write and Publish
Book publicists, authors and literary agents will descend on the Ole Miss campus Sept. 22-23 for the “Write & Publish Your Book” conference in Oxford, Miss. The event, sponsored by the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, will discuss writing a book with authors Susan Cushman and Karen Bryant on day one and publishing the book with book designer Wil Oakes and agent Gillian MacKenzie on day two. Workshop leader is newspaper editor and magazine publisher Neil White, author of the award-winning “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir,” about White’s year in Carville, La. White is owner of Nautilus Publishing. The cost is $250 for both days and $150 for one. For information, visit

Book events
Stacey Wilson signs copies of “She Stands” from 2-4 p.m. today at The Conundrum bookstore in St. Francisville.

Ronnie Virgets signs “Saints and Lesser Souls: The New Orleans Views of Ronnie Virgets” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans.

David Plater, author of “The Butlers of Iberville Parish,” will speak about his book at noon Wednesday at the Capital Park Museum in Baton Rouge. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch.

Preserve Louisiana presents its Heritage Lecture on “Mike the Tiger: The Tradition Continues” with author, professor and director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine David G. Baker at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Old Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge. Baker will discuss the Civil War origins of LSU’s mascot and “fighting tiger” tradition, as well as behind-the-scenes anecdotes chronicling each of the six Mikes to the present age of social media. Refreshments from Calandro’s Fine Wines and Spirits will be served at 6 p.m. and the lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

Four local authors who have written children’s books will discuss them and talk about the unique process of creating children’s literature at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. The authors are: Dalt Wonk, “The Laughing Lady;” Bob Bruce and David Cuthbert, “Cinderella Battistella;” and Cornell Landry, “Goodnight New Orleans.”

Dixie Poché will sign her latest book, “Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding and Sweet Dough Pie,” from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Books A Million, 4419 Ambassader Caffery in Lafayette.

Cheré Coen is the author of the “Viola Valentine” Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at