Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gaines award submissions now being accepted

Ladee Hubbard
Entries are being accepted through Aug. 15 for the 12th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, with the winner chosen by a panel of professional writers and academics. Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Gaines Award was created to honor outstanding literary work from rising African-American authors while recognizing Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world. The Gaines Award honors outstanding fiction – novels or short-story collections – published in 2018. Galleys for 2018 publications are also accepted. Information on criteria and entrance forms for the award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, is available at www.ernestjgainesaward.orgThe Ernest Gaines Award event will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge.

Today’s Faulkner Society Event
The Faulkner Society, Louisiana State Museum and the Faulkner House Books will host an afternoon with authors Ladee Hubbard and Zachary Lazar at 2 p.m. today, May 20, at the Presbytere in Jackson Square of New Orleans. Hubbard, who recently won the Ernest Gaines Prize and the Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal for Best Short Story, is the author of “The Talented Ribkins.” Lazar is the author of the new novel, “Vengeance.” The event is free and open to the public and includes complimentary refreshments. Books will be available for purchase. Advance RSVPs are required to receive passes for free admittance to the museum; email faulkhouse@aol.com or call (504) 524-2940.

Book events the week of May 20-31
Emilie “Lee” Leumas, director of Archives and Records for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, will discuss the history of the Ursulines at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Alexander Books, an independent bookseller in Lafayette, will debut Stories Matter, a live reading series with writers, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 22. They are hoping to make this a monthly event where authors read and share excerpts of their work. Tuesday’s free event will feature author Patrick Holian, Leigh Camacho Rourks and Zack Godshall.

Walter C. Stern will discuss and launch his new book “Race and Education in New Orleans: Creating the Segregated City, 1764-1960” at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

Royd Anderson, a local documentarian who focuses on Louisiana history, will screen The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. The screening occurs as part of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Jefferson Parish Historical Society. The 30-minute documentary tells the story of the 1977 Westwego Continental Grain elevator explosion, which caused 36 people to lose their lives and remains the deadliest grain dust explosion of the modern era. The cause of the explosion is still unknown, though federal and state investigators at the time thought that the blast was caused by a buildup of grain that had not been moved because of a national dockworkers' strike that year. 
Genaro Ky Ly Smith and Clare Martin

On Friday, May 25, Clare L. Martin and Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith will read from their work and sign books beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Teche Center for the Arts in Breaux Bridge. The event is free, although donations are welcomed, and there will be a no-host bar. 

Martin’s second full-length collection of poetry, "Seek the Holy Dark," is the 2017 selection for The Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poetry from Yellow Flag Press. Her debut collection of poetry, "Eating the Heart First," was published by Press 53. She founded and edits the online poetry magazine, MockingHeart Review. 

Smith is the author of "The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives" (UL Press), which won the Indie Book Awards in 2015. His novel "The Land South of the Clouds," the second in the trilogy and reviewed by this blog, earned second place for multi-cultural fiction for the same award in 2017.  The third book, a collection of short stories and novellas entitled "The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born," will be published this fall.

Debut young adult author Mark Oshiro will discuss his book, “Anger is a Gift,” “in conversation” with author Daniel Jose Older at 6 p.m. Friday, May 25, at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Oshiro is the Hugo-nominated writer of the online "Mark Does Stuff" universe (Mark Reads and Mark Watches), where he analyzes books and TV series. He was the nonfiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction!, the co-editor of Speculative Fiction 2015, and is the President of the Con or Bust Board of Directors. When not working Oshiro engages in social activism online and offline. Older is the New York Times bestselling author of "Salsa Nocturna," the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult series the "Shadowshaper Cypher."

Tamalyn Dallal, author of “40 Days and 1001 Nights,” discusses the book as well as the basics of Middle Eastern dance at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.




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, May 13, 2018

Review of 'Perennials' by Julie Cantrell

I’ve been intrigued by this book set in Oxford, Miss., ever since I wrote about Cantrell’s book being selected by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery for the book pairing of the week back in January. Cantrell grew up in Louisiana and set her third novel, “The Feathered Bone,” in Livingston Parish, her childhood stomping grounds. When I recently visited Oxford and stopped in at one of my favorite bookstores, Square Books, I picked up a signed copy.

Character Eva “Lovey” Sutherland grows up in a loving Oxford family and is enamored with both her mother’s elaborate garden and her older sister, Bitsy. An incident involving a fire in the family shed changes everything, and Lovey becomes the scapegoat to Bitsy’s constant accusations and blame. Frustrated by her sister’s lies, Lovey leaves home, and behind a young love, and finds success in advertising in Arizona.

Years later, while Lovey is rebounding from a destructive relationship with a man who also lies, her father calls and insists she come home. It’s their 50th anniversary and he’s not taking no for an answer. He wants Lovey to help him create a memory garden for her mom. Despite work demands, Lovey heads to Mississippi and discovers there’s more to resolve in Oxford than she ever imagined.

“Perrenials” deals with the heartache and joy we sometimes leave behind when we escape our childhood homes. It examines those difficult familial relationships that sometimes seem impossible to repair. Bitsy’s a piece of work, but there’s a story there as well, one that comes out slowly.

I enjoyed the tale of returning home, the parents desire to revisit the places and retrieve plants that they would incorporate into the memory garden. Wanting to know why Bitsy lied like she did and why she believed that Lovey was the cause of her problems became frustrating, however. I couldn’t help but wonder why the parents didn’t see through her lies or if she was mentally unstable; I kept waiting for some reason why she acted in such extreme ways. At one point, for instance, Bitsy cuts Lovey off from her children, but we’re never told why.

Overall, the book’s a lovely story about the draw the South has for many of us. I know I’m one who left several times and always returned home.


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.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Tubby and Coo's offers summer writing workshop


Tubby and Coo’s MidCity Bookstore is now accepting applications for its new summer intensive writing workshop. The 10-week workshop focuses on the intersection of social justice and writing science fiction and fantasy. 

Want a taste of what’s involved? Here’s the workshop schedule:
Tuesday, May 29: The Ethics of Storytelling
Tuesday, June 5: Writing the Other
Tuesday, June 12: Worldbuilding Without Harm, Part 1
Tuesday, June 19: Worldbuilding Without Harm, Part 2
Tuesday, June 26: Character Building Without Harm, Part 1
Tuesday, July 3: Character Building Without Harm, Part 2
Tuesday, July 10: The Ecosystem of Story
Tuesday, July 17: The Elements of Story
Tuesday, July 24: Translating Movie, TV, and Gaming Storytelling Techniques into                                      Fiction Writing
Monday, July 30: Revising With a New Mindset

For more information, visit http://tubbyandcoos.com/workshops/.


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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Anne Rice's 'Sleeping Beauty'

"The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy" by Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure) is currently on sale as an ebook for only $1.99. 

The 1983 book begins the first installment of a series that is now considered a forerunner of erotic literature. This collection contains "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty," "Beauty’s Punishment" and "Beauty’s Release."

Here's the book's description:

"A spell has been cast upon a lovely young princess who sleeps, waiting for someone to save her. The Prince awakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty’s complete and total enslavement to him..."



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.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Letters About Literature contest winners announced

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announced the 2018 Louisiana winners of the annual Letters About Literature contest. This year, 562 fourth through 12th grade Louisiana students wrote personal letters to authors, living or dead, to thank them and to explain how their work changed the students’ way of thinking about the world or themselves. The winners of the competition were inspired by everything from fiction to nonfiction, classic to contemporary, fantasy to historical, work in translation to books in a series.

Students receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place, and they will be recognized at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Baton Rouge, with the first place winners reading their letters there. Louisiana’s first place winners’ entries have been submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition. To read the winners’ letters and see the names of all the state finalists and their teachers and schools, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

Level I (grades 4 – 6)
1st Place: Kadra J. Bates, Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary
2nd Place: Evelyn Deroche, Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary
3rd Place: Alexis Williams, Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary 
Honorable Mention:  Joey Roth, Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge

Level II (grades 7 – 8)
1st Place: Jenee Brown, Northwestern Middle School, Zachary
2nd Place: Eleanor Guichet, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans
3rd Place: Acadia McCoy, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans
Honorable Mention:  Rocco Salamone, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans

Level III (grades 9 – 12)
1st Place: Khoa Pham, Individual Submission, Breaux Bridge
2nd Place: Isabella Mariano, Cedar Creek School, Ruston
3rd Place: Sarah Katherine McCallum, Cedar Creek School, Ruston         

Letters About Literature is made possible by a grant from the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes and administers the contest through its affiliate state 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 additional assistance from 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 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, April 22, 2018

End the month with poetry!

Sign on the street in Oxford, Mississippi.
Unless you don't read Facebook posts, signs on bookstore windows or watch C-Span Book TV — or even this blog —you probably missed that April is National Poetry Month. It began in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate "poetry's vital place in our culture," according to the website. In honor of National Poetry Month, we offer a look at two children's books to encourage the poet of the next generation and to inspire others to read.

The former national poet laureate Maya Angelou published "Life Doesn't Frighten Me," a collection of modern poetry and art, in 1993 to introduce young readers to both inspiring art forms. Illustrated with paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died too young at the age of 27 and whose artwork is exhibited around the world, the book is "a powerful exploration of emotion and its expression through the careful blend of words and arts," according to School Library Journal.

The book has been re-released by Abrams as a 25th-anniversary celebratory book. And if the talents of these two don't sway you enough, the fearless message might.

"I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all."

Award-winning author and poet Lee Bennett Hopkins edits a collection of poetry accented by artwork in a gorgeous board book titled "World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art." There's "Cat Watching a Spider" by Julie Fogliano next to Oide Toko's painting of the same name, "Early Evening" by Charles Ghigna accented by Winslow Homer's "Boys in a Dory" and "Studio" by Marilyn Nelson with Kerry James Marshall's "Untitled (Studio)" in which an artist shapes a subject's face in preparation for being painted. Even the editor has a page, his "Endgame" poem coupled with "The Chess Players," a Liberale da Verona painting of 1475.

Both are engaging books celebrating art at its highest form and perfect for young readers.

If you want to catch live poetry before the month is up, visit the Festival of Words and NUNU Arts and Culture Collective’s "Every Woman," a celebration of women's voices in poetry, story and music, at 7 p.m. Wednesday April 25, 2018, at Chicory’s Coffee and Café in Grand Coteau. Featured performers include poet Clare L. Martin reading from her upcoming poetry collection, author Sherry Broussard sharing from her book of “Zydeco” and a performance by playwright Sue Schleifer. Women are invited to share original creative work and both men and women are invited to share favorite poems, stories and songs by or in honor of women. For more information, contact festivalwords@gmail.com or 337-254-9695

Clare L. Martin




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.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: 'Voodoo You Think You Are'

G.A. Chase of New Orleans continues his Malveaux Curse Mystery series with a new book, "Look What You Made Me Voodoo," a follow-up to "Voodoo You Think You Are." Gotta love those titles.

Here's the book description: 

With Kendell and Myles safely back among the living, the task of keeping Colin in his place has fallen to Sanguine Delarosa. But as hell's angel, can she resist the devil's charms? In order to keep an eye on him, she may have to get emotionally and physically closer than she imagined possible. With the love of Sanguine, he may yet be saved. 

When Colin resorts to his old ways by stealing Kendell's soul, however, Sanguine must face the hard fact that he might not ever change. Meanwhile, the band, Myles, and the faithful dogs once again put everything at risk to rescue Kendell from hell.

Despite all of Colin's misdeeds, Sanguine listens to his master plan of relieving people from the inevitability of death. His offer of a partnership leaves her wondering if she could be instrumental in creating a better future for humanity--or if she should continue with the team's strategy for the devil's ultimate destruction.


Louisiana Book News is written by award-winning New Orleans 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.