Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Charlaine Harris's ‘All Together Dead,’ Lauren Tisdale's 'Circle of Secrets'

If you’re missing “True Blood,” that sexy vampire series on HBO that took place in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, go to the source. The story originates with Charlaine Harris and her long-running supernatural mystery series featuring telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. The books were New York Times bestsellers and “All Together Dead” — available right now at the discounted price of $1.99 — has more than 63,800 five-star Goodreads ratings.

Here’s the book description:
Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full with shapeshifter Quinn—a possible new man in her life—and the upcoming central U.S. Vampire Summit on the shores of Lake Michigan. Sookie's job at the summit is to support Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne, whose power base was weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. But Sookie is about to discover just how dangerous that job can be, as she is drawn further and further into the vampire world...

This past week I was honored to speak at the Bayou Teche Writers Group in New Iberia, Louisiana, headed by Vicky Branton, author of the children’s book, “Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story.” We reviewed Vicky's book in a previous column

Among the participants were several authors, including Lauren Tisdale, author of the ebook “Circle of Secrets.”

Here’s the book description:
Meet Helen-an older woman, who enjoys her part-time work at the local hospital where her husband is a doctor. Ghosts of her past haunt her and when a secret is revealed, she must push past the pain to forgive and piece together a puzzle in order to find what she’s looking for.

Meet Marissa-a woman in her thirties, single parent to Sophia. She loves to teach but is haunted by the clock slowly ticking away due to her failing health. When a secret is revealed, she must figure out what it means before her time runs out.

Helen and Marissa are total strangers but one thing connects them—family secrets. Their mysterious pasts intertwine and they don’t know it until a family secret reveals that everything they’d once known was a lie. Now, they must fight their own battles to figure out the truth, before it’s too late for one of them.

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

New releases - University Press of Mississippi

Viola Fontenot grew up the daughter of a sharecropper in southwestern Louisiana where life was difficult for the family but joyous in many ways. She writes about both experiences in "A Cajun Girl's Sharecropping Years." explaining working as a child in the fields, living without electricity, and driving a mule into town but also the Cajun children's games she played, the house dances with family and friends and her undying love of Cajun music. It's a small book with a powerful story offering great insight to growing up on the Cajun Prairie.

Fontenot is also the contributor to "Growing Up in South Louisiana" and is currently working on a children's book titled "Le Petit Chaoui Du Grand Bois," about her childhood pet raccoon.

George T. Malvaney loved to disappear as a child, driving his parents crazy. The writing was on the wall. The Mississippi native joined the navy and started a Klan group that resulted in a mutual discharge, then he planned an armed coup attempt on Dominica in the Caribbean. The FBI caught up with him and landed him in jail, and that’s where he turned his life around to become a leader of the Mississippi cleanup effort of the Gulf Coast after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s all part of Malvaney’s wild memoir, “Cups Up: How I Organized a Klavern, Plotted a Coup, Survived Prison, Graduated College, Fought Polluters, and Started a Business.” Today, the author is a partner at Enhanced Environmental and Emergency Series and Malvaney and Associates.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said of the book, “The hardships of George’s youth did not define him. Rather, his determination to overcome those unfortunate circumstances makes his story one of redemption. I am glad he is sharing it.”

Ann Brewster Dobie, professor emerita of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, examines 11 well-known Louisiana authors and several on the rise in “Voices from Louisiana: Profiles of Contemporary Writers.” The authors highlighted in her book include former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, James Lee Burke, Ernest Gaines, Tim Gautreaux, Shirley Ann Grau, Greg Guirard, William Joyce, Julie Kane, Tom Piazza, Martha Serpas and James Wilcox. Newcomers profiled include Wiley Cash, Ashley Mace Havird, Anne L. Sion, Katy Simpson Smith, Ashley Weaver, Steve Weddle and Ken Wheaton.

Dobie is also the author of “Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories,” “Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets” and “Wide Awake in the Pelican State: Stories by Contemporary Louisiana Writers.”

A gorgeous, massive book that looks beyond the debutantes and New Orleans’ elite society is “Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans” by Howard Philips Smith. Gay krewes began in the late 1950s in New Orleans, Smith asserts, many times celebrated in secret, but by the 1980s were almost eliminated by the AIDS crisis and persecution. The book contains krewe interviews, photographs, ephemera, ball costumes, posters, programs and more.

"In Unveiling the Muse, Howard Philips Smith presents a lively and comprehensive history of New Orleans's gay Carnival organizations formed in the post-World War II era,” writes Priscilla Lawrence, executive director of The Historic New Orleans Collection. “In addition, he takes a wider look at the places, people, and non-Carnival annual calendar of events that are allied with it. His use of archival sources, both public and private, enhances the narrative and adds a stunning visual element to the history of the krewes, clubs, and society that has defined and transformed gay Carnival in New Orleans for over half a century."

Smith grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi and attended the University of Southern Mississippi and the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon. He began writing about pre-AIDS New Orleans and the gay ball scene during the early 1980s, the so-called Golden Age of Gay Carnival. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and three cats.

Published in the spring was “Discovering Cat island: Photographs and History” by John Cuevas with photographs by Jason Taylor and a foreword by Delbert Hosemann, Mississippi Secretary of State.

“Cat Island is truly one of Mississippi’s greatest natural resources,” Hosemann writes in the foreword. “This barrier island is rich in history, dating back to its discovery by the French in 1699. Our island has survived centuries of changes in ownership and tropical storms. It is a part of the culture of Mississippi and remains a jewel of the Gulf Coast.”

Cuevas served as creative director of his own advertising firm in Atlanta for more than 25 years, where he won gold awards in radio, television and print advertising. Taylor is an artist, photographer and environmentalist whose work is inspired by his passion for the outdoors and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

For information about these and other University Press of Mississippi titles, click here.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Festival of Words announce author lineup for 2018

The Festival of Words celebrates another year with three amazing authors and two days of memorable events on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3, in Grand Coteau. This year’s event includes nationally recognized authors: Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell, poet and songwriter Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic and Ladee Hubbard, author of “The Talented Ribkins.” Festival events include creative writing workshops in community centers and public schools, a community stage for open mics, “Drive-by Poetry” in grocery stores, boutiques and restaurants and many opportunities for people to interact with featured authors.

The Friday night event takes place at Chicory’s Café in Grand Coteau featuring poetry by Jack Bedell, a poetry/music performance by Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic with special guest D’Jalma Garnier and a reading by Ladee Hubbard from her award-winning novel.

On Saturday, Drive-by Poetry performers will recite poems in Grand Coteau and Sunset businesses. Meanwhile, at the Thensted Center there will be an open mic and multiple creative writing workshops, which are open to the public, as well as a black pot cook-off. 

For more information, check out festivalofwords.org or contact Martha Garner at (337) 804-2482 or email fowmartha@gmail.com.

Jack Bedell is currently serving as the Poet Laureate of Louisiana. Dr. Bedell is a professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of nine books, including “Call and Response” (with Darrell Bourque, 2010), “Come Rain, Come Shine” (2006), “What Passes for Love” (2001), “Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems” (2013), “Elliptic” (2016), and “Revenant” (2016). As editor of Southeastern's literary magazine Louisiana Literature since 1992, he has published numerous Louisiana poets. Dr. Bedell has taught creative writing to students of all ages, from the third-grade level to the graduate level over the last 30 years. Intimate and personable, his work reflects a familiarity with Louisiana life and its people. In addition, he has worked with the LEH's award-winning PRIME TIME Family Literacy Program as a storyteller and continues to promote the writing of his fellow Louisianans.

"Jack Bedell's love for Louisiana is evident in his work, and I'm confident that he will serve honorably as the state's poet laureate," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "I want to thank the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for leading this search, and I congratulate all of the nominees whose writings capture the heart of the people and places that make our state a unique and wonderful place to call home."

Cornelius Eady was born in 1954 in Rochester, New York. He is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed “Hardheaded Weather” (Penguin, 2008), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His other titles are “Kartunes” (Warthog Press, 1980); “Victims of the Latest Dance Craze” (Ommation Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; “The Gathering of My Name” (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; “You Don't Miss Your Water”(Henry Holt and Co., 1995); “The Autobiography of a Jukebox” (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1997); “Brutal Imagination” (Putnam, 2001); the mixed media book/cds “Book of Hooks” (Kattywompus Press, 2013) and “Singing While Black” (Kattywompus Press, 2015). His work appears in many journals, magazines, and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000) ed. Michael S. Harper.

With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature (1985); a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, (1993); a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1992-1993); a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, (1993); and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994). Eady has taught poetry at SUNY Stony Brook, where he directed its Poetry Center; City College; Sarah Lawrence College; New York University; The Writer's Voice; The 92nd St Y; The College of William and Mary; Sweet Briar College; and The University of Missouri-Columbia. He a professor in the MFA program at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton.

In most of Eady's poems, there is a musical quality drawn from the Blues and Jazz. Indeed, many of his poem titles allude to traditional African-American hymns and modern musicians such as Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis. Eady is also available to perform with his literary band, Rough Magic. Rough Magic is a New York-based band sprung from Almost by "magic," a group of poet-musician-composers have converged who share Eady's vision that text, melody, harmony, and rhythm all have an equally strong place in artistic expression. Rough Magic calls upon troubadour traditions and evokes the sounds and storytelling of blues greats like Muddy Waters, folk legends such as Woody Guthrie and the unexpected grooves and subject-matters of the Talking Heads. At the same time, band members hold a keen sense of innovation, as they are all working text-and-music makers engaged in building new combinations of words and sounds.

Ladee Hubbard was born in Massachusetts, raised in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently lives in New Orleans with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. from Princeton University, a Ph.D. from the University of California-Los Angeles, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published short fiction in the Beloit Fiction Journal and Crab Orchard Review among other publications and has received fellowships from the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award.

“The Talented Ribkins” is her debut novel, a fresh and exciting new voice in literary fiction. Inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois' famous essay, this marvelously inventive novel tells the story of Johnny Ribkins, a 72-year old African-American antiques dealer from Florida who was born with a unique talent: he can make perfect maps of any space he walks through.

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