Friday, July 8, 2011

Cyril Vetter, ALA Convention


Cyril E, Vetter, author of “Fonville Winans’ Louisiana: Politics, People and Places” and “The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town,” has published a novel about Louisiana singer-songwriter Charles “Butch” Hornsby titled “Dirtdobber Blues” (LSU Press). Upon entering my house, “Dirtdobber Blues” was snatched up by my husband, Bruce Coen, the music manager at Barnes & Noble and a blues aficionada. Here is his review of Vetter’s book:
            “In the latest release of a fairly new genre called creative non-fiction, author Cyril E. Vetter’s account of Charles ‘Butch’ Hornsby in his book ‘Dirtdobber Blues’ depicts one of the most versatile, creative and musical icons to come out of South Louisiana. Vetter got to know Hornsby by producing most of his music and acting as a friend when Hornsby needed one during his many alcoholic and drug periods of which there were many during the early and middle years.
“Vetter chooses to create dialogue and add certain elements to Hornsby’s life that certainly makes for good reading whether they actually happened or not. The book is fast paced and flows quickly in line with the life Hornsby chose for himself attributed to his sometimes erratic but always colorful personality. Even though Hornsby comes across as a tortured genius at times he’s virtually unknown in most creative circles, which is a shame. Vetter takes care of that by including a 14-song CD of Hornsby’s inspired South Louisiana version of country flavored, swamp pop blues along with sheet music. There are also full-page photographs of Hornsby’s paintings and sculptures taken by local favorite Philip Gould.
“This is a good read and should be in anyone’s collection with an interest in the great but not forgotten spiritual folk who have and always will contribute to the real South Louisiana.”
Librarians unite!
            The massive American Library Association national conference was held in New Orleans this past week. I ran into humor author Christee Atwood (“In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands”) and her equally funny husband, David, who makes a living as a voice author (movies trailers, ads, you name it). We toured the convention, running into Louisiana authors Ciji Ware, Johnette Downing and Dianne de Las Casas, in addition to Louisiana librarians. Other state authors at the convention were Judy Christie, Joyce Magnin, Christa Allan and Mo Willems, to name a few.
            Ware was promoting her latest book, “Midnight on Julia Street,” to be published in August by Sourcebooks. Ware once lived on Ursulines Street in the French Quarter but now makes her home in San Francisco, but you could tell she was glad to be back in New Orleans, especially since she continues to write about the city. An Emmy award-winning TV producer and journalist, Ware’s latest novel concerns a reporter who comes to New Orleans and discovers a great story.
            Ocean Tree Books introduced me to “Anna Christiana’s ‘Un-a-fancii’ New Orleans Cookbook,” by Deborah J. Lindsey and Anna Christiana, the latter of which lives in New Orleans and once owned a seafood shop on Oak Street. The cookbook is filled with interesting recipes and history of the Carrollton Street area.
            Russell Freedman signed his award-winning “Lafayette and the American Revolution,” a beautifully illustrated chapter book of the American hero who helped the American colonists win independence. And, of course, I had to tell him I hailed from one of the many Lafayette towns in America.
            Deborah Heiligman signed her nod to July 4, a “Holidays Around the World” book from National Geographic titled “Celebrate Independence Day” and a great book to have on hand this weekend.
            At the Pelican Publishing booth, the New Orleans publisher touted De Las Casas and Downing’s numerous titles, plus Rickey Pittman, Sheila Hebert Collins, Cecilia Casrill Dartez, Denise McConduit and Holly Stone-Barker, among others.     

Ebook news
New Orleans playwright Rosary O’Neill has just published an ebook titled “Tropical Depression” (Smashwords). The romantic woman’s novel tells the story of a wealthy student and housewife who runs off with a college professor only to be caught by a hurricane in a Louisiana swamp. The book cost $2.99 and can be downloaded at www.smashwords.com.
Also at Smashwords is “A Darker Shade of Midnight” by Baton Rouge author Lynn Emery. The paranormal murder mystery takes place in Louisiana. 

Seminars, contests
The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will host a one-day seminar titled “Scare ’Em and Sell ’Em: How to Write a Paranormal Novel” with author Deborah LeBlanc, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, in the annex building attached to the Rice Theater in Crowley. The cost is $45 for non-members, $35 for members. To register, mail your check or money order to Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, P.O. Box 51532, Lafayette, LA 70505-1532.
            Entrants are now being accepted for the Sixth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, sponsored by Southern Louisiana Romance Writers of America. Submission fee is $15 with cash prizes offered to the winners. The deadline to enter is July 15. For more information, visit http://solawriters.org or email contest coordinator Nick Genovese at ngenovese@gmail.com.