Monday, October 17, 2011

Catholic explores paranormal, church doctrine in 'Holy Ghosts'

Gary Jansen grew up Catholic, confident in the explanations the church offered him regarding life and death. When he and his wife moved into his childhood Long Island home, and ghosts from his past returned along with other paranormal experiences, Jansen tried to rationalize the events using his Catholic upbringing.
            His journey coming to grips with his haunted house and his search for answers led him to write “Holy Ghosts Or How a (Not So) Good Catholic Boy Became a Believer in Things That Go Bump in the Night,” now in paperback. It’s the perfect mix of suspenseful ghost stories with thoughtful spiritual reflections on the afterlife.
Jansen intertwines stories of his youth when his mother was convinced the ghost of a woman lived in the house with experiences of the past few years and the creepy noises and tingly feelings he received in his son’s bedroom. As Jansen seeks to find out what is happening in the house and how this may or may not coincide with local tragedies, he offers spiritual writings from Saint Ignatius, seminarian John Bosco and the Bible, among many others to offer spiritual claims of hauntings. He also includes writings on Catholic exorcisms and famous writers and leaders who have claimed to witness ghosts.
            “Holy Ghost” is a level-headed mix of haunting tale with spiritual explanation with a satisfying conclusion one doesn’t usually find reading ghost stories.

New Releases
            Best-selling romance author Sabrina Jeffries, with ties to Louisiana, has a new book out, “To Wed a Wild Lord.” Jeffries will be the keynote speaker of the Nov. 5 Heart of Louisiana’s annual Fall in Love With Romance Reader Luncheon in Baton Rouge. She will join more than a dozen authors (including yours truly) for booksignings, plus Lafayette’s Deborah Leblanc as emcee, at the luncheon; for more information or to register, visit To read more about Jeffries’s new book, visit
Brandi Lee Morrison of Lafayette has published a Christian novel titled “A Southern Tale of Forgiveness,” a print-on-demand novel through CreateSpace. The book follows twins Jolie and Tessandra Cormier of Louisiana. Born in 1919, Jolie resembles her white mother and Tessandra her black father. The girls deal with racial issues in Lafayette Parish and the death of their parents at a young age, then the struggle to survive on their own. For more information and to purchase a book, visit
Annabelle M. Armstrong compiles a history of Baton Rouge’s many neighborhoods in “Historic Neighborhoods of Baton Rouge” by the History Press.  Included are stories of Hundred Oaks, Capital Heights, University Acres, Wimbledon, Tara, Inniswold, Glenwood, Walnut Hills, Stratford, Steele Place, Broussard, Southdowns and other neighborhoods.
Catharine Savage Brosman, professor emerita of French at Tulane University, has authored numerous books of French literary history and criticism and nonfiction prose. Her eighth collection of poetry is “Under the Pergola.”
California native and part-time New Orleans resident Melinda Palacio has published her debut novel, “Ocotilo Dreams.”
Rev. Jerome LeDoux has published “War of the Pews: A Personal Account of St. Augustine Church.”
Virginia Willis, author of “Bon Appetit, Y’all” which was nominated for the IACP Best American Cookbook award, has published “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all,”
Two new cookbooks incorporating fresh ingredients into fun, healthy dishes are “Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking” by Pamela Sheldon Jones and “Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard” by Romney Steele. Both books offer a smaller, square format, complementing recipes with stories, anecdotes and beautiful photography. And both authors agree that it’s time to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of eating well with good company. Bon appetite!
Ron Marz, Sami Basri and Jessica Kholinne have published a comic book starring a mixed race bisexual character from Louisiana titled “Voodoo #1, published by DC Comics.
David Gessner examines the 2010 BP Oil Spill in “The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill.”
            William G. McAtee has written “Transformed: A White Mississippi Pastor’s Journey Into Civil Rights and Beyond,” with a foreword by William F. Winter, by The University of Mississippi Press.
Andy Smith, a writer and lecturer on food history, has written “Starving the South, How the North Won the Civil War.” In his book, Smith asks the question: Did hunger defeat the Confederacy?
New Orleans-based Beatles expert — and tax attorney — Bruce Spizer has published “Beatles for Sale on Parlophone Records,” which covers all of the singles, albums and extended play discs issued by the Beatles in the U.K. from 1962 through 1970. He is the author of the critically acclaimed books, The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay, TheBeatles’ Story on Capitol Records Parts 1 & 2, The Beatles on Apple Records, The Beatles Solo on Apple Records, The Beatles Swan Song: “She Loves You” & Other Records, and The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.

E-book news
Louisiana publisher Margaret Media has registered with the online bookstore and their first title to appear on the site is “The Free People of Color of New Orleans” by Mary Gehman. The title will also be available for download by mid-October from ShelfWise and shortly thereafter from and Barnes & Noble. 
“This trial balloon of our best-selling title paves the way for eventually offering our other books in electronic form as well as some new titles published only as e-Books,” Gehman said.


Book events
Ernest J. Gaines, UL’s Writer in Residence emeritus, will read from a work in progress at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Ernest J. Gaines Center in the Dupré Library on campus. A discussion will follow the reading, and Gaines will sign copies of his books at the conclusion of the program. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Derek Mosley at the Gaines Center at 482-1848 or
The book release party for “The Complete Cajun Comics of Ken Meaux and Earl Comeaux” will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kaplan Museum, 405 North Cushing Ave. in Kaplan. The event is open to the public and Meaux will be sign books. The book collects the comic series Bec Doux et ses amis written in Cajun French and published in The Kaplan Herald and later other southwestern Louisiana newspapers.
Author and licensed death scene investigator Deborah LeBlanc discusses “What’s Real, What Isn’t, and How to Write for Both” at 2 p.m. Saturday at the South Regional Library. LeBlanc will explain her work in paranormal investigation and how it influences her writing of horror and paranormal novels. A question and answer session and book signing follow LeBlanc’s presentation.