Marion Collier was driving along a sad stretch of highway, one where concrete barriers protected travelers from a gaping hole near a thicket. It was there the north Louisiana teacher and minister found two abandoned dogs, looking forlorn and hoping for their family’s return.
At first, Collier travels home to retrieve his gun, thinking to put the hungry and diseased dogs out of their misery. But he’s touched by memory and the divine, and what he does next changes his life.
“My heart told me that any disrespect for life is disrespect for the Creator,” Collier writes in his new book, “A Matter of Grace.” “A miracle of mercy is always a Matter of Grace.”
The book follows Collier’s rescue of the mangy creatures, and the adoption of “Mattie” and her introduction into his life and his many other animals. As readers continue through the book and meet a few of his rescue animals — including several cats, mules and a loving rooster named Little Man — we doubt Collier would have ever used the gun.
Throughout Mattie’s story, and the duo’s travels through north Louisiana and abroad evangelist Collier recounts appropriate Bible lessons that relate. It’s all a lovely book that will warm the hearts of animal lovers — and others!
Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau will host a poetry workshop and a performance Saturday as a fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Slam Team.
The Poetry Writing Workshop will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the evening performance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both events welcome all ages and both take place at Casa Azul, 232 Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau.
The 2012 Baton Rouge Slam Team is composed of seasoned poets Jonathan Brown, Chancellor Skidmore, Desireé V. Dallagiacomo, Donney Rose and Roderick Minor. They are raising money to compete in the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam June 6-9 in Tampa and the National Poetry Slam Aug. 7-11 in Charlotte, NC.
While both events are free, donations are requested.
Also at Casa Azul this week, New Orleans author Ben Sandmel will read from his new book, “Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans,” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. The evening includes a book signing, a musical performance by Yvette Landry and an open mic in which writers and musicians are welcome to participate.
Ben Sandmel is a New Orleans–based journalist and author of “Zydeco!,” a collaborative book with photographer Rick Olivier. Sandmel is currently enrolled in the masters program in musicology at Tulane University.
For more information, visit http://festivalofwords.org/weeklyevents.html.
Toni Morrison, winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel Peace prizes, has published a novel titled “Home,” the story of a Korean soldier returning to the South.
Charlaine Harris has published the twelfth book in her Sookie Stackhouse vampire series, titled “Deadlocked.”
Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson edits “Cornbread Nation 6: The Best of Southern Food Writing,” with John T. Edge.
Patty Friedmann of New Orleans has published a young adult novel titled “No Takebacks.”
Betty Guerin of Baton Rouge has published a Christian book with AuthorHouse titled “Deeper Life Series: A Deeper Life in Christ.” She is the wife of Pastor Fred Guerin Jr.
Former LSU-Alexandria professor Cam Caldwell has published "Ethical Leadership: A Transformative Model for Tomorrow's Leaders."
Houston resident Judy (Loyd) McDonough has a new in her “Deadline Saga” series titled “Deadline,” a romantic mystery with a paranormal twist on a Louisiana bayou.
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s Poetry Contest is now accepting submissions until Aug. 15, with a grand prize of $1,000, a VIP All-Access Pass ($500 value) to the 2013 festival and publication in Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine. Louisiana poet Ava Leavell Hayman will serve as the contest’s judge. For details and guidelines, visit http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/contests.
“Evangeline: Paradise Stolen: Volume 1, The True Story of the Cajuns” won a National Independent Publishers Award – Bronze in the Best Regional Fiction category. The book is written by M.M. LeBlanc, writer/producer of the award-winning documentary, “Cajun Renaissance Man: Dudley J. LeBlanc.” For information, visit http://www.caeruleumpublishing.com/.
Louisiana author, music teacher and church musician Danny R. Von Kanel will lead a “Get Published” seminar from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Rapides Parish Library Westside Regional Branch in Alexandria. The seminar will cover knowing market opportunities, writing a query letter, e-books, how to get a book published and writing an effective book proposal. Von Kanel has two books published by CSS Publishing and his third, “Building Your Life by the Owner’s Design (The Positive Approach to Building Your Life God’s Way),” will be published by 4RV Publishing in 2013. The seminar is free; register at the Rapides Parish Library.
Eli Jones, dean of LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business and the E.J. Ourso Distinguished Professor of Business, signs “Selling ASAP: Art, Science, Agility, Performance,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Hudson News of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Alex V. Cook signs “Louisiana Saturday Night” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at
Deux Bayous Gallery, 1510 Bayou Courtableau Hwy. in Arnadville. Also, Sam Irwin’s “Art in Agriculture: 15 Photos from 10 Years of Ag Journalism” will open Friday in the Duex Bayous exhibition hall. Irwin, a native of Breaux Bridge, is the press secretary for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and editor of the Louisiana Market Bulletin farm journal.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.