Monday, November 17, 2014

Heartla Author Luncheon celebrates local talent


            On Nov. 15, I was honored to be a part of the Heart of Louisiana Romance Writers annual author luncheon at Juban’s in Baton Rouge, with best-selling author Diana Crosby as the keynote speaker offering us great advice and inspiration.
             Participating authors — you’ll be amazed at how much talent there is in Louisiana — included:
             Christa Allen is the author of love stories “Love Finds You in New Orleans,” “Threads of Hope” (one of the books in Abingdon’s Quilt Series) and “Test of Faith” as well as “Walking on Broken Glass” and “The Edge of Grace.”
            In addition to dressing up and interviewing authors on her blog ‘The Romancechik Speaks,” Nancy Brandt has published “Fabric of Faith” and  “Sword and Illusion” with her husband, Steve Brandt.
            Donna Caubarreaux writes as Pepper Phillips, offering “Southern sass with a touch of heart” with books such as “This Devil Has Dimples,” “The Vow” and “The Christmas Gift,” which is hot on Amazon right now. 
            James Buddy Estes is the author of “Alabama’s Youngest Admirals” and other titles and reported that his books are being read in Alabama schools. 
            Shana Galen of Houston is the bestselling author of Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice, “The Making of a Gentleman.”
            Lori Leger of Kinder has published through her own publishing house, Cajun Flair Publishing. She has several books out right now, including holiday anthologies, “Hearts, Hearths and Holidays” and “Christmas by Candlelight.” You can even learn Cajun cooking on her web site!
            Trish F. Leger of Jennings focuses on Druids in her Wiccan romance series and she’s also one of the authors in Lori Leger’s anthologies.
            Anne Clarye Mason of Baton Rouge writes romances under this name and mysteries under A.C. Mason. I just picked up her “Mardi Gras Gris Gris” in anticipation of Carnival beginning Jan. 6, 2015. She is also the author of the newly released “Deadly Bayou.” 
            Shirlee McCoy of Baton Rouge, inspirational author at Silhouette and Kengsington, has a new book in time for the holidays, “Her Christmas Guardian,” where former army ranger Boone Anderson must help Scout Cramer retrieve her child from kidnappers “before the kidnappers cancel Christmas for all of them permanently.” 
            Judy McDonough just released “Deadline,” book one in The Bayou Secrets saga, along with "Lifeline," book two.
            Rhonda McKey aka Rhonda Leah writes erotic and contemporary romances, her latest being “Risking Delaney” from Lyrical Press. 
            Farrah Rochon of Gramercy is a USA Today best-selling author of contemporary romances. Her latest is “I Dare You!,” book four in the “Moments in Maplesville” series, but you’ll also find holiday books such as the “Hot Christmas Nights" anthology and “A Perfect Holiday Fling.” 
            Wendy Russo writes YA science fiction and her latest, “January Black,” will be released Christmas Day. The book features 17-year-old Matty Ducayn who gets treacherous adventure after being expelled from the orderly “Hill.” She lives in Baton Rouge, working as an IT analyst for LSU. 
            Lynn Shurr of New Iberia is a retired librarian who has been knocking out romances left and right, many involving the New Orleans Sinners football team. She has also begun a new Mardi Gras series, the single title enviromental romance, “A Trashy Affair,” and the spicy Cajun romances, “A Taste of Bayou Water” and “Blessings and Curses.”  
            T.S. Tate/Eden Butler is currently Editor-in-Chief at LitStack.com and co-founder with Heather McCorkle of #WritersRoad chat on Twitter. Her flash fiction, "Street Noises," was included in the Pill Hill Press anthology "Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Dark Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition)" and her short "Til Hunt Be Done," was included in the Winter Wonders anthology from Compass Press
            Jo Templeton writes historical romance (“A Pirate’s Kiss”) and paranormal fiction, featuring a fallen angel hoping to get back to heaven, “Scorned,” in addition to many other books. 
            I feel like I'm missing someone, which tells you how much talented this chapter has!
            Here’s a few more romances to heat up your holiday season, books I learned about from my goodie bag.            
            Jennifer Comeaux of Covington incorporates her love of figure skating in her novels and her latest is “Crossing the Ice,” where pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream and vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team. The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though.
            Marian Merritt as a holiday novella titled “Southern Fried Christmas” in which Colorado native Kelly Shepherd takes an assignment to write articles on Cajun Christmas culture after spending eight days in Cajun country. She meets widow Denny Labouve, owner of an oilfield company and dad to a 10-year-old daughter and proves that “love is deeper than a Louisiana bayou.” Her other books include “A Cajun Christmas Miracle” and “Deep Freeze Christmas.”
            The Heart of Louisiana RWA chapter meets at 10 a.m. the fourth Saturday of every month in Baton Rouge. For more information, visit www.HeartLa.com.
          Here’s a few more romances to heat up your holiday season.            
That's me in the maroon sweater next to Joan Whalen,
right, and Anne Clayre Mason, left.

 Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.