Sunday, July 31, 2016

Attention poets and spoken word artists: Word Crawl literary marathon approaches in downtown Lafayette!

            It’s that time of year, when poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, songwriters and other artists gather for a 12-hour literary marathon called the Word Crawl. A fund-raiser for the annual Festival of Words, the Word Crawl will be from noon to midnight Saturday, Sept. 10, at six venues throughout downtown Lafayette.
            Here’s how it works:
            Collect sponsors and sign up for a spot during the 12 hours of the marathon. Daytime hours welcome all ages and evening hours are reserved for more adult material. There’s even a portion of the marathon dedicated to Francophone writers!
Word Crawlers will wind down Jefferson Avenue and visit the following venues: Carpe Diem Gelato and Espresso Bar, Cité des Arts, Lafayette Science Museum, Steam Press Coffee & Café, Tsunami and The Wurst Biergarten. 
            Last year’s event featured more than 40 artists performing a wide variety of material and helped raise funds for the annual Festival of Words which brings established authors from all over the world to Acadiana to give public readings, writing workshops in community centers and public schools. 
            If you would like to share your own stories, poems, etc., pick up a packet by contacting, Alex Johnson at or by calling (713) 933-4448.

Writing contest
Entries are now being accepted for the inaugural South Louisiana chapter of Romance Writers of America anthology. Stories must be Mardi Gras themed, set in New Orleans and have a romantic element. The word length is 2500 to 7500 words and the deadline is Nov. 1. Entry fee is $20 with all proceeds going toward SOLA’s programming and events. Stories will be selected by judges with an eye for quality writing. For more information, please go to

The Magic of Books will host a day of workshops, guest speaker presentations, book signings and reception on Sept. 17 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s FEC Auditorium at Long Beach, Miss. The guest speaker will be Judge Randy Pierce, author of “Pain Forgiven” and “Mississippi Mud.” For more information, visit or

Louisiana Ebooks
Lashonda Beauregard offers a time travel story in which musician West Barrington falls asleep on the eve of 1927 and awakens in Harlem in 2016 with “The Harlem Renaissance Time Traveler’s Diary.” The Louisiana author is a graduate of UL-Lafayette.
Arlene Messa writes suspense and intrigue under the name A.C. Mason and her latest mystery e-book is available for pre-order Monday. Both print and ebook will be released Sept 1 by Wings ePress. For more information, visit
Kiara Jonai of Ville Platte has written numerous urban fiction novels. Her latest is “Unsympathetic Ways: Amira’s Way” and is available as a free download.
Josephine Templeton of Baton Rouge will release “Broken,” book two of “The Fallen Angelle Series,” an urban fantasy with romantic elements, on Monday. For more information, visit
Trudy Robideaux has published “Parish,” a novella where three Louisiana domestic violence victims narrate the horror they experienced at the hands of those they loved.
Keith Joseph Nickerson of Lafayette has seven books available on Amazon. A native of Broussard, the UL-Lafayette graduate said his writing style reflects his old school, Southern rearing and rural upbringings.

New releases
Nettye Johnson Faith operates a Christ-centered wellness organization offering education, products and coaching services to help adults grow in spiritual and physical stewardship. She has written a book titled “Put Your Faith Where Your Fork Is” on tackling health and weight management from a “science-based, faith-empowered perspective.” For information, visit
Leah McPhearson Miller, who lives in northern Louisiana and writes under Leah Rae Miller, is the author of the young adult romantic comedy “The Summer I Became a Nerd.” Her latest is “Romancing the Nerd.” Both books are published by Entangled Teen.

Southern bookstores
            Second and Charles in Bossier City is not just about books. They buy and sell a variety of items, such as CDs, comic books, vinyl records and video games. But there’s also lots and lots of books. The eclectic store also hosts events, such as last night’s Harry Potter midnight release party. The bookstore is located at 2001 Airline Drive in Bossier City with another location in Covington. You can follow them on Facebook or at

Book events
Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, a month-long celebration of pop culture with special events, will run through Aug. 7 at the Lafayette store. On Saturday, the store celebrates Marvel Universe beginning at 7 p.m. with trivia, coloring, cosplay and exclusive samplers, including the first storyline for Mosaic.
Local author and TV show producer Sudie Landry and author and publisher Neal Bertrand have started a monthly book rally for local authors. The next rally will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Thensted Center, 268 Church St. in Grand Coteau. Authors include Terry L. Bethea, “The Ark Series;” Melissa Abraham; Charlie Leger, “The Golden Thread: A Modern Cajun Fairy Tale” (pen name C.K. Leger); Ann Warner, “The Rodney Letters: Love and Sacrifice in World War II;” Paul Marx, author and owner of KBON Radio Station; Vicky Branton, “Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story;” Bob Bienvenue; Cheri Carlton, “I Am We;” Carola L. Hartley; Jeanette Poole; Carrie Simon and Bertrand, owner and publisher of Cypress Cove Publishing and author of “Dad’s War Photos: Adventures in the South Pacific” and three cookbooks.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday book spotlights: Discounted and free ebooks

If you love ebooks, you'll be happy to learn about several that are discounted or free. Here are a few favorites of mine:

Eventually, all storms break for a little sunshine. Dr. Cynthia Ellender is devastated when her husband of thirty-three years dies suddenly. A revelation at his funeral leaves her bitter, angry, and determined to leave Oklahoma for good. Maybe a move back to her hometown in south Louisiana is just the right prescription for the good doctor. John Michael Ferguson has weathered some serious storms in his fifty-three years. At sixteen he lost a sister, and at thirty-nine, a wife. Now, he’s forced to watch his mom lose her battle with Alzheimer's. A chance meeting with “Cyn” has the semi-retired businessman wanting to bury his past and look to the future. Armed with questionable advice from his wise-cracking, seventy-seven year old father, he vacates the “widower’s bench” to re-enter the dating world with his old classmate. 

Running Out of Rain by Lori Leger of Kinder, Louisiana, is a mature love story that proves just because there’s a little silver in the hair doesn’t mean the pump isn’t primed for passion. 

From debut author, Traci Andrighetti, comes a tale of murder, mayhem, and meddling Sicilian grandmas...Limoncello Yellow!

Francesca "Franki" Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn't cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica's detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki's hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she's not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of "good Italian boys"—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life. 

Regular price $4.99, FREE this week! Lost in Temptation, a Top 10 Kindle Bestseller from a New York Times Bestselling Author!

England, 1815: The eldest of three sisters, Lady Alexandra Chase has always done what was expected of her. But when the man she's loved since her girlhood returns from a long spell abroad, she quite suddenly finds herself hoping the fine lord her brother has picked for her won't propose. She decides that if he does, she'll quite improperly turn him down--that is, until the man of her hopes and dreams informs her he has no intention of marrying her.

The last time Tristan Nesbitt saw Alexandra, he was a common man with no hope of ever wedding the daughter of a marquess. Seven years later, he's now Lord Hawkridge, which should make him eminently suitable for the woman who long ago captured his heart. But a dreadful scandal has tarnished his name in England--a scandal so horrid that marrying Alexandra would ruin not only her flawless reputation but her whole family. For Alexandra's own good, he must fight his relentless desires and stay far away...

Please remember, 99-cent and free Kindle books are gifts from authors. You can show your gratitude by leaving reviews on the websites where you downloaded the books. And of course buy their other books.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Acadian House scores with three new books

            Acadian House Publishing of Lafayette has released three new books this year, all wonderful books to add to your library.
            Twenty authors recount growing up in South Louisiana before computers, big-screen TVs and Pokemon in “Growing Up in South Louisiana.” The book features 25 chapters, many first-person stories culled from the pages of Acadiana Profile magazine or previous books released by the publisher. There’s an excerpt from Marcelle Bienvenu’s cookbook “Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, Can You Make A Roux,” for example, and Cajun artist Floyd’s Sonnier’s memoir, “From Small Bits of Charcoal.”
            Viola Fontenot describes growing up a sharecropper’s daughter in Acadia Parish. Brent Broussard recounts the harrowing experience of Hurricane Audrey. Frederick Lafleur takes readers “Froggin’ on a Friday night.”
            The charming book comes filled with photographs and Sonnier sketches.
            Camille Pavy Claibourne uses her heart-felt personal experiences as well as her professional know-how in “Purses & Shoes for Sale: The Joys and Challenges of Caring for Elderly Parents.”
Claibourne is president and CEO of Cabill, Inc. consulting company for leadership development, nursing management and caregiver education. She also holds a PhD in human and organization behavior, so her advice to top notch, including the invaluable resources, handy Q&As of end-of-life questions and down-to-earth advice in the back of the book. 
The title derives from a comment her mother made about her obituary. “Just make it simple,” she told the author. “Anna Mae Pavy — she died. Purses and shoes for sale.”
It’s this warmth and humor that makes the book shine.
  Acadian House has reissued one of Mary Alice Fontenot’s most beloved children’s books, “Tah-Tye: The Last ‘Possum in the Pouch.” Tah-Tye is rather shy, not wanting to leave his mother’s pouch. With her encouragement, he begins exploring the swamp world and finds it exciting, even when he must play dead to avoid a snake.
            Publisher Trent Angers has even tied Tah-Tye as the “Rally Possum” who brought the 2016 LSU baseball team such good luck. Because he overcame his shyness in the story, Angers believe he began attending LSU games.
“Legend has it that one night in May of 2016, when his team was losing a game, Tah-Tye ran out on the field and led the fans in a cheer,” Angers claims. “Then an amazing happened: The team began to rally, and they won the game. And that was the night when Tah-Tye became known as The Rally Possum.”  
The book’s illustrator is Scott R. Blazek, a freelance artist who has illustrated numerous children’s books, including several of Fontenot’s “Clovis Crawfish” series.

Harry Potter
The big book news this week is the release of the new Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, which goes on sale Sunday, July 31. Locally, Barnes & Noble Lafayette will offer a Countdown to Midnight Party beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. At the event, two customers who entered the store’s sweepstakes will be chosen at random, there will be a special Muggle Wall where customers can share their favorite memories of Harry Potter and the store will offer giveaways. Then, on Sunday, July 31, customers can return to Barnes & Noble to share their perspectives on the new book and participate in additional Harry Potter-themed events, with activities and giveaways. Based on an original new story by Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a new play by Thorne and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The new book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One & Two,” is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series.

Book events
The Historic New Orleans Collection will present three programs this summer in conjunction with its current exhibition “Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans.” The first event — a lecture and book signing with Pamela Tyler — will take place Wednesday at 533 Royal St. in New Orleans. The exhibition will open at 5:30 p.m., and the event will formally start at 6 p.m. An associate professor of history at University of Southern Mississippi, Tyler is the author of “New Orleans Women and the Poydras Home” (LSU Press, 2016), which presents the history of the 200-year-old institution from its founding as an orphanage for young girls to its present-day operation as a retirement community and assisted living facility. Her previous title, “Silk Stockings and Ballot Boxes: Women and Politics in New Orleans 1920–1963” (University of Georgia Press 1996), won the 1996 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History, an annual award for nonfiction presented by THNOC and the Louisiana Historical Association.
The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My 'Cajun Embassy' series now online everywhere

            I’m thrilled to announce that my new contemporary romance series, “The Cajun Embassy,” is now available through all online bookstores under my pen name of Cherie Claire. 
            The Cajun Embassy series follows three Columbia journalism coeds homesick for Louisiana who find comfort at school in a bowl of Cajun gumbo.
In each book — “Ticket to Paradise,” “Damn Yankees” and “Gone Pecan” — these dedicated friends make their way into the world and find that love — and a good gumbo — cures everything. Each book also has a gumbo recipe attached.
            To introduce readers to my series, "Ticket to Paradise," the first book in the series, may be downloaded FREE. You can learn more, view recipes and access online bookstore sites at

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Louisiana releases, book events this week

Ten years before Henry Wadsworth Longfellow publishes his epic poem, “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie,” he meets the Appleton family while touring Switzerland and begins the courtship of 19-year-old Fanny Appleton. There’s more than an age difference between the two; Longfellow is widowed and pursuing a career at Harvard College and Fanny comes from a family financially above Longfellow’s. The two share a love of literature, however, and become friends although Longfellow wishes for more. In time, however, the romance blossoms, making up “Forever and Forever: The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton” by Josi S. Kilpack.
When Ken Ilgunas worked as a camp dishwasher near the Arctic Circle, he decided to walk the length of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that crosses eight American states and two Canadian provinces, then write about it in “Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland.”
Music writer and cultural historian Roger Hahn outlines several Louisiana musicians along with the Louisiana Hayride and Preservation Hall in “The Sounds of Louisiana: Twenty Essential Music Makers,” illustrated by Chris Osborne. There’s jazz great Louis Armstrong, songwriter and musician Allen Toussaint, the king of zydeco Clifton Chenier and newcomer Hunter Hayes. Contemporaries Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys represent Cajun and Jerry Lee Lewis spotlights rock ’n’ roll.
H.R. Sanderson of Calhoun, a retired teacher from the Ouachita Parish School System, has published several books in her career: a science fiction book for middle school readers titled “Riddles of Nifiter” and “Oh Those Chinaberries,” released by Lighthouse Christian Publishers last year. Her latest book is the novel “Habakkuk’s Triumph,” set in north Louisiana and published by Tate Publishing.
Bill Loehfelm’s “Let the Devil Out,” is the fourth book in his Maureen Coughlin mystery series. The New York Times says of Maureen, “She finds herself wrestling with ethical issues that fictional cops, especially fictional female ones, rarely talk about, leaving that stuff to real-life cops — and smart guys like Bill Loehfelm.” The author will be signing copies of the book from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Octovia Books in New Orleans.
Nguyen Van Chanh of South Louisiana has published his experiences on discovering a full life, one of peace, inner freedom and joy in “Embracing Salvation: Actualizing Inner Peace, Joy and Freedom to Have a More Abundant Life.”
Daniel H. Usner, the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, has published “Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South,” published by the University of Georgia Press.

Book events
Richard Sexton, author of “Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere,” published by the Historic New Orleans Collection, will offer a slide lecture Friday at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. The event will be moderated by the exhibition’s curator John H. Lawrence, who also serves as director of museum programs at The Historic New Orleans Collection, and will feature panelists Dr. Lena Suk from the ULL Department of History and Dr. Jay D. Edwards, professor emeritus of anthropology at LSU. The museum's galleries will remain open throughout the event. The free event begins at 5 p.m. with a welcome reception with light refreshments provided by Café Habana City, followed by a 6 p.m. panel discussion and book signing.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Stephen King to highlight National Book Festival

Stephen King will open the Main Stage of the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival with a presentation and recognition by the Library of his lifelong work promoting literacy. Tickets will be required for the King presentation but they are free and will be issued electronically beginning Sept. 14 at the Library of Congress website at for more details.  
The National Book Festival will be held Sept. 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Tickets are not required for other presentations or activities at the festival.
The King presentation will be from 11 a.m. to noon on the festival’s Main Stage, which will be located on the third floor. There will not be a book signing.
“Due to Stephen King’s popularity, we anticipate the volume of interest will exceed seating capacity,” said festival co-director Guy Lamolinara. “A ticketed process will make for the most orderly and fair opportunity for Mr. King’s fans to see this presentation.”
Seating will be first-come, first-served. Ticket holders must be seated by 10:30 a.m. Holding a ticket does not guarantee entry.
There is a limit of two tickets per person. Accessibility accommodations should be made no later than Sept. 19 by calling 202-707-6362 or ASL services are offered at all book festival presentations.
Other authors slated to appear on the Main Stage are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (12:30-1:30 p.m.), Shonda Rhimes (2-3 p.m.), Bob Woodward (4-5 p.m.), Raina Telgemeier (5:30-6:30 p.m.) and Salman Rushdie (7-8 p.m.). Tickets are not required for these presentations. 
Activities on the exhibition floor, including book sales, begin at 9 a.m. and other festival stages will begin presentations at 10 a.m.  A complete schedule will be available
            For more information on National Book Festival authors and schedule, visit

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. She is also the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun 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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Travel down John Hart's 'Redemption Road'

           John Hart’s “Redemption Road” rolls through the Southern countryside, twisting and turning into secrets, betrayal, violence and despair. It’s a road worth traveling, a non-stop voyage that will have your fingers white upon the steering wheel until the very end.
            Someone’s abducting women in this his latest thriller, and we get a glimpse of the murderer’s point of view as the book begins. Thirteen years prior a woman named Julia Strange was found murdered in an abandoned church and local cop Adrian Wall took the rap. His colleague, Elizabeth “Liz” Black, knew in her gut that Adrian was innocent but her efforts to find proof failed.
            As Adrian is released from prison 13 years later, a tortured and broken man, Julia’s son is set on revenge and confronts him in a bar. Meanwhile, Liz has charges of her own after brutally killing two men in a current abduction case. And then another woman’s body is found on the church altar, in the same pose as Julia Strange.
            The storylines weave in and out, constantly providing new insight into all of the cases, the author showing us a host of suspects as Liz works feverously to clear Adrian’s name once again and keep herself out of jail. Time is of the essence, as well, as forces come down on them both, so readers really do feel as if they are speeding down a road to redemption.
            Best-selling author David Baldacci said that, “John Hart can flat-out write…read this novel. And then go back and read all of his others. He’s that good.”
            He is that good and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

Louisiana Writers Retreat
Want to get away for a long weekend to write and think? Join Shift Key’s Jan Risher for the Louisiana Writers Retreat July 28-31 at Lake Cotile in Boyce. The retreat will feature unstructured writing time, facilitated writing workshops and nightly readings at two lake houses and will include accommodations and meals. The retreat also includes sending up to eight pages to an outside editor for feedback/edits and one-on-one sessions. The cost to attend is $435; email Risher at for more information.

Book awards
Two Baton Rouge authors — M.O. Walsh and Greg Isles — won the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Winners are: The Great Santini Fiction Prize: “My Sunshine Away” by Walsh; The Prince of Tides Literary Prize: “Above the Waterfall” by Ron Rash; The Beach Music Mystery Prize: “Bull Mountain” by Brian Panowich; The Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize: “The Bone Tree” by Greg Isles; The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize: “Soul Food Love” by Alice Randall; The Death of Santini Nonfiction Prize: “Dispatches from Pluto” by Richard Grant; The Water Is Wide History & Life Stories Prize: “Jacksonland” by Steve Inskeep; Poppy’s Pants Young Adult Prize: “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold and Poppy’s Pants Youngster’s Prize Winner: “Serafina and the Black Cloak” by Robert Beatty. You can read some of these books reviewed at my blog,

Faulkner Society
Two authors will discuss and sign their books from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at the Faulkner House, 624 Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter of New Orleans. John Gregory Brown, a native of the city, will discuss his recent novel, “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” and Richard Grant will discuss his new memoir, “Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta.” The event is free and open to the public; RSVP to

Book events
Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, a month-long celebration of pop culture with special events, will run through Aug. 7 at the Lafayette store. At 7 p.m. Friday the store hosts a Star Wars night with trivia, bingo, giveaways and more. Pokemon takes over beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday as the store celebrates 20 years of Pokemon with games and photos.
Paula Hutchinson will sign her books from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Between the Lines Bookstore in Baton Rouge.
            On Saturday, Barnes & Noble will launch new tokidoki back-to-school and stationery product lines, which will be sold exclusively at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. To celebrate its arrival, Barnes & Noble Lafayette will be giving away free limited edition character trading cards and buttons Saturday, while supplies last. Also on Saturday at the store, Manga artist Camilla d’Errico arrives at 7 p.m. and there will be activities, cosplay and giveaways.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at