Saturday, October 8, 2016

Longtime journalist Jim Bradshaw shares his years of stories with 'Cajuns and Other Characters'

            One of my finest memories working as features editor at The Advertiser years ago was listing to then columnist Jim Bradshaw explain how to pronounce his column, “C’est Vrai,” to our executive editor who hailed from Indiana.
            “Ray is drowning,” Bradshaw told her. “Save Ray!”
            If only all French expressions were that easy to explain.
            But it’s a prime example of Bradshaw’s creativity and humor, which he brings to his latest book, “Cajuns and Other Characters: True Stories from South Louisiana,” published by Pelican Publishing of New Orleans. The stories, that run the gamut from preachers to politicians, are gleaned from his “C’est Vrai” columns, and as you burrow further into the book you’ll realize, as I had in my newsroom days, that Bradshaw knows everything about everything!
            Bradshaw, by the way, worked in South Louisiana journalism for almost 50 years and won the Hal Boyle Award and the Prix de Louisiane, the latter given by the Council for Development of French in Louisiana for his writing about Cajun culture. 

New releases
Alison Pelegrin, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, has published a collection of poetry titled “Waterlines” that resonated with my Louisiana soul. Published by LSU Press, I particularly loved “Hurricane Saint,” feeling that humid summer air behind plywood-bound windows, and the haunting “Healing Waters of Abita Springs.” Pelegrin has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts.
            Lisa Graley, assistant professor of English and humanities at UL-Lafayette, has published a captivating collection of Southern short stories titled “The Current That Carries,” published by the University of Georgia Press. Graley is the winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the author of the book of poetry, “Box of Blue Horses.” Robert Olen Butler said, “ ‘The Current That Carries’ is profoundly in touch with the ways the world can reveal transcendent grace through the simplest things, the humblest things, even in the quotidian clutter of modern life and culture…Lisa Graley is truly an important new writer.”

Ready for the holidays? “Holiday Temptation,” a collection of three Christmas love stories by Farrah Rochon of South Louisiana, Donna Hill and K.M. Jackson is now available. Rochon is a USA Today best-selling author and she will be one of several authors talking about ebooks (“Holiday Temptation” is in both ebook and print formats) at the Louisiana Book Festival Oct. 29 in Baton Rouge along with Lori Leger, Nancy Duplechain, Julie Smith and yours truly.

Ebooks
            Speaking of ebooks…I was delighted to learn that best-selling authors Erica Spindler and Haley North of New Orleans (actually St. Tammany Parish) have published their backlists as ebooks, along with new titles. And Trish Leger, who lives in South Louisiana, has published a romantic novella titled “Her Southern Temptation,” part of the Legacy Falls Romance Project. 

Writing contests
Students in grades 3-12 from across Acadiana are invited to participate in a writing contest sponsored by the Acadiana Writing Project and the Festival of Words. Students can enter original writing pieces into three writing categories of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Writings should be submitted through a supervising teacher or school facilitator by sending them to kayla_menard@saintmartinschools.org. Parental permission must be granted by filling out the student writing contest entry form.  Awards will be given for first, second and third place winners. Contest winners will also receive an anthology of winning entries.
Final deadline for online submissions is Oct. 21.
The annual Festival of Words literary event will be Saturday, Nov. 5, in Grand Coteau. All entrants are invited to attend the festival and contest winners will be invited to read their original writing pieces on the festival’s Community Stage. For more information, visit www.festivalofwords.org.
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. Word length is 2500–7500 words. Deadline is Nov. 1. Entry fee is $20 with all proceeds going toward SOLA’s programming and events. Stories will be selected by a panel of judges with an eye for quality writing and a variety of writing styles and genres. For more information, visit www.solawriters.org.
The On the Wall – First Page Contest is open to anyone who registers for the November Bridge to Publication Conference hosted by the Bayou Writers Group of Lake Charles. Only the first 20 entries who have both registered and properly formatted their submissions will be accepted. For the entry, each author should submit his/her best first page of a novel, short story, etc., as a typed, double-spaced page using 12-pt Times New Roman font. It should consist of no more than 250 words. The entry which receives the most votes at the conference wins, and its author will receive free admission to the 2017 conference as well as other prizes. 
The deadline of submissions is Nov. 1 and there is no entry fee. Send all entries to chalkiewoolwich@yahoo.com. For more information on the conference and contest, Visit http://bayouwritersgroup.com/on-the-wall-contest-2016/.



Book events
Claire Manes discusses her book, “Out of the Shadow of Leprosy: The Carville Letters and Stories of the Landry Family” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Alexandre Mouton House/Lafayette Museum in downtown Lafayette. For information, call (337) 234-2208.
Barry Ancelet and artist Denise Gallagher will dicuss their book, Jean-le-Chasseur et ses Chiens, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Downtown Lafayette Public Library. The event is part of the CLS-sponsored Bayou State Book Talks series.
Bessie Senette will read and sign copies of her new book, “Cutting the Clouds: a Bayou Mystic’s Poems, Musings, and Imaginings,” at 4 p.m. Saturday at Artique in Breaux Bridge.
Reading between the Wines, a readers' social that involves wine, will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Conundrum Bookstore in St. Francisville.
            Diana Emmons and Judd Matt will read as part of the Thursday Night Reading presented by the UL-Lafayette English Department, EGSA and Sigma Tau Delta at 7 p.m. Thursday at Poets, 1043 Johnston St. in 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 cherecoen@gmail.com.