Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday ebook spotlight: Sorrell's 'Shadow of Death'

Jean Sorrell of Lafayette, a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Ph.D. in English, creative writing, has published a new novel titled "Shadow of Death" that's only $3.99 to download as an ebook (but also available as a paperback). Sorrell was editor of Classical Magazine, an instructor of humanities and life writing at ULL and author of screenplays, articles and her debut novel "The Returning."

Here's the book description of "Shadow of Death:"

1940 Louisiana. The body of Sister Mary Gretchen is discovered hanging from the balcony in a deserted mansion next to the leper colony on the banks of the Mississippi River.

In New Orleans, her sister, Catherine Lyle, doesn’t want to retrieve the nun’s body. It’s not because she doesn’t love her older sister, but because she’s afraid to go outside her house. For almost 20 years Catherine has lived with a terrible secret, carried deep inside her subconscious, suppressed behind the safety of her portraits and her restoration of damaged works of art. But while the journey terrifies her, Catherine knows she has no other choice but to go.

As Catherine tries to put her fears aside, she finds compelling reasons to reject her sister’s death was suicide. From the hemp noose around her sister’s neck to the brutal murder of a leper patient, strange, unrelated clues are compiled: clues of Nazi infiltration of the colony and death threats to others. As Catherine gets closer to discovering the murderer, she finds herself marked for death. In the midst of the lush, exotic setting of a lonely leper colony on the banks of the Mississippi River, readers will find themselves transported to a time and a place that is no more.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Orleans author Sexton offers heart-breaking generational novel with 'A Kind of Freedom'

Three New Orleans generations make up Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s heart-wrenching novel, “A Kind of Freedom,” each suffering through desires, ambitions and brutal limitations.

Evelyn grows up in a middle-class Creole family during World War II, her father a doctor and a pillar among the African American community. She falls for Renard, a man of lesser upbringing but one who also desires to become a doctor. Evelyn must choose between her privileged upbringing and the man she loves, a man struggling to achieve success among gross discrimination in both the military and the city of his youth.

Evelyn and Renard give birth to two daughters, one who becomes a successful lawyer and Jackie, who marries a man destined to fall victim to drugs. Jackie’s son, T.C., grows up lured with the easy money of providing drugs to the community, and he enjoys growing his own special blend of pot. When his girlfriend gives birth to a son, he feels the pull of being someone his son will admire, despite the hand being dealt him as a man of color.

Sexton, who grew up in New Orleans but now lives in the Bay Area of California, tears at your heart with this multi-generational tale in which readers hope for the best for this family but know society’s limitations and empty promises will drag them down.

And yet, hope remains. Or maybe the possibility of hope.

“Maybe Malik would know him to be a warrior, someone who turned the odds on their head,” T.C. imagines when he sees his newborn son. “Maybe he would see him as just a good man, and, yeah, he’d made some mistakes, but he loved his family, he was there for his son.”

Publisher’s Weekly gave “A Kind of Freedom” a starred review, writing, “In this fine debut, each generation comes with new possibilities and deferred dreams blossoming with the hope that this time, finally, those dreams may come to fruition.”

Sexton studied creative writing at Dartmouth and law at UC Berkeley. She is a recipient of the Lombard fellowship in which she spent a year working for civil rights in the Dominican Republic. She will sign copies of “A Kind of Freedom” at 6 p.m. Saturday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

New releases
New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler of New Orleans has published “The Other Girl,” a new thriller about a ritualist murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her. Publisher’s Weekly calls the Louisiana-based story, “Explosive.”

Jean Sorrell of Lafayette, a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Ph.D. in English-creative writing, has published a new novel titled “Shadow of Death.” The thriller follows Catherine Lyle, who must journey to Louisiana to retrieve her sister’s body, found in a deserted mansion next to the leper colony on the Mississippi River. Lyle carries a suppressed secret but puts her fears aside for the journey. As she gets closer to discovering the murderer, however, she finds herself marked for death. Sorrell was editor of Classical Magazine, an instructor of humanities and life writing at ULL and author of screenplays, articles and the novel “The Returning.” For more information, visit http://jeansorrell.com/.

Available as new ebooks are Eden Butler’s “Fall” and Tina DeSalvo’s “Abby,” book three in the “Second Chance” series. Both authors live in South Louisiana.

Poet Laureate
Jack Bedell, professor of the Humanities at Southeastern Louisiana University, has been chosen to be the next Louisiana poet laureate. He is the author of seven books, including “Call and Response” (with Darrell Bourque, 2010), “Come Rain, Come Shine” (2006), “What Passes for Love” (2001) and “Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems” (2013).

Book events for Aug. 19-27
The Friends of the Terrebonne Parish Library will host its Inventory Reduction Book Sale from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Main Library in Houma. For more information, visit http://mytpl.org.

Geek’d Con, a comic con-style event that brings together stars of film, television, music, wrestling, video games, comics and more, concludes today at the Shreveport Convention Center. For event details, including a link to purchase tickets, visit www.GeekdCon.com.   
Marcus Descant, owner of The Urban Naturalist, will offer tips on fall gardening, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the East Regional Library in Lafayette. Participants will bring home an herb or vegetable plant to get their garden started.

Liah Penn, author of two mystery/fantasies; Colleen Mooney, author of a series of cozy mysteries; and Nancy Bourgeois, author of “Murder Behind the Mask,” will discuss and sign copies of their books at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. This event is free and open to the public. Penn is author of “Pure Death and Pure Justice,” Mooney author of “Rescued by a Kiss,” “Dead and Breakfast” and “Drive Thru Murder.”

Tony Goyette, a licensed hearing specialist, will discuss the importance of hearing health at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.


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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cookbook Thursday: Oman, Persia and India cookbooks

We're traveling through the Middle East today, then heading east to India with three cookbooks to spotlight. First, a disclaimer. Due to workload and family issues, I have been remiss in my Cookbook Thursday duties and have let quite a few gorgeous cookbooks sit on the shelves for far too long. The following are three examples. My apologies to the authors and publishers who graced me with these lovely books to review.

We start in Oman, where American food writer Felicia Campbell honors the Middle Eastern country's unique culinary styles in "The Food of Oman: Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia" (Andrews McMeel Publishing). It's a gorgeous cookbook featuring more than 100 recipes, 175 photographs and personal stories that offer insights into the residents of this country resting by the Indian Ocean. Campbell first visited the Middle East as a soldier, enlisting after Sept. 11, 2001. She fell in love with the region, later earning a master's in food studies specializing in Arab foodways. Campbell now lives in Muscat, where she is the executive features editor at the Times of Oman.


Another gorgeous cookbook combining interesting recipes with beautiful photography is "Indian For Everyone: The Home Cook's Guide to Traditional Favorites" (Agate) by Anupy Singla, best-selling author of "The Indian Slow Cooker" and "Vegan Indian Cooking." In this book Publisher's Weekly called "an impressive and useful addition to the canon," Singla offers a primer on Indian spices and herbs, explaining what ingredients belong in the Indian pantry. Her recipes range from the basic (spice blends, chutneys and drinks) to curries, street food and desserts, among much more. There's vegetable samosas, kabobs, chicken masala and other Indian favorites, plus a few dishes less ordinary. For anyone wanting to learn how to cook Indian, this cookbook is a must.


Nasreen Zereshki of Raleigh, N.C., learned Persian cooking from her grandmother and, since Americans are less knowledgeable about Persian cuisine than say, burritos and egg rolls, decided to publish a cookbook explaining one of the oldest cuisines in the world. The result is "Recipes from my Persian Kitchen" (Lulu), available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Lulu. There are more than 150 recipes in this cookbook and they run the gamut from braised chuck roast kebabs, frittatas and a walnut stew with pomegranate sauce.

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mississippi Book Festival this weekend in Jackson

Sexton
Yes, I know the title of this column is Louisiana Book News but our neighbor has some great things happening this week.

The Mississippi Book Festival: A Literary Lawn Party will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson. Some of the authors attending are: Ron Rash (“The Risen”), Mark Richard (“House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home”), Angie Thomas (“The Hate U Give”) and Michael Farris Smith (“Desperation Road”), to name a few.

Gautreaux
Louisiana authors attending include Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (“A Kind of Freedom”), Tim Gautreaux (“Signals, New and Selected Stories”), Ellen Gilchrist (“Things Like the Truth”), Kimberly Willis Holt (“Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel”) and Patricia Boyett, director of the Women’s Resource Center at Loyola University in New Orleans.

The festival will kick off with a presentation by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. For information, visit http://msbookfestival.com/. I’ll be reporting from the festival so follow along on Louisiana Book News social media and this blog.

The night before is the launch of “The Mississippi Encyclopedia” (University of Mississippi Press) with a special performance by Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Cathead Distillery in Jackson. It’s free, there’s alcohol, music and food trucks and a hot new book.

At the Mississippi Museum of Art, Chef Nick Wallace presents "'sipp Sourced - Eat Your Words" for lunch and dinner Thursday-Saturday at the Palette Cafe/Museum Kitchen. Wallace will presents themed pop up menu inspired by Mississippi literary luminaries, in partnership with the Mississippi Book Festival. (The Museum-Kitchen Chef's Table is open first-come, first-served during dinner at Museum After Hours. Inquire upon arrival.) Each month, Wallace creates a three-day pop up menu highlighting product from Mississippi purveyors. These menus are inspired by seasonal ingredients and rooted in Mississippi artistic and culinary stories and traditions. 

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: Butler's 'Fall'

Eden Butler’s latest contemporary romance, “Fall,” is now available for only 99 cents as a download.

Here’s the book description:


A secret smile.

A haunting kiss.

Life – Interrupted.

Keilen Rivers was the best Lily Campbell never had. He was the promise she didn’t let herself keep. After all, nothing in life seems meant to last, and love is no exception.

When Lily’s life takes an unexpected and tragic turn, she leaves behind both her island home and the boy she could have loved to protect the only family she has left.

But sometimes life takes without giving. Sometimes you cannot bend, only break. And when her career spirals out of her control, Lily can only watch as everything she worked for falls to ruin.

But some lies are hard to come back from. And some promises are made to be broken. Sometimes going home again is the only thing that can save you. But first you have to break. First you have to fall.

Butler is an editor and writer of several contemporary romance novels and lives in southeast Louisiana.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit www.cherieclaire.net.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Conundrum Books branching into publishing

The Conundrum, the latest independent bookstore to open in Louisiana, is now going into the publishing business. The St. Francisville bookstore has created Feliciana Publishing Partners which will publish its first book in early September, a collection of essays and articles written by New Orleanian Ronnie Virgets. The mission of the publishing venture by owner Missy Aleman Couhig is to publish books while becoming a partner to the author. For more information, visit http://www.conundrumbooks.com/.

New releases
Dixie Poché of Lafayette will launch her latest book, “Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding & Sweet Dough Pie” from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Buck & Johnny’s restaurant in Breaux Bridge. The book, published by The History Press, features the quirky stories behind 60 of Louisiana’s famous venues such as Café du Monde in New Orleans, Lea’s Pies in Lecompte, Victor’s Cafeteria in New Iberia and Poupart’s Bakery in Lafayette.

Two New Orleans natives dubbed “The New Orleans Grannies” have published a cookbook, published by the New Orleans School of Cooking. Harriet Robin and Anne Leonhard have written “Across the Table: Recipes & Stories from Two New Orleans Friends,” which is available through the school’s general store and its website at nosoc.com.

Sara Essex Bradley of New Orleans has been working as a professional photographer for years, being published in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun, Brides Magazine, among others. She won the New Orleans Press Club Award for Still Photography Feature in 2015. This year, she publishes “Dog Décor: Canines Living Large,” capturing homeowners’ dogs in New Orleans’ elegant and high-design environments.

Lee Roy Pitre spent years researching and documenting the Pitre family that traveled from Nova Scotia to France during le grand dérangement, or great Acadian exile, that began in 1755 by the British. He offers a book that discusses this history that eventually led the Pitres to Louisiana, including the origin of the Pitre name, in his new book, “Windows into Yesteryears: From Europeans to Acadians to Cajun Medieval Europe to Nova Scotia to France to Louisiana.” For more information or to purchase a copy, visit www.WindowsIntoYesteryears.com.

Geek’d Con
Geek’d Con, a comic con-style event that brings together stars of film, television, music, wrestling, video games, comics and more, returns Friday through Sunday, Aug. 18-20, to the Shreveport Convention Center. Celebrity guests scheduled to appear include: Lou Ferrigno, star of  “The Incredible Hulk;” Joey Fatone of *NSYNC and “Dancing With the Stars;” Billy West, voice actor known for “Ren and Stimpy” and “Futurama;” Kelly Hu, “X2: X-Men United;” Sam J. Jones, “Flash Gordon;” Matthew Wood, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith;” “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, professional wrestling Hall of Fame member; David Acord, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens;” Gil Gerard, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century;” Catherine Sutherland, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers;” Kellen Goff and Andy Field, voice actors from the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” video game franchise; Roland Paris, “Spider-Man” and “X-Men;” and John Lucas, artist known for “Deadpool.” Single-day admission to Geek’d Con ranges from $5 to $20, with adult weekend passes $30. Children ages five and under will be admitted free and discounted tickets are available for children ages six to 12. For event details, including a link to purchase tickets, visit www.GeekdCon.com.   

Book events the week of Aug. 13-20
Dawn Reno Langley discusses and signs her book, “The Mourning Parade” at 6 p.m. Monday at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.

Melissa Keaster, author of "Eleora," will lead a book discussion and signing at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Main Branch of the Ouachita Parish Library, 1800 Stubbs Ave. in Monroe.

Celebrate the king of rock ’n’ roll with a marathon of Elvis’ films Wednesday at the Main Lafayette Library: Noon, “Viva Las Vegas;” 2 p.m., “Speedway;” 4 p.m., “Jailhouse” and 6 p.m., “King Creole.”

Charles McLaughlin and Nick Carlisi, two local tea aficionados, will hold a discussion and complimentary tea tasting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. This event is free and open to the public. For information, visit www.jefferson.lib.la.us.

Leanne McBurney Trueheart, a psychiatrist and former mental health director at the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office, will discuss “Beyond Personality: Getting Psychiatry Right in Fiction,” at 1 p.m. Saturday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. Trueheart’s presentation is part of the monthly meeting of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes the advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers, though “misters in crime” are welcomed. This event is free and open to the public.

The Friends of the Terrebonne Parish Library will host its Inventory Reduction Book Sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19-20 at the Main Library in Houma. For more information, visit http://mytpl.org.

C.H. Lawler will be signing copies of his books from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Conundrum bookstore during Polo’s and Pearls event in St. Francisville. Lawler is the author of “The Saints of Lost Things,” “The Memory of Time” and “Living Among the Dead.” For more information, visit http://www.conundrumbooks.com.


Cheré Coen is the author of the “Viola Valentine” Louisiana paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.