Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday ebook spotlight: Rochon's 'Chase Me'

USA Today Bestselling author Farrah Rochon’s “Chase Me,” book four in The Holmes Brothers series, came out last week and the New Orleans story is available to download for only $2.99

Here’s the book description:

What was she thinking?

The last thing Indina Holmes needs in her life is three days on the open seas with her loving but nosy family. But that’s exactly what she’s in store for her when her brother guilts her into joining the Holmes family reunion cruise. When she needs a cabin mate at the last minute, her only option is the co-worker she’s been sleeping with for the past year. Now, she just has to keep her family from trying to play matchmaker.

What was he thinking?

For the past eight months, Griffin Sims has pretended to be okay with the co-worker-with-benefits arrangement he’s had going with Indina, but he wants more than just her body. He wants a real relationship. Indina’s invitation to join her on a cruise is exactly the opportunity Griffin has been looking for to prove to the woman who has been sharing his bed that it’s time for her to share her heart. 

Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans and has won numerous awards for her books, including the Holmes Brothers, New York Sabers, Bayou Dreams and Moments in Maplesville series. She’s also a brat, because she’s seen “Hamilton” numerous times and we’re very, very jealous.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first two 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, January 29, 2017

LSU professor examines history of 'South Baton Rouge'

LSU associate professor of African and African American studies and sociology Lori Latrice Martin, along with the Rev. Raymond A. Jetson have co-authored a book that explores the history of an African American community in Baton Rouge. “South Baton Rouge” covers the time from antebellum America to the historic visit by Pres. Barack Obama and includes more than 100 images. The book contains information on political figures, churches, McKinley High School, the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott and McKinley High School, the first high school for African American in the parish, among so much more. The authors will discuss their book as part of the Lecture and Lunch series at the West Baton Rouge Museum at noon Thursday.  All proceeds from the book benefit McKinley High School Alumni Center of Baton Rouge.

Sisters in Crime
Attention women writers. Interested in penning a mystery? Sisters in Crime, a national organization that promotes the advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers, will hold its inaugural meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. This event is free and open to the public and registration is not required.

But don’t worry men. You can join too. The purpose of the initial meeting is to gather interest from local writers about the possibility of creating a new chapter of Sisters in Crime. Additional programs that feature speakers will occur at the following times and dates: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 4; 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3. Speakers for those meetings will be announced later and all meetings will occur at the East Bank Regional Library. Colleen Mooney, author of two cozies set in New Orleans, “Rescued by a Kiss” and “Dead and Breakfast,” is the organizer. For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, adult programming manager for the library, at (504) 889-8143 or email wcsmith@jplibrary.net.

Book news
Two faculty members in the School of Humanities in ULM's College of Arts, Education, and Sciences were awarded grants from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH). English instructor Vanelis Rivera was awarded the 2016 LEH Rebirth Grant for her project titled, “The Write to Word: ULM Storytelling Initiative.” The project strives to host creative writing workshops for women in local shelters. English instructor Lesli Rambin received a grant for her project “Byway Blues: A Guide to Northeast Louisiana’s Blues History.” The funds will be used to continue field research trips for production of the radio segment, “Byway Blues,” which airs on 90.3 KEDM, Public Radio.

UL-Lafayette history professor Dr. Thomas Cauvin was recently named the new director of the public history program at UL Lafayette and has published the first single-authored textbook in North America about public history and the new digital technology practices that are shaping the field. Cauvin’s book, “Public History: A Textbook of Practice,” is a compilation of resources needed to teach public history at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The American Library Association announced its 2017 youth media award winners and among them was Louisiana author/illustrator Mo Willems, who won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book for his “We Are Growing: A Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Book,” written by Laurie Keller. “Freedom in Congo Square,” a picture book set in New Orleans that’s illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford, took a Caldecott Honor Book award and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book award.

Looking to write a book? I’m offering my Writing the Mass Market Novel class from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for four Wednesday nights in February through UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Then on Feb. 11 I’ll teach an afternoon workshop titled “So You Want to Get Published” detailing the many opportunities available to writers these days. UL Continuing Education offers lots more leisure classes; visit keeplearning.louisiana.edu or call 482-6386.

New releases
Christine Word of Lafayette uses two angels to “reveal the truth about who we are and what we're doing in this life” in “Sparks of Light: A Teaching Story About the Circle of Life.” The children’s book is intended as a teaching story to help children of all ages deal with loss. Word was moved to write the book after watching her granddaughter experience sadness and wished to find a way through story to explain one of the greatest of mysteries, the Circle of life. Word is author of “Ghosts Along the Bayou.”

LSU professor Dana Berkowitz examines why Botox is so popular and how aging is feared in America with her new book, “Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America.” The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates there are about two-and-a-half million Botox procedures performed annually. Berkowitz will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Thursday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

Book events
“The Beatles: Band of the Sixties,” a 60-minute part-history, part-analysis multimedia presentation, will be from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. today at the South Regional Library of Lafayette. The program will be supplemented with audio clips of music and excerpts from interviews with the band members.

Loud in the Library: Poetry Slam begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ollie Burns Library in Richwood. To be a presenter, call Kattina at (318) 680-3291.

Lafayette Reads Together is a community-wide reading and learning experience where the community is encouraged to read the same book, this year being graphic novel “Ms. Marvel: No Normal” by G. Willow Wilson. The Lafayette Reads Together Fest, featuring Pakistani performer Mehnaz Hoosein, henna artists, Indian dance and more, will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Main Library in downtown Lafayette.

Dr. Thomas J. Durant, Jr., emeritus professor in the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology, will provide a detailed account of his personal journey from a racially segregated town in north Louisiana at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Carver-McDonald branch library of Monroe. Durant’s 36-year tenure at the predominately white university includes his participation in the racial desegregation movement and the cultural transformation of the university.

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. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday ebook spotlight: 'Trails in the Sand'

In 2010, author P.C. Zick worked public relations for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, handling the media for the sea turtle nest relocation project. That summer, the Deep Water Horizon blew.

“At the same time, I was exploring some issues from my family's past, which left me increasingly frustrated,” the authors writes in her Amazon bio. “Two weeks prior to the oil spill, 29 miners were killed in a coal mine explosion in West Virginia, just a few hours from where I was moving. It all fell into place to write about the oil spill, the coal mine disaster, and a family facing disaster.”

The result was her ebook “Trails in the Sand,” part of the Florida Fiction Series.

Here’s the book’s description:

Oil gushing from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico’s floor. Petroleum-covered wildlife gasping for air. Tar balls pushing into the grassy habitat of marine life. Beaches suffocating with the smell of fossil fuel instead of salt air.

All the while, sea turtles, in an ancient ritual, march from the sea, unaware of the dangers lurking for their precious cargo once hatched. The eggs laid—sometimes more than one hundred per nest—hatch in seventy days and begin their treacherous march to the sea if their natural predators don’t get to them first.

But in 2010, another more deadly predator—this one not natural—lurked in the waving underwater grasses where the hatchlings go to grow large enough to join the marine life in the larger bathtub of the sea.

This real-life drama serves as the backdrop to the fictional story of Caroline Carlisle, an environmental reporter covering BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill as wildlife officials race to save the threatened and endangered sea turtles of Florida’s Panhandle.

Caroline’s own life parallels the manmade disasters of April 2010 as her family is nearly destroyed by the secrets kept for generations.

The love story begins when Carline first laid eyes on Simon when she was nine years old. Unfortunately, he married her older sister, and thus set a southern family on a collision course with the past. After the death of her sister, which makes Simon a widow, the two finally marry and attempt to make a family. Simon’s daughter Jodi is less than welcoming to her new stepmother who also happens to be her aunt.

As Caroline reports on the oil spill threatening the sea turtle hatchlings, she begins a journey to uncover her own mother’s past, which includes the suicide of a sibling and a teenage pregnancy.

With her sharpened reporter skills, she digs until she brings all the secrets to light, and she can report that the sea turtle hatchlings are safe on the Atlantic beaches of Florida.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first two 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, January 22, 2017

Kemp explores Louisiana's 'Expressions of Place'

I’ve long studied expression of place through literature, both classical and contemporary works, and written about many of those books in this column. Louisiana exemplifies such scholarship, offering both diverse landscapes as well as a distinct cultural connection to the land. Art writer John Kemp collects 37 landscapes artists addressing the same theme — Louisiana’s sense of place — in a gorgeous new coffee table book, “Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape.” Artists highlighted in this University of Mississippi book hail from all corners of the Bayou State.

They were chosen, according to Kemp in the book’s preface, “on geography, subject matter, painting style, or accomplishment, and whether the urban or rural Louisiana was the primary focus of their work.” They range from professionals who are known nationally to those famous closer to home. George Rodrigue’s haunting oak trees are included, as are the dreamy rice fields of Elemore Morgan Jr. The vibrant brushstrokes of Mary Louise Porter pop off the pages, while Robert M. Seago Jr.’s landscapes offer a softer interplay of light and color. Shirley Rabé Masinter, Willie Birch and Alan Flattmann present New Orleans realism while Francis X. Pavy transforms Louisiana into “mystic zydeco expressionism.”

Each artist spotlight includes their story, residence, inspirations and art training, in addition to several examples of their work.

I savored this book, entranced by its images, especially those utilizing water, studying Rhea Jones Gary’s colorful wetlands, Adrian Deckbar’s ethereal reflections and Melissa Bonin’s calm New Iberia bayous. It was almost a spiritual experience.

Kemp is the former deputy director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and has written and contributed to more than a dozen books about Louisiana artists.

New releases
Christopher Hallowell has published “Beneficiaries of Deceit,” a novel which takes place in Massachusetts, Louisiana and the Peruvian jungle. Hallowell is also the author of the Louisiana books “People of the Bayou: Cajun Life in Lost America” and “Holding back the Sea: The Struggle of the Gulf Coast to Save America.”

Allen Cates of Lafayette spent almost eight years in Southeast Asia flying helicopters with the Marines and Air America. He relates these experiences in his novel, “Full Circle: An Odyssey About America’s Secret Air Force in Southeast Asia.” For more information on Cates’ novel and his nonfiction book, “Honor Denied,” visit www.allencatesbooks.com.

LSU Southern Review’s winter 2017 issue brings together a group of authors, including two National Book Award finalists, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and a former U.S. poet laureate. The winter issue of the literary review is available for purchase online at http://thesouthernreview.org and at select bookstores.

Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans will be Sept. 1-3 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. For information, visit www.writersforneworleans.com.

The Readers & Writers Symposium will be held Feb 18 at Hemingbough, outside St. Francisville. This year’s authors include Rheta Grimsley Johnson, nationally syndicated columnist and nonfiction author; Melissa Delbridge, author of the memoir “A Family Bible;” Deborah Johnson, who wrote two award-winning novels set in the Jim Crow South; and Peter Cooley, the present poet laureate of Louisiana. Tickets can be purchased through Brownpapertickets.com.

The Fourth Annual Walker Percy Weekend will be June 2-4 in St. Francisville. For more information, visit www.walkerpercyweekend.org.

Book events Jan. 22-28, 2017
Tim Gautreaux signs his latest book, “Signals: New and Selected Stories,” at 6 p.m. Monday at Octavia Books and at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop, both of New Orleans. He is the author of three novels and two earlier short story collections.

Frederick D. Jones J.D., writing coach and publishing strategist, presents “Write & Publish Your Book NOW!” from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Main Rapides Parish Library in Alexandria. He will discuss with participants writing, motivation and publishing a story, a kick-off to the library’s new writing group “Come Write In” which begins this month. Preregistration required; call (318) 445-2411, Ext 1020, or visit www.rpl.org. The class is free.

George F. Schneider, author of “Survivor: Memoirs of a WWII Vet,” shares his experiences fighting in the European Theater of World War II and answers questions from the audience following the talk from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Main Lafayette Library.

The Festival of Words hosts an evening of stories, poetry and an open mic beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chicory Coffee in Grand Coteau. The event will feature poet Michael Rather and Marie Marcel of Leonville, who has researched area families for more than 30 years. The oral history presentation will be videotaped and placed in the Cajun and Creole Archives at the Center for Louisiana Studies in the “Grand Coteau Voices” collection. For more information, call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email festivalwords@gmail.com.

Dr. Shane K. Bernard will present a program on his latest book titled “Teche: A History of Louisiana’s Most Famous Bayou” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Young-Sanders Center for the Study of the War Between the States in Louisiana in Franklin. The program is free and open to the public. For information email ysc1861@aol.com or call (337) 413-1861.

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. Her latest is "Carnival Confessions: A Mardi Gras Novella." Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.