And with this week comes my favorite holiday — Carnival. On Friday, the Christmas celebration ceases with Twelfth Night, or the Epiphany, when the Wise Men visited the baby Jesus.
It’s also the first day of Carnival. On Friday, you can buy a king cake and feel absolutely no guilt in doing so — while the rest of the country is in diet mode. Just remember, whoever gets the baby must buy the next one!
It all concludes on Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Lent but I doubt I need to explain that holiday.If you’re ready to get in the spirit, I’ve published a novella (under my pen name of Cherie Claire) titled “Carnival Confessions” that’s now available in ebook version at all online bookstores. Cajun attorney Cameron Reed needs to warn his coworker, socialite Stephanie Bertrand, of her finance's betrayal. The two work together in a high-brow New Orleans law firm. But Cameron can only get into the Mardi Gras ball she’s attending by wearing a mask. Concealed, what Cameron discovers there will turn his world upside down.
But that’s not all. Here’s a few other Carnival books to enjoy:
“Behind the Mask” by Louisiana author Linda Joyce follows former model Chalise Boudreau, who returns to Louisiana after 10 years and is forced to live with her mother. She plans to open a luxury salon, but fears the community will see her homecoming as a failing. In the meantime, entrepreneur Chaz Riboucheaux has ideas to make Ascension a tourist destination. Years ago, he stood Chalise up and left her brokenhearted and now the two come face to face at a Twelfth Night party.It’s murder at the Mardi Gras in A.C. Mason’s “Mardi Gras Gris Gris,” in which one of the town’s wealthiest citizens, Teddy Berthelot, is stabbed to death as the parade is ending. There’s a gris-gris bag containing tarot cards and several other fetish items left dangling from the knife in his chest. The murder reopens old wounds inflicted when main character Susan Forest discovered her sister-in-law’s body 15 years prior.
Other novels include: “Fat Tuesday” by Sandra Brown, “Cake on a Hot Tin Roof” (A Piece of Cake Mystery Book 2) by Jacklyn Brady and “New Orleans Mourning” (Skip Langdon Book 1) by Julie Smith.
Another landmark date is Jan. 8, the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. Laura Lyons McLemore, the LSU-Shreveport William B. Wiener Jr. Professor of Archives and Historic Preservation, has edited and explained myths over facts in “The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory.” McLemore is also the author of “Inventing Texas: Early Historians of the Lone Star State.”
If you’re like most writers, one of your resolutions will be to finish that story! The 10th annual Writers and Readers Symposium will be 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb 18 at Heminbough in St. Francisville, along with a Writers Retreat Feb. 18 and 19. Featured authors include:
Rheta Grimsley Johnson, award-winning nationally syndicated columnist and author of “Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana” and the more recent “The Dogs Buried Over The Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years;”
Deborah Johnson, award-winning novelist;
Peter Cooley, Louisiana’s current poet laureate; and
Melissa Delbridge, award-winning memorist.
The symposium costs $55, $65 at the door, and includes lunch. The retreat with Johnson, which includes a wine and cheese reception Feb. 18 and an all-day workshop on Feb. 19, costs $275. Rooms at a reduced rate are available at Heminbough. For more information, visit www.literatureandart.org.
Dixie Poche will be promoting her book “Classic Eateries of Cajun Country” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. The book features the stories of 40 of French Louisiana’s old-time grocery stores and restaurants as well as the history of boucheries and Mardi Gras.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.