Louisiana Book News by Cheré Dastugue Coen

Published Sundays in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette and Monroe News Star of Monroe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Louisiana novel on Crook's Corner longlist

            The longlist for the Crook's Corner Book Prize was announced recently, a curated list of the best debut novels set in the American South published between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. The books were selected from entries submitted by major publishers, independent publishers and self-publishers. The winner will be announced in January 2015, with novelist Lee Smith the judge for the third annual prize.
            The list includes “Queen Sugar,: by Natalie Baszile; “Byrd,” by Kim Church; “The Resurrectionist,” by Matthew Guinn; “Flying Shoes,” by Lisa Howorth; “Remember Me Like This,” by Bret Anthony Johnston; “I Shall Be Near To You,” by Erin Lindsay McCabe; “Heart of Palm,” by Laura Lee Smith; “In the Garden of Stone,” by Susan Tekulve; “Saint Monkey,” by Jacinda Townsend; “The Ways of the Dead,” by Neely Tucker and “Mother of Rain,” by Karen Spears Zacharias.
            Baszille will be a featured speaker at the Louisiana Book Festival Nov. 1 in Baton Rouge.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Her next book is “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

UL-Lafayette professor Michael Martin examines the life of Sen. Russell Long in new book

            University of Louisiana at Lafayette history professor Michael Martin examines the life and career of former U.S. Senator Russell Long in the biography, “Russell Long: A Life in Politics,” published by the University of Mississippi Press.
            The book follows Long, the eldest son of former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, from his youth growing up in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans to his election to Congress as part of the “Class of ’48,” a group that included Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. Long served in the Senate for three decades, rising to chairman of the Finance Committee and democratic majority whip.
            Martin is the Cheryl Courrégé Burguières/Board of Regents professor of history at UL and director of the Center for Louisiana Studies. He is also managing editor for Louisiana History.
            He will speak on “Long: A Life in Politics” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Jeanerette Museum, 500 E. Main St. in Jeanerette. Martin will discuss the Long family and how they have affected Louisiana politics and will autograph books following the program. For more information, call (337) 276-4408.

At Congrès
            Warren A. Perrin, Mary Broussard Perrin and Phil Comeau will release their new book on Acadian history on Monday in the Louisiana Pavilion at the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014 in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. “Acadie Then and Now: A People’s History” and the French version “L’Acadie Hier et Aujourd’Hui: L’Histoire d’Un Peuple” is “an international collection of articles from 50 authors which chronicle the historical and contemporary realities of the Acadian and Cajun people worldwide,” according to Warren Perrin. The collection includes 65 articles on the Acadians and Cajuns living today in Louisiana, Texas, and Maine; in the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec; and in the French regions of Poitou, Belle-Ile-en-Mer, and St-Pierre et Miquelon. Congrès Mondial Acadien is a worldwide Acadian event reuniting Acadians separated by the British expulsion from Nova Scotia beginning in 1755. The event is being held in the northern section of Maine where Acadians settled, plus parts of the New Brunswick and Quebec provinces of Canada.
            The Louisiana book launch will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 28 at Vermilionville in Lafayette, so check back to this column for more details.
            Brenda Trahan of Lafayette is also attending Congrès and will be hosting book events with Barry Ancelet, Zachary Richard, Richard Holledge, Amanda LaFleur, John Francois, Earlene Broussard, Kirby Jambon and other authors of Louisiana. The book events are sponsored by Louisiane-Acadie, Inc. and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. And John “Pudd” Sharp, the Center for Louisiana Studies assistant director for research, will screen his documentary, “Water on Road,” during Congrès festivities.

Tennessee Williams special
If you’re planning to attend the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival March 25-29, 2015, in New Orleans, here’s your chance to save money. A regular VIP all-access pass costs $500 but the organization is offering it for $400 if you purchase one now. The pass admits participants to every event, which includes almost 60 literary panel discussions, food and music events and theater performances. For information, visit http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/.

Book news
            Mary Gehman, creator of Margaret Media Inc. publishing out of Donaldsonville, has sold the publishing house to a group of New Orleans writers. According to Gehman, the new owners will continue with the 21 books Margaret Media has published over the past seven years and Gehman will return to writing her own.
            Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have acquired the rights to all 10 books in Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” series, including the upcoming “Prince Lestat.” The books feature Lestat de Lioncourt, an 18th century French aristocrat who becomes a vampire.

Fall sale announced
            The Friends of the Lafayette Public Library fall book sale will be Sept. 10-13 at the Heymann Convention Center Ballroom, with wonderful deals on books. Friends of the Library members may attend the first night of the sale (for Friends only) on Sept. 10. Membership is a deal — $5 a year — and you can join the night of the sale. For more information, visit http://friendsofthelafayettelibrary.org/. Since its inception, the Friends have donated $669,626.16 to the library system, according to their web site.

Book events
            LSU forensic anthropologist Mary Manhein, author of “Floating Souls: The Canal Murders” and “Bone Remains,” has been spending part of her summer addressing northern Louisiana public libraries on the human stories behind the skeletal remains of some cases she has studied. She will be a featured speaker at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug 21, at the Vidalia Convention Center, 112 Front St. in Vidalia. The event is free and open to the public.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Her next book is “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lippman's latest a tangle web

             Multi-published author Laura Lippman, who often spends time in New Orleans, releases “After I’m Gone” this week featuring Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash.
            Brewer is investigating the murder of Julie, the mistress of Felix Brewer who disappeared 10 years before to avoid serving a 15-year prison sentence for mail fraud. Brewer had left behind five devastated women: his sophisticated wife, Bambi, their three lovely daughters, and Julie. Brewer discovers a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing, stretching over five decades with the enigmatic man at its center.
            Lippman was awarded the first Pinckley Prize for a Distinguished Body of Work at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival in March. She is the author of 19 crime novels, many featuring her signature character, Baltimore detective Tess Monaghan.
            The Washington Post called “After I’m Gone,” “surprising and satisfying. [...] Like everything else Lippman has written, ‘After I’m Gone’ transcends the limits of genre.”

New releases
            Edward F. Haas of Ohio, a professor of history at Wright State University who’s written numerous books on Louisiana and New Orleans, has just published “Mayor Victor H. Schiro: New Orleans in Transition, 1961-1970,” published by the University of Mississippi Press.
            Another book by the University of Mississippi Press is “Creating Jazz Counterpoint: New Orleans, Barbershop Harmony and the Blues” by Vic Hobson, a trustee for the National Jazz Archive and a 2009 Woest Fellowship winner of the Historic New Orleans Collection.
             Shannon Selin of British Columbia, Canada, got the idea for her novel “Napoleon in America” while dining at the Napoleon House in New Orleans. She thought, “What if Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped from St. Helena and wound up in the United States?” The book takes place in 1821 as French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is rescued from imprisonment by Louisiana pirateer Jean Laffite, ending up in New Orleans where he struggles to regain his health aided by voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. Here, many wish for him to reconquer France or take Canada away from the British, some to conquer Texas from Mexico. How Napoleon lives out his life in American exile makes up the book’s story. For more information, visit the author’s web site at http://shannonselin.com.
            Kathryn and James Elliott, therapists at Anthetic Psychology Center of Lafayette, have written a self-help romance titled “Hearts Entwined: The Love Letters of Therapist-Soulmates.” The book consists of 130 love letters written during their courtship 25 years ago. Hearts Entwined is available at Anthetic Psychology Center, 3110 W. Pinhook Rd. Suite 101 Lafayette, 70508, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
            Retired Sunset teacher and counselor Renee Hilton-Taylor has compiled a collection of poems titled “Our Everywhere God! Waking Up to God’s Almighty Presence through Poetry,” published by Inspiring Voices, a service of Guideposts magazine. Hilton-Taylor leads individual and conference retreats at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau.

Book events
            The UL-Lafayette Center for Louisiana Studies’s new series, Bayou State Books Talks, continues at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the South Regional Library with Marty Mulé speaking about his book, “Game Changers: The Rousing Legacy of Louisiana Sports.”
            George Gunter will sign his book “Cast of Characters” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Maple Street Book Shop in New Orleans.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Her next book is “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Domingue continues fantastical literary series

            Ronlyn Domingue of Lafayette created a stir with her 2005 debut novel, “The Mercy of Thin Air,” then followed that success with “The Mapmaker’s War,” uniquely narrated by a woman in second-person, a mapmaker living in an ancient but fantastical kingdom who inadvertently starts a war. 
            Her latest, “The Chronicle of Secret Riven: An Account of What Preceded the Plague of Silences,” is the second book in the “Keeper of Tales Trilogy,” and continues where the first left off, although a thousand years after the Mapmaker’s War. A city has been built in the land of the Guardians, once a non-violent people who guarded a mythic treasure, one discovered by the female mapmaker. In the second book, life and business continue much like our modern world, where prestige and position predominate.
            The book revolves around Secret Riven, a young girl who doesn’t speak until her seventh year, but who can communicate with animals and plants and relates better with the natural world. Like her cold but genius mother Zavat, an expert in ancient manuscript interpretation, Riven experiences unsettling dreams and visions. She takes solace from two friends and mentors, Prince Nikolas, the heir to the throne, and Old Woman, who Secret discovers in a stretch of wood shown to her by a squirrel.
            One day an arcane manuscript arrives for her mother to translate, and not long after her mother dies and the manuscript disappears. By the time Secret reaches adulthood, just past adolescence, she is called upon to find the manuscript and face a destiny as strange as her upbringing.
            Domingue leaves us hanging with “Secret Riven,” offering teases of what’s yet to come and hopeful answers to how the history of this fantastical world fits together. There’s talk of a “plague of silences.” We wonder how the mythology of the first book will come to play. And will Secret discover what’s true about herself?
            Originally, the plan was for two books in the series but it developed into a trilogy, which is good news for readers, offering us more time in Domingue’s world.            
            For more information on the books, visit www.ronlyndomingue.com.                       

New releases
            Donna McGee Onebane of Lafayette has just published “The House That Sugarcane Built: The Louisiana Burguières,” which tells the saga of Jules M. Burguières Sr. and five generations of Louisianans who, after the Civil War, established a sugar empire that has survived into the present. Onebane is a folklorist and English professor at UL-Lafayette.
            Joel Dinerstein, a Tulane professor, and Frank H. Goodyear III have researched what is cool in America, including an examination through photos and film, in “American Cool.” The book looks at the evolution of “cool” from the 1930s until today, and complements an exhibit currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
            Zachary Lazar of New Orleans has published “I Pity The Poor Immigrant,” a novel that reads like a memoir about a Jewish-American gangster.
            Christopher Everette Cenac with Claire Domangue Joller of Houma have published a documentation of southeast Louisiana brands in “Livestock Brands and Marks: An Unexpected Bayou Country History, 1822-1946, Pioneer Families, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.” Cenac is the Terrebonne Parish coroner and Joller is a journalist.
            Kathryn and James Elliott, therapists at Anthetic Psychology Center of Lafayette, have written a self-help romance titled “Hearts Entwined: The Love Letters of Therapist-Soulmates.” The book consists of 130 love letters written during their courtship 25 years ago.
            I recently enjoyed the first U.S. edition of “The Silver Donkey” by Sonya Hartnett, a middle grade novel first published in 2004 and winner of the 2008 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The story concerns two young French girls who find an injured soldier in their woods. At first, the girls keep the soldier’s appearance a secret, bringing him food while enjoying his stories and a tiny silver donkey he holds as a good luck charm. But the soldier needs to return home to an ailing brother and the girls enlist the help of their brother and a friend.
            “The Silver Donkey” brilliantly captures the conversations of children and their innocent views on the world, as well as the unrealistic romantic lure of war. As the children’s visit the soldier, we learn of his abandonment from the trenches of World War I and the horrors he has seen through both his eyes clouded from warfare and through the stories he tells relating to the brave and steadfast donkeys. 

Writing events
            This Saturday is the Berries, Bridges and Books writing conference in Hammond with keynote speaker Erica Spindler. Registration is $35 and includes lunch. For a complete program, visit http://www.creativemindswriters.com/.
            The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective is offering a unique fundraiser, a literary “Word Crawl” at Sept. 13’s ArtWalk, to help support its seventh annual Festival of Words in November. Participants may read their work during the all-day, all-night “Crawl” with support from sponsors. It’s a great way to read your work in fun places during a fun event and support a festival promoting literacy and the written/spoken word in Acadiana. For more information, visit festivalofwords.org or call Clare Martin at 962-5886.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Her next book is “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cover of 'Forest Hill, Louisiana' released

     I’m so pleased to announce that the cover of my latest book, “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” has just been released, to be published by The History Press. The book detailing the history of this small town in central Louisiana that owns a unique history and is home to 200-plus plant nurseries will be available this fall. 
     I will be appearing at several book events, including the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 2, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For a complete list of my book signing and appearances, click here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New books look at fascinating New Orleans history

            Tulane geographer and multi-published author Richard Campanella offers a comprehensive history of both Bourbon Street and the city that birthed the notorious avenue in “Bourbon Street: A History,” published by LSU Press. The book follows the one-mile boulevard from the inception of New Orleans until today, relating its history through colonial times, the Louisiana Purchase, Prohibition and Hurricane Katrina.
            Campanella is the author of “Bienville’s Dilemma” and “Geographies of New Orleans” and many other books on New Orleans. He is the two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award, the winner of the Williams Prize for Louisiana History and the Monroe Fellowship from Tulane’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South.
            Writer and photographer Sally Asher, who is currently pursuing her master’s in history at Tulane, explains the history behind New Orleans street names in “Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names,” published by The History Press. Asher separates the book into subjects, such as explorers, European royalty, military heroes, pirates and “Whimsical Reality,” all of which can be found on New Orleans street signs. It’s a fun book with detailed information carefully footnoted and accented by fun photographs. Like every corner of the city itself, the street names of New Orleans have fascinating histories.

Poetry reading
            Dr. Keith Dorwick, a professor of English at UL-Lafayette, is conducting a Recovery Academy poetry workshop led by Clare Martin for the Outreach Center for Women and Children. The workshop is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Center and the Plastic Theater of Lafayette (Dorwick’s theater) since 2010. This year’s Recovery Academy culminates with a poetry reading at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, at Theatre 810, hosted by Martin. Chapbooks of the evening’s poems will be handed out. 

Writing guilds
            The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Barnes & Noble. The guest speaker will be Lafayette native Loren Bellow, age 11, who is the author of two books. 
            On Oct. 18, the Guild will host a writing workshop with Philip Levin, author and president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, at J & R Educational Supplies on Johnson Street in Lafayette. The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break. Registration is $20 for members, $25 for non-members.  For information on WGA, visit www.writersguildacadiana.org.
            The Mississippi Writers Guild will host a conference Aug. 1-2 in Ocean Springs, Miss., with speakers Sandra Beasley, Terry L. Kennedy, Melanie Dickerson and Jane Nickerson. The conference will offer four workshops, a panel discussion, booksigning and time for formal and informal critiques. For more information, visit http://www.mississippiwritersguild.com/2014-mississippi-writers-guild-conference.html

Book events
            George Gunter will sign “Cast of Characters” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at A Tisket A Tasket Gifts & Books, 910 Decatur St. in New Orleans.
            Tamara Kaye Severin signs “Pink Lemonade: A Jubilant Survivor’s Inspirational Story About Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Emerging Triumphant!” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at the Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

'Y'all Come Over' and try this new cookbook

            The cookbook separates a host of innovative Southern recipes not by standard calendar holidays but more of Southern celebrations, such as “A House Divided,” referring to families that favor different SEC football teams, or “Dinner with the Preacher,” dishes that will convince every minister that you’re “not only a faithful pilgrim but also a fine cook blessed with the gift of hospitality.”
            “Y’all Come Over” is filled with delightful anecdotes to accompany such delectable dishes such as fire and ice tomatoes, bacon cheddar deviled eggs, red velvet pancakes, Good Neighbor chicken fiesta soup, strawberry peanut brittle salad and deep-fried flounder with pimento cheese grits. There were so many different takes on standard Southern fare, I’m not sure where to start but I’m looking forward to sampling many recipes from this fun book, including the black bean corn salsa cups below.
            Caldwell has been a culinary professional for more than 50 years in a career that has included teaching, catering, cooking and writing. The mother of two and grandmother of two lives in Charlotte, Tenn., next to the water tower with her husband Bill where they enjoy entertaining anywhere from two to 22 people depending on the occasion. 
            Wilson is a writer with more than 25 years of editorial experience, including coauthoring “Cooking with Friends” and appearing on National Public Radio’s “This I Believe.”

Cornmeal Cups with Black Bean Corn Salsa
1/3 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon salt
Black Bean Corn Salsa (see below)
     Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl until light, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix well. Pour out onto plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls and press into miniature muffin tins. The pastry should come up to the rim. Lightly prick the bottoms once with a fork. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool and fill each cup with 1 tablespoon Black Bean Corn Salsa.

Black Bean Corn Salsa
1 cup whole kennel corn, cooked
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
     Directions: In a medium bowl mix the corn, black beans, onion and red pepper together. In a small bowl whisk together the canola oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and cilantro. Pour over the bean mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.