Tag Archives: louisiana

I Was Wondering When I’d Get this Question…

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m from Louisiana, I lived in NOLA for a while,  and I used to visit NOLA at least once a year. My best friend and I would go down every year for a long weekend of carousing, eating, and to catch a football game.

In No’ Chance, the first book in the Noah Chance Series, the ultimate battle takes place in New Orleans, one of my top three cities in the world. In that battle, one of the “bad guys” is wearing an Atlanta Falcons helmet.

I was recently asked if I chose the Atlanta Falcons at random, because they’re in the same division as the Saints or if there is another reason.

This is one of the few easy questions my readers ask and the answer is, I have been a New Orleans Saints fans for as long as there has been a New Orleans Saints Team. I remember watching parts of games in their first year of playing and then I’ve watched every year since then, even in the paper bag years.

I made one of the bad guys an Atlanta Falcons fan because you can’t be a Saints fan and not dislike the Falcons.  It’s nothing against the city of Atlanta, the Falcons could move somewhere else and I’d still root against them. I don’t shop at Home Depot since learning the owner, Arthur Blanks, also owns Home Depot.  I never liked Deion Sanders and while I can tolerate Julio Jones, I have no doubt his performance would increase if he was with another team.

So, yes, the bad guy was an Atlanta Falcons fan simply because they should never be permitted with the city limits of New Orleans.

I remember on one trip to NOLA where we met up with a contingent of Carolina Panthers fans and had a good time at the game and then afterward.  Of course, that was in the days before Cam Newton but still, overall, the Panthers fans are alright.

So to Falcons fans, I appreciate you buying my books and that shows excellent taste on your part and if you ever want to be a Saints fan you’re welcome to join the ranks.

And now, for the best commercial ever on the Saints-Falcons rivalry:


Oh yes and 28-3!

 

2018 Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival

2018 Natchitoches – NSU Folk Festival

I’ll be back at the Natchitoches NSU (Northwestern State University) Folk Festival on July 21, 2018. As I’ve told my readers before this is my absolute favorite appearance I make as an author. Not only is it in my hometown of Natchitoches, La., but it is held at my alma mater and Dr. Shane Rasmussen and his crew at the Folk Center do a tremendous job of putting together a great festival (click here for information on what types of crafts will be covered) with phenomenal Louisiana food from Natchitoches Meat Pies to a big bowl of cooked greens served with cornbread or hush puppies, or even the “Indian Fry Bread” which I believe is prepared by the Alabama Coushatta Tribe. I recommend stopping by one of the booths which sell handcrafted Jellies and buying a jar so you can smear some of that on top of the fry bread.

I have been invited and will be doing a presentation from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. on Family & Folk History: The Best Sources for Stories, in one of the meeting rooms. Of course, there will be bands playing on different stages all day long as well as participants in the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship.

Interestingly, I got my start doing historical research at the Cammie G. Henry Collection in what was then called the Louisiana Room at the Eugene P. Watson Library on the NSU campus. That collection will have a booth at the festival hosted by Dr. Mary Linn Wernet and her staff from the library and she always has interesting things to talk about and photos of Natchitoches that even I’ve never seen before.

I’ll have copies of all of my books available for signing and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Folk Festival and the Folk Center to help keep Louisiana culture and history alive. I should have my first children / middle-grade book available and launched at the festival. The title of this one? “The Magic Toilet”. Yes, it’s not like my normal books but it is a title and topic I’ve had on my mind since my now 25-year-old twins were just little kids.

Seriously, this festival is the best value of anywhere you can possibly go to since the price of your ticket covers all of the music and crafters and, in addition, it is being held inside the Prather Coliseum which is air conditioned!!!  What more could you ask for during what I am sure is going to be an extra hot July?

Be sure and bring a few extra dollars for food and crafts and stop by my booth and say hello!

A Teen Memory and a Song

I was looking through old pictures online the other day and came across a set someone had posted from Astroworld in Houston.

While I’m from Louisiana, we lived back and forth between there and the Houston area all of my life. When I was in 8th grade and the first year of high school, I’d wash cars and mow lawns around my neighborhood to make enough money to hang out on the weekend. At that time I lived in Pasadena and there really wasn’t a great spot to hang out there so my Mom would drop a couple of us off at Astroworld on Saturday morning and come back and pick us up just as it was closing Saturday night.

Back in those times, 1976 or so, no one worried about their kids being at a place like that so it was one of the spots to mingle and meet new people, with a minimal chance of getting in trouble.

I graduated high school when I was 17, so that would have made me around 12-13 when I was a regular at the park. I would have been about 5’10, with another inch or two of hair, and weighed about 140# tops.

The best part was as some parents were dropping off carloads of boys, other cars were dropping off carloads of girls and, with any luck, by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, you’d found someone with whom you could share the rest of the day.

At some point, Astroworld picked up on the disco craze and added an open-air dance floor with the panels that change color, the disco ball hanging from the ceiling, and music of all kinds, not just disco, blasting away so when the sun dropped, everybody made their way there for at least a couple of hours.

I remember several of the songs they played since they are now considered classic rock but I’m putting the video below of a band that kind of bridged the gap between rock and disco and was really more of a “funk” sound so us non-disco long hairs could justify dancing to it (or, honestly, trying to dance).

Here it is, directly from the Midnight Special (who remembers watching that and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert waaaaay before MTV came along?)

The New Book Almost Finished!

2018 Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival
The 2018 Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival held in Natchitoches, La. July 20-21, 2018.

I was hoping to have it finished in February but due to a little medical issue that date was delayed, however, I’m now on the last stretch of a middle-grade book I am writing. I was shooting for 35k to 40k words, and I’m at 33,500 right now with the final scene still to come. With any luck I’ll finish it in the next few days and have it edited, the cover done, printed, and be completely ready for the Natchitoches/NSU Folk Festival on July 20-21, 2018. If you’ve never been, it is always great and it is indoors at the Prather Coliseum where it is air conditioned!

Great food, great music, and lots of craftspeople there. Many of the people who make these great crafts are in their twilight years so it’s a fantastic time to meet them, watch them work, and even support them by buying everything from Gumbo file (made by hand) to paintings. There are real bullwhips, jams, jellies, and jewelry!

The festival needs your support to keep this tradition alive!

Of course, I’ll be there signing my books, including the new one, and since my family has been in the Natchitoches area since before there was a Natchitoches, literally, you can drop by my booth and just visit with me and I can point out the best places to visit, to eat, or just to walk around.

Finishing Up New Book

The new book should be with the editor by the end of February at the latest!

The first bunch of books I worked on seemed to fly by, the writing was generally easy and things went pretty smooth even though the publishing on Amazon Kindle and Createspace was still a little glitchy.

However, on the ones I’m working on now, it has been one problem after another.

I decided, after doing a story reading to some kids at the school in Coushatta, La. (with Dr. Shane Rasmussen of the Folklife Center at Northwestern State University ) to do a Middle School – Young Adult book. The fact that at every appearance and festival I’ve attended I’d always been asked if I had any children’s books played a part as well.

As with many of my works, I had the title for a while. The outline of the book popped into my head not long after the visit to the school and, like I usually do, I made some notes and saved them then started writing. In the meantime I would jump from one project to another but always meant to go ahead and wrap up the kids book.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a health issue which slowed me down for a little while and after that broke my shoulder in two places and banged my head a good one while on vacation. It took a while, a lot longer than when I was young, to heal up and get to the point I could use the keyboard again.

When I finally recovered enough to sit down and get back to work on the book…my notes had disappeared! I still had the first pages I’d written but not my notes. And, apparently the bang to the head had whacked my memory just a little since, for the first time ever, I couldn’t remember how a story I was working on was supposed to progress!

So I’ve spent months now looking for the notes and trying to recreate the ending in my head. Finally, I just decided that it must not have been that good if I’d forgotten and decided to figure out a new storyline using the characters I already had in the book. Once I did that…BANG!!!…a new story appeared and I could use what I’d already written, work in a little mythology,  a little history, and I’m right back on track. Note: this time I made a file with the notes and saved it in several places, plus I wrote it down on a piece of paper.

So by the end of the month I will have (hopefully) finished the first in a new series of books for kids. I won’t tell you the name yet, but I can tell you it has dragons, knights, twin boys named Robert and Anthony (which just happens to be the names of my twin sons) toilets, poo, wizards, and all kinds of other good things!

I’ll announce when it’s ready but it will definitely be completed in paperback for he appearance this summer at the Natchitoches – Northwestern State University Folklife Festival held at the NSU campus on Saturday, July 21, 2018.

If you’ve never been to Natchitoches, Louisiana you should put it on your calendar for this year. It is a beautiful city, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, and where numerous movies have been filmed including Steel Magnolias, The Horse Soldiers, and many others. There are gorgeous plantations outside of town, history everywhere, Kisatchie National Forest (the site of the turpentine camp in my first book, The Bottle Tree), and so much more. Plus, it’s a reasonably priced place to visit and the Folklife Festival tickets are a great value! It’s my favorite venue to meet people and sell books.

I should have this book and one other new one ready for this year’s festival, maybe more!

 

New Books Coming Soon!

I’ve gotten a few communications on my annual appearance at the Natchitoches/NSU Folklife Festival and whether I will have any new books there and I thought I’d do a short post.

We have an anthology we have put together of some older (pre-1920s) pieces concerning Louisiana as well as the poems from the collection I’m still working on. Also included in the anthology will be the full version of The Bottle Tree, which will also be available as a standalone book. 

In addition, we are working to get a couple of other books together using pre-1920s works which we thought were interesting. Karren is coming across these while helping me do research for my novel, Louisiana, which is still a ways off.

Hopefully, I’ll also have the second book in the Junebug series completed. The title is Junebug and the Monkey. I’m about 25,000+ words into it (100 pages or so) but that’s only about a third finished. For some reason this books is fighting me as hard as I’m fighting it. As many of you know, I’ve always felt that the characters in my book come to visit and sit with me to tell their story but in this case they just won’t come to visit. Still, with any luck it’ll be ready for the festival which is July 15-16, 2016.

I hope to see all of you there!