Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette

The Secret in Mossy Swamp

by Rita Monette

Giveaway ends June 19, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ghosts of Christmases Past - Sharon Ledwith

Ghosts of Christmases Past…

“Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.”

Love that last line in the first paragraph of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. “Dead as a doornail” really sticks out in my mind. Boy, Dickens sure had a way with words! And believe it or not, Charles Dickens wrote the classic Christmas tale as a novella—something I never knew. In fact, I decided to read A Christmas Carol for the first time a few years ago. I knew the story like the back of my hand, and most movies based on the book were true to form. But there’s nothing like reading the actual script written by an author’s hand. Though the language was a little archaic, it still didn’t take away from the magic of the story.

Through Scrooge’s ghostly visitations, we got a glimpse of the man behind the mask. Who he was, and what circumstances and choices created his reality. We often don’t see what we’ve created until, like Scrooge, we’re faced with a crisis or fear. When I sat down to write Legend of the Timekeepers, the prequel to my middle grade/YA time travel series, I wanted to create a back story for the series that would help readers understand who my characters were, where they came from culturally, mentally, and spiritually, and how they decide to move forward with their lives. Tricky to say the least—especially when you’re dealing with a mythical land that may or may not have existed.

It took confronting my own fears to write the prequel. For one, I had never written a pure fantasy before, and had no ‘historical’ parameters to go by like I had when I wrote The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. That scared the ‘Ebenezer’ out of me! The only research I used were the readings by Edgar Cayce and other authors claiming to be a psychic or channel. Mumbo jumbo for some, but for me it was a treasure trove, and a chance to take the hand of the Ghosts of Atlantis’s past and be led on a fantastical adventure. I find that time travel stories have a way of making us reassess our own lives, of reliving the joyful and the challenging times, so that we hopefully wake up and make better choices like Scrooge did.

This is what I’ve learned from my Ghosts of Christmases past. And this is why I write time travel books. God bless us, every one!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Tagline & blurb for Legend of the Timekeepers:

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

BONUS: My middle grade/young adult short fantasy story, The Terrible, Mighty Crystal, is free and available until the end of December only through Musa Publishing. This tale is a spin-off from Legend of the Timekeepers as it features the Atlantean cross-eyed seer Shu-Tu, and reveals a little background on how and why she became a seer.

Tagline & blurb and tagline for The Terrible, Mighty Crystal:

There is the known and the unknown. And then there is the unknowable.

A rumor around Atlantis whispers that the mighty crystal has the power of resurrection. Fourteen-year-old Shu-Tu believes this to be true and will do whatever it takes to bring her father back from the dead. Recruiting two trustworthy classmates, and with the help of her beloved teacher Thoth, Shu-Tu sets out to change her father’s fate, and right a wrong.

Instructed to meet Thoth at his grotto, Shu-Tu and her friends are forced to flee underground, and must follow the maze of passages to find another way out. There, they come across a baboon-headed human hybrid possessing a rare firestone—one of six harvested from the mighty crystal—which has the power to restore life. Shu-Tu agrees to play the hybrid’s bizarre game to win the firestone, knowing that if she loses, she loses her father forever.

The Terrible, Mighty Crystal Link (only until the end of December):

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis Buy Links:

Legend of the Timekeepers Buy Links:

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Blog Hop Winners

Well, the blog hop is over. I can't believe I only had five visitors! Anyway, thanks to those that did stop by and leave a comment. And the winners are:

A signed copy of my book, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, goes to Julia Faye Smith.

And since Sharon Ledwith is the only one that answered the question about what was in the blue bottle, she gets the stuffed Snooper, along with a key on a string.

Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eleven great reasons to give a book for Christmas


Yes, it's time for I Love Middle Grade Books' Holiday Blog Hop. And I have some great ideas for Christmas gifts for the young people on your list.

Rather than the latest toy or gadget, have you ever thought what the gift of a book has to offer, especially to a child, a tween, or a young adult?  This is the age when young folks are dealing with so many issues. A book can become a comfort in a time of transition. It can become an escape into another world. It can become a learning tool, while getting to know interesting characters. Or it can be just darned good entertainment. Here are eleven great reasons to give your middle grader or young adult a book for Christmas.


1.      Are fairytales your interest? Ann T. Bugg’s Before Happily Ever After series re-visits your child’s favorite stories with a brand new twist.

2.      Time Travel anyone??? Sharon Ledwith’s Legend of the Timekeepers lets the reader travel back in time to Atlantis with some quirky characters that might remind you of someone you already know.

3.      If Greek Mythology is your bag, Kaitlin Bevis offers up the Zeus’ Daughters series for young adults.

4.      Love the arts? Mindy Harwick’s Stained Glass Summer introduces an artform, while exploring the emotions of children of divorce, or feelings of inadequacy.

5.      Everyone loves animals, right? Join George the Basset hound starring in his wonderful book called George Knows. Mindy Mymudes writes down his story (It's hard to write with paws).

6.      Christina Weigand has written some great Christian young adult fantasy books  with her Palace of the Twelve Pillars series.

7.      Does a century-old man with a magical bag catch your interest? Sara Stinson’s Finger Bones is filled with friendship and magic.

8.      Mystery anyone? Lisa Orchard’s Super Spy series is for you.

9.      Like creepy graveyards? Jennifer L. Hotes takes you there with Four Rubbings.

10.  Middle graders who love tiny things might love K.L. Pickett’s Seventh Grade (Alien!) Hero, who finds a tiny spaceship, or Maybe it’s Magic! with a tiny magical glass horse.

11.  Interested in Louisiana Bayou legends?  The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, explores the swamps of Louisiana, while dealing with loss, bullying, and friendship…and solving the mystery of a ghostly legend.

Follow the links below to visit these authors’ blogs, and see what else they have to offer during this blog hop!



Leave a comment here for a chance to win a signed copy of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island. But that's not all. Mention the object that Nikki finds in the blue bottle, and win that item, along with a chance to win a stuffed Snooper!


Happy Holidays!!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reading for Renn

This is a re-blog from Erik's (A super reader) blog: Go there and comment to help him raise money for this boy and his family.

READING FOR RENN – One Kid Trying to Help Another Battle Epilepsy


I want you to meet my friend Renn.

rennRenn is 6 1/2 years old and has Epilepsy.
He is the son of Bethany Telles, author of “Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink,”. I have been following Renn’s battle with epilepsy on “The Brain of a Jedi” blog (Click HERE).
He gets seizures every day. They tried all kids of medications that didn’t work. Renn has had all kinds of tests and procedures done and they didn’t work.
On October 28th the doctors are going to put some kind of grid in his brain to figure out what part of his brain is doing it and then they are going to take that part of his brain out. They may have to take a whole section out.
Renn Likes Star Wars. He’s A Jedi Master!
As if having part of your brain taken out at 6 1/2 years old isn’t enough, the Telles family has to deal with living pretty far away from the hospital that Renn gets the procedures done at and there are a lot of medical bills.
This is all really hard for me to think about (I can’t imagine what Renn’s brother, Eli is going though). Renn is so young and he is facing some scary stuff. His whole family is. I saw that the Telles family set up a donation page to help with Renn’s medical expenses (click HERE) and I wanted to help, but I am an 11-year-old kid and I felt pretty helpless.
I thought about what I could do to help Renn and his family. I thought about what I can do, what I can do better than anyone I know. I came up with…


Super Reader and I are very good friends.
This gave me an idea. I am the fastest reader of anyone I know.
I thought about how I could turn my super reader power into something helpful and I came up with “Reading for Renn.”
Read4RennPurple (1)
Designed by Julie Rowan~Zoch
I am asking people and businesses to sponsor me for the month of October. Sponsor me for every AR point I get. For those of you who don’t know AR is Accelerated Reader. AR is a program that some schools do. Kids read books, take tests and get points. The goal set for me by the school this year, as a sixth grader, is 60 points. My personal goal for this year is to get 1505 points (just enough to beat the district record I set last year ;) ). For Reading For Renn, my goal is to get 150 AR points for the month of October. You can follow my progress right here. I will keep track of the points I get and I’ll have a little widget on my side bar too.
FOR EXAMPLE – If someone sponsors me for 10 cents for every point and I get 150 points they donate $15.00 to Reading for Renn which goes to the Telles family to help cover Renn’s medical costs. On November 1st I will announce the total AR points I earned for the month of October. Please think about sponsoring me, spreading the word or just cheering me on!
Designed by Julie Rowan~Zoch
Designed by Julie Rowan~Zoch
If you would like to sponsor me, please leave a comment in the comment section. You don’t have to leave your name if you don’t want to, just an email address I can contact you at the end of the month with instructions on how to make the donation to Reading for Renn. If you’d like to make a donation directly, you can click on the PayPal** button at the bottom of this post (you don’t have to have a PayPal account to make the donation).
Please share my fund-raiser with the people you know. I was really surprised at how serious Epilepsy can be. I didn’t know all of this until I met Renn. I think more people should know about it.
All money I raise will go to helping the Telles family pay medical bills and stuff related to Renn’s care. If they have more than they need, I will ask them to donate the rest to The Epilepsy Foundation. A great organization dedicated to finding a cure for Epilepsy.
I want to give special thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill for giving me advice and suggestions on this Hare-Brained Scheme. :) Thanks to Julie Rowan-Zoch for designing the awesome Reading for Renn button (that you are welcome to share and link back here) and the image for the point counter!
Thank you for taking the time to read this! Now excuse me, I have to get back to reading!
**PayPal takes 2.9% + $0.30 for each donation made as a processing fee. This was the lowest fee my parents could find for a donation site.

UPDATE! Want the code for the Reading for Renn Button?!?

Click HERE to hop on over to S&K’s blog post with the code they developed and copy it for you to use!

Thank you to Cool Mom of the S&K gang for writing this! Check out Stanley and Karina’s book and blog by clicking HERE!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

For the month of September 2013, I offered a giveaway of five copies of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island on Goodreads. Thanks to everyone that showed interest in my book.

And the winners are:

Paula Bowron, of Lexington, KY
Lacey Galicia, of Visalia, CA
Jan Starks, of Sunriver, OR
Brynne McGuire, of Dallas NC
Tiffany Tinney, of Seaford VA

Congratulations!  Your copies will be sent out tomorrow, October 1.  Enjoy your free book!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blog Hop Winner of free Signed copy of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island

The winner, drawn randomly from the comments from the Middle Grade Back to School Blog Hop, is Serena Schreiber! (Sorry, my original post misspelled her name.)

Thanks to everyone that joined in this fun event, and for visiting all of the authors that participated!

Until next time....happy hopping.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to School Middle Grade Blog Hop

Yes, It's back to school time, and I'm here doing a Back to School blog hop for middle graders, and giving away one copy of my middle grade fiction, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island.

Back to school means different things for different people. I remember my own children getting excited on the first day back to school. New clothes, new supplies, new books, and catching up with their old friends.

But in many cases, back to school doesn't always mean the first day of school. It might  mean the first day in a brand new school, or it might mean entering a new school nearing the end of the semester or school year.

For ten-year-old, Nikki Landry, from The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, her houseboat settles into a new bayou at least twice a year, and a new beginning means the end of  her old school and her old friends. She has to deal with the sadness of losing her closest friend, and the fear of what bullies might await her in her new school. Nikki lives on the wrong side of the levee and gets the brunt of being called names, such as Levee Rat.

My childhood was much like Nikki's, and starting a new school several times a year was a challenge. But now that I look back on it, my growing up was riddled with new adventures with every new place we settled. As an adult, it has made me more flexible in the working world, which is always full of change.

For every child that has ever had to change schools in the middle of the year, this book will hit home. Join Nikki as she adapts to her new surroundings, and as she and her new-found friends search out clues to learn the truth about Ghost Dog Island's legend. 

Buy links, reviews, and a book trailer are on the right side bar, along with a current giveaway on Goodreads. 

After you check those out, go visit the rest of the middle grade and YA writers on this hop on the link below. Don't forget to leave a comment here before you go to be eligible to win a free copy of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island.

While you're blog hopping, check out Julia Faye Smith's blog

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Segolia: Daughter of Prophecy, A YA Novel, by Brittany Oldroyd

Today on the Bayou, I'd like to welcome Brittany Oldroyd with her exciting new young adult read. It's a story of dragons and legends. Yes, you know I like legends!
Segolia: Daughter of Prophecy

When seventeen-year-old Nissa leaves at her father's insistence, she believes the trip to Idari will be a short one. But when she meets a young dragon exile, Edgeshifter, her life is thrown into chaos. Along with danger and mystery, Edgeshifter brings word of a legend as old as time itself. Nissa is forced into an adventure she isn't sure she wants. With only Edgeshifter and her heart to guide her, Nissa must embark on a journey full of destiny, danger, and legend. Her quest will require her to prevail over the shadows covering the land and save both the elves and dragons from ultimate destruction.

Segolia: Daughter of Prophecy is the story of a young princess's journey to become a true hero and follow her heart.

Buy now at Tate Publishing.

Like Brittany's Facebook page.

About the Author

Brittany Oldroyd has had a passion for writing since middle school, where she began to write Segolia: Daughter of Prophecy. Since then, she's experienced many trials that have tested her determination, including a truck fire that destroyed all of her work. Like her characters, she believes in dreaming big and never giving up. She recently graduated high school and plans to go to BYU-Idaho in the fall. She wants to major in English Literature with an emphasis on Creative Writing. Along with her passion for reading and writing, Brittany has a love for night skies, music, and thunderstorms.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tagging Blog Hop

I was invited by my friend, Sharon Ledwith, to participate in a “blog hop interview.” Sharon sent me some interview questions, which I answer here on my blog. Following my answers, I tag 3 other writers who will, in turn, answer questions on their blogs next week. It’s been fun checking out the Blog Hops to see what other children’s authors have posted!

Sharon posted her answers to the questions at her blog, on Aug 12. If you like, you can leave a comment on her blog and tell her that you connected to her through my link here!

Sharon Ledwith

Now here are my answers:

1. What are you working on right now?

Currenly I  am working on two middle grade novels. One of which is a sequel to The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, The Legend of the Ghostly Pirates (working title). In the sequel, the characters investigate another legend, which involves a treasure that was rumored buried on a swamp island by a band of Jean Lafitte's pirates.

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

As with the first  novel, it is set in the bayous of Louisiana and in the 1950s. The kids are on their own without cell phones and other technologies. They have to depend their curiosity, wits, and bravery to get them into and out of their dilemmas.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write middle grade because I  love that age group. Their curiosity, honesty, and innocence, and their willingness to jump into the pages of strange worlds with odd and interesting characters amazes me. Don't write for middle graders if you don't want honest and thorough feedback and questions.  I write about Louisiana and its culture because it's what I know, and because it is still facinating to me.

4. How does your writing process work?

I am mostly a pantster (seat of my pants writer) for my draft. If I try to lock myself into an outline, I get stuck. Once the draft is done, I can diagram in order to fine tune the plot.

The next part of this blog hop, is that I tag three children's authors to take up the torch. Unfortunately, I could only pin down two. Their posts should go up a week from today. Thank you ladies.

Serena Schreiber

Brittany Oldroyd

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today! Don't forget to check out Sharon's blog, along with Serena's and Brittany's.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Writer's Block

Recently, I’ve been stuck in a writing rut. I Can’t seem to get past the middle of any of the novels I’m working on. So I did a Google search to see if there were some remedies out there. I stumbled upon this bit of advice, from (see link below) and narrowed my problem down to number four of their list of ten possible problems.

4. You're stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.
Either you don't have an outline, or you ditched it a while back. Actually, here's what seems to

happen a lot - you were on a roll the day before, and you wrote a whole lot of promising developments and clever bits of business. And then you open your Word document today, and... you have no idea where this is going. You thought you left things in a great place to pick up the ball and keep running, and now you can't even see the next step.

If it's true that you were on a roll, and now you're stuck, then chances are you just need to pause and rethink, and maybe go back over what you already wrote. You may just need a couple days to recharge. Or you may need to rethink what you already wrote.

If you've been stuck in the middle for a while, though, then you probably need to do something to get the story moving again. Introduce a new complication, throw the dice, or twist the knife. Mark Twain spent months stuck in the middle of Huckleberry Finn before he came up with the notion of having Huck and Jim take the wrong turn on the river and get lost. If you're stuck for a while, it may be time to drop a safe on someone.

The other ideas are worth taking a look at, but I think I’ve found my problem. I need to take Mark Twain’s advice and go wreck someone’s day…in my story that is.

See the entire list at:  

Have you ever had writer's block? How did you overcome it? Share your ideas!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Winner of the "Why I love America" Contest

Everyone had some very good comments to share, but my choice was the one by Jeff Salter. Take it away, Jeff:


Yes, I love America. Despite all its flaws, the awful things that some of our leaders have done, the criminal acts of some of our citizens --- there is no other nation with as many freedoms, or as much prosperity, as we have here in the U.S.

In America, I don't fear the military and I don't fear the police. I know they're not the answer to all our problems, but I figure they contribute to our welfare more than the scattered abuses you read about.

I love American "first responders" who will rush into danger to help out citizens in peril. I love America's teachers, who work for (comparatively) low wages to impart wisdom and learning to new generations.

I love that no other nation has people trying to get INTO it ... but plenty of other nations have people trying to get OUT.


God bless the USA.

  photos from GoogleImages

Just found out Jeff has a couple of patriot books over at Amazon. I'm off right now to get them. Also check out his web site at

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day, July 4, 1776

Once Upon a Time, a very intelligent group of patriots decided they were tired of the tyranny of the English king, and fought a great war for the independence of a new nation where government would NOT control the people, but the people would control the government. For well over 200 years, the United States of America has functioned under those principles. Please don't ever forget what they fought for. Please don't ever stop fighting for the freedoms our founders set down for us. Read the Declaration of Independence. Read the Constitution. And if you're short on time, you must read our Bill of Rights!  Remember these great patriots worked long and hard on these documents and these principles so that we might enjoy freedom.

For lots more information on The Declaration of Independence:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Truth Behind the Legend

I read somewhere that almost every author’s first attempt at writing is personal. Perhaps it is a story from their past that has haunted them and needs to be released. But it also said that most of those stories don’t make it into the world. Once written, they sit on a shelf, while their creator moves on to more adventurous and exciting projects. I read this after completing my middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and thought perhaps this was my cathartic tale that would go unpublished.

 The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is indeed a personal story. I wanted to tell the story of the Louisiana Cajuns. Ask a child today about Cajuns and they may tell you that it is about hot food, or about shooting alligators (Incidentally, I started my book long before Swamp People over took the History Channel.) I figured there was no better way to tell the story than to start with my own childhood.

 I was raised in the Louisiana bayous. My father trapped and fished crabs for a living, and moved our family three times a year in search of better fishing spots. Being new in school was common place for me. My father was also fond of telling legends about what might be living in nearby swamps. Perfect for a children’s story, right? My historical fiction novel, set in the 1950s, is told through the eyes of my ten-year-old protagonist, Nikki Landry. But it would be rather boring if she’d stuck strictly to my routine, so Nikki (braver than me) sets out to discover the truth behind one of the legends she feels poses a threat to her dog, Snooper. She gets herself into trouble more than once, and has many spooky mishaps and adventures, but in the end, Nikki discovers the truth and solves the mystery behind the decade old legend.

 However, being true to my mission, I made sure to inject some of my father’s stories about the lifestyle and treatment of the Cajun (Acadian) people of his day, and about learning a new language… something today’s immigrant children might relate to. Heads up librarians! I’ve included an author’s page, which encourages more reading about the history of the Acadian people and their exile from their homeland in Canada.

 I wish to thank Musa Publishing for believing in me and my debut novel The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and the staff of wonderful editors and artists that helped put it all together.

Behind every legend lies the truth…but what is the truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island?
Book Trailer on You Tube;

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kelly Lynne and Celestina Silvenfare

Welcome to Sunday on the Bayou, folks. We'll have some cake later, but first of all, I'd like to introduce Kelly Lynne.
Her book, Celestina Silvenfare: The Legend Begins, the name indicates...the first in a young adult series, "Silvenfare." Published by Ink Smith Publishing.
Here's a blurb:

​Celestna Silvenfare is an elemental sorceress and the prophesied savior of her world, but not until her14th birthday does she truly understand the danger she must face in order to fulfill her destiny and save the lives of those she loves.  Join her as she embarks on a journey to discover what it takes for one young girl to rise above her own dreams, desires, flaws, and personal tragedies, to restore balance to the land and save all the races of Merellier.

This book sounds great. You know I love legends!
Here's a excerpt:

"Now then, Celestina Silvenfare, how would you like to meet a Goddess?" Before Cele could reply, the air around them began to vibrate, rocking the table and rattling the dishes. When it was over, a stunning woman appeared before Cele and the faerie queen, who immediately kneeled before the Goddess. Cele did likewise, not having any idea what the protocol was for meeting a Goddess. The tall, brown-haired woman walked over to Cele and placed her hand upon her head. When she did this, Cele's mind began reeling with several vibrant images. She saw Meréllier as it might be in several years ...the land was pillaged, women and children suffered cruel fates, and widespread wars and plagues ravaged the realm. The sights and sounds were very vivid and seemed too real for Cele. She swooned, but still the Goddess held her in place, forcing her to see more...

 Here are the links to buy this book!

About The Author:

Kelly Lynne lives with her husband and three rescue dogs-two of them Great Danes-in Franklin, TN, just 15 minutes south of Nashville. In addition to writing, Lynne works as a marketing coordinator and a technical writer. She graduated with honors from the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelors degree in Marketing Education. Lynne is also currently working on an online degree in Metaphysical Science from The University of Metaphysical Sciences in Arcata, California.

 Now that we have our books, let's have some cake fit for a goddess:

Honey: The bee was an emblem of Potnia, the most important Goddess in Greece in the late Bronze Age. The Minoan-Mycenaean "Mistress", was also referred to as "The Pure Mother Bee" and Her priestesses received the name of "Melissa" ("bee"). Priestesses worshipping Artemis and Demeter were also called "Bees".
Honey was considered the food of the gods and a honeyed tongue means the gift of eloquence. In the Homeric Hymn, Apollo acknowledges that the gift of prophecy came to him from three bee maidens. Other cultures also have Bee Goddesses such as the Hindu Bhramari Devi, the Sumerian Bee Goddess.

 1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup creamed honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 6-ounce custard cups.
In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar and honey until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg. Scrape sides of bowl and beat until well combined.
In another bowl, stir together baking powder, salt and flour. Alternate adding the flour mixture and heavy cream to batter, beginning and ending with flour.
Fill each custard cup about 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20-25 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE.   Let cool about 5 minutes then remove from pan and place each cake on a small lipped serving plate. Prepare glaze by melting butter in saucepan.  Add honey and brown sugar.  Bring to boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.   Poke honey cakes with a toothpick all over.  Brush or spoon glaze all over each honey cake until glaze is gone.  Allow cakes to cool completely.
- See more at:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bottle Tree Legend

Louisiana Tidbit
Have you ever been driving through Louisiana, or some other southern state,  and noticed a tree with colored bottles either hanging from it or stuck onto their branches? More than likely they were blue bottles. No, they are not a poor man’s stained glass display.

It is said that this traditional practice was brought here by the Africans during the slave trade. In the Congo, Natives have hung hand-blown glass on huts and trees to ward off evil spirits since the ninth century, and perhaps earlier.

The Legend is told that the spirits are attracted to the sparkling color of the bottles, blue ones seemingly more enticing. The moaning sound made by the wind as it passes over the bottle openings are said to be proof that a spirit is trapped within.

Whether you believe the legend or not, the trees are a sight to behold, displayed in various shapes, sizes, and forms, as beautiful yard and garden decorations.

An excerpt from Eudora Welty’s short story Livvie, describes one such tree:

“…Then coming around up the path from the deep cut of the Natchez Trace below was a line of bare crape-myrtle trees with every branch of them ending in a colored bottle of green or blue.

There was no word that fell from Solomon’s lips to say what they were for, but Livvie knew that there could be a spell put in the trees, and she was familiar from the time she was born with the way bottle trees kept evil spirits from coming into the house – by luring them inside the colored bottles, where they cannot get out again.”

A bottle tree is featured in the movie, Ray, a Ray Charles biopic. And again in the Princess and the Frog, a cartoon movie set in New Orleans, where bottle trees hang in the bayou.

Blue Bottles in my Dogwood Tree
In my children’s Novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, a bottle tree adorns the front entrance of a voodoo woman’s shack. Excerpt below:
“What y’all want?” The yellow glow from a kerosene lamp cast the shadowy outline of scraggly hair and humped shoulders.
I took my braid and twisted it between my fingers. “I’m looking for my dog, ma’am.”

“What kinda dog?” The face pushed closer to the small window and into view.

Red paint decorated the porch and railing—or was it blood? Some sort of animal skin hung from nails.

She was a witch all right. My hands felt sweaty. “A beagle, ma’am.” My voice cracked. “Do you have a beagle?” I remembered the three quarters, two dimes, and six pennies Patti and I got from her piggy bank in case we needed it to buy Snooper back. “I have money.”

The door creaked open. “Come on in.” A wrinkled eye peered through the crack.

Spikes took a step forward.

I followed close behind him. I didn’t want to go in that creepy shack, but I sure didn’t want to go back through the swamp alone. A slight breeze blew up, triggering a tinkling sound behind me. I turned to see colored bottles hanging from a nearby tree. The moonlight bounced off the deep-blue glass like fireflies dancing in the warm night air.

“Look at that.” I pointed to the display.

“Yeah, it’s a bottle tree. Some folks ’round here make those to trap evil spirits, to keep them away,” Spikes whispered.

“She wants to keep evil away?”
Book now available at Mirror World Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


If you choose to read further, see Felder Rushing, of, who has done extensive research on the topic of bottle trees . More information, along with more photos of bottle trees,can also be found at 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Meet Kai Strand

Today on the Bayou, we welcome Kai Strand. Tell us a little about yourself, Kai...

I’ve always been a storyteller and writer.  But I didn’t consider becoming a professional writer until my oldest daughter and I became hooked on the Harry Potter series and we were between book releases (the fourth and fifth book, I believe.)  I decided while I waited for the release of the next HP, I’d create my own characters and my very own world.  In fewer than four months, I had completed my very first middle grade novel. Read more on my website.

Books by Kai Strand:


Molly Minstrel is treated worse than Cinderella by her mom and sisters. When Molly meets the magical creature, Unwanted, she wishes her problems away. However, you must first understand what you need before knowing what to ask for. Molly will have to look within for the solution to her troubles.
Suggested age for readers: 7-12

Review: This character 
(Unwanted) brings humor to the story, yet at the same time also brings in that hint of truth. Before someone can make a wish they should know what they truly want. Children’s Book Reviewer

As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.
The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.
With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?
King of Bad, coming July 2013

Review: This book was sooooooooooo good it was mind blowing. The details that were in every sentence made me jump into the book and I felt like I was in the book and living terra's life!” –A Kid’s Review


Coming July 2013 - King of Bad

Jeff Mean wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie, until he's recruited by Super Villain Academy - where you learn to be good at being bad. Jeff wonders is he bad enough for SVA?

Visit Kai at