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.

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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my middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and thought perhaps this was my cathartic tale that would go unpublished.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; http://youtu.be/iB51g_CnuNE
 

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, is...as 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.
 
HONEY CAKE

 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: http://www.gaiasgarden.com.au/index.php/aboutus/articles-by-gaias-garden/131-goddess-of-food-food-for-goddess#sthash.PO1D0xp3.dpuf
 

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 www.felderrushing.net, 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 cafemom.com. 

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 http://kaistrand.blogspot.com/