Monday, December 14, 2015

Bonfires on the Levee

...A Louisiana Tradition

By Rita Monette
author of louisiana lore

Every year in south Louisiana, there is an interesting tradition that was started over a hundred years ago: The bonfires on the levee.

During this event, over one hundred 30-foot-plus tall wooden bonfire structures are built along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Lutcher in order to light the way for Papa Noel (Cajun country’s Santa) on Christmas Eve. These bonfires, doused with a flammable liquid, are all ignited at the same moment at 7 p.m. (CST).



The old folks in the area, that still participate in this event, tell us that long ago before the Levee's were built, the bonfires were lit to help light the way for friends and family that came to visit on Christmas Eve. And for the sake of the children, to help light the way for Santa.

The fires were traditionally built in the shape of crude pyramids or "tepees", and it is only in recent years that the builders have gotten very creative. Newspapers and television stations have increased coverage each year until these bonfires have turned into a competition between their makers, each attempting to design and build the most original and the biggest. 

It is a site to behold to anyone that wishes to join in. There are even special sternwheelers, paddle boats, or river boats that offer bonfire cruises down the Mississippi River.













Today, each family or street of families come together and start building their structures usually during the Thanksgiving break from school. And when the time comes for the festivities, they enjoy in their lawn chairs, the bonfires, fireworks, and a pot of gumbo.

You will always see the displayed pirogue with Papa Noel being pulled by his special alligators, led by Alphonse.






















Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pierre Part, Louisiana






I’ve spent the last few weeks in my home state of Louisiana, promoting my books and visiting relatives.

While there, I visited my brother in the small town of Pierre Part, Louisiana, which also happens to be the home of Troy Landry of the Swamp People TV series, and where my series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, begins. No, Nikki is not kin to Troy—at least I don’t think so. 

The town is about as Cajun as anywhere in Louisiana. Folks there make their living in the bayous, where crawfish, crabs, and alligators are plentiful.

However, I came across one man that makes his living gathering old cypress and turning it into artistic creations. His name is Adam Morales. He says he is blessed to be able to see things in the old remains of cypress trees. Here are a couple of his creations.








Many folks in Pierre Part still live in houseboats, just like they did back in 1956 where my stories begin.


Last month was the release of book two, The Curse at Pirate’s Cove, which is set in the nearby town of Morgan City, and in the Atchafalaya Swamp, where Mr. Morales collects the cypress for his artwork. 

Follow Nikki and her friends as they find an old pirate ship in the swamp, encounter some ghostly pirates, and end up lost in 1814 in the largest swamp in the United States.


Get your copy at Amazon




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Pirates are Here!



FINALLY!

Today is the RE-release of The Curse at Pirate's Cove, the second in the series of The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends. The story of a young girl growing up in the bayous of Louisiana in the 1950s.


In this episode, Nikki turns eleven years old. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIKKI! Papa had promised her she could ride her bike to school when she turned three syllables. The wait was over.  Or so she thought.

Yep, Nikki didn't get very far on her rusty old bike. Papa had found it at a landfill, so it was pretty beat up. Would she be doomed to ride the smelly old school bus for the rest of her young years? She needed to find a way to get a new bike.


Nikki goes to see the movie, The Buccaneer, about Jean Lafitte, the pirate. She then learns about an old ship in the swamps, and how it could have belonged to some pirates, who had buried treasure all up and down the bayous. So she makes a birthday wish to find the gold...and writes it in her diary.

That's When things go terribly wrong. Was there a curse on the treasure? Did her wish trigger that curse?

Nikki and her friends go a big adventure when some ghostly pirate's show up to retrieve what was rightfully theirs.

The pirates whisk them away into 1814, where a famous war was taking place...The Battle of New Orleans.

As Nikki and her friends escape the chaos, will they be able to find their way through the Atchafalaya Swamp and back home to Morgan City?


Here's an excerpt:

“How do you know it’s a pirate ship?”
“It has to be, Nikki. Listen.” He turned toward me. “I was out at Uncle Luke’s this past weekend, and he told me all about it.”
“I ain’t believing there’s no pirate ship out in those swamps.” I lifted my chin.
“Just hear me out, Tomboy.” He sounded impatient. “There’s a legend that goes along with it, see.” He leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “There might even be a curse.”
“A legend?” He had my attention. I prided myself in being a super legend buster ever since I solved the one about Ghost Dog Island last year. I even got my picture in the newspaper. “Well, tell me about it.”
“I’m trying to.” He waved his hands in the air.
We propped ourselves against a couple of large limbs and got out our lunch bags.
“Uncle Luke says he first heard about it back when he was a kid. He says a friend of his grandfather, by the name of Beco, was out trapping on Fog Island with his buddy Clamare. They came across this here hole in the ground with a half-buried wooden chest, see. It had a big old lock on it. There was a couple of coins in the dirt, so Clamare picked them up and slipped them in his pocket. Beco decided he’d go back for some tools and shovels to dig the rest of it out, and told Clamare to stay there and watch the chest. On his way out to the edge of the island, he saw this ragged old ship. Thinking it was kind of odd looking for being in the swamps and all, he got a little closer. It had a broken mast and raggedy sails.” He poked me with his elbow. “When was the last time you ever saw a fishing boat with sails?”
I shook my head. “Never.” I unwrapped a peanut butter and jam sandwich and took a bite. “What’d he do?”
“Well, he started to board it, see?” Spikes dug into his own lunch bag. “But then he heard some talking coming out of the boat. He stopped right then and there, ’cause he didn’t know who might be on that old wreck out in the middle of nowhere, and there weren’t no other boats around. This one had a big old hole in the hull, so it couldn’t have sailed there on its own. At least anytime in recent history.”
“Then what?” I licked some of the jam off my fingers.
“Then someone stuck his head up over the bow, see. He had on one of them three pointed hats that pirates always wore. Old Beco yelled a big hello, and the man took out a pistol and shot over his head. Well, Beco took off right then and there. That night, he went down to T-Noon’s bar and got drunk, and told some other fellows about it. The next day, they all went back out to the island with shovels and brought guns just in case that crazy guy in the boat was still there.”
“Was he?” I asked.
“Nope. The ship was gone, and so was Clamare.”
“What about the treasure?”
“They never could find it. Not even the hole it was in.”




Author
Rita Monette

I grew up in the bayous, and the legends are based loosely on my childhood and some of the tales my dad used to tell. I also do the pencil illustrations within the books.

You'll find the book available at my publisher, Mirror World Publishing , Amazon, or almost any book seller. 




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

James Lee Burke

 Today, I'd like to feature one of my favorite authors, James Lee Burke. A two-time Edgar Award winner!  I literally have his entire collection of The Dave Robicheaux series. This series is set in New Iberia, Louisiana.

I first found James Lee while browsing a local grocery store in Michigan, for a book to read on my work break. The name of the book was "Purple Cane Road." I read the excerpt and, as a Louisiana girl, raised in purple cane territory, I simply had to read it. I've been hooked ever since. 

James Lee Burke can describe the Louisiana scenery and culture like no other. If you like crime novels mixed with some Cajun essence, you should read the Robicheaux series. He also has a series about a Texas ranger set in east Texas. 

Then there are his scenes in Missoula, Montana. I've never been there, but James Lee's descriptions will make you feel you are there. Another must-read is "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead." Haunting!  




Here's his biography taken from his web site. Go there http://jamesleeburke.com for a complete list of his works and other information. Read on!!! 

Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

He and his wife Pearl met in graduate school and have been married 48 years, they have four children: Jim Jr., an assistant U.S. Attorney; Andree, a school psychologist; Pamala, a T. V. ad producer; and Alafair, a law professor and novelist who has 4 novels out with Henry Holt publishing.

Burke's work has been awarded an Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant. Two of his novels, Heaven's Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures. His short stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, Antioch Review, Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Today he and his wife live in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana. 

Burke's Published Books are as follows:

Half of Paradise
To the Bright and Shining Sun
Lay Down My Sword and Shield
Two for Texas
The Convict
The Lost Get-Back Boogie
The Neon Rain
Heaven's Prisoners
Black Cherry Blues
A Morning for Flamingos
A Stained White Radiance
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead
Burning Angel
Dixie City Jam
Cadillac Jukebox
Cimarron Rose
Sunset Limited
Heartwood
Purple Cane Road
Bitterroot
Jolie Blon's Bounce
White Doves at Morning

Here's a video promoting his new book, Wayfaring Stranger:



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

Welcome to the week long blog tour for 
Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith!

Follow the Tour (link to the schedule is below) to Read Reviews, Guest Posts, and Book Spotlights

There is no moving forward
without first going back.


About Legend of the Timekeepers:

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.

Book Information:

Title: Legend of the Timekeepers

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book # 0.5

Author Name:  Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Young Adult, Time Travel

Tags: #‎YAlit‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬

Length: Approx. 147 pages

ISBN: 9781619376236

Re-Release Date: August 1, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing  http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Tour Host:  Sapphyria's Book Promotions  http://saphsbookpromos.blogspot.com/

Follow the Tour to Read Reviews, Guest Posts, and Spotlights: 


Read an Excerpt:

“Why are you here?” Lilith asked. “You’ve already got your life seal.” 

“I have more questions for Istulo.” She continued to stare at the disk. 

Lilith sighed. “My name is Lilith. What’s your name?” 

Her shoulders relaxed slightly. A hint of a smile broke out on her face. Her upturned nose wiggled. “She-Aba. I was born here in the Black Land. Both my parents arrived from Atlantis fourteen years ago yesterday. My mother gave birth to me the next day.”

Lilith perked up. “That would make today your birthday!”

She-Aba beamed. “Yes. That’s why I’m here. For my birthday last year, I had my life reading done by Istulo. But recently, there’s been a hiccup in my plans. It’s like my life seal rearranged itself, and now I’m confused. I’m here for a reaffirmation.” 

“What’s the problem?” 

She-Aba traced her life seal with the tip of her perfectly shaped fingernail. “My lifetime occupation was supposed to be to design clothing for the people of the various positions in the court and temples.” 

Lilith smirked. “That makes perfect sense.” 

“I know, right? So why, all of a sudden, would my life seal change from designing clothing to something completely different?” 

Lilith arched a fair brow. “How different?” 

“Well, instead of clothing people in lavish robes and gowns for others to appreciate, the seal suggests that I’ll be doing the opposite by covering up and hiding the truth. I don’t understand it at all. I thought my life was all planned out for me.” 

“I thought mine was too, until my country blew up and slid into the ocean,” Lilith muttered. 

“Hey, look at the bright side, at least your hair isn’t red like mine.” 

Lilith eyed She-Aba carefully. “What’s wrong with red hair? My uncle has red hair and it suits him fine.” 

She-Aba moved in closer. “If you haven’t noticed already, there aren’t many redheads around here. The natives think red is magical, and anyone with red hair is considered a freak of nature.” 

“That’s ridiculous!” Lilith said loud enough to cause an echo down the marble hallway. “Is that the reason why those artists were rude to you? Because you have red hair?” 

“Red is a very powerful color,” a raspy voice said from behind both girls. 

Lilith and She-Aba jumped. They slowly turned to find Istulo hovering over them. 

Wearing the same white gown and orichalcum headband Lilith saw her dressed in before, Istulo nodded slightly before she said, “Red represents the essence of life—if we are drained of blood, we are drained of energy. The people of the Black Land understand this, and therefore red is reserved only for their gods and goddesses.” 

Lilith giggled. “Don’t tell She-Aba that, she’ll think she’s a goddess.”

Purchase Links:

Amazon



Mirror World Publishing



Barnes & Noble



Meet the Author:

Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com


Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith


Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith


Amazon Author U.K. Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO




Giveaway Information and Entry Form:


One winner will be selected to receive the following prizes ~

· A signed paperback copy of Legend of the Timekeepers

· A custom crafted ceramic Spiral Life Seal

· A signed postcard

· Two ‘The Last Timekeepers’ wrist bands







Friday, June 26, 2015

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Sharon Ledwith

I'm happy to have my friend, Sharon Ledwith, on my blog today. She is celebrating the re-release of book one of The Last Timekeepers series. 

Children are the
keys to our future. 
And now, children are the only hope for our past



Book Information:


Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book #1

Author Name:  Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Young Adult, Time Travel, Middle Grade

Tags: #‎YAlit 

Length: Approx. 180 pages

Re-Release Date: June 17, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

About The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:


When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Amazon Purchase Links:

Amazon US ~

Amazon CA ~

Mirror World Publishing Purchase Link ~

Goodreads Link:


Follow the tour to read Guest Posts, Reviews, Excerpts, and Spotlights:


Meet the Author:


Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website:

Sharon’s Blog:

Sharon’s Facebook Page:

The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page:

Twitter: @sharonledwith:

Amazon Author U.S. Page:

Amazon Author U.K. Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Google+ Page:

Enter the Giveaway:

·         A signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

·         A custom crafted Babel Necklace

·         A signed trading card

·         A signed postcard

·         Two ‘The Last Timekeepers’ wrist bands




Tour Coordinated by:




Monday, April 6, 2015

Carrie Cross and her Skylar Robbins Series



Nikki Landry has invited Skylar Robbins to our houseboat on the bayou. Skylar has a series of her own. Check these out!




SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins is horrified to learn that she'll be stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn's creepy mansion for the summer. She has no idea how much excitement and danger awaits her in Malibu’s Shadow Hills.
As soon as Skylar arrives at the estate, unexplainable events begin to happen. She discovers a hidden garden in the huge back yard, and her new friend Kat pronounces it the perfect place to perform spells. Practical Skylar is skeptical, until the magic appears to start working.
Is Kat a real middle school witch and a true friend, or is she just interested in the cute stable boy? Did she use magic to control Skylar’s body, or was it all part of a complicated hoax? Who or what is making those terrifying noises up in Shadow Hills at night?
Rumors are flying and the locals are afraid. Kat challenges Skylar to take increasingly dangerous risks while she tries to solve the mystery. Armed with her detective tools, brains, and a huge dose of courage, Skylar will face her deepest fears to find the truth.  






SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds. 
Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school--like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles--get in her way? 




Meet the Author:


Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first "book" at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing The Mystery of Shadow Hills, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie Cross's influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.