Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's Book Festival Time in Lake Charles!

It's Sunday morning. The sky outside my window is gray and cloudy, but the temperature is warm. There's a strong breeze and the trees outside are swaying. It's a great day for a cup of hot tea and a good book.
Speaking of books, I have been working very hard to get ready for the SWLA Family Book Festival which will occur next Saturday here in Lake Charles from 10:00 am until 2:00pm. We have it at the Central School for Arts and Humanities every year. There will be book signings, author readings, and activities for children (including the opportunity to read to a pony!). Come for the food and fun!
I have served as director for the past three years. It's hard work, but I absolutely love it! I get to meet writers from all over the southwest and share their stories with my community. And now I can share them with you!
At this time, we have twenty-two author/vendors bringing their works to share, sell and autograph. For my blog this week, which is a bit late due to the long hours I've been putting in to make the festival a success, I would like to share a little about each of the authors and their books. Most of them are represented online, either in their own websites or on Amazon, so if you see anything that "tickles your fancy" buy it! Or better yet, if you live locally, come to the festival! Then read the book/s you have selected and send the author/s a note telling them what you enjoyed most about their writing. They will love it! Writers work long, hard hours, often alone, to create the books and stories that keep us entertained on days like today. It makes sense to give them a "pat on the back" when we enjoy the fruits of their labor!
So, here they are...take a look and then buy their book. You'll be glad you did!
One word about the typing below: The book descriptions came from the authors or their websites. The terrible layout is courtesy this blog program that I have not yet mastered. So please forgive the different size type, the margin irregularities and the overall awfulness of the look below. I tried to "copy and paste" to save time! UGH! So have mercy, I'm still learning! But the content is still worth a moment of your time. :)

Joyce Richards Case from New Iberia, LA –
 Genre: Romance
·         Paper Dreams. Hope Davidson meets the man of her dreams, a man on a quest of his lifelong Paper Dream. In pursuit of his ambition, Winn Prichard wrestles with his feelings for Hope, a strong woman of faith. Dare he risk falling in love again? To take another chance at love, Winn loses sight of truth. His mistakes are too burdensome to reveal to her. Will his deceptions destroy her love for him?

Gail Parker from Ragley, LA –
Genre: Military/Action/Romance with Suspense Thriller
·         Zaphram, The Hidden Jewel. A passionate story of adventure and suspense continues, when a battle ensues over what could possibly be the world's best kept secret, hidden away in a remote part of the world, where alliances are formed and loyalties are tested.
·         Hidden 12, Intelligence Required. Genetically Enhanced Medical Soldiers are birthed from highly intelligent women, who are paid greatly and have agreed to return the children at age 5 to a classified government program. Procreation between the created Cells is forbidden. Kristyn becomes pregnant and must go on the run to hide their child, a daughter named Haven who must be kept hidden from government and terrorist groups for her own safety. Haven grows up in boarding schools, traveling from country to country, not knowing who she is or who her real parents are. But an unexpected tragedy happens, and a whole new world is opened up to her as she discovers who she is and the hidden gifts she possesses. Using her gifts, Haven secretly attaches herself to a dangerous mission to save lives held captive at the hand of a deadly terrorist.

Keke Chanel from Hammond, LA.
Genre: Suspense.
Suspense Fiction based on true events:
·         Diary of a Misunderstood Brother
·         Suffer No More
Suspense Series:
·         Sugar & Spice
·         Naughty or Nice
·         Paying the Price

Carolyn Mello from Orange, Texas.

Genre: Mystery/Suspense; Psychological Thriller

·         Murder Once Removed. After four years of marriage, Celeste feels trapped and betrayed. She decides it's time to hit the road; she packs a bag and writes a note to Sam saying that she's leaving. Before she can escape; however, Sam returns home unexpectedly--and Celeste disappears.

Melinda Taliancich Falgoust from Metairie, LA.

·         Genre: Children’s and Adult Suspense/Thriller
·      Her Royal Magesty, the Superhero Bride of Frankenstein. A piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of Lizzie McGillicuddy’s shoe could prove to the the biggest disaster in the entire history of the freckle-faced third-grader’s career until the errant strand becomes a fantastical queen’s train, then a magical superhero’s cape, and finally a spooky bride’s veil, proving that a little positive thinking can change your whole outlook on life…and save the class costume contest!

·       Footprints. In a tiny house, in a tiny town, lives a tiny girl who dreams of doing something BIG! Footprints is an award-winning (2015 Green Book Festival) environmental picture book that crosses cultural boundaries and invites readers to follow in young Aiko’s footprints as she journeys through the Japanese countryside and discovers the universal concept that the biggest differences can be made by the smallest hands…or feet!

·         The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold. There are only three rules in this action-packed award-winning (2013 New York Book Festival) middle-grade adventure novel: 1) follow the clues; 2) find the treasure; and 3) try not to get dead!

·         Lousy Liver. Charlie is hungry. He simply can’t wait. What will his dear mother put down on his plate? Lousy Liver is an award-winning (Oshima Picture Book Museum Int’l Picture Book Competition), deliciously whimsical tale that follows the imagination of a young boy as he devises one wild plan after another to avoid the lousy liver being served for dinner. Soon Charlie discovers something different isn’t always something bad.

Allyn M. Stoltz from Orange, TX

·         The Pea in Peanut Butter, Futureword Publishing
·         Kailee Finds Magic IN Words, Futureword Publishing
·         Hippo Bottomless. Futureword Publishing
·         The Color of Love, Mascot Books
·         Cookies for Punch, Guardian Angel Publishing

Mel LeCompte, Jr. from Westwego, LA – Children’s, Inspirational and Sports

T-Boy and the Terrible Turtle: One Rascal Reptile’s Trip Across the Bayou State. T-Boy was just a Louisiana kid—one with a Terrible Turtle that ran away! Oh yes, he did! And this Turtle visits 30+ Louisiana cities and towns (including Lake Charles, of course) before being caught, picking up tidbits, trivia, and cultural facts about each place along the way.”…a romp of a geography lesson.” ~Chere Coen, Louisiana Book News. (especially for Louisiana families.)

· The Ice Cream Cow: What Do You Do With A Cow That Does Not Moo? “The Ice Cream Cow reads with the cadence of Good Night Moon and the whimsy of Dr. Seuss”—IND magazine. (for first-time readers)

· Sharpened Iron: The Tee Cotton Bowl Story. The true story of the Tee Cotton Bowl—a game created by father-and-son McNeese grads, Tim and Jacob (“Timbo”) Fontenot. This “Bayou tale of grace, race, and small-town football” discusses the Ville Platte prep rivalry that has been blessed by John Paul II, awarded by entities such as Parade Magazine and the United Way, praised by NFL legend Tony Dungy, and featured on ESPN by NFL Films. (for faith and football fans!

Maria Ashworth from Richmond, Texas –

o   Over sixty percent of children are faced with divorce, remarriage, and the possibility of adding new siblings to their already existing lives. This story takes a less serious approach to a child’s life-altering event, and looks at the positive aspects of having a growing family.
o   This lyrical picture book for children ages 4 to 8 was nominated as a finalist in the picture book category for the 2012 National Association of Elementary School Principal’s contest!
·         Tommy James, The Littlest Cowboy In Reckon’, Meets Bo Jones  - Tommy James has no problem being the littlest cowboy in Reckon until Bo Jones makes his way into town and stirs things up. Bo Jones knows how to get under this little cowboy’s chaps. Tommy James puts up with this bully’s snide remarks for a while, but eventually shows him he has what it takes to keep up with the big boys. Tommy James may be little but he has the heart, determination and spirit of a giant.

Gwendolyn Reasoner from Hackberry, LA –

Genre: Children’s Inspirational Book Author.

·        Where Did the Day Go? This isn’t just another story—it’s the REAL STORY about our awesome God, the creatures, and all of us. When the beginning all began...

·          Winner of the 2015 National Illumination Book Award: Best Keepsake/Gift Book


Lynda Deniger  from Abita Springs, LA
The Salty Seas Series:
·         Salty Seas & His Heroic Friends - This is the story of a Louisiana shrimp boat named Salty Seas and his colorful pals; Sammy Seagull, Patti Pelican and Dottie Dolphin. The friends show they are made of the same stuff as heroes when Captain Charley is knocked overboard. Comes with a CD filled with songs!
·        Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill - Louisiana and much of the Gulf coast had barely recovered from the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina when the area was brought to its knees by the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history on April 20, 2010. Patti Pelican and Sammy Seagull of the "Salty Seas Series" were caught in the wake of this latest tragedy. Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill tells their inspiring story of rescue and release by the dedicated men and women who fought valiantly and tirelessly to rescue endangered wildlife trapped in the oil along the coastal waterways. This book includes an audio CD & Rub A Dub Sing-Along Song.
·        Lynda will share her musical program in a special presentation at the festival. Your children will be delighted with this one-author-act! Don’t miss it!

Arlon Davis from Orange, Texas –

Genre: Western fiction – “The Texas Man Series”

John R. Morella, Ph.D. from Lafayette, LA

Genre: Non-fiction/Psychology
·         A Guide for Effective Psychotherapy – Written for those searching for help for their emotional distress. A consumer’s guide to understanding the complexities of getting the right help.
·         Give Teens a Break! – A positive look at teens. Both teenagers and adults can benefit from the wonderful advice sprinkled throughout the research on how to interact and build positive, lasting relationships. Gain successful communication techniques.

B. Timothy Pennington, Ph.D. from Sulphur, LA

Genre: Paranormal, Non-Fiction
·         Science, Skeptics, and UFOs: A Reluctant Scientist Explores the World of UFOs. 
Deborah Lynne from Baton Rouge, LA – inspirational fiction

Mark Wayne Allen – From Merryville, LA

Genre: Sci-Fi & Christian Memoir

·         Star Siege - Imagine waking up in the midst of a catastrophe. You don't know who you are or why someone tried to kill you. That is the exact situation that Ted finds himself in. He doesn't know what to trust or even why he is rescued by a space cruiser. The cruiser just happens to be on its way towards the biggest calamity in recent star history. Is he a good guy or a bad guy and is he in any involved in the terrorist act on a planetary scale. All the answers to his life and the people around him lie in future time.

·         3 Lifetimes In 1: A True Story About Change And Redemption - This book is Mark Wayne Allen's memoirs about his life. Coming from a normal background of a fun-loving, active kid, he has withstood many trials of life and has had to begin his life again, not once, but twice.


Howard E. Bagwell, from Lake Charles, LA

Genre: Christian Fiction.

·         The Prodigal Son: The Long Way Home. This book reveals that lust—the lust for life, lust of the flesh, lust for money, lust for position, the pride of life, hidden family secrets, deception, and deceit—is never satisfied. Through all of life’s ups and downs, I realize I’m exactly where God wants me to be. The characters in this book have separate lives, seemingly on different paths; however, all of them return home where their lives began.

Clifford Neal – from Brookeland, Texas

 Genre: Biography and Historical Fiction
·         Kindred Spirits: First Generation. Kindred Spirits is historical fiction. A novel based upon the first generation of my personal family as immigrants to America in the late 1600s and early 1700s. With much fact and real circumstance, the story is that of William Neal. A frontiersman, farmer, businessman and explorer based in Virginia Colony, he gives a realistic glimpse into events behind the scenes of history and development of society, government and race relations between Indians, black slaves and land developers of the Ohio Valley and Virginia. It is a personal love story of intrigue and insight into the kind of people who founded our nation. It is intended to be the first of a series of books chronicling the eight generations of my family’s journey through history to date.

·         Hounded: Truman’s Story. Hounded is a true story of a master criminal that I came to know through ministry connections years ago. His name was Truman Mahoney and he was around 60 years old when I met him. After leading him to faith in Christ, he shared his life story with me. He was in witness protection by the federal government at the time and his story could not be told till after his death. Tragic, cruel, ruthless and yet oftenhumorous, as a member of a bank robbing gang, Truman paid a heavy price for his crimes. Much of his life spent in prison, mostly in Alcatraz, he was pardoned by President Lyndon Johnson in a witness deal. Caching great sums of money and loot during his crime career, the book chronicles the recovery efforts of the valuables and the ridiculous results. It is a revealing and fascinating saga.
Linda Leonard - from Iowa, LA
Genre: Self Help/Inspirational Fiction

·         The ABC’s of Success: 26 Keys to a Successful Life.This book was the result of a challenge from students and a plan which drew on the author’s life experiences and knowledge acquired from teaching.
·         Frugal Times – After retiring, a couple accept the challenges of life on a limited income. Learning to live with less resulted in having a more fruitful, rewarding and fulfilling life. Sometimes less is more!
·         Avi – A modern day story of the woman at the well.

Carol V. Weishampel, Ed.D., from Beaumont, Texas –
·         Grandma’s Ultimate Road Trip: Retired, Rejuvenated, and Raring to go from Texas to Alaska. At age 60, educator and single mom, Weishampel, fulfuills a life-long dream and challenge to drive her motor home to Alaska. Not content to be a tourist, Weishampel volunteers at an Alaskan youth camp, aids a struggling church and manages her usual information-packed side trips along the 13,000-mile trip.
·         Grandma’s on the Go: A single mom and her passel of kids hit the road with guts and gusto. Weishampel combines her love for travel as she leads her family of twelve kids on adventures through 26 states, Canada and Mexico to explore God’s creation, dig dinosaur bones, ride out storms and deal with flat tires. Crammed with camping ideas, trip-planning tips, and an appendix of helpful resources.
·         Adopting Darrell: A Mother’s Faith Journey Parenting a Profoundly Difficult Child. Weishampel opens her heart and home to angelic-looking Darrell—a “shaken”, abused baby whose horrific injuries leave him blind and profoundly retarded. What purpose do those such as Darrell have on earth? What is “shaken baby syndrome”? Weishampel leaves a legacy of hope for those who love a special needs or severely disabled child.
·         Dare to Dabble. Self-help. Memoirs of a right-brained tinkerer with helpful hints for creative writers and other crafty people.
·         Venture in Faith: Texas to Alaska, a Road Trip to Recovery. A novel. Stalked by an abusive ex-husband and in fear for her life, Leah’s faith in God and humanity is shattered. She flees to Alaska. Can she stop running and find healing?
·         Beneath the Surface. A novel. Confronted by secrets and lies that she had hidden beneath the surface of consciousness, will the past force Catherine from her comfortable life, husband and the children she loves?
·         Entwined. A novel. The lives of three strangers, Eva, Dalynne and Aurora, become entwined as each tries to untangle her knotted life. As they confess burdens, accept one another’s predicaments, and are challenged with assisting one another, can they make changes in their own lives? A sequel to Beneath the Surface.
·         Soul Sisters of Southeast Texas. A novel. Charlene and Jewel secretly shared the Fabulous Fifties to graduate from segregated schools on opposite sides of town, opposite ends of society and opposite sides of racial barriers. Can their friendship endure? Emotionally powerful and achingly true, the pain and heartache these women experience challenge the reader’s belief system of racial relations.
·         Silver Belles’ Bucket List. A novel. Sequel to Soul Sisters. Segregation is long past, but distrust is still rampant. Did Charlene’s and Jewel’s friendship survive the turmoil of the new century? The soul sisters face the challenge of completing a bucket list of adventures before senility, aching joints, and their families take away keys to the RV. Follow along on their hilarious road trip.


Eloise Huber, from Lake Charles, LA
·         The Tortoise and His Hair-
The Tortoise is seriously upset. All of his tortoise friends have slick, shiny heads—except him. He has a head full of HAIR! Will the Tortoise ever be accepted by his friends?
This is a new take on an old tale—children will love the funny illustrations and the lyrical text. This book will be a children’s favorite!


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