Tag Archives: Louisiana Book Festival

Missing New Orleans

I was offered a place at an artist’s residency called Soaring Gardens for the month of September. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to finance a month of writing without a source of income, so I launched a GoFundMe campaign. While I haven’t yet hit my goal amount, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the generosity and support of everyone who’s donated and that has made me more determined than ever that this is going to happen.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a list of what I’ll miss about New Orleans while I’m gone for the month. I’ve picked 6 things for the 6 days left of the fundraiser, which wraps up next Wednesday, August 20th.

1. My communities of friends, fellow writers and artists and other tango dancers. All the coffee dates, writing meetings and tango events that I would otherwise attend were I here. This includes one regular Peauxdunque Writers Alliance meeting and a special tango workshop with amazing teachers.

2. Saints games! I’ll miss the first 4 regular season games, unless I can find a local bar and convince them to show the games. The house is very rural, so this could be touch and go. But even if I do manage to watch them while I’m gone, I’ll miss the experience of watching them with friends *here* at places like Pelican Bay.

3. Speaking of Pelican Bay, one of my favorite things to do lately is pick up one of their daiquiris and take it to Indywood Theater (they’re close to each other on Elysian Fields and Indywood is BYOB). I’ve seen so many amazing movies there recently and their August calendar looks great. I’m afraid to even see what I’ll miss in September.

4. While this isn’t technically a New Orleans thing (or in Sept), I’m going to miss the So You Think You Can Dance tour at the Saenger on October 1st. I’ll be driving back from the residency then, unfortunately. Darn!

5. Whenever I’ve left Louisiana in the past, I’ve craved good red beans and rice as soon as I cross the state line. So I’m sure that will happen now. And I’ll miss the roast beef po’boy at Parkway Bakery. I’ll miss a lot of other favorite restaurants/dishes, too many to name, but I know I’ll miss being able to get those red beans and that roast beef po’boy. It’s only a matter of time.

6. I’m not sure what I’ll do without the New Orleans Public Library. While the house has a library, I have been so spoiled by our wonderful library system and librarians. Books, movies, music, all at my fingertips. They just had a wrap party for their summer reading program and had adult summer reading activities all summer as well. But, in any season, the library is my mainstay. I’m going to be very sad when I take all my borrowed books back, and when I suspend all my holds. That will be the moment when I’ll know this dream I’ve been working toward has become a reality.

I know I’ll miss so much more than this (and people will be the biggest part), but I think I’ll be surprised by what I’ll miss once I’m at the residency. Luckily, it’s only a month and I’ll be back for the Louisiana Book Festival and Words & Music and… It will be a lot of fun to enjoy those six things (and everything else) once I’m back, having missed them for a little while. I hope you’ll enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer in the meantime.

There will be a going away party/celebration this coming Sunday the 17th, starting at 2 p.m. at Pelican Bay. If you’d like to contribute to the campaign, send me off or just enjoy brunch and daiquiris, you should swing by.

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Filed under Creativity, food, Louisiana, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Women, NOLA Bloggers, The NoLA Life, Writers and Poets

NaNoWriMo 2013 Days 1-3

I know you’ve all been asking yourselves, “Will Emilie do NaNoWriMo this year?” And the answer is yes. But she’s… um I’m, breaking all of the rules. Which, in the past, has meant that I won’t “win” by achieving 50,000 words, but I’ll win in other ways. I think of it as continuing a game of pool after you’ve lost the game by sinking the eight too early.

I’m working on The Winter Circus again, dusting it off from a bit of a sojourn on the top, hard-to-reach shelves. That doesn’t mean I’m not working on Tango Face, oh no. It just means that I had to give myself permission to write whatever I feel like. Which means I had to accept that I might not achieve 50,000 words, that whatever I do achieve this month is more important.

So, on Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, I drove up to Baton Rouge and hung out with a friend who’s doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, as RedStickRedHead. Then, I met up with Josh Hanagarne, author of The World’s Strongest Libriarian, and we went to the Louisiana Book Festival‘s author party. Where we met Lou Gossett, Jr. Check it out:

Josh, Lou and Emilie

Josh, Lou and Emilie at the author party

I squeezed in 189 words that evening before midnight, just so that I could get some words in on the first day.

Day 2 opened with me catching a bit of Ronlyn Domingue‘s panel before hustling over to the State Capitol to interview Josh. It was my first live interview, but it was so much fun that I forgot to be nervous and just enjoyed myself. Here’s a picture Maurice took:

Josh and Emilie in conversation

Josh and Emilie in conversation

Later in the day, I popped in on Mary Manhein and Susan Larson‘s panels before heading over to Peauxdunque‘s Panel on writing groups. Then we headed over to Barb Johnson, Summer Wood and T. Geronimo Johnson‘s panel together. We wrapped up our festival experience by taking this photo:

Peauxdunque at the Louisiana Book Festival

Peauxdunque (Tad Bartlett, Terri Shrum Stoor, me, Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Susan Kagan) at the Louisiana Book Festival

It was a long, enormously fun day, so I was exhausted by the time I got home from Baton Rouge. I wrote just to add to my words, but I only managed 280 words before passing out.

Today, Day 3, has been a recovery day for the most part. Though, I word warred with RedStickRedHead and eked out another 461 words. My friend, cupcake on the NaNoWriMo site, is also working on an ongoing book, so we met up at our NaNo headquarters and we talked about how we may have to count our NaNo in hours, as well as words, since we’re doing some editing as well as writing. We’ll see how it will all come together. We’ll be further along than we are now, even if we don’t “win.”

Total words so far: 930. Hours: maybe 1

 

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Who’s got the brag?

I think this may end up being my most massive brag ever.

As usual, Tad has done a fabulous job of keeping track of Peauxdunquian achievements in real time. For instance that Cassie Pruyn is second runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom’s poetry category, that J.Ed Marston and Tad Bartlett are both finalists, that Maurice Ruffin’s upcoming reading October 3rd, plus much, much more. So I hope you have the Peauxdunque blog bookmarked.

Jeff Roedel was one of 30 writers asked to write a story responding to a photograph by William Greiner for the book Show & Tell.

The Spring 2013 issue of The Eudora Welty Review features Alison Graham-Bertolini’s “Searching for the Garnet Pin.”

The Devil In Her Way by Bill Loehfelm was a “best new local book” on the Best of New Orleans list, picked by Gambit readers.

Ava Leavell Haymon is now Louisiana’s Poet Laureate! Her official induction will be October 24th. Also, her new book of poetry Eldest Daughter was published recently. I attended two events this week where she read from the book, including at a Women’s Week event yesterday at the Baton Rouge Art Gallery, along with Jamey Hatley and several amazing women writers.

Dispensations by Randolph Thomas won the New Rivers Press MVP Prize and will be published soon!

Jenn Nunes has three short fiction pieces at Fiction Southeast.

Blood a Cold Blue by James Claffey is now available. The official launch is this Friday! I love this blog post from his wife Maureen Foley, about being a couple who both write and both of their books being published at the same time.

Che Yeun’s story “One in Ten Fish Are Afraid of Water” has been selected as the winner of Philadelphia Stories‘ Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction.

Jewel Bush has written several articles for The Uptown Messenger, including a recent one celebrating the 30th anniversary of Community Book Center.

The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans by Susan Larson has been published!

Cam Terwilliger will be writing an ongoing “field notes” series about his year in Montreal on a Fulbright Scholarship.

L. Kasimu Harris was featured on WDSU‘s pregame show tonight and was photographed by Daymon Gardner for the December issue of Travel + Leisure, which will be available in Nov. Check out this picture that Giancarlo Dagostaro took of the session.

Kasimu

NOVAC’s Web Weekend has three more days to raise the last $200 of their $5,000 Kickstarter campaign goal. Go check out what they have planned for the Weekend, next month, and see the swag they’re offering their backers. Eritria Pitts of She is Alex will be part of the Web Weekend and you can check out her short “Blind Date” to whet your appetite.

Speaking of Kickstarter campaigns… I don’t technically know JJ Tiziou, but I kinda feel like I do since his project “Everyone Is Photogenic” is changing my life. Ever since I saw the video for the campaign, I can’t tell you how many many times I’ve heard someone I care about respond badly to a photograph of themselves. Whenever they do this lately, I bring up this project and we have a great conversation about confidence and photography and beauty.

The t.v. show I spent part of last year and the first half of this year working on has released an incredible trailer. I get chills every time I watch it. The show, True Detective. will air on HBO early next year. Makes me very proud to have been part of it.

Speaking of being proud of a project, 12 Years a Slave opens on the 18th and I’m eager to see it. Hearing the Oscar talk now reminds me of the conversations we had while working on it last year – we knew it was special and we knew it was important. It’s going to be incredibly emotional to watch and I’m so glad it got made.

Since I promised that I will self-brag when appropriate, here’s some news about me and my work. Since my last brag, my reviews of Bill Loehfelm’s The Devil in Her Way and Suzanne Johnson’s Elysian Fields were published in 225. Karin C. Davidson interviewed me for Hothouse Magazine. It was a great experience and I’m honored to be a part of this series, which includes great interviews with Brad Richard and Andrew Lam, among others.

Next month, on the 26th, I will read “Tango Face” at a special event at Cafe Istanbul. Orquesta Fleur will play live tango music, there will be dancing and readings about tango and its history. Should be very cool. At the Louisiana Book Festival (Nov 2nd), I will be conducting a live interview with Josh Hanagarne, author The World’s Strongest Librarian, and presenting a panel with fellow Peauxdunque members Tad Bartlett, Susan Kagan and Maurice Ruffin, which is pretty exciting. And shortly after that, “Tango Face” will be published in the Double Dealer, coinciding with this year’s Words and Music Festival (Dec 4-8). The last quarter of 2013 is looking to be very productive.

Speaking of quarters…I owe y’all my 3rd Quarter Review soon. I hope you enjoy all of this bragging for now – these people and these projects are amazing, so go spend some time with them.

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Filed under art, Baton Rouge, books, bragging on, coolness, freelance work, Friends, movies, New Orleans, poetry, pop culture

‘Tis the Bragging Season

This bragging posts follows up on a few items mentioned in my last bragging post – Bragging on the River.

First, I really should brag on the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. We put on a stellar first event in our new series of literary concerts, Yeah, You Write. It was an unforgettable evening, made even more so by the participation of our exceptional performers (Amanda Boyden, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Smith, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, Terri Stoor), as well as MC Nick Fox, DJ Sep and Lee Ware from Faulkner House Books. We’ve begun work on the next event in the series.

I’d like to brag on the folks at the State Library of Louisiana, who orchestrated yet another fabulous Book Festival. My only complaint is that I hope we’ll finally get a 2-day festival because there were too many incredible authors and events competing for my attention at the same time! They always pick the one day of the year guaranteed to be beautiful in Louisiana. I don’t know how it works out that way every year, but it’s always a good time to visit Baton Rouge.

Two weeks after the Louisiana Book Festival, Words & Music went down and one of the biggest highlights for me was the Awards Banquet on Friday. For someone like me, who lives to brag on my friends, the banquet was a feast of bragging. So many of our number were recognized, as well as new friends, and it was really thrilling and inspirational. But Rosemary and Joe of Faulkner House Books deserve a grand brag for all of their work on the conference, which is always an amazing experience and a lot of fun.

Flood Streets (a feature film by Peauxdunquian Helen Krieger and her husband Joseph Meissner) had an encore screening at the New Orleans Film Festival in October and they’re now offering gift packages to raise money for the next round of their festival tour. They’ve almost reached their goal – less than $500 to go!

I think Maurice Ruffin has made it a personal goal to be bragged about in all of my “bragging on” posts because he has yet another bit of publication news. His short short story “Mr. Face” will be published in Stephen F. Austin University’s Regarding Arts and Letters Magazine in April 2012.

Christopher Shipman‘s book of poetry Human-Carrying Flight Technology was published last month by BlazeVOX.

Hal Clark (also known as Harold Ellis Clark) of WYLD’s Sunday Journal has been named a semi-finalist in Organization of Black Screenwriters‘ 2011 Original Script Contest for his feature script, Chummy’s Spirit.

Ronlyn Domingue has signed a 2-book deal with Atria Books, the publisher of her first novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, for The Mapmaker’s War (Spring 2013) and Lead Us Whole, Beautiful Child (Spring 2014). Ronlyn’s been working hard on these two interconnected novels for the past five years and they’re highly anticipated!

DaVida Chanel‘s play Hip Hop Is Alive was performed last month at the New Orleans Fringe Fest.

Long-distance Peauxdunquian (while she’s studying writing at Johns Hopkins, that is) Joselyn Takacs is a finalist in Narrative’s 30Below Fiction Contest for her short story “Flares of Little Warning.”

Congrats to everybody and may the rest of the year be filled with good news to brag about!

 

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Filed under books, bragging on, movies, New Orleans

Bragging on the river

Rolling on the River was one of my favorite songs growing up. They played it every Friday on the radio station that Mamma Mia! and I listened to when she drove me to school. So, I couldn’t resist the pun. Please forgive me! 🙂

This bragging on post is packed with events everybody can attend, so get out your calendars.

First, as I hinted at in my last bragging post, Peauxdunque is hosting a huge, spectacular event. Yeah, You Write is a series of biannual literary concerts that the PWA will host. The first event takes place at Tipitina’s Thursday, October 13th. That’s a week from tomorrow. Our lineup is incredible: Amanda Boyden, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Smith, Kelly Harris-Deberry, Mat Johnson and Terri Stoor. Check out the flyer for the event:

In related news, Peauxdunque member Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s essay “Cheating the Muse,” will be published in Apalachee Review next year.

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson‘s memoir/travelogue/social commentary My Life as Laura has been published by Press 53. The subtitle says it all: “How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself.”

Engine Books will be publishing Echolocation by Myfanwy Collins, Consulting Editor for Narrative Magazine, in March 2012.

Charlotte Hamrick of NOLAFemmes and Traveling Mermaid has had her poem “Milk for Free” published in Mad Swirl.  Three of her poems will be published in the Feb. issue of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Don’t forget to nab tickets for the New Orleans premiere of Flood Streets at the New Orleans Film Festival and featuring Harry Shearer, who will be at the premiere to answer questions afterwards with Helen Krieger and Joseph Meissner. I’ve had a chance to see an earlier incarnation of the film, so I know you’ll enjoy it.

I have two stories in the October issue of 225 Magazine. One of them is about the return of the Louisiana Book Festival, which is itself an enormously brag-worthy event. Not only is it back, it’s bigger and better than ever this year, featuring many of the writers I’ve bragged on and reviewed for 225. The Festival takes place on October 29th and it’s a free event where you can hear many of your favorite authors read, buy their books and get them signed. It’s one of the highlights of my year every year and I am so glad it’s just in a few weeks. Check out the site for information about the WordShops and the Author Party, which take place the day before the Festival. It’s basically the best weekend to be in Baton Rouge all year long. Guaranteed. I’ll see you all there.

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Filed under Baton Rouge, book news, bragging on, Friends, movies, New Orleans

Louisiana Book Festival Flash Mob

So sad thinking about the Louisiana Book Festival not happening this year. What if we all just showed up anyway? #louisianabookfestival 43 minutes ago via web

What do you say?

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Taking a strong circumstance

My newest 225 Magazine piece is up on the website. This one is a profile of David Madden’s new book Abducted By Circumstance.

In really sad news, a little birdie just told me that it looks like the 2010 Louisiana Book Festival will be canceled. Time for an enormous half million dollar fundraiser, y’all. We can do it. Me? I pledge to volunteer my time and I’ll draft two or three of my friends. No, FIVE! Just don’t cancel the festival!

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Filed under book news, books, literature, writing updates

Hey Dancing Heart

The title of the post is the title of a personal ad I happened to see. I love it, so I’m kinda playing around with it to see what it fits. Because I just have to use it. 🙂

Life’s been kinda chaotic. My temp job came to an end and the very same day (after my going-away party, awwww), I drove up to Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Book Festival. Many of my friends were on panels and Jamey was kind enough to invite me to share her gorgeous hotel room. That first night, we were driven in style to the Author’s Party at the State Library – which was good, because I hadn’t packed for the cold and that’s a bit of a walk from the hotel! We met some really amazing people, caught up with old friends and ate wonderful food from Mansur’s in the stacks of the State Library. There is nothing like witnessing your friends being celebrated, so it was a good night. Jamey and Barb met up with the folks from the Oxford American who’ve published them this year, as well as other writers-including Alex Cook, who not only writes for Oxford American, but 225 Magazine and Country Roads as well. And it turns out we have a decade-past M’s Fine and Mellow Cafe connection, so that was cool. Louis and his wife Elly were there and I got to see my mentor David Madden as well. After we were put into the last cars back to the hotel, some of us decided to go out on the town a bit, though we had to be up early, and that was a blast as well.

The whole time we were at that end of downtown, near the LSU Museum of Art and the hotel, close to the river, I was having fits of nostalgia, some really powerful flashbacks. Nearly ten years ago, the hotel was a ruin and the museum wasn’t there. Downtown was a ghost town after 6 p.m. when all the government workers would flee the encroaching darkness. M’s Fine and Mellow and Tabby’s Blues Box were pretty much the only things open and the year that I became a regular at M’s (every Tuesday, open mic night) was a year of my personal blossoming. I met many of my friends then and there, I forced myself to come out of my shell more. And it really felt like the place was ours, empty and dangerous as it may have been. Now the mural that used to be on the side of M’s is gone, replaced by a painted sign for The Roux House, which occupies the same space. The parking lot I used to park in is the cradle of the gorgeous museum, whose rooftop offers a breathtaking view of the river. Tabby’s is gone and in its place, a club my friend Daniel Lee plays at sometimes, I think. I met Daniel that very first Tuesday I went to M’s, grabbed his hand as he passed by my table and told him how much I liked his music. He thanked me and sat down to talk. These days, downtown Baton Rouge is full of life and it’s great to see. It’s not the same, but it’s still a beautiful thing.

The day of the Book Festival was glorious and overwhelming. I don’t know what voodoo the organizers of the Book Festival do, but there always seems to be gorgeous weather for the festival. Sometimes it’s hot, but as far as I can remember, it’s always been clear. This year, it was chilly with such a crystalline blue sky, you felt like you were walking around in an advertisement.

I had to pop in and out of panels to see everybody, but I feel satisfied with my glimpses and experiences. Barb in the enormous Senate Chamber with Rick Bragg et al for just a few minutes. Then, Louie’s book reading where I ran into a friend who is coincidentally a fan of his and was gratified to hear another reader say, “I picked up your book because of the piece I read in 225…” Then, a thrilling ride in a golf cart with Elly and Louis to the signing tent – Elly and I crying, “Wheeeee!” and urging the driver to go faster on the sidewalks around the Capitol building and Louie trying to act like he didn’t know either of us.

After chatting with Louie and Elly for a few minutes, I wandered around some of the vendor tents, stopping to talk to the great folks who publish me occasionally at 225 Magazine. It was really nice to put a face to the e-mail conversations. I’ve known my editor, Jeff Roedel, since our days in the Cinema Club together at college, but I hadn’t met Tom Guarisco, 225‘s editor, though we’d communicated. One of the downfalls of freelancing, though it’s so great when you get to have a face-to-face. I’d never spoken with Rachael Upton, the online news editor, but I was very pleased to meet with her there at the festival. She does really great work with the website and she just happens to be really nice.

And then it was back into the Capitol building for a whirlwind of panels. A few minutes in the “Humor in Welty” panel that some professors of mine from LSU were on, and then across the hall to Barb’s very intimate reading from her book, More of This World or Maybe Another. She read from the story “Killer Heart,” and there was this one particular line (won’t say which, not out of context) where I felt like she’d reached over and punched me in the stomach. I made an audible sound, a sort of agonized, “Oh,” and that’s probably one of the best compliments I can give a writer. Especially a short story writer because, as I confessed to Barb later that night, I struggle to read and write short stories. There’s something about them that is harder for me than novels. They’re very different beasts. More on Barb and her book in a few paragraphs.

I had to leave Barb’s panel to get to Jamey’s “Work-in-Progress” panel with our teacher Moira Crone and another writer named Maggie Collins. It was really great to hear Moira read her piece. Jamey’s was material I had heard about, but never read (or heard). She prefaced hers by saying that it truly was a work in progress as she’d been working on it that morning at breakfast. I can attest to the truth of that. 🙂

Again, I had to duck out early from the “Works-in-Progress” panel to get to Toni’s panel about the Bobbie Faye books. She was entertaining her crowd with behind the scenes stories about the repackaging of the series and they asked a lot of questions about whether there’d be a fourth Bobbie Faye book (yet to be determined), one reader even going so far as to passionately say, “I think you owe us that story.”

The rest of the day was conversations, drinks and then a long, wonderful dinner. And then a long, not-so-wonderful drive back to New Orleans, getting back late at night/early in the morning, whichever way you look at it. Sunday was a recovery and packing day, catching up two friends for lunch and dinner respectively, before driving to Georgia on Monday.

Tuesday, I attended a press session with some of the Top 10 dancers from Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance. It’s interesting covering an event as press when you are also a fan of whatever you’re covering. It was hard to be cool and professional when talking to Evan, for instance.  At one point, he was playing lacrosse with one of the tour folks and the ball rolled up a hill to land at my feet. I got to toss it to him and I was giggling girlishly (in my head, oh, I hope it was just in my head) as I tossed it back to him. Hold onto that journalistic integrity with all your strength. You’ve got to, as there’s still something of a prejudice against bloggers (I was there representing Pure SYTYCD, not my personal blog). I think the dancers definitely appreciate the bloggers from the fan sites cause they know their names and stuff about the show – also, as “my boys” (Phillip, Jason and Evan) pointed out, one of the recent fan site bloggers knew a lot of stuff that was going on with the tour that only the dancers knew!

Also, an advantage of blogging? Immediacy. A disadvantage at times, maybe. But, that day, total advantage. I was able to go to a nearby Kroger with a Starbucks (and wifi) and upload the pictures I’d just taken for our readers. Check out the post I did that afternoon here. I’ve been struggling on a book for years that relatively few people have seen, so it’s nice to have something in my life that I can write and have thousands of people see immediately. It’s helpful to have some instant gratification in my life and career.

It was another long day as Mamma Mia! met me at the Arena for the show that evening and the show itself was several (wonderful) hours. And then, being the total dorks and enormous fans that we are, we stayed afterwards (hours in the cold) for the meet and greet with the dancers. All of the dancers I’d met that afternoon remembered me when we met late that night. Unfortunately, most of my pictures didn’t turn out all that well, but I had some good conversations I will always remember and I did get a picture of Evan’s and my almost-matching wrist tattoos. It was both a freelance opportunity and a great bonding experience with Mamma Mia! Lyndsey Parker (Reality Rocks) set a great precedent when she took her mom to the American Idol finale. Take your mom to work, payback for all those “take your daughter to work” days growing up. 🙂

And then, of course, we got to watch the Top 20 announcement episode together the next night. Had dinner with high school friends and their daughter my last night in town and then rocketed back to New Orleans on Friday – especially for a book party for Barb.

Let me say one more time – it’s a wonderful thing to see your friends celebrated and no one deserves it more than Barb. Hosted at a gorgeous Midcity home right off the bayou, the event was simply breathtaking, what each and every one of us can aspire to one day. Reward for finishing and publishing our books. Earlier in the day, I’d been reading More of This World or Maybe Another at Cheers and Barb’s story “If the Holy Spirit Comes For You” made me cry in public. If you can make me laugh out loud on buses or cry in my local coffeeshop, you have completely moved me, sucked me into your world and, as I said earlier, that is the highest compliment I can pay a writer. I was so mad at the characters in that story and so mad at Barb for pulling all these emotions through my skin (painfully) and out of my body with her words. But apparently, it’s great advertisement for her brilliance because my neighbor S. saw how upset I was and when I told her why I’d been crying, she said, “I can’t wait to read that book!”

And that pretty much brings us up to date, to now. I’ve fallen out of the habit of being at Cheers everyday [:(] and today, just now, I noticed that they painted over the bathroom graffiti. It was really disorienting and kinda sad. But then, I just told myself – it’s a blank slate, a clean canvas. Like my book. What was there was great, but what will be there will be better. And I can’t wait to see what it will be.

Two people at the festival told me, “it’s your turn soon, to sit over there and sign books.” I have to take their faith in me and make it my own. And do the freaking work.

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Filed under bragging on, family, freelance work, Friends, So You Think You Can Dance, writing updates

Getting to brag on some friends

On Wednesday, I opened up my e-mail newsletter of Publisher’s Lunch and read a hysterical blurb for a recently-sold book, realizing that the recently-sold book is by one of my first fiction teachers at LSU! We’d caught up a few years ago at AWP and through Facebook, so I got to congratulate her the old fashioned personal way (if not old fashioned face-to-face) and now I’m congratulating her publicly and *commanding* all of you to write down the name of this book, cause you’re going to love it:

Robin Becker‘s BRAINS: a zombie memoir, the first-person account of a college professor-turned-zombie who retains his sentience and recruits others like him on a heroic quest to fend off the living while searching for the meaning of un-life, to Gabe Robinson at Harper, in a nice deal, for publication in Summer 2010, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management (NA).

Then, on Friday, it came to my attention that finalist results for the Faulkner-Wisdom awards were up on the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society website. Without further ado, congratulation shout-outs to:

Maurice Ruffin (short story finalist, still in the competition), Jenn Nunes (novel-in-progress finalist as well as short story semi-finalist), Jane Stubbs (novel-in-progress finalist), Susan Kirby-Smith (novel-in-progress finalist), Penelope Dane (novel-in-progress finalist), Mark Spitzer (novel finalist and husband to Robin Becker above), Missy Wilkinson and yours truly (finalists for the novel category).

In Maurice’s Facebook note “A Fine Time to Be a Teller of Tales,” he said something that really struck me:

…I think this news is proof that we have a strong community of writers in New Orleans. I also think that 100 years from now people will look back at the stuff we made and ask “what on Earth was going on in New Orleans?” “Jamey Hatley and Emilie Staat were coffeeshop mates?” “Maurice Ruffin knew Terri Stoor?” “Bartlett and Marston wrote a novel together…via the internet? That’s crazy.”

I’m so glad to be included in such a constellation of bright lights and so very proud of everybody, especially all those LSU folks. Jamey Hatley won the novel in progress award just a little while ago, as did my dear friend Mary McMyne, both of whose novels are *highly* anticipated. I can’t tell you how honored I’ve always been to be among such talented people, to get the chance to learn from them.

And then there’s Barb Johnson, who recently won the highly prestigious Gift of Freedom and whose book More of This World or Maybe Another is out in October. Write that title down as well.

And these are just a handful of the folks who have big, bright news about their writing at the moment. We have such a great community of incredible writers here in South Louisiana. I look forward to lots more news in the near and foreseeable future and I also anticipate seeing many of these folks at Words & Music and the Louisiana Book Festival, if not sooner. Can’t wait! Congratulations everybody!

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