Halloween . . . 2008 Friday

I hope you’ll pardon the brief, personal, and therefore, uninteresting post today.

Last night, in addition to meeting with contacts and a small informal signing, I went to House of Shock in New Orleans. What an experience! You can see and read all about the House of Shock here: It has to be the largest, the best, and the most frightening haunted house attraction I’ve ever been to. It is so frightening that one customer actually died from fright. I kid you not. The staff is numerous and well-costumed, the lines are long, and after attending this, no haunted house could hope to compare.

During my return drive today, I met with several teachers, librarians, and a principal in Brookhaven and in McComb. The good news on that as a result of these visits is that I’m going to present a program at the Mississippi School of the Arts in the future, as well as the McComb, MS Public Library. There are a few other programs in the works as a result of my queries, but I’ll let you know about those as they are confirmed.

I was so impressed with the students at the School of the Arts. THOSE are my kind of people. And after viewing a dance class, talking to some creative writers, and seeing visual artists hard at work (the artists are taught by my good friend, Tito) I’d have to say that the brightest and most creative kids in Mississippi are likely to be at this school. I was most impressed! And three of my books are now in the school’s library! I wish Louisiana would have been bold and loved the arts as much as Mississippi did when it created this school. You can see and read all about the school here:

I just arrived home from my two-day trip, and I did not make plans for tonight. I’m overloaded with work anyway. Perhaps I’ll watch a movie or two, but whatever I do, I know my thoughts will be on Halloween–one of my favorite nights of the year.

Book News: Pelican Publishing to Publish Two More of Pittman’s Children’s Books

After an exhausting Friday in New Orleans, an exhausting but exhilarating weekend at NELA Celtic Fest, I am delighted to share this news: Pelican Publishing in Gretna, Louisiana, has agreed to publish two more of my children’s books. These are working titles, as I know the publisher has the right to tweak things. The first is another alphabet picture book with a working title of The Little Confederate’s ABC Book.

News: Signings and Celtic Festival

Yesterday afternoon, I was at Tisket-a-Tasket on Decateur Street in New Orleans. The signing went well, and Ms. Lisa, the owner, as usual was a delight to work with. I met people from all parts of the U.S. including a couple of people from Scotland (They bought the Scottish ABC book) From there, I drove to the Barnes and Noble in Metairie. There, I worked on my online classes for a couple of hours, then presented story time. What a delightful group of parents and children I met!

Texas Vocabulary Quiz

I decided to look at again at James Lee Burke’s novel, Two for Texas. As words are important, I decided to make a little Texas vocabulary quiz from words in the book. Take the quiz and see how you do. The answers are below.

Vocabulary Quiz from James Lee Burke

Two for Texas by James Lee Burke: A Short Review

I’ve always tended to read by author. When I find an author I like, I do try to read everything they write. I’ve long enjoyed the award winning author James Lee Burke with his Dave Robicheaux novels, so I was surprised to read a bit of his historical fiction entitled Two for Texas (Hyperion 1989). I was pleased with the read.

The novel reflects intense research. As is typical in his other novels, Burke avoids stereotypical writing and creates so many memorable phrases. My supervisor at Louisiana Delta Community College, Karen Harmon, a wonderful writer herself, studied under Burke. I wish I had been able to. The back jacket gives this summary of the novel:

“Sam Holland and Hugh Allison have only one thing in common–they escaped from prison together.

Sunday

Junior League Hollydays

Today turned cool. I drove back from Baton Rouge early this morning to attend my grandson’s baptism. I had a long day yesterday at the Junior League’s Hollydays where I played my guitar and signed books for the Lollipop Tree Children’s Store in Baton Rouge. I was there from 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. You should visit the store’s site here: Their motto is, “Where Imagination Grows.” They are located between Kenilworth Parkway and Staring Lane, near Mount Hope Plantation, at 8476 Highland Road Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808 225-615-8069. As the signing went very well, it appears I’ll be doing more signings with them in the future. I’ve never seen such shopping madness! I met so many cool people, but I was so busy I never got to leave the booth to look around! The Junior League gave away a new Mercedes in a raffle (tickets were five dollars). Alas, my one ticket didn’t win.

The store is owned and operated by Meredith Benoit and this Saturday she was helped Saturday by her Brent, also posing with us in the picture below. He is a novelist himself and we had some good discussion about writing). Here we are at the event.

Here is Stephany, a young lady who is going to be a teacher.

Saturday night, Michele Aucoin hosted a little soiree in Assumption Parish for some of us musicians. Steve (from Arkansas), Krushev (from Assumption Parish) and I played songs and talked until past midnight. This was my first time back to the parish in quite a while. I couldn’t help noticing the major damage the last storm had inflicted on the timber and several buildings in the area. One of Krushev’s songs is one I loved by Mickey Newbury . I did a search and found the lyrics. You can read the bio of the songwriter and descriptions of his music here: I intend to purchase his music. I searched unsuccessfully for the song on iTunes. Anyway, the song touched me. I wish now I had recorded Krushev singing the song.

Nights When I Am Sane by Mickey Newbury

Nights When I Am Sane by Mickey Newbury

Chorus:

Well, it’s cold on this mountain
When Winter comes along
The dew in the meadow
Is sprinkled alone

This road down to Nashville
Like crystal and stone
Its a place where a man
Sells his soul for a song

God knows I loved her
Too much I can see
Much more than she
Could have ever, ever loved me
If I was the last man
In East Tennessee

Well, at times I feel I need the rain
At time’s I need the sun
Pleasure is a thread of pain
When it is undone

My moments of insanity
Are never like a chain
I only know I am not free
The nights when I am sane

So do not be concerned my love
If you should see me cry
For the laughter does not change
To free the happiness inside
Just as there may seem to be
A smile that

Return from Alba, Now to Baton Rouge

I just returned from a wonderful day at Alba-Golden ISD. I presented about eight programs. Some of the classes and teachers were in costumes. As usual, the students were full of questions and they really got into the program. The girls especially love the “Language of the Fan” portion of the

School Program Friday, October 17

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting my Civil War program in the library at the Alba-Golden ISD with Lori Hooten, a wonderful and committed librarian. I’m sure I’ll post a photo or two of my trip.

I love East Texas and this community is no exception. The city of Alba (once a coal town, believe it or not) is known as “The Little City with a Big Heart!”

The Welsh in the Confederacy

I’d long known and taught about the Irish and Scottish who filled the ranks of the Confederate Army. This weekend at the Bedford, Texas Celtic Heritage Festival, I learned about the Welsh who served the South. Jefferson Davis was of Welsh ancestry, as was Catesby ap Roger Jones surgeon and commander of the Confederate Iron Clad C.S.S. Virginia.