J.W. (Billy) Dunn and his family have deep, historical ties to Central Louisiana. Those who originally settled the Piney Woods section of the state were a tough, determined breed of pioneers. They were farmers who wrestled with the unpredictable weather and hard, economic times to raise a family in an unforgiving land. October Rain is a tale of a family’s struggle to hold on to their faith and to hold their family together. The writing is so strong that the reader will find him or herself living in their cabins, working with them in their fields, and hunting Louisiana forests.
A Review Anthony Wood’s White & Black: A Story of the Civil War
by Rickey Pittman, Bard of the South
A Story of the Civil War
White & Black: A Tale of Two Colors Volume I
Tiree Press, an Imprint of the Oghma Press
This historical novel is a fascinating and thoughtful account of the Antebellum South that like a polished diamond, has many facets. It is in many respects a bildungsroman, that shows the journeys, growth, and development of a young man, Lummy Tullos, in a turbulent, troubled time in America’s history.
This is a Civil War novel, though it thankfully avoids preaching and the overused stereotypes of Hollywood movies.
It is also a story of the conflicts, (inward and outward), struggles, and victories of the Tullos family in Mississippi and in Central Louisiana. Most importantly, this novel is a romance, a story of an intense but forbidden love between Lummy and Susannah, two people of different races. Lummy, in spite of the war descending upon them and his enlistment in the Confederate Army, he finds redemption in Susannah’s love, the love of his life and the only thing that will make him whole again.
Wood’s writing is excellent, capturing the idioms, vocabulary, and soul of Southerners. Using epigraphs, letters, and historical events, he takes the reader into the deep South so effectively that we will not forget this story. And remember: This is just Volume One.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ANTHONY WOOD is an award-winning and oft-published writer, a devoted historian, a minister, and a Civil War reenactor. Find his book on all streaming services, including Amazon.
A Review of Daisy’s One World Dance Entertainment Services
By Rickey Pittman, Bard of the South
“Dancers are the athletes of God.” — Albert Einstein
I am a musical artist by passion and vocation. Still, I have always admired and studied the artists of other art forms—especially dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, drama, cinema, and literature. I have always especially had great admiration and appreciation for dance presentations. So, it was with great delight that a beautiful, local, and very talented dancer here in Monroe introduced me to her performance dance crew based in DFW, Daisy’s One World Dance Entertainment Services,
This company, which also provides workshops in addition to performances, is creative, matching themes of bookings to make a memorable event. The variety of dances, performances, and services they provide is breathtaking. The company offers workshops, features presentations (often interactive) for Flapper Parties, a Fusion Belly Dance Act, Circus Style Performance act, Group Cancan Act, Music Video Dancers, LED (Light-emitting diode) Group Performers, Vegas Showgirls, Fire Shows, and Character impersonations. To see specific booking details (including price, time length of booking, etc.) of each of these options you must visit their website HERE: https://www.daisysoneworld.com Their services also include a promise to help customers organize the full line-up of the event, photographers, sound, lighting, and staging.
As you can see from the photos included in this post, the performers of Daisy’s One World Entertainment are beautiful, experienced, well-trained professionals, beautifully costumed, sure to amaze any audience.
If you are interested in learning more and perhaps booking first-class entertainment for your events, I encourage you to visit their website and sign up for their mailing list, and if an dance artist, perhaps consider membership. A few selected photos are below.
It’s time for Christmas shopping! Here are two fine Louisiana books–Remembrance, a historical novel, and Remembrance, a memoir–authored by J.W. (Billy) Dunn and edited by Rickey Pittman. Both books are available from Booklocker (see link below) and from Amazon! A perfect gift for any reader who loves Louisiana.
October Rain by J.W. Dunn is a historical novel relating the story of Thurston Knox and his family as they struggle to survive and prosper on his eighty-acre farm in North Louisiana in 1906. Beset by weather, a son’s rebellion, sickness, and death of loved ones, Thurston worries about his own impending death—a condition he has hidden from his family and continues pushing himself to plant an additional ten acres of cotton, determined to make his farm provide for his family after he is gone. However, his stubborn resolution precipitates events that threaten to destroy his family. Dunn and his family are long-time residents of Columbia in Caldwell Parish.
Remembrance is A Caldwell Parish memoir of the life of Creston Curtis Dunn, who lived in three centuries and in the second and third Millennium. Mr. Dunn was one of the most influential and interesting individuals in the history of Caldwell Parish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. W. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in history and English from the University of the State of New York, Albany, New York, now Excelsior College. He studied with Elaine Ford and Constance Hunting in the University of Maine’s graduate creative writing program. Dunn and his family have been long-time residents of Caldwell Parish.
For any interested in Louisiana, here’s a book trailer for October Rain, a historical novel by J.W. Dunn. (I was editor). I’ll soon be setting up book signings and getting the novel into libraries throughout the state. You can order a print copy from me by sending a mailing address by FB messenger or PayPal. Including postage the fee is $15.00. I’ll be having some excerpts in the near future to pique your interest. You may recognize the voice of Jed Marum in the book trailer, from our CD, Osceola and Foster: A Florida Story in Song by Jed Marum and Rickey E. Pittman. Please share this YouTube link!
October Rain by J.W. Dunn is a historical novel relating the story of Thurston Knox and his family as they struggle to survive and prosper on his eighty-acre farm in North Louisiana in 1906. Beset by weather, a son’s rebellion, sickness, and death of loved ones, Thurston worries about his own impending death—a condition he has hidden from his family and continues pushing himself to plant an additional ten acres of cotton, determined to make his farm provide for his family after he is gone. However, his stubborn resolution precipitates events that threaten to destroy his family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. W. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in history and English from the University of the State of New York, Albany, New York, now Excelsior College. He studied with Elaine Ford and Constance Hunting in the University of Maine’s graduate creative writing program.
An excerpt from chapter four, October Rain by J.W. Dunn:
Pulling his hands from his coat pockets, Luke fastened his collar button and tugged his hat brim down closer to his ears.
“Durn him!” His words spouted a fierce vapor into the cold dusk. He breathed into his cupped palms, rubbed them together then thrust his fists into his coat pockets again. The cold gripped his shoulders and neck, and in the dying light, he saw a lone brown thrasher scratching among the dry leaves under the hawthorn and huckleberry bushes that overhung the road ditch.
He figured he’d head for Seth’s place on the far side of Hennessey Creek, but the moon wasn’t going to rise until late, so he wouldn’t be able to see his way through the dark woods for several hours. He had often hunted and trapped in these woods, during daylight and at night, sometimes alone but usually with Seth and their ma’s younger brother, Matt Tarroll. Matt was four years older than him and only a year older than Seth, and they had worked and played and fished and hunted together since Luke could remember, and he felt at home in the pine woods that covered the ridge along which the Buskin Road curved and in the three- to six-mile-wide flat woods, which they called a swamp that lay on either side of Hennessey Creek. But every few years, a panther meandered through the countryside. Grandma Knox said the Hennessey swamp was part of the panther’s hunting grounds, and folks had heard it scream and seen signs of it, off and on, for years. Luke had heard it scream, too.
A Review by Rickey Pittman of Linda Apple’s
Winston’s World & Winston’s Words of Wisdom
“Everything I know I learned from dogs.” – Nora Roberts
Linda Apple is the author of women’s fiction, historical novels, and nonfiction as well as a motivational/inspirational speaker and a champion of literacy and promoter of new authors. She is one of the key organizers of the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference in Eureka Springs. She has written a series of chapter books detailing the life and adventures of Winston Wallace Apple, a Scottish Terrier. For this review, I chose to feature two books, both written from Winston’s point of view—Winston’s Words of Wisdom, illustrated by Dylan Hale and Winston’s World, the Way He Sniffs It, illustrated by Greg Moody.
Winston describes himself as TDIC (Top Dog in Charge) and the head of Apple Security. From his hilarious encounter with a turtle, to his explanation of dog communication through pee-mail, his adventures will bring a smile to the reader’s face. Winston will help youngsters think about a dog’s life, will increase the reader’s vocabulary, and his words of advice and questions he asks are thought provoking and enriching, excellent for parent-child discussions.
Reading these books left me with the same good feeling I experienced after viewing Bolt and listening to “Barking at the Moon” by Jenny Lewis. The short chapters are perfect goodnight readings for little ones or fun reads for any school-aged child who loves dogs.
Rickey Pittman, Bard of the South, October 17, 2023
Annika, Dark Angel of Lafayette Cemetery No. One
Annika, Dark Angel,
In Lafayette No. One,
She watches the tombs alone.
She knows their names by heart,
And their histories,
The year of each burial,
And forgotten mysteries.
There’s a cherub by a small grave,
Where a little child lies,
And an angel sits with folded wings,
Moonbeams touch her eyes,
She often sits by the Weeping Woman
Whose hands hold an ash-filled urn,
She is veiled and bare of feet,
At times her head can turn.
Some have heard the statue whisper,
Seen tears upon her face,
Shed for the living and lost,
Who are buried in this place.
One night she fell in love
With a lonely writer,
Who walked cemetery paths alone,
His heart was sad and bitter.
Taking on her human form,
She walked along beside him,
And softly took his hand and
Led him past graves sad and grim.
“Why do you come here?”
She asked quietly,
He said, “I need the silence,
And to search sad histories.”
As they walked along together,
They opened up their hearts,
Feeling the hand of fate
And the fire of new love’s sparks.
She said, “I’m glad you came here,
And that you weren’t afraid,
But there’s something you should know
Before mistakes are made.”
Dressed in a black and red tunic,
That contrasted with porcelain skin,
She opened dark angel wings,
“This is how I will begin.
“I am this place’s guardian
And I can never leave,
But I’ll love you with an angel’s love,
That I hope you’ll believe.”
In a pool of moonlight,
|She looked into his blue eyes,
And whispered, “I know I love you,
“And an angel never lies.”
He wrapped his arms around her,
And kissed her tenderly,
“I love you, my Dark Angel,
I’ll stay with you and not leave.
She kneeled at the Weeping Woman,
And said, “No, this can never be,
|For there’s only one dark way,
That you can stay with me.
“Your life is short,
Eternity here is long,
|But come see me every night,
Our love can still be strong.”
They met together every night,
Making love with many a kiss,
He read her poems and songs,
She knew she would one day miss.
The last time that he saw Annika,
She waited in the moonlight,
On a tomb she spread her wings,
Then vanished forever in the night.
A Walk on All Saint’s Eve
The Samhain night was as dark as death
When she entered the piney woods,
Her bare feet treading soft, sacred ground,
A candle lantern to guide her way,
On a night to honor ghosts of ancestors
And to face sad memories.
She had walked here before,
Under a full moon when blood is wild,
Under a new moon when lovers are enslaved,
This is a secret, sacred place,
She walks alone, a path shared by no other
On a Samhain night when the spirits
Of the dead are closest to ours and
Often will visit such magical places.
She lingers long, opening her heart,
And singing ancient songs.
A STRATEGIC TRAINING PRIMER FOR NEW DEMOCRATS
To be successful politically in these troubled times, after consultation with numerous Democrats, Antifa members, and supporters of Black Lives Matter, the author was able to organize a primer for young liberals that is sure to bring success to one’s political aspirations. Follow these suggestions. This should be enough to get you started.
- Avoid Fox News: Rely on CNN, liberal podcasts, MSBNC, etc.
- If you are ever put on a spot on a touchy issue, blame any difficulties on Trump.
- Never laugh or criticize President Biden, even if he falls, becomes confused, blacks out, shakes hands with an invisible person, or exits the stage prematurely or in the wrong direction.
- Accuse any who disagree with racism.
- Become a climate change warrior/fanatic against fossil fuels, any carbon emissions of appliances, etc.
- Minimize or show understanding for those committing violence or riots against conservatives or law enforcement, even shooting representatives at baseball games, or threatening Supreme Court Judges.
- Learn to deny, lie, spin, and talk without answering a difficult question.
- Politics can be very rewarding! Learn from those who know how to hide your cash and valuables!
- The Jefferson method: Hide $90,000 cash in freezer
- Menendez method: Hide a fortune of cash and gold bars in suits.
- It is not polite or civilized, but learn how to abuse conservatives in restaurants, town hall meetings, speakers at colleges or book events.
- Use Twitter and social media to shame, or threaten boycotts, etc.
- Disrupt or sabotage votes and meetings by flipping fire alarms, interruptions, etc.
- Criticize, dismiss, or ignore Democrats who do not follow the party line, i.e., RFK Kennedy, etc.
- REPEAT CONSTANTLY: The Border is secure!
Signing and Selling Books at Holiday Markets
“I’ve never met a holiday market I didn’t like.—Marissa Casciano
I am a storyteller, folksinger and songwriter, and the author of these three children’s picture books: Cajun ABC, Louisiana Animals ABC, and the Louisiana Night Before Christmas. Last week, I signed these books for several hours for three days. The event was Tinsel & Treasures, sponsored by the Junior League of Lafayette, held in the Cajun Dome, using the wonderful staff of volunteers. It is designed to help support the Leagues charities and causes. If you would like to learn more of this event, view the image below. HERE is the link for the event’s Facebook page.
My publisher (Pelican/Arcadia based in New Orleans) knows that the best time to sell books is the fall, the festive holiday season, so he made the decision to follow the money and attend the largest Holiday Markets in Louisiana, promoting the work of local Louisiana authors. Tinsel & Treasures was a very successful event for my publisher (and myself) and will be followed by Holidays in Baton Rouge (Oct. 18-21) at Cane River’s Center, and The Steinhauer Christmas Extravaganza, at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center (Dec. 8-10).
These markets are well-advertised festive events, and I always see many happy faces in spite of overpriced food, concessions, and drinks. Though the shoppers must pay to attend, they are eager and excited to see the numerous vendors. Excellent security is provided. The crowds are large and the full parking lots indicate a high degree of interest. Holiday music and sometimes live entertainment create a nice mood. There are door prizes and silent auctions for the women who attend. (There are very few men seen). If you attend, you will see an endless stream of well-dressed women shopping with friends, expectant mothers shopping for their little ones, moms with newborn babies carried in baby-sling-wraps, and wide-eyed pre-school girls or toddlers holding their mother’s hands as they learn to shop. The crowds are so large that baby carriages are only allowed in a few windows of time and shoppers are required to use clear shopping bags.
Pelican/Arcadia is the only book publishing company I’ve seen at these holiday events, though I have seen a very few individual authors with booths. Usually there are four local authors each day for the Pelican booth, and usually they work a two-hour shift promoting and signing their books, and then leave to do their own shopping or to return home. I always work a full day when I sign, working steadily without pressure or gimmicks, relying on the quality of my books and my elevator speech to move shoppers to action. I always gather new contacts for my school Songs & Stories programs. The event generally has a hospitality room for authors and vendors to serve snacks, meals, coffee and other drinks, which can take the edge and pressure off the hard work of marketing books.
Yes, it’s very physically demanding to work a holiday market, and often quite a drive for me as the events are in South Louisiana and I live in North Louisiana. Yet, when each day of pitching and signing my books is over, I join the Pelican staff for a late supper, and retire bone weary to my hotel for a short night’s sleep, rising in the morning to a hotel breakfast and coffee, and push myself through the next day’s book signing. Trying to make it as a writer is sometimes a brutal experience, but as one famous writer said, “All serious daring starts from within.” —Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize winning author and Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi volunteer