New Project – Rich Fabric, an Anthology

I am thrilled to be a part of this!!  Thanks for all of your hard work, Melinda!!

New Project – Rich Fabric, an Anthology.

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Illuminating Blogger Award

 

A hearty thank you goes to fellow Southerner, Amber, for nominating me for an Illuminating Blogger Award! I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I’m extremely proud of my Southern heritage and that I love writing about the things that make Louisiana such a unique place to live.  I have a passion for all things Southern:  the food, the people, culture, the scenery, the list is endless!  Thanks again, Amber, and be sure to visit her site!  It’s wonderful!!!  www.fortheloveofthesouth.com

Here are the rules: The rules: (1) thank the person who nominated you for the award; (2) share one random thing about yourself; (3) nominate five other bloggers that you think deserve this award

One Random Thing About Myself:

I can quote movie lines and useless trivia like nobody’s business!

Five Illuminating Bloggers:

Melinda McGuire Writes

My Curious Palate

Cajun Kathy’s Collection

Garden Plots

Magic in the Backyard

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Southern Creatives: Guest Post – Rhonda Dennis

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today, Melinda!

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Why South Louisiana?

Guest post by Rhonda Dennis, author of the Green Bayou Series
 

Before I had a plot and characters, I knew that I wanted my series to take place in South Louisiana.  Sure I might be prejudiced because it’s where I’m from, but in actuality, it goes much deeper than that.  I’ve traveled the United States and Mexico.  I’ve shivered atop snow-capped mountains and sweltered in the arid desert.  I’ve tanned (okay, burned) on sandy beaches and admired miles and miles of flat farm land.   Though there is no doubt that these areas are indeed beautiful, they don’t offer the qualities that are unique to my home state.

How mysterious and intriguing are the swamps and bayous of Louisiana?  The dark, alluvial waters hold countless secrets from days of yore.  The waterways were/are the essence of who we are.  We live along them, on them, and…

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Get Your Cajun On!!!

Respectfully borrowed from Cajun Kathy’s Collection www.cajunkathyscollection.wordpress.com.  Check out her website for cute, sassy, and delicious Cajun merchandise!!  I hear she sells signed books written by a really talented author, too. 😉  www.cajunkathyscollection.com

YOU MIGHT BE A CAJUN IF:…..

  • ·         Watching “Wild Kingdom” inspires you to write a cookbook.
  • ·         You won’t eat a lobster because you think it’s a crawfish on steroids.
  • ·         You take a bite of 5-alarm Texas chili and reach for some Tabasco.
  • ·         You pass up a chance to meet the president to go to the Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge
  • ·         Your children’s favorite bedtime story begins with, “First you make a roux…”
  • ·         You’re asked in school to name the four seasons and you reply, “Onyons, celery, bell peppers, and garlic.”
  • ·         You think the “Fab Four” are ”Paul Prudhomme, John Folse, Justin Wilson, and A.J. Smith”.
  • ·         You let your black coffee cool and find it has gelled.
  • ·         You describe a complete breakfast as some deer sausage, grits and a yard of boudin.
  • ·         None of your favorite vacation spots are north of Abbeville.
  • ·         You sit down to eat boiled crawfish and someone says, “Don’t eat the dead ones” and you know what they mean.
  • ·         You refer to Louisiana winters as “gumbo weather”
  • ·         You gave up Tabasco for Lent.
  • ·         You learned bourre’ the hard way – holding yourself upright in the crib.
  • ·         You don’t know the real names of your close friends – only their nicknames.
  • ·         You can look at a rice field and can tell how much gravy it’ll take for that much rice.
  • ·         Your high school’s rendition of the national anthem begins with, ”Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo…”
  • ·         You stand up when they play “Jolie Blon.”
  • ·         You consider Breaux Bridge the state capitol.
  • ·         You think the Mason-Dixon line is at Bunkie
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Mommas Rock, So How About a Free Gift?

I think that all mothers deserve to be celebrated, and not just the biological ones!  So, as an early Mother’s Day gift to all you nurturers out there, I’m giving away copies of Awakenings: A Green Bayou Novel Book Two (Kindle edition) this weekend!!  (May 4th – 6th)  Enjoy and be sure to pass this along to all of your friends so they can enjoy the free gift, too!!

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Meet Southern Fiction Writing Sensation–Melinda McGuire

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If you enjoy reading books set in old-time Southern days of yore, I’m talking about the Reconstruction and the Great Depression, then do yourself a favor and check out Melinda’s work.  I’m a huge fan of her book, Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey and her newest release, Nelson and Cora: The Beginning did not disappoint.  I’m anxious to see where her stories will lead us.  Melinda’s writing style is so uniquely Southern, you’ll feel as though you should be sipping a mint julep on the gallery while reading her stories.  She was nice enough to allow me to interview her, so check out what she had to say:

 

How and when did you discover your passion for writing?

I think most people who write probably have the same answer. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write, but I also don’t remember not reading. These go hand in hand. I do remember filling many a spiral ringed notebook with epic stories that branched off in all sorts of directions. And, I introduced and killed off characters at random. That was interesting. I still have some of those notebooks locked away in my mother’s hope chest.

Is there a particular genre that you prefer to write?

Southern fiction. I think it starts and stops with me there. Within that genre, I enjoy historical fiction and humor. After I finish the Nelson and Cora trilogy, I have plans for an action series with a lead character that is also Southern. You can take the writer out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the writer…

 

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What sort of books do you enjoy reading?

If I am reading strictly for pleasure, my go to author is William Faulkner. His writing is brilliant. I read Absalom, Absalom! and I am amazed at how good that story is. He was a master of language, a student of human kind, and above all, he was an excellent story teller. I also read O’Connor and Welty. I read Gone With the Wind at least once every few years. I’d add To Kill a Mockingbird and Capote’s In Cold Blood to my list of favorites. If I am reading to help me improve my writing skills, King’s On Writing, Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones are my go to books.

 

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Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey is the first book in The Hefner Falls Series and is set during The Great Depression.  What drew you to this time period?

I actually saw Mae and the dirt road first in my mind’s eye, then Josephine on the porch. Their dresses, the road, the appearance of the house, they all were from the Great Depression. I picked up that ball and ran with it. The more I wrote and researched that time period, the more I came to enjoy it. The music, the movies, the way of life – gardening, canning, quilting, so much from that time period is still alive and well.

For such a naive and simple person, Josephine’s character is incredibly poignant.  What was your inspiration/motivation for this character?

Josephine, I love her, but then I want to just shake some sense into her. I think part of her can be found in all of us – the idea that we know best, that we can make any situation work the way we want. I know quite a few people who are screaming “You aren’t going to get the best of me,” while they are getting schemed and scammed. There’s more to Josephine than meets the eye. I think if you just label her as a “hussy” or say she’s loose morally, you’ve missed it. When I thought of Josephine, Ethan came right along with her. I think the two have to be dealt with together. He brings out that part of her that she doesn’t know exists. It’s scary when we find ourselves in a relationship with someone who brings out the absolute worst in us.

What’s next in The Hefner Falls Series?

I went backwards! Josephine is set in the Great Depression. For the next novel, I went back to 1866 in Kentucky to write about two people who are going to be involved with the founding of Hefner Falls – Nelson and Cora. Their story is a trilogy. Then, I will move forward and finish Anne McGinnis, which is set in the 1950s in Hefner Falls.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Read, travel, knit (although I’m not very good at it), cook, garden. But, honestly, when are writers not writing or thinking about writing? It’s hard not to be obsessed with it.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Of course, give me a little room and I take the whole house! I am thrilled to be putting together an anthology on quilting. The anthology, Rich Fabric, is about the culture and tradition of quilting. I am enjoying working with so many talented writers, photographers, musicians. There will be two versions of the anthology – a paperback, with short stories, poems, memoirs, interviews, illustrations, black and white photos AND an interactive eBook version which will also have music, animation, and maybe even some one act plays included. It is exciting!

One last thing – thank you to Rhonda for having me. This was fun!

You are so welcome, Melinda!  Thank you! 

If you want to check out Melinda’s work, follow these links:

Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey

Nelson and Cora: The Beginning

Follow her on Twitter: @MelindaMcGuire  and find her on Facebook  Melinda McGuire, Writer

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About the Character–Connie! (The Condensed Version)

Connie Hebert, Emily’s best friend, is probably the character I get the most comments about (besides Alphonse!).  Emily meets the feisty red-head in Going Home and they quickly become inseparable.  Connie’s personality starts to become more pronounced in Awakenings, but it shines in Deja Vu!

A friend of mine recently commented that Connie was her favorite character in the series.  I asked her, “Why Connie?”  Her reply, “Because she’s so real and down-to-Earth.”  She is that for sure, but what I love about Connie is her spunk!  She outspoken, witty, and fun-loving.  She’s not afraid to say exactly what’s on her mind, which is often hilarious, but awkward for those around her.  Bert, her husband, is normally the target of these comments.  For instance, after Bert and Connie decide to celebrate his promotion, Connie is quick to ask if he “remembered to take his vitamins” so he wouldn’t poop out on her in the bedroom.  Poor Bert is so used to Connie’s remarks that he doesn’t even pay attention to them anymore.

Connie works as a nurse at a doctor’s office, but she longs for adventure.  I think that’s why she and Emily get along so well.  They balance each other out.  Connie encourages Emily to do things she normally wouldn’t do, whereas Emily reigns Connie in before she goes too far.  They certainly have their share of “Lucy and Ethel” moments!  But, when Emily’s hurt, Connie instantly snaps from fun-loving to super-protective–so much so that Emily calls her Nurse Ramrod!

Connie is such a fun character to write for.  You can bet that there will be a lot more Connie-ism’s in Book 4!  Hey, now there’s an idea for a future post– a page of Connie-ism’s!!!  Stay tuned…

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