May 20th Speaker: Deborah Burst

Using Photography to Drive Inspiration, Character and Sense of Place

With affection for her home state, award-winning writer and photographer, Deborah Burst travels the jagged coast of Louisiana in search of historic treasures. In her fourth book and second in the Louisiana’s Sacred Places series, Spirits of the Bayou captures the poetic beauty and artistic landscapes of hidden graveyards, sacred temples and shrouded bayous. Packed with more than one hundred photos, it’s a must read for locals and a rare treat for those beyond the state’s borders.

Deborah Burst is a New Orleans native who enjoys writing outdoors at her home in Mandeville. An award winning writer and photographer, she left a corporate career with IBM and returned to Tulane University graduating cum laude in 2003 with a BFA in Media Arts.

In her 12-year career as a freelance writer she has published more than 1,000 articles and twice as many photographs on a local, regional and national level. She has written four books in four years and the last three were self-published. Her next book due out in 2017 will be the third book in the continuing Louisiana’s Sacred Places series.

Press Release

“Literature that creates an authentic sense of place can be difficult to find. A writer who can capture the real spirit of a place is even more rare. Deborah Burst is such a writer, and her Spirits of the Bayou does justice to one of America’s most historic and hauntingly beautiful settings, South Louisiana.” C. E. Richard, author of the book Louisiana, An Illustrated History and the companion documentary Louisiana: A History, produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

Deborah Burst adds another book in her continuing series of Louisiana’s Sacred Places. Her fourth book, Spirits of the Bayou: Sanctuaries, Cemeteries and Hauntings brings to life both the historic and artistic landscapes of New Orleans and coastal towns of South Louisiana.

One by one, each chapter unlocks the doors into ancient houses of worship, probes the eerie shadows of cemeteries and delves deep inside the bayou’s haunted legends. It’s a compelling gallery, a rarity in the literary world with both the magic of her words and the emotional flavor of her photographs.

Fans have called it Burst’s most compelling piece of work with more than 256 pages and 125 photos. The trail begins in New Orleans, then north across Lake Pontchartrain to the hidden gems of St. Tammany Parish. Readers then travel along the back roads and bayous of Houma, Raceland, Franklin and Morgan City.

The last chapters visit the wicked beauty of Louisiana’s swamps and bayous. Meet Rougarou, the Cajun werewolf, Jean Lafitte, a nineteenth century pirate turned patriot, and the illusive swamp monster in the Honey Island Swamp. Closing the book, discover the spiritual world of trees, butterflies and dragonflies.

For the connoisseur, the book deserves a place on the coffee table; for the adventurer, it belongs neatly tucked in a backpack. It’s a must-read for locals and a rare treat for those beyond the state’s borders.

Deborah is well known for her speaking presentations accompanied by an online display of photographs from her book. You may contact Ms. Burst via email to book a signing or speaking engagement.

Our April 15th Speaker: Liah Penn

Win–Win: How Entering Contests Can Improve Your Writing
and Increase Your Marketability

Award-winning author Liah Penn will talk about how entering contests can improve your writing and increase your marketability. Using real examples from contests she entered, Liah will show how some critiques are worth their weight in gold and how judging criteria is important to genre fiction writing.
Bio:
Liah Penn is an award winning author of two romantic suspense novels in the Ina Stone and Sam Fujimoto mystery series. She is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her debut novel Pure Death, published by Etopia Press, as well as a first and second place winner in the romantic suspense categories for her manuscripts Bare Bones and The Sweet Death in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and recently penned an article for RT Digital about her journey to publication. Her legal career is as varied as her personal interests: she has worked as a prosecutor on an Indian reservation, on the Mexican border and in a major metropolis, and her sometimes gritty imagery is based on her personal experience on the streets and morgues of Arizona. Apart from writing, she is also a visual artist and enjoys painting and pottery. She resides outside of New Orleans with her husband and two sons, both of whom show great promise as a writer and an artist.
Her Work:
Pure Death (Etopia Press 2014)
Pure Justice  (Etopia Press 2015)
Short Story: “A Cabin in the Woods,” Never Fear – Christmas Terrors (13 Thirty Publishers)

March 18th Speaker: Erica Spindler

25 Years, 35 Books: A Writer’s Tale

Erica Spindler will discuss her twenty-five years in publishing: her highs and lows, steps forward and back, how to remain creative (and sane), and share her thoughts on what it take to have longevity in a fickle and ever-changing industry.

Bio:

Erica Spindler is the New York Times and International Chart bestselling author of thirty-two novels and three eNovellas. Spindler’s skill for crafting engrossing plots and compelling characters has earned both critical praise and legions of fans. Published across the globe, she’s been called “The Master of Addictive Suspense” and “The Queen of the Romantic Thriller.”

Her most recent novels are The Final Seven and Triple Six, books one and two in her The Lightkeepers series.

Spindler splits her writing time between her New Orleans area home and a lakeside writing retreat. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has two sons and the constant companionship of Roxie, the wonder retriever.

She is busy writing her next thrillers, The Other Girl and Fallen Five, book three in The Lightkeepers.