Click here to read the first Newsletter for “A Little Gumbo in Her Face” and read about the exciting events surrounding Arleen Faustina’s first Book Tour. May2018gumbo
Click here to download the Study Guide for “A Little Gumbo in Her Face.”
If you’re in New Orleans and want a copy of my book, you won’t have to wait for Amazon or Barnes & Noble or anyone else to ship it to you (and pay for shipping), because two shops in New Orleans are now carrying A Little Gumbo in Her Face! Garden District Book Shop where we had a lovely book signing event last week and Zèle on Magazine Street, a permanent indoor art market. Links for both are below:
Show a little local’s love of New Orleans and send your friends to Zèle where they can buy art work from local artists and to Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans signature book store!
Flush with the success of the fantastic book signing event at River Road Books in Fair Haven, NJ, I approached my events here in New Orleans with a bit of trepidation. After all, the book did really well in NJ and has received excellent reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Facebook, so how much better could things get? Hold on to your hats!
My Gumbo Team in New Orleans did a great job spreading the word about the Garden District Book Shop event last week and I am so grateful to them for their hard work. I was delighted to see people from the Tulane Psychology department, LSU Neurology, as well as friends of friends and even a visitor from London who’d read about the signing in the local paper. As always, we served Coppola wines with a variety of chocolates and cheeses. It’s so heartwarming to see that people took time from their busy schedules to spend time with me and support my book. Thank you to all who came to this event!
Interspersed among book signings are, of course, milongas! Steve and I had gone tango dancing at the Mellow Mushroom a few days before the GDBS signing – if you’re on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen pictures from that milonga, such a fun place! The organizers of that milonga, Ector Gutierrez and Christine Morris, invited me to sign books at the Friday night milonga in New Orleans. What a surprise! And how kind of them to ask!
So, on Friday evening, off we went to the Presbyterian Church on South Claiborne Avenue – remember the milonga where Manon and Andy met? “All along the walls of the dance hall, or Fellowship Hall as the room was known by the parishioners, hung the stern portraits of thirty previous pastors, their dour faces casting disapproving glances on the dancers as they swayed to the sensuous tango music.” (A Little Gumbo in Her Face). Well, there I was again, swaying to that same sensuous music while those same stern faces frowned on all of us enjoying our tango moments.
When I wasn’t dancing, I was signing books for all the tangueros and tangueras eager to read about Manon’s adventures. How wonderful to be in the company of my tango friends again! Ector and Christine taught an excellent class before the milonga and most of us learned the step well enough to try it out! If you’ve never tried Argentine tango, you’re missing out! It’s the most sensual couples dance I know. You learn to move to the rhythm of your partner who, if he’s good, feels the music and draws you into the netherworld of the tango.
As if that joy wasn’t enough, this morning I was bowled over by the number of people who came over to the table where I was signing books at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church after both morning services. Friends I’d done my fair share of partying with over the years were there to chat and share in this wonderful event. Plus I got to attend the 11 o’clock service in the magnificent sanctuary where I had worshipped for so many years.
I’m continually struck by the immense kindness of my friends in New Orleans, some of whom I’ve not seen in several years. What is it that Shakespeare said? “Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;” (Hamlet). Yes, good friends are the steel foundations of our lives and they stay with us wherever we roam. I’ve been blessed and am forever humbled by their love.
Along with books and tango and chocolates and Coppola wines, there’s phenomenal food here in NOLA! Oh, we have stuffed ourselves with oysters – fried, chargrilled, raw, in gumbo, in salads, on an oyster loaf – too many ways to imagine! We’ve been to our favorite restaurants along with some new ones and are awed by the flavors and smells, the simplicity coupled with the complexity of the recipes, the unique experience that is New Orleans dining. You simply must come to New Orleans once in your life and sample the fare. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
So here I sit satiated after yet another meal of friend oysters, this time served over fresh spinach in a pepper jelly vinaigrette, preceded I must add by a scrumptious seafood gumbo. We were among many folks enjoying the cool strains of a jazz combo at Superior Seafood on St. Charles Avenue while we ate and talked and laughed with friends. That’s one thing I love about New Orleanians – they love to go out to eat. And what’s not to love? Especially when the food is accompanied by live music 😊
New Orleans’ weather being the unpredictable vixon that she is caused us to reschedule the Barnes & Noble signing. We’ll be in Baton Rouge this coming Friday, April 20, from 4 – 7 PM. And that’ll wrap things up on this book tour. What a journey this has been!
What could be better than an oyster po-boy with an ice cold Abita Amber on tap? Maybe the red beans and rice with Andouille sausage! Joey K’s http://joeyksrestaurant.com/ is my all time favorite local joint in New Orleans and the first place I had to eat when I arrived.
Look at the menu photo from their website and you can see why locals wait in lines round the block to get it. Okay, so you’re looking at fried food, but come on, it’s New Orleans! Besides the fried fare, you can get braised lamb shank with mustard greens and new potatoes, the best homemade meatloaf in town, and Joey K’s famous eggplant Napoleon. And those mustard greens are pure heaven, trust me.
After stuffing ourselves, we had to walk it off and Magazine Street is the best place to walk and take in the sights. From antique shops to high end retail to funky retro dealers, you be disappointed. Magazine Street winds through uptown following the crescent shape of the city from Lafayette Square downtown all the way to Audubon Park uptown near Tulane Univeristy. Miles of fascinating shop windows, restaurants, coffee shops, and iconic New Orleans architecture.
Manon and Andy walked these streets and shopped the boutiques. And they tangoed. So off to tango we went. It’s so easy to find a good milonga in New Orleans – just Google tango in New Orleans and you’ll get a plethora of sites. We wandered over to Oak Street to the Mellow Mushroom https://www.facebook.com/MellowNOLA/ , a typical local bar in the Riverbend area that’s home to the famous Maple Leaf Bar. Upstairs is Fortuna. As you climb the brightly painted stairs with a black and white striped handrail, you get the sense that you’re about to enter an alter universe. The wooden walls were covered with paintings and mixed media art of tarot cards and gypsy wagons and voodoo images. And the bar, well check it out.
Wildly weird. And the blurriness only adds to the mystic. Mellow Mushroom is only one of so many rich venues for tango in this city. Wherever there’s a decent wooden floor, and there are lots of those in NOLA, people will be tempted to start to tango. So we joined the class, oh yes, there’s almost always an hour long class before the milonga begins which encourages newbies to come in and join the fun. So many people out for a drink in town have been converted to tango lovers by innocently taking the class that’s happening in the local bar. Once you get a taste of the sensual, heady, other-worldly atmosphere of tango, you’ve got the fever and you fall under its spell. Last night, there were several young couples trying tango for the first time and by the end of the class, they were hooked. They stayed for the milonga and watched as the dancers swirled around them, lost in the tango moment. And then they tentatively stepped onto the floor to try out their new steps, gingerly at first, trying a cross here, an ocho there, finally bravely dancing round the floor and – smiling, Yes, they caught the tango fever.
We stumbled into our hotel room, exhausted but happy, happy to be back in the Big Easy, the city that stole our hearts so many years ago. Tomorrow – Book Signing at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania Street, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.
by Arleen Cerbone Faustina (Goodreads Author)
by Arleen Cerbone Faustina (Goodreads Author)
She is educated, intelligent, physically gifted with beauty and grace, but Dr. Manon Dumas Benoit, psychiatrist, carries a damaged soul and walls of emotional protection that would defy any of her colleagues to break down.
He is a natural born “hero,” a fixer, a take charge, modern day knight in tarnished armor who couldn’t save his princess long ago. FBI Agent, Andy St. Julien, a handsome and charming Creole returns to New Orleans to investigate a suspicious oil rig explosion, but Fate and the magic that is the Big Easy had other plans for him.
They met at a dance club, and together they made beautiful music, and a fond memory, but that was all, as far as Manon was concerned. What would happen next would make the intricate Tango they danced seem to be a forbearer of the twists, turns and dips their lives would take as a break-in at Manon’s office becomes a critical part of Andy’s investigation. When his curiosity is peaked by the possibility of her heritage, Andy will uncover more than just secrets in Manon’s past, he will uncover yet another tale of the diversity and ethereal magic of New Orleans.
A LITTLE GUMBO IN HER FACE by Arleen Cerbone Faustina is a slowly simmering romantic tale that builds to a rolling boil as mystery, danger and dark threats bring the doctor and the agent together as their attraction wars with their soul-deep barriers.
Beautiful descriptions bring the Big Easy to life without spoiling its charisma and charm. Feel the atmosphere, smell the foods and witness a sense of otherness that could only be real in New Orleans. Ms. Faustina has created a world to savor and a romance to watch unfold between mature characters who have tasted life’s trials and earned their scars. Definitely a read to relax into and be carried away on its pages.
I received a complimentary copy from Arleen Cerbone Faustina!
Publisher: Xulon Press (March 2, 2018)
Publication Date: March 2, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Print Length: 246 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News: http://tometender.blogspot.com
On the road again, this time to the Big Easy! My favorite city, the city that stole my heart all those years ago when first I saw her. As I obsessed over packing – yes, I fret terribly about what to take on a trip, always worried that the weather will fool me and I’ll be freezing or without boots, which actually happened to me in New Jersey a few weeks ago! Who ever thought it would snow at the end of March? And there I was in Fair Haven, NJ, watching the snow come down as I looked at my pretty velvet heels, quickly realizing that those shoes would not see the light of day on that trip. I simply had to go shopping for boots. Yes, I know, quite tragic. But I’m now the proud owner of lovely black suede ankle boots with very cool heels and I must admit I feel no guilt.
But back to the packing, having been fooled by Mother Nature once this year, I wasn’t about to let her hit me again, so I over packed for the NOLA road trip. My husband, my proud personal valet, (Did I really just write that?) isn’t buying into my logic about carrying every possible variable in clothing. It’s taken every bit of my endless charm to convince him that I do indeed need all those suitcases and dress bags for this trip. He’s a good sport, though. I only had to promise to buy him a fancy sportscar when my book hits the N.Y. Times Best Seller list!
New Orleans undoubtedly has the best food in America and we’ve already accepted that fact that our healthy diets are on holiday while we eat our way through the city. There are so many new restaurants since we moved away and we simply must try them, starting with Shaya, James Beard Award Winner of Best New Restaurant 2016 and Rising Star Chef of 2017, Zachary Enge, where he serves a fusion of Israeli cuisine with Southern flavors http://www.shayarestaurant.com/. Then there’s the Carrollton Market opened by Chef Jason Goodenough near the Riverbend, where locals go to have whole roasted branzino and chocolate pots de crème http://carrolltonmarket.com/. Just drooling thinking about it!
And, of course, there are the million other tried and true food haunts like Clancy’s https://www.clancysneworleans.com/ and Dragos https://www.dragosrestaurant.com/ (Remember the scene in A Little Gumbo in Her Face? Andy’s favorite place for oysters!) and Peche https://www.pecherestaurant.com/, and Coquette https://www.coquettenola.com/ and Cochon https://cochonrestaurant.com/, and La Petite Grocery http://www.lapetitegrocery.com/, and Brigtsen’s http://www.brigtsens.com/, and oh I could go on and on. I can’t there soon enough!
Meanwhile, today we stopped in Charlotte, NC, near University City close to UNC Charlotte, a delightful enclave of shops and restaurants just off Interstate 85. A lovely place to stop for the night on our road trip. And speaking of food, when are we not speaking of food when we’re on our way to New Orleans, we found a sweet little place here called Cava, a Mediterranean restaurant set up cafeteria style with fresh, locally sourced ingredients http://cava.com/. You choose a bowl or a plate, then select greens or grains with a plethora of additives such as organic caramelized onion hummus, lamb meatballs, falafel, oodles of dips and dressings and toppings. All so delicious! We were thrilled to find such a treasure across the road from our hotel. To my delight, I discovered that there’s a Cava in New Orleans! So maybe our arteries won’t close entirely while we’re in NOLA 😊.
Enough obsessing about food. I’ll be writing about all the fabulous meals we’ve eaten and you’ll be planning your next vacation in the Big Easy. Stay tuned for tales of culinary delight and publicity for A Little Gumbo in Her Face. After all, that is why we’re going there! Three book signings lined up this week. What good fortune!
As I pack my bags for the trip to New Orleans, I wonder how many people from my New Orleans life I’ll see at my first Big Easy book signing. We’ve all stayed in touch over the years and they’ve followed my somewhat peripatetic lifestyle which has finally landed me in Williamsburg, VA. No matter where I’ve wandered, my NOLA friends have always held a firm place in my heart.
The Garden District Book Shop https://www.gardendistrictbookshop.com/ is one of the most popular book stores in the city and it draws both locals and tourists to its treasures. In fact, I’d say it’s the city’s signature book store, located in the heart of the Garden District at 2727 Prytania Street. Once inside, you’ll get lost in the shelves of literary delights from the classics to graphic novels, and you won’t be disappointed.
“A Little Gumbo in Her Face” is set in New Orleans and boasts of many lush descriptions of this gorgeous and tantalizing city. It’s a perfect sell for the city that captured my heart those many years ago when I first drove into town along St. Charles Avenue under the majestic Live oaks. So beautiful! If you can’t get down to New Orleans, a second best treat is to read my book. You’ll be immersed in the sounds and smells and colors of the Queen of the South.
At this book signing, I’ll read select passages from my book, speak a bit about how the story came to life, and answer questions. After that, while everyone enjoys wine and cheese and chocolates – can’t have a book signing without chocolate! – I’ll sign books for you and your friends. I found at my signing in Fair Haven, NJ, that people bought two or more books to give as gifts to their friends. What a lovely idea to give an autographed copy of a book to a friend. That’s a gift I’d treasure for sure.
I hope to see both old friends and new at the Garden District Book Shop on April 12, 2018, at 7:00 PM. Till then, laissez les bon temps rouler!
The first book signing for “A Little Gumbo in Her Face” was a huge success! Held at River Road Books, a sweet Indie book shop on River Road in the lovely town of Fair Haven, NJ, the event began with an introduction by my daughter-in-law, who said she hopes this is only the first of many books and book signings. A surprise speech by my eight year old granddaughter followed! She said her Nana “has many phenomenal talents and did a great job on her book.” How sweet to have such loving support at the first event for my first book! I felt so honored and so loved.
My wonderful sorority sisters from Theta Mu came down from north Jersey to celebrate with me. We all met at Pazzo Restaurant in Red Bank, a great place for Italian food, and we indulged in delicious plates of pasta e fagioli, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, vodka penne, and a variety of individual pizzas. All graduates of Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, NJ, we were the second class of women admitted to a formerly all-male Jesuit school. We enjoyed sharing memories about the great fun we had being approximately 100 women in a school with 2,000 men! Great odds for the girls! The wonderful thing about our sorority is that we’ve all stayed in touch over the years and we get together two or three times a year for mini reunions. Whenever we can, we show up in support of one another, like my book signing event. As I spoke to the audience, it was heart warming to see all those familiar, yet older! faces.
It wasn’t only my sorority sisters who turned out. I saw many people I’ve sung with in the past, such as members of the Monmouth Civic Chorus, the Tower Hill Presbyterian Church Choir and the Red Bank Methodist Church Choir. I’ve done a lot of singing in my day! To add to the crowd, my daughter-in-law invited many of her friends who showed up in force to support me – and buy books. Throughout the evening we saw a steady flow of people wandering in to the event and staying for wine and cheese and chocolates! They bought books, mingled with the crowd and enjoyed themselves. What a lovey way to spend an evening – with family and old friends and new friends in a cozy book shop on the main street in a picturesque American town.
The next big event for “A Little Gumbo in Her Face” is a book signing at the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans, April 12, 2018, 6:00 – 7:30 PM. New Orleans, home of gumbo and Mardi Gras and parades and fabulous food. Can’t wait to get there!