Gail Parker recently published the fourth book in her Hidden 12 Saga. Parker, who was born and raised in Moss Bluff, spent six years writing the saga. The books consistently make use of at least four or five subgenres of writing.
Parker emphasizes the action elements in the books, frequently comparing the stories to those found in the Bourne novels. Her books are full of big explosions and races against the clock, with quests running down to the last second. The writing is as close as you can get to Bourne without being Bourne.
Parker says the saga is a “supernatural chase” story. The books’ heroine, Haven, certainly has supernatural powers. For example, she can determine what’s going on in a room even when she’s standing outside its closed door.
Parker says another subgenre of writing present in the books is “urban fantasy.” This was a new term to me. She told me it indicates a story that involves both normal people and people with supernatural powers and qualities. As a serious enthusiast for the works of H.P. Lovecraft, I’m familiar with fiction that conforms to that description. However, I think that in Lovecraft, one usually learns little about the personalities of the supernatural figures. (I’m not sure they can always be said to have personalities.) In Parker’s fiction, the personalities of the supernatural characters seem to be fleshed out pretty thoroughly.
In one part of the story, Haven goes to Alaska, where she and her companions expect to discover “a treasure of priceless jewels.” However, the jewels are watched over by a “guardian,” who must be defeated. Such a story seems to have at least some elements of fantasy.
Haven is planet Earth’s “Hidden 12,” meaning she is the most intelligent and powerful creature alive. Her great power comes as a result of genetic engineering. She uses high tech also, and must face villains who have such futuristic tech devices as “wave emitters.” Such elements are bound to be considered as indicators of science fiction by many readers. Still, Parker feels that the thriller aspects of her story predominate over any science fiction elements.
The bottom line is whether the reader is attracted to a story that unites so many different forms of writing. If he or she is, the epic will provide 1,300 pages of reading. If you see long reads as the equivalent of comfort food, you won’t be disappointed by the length of the Hidden 12 Saga.
Although the story takes places in locales as wide-ranging as China and Paris, much of the first volume is set in Lake Charles.
The four titles in the saga are Hidden 12, Intelligence Required; Zaphram The Hidden Jewel, Kollizion The Hidden Skylistric and Kataztro The Hidden Zayphra. They work as both young adult fiction and adult novels.
You can buy copies on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo bookstores. If you want to buy local, you can get copies of all four books at Don’s Car wash. Parker will also have a booth at Flea Fest on April 6, from 10 am-3 pm at Burton Coliseum. If you’d like signed copies, email her at Hidden12Saga@aol.com.
Friends With A Good Cause
The Up Fronter wants to inform readers about some fundraising being done by some old friends. In fact, these aren’t just friends — they’re Friends Supporting Friends. The Jennings group is trying to make a permanent home in the old VFW in that city. But the roof needs work to the tune of $50,000.
A recent Cajun Fest Day fundraiser for the cause featured Leroy Thomas, Jamie Bergeron and three other well-known roots musicians.
To learn about how you can help and listen to some good music too, go to Facebook and search for Friends Supporting Friends — Jennings, La.
Friends Supporting Friends’ musical events are often found in the Saturday listings of Lagniappe’s “Nightlife, Bands, Events & More” list in the back of the magazine.
See Chimps Outside The Zoo
Here’s a story about some events it might be worth saving the dates for. Chimp Haven, the chimpanzee sanctuary located in Keithville in northwest Louisiana, will open its door to the public four times this year. The 200-acre sanctuary houses 270 chimpanzees. Visitors can see the chimps on March 16, April 13, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16.
Chimp Haven was founded in 1995 to provide housing for chimpanzees that had previously been used in medical research, sold as pets or featured in various forms of entertainment.
In 2013, the National Institutes of Health retired all but 50 of the chimpanzees used as test subjects by the federal government. In response, the sanctuary is trying to create a $20-million expansion.
Guests can see the chimpanzees interact and play in their outdoor habitats. A Chimp Haven’s rep says, “Jane Goodall described Chimp Haven as the closest thing to seeing chimpanzees in the wild …” The experience has got to beat seeing them in zoos.
Chimp Haven is located 30 miles from Shreveport. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children 6 to 12; and free for children 5 and younger. To learn more about Chimpanzee Discovery Days, go to chimphaven.org.
Non-Call Excess Works For N.O.
Some stories have legs and some don’t. You wouldn’t think that a story about referees’ failure to penalize a pass interference in a game on Jan. 19 would still be getting big press in mid-February. Although the bulk of that press was being generated in New Orleans, ripples reached to all parts of the country.
Aside from the initial incident, the most fascinating development in the press was the front page the Times-Picayune ran after the Super Bowl. Aside from the newspaper’s masthead, the front page bore only five words: Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?
It was clear from Twitter comments that some Times-Pic staffers liked the front page while others weren’t crazy about it.
The fun-killer in this case was the Poynter School of Journalism, which commented that “it would seem the Times-Picayune forfeits the right to complain about the cost of newsprint when it wasted an entire front page like it did …”
The word “waste” is a clear indication of a judgment call. I like the T-P’s front page and the way it looks. The two short sentences surrounded by a sea of white space are bound to grab the eye. The image is so unexpected that it’s visually stunning. The newspaper’s message is broadcast in such a way that it’s bound to be grasped by almost all the reading public. The “wasted” newsprint is certainly much more effective than one more newspaper editorial about the non-call that will mostly go unread and entirely be forgotten.
The non-call story meandered on through the various forms of the press. One citizen used the power of the pen to make his big statement. New Orleanian Henry A. Jaume died at the age of 65 a few hours before Super Bowl 2019 began. He’d served in the U.S. Army, been a police officer with the Kenner Police Dept. and worked for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. But the second sentence of his N.O. Advocate obituary read, “Determined not to watch Super Bowl LIII.” That was what the guy wanted to be remembered for. It was another N.O. story that went national (at least by means of social media).
Some in national media complained that N.O. journalists and public figures were whining or bellyaching or yapping about a lost game. And there’s some truth to that. But these critics may not be aware of New Orleans’ unique culture. Now that Las Vegas has become family-friendly, New Orleans is America’s only remaining anything goes city. People there just naturally feel that they can get as active and expressive as they like about whatever is ringing their bell at the moment.
That fact was lost on Brian Lamb of Houston’s Infinity Sports Network, who Tweeted, “The entire city of New Orleans taking to the streets to boycott the Super Bowl seems a bit excessive.” Jeff Nowak, the Advocate’s digital content editor, responded with this insightful quip: “‘Seems a bit excessive’ should be the official New Orleans motto.” He’s absolutely right. That colorful and diverse excess is what makes New Orleans such a fun place to visit. Just don’t visit at the end of football season.
Latest News On The Money Tree
I go to my Twitter feed to get news about Louisiana. But you know how these big corporations are. They’ll stick an ad in anywhere.
This one ad that got my attention was for something called “Honey.” Under a photo of an Amazon Prime package, there was a Tweet (whether real or not, I can’t say) by a fellow called “Adam G.” He wrote, “My cart was $287. After Honey saved me $90, the total went down to $197. I’m telling all my friends.”
But what really hooked me was the line of copy under the Tweet. It read: “It’s basically free money.” — TIME Magazine. The word “Magazine” was followed by five stars.
I’m just going to take a little stand here and come right out and say that “free money” is the most shameless hustle I’ve ever heard of. And I’m old enough to remember the greatest mail fraudster of all: the one who routinely placed little magazine ads that read, “Last chance to send $1 to this address.” Of course, he never stated that anybody got anything for the $1. Even the money that guy hauled in — and believe me, there was plenty of it — wasn’t free. He had to spend something on the ads he placed to get the envelopes.
Do you want to meet the sort of cement head who truly believes that a guy who spent $197 on a product got “free money”? If you do, I have a used Taco Bell wrapper collection I want to sell you … for free.
Curious As I Want To Be
On Feb. 1, something called the EMD Group Tweeted the following banal information: “Generation Z is the least curious of all demographics. Get more insights from our new global study. #alwayscurious”
However curious Generation Z is, it is probably less curious than I am for the simple reason that after all this time, I still have no idea what Generation Z is. What’s really remarkable is that I’m every bit as clueless about what Generation Y is.
What I do know is that since we’ve used the last three letters of the alphabet to name generations, if the next generation — which will no doubt be named in a year or two — isn’t called “Generation A,” we’re going to be embarking on a whole new way of ordering the alphabet. I think we can just forget about saying “from A to Z.” We may be forced to eventually name generations after numbers — for example, Generation 163; or, after characters in entertainment franchises — such as Generation Optimus Prime; or, after emojis — such as Generation or Generation . Beat the rush and send your nomination for the next generation name to the Up Fronter today.