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Book Chick City’s annual halloween event, All Hallows Eve, runs for the entire month of October and celebrates all things that go bump in the night – from werewolves to demons, vampires to ghosts, and of course not forgetting zombies!!! ;D There will be lots of reviews, guest authors and yummy giveaways! And, as it’s now tradition, BCC’s Giveaway Bonanza, which will be posted on the 31st… Halloween itself! So join us for a month of fun and fright… but of course, only if you dare… mwahahahaaa ;D
On August 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina. Two years later, she wove her experiences and love for New Orleans into the beginning of a new urban fantasy series that begins with the release of Royal Street on April 10, 2012. Suzanne now writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years—which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.
Royal Street – Sentinel’s of New Orleans #1: April 2012
You can find out more about the author here:
GHOSTIES, GHOULIES & THE HISTORICAL UNDEAD
By Drusilla “DJ” Jaco
Wizard Sentinel, New Orleans Region
I freakin’ hate October. Sure, it’s the one month in New Orleans that doesn’t feel like either a sauna or a really humid fridge. But it’s also Halloween. Every human sixth-senser feels obligated to try summoning spirits, plus the ghosts are stirring on their own, feeding off the supernatural energy in the air.
See, here’s the thing about ghosts. They’re not all created equal. Take my word for it. As the wizard sentinel for New Orleans—the most haunted city in the U.S. and one of the most active in the world—it’s my job to find ’em and send them back across the metaphysical borders into the Beyond. And they’ve all got issues.
First, you have the run-of-the-mill disgruntled spirits. They’re hanging around every other building in New Orleans, and—really—they just want to vent. They’re harmless, plus the New Orleans ghost tours make a bundle off their shenanigans. But I’ve gotta say—by the tenth time the ghost of chef and restauranteur Arnaud Cazenave tell me how the modern Arnaud’s wait staff sets the table improperly, I’m over it. Yet old Arnaud keeps moving the forks, which freaks people out, which means I have to go to the restaurant and listen to the old guy kvetch about how kids today don’t care about proper table etiquette. Next time you’re in town, visit Arnauds and throw a fork on the floor. Just ignore the chill that passes through the room.
Then there are the ghouls. Nasty-tempered things, ghouls. They’re generally pissed off at being dead and determined to cause a little human pain and suffering—even if it’s prompting a heart attack or a bump on the head. Something about the air of October—the lack of humidity or the churning of spirits—makes Halloween prime time for ghouls behaving badly.
Next to zombies (which require a necromancer to be reanimated, so they’re pretty rare), ghouls scare the crap out of me worse than anything. First, they’re gross, rocking that whole rotting dead look. The good thing? They don’t travel far—usually, they just hang within a block or two of cemeteries.
I’ve had some bad experiences in New Orleans’ cemeteries. They’re old, and filled with the remains of pirates and prostitutes, statesmen and soldiers. The people are buried in elaborate aboveground tombs because the water table’s so high a heavy rain can send corpses bursting through the ground and floating down the street. Once that happened a few times, believe me, nobody was buried six feet under anymore. So the ghouls don’t even have to dig their way out. All those warnings issued to tourists about staying in groups while visiting New Orleans’ Cities of the Dead? It isn’t fear of thieves and robbers like the travel guides say. Ghouls.
The most annoying of the ghostly types that plague me each October are the Historical Undead—formerly famous humans kept alive and corporeal by the magic of human memory. The only way to kill them is to forget them. And New Orleans has a lot of unforgettable dead folks.
Unlike regular ghosts, who just whine about the same things continually, or the ghouls, who stay close to where they’re buried, the Historical Undead are impossible to distinguish from normal humans. If they’re only moderately famous—like a local musician or politician—they can’t survive on the modern side of the world very long. But if they’re really famous? I have to chase them down, and they usually put up a fight.
Last year, sixth-senser humans all over town tried to summon famous New Orleanians for Halloween, and way too many succeeded. The late governor Huey Long ended up at a rave in the basement of a university chemistry building and had the kids promising to overthrow the administration. I had to hit him with a sleeping charm, then drag his hefty carcass into a dispatch triangle and sent him back to the Beyond. Then I had all those students’ memories to modify, which was no small task.
William Faulkner? Grumpy old pipe-smoker led me on a four-hour chase through every back-alley French Quarter bar before I finally corraled him near the Cat’s Meow. He went back without a fight, but made me buy him a bottle of Jack Daniels and two kinds of Scotch to take with him.
Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau was a tricky one last year. She kept throwing rooster feet at me—still attached to the regrettably dead roosters—and threatening to put a curse on my unborn children. Witch.
Don’t even mention the pirate Jean Lafitte. Really. I can’t discuss the man rationally. Let’s just say my big mistake was letting him know I thought he was hot.
So here I am, watching the calendar, waiting for Halloween to arrive. Each day has gotten busier, my preternatural tracker going off at ungodly hours, my portable magic kit always stocked and waiting by the back door.
Coming to New Orleans this month? Avoid the cemetery tours because the ghouls will be out, don’t freak out if your forks move at Arnaud’s, don’t assume the celebrity lookalike you pass on the sidewalk isn’t the real thing—and avoid the little pipe-smoking man in the corner of the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Bienvenu!
DJ Jaco is a Green Congress wizard and a sentinel for the New Orleans region. You can read about her exploits in a new urban fantasy series beginning April 10, 2012, with Royal Street.
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.