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:
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.


Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


LoriStrongin October 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm

haha, fun post! I can totally see it, a bunch of "sixth-senser" tourists flocking with their ouija boards for an annual pilgrimage to The Big Easy. They do that near where I live, going to St. Augustine. So yup, definitely like this!



Barbara E. October 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Royal Street sounds like a wonderful book and I'm looking forward to reading it and the rest of the series. I love books set in New Orleans, especially urban fantasy, because it has such a rich history.


Alyssa@Teens Read and Write October 24, 2011 at 6:07 am

This was a cool post.Loved the excerpt!


Suzanne Johnson October 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Thanks guys! And DJ forgot to mention the scariest thing of all in New Orleans at Halloween–gang members "trick or treating" with pillowslips as their candy bags. Yikes!


Roger October 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

"Fried gator on a stick". You got to be kidding? We just had our "Corn Fest" in my town and my favorite is pork chop on a stick.
Suzanne – Is there anything special about the staff on the cover of Royal Street? I mean anything you can tell us that isn't a spoiler!


Suzanne Johnson October 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Hi Roger–glad to see you here! I'm not kidding about fried gator on stick–it's pretty awesome!

I can tell you a little about the staff on the cover of Royal Street. It's something that DJ finds in her mentor Gerry's attic after Hurricane Katrina, which flooded his house. She doesn't know its history, but when she touches the staff, it glows and responds to her. It claims her, in essence, and ends up being a major "character" in the series. But if I tell you any more I'd have to kill you :-) (Just joking!)


SandyG265 October 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Fun post. I'm looking foward to reading Royal Street.


Suzanne Johnson October 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Thanks, Sandy!


ninetyninepages October 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm

OMG….OMFG. Seriously just added your book to the top of my to read pile. I love the way you write, and I love that you call them Six-Senser humans.

I pretty much just love the concept completely :)

Good writing!


Suzanne Johnson October 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Thanks, Mackenzie–that's awesome!


Jenn3128 October 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Great post! I'm going to be laughing about "rooster feet" all day!


Melliane October 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Og great post I really liked it ! I can't wait to read your book, it sounds so amazing !


Sullivan McPig October 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I will confess I skipped over this book a couple of times as the cover doesn't speak to me. I really must make amends and add this to my wishlist though.


Suzanne Johnson October 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

@Jenn, @Melliane @Sullivan…Thanks for commenting! I've never quite understood the connection between roosters and voodoo, but it's there. In the voodoo shops in the French Quarter, one can even buy dried rooster feet. Well, I guess they're claws?


Shelley Munro October 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Fun post. Your character has such a great world-weary attitude :)


Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit October 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

This book is going on my TBR list. Awesome post. I love the beautiful cover :)


Book Sake October 25, 2011 at 2:52 am

Freaking awesome. I saw the title "Royal Street" before and thought of my old hometown…but didn't realize this one was really taking place there. Sigh…adding it to the TBR list asap!!!


Suzanne Johnson October 25, 2011 at 2:55 am

@Shelley and @Jaskirat–thank you!

@Book Sake. Oh yes, definitely set in NOLA. I'm a longtime New Orleanian who moved away a couple of years ago and am already plotting how to get back :-)


Lisa Kessler October 25, 2011 at 4:16 am

I can't wait for this book!!! :)

I love New Orleans and magic!

Congratulations on the release Suzanne!!! :)



Suzanne Johnson October 25, 2011 at 4:58 am

Thanks, Lisa–appreciate you stopping by!


JenM October 25, 2011 at 5:09 am

That was a great post and I'm adding the book to my wishlist. My favorite paranormal stories are the ones that involve necromancers, ghosts, exorcists, etc. So what made you decide to settle in Auburn after you left New Orleans?


Suzanne Johnson October 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hi Jen–I was offered a job in Auburn (I do university publishing work), and since most of my family's in Atlanta and Birmingham, it seemed like a good time to make the move. Soooo homesick, though! Thanks for your comment!


Kulsuma October 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Royal Street sounds really good, so creative! I would love to visit New Orleans one day.


Jennifer October 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Cute idea. Thanks for the post!


Alicia0605 October 26, 2011 at 12:27 am

"Rooster Feet" ha ha! Such a great post!!


donnas October 26, 2011 at 5:24 am

Great post. Im really looking forward to Royal Street.


BlackWolf October 27, 2011 at 12:11 am

it was a really interesting post and i loved the excerpt!


Gabbie October 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

Wow. I love it. Dj sounds fun and quirky and its set in New Orleans! Its the making of what I am sure will be one of my favourite series.


Mary Ellen October 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

What a great post. I've been waiting for Royal Street for some time and this will make the waiting harder! DJ is a great character!


Rebecca October 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Awesome blog, Suzanne! Royal Street is on my TBR list and moving up fast!



Bhand35 October 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Lol great post. I am really looking forward to reading your book Suzanne.


Lesley D October 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm

This sounds like a really fun, creative book! I'm looking forward to reading it :)


JoAnna October 29, 2011 at 12:38 am

What a great post.
Royal Street sounds like a great book.


Suzanne Johnson October 29, 2011 at 2:42 am

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Only five more months and it will finally be out!


AgnesPink October 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Love the post! Totally Hilar!
Also, the book sounds great!
Can't wait to read it!


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