Authors After Dark was ridiculous fun this year, as always–though holding it in the absolutely gorgeous Royal Sonesta hotel in the heart of New Orleans was a stroke of genius! NOLA was beautiful, full of incredible sights, interesting people, and beautiful music, day in and day out. The ever lovely Stella Price did a fabulous job putting this con together (and behind her is her faithful sidekick and also amazing assistant in all things con, P.J. Schnyder):
Before I get into the thick of things, and for those who don’t want to read through the whole post, here is the announcement I have been dying to share–and finally spoke about in NOLA!
Mouse and Christoph are getting their own book! Musa Publishing has picked up the paranormal romance novel SILENT CRAVINGS, which I will discuss in greater detail in a later post (unless you’re an email newsletter subscriber or attended the AAD panels where I talked about it, in which case you already got the skinny, you sly devil!).
This year, Binah and my mom weren’t able to come with me, but I brought my friend Holly. We had a fantastic time! We arrived on Wednesday evening and stayed until Monday, and between the two of us we devastated the NOLA supplies of hurricanes, cyclones, and beignets.
On Wednesday night, our first order of business was to run out and see Bourbon Street. We were starving, and hit some dive along with Tori the Book Faery, her mom, some of her friends, KB, and Allison Pang. From there, the whole trip was a whirlwind, so I’ll do my best to revisit it all in some semblance of order. After that, we ran back to the hotel for the welcome meeting, most of which I don’t remember. I’m pretty sure we went out for drinks after that, which is probably why I don’t recall…
Though I am pretty sure that’s when Casey from Literary Escapism tackle-hugged me. That, or it was Thursday night. Anyway, fangirls FTW! (I’m sorry that I can’t list everyone I saw, especially my blogger friends, but I’d be here all night typing this up and searching for links if I had to do it that way. I really, really, REALLY love you all, even if I didn’t mention you by name, I pinkie swear!)
On Thursday, I had a panel on anthologies, author etiquette and marketing (which was recorded as a podcast by husband/wife team Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, though I’m not sure if it’s gone live yet), a reading with fellow urban fantasy authors Kristen Painter and Adrian Phoenix, and then I had an event for bloggers later in the evening. By the end of the day, I was pretty wiped.
Friday was when the partying really got started. When I wasn’t in a panel, I was busy stalking Mark Henry (aka Daniel Marks) and Dakota Cassidy. I did laugh my butt off at one of Jeaniene Frost’s jokes in the urban fantasy panel I was on. We also had the open bar and then the Masquerade Ball, which led to some interesting times.
On Saturday, we had the pub crawl. Coincidentally, this was on the same day New Orleans was holding something called the Red Dress Run. We saw a lot of stuff like this:
JoJo was one of the first people to join us at VooDoo Vibe across from the hotel. Despite the crazy from the overabundance of drunk dudes in red dresses, I got a few great pics while I was there.
And then after, I went running around town with Leanna in the lead. She took us to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (highly recommend their hurricanes, they’re one of the few places in town that uses actual fruit juice instead of the powdered stuff) and to an absinthe shop.
Leanna is truly lovely, inside and out.
On Sunday morning, we had our farewell meeting in the ballroom at an ungodly hour. Stella gave out the gift baskets, and then I rushed off with Holly, Leanna, and a cadre of other people to visit St. Louis Cemetery #1.
People. Oh, people. MY PHONE HAS TOUCHED DEAD PEOPLE PARTS.
Let me explain.
We went in on our own, not as part of a tour. It’s open to all on Sundays until noon, so we wanted to get some mileage out of this place and see what there was to see. Along the way, we ran into one of many of the tour guides. His name was Walter Ross. Check his Mac Daddy pose!
So. Walter tells a damned good story, and I was fascinated by the history behind a bunch of the tombs. I have close to 500 pictures of that graveyard, so I can’t post them all here, but when I have time I’ll put a few more up on Facebook along with some info I recall about what Walter said about them.
Somewhere along the way, Walter started taking pictures for a few of us of the insides of some of the tombs.
Yes. He dropped my phone in one.
MY PHONE HAS TOUCHED DEAD PEOPLE PARTS.
Anyway. That’s the exciting story of how my phone was christened by grave dust and cursed for all time. Thanks, Walter! Dude, if you read this, I am totally taking a tour by you any time I come back to NOLA. You were funny, brave, and totally badass, and I will recommend you to anyone who has a sense of humor about graveyard tours.
After that, I wrung out the sweat and headed back to the hotel. A few of us were sticking around until Monday, so we decided to do a ghost/vampire tour. (As an aside, I am both looking forward to and highly dreading seeing the pictures Lori Witt took of us on that tour. Much love to my fellow AWer! And no more short jokes about me, kkthxbai.)
Back on track–I highly recommend French Quarter Phantoms Ghost Tours if you’re going to wander around New Orleans and want to hear some spectacularly creepy shit about some of the landmarks in town. Ask for Luke. He was fab and knows some great stories.
Most of the pictures I took didn’t have anything terrifically exciting in them–except for one.
This is the picture I took of my cell phone of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church and convent on Chartres Street (look to the left of the cross on the roof):
If you’re not familiar, the place has a rather creepy history. Those attic windows were at some point supposedly nailed shut with hundreds of silver nails to keep the vampires locked inside. Some paranormal investigators were also found murdered on the church steps the morning after they set up their equipment to watch for activity around those windows. I found that stuff as fascinating as it was chilling.
We also heard tales about the two murderous Carter brothers, stopped by Delphine LaLaurie’s mansion, saw one of the houses used in the filming of Interview With the Vampire, and enjoyed some refreshing drinks at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. All in all, it was a great tour, and I would definitely do it again.
On Monday, Holly and I knew we would be leaving soon, so we didn’t do very much. A little bit of wandering on Royal Street. It was hotter than hell, so we didn’t spend much time sightseeing.
However, I did find my new favorite store.
The little pretty on the bottom is on my wishlist:
All in all, this has been a fabulous, exciting trip and convention, and I can’t wait for Authors After Dark in Savannah next year! Keep an eye out, registration opens soon–and they sell out fast!
Farewell to New Orleans–for now. I plan on going back at some point to explore more of the local landmarks and enjoy more of that lovely town’s signature cafe au lait and beignets…