The Great New Orleans Adventure, Day One

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This house is just a couple of streets over from our hotel. There are several of these much-decorated houses throughout the French Quarter.

This year is my 25th wedding anniversary, which stuns me. To celebrate, my husband and I are in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, for a week. The last time we were both here, it was June, which is a crazy time to go, and our anniversary is actually two days after Christmas, so we settled on October as a good not-too-hot time of year. It’s beautiful here, actually, particularly when it gets a little overcast and the breeze picks up.

Getting to our hotel was not at all a given. Our taxi driver was going 80 on the freeway, in and out of traffic, and his little minivan (note: most of the taxis serving the airport are minivans) had no working seatbelts. So I pretended we were at Disneyworld and the driver was just a disgruntled dwarf working the Mine Cart ride. He did get us there in one piece, deposited us right at the door of the Inn on St. Ann. The Inn on St. Ann is near the edge of the French Quarter, within spitting distance of Louis Armstrong Park (which has a big ol’ arch over the entrance) and is in two parts: the Inn, and the Marie Laveau Annex. We’re staying in the Annex.

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The view from the door into our living area. There’s a refrigerator in the cupboard where I store Coca-Cola, one of Nature’s essentials when you’re out walking all day.

Unfortunately, the Inn was locked up tight. Ringing the bell did nothing. The instructions said to go to their sister hotel, the Inn on St. Peter, if no one answered. So we picked up our bags and, after a short wrong turn, ended up at St. Peter, where they told us we were in the wrong place and of course there was someone at St. Ann. We trekked back in the company of a lovely Sherpa assistant, and they got us straightened right out.

The garden tub. This was definitely not part of the original slave quarters, or whatever this building used to be.
The garden tub. This was definitely not part of the original slave quarters, or whatever this building used to be.

Our room is up two flights of stairs, but it’s worth it. Bedroom, marble-floored bathroom, and a living area…just what I need for unwinding after a day of sightseeing. (I’m also supposed to be working on this vacation, so the computer came along.) There is a robust air conditioner right above the couch, so it’s downright chilly–very welcome after the heat of the day. It’s not terribly hot, but I was dressed for the weather in Salt Lake City and that was just a little too warm for trekking back and forth, dragging my little wheeled suitcase, carry-on bag, and purse. I worked up a sweat and was extremely grateful for the air conditioner.

We made a quick expedition to the corner market, which also sells sandwiches and po’boys, to get some Coke (ah, sweet elixir of life!) and scope out the neighborhood. The last time we were here, for the Plot Whisperer’s business conference, we stayed at the Marriott, which is on the other side of the French Quarter, and we rarely got out this way. St. Ann (the street the hotel is on, naturally) is home to a lot of bars, and it wasn’t until we went out a second time, for dinner, that we got far enough to find restaurants. You have to go most of the way toward Jackson Square, past Bourbon Street, to get a place to eat. We chose Pere Antoine’s mainly because we were hungry and it was the first non-Chinese restaurant we came to. (Of course there are Chinese restaurants in the French Quarter. There are Chinese restaurants on Mars.)

The bedroom. We've got a tangle of wires behind the headboard because we are hopelessly attached to our electronics.
The bedroom. We’ve got a tangle of wires behind the headboard because we are hopelessly attached to our electronics.

One of the things I observed on my last trip was that it’s impossible to find a truly bad meal in the French Quarter. This time I intend to see if that’s true. With Pere Antoine’s, it certainly was. I ordered red beans and rice with sausage–stick to the basics, I say–and the first bite nearly killed me, it was so good. I love how it’s served with the rice on the side so you can sop up the beans with as much or as little as you want. And the flavor…just the right amount of burn. The sausage might as well have been lagniappe–a charming custom of giving some little thing for free on top of your purchase. The Plot Whisperer, who is a creature of habit, ordered an omelet. But it came with the cousins of the sausage I had, and he said it was incredible–ten times as good as a regular omelet.

Fat and happy, we rolled out of Pere Antoine’s and decided we might as well go as far as the Café du Monde, though when we got there, we were too full for beignets–delicious puffy pastries dunked in about a gallon of powdered sugar. So we walked back, passing the cathedral and the buildings flanking it, the Cabildo and the Presbytere, both of whose facades are under construction. Fortunately, the museums themselves are open, so we’ll be going back. It was past twilight at this point, but the Tarot readers and palmists and Reiki experts were still at it around Jackson Square. I had to wonder how the palm reader could manage her craft in the near-dark, but she seemed content to simply enjoy the quiet evening.

We returned to our room, tired and ready to call it a day even though it wasn’t much past 8 local time. Tomorrow we have a cemetery tour scheduled, and maybe a few more museums. Right now, I’m in the relaxed state I think most visitors to the French Quarter end up in, relaxed and content even if I’m not in a beignet coma. That day will come.

Blog tour ends today!

Today is the grand finale of my book blog tour! Make sure you scroll to the bottom to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for copies of each of these books–I’m really pleased to be in such good company!

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

It’s the Fantasy Prism Tour Grand Finale for
Spindle
By W.R. Gingell
Servant of the Crown
By Melissa McShane
The Frey Saga
By Melissa Wright

If you love fantasy, we hope you enjoyed the exclusive content shared on the tour. 
If you didn’t get a chance to check out each book and their stops now…

SpindleSpindle
by W.R. Gingell
NA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
August 10th 2015

She’s not a princess . . . but then, he’s no prince.

Polyhymnia is deep in enchanted sleep. High in a tower, behind an impenetrable barrier of magical thorns, she sleeps, dreams, and falls ever deeper into her curse.

Woken by a kiss, Poly finds herself in an alien world where three hundred years have passed and everyone she has ever known is dead. Luck, the enchanter who woke her, seems to think she is the princess. Understandable, since he found her asleep on the princess’ bed, in the royal suite, and dressed in the princess’ clothes.

Who cursed Poly? Why is someone trying to kill her and Luck? Why can’t she stop falling asleep?

And why does her hair keep growing?

Sometimes breaking the curse is just the beginning of the journey.

“What If…” Guest Post @ Mythical Books

With Spindle my what if? was what if Sleeping Beauty wasn’t actually the princess? From that first little seedling of what if? I also ended up with what if she slept for more than three hundred years instead of one hundred? I was fascinated with the thought of how much life would have changed for her. Language would have evolved and passed her by, her loved ones and family would almost certainly be dead, and both the political and social aspects of life would have changed completely.

More at Mythical Books.

W.R. Gingell

W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.

Website – Goodreads – Twitter

Servant of the CrownServant of the Crown
(The Crown of Tremontane, #1)
by Melissa McShane
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 405 Pages
July 15th 2015 by Night Harbor Publishing

Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.

When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.

Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

Exclusive Excerpt @ Brooke Blogs

“Without thinking, Alison whipped her hand out of his grasp and brought it around hard to slap the Prince’s face. The sound of her bare palm striking his cheek carried unnaturally far in the crowded, overfull ballroom. The dancers nearest them stopped to stare, and their stillness spread outward until half the floor was occupied by unmoving figures. The music went ragged and then stumbled to a halt. The Prince stood with his hand pressed to his cheek, his eyes wide and unblinking in surprise. Alison felt her breath coming in short, quick pants that left her dizzy…”

More at Brooke Blogs.

Melissa McShane

Melissa McShane grew up a nomad, following her family all over the United States, and ended up living in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three very needy cats. Her love of reading was always a constant during those uncertain years, and her love of writing grew out of that. She wrote reviews and critical essays for many years before turning to fiction, and was surprised at how much she liked it. She loves the fantasy genre and how it stretches the imagination.

Website – Blog – Goodreads – Pinterest

The Frey SagaThe Frey Saga
by Melissa Wright
YA/NA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 779 pages
February 1st 2013

This collection includes The Frey Saga Book I: Frey, Book II: Pieces of Eight, the short story Molly, and Book III: Rise of the Seven.

Unaware she’s been bound from using magic, Frey leads a small, miserable life in the village where she’s sent after the death of her mother. But a tiny spark ignites a fury of changes and she’s suddenly being hunted by council and forced to rely on strangers for protection. But the farther she strays from home, the more her magic and forgotten memories return and she starts to suspect the band of strangers are not what they seem. They help her find her rightful place and destroy the bonds, but securing her future might be more than she can do with magic alone.

Exclusive Excerpt of book I, Frey, & Sneak Peek of book IV, Venom and Steel @ Beck Valley Books

    “The library was chaos. Books and pages, precious scrolls and ancient casting ledgers strewn over the wood plank floor. I’d never seen this room molested by their madness and the shock of it had me stumbling to a standstill. They had lost all regard for it, broken their own rules. They were a wild people, but they did have at least some barriers.

    If there was one thing the fey respected, it was knowledge.”

More at Beck Valley Books.

Melissa Wright is the author of the Frey Saga and Descendants Series. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be found collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest.

WebsiteBlog – Goodreads – Twitter – Pinterest – Instagram

Tour Giveaway

$30 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of Spindle (Us only)
Print copy of Servant of the Crown (US only)
Ebook of The Frey Saga (INT)
Ends September 18th

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Experiment

So I’m still figuring out this whole online presence thing. Everyone has their opinions about it–how often to tweet, what to say on your blog, how to work a Pinterest page (that one mystifies me still). But my problem is a little more fundamental–I’m having trouble with getting my blog to update at all.

I like my web site provider. It’s really easy to build a web site, they have lots of nice themes, and it’s overall been a very simple process to learn how to do everything and link to where people can buy my books. Good experience, if a little spendy. But then I ran into two problems.

One is the issue of putting up free downloads–short fiction, etc.–for people to read. My husband the Plot Whisperer insisted that they be something people could actually download instead of having to read them on the computer screen. I had to admit he was right. But the site provider didn’t have any way to upload files like that; it was read online or nothing. So we went through all manner of gymnastics to get it to work, and the truth is, if I can’t do it myself, it’s not going to happen. And this was so far beyond my abilities it might as well not exist. So that was the first thing.

The second thing was that the blog wasn’t pushing updates through quickly or, in some cases, at all. And when it did, it truncated the posts in news readers so they cut off sometimes mid-word. That was unattractive and annoying.

So this is me trying different blog software to see what happens. It’s already solved the one problem of not being able to put up downloads–that was easy, as easy as the other one was hard. Let’s see what happens with this post.