Can there be any more perfect setting than New Orleans for both paranormal fiction and Authors After Dark? It’s—
Psst. Shut up and move aside or I’ll zap you with my staff—again. *Author crumples to floor.*
DJ Jaco here. Sorry, Suzanne is indisposed, so you’re stuck with me.
I’m the wizard sentinel for the New Orleans region. Basically, that means I patrol the borders between modern New Orleans and the world Beyond. You don’t want to go to the Beyond. You don’t want the things that live in the Beyond to come here. Take my word for it.
Suzanne was going to tell you all these cool places in New Orleans to go, but she’s an irresponsible woman who falls for every bad line the undead pirate Jean Lafitte feeds her. I’m here to tell you the truth: five spots from which you should run—not walk—away.
*Author tries to rise from floor, but gets another zap from wooden staff, her fingers trailing off the keyboard as she attempts to seize control and fails.*
Ah, what was I saying? Right. Five spots to avoid at all costs, in no particular order.
THE NAPOLEON HOUSE. This is an old restaurant and bar in a circa-1812 house on the corner of Chartres and St. Louis in the French Quarter. It was built as a possible place of refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte when he was exiled, but old Short Stuff never made it. Suzanne would insist it’s her No. 1 favorite place in the Quarter to kick back with a drink and relax, but I’m telling you—this place is a well-known hangout for certain undead French pirates who once tried to have their way with me in the upstairs banquet room, and then threatened to take me to the Beyond and turn me into a pirate wench. Beware. Don’t be sucked in by the pretty courtyard.
*Author tries to summon Jean Lafitte to her rescue and take D.J. down, but fails.*
LAFITTE’S BLACKSMITH SHOP BAR. Seriously, another pirate hangout? Just because it was built in the early 1700s at what’s now 941 Bourbon Street and is perhaps the oldest bar in the U.S.? Just because it was supposed to be a spot where the famous Lafitte brothers (i.e., untrustworthy cads) conducted some of their illicit business deals? Just because some drunken fool has claimed to see Jean Lafitte’s ghost here? I see the undead Jean Lafitte a LOT, and let me tell you—he’s handsome and charming, but is absolutely not to be trusted. Trust me on this.
JACQUES-IMO’S. Suzanne just wanted to throw in her favorite restaurant in the hopes someone would take her there. Shameless hussy. Granted, it’s fine eating. It’s reasonably priced. You can get alligator cheesecake and a softshell crab named Godzilla, cooked to such perfection you will weep with happiness. Hm. Okay, maybe you can go here, but only if you take me with you.
ST. LOUIS CEMETERY NO. 1. I cannot believe she was going to tell you to visit this place.
Sure, it’s the oldest of New Orleans’ famous “Cities of the Dead.” But, hello. Marie Laveau is buried here—voodoo priestess extraordinaire? Just sayin’. And some very, very bad things went down here after Hurricane Katrina knocked down the borders between New Orleans and the Beyond. I almost died. I can’t in good conscience recommend you go here. The Historical Undead walk in daylight in New Orleans, and I don’t want to have to rescue your happy backside from a voodoo zombie.
* Author struggles back to consciousness and begins trying to invoke silencing spell, which backfires and renders her speechless.*
CAJUN SWAMP TOUR. The swamps are mysterious and green and all that jazz. But here are a few things you humans don’t realize.
1. There are weregators who live in the swamps, and they like to eat tourists.
2. There are merpeople who live in the swamps, and they like to seduce tourists—it’s fun for a while but they have serious anger-management issues, those mermen. I think it must be the stress of sprouting and retracting those dorsal fins.
3. If you go into the swamp and get mauled by a weregator or seduced by a merman, I will have to come and get you and scrub your memories. I will not be happy. I will be cranky. You don’t want to see me cranky. Just watch this video, and call it done.
So there you have it. Places you should NOT g—
*Wizard is confronted by large undead pirate Jean Lafitte…and she’s not trying THAT hard to get away from him. Author laughs and slams the door behind them.*
Whew, where was I? Oh yeah—there’s no better place than New Orleans for paranormal fiction or for Authors After Dark. See you in August!
Add ROYAL STREET to your Goodreads shelf.
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 the soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerry 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 for the serial 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.
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, with a day-job career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick. Her debut urban fantasy, Royal Street, set in New Orleans during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, launches April 10 from Tor Books. It’s the first in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, featuring wizard Drusilla “DJ” Jaco. Book two, River Road, comes out November 13.