New Orleans – Halloween 2022

I spent Halloween in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans! We flew in on a Thursday evening and, after dropping off our bags, headed down in search of our long-missed Bourbon street. Even though Halloween was still days away, the party had already begun!

My friends and I have a tradition in New Orleans, to begin each trip at the Acme Oyster House, featuring some of the best cajan cuisine to be found in the Crescent City. We indulged in starting the meal with fried crawfish tails and followed it with po’boys and a large platter of fried fish with hush puppies. Everything was wonderful as we enjoyed each bite before wandering down the crowded party street, admiring early costumes & happy resellers (and grabbing a margarita…to go)!

We also discovered the French 75 Bar. As a lover of crisp, dry bubbles and sparkling cocktails, it was a must-stop on our trip!

The next morning, Friday, we took a day to explore some familiar places. We began at the Carousel Bar inside the historic Hotel Monteleone. A sparkling jewel of the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone is one of the last family-owned-and-operated hotels in New Orleans, and has been since 1886. The bar inside is on a moving platform, where guests are rotated in a full circle once every 15 minutes. With a traditional champagne cocktail, we enjoyed the luxurious decor and took a spin or two before heading to a late lunch at Brennan’s.

Another staple of the New Orleans food scene, Brennan’s features an innovative creole menu which combines both French and Spanish influences. Our brunch menu included Eggs St. Charles (composed of catfish and a poached egg, topped blood orange hollandaise, served over a bed of cremed spinach) and Eggs Hussard (like a traditional Eggs Benedict, but with a rich red wine sauce as well) The result – scrumptious! 

As it turned out, in addition to being Halloween weekend, it was as the fourth Friday of October…also known as international Champagne day! So in the courtyard, the restaurant manager taught a group of customers how to properly sabre open a bottle which bartenders proceeded to pour from!

We then proceeded to walk the rows of Bourbon and Royal Street, enjoying people watching and dropping into a few shops to peruse the fantasy and gothic offering of the city. 

Saturday morning was a meeting with friends over breakfast. The group included members of the Anne Rice scene like coven members Michelle, Vampires Louis du Pont du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt (No. Seriously. It’s their actual names!).


 
Our group close friends usually meets in New Orleans once a year, but have been unable to do so due to Covid. It was great visiting and renewing old friendships as we caught up on each other’s lives.  

Then, we ventured to Metairie Cemetery on a more solemn and important pilgrimage. 

As we reached the cemetery entrance, the sun vanished behind dark grey clouds and the sky opened around us. As the rain poured down, our group of four wandered through the sacred grounds in search of the Rice Family Mausoleum. It took time to find it, the patter of splashing rain surrounding us before we finally gathered at the final resting place of our beloved Anne Rice. 

For those who don’t know, my MA dissertation and a portion of my PhD studies centered on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Meeting Anne was one of the greatest moments of my life, and being an invited guest to her ball for several years was one of its greatest honors. She was a woman who inspired both my academic and creative work. A writer who taught me about the kind of author I wish to be. The time I was granted with her, and the conversations we had, are cherished memories which are dear to my heart. 

Almost a decade ago, Anne also introduced our small group, and it was with sombre, but grateful, hearts that we laid flowers upon the mausoleum steps, the final resting place of the woman who had meant so much to us on so many levels of our lives. Together we paid our quiet respects, speaking our farewells and thanks to Anne, for all she had given us and the numerous ways she, and her enduring legacy changed our lives for the better. 

The following morning, Sunday October 30th, began on a lighter note, as my husband and I took a riverboat jazz brunch cruise down the Mississippi. With good food and lively music, we took in the sights along the river and enjoyed a few rays of sunshine. 

We then headed to the Garden District Book Shop, hosting the memorial second line in honor of the late Anne Rice. Nearly a thousand people showed up to honor the life and legacy of the writer who had immortalized New Orleans through her novels, as much as the immortal creatures within them. It was an incredible and humbling site to see how many gathered to honor Anne, and I was grateful to be a part of the event. (photo with Sue Quiroz)

After, we grabbed a quick bite a our favorite hole in the wall, The Howlin’ Wolf. With gator dogs, fried crawfish and local beers, it’s a great place to grab a quick bite in the city.

We then returned to the hotel to get ready for the Dark Gift Alliance Resurrection Ball. Hosted by our friends Michelle and Lestat, the event was a gorgeous gathering of those who love the gothic, vampiric, and the soul of New Orleans. Everyone was dressed to the nines, from gothic costumes to dazzling ballgowns. Featuring an array of live music, good food, and friends, the event was lovely and one I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a fun Halloween night. 

At the end of the night, as October 30th transformed to Halloween Night, attendees of the ball left the ballroom and ventured to our outdoor location  on the banks of the Mississippi River. Lead by the master of ceremonies, Madame X, a tribute was held to honor Anne Rice. I was one of three featured speakers at this memorial event. I was honored to have been asked, and to share my memories of Anne with a group of those who held her in similar fondness. 

When the event wrapped up, hugs were exchanged with heartfelt thanks and goodbyes as we ventured back to the hotel and began to pack for the journey home. 

The trip was an amazing assemblage of renewed friendships, reminiscing old memories, and honoring the memory of Anne Rice. It was a trip which filled my heart with happiness, comfort, and healing. I am grateful for being able to venture to the city which shall always hold a piece of my heart, and the many whose friendship has come to mean so much over the decade since my first trip.

Until our next meeting, my dear New Orleans. 

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Character Art: Aiden

Excited to share this new illustration of:

Prince Aiden

Art by: Barn-Swallow Art

Heir to the Amethystine throne, Aiden is a royal Amethystine dragon-shifter. A character from the Flames of Kalleen epic fantasy-romance series, Aiden presides over a kingdom hidden for centuries in the Northern Kalleen Mountains. Wrongly banished from the kingdom of Kalleen, Aiden’s people have secretly thrived in this land of eternal winter, awaiting their moment to strike against those who wronged them.

Begin the journey here:

Embracing the Dragon

Flames of Kalleen: Book 1

Can a human heart withstand the flames of a dragon’s soul? 

For centuries, the dragons of Kalleen have ruled the skies. Blessed by the goddess of fire, those born of her power are destined to exist within two worlds, while fully belonging to neither.

As a daughter of the dragon queen, Amelia has always been torn between her humanity and winged form. In meeting Stephen, she found a blossoming love that gave her hope of finding balance.

A dream destroyed when her sister, and future queen, sets her sights upon the same man.

Forced from her lover’s side, Amelia embraces a self-imposed exile, taking refuge in the northern mountains. In this new life of solitude, she banishes painful memories by retreating to her dragon form, sheltering the wounded girl within.

Yet it is an isolation that cannot last, as the new dragon queen’s cruelty bears down upon the kingdom, allowing an ancient enemy to rise. Drawn from her banishment by the pleas of friends, Amelia must choose. Will she embrace the destructive beast within? Or draw upon the frail humanity that lingers dimly in her soul, in a desperate attempt to help her people, and mend a broken heart?

Ebook & paperbackhttps://books2read.com/u/3LpMaM

Paperback Special Edition Colorhttps://amzn.to/2Ouac22

Audiblehttps://adbl.co/2x7whvO 

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Book Illustration – Black Rose Guard

Excited to share this new book illustration from

Tales of the Black Rose Guard.

This scene takes place in book 2 of the series, Heart of the Rose,

when Princess Mara discovers her love, Captain Edward,

being held captive in the bowels of the Brön Court dungeons.

Art by: Vii Morte

Tales of the Black Rose Guard:

A woman with no memory of her past. Another unable to forget. Both haunted by a sinister creature of roses and shadow with an unquenchable thirst for royal blood. Welcome to the world of the Black Rose. 

***

Six hundred years ago, Mara, the immortal captain of the Black Rose Guard, led her knights to their greatest victory: the annihilation of the Muir Court. For avenging a fallen princess, she was hailed a hero. Yet for Mara, the mirror reflected only a killer.

Haunted by the slaughter carried out in the name of honor and duty, Mara hoped she had fought her last battle. But when a mysterious girl arrives pleading for aid, Mara’s dream of peace shatters as the blood roses begin to bloom.

Determined to save the young woman for whom the long-dormant roses have awakened, Mara dons her ancient Arius blade, and prepares to once again lead her men into a fight from which they may never return.

All the while, Mara’s enemies prepare to exploit her greatest weakness: the life of her only love, Edward. Her sole warning is whispered in shadows: Beware the Silver Rose.

Begin the story: Black Rose – Book 1:

Ebook Links:

books2read.com/u/mYp2rp

Paperback:

Amazon: https://goo.gl/AMgqKn

Audiobook:

iTunes: https://goo.gl/5crKdi

Audible: https://goo.gl/7RX61f

Hardback:

Volume I: Books 1-3:

Colorhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578940736/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i22?fbclid=IwAR0XiYq-F5bI79xw12RODLlBqnW8KTOpGWkmcJ00eVuQtaN356visUdUfXo

Black and Whitehttps://www.amazon.com/Tales-Black-Rose-Guard-I/dp/0578939959/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Tales+of+the+Black+Rose+Guard&qid=1626472093&s=books&sr=1-1

Volume II: Books 4-5:

Color Edition: shorturl.at/eqwJP

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Eternally Hers – Now Available

Under a full moon, all creatures will succumb to their fate.

Explore your wildest fantasies with these page-turning lesbian paranormal romances designed to captivate you.

Fated mates.

Destined lovers.

The overwhelming instinct to complete the preordained bond will drive these women to do what they must to satisfy the need to mate.

This collection of sapphic romance tales has something for everyone, from sweet to steamy, to dark and thrilling.The stories in the compilation are exclusive and can’t be found anywhere else. Don’t wait, this box set will only be available for a limited time before it is gone forever!

Note: This collection contains material for mature readers (18+ and older) 

Available Now: https://geni.us/eternhers

Included in the set is my story:

Crimson Desires

Dark desires. Immortal Passions.

An unquenchable thirst for human blood.

***

Doctor turned immortal, Yelena has resisted the darker side of her vampiric thirst for nearly sixty years. Reclusive, she diligently focuses on her research from her French countryside lab, until an unexpected invitation from the French court thrusts her into the seductive path of Lady Suzette Dieudonnée.

A 2,000-year-old pureblood vampire, the alluring beauty shares none of Yelena’s moral qualms. Falling into a forbidden and tumultuous romance, passions burn through steamy nights as Suzette teaches Yelena she can remain true to her Hippocratic oath while fully embracing her vampiric nature.

Along the path of their newfound passion, Suzette realizes she’s found her destined mate, but has to convince skeptical Yelena their bond is unique. Together, they must reconcile their love and fears, or be doomed to walk eternity alone.

Now available in the Eternally Hers multi-author box set!

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Children of Lir – Now Available!

Children of Lir:

On the shores of ancient Ireland, a noble knight wins the heart of a faerie princess. But will his love be enough to save her from a wicked curse?

***

When Lord Deiric saves the life of a drowning swan, little does he know the creature is more than it first appears. Cursed to take the form of swans with each sunrise, the children of Lir are eternally bound to the frigid waters of an Irish Sea. Only under the light of a full moon can they return to their human forms.

The night Fiana appears at Deiric’s keep in the middle of a raging storm, the golden haired beauty quickly captures his heart. As romance blossoms under silver moonlight, Deiric vows to save his newfound love from the sorcery which holds her within its merciless grasp.

In order to free her, Deiric must face a series of trials which test his courage, devotion, and honor. The path is treacherous, spanning both the mortal and faerie realms and is fraught with dangers Deiric never imagined.

Can Deiric complete his quest in time to save his beloved and free Fiana from her wicked enchantment?

Story can be found in the Once Upon An Ever After multi-author boxset 

Featuring 16 fairytales by some of today’s 

Hottest fantasy and romance authors!

Now Availablehttps://books2read.com/ouaea

Once Upon An Ever After

Available herehttps://books2read.com/ouaea

Sleeping Beauty has insomnia.

Snow White isn’t so pure.

And Belle just may be the Beast.

These authors have joined together to bring you stories so good, you can’t help but tell them again…

Imagine all your favorite fairy tales retold by bestselling romance authors…oh yeah, you get the idea.

Escape into the fantasy of your favorite bedtime stories reimagined with fresh new twists and turns for you to immerse yourself in. This set features kickass heroines, swoon worthy heroes, and epic villains you won’t want to miss!

When it comes to urban fantasy paranormal romance, we’re bringing you all the magical feels in one beautifully packaged limited edition collection.

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Character Art: Arawn

Excited to share a new character illustration of:

Arawn

Art by: Barn-Swallow Art

Arawn is the handsome, though a bit gruff around the edges, hero from Shattered Moonlight, my co-write and USA Today bestselling novel with Erin McFadden.

A huntsman & monster hunter by trade, Arawn is visited by the goddess, Danu, who charges him to join forces with a brave young woman, Celine, and a white wolf, to embark upon a quest to save their kingdom from a wicked curse.

Though somewhat reluctant at first, Arawn quickly proves himself to have a kind, brave heart as he is swept into a journey of both dangers, and hope.

Every night, the wolf wailed his sorrow to the lonely moon.
Every sunrise, her heart echoed his mournful call.

**

Celine treads a worn path through the cursed wood to pray beneath the Hawthorn tree for her sister’s safe return. The trail is dangerous—her nightly pilgrimage is stalked by monsters who dwell in the murky shadows.

One moonlit evening, the beasts come for her, yet instead of meeting death, Celine is saved by a fearsome wolf. As Celine and her wolf develop an unlikely companionship, she begins to suspect the complex creature is more than he appears, and perhaps his fate is inexplicably tied to the kingdom’s curse.

When a handsome huntsman arrives intent on slaying her protector, Celine must face her fears to save her big bad wolf.

Kindle Unlimited & Paperbackhttps://books2read.com/shatteredmoonlight

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Character Art: Lady Seraphina

Excited to share this new character illustration of

Lady Seraphina

From the Flames of Kalleen fantasy-romance series

Art by: Vii Morte

Lady Seraphina is an Amethystine dragon-shifter with a temper as fiery as her red hair.

A court noble who is extremely protective of her people.

Seraphina will stop at nothing to seek justice against those who have wronged her kingdom.

Flames of Kalleen:

Book 1

Embracing the Dragon

Can a human heart withstand the flames of a dragon’s soul? 

For centuries, the dragons of Kalleen have ruled the skies. Blessed by the goddess of fire, those born of her power are destined to exist within two worlds, while fully belonging to neither.

As a daughter of the dragon queen, Amelia has always been torn between her humanity and winged form. In meeting Stephen, she found a blossoming love that gave her hope of finding balance.

A dream destroyed when her sister, and future queen, sets her sights upon the same man.

Forced from her lover’s side, Amelia embraces a self-imposed exile, taking refuge in the northern mountains. In this new life of solitude, she banishes painful memories by retreating to her dragon form, sheltering the wounded girl within.

Yet it is an isolation that cannot last, as the new dragon queen’s cruelty bears down upon the kingdom, allowing an ancient enemy to rise. Drawn from her banishment by the pleas of friends, Amelia must choose. Will she embrace the destructive beast within? Or draw upon the frail humanity that lingers dimly in her soul, in a desperate attempt to help her people, and mend a broken heart?

Now Available: 

Ebook: https://books2read.com/u/3LpMaM

Paperback Special Edition Color: https://amzn.to/2Ouac22

Audible – https://adbl.co/2x7whvO 

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Children of Lir: Pre-Order

Children of Lir:

On the shores of ancient Ireland, a noble knight wins the heart of a faerie princess. But will his love be enough to save her from a wicked curse?

***

When Lord Deiric saves the life of a drowning swan, little does he know the creature is more than it first appears. Cursed to take the form of swans with each sunrise, the children of Lir are eternally bound to the frigid waters of an Irish Sea. Only under the light of a full moon can they return to their human forms.

The night Fiana appears at Deiric’s keep in the middle of a raging storm, the golden haired beauty quickly captures his heart. As romance blossoms under silver moonlight, Deiric vows to save his newfound love from the sorcery which holds her within its merciless grasp.

In order to free her, Deiric must face a series of trials which test his courage, devotion, and honor. The path is treacherous, spanning both the mortal and faerie realms and is fraught with dangers Deiric never imagined.

Can Deiric complete his quest in time to save his beloved and free Fiana from her wicked enchantment?

Will be featured in the Once Upon An Ever After multi-author boxset

featuring 20 fairytales by some of today’s

hottest fantasy and romance authors!

Pre-order now: https://books2read.com/ouaea

Releasing: August 16, 2022

Cover by: Indigo Chick Designs

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Character Art: Sir Gwain

Excited to share a new illustration of

Sir Gwain

A dragon-shifter knight, hero,

and Captain of the dragon queen’s royal guard

in the bestselling Flames of Kalleen

Fantasy-romance dragon-shifter series.

Illustration by: Barn-Swallow Art

More information on the series can be found here:

Can a human heart withstand the flames of a dragon’s soul? 

For centuries, the dragons of Kalleen have ruled the skies. Blessed by the goddess of fire, those born of her power are destined to exist within two worlds, while fully belonging to neither.

As a daughter of the dragon queen, Amelia has always been torn between her humanity and winged form. In meeting Stephen, she found a blossoming love that gave her hope of finding balance.

A dream destroyed when her sister, and future queen, sets her sights upon the same man.

Forced from her lover’s side, Amelia embraces a self-imposed exile, taking refuge in the northern mountains. In this new life of solitude, she banishes painful memories by retreating to her dragon form, sheltering the wounded girl within.

Yet it is an isolation that cannot last, as the new dragon queen’s cruelty bears down upon the kingdom, allowing an ancient enemy to rise. Drawn from her banishment by the pleas of friends, Amelia must choose. Will she embrace the destructive beast within? Or draw upon the frail humanity that lingers dimly in her soul, in a desperate attempt to help her people, and mend a broken heart?

Now Available: 

Ebook: https://books2read.com/u/3LpMaM

Paperback Special Edition Color: https://amzn.to/2Ouac22

Audible – https://adbl.co/2x7whvO 

Flames of Kalleen

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Amaranthine Castle

Excited to share this new illustration of Amaranthine Castle,

home of the Amethystine Dragons

who dwell in the eternally ice-covered mountains

of North-Eastern Kalleen.

The castle is prominently featured in Forsaking the Dragon.

Art by: Vii Morte

Here’s the synopsis Forsaking the Dragon:

7,000 years ago a lie was born to hide a destructive truth—

a Kalleen Princess defended her Amethystine love to her dying breath.

***

For millennia, Amethystine dragons have been banished from the Kalleen Kingdom, their very existence erased from the annals of history. But some claim, in the icy wastelands to which they were exiled, the Amethystines survived and waited for an opportunity to reclaim their land and birthright.

To protect her kingdom from the wicked and powerful temples that challenge her rule, Dragon Queen Amelia ventures into the ice-swept mountains in search of legends. The path proves treacherous, and the dragons she seeks may be the greatest threat she has yet faced.

Accompanying Amelia on this journey, Conner will stop at nothing to protect her, hoping his devotion and loyalty will be enough to overcome the secrets and family legacy he has kept hidden from the woman he loves.

As Amelia delves deeper into Amethystine lands, she must contend with the ancestral hatred from those her kingdom wronged centuries before, while finding a way to convince the Amethystines that if they fail to stand together both kingdoms will fall. To forge such an alliance, the Amethystine council demands a shocking price, one Amelia may not be willing to pay.

Ebook/Paperback/Hardback: https://books2read.com/u/3R6Qdv

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Forsaking-the-Dragon-Audiobook/B0B398WMBH?qid=1655230715&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=83218cca-c308-412f-bfcf-90198b687a2f&pf_rd_r=BSW9T98C7XPXNWR2218A

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