Tag Archives: new orleans

Belated Weekend Review

It’s Thursday and I’m blogging about last weekend. I could say it took me this long to recover, but that’d be a partial lie. Maybe like 70% true, 30% false. Or maybe even 60/40. Either way, this weekend really tired me out. It was fun, but it wore me down.

See, I’ve decided to do this 30-day squat challenge which I started on Thursday last week. (If you’re interested, I’m up to 80 now.) That normally wouldn’t be a problem. Working out, or pseudo-working out is better than nothing. But I forgot about New Orleans. I enjoy spending time in the Quarter, especially when I can show a friend around.

Unfortunately for me and A.M. Griffin, it wasn’t just hot this weekend, it was hot as balls. Pardon my crudeness, but it was a totaly sweaty nightmare. If you’ve never been to the French Quarter, it stinks. Especially when the heat and humidity is high. Bourbon Street doesn’t close as far as I know, so people party all day and night. When people party all day and night, they tend to lose control of some bodily functions and inhibitions and do whatever wherever. If you catch my drift. Don’t get me wrong, the Quarter is still a great place to visit. Usually after a good hard rain though, or if the street cleaners have been out.

That wasn’t the case this weekend.

But that isn’t even the reason I’m so tired. You see, I got to NOLA a little late. I blame it on that wrong turn I took, but by the time I got there it was 10 in the morning and I had to save Griffin from eating her entire stash of chocolate for breakfast. We hit the streets in the search of food…and returned to the hotel at 4 that afternoon. We only sat down twice in that entire time which means we walked a good 4 hours. No biggie, right? Wrong! We were dragging ass by the time we got back to the hotel. DRAGGING. I thought Griffin was going to melt in the heat. It was a nightmare. We had fun window shopping and people watching and staring at the guy in the one-piece swimsuit/jumper thing and heels and shopping some more.

We spent a lot of time in…*frown* I have a card for the store, but I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s an adult toy store. *cough* We actually probably spent more time looking for the store than we did in it. From one end of Bourbon to the other, we traipsed back and forth, ogling the pretty men without their shirts who were there for Southern Decadence Fest, eyeballing Prince and Michael Jackson impersonators and pausing in front of as many businesses with cool air as we could. Because that’s the trick of surviving a walk in the Quarter: Soaking up as much cool air as you can when doors open. Anyway, we finally found the store and bought a whole bunch of stuff to give away. I’m not going to say why we’re giving stuff away yet, but I’ll explain that later.

Anyway, the result of all this walking and shopping and goofing off? We were in bed by 11. Yes, we’re in New Orleans, the Big Easy and we were in bed for 11 p.m. Apparently I snored. I don’t recall. Whatever. It was a long, wearing weekend and we were only together 24 hours! Of course now we’re all excited about RomantiCon in October and RT in May. They’re going to be epic.

If you’re heading to New Orleans for RT next year, my recommendation is to get a lot of walking experience under your belt first, buy a pair of uber comfortable shoes and a bag  you can carry about a case of water in. You know, just in case the heat is atrocious the way it was this weekend.

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Home Sweet Bed

I got back from RT yesterday afternoon and after dragging heavy suitcases all over the south, it was a massive relief to see my brother’s car waiting for me at the airport. It was even better to sit next to Bennett on the ride home. Even if he did tell me “no” to everything I asked him. Which was funny actually.

Danica: Were you a good boy for mommy and daddy?
Bennett: No.Danica: Somehow I knew that.

It was just great to be home. Normally my dog gives me the cold paw when I return from a long trip, but this time she did the lip smacking, head bowed, butt tucked under “Why did you leave me? No one takes care of me the way you do.” And then there was fat cat who had to lick my elbows and follow me everywhere. Actually, it’s been about 16 hours and they still follow me everywhere.

So much for a private shower, eh?

I had a lot of fun at RT. I took a ton of pictures which I haven’t retrieved from my camera yet, but I will try to get that done today so I can bore everyone with my “and this is a giraffe’s ass” slideshow commentary.

Next year should be a lot easier on me since RT is in New Orleans. No waiting in lines at the airport, no hoping the socks I’m wearing don’t have holes in them when I take my shoes off to go through security, no strange people sitting next to me on the plane. Just me and my car. Yay!

Are you planning to go to RT in New Orleans?

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Captain’s Log RT Day 1

We’re here! Well, I’m here. And in Danica World, where I’m the center of the universe, that’s all that matters. Because everything else revolves around me.  I’m rockin’ it too. I have the whole gravity thing going on, some sparkles (stars to the layman) and I’m out of sight!

Okay, I’m laying it on thick. But I’m here in the lovely Kansas City for Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2013. The flight from New Orleans to KC was fairy uneventful. No extreme hotties for me to ogle, but we were taken for a wild ride when we hit some high winds right before landing.

Then I loafed around the airport waiting for my partners in crime to arrive. Once we were all on the van (me, Lea Barrymire, Cassandra Carr and Shell Saunders-Bryce) I let the “other” me disappear and Danica slowly emerged. My hotel room? Awesomesauce. It’s pretty posh. Walked a bit, had food at the Crayola Cafe. Hello? More awesome.

And we left a calling card:

482520_607839189229095_795802365_nIf you’re ever in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend Tuesday night at the Flying Saucer. It isn’t easy getting a table, but if you do and it’s more room than you need, invite the next folks in line to join you. We did and they turned out to be a lot of fun. I hope they enjoyed themselves at the Fleetwood Mac concert and want to give a huge thanks for them buying our first round of beers.

Anyway, The Flying Saucer was great. The food was good (very good), they had an amazing beer menu (I worked my way through nearly all the pale ales they offered) and they had trivia night. If we would have had more people with us I’m sure we would’ve beat those college kids. Sure of it! There’s also a very trendy grouping of bars and night clubs that I’d love to explore some more. That might be on the agenda. And I need to get T-shirts while I’m here.

But we had fun. I wish I could chat more, but it’s the official “start” of the conference and I need to get a move on. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the RT Book EXPO on Thursday afternoon from 4-6 pm. Even if you can’t make it, you can still buy books to support your favorite (and discover new) authors by clicking on their name on the Big Book EXPO page!

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Christmas Release Pimpage

Hey y’all, I know it’s  Sunday and I don’t normally post on Sundays, but I thought y’all might want to check out my cousine, Jillian Chantal’s free read, Christmas on St. Charles Ave.

Blurb: New Orleans, Christmas Eve, 1947: Brothers, Dirk and Beaumont christmas cover dbpMcSwain are both about to become fathers. Dirk’s wife has had a number of miscarriages and at thirty-six years old, is afraid this is her last chance for a healthy baby. Bo’s wife is pregnant for the first time. Both are due to give birth soon. The brothers arrange a surprise ride for their women in Papa Noel’s sleigh which is actually a horse drawn carriage with fake reindeer. The evening starts out merry and bright but before the night is over, they will need a Christmas miracle.

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Conference Wrap-Up

Well, I’m back. *sniff* On one hand I didn’t want the conference to end because I was having so much fun with my fellow FF&Pers, but on the other hand…I missed my pets, my family, my shower, and Lord, I missed my pillow. Those hotel pillows were one of two sizes and neither were right for me.

My workshop went well. I think. I kind of zoned out when more than two people showed up. Rebecca and Staci (two of the most awesome people ever) both assured me it was fine, but all I could hear myself saying was, “blah, blah, um, blah, blah, you know, blah”. I was glad to have it over.

None of us could have expected the horror we were about to witness...

There we were, about sixteen people crowded on the sidewalk across from the creepiest house with a gruesome history. There were three other tour groups in various spots around the house as well and all were focused on the horror before us. Then we heard music. At first I thought it came from a club close by, but soon after the music started, the truck (which appeared to be empty) parked in front of the house started to bounce. And bounce. And bounce. The dome light came on and I saw an ass bouncing through the windows over the tour guide’s shoulder.

I blinked a couple of times because…well, it just didn’t seem right. Besides, I was horrified by the story Adam was telling us, but that ass kept bouncing until finally it all stopped. I heard, “I love New Orleans!” and three people poured out of the truck. Two women and one man. More rapid blinking. The trio walked to the grocery story catercorner from the Lalaurie House without a care in the world.

It was only as we rounded back on Chartres Street that we started talking about it. Some of the people in our group (Rebecca) didn’t realize what was going on in that truck until the rest of us told them. Oh yes, they were uh…enjoying their sexual freedom and apparently worked up an appetite because they went to the store after.

Besides the surprise of witnessing a menage trois happening mere feet away, the tour was an absolute success.

Saturday was spent in workshops learning about fans, crafting blunders, and looking at very graphic forensic photographs before I headed out back into the Quarter with three other authors who wanted to shop for souvenirs, take pictures of some of the architecture, and in one case, try absinthe. Yes, we went on a hunt for absinthe and I even tried some. If you don’t like black licorice, I don’t recommend it.

There's a tiny blue flame coming from the sugar cube, but the camera on my phone couldn't catch it.

Claire Ashgrove after her first taste of absinthe.

Saturday night’s dinner was OMG amazing. Have I mentioned we have good food down here? If you like to eat, you should absolutely take a visit to south Louisiana and eat until you can’t go anymore. There was a raffle and a ton of door prizes to win and everyone had a blast. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of goofing off, and good will.

Despite getting to bed after midnight, I was up before dawn to take Heather Long out to Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Le sigh. I’ve been dieting for so long, eating those beignets was like tasting Heaven.Mais, they were good. We made it back to the hotel in time for me to hide the powdered sugar evidence and ready myself for the signing which was fun as well. I was lucky enough to be seated at the same table as Rebecca Zanetti (that’ll never happen again so we took complete advantage of it) and right next to Claire Ashgrove who became a very good conference companion. We laughed, we talked, we signed books, and pretty much enjoyed two hours of hanging out.

As I said, I was sorry to see the conference end, but my body is glad for it. My feet, hips, and back are complaining this morning about my walking and lack of sleeping. I’ll need to rest up this week because next week I’m heading out to Pensacola to hang out with my Gulf Coast friends for the weekend. Hopefully my witnessing the Bouncing Truck on Governor Nicholls hasn’t targeted me for Sex on the Beach (and I’m not talking about the drink folks).

 

 

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Conference Time

We’re only four weeks away from the start of a crazy conference bound month for me. I do enjoy conferences because it’s always great to see my writing friends in person, but it’s also a great time to learn and make new friends.

The first conference is Fantasy on the Bayou, the FF&P chapter’s very first conference. It looks like it’ll be fantastic. Karen Marie Moning will be there as well as Bob Mayer, Leanna Renee Hieber, Kristin Painter, and a host of other fabulous writers. The workshops look excellent and the book signing should be amazing. If you happen to be in the area on Sunday, March 4, be sure to stop by to meet some fabulous authors and pick up some books. *grin*

I’ll be giving a workshop on Music and the Muse on Saturday afternoon. I still don’t know what kind of media I’ll have to play songs to help stir participants’ muses, but I’ll figure something out. I might have to take a nerve pill before the workshop so I don’t blaze through my whole presentation in five minutes flat (think of an old cassette tape on fast forward). It should be interesting.

Then, two weeks later, I’ll be heading to Pensacola, Florida for the Silken Sands Conference. I’m really excited about this one because I get to reconnect with my Southern Sizzlers and meet the ones I haven’t yet. Besides, it’s on the beach! I’m not a very big beach fan, but I do love to listen to waves crashing on the shore. To me, that’s the perfect brainstorming time. I have a feeling I might skip out of some workshops just so I can watch the Gulf waters and commune with my muse. *cough* Again, there’s a fabulous list of authors who’ll be doing a book signing on Saturday afternoon, so if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by.

The only time I’ve been to Florida was for the RWA Conference in Orlando and I flew out there. I’ll be driving to Pensacola and I’m actually looking forward to the trip. I do like driving along the coast. I wonder if the Gulf looks different over there. Hm. And they probably have proper beaches. Our beaches at Grand Isle, Fourchon, and Holly Beach are rather small because of coastal erosion and…yeah, the water isn’t very pretty sometimes. I don’t think that’ll be the case in Pensacola and I can’t wait to find out!

Unfortunately, I won’t be going to RT or RWA Nationals this year. My pocketbook just can’t take it. Like I told my nephew last night (baby Bennett), I’m not Nora Roberts. He laughed at that. In fact, he laughed at me a lot last night so I can say with some confidence that if this writing gig doesn’t turn out well, I can always become a comedian for babies.

I’ll pout all summer long when I read Tweets and Facebook updates from the conference attendees, but you can bet I’ll be going to at least one of the big conferences next year. I think this year will be a small conference year. Which isn’t a bad thing, really. The small conferences are fun and not nearly as overwhelming as bigger ones.

What conferences are you going to this year?

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Bachelorette Party Rundown

Saturday was my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy myself because I’m only briefly acquainted with some of her friends, but as it turns out, it was a blast. Maybe that had to do with my need to celebrate landing an agent, but I suspect it was just a good mix of people with nothing but fun on the mind.

We went to New Orleans. First, let me just say that it was raining cats and dogs. I opted not to stay the night since I’m trying to pinch pennies for Nationals this year. So my nephew’s girlfriend and I parked the car in the Quarter and headed to Margaritaville. I’ve only been to this place once and when I went, I was extremely hung over so I couldn’t remember where it was. If I had remembered, I’d have parked a lot closer. Walking 8 blocks in the rain with no umbrella is not the best way to start off a party. The party was golf themed, so we set out with our plaid shorts, visors, polo shirts/argyle sweaters, and score cards.

Luckily for us, the rain slacked off not long after dinner. The first bar stop on our “9 Hole Game” was Pat O’Brien’s. The last time I was at Pat O’s…well, let’s just say I was worried I wouldn’t be allowed back in the bar. That wasn’t the case. Two Rum Runners at Margaritaville, one and a half Hurricanes at Pat O’s, and we slipped over to the Cat’s Meow. We sang along with the people performing, did a shot, then headed out to the Krazy Korner. There was a band playing there and we sang a bit, then disappeared into the Tropical Isle. Hand grenades (beer for me), lots of singing, laughing, and cutting up, we headed back up Bourbon.

It was as we were heading to the next stop that I saw something I’ve never seen on Bourbon Street before: a group of random people line dancing. I pointed it out to my girls and one broke off from the group to join them. Then the bachelorette joined and I thought, “What the hell…” Yes, we joined the line dancing. I think by the time the song was over, there must’ve been thirty or forty people dancing in the street. It was so much fun!

After that, we went to Fat Catz, then down the street towards Bourbon Cowboy. However, before we got there, we spied a novelty shop. What caught our eye about it was the New Orleans Saints corset in the window. Being rabid Saints fans, we hustled inside to see what other goodies they had. I walked out with a riding crop and handcuffs. Not for me, unfortunately. No, they’re a wedding present to my brother (on his bride’s suggestions). I don’t want to know, but I was more than happy to buy it for them. *laugh*

We started losing people after that. Three in our group headed out to go to bed and after two more bars, we did as well. I didn’t get home until 3:30 yesterday morning, but I can honestly say it’s been a while since I had that much fun.

This weekend is the bachelor party which I helped organize. As I’ve said before there are 2 females in the groom’s party, so I figured we should do the bachelor party as well. After speaking with my cousin yesterday though, I’m starting to wonder if I would interfere with the guys’ fun.

What do you think? I don’t want to be the only female, but I’d also like to help my brother celebrate his end of bachelorhood. He doesn’t care, in fact, I think he’d like me to go, but I don’t want to make any of the other guys uncomfortable. What a quandary!

I hope everyone had a great weekend because I know I did!

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