Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras. I’ve always had a love or hate relationship with it. As a child growing up in California one of the highlights of the year was a box of beads, throws, and Moon Pies my mother’s cousin would send us. The magic of the sparkling beads, fun toys, and the wonders of sugar coated marshmallow pies. What wasn’t to love?

As I grew older, my understanding changed. Carnival is a time of excess and indulgent behavior and people use it as an excuse to sin. Behind the beauty in the pageantry, filthy behaviors happen within some circles. Tens of thousands—and more—dollars are spent only to pelt parade watchers with plastic, guzzle booze, and litter the streets. Think of all the good that money could be used for instead—a waste!

Then I discovered the historical origins and my understanding evolved further. Bachelors in Mobile began the first society as an impromptu parade through town to disturb the peace. The wildness was celebrating the New Year and the timing eventually expanded to be enjoyed before revelers humbled themselves for Lent. After the Civil War, people in the Port City needed something to lift their spirits and carnival was brought back. Today many of the societies donate to non-profits and do volunteer work throughout the year within the community.

While parades and extravagant balls aren’t my personal style, I’ve developed an appreciation for the colorful history it gives Mobile, Alabama. Before I began writing what is now the first book of The Possession Chronicles, Perilous Confessions, I researched the history of Mardi Gras in Mobile through books as well as newspaper articles from the 1905 season I wrote about. I knew I didn’t want to use real society names, so I asked the opinion of a writer friend who had tackled high society and Mardi Gras in a contemporary setting for her YA/NA novel Want. Stephanie gave me permission to use the society she created for her modern take on carnival in my series. I had a lot of fun creating the roots of Mystics of Dardenne and I’d like to think Isaac Laroche would find the Dardennes’ antics entertaining—at the very least.

Writing is all about stirring emotions. Things the author and the reader are passionate about are the best things to use, but passion isn’t always positive. The feelings I’ve had about Mardi Gras throughout my life (from wonder to disgust) can be found within Perilous Confessions. Just as with any topic, whatever your take on carnival season is I hope you’ll continue to find new information and insight to further your understanding of this unique event.

It’s release day for Perilous Confessions! You can read the first five chapters with the “Look Inside” option. (The digital sale price of $0.99 won’t last forever.) To check out Stephanie and her books, find her on Goodreads. Happy reading!

Hometown Heroes Release Day

It’s release day for this collection of romantic shorts. Find Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press in ebook and print.


I’m happy to share “Courtship and Courage” with you as part of the transitioning of my historical works to Bienvenue Press. This all new short continues the story of Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker from Fortitude. If you’re new to my writing, these two characters will make appearances in The Possession Chronicles, so you’ll want to catch up with them.

While Fortitude (and my other publications to date) have been primarily targeted for teens, “Courtship and Courage” is my bridge into writing for an adult audience.
Since it’s the first story in the book, the “Look inside” option on Amazon allows you to read the first several scenes, so enjoy!

As always, I’m open for questions and would love to hear from you after you read it.

 

Winter Wonderland

There is an epic level of awesomeness happening in my life right now, but where to begin? The basics—and I will expound on all of these things in my December newsletter next week, so if you haven’t yet, subscribe!

I’m traveling and experiencing new things such as wintry weather in the Pocono Mountains. Cold and ice are much more glamorous on the big screen than in reality. But I do prefer autumn/winter clothes to summer, so that’s a plus.

 A week from today marks the newest release for my literary collection (which is doubling in the next two months.) “Courtship and Courage”, a Fortitude short story is included in Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology published by Bienvenue Press—my new home for my historical fiction projects. Proceeds from the sales go to Cajun Navy Relief. I wrote the story specifically for this charity project as a stepping stone from Fortitude (written for teens, though adult readers have also enjoyed it) to The Possession Chronicles (my forthcoming series for adult readers.) And, yes, Claire and Joe make the transition to my series as well. You haven’t seen the last of them.

 Here’s the synopsis of “Courtship and Courage”: Witnessing the race riots before the soldiers left for Cuba during the summer of 1898 didn’t stop Claire O’Farrell from opening her heart, but it prevented her from wanting to share it. The stormy Mobile Bay winter proves the right catalyst for Joe Walker to prove his devotion to the woman he loves, though Claire is determined her choices have made her unworthy.

Read it for as little as ninety-nine cents and help others rescue and relieve the stress natural disasters cause along the Gulf Coast.

And the third item I want to share—shout about actually—is the cover reveal for Perilous Confessions, book one in The Possession Chronicles. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to see it in less than a week. (Another reason to join the list! I email only once a month during the first week with the best highlights and information about my literary news, including what I’m reading.) The day after the newsletter, I’ll share the image on social media and update my website, etc. with the gorgeous, Gothic cover.

Three years after the release of my first book and there’s a plethora of activity in my literary life and lots more to come—like three new novels in 2019, for one thing. (Another hint: if you don’t have it yet and want this edition of Fortitude in your collection, buy it soon. As I write this, the Kindle version is free.)

More next week in my newsletter (it’s separate from this blog, so you need to join on there too), but you can find me on multiple sites on the web in the meantime. Find all my links on my contact page.

Cemetery Wanderings

On Saturday, I participated in a walking tour of historic Magnolia Cemetery here in Mobile, Alabama. I got to geek out over local history in the fourth oldest (and the largest) municipal cemetery, established in 1836. People of all faiths and walks of life rest here, including plenty of noteworthy historical figures. And as it was Veteran’s Day Week, 105 casket flags from service members from thirty states flew over the Avenue of Heroes—a lovely sight on the blustery autumn morning. Here’s a sampling of photographs.

I shared other photos on my Instagram account and in my Gothic readers group, so check them out.

Thank you to all those who have served this country.

Publishing News

This winter is going to be full of new releases from me. First up, on December 4, is Hometown Heroes, a Christmas Anthology compiled by Bienvenue Press—publisher of my forthcoming series, The Possession Chronicles.

Here’s the overview:

Community. Courage. Compassion.

Hometown Heroes brings you five Christmas romances that celebrate everyday heroes.

From paranormal to contemporary to historical there’s something here to fill everyone with the spirit of the season.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Cajun Navy Relief, an organization dedicated to helping neighbors in distress.

 

You can add it to your Goodreads list here.

“Courtship and Courage” is my short story addition to the anthology. Picking up the winter after Fortitude takes place, questions from readers of my historical coming-of-age tale who wondered what happened to Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker after the book ended are answered in this new adventure. Reading Fortitude first isn’t necessary, but it will make it more enjoyable. And you haven’t seen the last of these Dauphin Islanders. The Possession Chronicles series touches on their lives in 1906 and beyond. There’s no time like the present to introduce yourself to them.

 

 

 

A Cool Breeze

The weather’s going to change, right? We’re closing in on autumn but the humidity of summer is clinging to ninety-degree temperatures like it’s still August in Mobile, Alabama. Here’s something to cool you down: Christmas.

If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter (you don’t? Remedy that right now by signing up here), you may have heard that I wrote two short stories this summer for submissions to a couple different anthologies. I’m happy to report that “Courtship and Courage” has been accepted into Bienvenue Press’s Hometown Heroes Charity Christmas anthology to benefit America’s Cajun Navy. Release dates/buying options will be forthcoming.

If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to read Fortitude. “Courtship and Courage” begins the December after the book ends. While written as a novel for teens, it has proven to be a coming-of-age story that readers enjoy into adulthood. Fortitude holds rank as a “Best Books” for kids (grades 5th-10th) from Grateful American Foundation with only twenty-two other historical novels and non-fiction titles. You can read it free in Kindle Unlimited, purchase the ebook for $1.99, or buy a paperback through your favorite bookseller.

And for those who have read it and always wanted a bit more about Claire O’Farrell, here’s the next stepping stone. Yes, that means you haven’t seen the last of her. Stay tuned for more.

You’re Invited to a Party

Bienvenue Press, the publishing home of my forthcoming Southern Gothic family saga series, The Possession Chronicles, is turning one this week. A virtual anniversary celebration is scheduled this Saturday, June 16, from noon until 6pm central.

Every hour there will be a different featured guest and I’ll be filling that roll from 1-2pm. Stop in any time during the festivities to meet new authors and fellow readers. There will be giveaways and fun throughout the event for chances to win books, swag, and more.

Can’t make it? Stop in later to catch up on the postings. See the full listing of authors and RSVP at the event page.

On a related note, Perilous Confessions, the first book in The Possession Chronicles, will be released January 8, 2019. Be sure to add it to you reading calendar after the hustle of the holidays. A great way to make sure you don’t miss announcements about the release is to follow me on one of my social media accounts and join the Newsletter list. I look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead.

Sneak peek: I’ll be giving away a Perilous Confessions magnet at the Bienvenue Press party. Be sure to stop in and tell your reader friends about the event.