Behind the Scenes with Elysian Fields (and Weekly W*nners)

Today, I’m continuing my trip through the Style Sheet for Elysian Fields, book three of the Sentinels of New Orleans series. (Oh, and by the way, if you missed my fun little interview on Blog Talk Radio Friday night, you can hear it HERE, and if you’re interested in more entries for the Kindle Fire I’m giving away at my sister site, you can find it HERE. The Sentinels series is being featured today at the Place of Reads Book Blog–stop by and say hello!)

So, here’s how the Style Sheet works. In the process of getting a book actally published, authors go through a number of stages. Copyedits are when an editor with an eagle-eye for detail has combed through the manuscript, made grammatical and house-style changes, asked questions, or made notes when something needs clarifying. They also create a Style Sheet that makes notes of unusual words or spellings, or proper nouns, as they occur in the book.

So…I thought it would be fun to go through the Style Sheet for Elysian Fields, which might give some clues as to things you’ll see in there, as well as some background on the series in general….Today, we tackle the letter B (you can find the As here).

Barataria Bay. Barataria Bay is, technically, a body of water south of New Orleans fronting the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, “Barataria” refers to that whole swampy area of wetlands around the bay, which became infamous in the early 1800s as the kingdom of pirate Jean Lafitte (and we love Monsieur Lafitte, oui?). On the barrier island of Grand Terre (on the map, just east of Grand Isle) and the area north of the bay, Jean led as many as a thousand pirates and privateers and ruffians, and had a great deal of power. Barataria had brothels and houses and all kinds of pirate niceties, and, of course, Jean had a fine large house for himself. In the bay sat several of his ships, their cannons loaded and facing out to sea. No one would be sneaking up on Le Capitain. In Elysian Fields, we get our first look directly at Barataria as it exists in the Beyond. There might be corsets involved. In the modern world, sadly, coastal erosion has reclaimed much of Grand Terre island to the sea, although there is still an abandoned fort and a protected bird sanctuary there.

“Basin Street Blues,” Louis Armstrong. One of Louis’ more famous songs. Basin Street was a street Louis knew well from his childhood growing up in New Orleans, and was earlier part of the infamous red light district known as Storyville. In Elysian Fields, one of DJ’s wild shots with Charlie goes awry and we hear this song coming from an unlikely spot.


Betony. Betony is a new character we meet in Elysian Fields. He is the clan chief of the Earth Elves and is, as far as we know at this time, politically neutral. One never knows about elves, though. Right now, he’s a minor figure.


Beyond and Back. One of the best-known clubs in the Beyond’s wild border town known as Old Orleans, kind of an amalgam of all eras of New Orleans history, on steroids and full of paranormals. It’s always night and a full moon in Old Orleans. Louis Armstrong plays sets at Beyond and Back when he isn’t visiting the modern world, and Jake Warin slips over there occasionally when no one’s looking.

Beyond, the. The world that lies across the metaphysical borders from our modern world. Think of the world as an Oreo. The bottom cookie is our world; the white filling is made up of the border towns like Old Orleans; the top cookie is the Beyond, where all the paranormals were confined except for a few species like the wizards who could mainstream easily with humans. Of course, Hurricane Katrina blew the cookie apart into a kind of Oreo maelstrom.


“Big River,” Zachary Richard (song starts at 45 seconds into this video). Through Royal Street and River Road, the ringtone of DJ’s cell phone was Fats Domino’s “Walking to New Orleans.” In Elysian Fields, she decides to change it to “Big River,” by her favorite artist, Zachary Richard. In real life, “Walking to New Orleans” was my cell phone ringtone at the time of Katrina. Every time Fats sang, seemed like it was more bad news so I finally had to change it. Bonus trivia: Fats Domino lives in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, which was one of the worst (if not the worst) flood areas. He didn’t evacuate and had to be rescued from his home. He was dropped off and left alone and without ID at the Louisiana Superdome with the thousands of others trapped there. His home was destroyed, along with his signature white piano. 

Bobbsey Twins. For those of us of a certain vintage, this was a series of children’s books about two sets of twins who were brothers and sisters, Bert and Nan, and Flossie and Freddie. In Elysian Fields, DJ observes at one point that she and Rand, who have the same eye and hair color, look like overgrown Bobbsey Twins.


Bourbon Street. Well, no explanation needed here. Probably the most famous street in modern New Orleans, and the location of Jake Warin’s bar, the Green Gator. 

And there you have it!

Now….did you win a book this week? You know the drill. If you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail dot com with your mailing info. 

JOANNA won the copy of Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Rocks the House.

MIKI won the $10 gift card from Amazon or B-and-N (or equivalently priced book from Book Depository) for participating in this week’s Shop Talk discussion.

GALENA won the ARC of Adam Nevill’s Last Days.

NURMAWATI DJUHAWAN won this week’s Reader’s Choice contest. She chose Lili St. Crow’s Nameless.

Tune in tomorrow for a new Reader’s Choice contest!

7 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes with Elysian Fields (and Weekly W*nners)

  1. Enjoyed the “B” list. August is just too far away. Charlie up to tricks again, someday DJ must learn how to control him. Or maybe not. Congratulations to all the winners.

    • Ugh, I know. August seems forever. DJ is making strides with Charlie in this book, but as she notes, “I’d never before practiced shooting over my shoulder while running for my life.” LOL.

  2. ^^ Thank you a lot!!

    i really love discovering things like this^^ it’s simple but with each letter i’m learning ( and of course we love Jean!)

    Hum charlie be controlled… perhaps more like charlie will indulge DJ ^^

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