Holy cow, what a week! Day-job magazine finally went to the printer after five consecutive 14-hour workdays, including last weekend, and then all the stuff that got backed up while the magazine was in production had to be done. So if the website feels neglected, that’s the reason.
But thanks to my friend Stephen, whose name you’ll see at the top of some of my blog posts, I’m able to write stuff ahead of time and he ably does the physical posts for me and digs up all the cool art. So now that I’m coming up for air, I think we’ll be able to get things back on track. Coming up Tuesday: A great guest post from Viola Carr, whose new steampunk novel, The Diabolical Miss Hyde, has hopped to the top of my TBR keeper pile. And I’ll get back on the TBR cleanout project again this week, plus give you a new behind-the-scenes look at PIRATE’S ALLEY. I’ll announce this week’s winner along with next week’s on Sunday since I was such a blog-sluggard this week.
And…guess what I’m finally starting work on? Yep, that would be the first new book in a Penton Wars spinoff series. It might be a novel. It might be a duology or trilogy. Not sure yet. But Nik will be the central character in the unnamed first Penton Wars book and there will be some new faces in Penton along with some favorites. I’m also working on the early stages of a series I’m describing as “NCIS meets Swamp People.” Heh.
Speaking of which, a shout-out to “NCIS: New Orleans,” which this week will show the Tulane University Marching Band as part of their Mardi Gras episode. I worked at Tulane for almost 15 years and love the place. And the band is awesome. Plus, I mean, really. How can any university whose school colors are sky blue and olive green not be cool?
It airs on CBS on Tuesday night (on Mardi Gras day this year-Feb. 17!) at 9 EST/8 CST. Trivia: actor Lucas Black, who plays Christopher Lasalle on the show, grew up in Decatur, Alabama, not far from where I grew up. That accent is SO familiar. You wanna hear what a real north Alabama accent sounds like? That’s the real deal. (It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the New Orleans accent so I’m glad the producers/writers made his character be from Alabama.)
In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this little sneak peek scene from BELLE CHASSE…DJ has been shot (again) and finds her medical treatment at the mercy of Jean Lafitte and Rene:
An argument reached me from somewhere on high. I assumed that God and Saint Peter were above me, debating whether or not I should be admitted to heaven. Apparently, it was a tossup.
I struggled to open my eyes when I realized God was speaking with a French accent and trying to unfasten my jeans. When Saint Peter told God the wizard would poke his f**ing eyes out with the elven magic stick if he didn’t get his hands off her zipper, I knew I hadn’t died and gone to heaven. I was still alive and in hell.
“Hands off the pants.” My voice sounded like a three-pack-a-day smoker with a hangover but it was enough to silence Jean and Rene.
“We must remove the bullet, Drusilla.” Jean sure had that Almighty attitude in high gear. “Tout de suite.”
I’d die with my pants on, thank you.
“Let us cut off the leg of the jeans, babe. That bullet’s gotta come out. The pirate’s right about that much.”
“Sorry, no scissors.” At least I didn’t think Jean would have scissors in his 1814-era outpost of Old Orleans. When had scissors been invented?
The pirate disappeared for a few seconds, then returned wielding a lit candle, a dagger, and a bottle of brandy.
Oh hell no. We were not going to re-enact every bad bullet-removal scene from every bad historical movie ever filmed. Next thing you knew, they’d be offering me something to bite down on.
“You may bite on this to ease your pain.” Jean held up a leather strap, which I was going to use to beat him with as soon as I could sit up. Which wasn’t now. My leg throbbed in rhythm with my pulse and felt like a mound of boudin noir stuffed into a denim sausage casing.
“I need anesthesia.” I mentally scanned the contents of my bag again and came up empty. I didn’t think holy water would help since the wound wasn’t technically of demonic origin, although I suspected Satan’s evil twin might have been an elf.
My racing thoughts were distracted by a tearing noise and I raised up on my elbows and watched in horror as Rene used the dagger to spear a hole in my jeans just below the promised land and then exercised misuse of shifter strength by ripping off the entire left leg of my jeans.
He stopped, biting his lip, and I flopped back on the pillow when Jean walked up to the other side of the bed and also looked down, confused. “What does this mean, Jolie? Who is this man named Harry? Why would you wear his name on your pantalets?”
“I’ll explain later.” Rene ripped off the left leg of the Harry Potter PJ bottoms I’d been wearing in place of long-johns. “But you got nothing to be jealous about. Just worry about her sense of fashion.”
“Bah. She has none.”
I refused to take part in this conversation. Besides, Jean had reclaimed the dagger and was holding it in the fire, which put humiliation over pajama bottoms into proper context.
I’ve never been a squealing, crying, mewling sort of woman. In fact, I ridiculed them, even as a kid. Faced with tears or sarcasm, I’d take the high road to snarkdom whenever possible.
But God help me, I screamed when Rene poured brandy on my exposed wound.
“Mon Dieu, she is meant to drink it.” Jean snatched the bottle away, lifted my head, and engaged in what felt like the alcoholic version of waterboarding. Brandy dribbled down my chin, ran in my nose, seeped down my cheeks and seared holes in my eardrums. A lot of it, however, went in my mouth and down my throat, peeling off the lining of my esophagus like battery acid. Before long, my leg still burned like a bonfire but I didn’t care so much.
When Jean heated the dagger again, however, I did find the presence of mind to grab Rene’s arm and jerk him to me. “Where’s that damned strap?”