Where Do the Book Titles Come From? Behind the Scenes with Elysian Fields

Happy Sunday–and happy release week to Elysian Fields! I’ll have stuff to give away all week…books, New Orleans memorabilia, and other goodies, so check back each day!

Also, the official virtual tour kicked off yesterday with a short-short story at Bittersweet Enchantment, so if you didn’t see it, you can still go (scroll way down to find the story) and enter to win the tour prizes, which includes an iPad2 (or 8.9-inch Kindle HD or $250 gift card to etailer of choice). I’ll have lots more tour stops tomorrow so check back. And the regular Reader’s Choice contest will run tomorrow as well.
Now, I was recently asked what Elysian Fields was, and how it tied to the story.
Each of the Sentinels books uses the name of a major street in New Orleans as its title, which is only fitting since NOLA is practically a character itself. But I also find a street name that ties in with the book’s plotlines, although they’re admittedly a bit obscure except to me 🙂
So ROYAL STREET is, of course, a major street within the Vieux Carre, or French Quarter. But it also refers to the New Orleans royalty–Jean Lafitte, Louis Armstrong, Marie Laveaux, Pierre Lafitte, Dominique Youx–who appear in the book as the historical undead. In the original manuscript, several authors, including Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and William Faulkner, appeared in the book but, alas, were (ironically) left on the editing-room floor.
RIVER ROAD seems like an obvious reference to the plot of the second book, because much of it is set on the Mississippi River and one of the plot-lines has to do with the poisoning of the river. But River Road is also a major street in the city that, as one might suspect, follows alongside the river from New Orleans and points west into plantation country. River Road, like the river itself, is twisting and turning and, unlike the river, quite narrow. 
ELYSIAN FIELDS, again, is a major street in New Orleans, Elysian Fields Avenue. The title of the

book refers to Elysium, or the Elysian Fields, a conception of the afterlife from Greek mythology–and of course the Big Bad of the book is a historical undead serial killer who terrorized New Orleans in the early part of the century and was known only as the Axeman. New Orleans is clearly a city I love even while I recognize its foibles and faults, and it’s sort of appropriate that Elysian Fields Avenue is kinda seedy and not always the safest place in town.

And there you have it! So when you hear that the next books are tentatively titled PIRATE’S ALLEY and BELLE CHASSE, perhaps that offers a clue?
Now…did you win a book this week? If you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail with your mailing info and preference for print/digital if both are available. (No, I’m not caught up with mailings but I am trying!)
VERONICA won Sascha Illyvich’s Torn to Pieces. I think this is digital, so please let me know your preferred format and email address.
EVA M won the $10 Amazon (or other etailer) gift card for participating in this week’s Shop Talk. Thanks to everyone who chimed in–it was a really interesting discussion this week!
AMANDA G won the giveaway from EJ Stevens, and requested the first book in the series.
DOCTOR’S NOTES won this week’s Reader’s Choice contest and chose Biting Bad. 
Hope to see you here tomorrow!

Jean Lafitte, Elysian Fields Scene-Snippet, Your Stories, and Weekly W*ns

Lots of news today!

First, everybody’s favorite undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, will be sailing your way on Monday, June 24, with part one of a new novelette, Jackson, Square. This is a story told entirely in Jean’s point of view, and will run in five parts that week, Monday through Friday, here on Preternatura, at no charge in honor of the paperback release of River Road on June 25. More on that as we get closer.

Next, I’ll be doing guest blogs over the summer for both the Sentinels series, for the release of Elysian Fields, and for the Penton/Storm Force books and I want to try something a little different. Guest posts and character interviews are fun, but how about if YOU tell me what to write? In other words, I’ll solicit ideas one day a week for the next week’s guest posts and you can provide writing prompts: “DJ walks in on Alex, and can’t believe what he’s doing” or “Jean Lafitte meets Arnold Schwarzenegger” or “Will wrecks Mirren’s motorcycle”–you get the idea. I’ll take your ideas and, for each blog post, write a short-short in the Sentinels or Penton world, depending on what series the post is for. It could be a colossal epic-fail, or it could be fun. We’ll try it and see!

And now, since I haven’t done one in a while, we have a snippet from Elysian Fields. In this scene, DJ has made a run to the vampire bar, L’Amour Sauvage, hoping to question the Vampire Regent about the necromancer who’s controlling the Axeman of New Orleans, a historical-undead serial killer who’s after DJ. She’s just gotten home, and it’s late…

“Sebastian!” I yelled, rattling the plastic grocery bag on my way in the back door. He didn’t come running to attempt murder-by-tripping like he usually did. Probably napping. I couldn’t remember how old he was. Seemed like Gerry had him forever before Katrina, when I inherited him. He usually
had plenty of energy where food was concerned, though.
     Dumping the bag on the counter, I flipped on the lights on my way into the front parlor. It was one a.m., and the pizza place across Magazine Street was dark. I looked through the mail I’d pulled from the box on my way in— a water bill, a catalog of overpriced cheese and fruit, and a postcard from Maple Street Animal Clinic reminding me it was time for Sebastian’s shots. Kiss another few hundred bucks good-bye.
     I’d been slogging my way through a reread of the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the last week, so I figured I might as well see if I could get Sam and Frodo closer to Mordor, maybe even indulge in a few Sean-Bean-as-Boromir fantasies. There was nothing else I could do about the Axeman tonight.    
     Grabbing the book off the coffee table, I started toward the stairwell. I’d get out of these blasted heels, drag out my PJs, read a while, and get some decent sleep for a change.
     A creaking sound overhead stopped me cold. It was the squeaky floorboard in my upstairs sitting room, which lay at the top of the stairs. Sebastian wasn’t heavy enough to make that floor creak.
     I relaxed my shoulders and took a deep breath to slow down my heart rate, which had begun to jackrabbit in erratic spurts. My security wards were active, and no one knew the password, so I was being paranoid. I lived in a house that had been built in 1879. It settled. It creaked. When the wind blew hard, it moaned. I was just jumpy because of everything that had happened in the last few weeks. 
      The floor overhead creaked again, followed by a thump and the re-acceleration of my heart rate. Holy crap. That was not the sound of a house settling. I slipped out of the silly red heels, traded the book for my clutch bag, and tiptoed toward the back door. I’d drive my rental car to the Gator and hang out, see if I could find Rene or other suitable backup.
 I picked up the elven staff from the kitchen counter and, pausing on the back stoop, pulled my cell phone out of my bag and punched Alex’s speed dial. Voice mail. I tried Ken next, as I walked gingerly across the gravel parking lot. He answered on the first ring.
     “It’s DJ,” I whispered. “Somebody’s in my house.” Not only in my house, but walking heavily down my stairs. I ran toward my car.
     “Where are you?” Ken asked.
     “Trying to get in my car.” I fumbled with the keys and dropped them in the gravel.
     “Drive to my place now— stay on the phone with me until you get here.”
     Runs raced up my hose from walking on the gravel, and I winced from the rocks poking in my feet, but I had the key at the lock. “Okay, I’m getting—”
     Something jerked my head backward, throwing me off balance….

Oops. Things are about to go downhill very, very fast!

And now…did you win a book this week? As always, if you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail dot com with your snail-mail address (except for gift cards, where email will do).

PHILLISLM52 won her choice of books from JT Geissinger’s Night Prowler series by commenting on the Paranormal Unbound blog on Friday.

SPAZ won a $10 Amazon gift card (or B-and-N if preferred) for commenting on Shop Talk this week–thanks to all of you who commented. It was helpful to hear how you hear about new authors and decide on what to read. As for the Great Justin Bieber experiment, it actually didn’t yield a big surge in blog hits for the day, which kind of makes me happy since I’m not actually writing about Justin Bieber. (Although I suppose “Mirren Meets Justin Bieber” would be an interesting writing prompt–LOL.)

GALENA won her choice of Richard Dansky’s Vaporware or a mystery book in her choice of genre from my Towering TBR pile.

KATY won a $10 gift card for commenting on my guest blogs this past week–your choice of online retailer.

ERIN won a mystery book in her choice of genre (SF, Fantasy, YA paranormal, UF, or PNR) from my Towering TBR pile for commenting on the Pembroke Sinclair guest post.

BARB P won this week’s Reader’s Choice contest and picked Dark Flight.

Congrats, everyone. We’ll be back as usual tomorrow with a HUGE Reader’s Choice Contest!