The house smelled of cinnamon, like Christmas, like Thanksgiving, like a warm safe home. Something Alex had not known until now. He tried to play it cool, blend in, act like he was one of the spoiled elite he went to school with. But they knew the truth. He was a fraud. A foster kid who got lucky, he thought. He told himself things would get better maybe over time they would forget where he came from. Maybe he would too. Maybe this life was contagious. He was willing to catch it. The best part of it all wasn’t the money, it was Dan. He wasn’t very parental, there were no rules that he knew of, but Dan did care. He showed up at the art show and seemed to like his graphic novel. Dan also liked comics. Maybe this was it. A real home once and for all. He tried not to focus on it. The thought of losing it was too upsetting. He had become attached to Dan and the idea of having a father who actually cared. For now he would continue to play it cool, blend in, wing it.
I have been struggling with my lead character, Dan. But at my novel class Monday night at the San Francisco Writing Salon, he came to life. Our teacher asked us a very important question. What does your character lack? As opposed to the typical question of what does your character want? Writing about the lack I feel as though I went back to the depth Dan had when I first started writing him.
The backstory that made me what to propel him forward from the beginning–his fear of love, his greatest shame, his inability to be vulnerable, these wounds make him just as interesting as the vibrant secondary characters, that aide him or stand in his way. He is my main protagonist, at least in the first book. I have been focusing too much on the actions to propel, when I should just let him propel what happens on his quest. After all, it is his story.
Writer’s Diarrhea I do not have writer’s block, I have writer’s diarrhea. The ideas don’t stop, the what ifs don’t stop, and the creation of new characters doesn’t stop. One would think this is gre…
Source: Ramblings of the Solitary Writer
I do not have writer’s block, I have writer’s diarrhea. The ideas don’t stop, the what ifs don’t stop, and the creation of new characters doesn’t stop. One would think this is great! Well it’s not great when you are trying to send your synopsis to a New York agent and realize that maybe all five plot lines just can’t work in one book.
And the plot line I’ve been in love with from the beginning lacks a good villain, actually all the plot lines lack good villains. The attacker in the first scene of the series I am working on seems to be just that, an attacker; I have no place for them other than the first scene in the rest of the series.
This is tough because this scene is what drags the rest of my characters into the world of the vampires and I want it all to loop back or be connected to what happens in the secondary plot line of the vampires lives in a past time period. Oh and the time period has not been decided upon yet either because I have two different sets of those written as well, one in WWII and one in the late 1880s.
I have decided to write out each plot line out in its entirety and see which ones link best together. After all for a first novel, I do not think it’s a good idea to write the “Game of Thrones” of vampire novels. But that is often how it has felt.
Another Tale of New Orleans
Desperation swims at people like waves. If you push too hard against something it typically makes it float away. This was part of a discussion I had with a young man named Nate I met today walking through the French Quarter. After lunch with him I walked with him to my Saints and Sinners Tour. Which was a relief since the tour started from an area I didn’t know. He was nice company but he got too clingy and seemed to want a pretty deep connection for someone I just met.
My tour was cool I got to try absinthe for the first time. It tastes like black jelly beans or liquorish. And makes you feel a little relaxed like you are almost floating.
I went to meet Nate at Cafe Dumond at 3:30 pm for beignets against my better judgment, where he tried to get me to invest in his next movie project. I told him I don’t give men money which startled him, that a single woman from San Francisco wasn’t an easy mark. When he went to the men’s room I jetted out of there and went back to the hotel to jump in the pool.
I had a nice dinner at Dicky Brennan’s restaurant called Tableau before my next tour, a haunted, vampire, voodoo, witch combo. The tour guide was very good but also a bit upset, he told us his girlfriend of 25 years had left him a month ago. Bad relationships seemed to be the theme of the day.
Day 5 New Orleans June 2015
Today, I followed the instructions of one of the locals I met yesterday and I went to Murial’s and had a light lunch then in the middle of lunch I asked about the Seance Lounge which most people don’t know about. After I was done eating the waiter led me upstairs and I got to see the outer and inner seance rooms. The inner seance room even had two sarcophagus inside. Both rooms were decorated in 1920s decor and red light which many mediums use to develop physical phenomena mediumship.
I also got to see their upstairs dining rooms and go out on the balcony. It was pretty cool, especially since these private rooms seem to be well-kept secret here, even though they do talk about it on their website, no one on any of the haunted history tours have ever mentioned this. The only guy working at my hotel who knew about it used to be a bartender there. Even he seemed surprised that I was given access. He said normally that’s a place for private parties.
Next I headed to the Pharmacy Museum where in the 1820s a Dr. Dupas experimented on people trying to cure yellow fever. He killed a lot of people and later I read that he stacked some of the bodies in the lovely courtyard I took some pictures in. What a town!
Later on when I went back to the Boutique Du Vampyre shop for my tarot reading and Marita the owner told me Jonathan who is the best tour guide for the Vampire Tour is back from vacation. I immediately booked the tour. I saw him last year and he was fantastic. I had already seen another vampire tour on this trip and it was pretty good, but after seeing him, no one can really compare. It was like having a movie star do a role meant for Meryl Streep. I went back for Meryl Streep and was not disappointed.
Day 4 New Orleans June 2015
This morning I took a city tour where I got to see St. Louis Cemetery number 3, Lake Ponchitran which was beautiful and City Park. These were all places I didn’t get to see last time I was here. After the tour I ate at Napoleon House built in 1797. Napoleon was supposed to escape exile here in the 1820s but of course that didn’t happen. On one of the ghost tours I went on they talked about how the ghost of Napolean often shows up at dinner parties there.
After lunch I headed back to the hotel to get in the pool. It was really hot today. I almost didn’t go to the bar tour I Had at 4pm but I’m glad I did, Joe our tour guide was excellent. He’s a local authority on cocktail and bar history he has even been on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain on CNN. He told us a lot of great stories on the local places in NOLA.
The first bar he took us to was Tujagues established in 1856. It’s the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. And its still a standing bar 200 years later. I had the best Pimms Cup there.
Joe next took us to Pirate’s Alley right next to St. Louis Cathedral. Their signature drink is 120 proof Absinthe from France by a company called Lucid. I had that the other day on another tour. Next we were onto the Court of Two Sisters a very popular restaurant and bar that has the only death mask of President Andrew Jackson in the world on the wall. One of their signature drinks, is the Golden Coconut which reminded me of a White Russian but seemed lighter. It felt like I was drinking a cloud. It was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had anywhere.
The last place we visited was Antoine’s where Joe got us access to some of the private dining rooms, like the room President Clinton dined in. Joe was the best tour guide, everybody knows him so we got easy access everywhere we went.
After the tour I walked into the Boutique Du Vampyre in the French Quarter. And met the owner Marita who is going give me a Tarot reading tomorrow. It is such a nice little shop with all things vampire.
Day 3 New Orleans June 2015
While I was waiting for the tour van to pick me up, one of the locals told me I could go on their porch if it started to rain. The locals treat the tourists very well here.
Did the swamp tour, got to see alligators up close because the tour guide throws marshmallows at them. They call the marshmallows, “Swamp Crack.” I also got to hold a baby alligator which was horrifying, but what are vacations for? It actually felt really smooth. It acted cute like a puppy which surprised me.
I liked how fast the boat swerved through the swampy waters. Next time I will take the smaller boat so I will get hit by the Southern air even harder.
When I got back to the Quarter I did some souvenir shopping, ate lunch and went to Cafe Dumond for the beignets. Then headed back to hotel to rest up before the Ghost and Vampire Tour at the Voodoo Lounge, which is a local dive bar.
This tour had some stories I had not heard before about more local residences where horrific murders took place. I learned two things on this tour, do a thorough history on whatever house I ever buy in NOLA to make sure no one was murdered there and never date a butcher who has a huge wooden trunk. We were told two stories of butchers who killed women on the same street and hid them in trunks.
Day 1 New Orleans June 2015
My first day of my New Orleans trip, went well. I lounged by the pool in the morning. Then went into the Quarter where I saw two jazz bands one on each corner trying to out do each other at Jackson Square. One of them was playing up on the balcony of Dickey Brennans’s Tableau Restaurant. As I walked past them I encountered a trio of mule drawn carriages full of tourists reveling in tales of the French Quarter. I found a restaurant New Orleans Creole Cookery which had good food and live music inside and a beautiful courtyard I had my picture taken in.
Next I grabbed a cab to Magazine Street to check out all the trendy shops, after a while I cabbed it to the Riverfront Outlet Mall near Harrah’s Casino. I got some good stuff there. Apparently it was 98 degrees today which oddly didn’t bother me. I know it was in the 90s because a few locals told me so and that it was killing them. Don’t know why I was strangely immune to the heat today.
I went to dinner at a restaurant called The Corner Oyster House as I was sitting at the window, a tour bus drove by with the doors open where a woman with a nice sized booty twerked for all of Decatur Street.
Day 5 New Orleans June 2014
I just ordered a strawberry daiquiri at Landry’s and the bartender asked me is that for here or to go? That’s New Orleans, one of the few places in the country where you can walk in the street with an open alcoholic beverage as long as it’s in a plastic or paper container no glass.
This morning I finally took the trolley car all the way down Canal Street and back. It ended at three cemeteries, Cypress Grove, Greenwood and the Masonic Cemetery which I am kicking myself for not going through.
After my graveyard excursion I headed to Royal Street and Bienville to one of the only bank owned ATMs in the whole French Quarter, even the locals shake their heads over it.
Then I took a leisurely walk through the art and antique district of Royal Street, finally took a peek inside St. Louis Cathedral, which seems to have a perpetual mass that is constantly interrupted by the curious tourists.
There were a group of children, elementary to middle school age trying to pray and they were obviously annoyed by the constant opening and closing of the front doors to the Cathedral. It was actually refreshing to see young kids so into their faith, and I think it was the first time I have ever seen a look of disdain on the face of a six-year-old.
Next I had lunch at my favorite lunch spot, the Corner, their pizza is amazing as is the service. On my way back to my hotel I had a foot massage, which I think helped a great deal, when I tried to tip the Asian immigrant gentlemen who rubbed my feet for ten minutes he didn’t know what to do with the extra money and just put it in the cash register. I thought to myself I hope this guy is getting paid.
I was able to walk back to my hotel pain-free, took a swim and fell asleep in one of the lawn chairs.