The last few blog posts have been promo-y. Sorry about that, y’all. I’ve got a book coming out soon, and this is the way of the world. But how about we talk about something else today? It’s the beginning of the year, and my creativity has been sparked for something new and shiny.

I spent last weekend in New Orleans, and, wow, did I need that trip. I bet a fair few of you met me in New Orleans. I’ve hit lots of bookish conferences there (RT Booklovers, NOLA StoryCon, Authors After Dark, etc.) It’s one of my favorite cities, and it always renews me creatively. I hadn’t planned that to coincide with the beginning of the year, but it worked out well.

It was my friend Jennifer’s first time to NOLA, and she let me play tour guide. We did some standard fare like Jackson Square, the Carousel Bar (where, for some ungodly reason, the piña colada we ordered was just rum and half and half, but the bar sure was pretty), a whiff of Bourbon Street, and a little Voodoo Museum action.

I also managed to eat and drink my way through the city. This doesn’t sound exceptional, but I have food allergies/restrictions like whoa and my friend is a vegetarian. We still ate like royalty.

…but the part that might be more interesting to everyone else is: THERE WAS BOOK RESEARCH!

I’ve been noodling on a new series idea. Notes here and there. An opening scene. Overarching plot threads. What I needed was texture. A feel. So I went to New Orleans where the air is laced with creative power (not like the 0.2% opium thing from The Magicians). I went on a cemetery tour, and asked questions about the earth, the soil, the crypts, the bodies. Side note here: Some of the ladies on the cemetery tour were unimpressed by all my questions regarding timelines, rented crypts, bags, decomposition, canals under water and their impact on making items sink, and general cemetery shit. I have no idea why they thought this tour was for them, but our guide was gleeful in answering all my highly specific questions.

I took a bunch of reference photos on the tour and throughout the trip. Images that would help me remember the feel, the sensations of the places I had been, the ideas I’d crafted there (and jotted into my phone like a teenager between classes). A few of the photos are below, but if you want a peek at more, my Instagram is active these days. 😉

I’m back in Dallas now, and actively writing a different project, but my notes are coming together for the new cemetery book…and soon those pictures will help me craft a world on the page.

Rather nice way to start 2019, no?

* Photo at the top of this post is from an outdoor gallery near Frenchmen Street, where I met some cool, talented photographers and artisans. And…maybe…I just wanted to sit in that giant, yellow throne and make Yellow King jokes.