Category Archives: Totes & Notes

Blog Tour: Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis stopped in for a guest post.

The rhythm of the resurrecting city of New Orleans is reflected everyday in the unified heartbeat of its determined residents. And no matter the devastation, New Orleanians will continually fight to hold on to their beloved little bastion eight feet below sea level. Like the memory of a first kiss, the warmth of New Orleans pervades your soul and forever becomes a part of you. To travel among the wide oaks and antebellum homes of the Garden District makes for beautiful postcard pictures, but it does not give you a true indication of what it means to be a New Orleanian. You have to immerse yourself in the old world atmosphere and varied traditions of the people of this town in order to understand them, and, hopefully, become one of them.

You need to dine in the myriad of exceptional restaurants and take part in a heated discussion about where to find the best bowl of gumbo. Spend a Monday morning drinking coffee and chicory in an old uptown kitchen while learning how to cook the perfect pot of red beans and rice. Experience the wrong way to eat a muffaletta sandwich, the right way to shuck an oyster, and the only way to eat a beignet. And you will always have to remember that if your food isn’t boiled, blackened or fried, it just ain’t cooked.

You will want to traverse the different sections of the old city divided not by points on a compass, but by proximity to the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain. Because no one in the Crescent City could ever tell you where to find the south end of town, but they could recite by heart the neighborhoods along the bend in the river. From the Bywaters to the Irish Chanel, from Lakeview to the infamous Ninth Ward, so many smaller sections alive with their own unique histories make up this city. Each part of New Orleans has a rich heritage based on the struggles of its French, Spanish, Irish, African, or Italian founders.

Then head over to  Canal Street, where the local term “neutral ground” was created in the early 1800s. In those days, the wide thoroughfare was first used as a common market area between the feuding French and Spanish occupants of the city. Take a streetcar ride down legendary St. Charles Avenue to see the world renowned Audubon Zoo. Along the way, soak up the different styles of Victorian, Greek Revival, and Colonial architecture represented by some of the city’s finest homes. Let the soothing rocking motion of the streetcar ease your cares, as the sweet scent of magnolias streams in from the open window beside you. At the end of your streetcar ride, walk the broken cobblestones of the French Quarter, and take in the alluring sights of the tightly packed Creole cottages. Listen for the seductive sounds of Jazz music resonating around you, the smell of great food hovering in the air about you, and let your imagination linger on the romantic wrought iron balconies above you. Make your way to Jackson Square and take in the tall spires of St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in the continental Untied States. Walk through the adjoining Cabildo Museum, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. Stroll on over to the Moonwalk, by the edge of the Mississippi River, and enjoy the calliope music coming from the Delta Queen Riverboat. After you have learned to bargain like a pro with the vendors at the French Market, then saunter down the shady sidewalks of Esplanade Avenue. The street made famous by Tennessee Williams and his tale of hidden desire. Finally, let yourself wander the narrow alleys of St. Louis Cemetery Number One, where you can visit the above ground tombs of famous former residents Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen, and Paul Morphy, the chess phenomenon.

But there is another, more important, criteria for being an ingrained member of this eclectic southern city. You have to learn to appreciate life. Not the day-to-day hurried existence that shortens the lives of stockbrokers and businessmen, but the easy lust for the fulfillment of the senses. For everything about New Orleans is tailored to the forgotten art of self-gratification. In these days of such soulless existence, it is a heartwarming relief to find a place unashamed of its abundant way of life. No one in New Orleans regrets the way they live, they only regret when they have to leave it.

So the next time you think about my hometown, don’t linger on the unforgettable disasters of our past. Instead, revel in what makes our city unique, shamelessly flamboyant, and stoically unapologetic for its transgressions. New Orleanians have moved on from Katrina. Despite the numerous media attempts to bury the residents under clouds of negative press and dim outlooks, the people remain resilient. Because they know that when Mardi Gras is over, crawfish season is right around the corner. We may have paid a heavy price for our time in paradise, but we know that somewhere up in the heavens, someone is answering our prayers. After all, the Saints did finally win the Super Bowl.

ABOUT:

Alexandrea Weis is a registered nurse from New Orleans who has been published in several nursing journals and textbooks. She has been writing novels and screenplays for over twenty years. Her first novel, To My Senses, was a finalist for commercial fiction in Eric Hofer Book Awards, a finalist for romance in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year awards, and a finalist for romance in the USA Book Awards. Her second novel, Recovery, won the Gold Medal for best romantic suspense from The Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and was named best Romantic Suspense by the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2011. Her third book, Sacrifice, closes out the Nicci Beauvoir Series. Her fourth book, highlighting her love of rehabbing wildlife, called Broken Wings, is now out in paperback and ebook.

Ms. Weis is also a permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and when she is not writing, Ms. Weis is rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives outside of New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of pets.

Website: http://alexandreaweis.com

Blog: http://alexandreaweiscom.blogspot.com/


Interview with Corey Mariani

Note: This is a part of a blog tour sponsored by Totes & Notes.
Corey Mariani was born in Bridgeville, California, the first town to be sold on eBay. In 2010, he graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography. He has worked as a lumber stacker, restaurant host, pizza delivery man, U.S. Census enumerator, and FedEx package handler. He currently installs satellite dishes throughout northern California and southern Oregon. His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine.
Q: Please tell us about you novel, Passenger Through Time.
A: It’s about a man trapped in an absurd, often surreal and disturbing future, where nothing is sacred or genuine, trying to find his way back to his home in the past.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: The present.
Q: Who is your favorite character and why?
A: Melissa, the main character’s sister. She’s only in the book for a few pages, but she likes bowling and getting drunk, two things I can relate to.
Q: What made you decide to write a book?
A: Writing stories is something I’ve done since I was eight or nine. I’ve been doing it so long it has become a habit. I thought if I wrote a book I might be able to make a living doing it, however implausible that sounds.
Q: Who are the writers that inspire you the most?
A: John Steinbeck, W. Somerset Maugham, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Charles Bukowski, Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: Caffeine inspires me, so does the shower, or sitting on thevtoilet.
Time for some fun!
Q: What’s your fave color?
A: Blue or yellow
Q: If you were an animal what would you be and why?
A: I would be a Border Collie that is allowed to breed, is responsible for its own herd of sheep or cows, and has a kind owner who maybe feeds it dried pig ears. Why? Because I’d be doing the job I was born to do. I’d have purpose, love, sex, respect, appreciation; and I’d have it all without
existential angst or the knowledge of my own mortality.
Q: What is your fave food?
A: Mexican food
Q: What is the one writing tip you want to pass on to others?
A: Don’t try to figure out how much writing pays per hour.
Q: You have the floor, what is the one thing you want to pass on?
A: My genes.
Q: Links where you can be found?
A:

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