For What It's Worth

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AAD Authors Spotlight & Giveaway: Suzanne Johnson

Authors After Dark is just a few short weeks away and today author Suzanne Johnson is stopping by with a hi-freakin-larious guest post and guide to surviving NOLA in August.

Suzanne is also giving away a copy of her latest book Royal Street. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of her post.
Author Spotlight2

Welcome to For What It's Worth Suzanne!

New Orleans in August….Are you NUTS?

The countdown is on…only a few short weeks before Authors After Dark descends on New Orleans for the 2012 meltdown. Literally.

As a debut author, this will be my first AAD, and I’m totally psyched about it. Lots of other authors. Lots of readers. And my favorite city in the world, where I’ve been lucky enough to spend most of the past twenty years as a resident.

But I have to admit, once I got over my initial excitement about AAD, my second thought was: August in New Orleans? Are they insane?

New Orleans is a place one flees in August, you see. On (thankfully) rare occasions, you might be fleeing a hurricane, as I’ve done several times, including Hurricane Katrina in August 2005—an experience that inspired my urban fantasy novel Royal Street and the Sentinels of New Orleans series.
But don’t freak out over hurricanes. Most of the time, one flees New Orleans in August because, well, let’s just say hell hath no heat to rival the Big Easy in the dog days of summer. Even dogs don’t want to spend their days there.

So as a New Orleanian by choice if not by birth, who has lived through my share of New Orleans’ brand of August, I’ll offer five tips to help you know what to expect—and how to enjoy yourself.

1) You’re going to sweat. Just accept it. Okay, if you’re a delicate flower, you can say you “glow” or “glisten.” Whatever you want to call it, dampness will cover your body. All of it. If you’re outside, it will be hot dampness. If you’re inside, it will be cold dampness. (Yes, it is possible to sweat even with the air conditioning cranked down to Polar. Humidity, baby.) Your pores will be the size of craters. Don’t worry about makeup. It will melt within moments and you will resemble a raccoon-eyed humanoid with pancake batter on your face. But don’t worry—everyone else will look just like you.

2) All that sweating will dehydrate you, so drink lots of water. If you’re going to enjoy New Orleans’ bounty of cocktails (you MUST go to the Napoleon House at the corner of Chartres and St. Louis and order a Pimm’s Cup), staying hydrated is even more important. You do not want to faint of dehydration and be found on Bourbon Street with raccoon eyes, your face covered in what looks like pancake batter, and the remnants of a Sex on the Beach drooling down your chin. Trust me on this.

3) Go to the CafĂ© du Monde early in the morning. Yes, it’s worth crawling out of bed at 7 a.m. to get there before the heat visibly shimmers off the sidewalks. And the Quarter’s kind of cool and laid-back and wonderful in the morning when things are still quiet and moving slowly. Tip: when you order beignets and get powdered sugar all over yourself—and you will—save your water glass and dip your napkin in it to clean yourself up. Big sign that you’re a tourist? You’re walking around with pancake-batter makeup on your face and powdered sugar all over your boobs.

4) Go to Canal Street and ride the streetcar all the way to the end of the line and back. It’ll cost about $1.50 and is worth every penny. You’ll see the the CBD (Central Business District) and bits of a lot of New Orleans’ distinctive neighborhoods like the Irish Channel, Uptown, the university area around Tulane, Audubon Park, Riverbend and Carrollton. The architecture is gorgeous, and the clang of the streetcar bell and sound of it rumbling along its tracks is unique to NOLA. Tip: The streetcars are not air-conditioned and the drivers get grumpy if you don’t have exact change, so this is another good morning activity—except not at rush hour, since you’ll fight for a seat with locals trying to get to work. (And don’t call the streetcars “trolleys” unless you want “tourist” to be stamped on your pancake batter-covered face.)

5) Have fun! If there’s one thing New Orleans knows how to do, it’s how to lay back, relax, and enjoy yourself. The locals might talk funny, but they’re super-friendly and are insanely proud of their beautiful city. They love to share their culture with visitors—even ones wearing raccoon eyes and pancake batter. And if you see me around the hotel during AAD, looking pale and makeup-less, stop and say bonjour! I might buy you a Pimm’s Cup.

About Suzanne: Suzanne Johnson is the author of a new urban fantasy series beginning with ROYAL STREET and RIVER ROAD, both coming in 2012 from Tor Books, and ELYSIAN FIELDS, coming in 2013, also from Tor. A longtime New Orleans resident now living in Auburn, Alabama, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and a native of Winfield, Alabama.

During her daytime job, Suzanne is associate editor of Auburn Magazine, the quarterly magazine of the Auburn University Alumni Association. She has also worked at Tulane University in New Orleans, the University of San Diego, Rice University in Houston, and at the University of Illinois. Awards include: the Robert S. Sibley Award for the best university magazine in the U.S. and Canada, for the Rice University Sallyport; feature writing awards in 2009 and 2010 from Writer's Digest magazine; and more than 50 awards in writing and editing from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Suzanne is an active member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Georgia, Southern Magic, and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA.
Find her online: WebsiteBlog | Twitter | Facebook 

When Hurricane Katrina destroys the barriers between modern New Orleans and the Beyond, an apprentice wizard braves the chaos of her struggling city to find her missing mentor, fend off the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, and control her annoying new partner--not to mention find a serial killer before he finds her. ~ Goodreads | Amazon


Fill out the Google doc below to win a copy of Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson in the format of your choice. International entries welcome.



  1. Lol, so you are gonna say glow if you are delicate, good to know. How I glow

  2. ^^not a weather for me it seems buti still would like to visit one day^^

  3. @Blodeudd--yes, Southern women often prefer to say they "glow"--LOL.

    @miki--it's not weather fit for dogs...but the city's worth it!

  4. Yes, ladies don't sweat, they glow! And in New Orleans, they glow a LOT, lol!! I loved the comments about the pancake makeup. So true!!!

  5. Great tips, if only we were in danger of having a summer here in England.

  6. It is true, Rebe!

    Petty...sounds like you guys are getting serious rain these days! And we're in a drought.

  7. I'll keep those tips in mind if I ever want to go to New Orleans. :)

    P.S I can't wait to read Royal Street!!!!

    P.S.S You went to the University of Alabama, so cool. I'm not saying that b/c I live in Alabama either. LOL Small world. :)

  8. Thanks for such a fun post and congrats on the releases! I'm so jealous that you get to go to New Orleans, even if it makes you "glow" :)

  9. Thanks for sharing the tips. Sounds like a nice place to visit.

  10. I loved that interview, made me smile. A lot! I haven't been there myself, but I really really want to someday. Hopefully soon! Have fun!!

  11. Thanks for the comments! (And Roll Tide, Tiffany :-) And to make it even weirder my day job is at Auburn University. Sounds you might appreciate the irony of that!)

  12. Living in Florida, I definitely glow and glisten, on those occasions that I venture outdoors. :D I've got Royal Street on my wish list and I'm looking forward to getting it, I know I'm going to love it.

  13. oh I'd love to visit New orleans. Maybe someday.Great tips.

  14. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara. Yes, living in Florida--you definitely know all about glowing and glistening :-)

    Elaine, hope you make it to New Orleans one of these days (wait until October, though--don't go in August!)

  15. Great post! As a former Louisiana resident, I can verify Suzanne's assessment of the weather. Ugh...

    But, New Orleans is a fabulous city, which I know goes without saying.

    And good luck to those entering to win Royal Street. I loved it. Jean LaFittte!!!

  16. Thanks, Andrea! Jean has an even bigger role in River Road--can't wait until it's out!

  17. I feel like "Wow, I wanna go to New Orleans right now and chill."

    Plus, Royal Street sounds fantastic! If I win then [insert victory dance], but if not, then best of luck to the winner! c:

  18. Thanks, Grace--good luck in the contest!

  19. Thank u for this giveaway. The book sounds really great, I'd love to read it :)

  20. Just read Royal Street last week and it was *awesome*. Can't wait for River Road!

  21. Yay, Galena--thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

  22. i hope i win this ebooks....i love the cover and my friend said this is a good book :)
    thx 4 the giveaway suzanne :)

  23. In hearing and reading about this awesome conference I never gave thought to the fact that it was August LOL Oh My! I so want to go even knowing I cannot stand the heat. However, since that is not to be this year will be living it vicariously through you and the other lovelies I follow enjoying the highlights. I have wanted to read Royal Street from the time I first saw the cover and checked out the synopsis. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy. My kindle is crying out to me that it really needs this read ;=D