Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I’m taking a break from my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms this week in honor of The Academy Awards.  Because nothing stops a flesh-eating scavenger in his tracks like goddess-styled chiffon and diamond-studded heels.   

The Oscars are to me what the opening day of baseball is to my husband – a holy day of television, food, wine and fashion-ogling. (OK, perhaps the last one is not quite the same for my husband, but you have to admit those Rangers uniforms are striking.  Especially when worn by Nelson Cruz).

I love movies. My husband and I have almost nothing in common – I’m a Democrat, he’s a Republican.  I prefer dark chocolate, he’ll take milk.  He likes sushi, and I think if you’re going to serve me fish the least you could do is cook it.  But we both love Midnight in Paris.  We may argue politics till we’re blue in the face (much like Mel Gibson in that movie all guys love and I can’t ever remember the name? There’s a bunch of fighting and stuff – you know what I mean). 

But we’ll always have movies.

Every year, I concoct a special menu for the Oscars in tribute to the nominees for Best Picture.  Used to be only five films and those were the salad days.  Asian pork chops for Crouching Tiger, no problem. Risotto for Gladiator?  Piece o’ cake. French bread or wine for anything remotely French?  Duh.  (And there’s always something French. Trust me).

But then the Academy went and added a bunch more nominees just to screw with me.  Like, come on – it was bad enough trying to whip up 4 courses with 2 kids underfoot, but now I gotta fix five more? Am I running a buffet?

So I slid downhill.  First I tried only picking the movies I’d actually seen (sorry Academy, you pick 9 movies, I pick which ones are worth precious babysitter time).  Then I picked the ones I liked.  Some years, when the movies are especially dreary, this list got real short. Then there was the year I flat out gave up, made pasta and claimed each ingredient represented a nominated film.  Black pepper was Black Swan.  Weak. 

But no more.  This year, I’m putting on my big girl apron and bringing Oscar back into my kitchen.  Here goes:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans 2013 Oscar Menu
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Hush puppies (of course!)
  • Lincoln  – bourbon. Yes, I am aware Lincoln didn’t actually drink.  But he was born in Kentucky, I grew up in Kentucky – it’s like we’re related.  So I feel entitled to take a certain Bluegrass liberty here.  However, like Lincoln was reported to have done at state dinners, I will only put the glass of bourbon to my mouth without actually drinking any.  And then I’ll have a beer, which probably goes better with hush puppies anyway.
  • Argo – Hummus with pita chips.  Because I like hummus and I like Ben Affleck. Match made in heaven, really.
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Middle Eastern salad.  Maybe not so historically accurate - for all I know, terrorists might all be on Atkins, but something in this menu needs a vegetable.
  • Silver Linings Playbook - South Philly meatballs with rigatoni and vodka sauce. Because really, any excuse for meatballs is good by me.
  • Django Unchained – Mississippi peanut butter brownie pie
  • Life of Pi – same thing.  But wait, I’m not cheating! The brownie recipe isn’t actually for pie, so I have to do fancy magic to figure out how to adjust the cooking times for a pie pan.  That’s math, people.  Like Pi.  
  • Amour – French bread (told you!)
  • Les Miserables – Fat Bastard Cabernet.  Because Doomed Prostitute Chardonnay just didn't sound that appealing.  

And hey, if you get bored during the Oscars or just want to tune out a spouse who periodically pops in to say “they’re all fixed!” (which I have heard every year since Russell Crowe didn’t win for A Beautiful Mind), you could always read a little of my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  Or watch my video, The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

After seeing that some virus thingy sent an annoying tweet about losing body fat in 2 weeks from my Twitter account, I just wanted to clarify that wasn't me.  In case you don't believe me, may I present:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Reasons I would Never Send a Dumb Tweet About Losing Body Fat

1. Seriously?  If I knew the fastest way to lose body fat, I would live on red wine, dark chocolate with sea salt, and spaghetti.  Instead of trying endless diets where I only eat soup.

2. If I knew the fastest way to lose body fat, that’s such a kick-ass nugget of knowledge I’m sure I would find a way to work it into every single thing I wrote.  Like instead of flesh-eating scavengers, maybe my book would feature a fat-sucking incubus.  Which sounds awesome, but Melissa Marr’s already sort of covered that in a terrific short story called “Flesh for Comfort” in the book Faery Tales & Nightmares.  Which I got for Christmas. I love short stories.  Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Parker rule.

3. I’m not tech-savvy enough to tweet anything with one of those super short “bit.lyz whatever” links.  I’m really not.  It took me two weeks of tweeting before I figured out you could actually put URLs into a tweet because I thought oh man, this is gonna be longer than 140 characters. Two weeks.  Yeah.  Someday I hope to decode Tumblr.  Or at least figure out what the hell it is.

4. A tweet from me at 9 pm on a Saturday?  Please.  At 9 pm on Saturday night I better be tucked under an afghan watching Downtown Abbey or Dallas. (Damn right – in our house, we watch both the big Ds).

5. I hate changing passwords. Because somebody sent out those lame tweets I had to change my password on Twitter and I can barely remember any password, so I. Did. Not. Appreciate. That.  I realize the smart thing would be to keep track of them all somewhere but I don’t, so every time I try to download a song from the iTunes store I am so screwed.  Like, come on Apple – I just want that damn Imagine Dragons song, do I have to give you some bizarre combo of uppercase letters, numbers, and my percentage of body fat?

Which, as we all know, is zero because I know the fastest way to lose body fat.

Happy Sunday!  Check out my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  Or my video, The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day from The Getaway Girls New Orleans!  Nothing says romance like a top five list,  so in case you're considering accepting a date from that gorgeous, potentially murderous dude with an appetite for blood and filthy nails, may I present:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Reasons a Flesh-Eating Scavenger is a Bad Valentine

1. Sharp, bloody claws mean someone desperately needs a manicure and it’s not you.  Guess who’s getting the spa certificate this year?

2. If you think getting a table is tough now, wait till your date eats the hostess.  Forget dinner reservations at that cute little bistro you’ve been eyeing – you can’t even risk Red Lobster. That’s okay, you think – lots of couples opt to stay at home on the busiest restaurant night of the year, which brings us to Reason #3 . . . 

3. Nothing kills a romantic meal at home like homicide.  And when you bring home a scavenger, your date thinks you’re on the menu – and that’s not a euphemism for anything sexy unless you’re into having your leg gnawed off.  In which case, I guess we know who doesn’t need a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey this year.

4. Flowers and candy? Think again.  You can’t trust this guy to cross the street without killing someone – you think you can trust him to pick out anything decent for Valentine’s Day?  Please. He’ll show up at your house with a chewed up foot and expect you to ooh and aah like it’s friggin' Godiva.  I’m so over it.

5. And the number one reason a flesh-eating scavenger is a bad valentine – he’s bad in bed.  Sure, he’s hot and hung like a hippo, but seriously?  Necrophilia is so 2012.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!  I’ll be honest – I’m having to work at my Mardi Gras mood this morning, looking out at the cold, grey Texas rain with a cup of coffee and a chunk of grocery store king cake.  A girl’s gotta summon a little imagination on a day like this.  And what better way than to dive into my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters,Mayhem and Moms?  Sure, Tolstoy it ain’t – but if you’re up for a quick, wild ride through New Orleans with some kickass ladies, a cocky Irish actor, a crew of petulant vampires – and of course, flesh-eating scavengers – then this book’s for you!  It’s a little bloody, a little bawdy – but it’s fun.  Really.   Check out my video if you don't believe me: The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.
So to keep up a NOLA spirit, I’m thinking about one of my favorite places in the Big Easy – the Hotel Monteleone. As Syd says, “nothing bad could ever happen to you in the Monteleone.”  Or could it?  Read on . . .
Evie had been tapping furiously at her phone when she noticed a tattooed man standing too close and staring at her through a heavy curtain of black hair. 
He towered over her by at least a foot and his greasy hair fell past his shoulders.  Skin-tight jeans that needed washing clung to his thick legs and he wore a battered leather jacket over a mud-colored t-shirt.  Although Evie couldn’t make out his face, she caught a glimpse of tribal tattoo designs wrapping around his neck, his hands, and presumably the rest of his flesh.
“Can I help you?” Evie asked in a snotty voice.
“No,” he answered in a deep, scratchy grumble, “But I can help you.”
Evie raised her eyebrow.
“I know Carl’s after your friend. And I saw who’s in the bar with you. Declan. That stupid movie star’s telling you crap about how he’s gonna save you, I bet.”  He leaned closer and whispered, “He’s lying.  You should call the cops.”
Evie peered at his face, but still she couldn’t see a thing but the hair. “I’m trying to, but my phone won’t work in this damn lobby.”
The man pointed to a hallway, “You can get service over there.  Come on, I’ll show you.”
Evie hesitated. “Why don’t you just tell me, and I’ll get my friends.”
He shook his head, muttering, “You can’t let Declan know you’re gonna call the cops, he’ll try to stop you.  Come with me now.” He grabbed Evie’s elbow.
She jerked it back out of his grasp. “No offense, but I know you even less than Declan, and he at least has manners.  Thanks, but no thanks.”  She tried to walk past him but suddenly he was pushing her down the hall.
“You gotta come with me.  Call the cops before Declan sees you’re gone.”  He shoved her around a corner and disappeared into a doorway.
She peered into the room, a small windowless enclosure fronted by a wooden counter guarding suitcases and empty wheeled luggage carts.  The creamy white paint peeled just a little and the carpet was green and musty; it was not a room meant to attract attention.  A slight vibration stirred the hot air but the man was nowhere in sight. 
 “Hello?” She called out, and stepped one foot inside the space. She held up her phone and with trembling fingers, pressed the 9 and then 1.
Suddenly, thick arms jerked her off her feet, quickly hustling her behind a stack of bags where her struggling body was hidden from sight.  A hot, hairy hand covered her mouth, and bristly whiskers brushed her cheek as the man whispered, “Shut up!”
Scared, she did as she was told.  The stench of English Leather and stale cigarettes filled her nostrils and then she smelled something fruity.  A Styrofoam cup sloshing with icy red liquid was at her mouth.  “Drink it!” The man ordered, lifting his hand off her lips to yank open her jaw and pour the sickly sweet hurricane down her throat.
“Good girl,” he snarled, as she gagged.  “Drink it all down.”  She gulped as much as she could, until the cup was empty.  The man tossed it to the ground and leaned over her, his jacket shadowing her eyes. She could feel his stubble pressed against her neck as he laughed.  “That should keep you quiet till the others come for you.”
“My  friends?” Evie asked, panicked.
He laughed again, coldly. “Not your friends.  Someone’s looking for you, and they asked me to babysit.  I slipped something nice and strong in that drink, honey. You won’t even know your name by the time they get here.”
Then he shifted so she could see his face.  A thick silver ring pierced his septum and the tattoo Evie had spotted on his neck curved around his cheeks and chin, framing his face in permanent black ink.  He brushed hair back from his forehead and Evie gasped.  His eyes were bright, traffic-signal yellow. The pupils on the colored lenses were narrow feline slits. He stared her without blinking, looking less like a man and more like a shaggy black panther.
“You’re cute,” he said.  “Too bad for you.”  Then he cold-cocked her in the chin and all the lights went out.
Want to read more?  Click here to read the entire first chapter or buy the book.  It's only $4.99, folks - cheaper than a bowl of gumbo!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wishing you were in New Orleans?  In lieu of a plane ticket, enjoy another excerpt from  my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms . . .  Or if reading's not your thing, check out The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.  Cause everything's better with a funky fresh beat, don't you think?

Audrey stared out the window of the streetcar into the blackness of the night.  All she could see were the floodlit lawns of crumbling old mansions amid the twisting branches of live oak trees, but somewhere she knew lurked Carl.  And Chet.  Neither of whom seemed like a good option.
She turned to Declan and asked, “Why can’t I just go to the police?  Or, better yet, what if we all head for the airport and take the next flight out of here?”
Declan leaned forward.  “Well, you’ve got a bit of a problem.  First, what are you gonna tell the police?  Some guy beat you up?  You don’t have anything to show for it, thanks to me.  They’ve got their hands full with gunshots and drug deals so they’ll ignore you.  And the airport is a terrible idea.”
“Why?” Beth asked. “That seems like a really good idea.”
“No.  This time of night, the airport’s dead. With the undead.  The TSA night shift’s all scavengers. They’ll be pullin’ you out of the line for a full body cavity search that you’ll never survive.”
“The TSA’s made up of scavengers?” Syd asked.
“Did you really think they were human?” Declan chuckled before continuing, “Sorry, but I’m about your only friend in this town tonight.  Now, the scavengers around here are pretty lazy, but you’ve pissed off Carl by refusing to just lie down and get killed.  So he’ll be huntin’ you.”
“But,” interjected Evie, “if they’re lazy doesn’t that mean she’s safer?”
Declan shook his head.  “Unfortunately, no.  They’re lazy because so many stupid drunk people come into this town they don’t have to work very hard to find their dinner.  But it doesn’t mean they won’t fight when their meal’s been snatched away.  That’s where I come in.  I’ll try to steer you clear of Carl, and if we can’t avoid him we’ll lure him into an abandoned house and set it on fire and that usually does the trick.”
“Is it that easy?” Syd asked.
“Not really,” Declan answered, somewhat cagily Beth noticed. “But we’ll do our best to outsmart him.  We need to stay in public places till dawn.  Carl does have a reputation around town, so he’ll be discreet.  If we can make it through the night, you’ll probably live.”
“And if we don’t?”  Audrey asked in a small voice.
 “Then let’s hope it’s not Chet,” Declan answered.
At the sight of Audrey’s ashen face, Declan continued in a cheerful tone, “Oh, don’t worry. Carl is much stronger and smarter than Chet, there’s almost no chance Chet’d get you first.  Let’s look on the bright side – you either live, or you get killed by the necrophiliac.”
“Fuck.” Audrey said as she slumped into her seat.
“Ah, why not?” Declan said, standing up and offering his hand to Audrey.  “Might as well get in there before Carl wrecks you.”
Audrey narrowed her eyes.  “You’re disgusting.” She looked at Declan still standing there with a smirk on his face and she spat out, “Oh, sit down!”
“I was kidding again, you know,” Declan retorted as he took his seat, “Just tryin’ to lighten the mood.  But now I see why Carl’s after you,” Declan continued, pointing at Audrey, “he likes them brunette and cranky.”
“Canal Street!”  The conductor’s voice startled the five of them as the streetcar hurtled to a stop.
Syd stood up and motioned toward the steps.  “Come on,” she said, “let’s get off here and go to the Carousel Bar.”
Beth looked at her strangely. “Hello?  That’s in a hotel, too, remember?”
Syd shook her head.  “You heard Declan, we need to stick to public places. The hotel’s packed this weekend with the burlesque festival and the bar’s too small for Carl to hide.  We’ll be safe as kittens.”
 “And they mix an excellent cocktail,” Declan noted. Beth glared at him, so he added, “Not that I’m thirsty or anything.”
Beth followed Syd down the steps into the street as Evie, Declan, and Audrey hurried behind. 
“Plus,” Syd insisted with a confidence she didn’t really feel, “nothing bad could ever happen in the Hotel Montelone.”
A chilly breeze flickered over Audrey’s bare arms as she stumbled down the steps of the streetcar. She stood rooted to the dirty sidewalk as happy tourists stumbled against her on their way to the Quarter.
Declan nudged Audrey. “Come on, let’s go.” When she resisted, he whispered in her ear, “You’ll be fine.” 
Audrey turned around to glare at him.  “No I won’t.   How can you say that?”
Declan shrugged and said, “OK, you’ll be fine, or you’ll die.  Either way, you’ll be somethin’.”
Want to read more?  Click here to read the entire 1st chapter for free or buy the book for only $4.99 - cheaper than a daiquiri to-go on Bourbon Street!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sorry about the spanking comment. That was rude, and I blame it on temporary mental confusion due to a bad cheese grits burn.  (Note: am totally using cheese grits as a weapon in the next book - that shit is HOT)  Honestly I don't even know how you could spank yourself.  Unless that's a euphemism for something I probably don't need to know about.  Feel free to comment on that.  Or not.
But since you're here, there's nothing like a little NOLA mayhem to get you in the Mardi Gras mood - check out my video for The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap  or read on for some scavenger fun in an excerpt from  The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms . . . 
Audrey barely noticed the paintings in the foyer of The Columns Hotel as she walked down a threadbare carpet runner toward the bathroom.  She passed the old dining room and then the long, wooden bar where two college boys in button-down shirts and khaki shorts were tossing back whiskey.
“Hey, darlin', the tall one with floppy dark blonde hair said as he approached Audrey.  He had a deep voice, the kind of Southern accent that suggested lots of money and bourbon, and a cocky grin that reeked of frat parties and date rape.  “Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?”
Audrey smiled and said, “Thanks, but I’ve already got a drink and I’m with my friends.”
The boy smiled and reached out a hand to place on Audrey’s elbow.  “Aw, sugar, you’re too pretty to hang out with the girls all night.  You haven’t visited New Orleans till you’ve had a Tulane man buy you a cocktail.”
Audrey laughed. “You’re cute, but I’m probably old enough to be your mom.  Thanks anyway, sport!”  She darted into the ladies’ room, leaving Tulane Boy panting and angry on the other side of the door.
“Come on, man,” his friend said, tugging on his arm. “Plenty other bitches out here, let’s get another round.”
“Yeah, sure.”  Tulane Boy jerked away from his buddy, saying, “You go order, I gotta take a leak.”
“You come right back, though, y’hear?” The friend asked, looking Tulane Boy as directly in the eye as his drunken state would allow. “We don’t want any trouble, do we?”
“No, man. No trouble.”
Tulane Boy ducked into the men’s room for about sixty seconds, and then he eased the door quietly back open.  He stood in front of the ladies’ room door and looked to the right and to the left. He put one large hand on the frosted glass panel of the door, and carefully began to turn the knob with the other hand.
“Leave her alone.”  The cultured English voice startled Tulane Boy and he jerked around.  A tall, dark-haired man sat in the parlor across the hall from the bar.  His face was hidden in the shadowy light of the empty room, but his muscular arm stretched the fabric of his suit coat as he casually turned his highball glass round and round in his hand.
Tulane Boy was certain he hadn’t noticed anyone when he’d slipped into the hall, but maybe he had made a mistake in the murky light.
He smiled his practiced good ol’ boy grin and said, “Leave who alone? I’m just tryin’ to take a piss, brother.”  He then pretended to notice that he had the wrong bathroom door and slapped his hand across his forehead. “Oh man, look at that – I almost went into the ladies’ room.  Thanks for the heads up.”  He nodded to the man who, Tulane Boy could clearly tell did not believe him, and he turned around and headed back to the bar. 
The man sat without moving in the dark parlor until Tulane Boy disappeared from sight.  He stared directly ahead with black eyes and inhaled deeply of the stale, dusty air. His full lips curved up only slightly as if he’d just thought of something funny. Then he stood up and placed his empty glass on a table without a sound and with a few quiet steps, approached the ladies’ room door.
Audrey was washing her hands when she heard the sound of the door opening.  Instinctively, she moved back into the corner, anticipating the entry of another woman in the slightly cramped space. She tossed her used paper towel into the trash and turned toward the door and jumped at the sight of a tall, handsome man in his early forties standing less than two feet away.
“Whoa, you scared me!”  She exclaimed and then smiled awkwardly. “I think you got the wrong bathroom.  Men’s is next door.”
The man did not speak.  He moved even closer and Audrey could smell earthy, musky cologne.
“Um, can I help you with something?”  Audrey asked, trying to keep the hint of panic from permeating her voice.
The stranger leaned down so his face was inches from Audrey’s.  She could see the faint stubble of hair on his flushed olive skin and the reflection of her nervous green eyes in his large, round, black orbs.
 The musky scent was almost suffocating as he whispered in a rich, delicious British accent straight out of a Merchant Ivory film, “Shut up and fuck me.”
Audrey’s heart began to beat a wild, erratic dance and she could feel sweat breaking out all over.
“What . . . what did you say?”
He whispered again, slightly louder, “Shut up. And fuck me.”
“How did you hear me say that?”  Audrey asked, her voice shaking.  “You weren’t anywhere near our table.  I never even saw you.”
The stranger stared at Audrey with his deep, black eyes. “I saw you.  And now I want you.  Do I have to repeat myself?”
Audrey’s eyes darted around the bathroom.  He had her trapped and he knew it.  The bathroom was tiny and she had no room to hide.  And while he was undeniably gorgeous, even after six drinks in three hours, she knew that the evening had taken a sudden turn from sexy to Scary. 
So she pasted on a big fake smile and said, “Not tonight, I got a headache.”  She tried to move as if she expected him to bow gracefully out of the way and announce that he had been kidding. 
That didn’t happen.
Instead, he lunged at her.  Audrey swung her purse, a heavy black leather saddle bag, at his head.  He ducked and she tried to slip under his arm, but he pinned her to the wall.  She kicked at his knee and opened her mouth to scream, but he covered it with his hand, saying “Don’t scream. They won’t help you.”
She bit his hand, and he let go long enough to look at the blood trickling down between his fingers. He grabbed both of her shoulders and slammed her against the wall.  She felt a horrible sharp pain in her head and she moaned. His face came closer to hers again and she kept her eyes shut, pretending to have fainted.  As he moved close enough that she could feel his breath, she opened her eyes and bit one of his ears. 
He howled and let go, and she darted between his legs.  He bent down and grabbed her by the waist, hurling her around so that her cheekbone smacked straight into the bottom of the sink.  She screamed from the pain and he didn’t seem to notice. He jerked her body upright like she was an old doll and she felt nauseated by the movement.
He jerked her neck to the side and her head hurt horribly. She could feel that her purse strap still dangled from her right hand and suddenly she remembered the lighter she’d picked up in one of those cheap tourist shops off Bourbon. 
She rarely smoked anymore, but after polishing off a bottle of Cabernet at Galatoire’s the night before, she’d craved one, and if she could remember anything at all right now it was that the lighter might be in the small inside pocket at the top of her purse.  She reached into the purse and felt desperately until she found it.  She pulled it out with terribly shaking fingers and fumbled with the catch.
She flung the flaming lighter into the stranger’s face.  He howled and grabbed at his nose and eyes. She swung her purse one more time into his arm and yanked the door open, falling out into the hall in one clumsy movement. 
As she picked herself up off the carpet, she looked up and saw Tulane Boy standing at the bar.  She wanted to call out for help, but before she could make a single noise, he turned and saw her.  He looked down at her, bruised and bleeding.  
His nostrils flared and he licked his lips. 
Want to read more?  Click here to read the entire 1st chapter for free on Amazon - or buy the book.  It's only $4.99 - that's like the same price as a Venti frappucino from Starbucks and way less calories!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Laissez le bon temps roulez - Mardi Gras is almost here! Check out The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap video  and get into the NOLA spirit with an excerpt from the 1st chapter of my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  If you like it, please click on the link below or at the left to read the entire chapter on Amazon - or better yet - buy it! 
The clock struck midnight at the Columns Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. A mild, damp breeze stirred old Mardi Gras beads dangling from the heavy branches of the live oak trees shadowing the porch.  Aging white columns framed a massive wooden keyhole door and laughter spilled out from an open window where patrons sipped Pimm’s cups in the dusty velvet-upholstered booths of what used to be a grand dining room. A streetcar rattled quickly past on St. Charles Avenue, leaving a flash of old trolley and the faint buzz of electricity lingering in the air.
Half a dozen tables sat vacant on the porch, chairs long since pushed back and the tops stripped bare of crumpled white table cloths.  One lone table remained occupied by four women, laughing a little too loudly as they sat back in tipsy satisfaction, a cluster of empty glasses and a dirty crystal ashtray evidence of their evening’s entertainment.
Somewhere in the Garden District, a church bell tolled the late hour, causing the women to jump a little at the sound. A dark-haired woman in purple nodded toward the direction of the echoing bell and quipped, “Sounds like God wants a cocktail.”
Want to read more?  Click here to read the entire 1st chapter on or to buy the book!

Friday, February 1, 2013

It’s cold and it’s Friday; it must be time for a drink.  Since that’s not really practical at 8 am, I’ll fantasize instead and compile my list of The Getaway Girls Favorite New Orleans Cocktails.  I’ll be honest, if you enjoy trendy craft cocktails, look somewhere else.  For one thing, when I hear “craft” I think “glue stick” which has no place anywhere near my drink.  Also, I don’t really need sprigs of witch hazel or eye of newt to dress up a drink – I’m easily impressed by most cocktails because I’m bad at making them.  Except for my mint juleps, which are tasty but my husband always says they’re too strong (But really? It’s bourbon.  If it was supposed to be weak, they’d just call it Miller Lite).

So without further ado, here are The Getaway Girls Top Tipples in New Orleans – written in the order in which you should enjoy them.  Because I’m feeling bossy this morning.
1.       Brandy milk punch at Brennan’s.  Now, I’m not a milk drinker, and the only place it belongs for me is in my coffee cup.  So the idea of milk in a cocktail seems wrong.  Like milk in Dr Pepper, which my husband actually drinks. (So bourbon and mint is too much, but milk and soda makes sense? Blech). But you can’t argue with the sweet, warm, whisky-laden punch at Brennan’s.  Frankly, it’s hard to frown at the idea of a breakfast cocktail –its very existence was only dreamed up to make you smile as you spend entirely too much money for eggs, but I guess I’m a sucker because it works.
2.      Pimm’s cup at Napoleon House.  Waiter, there’s a cucumber in my drink!  There are so many things to like about a Pimm’s cup.  One, it’s got gin, which reminds me of my grandparents who always enjoyed a good gin martini.  Also, I love gin and tonics, but I actually like the taste of tonic water and apparently all bartenders think I want is a lot of gin and a lime, so I rarely order them – a Pimm’s cup has just the right amount of gin and it has that perky little cucumber slice reminiscent of the cucumber water you get at a spa.  Which looks refreshing and delicious, but it’s really just water with vegetables floating in it. If you ask me, all spa owners should replace the contents of those water coolers with Pimm’s cups.  Massages would be infinitely more enjoyable and we’d all tip more.  Win-win. Last, but not least – if you’re going to have a Pimm’s cup, you might as well sip yours with a muffaletta and Napoleon House makes the best version.  And then you can pretend you’re a French ex-pat plotting to bring back the exiled ruler . . . or you can just enjoy your drink.  Your choice.
3.      Mojito at the House of Blues.  Mojitos are iffy for me.  Sometimes they’re perfectly minty and cool and sometimes they taste like Sprite mixed with Windex. The House of Blues in New Orleans makes theirs just right (incidentally, so does the Beverly Hills Hotel, but I could pay my mortgage for the price of a drink there and the waiters are kind of snotty).  Also, after you’ve walked off your muffaletta, you probably need a place to sit for a minute and the House of Blues has loads to look at and their bathrooms are clean.  (Not always a given in New Orleans).
4.      Blue Moon beer at the 700 Club.  I love a good gay bar in the middle of the afternoon.  There’s no drunk dads hitting on you, the TV shows Britney not ball games, and – again, people this is a big deal – the ladies room is small but tidy.  And around 4 pm, a cold Blue Moon with an orange slice is a nice alternative to going back to the hotel for a nap before dinner.  Because really?  You’re in New Orleans – you can nap on the plane ride home.
5.      Hibiscus martini at Commander’s Palace.  Granted, this is kind of frou-frou, but it’s a gorgeous dark purple color and it accomplishes the difficult task of smelling like flowers without tasting like hand lotion.  Which in my experience usually happens – like when someone serves you lavender crème brulee and you’re not sure whether you should eat it or rub it into your cuticles.  There’s no such confusion about the hibiscus martini – it’s tart and easy to sip, and it makes the perfect transition to your next drink, which is . . .
6.      French 75 at the Columns Hotel.  The French 75 is basically champagne and gin.  I’ve already told you how I feel about gin, but champagne on its own I could take or leave. A champagne cocktail, on the other hand, is fun.  I know people say it’s a hooker’s drink, but I don’t know why.  I mean, I’m hardly an expert on prostitutes, but I’d be willing to bet most hard-working ladies of the night are not swilling champagne these days.  So call me slutty, I stand by the champagne cocktail!  And honestly, I’ll drink just about anything at the Columns Hotel, which is where my book begins.
7.      A mimosa at the Hotel Monteleone. No, this is not brunch. This is what you drink after brunch, when you’ve sadly packed your suitcase, paid your hotel bill, and you’re wishing it wasn’t time to take a taxi back to the airport.  There is no place in the world like the Montelone.  When you first arrived, the twinkling lights and horse-topped bar welcomed you at happy hour with that first glass of wine before you embarked on your evening. Your dress was black, your lipstick was red and everything felt crisp and new as you anticipated the first of many wonderful dinners.
      Now, as the carved wooden carousel revolves around in a lazy circle, you look out the windows and into the lobby and think of all the fun you’ve had as the bubbles from the champagne warm your hangover.  Your dress has been  shoved into the bottom of your luggage because it won’t fit again until you lose the five pounds you’ve gained in three days. And the slightly bitter taste of the orange juice matches how you feel because you don’t really want to leave.  There are more meals to eat, more cocktails to drink, more music to hear, and more silly drunken conversations to have with old friends. 
But maybe if you’re lucky, you can come back next year.