So you can read my books

Friday, January 4, 2013


If ever you should go to New Orleans looking for Victor Standish and his ghoul friend, Alice,

do breakfast at Brennan’s, visit the Aquarium, drink at Pat O’Brien’s, dine at Antoine’s and jazz at Preservation Hall.

You should continue down Bourbon St. following the music and revelers until St. Philip where the crowd thins. If your sixth sense prickles your scalp as if the lips of a corpse has kissed your soul,

it’s time to chart a new course.

The Soyoko, evolved raptors who hunt in the French Quarter's shadows, may be following you.

One block to your right is Royal Street.  At this time of night it seems like another world.
And it is :

Rue La Mort.

If you see a fog-shrouded building of iron balconies and heavy moss, bearing the name, Meilori's,
listen for a young boy's gypsy laugh and an upbraiding British girl's voice. Listen closely, if there is gravel in the girl's tones, keep on walking.

Alice is growing hungry.

Head instead toward Canal Street in the thick humidity and soon find yourself in back of the St. Louis Cathedral.

{Image courtesy of Steve Z Photography}

The large garden behind the 215 year old church is surrounded by an old iron fence, scarred and pitted by the elements.

What stories could this fence tell? Stories of love and honor, of the duels fought on the grounds it protects, stories of betrayal and murder as well, of plans and plots by patriots and treasonous cowards as well.

And how one foggy night down Pirate's Alley, Victor Standish ran laughing as Hell hissed at his heels. Along its balconies, roof-tops, and streets, Victor raced taunting his reptilian pursuers.

But that is for UNDER A VOODOO MOON to describe.

{Cover by the talented Leonora Roy}

Pirate's Alley you ask?

Oh, there are spirits there!

Souls from long ago who lived and died in these streets with such passion that they refuse to hide in the dusty ruins of the past.

As you push ahead to the end of the fence the air is heavy with a scent of the damp vegetation and you will find your skin is wet.

You breathe deeply, swallowing that thick hot air as if you are drowning, and you begin to melt into the city itself, the Vieu Carre, the heart of New Orleans.

Look now to your left, up along the side of the Church. You have discovered PIRATES ALLEY!

Pirate's Alley is the subject of much legend and lore, some true, and much false.

Pirates Alley, about 600 ft long, and 16 ft wide, is not even shown on many of the French Quarter maps.

Wisely so, for many tourists have walked down its foggy length at night never again to be seen.

If it is so dangerous at night, why do tourists dare this avenue?

The sight of the alley at night is unforgettable.

Every surface is covered with moisture giving a shine and a reflection of the dim lights ahead along your path.

On your left, St. Anthony’s Garden, on your right, the old Fleur di Paris hat shop faces Royal St. with its beautiful window display that brings to mind a more elegant time.

But further along, you discover that a plaque on the wall of one of the Creole houses identifies this as the residence of the great William Faulkner, indeed, the very house where he wrote his first novel "Soldiers Pay".

And should the Soyoko find your scent pleasing, you may find "Unwary Tourist Pay."

Or you may find salvation in the form of the legendary undead Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord, the man with the blood of Death in his veins. Like Jean Lafite, McCord is a legend in the French Quarter

Likewise, the Lafitte brothers were no strangers to Pirates Alley.

They came to New Orleans about 1803 the year of the Louisiana Purchase, at 24 and 26 years old. Soon they went about with the Creole gentlemen of town and were seen in the streets and coffee houses.

Jean Lafitte spoke several languages and was educated. A familiar sight on these streets, people would regard him with curiosity, and whisper the word PIRATE! In reality, Lafitte considered himself a Privateer.

Of course, smuggling had been going on in the city for 50 years before Lafitte,

and it eventually became the main business, but soon, Lafitte and his band of Baratarian Pirates controlled black market commerce and all transactions went through the brothers.

Goods were sold openly in Pirates Alley and eventually it became so congested that the "vendors" were allowed to display their goods inside the garden behind the iron fence.

The locals would walk along outside and money and goods were passed through the fence, giving rise to the expression "Fencing stolen goods"!

I imagine that the brothers made regular charitable "donations" to the church for this convenience. No proof, but one cannot help but speculate.

And should you walk this alley at night, keep your eyes over your shoulders. Sometimes Alice the ghoul grows hungry. She, too, looks for donations ... of human flesh.


  1. Thanks for the virtual tour, a view of the world around Meilori's. I'd prefer a guide if I were there.

    I've seen some of the jazz musicians from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (at an appearance in Vancouver).

  2. I go to New Orleans, I am hiring you as a guide!

  3. Wow; you paint a virtual world worth exploring. If I ever visit New Orleans, I'll have your historical write-ups to compare to. When I read these posts, I feel as if I'm there, in the past, living the atrocities.

    I've read Anne Rice, not only her vampire series, but also the Mayfair Witches, and you do a better job of describing the paranormal that she.

    I love your covers Roland, and your book blurbs and book trailers. You have a talent for announcing mystery and intrigue. I love your world, and your characters are unique and enticing.

    I'm with Alex; if I ever get the chance to visit New Orleans, I hope you consent to be a tour guide. I doubt anyone will make the city as exciting and exotic as your would.


  4. ...Happy New Year, Roland, and I apologize for my absence.

    My oldest son is a Saints fan, and yearns to see a live game someday. My wife and I have decided that he's well deserving of the trip, and are currently making plans for a visit, hopefully prior to his graduation.

    When that day comes, I'll be calling, for I can think of no better tour guide than you ;)

    And we will be sharing stories over drinks at Meilori's, to be sure.


  5. Yeah, if I ever go to New Orleans, (highly unlikely unfortunately) I'm hiring you as a guide too!

  6. Your descriptions always make me want to go visit New Orleans. :-)

  7. D.G.:
    Sometimes guides hustle you past views you would rather pause and appreciate ... also sometimes you might notice they do not cast a shadow. Beware the night "life" in the French Quarter!

    I will do it for free, plus I do cast a shadow! :-)

    I will be glad to be your guide, Alex's, and Elliot's ... if my job as rare blood courier allows me ... it is a harsh mistress!

    Your words about how I write the supernatural were what I needed after HarperCollins Voyager form-rejected me. Ouch!

    Let me know if you read UNDER A VOODOO MOON. If not, I will send you it free. At its end, it contains a modern Victor's view of the slavery he sees in 1834 New Orleans as deals out justice to the sadistic, sociopathic Dr. and Madame LaLaurie (the Jill the Ripper of the French Quarter.)

    I've missed you. But computer woes have kept me from my blog, too!!

    I hope to find the entrance to Meilori's myself!! :-)

    Perhaps I should arrange a tour group for my blogging friends? Ah, but we would make such a tempting target for my supernatural enemies!

    Do it in December when the temperatures are easier to bear! Thanks for visiting! Roland