Monday, February 1, 2016

The Good Times Roll On

The One Where the Wenches Become Maniacs Who Take Over New Orleans


In October of 2013 Guest Wench Jennifer and I journeyed to New Orleans to Party with the Moning Maniacs to celebrate the release of Iced. We had such an amazing time that we've been looking forward to the next release party ever since. Well, this month was finally the next release party in NOLA, and while Jennifer wasn't able to make it (next time!) Zee, Anne, Amanda, and Natalie joined me and and we partied with the Maniacs. It was an amazing time, capped off with meeting the goddess Karen Marie Moning and having a few minutes to chat Fever with her. 

Come with me through the jump and I'll share some of the highlights of the best weekend ever!




The "Sultan's Palace"--creepy story!



It was a whirlwind weekend in NOLA, which began with a ghost tour with the Maniacs and our fabulous tour guide, Thomas.

Ghost Tour Maniacs


A day of traveling and a little rain and we're still smiling!
After our fun jaunt through the French Quarter, stopping for creepy tales along the way, it was time for our first meal in New Orleans. When in NOLA always ask the locals for suggestions, which Thomas was happy to provide. At his suggestion we ended up at Pere Antoine on the corner of Royal and St. Ann. Fabulous Cajun fair served at a leisurely New Orleans pace, and wonderful conversation with a few extra Maniacs. Zee and Amanda wanted to go back the whole time and have that sandwich again; we never made it so that's on the itinerary for next time!

Thank you, Dee's!
The next morning it was time for Feverquest through the French Quarter so we stopped at Dee's Coffee shop across the street from Le Pav for fortification. Excellent coffee and hot chocolate, plus breakfast snacks got us ready for the adventure ahead, but our quick stop turned out even more terrific. While chatting with one of the proprietors, Russell, we shared the reason for our visit, and he asked if we'd had King Cake yet, since it was Carnival season! We hadn't so he cut us each a piece from the quarter that was left, and Amanda ended up getting the baby! What a wonderful stop, filled with true New Orleans lagniappe, and a little extra luck for Amanda! She's buying the next king cake!

Go Team Purple!
Strengthened by caffeine and sugar it was time for the Maniacs to descend on Jackson Square and then the French Quarter. We ended up on the amazing Team Purple (whoohoo!!), filled with terrific, smart women who worked together beautifully to answer questions and trek through the Quarter finding locations. We covered a lot of ground and were exhausted by the end but had so much fun and made fast friends with our teammates. Even though we didn't win (we're convinced we finished third!) we can't wait to meet up again next year and take that top prize. Go Team Purple!


Wenches on the Red Carpet
Then after a much needed lunch of po-boys and some relaxation back at the hotel, it was time to get
ready for An Evening at Chesters. Team KMM hosts a costume party and invites us to bring our best Mac, Dani, Seelie, Unseeelie, or whatever fun costume you want. Being Saucy Wenches we decided that a group pirate theme was appropriate. Getting ready was a group effort, with mad props to Zee for her hair and makeup help, with an assist on makeup from me. Although we were fashionably late, we looked our piratey fiercest, and had a blast.

Drinks, dancing, desserts, and amazing Fever-themed costumes all ensured that the party was a rockin' good time (the DJ had so much fun with the Maniacs that he continued playing for an hour after the official end time!). But we were most excited to get a photo op with the Goddess herself.

 

The Wenches' after-party consisted of a pizza party in the room, with the best damned Domino's pizza I've ever had! We were super hungry. Lots of laughter and conversation capped off our busy day. The next day was time for the main reason that Fever fans need to attend a KMM release event: the book signing. More on that in a moment.

Amanda and I were the good Samaritans of the group and rolled out of bed at 7 a.m. to get in line when Octavia Books started passing out The Preciouses at 9:00. And I'm so glad we did, because there were only 20 people in front of us! If Team KMM runs the signing this way next time (and I certainly hope they do!) this is definitely the way to go. We got the books for the whole group, went back up and rolled Anne and Zee out of bed (I think they still owe us one!), grabbed some breakfast, and got back in line to get our books signed.

Those are the happy faces of Wenches on a KMM High
You guys, a KMM book signing is unlike any other signing I've ever been to. First of all Team KMM is amazing and they run these events so smoothly that you don't even realize you're being maneuvered until it's all done, doing it all with a smile. And secondly, the moments that you are in front of KMM she is focused wholly on you, she is connecting with you, and I always feel like she truly gets that we are there for her, and appreciates that her readers allow her to do what she does. She is truly grateful for us, and that comes through when she focuses on the person/people in front of her for a few precious moments. I also need to point out that she does this for hours. She signed more than 500 copies of Feverborn, before accepting backlist titles, and signing all of those as well. I am awed by her, by her stamina, by her graciousness, and by her Team. They are all second-to-none. Thank you, ladies!

Zee got a really cool shot of Jackson Square!
Because the signing was run so efficiently this time, Maniacs did not have to wait around for hours, opening up the day to see a bit more New Orleans. Unfortunately for us it was Martin Luther King day, so several attractions were closed. We took the St. Charles streetcar into the Garden District and strolled around Lafayette Cemetery #1. It was closed, but there are plenty of lovely houses to look at, and even the outside of the cemetery is interesting, plus Anne really wanted to ride the streetcar, so it was a good trip! After a walk to Cafe DuMonde for beignets, this group of wiped out Wenches enjoyed another Wench pizza party, this time around the rooftop pool. A stop in the lobby for hot cocoa and pb&j and it was time to wrap up our last full day in NOLA. In the morning we had to say goodbye to Anne and Natalie and send them back to the frozen shores of Lake Michigan, while the rest of us had one more adventure before heading home.

One more selfie session before the talk
It got a little silly :)
Our last event was the Q&A with Karen, and this is not an event to miss if you can help it! Team KMM has posted a combined transcript of the two talks, and look for our take in a couple days. You guys, I've been trying to explain for three years now how incredible KMM is. I truly don't know how to put it into words, but Zee and Amanda totally got it when she started taking questions. She is exactly what you'd expect if you love Fever as much as we do: funny, brilliant, down-to-earth, delightfully sarcastic, and very honest. Once again, you really get the sense that she knows how important her readers are to what she does, she appreciates us, and she relates to us. When she talks, you know exactly where the words she's given us, the ideas and stories that touch us, come from. She is truly giving us her heart and soul with every word, every page. I, for one, don't take that lightly. I am deeply grateful that she is willing to share her gift--it can't be an easy thing to do. I have to gush a little, because we hung back while the room cleared so that we could tell her how great the weekend was and how much her books mean to us. And we had a few minutes to chat Mac and Fever and how much we love what she's done WITH KMM. It was UH-MAY-ZING. It's been two weeks and I'm still on a bit of a KMM high, to be honest.

And on that note, we wrapped up another amazing Wench get-together, another Fever release in NOLA. It's an experience that I will carry with me forever, I'm so excited about the new friendships formed (shout out to Jennifer, Joy, Sam, Jackie, and Kelly!), and I cannot wait to do it again. We know that Feversong will be out about the same time next year, and I really hope that the release party is in New Orleans. I don't think I will ever get enough New Orleans, and I am definitely addicted to the KMM High. So, until next time.


**All photos taken by and property of The Saucy Wenches

2 comments:

  1. Amazing AMAZING time.I'm more in love with KMM than ever before.

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  2. Amazing post and visit on all levels. Thanks for sharing it with the unfortunate one who couldn't be there. Maybe next time.

    ReplyDelete