What is the Mysterious Connection Between New Orleans, Vampires, and the Ursuline Nuns?
In my latest novel, Sex, Blood, Rock 'N' Roll, and Vampyr, all hell breaks loose when vampire Nadia goes on a vampire tour in New Orleans. In chapter seven titled Myths, Legends, and Real Vampires, she is offended that vampires are portrayed as evil by the tour guide and calls him out on it.
People often ask me if it's true that New Orleans has vampire tours. The answer is yes. Why would vampire and paranormal tours be unusual in a city that has so much haunted history? If you visit our magical city, you should plan one. They are walking tours that begin after dark and take you to various landmarks giving you the history of each one. They are entertaining and fun, but are they factual? Well! I'll let you decide.
Among the morbid tales, you are sure to hear the story of the notorious Carter Brothers. In the 1930s, John and Wayne Carter worked as longshoremen on the Mississippi River. One evening, before the brothers returned home from work, a young girl escaped from their French Quarter apartment and ran to the police. Her wrists were cut but not severely enough for her to bleed to death. She claimed she had been locked up for weeks and the brothers had been feeding on her blood. The police immediately investigated and found four other young women tied to chairs with their wrists cut. Over a dozen dead bodies turned up in the apartment drained of their blood. The brothers were arrested, tried, and executed for their crimes with their remains interred in the family tomb. Later, when another Carter family member passed away, the tomb was opened to make room for his remains, but there were no remnants of John or Wayne in the grave to clear. To this day, there have been reports of sightings of the brothers wandering the French Quarter.
One of the most famous stories is the legend of the casket girls and the Ursuline convent. The old Ursuline Convent on Chartres Street is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. The building no longer functions as a convent. The first floor is a museum; the second floor is the home of the Archdiocesan archives dating back to 1718. But what's on the third floor behind those mysterious shutters that are always tightly secured? Nobody seems to know the answer to that question, but there are speculations.
The Ursuline nuns were sent to New Orleans from France in 1725 to establish a hospital and educate the young girls. Most of the early settlers were pirates, scoundrels, murderers, and thieves; prisoners who had been exiled from France and promised if they reformed in Louisiana, they could return to France. The men outnumbered the women five to one, so, in 1727 the city's founder, Jean Baptiste LeMoyne Bienville, sent two nuns back to France to ask the king to send over marriageable young women. In 1728, a group of orphans arrived to marry the colonists and populate the swamp called La Nouvelle Orléans.
When the girls arrived, they each brought with them one wooden chest shaped like a coffin which held their clothes, linens, and sometimes a bridal gown. Since their eccentric luggage looked like caskets, they became known as the casket girls. The girls were brought to the Ursuline convent to live among the nuns until they were married.
After the arrival of the fille à la cassette, nobody could explain why the mortality rate drastically increased. Suspicion mounted when the girls later opened their chests, and they were found empty. Fear of what the girls may have smuggled into La Nouvelle Orléans prompted the nuns to contact the Archdiocese. When people started dying in large numbers, and the vampires were figured out, the caskets were transferred by day to the convent attic. As a result of an investigation by the Archdiocese, the convent attic was sealed off; the doors nailed shut and the attic shutters sealed with thousands of nails; each one blessed by the pope.
Legend has it the caskets were used to smuggle vampires into La Nouvelle Orléans. They remain sealed in the attic to this day, and that is the reason why the attic shutters are always tightly closed. No one can explain why occasionally, late at night, someone will see them suddenly fly open followed by a mist escaping from the cracks.
In 1978, two curious paranormal investigators set up a camera in front of the convent and waited through the night for paranormal activity. Sometime during the night, the camera stopped filming. The next day, they were both found dead on the steps of St. Mary's Catholic Church next to the convent with their throats torn open and their bodies drained of eighty percent of their blood.
Now legends have been passed down my word of mouth, but this alleged crime that supposedly occurred forty years ago is something we should be able to find proof of, so it leads to the question. Is it fact or fiction? It may be challenging to verify something reported to have happened almost three hundred years ago, but it seems if this murder occurred in 1978, it should have been a major news story.
I was curious to see if there were any news reports to corroborate this tale. I started digging for information, but my investigation turned up nothing. The only stories I could find about it were related to the vampire legend. It seems if this murder happened, there would be something about it in the news archives, but so far nothing has surfaced. There doesn't seem to be anything to validate it so unless there's a special paranormal division of the New Orleans police department we don't know about, I have to assume it's either false or an exaggeration of another murder that happened around the same time, but what do I know?
Another reason for doubt is there are many variations of this tale, including stories that the girls themselves were vampires. If you tour the Ursuline Convent museum, the story they tell is when the girls arrived, they were pale and gaunt after spending six months at sea mostly below deck, and some of them had tuberculosis that caused them to cough up blood explaining the vampire connection. That could be, but, on the other hand, why are those shutters always tightly closed? Is it possible that something evil lurks in that attic? Are they keeping something locked in, or out?
So that brings us to the question; are the vampire legends fact or fabricated? Legends are legends so let's just say nobody knows. Whether they are true or not, I still recommend going on a vampire tour in New Orleans. Real or made up, they're always fun, but don't be surprised if a real vampire shows up and protests.
K. M. McFarland is a vampire paranormal romance author in New Orleans. She enjoys hanging out in the French Quarter researching her books as much as she loves writing them.
1) Tell us about your book
My upcoming vampire book is The Vampire Debt and it will be a series. The Vampire debt is a little bit Beauty and the Beast meets And I Darken meets Shade of Vampire. I was in part inspired by Beauty and the Beast. It's one of my favorite fairy tales, but I also had an idea for a vampire series I wanted to tell. Then one day, I realized the retelling and the vampire story were the same, and that's when it really started building for me in my mind. I put it on hold for a while as I finished my first series and a duology. But once finished I was able to finally dive into my new Vampire world.
2) What makes your vampires unique?
My vampires are unique in that they aren't ruled by the sun, don't sparkle, but are technically alive and are a humanoid species. Not only are they not the type to stay hidden in the shadows keeping most humans from knowing about their existence, but they rule the land openly as the top of the food chain.
3) If you could have a vampire ability what would it be and why?
Oooh, there are so many to choose from, but I'd probably go with a basic ability like speed or strength.
4) Is your book standalone or part or a series?
The Vampire Debt is going to be a 5-6 book series.
5) What is next for you?
I plan to publish this series starting in early 2020. Though the exact date is unknown at this time, but it will be a rapid release series. You can sign up for my newsletter that's specifically only for this series if you want to be notified of cover reveals, release dates, sales, giveaways, and exclusive excerpts! You can even read the (unedited) first chapter by signing up!
About the Author
Ali Winters is the USA Today bestselling and award winning author of The Hunted series, as well as an amazon and international bestselling author. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where she developed her love of nature, animals, and all things green.
For as long as she can remember, she’s been mesmerized by the extraordinary world of books and fantasy. There has never been a time when stories were not begging to be told, either by drawing, photography, or writing.
With encouragement from one of her favorite authors, she jumped in head first to pursue the career that had been calling to her since the day she opened her first book.
She has a deep love for coffee, tea, warm blankets, dogs, creating art in any medium she can get her hands on, and family.
Dracula is without doubt the most popular vampire in history, but where did the story come from?
Dracula was written by an Irish author called Bram Stoker, in 1897. The story follows a young man called Jonathan Harker who visits Transylvania at the request of a client. Count Dracula is a strange man who ends up taking Jonathan captive before fleeing to London to seek out Jonathan's fiance, Mina.
Dracula has the ability to shape shift and his shadow seems to have a life of its own. In the book, Bram Stoker depicted Dracula as Vlad the Impaler, who was cursed to drink the blood of the living to survive. Jonathan escapes eventually and along with several hunters, they track Dracula down and kill him.
The book was adapted many times, but in 1992 it was adapted into a movie starring Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder.
Bram Stoker wrote several books in his lifetime, but Dracula remains the most well known. He died from a stroke in April, 1912.
When I joined the Riley Clark Must Die club, not its official name, I did have my doubts. Doubts that a high school club could get the job done, and doubts that any of them could get anywhere near Riley now that he was a minor celebrity. Half of them looked like they barely saw daylight themselves.
Maybe I should back up a bit, before you think I'm some psycho who joined a club in order to kill a fellow student.
First of all, I'm not a psycho, my parents had me tested. And second, Riley is no ordinary student. He is a vampire.
The first of his kind at Baker High, but when vampires let the world know that they existed eighteen months ago, it was only a matter of time.
Before he was turned, Riley was a total nerd, not even a blip on my radar or anyone else's for that matter. Then he made his announcement and everyone went nuts.
No one seemed to care that he had broken the law. Vampires signed an agreement that they would not make more of their kind. Of course no one cared that he was a vicious monster either. They just saw a way to fame, fortune and eternal youth - it was maddening.
So I joined the club, because I, unlike my friends, am not prepared to let a dangerous predator roam the halls.
Jake Marsh cleared his throat. "Shall we get under way?"
I nodded, along with the three other students in the room. I barely knew their names.
"Thanks for joining us, Cleo, at...chess club," Jake said, shooting a glance at the door to check no one was listening.
"Do you want to tell us a bit about yourself and why you're here at...chess club."
I hate public speaking. I just wanted to get to the plan already.
Sighing, I stood up. "My name is Cleo. I'm here in chess club because I want to find a way to kill Riley Clark."
Jake leapt out of his chair, swearing. He checked the door, then paced at the front of the room.
"You can't say that out loud. What if someone heard you?"
"There's no one around. Chill out. Are you guys serious about doing this or not?" I asked. If this was just a place to gripe about vampires, I wasn't interested.
"Of course we're serious," the skinny kid with acne said. "Why are you here?"
"I want to stop a vampire from walking the halls. If he broke the rules to get bit, what's to stop him from biting others?"
"Most of your friends would love that," Jake said.
"Yeah, well, they're idiots."
Jake looked surprised at my outburst but I didn't care what he thought of me. I wanted things to go back to normal around here and that couldn't happen with that bloodsucker on the loose.
"What's the plan?" I asked.
One of the boys raised his hand. "Yes, Tyler?" Jake asked, sounding exasperated.
"Um, we don't actually have a plan."
"I knew it," I muttered. I grabbed my bag to leave.
"Wait a minute," Jake said. "I do have a plan. But it involves you, Cleo."
"Riley used to be our friend, before all this."
That surprised me. Not that they were friends, I could see that, but that they wanted to kill him so much they started a club. What did he do to them?
"Before he decided to be cool!" the boy in red shorts muttered.
"The point I'm trying to make is - Riley had a crush on you."
I resisted the urge to say ew. "How does that help?"
"Well, it means that you might be able to get close to him, to lure him somewhere where we can kill him."
It wasn't a terrible plan, although I didn't like the idea of playing bait.
"He won't be easy to take down, he's strong, fast. He could kill you all in the blink of an eye."
Jake seemed to take offense at that but it was the truth.
"We could set a trap," Red Shorts said.
The others nodded.
"I could rig something to stake him with," Jake said.
Folding my arms, I considered our chances. No one else was going to do anything. This might be our only shot.
"Okay, let's do it. Let's kill Riley Clark."
This is the first chapter in an upcoming YA book.
Welcome to the Bloodsucker's Blog Event. This month we will be looking at vampires!
Each day we will post a short story, an interview or a guest post featuring vampires. Feel free to like and share posts with your friends.
Our first feature tomorrow is a short story by me, S. K. Gregory - Riley Clark Must Die! I hope you like it and have fun during the event.
My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Samantha has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, Mahoney. So I thought I might entertain you with a story about the publishing business.
My first book, Yellow Hair, was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing, to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.
“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!
I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months. I had them as adults in the Old West. Then I sent out query letters to literary agents.
A few weeks later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in the country emailed me. He loved the story and suggested a few changes. They were good suggestions, and I incorporated about 80% of them into the book. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count was 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.
But not quite.
Now we come to the crux of the matter. My readers really enjoyed the book. Reviewer after reviewer said they would love a sequel, but given how I ended the story, I could not envision that being possible. Then I started getting emails and phone calls from my agent, badgering me to continue the adventure. At first I ignored him. Finally, to stop the badgering, I started MOLLY LEE, a “sort of” sequel. It’s a stand-alone book, a parallel story, if you will. (Molly was a minor character from Redemption.)
Then, of course, I had to do a sequel to the sequel, hence RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure.
After I got done with Huck, Tom, and Molly, I turned my attention to my first novel, the one I couldn’t sell to an agent. I whittled it down from 164,000 words to 132,000 and published it myself. And guess what? It won Book of the Year from one outfit and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from another.
So, I reckon the moral of the story is: Stay true to your vision, but along the way, it’s all right to conform to the norms people try to place on you.
Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews.
If you are an author, I am sure you have seen plenty of books advertised on social media, mainly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Authors will post every day to various groups in a bid to get sales, but does it work?
Like many things, book groups have become oversaturated and flooded with buy my book posts. Hundreds are added everyday and as most book groups cover a wide range of genres, it can be difficult to get your book seen. Not to mention algorithms acting against you. So how can you make your book stand out from the rest?
For a start, use an image in your posts as opposed to the image which appears when you add a link. A clear image can be eye catching to the user and posts with images do better on the likes of Facebook.
Make sure that your image fits the platform. An image which works well on Facebook will not fit on Twitter or Instagram. Each platform has set dimensions and the last thing you want is a blurred or stretched image. If you use sites like Canva to create images, they have the correct dimensions available for specific posts.
Ad copy should include the book blurb, a teaser and a call to action – e.g. Click the link below to learn more. You need to grab the user and keep their interest. Images are the first step and if followed by a great blurb, this will increase your chances of the user clicking the link.
For the book link, add it to the comment section below your post as opposed to adding it to the main post. Facebook tends to hide posts with links in them. By adding them in the comments, you have a better chance of your post being seen.
For Instagram, it is difficult to show a book cover, but you can create an image for your book. You could create a teaser post with a short extract from the book or use a picture that ties into your book. Include a blurb and link in the comments.
For Twitter, it can be difficult to get your book seen. Twitter is fast moving and as soon as you tweet, it gets lost in a sea of other tweets. The best way to be seen is to post multiple times per day – up to ten times. You may want to use Tweetdeck to set up tweets in advance. A good picture will get your tweet noticed. Due to the reduced word count on Twitter, you will have to rely on a good hook to entice the user.
Social Media Marketing can be effective and when combined with ads, it can really boost sales. Remember to always follow the rules of any promotional group you are in and look for groups with more specific genres that suit your book as opposed to a group which includes every genre.
It can be a lot of work, but it is possible to get sales through social media marketing. If you are having problems getting sales, then perhaps it would be a good idea to get a second opinion on your cover and blurb. There are many feedback groups available to help.
Social Media Marketing is free and when done right can prove profitable.
Viral: After Zombie Series Book 3 is out on June 15th 2019. You can preorder your copy today.
I've died three times already, I might not survive another bullet...
When Jenna reunites with her father, under devastating circumstances, she knows that the only way to keep them both safe is to fight back against the ones who are hunting her.
Time to go Viral...
If she can show the world what Gene-Pharm Industries are really doing, the secrets they are keeping, then she can bring them down once and for all. That just leaves CHAOS.
But if Jenna thought she knew the whole story, she's in for a surprise. More family secrets threaten to tear her life apart. Add to that some zombies and she is facing an impossible situation. One she may not survive.
We spoke to Roma Gray about her new release Hunted Tribe 2: Rocket's Red Glare and we spoke to her about her new business too.
1) Congratulations on your latest release, can you tell us a little about your book?
The Hunted Tribe 2: Rocket’s Red Glare is the second book in The Hunted Tribe series. The main character, 16-year old Sean Wolf is in a tough spot. He has recently learned that his grandmother is under the care of a psychiatrist who believes she might harm a man named Gregg Redcrow. What the therapist doesn’t know—and what Sean does know—is Gregg Redcrow was murdered. His grandmother claims he was murdered by a dinosaur animal spirit named the Grishla who supposedly is hell bent on destroying the Dwanake tribe and only Sean can stop him, since she says he is the ultimate witch with special powers. Of course, Sean doesn’t believe her, but he doesn’t want to believe she killed Gregg Redcrow, either. So, he launches his own murder investigation. On the side lines, unrelated to all of this, Sean is digging up a treasure pit he and his friends discovered in the forest. Or…is it unrelated? Hmmm…
2) How many books do you have planned in the series?
Funny, you wouldn’t expect that to be difficult question, would you? The Hunted Tribe series has only three books. However, there is a prequel series to this, Jurassic Jackaroo which will be 2 books (book 1 is already published). There is also another series that takes place after The Hunted Tribe series called, The Copper Lining. That is going be four books right now, but may very well expand. There may also be another prequel series. It’s a big universe.
3) It is a somewhat unusual idea, how did you come up with it?
It all started with the Copper Lining series which I actually wrote first (yet to be published). I needed a way to explain something like the Grishla (I won’t go any farther than that) but couldn’t figure out how to explain it without slowing down the action. Well, I was right about that, because it’s taking me 3 books just to explain the Grishla. The part with the treasure pit, that got added in because I’ve always been interested in the Money Pit on Oak Island and always wanted to write a story on it. One day it occurred to me I could combine the two ideas.
4) You started a new enterprise not too long ago, can you tell us about it?
Night Sky Book Services. It is a small press. Right now, all I’m doing is a few anthologies to help promote writers and audiobook publishing for a few of my Australian friends who do not have Audible yet.
5) What are your plans for the future of the business?
When I started this, I wanted a full service press. However, over the last year I saw it eat away at my writing time until I was so overwhelmed I had stopped writing completely. So, my plans now are to scale back to just a few anthologies a year. This way, I get the fun of interacting with talented authors on a themed project, but can still put out my own work.
6) What’s next for you personally?
We have three anthologies planned for this year, Postcards from Hell, A Cyberpunk anthology, and Trick-or-Treat Thrillers Best Paranormal 2019. I’m also working on a few novels. I just recently moved 2,000 miles from Oregon to Illinois and lost about 4 months doing this, so I have a lot of catch up to do.
A rock singer’s life unravels
The resurfacing of old addictions becomes the least of rock singer Jake Reece’s problems when he finds himself demon bound to an amulet and chased by a succubus befitting a gothic fairy tale—or nightmare. She wants his body and magic to defeat this demon in a spurned angel’s game of retribution. She’s even sent a clan of Darkened rogues after him that wants the mystical piece worse than she. The dashing fop has an entourage of sexy stripper Casters led by Marci Stone on his side, but saving him isn’t the only problem.
A dangerous magic sex drug called “Bacchus” is running riot in Atlanta. Detective Fred Waters of the Fulton County Paranormal Division calls on Marci in the belief that the drug is connected to the murderous clan. Now Jake and sensational girl trio must quell a potential catastrophe while they seek out the succubus leading these marauders. Still, if they do trounce the succubus and her minions, can Jake face that a fallen angel has made him the Keeper of the amulet for all time?
This darkly sexual novel will take you through the night club and strip bar scene of Atlanta and into the rolling hills of rural Georgia. The main character is an outrageous foppish singer surrounded by dazzling strippers and a colorful cast of misfit regulars at the bar Medusa’s where he works. The nemesis Ariel Celique is a nefarious beauty who is both queen and prisoner of her gothic mansion fantasy world. The story flies in the face of traditional novels about the South, flaunting the dark side of Atlanta. While David Chylde does employ elements of Southern flare, this is no mere effort to be the Faulkner of urban fantasy.
I really liked the premise of this book. Jake is a rock singer who finds himself caught up in a supernatural fight with succubi, demons and more. The author has created a wide and varied world with plenty to keep you entertained. I think it was well written and the characters were well developed. I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”