Monday, September 10, 2012

2nd Anniversary Celebration Featuring: Ellie James

Please welcome Ellie James, author of the A Midnight Dragonfly series to the page!

Most people who know Ellie think she’s your nice, ordinary average wife and mom of two little kids. They see someone who does all that ordinary stuff, like grocery shopping, walking the dogs, going to baseball games, and somehow always forgetting to get the house cleaned and laundry done.
 What they don't know is that more often than, this LSU J-School alum is somewhere far, far away, in an extraordinary world, deeply embroiled in solving a riddle or puzzle or crime, testing the limits of possibility, exploring the unexplained, and holding her breath while two people fall in love.
Those who DO know have learned to go easy on her. They know what her blank stare means, and they know when she politely nods, she hasn’t heard a word. She even has a few special neighbors who’ve learned to call with gentle reminders about things like the first day of school and block parties! 
All that aside, regardless of which world Ellie’s in, she loves rain and wind and thunder and lightning; the first warm kiss of spring and the first cool whisper of fall; family, friends, and animals; dreams and happy endings; Lost and Fringe; Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews, and last but not least…warm gooey chocolate chip cookies.

New Orleans: Strange But True
Ellie James

Mardi Gras. Bourbon Street. Voodoo. Jazz. Food.  Sin. The Vampire Lestat…

Chances are, I need not say anymore, and you’re thinking New Orleans. People often ask me why I chose the Crescent City as the setting for the Midnight Dragonfly books. In truth, there wasn’t any choice involved. I dreamed the opening scene: a group of teenagers sneaking into an abandoned Garden District mansion, once the site of extravagant parties but now rotting in squalor, each with their own agenda. By the time the last runs screaming from the house, a nightmare they never imagined has begun….

Why did I set the books in New Orleans? Simple. The city is as much a character in the story as Trinity, Chase, Jessica, and Dylan!

A Louisiana native, I grew up visiting New Orleans several times a year. I crept through houses believed to be haunted, skipped along streets once lined by the dead, and played in cemeteries. It was no big deal: that was just New Orleans. It wasn’t until I graduated from college and moved away that I realized how unique The Big Easy is…..

Here are just a few reasons why:

Situated along the Mississippi River and nestled among thousands of centuries-old oaks, New Orleans is frequently called America’s Most European city. The architecture is a unique blend of Spanish and French, the French Quarter is almost three hundred years old, horse-drawn carriages still trot down cobblestone streets, the food is unbelievably fantastic, music throbs twenty-four hours a day, and art flourishes. Of course, there’s also that whole below sea level thing. Probably not the greatest idea.
The food. OMG, the food!
In New Orleans, no one blinks if you mention seeing a ghost. In fact, people are more likely to look at you funny if you state that there’s no such thing as ghosts!  That’s one of the reasons why New Orleans is called America’s Most Haunted City.  Over the years, disease, war, and natural disasters have claimed many New Orleanians before their time, leaving their souls restless and confused, trapped between two worlds.
That’s how Jazz Funerals got their start, mourners wandering aimlessly through the streets with a drummer or horn player in front, in order to confuse the spirit of the departed, so they are so disoriented they don’t know how to get back home.
It is said that in New Orleans, the dead outnumber the living 10:1 (4,000,000:400,000)
Some of those dead are Irish immigrants who succumbed to Yellow Fever in the 1800s while working to build the New Basin Canal. For simplicity,  most of those workers were buried where they fell. The canal served the city until the 1950s, when it was filled and turned into an expressway. Yep. People now drive over what amounts to a massive cemetery…
Malaria is another culprit for all those poor restless souls. In 1853, for almost 2 months, up to 200 people a day died. During the summer, the bodies were placed on the sidewalks of the extremely wealthy who left the city to avoid the unbearable (and disease). Carts would make their way through the neighborhoods to collect the bodies. At least, that was the plan. Sometimes the carts never showed. Um…yeah. 
But it wasn’t just disease. A port city, New Orleans had (and has!) its fair share of crime. No visit to the View Carre is complete without visiting the quaint Jackson Square, with its manicured lawns and graceful old oaks beneath which artists and psychics gather, the fence of wrought iron, the pigeons, and of course, the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral. Of course, few realize that this same place was one the site for public hangings…

 But while in the French Quarter, you quickly discover that anything can be purchased--ANYTHING. Especially stuff you didn’t know existed. I mean, where else can you be strolling along and stumble across Reverand Zombie’s Voodoo Shop?
Yep, the Disney folks behind The Princess and the Frog weren’t exaggerating or being all that creative. Voodoo is still practiced in Big Easy. Talking about spells, curses or gris gris doesn’t make anyone blink, not even the devoutly Catholic, of whom there are many.
With all the craziness going on, it’s not surprising that New Orleans holds the distinction of having the highest number of missing persons cases since those statistics began being tracked.
Museums are a tourist attraction in almost every city, but in New Orleans, many of the most popular museums are…cemeteries. Because of that whole below sea level thing, New Orleans entombs its dead in elaborate, hauntingly beautiful, above-ground crypts, referred to as Cities of the Dead. 

 Speaking of cemeteries, on All Saints Day, picnics are held for the dead—IN cemeteries, including wine, music, and dancing.
Still speaking of cemeteries, in St. Louis #1 you’ll find the crypt of New Orleans’ most famous and celebrated voodoo queen: Marie Leveau. It is said that even from The Beyond, she still grants favors, which is why her tomb is always adorned with dried flowers and votives. Legend has it you should knock three times when asking for a favor, and once the favor has been granted, return to the crypt and either mark an X or chip the brick.

 STILL speaking of cemeteries, a few rows over you’ll find a glowing white pyramid of concrete, ready and waiting for its future inhabitant: (the still very much alive) Nicholas Cage. Yep.

 Speaking of Nicholas Cage, he once purchased New Orleans most haunted residence, that of the former socialite Delphine LaLaurie.  Some Very Bad Things happened there: Google it and see! 

 (For the record, Nic no longer owns the property. No one does for long. Over the years it’s been a high school, a music conservatory , a tenement, a refuge for young delinquents, a bar, a furniture store, and a luxury apartment building!)
Speaking of Hollywood….there really was a street car named Desire. The line folded in 1948, giving way to a much less evocative bus line. But streetcars do still run in New Orleans including one named…Cemeteries!
Perhaps no other city in America could have adapted so quickly following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to over a thousand dead, the city lost 30% of its population, people who fled the storm only to realize they had nothing to go back to. Walk the streets of the French Quarter and the Garden District and little has changed since Before The Storm (that’s how locals refer to it), but venture out a little further, and even now, the post-apocalyptic feel lingers. Much of the city stands vacant and waiting, from rotting houses to vacant strip center, shopping malls, movie theaters, a huge and beautiful Art-Décor style hospital, even an amusement park.

Given all this, it’s easy to see why all the nicknames are true: The Big Easy. The Crescent City.  The City that Care Forgot. City of Mystery. Paris of the South. The Birthplace of Jazz. America’s Most European City. America’s Most Haunted City.
It’s also easy to see why no other city could have played such a vital and spooky role in Trinity’s story, the story of a teenage psychic who sees horrible things before they happen...

 You can follow Ellie on Facebook at:

About the Midnight Dragonfly Series
Glimpses. That’s all they are. Shadowy premonitions flickering through sixteen year old psychic Trinity Monsour’s dreams. Some terrify: a girl screaming, a knife lifting, a body in the grass. But others--the dark, tortured eyes and the shattering kiss, the promise of forever--whisper to her soul.

They come without warning. They come without detail.

But they always mean the same thing: The clock is ticking, and only Trinity can stop it.

Find out how in Shattered Dreams and Broken Illusions (St. Martin’s Press), available now from Griffin Teen!

Wow! Thank you so much Ellie for stopping by and sharing that with us!!!

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen. But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

 Teenage mystic Rachelle Dugas knows to expect the unexpected when she fills in for a friend leading a Haunted New Orleans tour. But when she decides to check out a haunted house on her own, nothing prepares her for the secrets lurking in the shadows—or the twist of destiny about to unfold.

It’s Mardi Gras, but for 16 year-old psychic Trinity Monsour this is no time for celebration. Another girl is missing. Haunted by visions she doesn’t understand—of an empty street lined by crumbling old buildings, a terrified voice warning her to be careful, and a body lying motionless in the grass--Trinity embarks upon a dark odyssey she could never have imagined. She'll stop at nothing to better understand her abilities, convinced that doing so is the only way she can make sure the terrifying images she sees never actually happen. 
But it seems everyone wants to stop her. Her aunt is worried Trinity might discover secrets best left in the past. Her best friend, Victoria, is afraid Trinity is slipping away, her boyfriend, Chase, fears she’s taking too many chances, and the lead detective will barely let her out of his sight. Only one person stands by her side, and in doing so, he slips deeper and deeper into her heart--and her dreams--blurring the lines of reality and illusion. 
When the dust settles, one of them will be dead.

Ellie would like to give 1 lucky person a copy of  Shattered Dreams and Broken Illusion!
This is US only. If you are International and have an address you can use please enter.
All giveaways this month end on October 7th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. These books sound like they'd be a good read. I'll have to give them a try!

    1. Hi, and thanks for your comment! I'm a huge fan of all things Unexplained and had so much fun exploring psychic phenomenon through the character of Trinity. I'd love to share the journey with you! If you'd like a signed bookplate or bookmark, please email me at! Thanks!

  2. I used to have terrible anxiety as a pre-teen that people wouldn't believe me when I told them very important things (I had nightmares about it), so I already sympathize with the main character. And to be 'outed' as different in high school would be sounds like rich subject matter!

    1. Hi, Beth! I'm fascinated by your comments and experiences as a pre-teen. I'm a freaky-dreamer, too...and I've received a few sneak peeks, as well. It's out of that and my subsequent fascination with Possibility that Trinity's story came to be. If you're interested in a signed bookplate or bookmark, please let me know. Take care!

  3. Her books sound very interesting. I've always been intrigued by "Shattered Dreams"

    1. Hi, Wanda...thank you! For writers, some books are just magic, and for me, Shattered Dreams was one of those books, along with the sequels Broken Illusions and Fragile Darkness. The opening scene of SD came to me, literally, in a dream. From there, it was a breakneck journey of discovery! If you'd like a signed bookplate or bookmark, please let me know!!!

  4. I want to because they sound like a great world to escape into.

    1. Thank you, Pam!! There's so much I enjoyed about writing these books...setting them in New Orleans being right there at the top. New Orleans, often called America's Most Haunted City, where voodoo and Catholicism exist side-by-side, sometimes in the same household, made the perfect backdrop for Trinity's story! If you'd like a signed bookmark or bookplate, please let me know!

  5. I read the first one so it's time to read the second! lol

  6. Because I enjoy trying out new authors, and have never read any of hers before.

    1. Thank you! I've had so much fun sharing the Midnight Dragonfly Books with readers and would love to share them with you, too. I'm a huge fan of dreams and psychic phenomenon and had fun exploring where that could take a character like Trinity. If you'd like a signed bookplate or bookmark, please let me know!

  7. I love reading and her books look really interesting.

    1. Thank you!! I had a blast with these books and would love to share them with you. My goal was to explore the Extraordinary in an Ordinary world :) If you'd like a signed bookplate or bookmark, please let me know!

  8. I actually haven't read any of her books yet.

  9. I love reading about paranormal things related to New Orleans!

  10. Because I'm always reading, and these books seem right up my alley (: