Happy, happy Mardi Gras whether you’re among those who celebrate, wish you celebrated, or despise parades, beads and king cake any time of year.
If you’re watching a parade right now, just know I wish I were right there beside you shouting “Throw me something, Mister!”
The Unmasking, which is my one real carnival book, goes on sale today for $3.99. I’m delighted to finally share the cover. Last week I showed you the art work my talented daughter-in-law drew from.
I love what she did with the concept, don’t you? This one was a wrap the moment I saw it.
The first cover we tried was wonderful, but it looked, well, a bit (for lack of a better word) kinky. It was dark, foreboding, and erotic, none of which are bad, but not right for this story. I didn’t want to send disappointing messages. The Unmasking is romantic and thoughtful. It’s also filled with New Orleans traditions, both Cajun and Creole, and lots and lots about carnival.
Here are a few fun facts about Mardi Gras in New Orleans:
- The first known Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans took place in 1837–and yes, there were floats, but not for twenty years. Apparently Mobile, Alabama beat New Orleans to the punch with a parade in 1703. Mobile still celebrates in style.
- Mardi Gras has official colors, purple, green and gold. Purple stands for justice, gold for power, green is for faith. The reason escapes me.
- Float riders have handed out goodies to crowds since Renaissance Europe, but the first recorded mention in New Orleans was a krewe member dressed as Santa in 1880.
- The word “krewe” refers to a private social club and they don’t all parade. Some are so exclusive you must be born into them. Different krewes have different functions in the community.
There’s a lot of Mardi Gras lore in The Unmasking. I took a real mask maker to lunch in the French Quarter and quizzed him for my research, my first ever research interview. And, of course, I went to every parade I could attend, even several balls–including a gay ball– in the years I lived there.
For the record the book continues to take place “pre-Katrina. I decided to keep the setting as it is, during a simpler time in New Orleans history, a time I understand, instead of trying to document the changes.
The Unmasking ebook is available-today at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. Kobo and iTunes take a little longer to get books up. I’ll update their links as they come in–so bookmark this post and check back if they are your preferred vendors.
Buy The Unmasking: