As pretty much everyone has figured out by now, I am a little obsessed with New Orleans. The city and its people play a big part in the series I’m working on, starting with Torn and increasing as the story continues in Tangled and Bound. Also, I just like the place and spend a lot of time actively plotting how to go back. And as you probably know, today is Mardis Gras, the last day of feasting and celebration before Lent begins. For many people, Mardi Gras and New Orleans are synonymous – I’ve lost track of the number of movies and TV shows that are set during Carnival, where the climactic chase comes during a night parade and everyone is wearing masks. And while I am generally not a person given to excess, it seemed fitting that I host a giveaway to in honor of the season.
Of course, Mo is an Irish-Catholic girl from the South Side of Chicago. Her family would be celebrating Shrove Tuesday, not Mardi Gras, likely with a nice pancake breakfast at church and then an early bedtime, because nothing prepares you for a season of repentance like all-you-can-eat bacon. What would she be celebrating (other than Easter, obviously, which is one of those pesky holidays that moves around each year)? St. Patrick’s Day. Chicago is a city that takes its Irish heritage both Very Seriously and Not At All Seriously – we dye the freaking river green, after all. There was no way I could do a contest in March and NOT include St. Patrick’s Day if I ever wanted to face my father-in-law again.
The result is a hybrid contest – a little bit New Orleans, a little bit Irish, and full of things I love. So, here’s how it works:
1. You comment below, answering what you’d rather celebrate – Mardi Gras in New Orleans or St Patrick’s Day in Ireland? If you’d rather celebrate in St. Pat’s in Chicago, that’s a valid option, too. I’d love to know why, of course, but my days of demanding that people explain their reasoning are happily behind me, so that’s utterly at your discretion.
2. The contest starts today, Fat Tuesday, March 8th. It ends at 3 pm on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th. When my little random number generators get home from school that day, they’ll pull two winners, which I’ll announce that night. (Sadly, I can only send prizes to US addresses.)
3. I will brace myself for the breathtakingly bad service at our post office and send the winners their prizes. The packages will contain:
The Liar Society, by Lisa and Laura Roecker, because they are awesome.
A cover flat of Torn, because it really does look cooler in person.
A sweet olive scented candle. Sweet olive is a shrub planted all over New Orleans and the smell is indescribably beautiful. When I’m writing, I light one of these candles and I’m instantly back in the French Quarter (which, let’s face it, is a lot more inspiring than my laundry room, where I write).
Irish Treats – Tea and something tasty to nibble on, because everyone needs a nice cuppa and a sit-down on those gray days in March when it should feel like spring and it doesn’t.
A little something extra. In New Orleans, this is called a lagniappe. In Chicago, it’s called a surprise, which would be spoiled if I told you.
4. While I’d be tremendously grateful if you spread the word via Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Whatever, it’s not necessary to win the contest.