LASR Anniverary: Shawn Bailey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Summer Time in the Big Easy
By
Shawn Bailey

People often ask me what it was like growing up in New Orleans. And I always answer the same way, great. Summers were especially wonderful because that’s when my mother packed up my clothes and sent me to visit my aunt for three months. I never understood why she did this until I was grown and had children of my own. Apparently it wasn’t easy being a parent, having to work full-time and trying to find a baby-sitter who would take on three kids at the same time. I am three years younger than my sister and four years older than my brother and we had absolutely nothing in common except our mother. While my sister and I went to my father’s sister, our brother went to spend time in Mississippi with my mother’s oldest sister. (My mother tried to send me to Mississippi one summer when I was about twelve. I took one look at the outhouse and a snake and cried until she brought me back to New Orleans. I don’t know what she expected, but I never was and am still not an outdoor person.)

My aunt’s granddaughter would come down from Saint Louis and stay the summer too. She was just a year older than me so she and I hung out together a lot. But to make a long story short my aunt would always take us to places during the summer like to Ponchartrain Beach where we paid one price and road rides and played arcade games. I really like going on a street car rides to Audubon Park and visiting the zoo.

Her grown daughter used to help out too, taking us to the drive-in theatre in her little yellow Volkswagen Beetle. And every summer we’d visit the cemetery where my grandparents were buried and clean off the graves and bring new artificial flowers. The thing I remember most about that adventure were the huge black grasshoppers and open graves, and my aunt telling us not to step on the mounds. She didn’t have to worry about that because I was afraid a hand would reach out, grab my ankle and pull me into the dirt. (Yes, I have an overactive imagination even back then.)

So you want to come to New Orleans for the summer. The first thing you must know is that it’s hot and humid. That means you’ll never have a decent hairstyle unless you wear a wig. Use sun block and wear sunglasses. No matter what you think your skin will burn down here. If you have respiratory problems stay inside during the day and enjoy the city in the evening when the sun starts to go down. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. No matter what they tell you beer, Hurricanes and Tornadoes are not the same thing.

Bring an umbrella. It rains almost every day here in the summer time, and it can change in the matter of minutes. Once it gets too hot the rain appears, and then it stops and the heat returns. There is no happy medium. I just got soaking wet walking from the bus to my house. I had an umbrella. It wasn’t nice.

We have big mosquitoes. The black ones are the worst. They are out twenty-four seven. You can’t outsmart them or outrun them. Wear repellant.

Bring your walking and your dancing shoes. New Orleans is rich with history. Enjoy the walking tours through the French Quarter and to the cemeteries. There are clubs and bars. Never travel alone. As in any major city there is also crime. We have museums. Hop on the Saint Charles Streetcar and visit the zoo and the university area. Go to the aquarium, visit the insect music and gamble at the casino. Ride the ferry to the west bank and see even more of the city. Whatever you do, dress casually and comfortably.

Bring an appetite. There is food, food and more food down here. Don’t be afraid to try the gumbo, the red beans and rice or the jambalaya. Bring antacids, you’re sure to overeat.

And last but not least, have fun. There’s something for everyone.

Have a safe summer
Shawn Bailey

Shawn Bailey med_DreamBoy (2)Being gay and in love with the most sought-after college quarterback did nothing for Hiro Aoki’s heart except make it break every time he saw Christian Hill parading around town with pretty girls on his arm. Christian also dated debutantes and got invited to the most popular parties, while Hiro and his friends stayed home on weekends studying and trying to improve their GPA. What good did it do Hiro to be smart when the love of his life didn’t return his feelings?

But to Hiro’s surprise, when he agrees to tutor Christian in math, he realizes the football star may be harboring a secret longing for him also. Can the two young men actually become lovers and keep their growing relationship a secret from their families, the rest of the students, and the bullies on the football team?

About the Author: Shawn Bailey writes from New Orleans, Louisiana. Shawn is an avid manga and yaoi novel collector and watches a lot of Japanese anime. When she’s not writing Shawn works as a financial analyst and looks forward to one day retiring, going to writing conferences and traveling to Asia. Of course she will have to get over her fear of flying. She is currently working on several new gay romance manuscripts which she hopes to get published in the near future. Shawn currently writes for Amber Quill Press, Siren-Bookstrand, Phaze Books, Dark Hollows Press and Fireborn Publishing.

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Amber Quill

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Comments

  1. Heather R. says:

    I like your memories of New Orleans and your tips for visitors. I am from S. Carolina, and the southern heat, humidity, and giant bugs feel very familiar to me.

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