Tag Archives: Marie Laveau

The #Voodoo Queen’s Shanty ~ ~ ~ Come for A Visit, Stay for A Lifetime

Book Trailer Release!

 

On the edge of the swamps lives the Widow Paris, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. A blue-eyed slave of White Raven Estate, Jasmine le Calais, must brave the swamp after the Hourfor to retrieve her daughter from the clutches of Widow Paris. The Caribbean drums have quieted for the night and mist hangs in the humid air.

As Jasmine, terrified, creeps closer to the Voodoo Queen’s shanty something rustles in the saw grass!

Is it an alligator — or the legendary yellow-eyed swamp monster, Loup Garou?

~ ~ ~ ~

(an excerpt from Chapter 7 – Jasmine Visits the Voodoo Queen)

From the depths of the swamp  the hoot of an owl announced her journey. She held her breath. It hooted again, calling out from the spooky depths of the pine woods. The warning traveled deep into the swamps and was mimicked by other owls. It was a different noise that caught Jasmine’s attention—the slap of a paddle out on the water. She stood perfectly still and turned her eyes to the gloomy waterline. She stopped breathing and listened. Silence all of a sudden, complete silence; no katydids chirping, no drone from the cicadas. The only sound Jasmine heard was the deafening roar in her ears. Her heart pounded, her throat constricted to the point where a scream would not have been possible. She wanted the sound to be a paddle hitting the water, but she involuntarily whispered, “Loup Garou.” Even better it be a swamp witch than the beast, Loup Garou. Jasmine’s eyes darted from right to left. Please! Please don’t hurt me! Stone cold silence prevailed. Torturous nothing. She stood waiting to be torn apart by Loup Garou, trying desperately to push out of her mind the vision of the beast with its sharp fangs and its glowering yellow eyes. If attacked she hoped she would die in the first swipe of the creature’s talons. I’m going to die, she whimpered. Damn Zömbi for not bringing Josie back to me so we could get on our way back to Corbeau Blanc.

If the angry swamp monster was going to pounce, with drool hanging from sharp fangs she wanted her death to be instant. She imagined its yellow eyes burning into her skin as it fixed on her—and her fear. She waited, crouching, and listening.

~ ~ ~ ~

#Ghosts of White Raven Estate.
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Readers Ask: Emily! What Have You Done For Us Lately?

Okay, Okay! Busted!!

I’ve been neglecting my blog ~ but that doesn’t mean I’ve been neglecting my readers.

So, you may ask, what have you done for us lately?

Well, just in the past two weeks, 2 radio interviews and “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” has been published in paperback format.

On 13 February I was fortunate enough to be asked to join Chuck G. Gotski on his “In The Dark” radio show. I spent the fastest 30-minutes of my life talking about — what else? — the paranormal.

The link to the interview, in case you’d like to listen to it again, is right here! “In The Dark” radio, hosted by Chuck G. Gotski of “In The Dark Investigations

I enjoyed myself so much on Chuck’s show that I accepted an invitation from Belinda Clark-Ache to appear on “Paranormal Kool-Aid” which she produces. “Paranormal Kool-Aid” is hosted by F. Chris Medina and his friends and has the greatest green room in the world. My 19 February interview in which we talk extensively about the Catholic Church and its ~1830-1865 ties to New Orleans Voodoo is here.

In the meantime, some of you requested that “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” be published in a paperback edition. Voila!! You can now find my New Orleans ‘Addictively Wicked’ novel on Amazon; as well as Kindle, iBooks, Nook and Kobo.

Pretty isn’t it?

"Ghosts of White Raven Estate" ~ Available in Paperback & eBook format.

“Ghosts of White Raven Estate” ~ Available in Paperback & eBook format.

Gift Copies of my paperback and eBook novels have gone out, or are being sent to: Dorothy Beecher, Belinda Clark-Ache, John McCormick, Chuck G. Gotski, and Laura Evans. Thanks to each of you for taking an interest in my writing.

You can always find me on my Facebook page – I’m there every day! Thanks for stopping by ~ leave a note HERE! Say, “Hi!” even if it’s to chastise me for not blogging that often.

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Chapter 1: “Someone Is Watching” ~ #Free Read Excerpt ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce, in this blog entry, the synopsis and Chapter 1.  In this chapter you will meet Victoria Calais and her grandmother, Madame Calais and come to realize the haunting presence that eerily hangs over their centuries old Garden District manor.

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Synopsis:

1853 New Orleans ~ As the frenzied drumbeats of Voodoo ceremonies vibrate throughout the city, Victoria Calais, beautiful ingénue and resident of New Orleans’ Garden District, is losing her vision.  A Yellow Fever epidemic has just swept the city, leaving her parents and sister dead.

As she goes blind Victoria is visited by a poltergeist that terrorizes the family priest, Father Vivenzio, a frequent (an opportunistic) visitor to the Calais’ estate, La Maison du Corbeau Blanc (The House of the White Falcon).

Unable to gain spiritual supremacy over the unworldly activity swirling through Corbeau Blanc, Father Vivenzio calls on Widow Paris, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

The identity of Father Vivenzio’s supernatural nemesis is revealed at Mardi Gras during a wild carriage race through the streets of New Orleans!

Excerpt:  Chapter 1

1853 ~ Someone Is Watching

It all took place in the fashionable Garden District of New Orleans, where beautiful estates hide behind the screen of tree-lined boulevards. The year was 1853, during an era when family loyalties were guarded vigilantly, some even from beyond the grave.

* * *

Dusky afternoon sunlight streamed into the bedroom of young heiress, Victoria Calais, casting the room in a brooding hue that foreshadows an evening squall. Flying toward the Crescent City at that moment was the kind of storm that causes shutters to clatter, and the shadows of gnarled oaks to bob and weave across expansive lawns.

Victoria sat at her vanity, staring into her mirror but unable to make out her own reflection. Her fingertips, like the feelers of an ant, followed along the edges of each cosmetic item laid out on the embroidered runner decorating her vanity.

A gentle breeze rustled through Victoria’s bedroom, bringing with it the fragrance of rose petals, reminding her that she was not alone. Victoria stiffened and craned her neck squinting into a milky field of vision from heavy-lidded eyes.

“Hello? Who’s here?” She waited. Every instinct told her that someone was standing in the shadows of her room.

A tear rolled down her cheek. Dr. Faust’s diagnosis, delivered the previous day, had been devastating. Hysterical blindness was his prognosis. The diagnosis did not sit well with Victoria’s grandmother, Madame Calais, if her outburst was any indication.

Victoria remembered what life had been like during the weeks that Yellow Fever swept through New Orleans killing her parents, and sister, Evangeline and reached for her sister’s doll. She tugged at its skirt, causing it to fall over with a loud thunk, its porcelain head hitting the mahogany shelf.

“Meow!”

“Oh, Bon-Bon! Did I frighten you, my little pet?”

“Meow!”

Victoria turned toward the plaintive cry just as her cat bounded off the bed and pranced toward her across the richly woven carpet.

“Can you guide me back to my bed?”

Victoria followed the sound of the little bell on Bon-Bon’s collar as the cat scampered back across the room.

“Who understands what has gone on in this room better than you, my attentive little sentry.”

Victoria retraced her steps, her left arm wrapped around the doll.

“Are you there, Bon-Bon?”

A repetitious mew guided her back toward the bed, one carefully retraced step at a time.

Quite suddenly, Victoria stumbled forward, an unexpected lurch into the uncertainty that was her new world.

Bang! The doors of the wardrobe crashed shut.

“Hello! Answer me! Is someone there?”

Eerie silence hung in the air, as the room grew more chilled. Victoria scrambled to her knees looking around apprehensively as a voice called up from the bottom of the stairs. “Victoria! Are you up in your room still?”

“Yes, Grandmother!”

“What is going on? I heard something fall.”

“I tripped, Grandmother! It’s nothing! Bon-Bon was here to save me!”

“Oh, Mon Cher.” Madame Calais softened her voice. “Refresh yourself and come down, Victoria. You’ve been alone in your room all afternoon. We’ll have tea and discuss matters.”

* * *

After dinner that evening a sweeping storm ripped open the southern skies, causing rivulets to run down the side of the Calais home like the veins on the back of an old woman’s hands. In Victoria’s bedroom, shadows danced on the walls as pillar candles spit and flickered. A chill settled over the house, unusual for a New Orleans evening.

Victoria sat on the edge of her bed in semi-darkness. Candles sputtered, causing her to flinch as she sat through the evening deluge pounding at the shutters as she stared straight ahead, listening. She held tightly onto the doll that had belonged to her late sister moving her fingertips over the doll’s porcelain face with its dainty nose and rosebud lips.

“Evangeline is gone, and I am nearly blind. What is to become of us, Bon-Bon?”

The feline pawed at Victoria’s fingertips.

She swiped at her tears and squinted as a shadow passed under her bedroom door.

“Grandmother!” she called out. “Grand-mere?”

Silence loomed. There’s no one to talk to now that Evangeline is gone. Victoria peered across her room trying to blink away the veil preventing her from seeing what had been staring at her the whole time – an apparition wavering in the glow of the candles.

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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Chapters 2 – 3 ~ #Free Read Excerpt #Ghosts of White Raven Estate

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce, in this blog entry, Chapters 2 and 3.  It gives the reader insight into the relationship between Victoria Calais and her sister, Evangeline; and the tension between them that reaches into Victoria’s life from beyond the grave.  

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Chapter 2

Where the Bones Are Buried

Victoria placed the marker ribbon at that day’s journal entry and closed the leather bound book. After rummaging to make room, she slid it into the top drawer of her writing desk and locked the drawer with the tiny key strung on the gold chain that she wore around her neck. Pushing back her chair, Victoria felt her way to the bedroom window and strained to see across Prytania Street toward the scene that just two months earlier she could easily make out—the Calais Cemetery and Mausoleum. The foot traffic along Prytania Street that day would have observed Father Vivenzio on his way from St. Ann’s Church to La Maison du Corbeau Blanc. The priest smirked, The House of the White Raven, or simply Corbeau Blanc—how pretentiously mysterious. He was practicing his lines aloud as he stepped gingerly: “Madame Calais, I want to ensure that your wishes for Victoria are met.” Thinking of a better approach, he started his speech anew. Father Vivenzio continued up the curved carriage drive. Lanterns affixed to the side posts of the wrought-iron gate adorned the entrance to the driveway. He avoided the cold stare of the alabaster lions. At that very instant a crow swooped down from behind the priest. Father Vivenzio heard the flutter of wings as the vagrant soared toward him. He winced, fearing that the bird would graze his ear. The terror of rabies clutched at him as the scavenger cawed loudly, landing on its intended perch—the lantern to the right of the carriage drive. “To Hell! To Hell!” The bird responded to the banishment by turning its head left, then right, and examining the priest with one eye, then the other. Its squawk sounded a call to arms, and four more crows swooped down. In horror, the priest rushed toward the porch. He scampered up the steps and pulled on the heavy cord, sounding the bell – that announced his arrival. The door creaked opened. There stood Jasmine, imposing, judgmental. Humph! Jasmine! The slave’s face was sullen, as she looked the priest up and down. She was the one woman in the Calais household who didn’t greet the priest with adoration. No sweeping gesture that he should enter. In fact, she usually left him to close the door on his own—unless Madame Calais was standing in the foyer upon his arrival. Then it was “Father Vivenzio! I’ll be tellin’ Madame that you’ve arrived!” All nicey-nice on those occasions!

* * * 

“Father Vivenzio! I’m in here! Do come in,” Madame Calais sang. “How is Victoria? Maybe she would care to join us?” the priest inquired of his generous benefactor. “I’m sure she would, Father. But first, I’m hoping I can confide in you. I’m concerned about Victoria and her loss of vision. The epidemic that nearly wiped out our family is undoubtedly the cause of Victoria’s vision loss. I have a lot to consider, and I may need your assistance planning a course for her future.”

* * *

Victoria crossed the parlor into the conservatory as Jasmine fell back where she stood silently in the shadows of the parlor. “Victoria, darling, sit down with me and Father Vivenzio and have some lemonade. I’ve barely seen you all day.” Father Vivenzio moved to the high-backed chair across from the two women. “If I may, Madame Calais. Shall I begin?” Madame Calais patted the sofa, and Victoria took the cue to sit down as the priest began speaking. “Victoria, your grandmother has made a very generous financial gift to the church. She and I agree that the funds that she has given at your mother’s behest would best be used to renovate the convent where you stayed when your family fell ill.” Victoria gasped. “Shall I continue?” Victoria nodded. Madame Calais held her breath as Victoria glared at the priest. Then she dropped her gaze to the cat. “Bon-Bon?” The cat was flexing her claws in the hem of the reverend’s cassock. “Bon-Bon!” Father Vivenzio looked down and snatched at his robe. “Bon-Bon! No clawing!” The priest stomped his foot at the cat. It raised its back and snarled before darting back to Victoria. He shrugged his shoulders at Madame Calais, grinning sheepishly. Suddenly, with the swiftness of a panther Bon-Bon bounded from Victoria’s lap and, in one wild leap, landed at the pontiff’s feet. The feline then made a mad scramble up the front of the priest’s robe, batting and snarling. The priest screamed, a girlish cry of distress. Madame Calais let out a shriek, matching the cat’s snarl to a pitch, causing Jasmine to rush in from the parlor. The matriarch jumped up. Her teacup clattered, breaking in half. Hot rooibos tea spread over the rug like a bloodstain. “Mon Dieu! Someone, grab the cat! Dear God, what’s got into her! Get her before she scratches Father Vivenzio’s face!” “I should take my leave. Really, I should,” promised Father. As Father Vivenzio left the estate and walked along the towering wrought-iron fence, his thoughts turned to the appointment waiting for him at the rectory. He chuckled as he quickened his pace. Approaching Prytania Street a pack of dogs began to bark and snarl at him from the grounds of the cemetery. Fear danced in tiny prickles up his spine as he imagined the fangs of angry dogs tearing at his garments, biting into his skin. His breathing quickened; he cautioned himself to not appear fearful. Don’t look over. Don’t look over. A lone howl, long and mournful, emanated from the shadows of the pine grove near the back of the graveyard. The exact source of the howling could not be determined.

* ~*~ *

Excerpt Chapter 3

Before the Epidemic

When Victoria awoke, Evangeline was standing at the bedroom window, looking out over the rose garden. Moonlight flooded the room, casting her sister in profile. Evangeline’s white nightgown was no more than a gossamer veil over her young body. Everyone in the Calais family was either tossing and turning or fully awake as it was too hot to sleep in the early autumn before the Yellow Fever epidemic hit. Every creature moved about under the bright glow of the harvest moon. Katydids sang. Beetles skittered through the warm earth; spiders dropped from stalk to leaf, anchoring their glistening webs; garden snakes slithered languorously through the dewy grass, and the spirits floated back and forth between La Maison du Corbeau Blanc and cemetery, catching up on family gossip. It was too hot for all of them. “Evangeline?” “You’re awake, Victoria?” “Yes. What’s out there?” “The night voices are murmuring. I can hear them.” “Whose voice are you hearing tonight, Evie?” Victoria asked, propping herself up on her pillow and winding her long hair up off her neck. “Grandpa’s. I saw him today.” “You did?” “Oui.” “What was he doing?” Victoria fanned her sheets as Evangeline continued to look out over the tea roses, flooded in light as though it were midday. “Sitting at his desk, doing his books.” She brushed her bangs away from her forehead and pricked her nightgown away from the curves of her body. “Was he happy?” “No, he looked sad. Victoria, he looked straight at me.” “Did he say anything?” “Yes. He said one thing.” Evangeline turned to face her sister. Victoria thought how much her sister looked like an angel at that moment. “He did, Evangeline?” She pulled her knees up to her chest, waiting. “What did he say this time, Evie?” “He said, ‘I’ll see you soon, mon cher.” “He’ll appear to you again?” “I don’t know, Victoria. I just got the sense it was actually a warning.” “Why do you say that, Evie?” Evangeline looked out the window and stared, for a moment, at the full moon that hung in the indigo sky before responding, “because as the vision faded, it was replaced by a death mask.”

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’.

Ghosts of White Raven Estates ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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Chapter 4: #Voodoo Queen ~ #Free Read Excerpt ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Voodoo Vision: House of Spirits” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce in this blog entry the Voodoo Queen herself . . . Widow Paris.  Of the four main characters in this 2012 NaNoWriMo novel, Widow Paris is my ‘Fave’ for her glamour, and her ability to conspire and beguile at the same time.  I hope that you enjoy THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’.  If you are just now joining the ‘excerpt peek’ Chapters 1, 2-3, are included in the line-up of my blog entries.

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Chapter 4

Father Vivenzio dashed up the steps to the rectory. Once inside he quietly closed the door facing Girod Street and looked across the polished floor to the door of his office. Although accustomed to the sight, he shuddered at what he saw. A Voodoo staff was propped just to the left of his door. The dark gnarls that seemed to clutch at the wooden cane resembled the knuckles of a hag. A shaft of light from the stained glass windows caught the amber eyes of the shrunken head decorating the crown of the walking stick. It seemed alive. Watching him. Judging him.

The priest hurried past flinging open the door to his sparsely furnished office. A bookcase, matching desk, and liquor cabinet were the only furnishings, save for one guest chair—occupied at the moment. The fabric of his robes rustled as he rushed across the marble-tiled floor.

An elegantly dressed, slender black woman turned in her chair to greet him, her bracelets jangling as she arranged the brightly colored fabric of her sarong. A brocade wrap protected her from the chill of the rectory office. She was physically and temperamentally more accustomed to the heat of the Caribbean.

“Widow Paris! I’m so pleased that you have waited for me. You’ve made yourself comfortable, I presume?”

“Giorgio, I wasn’t sure if maybe I had the time wrong.”

“Please allow me to apologize. I’m so sorry.”

She arched her finely shaped eyebrows and cocked her head. “Go on, I’m curious what you have to tell me.”

“I think you will find my news most interesting, and encouraging. I was just at the estate of one of St. Ann’s most promising benefactors.”

“Let me guess,” she interrupted. “The Calais’.”

“What the hell! Is there anything you don’t know?”

Widow Paris threw back her head, revealing gold-capped teeth and a broad pink tongue. Her laughter was throaty and decadent, “don’t despair my knowledge of your appointments, Father; unless it was your intention to betray our arrangement. Surely you realize there’s not much you can do that won’t be discussed throughout Tremè. My people help me, and I, in turn, help them.” Her bracelets set off another peal of jangles. She adjusted the head wrap that covered her coal-black hair. Still, tendrils crept out at her neckline like snakes slithering down her back.

I am surrounded by spies. The hair on the priest’s arms stood up in an involuntary shiver as he imagined how his swiping at the ribbon the Voodoo doll hung on must have looked. “Let me begin.”

“No. Let me.”

The priest was silenced.

“You don’t seem to appreciate what it means that Jasmine is a member of my church. Go into any household in the Garden District and you will find members of the Afro-Catholic Church—my church. You make a habit of dismissing people as you conjecture their station according to your world–the White world,” and with that Widow Paris concluded her assessment of the priest’s flaws.

“Well, now, if that doesn’t just explain Jasmine’s attitude toward me.”

“Partly, I suppose.”

'Voodoo Vision' Cast of Characters

‘Voodoo Vision’ Cast of Characters

“Then you know, from your well-placed sources, that Madame Calais has made a sizeable contribution to the church in gratitude for the services and attention her family received from St. Ann’s Church during this past epidemic.”

Widow Paris’ yellow-speckled eyes flashed and the image of a jaguar came to mind as Father Vivenzio felt the glare of the Voodoo priestess. He continued, “So tragic. I did what I could.”

He chose to overlook her snort and let her commandeer the exchange. “Let me guess, you have received from the Calais Trust a contribution of, what? Ten thousand dollars?”

He shook his head, defeated.

“What I don’t know is when you are going to make a contribution to my church based on the Calais generosity.”

“For Christ’s sake, is that what this is all about? Why, I was planning to share the Calais contribution with you this afternoon, Marie. Which is why I am so relieved that you waited for me.”

“How nice. I know that you are anxious to help me with the needs of my people in return for their attendance at mass.”

There was no way out of the split that he owed Widow Paris for their shared endeavors—and his involvement—on both sides of the religious aisle.

He drew out his bankbook and began to write out a check. After the ink dried he handed it to her.

“You’re a shrewd woman, Widow Paris. Very shrewd.”

She laughed in a throaty, suggestive manner. “This should buy someone’s much deserved freedom. Thank you.”

The priest grunted his acknowledgement.

“So, your long-term plans for the Calais’? Do tell,” she coaxed.

“Well, as you undoubtedly know, the Calais fortune is now held solely by the matriarch grandmother and her granddaughter.”

Widow Paris opened and closed her black lace fan as Father Vivenzio continued.

“The grandmother is ailing, and the granddaughter is losing her eyesight.”

She looked bored. “Yes? Yes? Get to the good part, Giorgio!” Widow Paris’ eyes glittered.

“In the end, an incredibly beautiful and wealthy ingénue will be left without a family. Except for the familial community of her church, of course.”

“Well, that is fascinating, now, isn’t it?” she taunted. “Whatever is to be done?” Father Vivenzio stared at the ceiling. “The parish does need a new convent. The current quarters here at St. Ann’s are crumbling. And Madame Calais’ granddaughter was not happy being quarantined there as her immediate family died, one by one, in the Yellow Fever epidemic. It was, of course, my doing that she took flight from the epidemic and was placed here at St. Ann’s. Her father was against it at first, but once the girl’s mother and sister died, he relented in order to save her. Then, he too died. Her grandmother presented the check to St. Ann’s two days ago, but, obviously, you know that. I advanced the idea that the donation, of which your own church will enjoy a portion, be used to renovate the convent.” He pushed back his chair.

Widow Paris sat silently as the priest struggled to his feet, his weight being a hindrance.

“A little red wine, to celebrate our windfall?” he asked.

The priestess nodded. “What’s better than celebrating a glorious afternoon with the blood of Christ?”

~*~*~

I hope you’ve enjoyed these first four chapters of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you would like to add a copy to your eBook library, it is available at:

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Kindle

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Nook

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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☆ myBLOG: How ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ Came to Be #NaNoWriMo

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NEW in eBook format - FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

NEW in eBook format – FULL 22-story collection on Amazon.

An NPR program discussing African-based religions and regaling the life of New Orleans 1800’s Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, caught my attention a year ago.

The blend of Spiritualism, New Orleans, and Laveau (a complex and colorful historical figure) played on my fancy. I began paying attention to the posts of my occultist Facebook friends, such as Jose Prado, whose beliefs and spiritual outlook I respect. A gentle, and generous, person, Jose writes extensively and in measured tones about non-Christian religious beliefs and has – through his posts – provided me with insights on Occultism and Voodoo.

Through the coincidences of synchronicity I learned that one of my Edmonds, Washington author friends had actually taught topics concerning Marie Laveau, and we met to discuss sources of information for my study of New Orleans’ Voodoo Era.

The stars began to align by November 2012. With the inklings of what has now become ‘Voodoo Vision’ I felt compelled to join the global fray of writers pounding out novels as the challenge of NaNoWriMo 2012 loomed. What better way to keep my interest in writing one novel, in one month, than New Orleans, History – and Voodoo!

Voodoo, from my outsider perspective seemed rich with possibilities. Add to the Voodoo backdrop of my novel the parallels of Catholic symbolism, and the scandalous folly of priests and I had the beginnings of a thesis on good and evil.

What challenges me as I add the final touches – and seek editorial comment on my upcoming novel, ‘Voodoo Vision’ is this: How much behind-the-scenes Voodoo ritual to include. Layer by layer I find that I am going back to strengthen and fine tune the conflicts between the slaves and free persons of color, some of whom (as characters in my novel) adhere strictly to the teachings of the Catholic Church and some of whom mix the two religions to their own spiritual and occultist advantage. Taking ‘advantage’ being one of the underlying elements of my novel – and how far one will go to get what one wants.

For instance, take the role of Father Vivenzio, the book’s villain: I wanted Voodoo ritual to serve as a catalyst for bringing together the Catholic Church of 1853 New Orleans with African-based religious practices that took place within the Catholic parishes during that time. I established Vivenzio’s avarice by composing a chapter around the priest’s rape of the leading black character’s daughter during a gathering in Congo Square. Not one to take lightly the scandal of the Catholic Church of late, I felt it appropriate to paint in real terms the human frailties of the Catholic Church, but in terms of yesteryear.

The next three months are going to be ‘full steam ahead’ for me as I edit, re-write the novel; and on design elements of the eBook tile with ‘Kathi Humphries Design and New Media’ to bring you the most colorful, exciting, haunting look at New Orleans in The Voodoo Era — originally named “Voodoo Vision” this novel ultimately was published as “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”.

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