Stay Away From The Voodoo…

sugar skull

© Elisanth |

I can’t as it plays an important part in the book I’m writing right now. It’s another Hope Parish Novel and begins a trilogy. Resisting Samantha is about Chase Sutton trying to resist falling for restaurant owner, Samantha Wharton. But, the problem is, Samantha is in deep voodoo (yeah, you saw what I did there). The current owner of Imogene’s, Samantha Wharton is a young, pretty widow from New York City. She’d taken over Imogene’s when it had fallen into disrepair and revitalized the eatery steeped in mystery and secrets. For that, she’d won the hearts of everyone in Suttontowne, Louisiana where my books are set. It’s a small town in Hope Parish, a hop and skip from Lafayette, Louisiana and a two-hour drive from New Orleans.

It was rumored that Imogene had been a voodoo priestess who practiced her art under the full moon. She was hanged for supposedly causing a hurricane and wiping out a small fishing village farther down the road, because some of the men there had raped and murdered her daughter, AnnClaire. It’s said the daughter’s ghost haunts the restaurant.

Of course, Louisiana lends itself well to ghosts, voodoo and secrets. Samantha might be getting warnings from a ghost and strange things are happening, but the danger she is facing is real and links back to tragedies she suffered in New York City before she moved to Suttontowne.

Her past comes back to haunt her.

When someone says voodoo, it conjures up images of zombies and sacrificial goat slayings, blood and voodoo dolls, but there is a different side to voodoo that is all about protection. A gris-gris bag (Also spelled grigri and pronounced gree-gree. The s is silent.) is a talisman, a voodoo amulet with its origins in Africa and protects the wearer from evil and brings luck. There are different gris-gris bags for different needs like healing, happiness, courage, and love.

gris-gris bag

© Laura Kuhn |

The gris-gris bag was common in the American headquarters for voodoo, New Orleans. It’s been interesting to research this topic and discover information about Marie Laveau, the reigning queen of voodoo and to weave some history into my contemporary novel. A gris-gris bag is ritually made at an altar containing the four elements: earth (salt), air (incense), water and fire (candle flame). The number of ingredients placed in the bag is always one, three, five, seven nine or thirteen, never an even number.

The bags, depending on the purpose being sought, can contain lodestones, minerals, four leaf clovers, rabbits foot, cross, coins, dice, personal items, pieces of colored cloth or feathers, talisman written on parchment, saint medals or cards, magical powders and oils.

Here is the passage from the book describing Samantha’s bag:

There was a small bag lying near the shards of the cake plate. I hesitated and looked up to where the woman had been standing. She was still gone. Then, back down at the bag. I reached out and touched the fabric. There was something in it. It was made out of red chamois, very soft and tied with a drawstring.

With trembling fingers, I pulled open the top, a strong balsamic-spicy, lemony-evergreen scent I recognized as frankincense filled the air. Among the contents were a pungent eucalyptus leaf, an acorn, and a sigil with a sun inside a triangle with three slashes that looked like claws at the top, one tiny star in each corner of the lower portion, a German iron cross at the bottom, and all the symbols were enclosed in a circle. There was something at the bottom that glinted in the light, but I couldn’t see what it was. I dumped out the contents and my heart stopped beating.

My hand went reflexively to the necklace that Jeff had given me.

It was gone.

I never took it off. He’d given it to me as a wedding present, his saying: I started wishing upon a star then I found you and wished no more.

Yet on the table was the small silver star. I’d had it on last night when I gotten into bed. I know I did because I played with it whenever I was thinking about Jeff. And, after that physical connection with Chase, I’d been feeling a bit guilty and conflicted and sad all week. I’d wanted to kiss more than his scratchy cheek, the scent of him had me lingering and breathing deep, until I came to my senses with a strong case of embarrassment.

I had been wondering about moving on, afraid to even think it. But this couldn’t be the same star, mine had an engraving.

Backing up, my heart in my throat, the hair on the back of my neck rising, I stood there just staring at it. I had to have lost my necklace. That had to be it.

But when I turned it over, there in one of the points was the heart he had engraved into it the day he’d bought it.

It’s been so fun doing research into such a topic steeped in lore and mystery.

What, if anything, do you like about voodoo? I personally thing the sugar skull and the top hat are particularly cool.

‘Til next time ~ Zoe

Upcoming releases:

Resisting the Fall: Resisting Samantha – Out July 25, 2016

Resisting SamanthaStruggling with a devastating painful past, Samantha Wharton had escaped New York City to settle in Suttontowne and run Imogene’s, a quaint and historical eatery.  She thought her heart had died along with her family, but when she meets Chase Sutton, the fallen son of the town’s founder, even with a vow to keep her emotions bottled up, she cannot seem to hang onto her bruised and battered heart

Chase Sutton was tired of being told what to do and whom to know. After the discovery of a devastating family secret, he left his life completely behind and opened up a bait and tackle shop supplying seafood to the local merchants. The simple life suits him fine. It isn’t until he falls into Samantha’s sad eyes that he realizes what he’s lost. But how can he offer Samantha a future when he hasn’t dealt with his own past?

Contending with the living is enough of a challenge–add in voodoo spells, haunting ghosts, and things that go bump in the night leads Samantha to draw closer to Chase. But risking her heart is a more terrifying prospect, especially when all signs point to the return of a dangerous adversary from Samantha’s past, one who targets anyone she cares about.

Mavrick Allstars: Ramping Up – Out June 21, 2016

Ramping Up_Dawson largerframeThe world of extreme sports just got a little steamier! Zoe Dawson’s pulse-pounding, emotional series follows the wily young female agents of Mavrick Allstars as they chase their dreams—and meet the chiseled athletes who make them come true.

Helena “Lena” Mavrick is ready to prove that she can play with the big boys. Working at her father’s internationally renowned agency, Mavrick Allstars, Lena sets her sights on one of the most coveted phenoms out there: a twenty-four-year-old surfer caught ripping it in a viral skateboarding video. Signing him would be a huge win—and his marketing appeal isn’t the only thing that makes Lena’s heart skip a beat. Trouble is, fraternizing with the client is against company policy.

Professional surfer Gunner Smith lives under the absolute control of his coach—until he takes the ultimate risk and starts over as a skateboarder. Gunner swore he wouldn’t give up his freedom again, but Lena’s out-of-the-blue offer makes him think long and hard. She’s smart, she’s bold, she’s got sponsors lined up around the corner—plus she’s drop-dead gorgeous. He’s just not sure his coach will let him get away that easily, because he’s not just Gunner’s coach, he’s also his father.

Gunner is used to hiding his tortured past. But when his steamy affair with Lena threatens their future, he must decide whether he will sacrifice everything for the woman who’s stolen his heart.

Going to the Dogs 2: Holding Still – Out August 22, 2016

Prudence Chambers made a deal with the devil—Harper Sinclair, now Shaw. Exclusive photo coverage of her socialite wedding. It put Pru on the map as a photographer and has opened so many doors. Harper held up her end of the bargain, now it was up to Pru to fulfill her vow. She’d promised Harper that she would give Nathaniel Taylor a second chance. Pru is skeptical that Nate would ever change, but if she is being honest with herself, she has to admit that she still harbors feelings for the sexy stock broker. But she’d hold her heart in reserve until he proved himself—holding still. She just couldn’t go through that heartache again—the next time might kill her.

Nate Taylor was still in love with Pru, had realized his bone-headed and stupid behavior drove her away. Now he was a different man after reconnecting with his brother Jared and his friends, especially Harper. Life was streaking at the speed of light, and he needed to slow down, get in touch with what was important. Like his opportunity to work with AlphaGroup Investments and worthwhile causes. Sit still for a minute—holding still. But, could he open up to Pru again, let her back inside, and risk it all?

More books to be discovered on my website.


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2 Responses to Stay Away From The Voodoo…

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Zoe, all your books sound wonderful, especially Resisting Samantha. I had goosebumps reading the excerpt. Congrats on your 3 upcoming releases!

  2. Can’t wait for these books. They’re gonna be awesome!

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