Nov 22, 2011

{Author Guest Post + Giveaway} Rochelle Staab of Who Do, VooDoo?

Please welcome a special guest author Rochelle Staab, who is here to talk about her upcoming novel Who Do, Voodoo?

A big Thank You to Seeing Night Reviews for letting me stop by to talk about my novel and offer a giveaway. Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win a copy of Who Do, Voodoo?

My inspiration for Who Do, Voodoo? came one night in Hollywood as I stood on a busy sidewalk waiting for a restaurant valet to deliver my car. An “OPEN” sign flashed in the window of the psychic reader shop next door. I glanced inside, curious. The shop was empty. No fortune teller at a table with a deck of cards or crystal ball, no customers waiting for their destiny to be revealed or curses to be lifted. I began to imagine a fictional mystical reader behind the red-velvet curtain at the back wall, an exotic woman dressed in golden robes. But would she be gifted, or a guesser like Whoopee Goldberg in Ghost? And if she were a charlatan, could anyone prevent her from exploiting the easily deceived?

On my way home that night, still thinking about the psychic shop, I envisioned an occult private eye—a renowned expert in alternative belief systems—who assisted the police in investigating paranormal related crimes. When I began to write the story, the occult private eye became Nick Garfield, a religious philosophy professor traveling the world to explore alternative belief systems, occult worship, and supernatural theory. And on the side, assisting LAPD in crimes with an occult twist. As a foil to Nick’s scholarly and esoteric viewpoint of the mystical, I created Liz Cooper, a skeptical psychologist forced to solicit Nick’s aid even though she believes the supernatural is sheer baloney. Liz attempts to keep Nick grounded in scientific fact. Nick prods Liz to open her mind. Who Do, Voodoo?, Liz and Nick’s first adventure into Los Angeles subculture, begins with a tarot card and leads to murder and a voodoo curse.

When Liz Cooper’s friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes the card off as a prank. But Robin refuses to ignore the omen—her late husband drew the same card, the Three of Swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. As more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante.

Liz turns to her brother’s former college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield.  As Nick guides her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, their attraction to each other grows. But Liz and Nick’s search leads them to a murder, and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz has to join forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond—or risk being outwitted by a scheming killer.

A chill of anticipation washed through me…
Madame Iya’ rocked back and forth, shaking a small brass rattle. “We humbly ask you to send the spirit of our beloved Sophie to join us.” A full minute passed then Madame Iya’ spoke again. “Sophie is here.”
A candle popped. Shadows flickered on the walls outside of the circle. A draft swept across the floor and flickered the flames of the candles. I thought I saw a shadow move behind Jimmy and Tawny. I brushed away the sensation that someone else was in the room with us. I tensed up. 
“Nola. Sophie wants you to publish her spell book.” Madame Iya’ let out a deep sigh. “She wants me to help you complete it.”
Linda’s body went rigid. She clenched her hand over mine and began to rock. She spoke in a deep and insistent voice; a voice I didn’t recognize. “No. I don’t want that. My secrets have to be protected. There will be danger. No.” 
“What are you talking about, Linda?” Nola said.
Linda stared across the room. “Linda’s not here, my treasure.”
“Who are you?” Nola’s words came unsteady, searching. “Sophie?”
“Not Sophie. I’m Callia.”
The back of my neck tingled. Who was Callia? Linda gazed around the circle. She stopped when she got to me. Her face had changed: the softness drained from her features. She looked tired, older. Her eyes were vacant. A small terror edged my rational mind aside. I had a fleeting sensation that someone else’s eyes were staring at me from Linda’s face.
“You have to keep my secrets safe and with my family. Your question is answered inside.” She held her eyes on mine. “Promise me.”
I nodded warily, not knowing what she meant. “I promise.”
A door down the hall slammed shut with a force so hard it rattled the windows. Tawny screamed. I jumped. 
Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in WHO DO, VOODOO? the first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August 2012.  
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Ends Nov. 30th


  1. I have read really good reviews on this book. I love cozies, and I like that this one has paranormal in it. I would love to read it.

  2. I've seen this book around the net and added to my TBR list. It looks fun and I've been thinking about branching out to the mystery genre. Some of the UF and PNR books I read have a touch of mystery to them but I'd like the sink my teeth in to a "true" mystery.

    Thanks for the giveaway and great post.

    thebooknympho AT gmail DOT com

  3. Debbie, thank you for stopping by! I hope you have fun reading Who Do, Voodoo?
    Jennifer, I know what you mean by sinking your teeth into a true mystery—my favorite kind!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. I've wanted to read this book since the first time I saw it! I love books about voodoo, and I really love cozy mysteries, so this takes care of both!! Thanks so much for the giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  5. Yay, Rochelle, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of your book. It sounds AMAZING!! I loved hearing about your ideas for the plot/characters, and what inspired you to write such a really cool story. I love paranormal, so it's right up my alley. Best & I know Who Do, Voodoo is going to be a huge success!! <3

  6. I was definitely teased! You are great at suspense, Rochelle.

    My inspiration for Child of the Mountains came from hearing a voice inside my head say, "My mama's in jail. It ain't right." I was working at my computer on something for one of the college classes I taught at the time. Weird!


  7. Great excerpt, Rochelle. I love a good mystery and I can't wait to read this book!

  8. Julie, I learned so much as I research voodoo for WDV, some really interesting facts and a few that made me look up and say "fiction, I'm writing fiction." (I've been a cozy fan since Nancy Drew!)
    Taryn, thank you! Love that you came by. I'm drawn to the paranormal too, but I have to be convinced :)
    Marilyn, your inspiration story gave me the chills. Isn't it amazing how the characters come into our heads and take over? Only writers can admit that without earning a ticket to the happy farm.

  9. I adore origin stories. It's fascinating to take a narrative and trace it back to the idea that the author transformed into something new and wonderful.

    The tale of what inspired you and what you created from it is, um, inspirational, Rochelle! Did you realize right away that you were onto something special?

    WDV is already at the top of my TBR pile, so good wishes for a great ride to the lucky commenter who wins a copy.

  10. Jane, I love origin stories too!

    I knew Liz and Nick were special from the moment they popped into my head. They were people I wanted to know, wanted to hang out with, wanted to write. Their dynamic was different. It felt right. Did your idea for FORTUNE'S FOOL feel special right away?

  11. The idea for FORTUNE'S FOOL grabbed me by the scruff of the neck right away, Rochelle. Listening to author Deborah LeBlanc read a scene set at a voodoo ceremony, I wondered to myself what it would be like to discover that you had psychic power.

    Almost immediately, I knew the story would be about a socialite whose husband dies and leaves her penniless and that she would set herself up as a fortuneteller, only to discover that she had the true sight. Then, 1930s Memphis socialite Nell Marchand and society medium Joseph Calendar stepped into the lead roles, and I was off to the races. I absolutely had to tell their story. I'm now at work on the second book in the series and plan to keep telling their stories as long as they'll let me.

    Thank you!

  12. I have "Who Do, Voo Do?" in my TBR pile with its amazing cover staring up at me. After reading your wonderful blog I have to move it up the list! Isn't it awesome when serendipity leads us straight to characters just waiting for us? Sounds like Nick and Liz are people I'll love too. What a fun premise.

    The inspiration for my book came from a conversation with my daughter: What would happen if your mom fell in love with the singer you had a crush on? Ta dah, my rock singer, Gray Covey, was born. A writer's mind would be a scary place for a normal person, wouldn't it?

    Thanks for a fun post!

  13. Wow, Lizbeth, I LOVE your Songbird inspiration story! And writers' minds, hmmm, no wonder we have so much fun talking with each other! Thanks so much for dropping by. I hope you enjoy WDV :)

  14. Who Do, Voodoo sounds like a fantastic story and I'm looking forward to reading it. I liked your story of the psychic shop that got the wheels turning and inspired your book.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  15. Thank you, Barbara! Yes, the psychic shops fascinate me. They're all over town, yet I've never seen anyone enter or leave. Very curious...very inspiring for my sleuths :)

  16. Rochelle, I'm already hooked just by reading your teaser! Your mystery sounds like fun and I can't wait to read it. Happy Thanksgiving!

    lsusanreilly at gmail com

  17. I'm always looking for new authors to add to my reading list and after reading the awesome reviews on Amazon, have added you. I love a good cozy and this series sounds like a perfect fit.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com