Back in August I received the nicest email from Rochelle telling me how much she liked my blog Dollycas’s Thoughts, (I hope she likes this new revised version as well) but she also told me she was originally from Wisconsin and about her new book coming out November 1 and that is was a cozy mystery. Well you know what that meant, I immediately wrote back to her and signed her to Guest Post here.
Since then I have read the book, Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery), and loved it!!! Rochelle was in Wisconsin last week to publicize her book, but we didn’t get to meet in person this time. I know we will get together in the future. Right now I am just so pleased that she is here today, especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow!!!
Thank you so much for inviting me here on Cozy Wednesday, Lori. I’m thrilled to be in the company of the wonderful writers who post here, and proud to raise my hand as a native Wisconsin author. Although fate transplanted me to New York then Los Angeles, I am a Midwest gal at heart.
As I bake pecan pies for tomorrow’s dinner, I’m filled with gratitude. Thanksgiving 2011 is particularly special for me—my first book went on sale this month, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Seeing Who Do, Voodoo? on bookstore shelves took my breath away. Tears? Indeed.
Today I’d like to take the Dollycas’ readers into my writing cave to share some of the other things I am grateful for as a writer:
1. Loud, noisy, hyperactive characters who won’t shut up when they enter a scene. These characters are fun to write because they’ll blurt out the most outrageous comments, mess up the plot, shift directions, and create conflict. Viv, my main character’s mother, is a good example. I can’t say who inspired Viv (my Mom?) but she’s a blast to write. Most of the time characters like this need to be edited, but they’re much more dynamic than characters who opt to take an emotional day off when I need them to react.
2. Scenes that write themselves. Occasionally scenes fool me because on the outline or in planning stages they appear complicated or tricky. Maybe the story is headed toward a big confrontation or dark moment or multi-character gathering I know is necessary but a bear to organize. Then “voila!” I start writing and the scene flows out as smoothly as telling my best friend Pat the minute details of a party complete with dialog, wardrobe, and props.
3. Surprising plot twists. The best. As I began writing Who Do, Voodoo? I was certain I knew exactly who the killer would be. A third of the way in I thought, “Huh. It’s not that person—it’s THAT person.” Two-thirds through I realized, “Holy cow, I was wrong again. The killer is THAT person!” I hope the plot of every novel I write shocks me somewhere along the way because, in turn, the reader (and my amateur sleuth) will be surprised too.
4. Cold Readers. These are the guinea pigs, intelligent and patient souls who read my novels before anyone else, even before my genius editor picks up her red pencil. Cold readers are like the saleswoman who comes in the department store dressing room with the pluck to tell me my butt looks huge in a dress instead of gushing or keeping her mouth shut just to get me to the cash register. It’s great to have one cold reader who gushes, but the treasures are the one who will say, “The main character would NEVER go down to the basement alone. What were you thinking? Rewrite the scene,” and frame their words as a constructive compliment. I (heart) my critique partners and cold readers.
5. The End. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. The utter joy of typing those two little words comes wrapped in a major sigh of relief with arms in the air and cheers—even if I will be rewriting and editing the entire blasted story at least three more times.
The community of cozy readers, reviewers, bloggers, and writers is the most amazing group of supporters any writer could hope for and will also be on my gratitude list tomorrow. When dinner is over and I’m curled up in bed, I’ll be opening a good cozy for a great read.
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving everyone!
Thank You Rochelle!!!! I love those loud, noisy characters as you will see in my review. I want to add that as I getting this article ready to post I have learned that Rochelle’s book has made the Barnes & Noble Bestsellers List. Congratulations Rochelle!!! Can you pass a piece of that pecan pie?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
You can find out more about Rochelle at www.rochellestaab.com
or Follow her at:
Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
1st in the Series
Cover Illustration by Blake Morrow
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Who Do, Voodoo?,the first novel in Rochelle Staab’s thrilling new Mind for Murder Mystery series features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder.
When Liz Cooper’s friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes it off as a prank. 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 old college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick leads her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can’t ignore their attraction to each other. Then a woman is found murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz joins forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond—or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer.
First I have to say this is Rochelle’s debut novel, not just published novel, this is the first book she has written. Unbelievable!! She is such a wonderful storyteller I was sure she had written several books, but no, this the first, I asked her more than once. She even talks about it during an interview she did last week in Milwaukee.
Liz Cooper and I are on the same page when it comes to tarot cards and voodoo, we are doubters, it’s fine if you believe it but it not our “cup of tea”, so no tea leaves for us. You do not have to believe to absolutely love this story. In fact, a little doubt makes you relate to Liz as she delves in to investigate this murder to clear her friend. Both Liz and the reader learn about voodoo, including Haitian Vodou and Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo. The history of both is very interesting and the way Rochelle connects them to the characters in this story is almost magical.
My favorite character of course was Liz, but her mother is an absolute hoot!! She never misses an opportunity to try to get Liz to reunite with her ex-husband and whenever she talks to Liz about her brother she always says,”your brother, Dave”. Liz only has one brother and she does know his name. It just cracked me up every time. Liz is an expert at dealing with or not dealing with her mother. Loved it!!
This is a perfect cozy mystery, unique characters, clever plot, creative setting, spiced up with a little romance and humor. It is a fabulous debut and I can’t wait for the next installment. The Wisconsin girl did a great job, now she needs to have Liz make a trip to the Midwest for a Mind For Murder sequel, just a thought!!
Thanks to the great people at Penguin I have
2 copies of WHO DO VOODOO? to giveaway!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”