Tag Archives: voodoo

Tattoos & Portents

Hey, everyone, we have a visitor today. Judi Lynn is here to tell us all about her new book, Tattoos & Portents.

Judi is an author friend of mine, and we would both appreciate you checking out her wares, maybe visiting her blog, and using a selection of those sharing buttons. Such activity really helps an author make a splash with a new release.

Here’s Judi to tell us all about it:

Hi, Craig! And thank you for sharing your blog with me today. I’ve come to promote my new book, TATTOOS & PORTENTS. It’s a supernatural mystery. I love mysteries and urban fantasy, so tried to combine the two genres for the Muddy River series.

You’d think writing about witches, shifters, and demons, I wouldn’t do any research, but I ended up doing more than I expected. For one thing, I wanted more than the usual supernaturals to settle in Muddy River. Hester and her coven find the remote area first, and I needed a reason for them to travel to southwest Indiana and choose a location near the Ohio River that’s inconvenient to most mortals. The idea that came to mind was that they were fleeing the witch trials that obsessed most of Europe, Great Britain, Canada, and eventually Salem. They’d learned that mortals fear anything unknown to them, and when mortals were afraid enough, they became dangerous. Most of the supernaturals who run to hide have lost family members. They want to stay as far from mortals as possible. To the point that the witches cast wards to keep enemies from passing their borders, and the Fae cast an illusion spell so that mortals can’t even see Muddy River.

Witches weren’t the only ones persecuted, though. Every supernatural was in danger, so werewolves, demons, sirens, and vampires find Muddy River, too, and they all join together and get along. They have to, because they appoint Raven, a fire demon, as the area’s enforcer. Anyone who steps out of line is banished or turned to ashes. I did a little research on demons and found their origin started with Lillith, Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden, who eventually left him. Druids settle close enough to the town that they’re friendly neighbors. I knew a little about Druids but not much. I ended up researching their sacred trees, healing wells, and background. I never realized how learned Druid priests were. They could often speak several languages and were asked to preside as judges over difficult cases for kings and rulers of other areas. They didn’t write about their religion, though, passing its truth down from one person to another, so I could only include the things I found in articles. Neighbors farther to the south, across the Ohio River, are women who belong to a voodoo community. I only included the basics about voodoo in my stories because their magic, though Nature based like the witches’, feels so foreign to Hester.

But enough about research. In TATTOOS & PORTENTS, it’s nearing the end of December. And while most mortals in the area celebrate Christmas, the witches celebrate Yule. Unfortunately, this year, Hester and Raven learn that a voodoo priest is capturing witches, and they have to interrupt their festivities to find the witches and rescue them, and eventually battle the priest and the army of undead he’s creating.

https://amzn.to/3bfv20F

Blurb: Why are people returning to Muddy River with Celt tattoos on their arms and non-stop dreams? When Hester uses her magic to help a sleepless friend, she discovers that the dreams are pleas for help from witches who’ve been captured by armies of undead. A voodoo priest has created them, but for what purpose? And how can she and Raven find him to stop him?

Thanks so much for hosting me, Craig! I appreciate it.

Bio for Judith Post

Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best. She writes cozy mysteries for Lyrical Press and paranormal mysteries on Amazon.

My blog & webpage: http://writingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter: @judypost

On BookBub at Judi Lynn with a link to Judith Post (for my urban fantasies): https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn

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Tolerable productivity

It was another good day, but doesn’t compare to yesterday. Yesterday was one of the rare ones.

My goal was to work on edits to the Serang story. After I got off the phone with my parents, I didn’t feel like it. I accomplished a lot of procrastination today. Editing is one of my least favorite things.

I caved and added to the nameless project. It isn’t as much as yesterday, but it was a good day. It came to about a half chapter, maybe a bit more.

This section involved rescuing our heroes by using Gina’s backup plan. This top secret spirit of vengeance made a mess of the zombies, and that was before the bad guys pissed him off.

Hint: this one includes a lot of my previous characters. This one seemed to be a fan favorite at one time. Hint #2: the voodoo ritual took place beside a lake.

These guys are heroes, but against 75 to a hundred slobbering smelly zombies they needed a bit of help. Plus Lisa is out of commission.

Lizzie and the hat rushed the crane that manipulates the electro-magnet. It was operated by a type-one zombie. These are more Voodoo centric and aren’t the same thing Walking Dead fans might be thinking about.

They reached him about the time the “spirit of vengeance” arrived on the scene. This required some ducking for cover. Eventually, they got to the crane and we had adventures in operating the most complicated piece of equipment in existence. Typical Lizzie and the hat banter accompanied this scene, but their friends didn’t get crushed by an old Impala. A few zombies did.

Lisa is still out of it, but the extinguishing of the magnet will allow her to start on the road back. (She’s going to be so pissed at me when she gets back to work.)

Gupta got shot during the firefight, and Lizzie and the hat popped him to their secret cabin for some first aid. I’m now debating what kind of archaic old weaponry Lizzie’s ancestors might have stored there. This really is for a humorous scene involving Lisa (Still out of it), but I don’t know whether to include it or not.

We looked at my open browser windows a week ago, and that was kind of fun. Here’s what’s open right now:

  • Entertaining Stories. (Naturally)
  • Two different pages for that online convention. I did sign up for it, but have no idea what I’m doing.
  • Oils in Witchcraft and Hoodoo.
  • Hoodoo candle magic.
  • The Gutenberg Bible.
  • Psalms and Verses in Hoodoo.
  • Grumman F2F airplane. (Oops, another hint.)
  • Stinger missiles.
  • Photographs of crane interiors.
  • Coban medical wrap.
  • Injection vials.

This could only be one of my stories, right? I was particularly happy with my Voodoo/Hoodoo ritual. The secret to these is to do some research, then make it all up anyway – but based upon that research.

I did move on to the Serang edits. I worked through two of three critiques. These need to be done, but I also needed some whiny time. I could have moved the team-up story further down the line. I could have dealt with the last Serang critique. A little of both isn’t bad, but I’m left with that feeling of not getting something off my list.

No idea what I’ll do tomorrow. The same projects are still on my list. It might be smart to slow down the team-up story. It’s at around 35,000 words right now. I don’t want to bring it in under 50K.

There will be some words dedicated to the wrap-up. Gina promised the participants rewards, plus we need to see the positive result of their effort. Quarantines need to be ended even if it’s just a blurb on the television. Gina and Gupta aren’t “contractors” in this tale. They don’t get rewards.

I’m thinking about doing a self imposed quarantine at the mansion for all the characters. This means they’re going to get exposed to one of the viruses.

Lisa and Jason Fogg seem to be immune to everything, and the dog gets a free pass. Would a brief section of being too close for comfort and bickering be hard for readers to digest? I haven’t seen this done at the end of the story before. It’s usually a getting acquainted section at the beginning. I could trickle in knowledge that their efforts paid off. What do you guys think? You’re all readers.

There is a risk in dragging this part out. I have a lot of characters, and only the main ones will get focus in this part of the story. I’ll probably limit this to Lizzie and the hat, Lisa Burton, and briefly Clovis.

For this reason, maybe my best bet is to shift over to Serang tomorrow.

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Some days I hate to stop

Today was a writing day. When I have the place to myself, dogs excepted, it’s usually a decent writing day. Today was no exception.

I decided to work on my nameless team-up adventure. It feels like about 4000 words today, and I hate to stop. Old What’s Her Face will be home soon, and that stops it anyway, so it’s time to blog.

My characters did some spying with a drone, discovered that the bad guys raised the stakes with what amounts to a biological weapon, then identified a likely place to investigate further.

The new site is swarming with zombies, and the team was beaten back. A couple of the girls commented on Jason’s bare butt as he tried to help them avoid getting killed.

Lisa Burton was taken out of action by a huge electro-magnet. Computers and magnets don’t get along too well.

Gina decided it was time to fight fire (undead) with fire (undead). This led to a fun Voodoo ritual, and the game changed directions for a bit. That’s right at the point where I stopped, and there is a lot more to this part.

Clovis had to face a small bit of his past, in the form of zombies that he’d already made dead once before. He isn’t phased by much, so I doubt it will slow him down. I probably need to beef this part up a little.

Like I said, sometimes I hate to stop. It makes for a good place to pick it back up again.

Sundays I call my parents, so a lot of my quality time goes into that. This makes late morning a great time to address some of those Serang edits I need to get to. I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First, fix all the grammatical things, then go back to paragraph one and edit for content. To do this, I’m going to identify the key points, do word count between them, then assess if the between parts get beefed up or cut back.

Serang has been a little tougher to write, but it’s a great experience. It’s kind of a fictional biography, and there are some things from Lanternfish that cannot be changed. I’m enjoying the challenge of this one, but they are different challenges than the other story.

I’m off Monday too, so I’ll probably leap the team-up story ahead some more. At least that’s my goal.

I started my day with some sourdough toast, and it was great. I’m having a meatloaf sandwich now, and it’s great too. All in all, it’s been a great day. Hope yours is too.

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More vacation stuff, plus research

Vacation posts are kind of hit and miss in my experience. Since it's all I have right now, I'm going to go for it.

We went on the walking voodoo tour last night. Turns out this was a very PC kind of presentation. They drew the obvious connections to Catholicism, and discussed the ways it came from Africa and evolved after it arrived. Everyone worships the same god, and while the Catholics have saints, voodoo has other names for lesser deities that will sometimes intercede on our behalf.

All the shops seem to have two active altars, and shoppers are forbidden from photographing them. However; those on the tour are invited to photograph them. I have no idea about the difference, but I have a theory money is involved. I wanted to explain that, because of the sign in my photograph. I'm not one of those tourists who fails to follow the rules.

This altar is for a goddess who is also in charge of inspiration. Think of her like a Muse among her other responsibilities. She's also fond of very high quality things. Notice the champaign offerings.

Of course, everything is very benign even good. Questions from the crowd about voodoo dolls and zombies were casually poo pooed. Some dumb ass had to ask the difference between voodoo and hoodoo. (It was me.) They distanced themselves from hoodoo, explaining it isn't a religion but more of a practice. Then they explained all the things Hollywood comes up with make better fiction. (Kind of a please ask questions, but not you buddy response. I'm sure John Howell could make a ten things list about this.)

They noted that John Paul II held mass here, and met with a group of voodoo priests. Once he understood the similarities, he declared voodoo a companion religion to Catholicism. At least that's what our guide Daphne said. (My wife didn't like all my Scooby Doo jokes after learning the guide's name, so I'll keep them to myself.)

On the better fiction point we are in agreement. Voodoo, or hoodoo, are better when they're fantastic and dangerous. I will continue to step up my fictional game on this basis. In fact, Lorelei my Muse visited me and gave me an outstanding character. He is a supporting character in my mind, but I already have about six vignette ideas for him. I just need to find a hero and a plot to go with him. This is much more difficult than when the plot comes first. In fact, I'm already struggling with an old concept of how to keep magic from being the cure for everything. Any paranormal or fantasy authors will know what I mean.

We've eaten a ton, and that doesn't seem likely to stop. Last night we went to Acme Oyster Bar. (I expected Wile E. Coyote to make an appearance, but he didn't.) We did the old people thing and shared a couple of dishes. The charbroiled oysters were fantastic, and so were the red beans and rice, rounded out by fried stone crab claws and fried crawfish tails. (In Idaho we call them crawdads, but since we're here…)

Today we're being lazy. We had room service breakfast, with beignets (And praline sauce). Then Old What's Her Face booked a pedicure. I think I'll just hang here until she's ready to go out. I'm kind of tired, and we walked about a thousand miles in the last few days. New Orleans makes me glad I never rented a car.

Drivers here are aggressive and impatient. I've heard more car horns in a long weekend than in a year in Boise. Boise drivers are crazy too, but they don't ride on their horn like they do here.

This is a town for walkers, at least this part of town. The humidity and heat make this difficult, but we did it anyway. Since we were walking so much, I decided to play Pokemon Go while doing so. I missed the first one of these I saw, but the second one is mine.

This guy is regional, and does not appear in Idaho. I'm sure not everyone is into this game, but it's kind of fun to find something you just can't get everywhere.

It's a long ways, but I'd like to go to Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop today. It's a bar, and Lafitte is a genuine part of NOLA history, as well as American History. Again, we have no agenda and we may, or may not get there. Old What's Her Face refuses to try the bicycle rickshaw taxi things, and it's a long way to walk.

Tomorrow we fly out early, and it looks like we have three legs to get home. (The joys of flying on standby, but you can't argue with the price.)

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An old reminder, enhanced by puppies

It's one of my favorite old sayings, and it came back to me in the comments of my last post. I've been whining about having too much to do. While blogland appreciates a good rant, they don't like it when it drifts into whiny territory.

I've been at this point before, and I will be there again no doubt. How do you eat an elephant?

Task lists are the elephant. I'll do what I can, when I can, and it will all get finished. It's a constant effort to remind myself there is no supervisor that's going to be upset with my progress. That's the paycheck world.

Even puppies know that a bunch of small efforts can add up. It took two weeks, but they slew the giant.

Note: Otto is fine. He is regressing to puppy mode and plays with the girls constantly now.

My wife and I are taking our mini vacation, and I'm not going to worry about this stuff. When I return, my tasks will still be waiting, and the elephant should be properly aged to make for fine dining.

I never mentioned it, because I thought I might play the “Where is Craig” game with you. It didn't work out so well when we went to Jackson, Wyoming, so I'll skip it. We are spending our holiday weekend in New Orleans. Neither of us have ever been there, and we're both pretty excited.

We don't have an agenda, but we are booked into the walking tour of New Orleans Voodoo one night. I hope to take some cool photos and maybe buy some fun stuff. We will no doubt find some beignets and some good seafood. I want to sneak a peek at their telephone book too. I constantly struggle to come up with decent character names, and this could be a great resource.

We're going to be staying relatively close to a site where a big shootout went down in The Playground. I'm tempted to take a cab and see how wrong I got it, but that might encroach onto my wife's plans. Some of the sites in Panama burned down years ago, but I might do a quick search for them too.

Come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio. I'll get to play in the comments, and share it everywhere. After that, I'll update from the road, but it might be sporadic.

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Street Teamers, it’s about that time

I promised to post about my next book today, and how you can become part of the street team. I know approximately what I want, but actually writing it out clarifies things a bit for me.

The Playground is a short novel at just under 70,000 words. It involves a greedy businessman who markets a new social media for children, the Playground Network. Kids access the media via a line of specific toys.

The network is marketed one way, but has dark intentions behind it. To accelerate his master plan, the businessman turns to the occult.

This book explores the idea that maybe our kids spend too much time online these days. They speak with people who aren't who they seem, and believe authorities with no basis in fact. They don't spend enough time with their parents, or real live friends.

It's told from the point of view of three separate characters. This was my personal challenge in this story. I want to weave together three different story lines to tell one larger story.

These characters are:

  • Chloe, who acquires the fashion doll of her dreams. Chloe represents the victims here. Think of her like the girl in the well.
  • Gina, a cancer survivor. She is a doctor and is basically a broken person at the beginning of the story. She has her own brush with the occult, and may be the only one who can end this nonsense.
  • Clovis, a brutal thug hired by the businessman to retrieve some computer codes that will take his Playground Network to a terrifying level.

The story goes to some crazy places, like conjuring the spirit of a dead medium, a voodoo practitioner, dealing with parasites, and living with an obnoxious dog. I think it's fun.

 

I've looked at it until my eyes are crossed. I'm sure it needs a few tweaks, and that's when it's ready for beta readers.

 

I'm asking for a few beta reader volunteers who can read this book within 30 days or so. The betas can be as ruthless and brutal as they want. I'm looking for story assistance here, but always appreciate the grammar and spelling and such if you spot something.

 

The folks who usually volunteer all have my email address, but I welcome new folks too. Here is my email address if you want a copy Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

I'll probably add some detail to my cover email when the copies are sent. I'll also send a copy of the book cover.

 

While the beta readers have the hardest job, a street team involves so much more. If you'd like to participate in a cover reveal, let me know. If you'd like to host a blog tour date, I'll be writing those posts too. Lisa the robot girl has her biplane fueled up and a great new poster to hand out to those who host her. I'll be writing a couple of posts with Lisa in mind. If you have an interview idea, I'm open to that too.

 

Volunteers are welcome to do as much or as little as they want. I'm always grateful for any help I get. I promise to keep a spreadsheet this time so everyone gets the right items.

 

So there is my call to action. No rallying cry, or cheese involved. I hope to hear from you. (Lies in the fetal position and crosses fingers.)

 

My next project is to write a blurb, and about a dozen guest posts. I did manage a few new words on The Yak Guy project this morning.

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Saddle up! Time for Panama’s free day

Tuesday, all day, my paranormal adventure, Panama, will be free. I have a theory some people are waiting for this one. It’s been pulling in some wonderful reviews.

Panama is the story of two former military men. The President knows they have unusual skills, and brings them together to investigate a mystery at the construction site of The Panama Canal.

This is a self serious story of the paranormal. It involves an international construction crew, and the magic represented is international in scope as well. A demon is spiriting construction workers away and turning them into an invading army. They are (barely) under the control of a Spanish Carlist rebel with designs on re-establishing Spain’s lost colonies.

Listen to what the reviewers are saying:

“The story takes several surreal twists and turns as it navigates its way through the unlikely pair’s adventures. It’s clear they don’t have a clue about what they’re doing, which is what makes them so endearing, and which leads them into many a scrape, but they muddle along, making enemies, friends and allies as they go.”

“The writing is funny and sad, cynical and naive, plausible and incredible, and quirky as hell – and it all works and makes you feel like you’re right in there with the characters who all leap out at you.”

“Boyack has created a great story, with the result being a fascinating, enjoyable book that is very well written. His character development and descriptions of the scenes are extremely well done. It is an easy read and captures your attention almost immediately.”

“The characters at times say completely unexpected things or act in ways that will make you laugh out loud. You will never be quite sure how the story will end.”

***

Okay, I’m about to blush. Those are some wonderful things to say about my story.

I grew up around actual Cowboys, Basque people, and gold miners. The dialog between Ethan and Coop is authentic. I hope you’ll grab a copy of Panama on its free day.

panama

PS: It would be really cool if someone from Panama would pick up a copy of Panama.

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Let’s Talk about Panama

I’ve been blogging about the effort that goes into getting Panama up on Amazon. There were a few updates to Wild Concept to add an end page about Panama. These have been fun blogs, and the response has been good.

But what the heck is Panama about? While I hate promotion, I don’t mind telling everyone about my story. Since this is my blog, I don’t feel like I have to post something über polished and full of hooks here either. So here we go, we’re all friends here and that’s how I’m addressing this.

Panama is set during the construction of the Panama Canal. Yellow fever is killing huge numbers of workers, but that’s all the news that’s getting out. In reality, they are getting back up and wandering into the jungle. The locals talk of a strange beast leading the dead away. They call him El Chivato.

Ethan and Coop have some experience with the supernatural world. Ethan talks to ghosts. Coop has premonitions, and is trying to learn about magic. He just keeps getting run out of town before he actually learns anything.

Basically, these two dipshits get recruited to deal with a problem that’s bigger than they are. When they arrive, they’re faced with the bid for Panamanian independence, a Columbian army that stands in the way, and a supernatural army no one else knows anything about.

In my vision, construction is an international effort. Sure, Americans are driving the work, but expatriates from all over the world are there for the big money. This breed of treasure hunter flowed in when the Klondike gold rush failed. It’s a pretty rough crowd. I briefly explored a few themes about prejudices.

The big problem is driven by a Carlist fanatic with dreams of a Spanish re-emergence in the new world.

There’s magic involved. It comes with an international flavor to match the crowd. European witchcraft mingles with voodoo and Indian medicine. There’s even one discussion about Chinese magic.

These two dipshits will be lucky to get out alive. The other option is joining the undead. (But not zombies. It’s a bit different.)

People like a reference point so here it goes. It’s like Wild Wild West meets Men in Black, with a sprinkling of Bill and Ted. I even threw in a smattering of celebrity cameos. (Period appropriate ones, sorry no Kardashians.)

I had a blast writing it. I think it’s fun, and serious enough when it needs to be. I’d appreciate it if you guys would check it out.

Of course I’ll provide a link. You can also click on the cover on the right sidebar. Panama

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