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0061-eWomenNetwork Thanks to Gail Z. Martin, author of Deadly Curiosities (and many other books), for stopping by and sharing some background information on Voodoo and Hoodoo as used in her urban fantasy novel and story series.

Voodoo and Hoodoo in the Holy City of Charleston, SC by Gail Z. Martin

“Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina, often called the ‘Holy City’ for its large number of beautiful churches. But the gracious lifestyle of Charleston’s wealthy planter-aristocrats was made possible by slavery, and in the years leading up to the Civil War, Charleston was the top port for slaves coming into the United States and for slaves being bought and sold.

My urban fantasy book and short story series, Deadly Curiosities, takes place in Charleston. Charleston is a beautiful city with a bloody past. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in the United States because by day, it’s filled with gorgeous ante bellum architecture, horse-drawn carriage rides, landmark restaurants and quirky shops. But by night, you’ll hear stories of ghosts, duels, pirates, wronged women and wrongful death as Charleston’s Id comes out to play.

In the Deadly Curiosities series, the focus is on Trifles and Folly, an antiques and curio shop that exists to get dangerous magical items off the market and out of the wrong hands. Cassidy Kincaide is the latest person in her family to inherit the shop and the job of protecting the world that goes with it. She’s a psychometric, someone who can read the history of objects by touch. Together with her assistant, Teag Logan, who has his own magic and her business partner, Sorren who is a nearly six hundred year-old vampire, Cassidy navigates the magical underside of the Holy City to handle things that go bump in the night with extreme prejudice.

Which leads me to Voodoo and Hoodoo. Voodoo, or Voudon as its practitioners prefer, comes from the Caribbean, with elements of African and island religions syncretized with Roman Catholicism. Most people associate Voudon with New Orleans. Hoodoo is root magic, incorporating African plant medicine and some shamanic aspects, and hails from the Carolina Lowcountry area.

I use both Voudon and Hoodoo in Deadly Curiosities. Cassidy’s allies include powerful Voudon mambos and houngan (male and female priests) as well as skilled root workers. The choice to include Voudon in Charleston isn’t as strange as it seems. Pre-Civil War, people took their servants with them when they moved from one place to another, certainly when a young woman traveled to marry a man from a distant city. Since there was quite a bit of commerce between Charleston and New Orleans, this kind of relocation isn’t difficult to imagine. Those servants would have brought their beliefs with them, and history shows that a surprising number of slave owners, especially women, were willing to secretly work Voudon and Hoodoo when dire personal situations needed special assistance.

DEADLY-CURIOSITIES1-140x214 Another reason why I chose to use Voudon was because Charleston was not just the top port for the importation and sale of new slaves. In the years after it became more difficult to import new slaves from Africa, Charleston became the main place where formerly-owned slaves from inside the United States changed hands. It was, for its time, the Ebay of human trafficking. So it’s not at all unlikely that some of those slaves came from the New Orleans area or had been exposed to Voudon from family members or other slaves.

I’ve learned a lot researching Voudon and Hoodoo for the books, and find the rich, complex belief systems truly fascinating. As part of my research, I’ve been to Voodoo museums in New Orleans and talked with people from South Carolina who know what it means to ‘put a root’ on someone! While these are just two of the many types of magic woven into the Deadly Curiosities novels and short stories, I think they bring a sense of depth and place to the narrative. Not only that, but the Voudon and Hoodoo practitioners you’ll meet in Deadly Curiosities are some of my favorite characters!

So if all you know about Voudon comes from The Princess and the Frog or The Serpent and the Rainbow (two movies that are not in any way designed for the same audience!), check out my Deadly Curiosities series. There’s a whole new world in the shadows, waiting for you to visit.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here.

Trick or Treat: Enjoy The Final Death, the complete Deadly Curiosities Adventures novella here.

And a bonus excerpt from Coffin Box, another Deadly Curiosities Adventures short story here.

And a second bonus excerpt from my friend Stuart Jaffe and his short story Killer of Monsters here.

And a THIRD bonus audio excerpt from Voodoo Children by my friend John Hartness here.”

You can find Deadly Curiosities on Amazon and elsewhere.

Thanks again to Gail Z Martin for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more Monday Guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, owl posts, and occasional recipes. Have a magical day – Vonnie

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A month ago, I spoke at the Library of Congress along with Katie Hartlove, editor at Cold Moon Press, and Michelle D. Sonnier, a fellow Cold Moon Press author. Wow, is the only word I have for the marvelous building, helpful staff, and receptive audience. For those who’ve never taken a tour of the building, I highly recommend it.

The title of our presentation was: Zombies & Angels & Boogeymen, Oh my! Though I’ve used all 3 characters in my stories, my area of presentation was Zombies. I did a bit of research to show that the idea of the re-animated dead is shared by many cultures. Here are a few of the tidbits I unearthed:

Africa: The word zombie comes from the Kongo zumbi or zombi [Matthews, p.641] which means an enslaved spirit.

Caribbean: Priests in the Haitian voodoo religion sometimes use a nerve toxin to simulate death for up to 2 days. Haitian lore says that people who are dug up after being buried can no longer think for themselves because of oxygen deprivation, and therefore become slaves to another’s will. Feeding a zombie salt will return it to the grave.

Wales: In the story of Branwen, dead warriors are put in a cauldron and returned to life. These re-animated dead warriors are then placed back into battle.

Ireland: The Well of Slaine is used by the Tuatha de Danaan to re-animate warriors who’ve died in the fight against the Fir Bolg. Though they can fight, these re-animated soldiers are unable to speak because they’ve seen what exists after death.

Iceland, Norway, etc.: Draugr (plural Draugar, pronounced: droo-GORE) are dead Vikings who not only drive mad anyone who comes near their grave, but crawl from their burial sites and visit the living. They are very strong, smell like decay, and sometimes have magical abilities like shape-shifting. (This is the zombie of my love story, “The Return of Gunnar Kettilson”).

Tibet: (Just stumbled on this info, so more research needs to be done). Ro-langs are ro (corpse) + langs (rise-up). They cannot speak, so they communicate by wagging their tongues. Lore says that they can’t bend either, which is why it’s best to have a low entranceway into your home — to keep out the ro-langs.

Where in the world do I find interesting tidbits like these? Many places, but some of my favorite research books: The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creaturesby John & Caitlin Matthews, Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, And People by Michael Page & Robert Ingpen, The Enchanted World series of books from Time-Life Books, and An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and other Supernatural Creatures by Katherine Briggs.

So have a great day, and remember to carry a bag of pretzels to feed to the re-animated dead in the case of a zombie attack (see Africa above).

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