Voodoo and Ghosts in Bayou Myth

by on Sep.12, 2012, under From the Web

Reposted from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places | Go to Original Post

I don’t do many book reviews here, so you know when I do a book review it is because it is particularly ghostly and because I really thought the book was interesting and worth reading.  Both of these things are true of  Mary Ann Loesch’s Bayou Myth.  Bayou Myth is the story of a young woman, Joan, who is descended from the infamous voodoo queen Marie Laveau.  Our young heroine is not only descended from Marie Laveau, but she is haunted by her dead “grandmere’s” ghost.  Marie Laveau knows her granddaughter is heir to her voodoo powers and is guiding her in their proper use.  The tragedy of it all is that the young Joan doesn’t want these powers.  She just wants to be an ordinary girl.  I loved the haunting, voodoo elements of this book.  I also thought Ms. Loesch does a brilliant job of conveying Joan’s voice.  The voice feels authentic and captures the reader immediately.  It pulls you into the mystery of the novel and makes you long for more. The only thing I felt was a weak about this book was the writing style not involved with Joan’s voice.  Sometimes it lacked a certain poetry I enjoy in my novels.  However, Joan’s voice and the story more than make up for this small weakness and I would definitely pick up this piece of haunting, voodoo literature before Halloween.  Below you’ll find a post by Ms. Loesch describing her voodoo inspiration and an expert from the novel.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :).
The Voodoo of Bayou
Myth
 I have always been fascinated by other religions–especially
the more “out there” ones. I was brought up Episcopalian which is basically just Diet
Catholic–all of the sin, but no need for the confession! While my parents were
pretty open minded, we didn’t talk a lot about religion around the dinner
table. It wasn’t until I was in high school, about the same age as my heroine
Joan from my young adult novel Bayou Myth that I even began to really think
about religions outside my own.
 I guess that’s natural since the teenage years are when you
start to question everything!
 About that time I saw the movie, The Serpent and the
Rainbow. It’s basically about this scientist who travels to Haiti to learn
about a man who died and then came back as a zombie. While he’s there, he
learns a lot about Haitian voodoo and goes a little crazy. Okay. I admit that
it wasn’t the greatest horror movie I’d ever seen, it did get me interested in
voodoo. Everything I’d ever seen or read about voodoo had made me think it was
just a crazy cult thing, but the movie indicated that the story of The Serpent
and the Rainbow was based on true events.
 Curious, I did some research and discovered that voodoo was
much more than some spooky blood smeared rituals meant to frighten people. It’s
actually a blend of Haitian and Catholic beliefs. Yes, there are some elements
that are supernaturally charged, (the creation of zombies is one example) but
the intentions of voodoo–to love and be true to oneself–is essentially the
same as other faiths.
 Now, New Orleans voodoo does have a slightly different feel
to it. That’s because in Louisiana voodoo really is like a spicy pot of
gumbo–it’s a blend of a little bit of everything! There, you have voodoo
priestess who can make you love potions, create spells meant to get rid of an
enemy, or make a gris gris bag to bring you good luck. This is the voodoo that
Hollywood likes to show the world and  that’s probably why it has such a confusing
reputation.
 When I set out to create a young adult tale that featured
voodoo, I wanted to be respectful. So I did my best to include information
about voodoo that is both authentic and
a bit on the spooky side, too. But you can’t write about New Orleans voodoo and
not include one of the most famous voodoo priestess of all time either–Marie
Laveau. Marie was the woman who really brought voodoo to the forefront of the
New Orleans world. She is still revered–and a little bit feared–to this day!
 So, of course I had to put her in Bayou Myth, too. In fact,
she is the great, great, grandmother of my heroine, Joan Renault. She tends to
guide Joan in the realm of voodoo, teaching her the customs and rites that will
one day make Joan a powerful voodoo priestess. But like lots of teenagers, Joan
isn’t exactly willing to be bossed around by a lady who’s been dead for almost
two hundred years!
 The really fun part of writing Bayou Myth was combining my
research on voodoo with the Greek myths that so many of us are familiar with.
You may recognize some Greek tales that now have just a little voodoo twist to
them!
 Hopefully, I’ve got you curious about my latest novel.
Here’s a teaser to wet your appetite a little more….
 As a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault
just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish,
Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids
would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality.
It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave,
weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie
Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your
grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses
with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come
easily.




When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns
her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the
present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess, is determined to use the residual
energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the
descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being
re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all
out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must
learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her
family and friends.

 Mary
Ann Loesch is an award winning fiction writer from Texas. Her urban fantasy, Nephilim,
was published in July 2011 by Lyrical Press Inc.  An avid blogger for All Things Writing (http://www.allthingswriting.blogspot.com)
and Loesch’s Muse (http://www.loeschsmuse.blogspot.com),
Mary Ann has also contributed stories in the horror anthology, All
Things Dark and Dastardly
. Her latest book, Bayou Myth, was released
in June 2012. While she loves dirty martinis and cuddling with her dachshund,
she loves fan mail even more! Contact her through her website at
www.maryannloesch.com.

BUY BAYOU MYTH NOW AT!   http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Myth-Mary-Ann-Loesch/dp/0984657819/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345046471&sr=8-1&keywords=Bayou+Myth

Short
excerpt for Bayou Myth

A teenage girl stood in the hazy
glow. Unlike the other spirits, her form held solid. I got the sense that she
drew energy from the surrounding spirits. Her lowered head made it so I
couldn’t see her face, but the style of dress she wore dated back at least a
century. Not surprising, really. Monte Parish could trash its roots to the late
1700’s.

The ghost lifted her head. Her eyes
were empty sockets and rotted flesh hung from her face revealing bone. She
watched me, and the hatred pumping from her aura sucked my breath away. Her
head moved as if she were looking at Dave. A sly smile formed on what remained
of her lips, and the hatred crawling in the air multiplied. She moved towards
us with an unsteady gait. The closer she got, the sicker to my stomach I felt.

She meant to harm Dave. But not
because he’d done anything to her. It was because he belonged to me. Though she
never said a word, her intentions spilt off her and my psychic conduit picked
it up. 

“Let’s go. We need to leave right
now.”

“What’s wrong?” Dave asked, but he
complied with my request and closed up the tailgate.

The girl continued our direction.
She raised a hand, and the sleeve of her dress slid back. Even from the
distance we were at, the long white scar on her arm could be seen clearly in
the moonlight. She pointed a finger at me.

You saw…the words hissed across the
cemetery, raising goose bumps on my arms.



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