Author Updates, Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth!

It’s been a while since my last post. As usual, when I’m involved in a project, time gets away from me. But I couldn’t let this important day go by without recognition. A day of celebration and reflection on how far we progressed and how much further we need to grow. Happy Juneteenth!

WIP Updates

I’m happy to announce the cover for Tainted Harvest, created by talented graphic artist Matt Davies, is competing in the Crème de la crème cover contest at InD’tale Magazine. I’d appreciate a vote from all my lovely followers. The link is below:


http://indtale.com/polls/creme-de-la-cover-contest

WIP Updates

Wicked Bleu, the second book of the Simone Doucet Serieswill be in the hands of the editor in a few weeks. I changed the main character’s name, which required a change of the title from Wicked Violet to Wicked Bleu. This has been a fun and challenging write for me, and I hope you will enjoy this paranormal mystery that takes place in New Orleans. I wanted by June to be finished with the last draft by June, but you can’t rush a muse. I’m letting her guide the story to the very end.

Excerpt

“I’m here!”

“Can’t you hear me?”

Your bright light woke me from watery depths where I’ve slept in dreams for one-hundred-and-three years. Decayed, bones interred in river sludge, my withered lungs expired. I’m the embodiment of water itself—slithering like a phantom eel, disjoined from my rotten corpse at the river basin. I wish to live again and be free of my aquatic confinement, but an impenetrable force keeps me imprisoned. My beloved city pulses with the rhythm of a new time. At night, when Vieux Carrie’s lights shimmer atop glassy ripples and steamboat horns and calliopes whistle to boarding passengers, I long for legs like a wishful mermaid. But I’ll never board a ship or disembark on foreign lands again. The past has forgotten me. Tossed like garbage into the water, no one missed or cared to search for me, not even pitit mwen dous, my sweet girl, whom I’d forsaken many times. I’m no longer a threat or embarrassment but long-lost, a ghost to everyone.

 In death, can I set a wrong right?

Simone, is that your name? Your bright essence pierced oblivion, a beacon guiding me from a place of repetitious dreams to your world. For days, I’ve sought your attention. “Can you see me standing in your shadow?” Where you go, I follow, catching mirror glimpses of my ethereal form, my face, thick dark curls that cascade to my breast, the olive of my skin, and the blood-stained satin dress last worn. Since that horrific night, escaping from his treacherous arms into the storm, no breath has flowed through me. Everything I love, lost.

Your light gives me hope, another chance to set matters right before returning to that ultimate sleep. Fear, not my wiles. I may wander into your warm flesh, alive again, to roam beneath wrought-iron terraces, strut to the beat of sultry jazz in my beloved city once more. For a century, I’ve waited for someone to hear my story.

Can’t you see the distance I’ve traveled?

In life, I’ve posed for artists, my face, hands, and legs captured in many paintings. I’ve mingled with men of many industries, even high-powered legislators of high courts. Sat with fine ladies in elegant gowns and jewels at operas. Indulged admiring eyes at Mardi Gras balls. I feasted on Creole fare in extravagant and seedy dives. Drank intoxicating green fairies with paramours. Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster’s cornet, piano, and string bass accompanied our sultry private dance. I’ve strayed perilous alleyways, wandered polluted opium dens, succumbing to a particular obsession.

I’m no angel.

No one can claim such virtue in Crescent City. But on Sundays, when Saint Louis Cathedral’s bells tolled, I kneeled alongside those who claimed righteousness and scathing critics who sneered at me on Basin Street.

I linger not for pleasure nor malice, but for those who believed I’d abandoned them. There’s something urgent I must confess, but death sealed memories I cannot summon. My Cheri must know the truth, my last sinister hour. No matter how hard I try, I can’t break through the rain and thunder, ever running, arriving at chiming bells, then darkness. If I could only reach that door. I’m so close.

Simone, can’t you hear the thunderclap, the splash, the bells? I know you do, but it’s not enough. Let me in, or I shall torment day and night with sounds of my untimely death, lure with divine jasmines, and haunt with my wicked ways.

“I’m close. See me!”

“I call. Hear me!”

“I’m here!”

Thank you so much for your support. Wish me luck in the book cover contest.

Stay safe! Happy reading!

Denise

Xoxo

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