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Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Today's guest blog is by author ROCHELLE STAAB, whose new book, BRUJA BROUHAHA, was just released. You may remember meeting Rochelle here when her first book, WHO DO, VOODOO, debuted:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Please-Welcome-Author-ROCHELLE-STAAB/m-p/1189002/high...

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Well, dang. I thought I had a picture of Rochelle, Avery Aames, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Duffy Brown from the Sisters in Crime breakfast at Malice Domestic, but I must have left my camera in my purse that morning. :-(

 

Our breakfast get-together did inspire a three-way interview that recently posted at Romance University:

 

http://romanceuniversity.org/2012/07/25/first-impressions-with-avery-aames-hank-phillippi-ryan-roche...

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Rochelle Staab is the bestselling author of the Mind For Murder Mystery series.

 


 

If you ever wondered what if or why, stayed up late to find out whodunit, or read the last page of a story first, then you understand the need to know. Welcome to my site, mystery lover. Curiosity compelled me to write and take on the challenge to create characters, put them in danger, then answer the who, what, where, when, why, how, and what ifs, all the way to The End. Instant entertainment every day.

The Mind For Murder Mystery series features pragmatic Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper, and religious philosophy professor Nick Garfield. Nick studies the occult. Liz dismisses it. Do I believe in the occult? What I believe doesn't matter. Liz and Nick's investigations in the Los Angeles occult subculture uncover coincidences and twists of fate that even a skeptic like Liz cannot ignore.


Bruja Brouhaha

#2 of the Mind For Murder Mystery series
Now Available!

A mid-city clinic assignment near historic MacArthur Park sends psychologist Liz Cooper into the midst of local mayhem, a puzzling disappearance, and a vindictive Santeria hex.

 

 

Who Do, Voodoo?

Anthony, Agatha, Eureka!, and Golden Heart nominated Mind For Murder Mystery #1

Who Do, Voodoo

Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper shuns the supernatural until her best friend discovers mysterious tarot cards tacked to her front door—the same cards drawn in a tarot reading the night before a death two years earlier. To track the harasser, Liz teams up with occult expert Nick Garfield on a journey leading to murder and a voodoo curse. Liz is forced to question logic and set aside her doubts to unravel otherworldly secrets—or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

[ Edited ]

Rochelle's website is here: http://www.rochellestaab.com/

 

She's on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/rochellestaab

 

Her Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/rochelle.staab

 

And - hurray - look what I just found on Rochelle's Facebook page:

 

 

Here's another great picture of Rochelle with Janet Bolin and Krista Davis, two more authors who have visited the Mystery Forum:

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Rochelle

 

Rochelle Staab
Portrait photos of Rochelle byjeffreybloomphotography.com

Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning Top 40 radio programmer and Warner Bros. Records advertising and marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.

Rochelle began writing professionally one phrase at a time creating radio promotions and, years later, advertising campaigns for music albums. She found her author's voice writing a weekly music sales trend analysis for fellow label executives at 4am every Wednesday morning. Bleary-eyed and in a rush to email the news to her colleagues to read with their first cup of coffee, she bypassed business formality and wrote colloquial. The dry statistics came to life with drama or humor, and her creative editorials grew from the original four recipients to a following of hundreds. The positive responses to her style gave her confidence to enroll in fiction writing classes.

In 2007 Rochelle left the music industry to pursue a career as an author. WHO DO, VOODOO?the first novel she wrote, became a bestseller. According to Library Journal, "Staab sets her fairly sophisticated blend of the occult in a flashy West Coast locale for great escape reading."

WHO DO VOODOO? went on to garner Best First Novel nominations for the 2012 Anthony, Agatha, and Eureka! awards. The novel was a 2010 Golden Heart® finalist for Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure.


Q&A

 

Q: You were a marketing and advertising executive with a major record label, and while WHO DO, VOODOO? is set in the entertainment industry, your protagonists are a psychologist and a religious philosophy professor with an interest in the occult. What intrigued you so much about these professions and characters that you felt compelled to step out of your comfort zone, give up your life—um, I mean devote your time—and write about them?

A: Making Nick a professor was an easy decision—I wanted an open-minded character with an intellectual viewpoint of the occult, not quite a believer, not quite a skeptic. I gave him a religious philosophy PhD so he could be paid to travel the world investigating alternative belief systems. Liz's PhD in psychology made her a great foil for Nick. Her experience with human reactions and thought processes makes her bypass the woo-woo to look right into the you. I wanted her to be doubtful when Nick was didactic. Liz is based on a very wise psychologist I know who scoffs at the supernatural. As far as my background, you might be surprised how many of my supernatural escapades were music industry-related. Alternative thinkers filled my comfort zone. I learned about Mercury Retrograde the year Yoko Ono requested a retrograde single release date. The seance in WHO DO, VOODOO? is partially based on a seance I attended, conducted by an aspiring actress claiming contact with the dead. Everyone there was in the entertainment industry. And a Latin-American woman in the industry inspired my Sophie character. Scary chick, she could even sneer with a voodoo vibe. Good times

Q: All the books in the Mind for Murder series will have a twist of the supernatural. WHO DO, VOODOO? tackles tarot, hoodoo, and curses. I know you researched voodoo, took tarot classes, and visited occult shops. We both know there are police procedural nitpickers standing by waiting to hang a mystery writer for an incorrect detail, but what about the supernatural? Voodoo is a real religion and not all tarot readers are flakes. Are you afraid of backlash if you get it wrong?

A: I don't know that there is a wrong. Voudo is a real religion, a syncretic combination of West African beliefs and Catholicism. However, because the original form of Voudo was practiced in secret in the mountains of Haiti under fear of discovery, no written canon exists. The traditions, rituals, and customs passed orally through generations. WHO DO, VOODOO? is a fictional story with fictional opinions by fictional characters. I attempted to address voodoo and the characters who believed with the deep respect I developed in my research. For accuracy in the tarot portions of the novel, I took four months of tarot classes to be sure I understood the symbolism. The Fool's journey through the deck is delightful, enlightening, amazing—and subjective. While basic themes hold, I think my character Liz has the best interpretation: Tarot is similar to a Rorschach test.

Q: If book lovers were to walk into Liz's and Nick's respective houses, what would they discover on their bookshelves? Would they find WHO DO, VOODOO? and BRUJA BROUHAHA there?

A: Aw, I've been nudged into a wisecrack. Of course the Mind For Murder Mysteries are on Liz's and Nick's bookshelves. If someone wrote a mystery series featuring you, wouldn't you keep a copy on your shelf?

Academic Nick's bookcase is loaded with philosophy tomes, obscure texts on ancient belief systems, archaeology, geography and the canons of the three major religions. And baseball. Nick reads classic detective fiction: Chandler, Hammett, Cain, and Stout. But you'll also see a collection of classic movie DVDs.

Liz only has a small bookcase with a few psychology and reference books in the den of her post-divorce townhouse. Liz left her book collection—unused cookbooks, college texts, two Nora Roberts novels from her mother (hint, hint), erotica novels from Robin (ahem), thrillers including IN COLD BLOOD and the Sanders' DEADLY SIN series from her father, plus her yearbooks and albums—in boxes in ex-husband Jarret's garage. She does love crawling into bed with a smart mystery.

Q: Rochelle agreed to fill out a little questionnaire so we can get to know her better.

Okay Rochelle? Ready, Set, Go!

Chocolate or Coffee? Coffee
Beach, mountains, or city? City
When you're writing: music, silence, or other? Silence
Plotter or Pantser? Detouring Plotter
Salty or sweet? Salty
Summer or winter? Winter
Burger or sushi? Burger
Comedy or drama? Comedy
Favorite smell? Rain
Favorite color? Red
Favorite Film? Bull Durham and/or The Philadelphia Story
Most Played Song on Your iPod? "Stronger"—Kelly Clarkson
Favorite Quote? "The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it's really a different kind of life."—Buckminster Fuller

And with a nod to Bernard Pivot:
What is your favorite word? Yes
What is your least favorite word? (a phrase) We'll see.
What sound or noise do you love? Music
What sound or noise do you hate? My phone ringing in the dead of night
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Sports analyst
What profession would you not like to do? Politician
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? It's about time, Rochelle. What would you like to know? Ask me anything.

Interview by author V.R. Barkowski

Rochelle Staab lives in Los Angeles and serves on the board of directors for the SoCal Mystery Writers of America. She is a member of Mystery Writers of AmericaSisters In Crime,International Thriller WritersRomance Writers of America, the NARAS, and Mensa.

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

October 3-7
BOUCHERCON 2012
Marriot Renaissance Hotel
Cleveland, OH



 

2012 BLOG TOUR

ALGONQUIN REDUX

QWILLERY

DONNA GALANTI

August 5
ALGONQUIN REDUX

August 6
SOCRATES COZY CAFE

August 6
KITTLING BOOKS

August 7
DRU'S BOOK MUSINGS

August 8
BARNES & NOBLE MYSTERY BOOK CLUB

August 12
MYSTERY LOVERS KITCHEN

August 13
SIRENS OF SUSPENSE

August 15
ESCAPE WITH DOLLYCAS

August 17
GET LOST IN A STORY

August 24
FRESH FICTION

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Bruja Brouhaha  

 

Bruja Brouhaha

 

Overview

 

Practical psychologist Liz Cooper and occult professor Nick Garfield are enjoying the sixteenth wedding anniversary celebration for their charming hosts Paco and Lucia Rojas, devout Santeria practitioners who own the historic Botanica Rojas near MacArthur Park. But the small group of friends is left horrified and confused when the evening ends in tragedy.

 

Devastated by loss, Lucia, a Santeria priestess, blames the locals for the escalating crime in her beloved community. She casts a vengeful hex on the neighborhood, leading strangers and friends alike to dub her bruja—Spanish for witch—and turn on the elderly woman. Lucia may be in harm's way, and it's up to Liz and Nick to unravel a mysterious disappearance and solve a murder before more lives are lost...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Is There a Doctorate in the House? Or, How I Chose the Career for Mind For Murder Mystery’s Liz Cooper


by Rochelle Staab

 

I’m signing at a local B&N. A curious reader picks up a bookmark on the Mind For Murder Mystery series, scans the blurb on Psychologist Liz Cooper’s knack for solving murders, and then says to me, “You must be a psychologist.”

 

It’s a natural assumption. Writers generally write what they know. But no, I’m not a shrink. I don’t even watch Dr. Phil. Although psychology was one of my favorite college courses, my studies ended there. Until I created Liz.

 

Liz Cooper arrived fashionably late in the Mind For Murder Mystery planning process. The character of Nick Garfield inspired my first image of a mystery with an occult twist. I conceived Nick to reflect my intellectual curiosity about the supernatural. Sort of. His Religious Philosophy PhD and personal exploration of arcane belief systems eclipsed my naïve experience and assumptions. I loved the character, didn’t want to dumb him down, and decided Nick needed a foil to cast doubt on his conviction.

 

When I mentioned my plan for an occult-themed mystery to a psychologist friend, she wrinkled her nose. “Ugh. Not serious enough.”

 

I felt my cheeks burn with disappointment. I respected this woman. How could she not think this was a great idea? “Ugh?”

 

“Ridiculous,” she said. “The supernatural is an explanatory system to rationalize internal problems through external causes or solutions. The answers lie within, not in an unrealistic, magical universe.”

 

In other words, she thought the mystical was baloney.

 

Yet her viewpoint as a therapist studying human behavior made sense to me. A bell clanged at the logical side of my brain. On the spot, the character of Liz Cooper materialized—the fictional shrink with a dismissive, doubting attitude toward the supernatural. Liz’s need for real world logic would thwart Nick’s passion for the abstruse. I had the yin to my yang, and a character for me to relate to.

 

Now that you have my version of Liz’s career choice, I thought I’d give my character a chance step in with hers:

 

RS: Liz Cooper? You’re on.

 

LC: Finally. Thanks. I’ve been waiting for two novels to explain why I chose my profession. I took my first college psych class in hope of unraveling how I ended up related to my mother Vivian Gordon. If Mom had her way I would have become an actress or interior designer.

 

Right. Like that was going to happen. I’m much more grounded, like my Midwest-born detective father. Once I developed an interest in studying the mind and behavioral patterns, it took years to earn my PhD. I was sidetracked by my marriage to a professional athlete, a perennial man-child. (You’d think I’d have learned something about men by then. I didn’t.)

 

Jarret and I married too young to realize our differences wouldn’t soften with maturity. Advanced degree in hand, I became adept in analyzing my patients long before I acquired enough wisdom to take a hard look at myself. Our marriage ended four years ago. I’m still exploring me. Oh—does that sound dirty?

 

RS: In your mind, not mine. Now you’re dating Nick, a man whose interest in the occult directly opposes your stance. Comment?

 

LC: Happy to. I think everyone should have something to believe in. I have a problem with people and spiritual systems—including fortunetelling, mysticism, and the occult—that replace belief in self with an invisible master, especially those demanding money for redemption. I’m a trained scientist. I want to check behind the wizard’s curtain before I go down the yellow brick road. Nick is fascinated by the bricks.

 

RS: Not all psychologists are non-believers. How did your doubts originate?

 

LC: As far back as I can remember my mother started her day by consulting a tarot deck. The cards didn’t guide Mom’s mood; her mood guided her interpretation. In middle school I began slipping the Five of Pentacles (health warning) and the Tower (looming disaster) out of Mom’s deck the night before my friends’ parties. No tarot card alarms for Mom to keep me at home and ruin my social life. Once I knew I could manipulate mystical results for self-interest, I started doubting every form of fortunetelling and anything supernatural. The psych degree solidified my question-everything attitude.

 

RS: Enter Nick. Want to tell us about BRUJA BROUHAHA, your latest adventure with your new love?

 

LC: Slow down. Nick and I are not at the “love” stage yet. We’re dating. No way am I going to jump into commitment this fast. BRUJA BROUHAHA—you mean the mystery that takes me to the brink of professional disaster? All I will say is, when Nick and I delve into a mess of local mayhem veiled by a Santeria hex, all hell breaks loose. If there is a hell.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

[ Edited ]

Welcome, Rochelle!

 

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Can I just say how adorable those covers are.  I'm not normally a huge "cozy" fan, but I will have to look at these the next time I'm at the store.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Rochelle_Staab
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Hi Becke! I'm thrilled to be here with the B&N Mystery lovers. BRUJA BROUHAHA had an amazing release day. I finally can sit back and release a "whew".

 

Thank you for your always warm and enthusiastic welcome. I'll be around to chat with everyone throughout the day.

~ Rochelle

 

PS: Congratulations to YOU on your adorable new granddaughter. Sweet as sugar.

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Rochelle_Staab
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Thank you, Ryan. I'm very proud of my covers and must give all the credit to the wonderful Berkley art team: illustrator Blake Morrow and cover designer Diane Kolsky. I lucked out!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!


Rochelle_Staab wrote:

Hi Becke! I'm thrilled to be here with the B&N Mystery lovers. BRUJA BROUHAHA had an amazing release day. I finally can sit back and release a "whew".

 

Thank you for your always warm and enthusiastic welcome. I'll be around to chat with everyone throughout the day.

~ Rochelle

 

PS: Congratulations to YOU on your adorable new granddaughter. Sweet as sugar.


Hi Rochelle - Sorry I'm late! I think my desktop computer is dying - had to switch to my laptop. Why is it computers wait until they're paid for and then start acting up?

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!


Rochelle_Staab wrote:

Thank you, Ryan. I'm very proud of my covers and must give all the credit to the wonderful Berkley art team: illustrator Blake Morrow and cover designer Diane Kolsky. I lucked out!


I agree, your covers are suitable for framing! The titles are outstanding, too - do you have titles for any of the upcoming books in this series?

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Rochelle - Your books have been really well received - does this mean we can hope for a lot more books in the series? I know publishers are usually cautious when they initially contract with an author, but I'm hoping they've committed to several more!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Rochelle sent me this update to her event calendar:

 

I'll be signing Bruja Brouhaha and Who Do, Voodoo? in person at the B&N Bookstar in Studio City, CA on Saturday, August 18 from 2-4 p.m.

 

Here's the link to the Bookstar calendar: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/1837?subtype=detailCalendar

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

[ Edited ]
Welcome Rochelle: I just started Who Do Voodoo? I thought I would be finished before your visit but I have been watching the Olympics and it has put me behind in my reading. Enjoyed reading about you and your interests in the supernatural. Hope you enjoy your visit with us.
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

I'm reading BRUJA BROUHAHA (I want to giggle every time I write that). Normally I would have finished it by now, but I've had workmen here the last two days and it's seriously cut into my reading time!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ROCHELLE STAAB!

Becke,

 

I'm thrilled with the success of Who Do, Voodoo?—it hit the national best seller list on release and was nominated for four awards including the 2012 Anthony and Agatha for Best First Novel. And the launch of Bruja Brouhaha yesterday felt great!

 

There is definitely a third novel coming May 2013 in the Mind For Murder Mystery series. I'm sorry, Becke, I don't have a confirmed title yet but you KNOW it will have something to do with the supernatural.

 

~Rochelle