Read an excerpt from this new fantasy book... The Quarter Storm by Veronica G. Henry (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #fantasybooks #neworleans @veronicawrites @jeanbooknerd

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

The Quarter Storm
(Mambo Reina #1)
By Veronica G. Henry
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 287 Pages
March 1, 2022 by 47North


A practitioner of Vodou must test the boundaries of her powers to solve a ritual murder in New Orleans and protect everything she holds sacred.

Haitian-American Vodou priestess Mambo Reina Dumond runs a healing practice from her New Orleans home. Gifted with water magic since she was a child, Reina is devoted to the benevolent traditions of her ancestors.

After a ritual slaying in the French Quarter, police arrest a fellow vodouisant. Detective Roman Frost, Reina’s ex-boyfriend—a fierce nonbeliever—is eager to tie the crime, and half a dozen others, to the Vodou practitioners of New Orleans. Reina resolves to find the real killer and defend the Vodou practice and customs, but the motives behind the murder are deeper and darker than she imagines.

As Reina delves into the city’s shadows, she untangles more than just the truth behind a devious crime. It’s a conspiracy. As a killer wields dangerous magic to thwart Reina’s investigation, she must tap into the strength of her own power and faith to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy her entire way of life.

Praise for the Book

“…this hits the sweet spot of eschewing overdone tropes while retaining the familiar elements that draw fans to the genre. Readers will hope to see more of Mambo Reina.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The Quarter Storm conjures up an intriguing mystery that draws readers away from New Orleans’s famous tourist spots for a story filled with twists, turns, and unexpected discoveries that will leave them eager for more. Because there’s no better sleuth to handle a murder in New Orleans than a Vodou priestess.” ―Nicole Glover, author of The Conductors

“Henry gives us a captivating mystery full of fantasy and African traditional religion, as well as a bewitching investigator, rooted in her faith, dedicated to her community, and dogged in her pursuit of the truth.” ―Eden Royce, author of Root Magic

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When we first left Haiti, I was so homesick I feigned every manner of malady I could conjure. Anything that would allow me to ditch school, where the other kids teased me about my accent. At one point, I came home, tossed my backpack down, and told my parents in no uncertain terms that I was going back to Haiti, with or without them. Manman took me in her arms, kissed my tearstained cheeks, and told me that home is where the heart is.

These days, my heart belonged to Tremé and a traditional blue and white New Orleans shotgun built in 1906 and patched up every year since. After an embarrassingly short stint as a marketing research assistant, I’d set up my healing practice about a dozen steps from the back porch to my garage turned temple Vodoun, at least on the days I didn’t attend to clients in their homes.

Today, I was getting ready for a new client to come to me. Pink lip gloss in a shade that actually looked good against browner skin tones. A longish skirt that, to my eye, added inches to the modest height I shared with Papa. A little liner to bring out the oval eyes I got from Manman. Slid on a white headband to help lay the edges from my fresh twistout, and I was ready.

I always awaited my customers out back on the canary-yellow bench in front of my shop, and I’d been delighting in the soul-mellowing music of blue jay and sparrow birdsong interlaced with my neighbor’s flugelhorn rehearsal for a full hour when a car door slammed.

When she’d called to make an appointment for a spirit-doll ritual, I’d told the youthful voice on the other end of the line the same thing I told all first-time customers: don’t go traipsing up to my front door (delivered with a level of professional tact, mind you). “Follow the impossible-to-miss path of blue and white paving stones that curve alongside the wood-slatted fence,” I always told them.

My back never forgave me for the hours spent hunched over, setting and resetting each stone. There was even a sign nailed to the fence above the first paver, yellow backing with royal-blue lettering artfully scripted onto the wood: LE PETIT TEMPLE VODOUN 1791.

And to some these things were all but invisible.

Repeat customers made up the bulk of my practice. Newcomer traffic had fallen to a trickle over the last year. Tourists and locals alike increasingly drawn to the larger, fancier shops dispensing their fancifully bogus Hollywood brand of voodoo magic.

Better them than me. These days, my patience for those unwilling to learn was in critically short supply, much like the food in my kitchen cupboards.

As was my practice with all first-timers, I’d had her repeat the directions back to me. But the attention span required to listen, I mean really listen, required a depth of concentration that was laid to rest alongside good manners in a New Orleans jazz funeral, complete with a second line, sometime after the internet became more social than scientific.

I could’ve pretended that the only reason my shop was in my back- yard instead of in the heart of Uptown or the French Quarter was a matter of convenience and virtue. But vodouisants like me didn’t have much call for pretense. Investments in hard work and thrift had thus far yielded returns in the forms of a deep fatigue and a closet full of dated clothes. My life remained stubbornly fixed on a tightrope between broke and bankrupt. Goodbye, dream of a glitzy Dumaine Street store- front; hello, comfortably converted garage.

I stood outside, arms crossed, foot tapping, and listened to the banging on my front door for as long as I could before I marched down the stone walkway to the front of the house. And there she stood with her frail behind, straining on tiptoe, trying to peer through the stained glass at the top of my door.

I was surprised to see a white girl.

Not to say I didn’t have white clients. New Orleans had changed enough in the decade after the hurricane that people from all races and nationalities were as unremarkable as an afternoon rain shower. But white believers willing to come out to Tremé, where gentrification had been razed like dandelions in a prize-winning rose garden, were rare as the days when the heady aroma of a simmering roux didn’t waft through the neighborhood.

“Over here!” I called, and she turned. She trotted down the steps and came toward me with a sheepish smile at the corners of her wide mouth. Her toes curved in to such a degree that I half expected her to trip over her own feet.

“Reina?” Her breath hitched; then she started again. “I mean Mambo Dumond?” The black sweater buttoned to the neck was on the thicker side for the unseasonably warm spring weather. And she must have sacrificed a whole jar of Vaseline to the effort of sliding into the jeans entombing her slim frame. I winced. It was as if she were already punishing herself for whatever had brought her to my door.

“That’s what they tell me.” I would have preferred it if she’d gone back to the curb and taken the pavers, not the shortcut across my grass, but I kept that to myself. “Sophie Thibault?”

I extended my hand and was struck by how young the girl was. High school was in her past—college, too, perhaps—but her thirtieth birthday was likely years away. She had a strong handshake and limp brown hair that was in need of a good washing. Her only makeup was a slash of near-black lipstick. No point in asking where she got her perfectly arched eyebrows done; such luxuries didn’t align with my current lack of resources.

“Yes, ma’am.” Sophie was raised by someone who valued manners. You could call me a cynic, but people I met for the first time started out with a negative balance. They earned their way onto the positive side based on their actions. Little Sophie had earned a plus one.

“Follow me.” I led my new client down the paver-lined walkway, past the canary bench. My shop was small but comfortable and well stocked. If my father ever ventured out of the Louisiana swampland for a visit, I think he would have approved. Among other things, Haitian deities were always particular about colors. Erzulie favored gold and yellow and blue and pink. So, for her, I’d painted my door and bench a dazzling yellow just shy of obnoxious.

Azaleas and bougainvillea were woven into a rounded trellis in a flood of color covering the wall. Potted lavender and honeysuckle rested on either side of the door, the soothing aroma a steadfast companion on evenings before the mosquitoes descended. They’d been gifts from customers who paid for services with the kindness in their hearts instead of cash.

Inside, I gestured toward a chair at the table, draped appropriately in a freshly laundered white tablecloth. Sophie perched herself on the edge of her seat while I padded across the polished concrete floor that I hoped would someday be covered in a nice bamboo wood and lit some sandalwood incense.

“This isn’t like those shops in the Quarter. This is kind of like what you call a real hounfor, right?” Sophie asked and then slapped her fore- head. “That’s why you told me to come to the back. Of course—you work here and not your house.”

“That’s right.” Huh—she knew a little about the practice. A plus two. “But it’s pronounced more like ‘hoonfor.’”

“What’s so important about the year 1791?”

Few people asked that question. I had an answer prepared for those who did, one that didn’t include the crucial role the lwa had played in Haiti’s celebrated slave uprising. Spirits liked to keep their secrets, you know.

“Haiti.” I handed her my tablet and asked her to enter her contact and credit card information while I dimmed the lights and lit the white candle at the center of the table and a few on the shelves that stood in place of artwork on almost every available wall. “Toussaint Louverture led a successful slave revolt. Look it up.”

I wasn’t one for much small talk while I set up, and luckily, Sophie wasn’t either. She nodded her acceptance of my explanation and leaned forward, forearms on the table, fiddling with a silver, filigreed ring on her left thumb. She glanced over at the polished metal machete encased in glass hanging on the wall, a gift from my father that, unlike its twin in his peristil, had never tasted blood. He’d started training me in the ancient art of tire manchèt at the ripe old age of three.

At the back of the room, I traced the outline of Erzulie’s vèvè painted on the wall above the sink. Among other things, my Erzulie was a spirit of love, and though some might have taken creative license, a heart was always at the center of her emblem.

“Geri.” I invited her into the space.

With that part done, I took a seat opposite my new client. Without thinking, I touched the divot on the edge of the table where my mother had damaged the wood while helping me bring it inside. She intruded on my thoughts at the strangest of times.

Though it was at least ten degrees cooler inside than out, Sophie removed her sweater, revealing a T-shirt from Southern University, my alma mater.

I glanced over her information on the tablet, raised an eyebrow. I knew that address. Another peristil, a storefront in the French Quarter, with a small apartment upstairs. I’d considered renting the space myself. Now another vodouisant ran it. A competent one, at that. Why would this girl venture out here when services could be had right where she lived?

Tentatively, I urged my water sense outward. One of the three realms of my water magic, evolution of the physical variety, granted me the ability to heal, and to sense distress. Like a spiritual hygrometer, I measured, tasted the moisture in Sophie’s body. It was a rapturous lib- erty I took without permission, a fact that wasn’t lost on me. Drawing water from a living thing was always dangerous. But sometimes I used the measurements I gathered in service to my clients. Using too much or too little water each came with their own hazards. No alcohol, no elevated stress hormones in Sophie’s blood. At least she was well hydrated. I still offered her a bottle of water, which she declined.

Time to get down to business. “Whenever you’re ready to begin,” I said.

Excerpted from The Quarter Storm by Veronica G. Henry, Copyright © 2021 by Veronica G. Henry. Published by 47North.

About the Author

Veronica Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a bit of a rolling stone ever since. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop and a member of SFWA.

Veronica is proud to be of Sierra Leonean ancestry and counts her trip home as the most important of her life. She now writes from North Carolina, where she eschews rollerballs for fountain pens and fine paper. Other untreated addictions include chocolate and cupcakes.

Veronica's debut novel, Bacchanal, is out now and available at bookstores and libraries everywhere.


Tour Schedule

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE QUARTER STORM by Veronica G. Henry

- 1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card

- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends April 18, 2022

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