Jewell Parker Rhodes publishes second voodoo book

November 5, 2008

Kind Dog is back, as is Dr. Marie Laveau.

But an unwelcome character joins them in Jewell Parker Rhodes’s newest book, “Yellow Moon,” the second book in a trilogy about voodoo, set in contemporary New Orleans. Download Full Image

Wazimamoto – a vampire who drains the blood out of innocent people – is the sinister presence in “Yellow Moon.”   

The creature begins to make his presence known as the book opens, giving the reader a clue that something supernatural is beginning to happen, and that it is not good:

“Drifting in darkness, lost in the vast Atlantic, it woke. Where had it been? Where was home? No answer. Only longing as it drifted in icy waters, among currents and tides, shipwrecks and murdered slaves’ brittle bones.

“What was it? Who?

“It couldn’t remember.”

Dr. Marie Laveau, who is the fictional great-great-granddaughter of legendary 19th century voodoo queen Marie Laveau, is at home in her New Orleans apartment with Kind Dog, her good and faithful canine friend, and her adopted daughter, Marie-Claire, when she is summoned to Charity Hospital.

At the emergency room, however, she learns that she has been called to view a corpse, not a living patient in critical condition.

The victim, a dockworker, shows no apparent cause of death. But the body shockingly and mysteriously has been drained of blood.

“The body wasn’t much more than a skeleton, brown flesh stretched over bone. Lying on the gurney – bones stiff, skin deflated – the body seemed a cruel joke. A papier-mâché or wood-cut of a body. A made thing, not a dead man,” Rhodes writes.

More people are found dead, drained of blood, and it becomes apparent that the killer is after Marie, too.

“Voodoo Season,” the first book in the trilogy, introduces the contemporary Marie Laveau, who changes her name from Marie Levant to Marie Laveau after she begins to feel the stirrings of her spiritual gift, which she inherited from her great-great-grandmother and moves from Chicago to New Orleans.

The murder-mystery series actually is a spin-off of Rhodes’ first New Orleans book, “Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau.” which was historical fiction. (Those who have read “Voodoo Dreams” will begin to figure out who the murderer is in “Yellow Moon” as the book comes to an end.)

Writing the murder mysteries – which also contain a bit of romance – was a chance for Rhodes, who is known for her historical fiction, to “stretch her wings as a writer,” she said. 

She currently is working on the third book in the series, “Hurricane Levee Blues,” which is about New Orleans post-Katrina and the discriminatory practices and subsequent injustices residents suffered after the hurricane.

Rhodes additionally is writing a children’s book, “The Ninth Ward,” which also focuses on New Orleans’ residents suffering post-hurricane.

The murder mysteries and children’s stories are but a side road for Rhodes, whose first love still is writing stories about significant events and people in the past.

“I plan to write more young-adult literature, then go back to my historical fiction,” said Rhodes.

Though she usually bases her stories on historic people and events, her segue into New Orleans after Katrina was accidental.

“’Voodoo Season’ was published the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the levees broke,” Rhodes said. ”I have never worked on a book where present-day history has impacted in so much.”

Rhodes, who is currently artistic director for global engagement for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, will read from “Yellow Moon” at 7 p.m., Nov. 20 at Barnes & Noble, Desert Ridge.

Conference to focus on nonprofit sustainability strategies

November 5, 2008

WHAT:  An interactive two day conference aimed at nonprofit professionals, fundraisers, volunteers and board members, including pre-conference workshops, nationally-recognized keynote speakers and break-out sessions focused on the sustainability strategies surrounding philanthropy and fundraising in a changing world.

WHEN:  Noon – 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4; and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5   Download Full Image

WHERE:  Desert Willow Conference Center – Phoenix, 4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard

WHY:  To provide knowledge and tools to enhance the effectiveness of those who lead, manage and support nonprofits.


• Pre-conference workshops include “Principles of Effectiveness for Nonprofit Organizations;” “Surviving Economic Times as a Small Nonprofit;” and “What Do Foundations Want? Encouraging Grants—for Operations and Beyond.”

• Keynotes Speakers include Janice Gow Pettey, author of Cultivating Diversity in Fundraising; Heather McLeod Grant, co-author of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of Highly Effective Nonprofits; and John Hovis, Ph.D. with the MBA program in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

• Workshop sessions include donor development, volunteer management, fundraising in social networks and next generation leadership,  just to name a few. For a detailed list of sessions, visit">">

• NEW this year: Senior-level track for nonprofit professionals with over 10 years of experience: “Leadership Challenges for Today and Tomorrow.” At no extra cost, get all the benefits of attending the conference through keynote addresses, session breaks and panels, in addition to the opportunity to contribute to a paper with senior level colleagues on leadership challenges.

• The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation exists to advance nonprofit leadership practice so that organizations can better achieve their mission. Whether the mission is housing, youth development, recreation, or neighborhood revitalization, effective nonprofit organizations improve individual lives and enhance our entire community.

RSVP: To register, visit: http// or call (602) 496-0500.