Hi, everyone. Four years ago today, I landed in New Orleans for the first time. I was there for both day job business and research for the novel I was writing. That book became the multi-award winning Bayou Fire, which takes place in both present-day and 1830s New Orleans. Please enjoy this sample.
Marie Laveau heard talk from Black and white people alike; it was the nature of her business as a hairdresser. People talked around her all of the time, just as they did their slaves … as though she weren’t even there. Some of the talk lately was of Doctor Leonard LaLaurie; he was a young man who had come to town and married a twice-widowed woman of means. Delphine McCarty was her name, and she had demanded that the young doctor build her a fashionable home in the Quarter so that she could get away from her father’s plantation out in the faubourgs near Chalmette. The house at the corner of Royal and Hospital streets was a showplace, inside and out.
The word around the Quarter was that Doctor LaLaurie had the ability to cure hunchbacks, and one of Marie’s children suffered from the affliction. She had gone to the LaLaurie house with her infant son, Christophe, in her arms and been rebuffed … but not before she saw that there was much sorrow there. The slaves were miserable, and LaLaurie himself seemed unhappy. She’d heard rumors that he had another family out Plaquemines Parish way and spent most of his time there, and it was well-known that Madame Delphine had filed for separation of bed and board. To be sure, Delphine was a dark-eyed beauty, but her mouth looked cruel to Marie’s eyes. It was nearly a relief to be sent on her way.
Christophe had died when he was five months old. Marie had never fully forgiven the doctor who refused to help her son. She often saw him around town, with his fly-away blond hair never quite combed and his suit never quite right. Some women might find the young doctor handsome, she was sure, but no one seemed more convinced of his desirability than Leonard LaLaurie himself. Marie had heard rumors that the doctor’s father had advised him to marry a wealthy woman as no more financial help would be coming from home; he had certainly managed that the day he wed Delphine McCarty.
As for the rest of the LaLaurie household, Marie watched and kept her own counsel. Where there was smoke, there was most often fire.
Want your own copy of Bayou Fire? It’s currently available free of charge via Smashwords (promotion ends May 31). Here’s the back cover copy:
Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.