Zoe Tasia

Published: 22 articles

So…what did you think?

Since I was 22 years old, I’ve lived with males. First my husband, then my two boys. Even the two cats are males. When our romance came out in February, I wasn’t waiting with bated breath for them to read it. Figured I’d pass out if I did. So to say I was surprised when they all did, (well, okay, the cats didn’t), is an understatement. Not only did they finish it, but they liked it too. (And trust me, if they didn’t, they would have zero problem letting me know.) Not only that, but they were pretty darn good about figuring out which parts I wrote and which Minette did. Half the time I can’t remember who wrote what when we edit.

I often hear from girlfriends about the lengthy, deep, illuminating talks they have with their daughters. All day girly outings like going to the spa for manis and pedis then lunch and a movie…that sort of thing. I don’t know if this is true for all mothers of boys, but those kind of marathon talks just don’t occur often for me. I’ve found that snatched moments, like on a drive to the mall or while watching a rerun, they will open up to me. I cherish those moments. The thing I didn’t realize and that I do now is, while they shared their lives with me, I shared of myself too. And I guess those moments were special to them too, because they really know me.

Resolutions

IMG_1023Ask a woman if she has made any resolutions for the New Year and chances are she will mention losing weight. I always wonder if it crops up as much when men are asked. Do men even make resolutions? Noting my over-indulgences during the months of November and December evident in the mirror, I, along with a bazillion others, nodded at my reflection and vowed to do something about it. Until someone concocts a magic shake or lotion to vanquish fat, I am sticking to more prosaic methods. I decided that each week, I would make one habit change toward a more healthy living style. I began with keeping a food log to get an idea of how I needed to tweak my intake. The second week, I added short five minute walks every hour during marathon sessions in front of the computer. So far, it’s all doable and I don’t feel overwhelmed as I have in the past by making too many changes in too short a time. Wish me luck.

Edits, bleh!

imageI’ve been editing my book and find it is hard to know when to stop. Every time I reread it, I find one more thing to correct. Correction, several things to correct.  I’m struggling with when to let go and send it forth. I want it to be perfect. I have many wonderful writing tools to help me. My friend has read it and assured me I’ve told a good story. Yet, I cling to it. I’ve decided to give myself a deadline. I’ve been fairly good this last year with writing goals. I guess this is one more for me to add to the ever-growing list. Bye, bye, little novel. Time for you to meet more readers.

Excerpt 12…Zoe Tasia

fire

 

“I am an adult…I don’t need to sneak out of my own house,” Chloe whispered to herself as she hoisted her window open. Herself didn’t bother to respond. She got three hours of sleep before her phone alarm went off. The exorcism would to take place in a small private cemetery, he told her. She was to meet him just outside the Garden District.She slung her backpack filled with spells, potions, tinctures and every object she could think of for protection against evil. She loved that he asked her to help him.  He knew so much that she couldn’t imagine that her paltry contributions would make any more than the smallest difference, but sometimes that is all that is need.

She paused to admire him. Cornrows lined each side of his head, but at the top his hair was free and curled in ringlets. His nose was broader and flatter than hers with adorable triangle-shaped nostrils. His skin the color of good, strong coffee with a splash of cream. He wore clothes to make him blend in with a crowd, but he stood out to her. She hitched the backpack higher on her shoulder. His scent would hit her like a brick so she braced herself and vowed he would never know.

As he hailed her, Rutie’s image flashed in her mind by like a darting minnow in a pond. Two men and she didn’t know how either really felt about her or how she felt about them and yet, she was compelled to find out.

“Chloe, you  came.” Like a balm, his voice calmed her. He didn’t wait for her response and took her hand.

She knew her city and yet between two houses that she swore were side by side, a new one stood. A Gothic mansion with stone gargoyles and griffins. “What…”

He hushed her and opened the wrought iron gate, then took her elbow and led her to the back of the home. One small crypt stood in a corner of the estate. “I will cleanse this place, with your help.” He smiled, and her heart flip-flopped.

She carefully set up all the protections she had for him. He would be performing the exorcism. She was merely a witness to his powers. He made a fire in the brazier he brought and burned herbs. Chloe suppressed her coughs. He set a circle as he chanted. Her heavy head drooped. She squinted as visions flew by too fast for her to see. More voices chanted. Blood sprayed. Then…she was not alone….someone else, another soul resided within her.

“Margaux?” he asked.

Without Chloe’s volition, she responded, “yes, my love.”

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.) Tweet us on Twitter @ZariReede)

Excerpt 10….Zoe Tasia

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As soon as the last tour of the morning ended, Chloe hoofed it to her jeep. Normally she ate at work and she brought her lunch, but she didn’t think she could choke her sandwich down while Duey scowled at her some more. She needed to call Mrs. Gautreaux to confirm she would be at that stupid meeting tomorrow and she dreaded it. I’ll do it as soon as I get off work.   She smiled at the dashboard Madonna a past owner added. “Me and you are going out to eat, Lady.”

Chloe lucked out and only had to drive around the block twice before a brown Malibu, backed out.  She wouldn’t splurge on a whole meal at the drive-in, but she could afford a coke and fries to go with the PBJ. The carhop delivered her order and skated away, when she heard a honk behind her.

“Chloe! Chloe Berseron!” someone shouted.

“Great, now what?” she muttered. She craned her neck out the window. Robert Gautreaux! Just the person she didn’t want to see. He tooted the horn again and waved. Putting his car in park with the engine running, he got out, eliciting a whole cacophony of honks. He turned to the drivers behind him and lifted one finger indicating he would only be a minute, then jogged to her window.

“Heard Duey volunteered a staff member to work the Voodoo Fest with us. Unless he hired extra help, you must be the lucky one.”

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.) Tweet us on Twitter @ZariReede

Excerpt 8…Zoe Tasia

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Louisiana must be desperate for teachers if Mrs. Whitehead was still teaching. She outlived her husband, her children and outstayed too many school boards to count. Heck, Chloe had her. One of the easiest A’s ever. She would maybe have enjoyed the class, but the lack of supervision meant she was at others’ mercy.

She tried…she did! …to entertain them, engage them, but  the teacher was snoring with her legs crossed so the yellowed edges of her girdle showed and halfway through one of Chloe’s  best bits, the left garter gave up the ghost. At least that startled the two chaperones enough that they looked up from their phones.  Chloe didn’t have a television, let alone a cell phone.  Aunt Rie Rie said such interfered with the castings. The resulting laughter and amusement didn’t make her job any easier even with the chaperones attentive nor did Duey’s glares.

“Please, remain seated,” she said for what felt like the hundred time.

“Hey! You did that on purpose!” A child yelled. Two boys, furthest away from her, of course, shove each other. She looked hopefully at Duey, who leaned back and slipped his cap forward over his eyes.

The commotion interfered with Mrs. Whitehead’s nap. She snorted and sat up. “What…what is going on here?” She stumbled to her feet and surprisingly fast, spied the nearby culprits and sprung toward them. Unfortunately, the pontoon was not in the best shape and her loose hose caught on the splintered surface. The teacher went one way, the hose remained at the bench. The result was not pretty. If it had just been the hose, Chloe though it would have been fine…or, well, better. But the run continued up her thigh and when it reached the top, reinforced part of the hose, Mrs. Whitehead flew back. ..all the way back. She flipped over backwards into the water and took seven kids with her.

Duey helped her fish everyone out. The two parents took photos to post on online. She made the decision to shorten the excursion and turned back. Then one of the boys cried out, “Look what I got!” He pulled a baby gator from his pocket.

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.”

Excerpt 6…Zoe Tasia

Aunt Rie Rie joined her at the driver’s side of the Mercedes.  This close to the partly opened window, the strident cries made Chloe’s shoulders raise toward her ears. I prolly look like a turtle ducking back into its shell and I surely wished I could. Aunt Rie Rie rapped on the window and, as Fiona took a deep breath to power her next assault, said,” What in the world ails you, Miss Landry? Are those menstrual cramps bothering you again? That must be it, because that little tap from Chloe surely didn’t cause harm. You best come in so I can dose you with some tonic.” Well that kinda to the wind out of Fiona’s sails. She gawped like a guppy for a few seconds, then closed her mouth so fast that her teeth met with a click.

“It most certainly is not my time of the month and I do not want to discuss such a topic in public.” She frowned at the small smudge Aunt Rie Rie’s knuckles left on the window.

Aunt Rie Rie made a show of peering up and down the street. “Don’t appear that there is any public excepting us, Miss Landry. Now you pull on up and park so Chloe can get to work. Even if it isn’t a red letter day, seems to me you need something to calm your nerves.”

Fiona shut the car off and folded her chubby arms in front of her ample chest. “What I need is insurance information,” she said as she gave a wiggle to set herself more firmly in the seat and stared straight ahead.

Chloe darted a panicked glance at her aunt. Aunt Rie Rie gave her the smallest shake of her head before she replied. “That’s enough, Fiona Kay  LeBoeuf Landry. What will it take for you to let this go?” There is power in names and even an uppity wannabe socialite like Fiona knew better than to press Aunt Rie Rie any harder.

“Six months of the potions of my choice gratis might make me forget this unfortunate incident,” she said sliding her eyes toward the window.

“One month,” Aunt Rie Rie countered.

“Three,” the comeback so fast that we knew that was her price from the start.

“Three, but only potions that would take no longer than that amount of time to make.”

Fiona tapped her fingers on the steering wheel and twisted her mouth around as she thought. Finally she said, “Done,” and finally she moved her car so Chloe could go to work and get yelled at for being late.

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.)

Excerpt 4…Zoe Tasia

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Chloe rubbed the ornately carved finial at the top of the banister newel for luck as she had ever since she could manage the stairs without an adult. It was a silly practice, but she couldn’t seem to break herself of it. The head of the winged lion was smooth; the curls of hair no longer visible. Many hands touched it over the years. Aunt Rie Rie lovingly polished it with her own special mixture of wood polish. Chloe leaned close and inhaled the lemony scent then placed a kiss on the creature’s head. She paused to yank off her anklets and danced up the stairs.  She learned the hard way not to take the steps in slippery socks years ago and had a scar on her chin to remind her, if she ever forgot.

The house had no indoor toilets until the 1960s. The small bathroom downstairs, they kept nice for customers. They shared the one upstairs, a converted bedroom. It was small for a bedroom, probably had been the nanny’s, but huge for a bathroom.

Today, she worked at the museum through the afternoon, then did cemetery tours until eight. Later…she would assist during an exorcism. Her protective Aunt Rie Rie taught her all she could about herbalism and voodoo, but she wanted more. When he approached her, she was flattered and frightened in equal measure, but he won her over with his flattery and teasing hints of what he knew, but she did not. She sensed deep down that he used her, but like rubbing the head of the banister’s symbol of Mark, the Evangelist, she couldn’t resist him. “I’m happy,” she told her reflection. She held her hands under the water and scrubbed the dirt from under her nails.

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.”

Excerpt 2…Zoe Tazia

imageThat truck rested in Otis Coffer’s car cemetery just down the road. Otis said he wanted it for scrap parts, but he said that about every car that found a resting place there.  Rumor has it that Otis had been sweet on her mama at one time. Speculation was that he still did at the time of her death and that was why he towed the car to his overgrown yard. Chloe didn’t think it likely. He had been collecting broken down, unwanted cars for as long as she had been on this earth and his daddy before him. She doubted old Otis had a crush on all the folk who owned them. They steered clear of the car cemetery and the Coffer Junk Shop.

The azalea bush’s bright, fuschia flowers blushed against the side of the house making it look even more dreary. Chloe didn’t even want to think about how expensive it would be to repaint. As she rounded the corner and gained the porch, a light breeze blew and cooled her nape. She shivered, smiled and lightly drew her hand over her shorn head. She liked the feel of the tight curls and how light she felt since she got it cut. Thankfully, while her hair was very curly, it was manageable as long as it was kept fairly short. Aunt Rie Rie was in the kitchen at the sink. Her black dreadlocks swayed. She worked with the mortar and pestle grunting as she twisted. The muscles on her coffee-colored biceps bulged. She turned and frowned at her.

“Girl, I told you to wear a hat. You won’t get a lick of sympathy from me when your neck burns. I hope you aren’t tromping mud in on my floors.” Her aunt could be gruff and, at times,  treated her as though she was still five years old, but Chloe knew she loved her to pieces.

(This Copyright is by ZariReede Books and Entertainment. No other use of this story in any other written context or entertainment venue is allowed.)

Adverbs…bad or just misunderstood.

I have a confession. My name is Zoe and I like adverbs. Yes, that was the sound of a Catholic sacrament mating the 12 steps program. As a writer, I always strive to find the perfect word and yes, I value potent verbs. *pats verb and chucks under the chin* I get that purple prose is passé and pitiful. (Ain’t alliteration awesome?!) Just seems like adverbs get the bad rap and their counterpart, adjectives get a free pass. Let me give you a sentence. *clears throat* His hand uncontrollably clenched the transparent glass as the effervescent bubbles quickly popped . Now I am betting a simplistic editing tool will flag the adverbs and ignore the adjectives despite the fact that an argument can be made that they are superfluous and the adverbs necessary. (Yeah, using that sentence in a book at some point.) I am thinking, and I am not a person who has studied the evolution of writing, but hypothesizing, because, hey, cool word, that this is a backlash occurring because in the past, adverbs were over-utilized. I would like to see a more even-handed approach to the parts of speech. So give your adverb a hug today.