WONDER WOMEN—LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS

Susannah Sandlin, a.k.a. Suzanne Johnson, is guest blogging today. Her latest release, ILLUMINATION, came out on July 11th. Welcome, Suzannne!


“The women end up taking center stage in ILLUMINATION”

For most of the Penton Legacy Series, it’s been all about the boys. Sexy alpha vampire males are fun to write, and it’s always a challenge finding the right mate for them.

Smart, brooding, responsible Aidan got smart, open, down-to-earth Krys. She tells him like it is and calls him on his crap.

Guilt-ridden badass Mirren, who likes his silence and solitude, fell for people-loving chatterbox Glory. She’ll tie the man down if she has to…and she sometimes does…to make him get out of his own way.

Reckless, handsome Will—voted vampire most in need of a shrink—was reined in by serious control-freak Randa. She finally cracked the thick Teflon coating he’d formed around his true heart and mind.

Adrenaline-junkie Cage (who was a shrink before being turned) found his soul mate in eagle-shifter Robin, who scares him more than a dirty bomb half the time. He also sees a side of her that those who call her “razor-blade Robin” don’t know about.

And in ILLUMINATION, hero Nikolas, who’s as alpha and capable as the other heroes but still very much trying to find his place in the world, finds Shay Underwood, who helps him understand his place and what he really wants.

But although I didn’t plan it that way, the women end up taking center stage in ILLUMINATION. Human, vampire, and psychic, they manage to do what the Big Bad Alphas have been working toward for the entire series: to bring down the Vampire Tribunal, who want to use human trafficking—or worse—to solve the problem of starvation in a world where a human vaccine has poisoned the blood supply for the vamps.

Each has her own role to play:

–Krys is a quiet, wise listener as well as a doctor, so her advice is worth taking, even if it has nothing to do with your health.

–Glory is a chatterbox, yes, but she’s also telekinetic. The girl gives her powers a workout in this book, and she becomes a key to saving Penton even if her alpha male doesn’t want her putting herself in danger. (I think she tells him to put a sock in it.)

–Randa is a warrior. The daughter of an Army colonel and turned when she herself was in the Army, she understands military strategy and is fearless in taking on missions like a takeover of Atlanta’s Museum of Natural History. Any woman who can hold her own with a two-ton reanimated dinosaur bearing down on her…well, don’t worry about Randa.

–Robin shows a softer side in ILLUMINATION because it’s what Cage needs from her. But she, too, takes on the bad guys on land and by air; it’s her tracking skills in eagle form that help the alpha males figure out what the Tribunal bad guys are up to.

–Finally, Shay is the key to everything, including Nik’s future. Her background as a medical researcher comes into play in unexpected ways as the book concludes, and the resolution of her and Nik’s relationship will shape the future of Penton as the small Alabama community rebuilds.

So in the summer of Wonder Woman (which I can’t give credit to because, alas, I haven’t yet seen it), it’s time for Girl Power in Penton!

Jill: See Wonder Woman! You’ll love it. It was great!

More about Illumination

He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.

Two cities, two near-strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.

The entire Penton Legacy Series leading up to ILLUMINATION (Redemption, Absolution, Omega, and Allegiance, as well as the spinoff Storm Force—Penton 3.5—are on sale for 99 cents each for Kindle through July 31. You can find the series here and Storm Force here.)

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More about Susannah/Suzanne

Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and a number of standalones. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing for other authors on the side through Reedsy.com.

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Twitter: @SusannahSandlin, @Suzanne_Johnson

Thanks for guest blogging today, Suzanne. Best wishes for Illumination and summer 2017!

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Suzanne Johnson: Building New Worlds, Book by Book (#writing #fantasy)

Please welcome Suzanne Johnson, author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series, who’s here to talk about worldbuilding. Her newest book released yesterday — Belle Chasse. She’s also giving away one $50 Amazon eGiftCard and five $10 Amazon eGift Cards. The Rafflecopter link is below. Welcome, Suzanne!


The Sentinels of New Orleans series takes place in a big multiverse….a really big multiverse.

If you’ve been around the series from the beginning, you know that I’ve built the world slowly and deliberately.

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In ROYAL STREET, we met the wizards and historical undead and shifters—particularly our heroine wizard DJ and major characters Alex Warin and the undead French pirate Jean Lafitte. We also visited Old Orleans, the “wild west” border town between modern New Orleans and the great preternatural world, the Beyond.

suzanne-johnson-river-roadNext, in RIVER ROAD, we met the water species, particularly the merfolk and merman Rene Delachaise. We also got a brief introduction to elves and were introduced to visiting historical versions of the Beyond.

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ELYSIAN FIELDS took us to Elfheim, the ancestral home of the elves, for a brief period, and we learned a lot more about these sneaky devils. Oh, they’re pretty, but don’t let those pretty faces fool you. And we met a subclass of our wizards, the necromancers, as well as the mercenary race of vampires. Yeah, they’re pretty too. And loyal until the money runs out or they get a better offer.

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PIRATE’S ALLEY introduced the largest species of preternaturals other than the wizards: the fae, specifically the queen of Faerie, Sabine, and the two princes who are rivals to succeed her to the throne, Christof, prince of Winter, and Florian, prince of Summer. Faeries are, uh, well, a wee bit crazy. We also got a brief trip into the Realm of Vampyre, the ancestral home of the vamps.

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And now—yesterday, in fact—we have BELLE CHASSE, the penultimate book in the series. What’s new this time out?

Well, much of the book takes place in the Beyond. We spend some time in circa 1814 South Louisiana. We visit the capital city of Faerie and learn a little more about their magic. And we get to go inside the walls of the Winter Palace. All of the species are at play in this book…and do I need to say that they don’t play well together?

The fae have been a fun species to create. Their magic of Arch and Academy pits science and technology against nature, with only royals possessing both types of magic eligible to take the throne. There is also a population of hybrids where fae possessing one type of magic have played science experiment to try and acquire the other type, with disastrous results.

(You’ll meet Mick, a giant black talking bear with humanoid hands and feet. He owns a bar, of course.)

Civil war is brewing on the charming streets of the Faerie capital, and its outcome will have major implications on the preternatural world war brewing in modern New Orleans. Buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

In the wide world of paranormal creatures, what are your favorites?


More about Belle Chasse

Suzanne Johnson’s “strong and intriguing” (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. The Sentinels of New Orleans series has earned starred reviews from Library Journal (“a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity”) and PW (“vivid…a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists”).

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It’s time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

Amazon     BN     Book Depository     Books-a-Million     Indie Bound

More about Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series but perhaps is best known for her romantic suspense and paranormal romance books written as Susannah Sandlin, including the Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, the Wilds of the Bayou suspense series, and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Her awards include two Holt Medallions in 2013 and 2015, a 2015 Booksellers Best Award in romantic suspense, and nominations in 2014 and 2015 for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Suzanne loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

The Giveaway

Suzanne is giving away one $50 Amazon eGiftCard and five $10 Amazon eGift Cards. Click here for the Rafflecopter link. Click here for Jill’s complete giveaway rules.

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Thank you for guest blogging today, Suzanne!

Quick reminder: Jill’s giving away ten advance copies of Pocket Full of Tinder on Goodreads. To enter, click here.

Susannah Sandlin on Instalove: How Soon is Too Soon? #Writing #Romance

Brief, final reminders about upcoming events this week: I’m hosting from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET at Bewitching Book Tour’s Halloween Spooktacular Facebook Party. I probably have enough material for 2+ hours so we’ll see how much we have time for. There will be some super easy games/contests with giveaways from either Etsy or Book Depository and, hopefully, some fun discussions about books and movies, as well as lots of talk about All Hallows Eve. More details here. This Saturday, I’m at HallowRead in Have de Grace, Maryland. More details here

Today’s guest is Susannah Sandlin, author of the romantic suspense BLACK DIAMOND, which releases tomorrow. She’s also Suzanne Johnson’s alter ego and has guested here many times. Suzanne’s a terrific blogger and prolific writer with a wonderful voice. If you haven’t already checked out her work and/or her blog, do so now! 🙂 Er, rather, do so after you read her post. Details on where to find her are below, along with info on her tour-wide giveaway — Amazon gift cards. Welcome, Susannah!

How do you feel about instalove?

Do you love an immediate bond or enjoy the slow build?

Most readers, if asked, will say they dislike “instalove”—that moment when, a half-second after a couple’s first meeting in a novel, each knows that the other is “the one and only.”

Seriously? Not in this world.

Which leads those of us who like writing fast-paced stories into a quandary. How soon is too soon?

At what point does the heroine ignore the dude threatening her with a knife and think longingly about having a night of passion with the hero?

At what point during his daring escape from saliva-dripping zombies does the hero think, “I need a mate”?

Exactly.

This has always been an issue for me. In my Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, the “bond” is supernatural so even if the characters fight that lovin’ feeling, it can happen early without stretching the flexible bonds of paranormal plausibility. But my stories move fast. Penton’s four books (so far) span about seven months total…and four couples find their HEAs (or at least Happily For Nows). In my Sentinels of New Orleans series (written as Suzanne Johnson), books two through five cover only three months. Each book covers only about two or three weeks. They’re urban fantasy, however, so my main couple can have more realistic ups and downs (mostly downs…and I think there was a saliva-dripping zombie in book three).

Which brings us to my new Wilds of the Bayou series, which is about a team of wildlife enforcement agents working deep in the heart of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. These books are romantic suspense, heavy on the suspense, which means the gators aren’t the only things that move fast.

Book one, WILD MAN’S CURSE, covered about three weeks, but I was able to get the hero and heroine to at least a happily for now with a foxhole romance that I’m sure will last. Hero Gentry and heroine Celestine have a lot in common (well, once you get past her independent streak and his utter need to Control Everything), so the reader knows they’re going to make it.

Then there’s BLACK DIAMOND, book two in the series, which comes out tomorrow (Oct. 18—pauses to throw confetti). The heroine, Louisiana Wildlife Enforcement Agent Jena Sinclair, has some serious emotional baggage. She’s kickass on the outside; she has to be in order to make it in the man’s world of what used to be known as “game wardens”—they’re basically paramilitary-trained law-enforcement officers who can fine you for fishing without a license—or bust you for drugs or speeding…in the middle of a swamp. Inwardly, though, Jena is very, very fragile. She’s questioning herself, second-guessing her choices, feeling guilty over some of those choices.

And yet Jena makes our hero, Cole Ryan, look like the soul of emotional stability. Cole has been living off the grid in an isolated cabin on the edge of a desolate bayou for five years like some blond-haired, blue-eyed Unabomber. The first time Jena comes to his door about a nuisance alligator, he slams the door in her face.

Face it: instalove was NOT going to happen between these two.

Attraction? Sure. They find each other intriguing, even attractive (although Cole hasn’t cut his hair in five years, he does have a hippie braid thing going and is totally hot). But neither of them are in any emotional condition to act on that attraction, at least not for a good long time.

Plus, you know, there are rampaging hallucinogenic alligators to capture and crazed drug dealers to track down and skeevy suspects to interrogate—not to mention someone’s tossing Molotov cocktails like they’re going out of style and shooting at them. The moments for stolen kisses are stolen moments.

But I fell in love with Jena and Cole, separately and together. Sometimes it takes a really damaged soul to recognize another soul in danger, and together they can lift each other out of their respective dark places.

They just need to take their time.

So in BLACK DIAMOND, Cole and Jena are on a slow burn toward an HEA by the time the book ends, but it took some maneuvering.

How do you feel about instalove? There’s a lot of it in contemporaries these days—do you love an immediate bond or enjoy the slow build?

Jill: It’s hard for me to buy instalove in any romance subgenre besides paranormal because the only basis for it is physical attraction, which is a fantastic start but I always want couples in a romance to develop deep connections and have more grounded, complex reasons for loving each other. Initial, intense infatuation is fine — even fun — but I always hope the characters will evolve beyond it.

romantic suspense, Susannah SandlinMore about Black Diamond

For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.

The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

Amazon     BN    Book Depository    Books-a-Million    Indie Bound

Book 1, Wild Man’s Curse, is now on sale for 1.99 for the Kindle

More about Susannah

Suzanne Johnson writing as Susannah Sandlin is the author of the award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, including the 2013 Holt Medallion Award-winning Absolution and Omega and Allegiance, which were nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award in 2014 and 2015, respectively. She also wrote The Collectors romantic suspense duology, including Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 2015 Holt Medallion winner and 2015 Booksellers Best Award winner. Her new suspense series Wilds of the Bayou started in 2016 with the release of Wild Man’s Curse and continues with Black Diamond. Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Susannah loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

More about the Giveaway

Susannah is giving away one $50 Amazon gift card and five $10 Amazon gift cards. Click here for the Rafflecopter form. Click here for my complete giveaway rules.

Thank you for guest blogging today, Susannah. Black Diamond sounds great. Love the cover. Best wishes with the tour!

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Susanna Sandlin, Suzanne Johnson, Wild Man's Curse, romantic suspense, Louisiana

Susannah Sandlin: In Praise of the “Possum Cop” (WILD MAN’S CURSE)

My guest today is Susannah Sandlin, a.k.a. Suzanne Johnson, whose romantic suspense WILD MAN’S CURSE releases TODAY!!! Suzanne is one of my online author pals. She has a great blog and her book series always sound intriguing, including this latest one, which is set in the Louisiana bayous. She’s here with more info on her game warden hero, an excerpt from Chapter 1, and a chance to win some amazing tour-wide prizes (5 $10 Amazon eGCs and 1 $50 Amazon eGC). (The winner of my March newsletter is also listed below). Welcome, Suzanne!

Susanna Sandlin, Suzanne Johnson, Wild Man's Curse, romantic suspense, Louisiana

“Dangerous jobs call for a special kind of alpha”

Okay, let’s get this out of the way early. Wildlife agents are the stuff of great romantic heroes. People might want to call them “possum cops” or the old-fashioned “game wardens,” but I’m here to tell you that they have dangerous jobs that call for a special kind of alpha. And it’s pretty damned sexy.

Don’t believe me? Talk to the hero of my new novel WILD MAN’S CURSE, Gentry Broussard. It’s the first in a new series, Wilds of the Bayou, that follows a team of wildlife agents as they work and find love in the far corners of rural Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Terrebonne is the second-largest parish (county) in the state, and is more than 50 percent water, with an inhospitable climate and a big-hearted, but stubborn, people, most of whom are well acquainted with a shotgun.

How did I settle on wildlife agents for my new romantic suspense series? It’s been brewing for quite a while.

Not being a fishing or hunting (or even hiking or nature-trail) type myself, I didn’t even have the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on my radar until about ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and I fled at the last second to what turned into an unplanned 62-day exile.

I watched TV coverage of my decimated hometown with millions of others, reacting in sorrow and disbelief and eventually anger over the squabbling between the state and federal officials over whose jurisdiction it was to do what and when. Meanwhile, people were dying.

Except those who were saved by the real first-responders. Some were other Louisianans who didn’t ask permission; they just rode in on their boats and started plucking people out of harm’s way. Joining them were Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents. I don’t know how they got in so fast and managed to bypass the red tape, but they arrived in an army of boats, got things organized, and got to work while the governor and feds were still finger-pointing.

At that time, I’d never even thought of writing novels. But fast-forward a decade and last summer, as I watched the Katrina 10th-anniversary coverage, I thought again about Louisiana’s “game wardens,” as they used to be called. I started to do a little research on them and realized these were men and women of hero status. They needed a series.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the course of writing WILD MAN’S CURSE:

Wildlife agents in Louisiana receive paramilitary-style training that’s among the toughest to be found anywhere, and quite a few agents come from military backgrounds. They’re fully-empowered law enforcement officers (yes, they can even arrest you for speeding). And if they’re part of the enforcement division, like the team in my series, they have additional rounds of training to be able to work in harsh environments (in snake-infested water in a hundred-degree swamp, for example), enforce state laws, and take part in homeland security missions. Probably because of their extensive training, they prefer to be called “wildlife agents” to “game wardens.” Their most dangerous encounters are with two-legged wildlife.

Since Katrina, LDWF enforcement agents have become Louisiana’s official first-responders in water search and rescue. Because agents came under gunfire while helping evacuate stranded citizens after Katrina (something that brings shame to this New Orleanian, at least), officers are now equipped with high-powered, long-range rifles in addition to their standard Sig Sauer .45s. (I have been most sternly informed that they do not use the term “assault rifles” because they don’t assault anyone. LOL.)

Agents rarely (and I suspect this is true of other law enforcement agencies as well) use their official radios other than for the most brief and banal communication. They use cell phones. On the part of wildlife agents, poachers and other illegal hunters had taken to monitoring the radios and making sure that wherever the agents were, the wrongdoers were somewhere else. Wily poachers.

Because of the type of terrain they have to cover and the conditions in which they have to work, agents are equipped with all kinds of “big-boy toys.” They drive black extended-cab AWD pickups, but also have different types of boats and all-terrain vehicles. They’re also heavily armed—because most of the hunters, fishermen, and rural dwellers with which they deal are also heavily armed. Plus, in a large rural parish, they’re the ones most likely to be chasing a poacher and stumble across somebody doing something much, much more dangerous.

Finally, sadly for my hero Gentry, male agents (well, I guess female agents too) aren’t allowed to have facial hair. I’m not sure what the rationale is, but Gentry sure did grumble when I made him shave off that sexy stubble!

So that’s the scoop on Wildlife-Agents-as-Romantic-Heroes. Don’t you want one of your very own? What’s your theory on the no facial hair? Clean shaven=more professional? Safety issue?

Excerpt from WILD MAN’S CURSE, Chapter 1

The bones said death was comin’, and the bones never lied.

Eva Savoie leaned back in the rocking chair and pushed it into motion on the uneven wide-plank floor of the one-room cabin. Her grandpere Julien had built the place more than a century ago, pulling heavy cypress logs from the bayou and sawing them, one by one, into the thick planks she still walked across every day.

She had never known Julien Savoie, but she knew of him. The curse that had stalked her family for three generations had started with her grandfather and what he’d done all those years ago.

What he’d brought with him to Whiskey Bayou with blood on his hands.

What had driven her daddy to shoot her mama, and then himself, before either turned forty-five.

What had led Eva’s brother Antoine to drown in the bayou only a half-mile from this cabin, leaving a wife and infant son behind.

What stalked Eva now.

The bones said death was coming and, once Eva was gone, the curse should go with her. No one else knew the secrets of Julien Savoie and this cabin and that box full of sin he’d dug out of the bayou mud back in Isle de Jean Charles.

Might take a while, but sin catches up with you. Always had. Always would. And the curse had driven Eva to sin. Oh yes, she had sinned.

She’d known her reckoning would catch up with her, although it had taken a good long time. She’d turned seventy-eight yesterday, or was it eighty? She couldn’t remember for sure, and the bones said it didn’t matter now.

On the scarred wooden table before Eva sat three burning candles that filled the room with the soft, soothing glow of melting tallow. She’d made them herself, infusing them with the oil of the fragrant lilies that every spring spread a bright green carpet over the lazy, brown water of the bayou. The tools of her ritual sat on an ancient square of tanned hide passed down through generations of holy ones, of those blessed by the gods with the ability to throw the bones.

A small mound of delicate chicken bones, yellowed and fragile from age, lay inside the circle of light cast by the candles. Daylight would come in an hour or so, but Eva didn’t expect to last that long. Death was even now making his way toward her.

She leaned forward, wincing at the stab of pain in her lower back. Since the first throw of the bones had whispered her fate two days ago, she’d been cleaning. Scrubbed the floor, worn smooth by decades of bare feet. Washed the linens, folding them in neat piles in a drawer at the bottom of the old pie safe. Discarded most of the food in the little refrigerator that sat in the corner. Dragged the bag of trash down the long, overgrown drive past LeRoy’s old 1970 Chevy pickup that she still drove up to Houma for groceries and such once a month. Left the white bag at the side of the parish road for the weekly trash collection.

She’d spit on LeRoy’s truck as she passed it because she couldn’t spit on the man who bought it. He was long gone.

Now the cleaning had been finished. Whoever discovered her raggedy old body wouldn’t find a mess, not in Eva Savoie’s house.

A few minutes ago, with the old cabin as clean as she was capable of making it, she’d thrown the bones one last time. Part of her hoped they’d read different, hoped she’d be granted a few more days of grace.

But the bones still whispered death. Eva accepted it, and she sat, and she waited. At least the girl, Celestine, would inherit a cleaned-up house. The girl, Antoine’s granddaughter, knew nothing of the secrets, nothing of the curse. Eva had made sure of that….

Eva waited for her heart to fail—that seemed to be her most likely way to go. As she rocked she noted each steady beat, biding her time for the instant when the thump-thump-thump would falter and her breath would catch, then stop. She reckoned it would hurt a little, but what if it did? The curse had doled out worse ends to those who came before her.

She’d doled out worse herself.

The buzz of a boat’s motor sounded from outside the cabin, faint but growing louder. Wardens on patrol already, most likely.

The boat’s engine grew louder, finally coming to an abrupt stop so near, it had to be right outside her door. Silence filled the room once again, until through her bones she felt the thud of someone jumping onto the porch that wrapped around the cabin. The porch formed the platform on which the house sat, linking it to the spit of land behind it when the water was normal. When storms blew through, it provided an island on which the cabin could sit or, if need be, float.

As heavy footfalls crossed the porch, Eva struggled to her feet. Every pop and crackle of her joints knifed streaks of pain through her limbs as they protested the cleaning they’d done, followed by the sitting.

Prob’ly a game warden, checkin’ on her. Too bad he hadn’t stopped a little later, after she was gone. She didn’t like to think of her body having to bake in the hot cabin for days before anyone found her.

But the curse was what it was, and the bones said what they said.

The knock, when it came, was soft, and Eva reached the door with the help of a sturdy cane she’d carved herself. Opening the door, she squinted into the glare of a flashlight that seemed almost blinding after the soft light of the candles. She peered up at a young man with eyes that gleamed from beneath the hood of a jacket. He was not a game warden, and it was too hot for a jacket.

“Who are you?” Her voice cracked. She knew who he was. He was Death.

“The devil come to pay you a visit, Eva.” The man’s voice was smooth as silk, smooth as a lie, smooth as death itself. “And you know what the devil wants.”

She knew what he wanted, and she knew the only way to end the curse was to deny him.

She’d been granted no easy passing by the Savoie curse after all, but she would die today.

The bones never lied.

Susanna Sandlin, Suzanne Johnson, Wild Man's Curse, romantic suspense, Louisiana
Copyright Sellingpix c/o DepositPhotos.com

More about WILD MAN’S CURSE

While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.

With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate?

Or will an old family curse finally have its way?

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Susanna Sandlin, Suzanne Johnson, Wild Man's Curse, romantic suspense, Louisiana

More about Susannah

Susannah Sandlin is the author of the award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, including the 2013 Holt Medallion Award-winning Absolution and Omega and Allegiance, which were nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award in 2014 and 2015, respectively. She also writers The Collectors romantic suspense series, including Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 2015 Holt Medallion winner and 2015 Booksellers Best Award winner. Her new series Wilds of the Bayou starts in 2016 with the April 5 release of Wild Man’s Curse. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, Susannah is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Susannah loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

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More about Susannah’s Giveaway

Susannah is giving away one $50 Amazon eGC and 5 $10 Amazon eGCs. To enter, click here for the Rafflecopter form. For Jill’s complete giveaway rules, click here. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

Jill’s Quarterly Newsletter Winner

MARTINA R. won my March giveaway (Fireball Laser Cut Wood Earrings or a $10 eGC to Book Depository). Martina, I’ll be in touch! Everyone else, THANK YOU for subscribing! The next newsletter will likely be a bonus one with some background info on the cover for POCKET FULL OF TINDER. Interested in subscribing? Sign up here.

Congrats, Suzanne, on the release of WILD MAN’S CURSE! Thank you for guest blogging today!

Five Photographs: Suzanne Johnson (Boeuf Gras, Pirate’s Alley, and a Terrific #Giveaway)

Today’s guest is Suzanne Johnson, author of the recently released PIRATE’S ALLEY, the fourth book in her Sentinels of New Orleans series. She’s been a guest blogger here at least a few times (more if you count her alter ego Susannah Sandlin) so when I heard she was doing a BBT tour to promote Pirate’s Alley, I signed up. We discussed several fun topics, all of which I would have been happy to hear her thoughts on, but in the end she said she wanted to do a “Five Photographs” post. (For anyone new here today, I’m doing a photo themed guest blog series this spring. It features a bunch of writers who write romantic, otherworldly/supernatural tales. They submit five photos and answer seven questions.) As part of Suzanne’s tour, she’s giving away one $50 Amazon eGC and two $15 Amazon eGCs. Details below. Welcome, Suzanne!

Something that represents something unique about you

Suzanne Johnson ADD Collector

I will call this “The ADD Collector.” I get on obsessive collecting kicks and then, just as obsessively, grow tired of it. Represented here are some previous collecting frenzies: a piece of Early American Pattern Glass with animal motifs, some early 1960s glassware with Greek characters that was given out at Texaco stations with a fillup, a mask and, from my current collecting binges, a wooden cigar box, an alligator, and some Mardi Gras throws. You could also add dolls and Fenton colonial blue thumbprint glass to this list. And music. And…

Something about where you live

Suzanne Johnson boef gras

Meet two version of “Boeuf Gras,” the plush version thrown from the Mardi Gras float and the “special” version acquired for me by a friend from a member of the Krewe of Rex, the original oldest Mardi Gras krewe. Boeuf Gras is my favorite Mardi Gras float—it’s a huge white bull the size of an eighteen-wheeler that’s a signature float in the Rex parade. But it also represents my current home city of Auburn, Alabama, where there are a lot of cattle and, at the university, a big meat sciences program. Alabama fans who hate Auburn call it “the cow college.” Them’s fightin’ words ’round here.

Something or someone you care about

Suzanne Johnson Shane and Tanker

I debated whether or not to use this photo. It feels a little like cheating, but these are the loves of my life, Shane (the Irish terrier mix) and Tanker (part black chow-chow, part golden retriever). Both of them were rescues I adopted in 2000. I lost Shane at age 16 about six months ago and Tanker, also at age 16, three weeks ago. I will have another dog eventually, but it’s still too raw and hurts too much.

[Jill: That’s rough losing them so close together. I’m so sorry. When you’re ready, I hope you find another dog. He or she will be different — I’m sure neither Shane nor Tanker can be replaced — but I’m equally sure the new dog will bring you just as much joy.]

Something that frustrates you

Suzanne Johnson Fiji House

The FIJI House. I thought about taking a shot of pollen on my car, or my office building where I spend my day job. But, in the end, I chose the Auburn University Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, aka the FIJI house. I’m sure they’re lovely kids, but the house sits just outside my office window and they’re always yelling and playing annoying music at full blast and hammering on some secret project in their courtyard. I have to work with earbuds stuffed in my ears.

[Jill: Ah, this one made me laugh. 😀]

Something that brings you joy

Suzanne Johnson art stuff

Um…remember all those collections? This isn’t exactly a collection, but it’s one corner of my sprawling art space, where I dabble in paint and have copious amounts of art supplies. There’s also a 20-drawer cabinet, two multi-level rolling carts, and three bookcase shelves full. It’s a sickness…but it makes me happy. That’s my happy space.

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the preternatural world.” An unexpected interspecies pregnancy has the preternatural world on the brink of war, with DJ, New Orleans’ wizard sentinel, caught squarely in the middle—and who she sides with won’t be an easy decision.

What are you working on next?

WILD MAN’S BLUFF, the first book in a new suspense series (written as Susannah Sandlin) about a Louisiana game warden caught up in the case of a murdered voodoo priestess, a long-buried secret, and a woman who’s about to learned that you can take the Cajun girl out of Louisiana but the swamps stay deep within the heart.

What are you currently reading?

Better sit down, or the excitement might do you in: Game Warden: On Patrol in Louisiana, by Jerald Horst. LOL. Gotta do my research!

 What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Currently, I watch NCIS: New Orleans, The Amazing Race, Chicago Fire, and Cutthroat Kitchen, of which I’ve never missed an episode. I DVR the shows and watch them in 20-minute spurts. My attention span is the size of a gnat, which I blame on my iPhone and too many years of General Hospital.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

I still wish I’d thought to animate a dinosaur. Jim Butcher did that in one of the Dresden books, and Harry Dresden rode the dinosaur skeleton from the Field Museum down the middle of Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. It was freaking brilliant.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Discoverability, without a doubt. The downside to authors having so many publishing options these days (which is great) is that it’s harder than ever for an author to find readers. The number of books released in the U.S. was about 300,000 in 2005; in 2009 it had grown to more than 1 million; in 2012, more than 2 million—including more than 500,000 self-published titles PER YEAR. That means a ton of authors and a lot of good books are getting lost in the noise while everyone (authors and publishers) are scrambling around, trying to figure out how to be “discovered” in that crowd. Meanwhile, the number of readers has not grown proportionately.

[Jill: that’s an insane number of books!]

 How can we meet that challenge?

I honestly don’t know. If I did, I’d be a very rich woman…or at least be able to give up my day job! 🙂 The same thing doesn’t work for every book or every author and technology is in constant flux. We’re all trying to figure it out.

[Jill: too true. The thing that keeps me from going batshit crazy is remembering that the majority of those 2 million+ books are not in my wheelhouse — either as a writer or as a reader.]

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's AlleyMore About Pirate’s Alley

From award-winning author Suzanne Johnson comes the fourth book in the smart and sexy Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal. Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back.

And that’s before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest “death,” returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ’s assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won’t be that easy.

Available at   Amazon   BN   Book Depository

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.

More About the Giveaway

Suzanne is giving away one $50 Amazon eGift Certificate and two $15 Amazon eGift Certificates as part of her Bewitching Book Tour. To enter to win, click here for the Rafflecopter link. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's Alley Banner

~

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your pictures, thoughts, and great giveaway with us!

#Writing #Workshops for February

Below are the online workshops being offered in February by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

Monster Revision:

From “Draft Zero” to “Done”

02/02/2015 – 03/01/2015

Learn the steps of a two-pass “monster revision” method that will take your shambling, shuffling zombie of a manuscript and make it sparkle like a teenage vampire in sunlight. (Well, you know what I mean.) This is a hands-on workshop; be prepared to dig deep and get those manuscripts ready to submit! Participants can work on their own WIPs, or can use one of their completed manuscripts. Don’t have one finished? Use the methods to “deconstruct” a favorite novel off your keeper shelf. We’ll look at ways to spot plot holes and inconsistencies, construct a timeline, examine pacing, and then take it deep to make sure the whole manuscript shines. Each workshop participant will receive individual feedback through a series of weekly assignments.

About the Presenter, Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books, with book four, Pirate’s Alley, releasing in April 2015. Under the name Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series for Montlake Romance. A longtime New Orleanian now living in bucolic Auburn, Alabama, she has a fondness for SEC football, Cajun accents, and redneck reality shows. In her “spare time” (laughs manically) she does multi-media art and collects alligators…as long as they’re not breathing.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Click here to register for this workshop.

Water Beasties Through the Seven Seas

02/02/2015 – 02/15/2015

Our planet’s been explored pretty thoroughly since mankind’s been around, from the top of Mt. Everest all the way down to…okay, not so much the seven seas. Every time we turn around, we hear about sea life thought to have been extinct for tens of thousands of years being caught by a fisherman right here in the present day, and even fish not thought to ever having been native to the area it was caught. The oceans are the final undiscovered country of Earth, and they’ve been feared and respected in perhaps equal parts as long as mankind has been around, spinning tales around what dwells down below. From the sinister kappa that wait in the rivers to attack the unsuspecting human in Japan to the water ghosts of the Nordic countries, join Eilis Flynn and Jacquie Rogers as they take a trip around the world in a glass-bottomed boat and see what awaits under the sea if you dare.

About the Presenters, Elizabeth Flynn and Jacquie Rogers

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com. With Jacquie Rogers, she’s explored the myths and legends around the world, including faeries and dragons and vampires and werewolves and ghosts, and more!

Jacquie Rogers’ first burning desire was to be a baseball announcer, but that didn’t work out so she decided to write romance novels. She has several novels out, the latest of which is the third in the Much Ado western romance series, Much Ado About Miners. Faery Merry Christmas is her latest fantasy release. She also writes nonfiction with Ann Charles, including Nail It! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer’s Platform, and Growing Your Audience. Jacquie is owner of Romancing The West, a popular western blog, and teaches online classes on various writing topics.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Click here to register for this workshop.

Plant Magic in England during the Dark Ages

2/16/2015 – 3/2/2015

Fantasy writers, this workshop is for you. MM Pollard will bring enchanted England to you through her lively lectures on Plant Magic.

MM uses information on Celts and Anglo-Saxons as the basis for this workshop because these people believed magic could be found in common plants and trees.

At the end of the workshop, MM hopes students will feel the same sense of the magical world around them that the Celts and Anglo-Saxons experienced more than a millennium ago. With the knowledge her students will gain in this workshop, they will be able to add touches of the magical to their fantasy characters and worlds.

About the Presenter, MM Pollard

MM Pollard puts her teaching skills as English teacher extraordinaire and her experience as editor with Black Velvet Seductions to good use in presenting workshops for writers. She has helped many writers improve their language and writing skills through her fun workshops sponsored by Savvy Authors, Writers Online Classes, many RWA chapters, and in her own virtual classroom. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Click here to register for this workshop.

Happy New Year: #Writing #Workshops for January

Below are the online workshops being offered in January by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

POV: Going Deep and Staying Put – An Interactive Workshop

01/05/2015 – 01/25/2015

It doesn’t matter if you write first-person narrative or third-person with multiple viewpoint characters—getting deep inside a POV character’s head is the key to writing stories that grab readers by the ba…uh…heartstrings, no matter what genre you’re writing. In this workshop, each participant will have a chance to examine the genre expectations of POV, look at the pros and cons of each POV technique, and then take his or her own work-in-progress, a finished work, or a favorite published work and deconstruct it to take the POV deep and keep it there. Each workshop participant will receive individual feedback through a series of weekly assignments.

About the Presenter, Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books, with book four, Pirate’s Alley, releasing in April 2015. Under the name Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series for Montlake Romance. A longtime New Orleanian now living in bucolic Auburn, Alabama, she has a fondness for SEC football, Cajun accents, and redneck reality shows. In her “spare time” (laughs manically) she does multi-media art and collects alligators…as long as they’re not breathing.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

Creating A Book Launch Plan

01/05/2015 – 02/01/2015

Creating a book launch plan can be stressful no matter how that book is published. During this class, you’ll learn about the many components that can make up a book launch plan—and how to decide which to use. We’ll also share some tools to organize yourself so you can approach your next book release with confidence and a sense of calm.

Goals For The Class:

  • For students to learn what elements to include in a marketing plan to launch their book
  • For students to create a marketing budget for their book launch
  • For students to establish task deadlines when promoting their book
  • For students to gain knowledge and tools to help them create a cohesive marketing plan to launch their book
  • For students to discover trustworthy resources for further research

This class will cover:

  1. Overview of Launching Your Book
  2. Targeting Goals by Creating Action Plans
  3. Tips for Debut Authors (and Reminders for Everyone Else)
  4. Creating Pre-Launch Book Buzz
  5. Tallying Costs and Return on Investment
  6. Social Media as a Promotional Tool
  7. Getting Your Book Reviewed
  8. Tours, Hops, and Guest Posts
  9. Purchasing Paid Advertising and Promotion
  10. Writing Press Releases
  11. Scheduling Release Parties
  12. Book Signings, Live Appearances, Radio & Video
  13. Technical Stuff You’d Rather Not Think About

About the Presenter, Kelli Finger

Kelli Finger is published under her pseudonym Abbey MacInnis and publishes books under her sole-proprietorship publishing company. Kelli recently added a certification in grant writing to her writing experience. A classically-trained vocalist with a Masters of Social Work, Kelli is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has worked for over six years as a Braille proofreader. Having faced the challenges of developing her own self-publishing career, she’s eager to help others save time and understand their many options.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

Suzanne Johnson: The Secret to Staying Young and Sane

My next guest is UF, PNR, and romantic thriller author, Suzanne Johnson. She’s here as part of a guest blog series I’m doing featuring Writers Who Create Other Things. Many of the authors I’ve hosted recently have been jewelry designers, which is really neat. But Suzanne’s other creative talents are in drawing, painting, and mixed-media artwork. Below, she tells us her secret to staying young and sane. She also shares a bit about a new workshop she’s going to be giving next year, “Art Therapy for Writers and Readers,” and she’s giving away a signed original 9×12 mixed-media piece. Leave a comment below to enter to win. (U.S. only due to mailing costs unless Suzanne tells us otherwise in the comments). Welcome, Suzanne!

Be Creative and Play!

“I believe this is a fundamental truth: in order to stay young, in order to stay sane, humans need what I call creative play—call it a hobby or a craft or whatever, but we all need something creative to do that isn’t involved in our livelihoods.”

I’ve worked in journalism since I got out of college, and as I look back over the years, I realize my need for creative play has taken different forms at different times in my life. For a while, I scoured flea markets and resale shops and garage sales for pattern glass. I dabbled in macramé. I quilted. I made jewelry. I tried knitting scarves (accent on “try”).

Five or six years ago, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, just for fun, and then the world tilted on its axis. Life changed pretty quickly as I fell in love with fiction writing, got published, and wrote more novels. Now, even though I maintain a day job, I consider “novelist” my primary occupation, and the past five years have been an absolute whirlwind of change.

So I found it a little strange that last winter, I found myself becoming obsessed with art. I’d done a lot of graphite drawings in high school and my mom painted a bit, but my school was too small to have offered art classes and I didn’t have enough talent or patience to pursue it as an occupation. But last winter, there I was, drawing. I had five novels due within the next thirteen months, the deadlines were mounting, and the day job was in turmoil.  I sure didn’t have time to be drawing pictures.

But I did it anyway, and it helped me write those books (well, the fifth one is almost finished) and survive the day-job chaos and remain relatively sane.

A year and a bulging box of artwork later, I’ve gotten a little perspective on the role art can play in the writing process. It’s tactile, and uses a different part of the brain than the one that’s tied up in knots trying to unravel plot points and figure out why the hero and heroine don’t have any spark.

This has nothing to do with artistic talent. Believe me, I’m no artist, not on any kind of commercial scale (and sometimes, not even on an aesthetic scale—LOL). What’s important is not what kind of art you produce, but about the process of producing it. The creative play. While my art brain is awash in ink and paper and paint, my writing brain can relax and noodle around those plot points without my interference.

(It’s the same process, I think, as why writers often get their best ideas while they’re driving or shopping or in the shower. Our subconscious is able to work interrupted, without us.)

When I began writing for publication, novel-writing was (and is) still fun, but it also became a business. It’s the most enjoyable, creative business in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it’s no longer play.

What I was doing in going back to art, I realized, was seeking a new form of creative play. I can’t claim to have come to this conclusion on my own. I took an online workshop from artist Jane Davenport, who said that when she was a commercial fashion illustrator, art journaling was her play, her hobby. Now that she makes much of her income from art journaling, she’s turned to canvas painting as her hobby because she still needs that creative outlet that isn’t tied to her livelihood. That really zonked me over the head.

Thus, my love of mixed-media art, which after some experimentation, has become my artistic mode of choice. I started 2014 with the intention of spending at least one hour a day making art this year, an hour playing. I knew it was taking time from an already insane schedule, but hoped it would pay off in productivity.

I think it has. And it’s FUN to play!

What do I do with the pieces I create? Right now, I don’t think they’re good enough to sell, but I give them away as gifts. The rest, I bind into journals to remind myself of my own creative journey. I write notes on the back—not just when they were completed or what techniques I used, but also what was fueling my life the days I worked on the piece: a run-in with the boss, the loss of my 16-year-old, beloved dog, worry about a family issue. It’s therapy with a brush and a tube of paint.

Suzanne Johnson Mixed Media Artwork

New Workshop for Writers and Readers

The act of getting messy and stretching new creative muscles has allowed my writing brain to get reinvigorated, stay fresh, and avoid burnout. I’m planning a workshop for authors and readers alike in March, doing mixed-media pieces tied to our works-in-progress or our favorite books. If you’re interested in being on a waiting list for “Art Therapy for Writers and Readers” send me an email at: suzannej3523 at gmail dot com or keep an eye on the Workshops tab of my website.

Till then, keep on playing! Do you have a creative hobby of your own? Leave a comment for one of my signed original 9×12 mixed-media pieces.

The Giveaway

U.S. only due to mailing costs unless Suzanne says otherwise below. To enter to win, leave a comment. Giveaway will be open until midnight EST Monday December 15, 2014. For my complete official giveaway rules, click here.

More About Suzanne

Susannah Sandlin, who also writes as Suzanne Johnson, writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.

Suzanne can be found online here:

More About Suzanne’s latest release: DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD

Deadly Calm and Cold, romantic thriller, crown jewelsFrom award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the second book in The Collectors series (each book reads as a standalone).

How far will ordinary people go to protect their secrets? The Collectors’ games are as much about manipulating lives as finding lost treasure. Everyone is expendable as the ruthless C7 pushes people into gambling with their lives in order to find priceless objects lost to history.

Samantha Crowe’s secrets could ruin her career, while Brody Parker’s could get him killed. They become pawns for two Collectors seeking Bad King John’s crown jewels, which disappeared in rural England back when Robin Hood roamed Nottingham.

This time, however, the Collectors–a ruthless dotcom billionaire and a desperate London detective–might not be playing for the same team, leaving Sam and Brody trapped in the middle.

One thing’s for sure: If either hope to survive, Sam and Brody will have to find a way to overcome their distrust–and their growing attraction–in order to succeed on this winner-take-all treasure hunt.

So how about you all? Any creative hobbies?

Me? Not really, unless you count painting rooms in my house every now and then (which I don’t, although it can be a fun project). I’ll admit though, I’m intrigued by the idea of mixed media artwork. I’ve mentioned previously (not sure if it was here or on Twitter) that I’d love to design/draw maps to go with my stories. And it would be really fun to do dioramas or models for certain settings (buildings, boats, bars…) but for now I’m going to stick with creating worlds out of written words. 🙂

Thank you, Suzanne, for guest blogging today and for sharing your artwork with us!

UF/PNR Author Susannah Sandlin Segues to Romantic Thrillers

Susannah Sandlin (a.k.a. Suzanne Johnson) is here today to discuss her latest release Lovely, Dark, and Deep, which is a romantic thriller. Since she’s best known for her urban fantasy and paranormal romances, Susannah tells us how she shifted gears and used her skills to write action packed scenes minus the monsters. I think her new series sounds great! (But no worries if you’re a fan of her speculative novels… she’s still writing them too). To celebrate her release, she’s doing a tour wide giveaway: 1 $50 Amazon gift card, 2 $10 Amazon gift cards, and 2 Author swag packs (including books). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Welcome, Susannah!

Lovely, Dark, and Deep, Susannah Sandlin, romantic thriller

The thrill of it all, in human terms

by Susannah Sandlin

Paranormal fiction is the butter to my bread, the snap to my crackle and pop, the…well, you get the idea.

A funny thing happened, however, on the way through the writing of my Penton Legacy paranormal romance series (and my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series written as Suzanne Johnson): much to my own surprise, I really enjoy writing high-tension, high-action scenes.

A scene calls for a thunderstorm? I’ll make it a tornado or hurricane. Need a bad guy to torment your characters? I will make them so utterly evil that a father will put his son in a dark room full of hungry rodents…naked. Or wield a branding iron on the heroine. Or…well, you get the idea.

(I’m a nice person. Really, I am. I help old ladies across the street. I rescue puppies and kittens. I…well, you get the idea.)

So when I came up with the idea of a ruthless bunch of billionaires who form a club to compete for the world’s great lost treasures—no matter who got hurt along the way—I committed the literary equivalent of walking out on a limb. Yes, I left the paranormal world behind, at least temporarily, to venture into thriller territory.

The result was Lovely, Dark, and Deep, the first book of The Collectors series. It has romance, evil bad guys with ties to the White House, sunken ships, a sexy ex-Marine who drinks too much, a geeky biologist whose ancestor stole a priceless cross from the Knights Templar, deepwater scuba diving, a crusty old lobster fisherman who believes in aliens, and a dog named Tank.

How did it differ from writing a paranormal thriller like last year’s Storm Force or the Penton vampire series?

Not as much as you might think. Here were the major differences:

–The hero and heroine have to depend on their smarts to get them through situations. In working underwater, for example, they need tanks, fins and masks—no sprouting gills for these characters!
–When the bad guy comes after them with a rifle, they actually have to worry about human emergency rooms and the pesky laws about reporting gunshot wounds to the authorities. No wizards or memory modifications to handle that detail. And they recover as slow as, well, humans.
–They can drink alcohol and actually get drunk. And have hangovers. Oh, wait, so can my shape-shifters.
–They can walk around in sunlight without bursting into flames or sparkling. Oh, wait, so can shifters and most other non-vampiric paranormals.
–No evil, politically motivated vampire rulers or alphas….Oh, wait. I have politicians.

In other words, a paranormal thriller and a regular thriller, I was surprised to discover, aren’t so very different. I miss the “what-if” factor of the paranormal worlds, and they’ll continue to be the bread to my butter. But, I’ve discovered, the alpha-male human and his geeky heroine who’s a bit of a klutz? They can hold their own.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep (The Collectors, Book 1) is currently available for download as a Kindle serial for $1.99 for the whole book. The price will increase to $3.99 after the full serial releases on February 18. The print and audio versions will be available from all online retailers on May 13.

More about Lovely, Dark, and Deep

From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex–combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House.

When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world’s most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives.

To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who’s lost his way, navigating the brutal “death coast” of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templars, stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.

More about Susannah

Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning this month with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, is currently nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine.

You can find Susannah online here:

To enter to win the tour wide giveaway, click here.

Lovely Dark and Deep Banner
Thanks, Susannah, for guest blogging today. Congrats on the release of Lovely, Dark, and Deep and best wishes for The Collectors series!

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway

Bewitching Book Tours organized a holiday giveaway, which includes a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch (or equivalent value Amazon Gift Card), three prize packs full of fun swag, and TONS of ebooks, which are all listed below. I’m not offering an ebook because I currently only do print giveaways, but I did contribute to the big prize and I wanted to let you all know about the giveaway because it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to some new authors… and, of course, possibly win a new Kindle Fire — for yourself or to give as a gift.

Hope everyone is having a great week. I’m in the midst of revisions for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, which are going well. On the horizon? The holidays, finishing up a wonderfully dark and romantic short story I’ve been working on as well as a proposal for a new (totally awesome) series. 😀

Happy Thursday and Good Luck with the Holiday Giveaway!

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway Banner

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway Nov 15- Dec 15

Giveaways:

1 Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch or equivalent value Amazon Gift Card

3 Bewitching Prize Packs full of books and book swag goodies- open to US Shipping- prize packs may contain print copies of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, Would Be Witch by Kimberly Frost and Earth Angel by E Van Lowe, Paranormal Pleasures by Roxanne Rhoads, Tasty Christmas Treats by Roxanne Rhoads- books will be distributed among the 3 prize packs

1  e-book set of the first three books in the Seven Seals Series by Traci Douglass

1 Release, book 3 of The Angler series by Annie Nicholas

1 ebook copy Murder on Mars A New Orleans Mystery by MM Shelley

1 Ebook giveaway Hollow’s End by Marianne Morea

1 Ebook copy of Tigress by JE Taylor

1 ebook copy of In Flames by Jessica Jayne

1 copy of River Road by Suzanne Johnson

1 ebook copy of Visionary- Unleashed by N Dunham

1 copy of each Bleeding Hearts and Blood Rush by Ash Krafton

1 ebook copy of Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book 1) by AD Starrling

1 ebook copy of Blaze Ignites by JL Madore

1  e-book copy of Operation Earth by Maria Hammarblad

1 Earth’s Requiem. Print if in the U.S., an e-copy otherwise.

1 ebook copy Silent Oath (Book 2 of the Locked Within Trilogy) by Paul Anthony Shortt

1 Ebook: Five Golden Rings by Jeffe Kennedy from the Season of Seduction Carina Press erotic holiday anthology

1 eBook: An Unexpected Bride (The Bride Series, Book 1) by Shadonna Richards

1 eCopy of Divine Destiny by Joanna Grace

1 Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

1 Ebook giveaway. “Beautiful Stranger” by Katalina Leon

1 ebook copy of Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

1 ebook copy of Cleaning Up by Jophrael L Avario

1 One e-book copy of Haven by Celia Breslin

1 one e-book copy of Dragon Fire by Dina Von Lowenkraft

1 ebook copy of Hex and the Single Witch by Roxanne Rhoads

1 one kindle copy of Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden

1 One ecopy of Cursed Ever After by AC James

1 copy of The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter by Jillian Stone

1 ecopy of Catwalk:Messiah by Nick Kelly

1 ecopy of Wucaii by Pembroke Sinclair

1 ecopy of The Bottom Line by Shelley Munro

1 Ebook copy of Dangerous Pursuit by Margaret Daly

CLICK HERE FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM.

Happy reading! 😀

Suzanne Johnson on Using the “Creepiest Place Possible” (Six Flags New Orleans) as a Setting for ELYSIAN FIELDS

I first became acquainted with Suzanne Johnson through the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter of RWA, but I also follow her excellent speculative fiction blog, Preternatura, where she hosts great authors, talks shop about the biz of writing and publishing, and shares all sorts of hints and behind-the-scenes extras about her books. She’s here to discuss one of the settings for her recently released urban fantasy, ELYSIAN FIELDS — the flooded and now abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans. She’s doing this post as part of a blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours and she’s giving away some awesome prizes as part of that tour, including an iPad 2. Welcome, Suzanne!Elysian Fields Cover

A Ride with the Krewe of Kreeps

Usually, authors develop settings for particular scenes in their novels and adapt the setting to fit the scene. Every once in a while, that perfect setting comes along that completely dictates the scene.

Welcome to Six Flags New Orleans.

Here’s how Six Flags looked on August 29, 2005, after storm surge from Hurricane Katrina sank the amusement park under anywhere from six to twelve feet of water. With nowhere to drain in this below-sea-level land, the water just sat. And sat.

David J. Phillips/Corbis
David J. Phillips/Corbis

Want to know what Six Flags looks like today? Take the same photo and dry up the water. Don’t repair anything. Don’t clean it up. Add some rust and graffiti. And there you have it, a monument to eternal litigation—and the creepiest place possible in which to set an urban fantasy novel.

I remember when Jazzland, as it was originally known, was being built, wondering why in the world anyone would build a theme park in a city that never exactly catered to the carnival crowd—at least not this kind of carnival. And it was a good thirty- or forty-minute drive outside the French Quarter where most visitors would be staying. Not exactly convenient. Plus, why would you want to visit cute, kitschy, Cajun- and Creole-themed buildings and rides when you could just drive down any street in town and see the real thing?

Anyway, it was no surprise to me that Six Flags New Orleans was never a financial success. But when I began seeing photos of it in 2010, still sitting out there like an amusement park for ghosts and ghouls, I knew I had to use it.

I ended up setting four scenes in Elysian Fields in the abandoned Six Flags, including much of the key climactic scene.

My heroine DJ, a wizard who doesn’t have very good aim with her ancestral elven staff (oh, and the nasty old elves want it back, by the way), has to take lessons in elven magic conducted at Six Flags. Perfect place, right? Plenty of targets to aim at. No people.

During the lessons, she manages to set quite a few things on fire with the staff, including blowing out a chunk of this massive clown head, which looks to be about the size of a VW Beetle. She also burned down several buildings, might have sunk the Jean Lafitte Pirate Ship ride, and collapsed the Krewe of Kreeps haunted tunnel ride—although the last one was intentional.

You know, blame Stephen King but I’ve always found clowns creepy. Mr. Happy here has done nothing to improve that.

Julie Dermansky/Corbis
Julie Dermansky/Corbis

Another couple of key scenes in Six Flags involve the Flying Chairs Carousel, which comes to life in the middle of a driving rainstorm, twirling madly in the downpour, its lights flashing and music fighting to drown out the thunder.

Julie Dermansky/Corbis
Julie Dermansky/Corbis

Doesn’t it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? No?

Me either. But it was a great place to set some scenes. Now, as I begin working on the next book in the series, I keep looking for an equally graphic and memorable place to use as a key setting, and everything has paled in comparison.

What are some of the most memorable settings in books you’ve read? Share your reads, and enter to win the iPad2 or other tour prizes!

Check out Suzanne’s Sentinels of New Orleans book trailer, which has a True Blood vibe to it. (Perfect since RT Book Reviews suggested this series “for readers missing Sookie Stackhouse.”) The books can be purchased here:

More About Elysian Fields

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi. New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans.

Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random–an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard.

Namely, DJ. Fighting off an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench? It could be DJ’s best option.

Elysian Fields Excerpt

By midafternoon, I was out of ideas and full of nervous energy that finally sent me out of doors, catching up on yard work I’d neglected all season, raking the small, crunchy leaves from the live oaks into piles a kid would love to play in.

“Need help?”

I ignored the voice and counted to ten, hoping it would go away. Instead, Quince Randolph knelt next to a tall pyramid of leaves I’d erected and took the lid off the big green trash can he’d brought with him. He began scooping up armfuls and piling them in the can. “You should compost this down. It would make a good mulch for flowerbeds. Plus you need more color in your landscaping.”

“Whatever.” I didn’t know what mulch was, didn’t care enough to ask, and had such a brown thumb that flowers never survived my gardening efforts.

Rand wore a chocolate-brown sweater almost the same color as mine, with jeans in a similar wash. With our comparable shades of long blond hair, we resembled grown-up Bobbsey Twins, except he was prettier. Freddie and Flossie do New Orleans.

“Are you here for any particular reason?”

He squinted up at me against the soft afternoon sunlight. “I just want to get to know you better.”

Uh- huh. “Tell me what you are, and then we’ll know each other better. I’m betting elf or faery.” I was kind of betting elf— it might explain his interest in me although, thankfully, he’d never shown any inclination to plunder my brain.

He grinned. “Go to dinner with me and I might tell you.”

I noted the return of his peridot earrings. Big liar. Super-big cheater. “Where’s Eugenie? You know, your girlfriend?”

A flash of irritation spoiled his perfect features a half second before he answered. “Working. Can we—”

What ever he planned to ask, my answer would be no, but he didn’t get a chance because a clomping noise reached us from the direction of Prytania Street. Rand and I both were stricken speechless at the sight of Jean Lafitte sitting like royalty in the back of a gold and white French Quarter tourist carriage. It was being pulled by a light- gray mule wearing a hat festooned with fake flowers and driven by a smiling guy who had no idea how many daggers his undead pirate passenger had hidden on him.

The ornate carriage rolled to a stop, and the mule flicked an ear at the passing traffic. Those animals pulled tourists around the French Quarter all day, and it would take more than an impatient Toyota driver to rattle one of them. The carriages were also ridiculously expensive if one commissioned a ride outside the Quarter.

Then again, Jean Lafitte was loaded. The driver probably had a reason to smile.

Jean exited the carriage with extraordinary grace for such a large man. He was tall, powerfully built, black-haired, cobalt-eyed, a shameless flirt, and talked with a raspy French accent that made me swoon even though he was technically dead. In other words, I had a bit of a problem with Jean Lafitte and my own common sense being present at the same time.

Jean said a few words to the carriage driver, then turned to prop his hands on his hips in a broad pirate-like stance, giving Rand a disapproving visual once-over. The mule backed up a few awkward steps before pulling the carriage into my driveway.

God help me, I hoped Alex didn’t get home in time to see this. I’d never hear the end of it.

“Do you wish me to rid you of this intruder, Jolie?”

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson

On Aug. 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Four years later, she began weaving her experiences and love for her city into the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, beginning with Royal Street (2012), continuing with River Road (2012), and now with Elysian Fields (August 2013).

She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years—which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

She can be found online at her website or her daily blog, Preternatura. As Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series and the recent standalone, Storm Force.

Suzanne is giving away the following tour-wide prizes:

  • 1 iPad 2 open internationally
  • 5 -$20 gift cards to winners’ online retailer of choice open internationally

Click here for the Rafflecopter link. Thanks for guest blogging today, Suzanne!

Elysian Fields Banner

Urban Fantasy Author Suzanne Johnson on Holidays for Paranormals

Suzanne Johnson is an urban fantasy author who writes for Tor. She also has a terrific urban fantasy blog, Preternatura, where she discusses speculative fiction books, writing, and (in her latest Shop Talk series) publishing. She’s here today to talk about holidays in paranormal stories and to share a bit about her books Royal Street and River Road. She poses some fun questions about the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Anita Blake, and Cat and Bones. And she’s giving away some cool prizes. Details at the end of the post! Welcome, Suzanne!

urban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, Royal Streeturban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, River RoadIn my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays

We’ve been going through a lot of holidays the last few months—Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter….

As an author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as an avid paranormal-fiction reader, I’m always interested in how (or if) holidays are treated in our favorite books.

Do the Black Dagger guys paint Easter eggs for baby Nalla? (I totally want to read that!) Does Anita Blake sit down with her 2,375 men for Thanksgiving dinner and, uh, “dessert”? Do Cat and Bones hang up Christmas stockings and fill them with silver bullets and knives?

Usually, we ignore the holidays in our books, or brush past them. But in my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays. Because nobody does a holiday like my favorite city. (I mean, have you heard of Naked Bike Ride Day? And did you know there was a PARADE for that? I’m still having nightmares.)

In River Road, everyone’s hunkiest shapeshifter Alex Warin decides to throw a combination Halloween party/housewarming, complete with costumes. Against her better judgment, DJ lets her loup-garou friend Jake talk her into going as Red Riding Hood to his Big Bad Wolf. The undead pirate Jean Lafitte was ready to go as himself, until he learned it was Alex’s party and he wasn’t invited. (Bah to “le petit chien.”) DJ’s friend Eugenie and her creepy, mysterious boyfriend Quince Randolph went as hippies, complete with tie-dyed clothes and Grateful Dead tunes.

In Elysian Fields (coming in August), the story picks up a couple of weeks after the end of River Road, so we get to contend with Thanksgiving. Normally, DJ might be dragged to Picayune, Mississippi, to eat turkey with Alex and Jake’s families, but things are kind of strained on that front by the time Thanksgiving arrives. DJ can’t cook, unless you count reheating pizza. So she’s made plans to spend the holiday hanging out alone in Jean Lafitte’s hotel room at the Monteleone, eating doberge cake and charging movies to his room account (he’s out of town, too). Of course plans have a way of changing…

Now I’m turning my mind toward Christmas, and what kind of chaos and shenanigans my characters could get into. I mean, the Elves are now a major species in the series, so perhaps they could help Santa…unless Santa himself is an Elf. And then there’s Twelfth Night, and Mardi Gras, Lundi Gras, and Mardi Gras…And somewhere in there, I think I need to work in Naked Bike Ride Day…

Have you found a “paranormal” holiday that you enjoyed? Leave a comment to win a copy of either Royal Street or River Road (your choice), or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” T-shirt!

More About Royal Street

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.

Where to buy

More About River Road

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Where to buy

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Where to find Suzanne online

River Road and Royal Street Button April May 300 x 225

So, everyone, let us know what holidays you’ve enjoyed reading about. Prizes are your choice of either Royal Street or River Road or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” t-shirt — love it! 😀 Suzanne, thank you for guest blogging today!

I’m at Preternatura Today

Suzanne Johnson interviewed me and posted it over at Preternatura today. I talk about favorite books, authors, books that changed my life — and the book I faked reading. Of course, I also share a bit about Dark Light of Day.

Speaking of DLOD, its release is less than a month away and I’m gearing up for a blog tour. I’ll be posting teaser posts here from time to time about what else and where else I’ll be blogging. I know some people don’t particularly care for teaser posts, but I can’t very well post the content I give to someone else here too, can I? 🙂 And I’m hoping you all might help me get the word out.

There will be giveaways during the tour — and hopefully the topics will be interesting. A few of you said you would like to see more posts about my writing process. The upcoming blog tour posts should give you what you asked for. Posts will focus on characters, settings, inspirations, writing first drafts, and more!

As always, THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your continued interest and support!