Suzanne Johnson is one of my favorite guests to have here on Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust. I know if we were meeting in person we could pass the time drinking Sazerac cocktails and eating some fabulous NOLA food (there’s no unfabulous food in New Orleans).
Suzanne always writes up something funny for us. I know the book is a smash hit because I was the first beta reader!
Bring on the Faeries!
What’s New in the Sentinels World
by Suzanne Johnson
In writing a multiverse series like the Sentinels of New Orleans—where there are many species of preternatural critters living in disharmony—I’ve tried to spread the world out slowly. In the first book, we met the wizards, shifters, and “historical undead,” famous humans like the 19th-century pirate Jean Lafitte who gain immortality through the magic of human memory.
Book two introduced the water species, including nymphs and my own South Louisiana brand of merfolk. In book three, we met the vampires and elves. Let’s just say neither of those species raise feelings of romance in our heroine DJ, even though she inadvertently ended up sort of married to the world’s most annoying elf.
Now, finally, in PIRATE’S ALLEY, we get our first glimpse at the other major species of this world, the fae, and meet some other major players in the simmering preternatural power struggles.
Creating the power structure and magical traits of each species has been fun, and finding my own spin on the world of the fae has been no different. For me as an author, the key in creating each species is taking the traditional mythology of the creatures, twisting it a hard turn to the left, and adding some Cajun spice.
With the fae, that means there are some things you’d expect. There’s a kingdom of Faerie, ruled by a tiered monarchy with a queen, two princes, and a host of minor royalty. They are tricksters and have their own magical glamour. They can obfuscate, but not tell an outright lie.
So far, so good.
Are the fae good? Or are they evil?
Much like the elves in the Sentinels world, the fae are morally ambiguous—they are neither good nor bad, but a bit of both. They think differently. What we might find outrageous might seem normal to them. What we think normal might constitute a killing offense.
To complicate matters (because we must, right?), in PIRATE’S ALLEY, we learn that Faerie is on the verge of civil war. The queen, Sabine, is very old and childless. Her nephews, Florian, the Prince of Summer, and Christof, the Prince of Winter, are in a thinly veiled battle to become her heir to the throne.
This is complicated by the fact that Florian might not be sane, and Sabine might be less sane. The jury’s still out on Christof.
We’ll learn a lot more about the types of fae magic in the next book in the series, BELLE CHASSE, but faery magic begins to impact the preternatural power struggle in New Orleans from the outset of the story.
What else does PIRATE’S ALLEY add to the Sentinels world?
* A new player among the historical undead. The flamboyantly undead Truman Capote becomes an unlikely star witness in a trial to determine whether or not the pirate Jean Lafitte committed arson.
* Relatives. As in, DJ has some she didn’t know about. Since she didn’t know Gerry St. Simon was her father until shortly before his death (yeah, if you haven’t read book one in the series, I just saved you the trouble), she had no idea he had an estranged brother. Lennox St. Simon and his daughter, DJ’s cousin Audrey, don’t play much of a role in this book, but make note of them. They become players.
* Pending parenthood. Yep, someone has a bun in the oven and it isn’t DJ; it’s her BFF Eugenie. Which means DJ’s non-husband, Quince Randolph, is gonna be a daddy. If you think THAT little issue doesn’t have broad-reaching implications in the preternatural world, think again. I’m sure it will surprise longtime series readers that Rand doesn’t play nicely.
* Snow. Lots and lots of snow. (Which brings the question of why, on the book cover, might DJ be stuck in a tree in the middle of December wearing a tank top? I have no answer for that.) Jean Lafitte throws a snowball at Andrew Jackson, Alex has to navigate through the city following the overhead streetcar lines because snow’s covering the street too deeply to see the curbs, and the elves have an unexpected reaction to cold weather—and so does DJ.
In other words, if you thought DJ’s life was going to calm down after the crazy of Elysian Fields? In the words of our favorite pirate, “Mais non, Jolie.”
Here’s a bit about the new book!
Sentinels of New Orleans Book 4
by Suzanne Johnson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books | Date of Publication: April 21, 2015
ISBN: 978-0765376978 | ASIN: B00O0FZQS2
Number of pages: 352 | Word Count: 96,000
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.
DJ, are you awake?
Freaking elf. “Go home, Rand.”
I am home. Where are you?
I frowned and burrowed my face into the soft down pillow. Which wasn’t my pillow.
Holy crap. What had happened?
I sat up and took in several observations at once, none of which made sense and all of which sent my heart rate jack-rabbiting hard enough to send my blood pressure into the ozone.
First, I was lying beneath a heavy bedspread woven in a rich blue-and-cream print. The bed was an elaborate confection made to look like an antique half-tester, and a brass chandelier hung overhead.
I recognized the Hotel Monteleone. I recognized Jean Lafitte’s bedroom in the posh Eudora Welty Suite in the Monteleone. I didn’t have a clue as to how I got here.
Second, I wore only underwear. My clothes were thrown across a chair in the corner. I had no recollection of removing them.
Third, the pillow next to mine still held the clear indentation of a head, and there was water running behind the closed bathroom door.
What in God’s name had I done?
Rand! Where are you? So help me, if that elf was behind this, I’d splay him open like a catfish and watch his guts fall on the floor. Then I’d batter and deep-fry him.
God, Dru. Stop shrieking like an elven shrew. I think you got too cold and went into a survival state.
Survival state? Then I remembered, and shame joined panic. I had gone into hibernation like a bear, right out on Royal Street in front of God and everyone. Quince Randolph, you sonofabitch! Why didn’t you warn me that would happen?
Stop yelling. How did I know you’d be stupid enough to go traipsing through the snow to the point of unconsciousness? I can tell you’re in the Quarter, but where are you?
Catch you later.
I slammed shut every mental door I could imagine and then troweled imaginary caulk in any imaginary cracks around said doors. I was vaguely aware that, off in the distance of my mental stronghold, Rand was yelling at me.
Had Jean hauled me back to the hotel like a sack of pommes de terres? How had he explained a hibernating blonde to the hotel management? At least my dark blue underwear matched. Had he taken advantage of me? No, it wasn’t his style. Which meant I’d consented.
Alex was going to kill me if I didn’t kill myself first. I wasn’t sure hibernation-brain was an adequate defense.
The bathroom doorknob rattled and I dove under the covers, even though I realized it was like closing the barn door after the half-naked cows had escaped.
From my hiding spot, I heard the door open and footsteps cross from tile to carpet before stopping with a rustle of fabric. “Hey, babe. You finally back from the dead? Whatcha doin’ under there?”
“Rene?” I poked my head out and frowned at my buddy the merman, fully dressed in jeans and a Saints sweatshirt. His feet were bare, and he walked around the bed and climbed in as if either one of us belonged here, much less at the same time.
“What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Who undressed me? Where’s Jean?” And, as an afterthought, “Why are we in bed?”
Now that I realize I hadn’t acted like my licentious great-aunt Dru and slept with the pirate, I transferred my anger to the proper place and it wasn’t to myself. I’d kill that sneaky Frenchman if he weren’t immortal.
Rene was not immortal, however, and he was within reach. “You better start talking, fish boy.”
“Aiyeeee.” Rene cackled like the Cajun he was, and fluffed the pillow behind his head. “I told Jean you’d be spittin’ mad. Nothing happened, babe. Your clothes were wet and I was just trying to keep you warm. I’m a shifter, you know. We run hot.”
“Oh, do you now.”
That made him laugh harder.
I threw off the covers and stomped over to my clothes. He’d seen whatever I had and I knew he didn’t want it, so there was no point in hiding. I picked up three soggy layers of T-shirts and sweaters, and cords so wet they weighed about ten pounds.
My breath hitched. The staff; I’d lost the staff. I whirled to Rene, who sat propped against the lush draped fabric that covered the headboard, watching me with a grin. “Where’s my bag?”
“In the living room. Everything’s there, babe, even your magic stick. Jean, he took care of you.”
Yeah, I just bet he did. It was hard to argue effectively in underwear I’d intended only Alex Warin to see, so I went into the living room, dug my room key out of my messenger bag, and stuck my head out the door, looking up and down the hallway.
“I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere,” I yelled at Rene, and made a run for it, jamming the keycard into my door lock and slipping inside before I was spotted. If hotel cameras caught my mad dash on security footage, well, I’m sure they’d seen stranger things. This was New Orleans, after all.
About the Author:
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.
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