Welcome to the Urban Fantasy Summer Reading Celebration here at That’s What I’m Talking About!!
original images by marin & papaija2008 at FreeDigitalPhotos.com
banner designed by Jennifer from Books Make Me Happy
The celebration runs from July 1 through July 12, 2013, with guest posts, author and series spotlights and lots and lots of GIVEAWAYS!! In fact, each day there is a new post, there is new giveaway to enter! CLICK HERE for more information.
Today UF author Suzanne Johnson is here to talk about the paranormal citizens from her Sentinels of New Orleans series. In addition, Ms. Johnson is donating a signed copy of your choice of Royal Street or River Road in an author swag bag. Open internationally, details below.
New Orleans’ Population is Growing (and I Don’t Mean Humans)
I’ll say it up front—I love a paranormal multiverse. You know, where there are all kinds of species milling about and creating mayhem usually right under the noses of unsuspecting humans. So when I set out to create the world for my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I considered any species fair game…as long as I gave them a good old New Orleans twist. A little something extra—what we in NOLA call lagniappe.
So in Royal Street, when Hurricane Katrina tore down the metaphysical borders between the human world and the Beyond, where most of the preternaturals lived and played, I opened the floodgates to a hidden world we’ve only begun to plunder.
In Royal Street, in addition to a voodoo god come to life, we were introduced to:
*WIZARDS. The wizards, who mainstream with humans as long as they don’t reveal their powers, are divided into four congresses, depending on what kind of magic they wield. The series heroine, DJ Jaco (short for Drusilla Jane, which she understandably avoids using), is a Green Congress wizard, the geeks of the wizarding world. I like to think of her as Severus Snape with a ponytail and a slightly better attitude. DJ is also a sentinel—sort of a paranormal border guard, keeping the preternatural species (the pretes) in line and off human radar. And as she learns in the book, she also has quite a bit of elf DNA back in the old gene pool, although we don’t meet any elves. Yet.
*SHAPESHIFTERS and WERES. There are true shifters, who can transform at will into an animal—what animal depends on the shifter. This is a hereditary trait that often skips many generations. Shifters are born, not made. Weres are another matter—part virus, part magic. In Royal Street, we meet both a canine shapeshifter and a Louisiana loup-garou, which is a violent, loner breed of werewolf. They’re big, bad-tempered, have no respect for pack rules, and often have to be killed if they leave the Beyond. They’re closely monitored in the human world.
* THE HISTORICAL UNDEAD. These are not undead in the sense of vampires. In fact, they look just as human as the rest of us…except they’re not. These are famous people given immortality in the Beyond by the magic of human memory. So in Old Orleans, the kind of wild-west border town between modern New Orleans and the Beyond, you might see famous New Orleanians such as Marie Laveau, Louis Armstrong, Tennessee Williams, or the infamous early 19th-century pirate Jean Lafitte. Only now that the borders are down, the Historical Undead can just stroll right on into town, which is how Louis Armstrong and Marie Laveau achieve small roles in Royal Street—and how Le Capitaine Jean Lafitte became a major series character. (He’ll live forever because, as he’s quick to point out, he’s quite unforgettable.)
In River Road, the world expanded a bit further. We hear mention of vampires and weregators, and get up close and personal with a few other species:
* MERPEOPLE. Mers are actually aquatic shapeshifters in the Sentinel world. Mermen and merwomen (they don’t much like being called “maids” anymore, being a modern sort of folk) mainstream easily into human society. Most of the mers in Louisiana are descended from the French-speaking Acadians driven from Nova Scotia by the British in the 1700s—today, we call them Cajuns. Our Cajun mers can shift partially into classic half human merfolk form, or they can fully shift into big fish. Really big fish. Ironically, most of them make their living in the busy Louisiana fishing industry. They tend to be kind of prickly, especially where wizards are concerned, and are very fond of fighting, food, and sex.
* NYMPHS. One would think nymphs could mainstream more easily into human society than merfolk, but the nymphs in the Sentinels series have a bit of a problem. They don’t understand why their new escort service in the French Quarter is problematic, for example. I mean, they’ve even added a few satyrs to the payroll to draw in female customers. What’s the problem? Well, the wizards worry that the nymphs will eventually draw unwelcome attention from someone like, say, the vice squad. And the Satyrs’ goat-pupils limit their ability to mingle.
* ELVES. We get our first look at an elf in River Road, albeit a short one (the look, not the elf). We know they have some forms of mental powers, and the member of the Elven Synod that DJ runs into on her dinner date with Jean Lafitte (don’t even ask) just about sucked the brain out of her head with a single touch. We’re starting to suspect that elves are Bad News.
Now, as we get ready for Elysian Fields to come out next month, it’s time to introduce—or further illuminate—our paranormal world. Some things to look for:
* NECROMANTIC WIZARDS. A rare skill among wizards is necromancy, the ability to raise the dead. They can raise zombies, who are basically shambling, uber-strong puppets that do the wizard’s will. But what happens when a necromancer raises a member of the historical undead—himself a sentinel being with a will of his own? And what if this sentient zombielike being happens to have been an infamous serial killer in his human life? Uh-oh.
* ELVES, AGAIN. We’ll really meet the elves in Elysian Fields. Interesting species, elves. They can easily mainstream with humans but have chosen not to do so up until now because they’re incredibly arrogant. But now they know that our girl DJ can do a bit of elven magic and has been claimed by one of the elves’ ancestral staffs. DJ definitely has their attention, and let’s just say one really does not want to capture the elves’ attention. Elves are not exactly bad. They just aren’t exactly good, either.
* VAMPIRES. The vampires have quickly taken advantage of the borders dropping between worlds and the Regent of Vampyre from the Gulf South has already set up a swanky bar, L’Amour Sauvage, in the French Quarter, along with a vampire tour company called Tour Blood. But are the vampires allies of the wizards? Or are they forming their own alliances against the wizards?
As the book winds up, we’ll find some new wrinkles in our magical world that will test the straining alliances. Who knows what species we might meet next?
Do you have a favorite paranormal species? Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of a signed copy of Royal Street or River Road in an author swag bag (which also might feature…books!) Open internationally.
Thank you to Suzanne for stopping by and sharing more about your wonderful Sentinels of New Orleans series. Currently there are two published full-length titles in the series, with the third book due out August 13, 2013.
Reading order (click title for review):
About Elysian Fields
(TOR Books, August 13, 2013)
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.
Combatting 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 could be DJ’s best option.
I have one (1) signed copy of winner’s choice of Royal Street or River Road in an author swag bag (which also might feature…books!), to give away here at That’s What I’m Talking About. Thank you to Suzanne for sponsoring the giveaway. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter form, below, and leave a comment at the end of today’s post answering Suzanne’s question: Do you have a favorite paranormal species? (book, TV, movies, etc.). Winner will be selected randomly from eligible entries. CONTEST IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY, and prize will be mailed by the author. Contest open from July 8, 2013 until June 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT-midnight. I am not responsible for items lost in the mail. If you have problems with the Rafflecopter form, please email me at twimom227 at gmail dot com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
UF Summer Reading Celebration Giveaways:
7/5: Darynda Jones, signed copy of winner’s choice Charley Davidson book
7/3: ML Brennan, signed copy of Generation V
7/2: Jennifer Estep, signed copy of Deadly Sting