Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Jennifer Estep

UFI welcomes Jennifer Estep Author of one of my favorite series The Elemental Assassins Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks for Stacy for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Stacy! ;-)

So today Stacy asked me to talk a little bit about the elementals in my Elemental Assassin books.

Basically, there are four main types of elementals in my series – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. These are the areas that a character has to be gifted in to be considered a true elemental. My heroine, Gin Blanco, is unique in that she can control not one, but two elements – Ice and Stone in her case.

Of course, there are plenty of people running around Ashland who can use other elemental areas, like water, metal, and electricity, that are offshoots of the four main areas. In fact, in the latest book in the series, Tangled Threads, Gin goes up against Elektra LaFleur, another assassin who has electrical elemental magic. Basically, the plot of the book is assassin vs. assassin and magic vs. magic. It was a lot of fun to write the fight scenes for this book. LOL.

So why did I pick elementals? Well, I wanted to do something a little different from the other books out there. Plus, I thought that I could come up with some really cool powers (for both Gin and the bad guys) if I used elemental magic. For example, Gin’s Ice magic lets her create, control, and manipulate Ice, which she uses to form everything from lockpicks to knives. Her Stone power lets her do everything from crumble concrete to make her own skin as hard as marble. Folks with Air magic can use their power to heal – or rip a person’s skin from their bones. And of course you have Fire elementals, who can singe you to a crisp in a matter of seconds. 

I like playing around with all the various powers and seeing what kind of bad guy that I can pit Gin against next and what kind of nasty magic he can have.

In addition to elementals, Ashland is also home to vampires, giants, dwarves, and regular old humans. The giants and dwarves are really tough and strong, and the vamps can be that way too, depending on whose blood they’re drinking. As for the humans, well, they can pick up whatever weapon is handy. One thing is for sure – there are lots of bad guys who have an ax of some sort to grind, often with Gin. ;-)

What about you guys? What kind of magical creatures do you like to read about? Share in the comments.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin code named the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a bar be cue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ash land.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, will be published on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in October.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the second book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in December. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more.

Tangled Threads
Ele­men­tal Assas­sin
Book #4

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings. 

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

Find Jennifer and her books
 US/CAN only
Winner will receive
- One copy of Tangled Threads

1) Answer Jennifer's question
2) This giveaway is open to US and Canadian followers only
3) Must leave an email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway Ends 5/10/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of random.org


  1. I love to read about greek mythological creatures. They aren't used very often, so it's always great to get more information.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. Jennifer,

    Cool interview. Learning more about the personality behind Gin's character makes the series even more interesting!!!

    Other than gargoyles, any kind of paranormal creature using natural elements are my favorites. There are so many different abilities, and they seem natural as the elements are part of our everyday world.


  3. I like to read about any creature really. The more original or in depth the better. I thought the Harry Potter series did really well focusing on one aspect (witches/wizards) and then bringing in outside creatures to build up the world. An adult series that also does this, though to a lesser extent, is Laurell K Hamilton's Merry Gentry series. It is generally about faeries, but there are so many sub-cultures and types of faerie that there is an entire world inside it. I absolutely love that :)

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  4. Vivien -- I like mythology-based books a lot too. In fact, mythology is a big part of my upcoming young adult series, Mythos Academy.

    Renee -- Thanks! Glad you liked the interview. I like reading about natural elements/powers too.

    Katy -- I agree. I think the Harry Potter series had tons of clever creatures, world building, spells, and more. That's one of the reasons I think the books were so popular -- that Rowling created this other world and was able to transport people there so easily.

  5. I like most of them. I like Native American myth/creatures like the winago.

  6. I love pretty much all of them but witches and shifters are my favorites! A strong heroine that is a fighter on top of that is a super PLUS!! I can't wait to read this series! I need to get my list out -- YIKES -- LOL

    blazesandbubbles AT gmail DOT com

  7. Debbie -- I like Native American myth/creatures too. I think it's always interesting to see the various creatures/myths/monsters in different cultures and how authors use those in stories.

    Bakin -- I like strong heroines too, no matter what kind of powers they have or what kind of creature they are. Cool. Hope you enjoy the books.

  8. Myth is becoming a favorite of mine. This one looks good.


  9. I love reading about werewolves, but I also like to step out of the box and read about giants and trolls.

    Jnmt3 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  10. I love greek mythology at the moment!


  11. Valerie -- I like mythology a lot too.

    Rain Maiden -- Have you tried the Jog the Goblin series by Jom C. Hines? They're really fun fantasy books.

    Valia -- Me too.

  12. I love reading paranormal romance/urban fantasy stories, the variety of supernatural creatures seems endless and I am always fascinated by the imaginative storylines. Some of my recent favorites are witch's, faery's, werewolf cowboys, and a vampire/mage heroine.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  13. Cathy -- Werewolf cowboys sounds like a fun read. I like the variety in paranormal stories too.

  14. I started out with vampires, but then moved on to others. i enjoyed the Mythical beings in the percy Jackson saga, especially the gods and demi gods, I've started trying out angel books too. Not as many werewolf ones though. I think though, out of them all, witches are my favorites!

    buckfamily at ptd.net

  15. Love the series, Jennifer!

    I like pretty much all of them, started with vamps, then shifters. Probably the ones I haven't read a really great book with are dragon shifters and mythology (liked Sherilyn (sp?) Kenyon's series which touches on Greek mythology, but the series has cooled off for me with the last several books).


  16. I love the Elemental Assassin series!

    The creatures I like to read about are: shifters (especially werewolves and feline shifters), angels, and vampires. I like Greek and Asian mythology used in stories, though there aren't enough paranormal books based on Asian mythology.


  17. I find it's not so much the type of creature/magic power as much as it is what the author makes of it. There have been so much vampire and weres that sometimes I think "not another" but some authors make them new and exciting. I like your elementals because of how you weave the story but I also appreciate them for something new and creative.

    a.charol at yahoo dot ca

  18. Jill -- Have you tried The Hollows series by Kim Harrison? That one has witches and more in it.

    Anne -- Thanks! I like the Dark Hunters series by Kenyon a lot too, but I'm several books behind now. That's one series that I need to get caught up on.

    Amy -- Thanks! Glad you are enjoying my books. I like all kinds of mythology too.

    Carol -- You're right. In the end, it's all about the writing and the story the author is telling. Thanks. Glad you are digging my books.

  19. Right now I really like books with reapers in them, grim reaper, light reaper, dark reaper, angelic reaper, etc..other than that I like all magical creatures.

    elainareads At aol DOT com

  20. I like to read about vampires and werewolves :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  21. I love characters that have a basis in mythology and history, so I always seem to be drawn to fae, witches, celtic gods, etc. It always fascinates me to wonder if it really could have happened and/or what actually did happen. Wonderful interview, can't wait to see what misadventures Gin is up to next! Best of luck with the book.

    Sherri - urbangirlreader(at)gmail(dot)com

  22. I love to read about magical creatures that's a little bit more exotic, like dragon and tiger shifters.

    Great giveaway!

    marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. What a great question! There are a lot of magical creatures that I love to read about. I really like Faeries, but the dark side of them. I of course also love vampires (who doesn't) and a new magical creature I've been reading about are Banshees - different creature indeed.


    <3 Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

  24. Vampires and shifters of course but I also love Greek mythology. It's always fun to read the different versions of popular creatures that authors come up with.

    Stephanie G

  25. Ereader -- The Grim Reaper is another character that's always interesting to read about and see what kind of world that the author builds around that idea.

    Cheryl -- Me too.

    Sherri -- Thanks! I'm glad you liked the interview and are digging Gin's adventures.

    Mariee -- I like shapeshifter books a lot too.

    Patricia -- I think Rachel Vincent has a YA series about banshees. I've been meaning to try her books for a while ...

    Paranormal Haven -- That's what I like about mythology too -- you can take these stories and twist them anyway you want to.

  26. I have an unending love with werewolves! Yeah, yeah they have been done and done again but there is just something fascinating with being able to change into a wolf.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com


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