Thursday, July 26, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Frenchman Street by Suzanne Johnson (@Suzanne_Johnson)

UFI welcomes Author Suzanne Johnson. Thanks for Joining us!!

 Featured Creaturess

Suzanne Johnson

I spent the earlier books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series introducing the major preternatural species—wizards, elves, faeries, vampires, shifters, etc.—so in FRENCHMAN STREET I was able to delve into some other creatures that live in this vast multiverse. Here are a few, and the twists I took on the myths…


Yes, there be dragons living in the mountains in the northern reaches of the Land of Elfheim. Those who choose to do so are companions (not pets) of the elves, and can communicate mentally with them…when they choose to do so. In this book, we meet two dragons, Melanwahr and Pentewyn. Mel has an unfortunate run-in with some unsuspecting and very freaked-out humans; Pen develops some digestive issues after over-indulging on some lab rats. Apparently, dragon gas is a real thing. A real bad thing. Oh, and dragons can be as small as a bird or as big as a jumbo jet…in a matter of seconds. Strange creatures, dragons. They’re very inquisitive and a bit high-strung. Then again, they have to deal with elves all the time, so who can blame them?

Unicorns can be found in the Kingdom of Faerie, and they are like big, horned, ill-tempered carrier pigeons. Of course, if I had to deal with faeries all day long, I’d be ill-tempered too. Faeries are, well, crazy. And powerful. It’s a scary combination. Then set them on an ill-tempered beast with a big, sharp horn and add in the fact that faeries can glamour themselves to look like whoever they want and...THAT is how you end up with a faux George Clooney riding a unicorn in a Mardi Gras parade. Just in case you were wondering.

 There is a Royal Canine Corps in Elfheim, and they are important to the elves’ security. One might expect a big bruiser like a Rottie or Pitt, but no. The RCC is made up of Welsh Pembroke Corgis. Corgis are usually assigned to guard (or be a “companion” of) one person, and in this book, you’ll meet Gruffydd, aka Gruff, who is given to heroine DJ (a wizard) by her in-name-only bondmate Rand (an elf). Gruff is supposed to be a spy…or maybe he becomes a double agent..or maybe, as a nine-month-old corgi, he’s just an enthusiastic puppy. Only time will tell. Strange creatures, elven corgis. Why Corgis? Well, other than being cool dogs for a royal (ask Queen Elizabeth), it was a natural choice for my elves, who speak a form of Welsh themselves, although they will arrogantly tell you it was their language long before Wales existed. Gruff speaks both Welsh and English, since he was trained, we suspect, to be given to DJ from the time he was a wee pup. Is Gruff good for DJ, or is he bad? Only time will tell.

We’ve had a major merman character, Rene Delachaise, since book two of the series, but in this book we meet more of Rene’s family…and there are a lot of them. The water species in this series are specialized shifters—born, not made (werewolves and other weres are made). In the case of the Delachaise family, they are of Cajun descent, meaning they started out in France, settled in the Maritime provinces of Canada in the 1600s as Acadians, and then were driven out of Canada in 1713 by the Big Bad Brits. Many ended up in the then-French colony of Louisiana. “Cajun” is a bastardization of “Acadian.” Anyway, the Delachaise family is, ironically, involved in commercial fishing in South Louisiana, so as a shrimp boat captain, Rene is a wealthy business owner in his own right…and he does some lucrative side deals. Merfolk can mainstream with humans, can half-shift into classic mermaid or merman form, or fully shift into some aquatic species. The Delachaise brothers (and sisters and aunts and cousins) turn into either freshwater or saltwater dolphins—whichever is required. Like other shifters, the merfolk tend to all be alphas. They’re adventurous and bold, and don’t hesitate to brawl their way out of any situation. They also don’t like felines—Rene says cats think merfolk are sushi. (And don’t believe the photo; Rene is being played by Kit Harington in the movie, as soon as Kit can get the Cajun accent down.)

So…which featured creature would you most enjoy meeting in a dark alley late at night?

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), of which Frenchman Street is the sixth and final book in the story arc. She also has written Pirateship Down and The Consort, both set in the Sentinels world, and the standalone Christmas in Dogtown.

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 blog.

As Susannah Sandlin, she writes multiple award-winning paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including The Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance, suspense duology The Collectors, romantic suspense series, the Wilds of the Bayou romantic suspense series, and the standalones Storm Force and Chenoire.

Suzanne currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she works as a full-time author and copyeditor.

Find Suzanne and her books

Frenchman Street
Sentinels of New Orleans #6
The uneasy truce between the preternatural species of New Orleans has shattered, with wizards and elves, shifters and vampires—not to mention the historical undead—struggling for ultimate control of the city, including the humans who still think they’re atop the food chain.<

They aren’t, however—and the Summer Prince of Faerie wants them to know it.

Stuck in the middle? One unemployed wizard sentinel. For DJ Jaco, war makes for strange bedfellows as she finally embraces her wizard-elven heritage and strikes a deal with the devil so she and her ragtag band of allies can return to defend her hometown. After all, when the undead French pirate Jean Lafitte has been hired by the mayor as a consultant, things could go horribly wrong.

War is coming to New Orleans just in time for Mardi Gras, with the elves and wizards lined up on opposite sides, the shifters without a leader, the vampires promising loyalty to the highest bidder, and the soul of the Crescent City resting on the outcome of the civil war going on in Faerie between the rival princes of summer and winter.

Mardi Gras Day is approaching fast, the much-anticipated new Krewe of Enyo is not what it seems, and the line between friends and enemies grows thin as DJ tries to stave off open warfare between faeries on the St. Charles Avenue parade route.

Laissez les bons temps rouler…but be careful, or the good times might roll too close for comfort.

I turned to glare at the unicorn. It was hanging around for some reason.
    “Can you talk? If not, what are you waiting for?” I made a shooing motion. “Go home to your whack-job master.”
Because we needed to find out how it got to our remote beach in the Beyond.
“I’ll find a rope—maybe we can make a halter,” Rene said, walking toward the house.
Jean also seemed to have had his fill of unicorn wrangling. “Bah. I shall depart for Old Orleans, Drusilla. There are people with whom I must discuss matters of import, and perhaps I might discover the truth about Christof.”
    Fine. Leave me with the merman and the unicorn.
    He turned and walked into the transport, disappearing in seconds. He hadn’t removed his boots, but he had held his pistol out of the water. The pirate had his priorities straight.
    “Here is my message.”
I whirled to look at the unicorn, who was now doing his best Mr. Ed impression.
    “I knew it.” That freaking unicorn could talk; he’d been waiting to get me alone.
I held up the elven staff, and the unicorn had the good sense to back up a couple of steps. I slipped my left hand into my jeans pocket, fingering a couple of potions I’d cooked up in this rustic paradise using a generator-powered hot plate and my own blood. My physical magic wouldn’t work outside the human world, but my potions and charms were fine. The staff worked everywhere.
“Okay, start talking, horse.”
    The unicorn managed to look offended. “Here is my message,” he repeated. “His Royal Majesty Florian will be crowned King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond in two weeks. You are—”
    “Wait.” I shook the staff at him, and sparks flew out its tip. “What do you mean, ‘King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond’?”
What in the name of Merlin was that madman up to?
    The unicorn tossed his head and looked even grumpier. “Here is my message,” he repeated for the third time. “His Royal Majesty Florian will be crowned King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond in two weeks. You are invited to attend and pledge fealty at his coronation in New Orleans at the apex of the celebration the humans call Mardi Gras. Should you die before the appointed time, this invitation may be considered null and void.”
    And with that, the unicorn turned, took a big, steaming dump on the sand near my feet, and made to trot back down the beach from whence he came. I flipped the lid off one of the charms in my pocket, chased him down the beach, and tossed it on him. I only hit his tail, which, considering it was a freezing charm, only made said tail freeze at a ninety-degree angle.
    “Stop, unicorn, or I’ll toast your rump like a potroast!” I yelled, aiming the staff. I sent a warning zap of fire onto his rump. My aim had improved a lot in months since I’d blown up my own SUV and burned down half of Six Flags New Orleans. I’d had lots of time to practice.
    Unfortunately, the shot only made the unicorn fly into a gallop. I had no choice but to run after him and hope I could keep him in sight by moonlight.

Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway