Tuesday 27 November 2012

River Road Blog Tour: International Giveaway & Guest Post by Suzanne Johnson

I really enjoyed Royal Street, the first book in Suzanne Johnson's Sentinels of New Orleans series but I have to say I loved the second book River Road even more so I was delighted to be invited to take part in the blog tour to celebrate it's UK release. I'll be posting my review of River Road later today but in the meantime I wanted to share the cover and blurb with you before I hand over to Suzanne for a fabulous guest post.

The hurricane may have passed, but in New Orleans the storm rages on.

With the borders between the city and the otherworld in ruins, new and dangerous species have swarmed into the waterways. There is talk of war between rival clans in the darkest depths of Louisiana's swamps and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the peace.

When wizards start dying and it becomes apparent that the waters of the mighty Mississippi itself have been poisoned, DJ will have to really focus if she is to find out who - or what - is responsible. And with an undead suitor, the amorous pirate Jean Lafitte, on her back that isn't going to be easy . . .

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

Sentinels of New Orleans Series:
Royal Street
River Road
Elysian Fields (2013)

Author Bio:
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 college football and fried gator on a stick.

Visit Suzanne Johnson's website for more information

Now please give a very warm welcome to Suzanne who is here to talk about the different preternatural creatures that you will meet in the Sentinels of New Orleans series.


Name That Prete! The World of River Road
by Suzanne Johnson

One of the things I most enjoy about writing fantasy is the world-building. Even though my Sentinels of New Orleans series is set in the real city, and my characters go to real places, they don’t always keep the company of, well, humans. In fact, the human citizens of New Orleans don’t know such beings as my characters exist, or that a whole horde of preternaturals (pretes) came flooding into town after Hurricane Katrina knocked down the metaphysical levees as well as the physical ones.

The Sentinels world is a true “multiverse,” with alternative versions of New Orleans existing alongside the “real” one, and different species cross back and forth. As long as they can mainstream with humans undetected and out of trouble, they can stay.

So, here’s a quick glossary of my species…because you can never have too many!

WIZARDS. The largest preternatural group and, as a result, the most powerful. Because they’ve long been the dominant magical species, they have traditionally been in charge of monitoring the borders between the human world and the preternatural world called the Beyond. The “border guards” are called Sentinels. Wizards belong to different congresses according to their particular skills. The heroine of the series is DJ Jaco. She’s a Green Congress wizard, whose abilities lie in doing ritual magic. In other words, they’re the geeks of the magical world. Most of the other preternatural groups hate the wizards, thinking they’re arrogant and stubborn. They might be right!

THE HISTORICAL UNDEAD. These are people who were famous in their human lives and therefore are made immortal by the magic of human memory. If they’re really famous or well remembered, they can even have a corporeal life in the modern world—as long as no one realizes who they are. The members of the Historical Undead we’ve met so far in the series are the 18th-century pirate Jean Lafitte, the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and jazz great Louis Armstrong.

WERE-CREATURES. Since they can mainstream well with humans, many were-creatures already lived in the modern world before the borders came down during the hurricane. There are werewolves, of course, and quite a few of them work for the wizards as assassins, or Enforcers. A strain of werewolf peculiar to Louisiana is the Loup-Garou. They are said to have come to French Louisiana with the Acadians when they were driven from Canada by the English in the 1700s, and are rogue wolves. They don’t join packs. They have poor control over their wolves. They’re big and bad. And yeah, DJ, is kind of dating one.

SHAPESHIFTERS are similar to were-creatures except they are born, not made, can shift more quickly, have better control over their shifts, and don’t have any relation to the cycles of the moon. When shapeshifters mate with humans, their children might or might not be shifters—or it can show up a few generations down the line. Shifters you’ll meet in the series include a canine shifter, weregators, and merpeople, who in the Sentinels world are aquatic shapeshifters. They shift halfway into classic merman and mermaid form, or shift all the way into big fish.

ELVES. The elves are powerful, mysterious, and secretive. They have tended to stay within the confines of Elfheim, their kingdom in the Beyond. We learn in the first book that in addition to being a wizard, DJ has elven ancestors on both sides of her family and has inherited some elven skills that make both the wizards and the elves uneasy. We meet our first elf in River Road, and they’ll be much more prevalent as the series progresses.

VAMPIRES. While some vampires mainstream with human populations, most still live within their part of the Beyond, the Realm of Vampyre. In the Sentinels world, vampires can feed from each other to stay alive. Human (or other) blood is addictive and sweet, though, so they’re anxious to jockey for power as the borders come down. Vampires will be introduced in the third book, along with...

THE FAE. Another of the major preternatural species, the Fae so far have kept their allegiences secret and appear to be watching what happens while the wizards and elves and vampires try to position themselves. Whose side will they be on, and will it tilt the power toward or away from the wizards?

THE OTHERS. Because there are always more. There have been some weregator sightings, and a goblin or two. A bevvy of nymphs make an appearance in River Road, and there are whispers going round that satyrs are working at an escort service in the city’s French Quarter. DJ really, really doesn’t think the satyrs are going to be able to mainstream with humans—goat pupils and hooves are hard to hide.


Giveaway Details:

Suzanne is offering one lucky winner their choice of either Royal Street or River Road. The giveaway is open internationally and one winner will be chosen at random from all entries received. To enter the giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment answering Suzanne's question below:

What is your favourite species?

You have until the 11th of December 2012 to leave a comment and enter the giveaway. Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you (your email address or twitter ID) in case you are the winner.

Suzanne is also giving away an amazing prize of either a Kindle, a Nook or a $100 gift card for Amazon, B&N or The Book Depository as part of her blog tour. You can enter this giveaway and find out about the other stops on the blog tour by visiting this post.


Thanks for a fabulous guest post Suzanne and for a fantastic giveaway! One of the things I love most about the Sentinels of New Orleans series is the variety of pretes you come across. I love the idea of the Historical Undead (Jean Lafitte definitely caught my eye!) but I have to admit my biggest crush is on a certain canine shifter!!

I'm going to leave you with the UK and US covers for River Road. Which one do you like best?

UK Cover

US Cover

I like both covers again but I still feel that my favourite is the UK one, I just love the font used for the title. I prefer the tone of the UK cover too although I do like the alligator (or should that be weregator?) on the US one!

Don't forget to leave a comment answering Suzanne's question to be in with a chance of winning your choice of either book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series - Royal Street or River Road!


  1. I love all different types of supernaturals...I'll always have a soft spot for vampires as Anne Rices vampires were one of teh things that dragged me into supernatural worlds! However, I am very curious about the Elves in River Roads - they don't get nearly enough urban fantasy fiction written about them! :-)


  2. While I like the usual werewolves and vampires, the historical undead are the most intriguing supernaturals in your series. No one else seems to have done this and it has a unique feel. I wonder if Elvis will ever show up in your series (I hope not), but it would be cool to have more of the local characters of the region appear. Congrats on your new book. Looking forward to reading it.

  3. @Mel...I'm having SUCH fun with the elves. You meet one in River Road, then they really come out in force in the third book, Elysian Fields. They might surprise you :-)

    @ahz1...Thank you! I love the historical undead, too. Jean Lafitte is the primary one in River Road, but the third book brings back a couple of new ones. The possibilities are endless! I'm thinking Elvis probably won't stop by, though :-)

  4. My favorite are wizards because of their awesome power BUT the Historical Undead are awesome too - I've got Jean to thank for that!!

    You've created an amazing world!

    Thank you:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  5. Wizards are my favorite, D.J. in particular. I wait patiently to find out more about the Elves and the staff Charlie in Elysian Fields.

    Wizards give you magic, witches give you warts. - Jim Butcher

    Books make great holiday gifts. Just Sayin'.

  6. @Christina and @Roger--thanks! Yes, I love the wizards, too. In the third book, you'll get to know the "Speaker of the Elders" Adrian Hoffman much (maybe too much) better! (And get your first look at a Blue Congress wizard, too.)

  7. I'm going with shifters! Thanks for the chance to try a new author!



  8. I like all types of supernaturals but I have to go with vampires as my favorite.

  9. I love shifters because they're very versatile.
    Thanks for the giveaway, Suzanne!


  10. @ Timitra and @Erleen...Looks like the shifters are winning the popularity contest so far!

    @Sandy...The vampires begin to assert themselves in the third book, but we're not yet sure exactly whose side they're on.

  11. Shapeshifters are a close second, but I've gotta go with elves. They are fascinating. Can't wait to learn more about them as the series progresses!


  12. @Allison...I agree! I think one reason elves are so much fun are that they haven't been used a lot outside traditional fantasy, so urban fantasy authors have a lot of freedom in twisting their own mythologies. We aren't stuck in Tolkien mode!

  13. i love the originality of the undead ( and the work that is behind their creation)
    i'm wondering if we will meet other kinds of shifters later

    ^^ I think the UK cover has something more mysterious about it, it put me on edge but i love it. The US one is more realist in a way and really lovely


  14. You can't go wrong with wizards! Don't get me wrong, there are tons of fabulous creatures to be had, but wizards hold a special spot as my favorite :D


  15. I would have to say the Elves or Fae are my favorite. To me they are the most magical creatures.

  16. @Miki @Readsalot81 @neeser58...See, this is why it's so great to have a "multi-verse" with different species. I like them all for different reasons. Currently, I'm enamored of the elves because I'm building their world, but I think the fae are going to be fun for future books.

  17. I'm loving seeing everyone's answers! It's great to see so many different species getting some love :o) Personally I've always been a massive fan of Shifters & Weres and I have to confess to a soft spot for vampires too!

    In this series I love the Historical Undead (Jean Lafitte in particular from both books but Louis Armstrong was a stand out from Royal Street!) but I can't wait to learn more about the Elves!! Like quite a few of you have already mentioned they aren't a species I've come across much of in any other UF series so it'll be fun to learn more about them :o)

    Thanks for a fab guest post Suzanne and for letting me host the giveaway for you!

  18. The historical undead sound amazing! Such a great idea Suzanne! I can't imagine meeting a famous dead person by accident :D thought it would be so COOL!

    email: alinutza4u2004[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

  19. Thanks everyone, and thank you, Sarah, for having me here today!

  20. Shifters are always my favorites, but I think bringing in elves would be really cool also. I don't read much traditional fantasy and that's usually where you see them, rather than in UF.


  21. I would say vampire but with this series the whole undead thing..very cool. I like how the well remembered can linger with the living. I also like the gator shifters...never thought I would...lol..but in this series I do :) Thank you for the post. This was also my first time seeing the UK cover...not bad..but I do like the uS cover better I think. Now I know that a gator was hidden in right bottom side.

  22. I love all types of paranormal creatures. but my favs are wizards and fae.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  23. My favorite will be Vampires and Wizards :D

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  24. @JenM @Tanya @Pamk ... thanks for the comments! I'm looking forward to developing the fae now that I'm getting my elves sorted out :-)

  25. Although I have a soft spot for werewolves I do prefer the fae, partly because of the powers they have, but also because you can get opposing types, and while I am not one single bit girly, I do like the girly fae


  26. Im really always partial to vampires. But I think shapeshifters sound pretty cool.

    I like both covers but really like the UK better.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  27. Witches: I love the magic.

    Both covers are fabulous.


  28. Who could say anything is better than a werewolf assassin? were-creatures therefore have to be my favourite species!

  29. Ugh, sorry!


    Cheers. (:

  30. My favourite species are wizards. Also love shapeshifters.


  31. I'm going for Shape-Shifters. I mean they can be normal as they can be and plus there is no trouble on shifting. ;)
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Riz Bulatao

  32. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. The winner has now been chosen. Congratulations Mel, I've sent you an email asking for your address and your choice of book :o)



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