Tuesday, November 29, 2016

An Urban Fantasy Thanksgiving with DJ…and Then Comes Christmas

If you’ve been following my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, you know that our intrepid wizard heroine, DJ, has had a rough time of it lately, as ELYSIAN FIELDS covered the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and PIRATE’S ALLEY and the new book, BELLE CHASSE, take us through Christmas. 

Not to include spoilers as to how such things might have happened, but just before Thanksgiving, DJ’s house might have blown up at the hands of a murderous undead serial killer. Oh, don’t worry—she was okay. She was hauled out of the burning house by the sneaky elf who had tricked her into a lifelong bond. She couldn’t escape on her own because she also might accidentally have blown up her SUV, and her rental car died in the house explosion. 

So by Thanksgiving, she was persona non grata at any car rental place in New Orleans and had to rely on a cab to take her to the shell of her late father’s house in NOLA’s Lakeview community. The house had been stripped back to the studs after it was flooded following Hurricane Katrina.

But it wasn’t a bad Thanksgiving, really. Alex, her significant something-or-other (“boyfriend” sounds too young, right?) had gotten the fireplace working and brought in a rug and a sofa to put on the plywood flooring, so it was kind of cozy and sexy and calm.

This is DJ we’re talking about, however, the wizard that Alex calls a “chaos magnet.” (Well, okay, I think my editor might have come up with that term first.) So the lovely, quiet Thanksgiving she shared with Alex had, by the middle of December, turned into a tempest.

New Orleans was in the middle of a series of blizzards of suspicious origins, the undead-sexy French pirate Jean Lafitte was hell-bent on revenge against a certain vampire, the elven bondmate was acting VERY badly even for him, and he’s dicey on a good day, and a certain faery had taken it upon himself to impersonate Justin Bieber. And let’s not forget the undead Truman Capote had decided to visit his old childhood hometown of New Orleans.

DJ might have blown up a few buildings and defied an order by her Congress of Elders, so by the time we get to BELLE CHASSE and Christmas, let’s just say she’s now persona non grata in New Orleans—the whole city. She’s hiding out in the preternatural world, the Beyond, when Christmas finally rolls around.

It’s not all bad news for the holidays, though. She’s with the sexy pirate and her Cajun merman buddy Rene and her pregnant friend Eugenie. So it’s only the elves and faeries and wizards trying to kill her at the moment.

Oh, and the vampire mercenaries. 

But I digress. DJ’s shopping opportunities have been few since she’s in the 1815 version of the swamplands south of New Orleans without a mall in sight. She could plunder Jean Lafitte’s house, but he’d probably recognize anything she stole from him as a gift. So she’ll settle for a fine meal of turtle soup cooked by an undead pirate cook, although she has been assured that the turtle is dead and not undead. There will be crusty bread and fine wine and brandy. The conversation will be animated as the wizard, the pirate, the merman, two werewolves, and a pregnant, freaked-out human gather around the table laid with ornate silver. 

I seriously doubt there will be caroling, however, and most assuredly no football. How will your holidays stack up? Want to trade places with DJ? 

Belle Chasse 
Sentinels of New Orleans
Book 5
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: TOR Books

Date of Publication: November 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0765376992

Number of pages: 336
Word Count: approx. 93,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Book Description:

Suzanne Johnson's "strong and intriguing" (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. The Sentinels of New Orleans series has earned starred reviews from Library Journal ("a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity") and PW ("vivid...a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists").

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

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I expected Christof to start a snowstorm above Rand’s head. What I didn’t expect was for the prince to lower his head and charge Rand like a raging bull, head-butting him in the midsection. They hit the ground, and I saw my chance at the same time Eugenie spotted me.
            I motioned her toward the woods where the transport lay. To hell with the Blue Congress wizards. We were going to make a run for it while Christof kept Rand too busy to notice.
            She set off for the woods, and I met her halfway. “My family thinks I’m crazy!” she wailed, loud enough to draw the attention of the tall, skinny Blue Congress wizard with the rooster haircut.
            “Hey, stop!”
            Holy crap. I whipped out the elven staff, paused long enough to aim just to the right of the wizards. They already had their hands up and were doing some of their nifty Blue Congress magic when I released my fire and blew up the tombstone next to them, sending a rain of marble and playing cards onto their heads. Around us, evidence of their magic appeared as tombstones began moving to block our escape route.
            I grabbed Eugenie’s arm and pulled her around a marble stag the size of a small SUV. It had lowered its head and pawed the ground as if to charge. Blue Congress magic was so damned cool— create and re-create.
            “Stop, DJ!” Eugenie grabbed my arm as I tried to race past her. “A sinkhole!”
            I looked stupidly at the ground in front of us, which had opened a gulf big enough to drive a Greyhound bus into. “Go around and run fast,” I shouted, sending another shot of the staff toward the Blue Congress wizards and blowing up a ginormous marble eagle perched atop a nearby tomb.
            We didn’t stop to see if the stag was chasing us, but ran for all we were worth. Finally, at the edge of the tree line, I hazarded a look back at Christof and Rand. The faery stood watching us; the elf had crumpled on the ground. Not dead, though, because in my head, far behind my protective barriers, I heard him yelling my name.
            Christof grinned and motioned for us to move along. He didn’t have to motion twice, because the wizards were chasing us, still chanting and doing their finger dance. The stag was getting way too close.
            I raised the staff and blew a hole in the earth in front of the advancing stag, forcing him to change direction. Luck was on our side for a change— the stag began charging toward the wizards instead, who had to stop pursuing us in order to protect themselves from being trampled beneath marble hooves.
            “Let’s run to the transport before those idiot wizards can get out from under the stag.” I grabbed Eugenie’s hand and we ran to the clearing. “Help me roll this werewolf out of the transport.”
            To her credit, she didn’t ask a single question. We tipped the werewolf onto his side and rolled him outside the interlocking circle and triangle, leaving him at an awkward angle with his
feet in the air. Oh well.
            I touched the staff to the edge of the transport and said, “Winter Palace, Faery” just before the Blue Congress wizards reached the edge of the clearing. I waved at them as the transport sucked the air out of my lungs. They were too late.
            As soon as we materialized on the round floor of ice in the Winter Palace, Eugenie screamed. I figured she was getting her first look at the grisly remains of Faerie Princess Tamara until a blinding light knocked me off my feet and a big crack appeared in the ice between us.
            “Where is my brother?”
            I whirled to see Florian sitting on a block of ice behind us bundled in a heavy coat, a blanket spread beneath him, no doubt to protect his royal assets from getting cold and wet.

            “He’s in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, having a fi stfi ght with an elf,” I said, pretty confident that of all the things he might expect me to say, that wasn’t it.

About the Author:

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series but perhaps is best known for her romantic suspense and paranormal romance books written as Susannah Sandlin, including the Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, the Wilds of the Bayou suspense series, and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Her awards include two Holt Medallions in 2013 and 2015, a 2015 Booksellers Best Award in romantic suspense, and nominations in 2014 and 2015 for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Suzanne loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

Twitter: @Suzanne_Johnson

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Roger Simmons said...

I am a big fan of the Sentinels of New Orleans series. I highly recommend Belle Chasse. Just a wonderful continuation of the story of D.J.. It sets us up nicely for the next book, a war is coming.

Liz S. said...

Poor DJ. She needs to ask Santa for a house! Belle Chasse is a fantastic read. You won't be disappointed.

JenM said...

When you sum it up like that, poor DJ really does seem like a chaos magnet. Looking forward to reading Belle Chasse.