GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Suzanne Johnson: Considering the Possibility of Sheep-Shifters (Pirate's Alley book tour) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Friday, May 8, 2015

Suzanne Johnson: Considering the Possibility of Sheep-Shifters (Pirate's Alley book tour) + giveaway

Considering the Possibility of Sheep-Shifters
Suzanne Johnson

I have a lot of species that populate the multiverse of the Sentinels of New Orleans series. There are the non-shifting species like wizards, faeries, elves, vampires, and the historical undead (famous humans granted immortality through the magic of human memory).

There are also quite a few werecreatures and true shifters, who can change at will and are born, not made.

Among the most common shifters are the water species—the largest group being the merfolk, who are largely of Cajun descent and work in the commercial fishing industry in addition to being able to shift partially into classic merman and mermaid form, or fully shift into large fresh- or salt-water dolphins.

Then there are the werecritters, primarily werewolves and loup-garou, a Louisiana legend come to life in the form of a cursed werewolf who doesn’t have the self-control or desire to be part of a pack structure. They follow the phases of the moon with their shifts, and their shifts are not painless or fast.

There are also some less-common were-animals. Weregators, for example, are common in South Louisiana, and I’ve heard rumors that there are wereboars. I’m looking to introduce some new shifters into the world for upcoming books and stories.

What the Sentinels world does not have in it, however, are Sheep-Shifters, although I have given it full consideration as I indulged in my hobby of mixed-media artwork, which I’ve sent along for your amusement.

Here’s why I don’t think Sheep-Shifters would survive in my world:

1) They’re very wooly. The events of PIRATE’S ALLEY notwithstanding, the New Orleans climate is not wool-friendly.

2) They have wooly backs. Due to the fact that few women (or men, for that matter) find hairy backs attractive, Sheep-Shifters could never take the romantic lead in a novel. Oh, I know that Anita Blake did that thing with the swan and the wererat Just no.

3) They have the potential to tempt me with the overuse of baaaaad puns. Ewe-phemistically speaking, of course.

4) They are prey. Sorry, but “Oh my God, I’m being chased by a fire-breathing herd of Sheep-Shifters” has been screamed by a potential victim—never. The loup-garou alone would have them eaten and the wool picked out of their teeth before the weregators even got to the shearing party. It would be akin to genocide.

5) They are, my apologies, not that smart. And it’s a big, bad preternatural world out there we want to keep hidden from humans. Given sheep’s flocking tendencies, an entire table of diners shifting into sheep in a restaurant at the sight of a lamb entree going past on a platter would be disastrous.

And so, with my apologies, I must decline the requests to add Sheep-Shifters to the Sentinels of New Orlans world. Other types of weres or shifters, however? Ideas welcome!

Pirate’s Alley (Sentinels of New Orleans Book 4)
by Suzanne Johnson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Date of Publication: April 21, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Word Count: 96,000
From award-winning author Suzanne Johnson comes the fourth book in the smart and sexy Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal. Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back.

And that's before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest "death," returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ's assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won't be that easy.

Available at Amazon BN Book Depository

DJ, are you awake?

Freaking elf. “Go home, Rand.”

I am home. Where are you?

I frowned and burrowed my face into the soft down pillow. Which wasn’t my pillow.

Holy crap. What had happened?

I sat up and took in several observations at once, none of which made sense and all of which sent my heart rate jack-rabbiting hard enough to send my blood pressure into the ozone.

First, I was lying beneath a heavy bedspread woven in a rich blue-and-cream print. The bed was an elaborate confection made to look like an antique half-tester, and a brass chandelier hung overhead.

I recognized the Hotel Monteleone. I recognized Jean Lafitte’s bedroom in the posh Eudora Welty Suite in the Monteleone. I didn’t have a clue as to how I got here.

Second, I wore only underwear. My clothes were thrown across a chair in the corner. I had no recollection of removing them.

Third, the pillow next to mine still held the clear indentation of a head, and there was water running behind the closed bathroom door.

What in God’s name had I done?

Rand! Where are you? So help me, if that elf was behind this, I’d splay him open like a catfish and watch his guts fall on the floor. Then I’d batter and deep-fry him.

God, Dru. Stop shrieking like an elven shrew. I think you got too cold and went into a survival state.

Survival state? Then I remembered, and shame joined panic. I had gone into hibernation like a bear, right out on Royal Street in front of God and everyone. Quince Randolph, you sonofabitch! Why didn’t you warn me that would happen?

Stop yelling. How did I know you’d be stupid enough to go traipsing through the snow to the point of unconsciousness? I can tell you’re in the Quarter, but where are you?

Catch you later.

I slammed shut every mental door I could imagine and then troweled imaginary caulk in any imaginary cracks around said doors. I was vaguely aware that, off in the distance of my mental stronghold, Rand was yelling at me.

Had Jean hauled me back to the hotel like a sack of pommes de terres? How had he explained a hibernating blonde to the hotel management? At least my dark blue underwear matched. Had he taken advantage of me? No, it wasn’t his style. Which meant I’d consented.

Alex was going to kill me if I didn’t kill myself first. I wasn’t sure hibernation-brain was an adequate defense.

The bathroom doorknob rattled and I dove under the covers, even though I realized it was like closing the barn door after the half-naked cows had escaped.

From my hiding spot, I heard the door open and footsteps cross from tile to carpet before stopping with a rustle of fabric. “Hey, babe. You finally back from the dead? Whatcha doin’ under there?”

“Rene?” I poked my head out and frowned at my buddy the merman, fully dressed in jeans and a Saints sweatshirt. His feet were bare, and he walked around the bed and climbed in as if either one of us belonged here, much less at the same time.

“What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Who undressed me? Where’s Jean?” And, as an afterthought, “Why are we in bed?”

Now that I realize I hadn’t acted like my licentious great-aunt Dru and slept with the pirate, I transferred my anger to the proper place and it wasn’t to myself. I’d kill that sneaky Frenchman if he weren’t immortal.

Rene was not immortal, however, and he was within reach. “You better start talking, fish boy.”

“Aiyeeee.” Rene cackled like the Cajun he was, and fluffed the pillow behind his head. “I told Jean you’d be spittin’ mad. Nothing happened, babe. Your clothes were wet and I was just trying to keep you warm. I’m a shifter, you know. We run hot.”

“Oh, do you now.”

That made him laugh harder.

I threw off the covers and stomped over to my clothes. He’d seen whatever I had and I knew he didn’t want it, so there was no point in hiding. I picked up three soggy layers of T-shirts and sweaters, and cords so wet they weighed about ten pounds.

My breath hitched. The staff; I’d lost the staff. I whirled to Rene, who sat propped against the lush draped fabric that covered the headboard, watching me with a grin. “Where’s my bag?”

“In the living room. Everything’s there, babe, even your magic stick. Jean, he took care of you.”

Yeah, I just bet he did. It was hard to argue effectively in underwear I’d intended only Alex Warin to see, so I went into the living room, dug my room key out of my messenger bag, and stuck my head out the door, looking up and down the hallway.

“I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere,” I yelled at Rene, and made a run for it, jamming the keycard into my door lock and slipping inside before I was spotted. If hotel cameras caught my mad dash on security footage, well, I’m sure they’d seen stranger things. This was New Orleans, after all.

About the Author:
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.

Tour giveaway 
1 $50 Amazon gift card
2 $15 Amazon gift cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sheep shifters, LOL. Suzanne's other series has an eagle. Robin is great. I've always been a fan of the wolf. Order the complete set. The Sentinels of New Orleans: Royal Street, River Road, Elysian Fields, and Pirate’s Alley. Next, Belle Chasse [2016].

    1. I can't wait to try this series out. It pushes all my uf buttons :) I'm a little sad that sheep shifters won't be there . Thanks for stopping by.

    2. LOL, thanks Roger! And thanks, Sharon, for having me here at "I Smell Sheep" today-sorry the sheep-shifters didn't make the cut!

  2. OMG. What a darling post! Thanks for the laughs this morning! Sheep shifters in her Sentinels of New Orleans series? I don't think so!

    1. Ha--thanks, Linda! No, I just couldn't see them surviving--it would be too cruel. And the sheep shouldn't feel bad; I also nixed wereshrimp!

  3. It does seem that a shifter should be a predator of some time. Some how weresheep, werebunnies, werepoodles don't inspire fear. Love the drawing!

    1. Bwa-ha-ha. Werepoodles! Remember when I turned Alex pink? I'm thinking he might need a werepoodle encounter.

  4. were sheep... no, really no it would be extra strange and yes too vulnerable were chameleon that could be funny^^;; and in new orleans i could see were bat not too sure if they would like to be imagined as partner/ allies with the vampires though;) but i think New orleans would be a place where they could have fun

    1., I do believe THAT could work in New Orleans. Maybe the vampires are AFRAID of them....I'm making notes :-)

  5. This post is too funny! Come on, you need to add some where she put in your series. You will be the only one to have them in the PNR/UF universe

    1. I'd have to reread the Anita Blake series to make sure. She has some reaaaaaallly offbeat shifters in there!

    2. I know them all Suzanne ;) just ask me. Thea Harrison has a were chameleon (Wyr) that was such an awesome story.

  6. This is a great post. Thanks for the laughs.

  7. Lol awesome post Suzanne! I know there are weresnakes (Pamela Palmer) but they scare me too much.

    1. Oh yeah, weresnakes would scare me too! Now I have to think about why a weresnake scares me and a weregator does not. Hm.....

  8. Drat, no sheep-shifters! What about a were-gorilla? I don't think I've read about one of those yet.

    1. Weregorillas kind of freak me out! Come to think of it, I've visited the primate area of the New Orleans zoo, and those gorillas freaked me out too. I might have a gorilla problem.....:-)

  9. As a Welsh by marriage woman I am most disappointed about not getting Were Sheep. However the picture more than makes up for it - I love it.

    As for a were creature for New Orleans, how about Were Otter? Haven't come across one of those before :D

    1. I think Patricia Briggs had were otters in her book River Marked.

    2. Wereotters could totally be in New Orleans. I think...I'd have to do some otter research :-)

  10. Suzanne -- you make some very good points, but sheep can be cute ;)

    1. LOL, I agree--totally cute. But I just don't think they're aggressive enough. Dolphins was pushing it :-)

  11. Lol...this guest post totally cracked me up...I was thinking that yeah...sheep are prey not predators and they would not last long plus like you said's hot in New for the giveaway

    1. Yeah, I'm thinking that wool would be NASTY by June. Yow!

  12. I love this series and I can't wait for the next book!
    steph 0828 at hotmail dot com


  14. At least DJ won't have were-sheep on her plate. That is a relief! :)

    Amazing series that everyone should experience; strong characters; great writing; and thoroughly entertaining!! Beware of 'one more chapter' and the 'book hangover'.