Friday, 13 June 2014

Hijacked! - Guest Post by Susannah Sandlin + giveaway

Today Susannah Sandlin is visiting my blog to tell you about how her book got Hijacked!

Susannah Sandlin

A funny thing happens when one writes something as long and involved as a novel.

Think about it. The average novel is about 150-200 typed, single-spaced sheets of standard printer paper. It’s 90,000 words long, give or take a few thousand.

As we write, we get to know our characters really well—we know things about our characters’ lives that never make it onto the page. (Ernest Hemingway called character development an iceberg: most of the material remains below the waterline.)

Which means that this weird thing happens as we write: the characters develop minds of their own. Quite frequently, they say or do something that I, as their supposed creator, do not anticipate, even when I’ve plotted out my scene ahead of time. They surprise me, entertain me, exasperate me, and occasionally confuse me.

And sometimes they don’t listen to a word I say.

Last year, I wrote a paranormal romance book called STORM FORCE that was loosely tied to my Penton Legacy series. There were some characters in Storm Force I really liked and wanted to get to know better, so when I began writing ALLEGIANCE, I decided to see what would happen if I brought a couple of those other characters into my Penton world.

Enter an eagle shape-shifter named Robin (I know, right?) and a human Army Ranger with psychic abilities, Nikolas Dimitrou. I’d planned to have Nik and Robin, who had a friends-with-benefits relationship in Storm Force, to move to Penton as a couple and help my Penton vampires rebuild their town after their author destroyed it in the previous two books. Yeah, that would be me, the Destroyer.

Nik behaved gallantly. He liked the vampires, respected their leaders, helped them however he was needed. I like Nik.

Robin was a nightmare from the minute she walked into the book. First, the 5-foot-1 Robin picked a fight—a nasty one—with the 6-foot-8 Scottish vampire who heads up Penton security and has a bad disposition to begin with.

Well, okay, I can roll with that. Mirren and Robin were kind of fun together. Anything I can do to annoy Mirren has always entertained me, and Robin really annoys him.

But then Robin did something I did not expect. She caught the eye of my book hero, Cage Reynolds, a British vampire who was trying to resolve another relationship. I had other plans for Cage.

But okay, just because Cage finds her interesting doesn’t mean anything. She’s an extreme kind of character, and he was a psychiatrist in his human life. He would naturally find her intriguing.

My mistake was having Cage accompany Nik and Robin to their new quarters on their first night in Penton. It’s a ten-minute drive in Nik’s car.

Here’s how the scene was supposed to play out:

Nik wants to move to Penton hoping he can’t read psychic images from vampires. He can get disturbing images from other humans, from inanimate objects, and from some shape-shifters. He’s never met a vampire before. So in this scene, I wanted to establish that he could, indeed, touch vampires, so Penton would be a peaceful place for him to live. Since Nik’s not so good at opening up to people, Robin’s purpose in the short car scene was to tell Cage that Nik needed to touch him, to test out the psychic thing.

Yeah, that was what was supposed to happen, and it did. Robin did her job. She also exchanged sexual banter with Cage, played with his hair, and became fascinated with her first vampire. She wanted to feed him, to see what it felt like. She wanted to...well, Robin has few limits.

After that, it really didn’t matter what I wanted. This became Robin’s book. I hope you like it. If not, you know who to blame—the eagle-shifter named Robin!

About Susannah:
Susannah Sandlin is a native of Winfield, Alabama, and has worked as a writer/editor in educational publishing in Alabama, Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, with two rescue dogs named after professional wrestlers (it was a phase). She has a no-longer-secret passion for Cajun music, Canadian French pop music, and reality TV. She's single and is on the hunt for a longhaul Ice Road Trucker who also hunts gators.

* ABSOLUTION, book two in the Penton Legacy series, won the Holt Medallion for paranormal romance in 2013 and was a finalist for the 2013 Prism and Gayle Wilson awards. 

* Penton book three, OMEGA, was nominated by RT Book Reviews Magazine for the 2014 Reviewer's Choice Award in paranormal romance. 

* STORM FORCE is a finalist for the 2014 Prism Award for dark paranormal romance. 

Susannah is a member of Romance Writers of America and the following chapters: Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Southern Magic, Georgia Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death. She also is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and Novelists Inc.

As Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.

Website - Facebook - Twitter

By Susannah Sandlin

Release date: June 10, 2014
Published by: Montlake Romance
Available in print, digital (Kindle only), and audiobook

British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is to find himself drawn to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.

Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love isn’t something Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?

Buy links:
Amazon - Barnes & Noble



Susannah kindly agreed to a giveaway.
One reader of my blog will win one of the earlier Penton books: Redemption, Absolution or Omega as either print, digital copy or audiobook. (winner's choice)

So for your chance to win:
- Leave a comment for Susannah
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- Do so before June 22nd, a winner will be randomly selected on that day.

The winner is Victoria Zumbrum

Open internationally to anyone who's legally allowed to enter this giveaway.


Roger said...

I liked Robin in Storm Force. I loved Robin in Allegiance. Guys you must buy this book. The fourth installment of the Penton Legacy is a great, violent, bloody, can't put it down read.

Liz S. said...

Thanks for sharing how a character can make the book take unexpected paths. Hope to read Allegiance this weekend.

SandyG265 said...

I think it's interesting how characters can take on a life of their own.

miki said...

i loved Robin in Storm Force and i don't think she changed at all^^;; she found new banter partner and let say that without her and Mirren the books perhaps wouldn't have had that much appeal for me since it perfectly balanced the darker part

Robin and Cage.... oki i regret it's not Nik but i prefer Cage with her they are right for each other

( i have the first 3 book so don't count me for the contest^^ ( only need allegianvce ( oh and lovely dark and deep but it's not related^^)

Blodeuedd said...

Who would play your heroes in a movie?

(blodeuedd83 twitter)


jmcgaugh said...

Robin sounds like an amazing character. I look forward to seeing the relationship develop between her and Cage.
jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

Aurian said...

Don't enter me, I already have those books. But thanks for this fun guest post. I really liked Robin in the first book, and look forward to reading this one.

Debby said...

the posts really make me want to read the books. The post was great.
debby236 at gmail dot come

erin said...

thanks for such a fun post :) Hearing the "behind the scenes" makes me want to read this series more!!! Thanks for sharing!

Celeste c said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Ren said...

Thanks for sharing your writing experience! :)

sawamura_foxman AT yahoo dot com

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

As for who would play the characters in a movie version....I'm AWFUL at that. In my mind, Robin looks kind of like Winona Ryder in her young, waif phase but she's too old to play her now. Cage...I have no idea!

Victoria Zumbrum said...

I would love to read this series. Sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

Galena said...

So If I haven't read Storm Force yet, how much will I be missing out on in Allegiance? Should I get ahold of Storm Force first, or is it ok to read them separately/out of order?

(Contact info is ostipow at

Suzanne Johnson said...

Galena--Allegiance will make perfect sense without reading Storm Force, so reading them out of order is fine. The story lines don't overlap at all. The only thing to remember in reading Storm Force second is that Robin hasn't yet met Cage or the vampires. Otherwise, I don't think it would make any difference at all!