Omega Force #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication: March 19, 2013, in serial form for Kindle; July 9, 2013, in print, digital, and audio.
Word Count: approx. 90,000
As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.
Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?
Welcome, Susannah! I have to say I have become a big fan in a short period of time. Later this week I will be talking about your Penton Vampires on Share My Destiny and… Spoiler Alert… I loved them!
1. What made you decide to break away from the Vampires and go Military?
Yay! Glad you like the Penton books! It wasn’t a conscious decision for me to go military, but as I was plotting out the third Penton book, Omega, I realized I had written my characters into a tight spot, literally underground, and needed to get them out. One of the Penton vampires, Randa, was in the Army on active duty when she was turned, plus she came from a military family. It made me start thinking about how a paranormal character might work alongside a human military character. So I came up with an idea for a spinoff based on a combined Army Ranger-paranormal counterterrorism team. I found that I really enjoy combining the character depth of a paranormal romance with the action of a thriller, so Storm Force is what I’m calling a “paranormal romantic thriller.”
2. Did the technical aspects of writing military fiction require a lot of research or did you make it all up?
I researched a lot about the U.S. Rangers specifically—the kind of physical and mental training they go through, how they talk (for example, the Rangers intentionally don’t use that “hoo-ah” thing like you hear in the movies). I read some good biographies by Rangers, and took a workshop on how to write a Ranger taught by a Ranger. I wanted to focus on Rangers instead of Seals or Marines because they don’t get the high-profile glory but they’re pretty amazing. The training they go through is brutal. Ranger School is based at Fort Benning, Ga., about forty miles from where I live. Did I get it a hundred percent right? No, probably not. But I wanted to do enough research that Jack Kellison, my hero, comes across as a real guy.
3. What was behind the decision to release Storm Force in serial format?
That was my publisher’s bright idea—LOL. They had been putting out some Kindle Serials with their romantic suspense authors, and decided I might be a good fit for doing a paranormal romance serial. The “fit” means I can hit tight deadlines and don’t usually require a lot of revisions. It has been challenging, but fun. I come from a journalism background, so deadlines don’t freak me out.
4. Will we hear more from the Penton Vampires or are you permanently off to other worlds?
I plan on doing at least one more Penton book. I left some things hanging in Omega that I want to tie up (Cage Reynolds, anyone?). So if the schedule allows, I’ll be doing that this summer. After that? We’ll see how it goes. When I wrote Omega, I hadn’t envisioned the twist things would take with Cage—he surprised me! But I have a feeling the character of Max and little Hannah and the bond they’ve formed might have a story in it too. So we’ll see.
5. What more can we expect from Omega Force?
I hope to be able to do Nik’s book—he’s a Ranger with psychic abilities that’s a mixed blessing/curse for him, and I think he has a story to tell. I also have plans for Archer, who’s a black jaguar shifter and member of the Omega Force team, and Robin, the eagle-shifter. A lot depends on how Storm Force goes over with readers and what the publisher does or doesn’t want.
6. I noticed that you are doing some travelling and making some appearances. Would you share your upcoming event schedule with us?
Sure! The next thing I’ll be doing is the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City the first week of May. I’ll be doing several events there both as Susannah Sandlin and Suzanne Johnson, the name under which I write the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. In July, I’ll be at the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta. There are huge book-signings at both of those events. In November, I’ll be hosting a table at the Southern Magic Reader’s Luncheon in Birmingham, Alabama (guest speaker is Jeaniene Frost), so buy a ticket and sit at my table! I usually add events through the year, but those are the big ones.
7. Thanks for spending time with us! Is there anything more you would like to share?
Just to let people know that even though the serial release of Storm Force has started, you can purchase it at any time (it’s $1.99 for the whole book) and all the episodes up to that point will be downloaded. I know some folks who don’t like the serial format are letting it download to read all at once when it’s done. It will also be out on July 9 in print, audio, and digital, and from other online retailers.
Thanks for having me here, Noelle!
It was my Pleasure! Please, come back anytime to visit!
Read the following excerpt and leave a comment with your email addy! One person will be chosen randomly to receive a subscription to Storm Force in serial format. Receive each episode as it is released! Good Luck & Happy Reading!
Kell spotted the bird as soon as its wingtips cleared the edge of the cypress stand at the eastern rim of Bayou Cote Blanche. For a moment, he indulged a hope it might be a hawk in search of fish, or a pelican, or a cormorant, or a fucking giant mutant hummingbird.
Anything but an eagle.
“It’s her.” At the sound of his voice, Gator raised his spotted head and focused sharp, mismatched eyes on the horizon, barking furiously in his Catahoula big-dog voice, usually reserved for alligators and swamp rats.
Kell had been sitting on the porch of his cabin at Cote Blanche since Nik’s phone call from New Orleans two hours ago, waiting to see who’d arrive first—the man or the bird.
Should’ve known it would be the freakazoid eagle with the deceptively sweet name of Robin. He’d come to think of her as Razorblade Robin. Nik would have to rent a boat in Jeanerette and navigate the serpentine waterways of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp to get here. Razorblade Robin could just sprout feathers and soar.
The midday sun glinted off the glossy reddish-brown wings of the golden eagle as it swooped over the smooth, murky water of the bayou and landed with a harsh caw at the end of his dock. Gator rose to his feet and looked up at Kell, asking permission to chase.
“Sorry, buddy. You don’t want to mess with that one. She can take you.” Hell, she could take both of them.
Kell took a final look at the pile of papers he’d been reading—notes about his team’s new assignment. Mostly, he’d been studying the photo on top of the stack. The woman, Emory Chastaine, an environmental activist well known in tree-hugger circles, had been photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens that gave the image a grainy feel, made worse by his generator-powered printer. But he could tell she was tall, athletic-looking in a t-shirt and jeans, shoulder-length blond hair, pretty in an all-American kind of way.
Not his image of a terrorist. Which made her even more dangerous.
Gator sprang off the porch as the eagle strutted down the dock toward them. He approached the bird in a crouch, his growls echoing off the still water. Damn dog never did listen worth a flip. Kell leaned back in his chair to watch the show. With a screech and a blur of feathers seconds before Gator reached her, the eagle morphed into a petite, waifish brunette.
Make that a naked, waifish brunette with a snark-tastic attitude who arched an eyebrow when Kell’s vicious watchdog turn into a slobbering, tail-wagging fool, jumping up and down so vigorously his black and white spots seemed to blur. You’d think the hound saw birds turn into people every day.
If Gator went the crotch-sniffing route, Kell might have to die of pure humiliation.
Not like the naked bird-woman came as any big surprise. He reached for the t-shirt he’d thrown across the other porch chair and tossed it to her as she approached, Gator dancing around her legs. “Put this on.”
Robin Ashton, five-foot-nothing of shapeshifter and the tracker for Kell’s new Omega Force team, caught the shirt and used it to wipe the sweat off her face. “It’s like a sauna out here. Pretty, though, if you’re into the primordial.”
She turned to study the bayou, a minor niche in the massive Atchafalaya basin, and Kell made it a point to keep his eyes away from her ass. It wasn’t that he wanted to look at it, exactly, but he was a guy, and it was right in front of him.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781612183541