A special day! The fabulous Jennifer Estep is here to give away a signed copy of her new urban fantasy novel, SPIDER'S BITE, first in the Elemental Assassin series. This is getting some awesome reviews! Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime series. So, keep reading to learn how to enter, and get a little inside peek into some of the characters in the novel from none other than Gin herself, the heroine of SPIDER'S BITE.
Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Kelly for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Kelly!
So Kelly suggested that I talk a little bit about the characters in Spider’s Bite – the first book in my new Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that was released on Jan. 26.
Of course, the main character is my heroine, Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who also runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. Gin is tough, sassy, smart, and sarcastic. I know, I know, so is every other heroine in urban fantasy these days. But hey, who wouldn’t want to write a character like that? ;-)
Now, Gin is an assassin and she’s spent her entire adult life killing people for money, something that’s she’s very, very good at. But that doesn’t mean that she’s completely heartless. In fact, Gin has several folks that she cares deeply about.
Spider’s Bite is written in first person, so the reader sees everything from Gin’s point of view – including the other characters. So today, I thought that I’d share some of Gin’s observations about her fellow partners in crime – as well as her enemies.
Fletcher Lane: Gin’s mentor and foster father who took her in off the streets when she was thirteen and trained her to be a master assassin.
Gin’s take: My gray eyes focused on the cash register perched on the right side of the counter. A lone man sat next to it, reading a tattered paperback copy of Where the Red Fern Grows and sipping a cup of chicory coffee. An old man, late seventies, with a wispy thatch of white hair that covered his mottled, brown scalp. A grease-stained apron hung off his thin neck and trailed down his blue work shirt and pants.
The bell over the door chimed when I entered, but the man didn’t look up from his paperback.
“You’re late, Gin,” he said.
“Sorry. I was busy talking about my feelings and killing people.”
“You were supposed to be here an hour ago.”
“Why, Fletcher, it almost sounds like you were worried about me.”
Fletcher glanced up from his book. His rheumy eyes resembled the dull green glass of a soda pop bottle. “Me? Worry? Don’t be silly.”
Jo-Jo Deveraux: A two-hundred-fifty-seven-year-old dwarven Air elemental who uses her magic to heal Gin whenever Gin gets injured on one of her hits. Jo-Jo also calls herself a “drama mama” because she runs a beauty salon that caters to trophy wives, debutantes, and all other manner of Southern women.
Gin’s take: Even though it was close to midnight, Jolene “Jo-Jo” Deveraux looked like she was ready to go to Sunday church. A flowered dress covered her stocky, muscular figure, and a string of pearls hung from her short neck. Her feet were bare, although flirty pink polish covered her stubby toenails. The color matched her lipstick and eye shadow. Jo-Jo’s bleached blond-white hair was coiffed into its usual, helmetlike tower of ever-tightening curls, although her black roots were starting to show. At an even five feet, she was tall for a dwarf, and her hair only added to her height. But I still had a good seven inches on her … The dwarf’s eyes were almost colorless, except for the pinprick of black at their center. Her pale gaze flicked over Finn’s battered face, and the blood spatters that coated both of us like strips of wet wallpaper. The crow’s feet and laugh lines that grooved her middle-aged face deepened with worry.
“Hell’s bells and panther trails,” Jo-Jo drawled in a voice as light and sweet as apricot syrup. “Come in, come in. Take him in the back. You know where.”
Sophia Deveraux: Jo-Jo’s younger sister at one hundred thirteen and counting. Sophia disposes of the bodies that Gin leaves in her wake. The dwarf also works at the Pork Pit, baking up the best sourdough bread in Ashland.
Gin’s take: Sophia was an inch taller than her older sister, and her body was thicker, with an extra layer of hard muscle. Where Jo-Jo was light, Sophia was dark—as in Goth. Short, straight black hair clung to her head, matching her eye shadow, eyeliner, and lipstick. Her eyes were also a flat black. Instead of a dress, Sophia wore black jeans, black boots, and a black T-shirt embossed with hot pink skulls. The skulls matched the plastic ones hanging off the spiked, black leather collar that ringed her thick throat. Even though she was a hundred and thirteen, Sophia had the moody adolescent look down pat … Her voice rasped worse than a whiskey-drinking, hard-living chain smoker’s would have. When she did deign to speak, Sophia liked to limit herself to small spurts of syllables. Nothing too strenuous. Then again, her dwarven sister, Jo-Jo, talked enough for both of them.
Donovan Caine: One of the few honest cops in Ashland, Donovan has a total Boy Scout mentality, which is why he’s determined to track down the assassin who killed his partner. That would be Gin, of course, which makes for some great tension between her and Donovan – especially when they team up to find out who wants them both dead and why.
Gin’s take: I tracked Caine through the scope as he approached Giles. Thirty-two. Six foot one. Cropped black hair. Hazel eyes. Strong chin. Square jaw. Bumpy, crooked nose. Lean body. Bronze skin that showed his Hispanic heritage.
He was handsome enough, although not as pretty as some of the other men I’d seen in the lobby. But Caine moved with the loose, easy confidence of a man who knows what he’s doing—and knows he can handle anything that comes his way.
Was there anything sexier than confidence and the skill to back it up? I didn’t think so.
Mab Monroe: The Fire elemental who runs Ashland like it’s her own personal fiefdom. Mab runs a Mob-like empire and has a strangehold on all the illegal goings-on in Ashland. She’s also rumored to have more raw power, more raw magic, than any elemental born in the last five hundred years.
Gin’s take: Gasps surged through the crowd, and I searched for the source of the sudden disturbance. My gaze locked onto Mab Monroe. The Fire elemental swept through the lobby and walked up the grand staircase. Every eye turned to her, and conversation stopped, like a song cut off in mid-chorus. Mab had that effect on most people. Her softly curled red hair gleamed like a new penny, and she wore a gown of the darkest scarlet imaginable, cut low in the front to show off her creamy décolletage. Her eyes were black pools in her face. Fire and brimstone. That’s what I thought about every time I saw Mab.
A flat gold necklace ringed the Fire elemental’s delicate neck. My eyes caught on the centerpiece of the design: a circular ruby surrounded by several dozen wavy rays. The intricate diamond cutting on the gold made it seem as though the rays actually flickered. A sunburst. The symbol for fire. Mab’s personal rune, used by her and her alone. Even across the room, I could hear the gemstone’s vibrations. Instead of beauty and elegance, it whispered of raw, fiery power. The sound made my stomach clench.
Quite the cast of characters, huh? ;-)
I hope everyone has as much fun reading about Gin and everyone else’s (mis)adventures as I did writing them. Happy reading everyone!
What about you guys? Who are some of your favorite characters in urban fantasy and beyond? Share in the comments (Kelly here: Your comment will enter you to win a signed copy of SPIDER'S BITE!! I'll draw a winner on Monday).