STORM FORCE Easter Eggs (and #Win an Amazon GC)

storm forceIn honor of STORM FORCE being on sale for 99 cents for Kindle this month, I thought I’d share some trivia from this book. Like most of my books, it has to at least make a node to Louisiana, so while the bulk of the story is set in Houston, there are some crucial, climactic scenes back in the bayous, where the hero, Kell, has a cabin.

This book is also the first appearance of two characters, Robin Ashton and Nikolas Dimitrou, who later moved to Penton. The fifth Penton Legacy book will be about Nik.

If you haven’t read STORM FORCE, it’s a standalone although it very loosely ties to the Penton series and would fall between OMEGA and ALLEGIANCE. Click here to order. 

A few Easter Egg tidbits about STORM FORCE:

  • In the first scene of the book, a reference is made to an earthquake the hit Mexico in the 1980s, causing the 64-story Williams Tower in West Houston to sway. So…true story. I lived in Houston for most of the 1980s, and there was an earthquake in Mexico. Water splashed out of swimming pools and what was then called the Transco Tower (below) did, indeed, sway.

transco

  • The name of the building damaged by what turns out to be not an earthquake but an act of terrorism is the Zemurray Building. To my knowledge, there is no Zemurray Building in Houston. The Zemurray family was a famous New Orleans family, the elder Zemurray, Samuel, having earned his fortune importing bananas, forming first the Cuyamel Banana Co., which eventually got renamed Chiquita. The old Zemurray home in what is now uptown New Orleans is currently owned by Tulane University and is the home of the university president. Bob Dylan has a house a few doors down. I couldn’t make up this stuff. Here’s the house now and it’s as pretty inside as out.

tulanePres-PI02

  • Kell’s cabin is located on Bayou Cote Blanche in western Louisiana. There is not a Cote Blanche Bayou, to my knowledge. I took the name from Cote Blanche Bay, which lies on the Louisiana Gulf Coast in St. Mary Parish and was a hangout of a certain French privateer named Jean Lafitte. Singer-songwriter Zachary Richard wrote a sad little song about Jean Lafitte’s last days in Louisiana called “Cote Blanche Bay.”

 

  • Kell, the hero of STORM FORCE, has a dog named Gator. Gator is a Catahoula Leopard Dog, which is a wildly spotted, blue-eyed species and the state dog of Louisiana. It is named after Catahoula Parish, La. President Teddy Roosevelt used to go hunting with these dogs.

catahoula

  • Robin Ashton, a shifter, is a golden eagle in her shifted form. This is a nod to my current home of Auburn, Alabama, where the local university has a beautiful golden eagle named Nova who soars over the football stadium before home football games. Nova lives in the university’s Southeastern Raptor Center. He was caught in the wild but was deemed unable to be returned to the wild and survive, so he’s become part of the center’s educational program. Nova switches out flying over the stadium untethered before games with Spirit, a bald eagle. It amazes me that they’ll circle the stadium and then gracefully land on the 50-yard-line, where their handler waits with a dead mouse. Good stuff for an eagle. Not so much for the mouse. Kell teases Robin in the book about going out flying at night to catch and eat rats, which she ignores. Here’s Nova just after her flight over the stadium filled with about 75,000 screaming fans.

nova

  • In one place, Kell refers to Houston as “reclaimed swampland with a lot of tall buildings on it.” This is true, and most are surprised to find that the Bayou City is not New Orleans, but Houston, which has bayous running around and through it. New Orleans is the Crescent City, named for the crescent-shaped bend in the Mississippi River that arcs around the Vieux Carre, of French Quarter–the original city. The top image shows Houston’s bayous; bottom photo is the river winding through New Orleans.

houston bayous

New-Orleans-aerial

That’s probably enough trivia for today. Anything take you by surprise?  Leave a comment to be entered for a $5 Amazon gift card.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

24 thoughts on “STORM FORCE Easter Eggs (and #Win an Amazon GC)

    • Yes, indeed. Houston is flat as a pancake and the water table is high–and it has no drainage. The city floods after a moderate rainstorm, much worse than New Orleans (which has a pumping system to pull the water out).

  1. I was born and raised in Houston, so none of these surprises me. I always joke that the Allen brothers said, “hey, here’s a swamp, let’s build a city!”. Our city bird is the mosquito. There is a lovely mansion in Houston called Bayou Bend, the former home of Miss Ima Hogg. (Yes, that was her real name). It is full of the most gorgeous art and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Houston is full of many interesting things.

    • Hahah–I remember the Ima Hogg mansion. Such an unfortunate name :-). I absolutely love Houston, especially the Montrose/Rice areas. I worked at Rice, but lived in an apartment on San Felipe just inside the loop (near the Galleria). I used my apartment as Kell’s apartment in the book!

      • Oh, Montrose/Rice were great areas. All those big, beautiful trees with Spanish moss. Such wonderful places to eat in Montrose, too.

  2. Thanks for the Easter Egg tidbits. Really enjoyed Storm Force. And Robin is one of my favorite characters. I sometimes add a bird to my Zentangles, it’s Robin to me…LOL.

  3. I didn’t realize that Houston was reclaimed swampland and had bayous running around & through it (good map). How interesting about Louisiana having a state dog and such an unique one with blue eyes.

  4. I really enjoyed all the tidbits, but the Houston info was definitely the biggest surprise. I had no idea it had bayous. 😀

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