Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Thank you so much for helping me celebrate the release of Devouring Flame! At the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away a prize—a $25 Dreamspinner gift card plus one of my backlist titles—to one commenter (chosen at random across all the tour posts), so please be sure to join the conversation!
Devouring Flame is the second book in my series centered around the employees of Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, where the word “enchanted” is quite literally, er, literal. The EO staff are all outcast from their supernatural home realms, most of them because they’re aitchers (short for half-and-half), part human and part other, and discriminated against by Pures of all races. But they’ve found a community with their EO co-workers, and job satisfaction staging magical events for their clients.
Of course, sometimes those events get… complicated. 🙂
The Vampire Conundrum
Until last year, even though I’d written a dozen books—three quarters of them paranormal—I’d never written one involving vampires. Then, by an odd coincidence, I ended up writing two at the same time.
Each was from a different paranormal romantic comedy series: my November release, Vampire with Benefits, is book two in my Supernatural Selection trilogy, and my current release, Devouring Flame, is the second Enchanted Occasions story. And the way I ended up treating the vampire mythos in each book was vastly different.
For one thing, in Vampire With Benefits, one of the main characters is a vampire, involved in a fake marriage scheme with an inactive beaver shifter. In Devouring Flame, however, vampires are side characters—treated as a group rather than individually—and are more of an annoyance and impediment to our co-heroes than participants in a love story of their own.
Consequently, I got to develop the rules for two different vampire worlds, which was great fun. The Supernatural Selection books belong in what I call my paranormal romantic comedy genre, but Enchanted Occasions veers more toward the screwball than just rom-com. Consequently, the Vampire With Benefits world is a little more serious than the one in Devouring Flame.
In VWB, all the vampires, with the exception of two who were Turned in America, are from Eastern Europe, and their society is still more or less feudal.
In Devouring Flame, the vampires behave more like a global corporation, with an annual conference (which Enchanted Occasions Event Planning has been hired to present), including sensitivity training sessions, officer elections, and bylaws review.
One of the things I felt pretty strongly about was that I didn’t want there to be any danger of a vampire population explosion. I wanted both series to have a limitation on creating new vampires, a moratorium, so that the population remained fixed. However, the reasons for the moratorium vary between the series.
In SS, the moratorium was imposed by the fae and druids, in exchange for evacuating the vampires from Europe after World War I.
In EO, the moratorium was instigated in 2007 with the publication of Twilight, because, to quote Smith, one of the heroes in Devouring Flame:
“Too many moony teenagers with unrealistically romantic notions about what it means to be undead. All the vamps started freaking out. They might be bloodsucking, egomaniacal sociopaths, but they’re not pedophiles. At least that’s what their PR team claims.”
For amusement, the SS vampires conduct themselves like the aristocracy they once were, attending sophisticated cocktail parties dressed in impeccable evening wear. The EO vampires, on the other hand, like vast, noisy costume balls, in which they cosplay as themselves—that is, as any version of “vampire” portrayed in human film or literature.
Another difference: the SS vampires can only smell and taste viable food sources (in other words, people whose blood will be appetizing and nourishing for them). They can’t taste or smell anything else, which means there’s little point for them to try. I sort of sidestep the issue of whether or not they actually could if they wanted to.
The EO vampires on the other hand… For one day out of every century, because of a spell in certain Interstitial sites, they can consume human food again. It’s their Centennial Feast, and Enchanted Occasions is staging that as well.
Since they have only twenty-four hours to eat—before waiting another hundred years—the vampires have a really, really, really long list of menu requirements. Because, as Mikos, Enchanted Occasions’ owner, says in response to Smith’s question about what vampires eat:
“When they’re only able to eat once every hundred years? Everything they possibly can.”
So what about you? If you had to pick a once-in-a-century menu, what would be on it?
An Enchanted Occasions story
Reunited and reignited.
While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.
On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.
Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.
When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.
But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.
Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.
About the Author
E.J. Russell–grace, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst and happy endings.
Reality? Eh, not so much.
E.J.’s paranormal romantic comedy, The Druid Next Door, was a 2018 RITA® finalist. She’s married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, C.H. also loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and Satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skill set).
E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
Facebook reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reality.optional
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/ej_russell
The author is offering a giveaway prize—a $25 Dreamspinner gift card plus one of their backlist titles—to one commenter (chosen at random across all the tour posts) at the end of the tour