An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

 

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

 

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

 

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

 

This series has been so great and I love how it was tied up, I’m probably going to have to go back and read the Fae out of Water series because I liked these characters so much and if the author ever makes another series references these characters it will be on my tbr immediately.  Hamish has resigned himself to a life without love and just hopes to find some companionship with the help of Supernatural Selection and against all odds gets registered.  Poor Zeke, he’s just trying to escape Sheol and the hell he lives there but seems to have just traded it for another with the restrictions put on him.

 

I loved that we got to see the couples from the previous books in this one and how great everything was for them even though everyone thought they were mistakes.  The twist of how everything was getting mixed up was interesting but I was so glad to see the culprit get what he deserved along with Zeke being able to break free from the prison his life was.

 

I felt for Zeke from the beginning, all the way from the bullying from the AI and the bullying from his Sheol master, he is just trying to survive and be able to stay in the upper world.  Hamish took a little to connect with but that was mostly because he was lying to himself about being able to find love but he quickly grabs onto the idea when he realizes that Zeke would be the perfect one for him.  I was so happy for these two to find a happily ever after, especially Zeke as we have seem how much he was struggling in the first two books.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is great and I love the visual of Zeke with Hamish’s drums and how it is similar to the others in the series.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages

Published: February 25, 2019 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-858-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #3

ReplyForward

A Caryn Review: Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

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 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the Supernatural Selections series.  I have truly enjoyed the ride on this one, but I wish Ms. Russell had not limited herself to only 3 books in the series.  I posed several questions in my review of Vampire with Benefits, as the first two books were building up towards some complex and sinister plot, and I couldn’t wait to see who, or what, was behind the series of inexplicable mistakes that ended up with two improbable, but extremely successful pairings.  This book does indeed answer those questions, but in an incredibly hasty and disappointingly superficial way.  The resolution fell flat after all the foreshadowing in the first two books.  I wish there had been a more substantial villain and motive, but I don’t think that was possible with the length of these books.

Zeke Oz was the front man, and seemingly only visible employee, of the supe dating service, Supernatural Selections.  He showed up multiple times in the previous two books, of course, and was always adorably flustered when everything kept going wrong.  His back story – a demon on the Sheol work-release program – is fleshed out a bit here, as well as the conditions of his life in Sheol that made him so anxious to do the right thing by his clients.  Adorable and innocent are perfect descriptions of him, despite that fact that he is a demon and should by rights be evil and ugly.  He was caught up in an impossible situation between his superiors in Sheol, his bosses at Supernatural Selections, and his AI – angel interface – and was guaranteed to piss off someone, and doing so would probably land him back in Sheol.

And then Hamish walked into Supernatural Selections, complicating Zeke’s predicament even more as his contract was the result of another baffling glitch in the software.  The spells guaranteeing a perfect match were offline, so the witches just told Zeke to make Hamish happy, or else.

Hamish was a member of Hunter’s moon, the band introduced in Bad Boy’s Bard of the Fae Out of Water series.  He was a kangaroo shifter – Australian, of course – and had been hopelessly in love with one of the other band members for decades.  When she found her bliss in a poly relationship, Hamish was devastated.  Everyone around him seemed to be paired up and happy, and in a fuck-it-all type of mood he signed up with Supernatural Selections, hoping they could accomplish what he clearly was a total failure at.  When Zeke told him that the spells were not working and he would have to actually date – well, it wasn’t what he hoped for, but nothing else worked, so why not?

As Zeke worked to make Hamish happy, several things became clear:  Zeke was exceptionally dedicated and smarter than he realized, and Hamish had a depth of compassion and protectiveness that he had never tapped into before.  Both men recognized that what would really make them happy was each other – but how could Zeke stay in the upper world when he was a demon, and freedom and happiness were things he was categorically denied?

The depth of characterization in this book wasn’t as deep as in the others, and I felt that Hamish especially fell in love just a little too easily, given that his heart was supposed to have been so broken in the beginning.  And Zeke was just a little too good.  And then the ending wrapped up just a little too neatly, and on a much smaller scale than I was expecting.  So maybe my relative disappointment in this book was just because I had such great expectations after reading the other two.  All that being said, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the series, and I probably will reread them in the future.  And I hope the author is not tired of writing in this universe, because I think there is still tremendous potential for more stories there, and I would love to see more of all of of these characters!

Cover art by L.C. Chase again fits perfectly with the series, and Zeke is very cute in his glasses and hoodie, but don’t you think he looks like the same model for Single White Incubus??

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Demon on the Down-Low
ISBN 139781626498587
Edition Language English
Series Supernatural Selection #3

E.J. Russell on the second in their Enchanted Occasions series, Devouring Flame (guest post and giveaway)

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Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

Amazon: http://ejr.pub/devouring-flame-amz

Other: http://ejr.pub/devouring-flame-b2r

Publisher: http://ejr.pub/fb-devouring-flame

 

 

 

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?

Devouring Flame

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.

Contact info:

Email: ejr@ejrussell.com

Website: http://ejrussell.com

Newsletter: http://ejrussell.com/newsletter

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

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-j-russell

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ej_russell

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ej_russell_author

 

Giveaway

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

An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

 

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

 

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

 

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

 

This is another great story in this series, with a very interesting turn.  Cas is dreading his sentence of being married to who the council has chosen and jumps at the chance to throw it back in their faces.  Rusty just wants someone to actually care about him and basically not be a jerk, he isn’t expecting much just to get away from his ex.

 

This story is taking place at the same time as the first book which was interesting.  Cas and Rusty work together from the beginning and grow closer over time.  When they discover how Rusty could help Cas get his life back and help fix something from Cas’s past they jump right in.

 

I easily connected with Rusty, he has always been the outcast and never expects more than that but he is so caring and fierce at the same time.  Cas took a bit to grow on me, but once he stopped trying to defy everything it’s easy to see that he isn’t happy and deeply regrets even becoming a vampire but he would never have gotten to meet Rusty.  I loved the connection these two have and the twist at the end to get a happily ever after was great.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is adorable and I love the style an how it matches the first book too.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: November 26, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-856-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #2

A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

So I finished Single White Incubus a few months ago, loved it, and wanted to know what happened with the other two guys who were left at the altar.  And of course, this author never disappoints me, so this is the story of Rusty Johnson, inactive beaver shifter, and Casimir Moreau, vampire.  It is definitely not a stand alone book, and I will try not to put any spoilers from either book in this review.

Casimir was the youngest of the vampires, after their near extinction as a race caused them to strike a deal with the rest of the supernatural community to ban further vampire creation.  Despite only being 100 years old, he was already bored and dissatisfied with his undead existence, and he managed to get into quite a bit of trouble.  To the point that the vampire council  decided that he needed a permanent keeper, and they also decided the best way to accomplish that was to marry him to an incubus of excellent breeding and social standing.  Supernatural Selections guaranteed the match would be perfect, and the vampire council was happy to be in charge of the choice.

Rusty was an anomaly and an embarrassment to the shifter community.  Unable to shift, too tall, too awkward, and all too conscious of these faults that the beaver community would not let him forget.  The last straw was when his boyfriend dumped him for a female beaver shifter, and took the house that Rusty had lovingly built for the two of them.  Rusty signed up with Supernatural Selections and was matched to a bear shifter who lived far enough away that he wouldn’t ever have to deal with them again.  It seemed perfect.

But when Rusty and Casimir showed up at the office to get hitched, they found their perfectly selected mates had married each other, through an incredible snafu.  It wouldn’t have been such a problem, but Cas faced a very real possibility of being staked in the sun if he didn’t show up to the council married.  Shifters and vampires are anathema to each other (thank you, Twilight lore), and Cas thought getting married to Rusty would be a phenomenal fuck you to the vampire council, so he convinced Rusty – with the help of plenty of alcohol – to sign a temporary marriage contract.  Rusty was a great guy though, and Cas wasn’t completely selfish, and he figured the charade would also benefit Rusty, because what would be better than showing up at his ex-boyfriend’s wedding with a husband guaranteed to piss off the entire beaver shifter clan?

Getting to know these guys as they got to know each other was the best part of the book.  Rusty was such a boy scout, honest, kind, generous, but not prudish or stuck up at all.  He was completely unaware of his charms, both mental and physical, and that is the kind of character that I love best.  Cas was a bit of a bad boy, but he had matured enough to know there was more to life, and Rusty brought out the best in him.  They were both misfits in their communities, but what made them stick out there turned out to be what made them exactly right for each other.  But just when they were discovering how good they actually were together is when the web of lies and old grudges started closing in on them, and the consequences became a matter of life and death.

There were more plot twists and turns in this book than the first of the series – like the Fae Out of Water series that spawned this one, the books seem to be getting more complex and a bit darker as they progress.  This one is still as much comedy as it is romance, but there is definitely more of the mystery about it, and even more foreshadowing of a huge reveal in the next book.  I’m pretty sure I know what’s up with those AIs (Angel Interfaces) now, and why they are so sneaky and ominous, and I can’t wait to see if I’m correct when I read the next book.  And I’m thrilled that it will be about Zeke, the demon employee of Supernatural Selections, who’s definitely got some secrets of his own.

Once again I couldn’t give a full five stars, mainly because the resolution of the book required the use of a plot device that I absolutely hate, and that I think may screw up all the hints and foreshadowing that were otherwise really well done.  This is a personal pet peeve though, other readers might not mind it.  I was happy to see that the characters from Druid Next Door featured prominently in this book, just as those from Cutie and the Beast featured in book one.

Cover art by L.C. Chase fits perfectly with the series, but I was disappointed that it was all about Cas, and nothing really represented Rusty.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Vampire with Benefits
ISBN 1626498563 (ISBN13: 9781626498563)
Edition Language  English
Series Supernatural Selection #2

Single White Incubus

Vampire with Benefits

A Caryn Advent Calendar Review: A Everyday Hero by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is EXACTLY what I want out of a holiday short story!  Sweet, funny, and leaving me with a smile on my face when I finish it.  I frequently find short stories leave me feeling unsatisfied, like they could be better if only they were longer, but this one was Just Right.

Adam Tyler is a nerdy web designer who moved from Portland, Oregon – a place with familiar, benign flora and fauna – to Phoenix, Arizona, to be near his sister and her soon-to-be-delivered daughter.  He plans to be the perfect uncle, but when he came to inspect his new house, the menacing scorpion in the bedroom had him rethinking his decision.  After screaming like a little girl, he escaped to the safety of his pool (scorpions don’t swim, right?), finished hyperventilating, and commenced calling exterminators.  But since it is only a few days before Christmas, everyone is busy.

Except Strong Exterminators.  That’s a good name, right?  Garrett Strong came over right away, and not only rescued Adam from what turned out to be an average Phoenix plague of scorpions – and I am so very happy I live in Florida after reading this story, ha ha! – but showed extraordinary patience with Adam.  Adam was charmed, as was Garrett, and they went on their first date right away.  When other desert creepy crawlies threatened, Garrett was there to save Adam again, and Adam saved him right back by seeing right to the kind, generous core of a guy who truly was an Everyday Hero.

*Happy Merry Christmas Sigh*   

Cover art by LC Chase could not be more perfect!  That is exactly how I pictured Adam and Garrett, right down to the clipboard 🙂

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 54 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644050385
Edition Language English

EJ Russell on Cooking with Love and her new release ‘Single White Incubus ‘ (guest post and giveaway)

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Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection #1) by E.J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links  Riptide Publishing  |  Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host E.J. Russell here today on tour for her new novel Single White Incubus.  Welcome, E.J.

✒︎

Cooking with Love by E.J. Russell

Those of you who’ve read a few of my books may have noticed that there’s usually a scene involving food—preparing it, eating it, or both. This is due in large part to my Curmudgeonly Husband. He has a…er…close relationship with food, as both a preparer (he’s a fabulous cook, thank goodness, because I most definitely am not), an eater (he’s very serious about that), and as…well…landmarks. He actually remembers occasions based on what we were eating at the time. He may not remember people or places, but he remembers the food.

He also critiques movies based on the frequency of food-related scenes. When we first saw The Fellowship of the Ring, he was quite disappointed in how it compared to the book.

Me: Why? Do you mean because they left out Tom Bombadil or the barrow wights? I don’t think that was a big loss.

CH: Of course not. But I remember there being way more scenes involving food.

Me: …

By the way, I re-read the book after his comment. There weren’t.

Anyway, Single White Incubus is no different regarding my usual inclusion of the dining experience. In a way, food—or sustenance, anyway—is a major part of both Ted’s and Quentin’s nature.

For Ted, it’s because bear shifters (in the Mythmatched universe, the world comprising the Fae Out of Water and Supernatural Selection trilogies) consume astonishing quantities of food in the autumn, leading up to their hibernation season, where they’re much less active and eat less.

For Quentin, it’s because he’s resisting the standard incubus food source—life energies—for fear he’ll lose control again and drain someone he loves.

One of the first things that Ted does for Quentin (once their initial unfortunate encounter is behind them) is to feed him fish chowder. When I was writing the scene, I had a particular recipe in mind, one that CH makes regularly: Pierre Franey’s Soupe de Poisson from his New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet cookbook.

Our copy of the book, and its sequel, New York Times More 60-Minute Gourmet, have been used so much since we bought them in the early eighties that they’re falling apart. Sadly, they’re both out of print now, but for CH’s last birthday, I bought him used hardcover copies of both books.

If you’d like to try this dish yourself, here’s an online transcription:

http://debfood.pbworks.com/w/page/78875357/Soupe%20de%20Poisson

It says it makes four servings, but you can bet that Ted (like CH always does) doubled or tripled the recipe!

About Single White Incubus

Does a bear shift in the woods?

Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.

Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.

But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.

Available from Riptide Publishing.

 

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection today.

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of Cutie and the Beast, the first title in the Fae Out of Water series! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Caryn Review: Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I am soooo happy to read and review another book from EJ Russell set in the universe of the “supes” – the supernatural, from all realms.  And as a bonus, this book had cameos from David and Alun of Cutie and the Beast, as well as Mal from The Druid Next Door.  The dedication is to the readers “who fell in love with the Kendrick brothers and wanted more stories in their world”, and all I can say to that is YES! And MORE!

This is the story of Ted Farnsworth – your average lumberjack kinda guy, who also happens to be a bear shifter.  But unlike most bears, he’s generous and actually enjoys being social and interacting with humans, and that desire has gotten him into trouble with the shifter councils and the secrecy pact.  He also seems to have a bit of ADHD, with impulse control and difficulty thinking through to the natural consequences of his actions.  He’s staged a few “sightings” while mid-shift, because the photographer is his friend and down on his luck, and Bigfoot photos pay well.  When the council started threatening him with more severe consequences if he didn’t settle down and act more like a bear, he decided the best way to behave was to get married to a solid, steady kind of guy.  So he contacted the matchmaking service Supernatural Selection which guaranteed marriage to a perfect partner.  Rusty, a beaver shifter with his own construction company, was ideal.

This is also the story of Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, an incubus with a conscience who didn’t want to ever take a lover again after feeding off a boyfriend to the point of near death.  His family was pushing him to marry a human, and he figured the best way to make sure that never happened was to choose a husband from the undead – zombies are gross, but Supernatural Selection found his perfect match with a vampire.  He’d been taking suppressants to tamp down his urges to feed on humans for decades, and they left him weak, and unfortunately, a little bit mentally fuzzy – too impaired to truly pay attention…

With the contracts sealed in blood, all Ted and Quentin had to do was meet their fiancees – but that is when the comedy of errors began.  Turns out they both didn’t pay enough attention to the final drafts of the contracts, and neither noticed that the names were changed in the final contract, and it matched the two of them.  They were married!  And when you sign a contract in blood with the witches council, getting out of it isn’t easy.

There was a delicious slow burn to their romance.  Not quite enemies to lovers, but they both had to overcome a lot of preconceived notions before they were able to really and truly see each other.  And it turned out that a clumsy but good hearted bear was actually a perfect foil to a jaded and withdrawn sex demon.  How they got to that point was the majority of the book, and it was funny, well written, and made me fall in love with both of them.  Both men learned to see their strengths and weaknesses in a different way, and learn that they were indeed valuable and worthy of love.  Their unlikely pairing really brought out the best in each other.

I took off half a star because the final part of the book was a bit rushed, confused, left a lot of strings hanging, and I felt was a little too easily resolved.  The mystery to be solved in the rest of the books in the series was introduced (just who was that sneaky AI and why was he smirking?), but it seemed a bit sudden, and I thought everyone should have been questioning how Ted and Quentin’s first contracts had different names on them in the first place….

Cover art by L.C. Chase is great – clearly defines the book as a comedy, and the bear paw was a great representation of Ted.

Sales Links  Riptide Publishing  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 20th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleSingle White Incubus
ISBN139781626498501
Edition Language English
Series Supernatural Selection

EJ Russell on her new release Mystic Man (a States of Love novella) (guest blog and giveaway)

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Mystic Man by

E.J. Russell
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Links:

Universal Buy Link |  Dreamspinner Press 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today talking about her latest novella and with a special excerpt for all to read.  Welcome, E.J.

 

Many thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for inviting me to stop by today as part of the Mystic Man blog tour! Mystic Man is a contemporary novella set in Connecticut, part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love collection. To celebrate the release, at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Clickbait (another of my contemporary romantic comedies) to one lucky commenter.

(In this excerpt, Aaron meets Cody’s niece, Kaya, who’s having a very bad day.)

Cody led the way through the hallway into a room with french doors that opened onto a deep lawn. The mellow oak floor and the deep orange walls, warmed further by the sunlight spilling in through a pair of bay windows, reminded Aaron strongly of pumpkin pie. He sniffed experimentally, expecting scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, but instead, the aromas were much stronger. Maybe… curry?

A man and a little girl were sitting on a brown corduroy sofa in front of a fieldstone fireplace, the girl’s feet barely clearing the deep cushions. She had the same brown skin, black hair, and liquid dark eyes as the man next to her, so Aaron made the leap that this must be Cody’s niece and brother-in-law. The man looked rather harried, and the little girl… drooped. She held a booklet, covered in green construction paper and bound with brass brads.

“Hey, Hiran. Kaya. This is Aaron Templeton, the guy I was telling you about. Aaron, my brother-in-law, Hiran Chaudhri, and my niece, Kaya Chaudhri-Brown.”

Hiran stood up and shook Aaron’s offered hand. “Pleased to meet you.”

“My pleasure entirely.”

“Aaron’s a historian.”

Kaya looked up from under her bangs. “I hate history.”

“Kaya!” Hiran’s tone was admonitory but tempered with an obvious kindness.

“It’s okay.” Aaron smiled down at the girl, who was wearing a Dinosaur State Park T-shirt that matched her pink high-tops. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”

Cody dropped down on the sofa next to Kaya. “But you were so excited about it. I seem to remember reading about three hundred and seven internet pages about Amelia Earhart with you last week.”

“That was before,” Kaya said darkly.

Hiran’s pocket beeped, and he pulled out his cell phone. He winced at the screen, then glanced at his daughter, obviously torn between the message and the distressed little girl, who was glaring at her feet, kicking her high-tops together.

The phone rang, and Hiran clutched his hair. “I’m sorry. The entire team is about to melt down. I must—”

Cody shooed him toward the door. “No worries, BIL. We’ve got this.” He gestured to the sofa on the other side of his niece, and Aaron sat down gingerly as Hiran strode out of the room. “What changed your mind, munchkin?”

“I’m not a munchkin, Uncle Cody. They wear stupid shoes.” She punctuated her words with a double kick of the pink high-tops.

“Sorry, munchkin.”

“Uncle Cody!”

Aaron wondered what Cody was up to until he noticed that Kaya’s sadness had morphed into indignation. Ah. Redirection. Apparently Cody wasn’t afraid to take one for the team.

Cody leaned into the cushions and dropped an arm across the sofa back, behind Kaya. His fingers brushed Aaron’s shoulder, prompting an involuntary shiver.

He tapped the little booklet in Kaya’s lap. “Why don’t you tell us what the problem is? You wouldn’t let me see the final project at dinner the other night.”

“That’s because it wasn’t done.”

“Well, it’s done now. Can we see it?”

She clutched the booklet to her chest. “No. Ms. Jenkins said it was wrong.”

Aaron didn’t miss the flash of anger in Cody’s eyes—and he didn’t blame him. For a child Kaya’s age, just starting her long academic slog, discouragement from a teacher could be crushing. The same thing had happened to Aaron when he was in first grade. Those kinds of scars stayed with you. Although he had to admit that Kaya seemed like a kid who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Aaron cleared his throat. “Kaya, Cody told you that I’m a historian, but I’m a librarian too. I love all kinds of books. Won’t you show me yours?”

She tilted her head and gazed up at him, her huge brown eyes narrowed with suspicion. “A liberrian? Really?”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

“Well. Okay, then.” She took a deep breath, her narrow shoulders rising and falling, then opened the report almost reverently. Aaron felt a spike of his own anger. Clearly she’d been proud of this. It mattered to her, but her teacher had shot her down.

The first page had “Amelia Earhart” written in the shaky block letters of someone still practicing penmanship. The second page had a crayon rendering of a figure in a 1930s flight helmet. Although it was representational as only children’s art could be, it was still recognizable as a female pilot.

“Amelia Earhart was born in Kansas. She liked basketball and cars. But her favorite thing was airplanes.” Kaya turned the page to another picture of Earhart standing next to a bright yellow plane. “She called her very first plane the Canary because it was yellow like a canary.”

“Really?” Aaron asked. “I didn’t know that.”

“Uh-huh.” She turned the next page, which featured a plane dangerously close to very choppy bright blue water. “She did lots of things first. She was the first girl to fly across the Atlantic Ocean by herself.” On the next page, the plane was aloft over a cornfield. “The first girl to fly across America by herself without stopping.” Another page, this time with Earhart standing next to a woman in a grass skirt. “The first person, boy or girl, to fly from Hawaii to the rest of America. Then she decided she would fly around the world.”

Aaron braced himself for what was coming next—the disappearance of Earhart and her copilot in the middle of the Pacific. But when she turned the page, the picture was of Earhart with a… kangaroo?

“And then she visited Australia.”

“Um….”

Cody caught Aaron’s gaze and shook his head. “What next?”

Kaya turned the page, revealing an obvious parade between tall buildings. “And when she got to New York, they gave her a parade.” But Kaya wasn’t done—there were still more pages to go. The next one showed Earhart—still in her flight helmet—next to a tree with exuberant green leaves and dozens of red dots. “Then she went to Bishop’s and picked apples with her family.”

The next page showed Earhart in a rocking chair surrounded by a crowd of smaller figures with skin tones ranging from Earhart’s peach to a brown slightly darker than Kaya’s, all wearing pink high-tops and their own flight helmets. “And she had seven daughters and seven times seven granddaughters, and they all flew planes too. The end.”

Cody tugged gently on the heavy braid that lay on Kaya’s shoulder. “That’s kind of a big family, don’t you think?”

“No.” Kaya closed the report and hugged it to her chest again. “History doesn’t have enough girls in it. It should have more.”

Aaron met Cody’s gaze over Kaya’s head and quirked an eyebrow. “You know, she’s got a point.”

 

Mystic Man

A States of Love Novella

When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.

Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?

Buy links:

Amazon:

Universal: http://books2read.com/mystic-man?affiliate=off

Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/mystic-man

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.

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.

Website: http://ejrussell.com

Newsletter: http://ejrussell.com/newsletter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ej_russell

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ej_russell_author/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/ej_russell

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-j-russell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ej_russell

DSP Dreamspun Promo E.J. Russell on Nudging Fate (Enchanted Occasions #1) by E.J. Russell

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Nudging Fate (Enchanted Occasions #1) by E.J. Russell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today on her blog tour for Nudging Fate. Welcome, E.J.!

♦︎

 

Thanks so much to the lovely folks at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for inviting me over as part of the Nudging Fate blog tour, and giving me a few interview questions! Nudging Fate is my first full-length novel with Dreamspinner, and it’s another of my “paranormal romantic comedies.” To celebrate the release, at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Cutie and the Beast (another paranormal romantic comedy) to one lucky commenter.

Let’s get started!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

There’s always going to be something of myself in all of my main characters, even if it’s just a tiny reaction to some object or event—primarily because my own feelings and experiences are most familiar to me and therefore available to draw on.

For instance, Andy in Nudging Fate is a wizard when it comes to organization and logistics. I don’t claim to be quite as good at it as he is, but I’ve had my moments. My twin sons are professional dancers now, but when they were still in school, they studied at a local dance studio. When I say “local,” I’m speaking relatively: we live in the middle of nowhere and it takes us an hour to get anywhere.

At one point, before the boys could drive, they had class seven days a week. I had a full-time day job (although I was lucky enough to work remotely), so I’d work at home until it was almost time to pick them up from school. Then I’d throw as much snack food as I could find into a bag, pack up my computer, and go collect them. They’d consume all the food during our commute to the studio. After I dropped them off, I’d take my computer and hang out at the library or (after a Starbucks opened next to the studio) at the coffee shop and work until their classes ended and we could drag ourselves home again.

And it wasn’t only time I had to manage. My sons (especially DS B) were impossible when it came to keeping track of their possessions. I don’t think DS B ever kept a new jacket past the first month of the new school year. I can’t count the number of times we got back from a dance competition or convention missing at least one dance shoe (although that was better than showing up at the competition without the shoe—which also happened.) I recall one competition where each of them was performing in seven different routines—that meant seven costumes. Each. By the magic of addition, we know that makes fourteen costumes I had to inventory. Plus props. And hats. In hat boxes.

But on the plus side, unlike Andy, I never had to manage a goblin berserker (although if the food supplies weren’t up to the boys’ standards or requirements, it could be difficult to tell the difference!).

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Absolutely! When I was about eight or nine, while staying with my paternal grandparents in a small town in rural Illinois, I read a book called Horace by Elizabeth Urquhart. It was the first British children’s book I’d read, and the first urban fantasy. Yes, it really was an urban fantasy! On the way to the greengrocer to buy mushrooms, a girl meets a baby dragon standing on the side of a bridge. She helps him get home and he invites her to tea. Adventures ensue.

I was enchanted.

I’ve written about that experience before (check it out here, if you’re interested: http://ejrussell.com/the-life-changing-book/), because reading it really did change my life. Can I admit that I’ve lived in breathless anticipation of being invited to tea by a dragon ever since?

And you want to know the coolest thing? Several years after I wrote that post, Elizabeth Urquhart herself (although her name is now a lot easier to spell) actually commented on it!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I can deal with either one, but any book I read must have one or the other! I won’t read or watch anything these days that I can tell won’t end well. I need that guarantee. For instance, my Curmudgeonly Husband tried to get me to watch Breaking Bad, but I steadfastly said, “Nope. No way will that ever end well.”

That being said, I can only be completely satisfied with HFN (particularly if it’s a series with the same main characters over multiple books) if I know that HEA will show up eventually.

One of my favorite examples of total HEA crack is in Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me. She includes an epilogue that basically tells the future of all the main characters! It’s an HEA dream come true!

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a contemporary novella called Mystic Man, part of the Dreamspinner States of Love collection, releasing next month. The state in question is Connecticut, where my Curmudgeonly Husband was born and raised and where I went to graduate school. I had a great time writing it, because it let me revisit so many of my memories of discovering Connecticut back in the day.

I’ve contracted the second book in the Enchanted Occasions series with Dreamspinner. It’s called Devouring Flame, and features Smith, the EO tech demon, and maybe someone else you’ll meet in Nudging Fate! It’s scheduled for release in December or January.

I’m working on another trilogy in the same universe as my Fae Out of Water series. It’s centered around a supe matchmaking agency called Supernatural Selection, and the first book (Single White Incubus) is currently in line edits and scheduled for October release.

I’ll also be self-publishing the novella, featuring an asexual magician and a genderqueer cyborg, that was part of the now out-of-print Magic and Mayhem anthology benefiting Gay Romance Northwest/Read with Pride Northwest. It was originally titled simply Sun, Moon, and Stars, but I’m planning another three novellas in the same universe, so this one is now called Partnership. Look for it in September—once I figure out how this self-publishing thing works!

 

 

 

Nudging Fate

An Enchanted Occasions Story

Not exactly a match made in Valhalla.

Half-norn event planner Anders Skuldsson is under strict orders from Asgard not to meddle with Fate. But with Enchanted Occasions’ latest booking—a competition for the hand of Faerie’s one true prince—crashing around his ears, it’s really difficult to toe that particular line. But if Andy pretends to be a contender for the prince…. It’s only temporary, so Odin can’t blame him. Right?

Conall of Odstone’s half-brother, Prince Reyner, was supposed to choose a mate before being crowned and wed. But the idiot left Con to impersonate him. Again.

When Con meets Andy, his anger turns to desire… and despair. Even if Andy forgives him for his imposture, how could someone eligible for a prince’s hand settle for the court outcast? And the double-deception isn’t their only obstacle. Unless Andy makes the right choice, their fates could be sealed by…well… Fate.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/nudging-fate

Universal: http://books2read.com/nudging-fate

Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/ds-nudging-fate

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.

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.

Website: http://ejrussell.com

Newsletter: http://ejrussell.com/newsletter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ej_russell

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ej_russell_author/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/ej_russell

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-j-russell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ej_russell