Blog Tour w/ giveaway: The Artist’s Touch by E. J. Russell


Hi everyone! We’re super excited to welcome E.J. Russell on From Top to Bottom Reviews today to celebrate the release of The Artist’s Touch – the first book in her Art Medium series. We asked E.J. to tell us a bit about what inspired the book(s). There is also an awesome giveaway at the end of the post, so don’t forget to comment to enter!


Two men haunted by more than the past.

Painter Stefan Cobbe was homeless and debt-ridden after the death of his wealthy partner, but the worst loss of all was his artistic inspiration. After two years of nothing, he’s offered patronage by an eccentric gallery owner and starts to produce again, canvas after canvas. The only problem? He can’t remember painting any of them—not one single brushstroke.

Luke Morganstern’s reputation as an art-fraud investigator is in tatters. He can’t afford to turn down any job, even a lousy one for an anonymous client who sends him after an unidentified forger in a remote cabin in Oregon. When the alleged forger turns out to be Stefan, the man he never stopped loving, Luke’s professional ethics are stretched beyond the breaking point.

As the two men take tentative steps toward reconciliation, evidence begins to mount that they’re not alone in the woods. Someone—or something—is watching. Something with sinister plans for them both. To escape, Luke must overcome his suspicions and Stefan must trust Luke with his deepest fears. Otherwise they could forfeit their relationship, their sanity—and their lives.

Publisher’s note: This is a heavily revised and significantly expanded reprint of Northern Light. The second book in the Art Medium series, Tested In Fire, is a first edition. Both are sold together in both ebook and print collections.

Riptide Publishing | Goodreads
Release Date: February 12th


Thank you From Top to Bottom Reviews for inviting me to stop by today! Hello, intrepid internet adventurers, and welcome to the blog tour for The Artist’s Touch, the first book in my Art Medium series. After the release of book two, Tested in Fire, in April, I’ll be giving away a $40 Riptide gift card, so please leave a comment for a chance to win.

Series Inspiration

Before I sat down to write the first version of The Artist’s Touch (which was called Northern Light, and was only 13K words) in 2012, I had never had any intention of writing a ghost story. For one thing, I have the psychic sensitivity of a pet rock. For another, while I have an urban fantasy trilogy moldering on my laptop, I had never expected to write any other genre of romance than contemporary rom-com.

But I had just submitted my first story ever to a publisher (a M/F holiday contemporary rom-com novella for a specific submission call), and I was jazzed by how quickly I was able to craft a story, start to finish, based on that kind of prompt. As it happens, that same publisher put out another call right after I’d submitted the first, this one with the theme “House of Horrors,” and they wanted stories about “ghosts, poltergeists, possession, haunted locations, ghost hunters, exorcisms – and maybe even love from beyond the grave.“

Well, I wasn’t too keen on the “love from beyond the grave” thing, because ewww. But the other stuff? Even though I hadn’t had any personal spectral encounters, my college roommate’s sister had an attendant ghost (whom she called Paul). He was quite protective of her, even going so far as to shock her boyfriend (whom he wasn’t fond of, apparently). I used her experiences as a jumping-off point for thinking about my haunted house story.

In my early notes, Luke was a ghost hunter (as per one of the submission call suggestions), who’d previously been a serious researcher but was now working for a popular TV show (and was perhaps ashamed of it). Although Luke eventually morphed into an art-fraud investigator, the paranormal investigation TV show idea became central to a later book, Stumptown Spirits.

While the first book in the series was the result of a submission call, I became fascinated by the idea of a conduit between the supernatural and the mundane—in other words, by the communication medium. The word “medium” sparked the connection with Stefan’s oil paints—aka, the art “medium”—so I started to think about what other types of art projects would be inherently creepy. What materials would they use? What kind of supernatural trouble could they cause for Luke and Stefan? When I indulged in some google-fu, I stumbled upon death masks.

Brrr. Now that’s creepy.

In addition to being prompted by death masks, Tested in Fire was inspired to some extent by an old Night Gallery episode called “Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay.” In fact, I dedicated the book to Rod Serling. I dedicated The Artist’s Touch to my Curmudgeonly Husband. I don’t know, though… Perhaps I should have dedicated it to Paul.


TheArtistsTouch_ArtMedium_Series500x750About the Art Medium Series

Artists use all manner of materials to express their vision, to interpret the world around them, to affect the hearts and minds of their audience.

But what if the artist himself were the medium? And what if artistic inspiration weren’t the only force at work?

If painter Stefan Cobbe and art investigator Luke Morganstern don’t answer those questions fast, they stand to lose their reputations, their relationship—and their lives.

Check out the Art Medium series now!


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.



To celebrate the release of both books in the Art Medium series, one lucky winner will receive a $40 Riptide credit! Winner will be pulled from entries to both blog tours. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Contest closes at midnight, Eastern time, on April 7, 2017 and is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following The Artist’s Touch tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Blog Tour Genre: Contemporary Genre: Paranormal Genre: Urban Fantasy Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Riptide Publishing Tag: Art / Artist Tag: Guest Post Tag: Part of a series Tag: Second Chances

10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Congrats, E.J., and thanks for the post. This sounds like an intriguing start of the series. I like the context of art, as well as the mystery. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com


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