Blog Tour w/ giveaway: Tested in Fire 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 Tested in Fire – the second book in her Art Medium series. We asked E.J. to tell us a bit about what she needs to write. There is also an awesome giveaway at the end of the post, so don’t forget to comment to enter!


Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest. 

Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit. 

But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.

Release Date: March 31st


Thank you, Top to Bottom, for asking me back today to talk about what I need in order to write! (And sorry about the title for this post, but I just saw Hamilton so I’ve got a major musical theater hangover!)

I’m lucky enough to have my own office space in our house. This wasn’t always the case. Our house has sustained odd bursts of growth (sort of like fungus) over the nearly thirty years we’ve lived here, and I’ve transitioned from hunching over a keyboard with the ceiling only a few feet overhead, to a desk in the bedroom, to sharing an office with my Curmudgeonly Husband (ooorg), to finally having a space of my own that’s big enough for bookshelves, two desks, file cabinets, and assorted accouterments.

Luckily for my state of mind, I didn’t start writing until that last internal move. I don’t think I could have written before that, even if it had occurred to me to try, because I’m one of those people who needs silence to write. If I’d still been office mates with CH (who hums while he prepares reports for his home inspection business and takes calls in which he discusses such scintillating topics as radon, mold, and rodent infestations) my muse would not have been pleased. But I didn’t start to write (fiction anyway) until about 2010, and my office was there for me by then!

However…for the last nineteen years, until last September, I had a day job in information technology. I was incredibly fortunate that I was able to work from home (in my spiffy office). My work computers occupied my main desk, and the second desk was generally occupied by sewing machines, since until my sons left for college, I usually had to make or at least alter all their dance costumes. Somehow combining writing romance with either database design or wrestling diamond gussets into dance pants just didn’t work for me.

Fortunately, being an IT professional (aka geek), I was all about virtualization. My office has an alcove with a recliner, so to create the mental separation between my left-brain day job and my right-brain writing, I walked across the office from the desk to the recliner, from my Windows workhorse laptop (bypassing the sewing machines) to my MacBook and my latest Scrivener file.

The Chair Where nino_assistsAlthough the company I worked for closed its doors in September, I still think of the desk as belonging to the database world. I may have packed my sewing machines away, but their spot has been taken by clutter that I’m hoping will someday be beamed up by visiting aliens. The recliner in the alcove, with my MacBook on my lap and the silence of the rural Oregon countryside surrounding me, is still where I write.

Not that I’m alone. I have a faithful assistant who makes sure my hip stays warm every day:

And if he has the occasional dream, accompanied by muffled barks? My muse can totally deal.


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, E.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon credit and an ebook copy of both titles in the Legend Tripping series! 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. 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

12 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Loved this post. I prefer silence too, but in my case…it’s whenever I read. I don’t really have any idea how other people can listen to music while reading. 😅 I prefer to work alone too…so that’s something I could relate to. Sewing is a whole different thing, though. Can’t do it to save my life! Haha! And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the aliens would finally pay you a visit to beam up the clutter in your workspace. LOL. You got the perfect assistant, btw. Lovely dog. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so devoted to reading that I can usually block out *most* noises. However, there are some songs that *cannot* be blocked. The one that killed me in high school was “Spill the Wine.” In the bad old days of top 40 AM radio, it was impossible to avoid! (And the Noble Hound thanks you for your support!)


  2. I do like quiet too and I shy away from complications. i recently quit my job and find myself missing the work but I’m sure I’ll find myself something else to do. I can’t sew but crocheting is more my thing. Glad you have a great assistant, he’s a cutie =)
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Top to Bottom, for hosting me again–it’s always a pleasure to visit with you! Thank you, commenters, for stopping by! I’m sure Nino (the Noble Hound) would add his thanks as well, but he’s currently snoozing under his blankey–a highly critical activity that can’t be interrupted!


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