Giveaway + Blog Tour: Bad Boy's Bard by E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell is here today talking genealogy within her Fae Out of Water series. Bad Boy’s Bard is the latest installment & the grand prize of a $50 Riptide credit is still up for grabs, so be sure to leave a comment below to be entered to win. Good luck!

In the Fae Out of Water series, Gareth is tagged as the last true bard in Faerie—so that begs the question: if he’s the last one, how did he learn his craft? In The Druid Next Door, Mal confesses to Bryce that he outed Gareth as a bard when he discovered him healing his own hand with song. That resulted in Gareth being snapped up by Arawn, the ruler of Annwn, the Welsh otherworld (where, in my story world, the Kendrick brothers lived until Arawn departed, making Annwn inaccessible).

Gareth’s teacher was Gwydion, one of the sons of the goddess Dôn. Gwydion was a powerful magician as well as a bard, but his code of ethics was more than a little…shall we say…flexible? The story of how he caused a completely spurious war—which resulted in massive casualties on both sides, as well as the death of Pryderi, king of Dyved, at Gwydion’s own hand—to enable his brother to rape their uncle Math’s virginal attendant, is told in the fourth branch of the Mabinogion, tales from the oral traditions of pre-Christian (probably pre-Roman) Britain that were written down in the 12th or 13th centuries.

Here’s a partial tree of Gwydion’s happy little family:

In addition to the tale of Gwydion’s warmongering/procuring, the fourth branch also tells of his devotion to his nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes—in fact, he treats him like a son. In some interpretations of the Mabinogion, Gwydion is framed as the biological father of both of Arianrhod’s sons. I don’t claim to be a historian or a scholar of such things, but I’ve always had my suspicions about that. Now granted, incest was kind of a thing among ancient pantheons in a number of cultures, but one of the earliest translations of the Mabinogion doesn’t actually name Arianrhod’s partners. She gave more or less instant birth, thanks to Math’s magic wand, but Gwydion himself suggested her as an appropriate candidate for the post of Math’s foot virgin (don’t ask). Presumably, if he knew better, he wouldn’t have broached the subject.

Personally (and again—not the expert here, but it’s at least a possibility), I think Gwydion took responsibility for one of his magically born nephews because the northern kingdom (Gwynedd) was matrilineal at the time. Gwydion himself acted as his uncle’s heir, more or less. He’s referred to as Gwydion ap Dôn—no mention of his father. Arianrhod’s amorous adventures were her own business—until she tried to apply for a position for which she lacked the primary qualification.

Govannan, Gwydion’s brother, plays a pivotal role in Bad Boy’s Bard, but when it comes to finding references to him in the Mabinogion—or anywhere else for that matter—he doesn’t get much love. We know he was a smith, and that he threw a spear that killed his nephew Dylan (Arianrhod’s other magically induced son), but that’s about it.

From a reader’s perspective—and I devoured Evangeline Walton’s retelling of the Mabinogion back in the mid-seventies—this is terribly frustrating. From an author’s perspective, however, it’s a golden opportunity. In the absence of any contradictory information, we’re free to make up stuff! So in my story world, Govannan is still atoning for killing Dylan and Gwydion, the self-centered jerk, hasn’t learned compassion for anyone outside his younger brother and his nephew.

Gee, they sound like a couple of other Welsh brothers I know…

About Bad Boy’s Bard

As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

Now available from Riptide Publishing.

About the Fae Out of Water Series

Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar.  But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.


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.:

To celebrate the release of all three books in the Fae Out of Water series, one lucky winner across all three tours will receive a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Bad Boy’s Bard tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. It's always amazed me how authors could weave the myth (or history etc) to apply into their book. Thank you for the post, EJ - very enlightening. I enjoy the blog tour as much as reading this series. :)

    puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Thanks, Dee! Glad you're enjoying it as much as I am!

  2. Thank you for the tree graph and post. Quite some interesting stuff.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I won't tell you how much I struggled making that family tree! I am sooo not a visual person.

  3. Impressive research!
    jlshannon74 at

  4. Thanks for the history(?) post!
    legacylandlisa at gmail dot com

    1. Yes, it's always hard to separate history from myth from revisionist propaganda by conquering societies. Throw in the lack of written history and you've got a nightmare in terms of research.

  5. Thanks for the genealogy, and congrats, E.J. Gee, all the family drama. It's neat how you can pull from these myths and weave a contemporary tale out of them. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    1. Families make the best drama--especially in older myths from any number of cultures.

  6. I'm impressed by the genealogy world-building!


  7. Thanks so much for hosting me today, and thanks, everyone, for stopping by to hear about twisted Welsh family dynamics!

  8. Love the history you used to create their world.

  9. Sounds really interesting. I love the detail you've gone into. This series has become a must read for me

  10. I enjoyed the post it was really good and seeing the family tree was interesting and so much research to just wow!

    shirleyann2400 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Fascinating subject matter!

  12. I've loved all the books! It's a fun mash up of genres.
    vrundell(at)yahoo(dot) com.

  13. I am starting book one this weekend.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  14. Fab. info on the family's background. Thanks for sharing and much success!
    taina1959 @