Giveaway + Blog Tour: Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell is here today to promote the recent release of her new Dreamspun Beyond release, Devouring Flame! She's talking secondary characters and even brought an excerpt from the paranormal romance. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a backlist ebook as well as a $25 DSP gift card! Good luck!

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. :-)

Someone’s in the Kitchen

I love writing secondary characters, especially when I’m writing paranormal. One of the reasons for this is because it’s such fun to discover them—and their appearance and abilities—as I write.

One of my favorite characters to write is Chef, the goblin berserker who heads up Enchanted Occasions catering arm. When I introduced him in Nudging Fate, I knew he was a goblin berserker, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant until I started writing his first scene:

When Andy pushed open the swinging doors into the kitchen, the noise tripled. Chef loomed over the stove, one hand flipping vegetables in a sauté pan, his second hand steadying a metal bowl while his third hand wielded a whisk. His fourth hand groped the shelf overhead.

So just in writing that paragraph, I discovered that Chef (and presumably goblin berserkers in general) had four arms. He also has six-inch tusks and tufted ears, and regularly terrorizes Tessmacher, his long-suffering assistant, with food-related tantrums.

(By the way, Chef’s personality is inspired partially by my Curmudgeonly Husband, who is a wonderful cook, and normally quite even tempered—except when it comes to food.)

Chef is back in Devouring Flame, and gets more page time because I have such fun writing him. In fact, I invented the vampires’ Centennial Feast just so I could give Chef a bigger part. In this scene, Hashim has volunteered to assist Chef with the massive menu for the Feast, despite Smith’s initial trepidation:

“Tessmacher! Where the fuck is the saffron?” The bellow shook the floor and rattled the pans. An instant later, Chef—all eight feet of him, not counting his white chef’s toque—came bursting out of the walk-in refrigerator, two of his hands full of some kind of herb, the third brandishing a sauté pan, and the fourth closing the refrigerator as gently as if he were rocking a baby’s cradle.

Chef definitely had his priorities.

He froze when he saw the two of them by the door. “You are not Tessmacher.”

“Nope. Sorry. He’s hiding in the conference room.”

Chef’s brow clouded, and he bared his teeth. “Why would he be hiding?”

“I wouldn’t know.” Smith rested his hand in the small of Hashim’s back. “This is Hashim.”

Chef sniffed. “Ifrit. I remember you. You didn’t like my maqaniq. I prepared those sausages expressly for you.”

Hashim bowed, his palms pressed together. “I never had a chance to sample them, Chef. The poison prevented my having the pleasure. I’m certain they were delightful.”

“Hmmmph.” Chef squinted one eye. “Another smooth talker.”

Smith advanced into the kitchen. He set the new menu list—all fifty-seven pages of it—on the center prep table. “There’s a change in plans, Chef. The clients have requested an expanded menu, and we’re going to honor it.”

Chef took an enormous breath—and considering that his lungs were the size of Smith’s torso, it took him a while and made him appear even larger. “The Feast is in two days and you’re changing the menu now?”

“’Fraid so.” Smith patted the stack of paper. “Here are the details. I’ll have the required ingredients here by tomorrow evening.”

“You—Tomorrow—Ingredients—Argh!” Chef drew back his arm and hurled the pan across the room—straight at Hashim.

Who caught it before Smith could shout a warning or tackle him to the ground.

Hashim smiled blandly and set the pan on the table as a brownie sidled past with a platter of raw meat. “I am here to assist you, Chef.”

“You? What can you do, pretty boy?”

Hashim took the platter from the brownie and set it on the table. Flexing his fingers to extend his claws fully, he snagged a steak. Holding the meat in midair, he pursed his lips and expelled a perfectly controlled burst of fire.

Lucifer’s balls, he’s so fricking hot—and not just because he can breathe fire.

Hashim laid the sizzling steak in the pan he’d fielded. “I believe you’ll find the internal temperature precisely 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium rare. Care to sample it?” He pulled a knife out of a nearby knife block and threw it, end over end, at Chef, who snatched it out of the air.

“Urrrgh.” Chef stalked across the kitchen and speared the steak with the knife, tossing it whole into his maw. He closed his eyes as he chewed, and Smith held his breath. This still had so much potential to go sideways.

Chef swallowed, then his eyes popped open, red and glowing. “You—” He pointed the knife at Hashim and Smith got ready to leap. “—will be my sous chef.”

Hashim cocked his head. “Don’t you wish to discover whether I can cook anything else first?”

“What does that matter? You’re fireproof and you can catch.” He glared at Smith. “Get out. We have work to do.”

Smith gripped Hashim’s arm. “Will you be okay?”

“Of course he will be okay. Why wouldn’t he? Now go. You’re in the way.”

Like Smith, our family knows better than to invade the kitchen when my Curmudgeonly Husband is deep in the throes of cooking frenzy, particularly when the adult language starts painting the air blue and the pots start clanging. However, the results—like Chef’s inspired creations—are always worth 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.

Buy links:

Author bio:
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:


  1. Great cover to go with a great book. thanks
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Secondary characters can be fun and I think they help to spice up the book with some humor.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I love creating the community around the main characters!

  3. So exciting! I love this world, such an original universe!

  4. Something new for my TBR list.

  5. Now I so want to read this “Chef” character!! Congrats on your newest book release, EJ. Can’t wait to start reading this book!

    1. I love writing Chef! Hmmm... Maybe he should have his own cooking show!

  6. Love the premise and the universe!! I'll be sure to check them out :) and CONGRATS on the release EJ ^^

  7. Thanks so much to BMBR for hosting me, and thanks to everyone who stopped by!

  8. Chef sounds like my kind of guy!

    --Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  9. I have all your books. I'm excited to read this one, thanks for the chance!