Writers are often asked by non-writers where they get their ideas, or if the characters in their books are based on real people, or—as happens frequently with romance authors, particularly those who write on the spicier side—whether their sex scenes are drawn from personal knowledge heh heh heh.
In the first place—asking a stranger about their sex life? Yeah…um…no.
In the second place, imagination is a miraculous thing, and coupled with research, it allows authors to explore vistas that are outside their own experience.
That being said, however, I confess that there are certain aspects of my own personality that make their way into my characters’ personas on a more or less regular basis.
Socially awkward? Check. See Riley in Stumptown Spirits or Bryce in The Druid Next Door.
Ace spectrum? Check. See Nate in For a Good Time, Call… or Gareth in Bad Boy’s Bard.
Geek/nerd? Check. See Gideon in Clickbait or David in Cutie and the Beast.
Good cooks? Ch— Oh wait. That’s not me, that’s my Curmudgeonly Husband. I only benefit from the results of his skill.
Unfortunately for them, both Stefan and Luke, the main characters in Tested in Fire, share one of my more inconvenient personality traits:
I find it nearly impossible to ask anyone for help.
If I try to analyze myself, I might point to my childhood (a loooong time ago), with fundamentalist grandparents who’d lived through the Depression and come out the other side with a “shut up and deal” attitude. Or maybe it’s a Pavlovian response to the times when I’d mustered up the courage to ask someone to help, been thrilled with their acquiescence, only to have them bail on me when I was depending on them.
Stefan doesn’t want to ask anyone for help because he’s terrified of falling into old patterns of dependence. He’s gone so far the other direction, however, that he’s making Luke think he’s not committed to their relationship.
Luke, because he’s Luke and so much of his self-image depends on being self-reliant, won’t ask for help and he won’t accept it either, because he’ll be damned before he lets anyone think he’s not able to manage his own shit.
The events of Tested in Fire challenge those particular issues.
Too bad guys. Heh heh heh.
About Tested in Fire
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.
About 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.
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.
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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!