Friday Feature, Guest Post & Giveaway: Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

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. 🙂

An Incendiary Title

When I start to develop a new book project, I may already have an idea of who the two main characters are, some of the primary plot points, a few dialogue snippets, maybe a description or two. (Although that last is less likely. The first drafts of my books are extremely dialogue-heavy. I have to force myself to go back an add descriptions and blocking and maybe an emotion or two. Hmmm…maybe I should be writing plays or screenplays instead of novels, eh?)

However, the one thing that I’ve found recently that I really need in order for the story to gel in my mind?

The title.

Often, the title will steer the story in a completely new way, or give me an idea of how to solve a tricky plot point, or illuminate a character. In the case of my Supernatural Selection series, when the idea dawned of using terminology from classic personal ads, it helped me unify the trilogy.

For my Enchanted Occasions titles, I knew I wanted to use a noun that hinted at the supernatural element unique to the story, plus a verb that might seem like an odd juxtaposition. For instance, book one is Nudging Fate. One of my main characters is a norn—a Norse being who can effect peoples’ destinies (and is frequently blamed for any random hit of misfortune by the fatalistic). And nudge is such a non-catastrophic word. Benign. Almost friendly. Yet a nudge in the right place could send something crashing to the ground—or soaring into midair.

For book two, I knew my main characters were both fire-based entities: a half human/half fire demon and an ifrit. I knew their story was coming up—and I dropped a big honkin’ clue right at the beginning of Nudging Fate.

This conversation (via headset) is between Andy, the half norn (who speaks first) and Brooke, his half-undine second-in-command:

“Is the band ready?”

“Yes, but—”

“What about the dancers?”

“Yes. But—”

“The bartender? The waitstaff? The fire extinguishers?” Andy raced down the final hallway, the double doors leading to the candidates’ lounge finally in view.

“Yes, yes, and yes, but it doesn’t matter, Andy.”

“What? Of course it does. Because, hello, ifrit? They flame harder than fire demons.”

So yeah. Flame. But I didn’t want to use it as a verb, because flaming has connotations that weren’t really appropriate for the story. On the other hand, flame is also a noun.

Now, a digression: Back in the early eighties, while I was living in the Boston area, a local theater group presented a play about the ill-fated Donner party called Devour the Snow.

It’s such an evocative word—devour—isn’t it? I was quite envious of the playwright for coming up with that title. But now, years later, I finally had a reason to use the word myself!

Devouring Flame.

And the title also gave me the idea for what Hashim, the ifrit who bailed out of the Consort Race in Nudging Fate, has been doing with his time.

He’s a carnival fire-eater. Obviously.

Smith, Enchanted Occasions’ tech demon, has to consume fire-touched flesh (he’s always chowing down on singed bacon or sausages in Nudging Fate) in order to survive, but once I came up with the title for his story, I couldn’t resist a scene where Smith literally devours flame:

The kebab was still burning merrily so Smith plucked the skewer out of Hashim’s hand. Using his extended claws, Smith teased one of the flaming chunks of meat off the skewer and popped it—still on fire—into his mouth. Ahhhh. He closed his eyes in bliss. He’d convinced Chef to prepare well-done meat, but he’d never talked him into serving it when it was still on fire.

So both my co-heroes are fire-eaters. And once they meet again, their past differences sort of, er, go up in flames. 🙂

Title: Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell
Enchanted Occasions Series Book Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Imprint: Dreamspun Beyond
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Romance, Paranormal
Length: 230 pages/Word Count: 54,822


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.

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Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press * Amazon * Universal 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.

Author Links: Website * Newsletter * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * BookBub


To celebrate the release of Devouring Flame, E.J. Russell is giving away a $25 Dreamspinner gift card plus one of her backlist titles—to one commenter (chosen at random across all the tour posts) at the end of the tour. Be sure and comment for your chance to win!


Filed under Blog Tour, Contest, Friday Feature, Guest Blog

14 Responses to Friday Feature, Guest Post & Giveaway: Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

  1. Didi

    Happy release week, EJ. Honestly, at first I was thrown by the new dreamspun cover composition and didn’t think this part of your existing series. Not that I don’t like your cover – especially the rather full of mischief smile on it! And I’m looking forward to read it too.

    • Yes, they’ve completely revamped the cover design for the Dreamspun lines. They’re not as “old-fashioned” as the original templates (which were intentionally harking back to the early days of category romances). I like ’em! And I loooove the cover model!

  2. laurie

    the book does sound really good. have added it to my TBR list


  3. Maya

    Gongrats on the book release! What an interesting premise! Added to my ever-expanding TBR list!

    qbeeqt @ yahoo . com

  4. Trix

    This will be so much fun!


  5. Sherry

    I think this sounds like a very good book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  6. Jennifer S

    I’m reading these soon!

  7. susana

    That was a very interesting post, Thank you!

  8. Lee Todd

    congrats on the new release

  9. H.B.

    Congrats on the new release and thank you for the post.

  10. Thanks for hosting me, Kathy! And thank you to everyone who stopped by with good wishes!

  11. Kathy J in Ellicott City

    I can’t wait to read this series.

  12. Serena S.

    Congrats on the new release! I love your books and this one sounds great.