Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by EJ Russell blog tour and giveaway

In Tested in Fire, Stefan has moved from the remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range where Luke found him in The Artist’s Touch, and is now living in a studio (in both senses of the word—it’s both an artist’s studio and a studio apartment) above an art gallery in Sarasota, Florida.

This is actually the second gallery I’ve written into a book. The first, visited by Alex and Gideon on one of their contracted dates in Clickbait, is a photo gallery called NPW. It’s an homage to a friend of DS B, who’s a fabulous photographer (the name of the gallery is his initials).

The gallery in Tested in Fire is different. My notion is that although the building is owned by Antoinette Tessier (the sculptor) and her partner, Giacomo DiBartolo, the gallery is a co-op, displaying the work of a number of different artists who work in different media: Stefan in oils, Antoinette in ceramics, at least one nameless fiber artist.

And speaking of nameless—I never got around to giving the dang place a name!

My image of the gallery is based on one in Southern California that I visited back in the seventies. I don’t remember where it is, and I don’t remember what it was called, but I remember it had the same kind of eclectic installations—from oil portraits (I think one was by Chuck Close) to a kind of little hut constructed in the middle of the gallery that visitors could walk through.

I have fond memories of other galleries too. I visited MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan) for the first time in 1979, the year I graduated from UCI. It was the first time I’d seen Magritte’s Empire of Light, II (https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78456), and I was mesmerized by it. A version of that image—the darkening street below the still-sunny sky is one that pops up in more than one of my books, probably because I live in a place where that phenomenon occurs. When the sun drops below the Coast Range, the shadows in the valley deepen, but the sky above the mountains is still bright.

In the summer of 2011, DS A and B both attended the summer programs at the Jacob’s Pillow School. At that time, the Blake’s Barn gallery was hosting an exhibit of Annie Leibovitz’s photography, in particular her collaboration with dancer/choreographer Mark Morris. Dance + the Berkshires + amazing photographs? Oh yeah.

After that, how could I resist combining book + art + supernatural shenanigans?

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.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com


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!


Anonymous said…
It's a fantastic premise!

Unknown said…
Sounds good!
jlshannon74 at gmail.com
Joscelyn said…
Sounds great, congratulations on your new release. Thanks for the chance.💗

James E. said…
I'm glad that you saw stunning photographs in an exhibit & you got to see great paintings such as the one you mentioned, which you clearly loved. Your love of art bled through this series & I'm glad that I got to read & enjoy them. Thank you for bringing Stefan & Luke into life. You did a stellar job. ^_^
EJ Russell said…
Thanks so much, James! I'm so happy you enjoyed the books! (BTW, Van Gogh's Starry Night was in the same room as Empire of Light II. Win-win!)
H.B. said…
Thank you for the post and link.
humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com
Paul Wilgus said…
The book sounds great. Thanks for the stories about your art gallery trips and how the idea for the one in the book came about.
heath0043 at gmail dot com
EJ Russell said…
Thank you so much for hosting me today! Release days are always nail-biters for me, so I appreciate the support and the engagement from everyone who stopped by to chat!
Serena91291 said…
Congrats on the new release! I cannot wait to read it, I love your books.
I'm so looking forward to reading this! nikolina1812 @ yahoo .com
Anonymous said…
Congrats, Kim, and thanks for the post. This sounds great. - Purple Reader,
TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

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