Thank you OMGReads for inviting me to stop by today!
Hello, intrepid internet adventurers, and welcome to the blog tour for The Artist’s Touch, the first book in my Art Medium series.
After the release of book two, Tested in Fire, in April, I’ll be giving away a $40 Riptide gift card, so please leave a comment for a chance to win.
Now let’s chat a little bit about food … in fiction and real life …
Back in 2001, my Curmudgeonly Husband and I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring in the movie theater when it was first released. While we both liked the movie, CH was disgruntled, comparing it to his memory of the book.
“There was a lot more food in the book. There was hardly any in the movie.”
This prompted me to re-read the whole series, and you know what? There’s not a lot more food in it. But CH views the world through a very food-oriented lens. His first reaction to being told he has to attend any given even is, “Will there be refreshments?”
I think I must have his attitude embedded in my subconscious as I write, because there’s almost always a scene involving food or a meal in each of my books, and frequently one involving cooking. The Artist’s Touch is a case in point.
Luke prepares a meal for Stefan as a way of apologizing and reconnecting. The food he cooks? Some of my favorites in CH’s repertoire. In case you’ve never read my bio, I do not cook. CH, however, loves it. It’s his method of unwinding after work—and then he gets to eat the results. A win-win for him.
Now me, I don’t care so much about eating-—a bowl of cereal works just fine at any time of day—and cooking (especially after a day of work) sounds far more like refined modern torture than relaxation, especially if the end product does not involve cake.
This recipe, also a favorite of all three of my kids, is part of Luke’s menu in The Artist’s Touch. I won’t be insulted if you don’t make it yourself—you can sit at the table in the corner along with me, and wait for the cake to arrive.
Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic
CH uses this basic preparation with most green vegetables: parboil, cool, sauté at the last minute with garlic, salt, and either oil or butter.
|• 1 pound green beans
• Boiling water
|1. Trim the beans.
2. Add salt to the boiling water. Don’t skimp. Use enough salt so that the water tastes like the ocean did the first time you tasted the ocean.
3. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook till they turn bright green.
4. Drain the beans, cool them, and allow them to dry on a towel.
5. You can stop at this point and resume cooking them an hour later or a day later.
• Olive oil or butter
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
6. Warm the oil or butter in a pan that’s large enough to hold all of the beans.
7. Add the garlic to the oil or butter and sauté for a few seconds.
8. Add the beans to the pan, add salt to taste, and sauté till heated through.
About The Artist’s Touch
Two men haunted by more than the past.
Painter Stefan Cobbe was homeless and debt-ridden after the death of his wealthy partner, but the worst loss of all was his artistic inspiration. After two years of nothing, he’s offered patronage by an eccentric gallery owner and starts to produce again, canvas after canvas. The only problem? He can’t remember painting any of them—not one single brushstroke.
Luke Morganstern’s reputation as an art-fraud investigator is in tatters. He can’t afford to turn down any job, even a lousy one for an anonymous client who sends him after an unidentified forger in a remote cabin in Oregon. When the alleged forger turns out to be Stefan, the man he never stopped loving, Luke’s professional ethics are stretched beyond the breaking point.
As the two men take tentative steps toward reconciliation, evidence begins to mount that they’re not alone in the woods. Someone—or something—is watching. Something with sinister plans for them both. To escape, Luke must overcome his suspicions and Stefan must trust Luke with his deepest fears. Otherwise they could forfeit their relationship, their sanity—and their lives.
Publisher’s note: This is a heavily revised and significantly expanded reprint of Northern Light. The second book in the Art Medium series, Tested In Fire, is a first edition. Both are sold together in both ebook and print collections.
I was so excited to pick up this book by EJ Russell. I was a huge fan of another book she co-wrote with Anne Tenino, but hadn’t picked up one of her solo books yet as paranormal isn’t really my thing. However, The Artist’s Touch seemed to be a good combination of contemporary, mystery and paranormal to capture my interest.
At first, I had a difficult time getting into this book. Luke and Stefan have a long backstory that we learn about in non-consecutive bits and pieces, and for the first quarter or so of the story I was a bit annoyed at not understanding some of the references and the importance of actions that hadn’t been revealed yet. However, the story picks up quickly and once the actions from the past were mostly revealed, I really enjoyed it. Second chances is one of my absolute favorite tropes, and it’s done super well here.
Both Luke and Stefan are heavily flawed characters. Luke was a bit conceited, a bit indecisive, a bit of a jerk. He thinks a lot more about how something affects him rather than how it affects Stefan. But he does seem at least aware of his flaws, and when it comes right down to it, he steps up to the plate. Stefan was very defeatist and fatalistic in his thinking, convinced nothing is going to go right for him so he’s just going to go along with it and whatever happens, happens. However, again, Stefan takes control and tries his hardest when it really matters. In the end, I found their flaws gave them a bit of realism, which balanced out the paranormal-ness.
Speaking of the paranormal, that was my least favorite part of the story, yet I knew going in that it would be. It was interesting, though, and I appreciated the way that Russell combines contemporary with paranormal in a seamless way.
The only thing that impacted my rating of this book was the very confusing bit at the beginning, where I was constantly lost. My advice: No, you didn’t miss anything, no, you don’t need to go back and check. Just hold on for the ride and everything will make sense soon.
A copy of this book was received through NetGalley for review on OMGReads.
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.:
To celebrate the release of both books in the Art Medium series, one lucky winner will receive a $40 Riptide credit! Winner will be pulled from entries to both blog tours. 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. Thanks for following The Artist’s Touch tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!