Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Blogtour: Stumpdown Spirits by EJ Russell

Please welcome EJ Russell with 

Stumptown Spirits 

We broke ground on the first addition to our house when our twin sons were eight months old. They turn twenty-four this summer and the house is still not finished. Some doors still have no doorknobs. The trim is unpainted in random spots. The skylights in the kitchen are still rough drywall. I could go on.

This doesn’t bother my Curmudgeonly Husband—at least not enough for him to do anything about it. But CH is a “process” person. For him, the joy is in the doing, no matter how long it takes, and if he no longer gets pleasure from the doing, he simply stops.

My motto, on the other hand, is Done is good. That’s because I’m a “product” person. For me, the joy is in being done. I remember the rush I used to get in high school and college, when I finished writing a paper or completed a project. This was an occasion, damn it. It should be celebrated!

Sadly, there was seldom anyone around who either A) cared (“You finished. That’s nice.”) or could participate (“Are you crazy? I’m only half-way done with mine. I hate you. Now go away.”).

These days, my product persona kicks in big time when I’m writing. I’m a plotter, so when I sit down to write my first draft, I already have a detailed list of events laid out in Scrivener (I use Todd Klick’s Something Startling Happens beats, coupled with a plotting system devised by the awesome Suzanne Johnson). I start pounding out that first draft PDQ, in thirty-minute writing sprints. Every thirty minutes, I know I’ve gotten something done! High five, me!

Then, invariably, I hit—(cue ominous drums)—the Death Zone. The Death Zone is that spot in the story, more or less between 45% and 55% along. In other words, the big scary middle. Something major has to happen, but even though I know what that something is, even though I’ve plotted both the in and the out, the Zone still body-slams me. Every. Freaking. Time.

It’s a totally a mental game. I know it, but that doesn’t make the experience any less agonizing. This is the spot where process and product collide. I’ve gotten past the first excitement of building the story, but I’m not far enough in yet to see the finish line. Imagine the middle of the story as a mountaintop, and I’m Sisyphus, shoving that rock up the final slope. Will the rock roll back and crush me, or will I make it over the top to the other side?

But I keep slogging, keep pushing, and once I’ve passed the 55% mark, it’s all downhill, like the last swoop of a roller coaster. When I get to that last beat and type The End?

Rush! Victory dance! Celebratory toasts!

Then I reboot my brain and start up the next mountain, pursuing another product . . . in my still unfinished house.

About the book:


What price would you pay to rescue a friend from hell?

For Logan Conner, the answer is almost anything. Guilt-ridden over trapping his college roommate in a ghost war rooted in Portland’s pioneer past, Logan has spent years searching for a solution. Then his new boyfriend, folklorist Riley Morrel, inadvertently gives him the key. Determined to pay his debt—and keep Riley safe—Logan abandons Riley and returns to Portland, prepared to give up his freedom and his future to make things right.

Crushed by Logan’s betrayal, Riley drops out of school and takes a job on a lackluster paranormal investigation show. When the crew arrives in Portland to film an episode about a local legend of feuding ghosts, he stumbles across Logan working at a local bar, and learns the truth about Logan’s plan.

Their destinies once more intertwined, the two men attempt to reforge their relationship while dodging a narcissistic TV personality, a craven ex-ghost, and a curmudgeonly bar owner with a hidden agenda. But Logan’s date with destiny is looming, and his life might not be the only one at stake.

Get the book:

Meet the author:

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.



To celebrate the release of Stumptown Spirits, EJ is giving away $25 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 21, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.


  1. So cool to hear about your process!

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

  2. Thanks for another interesting post. I am totally a product person. I also like having a process, but it so that I can get stuff done efficiently and the way I want it done. I love checking stuff off the to do list. :-)


  3. Thanks for sharing about your process!
    Toni violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  4. Thanks for hosting me today, and to everyone who stopped by to comment!

  5. Thank you for sharing your writing process!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com


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