Wednesday, May 17, 2017

PLAYING WITH FIRE by R.J. Blain Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway


Author: R.J. Blain
Publisher: Pen & Page Publishing
Pages: 323
Genre: Fantasy/Romantic Comedy

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.

Working as the only human barista at a coffee shop catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day. Bailey Gardener has few options. She can either keep spiking drinks with pixie dust to keep the locals happy, or spend the rest of her life cleaning up the world’s nastiest magical substances.

Unfortunately for her, Faery Fortunes is located in the heart of
Manhattan Island, not far from where Police Chief Samuel Quinn works. If she’d been smart, she never would have agreed to help the man find his wife.

Bailey found her, all right—in the absolutely worst way possible.

One divorce and several years later, Bailey is once again entangled in Chief Quinn’s personal affairs, and he has good reason to hate her. Without her, he wouldn’t be
Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor, something he loathes. Without her, he’d still be married.

If only she’d said no when he asked her help, she might have had a chance with him. While her magic worked well, it came with a price: misfortune. Hers.

When Quinn’s former brother-in-law comes to her for help, he leaves her with a cell phone and seventy-five thousand reasons to put her magic to the test. However, when she discovers Quinn’s ex-wife is angling for revenge, Bailey’s tossed in the deep end along with her sexiest enemy.

Playing With Fire is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

No one in their right mind would ever license me as a private investigator, but that didn't stop people from coming to me when they needed something found. Fortunately, I liked my job as the only human barista at Faery Fortunes Coffee and Book Shop. Most came for a cup of joe and left too buzzed to read a thing, but who was I to complain? People paid top dollar for their pixie dust infused latte, and they tipped me well not to judge them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t so fond of Chief Quinn. When he walked through the door, bad things usually happened to someone—me. For him to come in five minutes after opening, long before the sun even thought about rising, he needed something, and it wasn’t a cup of coffee. Why couldn’t he want coffee? I could deal with making him a drink, and I’d double his dose of pixie dust to keep him happy.
I gave the espresso machine a defiant swipe of my cleaning cloth before stepping to the counter to deal with Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor. Without my help, he’d still be married, too.
What a way to start the day.
And to think people wondered why I refused to help find anything for anyone anymore. The reason stood across the counter from me. Chief Samuel Quinn, aged thirty, hotter than sin, and my heaven and hell rolled together in one smoking tall, dark, and handsome package, hated me for good reason. It was his fault, too. He had been the one to ask me for help finding his wife. I had found her all right, right in the middle of teaching a college stud the nuances of the reverse cowgirl.
If no one asked me to find something or someone again for the rest of my life, I’d be a very happy woman.
“Chief Quinn, what a pleasant surprise,” I lied. “Can I get you something? A dark roast, cream, no sugar, light on the dust?”

About the Author

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.


Where are you from?
I’m originally from Harford County, Maryland in the United States, but I moved to Montreal, Quebec when I was eighteen, and I’ve been there ever since. I’ll be headed to California as soon as my Canadian husband has all of his paperwork in order, and we’re both excited to be starting a brand-new adventure!

Tell us your latest news?

Well, I’ve got a lot of books coming out in the near future, including the conclusion of my Witch & Wolf series, the second Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) book, and a brand-new fantasy series!

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing stories in high school, but I didn’t start taking writing seriously until 2013 or so. I finally took the leap, and as a general rule, I regret nothing! (Who needs sanity, anyway? Worth its loss to write books…)
As for the why of it, I enjoy taking people on a magical adventure with me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer sometime after high school, although I didn’t really feel like it could be a serious profession until 2013 or so, which was when I decided I wanted to publish and take a hobby and turn it into something far more real.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I actually don’t remember. All I remember from my very first book was the desire to actually finish something, so I suppose that was my main inspiration. I wanted to say I had finished a book, so I did.
It was awful. It’s now a resident of my shelf of shame, and I threaten to make one of my best friends read it when she claims she’s a hack. It’s that bad.
Nowadays, most of my inspiration comes from what I want to read but can’t find when I’m shopping for books.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I honestly don’t think a whole lot about my writing style nowadays. I think about the characters, the story I’m trying to tell, and the tone I want for the book—the writing style just happens. So no, I can’t say I have a specific writing style. It is whatever it needs to be at the time.

How did you come up with the title?

Playing with Fire was one of the easiest titles I’ve come up with. It just fits, and while the title is cliché, it stays true to the entire crazy magical romantic comedy story, which turns clichés around and has a lot of fun with them.
And there’s fire, a lot of fire.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

To have fun. That’s what these books are all about… and there might be some more meaningful things hidden away in the story if you squint and tilt your head to the side. Mostly, however, I just want readers to have fun and be entertained.

How much of the book is realistic?

What is realism, again? But seriously, about the only thing realistic about this story is… uh… actually, no, I don’t think there’s anything realistic about this book at all.
There is some legitimate science at work, but I won’t tell you which bits are real. That would ruin the fun.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Nope, not at all. I try to avoid that in my writing as much as possible, as I want my books to be a way people can escape from the real world for a while.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I so love this question. There are so many books that have done this, but I’m going to showcase one: Madeline L’Engle’s a Wrinkle in Time. This is the book that made me decide I actually wanted to learn how to read because reading could be fun.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’m going to go with Diana Pharaoh Francis, as she’s always encouraging me to cause trouble in my books… and she puts up with me. And reads my books before anyone else.
And I adore her Path novels. They’re fantastic.

What book are you reading now?

I’m between books right now, but I finished rereading Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. They are my guilty pleasure books. They make me laugh so much.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I really want to say Amanda Bouchet, but while I absolutely adored A Promise of Fire, Breath of Fire left a very sour taste in my mouth. I don’t know if I’ll read the third book. I was so hopeful about that series, too, because A Promise of Fire is one of my absolute favorite books.
The disappointment in the second book was so, so fierce.

What are your current projects?

I have a rather long waiting list of books that are done or mostly done waiting for my editor’s attention. The first in line is Water Viper, my upcoming release, a fantasy book about a meteor strike that drowns the Earth in magic. After that, I have Hoofin’ It, the second Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count.) Silver Bullet, the conclusion to my main Witch & Wolf series is up after that. Wolf Hunt, which is a sequel series to the main Witch & Wolf series will release after that.
I also have 2 or 3 more books in various stages of completion waiting for my editor’s love…

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

Hands down, Susan, my editor. Without her, I couldn’t write the books I do, and I’m forever grateful for her help. She supports me every step of the way.

What would you like my readers to know?
If I had to pick one thing, it would be that I’m grateful for readers everywhere. It’s cliché, it’s a bit cheesy, but it’s the truth—you’re a huge part of why I write.
Keep loving books and reading. You help make the world turn, and I’m very grateful for that. It keeps people like me writing.
Thank you for having me on your blog today!




R.J. Blain is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. This book looks great, thanks for telling me about it.

  2. Thanks for the excerpt, interview and giveaway as well.

  3. This looks like one that will keep me reading.

  4. Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading the interview and the excerpt! This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read! Looking forward to checking it out!