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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

UF Author E.J. Russell: Gassing Up With the Gods + giveaway

Years ago, when I was living in California, I spotted a Volkswagen Beetle with the following license plate:


As a dyed-in-the-wool geek girl (working for a software company at the time), this made me laugh out loud. Because you know what they say: “It’s not a bug, it’s a…”

Yeah, yeah, obscure, I know, but it’s still one of my favorite vanity plates. Although it nearly got eclipsed by this one, which I spotted while stopped at a traffic light here in drizzly Oregon:
**side-eye** Clearly somebody at the DMV wasn’t paying particular attention that day (or else they were extremely naive).

In my newest book, Purgatory Playhouse, the denizens of Purgatory must stage a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Greek pantheon, and I started to wonder… 
If the Greek gods were tooling around the US these days, what vanity plates would they slap on their rides?

Here are a few ideas.

· Title: King of Olympus; Father of Gods and Men
· Direct reports: Thunder, lightning, and, you know, everything
· Drives: Tesla Model S (in black) (Special edition so he can charge it himself with a spare lightning bolt)
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Multiple sexual assault and harassment suits ongoing.

· Title: God of the Sun
· Direct reports: Music, medicine, light
· Drives: Aston Martin Vantage roadster (in red) with the top down
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Banned from multiple concert venues for violent behavior.

· Title: Goddess of the Harvest
· Direct reports: Agriculture, fertility
· Drives: Honda Odyssey mini-van with Boycott Pomegranates bumper sticker
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Subject to Seasonal Affective Disorder during daughter’s annual fall/winter negotiated conjugal visit.

· Title: Goddess of the Hunt
· Direct reports: Moon, forests, archery
· Drives: Nissan LEAF
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Undergoing mandatory anger management treatment per ASPCA suit settlement.

· Title: Messenger of the Gods
· Direct reports: Thieves, trade, travelers, shepherds
· Drives: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorbike
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: We’re pretty sure he’s up to something, but we haven’t been able to catch him at it.

Got a notion about how one of the gods (Greek or otherwise) might head out on the highway? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Purgatory Playhouse: A M/M Fantasy Rom-Com
by E.J. Russell
March 25, 2021
232 pages
Staging a musical in Purgatory can be absolute hell.

Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on.

But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever. 

Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell.

He didn’t realize hell was the operative word.

When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky?

Remember that part about hell?

Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains a theater techie who’s one couch surf away from homeless, a production assistant who’s sort of, um, not alive, Greek gods behaving very badly indeed, and a guaranteed HEA.

About the Author:
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.

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 skillset).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.



  1. I loved this! The personalized plates are so fun!

    1. I appreciated the way I Smell Sheep actually materialized them! 😁

  2. Hahaha, I love those vanity plates. I’m thinking Hephaestus (or possibly Hades) would have one that says Burn4U

  3. BURN4U could totally be Apollo's you know since he is the sun god.