One of the things I love about this blog is the friends I've made over the years. People who not only talk about their books, but share their lives. We've peeked into today's guests life before, but you know the more you talk to someone the more you find out. So join me and my long distance friend from France Around the Fire.
Welcome back! J. Arlene, can you reintroduce yourself while I pour us some refreshments?
I’m an artist, a writer, a storyteller, and I live in a former inn in a small village in France. I love thinking about who might have stayed in this inn (over the last 500 years), and I do love switching between bedrooms: each one has its own character, and each has secrets. Of course, my imagination is busy digging out those secrets and bringing former guests to life in little stories.
Oh the history grafted into the walls of such places. My in-laws live in a home that is about 150 years. There is always something they uncover while doing projects. What interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
I’m also an amateur musician and I play in several orchestras and bands. I play a variety of instruments: flute, recorder, tuba, oboe, English horn, and all the different baroque oboes.
I remember from your previous visit you talking about sneaking into 13th century empty village churches with excellent acoustics Do you share you work before it's published?
I write in a void. No one around me—not even my partner Bernard—reads English, so I get no feedback. I just stick with a story, rewrite five or six times, then send it off. I’m lucky that one friend, Jean Livingstone, reads some of my manuscripts and comments on them. And the writer D.S. Knight has also read two manuscripts and given me the most excellent suggestions…and much encouragement.
Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
Frankly, I can’t even begin to answer this question with one, or two, or even three names. I read in all genres, but I do favor literary travel, and I relish excellent writing.
Other than music, tell us something your life in your neighborhood.
I collect old photos, and I find them in rubbish bins or charity shops. I then invent stories around the people in the photos. The stories and photos end up on the lampposts and walls of a village that is four kilometers away. Since it is a particularly lovely village, many people pass and read what I’ve written. Although many of these stories are outrageous, most actually believe that they’re true.
Do you have a keepsake? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
Years ago, when I lived in a small village in Hungary (I was doing research for a non-fiction book) a local man who worked in the shameful and smoky open air rubbish tip, decided that being a writer was a lonely, solitary job, and that I needed company. To that end, he started bringing me all the rejected dolls, teddy bears, rocking horses he could find. He would leave them at my gate, and I was always pleased to discover these new friends. Because I couldn’t abandon them again, when I returned to France, they all came here with me.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
An excellent Caesar salad, please. One that is made with grated cheese and a coddled egg and croutons and garlic and olive oil and a bit of vinegar…oh dear, my mouth is watering. Oh yes…could I also have a mojito to wash it down, please?
That sounds delicious. What's your worst household chore?
All household chores come into the category of “worst”. I do, however, rather like washing dishes. Strange…
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
I never travel by plane if I can avoid it— what an ecological disaster planes are! First class train tickets? Okay, I’ll accept. But eating for free at restaurants…you’ll win my heart with that offer.
You and my husband would get along quite well. He loves trains and would travel the world in them. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do an enormous amount of research. Research is necessary for my non-fiction books, but because I love going through archives and hanging around the National Library in Paris, I also do research for my romances. I love learning new things, and I want to pass on information to my readers, too.
J. Arlene, thank you for spending time with me at the fire. I also appreciate you sending a picture of your delightful abode. And to our other guests, keep reading. There's special insight into Felicity's Power from the author.
Felicity’s Power. It’s a second chance romance (sensual rating).
J. Arlene Culiner
Insight from the author.
I think many of us remember someone we once loved, or someone we might have fallen in love with had the circumstances been right. But what would happen if we came face-to-face with that person today? Would the magic still be there? Would our hands tremble, our knees knock together just the way they did back then? Or would we just stare, appalled, wonder how we could once have been so silly?
For me, the idea of meeting up with a romantic ex was intriguing enough to write about, and so, Felicity Powers came to life. She’s strong, determined, the sort of woman who fights for what she wants. And when she first sees Marek Sumner, she wants him to fall in love with her. And because he’s a smart guy, a romantic, he realizes how wonderful his life will be with Felicity in it.
But love doesn’t solve everything, and that’s the problem. If the relationship is going to work, it will mean sacrifice. Too much compromise. Marek wants security, a family; Felicity wants adventure. So, after living together for almost two years, the love story is over.
Well…in a way it’s over. Because, even after years of separation, Felicity has never forgotten Marek. She has spent her life as a foreign aid worker, has been in danger countless times, has done exactly what she set out to do, but she knows Marek was the love of her life. And because she’s a fighter, she’ll try to make their relationship start all over again.
What does Marek think? Of course he’s never forgotten Felicity, and it’s great to see her again. She looks wonderful. And sexy. And exciting. But start over? All these years later? Risk having his heart broken again? He’s older and wiser now. Too smart for all the turbulence and drama.
But that’s definitely not how Felicity sees things.
San Francisco, 1971: hippies in the streets, music and revolution in the air. The evening Marek Sumner opened his door to the wild-looking Felicity Powers, he knew nothing would ever be the same. But even love and passion couldn’t keep them together.
Forty-three years later, having lived in the world’s most dangerous places as an aid worker, Felicity is back, still offering love, passion, and adventure. Now a well-known author, Marek loves his calm life in an isolated farmhouse, and he knows their relationship would never work : he and Felicity are just too different. Besides, why risk having his heart broken a second time?
But Felicity is as fascinating and joyful as ever, and the wonderful sexy magic is still there too. Can love be more delightful the second time around?
A peek inside
“You’re right, of course. This dream is going to blow sky high, just the way Owen’s did a hundred and fifty years ago.”
A woman’s voice. Rich, throaty. Lazy. Marek Sumner looked up from the lecture notes he’d been shuffling together. Audacious, slanting brown eyes scrutinized him, taking his measure in a leisurely way.
“You must be the only one here who agrees with me,” he drawled slowly, stalling for time while his own glance played back over her with the same boldness. His gut tingled, a deep, primitive reaction. Nothing to do with words or ideas.
She tossed her head, scornfully. “I know. I spend my days arguing with people who believe a society of peace and love is possible. That, the ‘revolution’ will come, and the police will waltz through the streets distributing flowers.”
“I’ll bet that doesn’t make you many friends here in Haight-Ashbury.” He kept his voice dry, calm, belying the wild, reckless response teasing the edge his consciousness. Adrenaline had begun pumping, tightening his muscles, his skin.
“Of course it doesn’t.” Her shrug showed how little “making friends” mattered to her. “It’s easy for students to claim material goods don’t count. In a few years, when they’re career-oriented citizens with families and mortgages, they’ll change their minds, all right.”
Fascinated, he noted the mass of curling orange hair pulled together in a high, wild, knot at the top of her head. Who are you? Where did you come from? Tallish, very slender, almost fragile—yet tough as steel. He could certainly sense that. Astounding looking. A sharp thrill rippled along nerves stretched elastic tight.
“Of course they will.” He smiled slowly. “Which is why I wanted to give this lecture on the ‘Empire of Good Sense.’ In 1825, Owen’s ideas were radical: common property, equality of the sexes, absolute individual freedom. And, in the end, his commune failed. Just like any hippie ‘revolution.’ ”
The words came automatically. Watching her, he forgot about ideas, time, the room, the people waiting to talk to him, the soft evening sun spilling through the Bookworm’s wide doorway. He forgot everything except this woman standing here, right in front of him.
And she knew it. Her secret smile met his. Still the conversation continued, words weaving together, forming a bridge where they could meet.
“I’ve been called a reactionary three times in the last ten minutes.” He laughed.
“The ultimate insult!” She laughed back, a rich warm sound, as smooth as a caress on his bare skin.
“Thank goodness, as a traitor to the people’s revolution, I’m more likely to be smothered under a blanket of flower petals than face a firing squad.”
“With your detractors all chanting, ‘I love you.’ ” She stopped abruptly, her smile fading, faint shock sliding into her eyes.
I love you. The words—so casually, so mockingly said—had jolted him too.
He stared at her, his excitement pulsing into want. High cheekbones, a thin, slightly aquiline nose. Freckles—childish freckles contradicting the hawk-like ferocity of her features: she was a mixture of Tom Sawyer and a foreign queen. Dancing brown eyes that probed, tempted, provoked. This was a woman certain of her charms, of her magnetism. And aware of her power to seduce him.
He also knew he was having the identical effect on her, and the amused and softened curve of her mouth also showed him she wasn’t considering a refusal. An austere, elegant mouth. Narrow lips. Difficult to pull his eyes away from them…
Then, as quickly as it started, it was over.
More about the author
Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe alone on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.
Web site: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com
Amazon Author Page
Your Host D.V. Stone
Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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