PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND ARLENE CULINER!!!!!
Thanks, Lyndi! I love writing about people who are different. Some are forced to adapt to new circumstances in order to survive, others are originals, folks who have never really fit into mainstream society. But no one is humdrum, and all have dreams.
So what do an embittered mail-order bride, an adventurer, a brothel madam, a silver baron/artist, a war refugee, a pacifist, a playboy veterinarian, and a woman who protects spiders all have in common? They get another chance to find love. And what better setting for romance than a semi-ghost town in Nevada?
A Room in Blake’s Folly begins in 1889 with the romance between Sookie Lacey, former prostitute now saloon dance girl, and Westley Cranston, adventurer. But love rarely follows a straight path. Times change, life goes on, new relationships form. By 2022, Blake’s Folly, once notorious for its saloons, brothels, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town of abandoned shacks and weedy dirt roads. But the old stories are still very present, and they have the power to influence the 53 remaining inhabitants.
A Room in Blake’s Folly
If only the walls could speak…
In one hundred and fifty years, Blake’s Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels, scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town. Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a room at a long corridor’s end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations.
Writer, storyteller, photographer, and social critical artist, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe 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.
“You a widow?”
“No.” She could hear the tightness in her voice and feel the tension in her shoulders.
His eyes glinted. “A runaway wife.”
“Not that either.” Did she have to say more? She didn’t. But since people were bound to be asking that same question over and over, she might as well get used to it, even though the answer was only partially true. Even though it could never express what her life had been like up until now. “I left of my own accord, but with my husband’s full agreement. He’ll be looking into getting a divorce.”
“And your children?”
Ah, there it was. The big question, the one thing everyone would be curious about. “No children. I’ve never had any.”
He said nothing. Had he heard the note of anger in her voice? She’d done her best to sound neutral, but neutrality wasn’t an easy note to hit. How vividly she remembered the first time she’d caught sight of her future husband, Sam Graham, waiting with a little knot of men by a shanty train station in the middle of nowhere. He and the others had been eager to grab a sight of their brides-to-be, women lured west by the promise of marriage, land, and a home. How had the other women fared? Had they been as discouraged as she at the sight of the vast lonely wasteland, the emptiness, the bleached-out colors, and the coarse men who would be their lifetime partners? Men honed by the elements, a hard life. And rough alcohol.
Westley Cranston stood, walked in her direction—no, walk wasn’t the word she could use. He sauntered, a slow, elegant saunter. A man sure of himself, of his power to seduce. Yes, that was why she’d felt so wary yesterday. He stopped when he was standing beside her. Smiled. No, there was nothing seductive in his smile. She’d been wrong. What had she been imagining? That she was still the young attractive woman she’d been years ago? What a fool she was.
He touched the top of the piano with a gesture that was almost a caress. “Don’t worry. You’ll do well. The boys you’ll be playing with are good musicians, nice guys, too. They play at all the dances in town, and they’ll teach you the sort of pieces folks out here are used to hearing.”
His eyebrows rose. “For what?”
“For being so kind.”
“Kind?” He guffawed. “It’s not kindness. I’m fighting for survival. High time we got a good piano player in this place. Bob, before he let that stray bullet hit him, knew how to slap at the keys, all right, but he didn’t know the first thing about keeping time. I’ll bet pretty well all the customers were happy to see him taken out of the running.” Grinning, he moved away in that casual easy way of his, headed toward the front door. Then stopped, looked back, his eyes twinkling. “But they couldn’t do that, not legally, anyway. One of the rules here in town forbids shooting pistols in a barroom.”
She grinned back at him. “Sounds like a pretty good rule to me. And what are the other rules, if you don’t mind me asking. If there are any others, that is…”
“Sure there are. Need plenty of rules in boomtowns, especially after payday. The other ones are, you can’t insult a woman, you can’t ride a pony or horse on the wooden sidewalks, and you can’t ride them inside this establishment or any other business in town.” He was chuckling again when he turned the lock, stepped out into the street, and disappeared.
Hattie remained seated at the piano. Her anguish had totally vanished. Amazing, how he had put her at ease. He hadn’t judged her, hadn’t looked at her with disgust when she’d told him some of her story, hadn’t condemned her for feeling unsure about her piano playing. She wondered why she’d felt so mistrustful. He had behaved like a perfect gentleman—and a friend.
Then another thought struck her. What had he been doing here in the Mizpah so early in the morning? Had he slept here? Obviously he had. Hadn’t he just let himself out? And that meant he had probably spent the night with one of the ladies upstairs. That he was a client.
Disappointment washed over her. She couldn’t condemn him—men had needs, desires. Why was she so saddened by the thought?
Review of A Room in Blake’s Folly
Rich detail and scintillating dialogue transport the reader through the decades between 1889 and 2022 of this surprising saga. With flowing descriptive phrases (“… the walls had a yellowish hue that only time could bring,”) Culiner effectively intertwines the characters and descendants of Blake’s Folly. And although overhunting and pollution mean environmental change, the charm of this old world community remains intact. Cheers for this book!
Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite
Author Website: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com
Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jarleneculiner Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/author/jarleneculiner-quirky-romances
To answer this question, please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Terry Segan!!
Terry: That’s the most common question I’m asked when I tell people about my books. My favorite thing to do (besides writing, of course) is travel. It can be a day trip, a weekend away or longer, but I love to explore new places as well as re-visit old ones.
Much of my stories are inspired by locations I’ve visited, though I can’t always tell you where my characters come from. Some scurry out of the dark corners of my mind. Others present themselves in the form of people I know or strangers who have inspired me to adopt their quirks.
Where does the adventure part come in? The travel itself! Many of the trips I go on involve riding backseat on my husband’s motorcycle. While he navigates twisty roads, highways, and traffic, my mind is busy spinning up chapters or working out scenes for my current project. We can ride for hours without saying a word to each other. Our rides have taken us through the deserts of Nevada, along the beaches of the California coast, and through the forests and shorelines of the Pacific Northwest.
My current book, Precious Treasure, releasing March 9, takes place on Long Island, where I grew up. The towns are fictitious, but the landscape is spot on with real places I knew as a child or discovered as an adult. In other projects, I’ve incorporated experiences from trips with friends. No matter where I travel or whom I’m with, there is always a wealth of settings and characters that get melded into my next book.
Where to next?
Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she’s sent spiraling down a dangerous path.
When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.
Enlisting her brother’s assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?
Sneak Peek from Precious Treasure:
Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.
This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.
Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.
Author: Terry Segan
Precious Treasure: A paranormal mystery with a touch of romance
Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.
Please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend SHIELA STEWART!
Sometimes I think I was born to scare and be scared. Might be because the first horror movie I ever saw I was I think 5. It involved a woman wielding an axe and killing people. I snuck downstairs to see what my parents were watching. I was caught and put to bed. Or it could be my brothers who like to scare me with glow in the dark skulls in my closet or lying in wait under my bed and grabbing my feet, scaring the crap out of me. I rarely had nightmares. What it did was encourage me to write scary stuff. Vampires, demons, witches, shifters and ghosts. Spirits are my favorite, having lived in a haunted house. The first story I wrote was called Too young Too Evil, about a teenage girl conjuring up a spirit to help her stop bullies and her brother who always made fun of her. I was 15.
But back to ghosts. I’ve always been fascinated with life after death. Do we just become a void, not existing at all, or can our spirit, part of our soul, still linger, not able to cross over? No one can be certain. But it is fun to write about. This brings me to my ghostly releases. Discovery in Passion, bk 1 in the Passion series and Secrets of the Dead, book 1 in the Lost Souls series. Innocence of the Dead, book 2 in the Lost Souls series will be released later this year so stay tuned.
I would love to hear from the readers, so leave a comment to win a copy of either Secrets, or Discovery. One lucky commenter will win.
Here’s a glimpse of the two ghost books.
Secrets of the Dead.
Blurb: Jessica Coltrane is a die-hard sceptic who believes that ghosts and paranormal activity are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination. That is until she finds herself locked inside a haunted house with the enigmatic paranormal investigator C.J. Dowling.
Born with the ability to see and speak to the dead, C.J. Dowling thought investigating a haunted house would be a job like many others. He’s prepared for anything—except smart and sexy Jessica.
Working together in close quarters, C.J. and Jessica discover it isn’t only negative tension between the two, but sexual as well. Giving into their desires seemed like a good idea at the time, until they wake and find the spirits thought otherwise. Trapped with the ghost of a child long forgotten, an amorous entity that is threatening Jessica, and a powder keg of a spine-tingling mystery that might just be better left buried.
Discovery in Passion
Blurb: Wanting to start fresh, Cassie Evans relocates to the small town of Passion where she moves into the home of her dreams, complete with dreamy next door neighbour, artist, and handyman Thomas Healy. The only problem is, the house she bought just might be haunted.
Thomas Healy lives a life of solitude and that suits him just fine. Then Cassie Evans moves in next door and begins to turn his peaceful life upside down. He tries to ignore her, but ignoring a woman as beautiful as Cassie isn’t so easy, especially when she shows up at your door, naked, begging for you to paint her. Thomas’ first mistake was to agree to it, his second was to take Cassie to bed, now she’s all he can think about.
When their blossoming love is overshadowed by a ghostly haunting, the curious Cassie launches an investigation into the life and death of her home’s previous owner, uncovering a mystery and attracting the attention of a killer. Where will Cassie’s discovery lead her? To the love of her life or to death itself?
You can find me at.
Decadent Publishing: http://decadentpublishing.com/secrets-of-the-dead/
Welcome to Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Emma Ames!
The stories take place in the real town of Brownsboro, Texas, where I grew up. Jenkins Cemetery (real name Jennings Mountain Cemetery) has a long history of ghost stories. In high school, it’s where the local boys would take a ‘new kid’ for initiation—and leave him there! Naturally, that occurred late at night. I thought it would be fun to include the local landmark in the series.
That gave me the opportunity to add in some ghostly players. Main character, Tizzy, speaks to many of them, and sometimes, they even help solve the mystery.
I also thought…what the heck? I can use my family members in the stories! So…I’ve included my dad, Saint. My brother, Dan. My mother, Nana, and my sister and me, Sugarpie and Pattiecake. I did take liberties with our characters. I made us younger and gave us bigger boobs! And with those names, why not make us owners of Sweet Thangs Bakery? We both love to bake, so it was a natural fit. Plus, it furnishes a local setting where a lot of scenes take place.
The hero, Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper, describes the town as dismal, and that pretty much sums it up. It’s a spot in the road with two traffic lights. However, when I was growing up there, I thought the world stopped at the city limit sign, which read, population, 302. I couldn’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else. Now I wonder why anyone wants to live there!! But I love it, and the series is my attempt at putting it on the map!
Emma Ames is an alter-ego of Ann Everett, who is an alter-ego of a real person. All three live in Texas, where they write, bake, and fight an addiction to Diet Dr Pepper.
Follow Emma on:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/emmaames
Find out more about Emma on Ann’s website:
There was sadness in Boone’s voice. Tears formed behind Tizzy’s eyes. She glanced back toward the road. The security guy had out his binoculars.
“Who is that guy?”
“It’s okay. I know him.”
“Well, he must think you’re nuts, talking to a grave.”
“Speaking of that, you’ve never had this much conversation with me before. In the past, everything came in flashes. Bits and pieces. What’s brought this on?”
“My connection to Gracie. Things are different now. After I’ve been with her, I have a period of emotional energy.”
“I need you to promise me you won’t show yourself to her again.”
“There’s a small window of opportunity, Tizzy, and Gracie isn’t afraid.”
“Why can’t I see you?”
“Do you want to?”
“No. That would be freaky.”
“That’s why you can’t. The adult mind isn’t as receptive as a child’s.”
“What if you’re wrong? What if you cause her psychological damage?” A tear escaped and trickled down Tizzy’s cheek. She’d always felt guilty that Gracie would never know Boone.
“She’s my daughter, but I’ll never be her dad. Ridge has that privilege. You know the worst part of dying? It isn’t what you give up, but what you’ll never have. Don’t ask me to stop, because as long as Gracie wants to see me, she will.”
Secrets, Lies, and Homemade Pies
When Tizzy Donovan finds a dead body and becomes the prime suspect in the murder, she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to help clear her name.
Gloom, Doom, and Missing Groom
In Sweet Thangs Mystery Book 2, Tizzy and her ragtag team scour two counties, drag a lake, and enlist the help of a fortune teller to find her missing groom.
Pretty Bows and Turned Up Toes (Coming June 2020)
In Sweet Thangs Mystery book 3, a talking parrot, 3 ex-wives, and seventeen suspects make solving a murder difficult for Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper.
Series trailer: https://youtu.be/NwL1SSFEMJY
What reviewers are saying about Emma Ames’ Sweet Thangs Mystery Series:
If you like sassy Texas romance with a side order of murder, you’ll love this one!
If you love some humor to go with your mystery and have a thing for deep southern drawls, look no further! Emma Ames has a remarkable wit that made this book a humorous and delightful read.
Welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Robert Herold!
(Author of The Eidola Project)
Haunted Houses and I go way back. I used to set up a haunted house display in my parent’s garage and enlist my brothers and friends to play the roles of various monsters as I, as a mad scientist, led other neighborhood kids through the chamber of horrors. The tour would end with me dissecting a monster in a serio-comic way, removing all manner of things from its abdomen (such as a pop bottle, an old shoe, and a dirty sock). At the conclusion, the creature’s arm would swing out at the other kids, courtesy of a little fishing line, and send the frightened kids running from the haunted garage.
After college, I took a job in a nursing home as I dipped my claws, er, toes, into the writing life. At the nursing home I reprised my earlier passion for haunted houses and got other members of the staff and the management to buy into the idea of putting on a haunted house for the patients. People were encouraged to retrieve a treat from the bottom of a bowl of intestines (OK, it was pasta). There were opportunities for (geriatric) boys to meet ghouls, and gals to hang out with all sorts of unsavory monsters. The conclusion, once again, was me as a mad scientist werewolf (showing my true colors) who would operate on a monster and once again pull out various things from its abdomen (this time it included a bedpan – I’m such a wit). Since I was an adult, I also jazzed it up childhood shtick with beakers of dry ice and colored liquid bubbling away behind me on repurposed bookshelves. The pièce de résistance was me (as the ersatz wolfman/mad scientist) throwing the breaker switch (OK, it was a sponge mop handle) and causing the creature’s eyes to light up. At this point, the creature’s arm would swing out, as before (remember the fishing line trick?) and grab one of the patients. As I look back on my cavalier sensibilities, I realized I was damn lucky I didn’t cause a heart attack.
When my older son was in kindergarten and first grade I resurrected the haunted house motif, this time for my son’s birthday parties. I used all the same ideas to great success, perhaps too great. After causing one little girl to pee her pants, I realized I had ridden this horror express perhaps a little too far. My forays into this live on only in the nightmares of former kids, now adults.
The haunted house that left the biggest impression on me was as a high school student when I participated in a spooktacular haunted house that was put on by a local rock music station. I helped with the construction, mostly as a gofer, and got to be a werewolf (oh, the joy) once the place opened. This haunted house was not for kids, and had many a frightful room as we repurposed an old home before it was to be torn down. I, as the wolfman, was in a room with Dr. Frankenstein and the monster, and we’d all jump at folks and delight in their screams. Then, toward the end of the evening, in a moment of werewolf abandon, I decided to jump up onto the wall and grab the bars on a window. Much to my chagrin, and pain, the iron bars were actually wooden dowels that broke off and I crashed down onto my werewolf tailbone. I howled in pain. People loved it! I, however, too embarrassed to admit my pain and mistake, limped the three miles home that night instead of begging a ride from someone with wheels. My lesson: One must suffer for one’s art!
The Eidola Project is an intrepid group of explorers dedicated to bringing the light of science to that which has been feared, misunderstood, and often manipulated by charlatans. They are a psychology professor, his assistant, an African-American physicist, a sideshow medium, and now a derelict, each possessing unique strengths and weaknesses.
Called to the brooding Hutchinson Estate to investigate rumored hauntings, they encounter deadly supernatural forces and a young woman driven to the brink of madness.
Will any of them survive?
Sarah retrieved the lamp and twisted the peg. The outhouse door swung open on its own, and she gasped.
“Momma?” Sarah asked as she held out her lantern. No. A ruined version of Molly stood in the doorway.
Before her disappearance, people often commented on the sixteen-year-old’s beauty, but in the last twenty-eight days birds pecked out her pretty blue eyes, and maggots now swam in the sockets. Molly’s head hung to the left at an odd angle. Her skin looked mottled with patches of gray, blue, and black. A beetle crawled out of Molly’s half-opened mouth and darted back in.
Sarah’s heart leaped to her throat, and she jumped back. She lost her footing, fell onto the outhouse seat, and dropped the lantern to the floor. She bent to retrieve it; thankful the glass globe did not break. Sarah looked up and saw an empty doorway.
Impossible, she told herself. Must’ve dozed off, had a nightmare, and woke up when I dropped the lamp. Her heart still pounded in her chest, and Sarah took a deep breath to calm herself.
Holding the lamp before her once more, she crept out…
The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold’s mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)
As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)
He has pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager.
Ultimately, he hopes the book gives you the creeps, and he means that in the best way possible.
Contact Links (list as many as you’d like):
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZovJ-MZQ5Y (17 second animated book trailer!)
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Herold/e/B07YW82TLR
Links for Purchase (use as many as you’d like):
More about me:
I wanted to be a werewolf as a child, so writing is letting me live out my childhood fantasies! I live in Seattle and have been a middle school history teacher for many years. I also play in local band called Bluetopia. My wife works with homeless women. Our two grown sons live in Portlandia. We have a chihuahua, named Jangles, we inherited from my sister when she passed away. He watches the television with us and barks at any image of an animal or animated creature (including the Mucinex monster)!
I’ve always been fascinated with the horror genre. In addition to wanting to be a werewolf, subscribing to monster magazines, and building all the Universal Monsters models, as a boy I used to construct a haunted house in my family’s garage and invite the other kids in for a scare!
I just received the contract for the second book in the Eidola Project series, currently at the editor, a sequel involving a werewolf (I know, go figure!) called, Moonlight Becomes You. I am also halfway through writing book three, where the team travels cross-country (a big deal in 1885) to solve a series of murders by a deadly shapeshifting creature plaguing the coastal Native Americans in the Washington Territory. It’s entitled Totem of Terror.
Interesting part of the story to research:
I found researching William James’s actual forays into paranormal investigations fascinating. A great resource is The Ghost Hunters—William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death, by Deborah Blum
What inspired the title of the book:
The book is about a team of 19th Century ghosthunters who become ensnared in a deadly investigation of a haunted house. Eidola is a Greek word for ghost, so I thought it fit perfectly.
Advice for aspiring writers:
Come up with an ending first. It will provide direction and keep you from getting lost half-way. Also, pack the inner critic away in a lock box until you’re done with the rough draft. Having a sense of the whole, however rough, rightly gives you a sense of accomplishment. When editing, only let the critic out for short periods and only if it behaves itself. Work hard to polish your writing, but don’t let it cause you sink into despair or abandon your work. If I can do it, anyone can!
Reading, watching movies and TV, taking long walks, eating ethnic, going to the theater & concerts, listening and playing music—especially jazz and classical (I play the sax and flute and I’m in a band).
My favorite quote:
“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” G. K. Chesterton, author of the Father Brown mysteries
Awards for The Eidola Project:
Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.
When a real ghost attacks Maxx inside the program, he’s saved by the last person he ever expected to see again, his brother. Risking everything for a chance to say he’s sorry, Maxx, Tane, and Maxx’s almost-girlfriend Emi, need to figure out why real ghosts are haunting a virtual world while on the run from a murderous cyber-geist, high-tech security guards, a corrupt corporation with their own plans for the technology, the recluse genius who created the program, and Maxx’s own demons.
Facebook Author Page
Facebook Friend Page
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
“Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their personal horrors. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet.