Wednesday, June 21, 2023

RESCUE ME #onsale for #99cents!

 RESCUE ME is #onsale for #99cents at Amazon from June 21-26!


Chelsea Andrews can’t decide who’s more dangerous—the creep on the Toronto city bus, or the handsome stranger who rescues her. Was he acting as he claimed, or is he that weird in real life? She doesn’t stick around to find out. Fate intervenes when her rescuer, out of work actor Matt Malone, sublets the apartment across the hall. Chelsea soon discovers the most dangerous thing about her charming new neighbor is the damage he’s inflicting on her heart.

Or is it? Soon after Matt moves in, creepy unsigned romantic notes begin showing up at the art gallery where she works. Then she’s followed home from the bus stop late one night, and sentimental keepsakes go missing from her apartment. Though all the evidence points to Matt, Chelsea doesn’t want to believe the funny, sincere man she’s falling in love with could be the culprit.

Matt is at a crossroads. He’s given up a lot for his acting career and it’s given him little in return. Should he continue? When he moves in across the hall from Chelsea, he begins to believe he could have it all, love and career. But those hopes are dashed when he discovers what she believes he’s capable of.

Chelsea must decide whether Matt is the man of her dreams or her worst nightmare. And Matt has to decide what, and who, is truly important to him.


Megan tugged on Matt’s hand. “Come on, Matt, you promised you’d sing for me. My favorite. Remember?”

Chelsea turned to stare at Matt, surprised. He could sing? The man was full of surprises.

Matt kissed Megan’s cheek with obvious affection. “How can you say no to a pregnant woman?”

Chelsea watched as he hopped up onto the stage and spoke to his father and the other musicians. A moment later he picked up the microphone.

“My sister asked me to sing and said if I didn’t, she’d give birth right here on the dance floor. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to see that.” When everyone quit laughing, he continued. “This is one of my favorite songs, and even though Robbie Burns wasn’t Irish, I’m going to sing it anyway.”

Matt’s father played the introduction to the song, the sound of his fiddle so sweet it would make the angels weep. And then Matt sang.

“My love is like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June:

My love is like the melodie

That’s sweetly played in tune.”

Chelsea sat transfixed, barely breathing. Matt’s rich tenor swept over her, embracing and enveloping her with its warmth. The words struck a chord somewhere deep in her soul.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Recipe from J. Arlene Culiner, author of The Blake's Folly Trilogy

 J. Arlene Culiner shares a vegetarian recipe today and tells us a little about her Blake's Folly series. Your recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks for being here today!

 Seductive Vegetarian Food: Polenta, Mushrooms, Red Wine

 by J. Arlene Culiner        

        Once upon a time, I travelled to Italy to visit a friend, Donata, who lived in a mountain village in the north of the country. One day, Donata’s brother was invited to lunch by Licia, a woman who was doing her best to seduce him: he really was a handsome guy, and she was a very determined woman. To make her planned seduction less obvious, she also invited me, Donata, and two other people.

Licia lived in a traditional village house. There were wooden benches around an open fire in a nook, and this is where we sat while the meal was being prepared. I must say, it was an incredibly simple meal, but so delicious, I’ve never forgotten it. 

Earlier that morning, Licia had gone out to collect wild mushrooms. Now she stewed them with fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, marjoram) diced shallots, black pepper, chopped cloves of garlic, olive oil, butter, and red wine. At the same time she boiled up some polenta and when it was cooked, she put it into a buttered baking tray in a one-or-two-inch thick layer and set it in the oven until it had a cake-like quality. When it was ready, she cut the polenta into squares and ladled the thick cooked mushroom mixture onto it.

We all loved it! What a simple but wonderful meal. And now you’re wondering if Licia did get her man. Yes, she did.

For those not familiar with polenta, it’s simply ground cornmeal. American grits is basically polenta. You can buy uncooked polenta that is cooked like rice or oatmeal, but you can find it in many natural foods outlets as a big ready-cooked roll. If you manage to find the roll, all you have to do is slice it, heat it in a pan or in the oven with butter.

  Licia’s recipe was so wonderful, I mentioned it in my romance book, A Room in Blake’s Folly, but there are other vegetarian recipes in the Blake’s Folly trilogy. In All About Charming Alice, my heroine, Alice Treemont, is a herpetologist who protects snakes and rescues dogs. Jace Constant, a well-known writer, is renting a room in Alice’s house out in the Nevada wasteland, and he’s determined to win her heart, even if that means becoming a vegetarian! 

“You look like a carnivore to me, not a vegetarian,” Alice said. A cannibal, a woman-eater.
Excerpt from All About Charming Alice:

The sound of loud banging had Alice shooting down the stairs and out through the front door. What was going on? It sounded as if a whole wrecking crew was slugging away at the very walls of her house. Any second now, the whole entire building would collapse into a vast heap of dust and shattered sticks of furniture.

She found Jace sitting on the ground beside the veranda, nails sticking out of his mouth, a hammer in his hand and a stack of thick old wooden beams beside him. Now what was this absolutely infuriating person up to? He wasn’t going to make her life miserable all day long, was he? Yes, it looked like he was.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

He turned his head, gazed at her nonchalantly. Took the nails out of his mouth and whistled lasciviously.

“Jeans. I didn’t know you owned a pair of jeans. I like your hair like that, too.”

She blushed. She’d pinned her hair back in a low, loose chignon but would rather have been eaten by ants than admit she’d taken special care with her appearance this morning. Why? Because she really did want to please him. “Jace, I want an answer. What are you doing?”

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you a house needs upkeep? If you want this place to be standing in another one hundred and fifty years, there are things that have to be done. Urgently. This joist here, for example. It needs to be reinforced, so I’m doing that.”

“You’ve no right!” She leaned forward aggressively, hands balled into fists.

His eyes twinkled. “A man likes to catch up on home repairs on his day off.”

“This is my house, not yours!”

“Quite right. You own the house. But, at the moment, this happens to be my home.” He put a nail into place and banged away at it.

All Alice could do was stand there, wait patiently for the noise to stop so she could continue the argument. God, he was infuriating. “It isn’t your home! Your home is in Chicago.”

“My apartment is in Chicago. That’s true enough. A nice, big, flashy apartment with expensive, modern furniture. I’ve also worked out that it’s perfectly impersonal and soulless. Simply an apartment, get it? Not a home. This place is a home. A real home. And I feel like helping you protect it.” He began attacking another nail. Stopped. Looked at her. “And when I’m finished with this job, the veranda isn’t going to cave in like it was threatening to do. And, by the way, I’m not stopping with the veranda. There’s all the rest.”

The wide gesture he made encompassed the whole house, the yard, the road, all of Blake’s Folly.

“The entire state of Nevada,” Alice muttered sourly and glared ferociously, hoping he’d eventually take the hint or feel intimidated. But since he didn’t bother looking up again, her effort was wasted.

Blurb - All About Charming Alice:

Trust in love and solutions will appear
Alice Treemont has no intention of falling in love. Living in Blake’s Folly, a semi-ghost town, she cooks vegetarian meals, rescues unwanted dogs, and protects the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?

Jace Constant is in Nevada, doing research for his new book, but he won’t be staying. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, he doesn’t just despise them: they terrify him.

So why does the air sizzle each time Alice and Jace meet? A romance would entail far too many compromises.

Blurb - Desert Rose:

Secrets are the best protection against love
Rose Badger is the local flirt, and if the other inhabitants of backwoods Blake’s Folly, Nevada, don’t approve, she couldn’t care less. With a disastrous marriage and a dead-end career far behind her, settling down is the last thing she intends to do. Newcomer Jonah Livingstone is intriguing, but with his complicated life, he’s off limits for anything other than friendship. Besides, Rose has a secret world of her own—one she won’t give up for any man.

The last person geologist Jonah Livingstone expected to meet in a semi-ghost town is the sparkling and lovely Rose Badger. But Rose, always surrounded by many admirers, doesn’t seem inclined to choose a favorite. So why fret? Jonah keeps his personal life well hidden…and that's the best way to avoid disappointment.

Blurb - 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. The six stories in A Room in Blake’s Folly tell the tale.


About the Author:

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, and impenitent teller of tall tales, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a mud house on the Great Hungarian Plain, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, a haunted house on the English moors, and on a Dutch canal. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects spiders, snakes, and all weeds. She particularly enjoys incorporating into mysteries, non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her absurd conversations with very odd characters.