Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: A Room in Blake's Folly by J. Arlene Culiner 💕 Guest Post, Book Tour and $20 Gift Card Giveaway 💕 (Western Historical & Contemporary Romance Saga)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A Room in Blake's Folly by J. Arlene Culiner 💕 Guest Post, Book Tour and $20 Gift Card Giveaway 💕 (Western Historical & Contemporary Romance Saga)

If only the walls could speak…

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.

Writing About the Wild West by J. Arlene Culiner

For me, Western Romance doesn’t mean writing only about cowboys and ranches. My latest book, A Room in Blake’s Folly, is set in a semi-ghost town in Nevada, a place where rather odd characters live, the sort of people who have stuck it out despite all odds. In this clapboard, rusty trailer community, wooden doors tap in the wind, bare stalks scratch, country music whines, and eccentrics dish up tall tales, and suspicion. 

Why am I fascinated by such a place? Because I love writing about odd characters and misfits, the sort of people who would never fit into neat houses with tidy gardens. My people are rebels, not by choice, but by character. Sometimes they’re ornery, nosy, or interfering, but I can guarantee they’re the real thing.

For me, a good story is also packed with information. When I finish reading a book, I want to have the satisfying feeling that I know more than I did when I started. And so it is with local history. In A Room in Blake’s Folly, we follow a town from its silver boom beginning to its dusty present day state. And as we do, we learn how things got that way. It’s all an exciting part of our history.

Of course, I also love writing about love as well as history, and a good romance book needs delightful characters, hope, pure delight, humor, and much tenderness. I promise: I’ll give you all of that.

“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.”

“Thank you.” 

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?


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.


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  1. Thank you for sharing the author's guest post and book details, this sounds like a wonderful story and I am looking forward to reading it

  2. Sounds like an interesting story. I like the cover and excerpt.

  3. Love the cover and it sounds like an interesting read!

  4. Sounds like a great book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! This seems like a really great read!


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