Monday, March 2, 2020

# Guest Posts

The Turkish Affair: another look at romantic suspense by J. Arlene Culiner @jarleneculiner #fiction #writing

The Turkish Affair: Another Look at Romantic Suspense
By J. Arlene Culiner

Let’s start with those two words: Romantic Suspense. Don’t they conjure up stalkers, a serial killer or two, car chases, shoot-outs, terrorists, a gun-packing super heroine, and an impossibly handsome hero? Well…I must admit I prefer reality, even when it comes to romance. If I were in danger, could I really count on the sudden appearance of some gorgeous, sexy, very hot secret agent who instantly puts a villain out of commission? Of course I couldn’t. And, I’m certain that if I were being threatened by a madman, I’d be so wrought up, I wouldn’t have the energy — or the leisure — to get to know someone I’m attracted to, or to succumb to love’s powerful magic.

Which is why I decided to write a different sort of romantic suspense. There’s certainly menace, but it’s psychological. There has been a murder, but it happens off stage, without graphic description, car chases, or screaming sirens. My setting is exotic — the archaeological site of Karakuyu in an unstable part of Turkey — so we can’t really feel too comfortable. And we can’t count on the police either, for corruption is rampant in this part of the world.

My heroine, Anne, is a former American journalist who, after a scandalous affair with the wrong man, lost her job and her reputation. For the last ten years, she’s been in hiding, living in backwoods Turkey, working as a translator. She’s not interested in romance, an affair, or a partner: falling in love is just too painful. Besides, in any relationship, you have to reveal who you are — and that’s something she’ll never do.
My hero, Renaud Townsend is an archaeologist. He’s passionate about his work, about ancient history, about discovery, and about keeping his independence. The last thing he’s ever wanted is a permanent relationship. He knows that, after the first excitement and immediate desire, any love story becomes humdrum, and humdrum is exactly what he’s determined to avoid.
But how do you fight an instant attraction? What happens when caring slips into the picture and trust becomes important? Throw in some artifact theft, a difficult climate, suspicion, a few secrets, a murder, an empty beige plain surrounded by dark mountains, and the story begins.

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 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.



Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.

Author J. Arlene Culiner does not disappoint in this fast-paced novel, The Turkish Affair. Glittering descriptions, magical settings, and enviable characters bring the solemn grounds of Turkey to life as we are planted firmly in an archeological dig in Karakuyu, Turkey. Culiner’s mastery of the English language and sentence combinations form an enchanting read. The Turkish Affair is a must-read for all lovers of romance and adventure.
–Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite


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