Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Blog with FJ Wilson




Thank you for having me on your blog.  I really appreciate it.


My spirituality was born in a little country church in Daisy Vestry Mississippi in 1949, but my true beliefs were born in an old mansion in New Orleans in 2004.  My very soul found kindred spirits in the rambling ancient rooms comforting human energy since 1750. I found people long dead but still teaming with life hovering and waiting in the cemeteries and cities of the dead.  What are they waiting for?  For whom do they wait?  Do they not know they’re dead?  I may join them one day as I am at peace in the ample bosom of New Orleans loving the joie d’ vivre and generous music.  My first experience with “other worldly” people was there in her haunting past.  I’ve felt cold when there should have been heat; I’ve felt energy in dead spaces; I’ve longed for men I’ve never met  on lonely rainy nights when I should have been at peace with sleeping alone.  I’ve heard voices where no people were gathered and I’ve seen shadows that were caused by no light source.
I dreamed of Celestine one night as I lay comfortably in a large feather mattress in a huge two hundred year old four poster bed in the mansion I was house sitting.  I saw her as a small delicate lady of yesterday sitting in an ancient courtyard having a cup of strong black chicory coffee and remembering lover’s years dead.  I wanted to know who she was and where this lovely creature came from.  The next morning I began to write, “The Hornet Slayer” and Celestine appeared in my pages by magic, sitting at a small iron table under a banana tree in an old courtyard drinking her midnight coffee.  She was a cameo character, a person of little interest, a will-o-the wisp to the story, but she haunted me still.  The second novel, “Celestine, The House on rue du Maine” she appeared; took the story and ran with it.  She sprang from my creative mind like a spirit needing an escape and told me her story.  Thus began her journey and mine.  I offer her up to you and know you will find her as fascinating as I do; as well as half the men in her world. 
The wonderful, handsome Maurice, the Sea Captain will take your breath away. The Pirate Jean Lafitte was a black haired, hazel eyed god and had many mistresses but no woman could capture his heart.  Ah, except one, the beautiful Celestine.  Jean was handsome, debonair, intelligent, at home in the parlor or on the deck of his ship and an incredible lover. 
I know in my heart Celestine lived, because she came to tell me her story, but I can find nothing in any of my resource books to prove it.  Those of us who know the truth about the real world will understand when I say, she just didn’t want her life to be forgotten.  I hope she becomes a friend to you as she has to me.  I can still see the two of them on the old streets of the French Quarter, Jean carrying his Celestine to protect her dress and shoes from the filthy streets and she, laying her head against his mighty chest listening to his heart beat… for her.
I never write of Voodoo.  I think it is best left alone.  Maybe one day I will attempt it, but for now, just suffice it to say, there are things we are not privy to and until we are, I won’t buy the tourist voodoo dolls nor will I delve into that world.  If you choose, it is your choice and I applaud you for it. 
I wrote my first short story, “The Writer”
sitting in the well appointed second parlor of that old mansion; listening to the street cars clanging their bells passing on St. Charles Ave.  I had no intentions of writing, but something pulled me out of my martini and swimming pool induced laziness and told me to set up my second hand laptop on the little ancient mahogany table across from the majestic twelve foot standing mirror and I began to write.  I knew it wasn’t coming from me at the time; I couldn’t write.  But I felt strongly that someone was helping me as the sentence structures became more and more southern and I developed my writer’s voice. I didn’t read the story for another two weeks as advised by other writers, but when I did, instead of the piece of crap I expected, I found there was a good story; needing an editor, and a good typo cleaning, but it was there.
Asking my hostess to read it once she returned, I discovered that not only was it the Tennessee William’s Festival in the old city as I was writing, but he had lived on the third floor of the mansion in 1957 recuperating from an illness, while he wrote, “Suddenly Last Summer”.  I guess it wasn’t an accident as the old mansion has a huge solarium growing full grown trees, on the side of the house and an elevator.  I am not saying I have his talent, but I know damned well I have his blessings.  In my next life, which as we all know is probably simultaneous to the one we’re living now, I will be the beautiful Celestine and Jean Lafitte will be eating out of the palm of my hand. Or, I will be an old gator in the swamp and wonder how the two of them would taste.  Enjoy my efforts.

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October 19 Promo
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October 20 Review
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Celestine: The Hour on rue du Maine
F.J. Wilson

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Publisher:  Chances Press, LLC

ISBN:  978-0988230217
ASIN:  B0093U6Z48

Number of pages:  272
Word Count: 80,000

Cover Artist:  Geronimo Quitoriano


Book Description:

In 1795 New Orleans, the Spanish controlled city struggles to rebuild after two devastating fires, and a young teenage girl is just as determined to leave her past behind and start anew. Celestine, the daughter of a Mississippi River prostitute spends most of her time hating herself, her life and the dirty men who rut with her mama.

When she turns thirteen and her mama informs her she’ll be servicing the very men she hates and fears, she has no other option but to run to the good nuns of the Ursulines Convent where for the first time she encounters kindness and a different kind of life.

After meeting the dashing ship captain Maurice Dubois, a man with his own past demons to reckon with, Celestine allows herself to be truly loved for the first time.

But when a shocking turn of events leaves her once again with nothing more than her own wits to survive, Celestine begins to realize the power her intoxicating beauty gives her over men including the debonair and infamous pirate Jean Lafitte.
It’s this very power that Celestine learns to capitalize on to begin a new career...not as the common riverfront lady of the night her mother had been...but as the most sought after courtesan in all of New Orleans.

 About the Author:

F. J. Wilson was raised on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the fishing village and artist community of Ocean Springs, ninety miles east New Orleans; the city far from her reach but close to her heart. Much of her time growing up was spent reading under her grandmother’s big camellia bushes hiding from housework and the inevitable call to come inside and help start ‘supper’. In a time when young girls dreamed of big weddings and picket fences, she dreamed of the dangerous but darkly handsome Heathcliff and the English moors of days long gone. With Hemingway’s Paris, Scott Fitzgerald’s language and Margaret Mitchell’s South keeping her company, why would she ever want to clean her room?

Raised with small town values but dreams of a bigger life, she was more than ready to leave home in 1965 and began her education in the Theatre Department of the University of Southern Mississippi. From there she finally reached New Orleans and began a film career that sent her to New York, where she co-wrote an episode of the Emmy award winning Kate & Allie. Eventually her work in TV and film would take her to Los Angeles and all over the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Her passion for the South and New Orleans brought her back to Mississippi in 2000. In 2007, her love for writing and her love of films collided, and she wrote humorous articles for the Arts and Entertainment Section of the Hattiesburg American newspaper. She’s been writing short stories and novels about Southerners since her retirement in 2008.

F. J. Wilson has one son, Jason, who lives in Monroe, CT and she now lives in Hattiesburg with her two Springer Hound Spaniels and is at the time married to her computer and her love of writing.

You may email her at fjwilson@chancespress.com

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