From Humor to Horror: The Mortician and Her Charge

A fellow scribbler recently asked if I’d thought about working in other genres, and I had to take a moment before answering. After a couple of slugs of coffee, here’s what I said: Anything’s possible, but do YOU consciously sit down and say “I’m going to write a romance today?”

It’s true that we have an idea about what we want on the page after a few false starts and a meme or two. But if you’re like me, you give your characters a wide berth and let them do the driving.

The tale of halting mortician Enid Krause and her charge, the badly decomposed Jurgen Heuer (read “Heuer” as in “lawyer”) for me was a platform from which to launch some stories about what it’s like to be a funeral director in the space of a few precious days. The minutae, the stuff we as directors take for granted like getting the flowers from visitation suite to church to grave without the family and mourners seeing us do it, became a subject of intense interest for some readers. The fact that the work was so physical along with the long hours often spent waiting for something to happen seemed to be a jump point for discussion as well.

That HEUER went from conversation piece about an atypical job to an award winner under the HORROR category in 2015’s PREDITORS & EDITORS reader poll did not surprise readers, but it did surprise me in the best possible way.

HEUER LOST AND FOUND is many things to me: it is a platform from which to rhapsodize about things near and dear, but it’s also a staging point for exploring complicated grief, guilt, addiction, false love, false starts, and, yes, embalming while under the influence of all of the above. Most exciting to me, was that I was able to present difficult and often horrific subjects under the umbrella of gonzo fiction; that is to say: by making the tough accessible through humor.

I’d like to thank my publisher Summer Solstice, a line division of Solstice Publishing, for believing in what I am trying to do. Solstice gives me the courage to press on through the hard slog that is editing and promoting. Most importantly, they give me what I need to keep creating new work. Thank you Melissa Miller, Kate M. Collins and K.C. Sprayberry for keeping me on task.

The PREDITORS & EDITORS Reader’s Poll was my first award and as such, my most precious, not just for the validation it gave me personally (shades of Sally Field at the Oscars back in 1985 dogged me, but only for a moment), but for the acknowledgement that the book and characters are MORE than they appear. What seemed incredibly funny to some mortified others and vice versa. Tissue boxes, I’m told, were reached for in the closing chapters, while others cheered for Heuer, a “strange and complicated” character, to succeed in spite of his sometimes odious behavior.

Have I tried other genres since Heuer? Most definitely, but only because the characters allowed me to do so. If HEUER LOST AND FOUND has taught me anything, it’s that everything is subjective at all times.

Thank you one and all for your tremendous support on the journey. I am incredibly grateful.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

Since this article was first published, the author has JPEG Scooter Award Winner - Copyreleased two more books in the Unapologetic Lives series. SCOOTER NATION follows up with the erstwhile and chemically-dependent funeral directors at Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home as they combat a mendacious sybarite hell-bent on remaking the business. SHELL GAME COVER w Readers FavoriteSHELL GAME, released in September 2017, goes outside Weibigand’s to examine a seemingly pastoral community with a lot to hide. When an ethereal black cat is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with film auteur Pilsen Gudderammerung, society must choose between moral or physical gentrification.

 

Biography

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Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and not we it.

 

Her debut novel Heuer Lost and Found, released in April 2015, examines the day to day workings of a funeral home and the people who staff it. Winner of the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Horror 2015, and the New Apple EBook Award 2016 for Horror, Heuer Lost and Found is the first installment in Funkhauser’s Unapologetic Lives series. Her sophomore effort, Scooter Nation, released March 11, 2016, through Solstice Publishing. Winner of the New Apple Ebook Award 2016 for Humor, and Winner Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, Scooter picks up where Heuer left off, this time with the lens on the funeral home as it falls into the hands of a woeful sybarite.

 

A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

 

SHELL GAME, tapped as a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs, is the third book in the series and takes aim at a pastoral community with a lot to hide. “With so much of the world currently up for debate, I thought it would be useful to question—again—the motives and machinations championed by the morally flexible, and then let the arbiter be a cat.”

 

Funkhauser is currently working on THE HEUER EFFECT, the prequel to HEUER LOST AND FOUND.

 

 

HEUER LOST AND FOUND

JPEG NEW COVER 2018

Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against God, Nazis, deep fryers and analogous women who disappoint him.

 

At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wisecracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past.

 

Winner Best Horror, Preditors & Editors 2015

Medalist Winner “Horror,” New Apple EBook Awards 2016

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

 

 

PRAISE

“Funny, quirky, and sooooo different.”

—Jo Michaels, Jo Michaels Blog

“Eccentric and Funny. You have never read anything like this book. It demands respect for the outrageous capacity of its author to describe in detail human behavior around death.”

—Charlene Jones, author THE STAIN

“The macabre black comedy Heuer Lost And Found, written by A.B. Funkhauser, is definitely a different sort of book!  You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour.”

—Diana Harrison, Author ALWAYS AND FOREVER

“This beautifully written, quirky, sad, but also often humorous story of Heuer and Enid gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, closed world of the funeral director.”

—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7

“The book runs the gamut of emotions. One minute you want to cry for the characters, the next you are uncontrollably laughing out loud, and your husband is looking at you like you lost your mind, at least mine did.”

http://teresanoel.blogspot.ca/2015/05/heuer-lost-and-found-unapologetic-lives

“The writing style is racy with no words wasted.”

—David K. Bryant, Author TREAD CAREFULLY ON THE SEA

“For a story centered around death, it is full of life.”

—Rocky Rochford, Author RISE OF ELOHIM CHRONICLES

“Like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Heuer is not a likeable man, but I somehow found myself rooting for him. A strange, complicated character.”

—Kasey Balko, Pickering, Ontario

Raw, clever, organic, intriguing and morbid at the same time … breathing life and laughter into a world of death.

—Josie Montano, Author VEILED SECRETS

LINKS

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/A.B.-Funkhauser/e/B00WMRK4Q4

Website:  https://abfunkhauser.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/funkhausera/

Publisher:  http://www.solsticepublishing.com

Email: a.b.funkhauser@rogers.com
Audio Interview:

Interview Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2yhaXfh-ns

Interview Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoPthI1Hvmo

 

 

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TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY SIX: JIM CRONIN

author photoScience fiction writer Jim Cronin takes up the the reins as we enter week two of the blogothon. Citing a preference for 50’s and 60’s era Sci Fi movies, classical music and my favorite martian as creative influences, I can’t help but applaud this wildly inventive author. Word to the wise, though: keep an eye on your DNA!  Hi, Jim!

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The Story:

Book CoverHis home world is dead; the victim of a supernova, but this does not stop Karm from attempting to save the Brin, his extinct species. Rescued by an alien race from a derelict spacecraft as a vial of DNA, then cloned, Karm must travel back in time, convince a small team of co-conspirators to join him in his quest, and outmaneuver a power hungry monarch and his fanatic brother, leader of The Faith, both absolutely committed to opposing him.

All of Karm’s plans rest on the untested and controversial cloning theories of the young geneticist Dr. Jontar Rocker, and the abilities of his bodyguard, personal assistant, and surrogate niece, Maripa. Will their combined efforts be enough to overcome the power of the monarchy and the planet’s most influential religion? Will Karm’s secrets destroy the trust of his companions and ruin his campaign to save the Brin?

Reviews:

Great book! Twists in plot were well thought out & timed perfectly – just when you thought you knew where you were going, a twist comes into play…

by Clare Bruno

Mr. Cronin writes on several levels successfully: from the detailed lives of a myriad of characters to the larger economic & political powers at play in a full world, complex and dangerous. And that’s not even counting the star that’s about to go supernova!…

by Debauched Sloth

The author’s characters are varied, both in personality and trait, which makes them all interesting…. Hegira augurs well for Jim Cronin’s future books. I look forward to reading more from him…

by Tracy Black

Excerpt“Come in, Latonia Base…come in Latonia Base. This is Starship Hegira, repeat, this is Hegira. Come in, Latonia.”

Static crackled from the speaker. The lieutenant, bleeding and dying from the injuries he received during the mutiny trembled feebly as he gripped the microphone. Blood soaked his crest feathers; his talons broken and jagged from the hand-to-hand combat in the spaceship’s passageways. He knew his wounds were fatal, but his duty was clear: to report back to base about the failure of the mission. His body tensed as the next wave of pain shot through him.

“Latonia Base, this is Hegira. Come in. Priority clearance Falcon, Delta. Come in Base. Damn you to hell!” the soldier shouted in desperation. “Somebody answer! Come in, Latonia!” The microphone dropped from his talons, clattering on the control panel before falling to the metal plated floor. The lieutenant slumped back into the chair, pressing a blood soaked rag to his shoulder. Staring out the view port he watched the star-filled blackness and wondered at the cruel turn fate had taken over the past few days.

Link to Amazon .com Page to Order: http://www.amazon.com/Hegira-Jim-Cronin-ebook/dp/B010E3EKC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435425640&sr=1-1&keywords=Hegira+jim+Cronin

Q & A

  1. HEGIRA features a character cloned from a vial of DNA. To what degree did your knowledge of Zoology play a part in the science behind the story?

While I do have some familiarity with cloning, my main goal was to pick some aspect of science which has the potential to be controversial. I wanted to deal with the schism between science and religion and bringing cloning to its full potential struck me as an interesting subject. Evolution is too familiar, but I wanted something with a similar potential.

  1. Your self-confessed struggle with the English language (tongue in cheek) is refreshing and all too familiar. Tell us about    the writing courses you took and which ones helped you most on your quest to write The Novel.

To be honest, I only had one writing course in college. That one consisted almost entirely of us writing each night whatever struck our fancy. The topic did not matter. We could write nothing but “I have nothing to say tonight” if we wanted, so long as we wrote something.  The professor then would respond. His response may or may not have been anything related to what we wrote. I guess it was sort of a late ’60’s or early ’70’s sort of thing. What I have learned about writing came more from working as a teacher and paying attention to what my Language Arts partners taught and my trying to copy them whenever I required my students to write something.

  1. Your worst rejection letter ever: what did it say?

These actually were pretty much the standard “Sorry, but this is just not the sort of story we are looking for right now.”  Rejections. None of then were rude or anything, but always disappointing.

  1. The day you got your contract: anecdote, please!

ShhhhhPlease don’t tell my wife this, but I actually did a bit of a victory dance in the living room. I NEVER dance. It is absolutely not something I do. But for some reason I did then. If she ever hears I did a dance she may force me to take her out dancing.  That would be bad. 🙂

Ed. Don’t worry friend. Your secret is safe with me!

  1. There are a lot of science fiction films out there that have suffered darts. DUNE comes to mind (and I liked it for all its campy 80’s fashion). What’s your favorite and how did it inform your work as a science fiction writer?

I much prefer the books to their films, but Ender’s Game was pretty good. I also am a Ex Machinacompulsive viewer of almost any 1950’s or 1960’s era sci fi movies. Of course I also thought Guardians of the Galaxy was a hoot. Ex Machina made me think and was very interesting. The new Star Trek movies are very good as well.

  1. What’s next?

Currently I am almost finished with the sequel to Hegira. This will be a trilogy, I hope. The third book is only in rough outline form so far though. I also have an idea for a YA science fiction story floating around.

  1. What’s your second favorite genre and why?
Author Jeff Shaara
Author Jeff Shaara

This is kind of a toss up between fantasy and historical fiction. I love Tolkein, Eddings, and Martin, but Jeff Shaara and David McCoullough are also incredible. Of course books on Physics, Evolution, and science in general are always good too.

  1. Who and what do you read when you aren’t writing, editing and publishing?

Science Fiction, History, Historical Fiction, Science, and the occasional Stephen King or James Patterson, among others. I almost always have two or three novels going on at the same time. Does that qualify as an addiction?

  1.  Do you have a muse?

MarvinNot really. Guess I am too grounded in science for that.  Unless you count all of my Marvin the Martian characters I have hanging around. But I do listen to classical music when I write.

  1. Last words? Tell us something you want us to know.

Whether it’s writing, or some other passion you may have, never give up until you have exhausted every ounce of effort and drive you can muster to achieve it. And then go out and give it some more before you move on and try to find another dream. If you give up before you have given it your everything, you’ll always have regrets. That, and just a simple, Be Nice To Others.

Ed. I can live with that!

biographyI worked for thirty five years as a middle school science teacher, but am now semi-retired, working part-time as an educator/performer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have been married for thirty seven years to the love of my life, Diane. Together, we raised two incredible sons, and now have a beautiful granddaughter to spoil rotten.

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia before moving to Denver where I attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. I currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.

Links Image

Website:  http://www.authorjimcroninhegira.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Jim-Cronin/704524026327838?ref=hl

Twitter: @authorjimcronin

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/hp/?dnr=kjTxJ-RsTaDhq19ukZhtJ3GJTaCRW19d27h8

Link to Amazon .com Page to Order: http://www.amazon.com/Hegira-Jim-Cronin-ebook/dp/B010E3EKC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435425640&sr=1-1&keywords=Hegira+jim+Cronin

Thank you Jim Cronin. Best of luck with HEGIRA and the sequel! Let that imagination roll. Cheers,

ABF

Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.”
—James Alexander Thom

TOMORROW:

Author Simone Salmon talks time relativity, the importance of relaxation and her new novel CAMILLE AND THE BEARS OF BEISA-DRAFNEL.

NEW HEAD SHOT

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY FIVE: HOWARD GLEICHENHAUS

Blog Funkhauser is delighted to welcome versatile author Howard Gleichenhaus to Day Five of a ten day extravaganza that spotlights writers of various genres and formats. Howard’s latest THE SUBTERFUGE CONSPIRACY takes the reader on a wild ride from the shores of Lake Ontario to the backstreets of Paris and beyond with protagonist Ted Lansing who is currently evolving in an as yet untitled follow up to Subterfuge. Welcome Howard!

 

THE SUBTERFUGE CONSPIRACY

 

Book CoverThe murder of a young prostitute followed by a police shootout on a cold, deserted beach on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario draws FBI Special Agent Ted Lansing into the most deadly case of his career,

Lansing and his partner, Jennifer Fallana, have three months to lay bare the Subterfuge Conspiracy, recover a shipment of stolen radioactive cesium pellets smuggled into the country across Lake Ontario and thwart the detonation of a dirty bomb set for New Year’s Eve on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

From New York to Paris, to Yemen, and back to Washington D.C., Fargo Blake, ex military, cold and deadly, is tasked by the true conspirators to eliminate their Arab coconspirators and lay blame for the attack squarely their shoulders —The perfect subterfuge terrorist plot.

Backed by a cabal of politically powerful men tied to the highest echelons of the United States government, the conspiracy reaches all the way into the halls of the U.S. Senate. The plotter’s endgame: discredit the first elected Hispanic president’s credibility on global terrorism, bring down his administration, deny him a second term and elect their hand picked successor, a radical, right wing United States Senator.

 

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Subterfuge-Conspiracy-Howard-Gleichenhaus-ebook/dp/B00W2256AI

 

 

  1. The Subterfuge Conspiracy reminds me very fondly of Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal: Q & Ainternational locales, multiple POVs and high stakes intrigue. What is the genesis of Subterfuge?

 

First, allow me to say thank-you for the Forsyth comparison. It is always flattering (and hopefully deserved) to have a novel you’ve written fondly compared to one of the literary giants of the genre.

Some writers plot out their story before hand and stick to the outline. For me that just doesn’t work. I prefer to allow my characters to react to the situations I place them into and ask myself what would he/she do. I dope out at least two scenarios and write them both. Subterfuge began as a standard terrorist plot with a hard-boiled FBI agent in pursuit. During one particular meeting of my weekly critiquing group The Delray Beach Public Library Writer’s Studio (I am the group moderator) an off hand comment was made by one member of the group. I doubt he even remembers making it now. “What if the plotters weren’t who the reader thinks they are?”

I made a note in the margin of my manuscript. At some point I was struck by the usual temporary writer’s block that happens every so often. Going back through early drafts I saw the margin notes I’d made weeks before. Not a bad way to go, I thought. I knew I couldn’t just drop that bomb from out of nowhere so I went back into what I had already written and began to plant foreshadows. Once the co conspirators were firm in my mind the story began to flow again.

 

  1. As a Canadian, my interest piques at the mention of Lake Ontario. What dictated your choice of location for the jump-start of the plot?

lake ontarioThat is an interesting question. My youngest son went to college at SUNY Oswego, which is on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Over the years I visited Oswego many times. I was familiar with the lakeshore beachfront and how desolate it looked in winter. Researching Canadian nuclear facilities I discovered that Canada had a facility close to the lake, a short boat ride from the US side. It made the perfect route to smuggle nuclear materials. What started as a rather short narrative, “telling” the reader about smuggled material I rewrote the novel’s beginning to “show” rather than tell and draw the reader in with a non stop thrilling police confrontation, totally misunderstood as a simple drug interdiction. I now had my “usual” suspects in country. I then allowed by protagonist (Ted Lansing) to uncover the plot one slow page at a time, always ending a chapter with a cliffhanger to bring the reader along.

 

  1. Let’s backtrack for the readers: Can you give us your elevator pitch?

Hours, moments and seconds tick away, with millions of lives hanging in the balance. Could the unthinkable really happen, a dirty bomb, armed with stolen cesium from a Canadian Reactor site, is set to detonate on New Year’s Eve on the National Mall in Washington DC. FBI Special Agent Ted Lansing tries to make sense of who the real enemy is in one of the most diabolical plots ever conceived to subvert the United States government.

CIAWho can Lansing trust? Are Middle Eastern Jihadists really eiffel towerbehind the plot, or is it far more sinister. Could his one time friend, CIA Paris section chief, Colin Mills. be involved? Is Mills tied to a white supremacist army led by a disgraced ex military man, an avowed racist, Lt. Colonel Kyle Nugent and his right hand, Fargo Blake? Also ex military, Blake is a stone-cold killer who strikes without conscience, until a beautiful Parisian flight attendant makes him believe that a different life is possible — But Blake is trapped, he cannot get out. High-ranking members of the United States Senate are plotting to overthrow a duly elected president. Unthinkable, that is until small inconsistencies appear sending Lansing on a nonstop coaster ride from New York City to the Adirondack wilderness in upstate New York to the National Mall in Washington on New Year’s Eve. Lansing pursues Blake, and Mills into snow covered Virginia’s countryside to a clandestine CIA training facility. Two old friends facing off in one last confrontation from which only one will emerge alive.

 

  1. Espionage (is there a better descriptor?) fiction is a favorite of mine though I lack the mental courage to ever tackle such a genre. As a writer, what goes into a work like The Subterfuge Conspiracy? What is your method?

I don’t know if it’s mental courage, but I certainly wasn’t sure when I began to write Subterfuge if  I could pull it off. There were so many unanswered questions. I knew I was going to take my readers to locations I had never visited. Sure I’d been to Paris, for example, but tourist Paris. What was a typical Paris street like, not the Champs-Élysées visitors see. No more typical than portraying Times Square as a typical New Yorker’s day of fun I need to “be” in the Paris of working Parisians. For my writer colleagues, here is a secret. A Google search of Paris neighborhoods followed by Google Earth puts you on the street in front of your location and the ability to move up and down the street. You can see cars parked in front; does the bistro have a window facing the street? What is on the menu and how are the tables arranged? It may all sound like unnecessary minutia but in my writing I create authenticity in my visuals. Readers who may have been there say “Yes, exactly how I remember it.” I believe these details enhance the plot and breathe life into the characters.

 

  1. Chicken or egg? What came first: plot or character(s)?

For me it is the plot, at least in this book. My latest project, almost 100,000 words (now in first draft) will be the other way around because Ted Lansing is my protagonist, but the book is not a sequel. Since his character qualities, warts and all, were developed in Subterfuge, I have a better framework to get him in and out of situations. That being said, I always keep in mind the fact that most readers are meeting him for the first time and I cannot assume facts not in evidence. Admittedly, my first drafts lack much foreshadowing of plot line because I tend to write a linear story in that first draft. In second draft copies, knowing where I am going, I move entire chapters, add foreshadowing, and clean up plot holes my critique group uncovered. Once plot and character are finalized (reconciled?) a third rewrite readies the manuscript for the editor. A side note for my fellow writers still trying to get published: Do not skimp on professional editing. Editors are worth their weight in gold. They can take a good manuscript and transform it into a smooth professional book.

 

  1. Care to share a publishing anecdote?

I have one that is a cautionary tale for would be writers. My first attempt at getting published, back when I knew nothing about it, was to scour the Internet for an agent. I found an intriguing ad from an agency, since discredited, that made it sound so easy. I sent my query and waited. In a month came the response that I was so good they wanted me as a client and thought my book would sell. New to writing and gullible I thought them reasonable when they asked for a moderate sum ($65) to send email blasts to publishers. A month later they told me I was “this” close and another $65 would do it. Only then did I search the web for other authors who used that agency. If I had done it sooner I might have saved the $65. Fellow writers, if they ask for money, be skeptical.

 

  1. What was the first thing you thought of after typing “THE END”?

That’s an easy question. What did I leave out and how can I fix it. There is always doubt. Even now when I reread portions of Subterfuge I ask myself why I did it that way when I could have improved on it by doing it another way. There is an adage from the Pennsylvanian Dutch, Too soon old…too late smart.

 

  1. What’s next?

My third novel, still untitled, has Ted Lansing with a new partner, an African American, Washington DC Metro detective named Arlen Drew. Lansing now lives in Washington and has remarried his ex wife, FBI Assistant Director, Felicia Albreda. In what begins as the murder of a Russian forensic archeologist at the Smithsonian, Lansing is drawn into a case of international intrigue taking him to Israel and the Sinai Peninsula in search of the Ten Commandments. Readers, who have read Subterfuge, will recognize the changes in Lansing, the developing new relationship with his wife and the renewed relationship with his son, now a junior at MIT and there in Israel to receive a prestigious award for a paper he wrote on drone technology.

 

  1. Do you ever think outside your genre? Do you have the courage to tackle romance? (This question is very tongue and cheek)

Whisper in the pinesMaybe not so tongue and cheek. My first published novel, Whisper in the Pines-Secrets of the Heart is so different from Subterfuge that a reader may not recognize it as my work until they see my name on the cover. It is an unabashed love story/mystery set in 1938, in Moultrie Georgia, about a once wealthy southern aristocrat, Reggie Laverneaux, who is trying to rebuild his life after losing everything in the Great Depression. His errant wife has returned to town followed by a sociopath she ripped off while on the run from her old life. Whispering Pines, Reggie’s decaying antebellum house in Moultrie is the setting. Long forgotten family secrets are unearthed when a stranger, an elderly Jewish businessman from New York, arrives in Moultrie with answers and a promise, hope for Reggie to rebuild his life

 

  1. Your favorite all time spy (again, is there a better descriptor) movie is….?

If I had to name one character (spy) (counterspy) from literature and film it would be Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Sometimes I write traits I admire in Jack Ryan into Ted Lansing’s character. Ryan is fiercely loyal with a tenacity that will not quit even under extreme duress. Lansing is often down and counted out, only to prevail in the end through sheer guts. Like Ryan, Lansing can go from dealing with violence to tenderness in a heartbeat. Unlike jack Ryan, Lansing does all of this while dealing with the demon that neatly destroyed his life.

 

biographyHoward Gleichenhaus was born in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in the Bronx, NYC and Spring Valley, New York. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Southern Connecticut State College, and a pair of Master’s degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University; one in Biology and a second in Psychology.

After a short career in neuro-biochemical research at Rockland

Psychiatric Institute, he taught high school biology for thirty-four years in the Clarkstown Central School District, Rockland County NY. During that time, he also operated his own portrait/wedding photography business. Self-taught in Photoshop, he keeps his hand in the portrait business and still does restoration of heirloom photographs and portrait retouching. Now retired from teaching, he and his wife Fredda now live in Delray Beach, Florida. They have two married sons, and three grandchildren.

He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Learning in Retirement in Boca Raton and moderator of the Writer’s Studio of the Delray Beach Library.

Writing fiction began after his retirement from teaching in 2001, with a couple of successful short stories published before he turned his full attention to writing novels.

 

AUTHOR’S PHOTO GALLERY

When he isn’t writing, author Howard Gleichenhaus captures memories…and escapes run-ins with the guarded and famous!

Arod Yes that is the Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez. He took offense at my photographing him with his bodyguard in the pool at a Tampa hotel where we went to see the Yanks play the Rays. Wish I was that famous. He saw me standing at the edge of the pool, tele lens in hand and got real angry.
Arod. “Yes that is the Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez. He took offense at my photographing him with his bodyguard in the pool at a Tampa hotel where we went to see the Yanks play the Rays. Wish I was that famous. He saw me standing at the edge of the pool, tele lens in hand and got real angry.”
Loves Three new loves came into our lives.Alexa, Levi and Casey. They say that grand kids are your reward for not killing your own kids. So true!
Loves. “Three new loves came into our lives Alexa, Levi and Casey. They say that grand kids are your reward for not killing your own kids. So true!”
Fredda. "That's the love of my life for 42 years. She is my muse."
Fredda. “That’s the love of my life for 42 years. She is my muse.”
TUX. "(Florida life is easy and laid back, especially for writers, but every once in a while a guy needs to clean up and go all James Bond."
TUX. “(Florida life is easy and laid back, especially for writers, but every once in a while a guy needs to clean up and go all James Bond.”
Dream House. "We built it in Delray Beach, Florida, and artist and writers paradise."
Dream House. “We built it in Delray Beach, Florida, an artist and writers paradise.”
St Maarten. "Chillin' on the island. We met mystery writer Cathy Ace on the cruise ship. We talked writing and publishing all day while sipping fancy colored drinks on the fantail deck. She was so, so accommodating in sharing her publishing experiences."
St Maarten. “Chillin’ on the island. We met mystery writer Cathy Ace on the cruise ship. We talked writing and publishing all day while sipping fancy colored drinks on the fantail deck. She was so, so accommodating in sharing her publishing experiences.”

Thank you so much for sharing your means and methods, Howard. There’s a lot of great advice here. Be sure and pay us a visit again when Ted Lansing’s next exploit hits the presses.

Cheers. ABF

 

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
—Doris Lessing

MONDAY:

Spotlight science fiction author Jim Cronin and his latest HEGIRA.

author photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY TWO: MAIGHREAD MACKAY BLASTS OFF WITH HER SOLSTICE DEBUT!

Today is a HUGE day for author Maighread MacKay: 5-4-3-2-1

Polaris Missile A3

That’s right! It’s LAUNCH DAY for her adult-themed paranormal novel STONE COTTAGE, and she has chosen this blog to be among the first to tell EVERYBODY.

This author/blogger is honored. Not only do we share the same publisher (Solstice) but we also share a penchant for book trailer making. (That’s another story.)

Today is your day Maighread. Let’s jump in with STONE COTTAGE followed by a tasty interview (keep reading)…

 

book coverVictoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. For as long as it takes, she will wait…wait…wait.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

Perhaps, Annie can help.

 

Q & A

 

  1. Maighread, Stone Cottage has so many things going for it: paranormal, romance, and a journey of self discovery to name a few. How would you classify this work?

I often ponder the meaning of life and had read a book Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz that presents a different paradigm from what I had been taught to believe. Wondering how his concepts would play out in everyday life, I wrote Stone Cottage. I am hoping that the readers will love the story as much as I do, but I’m also hoping that maybe it will also cause some of them to go ‘hmmm-never thought of life that way’. That said, I would classify the story as one soul’s journey to discover meaning in her life, while being presented with paranormal concepts that challenge her firmly held concepts. There is tragedy, but also hope. It does have a ‘happily ever after’ ending, along the lines of Ghost Whisperer.

 

  1. You’ve published three children’s books already. What made you switch to adult fiction?

Actually, I’ve always written adult fiction and non-fiction. The children’s books were written for my grandchildren as their legacy from me. I wanted my descendants to know who I was through my writing.

 

  1. Your love of the past (history) is apparent. That you weave it seamlessly into a contemporary parallel plot is a testament to your skill. To which time frame did you identify most as you were crafting Stone Cottage?

Ah, yes, I do love history. I love Regency romances, historical fiction, and I am the genealogist in my family. I really did identify with the Victorian era when I wrote the book. I love all of our modern conveniences, but sometimes they are very intrusive. Also, I am the youngest in my family and my Father was the youngest in his family, so a lot of my relatives were born in the Victorian era and I grew up under their influence and am comfortable with the language and customs of that time period.

 

  1. Without introducing spoilers, I’ll suggest that one of the characters starts out in a not entirely sympathetic vein. Was this done on purpose, or did she merely lead the way?

Yes, it was done on purpose. I am hoping that readers will learn that sometimes people we meet have a reason for the way they react to things. The old adage of ‘be careful how you treat people. Everyone carries a burden that you may know nothing about’ applies here. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it can explain it and bring understanding instead of judgement.

 

  1. Plotter or pantser?

A combination of both. Probably more of a panster. I have the main plot in my head, and think about it all the time. The characters live with me while I’m writing and they are always showing me new aspects of themselves that end up changing the parts of the plot.

 

  1. I’m so happy to be spotlighting you on today of all days: book launch day! Where can we buy your book?

It can be purchased through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca., through my publisher Solstice Publishing, and through myself.

 

  1. Whet our appetites: What is your elevator pitch?

Victoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. She’s been waiting a long time.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

It’s a story of second chances. How our lives intertwine like the weave of a tapestry to help us grow and become the people we are. It presents a different way of looking at life that will be new to some readers.

 

  1. What’s next?

I continue to write short stories, poems and such. My big work in progress is another novel with the working title – Friday: Dinner at Mother’s. I’m just at the very beginning stages of it, so I’m not sure where it wants to take me, although I can tell you that it deals with family dynamics and murder. I’m also doing a Twitter chat with Mel Massey of Solstice Publishing at 6 pm EDT on Monday, the 14th and I’m so excited about that! But there’s more: author Marie Lavender is interviewing Victoria Anne on her blog on September 11th.

Ed. — More details on these events later today!

 

  1. A lot of writers find promotions daunting. What will you be doing in the next few months to get the word out on Stone Cottage?

Yes, promotion can be very daunting. I will be doing more blogs, putting the word out on FB and Twitter, plus I have a book signing on October 11th at our local Chapters store in Oshawa and will be at Bookapalooza in November at Durham College.

 

  1. I’m not letting you go without a word on Chicken Soup for the Soul. You have a story in the next one. Deets, please.

Some of you may not know that I’m extremely fortunate to be married to the guy in the red suit that visits at Christmas. Yup, Santa! When I heard that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories regarding Christmas, I decided to submit a manuscript entitled “Being Santa” for the 2015 Christmas edition. It gives you a small glimpse of what it’s like to be Santa at other times of the year. I was fortunate that they loved the story and it will be coming out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas 2015 edition. The book will be available on October 20th. That will be so much fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Thank you Maighread for the share. Here’s what we can all look forward to in STONE COTTAGE:

 

ExcerptIn the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.

Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour to the right of the front door held a sofa placed in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was located beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the highly polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.

Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room was curled up in one of the chairs, a blanket covering her and a book on her lap.

A sonic boom of thunder shook the house and ricocheted around the room breaking the spell of silence. Startled, she surged from the chair, the eiderdown and tome cascading to the floor. She had been feeling warm and drowsy under the quilt but now realized there was nothing but cold ash left in the fireplace. The gas lamp on the table had burned out and the room was freezing. How long had she been there? She listened as the rain scratched the window glass like the long nails of a ghostly hand pleading to be let in out of the cold. Bringing her awareness back to the moment, she tried to remember why she was here in the parlour.

 

LINKS AND BUY INFO:

 

Buy:

Amazon.com http://amzn.com/B01452HED4

Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01452HED4

Solstice Publishing:  http://solsticepublishing.com/stone-cottage/

 

Link:

Website: mhefferman.ca

FB: facebook.com/maighreadmackay

Twitter: @maighreadmackay

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsDj938kUzM

 

TOMORROW:

A mystery? Find out at BLOG FUNKHAUSER *Adult, Unapologetic and Cognizant*

 

 

SPOTLIGHT! CONTEMPORARY ADULT FICTION WRITER LINDA K. SIENKIEWICZ

SPOTLIGHT Linda

LindaKSienkiewicz-book-photo-300x247Ohio born Michigan resident Linda K. Sienkiewicz and I met on-line at Twitter hashtagfest #1lineWed and have been friends ever since thanks to a shared love of art. Whether through the paint brush or through the printed word, Linda expresses herself with zest and conviction. I am delighted to know her. Her new book IN THE CONTEXT OF LOVE is in preorder on Amazon. I can’t wait to tuck into it.

Here’s what her publisher has to say:

What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what Context-of-Love-Cover-high-reshappens when what we discover leads to more questions? In the Context of Love, contemporary fiction by Linda K. Sienkiewicz, revolves around the journey of Angelica Shirrick as she reevaluates her life, and its direction.

Returning from their first visit with her now imprisoned husband, she tries to figure out where it all went so wrong. Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Can she find love and purpose again? Her future, which once held so much promise, crumbled like dust after the mysterious disappearance of her first love, and the shattering revelation that derailed her life, and divided her parents.

The book is already garnering high praise from critically acclaimed authors such as Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the NY Times bestseller,Deep End of the Ocean: “With humor and tenderness, but without blinking, Linda K. Sienkiewicz turns her eye on the predator-prey savannah of the young and is still somehow hopeful.”

Sienkiewicz is a writer and artist who is always searching for a good story. Her poetry, short stories and essays have appeared in over fifty literary journals in print and online, and her awards include a Pushcart Prize Nomination. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.

BUDDHAPUSS INK LLC is based in Edison, NJ. Founded in 2009, it is led by Publisher Mary Chris Bradley, a thirty-two-year veteran in the book industry. “Our company mission is to put readers first. We are committed to finding and growing new authors at a time when the major houses have turned their backs on writers without an already well-established track record or movie credits to their name.”

http://www.BuddhapussInk.com – Website

SEE THE BOOK TRAILER

Freshly minted, this beauty gives readers a taste of what’s ahead IN THE CONTEXT OF LOVE.

BE SURE AND VISIT HER CONTENT-PACKED WEBSITE

http://lindaksienkiewicz.com/

BUY LINK

To buy In the Context of Love on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Context-Love-Linda-K-Sienkiewicz/dp/1941523048/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

MORE LINDA

twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaKSienkwicz

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.k.sienkiewicz

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lindaksienkwicz/

goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5623982.Linda_K_Sienkiewicz