ON THE FLOOR AT A KUMBAYA

It’s been years since I attended a large gathering of the faithful, and like any outsider I IMG_20180319_194139walked through the doors of the Toronto Congress Centre with a wobbly uncertainty. I felt goddamned ashamed. After decades of self-improvement, I still felt like that kid on the playground, the one that doesn’t look right and probably never will.

Maybe it was my blue suede high-heeled cowboy boots that held me back. Somewhere in my feckless psyche, I had decided on my birthday that half-century feet sautéing in Uggs could be teased back.

IMG_20180319_195047I mopped my sloppy brow. Now measuring in at 5’11,” I remembered that I’d forgotten to take my hormone pill before I left the house. I dreaded the shvitz that would surely come.

A Doug Ford campaign staffer with fabulous accessories and terrific elocution skills approached with a tablet to steer me in the direction of Registration. There, my name, email address, postal code and degree of commitment was recorded digitally.

Fantastic! With what would amount to a crowd of anywhere between 1500 to 2000 IMG_20180319_191908depending on who you asked, this campaign would lead off strong with busy hands in every sphere.

I remember when we did this on paper and by rotary dial telephone alone!

To say that Doug Ford’s candidacy for Premier of Ontario is well-organized is not to gloss it. I saw it with my own eyes. From the jammed media riser to the wet bars in every corner, everything and everyone was in its proper place waiting for the man of the hour.

IMG_20180319_194744For American readers, let me tell you that Doug Ford is not new to the scene. He has had his fingers in politics and business for years, not unlike his predecessor, who was very ceremoniously dumped for social and possible financial wrong-doing just weeks ago.

That Doug’s team hit the ground, boots on, just days after his election as party leader speaks volumes to how badly they want it. But who was there to give it to them?

Bloggers and op edders agree that Doug is a menace. He’s privileged. He’s wealthy. He’s IMG_20180319_194803pale-faced. And he’s a dude. Who in their right mind outside of the faithful would vote for him? And wouldn’t the faithful look exactly like him?

Breaking a sweat under the bright lights, I retreated with aching feet to the shadows to get a better look.

Seems the Ford people don’t all look like him. In fact, I noted as many Benz and Audi in the parking lot as half-ton pick-ups. Nobody wore fur, and nobody carried truncheons. And nobody seemed to be overly concerned about my lack of Ford decoration, as if they knew that everyone there, press included, would behave, and would give the man of the hour a chance to speak.

The platform party was pleasingly representative of Ontario’s diversity—people with youth, people with age, people with history, people with enthusiasm.  More like them filled the hall. They are believers.

As the candidate mounted the platform, he was taken up in embrace by the three female candidates he defeated at the convention. Swearing solidarity, they are also promising to stick around, stick their necks out and actually run. I can’t fault anybody for having the courage to do that.

Mr. Ford spoke for about ten minutes and about the only thing I can remember is that “we are in a mess” and he will “clean up the mess.” If that’s what his communications director wanted to get across, congrats. It worked.

IMG_20180319_191849I’m on the floor now, my heels telling me that it is time. From this vantage, I can only see shoes—Dockers, Skechers, Vans, Steve Madden, Nine West—and some stroller wheels. What I don’t see are a rush of youthful feet, what we used to call (and what is probably still called) the Wedge, young Progressive Conservative Youth rushing the stage enthusiastically with lollipop signs. About the youngest I see here are late twenties but mostly early thirties, the new twenty. They cheer, they clap, but they are also composed and earnest.

I also do not see or, more correctly from the floor, “hear” the hecklers. Not even one. Do throne speechthey only appear on-line or do they reserve their right to free speech for those in power? I guess I’ll find out when I visit the Preem, who’s currently busy answering questions about the Throne Speech.

The party is over, and Doug has left the stage. I’m still on the ground with my sore feet. I’m in a terrible mess. What shall I do?

I don’t have to wait long. A nice chap from Ford Nation offers a hand. He picks me up.

For The Daily Yammer, I am

A.B. Funkhauser

Conscientious Observer

campaign hat

March 20, 2018

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/

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Publisher:  http://www.solsticepublishing.com

 

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WHAT I DID ON HOLIDAY

My holidays are over despite efforts to hang on to every second. I had a great time. Between double turkey dinners and a crummy virus that wouldn’t leave me the hell alone, I had plenty of time to hang out with family, friends and the semper fi feline, oftentimes with a fine glass of Crown Royal over ice in my hand.

Now I understand how much fun retirement can be.

I didn’t write much. I was lucky to jump into a hashtag game or two, but with Book Three out in the world finding its audience, I was content to take a pause.

I watched a lot of T.V. and was surprised by the quality of the content.

 

JOE’S PALACE & CAPTURING MARY (Movie Network, Canada)

capturing maryI have seen CAPTURING MARY before, so I was delighted to joe's palacefind its companion film, JOE’S PALACE, on the roster in December. Set in contemporary London, both films flash between now and “back then.” With a vacant and very smart London townhouse as the anchor, both films show how an inanimate object—the house—can be as vital and real as its carbon-based companions. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, especially when the tortured Mary (played by the intense Ruth Wilson) and her nemesis Greville took the stage to mount a cat and mouse game that left this viewer chilled.

JoeEnter Joe, a young man who works in the now vacant palace as a concierge and keeper of the building’s secrets. Joe appears innocent and unfettered, yet it’s his absence of baggage that enables him to cut through his tormented visitors and get to the truth of their pasts. The truth is ugly, but the resolution is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

 

 

A GHOST STORY (Netflix)

a ghost storyImagine Casey Affleck mute and under a sheet with only two eye holes through which to communicate. (I checked. It was him.) A GHOST STORY is a “watching film” in that you can’t look away for a second or you might miss something. The hook of course is the notion that something silent and unseen could be wandering through your house as you sit and write or eat or sleep, and that—let’s face it—is both compelling and creepy. Affleck’s taken some personal hits over missteps settled privately, but I couldn’t let it get in the way. I couldn’t stay away. His is a stunning, soundless performance that elicited rave reviews to go with kudos for the film all around. Something different.

 

PLANETARIUM (Netflix)

planetariumA “reading picture” if you cannot speak French, this production is luxe and takes place just before the out break of World War II in France. Natalie Portman’s “Laura” plays sister to Lily-Rose Depp’s “Kate” who is a sought-after medium in elite circles. Both sisters rely on the gift to get ahead in life, but things take a tragic turn when they become enmeshed with their patron Korben. Korben has a past that he very much wants to unlock with Kate’s help, but the results of their experiments have the unforeseen effect of releasing the full weight of Parisian society in the negative’s column. Here’s a case where the spirit world may be preferred. Visually gorgeous and somewhat long-running, it is “art house” and moody and worthy of a boo if “different” is for you.

 

I’M THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE (Netflix)

I'm the pretty thingActor Ruth Wilson again (See her in Showtime’s The Affair if you haven’t already) in a joint Canadian-American production that’s classy psych-thriller from start to finish. Throw in some Bob Balaban (right up there with Buck Henry) in a limited, but pivotal role, and you’ve got something that will freak you out with minimal effort. The scare is in Wilson’s eyes. She is aruth wilson nurse hospice nurse called in to care for dying horror author Iris Blum in a remote and gorgeous century home (trope-I don’t care) that has a lot of supernatural activity going on. Dialogue is sparse, and the scenes are CGI free with ghostly specters using more traditional (old-fashioned) tricks that blend well with this type of bare bones presentation. Just wait for the phone to fly out of Wilson’s hand.

 

CRIMSON PEAK (Netflix)

crimson peakThe antithesis of the film above, this beauty is a good old timey gothic horror with freaky ghosts set in an even freakier house in 19th Century England. Here, Tom Hiddleston and excellent Jessica Chastain pair up as a larcenous brother and sister seeking to bilk heiress Mia Wasikowska of her fortune and her life. As if! The heiress kicks butt without aid of 50 caliber fully automatic machine weapons or hunter killer satellites. Shot in gorgeous “Triadic” color (a go-to for director Guillermo del Toro), CRIMSON PEAK reminds me of the Technicolor films of yesterday, with frames that look more like paintings only to move like Harry Potter’s newspaper.

 

And finally,

GERALD’S GAME (Netflix)

Gerald's GameThe plot description read like a BDSM cheesefest, but when I cracked into it I found it was anything but. Based on what book reviewers have called “one of Stephen King’s lesser works,” this psych horror thriller will freak you out as a viewer and have you wishing you could think that way as a writer. What’s up with the dog? Perfect for late night with the lights out, all I’ll say is that I’ve never seen actor Carla Gugino like this. (I used to watch her in Spy Kids 1,2 and 3 with the kids). This one is not for kids.

 

 

What’s next?

GlitchWell, if I had any sense I’d get back to researching Book Four, but I still have a house to paint from top to bottom and there’s this little Australian series called GLITCH that keeps calling out. It’s on Netflix, of course.

 

 

 

 

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am,

A.B. Funkhauser

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January 16, 2018

TURKISH DELIGHT

As a writer, it makes sense to me to ferret out arcs, plot and character in unlikely places if only to knock loose that most elusive of creatures: the impish muse. And so, it was to that end that I began binging in earnest eclectic series on Netflix, Crave and the now defunct and sorely-missed Shomi platforms.

What an odyssey! Binging not only allowed this student to pick out problems with continuity, pacing, character cred and sagging middles (season four of almost anything) to name a few, but it also sling-shotted back the fixes that, I think, really make a story groove.

mag-century-1

It is to this point that I’m delighted to highlight a story-telling gem that I cannot get enough of, the incomparable Turkish period soap MAGNIFICENT CENTURY (available on Netflix Canada and other adventurous steaming outlets). Debuting in 2011, this 16th century historical romance details the triumphs and travails of Crimean-born Alexandra aka Roxelana aka Hürrem Sultan who turned the house of Sultan Suleiman upside down at a time when Ottoman rule was mounting an ambitious and often ill-fated sweep into Europe.

Maybe it’s a visual thing?

mag-century-sadSold into the harem by her Tatar kidnappers, 15-year-old Alexandra not only wins the favor of the Sultan (after much soul searching—she is the daughter of an Orthodox priest) but goes on to marry and live with her volatile spouse for the entire span of her life.

Those who know a little about Ottoman history grumpy-suleimanknow how uncommon a move like this actually was, given that sultans typically packed off their concubines with the princes they produced once the ‘young lions’ turned 16 and were deemed old enough to govern a principality of their own.

Hürrem, famously captured by the artist Titian (another first), took no prisoners when it mag-century-4came to protecting herself, her off-spring and even her sultan. Against tradition, she became the legal wife of a king in a royal house that did not have queens, bore five sons and a daughter against the one son per concubine policy, and was laid to rest in a tomb far grander than her spouse’s and immediately adjacent to him in the Süleymaniye Mosque.

A reinterpretation of history for art’s sake? No.

That this ‘character’ was actually real and pulled these rabbits out of her magical hat will be the subject of further personal study.

pargalaHistory, without question, drew me to this story. But what keeps me there (humorous subtitles notwithstanding) is the inane and highly unusual circumstances major and minor characters alike find themselves in. What, for example, distinguishes a major execution from a minor one? How far can second concubine push her agenda when the Haseki (1st concubine) and Valide (sultan’s mom) precede her and really, really don’t like her? And how does one remove a greedy grand vizier from the picture when his friendship with the sultan borders on a bromance to end all others?

The show runners of HBO’s excellent ROME series remind us that a lot of what the mag-century-schemeingcharacters feel and do in this type of genre is governed by a culture and belief system that so totally predate everything we know in the current CE that we at times question the credulity of the plot. We shouldn’t. Duking it out over who sits under the canopy is normal. Hürrem Sultan would rather commit suicide than allow a new Russian concubine into the harem and tells her sultan so with flourishing soundtrack to back her up. And she’d do it were it not for the fact that she knows him so well!

Melodrama at its best!

hurrems-ringsWith the soap genre allowing for glacial pacing (finding the stolen ring happened over a three-episode arc) the story still grooves, thanks to ambitious characters, raucous political and personal agendas, and costuming that, frankly, thrills.

The art direction, too, is luxe and adventurous, at times using painted murals (a la the old Sinbad movies of the Sixties) and digital gaming CGI that we know is ‘fake’ but is no less satisfying and entertaining. (Note: watch for the same flying bird patterns over the Vatican, the Buda palace of King Louis of Hungary and the Topkapi palace in Constantinople.)

Over the top and fast forward, even at snail’s pace, may not be new, but if MAGNIFICENT CENTURY is any indication, it somehow works and might be a grand fix for many things writerly.

What I could do if I could bring kitsch und vroom to the page. Maybe I’ll give it a try.

Stay tuned.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

#amwriting #amwatching #magnificentcentury #writerslife

COMING OFF HIATUS

With just two chapters — that’s right — TWO chapters — left on the WIP, I though it was time to come out of #amwriting hiding to fire up the blog.

teaser-2So much has happened since the start of the year, beginning with the home stretch gallop for SHELL GAME, my third in the Unapologetic Lives Series. What began as a reaction to an aggressive letter from city hall has turned into a novel journey that examines relationships through the eyes of a feral tabby cat.

Equal parts dark and humorous, SHELL GAME  didn’t reveal it’s true self until the tag lines started teasing their way off of the pages.

It’s to all those amazing Twitter hashtag games geared to writers that I owe a debt for knocking the subtext loose:

#amwriting Psycho-social #cat #dramady with death and laughs #Thurds Words #ShareWrit

#SHELLGAME This time, the cat wins #2bitTues

A pastoral community tweaks when it crosses the black #cat #humor #wip #wipjoy #GuessWrite

This proves again what I have always known about art: ready or not, it finds you. And in this vein, I’m pleased to share two things, beginning with this chestnut:

Writing is one part of the author journey. Getting up and performing is another.

There’s no way to sugar coat performance: it’s tough. Even the most accomplished veterans, the late Sir Laurence Olivier most famously, suffered from mighty stage fright. Canada’s own Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip, I recently learned, is another. But reading the work is critical to getting the word out that writers are alive and well and writing. Believe me, the reading out loud gets easier with practice, and I proved it again just the other night.

compositeBack in 2013, a group of crime-loving authors came together and launched NOIR AT THE BAR, an event that has spread across the country and south of the border too. The February 16 event in Toronto provided a golden opportunity to get up and read from the WIP. Was I nervous? You bet! Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! Writers Rob Brunet, Jennifer Soosar, Tanis Mallow, Hope Thompson, Ian Hamilton, and Howard Shrier shared their dark work with aplomb, along with Noir img_2340Founding Father Peter Rozovsky, who came all the way up from Philly to do so.

That I found myself in such august company was in large part due to hard work (the writing) but also finding the wherewithall to bravely get out to as many events as I could so that I could talk up what I was getting up to (the writing). The invitation to read at Noir followed.

Which leads to the second chestnut:

Talking about your work is well and good as long as you pass on the good karma by talking about the work of others.

paintnet-guess-writeThe incredible power of february-9the Twitter hashtag game cannot be stressed enough. For while the Twitterverse is huge, it lends itself to lasting relationships forged through shares, one line at a time.

Case in point: A group of us recently got together and pooled our hashtag games under the umbrella of #GuessWrite. Each month, game hosts like yours truly, offer up a different theme that acts as a clue to a single, larger #GuessWrite theme. The lucky tanyachrisparticipant(s) that guess the theme share in a prize pack offered up by the hosts. It is through this that I am able to share this space with February 2017 #GuessWrite winner Tanya Chris. Tanya and I have crossed paths many times through #2bitTues #1lineWed #ThruLineThurs, #Thurds Words and many, many more. Yet it is through the shared resources of participating writer gamers that I have the honor to feature her work here.

I can feel the good Karma, already. Can you?

And so it is, without further ado, that I sign off here and get to work on Tanya’s feature post, which will go live later today.

Such joy to be back here in the Blogosphere!

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am
FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

#amwriting #amblogging #amreading #amsharing #writerslife

February 17, 2017

AND WE’RE BACK!

Something about September 1st gets me going. Maybe it’s a throwback to the division between school and summer holidays, that work v. fun mindset that drives us into a corner believing that happiness has a shelf life limited to the number of days the sun actually comes out.

I’ve always tried to ignore the lines we draw. Whether artificial: hot v. not; or natural: spring v. fall; summer v. winter — tripping the continuum is the preferred route. Nothing comes to an end on the first of September; nothing begins either. In 2016 CE, September 1st is merely a Thursday in another month of Thursday’s.

Or is it?

I, for one, had a bonzer Summer. Severe drought and weather notwithstanding, I pursued the usual things associated with the time of year. Movies with the kids; beach days; volunteerism; reading; writing and reviewing.

Suicide SquadOn the movie front, I was pleasantly surprised a couple of times. Proving once again that I am free to choose, I ignored the rhetoric surrounding Suicide Squad and went and saw it anyway. Man, am I ever glad I did. No matter how much shoot ’em up ’em’s film makers insist on serving up, nothing works better than good repartee and a STORY to go with it. Producers take note.

At the beachWith one of the hottest summers on record where I live, I was delighted to reconnect with a place long forgotten: the shores of Lake Ontario. Long seen as a place to look at water rather than wade in, I was pleasantly surprised to find environmental responsibility paying off with clean water in 2016. I went in: not once, not twice, but more times than I have in my ENTIRE lifetime (which is getting pretty long, but I don’t dwell on that!) Bravo to the good people who persevered all of those years and got at least some of our beaches cleaned up! Salutes all around.

Then there was the matter of this thing called writing, reading and reviewing. I am so close to finishing the WIP that I’m already dreaming about NaNoWriMo and the HEUER prequel. I’m also staying true to my promise to review ten books each year. A promise made, a promise kept makes me glad, and – wow – what talent abounds! Look for all ten reviews to be posted here very soon.

Today is not any old Thursday, it turns out. It’s a time to reacquaint.

There is so much to tell, including the awards won and the one’s still in balloting. There’s The Word on the Street Toronto Book and Magazine Festival to chat up as well as my growing affiliation with the amazing Sisters in Crime Toronto Chapter. Authors, new and returning, will be lending their insights as well, with cool new releases, WIPs and interview questions and answers all through the month of September. Invisibility, the art of knowing Jackie Chan, and how to get a broom with a blown spark plug off the ground, among other things, will be examined.

It’s September 1. Hello!

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant, I am

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Links:

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

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

Walmart:  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Scooter-Nation/53281677

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FAQ’s: https://abfunkhauser.com/faqs/

 

It’s not a Christmas tree. It’s a topiary.

Every year it’s the same. Halloween lurches into All Souls Day marked not by an ephemeral calm associated with remembrance, but by the roll out of decorative Christmas balls at the mall. Not that I’m opposed to Christmas balls—I love ’em, ’specially the ones soaked in rum—but the accelerated race to Christmas marked by a way too early jump off from Fall, left me breathless and wonting. Unlike the mall, I just couldn’t seem to get the tree up in November, and this has caused me no end of residual grief now.

Tree pitching always seems early, but this year more acutely so. I didn’t hoist mine until four days before the 25th. It was probably because of the foot I broke on Labor Day, which forced me inside for six wretched weeks, and then detained me further when cold temps and sheet ice hit the pavement outside.

“Yer doin’ great,” the doc assured, “but don’t fall anymore.”

Good advice that I could accept after a heck of a lot of soul searching. I’m of a ‘certain age,’ that euphemism that heralds all sorts of happy portents including a declining interest in matching panty and lace bra sets on sale at the same mall with the trees, and a stark realization that short sleeved minis with hems cut up to the cooch are no longer for me.

But I digress…

In coming late to the Christmas tree party, I find myself on St. Brigid’s Day still looking at my Christmas tree which blinks back at me with a joyous multicolor light patina that promises so many things. I am not alone in this. Many, I’ve learned, hold on to their festive trees long after Boxing Day, New Years Day, St. Brigid’s Day.

Maybe this hints at something more lasting; a new way of holding on to something dear?

My friend the spin doctor assures me that there are alternative interpretations for all kinds of things in all kinds of universes: we tree loving folk just need one to suit our arbors.

Works for me: One need never feel self conscious ever again for coming late to the party and then refusing to leave.

O, Christmas tree. Thou art anything but. Thou art a topiary, and a jovial one at that!

 

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am,

funkhauser logo

 

On the Feast of St. Brigid

Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat

February 1, 2016

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

IMG_20160104_121131

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

 

 

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY EIGHT: KAREN KING

Can love survive death?

sapphire blue cover“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.

Friend and fellow author Karen King talks soul trekking in her new YA Sapphire Blue. Even better, as at press time, Karen had great news to share: She has racked up an award for cover design. Take a look:

golden star awards 2nd place - Paranormal trophy 300

Congrats!

Q & A

  1. Sapphire Blue reads like a quest journey; a YA novel that takes the protagonist through Hell in search of her Will, like Dante searching for Beatrice in the Inferno. What inspired you to follow this path in YA?

I’ve always believed that we live on after we die, that our souls go back to the place we came from, join our friends and family and carry on with our journey. I was talking about this to someone one day and they said that they hoped they didn’t forget life on Earth, when they died that they still had their memories. That started me thinking about what it would be like. If you loved someone would your love still survive in the afterlife? Does everyone go to the same place? It was from this that the idea of Sapphire Blue was born.

  1. In our fast-paced, social media driven culture here in North America, how do you account for the exploding popularity of YA literature?

People still like to lose themselves in a good book, kids, teens and adults alike, and there’s some amazing YA stories published at the moment. YA deals with things that teens (and adults) worry about, living, loving, dying, fitting in, the world ending. It’s imaginative introducing new worlds, magic, strong characters and above all it usually encompasses Hope. And that’s the thing I think people want to hold onto most in these uncertain times. Hope that you’ll survive, win through, that things will get better.

  1. What and who did you read as a teen and young adult? Which one(s) stayed with you?

Agatha Christie and The Saint books by Lesley Charteris. I loved trying to solve the mysteries in the Agatha Christie books and the nonchalant way The Saint dealt with the situations he was in.

  1. Let’s backtrack for our readers: Give us your elevator pitch for Sapphire Blue.

Sapphire Blue is a YA with a difference in that it’s set in the afterlife. It’s a story of love, bravery, drama, mystery, horror but above all Hope.

5. Your cover is in the running for an award. Tell us about it.

Yes I’m chuffed to say that the cover for Sapphire Blue –and the cover of my children’s novel, Firstborn – is in the finals of the Golden Star cover Art Contest run by Highlighted Authors http://highlightedauthor.com/golden-star-cover-art-contest/paranormal-cover-category/

I’ve got my fingers crossed for them both but there are some great covers in the finals so I’m just happy they’ve got this far.

6. What’s next?

Accent Book has just signed me up for three contemporary novels so I’m working on the second one of those – the first one is finished. After that, I’ve been asked by a couple of readers to write a follow up to Sapphire Blue so maybe I will.

ExcerptOur first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.

Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.

I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.

“I love you,” I say.

“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.

“Sapphire Blue,

I do love you,

Forever me,

Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.

Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.

Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.

But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.

“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”

Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.

“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.

“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.

I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.

We’re going to die.

Craaaaaash!

An explosion shatters in my head.

biographyKaren King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction.  Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Buy Links

Amazon UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417793348&sr=8-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+by+karen+king#_

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417779552&sr=1-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+karen+king

Solstice Publishing   http://solsticepublishing.com/sapphire-blue/

Author Links

Website: www.karenking.net

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/74448.Karen_King

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kryski/

Wow, Karen. You are busy. Keep us appraised and best of luck. xo

TOMORROW:

Reily Garrett

Carnal Innocence Banner

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*

 

 

UP NEXT: A SOPHOMORE EFFORT TOO GONZO FOR POLITE COMPANY

COMING APRIL 2016

A story about identity, finding your place in society, and treating your fellow man with dignity…and GONZO!

SCOOTER NATION

NEW SCOOTER COVER

Begun during NaNoWriMo 2013, SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES…

Aging managing director Charlie Forsythe begins his work day with a phone call to Jocasta Binns, the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Weibigand Funeral Home founder Karl-Heinz Sr. Alma Wurtz, a scooter bound sextenarian, community activist, and neighborhood pain in the ass, is emptying her piss bucket into the flower beds, killing the petunias. Jocasta cuts him off, reminding him that a staff meeting has been called. Charlie, silenced, is taken aback: he has had no prior input into the meeting and that, on its own, makes it sinister.

The Series is called Unapologetic Lives for the reason that I wanted to see grown-ups careening out of control with little or no concern toward limited liability, torts, class action lawsuits or political correctness. They’re of age, and they have one crack at this life. SCOOTER is completely different in tone from the first novel HEUER LOST AND FOUND. Set two years after HEUER in the same funeral parlor, it focuses on Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue. Both are funeral directors, and both have critical walk-ons in the first novel. This time, they take centre stage as they battle conflicting values, draconian city by-laws, a mendacious neighborhood gang bent on havoc, and a fitness guru whose presence shines an unwanted light on their quiet Michigan neighborhood.

Now entering fourth draft, I hope to have SCOOTER READY for publication in 2016.

To learn more, check out #1lineWed on Twitter for weekly Wednesday SCOOTER blasts and THIS PAGE.

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

–ABF

New Funkhauser Shot