OMG. I have a YouTube Channel and a Book Trailer

I’ve been dancing around for weeks here on the blog and finally, at long last, I can release DAS BOOK TRAILER. Months in the making, I can say, without a hint of irony or fiction, that HEUER LOST AND FOUND, THE TRAILER, is all mine and made with my own two hands. Another milestone on the path to publishing. The learning curve has been incredibly steep and it is only the beginning, but I’m ready…I think. 😉

NOW AND FORWARD

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good day.

ABF

The Unvarnished Interview

In the spirit of brave self-promotion, I continue today’s post (see Heuer Advance Review) with an interview given by yours truly to the ever intrepid Bernard Foong. It’s another first for me, and another reason to do a victory lap around the neighborhood (after I shovel the sidewalk), because self promotion goes against everything I was taught growing up. Careers in politics, the car business and funeral service notwithstanding, I have managed to stay under the wire…until now.
Heuer, Heuer. What have you done?
  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

That’s always a bit tough for me. I was raised in another time where shouting out accomplishments was

An expression of the author's feelings through a doppelganger.
An expression of the author’s feelings through a doppelganger.

considered rude. But I’ll try. I’m a Pisces that celebrates the Year of the Snake, but unlike dear vain snake, work extremely hard not to be mendacious. (Laughs) I have a furtive imagination, love art in all its forms, and cannot live without music playing somewhere in the background. If forced to choose between comedy and drama, comedy wins…every time.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

That’s easy! I’m outside. Unlike you, dear friend, I live in the four seasons (hint of jealousy here) and have the coats, boots and sunscreen that goes with them. I have a large wild flower garden that I tend in summer, and a very long driveway I shovel in winter. And I love classic cars, particularly those from the muscle era. Summer and autumn are for road tripping to see the shows. I try to get to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan every other year.

For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
  1. Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, although I am on hiatus and that has paid off, as you see (big grin). I’m a funeral director, licensed to practice in Ontario, Canada. For me, it ranks as one of the best jobs I’ve ever had next to seeing to my family.

  1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I began writing in 2010 in response to the loss of a dear friend. In funeral service, the families we serve ask how to cope with the pain. One way to manage is to seek out others—groups, counselors—those who have walked in their shoes and really know how it feels. Another approach is to write a grief journal. My friend and I went through school together, and during that time we became sympats where comedy was concerned. We laughed at the same things. It didn’t take long for my journal to take a comedic turn before straying off into outright fiction. I finished Heuer five years later.

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

The characters decided it for me. They are bossy, incorrigible and I completely adore them. They were impossible to ignore.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

I put a foot out the door and live day to day. You wouldn’t believe the kind of trouble you can get into at the grocery store.

  1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Absolutely, but it’s more likely because another story or character is nagging at me. My first teacher called this popcorn writing, where you just push away from the current project and go on a tangent with a wild horse scene. It’s exciting and informs the other projects.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I mull for about a year, and then churn out the first draft during NaNoWriMo in November. I don’t plot per

I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.
I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.

se, but I do know where I’m going before I begin. This is also where some of those popcorn scenes find a home. After the first draft is complete, I return to the previous project in line to revise and refine. It’s a whole system that works for me. You see why I had to go on hiatus?

  1. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Absolutely everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. From him and Dr. Seuss, I learned the value of having outrageous character names. My current fiction includes a hysteric named Sigrid Bork. I love her.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I worried a lot about having one book followed by writer’s block to shut me down for good. So I decided to

Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.
Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.

get some manuscripts down—four to be precise—so that I’d have a body of work to play with when pitching to agents and publishers. The last four years were dedicated to pure creation without pressure to produce to a contract. It was sensational. During that time, I plugged into Twitter pitch parties on the recommendation of a writer friend, and that’s when things really started to happen. I queried, synopsized, wrote dozens of tag lines and met hundreds of amazing people who got me to Solstice Publishing. Now I have to learn about and engage in—boots first—marketing, which is very challenging because of the way I was raised (see question one). I’m enjoying Twitter parties and blogging. Frankly, I didn’t know I had it in me. A great surprise.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Nope. It was all organic. I tripped, I fell, I studied, and I applied. I got better.

  1. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

It’s early in, so stats aren’t there, but I will direct a lot of applause to the writing groups I belong to—The Booklin 7, Writers Community of Durham Region, and amazing teachers at Writescape—for plugging me in with others dedicated to the same goals. Marketing is a learning curve and a steep one, so look to others engaged in the same activity; ask questions and try things on. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. Blog, blog, blog, and follow your publisher and agent advice. Support other writers by reading their work, reviewing and attending their promotional events. If you want society to know about you, you must socialize.

  1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I love them all, but can only dedicate my energies to one at a time. The others? Their day will come.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Heuer Lost and Found is adult, unapologetic and cognizant with a hint of dark humor. At 237 pages, it is a

Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character--at least where I'm coming from.
Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character–at least where I’m coming from.

compact study that rocks ’n’ rolls with the help of an erudite Latin speaking rat and a wise-cracking floor lamp with ulterior motives. They’re off beat and badly needed to help my protagonists: a dead, unrepentant cooze hound lawyer, and his very much alive boozy lady undertaker who he used to know back in the Eighties.

  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think all fiction is informed by real life experiences, but I have yet to meet sentient rats or floor lamps. (laughs) The funeral home in Heuer is actually a composite of four different establishments, none of which survives today. As to the characters, some guy buddies insist that they are Heuer, but they’re not. There’s actually a little of me in him, but I guess it’s to be expected if I’m the one behind the keyboard.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

SPOILER: The very end, because it’s where the Kleenex box comes out. When that happened, I knew I’d got it right.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

From the short story. Heuer actually made it into three separate shorts before becoming a full-fledged novel character.

  1. What project are you working on now?

    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series "Unapologetic Lives"
    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series “Unapologetic Lives”

Poor Undertaker is next in the series, which tracks the ups and downs of the Weibigand Brothers funeral establishment. Its every bit as much a joy as the first, second and so on, because I see this remarkable building go through all its incantations. At one point, it’s actually bought up and is not a funeral parlor any more.

  1. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

We’re at least a year away, I think. Scooter Nation is next, but I’d like to give it another go over before setting it free.

  1. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Absolutely. My series is non sequential, so the character that dies in one is born again in the next. They’re

SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.
SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.

never far away. There are a number of themes I return to, but some of my favorites include: the negative impacts of nostalgia; the problem with prying; insular people coming out into the light; finding kindness in peculiar places; and letting go of that thing you need so that you can keep it forever.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’m an upbeat person, so if I’m criticized, I turn it into a plus by learning something from it. The best compliment I ever had came from a teacher who said my voice was “strong and unusual”. That really made my day.

  1. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Get it all down before trying to make sense of it. It’s a journey and often a very long one. Enjoy every leg of it knowing that there’s more just ahead.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Observe, listen, and do not ignore the excellence to be found on HBO, Netflix, Showcase, etc. This is your university.

Fin.

Advance Review of Heuer Lost and Found

No stranger to this blog, author Bernard Foong (A Harem Boy’s Saga I, II, and III) had a look, and in advance of Heuer’s debut April 23rd, here’s what he had to say:

5 star review:

Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book Heuer Lost and Found”.

Written from

Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.
Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.

the perspective of an undertaker, she gives her readers a ringside seat at the Weibigand Mortuary where Enid, a middle aged woman with a taste for scotch, arrives on a Monday morning still in a stupor from the night before. Initially, the reader learns a bit about Enid and the history of the mortuary, its original owners and their heirs who continue to operate the family owned business, along with all of its eccentric employees. Early in the day, a call is received and there after a not so typical day in the life of a mortuary begins. Heuer, a well known middle aged attorney has been found dead in his apartment, where he laid for several days. The story now moves between present day and flash backs to a time when Heuer, Enid and others in the story are intertwined in one way or another. Heuer appears as a ghostly spectre to enchant us with his own take on his past, and his current impressions of what is being said and done as his body is prepared for burial. I for one like this book. I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series “Six Feet Under”.

Ms. Funkhauser is a wizard with words and did a fine job of weaving this story of Greek, German and English speaking families that bounced back and forth throughout the entire book.

Hooray! And thank you, Bernard Foong.

Drop by #1lineWed for more Heuer and some excellent one liners from incredible authors. 🙂

SINGIN’ PRAISES FOR THE TRAILER MAN

I owe a lot to Rich Helms, author, software guru and creative cheerleader, because it’s Rich who dragged me kicking and screaming into the amazing world of Hands-On-On-The-Ground Book Trailer creation.

Did I leave anything out Rich?

BIOGRAPHY

 Rich Helms Painting

Rich Helms has spent decades creating bleeding edge innovations, including groundbreaking course Book Trailer 101. A seasoned software developer with over 30 years of experience in computer Research and Development, his credentials range from deep technical work (five patents in hardware and software) to running multi-national R&D shops. Rich has been developing multi-media technology since the 1980’s including CARES (Computer Assisted Recovery Enhancement System) for the Metropolitan Toronto Police. CARES was the first computer system in the world for locating aging missing children. He also served as a board member for the Writer’s Community of Durham Region (WCDR) for eight years.

I 2010 he co-authored, Amazon Simple DB Developer Guide for Packt Publishing.

WITH GRATITUDE

I met Rich a few years back at a Writer’s Community of Durham Region breakfast where his spouse, the inimitable Dorothea Helms was espousing the virtues of comedy and poetry slams. At press time, I have yet to summon the nerve to get up on stage and become a slammy, but I sure took Rich’s advice and got myself together a book trailer.

After just five weeks under Rich’s tutelage, my classmates and I now dabble in sound editing, animation and movie making. Not bad for a clutch of novelists, poets and diarists.

Something this good had to be shared. Presenting Rich Helms, Trailer Guru and father of Book Trailer 101:

Oh,Rich…

The Q and A

You live in Durham Region but sound suspiciously American. Care to explain your provenance?

I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pittsburgh. My wife and I met at Clarion University, then moved to Canada for my graduate study. We intended to stay for only two years, but it quickly became home.  I joined IBM and we lived around the country, for as many know, IBM stands for “I’ve Been Moved.”

How different is a book trailer from the book itself in terms of the subtext that governs it? Is it more about marketing than telling a story?

A book trailer is a video commercial. It is all about marketing, but it is soft sell. Hard sell doesn’t work for books. Most people read a book for entertainment or to learn. The trailer needs to communicate that their desire will be met. With the Internet offering so much content for free, the trailer has to capture their attention and convince them the reward will be worth the cost both in money and time.

The trailer may tell a story, such as the Miriam Black trailer by Chuck Wendig (http://bt101.info/bm), but more often it is a tease. The story involves an intriguing set-up, but then you are left wanting. A good book trailer taunts, tantalizes and seduces, but reveals little.

Someone in publishing recently told me that a cover font has nothing to do with what’s inside. The same would apply to a level-one trailer if this were true. Do you agree or disagree with either of these statements? And  I guess you better explain what a level-one trailer is.

I don’t see the correlation. A level-one trailer has a lot more to do with the book than the font on the cover. A level-one book trailer communicates with titles, i.e. words, rather than a voice-over or live video sound. Titles are limiting, as you can present only about 60 words in 60 seconds. Reading sentences of text in a video is challenging, so you are limited to short phrases. Now comes the big challenge – exciting the viewer with so few words. It is like writing poetry, where every word is precious and has purpose.

The images, font and music set a tone, but the work is done with the words. They sell the story.

The key to an effective DIY trailer is doing your homework. A lot of people want to jump on Animoto, spend a couple hours and produce a trailer, which is fine. So is writing a book in a weekend. Problem is, will either of these be any good? I doubt it. As with writing a book, creating a book trailer takes a lot of thought work to awaken moments of inspiration. It also takes some trial and error, along with an honest look at what the book is about.

That is why I wrote my Book Trailer 101 site and upcoming book – to walk the DIY author through the process to create an effective book trailer. 

You have analyzed many book trailers. I hear the comment that a lot of book trailers lack the zip their creators hoped for. Why is this?

It takes time and effort to learn what makes an effective book trailer and when you see the result it becomes clear they didn’t invest the time. Fancy music, pretty images and amazing video transitions do not make a good trailer. Writing does.

The most common problems:

  1. Too long
  2. Too much detail
  3. Overly dramatic including the music
  4. Music is all one level – loud and pounding
  5. No grab up front or hook at the end
  6. Cliché lines used – “Will he survive?”
  7. The lines could apply to any book
  8. Too much praise

A great trailer like a great movie starts with a great script.

And you have a book trailer of your own?

Of course (laughs) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ReQnbvL2E

 

Thanks for the snapshot Rich. I hear you’re teaching a Master Class at the Ontario Writer’s Conference in April?

That’s right. Three-hours on April 24, 2015. Last year I did a one hour teaser. This one will cover the 7 steps needed to create an effective trailer. And I’ll be making the point again that whether you are working on a first draft or your book is already published, the prep work for trailer creation can help you focus on what your book is actually about.

With some hands on?

Yes! Participants will actually create a trailer for Terry Fallis’ first novel, The Best Laid Plans, during the three-hour session. http://bt101.info/owc

 

Thanks for your time, Rich. I’m this close to posting my trailer to YouTube.

Good to hear, AB. And great to be here. Post that trailer. Cheers.

Links to Rich Helms and Book Trailer 101

Click for a Summary Resume in PDF format
Click for LinkedIn Profile

http://bt101.info/rich

http://bt101.info/owc

BookTrailer101.info

Twitter @BookTrailer101

Facebook BookTrailer101

Rich@RichHelms.com

The Chronically Excited Rocky Rochford, Unleashed

My friend and fellow Solstice author Rocky Rochford reminds me of my dear Doctor Who. Curious, excited and always WORKING. His latest, The Devil You Know, now available on Amazon, details one curious con’s face to face with the devil incarnate and the consequences this provokes.

Ladies and Gents: Rocky Rochford. 

Greetings to one and all, my name is Rocky Rochford, writer, poet, scuba diver and sword collector, among other things. As I have been so kindly given the space to talk about myself and my works, let’s get to it.

About me:

Scuba Diving, Photo taking, Adventure Seeking, Sword Collecting, Writer & Marine Conservationist. That’s me. I’m a handful of years into my twenties, but after living life on the road, going town to town before finally settling down, I’ve gained great insight into the world and her workings. From Day 1 I have been a Writer and a Writer I shall forever remain.

I like to consider myself to be a Student of Everything, and yet a Master of Nothing, who does not

The prolific author at home, sword in hand.
The prolific author at home, sword in hand.

choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. After all life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read of one of my typed works, is another trip into the imagination of my mixed up, crazed and deranged mind. Welcome to the World of Rochford.

And just one of those works happens to be my newly released “The Devil You Know,” an 8 Chapter long ebook to introduce you to a conman who gets an offer he can’t refuse, one that would see him return in the full length novel “The Devil You Don’t.”

            The Blurb reads a little like this:

Meet a conman who always carefully chooses his marks. Then one day he discovers that he’s been someone else’s mark, and not just for a little while, but his whole life. Think you know the Devil? You don’t know Jack.

          And if that’s got your taste-buds waging, allow me to hit you with an excerpt:

I’ll never forget the day my life changed, never to be the same again, the day I met him. I knew it was him the second he walked into the bar. I didn’t need to see those yellow eyes of his, or to notice the curve of his mouth as he smiled gladly upon the mere sight of me. Out of all the bars in the world and the Devil walked into mine.

Shit” was the word that came to mind.

The Devil You Know released on Amazon and www.solsticepublishing.com on the 30th of January and is available on every version of Amazon, so what are you waiting for and pick up your very on copy of a devilishly good tale.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IamRockyRochford?fref=ts
Twitter: @RockyRochford

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/RockyRochford
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford
My personal Website:  rockyrochford.wordpress.com
Rabmad: http://www.rabmad.com/authors/Rocky-Rochford/

And of course links to my works (listed from oldest to latest). Quick little thing I should mention, I am an author of many genres, I’ve recently released a Poetry Collection. I have written a number of short stories, both stand-alone pieces and part of a continuing series. As far as genres go, I write Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller, Psychological Thrillers, Espionage, YA & Supernatural:

Phoenix Rises – a Deep Water novel: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Rises-Deep-Water-Novel/dp/3854382375/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761419&sr=8-7&keywords=rocky+rochford

The Spirit of Iris – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Spirit-Rocky-Rochford/dp/1625261292/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-4&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-rise-of-the-elohim/

Dead on the Floor – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Floor-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NOBCNIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-2&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dead-on-the-floor/

Hour of Darkness – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Hour-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00O4C4ZV0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761365&sr=8-5&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/rise-of-the-elohim-hour-of-darkness/

Don’t Turn Around – A short tale about Murder: (Short story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Turn-Around-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NY9T8W0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761396&sr=8-6&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dont-turn-around/

The First Glance – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/First-Glance-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00PUTJPES/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416760996&sr=8-1&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-first-glance-part-of-the-entwined-saga/

Little Boy Death The Life of: (Poetry Collection):

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Death-Life-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00PV0MV56/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-3&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/little-boy-death-the-life-of/

I Watched Her Die – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Watched-Her-Die-Part-Entwined-ebook/dp/B00Q713HCE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028399&sr=8-2&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

Burning For You – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-You-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q389D8S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028757&sr=8-5&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/burning-for-you/

Save Her – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Her-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q38A7LK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028812&sr=8-7&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/save-her/

The Devil You Know: (Short Story)

Link coming soon

A quick thank you to our kind and lovely host and to you, the readers, for putting up with me. Till next time.

Kind and lovely host thanks you, Sir Roch. Keep writing, sir.

ABF

Say “Hello” to author Bernard Foong

Bernard Foong has seven volumes planned.
Bernard Foong has seven volumes planned.

Today, I welcome international best-selling author Bernard Foong to the blog. Not only has Mr. Foong penned three sweeping non-fiction accounts of a wild life in progress, but I’ve also learned that a screen play is not far behind! Congratulations. His third book, A Harem Boy’s Saga III: Debauchery, has just been reviewed by yours truly (click here), and on the strength of it, I will check out books I and II. See synopsis and cover art featured below. Before jumping into the interview, take a moment and learn more about the man behind the words.

Author’s Bio

Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.

By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).

 

Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history

 

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer – travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school – working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.

Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW – Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:

  • Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
  • Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
  • Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
  • Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
  • Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:

A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.

This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems .”

A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.

 

In his own words: The Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born into a privileged Malaysian Chinese family. Following my brothers’ footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

My hobbies include Zumba, swimming, reading and doing creative projects. Although I’m a semi-retired fashion designer, I still keep in touch with the international fashion scene; especially Asian designers.

  1. Do you have a day job as well?

My day job is writing and promoting/marketing my memoirs/books.

  1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I first started writing in 2010. I had a nagging calling within to document my unique adolescent life and education.

I believe my geographical location (being in spiritual and beautiful Maui, Hawaii) inspired me to pen my seven book series.

Now that I’m semi-retired from my once very active fashion lifestyle, it is time for me to reflect upon my unique early experiences and to inform the world what my positive experiences in the Middle Eastern harems were like.

I believe my early experiences shaped my adult life to who I am today.

I finished A Harem Boy’s Saga – book I – Initiation; a memoir by Young a year later – in 2011.

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

I did not choose the genre. It chose me.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

Remembrance of things past. Luckily I’ve an abundance of photographs, diaries, journals to spur me to remember what transpired during those early years of my Middle Eastern harem experiences.

Although, I’ve taken creative liberties when it comes to the individual dialogues spoken by the various characters in my autobiography. I remember the gist of what transpired.

I’ve also changed the names and places to protect the identities of those involved in the secret society and the unique school and Arab Households I was in service at.

  1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I seldom get writer’s block because I let my thoughts flow naturally out of me as I remember the events. Although I cannot remember the actual dialogues spoken – I remember the gist of what was being said.

I also have an abundance of old photographs taken during those early years, documenting my life then. I use these to trigger my memories to document the events in the books.

I do need complete silence when I write – which is 8 – 10 hours daily.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I just write. I’m very discipline when it comes to setting time for my daily writing schedule.

  1. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice was one of the influences because I have a presage that Ms. Rice went through a similar harem experience like I did.

Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys also influenced me to tell my story.

The abundance of school bullying and shootings also prompted me to tell of my unique education.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

The first two books in A Harem Boy’s Saga series were self-published. The easy part is the writing but when it comes to marketing books, it’s an entirely different ball game.

I was lucky to have literary agent Emerantia Antonia Parnall-Gilbert (Gilbert Literary Agency) after almost 6 months of non-stop searching for a publisher and agent. I wrote to close to 160 publishers/agents before I had a positive response from Gilbert Literary Agency.

I’m lucky to have Solstice Publishing interested in my autobiography. Solstice will publish the entire 7 book series. It was Emerantia who hooked me with Solstice Publishing.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I would have found myself a publisher and literary agent and not self-published.

  1. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Through the usual channels: Twitter, Facebook, Authors/Books promotional organizations. Enter book award competitions and joining international book fairs. Connecting with book clubs, etc.

  1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

No! The books/series I’m currently writing is what I love doing and it’s an inner calling form a higher power to tell my story to the world. 

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I have two:

  • No Distance Between Us is a coming-of-age gay true love story (based on my sexual experience). It is a provocative story about a young man (me) initiated into a clandestine sexual society. Spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school,he attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man (me) and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

  • A Harem Boy’s Saga – IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young is the continual saga of A Harem Boy’s Saga – I – Initiation, II – Unbridled and III – Debauchery.
  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

My memoirs are based on my own experiences. Although, I’ve taken creative liberties when it comes to the individual dialogues spoken by the various characters in my autobiography. I remember the gist of what transpired.

I’ve also changed the names and places to protect the identities of those involve in the secret society and the unique school and Arab Households I was in service at.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The erotic scenes because I remember the situations very clearly and am able to express my emotions and feelings I felt at the time with all my sexual partners and lovers.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

It comes to me through a higher source, knowing what the title for each book is going to be either before, during or after the book is completed. It’s my guardian angel whispering in my ear on what to write down to the names for each chapter. I listen to my inner voice and heed its messages.

  1. What project are you working on now?

I’m currently working on A Harem Boy’s Saga – IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young.

My Yuletide short story book No Distance Between Us (a true to life coming-of-age gay love story) is scheduled for release on Nov. 21st 2014.

I’m also working with Solstice Publishing on having A Harem Boy’s Saga series made into audio books.

I’m also working on book II – Unbridled screen treatment and overview for Emerantia, my agent to submit to producers for consideration for films/TV mini-series and Stage Musical productions.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I don’t dwell on negatively only positivity. Therefore the best compliment would be:

5.0 out of 5 stars OMG, OMG, OMG – I can’t believe this is a real story!, September 22, 2014

By

Wendy Acosta – See all my reviews

This review is from: Initiation (A Harem Boy’s Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

Never have I read a story that has me exclaiming “OMG, OMG, OMG” every few chapters. This autobiographical story shares the intensely personal journey of a young boy as he comes of age in the midst of a male harem in the Middle East. He experiences all the things that are forbidden and taboo…you know those “unmentionable elephants in the room” that we are warned about from an early age. I had to read this real life adventure to find out how messed up and damaged he must be. Imagine my surprise to meet an emotionally healthy young man who successfully grabs all life has to offer and does it with an innocence that is simply beautiful.

Don’t read this book if you aren’t ready for your ingrained beliefs and values to be challenged. Don’t read this book if you are not ready to delve into a side of our global society that is well hidden from most. Don’t read this book unless you too are ready to step into a new adventure. Initiation will change how you view the world.

Well done Bernard.

Wendy had summed up my series excellently and this is exactly what I like to say to my readers.

  1. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Stay focused. My modus operandi: the 3Ps: Perseverance, Persistence & Patience.

Be diligent about setting a time frame/goal to finish your manuscript.

Not to worry about what you are planning to write. Once you begin with the 1st word, you’ll know what the next word is going to be. When I write, it’s like channeling a separate spirit/entity within my person. Thoughts flows automatically through me and I write what comes naturally out of my hand.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans. 

Historical accuracy is an important factor to consider when I’m writing memoirs/autobiographies and biographies. I like spending time doing research and learning/discovering new techniques in photo-shop/enhancements.

Traveling broadens my mind. My life partner and I are planning an up-coming road trip to the S. of France.

These are some of the goals I hope to achieve through

A Harem Boy’s Saga:

 

  • Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.

Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.

  • Bullying can be avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.
  • Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.

Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

  • Provide an Alternative Educational System;

Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

  • Human Relationship Building Program;

Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.

Other Works

A Harem Boy Saga; A Memoir Book 1 – INITIATION

initiationThis provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

Author’s note:

I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia, where I was known as a “sissy boy.” Following in my brothers’ footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

young@aharemboysaga.com

http://www.aharemboysaga.com

 

Unbridled is the sequel to Initiation

unbridledA provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. They were apprentices and models, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.

The author’s experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences.

There are 5 – 7 volumes in A Harem Boy’s Saga series.

 

Debauchery is the triquel to A Harem Boy’s Saga


Debauchery
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu

A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperones and mentors.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their third Arabian Household Harem, the Quwah. There, they became confidants to a prince, assistants in an international dance club venture, “Carousel,” and apprentices and models in a controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.”

This story is an account of the author’s experiences. Through these truths, often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnation and negativity related to sexuality, love, and personal freedom.

A Harem Boy’s Saga is a series of seven volumes.

For further information please visit or contact:

Bernard Foong (a.k.a. Young)

www.aharemboysaga.com

young@aharemboysaga.com

Emerantia Antonia Parnall-Gilbert: Gilbert Literary Agency)

hawkspurrproductions@gmail.com

Melissa Miller: Solstice Publishing

solsticepublishing@live.com

Thank you, Bernard Foong.

It’s all about the face #1lineWed

I love today’s prompt *FACE* served up for this week’s #1lineWed because it evokes every degree of beauty and ugliness and not just in animal matter. Buildings have faces too, as do ideas. Here’s a couple of outtakes–the larger tweets if you will–connoting FACE.

#1

“Back in 1994, when Heuer was in his thirties and should have known better, he disappointed a woman, who, in turn, threw him out of her apartment. “Thanks fer nothing,” she yelled, with a bitchiness that confirmed her place in society, along with a trucker belch to match. He had only himself to blame. He’d been slumming in a drecky bar not consciously looking, but hoping for something willing to come his way. It was late and it didn’t take long for her to find him.

“You lonely?” “Her teeth were gapped and grey. “I’m lonely.”

It was a troll culled from a nightmare, and it was well-suited to his surroundings—cramped, pungent and marked by scents of perspiration and fish. Drunk and smoking, she pressed her big ass cheek into his side. Smells made acute by an ancient fryer in the back advanced across the room. Beer batter wafting with the aid of large ceiling fans co mingled with human notes of urine and beer to complete the parfum excellence. She blew on him, her breath rank, her brazenness an homage to that old cliché that you get what you deserve.

He smiled. His skin was better than hers.

“There is a cure for that,” he said. “Loneliness.” His accent, strange and unfamiliar, rolled across her and having the desired effect she got to the point.

“There’s wine and a fuck back at my place.”

He leaned back inviting her to apply her hands, which she did with easy self-assured strokes. The heat crept across his abdomen tightening the hairs in their follicles, twisting. She was good; real good: the kind of good that many years of applied field work made possible.

“Well?” Her tone was commanding.

She was not tall and she was not pretty. But she had the je ne sais quoi that demanded a second look. Her grip on him tightened. Heuer narrowed his little eyes, stripping away her paint and her arts. He was intrigued by her callousness—she was very crude—and by her certainty. She might have been forty or a really rough thirty-five—it was difficult to tell in the smoke and neon. If she was a door, her weather stripping would be cracked and peeling. He reached for her, rolling lengths of dry colored hair through smooth hands. A pro to be certain, she was also a bleary old douche bag, deflated in spots, and her insistence forced the issue. He’d emerged after a lengthy dry spell broken with a disparate coffee shop girl who was morosely tight, sexually bereft and, lacking common decency, had not the wherewithal to fake it. This one at least looked like she would and she wouldn’t cost a dime either.”

#2

“Pulling into the funeral home parking lot, he was struck by the shabbiness of the place. Three storied, stone-faced, with jagged courses of irregular shaped brick, she was more sea anemone than siren; prickly and unlovely. Where she had once stood apart from her ramshackle neighbors, the reverse was now true. The facade was flaking, the surfaces cracked. It was worse inside. She was falling farther and farther behind and C.E. Forsythe was at a loss as to how to help her.

“It’s amazing what you can get used to,” she seemed to say.

Even irrelevance?

Charlie willed the individual perspiration pellets welling beneath his skin to stay in their pores. It was a fantastic thought, but he believed himself capable of such tricks. Self delusion, after all, played a huge part in the life he had chosen and he credited it for his career longevity.”

Perfect Picture (1)

How many shots does it take to get the perfect picture? Fifty? One hundred?

As many as it takes.

For me, the perfect shot needs no preamble, explanatory caption, or disclaimer. (Attribution-Yes! Every time.)

Time to share. What’s your perfect picture?

Above photo: A.B. Funkhauser 2014

Advance Review: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire

Find it on Amazon and at Solstice Publishing, February 3rd.

The second instalment in Rachael Stapleton’s sprawling Temple of Indra Series, The Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire finds time-traveling erstwhile librarian Sophia Marcil celebrating her engagement to hunky Cullen O’Kelley. Trouble is, her engagement ring contains a centre stone that’s all too familiar—a purple sapphire from a suite of cursed jewels. Once on her finger, the ring takes her from Ireland to Toronto to England and back again. At various times occupying the body of a child, a malevolent teen and a heinous villain, who continues to track her and the jewel from the first book, Sophia is forced to think and act on her feet, with a little romance in between. Colorful and layered, Curse co opts an astonishing cast with shifting time frames and multiple points of view. The villain, nasty as ever, makes a dramatic entrance, spilling blood and driving this reader to wonder if the wretch will finally get what’s coming to him. But first, I had to figure out who he was masquerading as in the present. Plenty of twists, a sprinkle of humor and a whodunnit with a surprising ending, Curse reminds me of great old story telling, but with a fresh and vital voice. Hello again, Miss Stapleton.

Thumbs up
Thumbs up!

A.B. Funkhauser