WINNER BEST HORROR PREDITORS AND EDITORS READER’S POLL 2015
FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING
TITLE: Heuer Lost And Found
SERIES: Unapologetic Lives, Book 1
AUTHOR: A.B. Funkhauser
GENRE: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Metaphysical, Paranormal, Dark Humor
PUBLISHER: Solstice Publishing
DATE OF PUBLICATION: April 23, 2015
Number of pages: 237
Word Count: 66,235
Formats Available: Electronic, Paper Back
Cover Artist: Michelle Crocker
ISBN/EAN13: 1625262043 / 9781625262042
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 girl friend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking 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.
Is it really worth it?
“Heuer” as in “lawyer”: Heuer the Lawyer
Jürgen Heuer did many things in his lifetime, but murdering another human being was not among them. Of course he considered it at times—having Fuhrer blood in his veins practically demanded it—but logic always trumped emotion and that was what kept him from breaking the law this time. Standing over enough explosives to level a half block, he replaced the matches in the pocket of his pimp suit, leaving Werner to curse and mutter at the 61 Division cops who had better things to do than visit the hermit house a second time.
Irmtraut, understandably, was not impressed when he appeared before her to explain. “Since our first meeting, you have forced an angina attack on your neighbor, preyed on the wits of the only person who loves you, and wreaked havoc at the office juice bar.”
“That, I can explain—” he interjected, relishing, somewhat guiltily, all the drama he’d created. “I merely sought to dispatch any papers incriminating to me. Instead, I found a bunch of tawdry shits besmirching my name.” He flapped his arms chicken-like. “They decided I was peculiar and with all these rainbow flags going up over town, they were making allegations.” He was not gay. He was nothing at all. Why did everybody insist on assigning labels? He was dead. It didn’t matter. And he hadn’t meant to set all the juice-o machines to malfunction in tandem, nor had he intended for Miss Samantha to go ass over heel and break an arm.
Irmtraut laughed at his childish protests, suggesting that he busy himself with the World Cup soccer scores. “Germany is leading, and the betting octopus is expected to weigh against the Spaniards.”
He scoffed at the suggestion; a German victory was a foregone conclusion. “Why waste time on a sure thing?”
“Indeed?” Irmtraut said. “Let’s look at something unsure then—your peccadillos, for example.”
“My what?” He was not familiar with the term ‘peccadillos.’
Irmtraut wiggled her ponderous mid-section to an unheard smoky beat.
“Oh, that,” he recalled, cringing over his play at self-release.
“Yes,” she said. “When you thought I was sleeping, only I wasn’t.”
He would gladly discuss the arsenal in the basement, the strange paste covering his bedroom walls, or his intriguing disdain for the prodigal father. What was not up for examination was his
wandering hands and the miracles they accomplished.
“You will not do that again,” she commanded.
About the 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 we not it.
“Were it not for the calling, I would have just as likely remained an office assistant shuffling files around, and would have been happy doing so.”
Life had another plan. After a long day at the funeral home in the waning months of winter 2010, she looked down the long hall joining the director’s office to the back door leading three steps up and out into the parking lot. At that moment a thought occurred: What if a slightly life-challenged mortician tripped over her man shoes and landed squarely on her posterior, only to learn that someone she once knew and cared about had died, and that she was next on the staff roster to care for his remains?
Like funeral directing, the writing called, and four years and several drafts later, Heuer Lost and Found was born.
What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. Complex, layered, and very dead, he counts on the ministrations of the funeral director to set him free. A labor of love and a quintessential muse, Heuer has gone on to inspire four other full length works and over a dozen short stories.
“To my husband John and my children Adam and Melina, I owe thanks for the encouragement, the support, and the belief that what I was doing was as important as anything I’ve tackled before at work or in art.”
Funkhauser is currently working on a new manuscript begun in November during NaNoWriMo 2014.
Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound
Interview Part 1:
Interview Part 2:
Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound
“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 behaviour 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.”
“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
HEUER LOST AND FOUND
AMAZON + SOLSTICE PUBLISHING + BARNES & NOBLE
“Ever closer, ever farther, I will see you again one day, in the good place.”
The Odyssey of Heuer
From genesis to manuscript; from contract to print, Heuer calls the shots. Born out of funeral service folklore underpinned by the universal dread every funeral director shares that he or she might one day have to take care of someone they know, this character demands attention. But Heuer is more than a body waiting for the ministrations of the embalmer; he is pure, unmitigated spirit. Whether real or imagined by the people he leaves behind, his not being there anymore impacts them profoundly, evoking false memories, guilt, contrition and, finally, release. If there is life beyond the mortal coil, leave it to faith. Heuer certainly wrestles with this. Dodging human associations in life, he begs to be discovered and remembered in death. Then and only then, can he be truly free.
“Heuer? What kind of a name is that?”
Aside from a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer is a man. German born, a U.S. citizen, he is layered, complicated, bitter and possessed of a really weird sense of humor. Dying alone and seemingly unlamented, he wakes as a preternatural residue, forced to live with his decomposing body over a one week period until he is finally found by a neighbor he despises. “If there’s a hell, it’s right here, and I’m standing in the middle of it.” Following his body to the funeral home, he is relieved to find Enid Krause, funeral director and former lover. Charged with the task of preparing his body for burial, she is less than gracious, declaring his dramatic return after a twenty year absence, unwelcomed and unappreciated. Crestfallen, Heuer doesn’t know what’s worse: dropping dead and not being found, or being found and being insulted.
More than one futurist has said that there will be jobs abundant in fifty years that have yet to be defined in the here and now. That makes a lot of sense. The guy driving the horse cart never thought about the helicopter, even if Leonardo did. It’s the same with people: many of us don’t know what we really are until life cues us.
At various times, I’ve worked as a shoe clerk, bank teller, lobby receptionist, legislative assistant in an august house of parliament, executive assistant to an auto lobbyist and, finally, funeral director in a family run establishment operating, at the time, for close to seventy years. This last position, my vocation, my calling, was to be my last—I thought. Little did I know that two people—sadly no longer with us—would inspire a few words in pencil (remember cursive?) in a loose leaf notebook. These words sounded nice, and shyly, I shared them with a writer friend who declared them “fiction” and something to “run with.”
I like to think that a cool HBO show running from 2000 to 2005 inspired the funeral director in me. In fact, it awakened a long dormant fascination that began with my first trip to a funeral parlor in 1976 when I was eleven. My grandmother had passed away after years of illness, and my parents, both of Eastern European descent, thought nothing of taking the kids. My brother at five years old was even younger. What kind of kid admires furniture and fixtures and cross questions the guys in morning suits about their jobs and how they got them? Me. But I had to wait. Life intervened as it always does, and set me on a very different path. HBO brought me back. And with the generous support of my dear spouse John, I began a new career at forty-one. John made the funeral director; my late friends made the writer.
Working with death and bereaved persons on a daily basis was bound to inform the written word. But losing people I know brought it home. I so wish I could name them, for inspiring me, for driving this compulsion to write down what I was thinking; but they’re not here to ask, so I will only say that a day hasn’t gone by these last five years that I haven’t thought of them, and in the language of our forebears I want to say: Du lässt mir nichts außer der Hoffnung, dass ich dich eines Tages an diesem guten Ort wiedersehen werde.
Enter the B7 and the Writer People
I blame my sister Cryssa Bazos for pulling me out of my comfortable existence. The year before all of this started, she began her own journey into the 17th Century, culminating in a fabulous manuscript THAT SOMEONE NEEDS TO BUY. Through her, I joined the Writer’s Community of Durham Region (WCDR) which opened the door to mentors, teachers, muses, and open mic reading, which I really enjoy. Of that group, I single out Ruth Walker and Gwynn Scheltema, for calling my voice “strong and unusual.” I also thank the good people who put on those short story contests for providing amazing feedback like “superb imagery.” It was a major clue that I should keep going.
Then there is the Brooklin 7, the writer’s group to which I belong. Once described by yours truly as an eclectic group of guerilla writers that know no boundaries, I wish to add that they are indispensible to me and more than friends, they’re family. In alphabetical order, they are: Marissa Campbell, Susan Croft, Connie Di Pietro-Sparacino, Ann Dulhanty, Yvonne Hess, and Rachael Stapleton. They made the writer too.
The Beta’s and the Cheerleaders
Every artist needs a cheering section. Why else make art? To the crew at Metro and the Wine Rack: Rosa E. Gauthier, Kate Korgemagi, Jan Weitmann, Elena Novakovic, Gina Clements, and Craig Belanger; the car guys at Canadian Poncho, especially Carl C2 Hicks; the Florida Crew: Suzanne DeCesare, Pat Head; the undertakers: Scott C. Hughes, M. Wayne Hamilton, Thomas Joseph Pearce, and Fatima Newbigging; and, my oldest, most endearing stalwart friends: Gilda Heinrich Rousseau and Suzanne Stacey, THANK YOU.
My Publisher, Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice is a mid-size Missouri-based publisher that has been growing steadily since its founding back in 2008. From Editor In Chief K.C. Sprayberry, C.E.O. Melissa Miller, and editor Judi Mobley, I got the validation every first time writer seeks. Their “yes” will keep me going for years.
My family: John, Adam, Melina; and the mom’s: Eleanor and Despina—I did it!
A. B. Funkhauser