DAMN! THE PAST—AGAIN!!!

Yesterday, I broke my own rule by indulging in a little memory lane traipsing.  I don’t normally do this as I stubbornly cling to a self imposed ethos that demands attention be paid to what’s ahead in lieu of what can’t be rewritten.

I’m not Gatsby: I leave the past to sociologists, historians and novelists (chuckle).

What's this? A novel?
What’s this? A novel?

The last bit about novelists is probably why I fell off the wagon. That, or a certain nagging sentimentality that’s been trying to get into my psyche since hitting the half century back in March.

madmen

NixonThe first thing I did was opine on Face Book and Twitter about the end of Mad Paul LyndeMen and of how much this incredibly stylish show impacted me. Not to contradict myself: it wasn’t the style…or the odd nomenclature of the culture…or the social ambiguities that we, today, find so astonishing, that grabbed me, but the realization that I was actually born to that era. Let’s be clear, I was a kid, but I did have eyes and ears. I grew up watching Nixon defend the war (his broadcasts always interrupted the Paul Lynde

show, which irritated me to no end) and my country’s enigmatic, larger than life Prime Minister Pierre PETTrudeau rage against the pequiste separatist movement in Quebec. Heck, I remember the lunar landing in 1969 if only for the fact that I watched it in my grandmother’s living room against a background sound and aroma of sizzling German doughnuts—kreppels—boiling up in the big pot on her kitchen stove.

It was a good time…for me at least.

DAD

Dad

Watching Don Draper twist and turn on the AMC show week after week, I wondered if grownups had it as rough as portrayed. I don’t mean the men and women who went to war—war’s awful at all times—or the marchers who put their lives at risk for something as basic and necessary as human rights equality; I mean the regular civvies born between the wars who’d made it and got the picket fence.

I wouldn’t know. I was born to that fence. But I was also born to plug in the wall record players, pellet guns with real pellets and neighborhood bullies who preyed on the small, awkward and buck toothed because it was expected and they could. I got my revenge: bully lived in a white clapboard house and there was no shortage of crab apples on crab apple trees to pelt his house with…and also, I had a big brother who gladly dispatched anyone who got in my face—you could do that back then.  My dignity was rescued from crass stupidity.

You could do a lot of things back then. Watching the Joan Harris character on Mad Men cope with sexism and exclusion reminded me of a time in the distant Eighties when grown men made sucking noises when pretty girls walked by. That I was fifteen —and obviously so— didn’t seem to bother them, but it sure as hell bothered me. I’m glad that’s gone, and I’m glad I won’t be reminded of it every Sunday night.

Bidding adieu to Mad Men took me to another place I hadn’t been for many years: 1979, a great year for many reasons—my braces came off, my disco moves were rad, I smoked my first cigarette and fell in love with Robert De Niro. Gritty realism in cinema had been de facto since Clute, but nothing prepared me for the august beauty and sheer power of The Deer Hunter. Released just four years after the war and probably meant to compete with Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (which I also liked) there was something about the nuanced performances in Deer Hunter that kept me watching and rewatching for many years. The set pieces, the dialogue, the unconventional “real people” look of the actors sharpened my senses to everything around me. Appreciate your time it seemed to say, because it doesn’t last. The future takes it away.

deer hunter cast

I know the ending where the mourners gather in the bar after a major character funeral and sing God Bless America was seen as a controversial move by some. I didn’t feel that. Not the first time I saw it, or indeed yesterday when I viewed it again. It reminded me that I always need something to believe in and as long as I have that, I’ll be able to press on, hopefully with great joy.

If the future steals the past, does the present arm us for that unseen thing in front of us?

That’s another discussion for another day.

In the meantime, I will focus on what needs doing: there are weeds to be pulled out back, and a sleepy old cat that needs his lunch; the truck tires could use some air and…

What? David Letterman’s last show is tonight???

I have history with that show.

I think I’ll watch Kimmel.

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I am

A.B. Funkhauser

Let’s stay above it.

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UPFRONT AND PRESENT: AUTHOR SUSANNE MATTHEWS

The Authors Susanne MatthewsToday, the blog welcomes romance author and fellow Ontarian Susanne Matthews. Educator, visionary, novel crafter, Susanne tackles her storylines with a view to a journey. From first page to last, her characters move and we, the readers, are transformed with them. Welcome Susanne.

The White CarnationThe last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.

For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.

Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?

Excerpt from: The White Carnation

After more than four hours of hobnobbing with the rich and not so famous, Faye was hot, tired, and exasperated. The engagement tea had been even worse than she’d imagined. Clowns—they’d had clowns—and she hated clowns. You never knew who was behind that pasty white makeup. What kind of adults used a kiddy theme for their engagement party? Alright, so the groom’s family was in the home party décor business. What difference did that make? There had to be hundreds of themes more suitable to the occasion.

Imagine that snooty little bitch thinking she was the help—it might be the society page, but press was press. Thank God she wasn’t one of them anymore. Sure, the money, clothes, and bling were nice—although Faye wasn’t penniless, she did have to pinch the ones she had—but at least she had a valid reason for getting out of bed each day. Hopefully, Abigail and Reginald would be happy, but she wouldn’t count on it. If ever there was a marriage arranged in the boardroom, that was it. Imagining that couple on their wedding night as they completed the merger made her laugh out loud in the car. Miss Ice Cube wouldn’t possibly warm up enough for Mr. Icicle to penetrate in the first place … clowns or no clowns.

She slapped the steering wheel in frustration. The drive from Wellesley to Beacon Hill seemed interminable, and more than once, Faye cursed inept drivers who didn’t know the least little bit about driving or where they were going. She hated being late, and thanks to overlong speeches and bad traffic, she would be.

“Tourists,” she grumbled when a sudden exit off the highway almost caused an accident. “Too bad GPS doesn’t come with idiot-proofing.” When she eventually got off the I-90 and onto the side streets, she spotted a parking space on Marlborough only half a block from Mary’s family home, a neighborhood she remembered fondly from her youth. Well, at least the parking fairy’s on my side.

Glancing at the heavy gray clouds on the horizon, she cursed. It would rain soon, and she’d forgotten her umbrella in her desk. This jacket needed to be dry-cleaned, and she’d already blown this month’s budget for that. Grabbing the white carnation with the rainbow ribbon that her secret admirer had left on the windshield this morning, she got out of the car. That flower was the only bright spot in her otherwise dismal day. As always, there’d been no card. The individual flowers, their stems tucked in micro-vases that held the precious water they needed, arrived on a more or less regular basis. This was the fourth—no, the fifth one. Sloan had joked about the first one.

“Maybe O’Malley learned you hate roses.”

Jerk!

She was convinced her secret admirer was sweet and maybe a little shy. For a while, she’d thought Jimmy might have been leaving the flowers for her, but he’d been out of town on assignment the last two times. At least Mr. Mysterious wasn’t some crazed stalker sending her death threats. It was good to know someone still admired her, and if the only romance in her life was a carnation four or five times a year, so be it. Her crushed heart wouldn’t be in any danger that way. She usually took the flowers home, but this time, she’d give it to Lucy Green. Why not? The woman deserved a bright spot in her day, too.

The neighborhood hadn’t changed much. Did someone ensure that the geraniums in the window boxes looked exactly the same from year to year? Was a gardener paid to fluff the petals just so? The geraniums she’d hung on her tiny balcony had more than one dead bloom that needed removing. These? Not one.

The Greens lived in a unit on the top floor of a renovated brownstone. As she walked toward the building that had practically been her second home, Faye tried to let go of her frustrations and think of the simpler, happier days when she’d lived just a few blocks away. That had been fifteen years ago; Faye had been sixteen when her life had changed forever. She’d been the fun-loving one, the one people sought when they were down.

“Forgive me. I’m sorry.” God, she hated those words, the last ones her father had penned. She’d trusted him to love her and protect her, but he’d let her down. After one too many bad financial decisions, instead of sticking around and trying to fix things, Dad had taken the easy way out and left her and her mother to pick up the pieces. “Trust no one but yourself” was Faye’s mantra. Sadly, she’d forgotten it four years ago when she’d met Rob, and look at what had happened.

Today, her career was on life support and her heart was broken into so many pieces, she doubted it would ever be whole again. Sometimes, the easy way out didn’t look so bad. Maybe she was more like her father than she thought. She’d certainly made a few bad decisions of her own.

About the author:

new picture of meSusanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG
What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one? 

Muses are an interesting breed. Since I’m a pantser, I have to have a muse, otherwise, where would the stories come from? I can’t describe her, but she’s real. She enjoys tormenting me at night—giving me all kinds of great ideas that keep me from sleeping—ideas that disappear when I finally do, and even if I write down some key idea, that doesn’t make sense the next day. But, essentially, she’s kind, and shows up when I need her most. Since a lot of my books are suspense novels, she’s got to be the one with the experience, right?
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life? 

Love can be a scary thing. If you love someone deeply, you have to lay it all out there, and when you do, you can get hurt.  I think in many ways people are afraid to love. As a writer, I torture my characters, make it hard for them to find love because in real life, finding love and keeping it is a struggle. If it comes too easily, it’s not necessarily going to last. We value what we work hard for.

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer? 

Yes, absolutely. No matter what torment my characters undergo, in the end, things will work out for them.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone’s life. If they enjoyed reading one of my books that would be great.

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why? 

William Shakespeare. I’d like to know how he’d feel knowing that those plays he wrote by hand have been immortalized. I’d also ask him why he created two such weak men as Hamlet and Macbeth. Even King Lear was powerless.

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell? 

Solidly in the present at least half the time. Since I write historical romance too, I guess 25% of the time I’m in the past. The other 25 % I’m thinking of the future and planning out what I need to do.
What informs your writing most? 

Not quite sure what you mean by this. If you’re asking about my inspiration, then it’s events in the news. I’ll see an article and research various aspects of it until I find a story notion—that’s where the muse kicks in.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy? 

Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, the world was a smaller place. I might dream globally, but I was firmly rooted at home. That really hasn’t changed. I have lots of friends around the globe now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but I tends to stay in my own corner of the world.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Cheesecake and red wine
Your greatest victory? 

Selling my first novel, Fire Angel. It was a dream come true.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing. 

I had a chance to go to Woodstock in 1969, and I turned it down because I didn’t like the idea of having to sleep in a tent. I was 19.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite? 

Good wins out in the end is the overriding theme. I don’t like to see women diminished or minimized in any way. True love always shines in the end.

Who do you admire and why? 

Nora Roberts. She has always been one of my favorite authors and I aspire to be as good as she is one day.

My daughter, Angela, because she has faced adversity and overcome it. She has four young children, and has raised them on her own while working full time. She’s my hero.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A work in progress for sure—one that gets better all the time.

Thank you for dropping by Susanne and much success with THE WHITE CARNATION.

Tomorrow: Author Raegyn Perry showcases LAVENDER FIELDS and muses her way through the Proustian Questionnaire

RP musing

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THE FUNKHAUSER ROAD SHOW, DAY 4:  HEUER: WHAT KIND OF NAME IS THAT? Mythical Books, http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
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Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
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REALIZING A DREAM: AUTHOR RIVAL GATES

The  Authors Rival GatesMichigan born Ontario raised author Rival Gates has a foot in two countries and two worlds. His first novel, QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of the Sapphire Chronicles, had its genesis in a young man’s dreams, becoming a reality in adulthood as a finished work under the auspices of Solstice Publishing. Rival owes his determination to supportive family members, but the drive to realize the written word is wholly his own. QUEST fuelled an imagination for years, but it has sparked a career that will span many years to come. Welcome, Rival.

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, BOOK 1

Cover2

General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia.  Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere.  He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right.  Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed.  He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murderers find it…or him.  With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds.  To fail would mean death for far more than just him.  The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.

 

Excerpt 1

Linvin was still. He closed his eyes and tried to put aside the events of the day. At last he spoke, “My life makes no sense to me. There I was, growing up with my parents and then out of nowhere my father tells me, ‘I must send you away, son. You are destined for something greater than the life I can provide. The greatness in your future lies down a separate road than I must travel. To prepare for that, I must send you to the greatest teacher you could have, Sedemihcra.’”

“‘You will be trained to be a soldier, a commander and a leader of men. He will also train you to use your mind to solve problems that force alone cannot solve. He will set you on the right path. When the time is right and your training is complete, I will send for you to return home.’”

“I asked him what was at the end of my path. He had such passion in his voice as he told me, ‘One day you will make an unrivaled difference in the lives of others. The weak, the helpless, the oppressed; all will one-day look to you as their champion. They will be counting on you. I will be counting on you.’”

“‘To send you away is the hardest thing I have ever done. Your mother is against this but the time has come for you to begin your training. There is so much at stake, son. You will have the chance to stand up to tyranny, oppression and all the evils of the world. That task will fall to you alone. You can rise to the challenge or turn your back. If you do turn away though, millions of people will suffer. Terrible storms are on the horizon. You are the only shelter the people will have. So you see my son, that is why you must go.’”

Anvar sat his stein on the rail and began to pace. “Your parents agonized over the decision and your mother was indeed set against the entire idea, but in the end, your father would not defer. He sent you away because he knew that you needed training.”

Linvin finished his ale and refilled the great vessel. “I had many years to ponder those words as I grew up in Valia. It never made sense to me but I had to trust my father’s judgment.”

“So here I am at last, summoned home to fulfill my destiny. As it turns out, I am destined to be a merchant or politician and marry some cold, greedy woman who comes from the right family. I will settle down, make more money and be a proper member of society.” Linvin’s tone had been sarcastic and his movements, grandiose.

He approached Anvar in a combination of frustration and anger. “So, dear uncle, best friend of Dirk Grithinshield, is this the life for which my father sent me to be trained?”

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE is on sale on Kindle for .99 and can be bought at  http://amzn.to/1npYd0S 

BIOGRAPHY

Rival Gates Suit Enhanced(2)_peI was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children.  At the age of five my Father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga.  The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.

When I was thirteen, my Father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled.  It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose.  I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire.  My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby.  That irony was part of the attraction for me.  After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire?  Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie.  It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story.  By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.

Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home.  In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow.

I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife.  As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales.  For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book.  I hold my position in the greatest esteem.

While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my Mother, became terminally ill.  She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world.  With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.

When my Father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my Mother was equally proud.  I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, “Quest for the Red Sapphire.”  May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.

Rival Gates

LINKS

Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/

Blog: http://www.rivalgates.com/blog

http://rivalgates.tumblr.com/

Facebook: Author http://on.fb.me/1qqrjiB

Series: https://www.facebook.com/thesapphirechronicles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rivalgates1

Buy Links for “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1npYd0S

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mSIAkT

Purchase “The Sapphire Crucible”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lGfOVN

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1n8o0yN

Goodreads “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

http://bit.ly/1u1DJxN

Goodreads “Sapphire Crucible”

http://bit.ly/ZqUav3

Excerpt 2

Linvin looked into the darkness but only saw the swaying trees in the night’s sky. “That wolf sounded close,” he noted.

“That was no ordinary wolf,” Rander commented.

“What is so unusual about that wolf?” Linvin inquired as he found his bow and arrows.

“Remember those predators I was telling you about before?” Rander asked. “That’s one of them. You can tell from the low howl. Up here, we call them Trogoandras Wolves.”

“What is so special about those wolves?” Anvar asked.

“Well, to start with, they are the size of a full grown human. Their claws can effortlessly cleave flesh from bone. They have powerful jaws that can snap your thigh in two, like a twig. Inside their mouths, are two rows of teeth. The outer set is for tearing and shredding while the inner ones are for grinding.”

“They have been the bane of loggers and farmers.

You see, for all of the creature’s strength and power, Trogoandras have one flaw. Their legs are disproportionately short for their body. Most of the prey out here is long legged and too fast for them to run down, so they hunt in packs. One will mark a target and call for the pack to assemble. Then they will corner the herd they are tracking and attack. They are reasonably intelligent and crafty hunters, few escape the net of death they drop on their victims.”

“With the ax men driving away the herds from these woods, Trogoandras have set to devouring stock and as necessary, people.”

“They attack people?” exclaimed Linvin as he placed an arrow on the string of his bow.

“Sure do,” said Bander. “Lost two friends in the last month to ‘em. Can’t run as fast as deer, ya’ know. Out a control, them Trogos are.”

“I shouldn’t worry for now,” Rander told his cousin. “That was only one Trogoandras we heard. They seldom attack alone and will never come near a campfire without a pack. As long as we keep the fire going through the night, we should not have anything to fear.”

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I have known people who had them and found them instrumental in their art.  It has never been an avenue I have taken as my ideas flow from within.  If you read the lyrics to the Pearl Jam song “Black” you will see the downside when the muse is gone.  I like to look inward for inspiration.

 

Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Often times fiction reflects a writer’s experiences in the world.  There is a huge difference between a person’s capacity to love and the right opportunity to do so.  Love is like a butterfly passing by.  It doesn’t happen often and it is illusive when it is near.  But if you are lucky enough to get your hands on it, you have something special, indeed!

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Most of the time I am a “happy ending writer.”  I think the books and movies with sad or distressing endings are fine, but I rarely want to read or watch them again.  This life throws enough negative things our way.  We seek entertainment to lose ourselves in another story and I think most people want to finish it happy.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

Aside from my writing, I would like to be remembered for the lessons I have taught my children and hopefully for being a good father and husband.

 

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to dine with Marco Polo and hear firsthand about all his wondrous adventures.  

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

My mind is usually looking to the future as I am a compulsive planner.  I reflect on the past and draw inspiration from there but I use that inspiration to plan for the future.

What informs your writing most?

I would have to say my imagination.  I dream up different scenarios I think would be cool and then I find a way to fit them into my work.

Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

It governs my charitable contributions.  For example, hunger is a terrible thing worldwide.  But before I send my money overseas I would rather feed the hungry in my city. 

Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

In a word: Doritos

Your greatest victory?

My greatest victory was publishing my first book.  My father wrote for his whole life and never accomplished that.  So far I have published two with more to come.

Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

There was a girl in college I had asked out the same week I asked out my wife.  It just so happened my wife was available earlier in the week and we went out.  I knew right then that she was the one for me and I cancelled the other date.  The other girl and I stayed friends throughout college.  She went through a slew of really bad boyfriends and at one point asked me to leave my girlfriend (now wife) to be with her.  I couldn’t do that.  So she moved on after graduation and I never heard from her again.

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

One of my favorite themes is if you rush into a situation, it will almost always end badly.  If you think it through, the answer is always there.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire the great artists of the past who were often unappreciated in their time but continued to do what they loved even without all the tools we have at our disposal these days.

Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

Writers are definitely works in progress.  We are like water.  We bend around our surroundings and pick up characteristics of them.  Writers change their styles over time and vary quite a bit on different pieces.

 

Thanks Rival, and best of luck with the series. Rival can be found on Goodreads. Be sure to add him to your MY BOOKS list.

Tomorrow: Educator and incurable romantic Susanne Matthews talks about THE WHITE CARNATION and more http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

new picture of me

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
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LOVIN’ THE VAMPIRE: MARIE LAVENDER

 The Authors Marie LavenderRomance author Marie Lavender takes the chair with a view to SECOND NATURE, the first in her BLOOD AT FIRST SIGHT SERIES. Energetic, prolific and with a love for NOW and dark chocolate (see Proust Questionnaire) she radiates positivity. Maybe vampire relationships can work? Welcome, Marie.

 

SECOND NATURE

SecondNature-final cover

She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

Purchase Links

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/second-nature/

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-nature-marie-lavender/1120879883

CreateSpace link: https://www.createspace.com/5131233 

Book Trailer

http://youtu.be/CaD_-pJ0fE8

Book Excerpt

He chuckled. “You’re amusing, Desiree. I knew I liked you the moment I saw you, as soon as I heard your voice.”

The blood drained from her face. Oh my God. He had been that close when he was stalking her? That was eerie. She thought back to the festival and remembered that feeling of being watched. Natalie had brushed it off, but Desiree had sensed something was wrong. “What if … I had seen you?” she managed weakly.

“You didn’t.”

“But what if I had? Would you have given up your pursuit of me? Would you have lost interest?”

“No.”

“But why?”

“You don’t see your appeal at all, do you?”

She went silent. She honestly didn’t know what to say.

They entered a garage, or at least that’s what she thought it was. He turned the car off and got out. When he opened the passenger side, he caught her foot just in time before she nailed him.

His eyes narrowed. “Play nice, sweetheart. I don’t have to be easy on you.”

“You’ve certainly proven that already.”

“You haven’t seen anything yet.” He grasped her body and jerked her out of the seat.

With the bright lights of the garage over them, she had a better look at him now. Alec was very tall, with wide shoulders and defined muscles that she could see through his black tee shirt. He had black hair that sprung over his head in spiky layers. His eyes were dark, almost without color, with such a hypnotic quality to them that she had to blink. He towered over her and the hard look in his eyes didn’t help any.

She shivered. But, that was his intention, wasn’t it? To keep her off-balanced and afraid? “You’re doing this because I know too much,” she said as she stood before him, even though she was still bound. She firmed her lips for a moment. “Take me back now and I won’t say a word to anyone. I swear. This never happened.”

Author Bio

Mariepic2Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released last April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your ReturnMagick & MoonlightUpon Your HonorSecond Nature

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to GetMemoriesA Hint of ScandalWithout YouStrange HeatTerror in the NightHauntedPursuitPerfect GameA Touch of DawnRansomLeather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other RamblingsRamblings, Musings and Other ThingsSoulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Author Links
http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://amazon.com/author/marielavender
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.”–Ana Alas

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

Life is my muse. I think that as writers, or at least for myself, we go through experiences, garner knowledge and store it. All of that jumble in our consciousness simmers for awhile and then the muse spits it back out into random ideas, seeds that have the potential to be so much more, stories to be told.


Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

It is true that as people, we could probably be kinder, love all human beings more and respect them. We are all human, capable of numerous flaws, with the ability to make mistakes or turn it around and make things right, to carve out a piece of happiness for ourselves. The truth is that those decisions are up to us, and how we look at life within our power. That outlook can color our beliefs in ourselves, and in love. Are people starved for love? Perhaps they are, yet I imagine a lot of their avoidance of love has to do with trust, trust in themselves and other people. Breaking through those barriers is key to finding a deeper understanding of others and opening ourselves up to love.

I think a character is three-dimensional when you give them the ability to love, show them living it on the page and yet still portray the endless array of human emotions in the story. As for seeing starved characters in fiction, if I read a book and I find a character isn’t fully developed, I still see great potential. The author has the opportunity to bring that character to fruition, to delve deeper, to get to the core of the character and discover their hard truths, however heartbreaking and wonderful.

And perhaps the reason why the character is starved is also about trust. It takes a great deal of trust for a writer to relinquish some of their power in order to let a character step into the story and shine in his or her glory. It takes courage to resist the urge to direct everything. As writers, we think we’re in control, but we’re not, not really. We’re along for the ride on this crazy journey of character development. Once a writer starts to truly listen to a character and the story that needs to be told rather than the one he thinks “should” be told, he will never be lost again.


Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

I am a firm believer in happy endings, or at least a hint of them. I love reading and writing romance novels, and those usually require an HEA.


What would you like to be remembered for?

I just hope that I have made an impact with my books, that a character will have touched a reader to the point that they will remember him/her for years to come.


If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d like to have dinner with Jane Austen. I think she would be quite fascinating to see in person. Based on her prolific books and from what I know about her history, she had great talent and a quick wittedness that I think would lend itself to good dinner conversation.


Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

While I do think of my goals for future, I am mainly in the present with occasional thoughts about my past.

What informs your writing most?

Meeting new people, having new experiences and learning as much as I possibly can about different subjects helps to shape my writing.


Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

Of course. I have definitely considered volunteering for charities. I already donate to several. But, I think the best thing we can do to honor this philosophy is to lend a helping hand however we can. For now, my efforts are virtual as I offer guest slots on several of my blogs and I try to help my fellow authors out whenever possible. Locally, we can do more by helping out in our own cities. Even just doing a favor for your neighbor or helping a stranger out now and then is a good start.


Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

One word…well, all right, it’s two.  Dark chocolate.

Your greatest victory?

Probably getting my first book contract. I can’t even describe how exhilarated I felt when I read that email for the first time, and found out a publisher wanted to publish Upon Your Return.


Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

In a past life, I had briefly entertained being a music performer. Fate did not see fit to have that happen, and I think I’m better for it because writing is my true calling.


What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

Some themes are love, honor, survivalism, the importance of family, strength and hope. I think I tend to write a lot about strong characters who endured some major traumas in life, and how they rose from the ashes to attain their goals. So, the survivalist theme resonates for several characters.


Who do you admire and why?

I admire my fiancé for his beliefs, and the way he pursues his dreams fearlessly. I am so proud of him.


Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

Whether you’re born with ability to write or you learn it somewhere along the way, I believe we all have room for improvement. We should seek to better ourselves, to develop our skills and cater to our writing careers the way you’d groom yourself for any other career. So, yes, we are, in a sense, still works in progress.

Thank you Marie Lavender for taking care of my site today. Be sure and include Marie on your authors to read list!

Rival Gates Suit Enhanced(2)_peTomorrow: Rival Gates, Author of QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of The Sapphire Chronicles. http://www.rivalgates.com/

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Heuer Lost and Found Banner 540 x 200

DAY 2: FUNKHAUSER GETS BEHIND THE SPIRIT OF HEUER ON Author Rachael Stapleton’s The Mysterious Ink Spot, http://rachaelstapleton.blogspot.ca/

TAKING CHARGE: AUTHOR JOHN DEBOER

The Authors John DeBoerThe page welcomes John DeBoer, our first guest in a spotlight series that will cover the site in tandem with the Blog Tour. Today, John offers up two selections from his authorial archive and boldly tries on the site’s Proustian questionnaire. Eureka! Thank you, John.

THE BOOKS…

Get the Picture

Get the pictureJack Lansing, M.D. is a widower who’s now ready to get on with his life when a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman changes everything – but not in the way he hopes. After a one-night tryst with the enticing vixen, the unsuspecting surgeon finds himself the target of a powerful U.S. senator, organized crime, and a figure from his past he’d long forgotten – all because he succumbs to the charms of a woman he can’t resist, despite the predicament she has put him in. Beginning in Jack’s once-peaceful beach town, a deadly game of sex, money, and retribution plays out to a thrilling conclusion.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of FlatteryFormer surgeon Jack Lansing, M.D. has become a bestselling mystery writer. At a book-signing event he meets an old colleague who, unbeknownst to Jack, has carried a grudge against him for thirty years. Then murders start popping up in and around Jack’s peaceful beach town – murders that mimic the plots in his books and make him a suspect. Jack must convince the police and the FBI of his innocence while trying to solve the mystery himself. Because, realizes, he and his wife could be the killer’s final victims. It is a chilling tale of twists and turns worthy of Jack’s imagination. But this time he doesn’t know how it will end.

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

Q: What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

A: I hesitate to invoke Greek mythology to explain what overcomes my “thinking blocks,” but perhaps there is a Muse-like feature we all carry in our brains. All I know is that when stuck thinking of an idea for my next book, or trying to figure out what my character will do next in the one I’m working on, I always manage, though it might take days or even weeks, to have that Eureka! moment. So far.

Q: Characters have a great capacity for love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and real life?

A: Love makes the world go around, as they say. Some have it, others don’t but want it. It’s the human condition. I’ve written novels in which the journey to attain love is part and parcel of the story, but in other novels of mine, an abiding love is already present and provides the foundation, the support, for the protagonist’s struggle with conflict. So I don’t think a character, or a real person, for that matter, needs to be always searching for it.

Q: Without giving specifics, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

A: Yup. That’s me. My story conflicts all get resolved in favor of the good guys.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: Irrespective of career accomplishments, I’d like to be remembered as a good person.

Q: If you could dine with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A:  I’d like to have dinner with Yogi Berra. His unintentional wit has always amused me, and he seems like a genuinely funny guy. I think our senses of humor are compatible. And I love Italian food!

Q: Past, present, or future? Where does your mind dwell?

A: Well, I have a long past, the results of which, especially my family growing up and aging, I continue to see in the present. And this naturally leads to musings about what the future has in store for them. I suppose I dwell in the present – have to write and promote those books! – but I can’t escape thinking of what preceded the now and what lies ahead.

Q: What informs your writing most?

A: Reading . I’m a voracious reader of books in my genre, and seeing what works in them and what doesn’t makes me a better writer for it.

Q: Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

A: I assume this question is meant to inquire whether global events affect what I do in my home town. Two of my novels – one published, the other being written – have international aspects, and attendant author points of view, but other than that, I don’t think I’m in the position to respond in a meaningful way to foreign situations. All I can do is use the power of persuasion to sway votes for those who do have the power to effect change in the world for the good.

Q: Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

A: Junk food. Not the sugary, dessert-like goodies, but those other snacks that go very nicely with an adult beverage. I’ve never met a chip I didn’t like!

Q: Your greatest victory?

A: Getting my wife to marry me!

Q: Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place, or thing.

A: Linda Anderson. I was smitten with her in junior high school. Alas, it was unrequited puppy love, and I never got the chance to see if it would bloom, because my family moved away, and I never saw her again. Are you still out there, Linda?

Q: What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

A: I try to have different themes in my novels, but the overriding driver in my stories is what is common to all thrillers – the triumph of the good guys against sinister forces.

Q: Who do you admire and why?

A:  Professionally speaking, I, of course, admire the stars of my genre – DeMille, Connelly, Iles, Crais, Child, etc. But I don’t know them as people; I’m not even on their Christmas card lists. The one person I admire the most, and forgive me for getting a little mushy here, is my wife. Not only has she put up with me all these years, her constant effort to do the right thing and her innate ability to put all those she meets at ease, not to mention her work ethic, are what I find most admirable.

Q: Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A: Ha! I can only speak for myself, but my experiences with other writers, and learning about the early struggles of those writers now at the top of their profession, leads me to the conclusion that we’re all works in progress!

THE BIOGRAPHY

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed a surgical residency in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer.

When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, films and film history,  politics, and the amazing cosmos.  Though he’s an avid tennis player, his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.

 LINKS

http://www.amazon.ca/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530507&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.ca/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1429530586&sr=1-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

Thanks for taking the chair, John. Tomorrow: Romance author Marie Lavender talks SECOND NATURE, BLOOD AT FIRST SIGHT, Book 1 in a series. 

Mariepic2

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Heuer Lost and Found Banner 540 x 200DAY 1: FUNKHAUSER TALKS SOME NON FICTION http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

Radio Funkhauser, Part Deux

The nascent author discusses funeral parloring, Six Feet Under, lasting friendships and never looking back in part 2 of her first ever radio interview for 102.7 FM Whistle Radio Stouffville. Woot! Woot!

FIRST RADIO INTERVIEW

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a faraway galaxy, I worked in politics. It was an amazing world peopled with amazing speech makers, luminescent scribes, and ambitious policy makers jostling to get the words out.

Which is why there’s a little thing called ‘media training’. Broadly defined, media training encompasses everything from elocution to breathing to physical deportment. Perspiration was a “no, no” — Richard Nixon debating Kennedy back in ’60 cemented that — as was the exclamatory pause “um”. Um was anathema, and as I watched politicians prep from debates, I picked up a thing or two…

Good thing, because it’s my turn now. Last month, I talked up HEUER LOST AND FOUND with Charlene Jones on 102.7 FM Whistle Radio Stoufville. It was a privilege to have been given the opportunity.

“Don’t say “um,” I kept saying to myself, “for cryin’ out loud DON’T.” And I didn’t, thank gawd.

Scheduled to air March 24, I just had to share a “sneak peek”.

The Interview

HEUER LOST AND FOUND available April 23, 2015. Advance orders begin March 26 at Amazon.com.

solstice publishing

Chatting it up with Marissa Campbell and friends at the author’s cover reveal party on Facebook

From Author Marissa Campbell’s awesome COVER COUNTDOWN PARTY Live on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/1578724672368510/


Marissa Campbell
 with A.b. Funkhauser

Please give it up for our next guest author, A.b. Funkhauser!

A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, fiction writer 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.

A.b. Funkhauser Here I am. Hello!Twitter headshot

A.b. Funkhauser Is it wrong to like my picture?

Marissa Campbell lol I think it’s a great picture! Go for it!

A.b. Funkhauser I’ll take the thumbs up as a yes.

A.b. Funkhauser I love the top. I bought it years ago at the Canadian National Exhibition for real cheap.

Marissa Campbell lol, I have to share your trailer for your new book Heuer Lost and Found!

Monique Nadeau Massabki Funeral director stories…I’m in.

Marissa Campbell Tell us a little about this wicked book!

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you. I’ve been watching the trailer obsessively to boost the counter.

Marissa Campbell Hahaha

A.b. Funkhauser Funeral director stories always attract interest. The ones I’ve read are mostly memoir, which is really brave for the authors that penned them.

Marissa Campbell What makes yours different?

A.b. Funkhauser Oh my god Marissa. Do you have a couch? The book was born out of a grief journal.

Margaret Madigan First, it’s always good to like your own pix. I always hate mine, so I’m happy when others like theirs. Second–bahahahaha! Only the lamp knows!!!

Christine Haase Just watched the trailer! Looks awesome!

A.b. Funkhauser Mine is a fiction with lots of dark humor. You have to laugh in grief or you stay in the pit.

Monique Nadeau Massabki I worked in funeral service for twelve years and I’m married to a funeral director…we’re all demented.

A.b. Funkhauser We’re always critical of own looks Margaret Madigan. You’re beautiful.

Wren Michaels I don’t think I’ve read a funeral director story. I’m intrigued…

A.b. Funkhauser I had a great time making the trailer Christine. The back door you see is from the funeral parlor I used to work at. I fell down those stairs a few times.

Wren Michaels I keep telling Margaret that but she never believes me. She’s beautiful!

Marissa Campbell A little about her book:

What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. “Ever closer, ever farther, I will see you again one day, in the good place.”…See More

Wren Michaels The only funeral director story I know is My Girl and I loved that movie.

A.b. Funkhauser I know that if I don’t break from it every three months or so, I feel like breaking. That’s the work.

Margaret Madigan Funeral directors and the funeral industry is severely underrepresented in fiction…

Wren Michaels Wow I’m so in on this story. Sounds like quite a ride!!

A.b. Funkhauser I was also told at school to leave the work at the door. We all try to. Leave it at the door when we go home. But then, that’s when I started writing.

Monique Nadeau Massabki It’s almost impossible to leave that work at the door. However, I know that it’s great fodder for writing.

A.b. Funkhauser I think we’re underrepresented because of our mandate. We are tasked to protect our families–the deceased and the survivors. I chose fiction so that no one would ever think that I was writing about a real family. It’s important that everyone understand that first and foremost.

Marissa Campbell So, tell us a bit about Enid and Heuer.

Wren Michaels Writing is therapy.

A.b. Funkhauser Lol Monique. My husband and the majority of my friends are outside the business so that makes it a little easier for me. You on the other hand have it right next to you! xo

A.b. Funkhauser Enid and Heuer are wunnerful. Flawed, anxious, neurotic, selfish

A.b. Funkhauser It takes them forever to tell the truth.

A.b. Funkhauser The trouble is in parsing out what’s real and what isn’t How things were, how they are remembered and how they’ll be represented in future.

A.b. Funkhauser Enid and Heuer each have different recollections of the past. What is true, in the end, doesn’t matter at all.

Marissa Campbell Unreliable narrators … very awesome!

A.b. Funkhauser Well Marissa Campbell I was trying to keep it as true as possible. I’m turning 50 next week so thinking back 30 years is challenging.

A.b. Funkhauser My own life recollections are unreliable now.

Alison Cronyn-Murphy Sounds intriguing.

A.b. Funkhauser Intrigue is a part of it to be sure. There are paranormal elements and things that are outright whimisical. I have a rat character for example. He speaks Latin and is immensely charming.

Marissa Campbell Rat is very charming!

Marissa Campbell Where do you mine your ideas from?

Wren Michaels Happy early birthday!

A.b. Funkhauser There is a rich oral history in the business that is communicated from old timers to youngsters. I’m somewhere in the middle now. The stories I hear go back to the 1930s. Embalming without electricty (I did it once with a bulb syringe–tough on the hands) Amazing stuff. I want to tell these stories.

A.b. Funkhauser Thanks, Wren Michaels Being older has been key to my writing. I tried in my 20s, but it was awful stuff. I needed to live.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Hey, a.b., how’s it going? Have I joined the party?

Marissa Campbell You certaninly have, Margaret!

A.b. Funkhauser I also needed miles in order to unpack my own personal tropes. Nostalgia as harmful is a big one with me. Go back by all means, but don’t stay too long.

A.b. Funkhauser Hi Margaret MacKay Hefferman Everyone, meet Margaret. She’s a book trailer genius.

A.b. Funkhauser I keep hitting the “refresh button.” I’m paranoid about missing comments.

Marissa Campbell What do you admire in Enid. What intrigues you about Heuer?

Monique Nadeau Massabki What are you drafting now, a.b.?

A.b. Funkhauser Who is Enid? She is a boozy funeral director, married with kids on the cusp of the change. Eeks. She wears man shoes to do her job and she has the whiskers to match

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Ah, shucks, t’weren’t nothin’.

A.b. Funkhauser HEUER is part of a series titled “Unapologetic Lives” I’m working on the fourth novel right now: POOR UNDERTAKER. It runs from 1947 to 1975.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Isn’t a.b.’s book trailer great. You can see it on youtube if you haven’t seen it already. and don’t forget to like it as that will get more people to watch. The book trailer course was fantastic.

A.b. Funkhauser Heuer? That’s easy Marissa Campbell I’m intrigued because I’m in love with him. But the love is a guilty one. He is an anti hero in every sense. He likes deep fryers, longer hunting seasons, and hasn’t seen a vegetable in years. When he dies and reemer…See More

Marissa Campbell The trailer is fantastic Margaret! As is the book! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the one and reading the other

Monique Nadeau Massabki Brilliant! Not just one novel about undertakers but an entire series. I have several (too many?) funeral director friends who will like this.

A.b. Funkhauser With Enid, there is a lot not to like. There may be times when you want to lock her in a closet. But I hope you understand her.

A.b. Funkhauser She and Heuer were lovers back in the 80s and it didn’t end well. Then one day, she comes into work, hungover, and sees his name on the chalk board. Her manager Charlie throws her the keys. She must go to the coroner’s office and get him. She is expected to embalm him too. That’s hard. It’s unthinkable.

A.b. Funkhauser Thanks Monique. Characters come and go. But the building remains. At one point it is sold. It becomes a Euro Style resto bar and grille.

Marissa Campbell It’s heartwrenching and tragic just reading it!

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Will this be a series?.

Marissa Campbell Do you use your reliable memory for visuals or do you seek out pinterest or movies or the internet to ‘create’ the visage of your characters?

A.b. Funkhauser What is love? They break up, yet when he dies, he comes back to her. I know some embalmers (not many) who have “cared” for their parents. For them, it is an ultimate act of love. I could never do that. But I wondered what that would feel like, and so, Heuer was born.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Will Heuer remain as a character or will there be other dead characters. A.b. Funkhauser

Wren Michaels I love pnr books and this is a totally intriguing storyline out of the ordinary pnr style. Soundstage awesome.

A.b. Funkhauser I cast the “movie” in my head. I saw Leo DiCaprio at his various ages. But for voice and personalities, the characters are all composites of people I’ve known, or people I wanted to know. My friend Scooter believes he is Heuer. He isn’t. There is actually some of me in there.

Wren Michaels Darn you autocorrect!!!

A.b. Funkhauser Heuer returns Margaret MacKay Hefferman in book three: THE HEUER EFFECT. It’s 1980 and they’re alive and vital and young, doing terrible things to each other. And yes, Marissa Campbell it’s a little bit dirty.

Marissa Campbell lol your spelling doesn’t have to be perfect to earn you an entry Wren Michaels lol

A.b. Funkhauser Oh no Wren Michaels Slow down.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman What’s book 2 about?

Marissa Campbell lol A.b. Funkauser, I hadn’t even asked if it was dirty yet … how did you know?

Christine Haase How do you pronounce Heuer?

Wren Michaels I have a severe love/hate relationship with my smartphone

A.b. Funkhauser Book Two is called SCOOTER NATION. It takes place two years after Heuer Lost and Found. It’s the same gang at the parlor with a few notable exceptions. Essentially, they are part of a business community terrorized by a local gang of scooter bound octogenerians. The funeral home aligns with local businesses in self defense.

Robin Eastcott The book sounds fascinating — possible book club selection

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you Christine Haase for the million dollar question: Heuer, as in lawyer. Heuer the lawyer. And he was.

Monique Nadeau Massabki Bad ass scooter bikers. Brilliant!

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you Robin. My head is swelling…

Dawna Lovejoy Oh wow! What an intriguing story line.

A.b. Funkhauser Alma Wurtz and Edna Pounder can take out the nimblest. Those scooters boot at quite a clip.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman do you have a release date yet?

A.b. Funkhauser I actually snuck in a bathroom break *yay*

A.b. Funkhauser Yes! Releasing April 23, 2015 through Amazon andwww.solsticepublishing.com Both ebook and paperback. Presales begin March 26. I’ve got a lot of book selling to do. Whew!

Margaret MacKay Hefferman woohoo…only a few weeks to go. Will you have a launch party?

A.b. Funkhauser I have a blog too www.abfunkhauser.com

A.b. Funkhauser That has been a hoot and a holler too. I didn’t know I liked blogging until I tried it.

Marissa Campbell Rachael is up at 5:00pm EST

Dawna Lovejoy I’ve been told i should start a blog. How do you manage yours? Like do you have any problems with remembering to update it?

A.b. Funkhauser I’m definitely going to have a launch party at some point. You bet. I’m also going to have a FB event too. Marissa Campbell is an inspiration. I’m going to copy her idea.

Marissa Campbell A.b. Funkauser has offered an ADVANCED pdf version of her book Heuer Lost and Found … who wants it??

Monique Nadeau Massabki Thank you for sharing with us, A.B. You’re an inspiration.Marissa Campbell

A.b. Funkhauser HI Dawna. With the blog, I just jump in, but I only write when I feel the muse. I don’t have a theme per se. One day, I’m on about Leonard Nimoy, the next it’s my trip to the flea market. I refuse to put pressure on myself. It has to be fun, and it is.

Marissa Campbell Last minute to comment ….

Christine Haase Who are some of your favorite authors?

Dawna Lovejoy Thank you.

Monique Nadeau Massabki Who doesn’t want her book???!!

A.b. Funkhauser Kurt Vonnegut, Dr. Seuss, Saul Bellow, Marissa Campell,Wren Michaels and everybody here. You guys are great! xo

Dawna Lovejoy Want want

A.b. Funkhauser And I watch a lot of TV. TV is my university. xoxoxoxoxo

Margaret Madigan Me too! Lots of TV.

A.b. Funkhauser My head is ballooning. Thanks for having me Marissa Campbell You da best, sista.

A.b. Funkhauser I watch GIRLS and Doctor Who. I love The Affair, The Knick.

Marissa Campbell Drum Roll …

A.b. Funkhauser House of Cards and House of Lies work for me too. And yes, I own Six Feet Under, the box set.

Marissa Campbell DAWN LOVEJOY! You just won yourself a sneak peek!

Wren Michaels A.b. Funkhauser is awesome. Get this book!

Dawna Lovejoy Oh wow!!!! Thank you.

Marissa Campbell Send A.b. Funkhauser a private message! Give her your email and she’ll set you up! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004110336663

Wren Michaels YAY Dawna Lovejoy you won!

A.b. Funkhauser Hey, Dawna!

Rachael Stapleton I’ve had the privilege of reading this book and it is amazing! Everything A.b. Funkhauser writes is gold!

Marissa Campbell For more on our wonderful guest … check out her blog, like her page, give her some author love!

www.abfunkhauser.comSee More

  1. B. Funkhauser, Author

Celebrating the publishing journey.

ABFUNKHAUSER.COM

Marissa Campbell Thanks so much A.b. Funkauser for coming out to play! xoxo

A.b. Funkhauser Love all. Time for more COFFEE……

A.b. Funkhauser I’ll be right back. xo

Rachael Stapleton I believe i’m on at 5 PM. I’m just driving home from the gym so fingers crossed. Otherwise I may need to pull over.

Patricia Anne Pierce-garcia Schaack From what I’ve read, your book sounds amazing. It’s on my reading list.

Nicki Lou Welcome!! It’s really interesting to here a bit of the story behind the author

Alison Cronyn-Murphy Definitely on my reading list. I am excited about the paranormal elements.

The COUNTDOWN PARTY CONTINUES UNTIL 8 PM EST SUNDAY, MARCH 8. Visit Marissa’s page and chat with other authors about their published works and works in progress. 😀

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.