Here at last!
"MURDER ON THE MULLET EXPRESS is an action-packed crime caper set during the Florida Land Boom, as bootleggers, mobsters and grifters galore feed on the dreams of sun-seekers. Teddy and Cornelia, well-nigh unshockable after their WWI tours of nursing duty, are at full stretch as it is - wrangling their eccentric Uncle Percy, when a murder hijacks their trip and throws them in at the deep end. Truly original and tremendous fun with a big heart. Make that two big hearts."
Enter now for a chance to win a free copy of our newest novel!
I bet some of you (okay, a few of you) were wondering about this. Sorry we didn't post earlier; we've been up to our neck in alligators (mostly figurative) this summer.
We need submissions for our annual collection of funny paranormal stories. Story must be funny (if it ends sadly with no hilarity, it's not for this anthology) and have supernatural/paranormal elements. Previous published stories include a murder in a halfway house for the undead, a Shriner who becomes a weregoat, and a therapist who wants the monster in the closet to come out.
Story length should be 2000-6000 words. If you sub something longer than that, it'd better be really funny. Our submission window is October 1st-November 30th, 2016. Please do not sub sooner because there's a 90% chance it won't get read till October anyway and could get buried under other emails. Publication of SF4 should be in spring 2017 (note the use of 'should' here).
For info on guidelines and payment, please go to our Guidelines and Payment page. Please look at the guidelines if this is your first time submitting to us. It makes our lives easier.
What would you like people to know about you?
Well, I’m a Sagittarius. So I’m half human and half horse. Guess which half is which?
When did you begin writing?
I began writing in elementary school, where the nuns at St. Stephens inspired me to write such prose as "See Dick run" almost daily. It was actually during those days that I first remember enjoying literature. As I learned to read I immediately was drawn to books on monsters, ghosts, unexplained phenomenon and animals. I would read these books and then write my own versions of the stories. I would read these books and then write my own versions of the stories. They were terrible rip-offs of the originals but eventually they made me want to create my own stories that people would
get excited for.
How did you get the idea for your story in Strangely Funny III?
I had written a list of story ideas for children that would never get published. For example: What to do When your Imaginary Friend Goes into Rehab, My First Prostitute and The Jungle Juice Book. But the one that I knew I could possibly get published (not for children) with a little finesse was, The Monster That Wouldn’t Come Out of the Closet. And with just a throw-away title, a story baby was born.
Is there a genre you haven't written in, but would like to?
Chick-lit. I love writing dialog and women talk a lot! Sorry, ladies we do; me included. It would be great just to let loose on each character. But knowing me, they’d end up at the mall and a huge creature would rise up from the pretzel dough at Aunt Anne’s and attack everyone. Which would bring me back to the horror genre anyway. So never mind.
Who are your current favorite authors? What do you enjoy about them?
I love reading Indie authors. They have such wonderful ideas and craft stories so much better than some of the well-known authors who write because they have to write, not because they choose to write. Independent authors write because they love to write and their ideas are fresh.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a book with President Obama about his monster that he hides under the desk in the Oval Office. He doesn't know it yet. Damn Secret Service keeps yanking me out of the trees.
What is your favorite writing snack food/drink?
Air. Butter flavored air.
Thank you for sharing your craziness with us!
You can read Ruschelle's story, "Quasi-Therapy" and other amusing tales in Strangely Funny III, now on Amazon.
M&H: What would you like people to know about you?
DF: I like to travel. I’ve visited all but two U.S. states (N. Dakota & Alaska), Puerto Rico, and 20 foreign countries including China.
I’m currently retired, living in Connecticut and enjoying my second career as an author. I’ve been married for 48 years to my wonderful wife Tere. We have three daughters, and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 7 months to 20 years.
M&H: When did you begin writing?
DF: It seems like I’ve always been writing something, but I didn’t start writing professionally until I retired. I found it impossible to switch from the highly technical writing I did during my day job to writing fiction in my off time.
M&H: How did you get the idea for your story in Strangely Funny III?
DF: By getting old. Every year I get junk mail from AARP inviting me to join. In it, they always expound on the joys of being a senior. The reality is, along with the good things that come with age, so do the aches and pains of an aging body. I thought it might be fun to poke a little fun at both of them.
M&H: Is there a genre you haven't written in, but would like to?
DF: Epic Fantasy. I wrote one short story, "Sang Ku’s Dilemma", in this genre. Sang Ku is an assassin living in a world of sword and sorcery. I’ve always thought of going back and exploring Sang’s life and his world.
M&H: Who are your current favorite authors? What do you enjoy about them?
DF: Steven King, of course, because he’s a great story teller. I have a problem with some of his endings, but I can give him that. Currently I really like the work of James A. Moore, both his horror and epic fantasy. His Seven Forges series is outstanding. Others include Elizabeth Massie, Jack Ketchum, Rick Hautala, and a host of others.
In the past few years I’ve pretty much stopped reading the big names and have started reading the work of writers I’ve met through conventions and my own writing. I’ve found that there’s a whole list of great writers out there that most people have never heard of.
M&H: What are you working on next?
DF: That’s complicated. After a year of publishing nothing but short stories and one novella, I have three novels coming out in a two month period. Abandoned is coming out in June from Books and Boos Press, Reunion is coming out in late June or early July from Grinning Skull Press, and Wolf’s Tale should be out in July from NECON ebooks. Of the three, Abandoned contains the most humor, but you need a nasty sense of humor to appreciate it.
My current work in progress is another novella tentatively titled Gypsey. I had intended it to be another novel, but it's moving along way too fast. I think it will finish up at around 40,000 words.
M&H: What is your favorite writing snack food/drink?
DF: I really don’t eat while I’m writing, but I LOVE pizza. I can eat that any time. My favorite is pepperoni and black olives. As for a drink, Green Mountain hazelnut decaf coffee, or seltzer, preferably lime. Oh, yeah, and Mexican. I love Mexican.
Strangely Funny III is now available on Kindle. Print version to follow.
I am pleased to announce that Strangely Funny III is now on Kindle. It presents nineteen stories from talented authors, and I would like to introduce you to one of them.
Nathan Cromwell is the author of "The Tortured Teen." Rather than being interviewed by us, Marla, one of the characters from “The Tortured Teen”, expressed her desire to talk with the author about the story.
Marla: You don’t like me very much, do you?
Cromwell: You’re a bit of a pain, but I’m sure you’ll grow out of it.
Marla: You have me already dead in the very first paragraph!
Cromwell: . . .
Marla: (After a half-hour awkward silence) What’s up with the picture?
Cromwell: That was a gift from my niece, Mikaela. It’s a statuette of me with a peacock on my head.
Cromwell: I don’t know.
Marla: Okay. So, how did you come up with the story?
Cromwell: I was sitting in a coffee shop trying to think of something interesting to write for this anthology. I had started watching a documentary on string theory the night before, and I had recently read Oscar Wilde’s The Ghost of Canterville, so I decided to mix an old-fashioned ghost with modern physics.
M: Do your stories just come to you?
C: Sometimes I do write straight through, but mostly I jot down ideas until my muse takes a bathroom break. Then I’ll start arranging my notes into clumps and decide the best plan of attack. Once I’ve got the architecture, I start fleshing out and filling in gaps, and either throwing out or saving things that don’t fit.
Marla: Some authors talk to their characters. Do you?
Cromwell: I never have conversations with my characters.
Marla: Speaking of your characters, how did you come to put me in Atlanta instead of somewhere more goth-friendly, like New Orleans?
Cromwell: I used to live there, and I left about the time they were tearing down homes in the shabbier part to prepare for the Olympics. Since I wanted a ghost haunting a brand-new house, that came to mind.
M: A lot of authors, myself included—did you know I write heart-rending poetry?—get inspired to write by reading a story and saying to themselves: “I can do better than that.” Do you feel proud that you will inspire so many future writers?
C: I’m not some hack! I put a lot of effort and thought into my stories.
M: You know, after all that work, it’s unbearably sad that no one will read or even remember this story fifty years after you’re dead.
C: (As a pleased smile blossoms on Marla’s lips) That’s not—maybe this—you never kno—oh, shut up!
M: And if by some miracle people are still reading it, you’ll be dead but I, the dead girl, will live on in your story. Isn’t that neat?
M: Thank you, Mr. Cromwell. I enjoyed our interview. More than you know.
Nathan Cromwell is a living, breathing, swearing teleprompter for the human race, and he does some of his best work on public transport. A military brat, he is from no one place. He did hover in Indiana long enough to earn a BA in English which he has never used for any job ever unless you count this. He has worked in the retail, security, and fitness industries and has acquired all the concomitant bitterness they offer. That hard-won fruit he passes on to you in his stories.
Many of his stories are online, and you can find links to them at nathancromwell.wordpress.com.
Update: Thunderclap has launched. Thank you all!
Presenting the cover for Strangely Funny III, envisioned by the talented Gary Piserchio. Follow this page for updates on the fourth book in the Strangely Funny series, featuring stories from Daniel Hale, David Bernard, Kevin Wetmore, and Elizabeth Barden.
How did you come up with the idea for "Alien Dust"?
I came up with the idea for the story as I was trying to figure out how a person would stop a vampire with modern technology. The Dustbuster (TM) just jumped into mind, and I laughed my head off. However, it wasn't that funny with humans; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural have pretty much worn the shine off of the idea. But aliens! Who have never seen a vampire! Area 51 meets Dracula, it was too good!
How do you handle the challenges to your writing time? You seem to live with a crowd of people and animals.
Challenges to my writing time occurred while the kids were growing up. Now that they're adults, it's easier to find the time to myself.
Do you see writing as an eventual career for you, or a sideline?
I always wanted to be a writer as a career. But look around. Less than 100 people make a living off of writing, and I am nowhere near the quality to manage that. So I kept my day job.
Do you have hobbies? If so, do they influence your writing?
My hobbies are gardening, taking care of the critters, and walking. I fit anything else in as there is time (and energy). And yes, they always influence my writing.
What is your next project?
My next project is to finish one of the list of stories I have the kernel of an idea for (I have the list written, now I need to point my finger at whichever one draws my interest). I'm thinking dice would be a better way to decide which story is next.
Mystery and Horror, LLC, is an indie press interested in what the name suggests.
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