My Kind Of Ghost Story

It’s been a while since I did any recommendations on this blog, but I have run across a series that I am really enjoying.  It’s also kind of topical, since it’s almost Halloween and this series is about a ghost.

Pascha Lerchenberg is Cologne, Germany’s top car thief. Unfortunately, he’s also recently deceased.  Martin Gänsewein is a brilliant, methodical medical examiner.

Pascha’s problem is that his homicide has been judged an accident and all of his ex-friends will think he died from drunkenly falling off a railway overpass.  Martin’s problem is that he is the only living person that Pascha can communicate with, and if he is going to get any peace from the foul-mouthed and determined ghost he’s going to have to find some way to prove that Pascha’s death was murder and bring the killer to justice.

Their story is told in Morgue Drawer Four, by Jutta Profijt.  The original novel is written in German, and translated by Erik J. Macki.  I have been listening to the series on audiobook, read by MacLeod Andrews, who does a wonderful job of bringing Pascha to… uh, life, as it were.

The series continues with Morgue Drawer Next Door, Morgue Drawer For Rent (which I am currently listening to) and Morgue Drawer: Do Not Enter, which is scheduled for release on November 4th of this year.

I’d call the series Paranormal Comedy Mystery, and I think it works in all three genres.  The physics of the ghosts is well thought out and consistent.  The Odd Couple chemistry of Pascha and Martin is witty, often laugh out loud funny.  The mysteries are solidly plotted, not too obvious, but logical.

All in all, highly recommended.

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A Slice Of Gingerbread

[I wanted to share a small section of Gingerbread Wolves, just to prove that I really am working on it.]

What do think about this? I asked Catskinner in my head.

For answer he used my mouth to speak out loud.

you will have your war, sister.

‟Not my war, brother,” Agony said sharply. ‟The war is not my choice, but it will come at a time and a place of my choosing.”

you have called down deep heaven on your head,” Catskinner countered.

‟Deep heaven must fall with or without me. Earth must not belong to the gods,” Agony’s voice was resolute.

must it belong to you instead?” Catskinner asked.

‟To us, brother,” Agony smiled warmly, ‟And only for a time. One mortal lifetime in our hands against the breaking of the chains that bind her.”

should we survive, of course,” I could feel Catskinner’s feral grin on my face, ‟the legions of the vasty night are arrayed against you.

‟I’ve legions of my own,” Agony was still smiling.

Catskinner didn’t seem to have anything to say to that. I did, so I took my voice back.

‟This is all just a big game to you, isn’t it?” I asked.

She took the question seriously. ‟Of course it’s a game, James. A game I intend to win. Why does that bother you?”

‟Because you’re playing with people’s lives!” I tried not to get angry with Agony, because it didn’t do any good. Sometimes I couldn’t help it, though.

She still looked more amused than offended. ‟Yes, James, that’s how this game is played, with lives. Don’t think that means that I don’t value them. This game began long before you and I were born. The human race has been playing since it became truly human—playing without understanding the rules or appreciating the stakes.”

She folded her hands and managed to look serious for a moment. ‟I can see the game board and I understand the rules. I have had… glimpses of our opponents. I know exactly what is at stake. I have analyzed the moves and I believe that I can finish the long game—and win it.”

Then her serious expression broke into a grin. ‟I know you find it difficult to believe, but I am playing on the side of the human race. I won’t pretend that I have any higher motivation—I want to win and I intend to claim all of the pieces for myself. However, I have seen the alternative, and I am by far the least of the available evils.”

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The Knight And The Princess

I was reading this series over again, and I think I’ve got something here–what, I have no idea, but something.  But I like it, and I’d like to get some feedback on it.

The Knight And The Princess–Introduction

The Knight and the Princess

In The Firelight

Another Fire, Another Light

Lord Chimaculean’s Stair

Cairn Shant

Into The Delve

Descent To The Steamhouse

The Touch Of Crone Mellya


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Read Tuesday: Now Accepting Books for 2014


Okay, it’s time to gear up for Read Tuesday.

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Fourth Quarter Pic


The time has come,

A wonderful day,

For those who love books,

called Read Tuesday.

Like Black Friday,

But not for television;

Give the gift of reading

This holiday season.


Read Tuesday is now accepting submissions for:

  • Kindle Countdown Deals that include Tuesday, December 9, 2014. (Please try it out and verify that dates are possible before you sign up.)
  • Temporary Kindle price reductions that include Tuesday, December 9, 2014. (Please try it out and verify that the lower price is possible before you sign up.)
  • It’s okay to start early and end late. This might be to your advantage.

Listing on Read Tuesday is FREE.

Sign up by clicking here. This will take you to a one-page Google Docs form to complete. If you have any trouble with the form, please use the Contact Us button on the Read Tuesday website.

More opportunities…

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Misha Burnett… Author of the Month!


Evidently I’m Author Of The Month. Cool!

Originally posted on Kev's Blog:

Author of the Month


Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett has won the spotlight on Author Of The Month for June 2014 and has a picture and direct link to his book posted for a limited time on Kev’s blog!

Presenting, Misha Burnett, Everyone!

Misha’s Interview

For more information on how YOU may have the same opportunity to appear on Author Of The Month visit my Author Interviews & Contact Info Page.

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Bad Female Characters

Recently a friend on Facebook asked for opinions of the rumored reboot of Ghostbusters which is supposed to feature a female cast. My answer ended up growing too long for a Facebook reply, but I have been thinking about the question since.

Yes, it absolutely could work, but it probably won’t work.

Why?  Because it’s doubtful that Hollywood will allow a film to proceed with bad female characters.

I don’t mean characters who are poorly written, and I don’t mean characters who are poor portrayals of women.  What I mean is characters who are female and also bad people.

A big part of what made Ghostbusters so funny was that the men themselves were not heroes.  In fact, they were pretty much jerks.

Venkman was a conman who had seized on academia as a way of avoiding getting a real job, and used his influence as a professor to engage in (at the very least) unprofessional relations with young women.

Stantz was socially inept and easily pushed around.  He was also spectacularly impractical and clearly far from the brightest bulb in the marquee.

Spengler was basically high functioning autistic. Brilliant in his narrow scientific specialty, he wasn’t terribly adept at dealing with people, or even noticing that they exist.

Zeddmore was a likable enough guy, just a regular Joe, but in his first scene he admits that he’s willing to pretend to believe in anything for money, which hints at a certain ethical flexibility.

Could these characters be played by female actors?  Absolutely.  The question is, would they be allowed to? Sadly, I fear the answer is no.

To avoid complaints of sexism, I fear that Venkman would be made into a failed idealist, and Stantz would become a shy charmer.  Spengler might survive mostly intact, but would probably be given some hip, cool mannerisms that the original would never have had. Zeddmore could be played by a Hollywood actress, but then, Zeddmore wasn’t allowed to be a real jerk in the original, either, because he was the token Black.

In short, I feel that a reboot with female characters under current Hollywood management would Nerf the acerbic unpleasantness of the 1984 cast, and in so doing would lose much of the power of the original film.

This, in my opinion, is the real sexism, and racism, and homophobia.  Because when you don’t allow someone to be bad because of that character’s gender or race or sexual orientation you are not allowing that character to be fully human.

My roommate has been binge watching Criminal Minds and while I haven’t been watching the episodes, I have been listening to them from my office.  A few days back there was an episode that featured a female serial killer.  Much of the episode dealt with the killer’s backstory and it was revealed that she had been raped and her story not believed and that is why she killed.  In other words–she was really just a victim and men were the real bad guys.

What is that really saying?  That women don’t have the force of will to be evil? That in order to be terrifying a woman needs a man?

Screw that.  To be human is to have the choice between good and evil, and the power to become hero or monster by an act of will.  Are men who prey on women shown to be victims of bad mothering or cruel exes?  I think not.

It isn’t inclusion to show certain genetic makeups always in a positive light, it’s pandering.

I would love to see a reboot of Ghostbusters with a female cast.  I think it could be a very funny movie, every bit as good as the original, but only if the new Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddmore were played as well as the originals, not unlikely heroes so much as total scoundrels who got on the wrong bus.


Posted in Artists That I Admire, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Who I am | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rerun: The National Endowment For Plumbing

[Originally published on 25 August, 2012]

knock, knock

“Hello. I am from the National Endowment For Plumbing, and I’ve got an invoice for two faucets here.”
“I didn’t order any faucets.”
“You don’t have to—the Federal government ordered them for you.”
“But I don’t need any faucets.”
“The government says you do.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want them, and I’m not going to buy them.”
“Let me put it this way—buy the faucets or go to jail.”
“Well, since you put it like that. Do you have anything in brushed aluminum? That duronautic finish isn’t going to go with the rest of my fixtures.”
“Satin chrome, maybe?”
“Nope. What you see is what you get.”
“The government decided on the finish?”
“Right. It’s take it or—well since you can’t leave it, it’s just take it.”
“Well, okay, I guess I’ll buy them.”
“Nice doing business with you. See you next year!”
“Wait! What about my faucets?”
“Oh, you don’t get to keep them. You just get to pay for them.”
“So, I have to buy something I didn’t order, don’t need, don’t like, don’t get to keep, and if I don’t I go to jail?”
“That’s right. Say, you’re not one of those anti-plumbing types are you?”
“Not at all. I have a lot of plumbing in my house. I did some of the work myself, and paid professional plumbers for the rest.”
“Then I guess you just think that everyone ought to have exactly the same faucets as you?”
“No, I just think I ought to have the faucets I paid for, and other people ought to have the faucets they paid for.”
“Well, what about the real plumbers, huh? The ones who don’t care about sweating pipes or fixing leaks, who just want to do plumbing for plumbing’s sake? Do you think they should just starve?”
“I don’t know. Maybe they ought to keep their day jobs and study plumbing on the side until they’re good enough to make a living at it?”
You narrow-minded fascist!

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