Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Storytime Blog Hop: The Undertaker's Daughter

Storytime Blog Hop
Halloween
BOO! and welcome to the Storytime Blog Hop! This quarterly edition theme is, what else but Halloween? Talented authors share short fiction stories from 500-1000 words for your entertainment. You're invited to hop around the especially, creepy, scary cyberspace today to read fascinating stories based on the optional theme of Halloween. The list of participants is located at the bottom of the page. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!
I apologize if I am breaking the rules today by sharing a story I shared 5 years ago on this blog. But it is so perfect for Halloween, I couldn't resist. This piece has a place in my heart because it was the impetus to spark my mystery novel, Deadly Undertaking. 

Deadly Undertaking
Paranormal Mystery
The book's setting is a funeral home because I am the daughter of an undertaker. And I have two brothers who are funeral directors. When I wrote this story for a fun blog post years ago, I had no idea I would have a published mystery from the idea. 

Anyway, it's Halloween, a time for fun, silly costumes, and candy! You'll have to decide if the tale I'm spinning is a trick or a treat. Take a break and have fun with this. You'll get to know me better after learning about my "growing up" years.
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TheUndertaker’s Daughter
By J Q Rose
I always thought of horror writers as eccentric, peculiar people. But my perception changed when a horror story sprang from my own mind. You can imagine my surprise when my mystery/horror tale Sunshine Boulevard was accepted and published in 2011. That made ME a published author of horror stories.

Right away, I must tell you I am not an eccentric, peculiar person. I’m just a regular woman who is a wife, mother, grandmother. I like eating a burger at McDonald's, shopping at Walmart, and reading mystery novels. But, perhaps some would think my childhood was different. You see, my father was an embalmer and funeral director. I was reared in a funeral home.

It was not unusual to have a dead body laid out in a casket several days in a row in our living room which converted to the funeral chapel. In fact, sometimes we’d have more than one body in our home. The embalming room was in the back of the house, and yes, I wore lots of perfume and soap to cover the pungent odor of formaldehyde on my clothes and hair
Casket
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
We had knee caps for ashtrays in the private area of our home…not in the public area because that may upset some folks. But Dad was a heavy smoker, so he appreciated having the convenience of an ashtray nearby at all times.

In our kitchen, boxes of ashes of the departed sat in the pantry shelves next to the canned green beans and corn. Some families squabbled over who was going to pay the funeral expenses for their dearly departed, so they never showed up to claim the ashes for fear of being left with the debt.  In one case the family of Ida Mayberry never claimed their sweet aunt. So Aunt Ida took up residence in the cupboard next to the baked beans.
Can of baked beans
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
Life as an undertaker’s daughter did not seem to be any big deal. My friends, well, most of them, were happy to come over and play hide and seek in the casket room or to swipe flowers out of the funeral arrangements to put in our hair for dress up.

My girlfriends did get upset when one of the spirits who regularly hung out in the funeral home flew by. The whoosh of air was the only indicator of their presence. Yes, I lost a couple of friends that way because they were scared to death…well, not literally. They just were creeped out especially when one of the spirits would knock over the Barbie dollhouse or send the collection of Barbies swirling around the room.

Needless to say, I enjoyed going to my friend’s house. It was a treat to open their pantry door to get a can of pineapple and not see the boxed ashes of poor Aunt Ida. I could never shake the sadness I felt for her because noone cared enough to bury her ashes or at least sprinkle them on their garden.

So, yes, some may believe it was an unusual childhood compared to the experiences of others. But I felt loved, secure, and safe at all times. And that’s what counts for a kid.

The growing up years certainly shape the adult one becomes. I don’t know if this is the reason I can write a horror story or not, but I can assure you I am a normal, well-rounded person, not eccentric or peculiar at all. In fact, I got rid of the knee cap ashtrays just last week. I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.
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So do you believe what you read? I must confess most of it is made up. And of course, Deadly Undertaking is fiction, but I did have my funeral director brothers help me with the story. So, it's loosely based on the real funeral business. The keyword here is loosely.!
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EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

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Thanks!
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If you're not scared to death, please hop on over to the participants in the Storytime Blog Hop. The list is below.
PODCAST: General Link: Alone In A Room With Invisible People
  1. Family Time by Bonnie Burns
  2. The Exception by Vanessa Wells
  3. Number 99 by Juneta Key
  4. Edda’s Second Chance by Katharina Gerlach
  5. Very Thin Line by Rebecca Anne Dillon
  6. Henry Moves House by Nic Steven
  7. For The Ghost The Bell Tolls by James Husum
  8. Never Alone by Melanie Drake
  9. The Neighbor by Meghan Collins
  10. Storytime Blog Hop by Raven O'Fiernan
  11. Loney Lucy by Bill Bush
  12. The Traveler by Barbara Lund
  13. Evening by Karen Lynn
  14. Man Of Your Dreams by Gina Fabio
  15. The Undertaker's Daughter by J. Q. Rose
  16. The Road by Elizabeth McCleary
  17. Storytime Blog Hop by C. T. Bridges
  18. Storytime Blog Hop by Warp World Books

8 comments:

  1. This sounds just like what I believe the child of an undertaker grows up like. Well done.

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  2. The perfect post for Hallowe'en, JQ. You paint a really good picture. I'm there with you when you open the cupboard to find poor old Aunt Ida. I hope your childhood inspires more stories!

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  3. It is great. Glad you shared it. Enjoyed.

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  4. Enjoyable story, though I, too, feel sorry for poor Aunt Ida! In college, I had a friend who was interning at a funeral home. A group of us regularly met there to watch movies all night long. I don't remember that the bodies in the embalming room ever bothered us - their spirits seemed quiet enough.

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  5. I'd love to see you write something non-fiction, someday. It sounds like an interesting childhood.

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  6. I really enjoyed this, especially Aunt Ida's ashes hanging out in the pantry next to the baked beans.

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