Thursday, October 20, 2016

Essay for Halloween: Undertaker's Daughter


Deadly Undertaking
A handsome detective, a shadow man, 
and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.
Halloween is an exciting time with parties and treats and scary stories. Deadly Undertaking is the perfect read for this season of the year.  This romantic suspense, set in a funeral home, isn't a scary story with monsters, zombies, and werewolves, but it does have a shadow man, Henry.
Deadly Undertaking grew from the short essay I am sharing with you on this post. The novel's setting is a funeral home because I'm the daughter of an undertaker. And I have two brothers who are funeral directors. When I wrote this story for a fun blog post four years ago, I had no idea I would have a published mystery from the idea. Find out more about Deadly Undertaking after the short essay.
It's Halloween, so 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.
Is this essay a trick or a treat?
Undertaker’s Daughter
By
J Q Rose
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 McDonalds, 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.

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 pork and beans.

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 doll house 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 ash trays just last week. I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.
# # #
BOO! 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. Keyword here is loosely!

Back of the Book: Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
Deadly Undertaking
Cover art by Michelle Lee
FREE at Amazon on October 31.

Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. 

Welcome home, Lauren!


 
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
from J.Q. Rose


Post a Comment

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons This is my after Easter blog post. Hey, everyone posts on Easter, thought more people would...