Hello Bloglandia,

Tomorrow, yes, TOMORROW is Release Day for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny. I’m not sure whether to throw up or to celebrate. Both?

Anyway, besides organizing a boat load of launch-week shenanigans, I’m also thinking back on the various bits and bobs that inspired this first book of my Cassie Black Trilogy.

Namely, my grandma’s funeral.

What? You don’t get inspired to write dark humor that includes the waking dead and an entire magical world while facing down familial grief? Hmm…I may need to re-examine how my brain works.

The Video Madness Continues!

As mentioned yesterday, there is a video that goes with this post. Scary stuff!!

If you haven’t watched it already, I encourage you to watch Part 1 of The Book Launch Video Extravaganza to understand why this is WAY beyond my comfort level (warning: there is talk of pustules).

If you’re feeling brave enough, it’s time to watch Part 2 in which you not only learn about the story behind the story of Mr. Tenpenny, but you also discover exactly what you should NOT do before deciding to record videos for all the world to see.

Just click/tap the image below whenever you’re ready.

Length: 7 minutes.
The goofy face behind the words.

Not Brave Enough to Watch?

For those who prefer a less goofy (and far less fun) text version, let’s get back to my grandma’s funeral…

It took a fair while for the funeral to start and I’d brought with me a notepad and pencil. I’d brought along one of my first line story prompts and thought I’d play with it. I’m not sure exactly what that first line was, but I think it was, “We need to talk.”

I jotted down a quick dialogue in which a funeral home worker had to confess to her boss that she kept accidentally waking the dead. The tidbit wasn’t all that great. It had way too much attitude, the funeral home worker came across as a big jerk, but it did plant a seed of an idea.

At the time I was working through the final few books of my Osteria Chronicles series. I wasn’t liking the series all that much, and knew I had to get those done or I would never do them.

But I did have a few breaks in between drafts to play with this funeral home idea that kept growing in my mind even though I was trying to keep it back.

As part of trying to play a little looser with my writing, I was also doing writing exercises for 10 – 15 minutes one day a week. Using a prompt from the very fun book Take Ten for Writers, I ended up with the beginnings of a story set in World War II in which a bike messenger delivers what she thinks is a normal package, but turns out to contain a magic object that if it falls into the wrong hands could mean doom for the Allies.

I loved this idea and thought it could work into a novel. But damn it! There were the Osteria Chronicles to get through, and then I really wanted to get out and play with my funeral home worker.

Let me tell you, slogging through the first few drafts of books five and six of the Osteria Chronicles was a HUGE exercise in discipline. But the good thing about drafts? You’re recommended to take breaks in between them.

Okay, I may have looked forward to those breaks a bit too much. Because during one of this breaks I let myself loose on that funeral home story.

But wait, my funeral home worker (the future Cassie Black) is waking the dead. How? A magical object, perhaps? What if Cassie hadn’t had the best luck in her life? What if she’d worked as a bike messenger to make ends meet? What if she happened to be unable to deliver a magic object that ends up changing the course of her life…and the dead people she’s meant to be tending to?

Yes, I may have let out a squeal of joy at this point. I not only could get to work on the funeral home story, but I could also use the bike messenger thing without having to dedicate/find time to write a whole different novel!!

Hoorah, indeed.

The first draft of the first book came together within a couple weeks. I don’t think words have flowed so freely from my pen as with that draft and I loved what I’d come up with.

But of course, there were those two Osteria books to complete. Which I did. Cheers to me for sticking with it…and I have to say, for all the grumbling, I think those final two books proved a strong finish for the series.


Daily details of what’s ahead….

  • Monday – The Inspiration for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny (with video)
  • Tuesday – Release Day! Links and a repost of a stellar review. (no video, phew)
  • Wednesday – Double dose of videos. 1) The secret of my character names, and 2) Why my magic system made me drool more than once
  • Thursday – Oops, I forgot to tell you about the book. I do so in this post (with video) where I might also toss in a sample chapter.
  • Friday – I had too much fun with cultural references in the book, and thought I’d share a few (with video)
  • Saturday – Paperback show off!! What not to do with paperback design, and the final result after fixing it (with video)
  • Sunday – A break from my books to post about what I read in February
  • Wednesday (3 March) – Finally, what’s coming up next (with video)


Available Now for Pre-Order

The Undead Mr. Tenpenny

Just click the image below if you’re ready to order.

Note: Paperbacks are currently available…just follow the Kindle icon once you click the image below.

Or, if you’d like a 14-chapter sample, you can grab that HERE.


14 thoughts on “Cassie Black: Some Funereal Inspiration (with Video)

    1. Oooh, a hero. When do I get my cape? Still, you might want to wait to see if I survive this week before you start handing out hero cards ; ) Thanks for being in the cheering squad!


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