Authors You Should Check Out: Paul Bennett

You know how, with some folks, you just can’t seem to get their names right? Such is the case with Paul Bennett. I kept wanting to call him Steve. Or John. And then, once I got the first name right, I kept wanting to call him Paul Anderson. And EVEN THEN, I kept misspelling his last name. Benet? Bennet? Benett? Benette?

I’m sorry, Paul. I really am.

At any rate, Paul was one of the last writers to join our band of merry misfits. But his impact was huge. Check out Paul Bennett (or Benet. Or Bennet. Or whatever).

How was the experience of writing your stories for The Covid Quarantine Cantina?

It was a great experience writing for the COVID Quarantine Cantina. Several of my partners had a great idea for our group of writers to band together to provide some much-needed entertainment and distraction during a very trying time. Not only did it encourage us to dust off our writing skills and produce some quality stories, but it also allowed us to interact and build friendships with others living across the country. In addition, it was beneficial to our writing productivity by providing us with deadlines to meet. No one likes deadlines, but they do have a way of making sure the work gets done.

Of all the stories you wrote, which was your favorite?

I found writing a Halloween-themed story to be the most challenging, but that challenge also produced my favorite story. It turned out that after The Visitation was published on my blog, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who contacted me to tell me how much they could identify regarding the haunting they experience from their past sins, but also their thankfulness for God’s forgiveness.

How has the Covid Pandemic affected your life?

As a physician, COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but I have to be honest when I say that, during this time, God has given me a peace like never before. More than ever, I am convinced that I will not leave this world one second before He intended and that while I am here I am to go out into a fearful world to humbly, but courageously share His love.

What are you working on right now and in the near future? What can we look forward to?

Right now, my writing projects include writing the sequel to my novel, A Fall of Sparrows, as well as continuing to publish short stories on my blog. I will also soon release a previously unpublished novel of mine, Amalric, which is a historical fiction novel set  in Germania in the year 16 AD.  My plan is to release this novel, one chapter at a time, onto my blog. 

See more of Paul’s work, as well as each of the Fondue Writers, in our now-almost-a-year-in-publication book, The Covid Quarantine Cantina:

Authors You Should Check Out: Kathy Kexel

When Joe Courtemanche came up with the idea to write a story a week with just me, him, and Jamie Greening, we planned to write for two or three weeks and call it quits. That’s how long this pandemic thing was going to last, after all. Right?

Those were simpler times.

When it seemed like things might last longer, we decided to add a few friends. Kathy Kexel was the first of those friends. I remember telling her, at one point, she reminded me of my mom. So here is, from my perspective at least, the mother of the Fondue Writers Club (And Bar & Grille and Laundromat).

How was your experience writing your stories for the Covid Quarantine Cantina?

I was an interloper, in a sense. I saw Joseph Courtemanche’s plan for writing COVID related flash fiction. I asked if he was interested in a story from me and sent him a sample. He accepted. 

I expected to write just one piece and was a bit overwhelmed by the challenge of one story a week. I couldn’t begin to imagine multiple, very different stories on the same topic, but the challenge provided sufficient motivation. 

Of all the stories you wrote, which was your favorite?

That’s a hard one. I rather like Side Effects, but then I think it would be cool to be an elf maiden. 

What is your favorite story from each of the other authors?

Joseph Courtemanche: Lavinia Did It. (I was never a Downton Abbey fan until the last two seasons)


Rob Cely: In Memoriam. The simple reminder that gathering together with other believers is a necessity, no matter what the risk.


Derek Elkins: Them Ole Pandemic Apocalypse Blues. That story is just plain fun. Besides, the Weinermobile has its origins in Wisconsin. 


Jamie Greening: Academia. Having worked in academia at bot state and private universities, I can only testify to the truth of it.


Paul Bennett: Song in October. It’s hard to choose just one of Paul’s because they all are suffused with hope and light.


Joe Shaw: Special Deliveries. Proof that Shaw does have a heart. (Shaw sez: All lies and false propaganda!)

What are you working on now?
Janelle is about to meet motorcycle repairman who is also a lapsed preacher going by the moniker of Biker Rev. Then there’s that group of medical students on a medical mission trip in a fictional “Stan” country that get trapped when Islamic fundamentalists overrun the capital city and the only airport. Besides that, I have sporadic entries on my blog. And now that my sewing machine is out of the shop, I have a quilt for my grand-nephew to finish and a curriculum for children’s church to write.

Where can readers reach you if they want to read more of your stuff?

Woolgatherings on Facebook 

KathyKexel.WordPress.com

See more of Kathy’s work, as well as each of the Fondue Writers, in our now-almost-a-year-in-publication book, The Covid Quarantine Cantina:

The Covid Quarantine Cantina

The quarantines were tough. Still are for some folks. Our lives have all changed because of them. Despite all this difficulty, we can all be sure there is one, universal thing that helps us get through in tough times like these.

Alcohol.

But beyond that: Stories.

Sharing our stories of success, of failure, of fears, of hopes, and all manner of strange and comfortable things is what binds us together in difficult, dark, and disparate times. A few of us got together back in the beginning and started sharing some of our stories. Fiction, yes, but there are kernels of truth in all of the stories. We published them for free – just as we continue to publish free stories even today.

We gathered our COVID stories together into a book where you, Dear Reader, can share in our stories, see how naive we were in the beginning, how our moods changed throughout, and how we’ve come to some semblance of hope (or, in my case, a happy-go-lucky Nihilism!) as time passes.

It’s called “The Covid Quarantine Cantina,” and it’s available in Kindle, eBook, and (sooon) Audio (we hired Santa Claus to do the stories. Because that just makes sense). Check it out here. Buy a few copies for your friends. Buy some of the print copies so that, later, when your grandkids ask what the Covid Quarantines were like, you point at this collection of stories and say, “I don’t know, but these people are weird. Don’t end up like these folks. Whatever you do.”

And, if you are so inclined, please share YOUR stories with US. The Quarantine Cantina is open to everyone.

Always.