Authors You Should Check Out – Jamie D. Greening

It’s not often that you find an author (or any kind of public figure) who openly refers to himself by comparisons to a vegetable. But Jamie “Green bean” Greening does. With a name like Greening, though, the comparisons almost make themselves.

I met Jamie Greening and Joe Courtemanche at the Athanatos Festival in 2018, where all three of us were speaking. Afterward, Jamie, Joe C, and I rode together back to the airport and, along the way, struck up both a friendship and plans for future writing projects. Joe C started this Covid Quarantine Cantina thing and Jamie and I were two of the first three.

Not that this makes us special, mind you.

Along the way, it’s been great getting to know Jamie and to call him a friend. Hopefully you like him as much as I do. Check out Jamie Greening.

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

It was fun. At the beginning we were just thinking about providing people with something to read while they were on lockdown, but then it turned into a part of our normal rhythms, producing one story each week, which is not easy to do. At the time, my work as a pastor increased exponentially and that made the schedule for new stories challenging, but it was good for me. 

Which of your stories here is your favorite?

That’s not a fair question, a little like asking which is your favorite child. Each one reflects a different side of me and my writing. It is tempting to say the Butch Gregory version, since torturing poor Pastor Butch is one of my passions. But, honestly, The Vid Kids was probably my favorite just because I really hammed it up. But Let’s Do It is in that same category of just taking a completely silly and overblown part of the COVID-19 experience and blowing it up to its logical conclusion. 

Favorites from other authors?

All of the Fondue writers are so very talented, and their stories are wonderful. Kathy Kexel’s story about Janelle getting tangled up in Chinese spies somewhere in Wisconsin was a hoot. It is the Secrets trilogy. Who can ever forget Derek Elkin’s weinermobile in Them Ole Pandemic Blues Apocalypse. Paul Bennett evoked many emotions in his As It Is In Heaven. Robert Cely is the master of myth, and his epic retelling of the origins of the deadly COVID-19 virus in The Farmer, The Demon, and the Canyon of the Four Winds has stayed with me. I really liked Joseph Courtemanche’s Nema What, so much fun. Joe Shaw really impressed me with his four part story titled Two More. 

But again, picking out favorites is almost impossible. They are all great. 

How has the COVID pandemic affected your life?

People I know and love have died. Many have been very sick. I buried a lot of people in December and January from COVID. 

It has had a terrible impact upon church life, and I don’t mean the rhythms and practices of meeting regularly. I mean on the people. People have changed. I think the emotional, psychological, and spiritual impact upon folks will take a decade or more to heal, if ever. The levels of distrust, paranoia, and downright meanness is hard to fathom, especially among people who claim to follow the Lord. 

Current Projects?

I am editing my monster book, a further fleshing out of a series of short stories I wrote years ago about The Deep Cove Monster. I am also writing a reflection piece incorporation creative writing and poetry into the Gospel of John. 

Where can readers reach you?

The easiest place is That is where I blog, and there is also a link to my Amazon page that has the books and stories I’ve written.

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

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.


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.