It is with profound sadness that I write this post as a memorial for my dear friend and fellow author, Susan Koenig. I received a post from Sue’s blog on Saturday night, written by her husband, stating that Sue had passed away unexpectedly on Friday, May 30.
I was shocked and stunned because I had just exchanged emails with Sue the day before, setting up a promo for her newest book, The Bench, an anthology of her “shorts,” poetry and short fiction. With her husband’s generous permission, I’m instead dedicating this post to Sue and her writing. She will be greatly missed.
I met Sue several years ago while I was participating in the Six Sentence Sunday blog hop. We would visit each other’s blogs and I became quite enamored with her WIP called The Devil’s Mistress. It was about a soul collector named Gideon, who worked for the Devil (Mr. D) and who had a human mistress he had fallen in love with. I loved the character of Gideon and was very excited when Sue used him in her short story, Nineteen Hundred, about Gideon’s encounter with a woman on the eve of the 20th century.
Sue and I talked on the phone several times–for several hours at a time–as she worked on Nineteen Hundred and I’m so happy I could be of help to her with its publication. It is a sweet historical paranormal that is still available at Amazon. You can read my full review of it there, as well as other fans’ reviews.
She had planned and was working on a sequel–actually she called Nineteen Hundred the prequel–called The Soul-Collector’s Second Chance, which featured Gideon in the current day along with his new love interest and a set of friends also in the soul-collecting business.
In addition to the short story, Sue just recently published an anthology of “shorts,” her poetry and short fiction she had written called The Bench. I have not had the pleasure of reading this work yet, although it’s now at the top of my TBR list. It is only available in paperback (Sue loved paperbacks and did not read e-books), but is also available at Amazon. Below is the promo spotlight for The Bench I had planned for today.
Using a unique style of storytelling that sets the tone for the book, the first entry tells a bench’s 60 year history in six stanzas of 100 words each.
For the imaginative reader who loves words and appreciates variety, The Bench includes something for everyone whether you’re seeking the powerfully evocative, the unabashedly strange or simply wish to be entertained.
Take a break on a bench, a bus, or anyplace. Relax. Ignite your senses.
You never know whom you’ll meet.
A man might enthrall you with his life story or a thoroughly modern vampire might regale you with his stand up comedy routine.
Cast your eyes to the garden and explore the magical colours of love between a flower and a butterfly.
Better yet, tune into the person standing just outside your peripheral vision reciting poetry and concentrate, you may hear the lingering strands of the last dance, or a symphony in words.
Original, concisely woven storytelling, that at the end allows your mind to conjure up its own images, interpretations and conclusions.
The collection contains ten colour photographs by the author.
An Excerpt/Sample from The Bench:
The Flower and the Butterfly: A Love Story
The purple aster plump with nectar bends in the wind throwing off her sweet smell while petals float in the breeze.
A butterfly, in hues of gold and vermillion, sniffs the air finding an aroma in the west.
He follows the scent, hovers, flaps wings over the aster, questioning.
Aster churns out her sugar.
Soundless, the petals caress the butterfly who snuggles into the nest of ambrosia and falls into the flower rubbing his head against the petal pillows.
The bloom envelopes the insect, and purple tinges his gold while spots of yellow merge into the aster’s purple.
Susan Koenig started writing fiction when she retired from a boring government job in 2009.
She is an occasional poet and has been featured in a local online literary magazine. Sue is a regular contributor to a monthly Haiku site as well as a consistent participant on a writing challenge which weekly tests her creativity.
In 2012 Sue published a short story, Nineteen Hundred, the prequel to her current novel in progress, The Soul Collector’s Second Chance.
Since the “novel” is struggling to be born, Sue, a very short woman, decided to publish her “shorts”. It was a logical choice.
Sue’s home is Southwestern Ontario, Canada, where, when not writing, she and her camera take junkets to explore new ideas for incorporation into her writing.
Sue also was a faithful writer for Blogophilia, writing short fiction to prompts and winning points for incorporating certain words or phrases into the story. She also wrote for The SpeakEasy, and it was her latest for this challenge that got me back in touch with Sue after a long absence from commenting. The post is called “Teeth,” and if you like what she called “a typical zombie romance” then you should check it out on her blog, sassyspeaks . That was one of the wonderful things about Sue–she wrote on such a wide variety of topics you never knew what she was going to come up with next. But whatever it was, it was wonderful.
I have only touched on a few of her pieces–there are many more that I keep thinking about that sadly will remain works in progress. She had a wonderful gift for characterization that I appreciated early on in Six Sentence Sunday. In one WIP, I think it was The Misfits or The Outcasts, 5 high school friends come together. The plot flipped back and forth between the present and their high school days and how they had bonded and how their lives were different yet the same but they still had each other. The characters in this tugged at my heartstrings every time she posted from it. They came vividly alive in just six sentences; a testament to Sue’s skill as a writer.
As when any writer dies, we are saddened that they will no longer delight us with future works, although we cherish the ones they leave behind for us. I feel this keenly with Sue because there were so many of her stories, of her characters, that will never get to share their stories. I am reminded of the memorial poster, “Speechless,” that circulated when famed character voice artist Mel Blanc died. I see all of Sue’s WIP characters in this position but instead of an empty mic, there should be an empty seat in front of a computer. We are all the poorer for her passing.
Rest in Peace and God Bless, Susan Koenig. You will be sorely missed.