writer jeanne grunert
Announcements

Two Updates from Writer Jeanne Grunert

Two quick announcements and updates from writer Jeanne Grunert:

Both of The Majek Family Mysteries – I Believe You and I See You – will be offered FREE as Kindle downloads, no strings attached, Thursday, March 19 through Saturday, March 21, 2020. I wanted to give my readers and fans something to take their minds off all of the scary news (and if you’re stuck at home, now you’ve got something fun and engrossing to read!)

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cover of I See You by Jeanne Grunert
Announcements, I See You

The Inspiration Behind I SEE YOU

Novelists draw from many sources for their inspiration. I draw from my childhood growing up on Long Island, New York. The Dalinger Estate, White Oak Hall, features prominently throughout I SEE YOU my new novel. I draw from three estates on Long Island to create the unique setting for much of the mystery in I SEE YOU.

Old Westbury Gardens

Old Westbury Gardens includes both Westbury House and the gardens designed by the same architect who designed the house. It is truly a gem of Long Island. It was donated by the Phipps family who built the home to the county in the late 1950s and was preserved intact, including furnishings, making it a true treasure.

When I was in junior high school, my older sister completed an internship in the gardens there as part of her biology major in college. I would accompany her to the gardens and have free run while she worked. I spent many hours exploring every nook and cranny of the old estate. On days when the house was open for tours, I loved seeing the interior of the mansion. My favorite room was the music room, a ballroom where concerts and dances were held. I transformed this room, with a bit of poetic license, into the ballroom in the fictional White Oak Hall.

Learn more: Old Westbury Gardens

Oheka Castle

Oheka Castle can be seen for miles around from the North Shore of Long Island. Long Island is mostly flat thanks to glacial action but Otto Herman Khan, the wealthy man who built the enormous estate, actually had soil piled up so that his castle could be seen for miles around.

In 1994, when I was working for one of the prestigious garden centers on the North Shore, we received a call from the new owners of Oheka Castle. We met with them on the grounds and I saw the building under refurbishment. The entire building had been sadly neglected, as had the gardens. After Khan sold the building, it went through a series of changes, including time spent as a military prep school, and the new owners were restoring it to its original 1920s splendor.

I’m happy to say that the castle is now restored and open for events. It’s a hotel, event center, and more. And it’s gorgeous! The library was restored when I saw it in the 1990s and that’s the library I imagined when I wrote about Andrew Dalinger’s library in I SEE YOU.

Learn more: Oheka Castle

Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge (the former Ebsterstadt Estate)

By far the biggest influence on the imaginary White Oak Hall, however, is what is known today as Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge. My husband took me there for long walks while we were dating; we had many lovely picnics on its pebbled beach. It was a quiet, seldom-visited sanctuary in the busy, crowded urban area we lived.

Target Rock itself is a gigantic boulder that during high tide sits out in the bay. During the American Revolution, the British used it for target practice. At low tide, you can walk out and climb to the top.

The estate was once the home of Ferdinand Eberstadt. He was a wealthy lawyer, a diplomat, and a government employee who worked with the CIA and FBI. Eberstadt’s estate consisted of a Georgian manor house and 80 acres of prime land in Lloyd Harbor including beachfront property. The gardens and home were donated to the National Park Service and turned to the Department of the Interior as a wildlife sanctuary. It was this act in 1969 that ended up stopping Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant from being constructed; the danger to migrating wildlife protected on the land helped stop the plant from being built. (Which, as a Long Islander, I can tell you was a relief. You cannot get off the island if an emergency happens. It’s too congested and there are too few bridges and tunnels. We dreaded Shoreham).

When I first visited Target Rock, the mansion was still standing. It was a gloomy old structure with tattered curtains and shades from its days as a headquarters for the Park Service. I’d peer through the dusty windows hoping to see some of its former grandeur, but aside from the old radiators and some interesting woodwork, it wasn’t much to see.

The gardens were sadly neglected too but in the spring you could see just rows and rows of rhododendrons and laurels lining the pathways. The best part of the gardens is the freshwater pond. As in I SEE YOU the pond lies just a few yards from the ocean. There is now a bird-watching blind constructed on its banks and I loved to sit there and observe the great white heron fish. My walks at Target Rock were my Sunday morning “church” in the days before I returned to my Catholic faith. I’d pray, nature watch, and pray some more.

Learn more about Target Rock.

But What About the Ghost?

Yes, I SEE YOU is a ghost story. None of the places mentioned above are said to be haunted. The haunted mansion on Long Island is the old Woolworth mansion. I’ve never been to the estate and it was privately owned when I lived near its location. However, a good friend who was a professional photographer gained permission to photograph the estate.

She took a picture…and saw a mysterious figure in the window.

Of the empty mansion.

I saw the picture. It was many years ago, but the ghostly image in the window still gives me the shivers. At the time the image was taken, computer graphics were in their infancy and she didn’t have a computer, so it wasn’t a photoshopped image. It just was…creepy.

The mansion itself is said to be haunted by Woolworth’s daughter and I’ve heard all sorts of stories about rapping sounds on the pipes and odd shadows. It was enough to get my imagination primed for the ghostly happenings in I SEE YOU.

Did you miss the first book? It’s still available!

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Announcements, Uncategorized

The Great Novel Experiment: Night Song

Are you ready for my great novel experiment?

Many, many years ago, I wrote a horror novel which I really liked. I never tried to get it published. I was focused at the time on fantasy and science fiction writing.

My type of horror writing as you know from my collection of short stories, “An Ancient Gift and Other Stories”, is more like the Twilight Zone-type of fiction. Light horror, as someone called it. A cross between Flannery O’Connor and Edgar Allan Poe, another reviewer stated.

I’ll take it – any day I can be compared to Poe or the great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor, I’ll take it.

Spooky, Catholic-themed stories where the good guys win and crosses still repel vampires (there are no vampires in this book) and demons really exist (there are real demons in this book) don’t appeal to acquisition editors at big publishing houses, or they didn’t, years ago when I tried to find a buyer for this book.

Acquisition editors for publishing houses want different horror books. They want books with lurid covers and sex scenes and grotesque mangled corpses and all sorts of things I don’t write about. My novel languished in a box, then in a closet in my office.

I pulled it out a few months ago and started rereading Night Songs. I’m in the middle of writing not one, but two novels at the moment. “I Know You,” the follow up novel to “I Believe You” continues the Majek family story. “Salt + Light”, the second novel I am in the middle of working on, chronicles the journey and choices of the Russo family, five brothers living in a small town in Virginia. Both of these books require dedicated focus, attention to my craft, and more time than I really have (but I make time for my fiction).

Yet here I was, sitting at my desk, flipping through Night Songs. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. Or so I think.

But what do you, my loyal readers think? That’s what I want to know.

NEW NOVEL

Join Me in the Great Novel Experiment – One Chapter a Week Published on My Blog

Here’s what I plan to do: I am going to publish a chapter a week of Night Songs, here on the blog, open for all to read. Drop a comment if you want to in order to help shape the book or just read to enjoy it.  When the entire book has been published on my blog, I’ll package it up and post it to Amazon for sale at a reasonable price in paperback and Kindle versions.

I’m taking a big leap of faith and a big risk doing this. There’s the risk everyone will hate it – and let me know,  quite vocally. There’s also the very real risk of thieves pirating the story. Just for the record, I already own the copyright to Night Songs. I will register the copyright once the entire book has been updated. This will afford greater protection should someone try to publish it under their name or do something else to rob my of my creative product.

Hint: don’t even think about it. You’ve heard about mama bears protecting their cubs? Don’t stand between a writer protecting her creative baby, her novel. Just. Don’t.

Onwards…I present to you Night Songs, a spooky story that is G/PG rated 🙂 Enjoy!

 

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Announcements, Writing Life

Pictures from the Book Signing

My first book signing and reading event on October 28th was a success – thanks to YOU! A huge thank-you to all of the people who came to the event, and to those on social media who so generously shared the information with their friends and family about it. We had coverage in all the local newspapers, posters in the windows of the bookstore, and my very first book-on-the-shelf moment when I saw my books on a bookstore shelf and went, “Ah…yes…that’s it! Author!”

Here, a few pictures from the day’s fun and festivities. I read a brief excerpt from the prologue to my new Majek Family Mystery, “The Red Boy House”, and a short excerpt from “The Last Run of the 6:01.”

 

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Announcements

New Novella Released

My latest work is now available in both print and e-book! The Last Run of the 6:01 features Gertrude Archer, an elderly sculptor with an obsession with trains. Why she has that obsession is something you’ll have to find out for yourself in this fast-paced page turner.

Readers are already sending me comments and photos…and greeting me in Wal-Mart to let me know they loved the book.

Top customer reviews

on August 16, 2017
Format: Paperback
The Last Run of the 6:01, by Jeanne Grunert, is a slice of life story that masterfully weaves an unexplained mystery of yesteryear into the fabric of life in a nursing home where Great Aunt Gertie is forced to live following a massive stroke. Last Run is rife with rich details that portray love on many levels. Love of life, love of family, and a love for trains delivered with paranormal activity that can’t be explained when a big old, steam belching, fiery eyed train stands hissing and spitting outside the Aunt Gertie’s window…or can it. This one is a page turner for sure and I highly recommend it.

Here’s Jennifer Sneed’s picture of The Last Run of the 6:01 arriving at “her” station  (home) from Amazon:

Jennifer Sneed photo Last Run okay to use

 

The Last Run of the 6:01 is available as an Amazon Kindle publication as well as a paperback book. I hope to ready it for release through Smashwords this weekend so that it will also be available in Barnes & Noble online.

Visit The Last Run of the 6:01 (paperback) and Kindle on Amazon.

 

 

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