A Stormful of Pickles

It’s a week before Christmas, and the worst storm in twenty years is about to descend upon Maidstone.

Fran, youthful dinner lady and regular churchgoer, feels a storm building inside her, too. To escape her overbearing father, she has foolishly married Mr Edward Dobbs, a dull and pious fellow, not a bit like the manly heroes of her beloved erotic historical novels. And now she’s trapped behind walls of her own making. She has accepted her life of grey domesticity with stoicism, the only buffer to the monotony of her existence being her weekly visits to a lavish hotel tearoom, where she can indulge her modest fantasies. 

But this is all about to change. Fran is about to embark on a roller-coaster of sexual frustration, desire and fulfilment. Not necessarily in that order. And she’s going to take the men in her life along with her.

As the storm hits, Fran huddles under a tree, waiting for a bus that doesn’t come. Enter not so Good Samaritan Peter Pearson, head of the school English department, with his warm dry car and his seductive Irish charm. While her dark-horse husband cavorts with a forbidden colleague on the other side of town, can Fran repel the charms of this broken teacher and chart a course back to the tranquil waters of her boring life? Does she even want to? 

This storm is about to throw all their lives up in the air. And where they will land is anybody’s guess.


Meet Elliott Fassbinder

Elliott Fassbinder’s professional life has revolved around finance, in some guise or other. But it was his battle with alcoholism and addiction ( recovered alcoholic, 15 years ) that gave him the ideas, and the fuel, to write this story. He believes his experiences in tackling his affliction and the subsequent search for meaning in his own life has given him a profound insight into the absurdity of the human condition. He lives in Hastings, England.

Lessons From My Mother’s Life

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It was the 1950s. The war was over and women could go back to being happy housewives. But did they really want to?

Women in the 1950s should have been contented to live a Leave it to Beaver life. They had it all: generous husbands with great jobs, comfortable suburban homes with nice yards, two cars, and communities with like-minded families. Their days were filled with raising well-behaved children, cleaning the house, baking cookies, and attending PTA meetings and church events.

They should have been fulfilled. Women’s magazines told them so. Advertisers told them so. Doctors and psychologists told them so. Some were. But some weren’t.

In the 1950s, women were sold a bill of goods about who they were and who they should be as women. Some bought it. But some didn’t.

These stories are about the women who didn’t. They didn’t buy that there wasn’t more to life than making a happy home. Except they didn’t know they weren’t buying until something forced them see the cracks in their seemingly perfect lives.

A teenage bride sees her future mirrored in Circe’s twisted face. A woman’s tragic life serves as a warning about the dangers of too much maternal devotion. And the lives of two women intersect during two birthday parties, changing both of them. These and other moving tales of strength, discovery, and hope are about our mothers and grandmothers and the lessons their lives have to teach us.

This book is the second edition of my 2017 short story collection, Gnarled Bones and Other Stories. This edition has been extensively revised, the stories changed and expanded, and the context moved from the present day to the 1950s and 1960s. This edition also includes a Preface and a bonus chapter from The Specter, the first book of my Gilded Age family drama, the Waxwood Series.

Money Doesn’t Talk, It Kills

Money Doesn’t Talk, It Kills is a fast-paced crime thriller about money and the twin emotions, fear and greed, that most often surround it.

Mark Slater is a university professor turned stock-market analyst – 46 years old, happily married, with two kids in college. From a fellow analyst, he learns of an upcoming takeover that would allow him to make a lot of money. But to cash in he would need to break the law. And that is something Mark is sure he’d never do.

Events, however, work against him, and when Mark meets a college friend he hasn’t seen in years, he is persuaded to give in to temptation and commit the crime of insider trading.

Too late, he realizes he has made a terrible mistake. He has put at risk everything he holds dear – his job, his family, his freedom, and his self-respect. Mark just wants his old life back. But his college friend has other ideas, which lead Mark into a violent and criminal world from which there seems no way out.

The Ten Delusions (And How To Survive Them effectively)

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Your relationship with a spouse or partner can be the best thing in the world, and the most challenging. Why not make it something great? It’s time to stop denying reality. You keep telling yourself, and everyone else, that your relationship is great – even though it is not. That’s pretty normal, and you can do something about it right now. Let Dr. Dewett help you remove the biggest mental and behavioral barriers stopping you from enjoying a happier, more comfortable, and productive relationship. It all starts with understanding the ten delusions that plague your relationship. Know them, stop them, and develop the ability to rethink and rebuild your relationship. If you are married, partnered, or in any form of long-term committed relationship, this is your practical guide to creating something better – something truly special.