Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Just 3 more days until you can get your own copy of the latest installment of our
In the meantime here's one final peek into the first of what we hope will be many paranormal/science fiction anthologies...
"Wolfgang In Sheep's Clothing"
By Helen Krummenacker
For someone who travels so much, I always seem to have trouble getting ready for departure. It’s helpful these days, having my granddaughter on hand to look after the farm, my pets, and the complex organizing of my correspondence. She came to Germany to get a medical degree and is happy to stay with me and help out. There is little enough work-- while we do still produce some crops to send to the local markets, apple and walnut trees require little attention most of the year, and there are people we can hire for that. Mostly, she spends several hours in town working on studies and research, and enjoys the property as a chance to get away.
Still, there are always many details for me to take care of. For instance, my pets take extra attention. They are not the kind of thing you can easily take to the vet. No one has seen a living trilobite, except for in my aquarium, and many of the others have no near relatives that have existed on this Earth. Depending on one’s definition of near. Fluffy, for instance, has many birdlike traits. His usual prey is squirrel, but herons and hawks like them, too, and he largely eats nuts, especially acorns, to get his protein. He also keeps snails and caterpillars from messing up the family garden and rats out of the buildings. Birdlike was a good description for him. One difference in events between two parallel Earths could lead to such wonderful paths in evolution.
The indoor animals were all doing well and the controls for their temperature, humidity, and other such comforts were working fine. Fluffy had noticed me packing and was shadowing me now, wanting plenty of attention before I went away. We played a bit of fetch as I worked and he ran in circles around me out to the barn.
“Wolfgang!” I called out. The pygmy woodland camel was not inside, even though it looked to be a wet day. I assumed he’d decided to forage in the orchard, so I went out that way. Ruefully, I discovered a fence post had been knocked over and had on it some of the brown wool Wolfgang grew.
I quickly ordered Fluffy back. I didn’t need him to get out, too, and start harassing the neighbor’s cat. As bright as a peacock, as large as a turkey, and not exactly a bird, he would be difficult to explain to anyone who got a good look at him.
For that matter, Wolfgang was not easy to explain, but might pass for a rare breed. The question was, where would he be? Following his tracks would help, but only in the softest areas. His feet were wide and kept him from sinking easily. While he was naturally a creature of the forest, he had been raised by me from when he was only about two months old, and I did not believe he would wander far on purpose. However, herd animals seek their kind and, failing that, will seek a good facsimile. Fluffy, for instance, usually spent most of his time among the crows, who were happy to hang around the liminal area between forest and farm to keep their distant, brilliant cousin company.
As for Wolfgang, his closest relatives would be camels or llamas, and neither one was likely to be abundant in the area. On the other hand, llamas did sometimes show up for one reason only. They were terrifically fond of sheep, and guarded them against predators better than a dog.
He wouldn’t, would he? Of course he would. One thing you could trust any pet to do, no matter what their species, was to gravitate to exactly the activity that would be sure to cause chaos. At least it was autumn, and no chance of a shearing taking place. With a sigh, I headed out to Snyder’s, the nearest farm with sheep.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
ONLY 6 MORE DAYS UNTIL...
- 26 tales that span 150 years
- Stories of love, laughter, tears, wonder, hope, growth and wonder
- Kindle $3.99/Trade Paperback $15.99
- Kindle $3.99/Trade Paperback $15.99
- Pre-Orders are available now at:
And now a sneak peek...
December 2014 by Helen Krummenacker
A chilly December evening was made cozy not only by the fireplace, but the scents of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger from baking in the kitchen. Marissa turned the radio to a station playing all Christmas music. Isabella was excited even beyond the average child at Christmas time, for this was her first Christmas tree, her first time seeing fairy lights, and even the radio was a novelty for her. She would sit on the sofa, stare at the tree and get up again every few minutes to better distribute the ornaments for color balance and even presentation.
Marissa and Lisa were helping Nathan with paper chains, a decoration he remembered from his childhood. The girls were using a ladder to reach high, but Nathan took care of sites out of their reach. Otto, having recently surrendered the kitchen to Penny, who was making a couple of her own favorite treats, had started to show Richard how to wire pine and holly into swags to place around. “So ‘Boughs of holly’ are just branches done up to decorate the place?”
“Yes. Deck and decorate have the same word as a root.”
“Ain’t that something. I always wondered about that song. Especially the gay apparel.”
“That meant jolly, bright colored, festive.”
“And that makes ‘Johnny Comes Marching Home’ a lot better,” Richard laughed. The professor was all right by him. Strange and a little weird how he treated the boss like a kid sometimes, but when he was around, you always felt a little bit smarter.
Just then, a new tune came on the radio. “Frosty the snowman, was a jolly, happy soul--”
“Turn that off!” Otto snapped. Isabella looked at him in shock a moment before heading to the radio and pushing the big circle button she’d learned made these new electric things go on or off. “I’m sorry… I just do not like that song,” he explained, suddenly aware that everyone was watching him, puzzled by his uncharacteristic change of mood. “I really do not like it. You would not like it, either, if you knew how dangerous that snowman could have actually become.”
“Wait, Frosty was real?” Marissa asked skeptically.
“There are more things on heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” quoted Otto, then sighed. “Yes. Frosty was real, and he was the result of my missing an important detail and behaving carelessly.”
“Story time!” Lisa called out.
“Oh, yes, we have to hear about this,” Marissa added.
“Really?” Otto asked, as if surprised by the attention.
“Even I haven’t heard this one,” said Nathan, “and it sounds like a doozy.”
Otto took a seat on the sofa, next to Isabella, and the others gathered around. Richard kept at it with the greenery, but still cocked an ear and moved so he could see Otto’s face and gestures. Taking a deep breath, the professor began to tell the tale in a rich, melodic voice...
Saturday, November 17, 2018
****COMING DECEMBER 1st, THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF THE PARA-EARTH SERIES****
Twenty-five stories, spanning 150 years...
“The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” introduced a new cast of characters to the Para-Earth Series. This anthology answers and raises questions about their backstories and relationships.
What otherworldly threats has the Professor dealt with? How did Nathan’s altered self affect his service in the Civil War? What other mysteries linger on Nathan’s estate? What did a German like the Professor do during WWII? Who are some of the other people Nathan has met over his unnaturally long life? Are Nathan and the Professor the only ones who’ve had close encounters with Para-Earth beings?
These and more, including the return of certain characters from “The Bridge” or “The Ship” will be explored within these pages.
KINDLE PRE-ORDERS BEING TAKEN NOW AT THE LINK BELOW:
Saturday, November 10, 2018
*In honor of the ending of World War I, I'm re-posting this story from several years ago. I have never done another because I don't think I could surpass its message of gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price for serving their country. And to all who loved them, God bless and keep you all."*
The Soldier appeared again this year, just as he has over almost a hundred and fifty years. The first reports of him showing up here in Pointer date back to 1868 when the first Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) was held. At the time most people assumed he was merely a veteran but when he moved there was no sound, and when he spoke everyone felt compelled to listen. It was as if an enchantment had been cast over all. He spoke of each soldier from the town who had fallen during the war between the states, telling tales of bravery and humanity. Then, once he finished, the figure marched back the way he came only to be swallowed by a mist that seemed to come from nowhere.
This happened again the following year, and every year after that. At first most people just assumed him to be a magician who had served alongside those who had died. Yet, none of those who had come home recognized the fellow. In fact, no one could even really describe his features even if he had been standing next to them. They could distinctly remember his uniform which had clearly belonged to the West Virginia 7th Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He had all the bearing of a soldier, but even if they looked up into his face all they could remember was that he was young, with a kind face, which had born witness to the horrors of the battlefield. But none of them could actually describe his face in detail.
Naturally the idea that the fellow was a ghost began to spread among the children and a handful of adults. But after thirty years passed and those children who had seen him close up could honestly say he had not aged in that time, that others began to believe the tale.
Throughout the decades, he has always appeared, never once missing a Decoration Day. And with each visit, he shared new stories about those who had served and fell in the Civil War. But it wasn't until the end of the Great War that this began to change. In 1919, one year after World War I ended, a new monument was erected in the town square with the names of those who had left Pointer to fight overseas. On that occasion the soldier appeared and shared several stories about those who had been lost on the battlefields of Europe.
From that day on he continued to appear on Remembrance Day (now called Veteran's Day) as well as on Memorial Day.
By this time few, if any, doubted the Soldier's existence. In fact many began to welcome his strange visits, but not all. Those who were too traumatized by their loss, could not bear to see him come. In particular there had been Violet Parker, who had been engaged to James Moore who fell at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France in 1918. When the Soldier appeared again on Remembrance Day in 1920, she rushed at him brandishing a pistol from her father's collection and shot him point blank. The Soldier did not flinch, nor did he fall. Instead, he gently took the weapon from her shaking hands, and pulled her close. She resisted at first, but then began to calm down. Those who dared approach them could hear his voice speaking gently to her in sympathy. Soon Violet slipped her arms around him and held him tightly. Then she kissed him on the cheek and walked back to where her father stood. For the rest of her long life, she was happier than anyone could remember, and strongly rebuked anyone who spoke ill of the Soldier or of anyone who served their country.
The addition of new names and stories of those who served that the Soldier spoke of continued with each passing year. Whether they were lost in peacetime or during America's entry into World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and of course Afghanistan, he made sure no one forgot them or their service. And today was no exception. He spoke of the town's most recent losses with such feeling, one was convinced he had personally known, or had watched each one of them grow into fine young men and women.
Of course, I and a number of others know this happens to be the truth. There are at least a dozen families here in Pointer that know of Uncle Nate. And they preserve his secret with fierce loyalty, just as mine does. It is a loyalty based on love and respect. Whether he's the 'Soldier' or just the family friend or godfather, he has been there for all of us over the decades. Our dark guardian, the soldier who even when he does not wear the uniform, is always on duty. Ready to defend and protect all of us and our town, just has he did the day he marched off to war at the age of 16, back in 1862.
God bless him and all the men and women who have served, and will serve.