This blog is a compilation of short works of fiction by Allan and Helen Krummenacker, authors of the Para-Earth Book Series. The stories contained here take place before our novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home", with the idea of introducing you to some of the characters who appear in that book and the upcoming anthology "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time" coming this November.
So please, sit back and enjoy more glimpses into Nathan's (our vampyre) and his friends' lives.
Cheryl and I took our kids, Joe and Darlene, to visit my grandparents at their home this evening. They only live on the other side of town, but with the snow on the ground walking with two teenagers grumbling the whole time would've tested the patience of saint. It never ceases to amaze me how after spending all day out in the cold with their friends, our children can be all set to head outside once more in spite of the dropping temperature as soon as they finish eating dinner. Their energy and enthusiasm seems limitless. At least, until we remind them they're supposed to go somewhere with us.
In that moment, all life seems to suddenly evaporate from their bodies and they're too tired to go anywhere. Or they've just remembered an important paper they need to do for school which requires them to stay home, and maybe have a friend or two over to assist them in their research. It is a condition that we in the medical profession have yet to fully analyze and come up with a name for it. I have on more than one occasion considered preparing a paper on this phenomenon for publication. However, the thought of spending hours trying get teenagers, who are NOT mine therefore I have no authority over them, to answer even the simplest of questions quickly cures me of such urges.
Well, after reminding them of how often they'd assured us that they were fully caught up on all their schoolwork, and that we'd discussed the visit several times earlier in the week, they finally went to fetch their coats. I swear it was like watching a the old television series, "The Six Million Dollar Man" or "The Bionic Woman", where the heroes are filmed in slow motion when they're supposed to be moving inhumanly fast. Only in my kids case they really were moving that slow, it took them almost a full fifteen minutes just to find their coats and another five to put them on.
Anyway, we finally got them out the door and on the road. We were just pulling up to my grandparents place, when we saw a familiar figure knocking on their front door. It was Nathan.
From the backseat I heard Joe say, "Since when does he know Great-Nana and Great Pop-Pop?"
"Um... I don't know, maybe because he's been watching over our family for generations like he told us back in September," Darlene shot back, in a sweet-sarcastic tone only a sibling can deliver. A second later, she was out of the car dodging snowballs from her brother who'd raced after her.
All of this happened before I'd even killed the engine of the car, leaving me once more to ponder that paper about energy levels in teens. Perhaps I could just try an observational study? I turned to Cheryl who I noticed already her seatbelt unbuckled but hadn't even opened the door on her side. "Is something wrong?" I asked her.
Turning she gave me a look of disbelief. "I'm not going out into the middle of those two having a snowball fight."
A second later, a rogue snowball struck the window, followed by a muffled, "Sorry Mom," from our son Joe. His aim has never been great when it comes to throwing, which is why he's never made it onto the school baseball team. Darlene on the other hand has a wicked throwing arm from two seasons on the softball team. Which she proceeded to demonstrate by nailing her brother while he was a distracted.
Joe quickly retaliated with a rare well-aimed shot at his sister, who barely managed to dodge the attack unlike my grandmother who had just come out onto the steps to greet all of us.
Thank God Nathan was right there. He could've easily just caught the snowball, but it would've exploded in his hand, showering Nana in the process and he knew it. So he good-naturedly stepped in front of her and took the hit, which almost knocked the long stocking cap off his head. I saw him say something to my grandmother and then he turned on my offspring yelling in his Groucho Marx voice, "Of course you realize, this means war!"
However, before he could reach down to grab some snow, Nana tapped him on the shoulder and said something to him. Of course I couldn't hear from inside the car, but I saw him straighten up and give a dramatic sigh indicating hostilities would remain on hold.
At that point, Cheryl finally opened her car door and stepped out. I quickly followed and joined her and our children who were already greeting their great-grandmother.
Nathan was standing respectfully to the side and I joined him.
"Nice kids you got there, Jack," he remarked, still in his Groucho voice. Taking off his hat and shaking the snow from it, he continued, "Attacking bystanders like that. What's this world coming to? Don't answer, I'll tell you what it's coming to..."
I was thankfully spared the rest of his performance by Nana's voice calling out, "Nathan! Joseph's expecting you downstairs in his 'shop'. You know he doesn't like to be kept waiting. And it looks like he may have some other customers who need haircuts as well." That last remark was aimed at my son, my grandfather's namesake. Then I noticed she was eyeing me as well.
"I think we're expected," Nathan observed in his own voice, and I nodded.
As we followed my grandmother inside, I heard my son saying to his sister, "Wait a minute. With all the things he can do with his body, why does Uncle Nathan need a haircut?"
*I'm borrowing this entry from one of our other blogs (The Musings of Two Creative Minds) because what happened here involves our own dear Nathan was heavily involved in this situation. And it gives you a little hint of a story that will be appearing in the next anthology book "Two for the Road", which will contain a number of tales some familiar from this blog, along with some brand new stories including the one being discussed here. I have hopes that this anthology will be appearing later this year, but we'll see what happens. Both Helen and I have got a number of irons in the fire, including turning "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" into an audiobook. Wish us luck and enjoy this peek into our creative processes....
The Pondering Pug's Thought of the Day:
What happens when two authors, who are married to each other, get the same type of idea for a short story for their respective book series?
Funny, that this pup should be asking that question, because it happened to Helen and me just recently.
As you all know I created a vampire (or as I call him a 'vampyre' since he's not a true undead being, but more of a science fiction-based blood drinking, shape-shifting, sun avoiding being) named Nathan Steward. For those who aren't familiar with him here's a brief synopsis. Nathan was a Union soldier in the Civil War who got blown into a Para-Earth where one of the life forms there fused itself to him, creating a symbiotic bond that allows them to coexist as one. This symbiotic arrangement has also extended Nathan's life far beyond that of a normal human being, which means he has existed for over 160 years. This has allowed him to see and be a part of a lot of history.
Then about 2 2 1/2 years ago, Helen created Rafael Jones, star of her "The Forever Detective Series". Set in New York City in 1947 and told from Rafael's point of view, we quickly we learn he was a police officer, who wanted to serve his country during World War II. Unfortunately, because of his police training he was assigned to MP duty, but later became an investigator gathering evidence for the Nuremberg trials. In the first book "Forever's Too Long" he has come back to NYC and is opening his own private detective business. In his first 2 cases which become one, he learns that supernatural beings do actually exist, in this case in the form of vampires. As the case progresses, he winds up getting killed and turned into a vampire himself. Yet upon rising he has managed to hold onto his humanity and goes after the vampires responsible for his death, who are also going after a close friend of his.
From there, the series continues with Rafael learning to adjust to his new existence, while keeping his private investigation business going. In his next cases, he encounters more supernatural beings such as ghosts, kelpies, and those gifted with magic such as mediums, witches, wizards, as well as other beings such as ghosts, kelpies, dryads, and many others.
Recently, she added a spinoff group of books centering around some of these other folk, focusing on some adventures of their own that do not involve Rafael. Some of these tales take place before and during World War II.
Well so do a number of my stories with Nathan...
So, I recently had been asking myself what kind of story can I come up with for Nathan during World War I? I had recently been listening to podcasts that told stories of the United States getting hit with sabotage for supplying war materials like weapons and ammunition to England, before we actually entered the war. And two of the cases took place in New York and New Jersey, which was where Nathan was working backstage at vaudeville palaces. So he'd be aware of these incidents, and I could get him involved helping the government by catching a ship headed to England. Now this was during the time of submarine warfare which meant I could easily put him in conflict with a German U-boat to save the ship he was traveling on.
Now I knew Helen had been working on a U-boat story set in WWII for a second anthology in her spinoff series "W. I. T. C. H. Hunters Forever". However, she wasn't sure if she'd ever get around to finishing the anthology. And since my story took place in WWI, I didn't think there would be a problem. So, I got the story well under way before telling Helen about it. She thought it sounded interesting, but then pointed out it might be too similar to the story she had been working on. After much discussion she told me to go ahead with mine and she would drop hers. Now I could tell she was disappointed, but since she insisted, I kept working on mine.
But being the diligent little writer that I am, I wanted to see what the interior of a WWI U-boat was like, and boy was I in for a surprise...
As you can see, this barely had enough room for maybe 10 people. And not a lot of places to hide, which was what I needed for some of the plans I had for Nathan's activities. I had been envisioning the much bigger and more complex U-boats of WWII. I needed a vessel much bigger than this, with a lot more places to hide and lurk between his acts of sabotage. So, what could I use instead?
Then a memory from my childhood came to me...
Zeppelins! I got fascinated with them after seeing a film showing the destruction of the Hindenburg in 1937. But when I read up on them, I discovered they had been used in WWI to bomb England and other countries at a time where they could achieve heights most biplanes couldn't. Of course, this changed over time as the war dragged on, but for several years, the Zeppelins were the scourge of the night sky, quietly floating over unsuspecting towns and cities.
They of course could travel over water as well, which meant they could and did occasionally target ships in the waters below.
And after seeing a cut-away diagram like this one...
I knew I had the answer to both our problems. So, I quickly set about reworking the U-boat story I had going and turned it into Nathan 'haunting' a Zeppelin instead. Naturally, I informed Helen that the U-boat story was hers, once more, and explained why I changed my mind. I'm pleased to tell you that she was delighted by this turn of events. Especially, as she told me afterwards, she hadn't really wanted to give up the story she'd had planned because it was such a good one. Which it is! Trust me. But you'll have to wait for the next anthology book in her series to read it.
And by the same token, you'll have wait for the next Vampyre Blogs anthology, to read my zeppelin story as well. But it may show up later this year or definitely next year at the latest.
However, I just wanted to share with you what can happen when you have to very creative minds living under the same roof. Sometimes, you both might come up with similar ideas, but there are ways around such situations, to avoid having readers possibly wind up comparing who did a better job on their story.
Researching source material for your setting can make or break a writing project. So make sure you're diligent, especially if you're writing about historical events.
Until next time, stay safe and keep writing everyone!
PS: If you enjoyed the Pondering Pug concept, do let us know. We'll be happy to continue having the pug occasionally show up on the blog with new thoughts and questions to explore. Besides, he is so darn cute!
Hello everyone, Happy New Year! Hope the holiday season treated you well. You probably noticed that the ever since I finished the "Red Fang" storyline, I've been re-sharing older short stores (or not so short like the "Cannibal Killer" tale). You are no doubt understandably wondering why there hasn't been anything new for so long. Well, up until September, my biggest concern was trying to get the left side of my sacro-iliac joint sorted out through physical therapy, and pain control injections. I was lined up to have ablation surgery done on the joint area in question, when I began having an unexplained increase in my heart rate. We're talking into the low-mid 100's even at rest.
This of course alarmed my wife and my physician who has been subjecting me to a battery of tests, CAT scans, and X-rays. I'm pleased to report that the heart is in fine shape, and there are no irregularities in my heartbeats, aside from the elevated rates. Since then, I've been off work due to nearly passing out at one point and suffering fatigue and dizziness quite frequently. As of this post, we are zeroing in on a possible cause, but there are more tests to be done so I'll keep you updated.
Now a quick rewind. After I finished the "Red Fang" story, I started focusing on the next novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" and was making some good progress. I was also finishing the cover art for Helen's newest book (a short story collection which is part of her own series "The Forever Detective" books, which involve a private investigator who becomes a vampire but continues to be a detective and hold onto his humanity set in the 1940s).
So, I was still keeping busy, in spite of my illness. I just didn't have a lot of creativity flowing for the most part until I was given a new medication for my high blood pressure which also has quieted down my heart rate to more normal levels. However, there are still other concerns regarding levels of sodium and cortisol which are continuing to plague me. But as I said before, we're getting closer to answers so I'm not too worried.
Anyway, since I've been feeling more creative once more, I've come up with a number of new tales for Nathan and company to be dealing with. A couple of them are slated for the second Vampyre Blogs Anthology, which I'm hoping might be released before this year is over. I've got a number of old stories that have not seen the light of day since their original release on this blog, but I really wanted a few never before seen ones as well. One involves a German U-boat during World War I, another involves a sex traffic ring which I will be putting a trigger warning for readers in case they want to skip that one. That tale will also show a little of Nathan's 'darker' side when it comes to harming innocents.
I am also planning a special Halloween tale for you all on this blog, which may put a few of you in mind of old classic film "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". I won't say anymore, because I want you all to have fun reading that one when it comes out.
In the meantime, I'll be doing a few more re-runs of older stories here, but I wanted you all to know what's happening here on the homefront.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I am currently taking some professional voice acting classes, while I have the down time from my work. I'm hoping this will lead to auditions and some paying work before the year is out. Who know? Maybe, I'll be able to one day retire from the county and do voice work full-time, as well as my writing.
We'll see. But now you're in the loop. I thank you for your support of this blog and ask you all to keep on visiting and leaving your likes and comments.