While scouring my art studio for clean paper I found one of my old journals which I thought I'd lost. It's a fairly recent one with only a few entries in it. I remember buying it just after I headed out to California to meet with some movie producers down in Los Angeles. It had been many years since I'd last been down there so I bought some art supplies to do some preliminary sketches to be turned into paintings later on. The journal had originally been intended so I could make some mental notes and impression, but it wound up being a travel diary after I made an unexpected stop in Monterey and wound up visiting my first aquarium...
Saturday, June 5, 2021
*Note: Yes I know it sounds weird but most places like this have daytime business hours. I was lucky to catch this one with extended evening hours. Furthermore, not everywhere I've gone has been close to the water. A pity really because I really enjoy walking along the sea, or traveling on a ship.
I need to do that some more. Anyway, here goes...
Travel Journal, May 16th, 2009...
Well, everything is set. The producers were happy and so am I. Soon my bank account will be as well. Negotiations for the rights to my first two novels are set and all is well. I've come back north to stay with some old friends, the Cloudfoots. As the name implies, they were of native American ancestry dating back to way before my time even.
I met Jason Cloudfoot some years back over in Connecticut, when his niece disappeared around Christmas. After helping find her, Jason and I became fast friends and I visited whenever I could. Over the years he's told me some wonderful tales of Seneca lore, while I've shared many of my own personal stories and adventure with him. He's one of the most remarkable men I've ever met. One of those rare people who figured out right away I wasn't all that I appeared to be... but that's a story for another time.
I got to know his children and helped keep an eye on them they were growing up and they too know all about me and what I am. Now they have families of their own and have moved out this way and are currently living up near Santa Cruz. When they heard I was going to be down in Los Angeles, they insisted I swing up north and come to stay with them for a few days.
When I gave them a date they asked me to meet them here in Monterey, because they were taking their own children to the aquarium located here. Apparently, this place keeps long hours and occasionally have sleep-overs for children who wish to spend the night surrounded by the mysterious beings from the depths.
I agreed to meet them and I'm so glad I did. I've never been to an aquarium like this before. To me, an aquarium is a big twenty to thirty gallon tank in someone's living room, filled with gold-fish or whatever.
I had no idea what a treat I was in for. This place was magical. I've practically filled my sketch pad with pencil drawings of creatures and settings I'd never dreamed existed. Oh, I've seen photos in magazines, but to actually be here is another thing entirely.
For one thing, each exhibit room has it's own background sounds. There's a jellyfish exhibit that is nice and dark (perfect for someone like me) with the most ethereal music playing in the back ground. It was so soothing and relaxing I almost didn't want to leave that room. The types of fish varied more widely than I ever suspected.
Then there were the sea otters, playful furry beings who are so gosh-darned cute as well. They are also very large, much bigger than I originally expected. Some are the size of a large dog, as in 60-70 pounds big. Yet they were so graceful under the water.
There was a particularly interesting blue room with a circular ceiling. Inside the ceiling was a series of glass windows all interconnected, with silver sardines racing about in one huge continuous circle. It was both dizzying and breathtaking.
I even got to see my first real live octopus. My timing couldn't have been more perfect. Like me, the creature is usually very shy during the daytime hours. But tonight, he was more lively and I got to see him to great advantage. I made several sketches of him for future use.
A part of me could have stayed in this wondrous place for days or weeks. Alas, time was getting on and the children decided they wanted to be home instead of staying for the sleepover. Too much excitement for them they said. Personally I think they were a little intimidated by all that was around them and I couldn't blame them. Everything here inspires both wonder and awe. I could set up my easel and spend night after night painting these wonderful creatures. This place is truly magical...
Alas, I haven't been back there since duty has called me away to other places. But I hope to get back there soon. Jason is no longer with us, but his children know me (and what I am) yet always ask me to come and visit them again. Which I will do shortly. There are other sights and places I wish to visit, like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and a supposed "Concrete Boat". Jason's son always laughs when he mentions it, perhaps it's the incredulous tone in my voice. A concrete boat? That is something I have to see for myself. I'm planning on going to see them next month. I'll write more about that adventure when I get there.
For now, I'm going to set up my easel and try and make up my mind which of my sketches to work from first. I'll either do several pieces or use the various creatures to create one large painting. We shall see, it's so hard to say. They are all so beautiful and colorful. My palette will get a hell of a workout over the next few weeks.
Friday, March 20, 2020
*Due to the current situation I'm making "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home", the first #YA #book in our Para-Earths series #FREE to anyone who wants a copy over at Smashwords. It costs nothing to sign up with them and you will have the following formats to choose from to download the book onto your device(s) of choice:
EPUB (#Nook), MOBI (#Kindle), PDF, LRF (Older Sony readers), PDB (Palm OS devices), and finally Plain Text (no formatting)
Just click on this link to access the book and begin downloading and reading. More books are coming, so please bear with me.
*NOTE: I'm only using the Smashwords site, because unless I'm part of Kindle Unlimited, I cannot make the book FREE over on Amazon*
I will be loading the anthology "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time" onto Smashwords shortly and will be making that book also available for FREE, where you'll be able to read more of Nathan and his friends' adventures in the days and years past.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Allan here with some big announcements and an apology to make. First the apology. Sorry it's taken so long to get back to the current story, which I feel may be one of the most important ones we've ever undertaken because of the subject involved. Please rest assured that the story will be continuing shortly, it's just been a crazy two months over here.
First of all, Fibromyalgia reared its ugly head and flattened both of us badly for several weeks. At the same time, we were also getting ready to launch Helen's first solo novel "Forever's Too Long" which is the first of an all new series she's calling 'The Forever Detective Series'. It revolves around a 1940's private investigator in NYC, who's first two cases runs him smack into the middle of a nest of vampires led by a certain historical figure from Russian history. If you've been enjoying Nathan and company, then I highly recommend checking out Rafael Jones and his friends in this all new truly supernatural series at the links below.
I spent a great deal of time helping Helen prepare and promote her novel going as far as to creating my very 1st book trailer for her novel. Anyone wanting to see the results can click on this youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc. While not 100% perfect, I was quite happy with the results, especially the voice-over you hear in the trailer. The response to the video was so good, it got me thinking about going back and making trailers for both "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" and "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time".
However, before that could happen, we had to prepare a book launch party for "Forever's Too Long", wherein I did something I've been thinking about for some time but never tried, namely loud readings using unique voices for each of the characters who appear in the scene. Once again the reactions were much more positive than I'd expected. Now I've done theater in the past, and I've done loud readings in person for family and friends who have all urged me to get to start recording the books. But after hearing people's reactions at the launch party, my reaction was to buy these puppies...
This is the Blue Yeti USB Microphone and the Samson SR350 Closed back stereo headphones. I'm already working on what I'm calling my "Voice Library" so I can have a set of distinctive voices I know I can recreate at any time and start making some of your favorite characters come to life.
My goal is to start sharing some audio samples here on the blog within the next 2-3 months. Possibly sooner. I hope to have a full audiobook of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" in the not-to-distant future (yes, I am an MST3K fan and proud of it).
In the meantime I am still slowly working on the 2nd full-length novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" which takes up two-three weeks after the events of "TVB - Coming Home". I'm not predicting a release date for that one at this time I'm sorry to say. But we will be bringing you all more short stories here on the blog in the meantime, as well as updates.
Now for my final piece of news, there was one other thing that happened at the launch party that had me doing some serious re-thinking about Nathan and company. One of our guests at the part has been a beta-reader for all the Para-Earth novels, including "TVB - Coming Home". She is also a professional librarian and seriously urged me to re-market Nathan's adventures as Teen/Young Adult to reach a wider audience. I gave it some serious thought, but didn't do anything right away. Instead I checked with a couple of other people I knew had read the book and agreed with the librarian. So I am currently in the process of getting both of those books shifted over to the Young Adult sections of Amazon and other outlets. Needless to say "TVB - One Day At a Time" will join it shortly.
Currently, both books are part of KDP's Select program which means that the e-book versions are sold exclusively at Amazon. But at the end of August this will end and I will make the books available to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, the works. At that time I will also do a re-release with the book being promoted for Young Adults and older. I hope to have trailers for both ready by then, as well news about another anthology and an update on "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties".
So that brings you all up to speed. There's a lot coming on the horizon so please stay with us here, and I expect to have the next installment of "Nadine's" adventures up within a week. I thank you all for your patience and hope to keep you all entertained and fascinated with new stories and adventures featuring Nathan and his friends.
Also I'll be updating you all on "The Door" which is well under way and focuses on our other cast of Para-Earth characters (Alex Hill, Police Sgt. Veronica Ross, heiress Cassandra Elliott, and her girlfriend/shamaness Julie Cloudfoot). For within the pages of that story Nathan will be making more than one appearance along with some familiar faces from "TVB - One Day At a Time". The events of "The Door" will lead to the first major crossover between the two casts and leading all to face one of their strangest encounters from a Para-Earth yet in the form of a haunted mansion known as Harlequin House.
Until next time, take care and happy reading everyone.