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Showing posts with label #vampire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #vampire. Show all posts

Saturday, November 11, 2023

E-Journal of Nathanlie Eoghan Steward October 11, 2018 “GHOSTS” - Part III

 


Leading father and daughter back to the lobby, I turn off all the lights to the theater along the way. Once we’re outside and I’m certain the place is locked up, we start heading to The Crypt. It’s raining lightly, but we’re all okay with that. After all, the building where my club is secreted is only a couple of blocks away.

Lisa sidles up alongside me, occasionally pressing up against me as we go. I shoot a look of appeal to her father, who simply keeps his gaze fixed straight ahead, apparently oblivious to his daughter’s advances. Although, I’m certain I detect a slight pull at one corner of his mouth that falls just short of being an actual smirk.

This of course, leaves me to wrestle with my warring feelings on my own once more.

In that same moment, as if conspiring against me, the rain begins to come down a bit harder. Automatically, I open one side of my billowy trench coat and extend it around Lisa’s head and shoulders to protect her, since I don’t have an umbrella handy. This of course prompts the young lady to wrap her arms around my waist and rest her head against my chest, so I can pull the jacket closed around the two of us.

She’s clearly pleased with this turn of events.

And for the millionth time, I silently admit to myself, it does feel good. No, not just good, but right. However, the times I’ve held Marisa, have also felt just as right.

But before I can start wondering about how holding the two of them at the same time might feel, I find we’ve already turned down the alley that leads to my club. Carefully, we make our way down the stairs and inside the warmth and quiet of The Crypt.

It’s closed tonight so we’re the only ones here. I don’t operate it during the weekdays, since a lot of my clientele are teenagers who don’t need another excuse to avoid their schoolwork.

As Brian locks the door behind us, I carefully extricate myself from Lisa’s embrace and lead the way to the area where the backrooms await. Once we’re there, I show them the hidden stairwell that leads down to the sub-basement. This, like the club itself, is a leftover from the days of prohibition. Once upon a time, all kinds of booze and distilleries where hidden down here, out of the sight of the law (or at least, the ones who were not here to get a drink or two themselves). and once housed all the illegal booze.

Nowadays, most of the floor is an entertainment/game room, with a small kitchen, a bathroom, and another room roughly 10’ by 20’. Unlike the rest of this underground area, the floor in that room is comprised purely of dirt, not wood or concrete. This is a leftover from before I took up residence in the family mansion. Prior to reclaiming my birthright, I spent most of my daylight hours down here resting deep in the ground, whenever I came to town.

Next to the door that leads into this room, stands a huge bookcase. It stretches from the ceiling to the floor and extends a good ten feet in length along the wall. I proceed to remove several books and stand back. Immediately, a tall section of the bookcase swings open revealing an imposing metal door behind it.

“Well, well, well,” Brian exclaims, his eyes wide with surprise, “You’ve moved it again. I swear, every time I think you’ve shown me everything, you produce yet another little wonder.”

“Impressed?” I ask casually.

“Very,” he replies giving me a slight bow. Then he starts studying the metal barrier. “Let me guess, another leftover from Prohibition?”

“From before that,” I explain. “Originally an old bank stood on this site years ago. Then it caught fire and was replaced by the building above us. But no one wanted to remove the vault, so it just sat down here, empty and deserted. That is until the mob took over and started using it to hide their distillery operations. After I found it, Otto helped me update the facilities and install climate control features. That was back in the 60’s.”

“And the films have been down here ever since,” Brian smiles.

“Actually, I didn’t move them in until the early 1980’s” I correct him. “Prior to that, I had another use for the room at that time.”

“So why did you need a climate-controlled room back in the 60’s?” Lisa asks, studying the books I had removed from the case, along with noting the spots where each one had been taken from.

Mentally, I make a note to rearrange the swinging bookshelf mechanism again, as I answer. “Well, originally, I was keeping certain plants and soil samples in here to study while I was working on my master’s degree in Botany. After I’d completed my studies, I got word that all the old films I’d gathered over the years were not holding up as well where I’d been storing them. So, I removed most of the tables I had kept my samples on, added lots of shelving, changed some of the lighting and…” at this I’ve unlocked the metal door, which slowly swings open to reveal a room the size of a rather large bank vault. Kind of like the ones you see on TV, only this one is the real thing.

There are rows upon rows of shelves inside, along with filing cabinets, film repair equipment, and a few other odds and ends.

“Care to step inside and peruse the collection?” I smile invitingly.

Lisa and her dad are so excited they both shoot past me and for a brief moment nearly get stuck in the doorway.

I quietly smile, thinking back to how many times Roscoe, Buster, Al, or the Marx Brothers would pull that stunt with hilarious results. It may be an old gag, but each of them could put a new spin or twist on it like no one else.

At that same time, the first inkling of an idea starts to hit me. Although to be honest, it’s one that has occurred to me several times, but I’m still unsure about it. The idea of running a slew of silent pictures on opening night would certainly appeal to historical movie-buffs. But what about a younger audience? Would they be interested? Hell, most of them have probably never heard of Buster Keaton, or Al St. John, or my old buddy Roscoe. At best, they might be familiar with Charlie Chaplin, but that’s about it.

Just then I hear Lisa’s voice coming from the vault saying, “Dad, would come and take a look at these? I recognize the artist, but not the names of the films.”

Immediately, I start to wonder which films she’s run across so quickly.

Following her voice, I enter the maze of shelving inside the vault, and find father and daughter studying a particular row of cannisters which I instantly recognize. Out of all the rows of films in here, how in the world did Lisa stumble across that section?

Before I can explore that thought further, Brian says excitedly, “Lisa, do you realize what these are? These are some of the films I was talking about earlier. The ones that were believed to have been lost for almost a century! There are collectors out there who would go give their right eye teeth find just one of these!”

“Seriously?” his daughter smiles, “Cool! Oh, and look who stars in most of them...”

Before she can finish, I call out, “Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle! More well known to the general public as ‘Fatty’, a name which he really hated, by the way.”

TO BE CONTINUED...

Thursday, November 2, 2023

E-Journal of Nathanlie Eoghan Steward October 11, 2018 “GHOSTS” - Part II

 


“Come on,” Brian persists, “I’ve seen that ‘personal film vault’ of yours. You’ve got hundreds of movies in there, a number of which are still in their original cannisters as I recall. And I know you’ve already had most of them copied and transferred onto devices that can be used on modern projection equipment. So, what’s the holdup?”

Eyeing him coolly, I respond, “Firstly, I have over a thousand films that have been transferred and are ready for use. Secondly, there are still another 500 films, which you already pointed out are still in their original cannisters, which I’ve only recently been able to begin the process of getting them restored. Once that process has been finished, then they too will need to be transferred and copied.”

At this point Lisa jumps in with, “Got any of the missing Dr. Who stories?”

Rolling my eyes, I nod, “Yes, and I’ve already sent copies of what I had to the BBC. Unfortunately, most of the ones I gave them, they already had. However, several of my copies were in better shape, so it wasn’t a total waste. Plus, there were a few they didn’t have, for which they were very grateful.”

“I’m going to want to see those,” Brian tells me.

No surprise. He’s almost as big a Dr. Who fan as I am, and Lisa’s just as bad.

“But getting back to that thousand plus movies in your possession. Would any of them happen to be...” he begins.

“Yes,” I cut in, sighing heavily. “A number of them are films that were believed ‘lost’ to history. Which is the big reason for my dilemma.”

At this Lisa frowns. “What’s wrong with them?”

“Nothing’s wrong with them,” I answer snippily. “For your information, a number of them are considered ‘classics’, which is why so many historians have been spent years looking for any remaining copies of them.”

“And you’ve had them all this time?” she replies eyeing me suspiciously. “Holding out on everyone and just keeping all the goodies to yourself, huh?”

With a dramatic groan, I answer, “Most of them I got a hold of decades ago. And even back then, a fair amount of them weren’t in the best shape. With Otto’s help, I tried to preserve them as best we could. A number of these were shot from the 1910’s through the 1930’s, which was before anyone really thought about preserving films. In fact, it wasn’t until 1935 that the New York Museum of Modern Art made the first real effort to preserve old films. And by then a bunch of the silent ones had already been lost, because the material they used to film them weren’t chosen for their ability to last over a long period of time. Plus, that stuff was also highly flammable.” Here I pause and add quietly, “Believe me, I know. I was one of those rare fools who would run inside a building where they were stored which was on fire, trying to grab whatever I could, before we all wound up as extra crispy.”

“Seriously?” father and daughter cry in unison. I’d never mentioned this to either of them before. Why? Because I’m a very private person… most of the time.

After a moment, Brian regains his composure and asks, “You were rushing into burning buildings just to save a few old films?”

“I was specifically trying to save certain ones at the time,” I explain quietly. “But between having flames closing in and structures starting to collapse all around me, I just grabbed whatever I could and got the hell out of there. Only after I was safe did I get a chance to go through the ones I had grabbed and find out their titles.”

Coming over to me, Lisa places a hand on my arm and says gently, “Those films you were after must’ve been pretty special, to you.”

“Oh, they were,” I smile and nod.

“And the ones you did save are all in that vault of yours,” she continues.

“Carefully stored in a special climate-controlled room,” I nod.

“Good,” she smiles, “So, is this vault of yours nearby? Or do we have to take a plane to Los Angeles, or somewhere else?”

“Actually, they’re quite close,” Brian smiles, before I can reply. “In fact, it’s carefully hidden within the walls of one of your favorite hangouts.”

At that Lisa turns to me excitedly and squeals, “You’ve got them at the mansion, don’t you?”

This time it’s my turn to smile mischievously. “Ooo… you’re cold. Very cold.”

She rolls her eyes at that. You know, for someone so ‘mature’ she’s very easy to get going sometimes. Of course, the fact that both her parents and I used to tease her with the old ‘Hot and Cold’ game quite a lot while she was growing up, probably doesn’t help. Especially, when we pulled it on her seventh birthday. At my prompting we had stashed her presents all over the house and made her look for them.

Needless to say, the novelty of the challenge wore off rather quickly and ended with tears. Clearly, it had not been one of my brighter suggestions.

So, upon hearing this, one might’ve thought I would have learned from that experience. But no, I pulled it again on her just last year over at the mansion. Only to quickly learn that time had not improved her attitude about the game one bit. In fact, being older and basically an adult, she was able to express her displeasure with me in much more colorful terms than when she was only seven.

Deciding I’d best not play that game with her now, I’m about to tell her the location when she suddenly bursts out with, “You’ve got them hidden somewhere in the building, where The Crypt is located, don’t you?”

Immediately, Brian starts clapping. “Congratulations, you are correct. Someone, give that girl a coconut!”

Both Lisa and I turn and stare at him for a second.

“A coconut?” she repeats in disgust. “First of all, I hate coconuts. Secondly, if that’s all I’m going to get, it better be made of solid gold.”

“On my salary?” her father gasps, “I’m lucky to be able to afford a regular coconut.” Then he shifts his gaze to me. “Nathan, you’re the moneybags of the family, you give her one made of gold. Then I can steal it in the night, melt it down and take off with my wife to parts unknown.”

“Wait! What about your kids?” I ask.

“You’re their godfather, you take care of them,” he smiles, “They can be your problem.”

In response to that Lisa snuggles up to me, sending one thought racing through my mind, ‘One of them already is.’

Mind you, it’s not that I’m not fond of Lisa. Quite the opposite. I both love and adore her. And yes, I’m also attracted to her. Extremely attracted to be honest. But I’m also attracted to her best friend Marisa, and I don’t want to complicate things between them. Especially, since both of them, by my standards anyway, happen to be a bit on the ‘young’ side. Admittedly, they’re both in their early twenties, but I want them to explore their options and experience life. See who and what is out there for them, before trying to decide whether or not they really want to settle for someone who must avoid daylight and live a night owl existence.

‘Someone who will also more than likely outlive them,’ I add silently.

Although, if I’m being honest, I think I worry more about that last part more than either of them. And it’s because of that fear, I have considered doing the one thing I know would change that outcome. In fact, I’ve thought about it more often than I like to admit. But I’m not about to offer that option to either of them. At least not at this time…

“So, are we going to check out your vault or what?” Lisa asks, interrupting my train of guilt. From the annoyed tone of her voice, this is probably the 3rd or 4th time she’s asked the question, and I clearly wasn’t listening.

Giving her a sheepish smile as an apology, I nod and say, “Sure, why not?”

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, May 12, 2023

A Matter of Keeping Your Perspective While Writing...

I haven't posted any new stories lately, but this is not because I haven't been writing. On the contrary, I've been rather busy with stories lately. In fact, I recently completed one tale set during in World War I, involving Nathan and a zeppelin. Sounds intriguing? Well, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the 2nd anthology "Two for the Road" to come out, to read it. 


Which with a little luck, and some actual work on my part, may actually happen later this year. We'll see. Honestly, I would like to see it happen, but if I've learned anything these last few months is that "Life gets in the way...", so we'll see. I'll try to keep you all in the loop as best I can.

In the meantime, I've also been working on a second lengthy tale which will also appear in that collection. This one will have a trigger warning at the beginning because the subject matter involves a sex trafficking operation. This tale will involve some sex, violence, and threats of violence against women. The story will not be told by Nathan or one of the other regular members of the cast, but someone new who will wind up having an interesting impact on Lisa. 

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? I hope so, because this story has given me no end of difficulty to write. In most of my other stories, actually all of them now that I think about it, when the storyteller is not Nathan, Lisa or Marisa, it's someone who is already familiar with the secret of Nathan's condition or are being told about it (like in The Artist tale). Admittedly, in the first book "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home", Marisa and Pastor Lamar Gregory, but both learned the truth before the book was over. Or at least witnessed firsthand, some of what he could do.

However, this time I'm working on a short story... hell, who am I kidding it has already reached novelette length. Anyway, this time I'm working with a character who has absolutely no idea of who (or what) Nathan is. 


And this is where I've been encountering my troubles. I want her to remain ignorant of Nathan's vampiric nature and abilities. So trying to juggle the events that unfold in the story in such a way that neither she nor Lisa actually see him in action. Oh,
 they might catch glimpse of Nathan's fury here and there, but without actually seeing who's doing what. Most of the action takes place off screen, but they and you the readers will get to see a fair amount of the aftermath, and some of it will NOT be pretty.  I've had more than one person tell me how they'd like to see Nathan not hold back for a change. So, expect a body count in this story, and I warn you all that some of it will be grisly.

Now in order to achieve this effect of keeping the main storyteller ignorant, I've had to remind myself time and again about perspective. And it's been an interesting challenge to write the scenes in such a way that keeps the reader in the know, but not our heroine. To deal with this problem, I've resorted to making sure most of the more violent action scenes off screen, but close enough for our storyteller and Lisa to hear and react to what they can make out. 

But it took me a while find a way to pull this off, as I don't want readers to get bored. Most of you are used to getting to witness the action firsthand, so to speak. But this time, I'm kind of using a method that H. P. Lovecraft (the author and creator of the Cthulhu mythos) employed. In his works, many a time the main character catches a brief glimpse of something to horrifying or mind-shattering, that he only gave the reader snippets of what the character saw, then focused mainly on how it made that person feel. The horror, the revulsion, and sense of being in the presence of something that didn't belong in this world, to make the reader feel and react to the situation as if they were there.

It's a unique method of storytelling, but extremely effective. I'd compare it to the use of shadows in early horror movies to let the audience 'see' what terrible thing is being done to a victim. I for one still love this technique and still shiver at some of those old black and white scenes. This is probably because I subscribe to the idea that as much as special effects artists can come up with incredible and grisly results, it still doesn't compare to what our own imaginations can come up with. Lovecraft understood this, and it is why his works are still sending shivers down spines to this day.

Anyway, as I've worked on this story, time and again I find myself writing the action where Lisa and our storyteller get to see too much. It's at that point I have to say to myself, "HEY! I thought we were keeping Nathan and his abilities a secret, remember?" At which point, I have to go back the next day and fix that area, because these realizations don't always come to me as I'm writing.

There's also another problem I've been encountering that involves Lisa. Because she clearly states in "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" that she's never seen Nathan's darker side. And the tale I'm working on takes place, just weeks after her Sweet 16th birthday and two years before the events of the novel. So now I had to ask myself, how do I explain why she doesn't seem to recall what happened? Yes, I'm one of those people, who questions apparent inconsistencies in television, movie and book series. Well, rest assured, I've got a solution worked out for the problem.

In fact, a lot of the things that take place in this tale is laying groundwork for a number of plans I have for Lisa, Marisa, and Nathan down the road. But first I have to finish writing the story, which will require me to keep the story in the right 'perspective'. Which I hope will come easier with time. 

My apologies if this entry was more about my writing process, but I thought you all might like a little insight to how and why I write the stories the way I do. Point of view, and perspective, are key elements to how I come up with stories and the tone I set for them.

See you all again soon. Take care and happy reading my friends.

PS: Having recently completed my professional Voice Over training and gotten my demo recordings back, I'll be focusing on turning both "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" and "TVB - One Day at a Time" into audiobooks and release them later this year.







Monday, April 24, 2023

Private Journal of Doctor Jack Tyler December 29th, 2012 "The Haircut" - Part III

      I frowned at my grandfather saying, "Hey, my hair isn't that long.

   "No, but it looks like the last time it was cut someone took a weed-whacker to it," he grunted and gestured at the seat. "So which of you mop-tops is going to be first?"
     "Mop-Top?" Darlene repeated, scrunching up her face in such a way it was clear she didn't know whether to be amused or confused.
     Luckily Cheryl came to her rescue, "That was a popular way of describing men with long hair back in the 60's. I think it started when the Beatles came here to the United States for the first time." Here she paused and studied me for a moment and then added, "You just need to look at your father to get a good idea of how long their hair was back then."


     My offspring gave me an appraising stare and then shook her head. "They considered that long? Looks more he's losing some..."
     "That'll do," I cut in giving her a look that once upon a time would strike terror into her heart. Now all it did was earn me a mischievous grin. Sigh... they grow up fast and much harder to intimidate these days. 
     Meanwhile, Nathan had hopped into the barber's chair, much to my grandfather's satisfaction. Especially when Nathan started asking him about the NY Mets.
     "That bunch of bums!" granddad snarled, while tying the styling cape around Nathan's neck, "Don't get me started. And why are you bringing them up? This isn't baseball season."
     "My point exactly," Nathan replied cheerfully, "If they play during the off season they might actually find someone they can beat. Maybe a girl's softball team for instance."
     Darlene immediately jumped in saying, "You've got to be kidding. We'd mop the floor with those losers, any day of the year."
     "You tell 'im," granddad smiled and turned back to Nathan, "She gets that from my side of the family."
     "And mine!" added my grandmother pointedly. Then she turned to Cheryl and said in a stage-whisper, "He'll never admit it, but he always loved the fact that I wouldn't put up with his nonsense."
     "Like hell," granddad shot back, "I married you because no one else was willing to try to straighten you out so you'd behave more like a lady."  
     "And how did that work out for you?" Nathan asked innocently.
     Granddad glared at him for a second then murmured something about, "Gimme time. I'm still working on it." 
     I was about to comment how he'd already been working on her for almost 70 years, when I noticed my son Joe picking up an old photo album off the table. "Be careful with that," I told him, "That contains some priceless pictures in it."
     Naturally he gave me a skeptical look. "Dad, you say that about all the albums at home and it's just filled with pictures of us when we growing up."
     Looking up into the mirror, granddad saw which book Joe was holding and said, "Memories of family will be more precious than you'll ever know one day. But that's not what's in that book. Those are photos, most of them signed, by some of my favorite customers from over the years. Go ahead and take a peek, you might recognize one or two faces."
     Obligingly, my son did as he was told and immediately his eyes widened at the first image he came across. "Cary Grant!" he cried.
         

     "You're kidding?" his sister gasped and went over to see for herself. 
     Meanwhile, Granddad got to work on Nathan and was saying, "Really nice fella. Great head of hair. Loved working on it and passing the time with him. How old was he when you first brought him to my shop?"
      Nathan had to think for a moment. "Let's see, he was still pretty new in the vaudeville circuit when I met him. I'd say he was just eighteen at the time."
     "That's what I thought," Granddad nodded, "Always stopped in for a shave or a haircut whenever he came to town too." 
     Meanwhile Darlene had turned the next page in the album and started frowning. "Who's the funny-looking guy with the big nose? Was he famous too?"
      "Let me see," Nana told her and went to take a peek. After a moment she smiled, "Oh, that's Jimmy."
     "Which one, Stewart or the other one?" asked Granddad looking up from his work.
      Nana shook her head at him, "Did Jimmy Stewart ever have a big nose?"


     Suddenly, Nathan leapt out of the chair and swung around. His nose had grown considerably as he started talking fast in a raspy, jolly voice. "Who's got a big nose? Madam I'll have you know this schnozzola has given me the world's most memorable profile. It even got me into Guiness just last year."
     I quickly jumped in. "You're in the Guiness Book of World Records?"
     "Nah," Nathan replied in the same voice, "Any chump can into that old waste of paper. Nah, it got me into the Guinness brewery and straight into one of their vats. And lemme tell ya, it weren't full when I fell in, but it was plenty empty when I got out. Ha-cha-cha-cha."
     My son Joe, who had been frowning as if in deep thought, suddenly spoke up. "I know that voice. That's the guy who was the narrator from the 'Frosty the Snowman' cartoon."
     "Hey, that's right," his sister agreed. "And the cartoon version of him did have a big nose just like that." 
    "Dat's right kids, and lemme tell ya. They still didn't do it justice," Nathan continued in Mr. Durante's voice. "Why just the other day I..."
     At that point, Granddad grabbed Nathan by the arm and made him sit back in the chair. Of course this didn't stop the rush of jokes coming out of his client. In fact it wasn't until he pulled out the hot towel and placed it over the comedian's face that the dialogue became more muffled, but not completely silent.
    From then on, the rest of us continued going through the album marveling at the number of famous folks who Granddad had had the pleasure of working on over the years. Nathan helped supply some visuals to the proceedings, much to everyone's amusement and delight. 
    When Granddad finished with Nathan, Joe was more than willing to sit in the chair next and get his hair cut. Not that he really needed it, but by this time he was eager to hear more of namesake's stories. In the meantime I sat back and waited my turn in the chair. It was great seeing my kids really connecting with their great-grandparents. Like Granddad said earlier, memories about family were priceless and at that moment, I was wishing I had my phone out taking pictures. But I didn't, because Nathan had already grabbed it and was shooting away. 
    I later found out, both he and Cheryl had videotaped some of the exchanges and nonsense that followed. It was a great visit, but what made me the happiest was on the way home both Darlene and Joe asked when we were going to visit again. 
     We made a lot of memories tonight and all because of a simple haircut.

     
    - The End

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Private Journal of Doctor Jack Tyler December 29th, 2012 "The Haircut" - Part II

            Darlene rolled her eyes at her brother and sighed, “I don’t know why he’d need a haircut. Does it really matter?” Then before he could answer, I saw her expression change. “Actually, that is a pretty good question. Dad…?

            Holding up my hands I said, “Don’t ask me, I’m just here for Nana’s cookies and hot chocolate.” I wasn’t about to admit that I’d never really thought about it myself.
            Just then Nathan, who was not three feet away, turned to my grandmother saying, “You know I could’ve sworn I’d walked in with a bunch of people, was I just imagining things? Or did I suddenly turn invisible?”
            I watched her pat his arm and say, “No, you’re just getting to that age when everyone thinks you’ve gone deaf or your mind has gone wandering and you aren’t paying attention. I get that a lot.”
           “Not from me!” I called out loudly.
           Nathan looked around, “Did you hear something?”
           “Aw it’s just this old house creaking, or my joints, one or the other,” Nana told him.
           “Must be the house,” he assured her. “I told your dad when he was building it to use hickory but as he pointed out it was more expensive and harder to get here in Connecticut.”
           Nana laughed as she led us down the hallway.


There was an old barber pole on the wall, next to the door that led downstairs.
My grandfather had been the town’s barber for over sixty-five years, before he finally ‘retired’. The shop was still in business but being run by one of my cousins who specialized in not only classic haircutting, but the more modern ‘faded’ style as well. I myself spent a lot of time in grand-dad’s shop when I was a boy and people often thought I’d follow in his footsteps. In reality, I was studying how he interacted with his customers since he always had a way with them. I learned an awful lot about putting people at ease and drawing them out from watching him, which has been a great asset to my medical practice.
I slipped past Nathan as we reached the door to offered Nana my arm which she accepted, then we all headed downstairs.
“Here we go through ‘Dr Who’s Tardis’ again,” I heard my son Joe murmuring behind me, only to be shushed by his sister saying, “Oh, shut up, I like that show.”
“That’s just because you think the current one is cute,” he shot back.
Glancing over my shoulder I saw Darlene make a face, “Ew… I’ll take David Tennant over him any day of the week. I mostly like the companions, especially Amy…”
At that point Nana chimed in with, “I still prefer Tom Baker myself.”
That earned several groans from the rest of us, although deep down I had to admit she had a point. He was a master of comic timing and seriousness when it came to the role of the Doctor. I would’ve said more but we’d just reached the bottom of the stairs and my grandfather’s ‘shop’.
Even though my dad, Nathan, and I helped set the place up for him, I always found myself transported back to my childhood every time I came down here.



One wall of the room was dominated by a large mirror, with shelving covered by numerous barber implements, stood before two chairs that had come from the shop itself. There was also a small flatscreen television staring down from above the mirror. In short, there were also other chairs and tables around the room, but to all intent and purposes, the place was a mini-barber shop. This had been my grandmother’s idea after a number of former clients kept pestering her husband for haircuts because he was the only one who knew how they liked their hair done. Plus, they missed having their regular bull sessions with him.
But most of all, she knew my grandad missed keeping busy.
My grandfather was lounging in the older of the two chairs, when we came down. Getting out of one of the chair, where he'd been reading the paper, he stood up. "About time you got here Nathan, I was about to..." he began then spotted me and my family. "Oh good, lord you brought the entire crew with you. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me tonight."

TO BE CONTINUED...

*Author's Note: Sorry for the short entry. I was working on it this past weekend and had to go to get some routine lab work done (which took a couple of hours... groan). Plus family and a bad cold took more out of me.  Didn't want to leave you all with nothing, so I figured a short entry was better than nothing, especially when I'm trying to do at least at two entries a month. To be concluded in two weeks... unless the story decides it wants to be longer.

Friday, February 10, 2023

When Two Authors Under the Same Roof, Get an Idea…

 *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!

Saturday, January 7, 2023

A New Year, Continuing Health Problem, New Beginnings...

 

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).



I also act as her formatter and submit her books to KDP Direct and Draft2Digital to get them into e-book and print forms, and I had that to take care of as well. 

And of course, I have become a voiceover actor and have turned four of her books into Audiobooks on Audible and Itunes:
    


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. 


Monday, November 14, 2022

"The Cannibal Killer" - Part VI: Private E-Papers of Michael Rhodes, June 18th, 2016

 *Authors' Note:  Sorry for the delay between posts.  We work for the county and are currently winding down the fiscal year which runs from July 2017-June 2018, so we've been run off our feet.  But things will be calming down in another few weeks so please bear with us.  In the meantime, here is a lengthy entry to help make up for the lack of posts.  We hope to get back on our more regular posting schedule before July is out.  Thank you for you patience - Allan and Helen Krummenacker


madness

        “Nadine!” I screamed and rushed to her side, while my boss and our back up started moving slowly towards our suspect. The Cannibal Killer was still on the ground having spasms, and seemed to be completely unaware of our presence.
      I carefully rolled Nadine on her side and studied the knife handle which was all I could see. The bastard and really rammed it in deep. Luckily, I knew from past experiences that it would take more than a knife in the back to stop Nadine. Even if the guy had struck where her heart should be it would've failed, because her body would've moved the vital organ or created another to keep her going. For all the similarities between her and the vampires of legend, she was something more.
      Still something wasn't right. Even though her eyes were open and staring right at me, she didn't speak. And the look on her face... what was happening?
      That's when I noticed her bare shoulder and nearly threw up. It took me a moment to get myself under control. I've seen a lot of injuries in my line of work, including what our perp had done to his other victims... but none of them had still been alive at the time. The bastard had literally taken a bite out of her.
      But the thing that was getting me was the fact that the wound was... doing things. The ragged edges of the wound kept moving, as if they knew they should be reaching across to their counterparts to seal the injury but couldn't. Instead, they simply kept waving about likes streamers attached to a fan... only bloodier.
      I was almost grateful when I heard the sounds of a struggle breaking out behind me... almost. Before I could turn, one of my fellow deputies landed hard beside me and Nadine and rolled.
      Whirling I saw I saw our perp was back on his feet tossing both my boss and another deputy aside as if they were a couple of five year olds. Then instead of fleeing the scene, the guy just stood there... laughing.
      “Oh... Joanie,” he called and turned in my direction, only his eyes were fixed on the prone form of Nadine in my arms. “I'm not finished with you, not by a long shot!”
       Before he could take a single step I raised my gun and fired.
       I saw the pocket covering his heart explode as the bullet hit. The impact knocked him back yet he managed to keep standing. For a moment he stared at the hole in his jacket dumbly, as the cloth slowly turned dark then stopped. Then to his shock, and mine, the stain slowly began to shrink.
      Immediately the true horror of our situation hit. The guy had eaten and swallowed of not only a piece of Nadine but the Sangui-Sapio life form from that Para-Earth she'd landed up in back in 1862. And just as it had changed Nadine from a simple human into a pseudo-vampire in order to save her life, it was now doing the same to the maniac standing a few yards away from me. But the change was only beginning.
    Our psycho staggered and fell to his knees. His eyes were glassy-looking and he seemed confused.
      This was our chance! I started to get to my feet when Sheriff Parkes waived me off as he and three more officers, who had materialized out of the darkness, descended on the Cannibal. They were able to grab his arms and cuff them behind his back without the slightest bit of effort. In fact, they well into the process of removing other weapons he had secreted about his person before he seemed to realize what was happening.
       Then he laughed.
      Something about that sound made all of us back up and draw our weapons. “On the ground! Or you will be shot!” my boss warned.
       For a second no one spoke or moved.
      Then the killer began to murmur and giggle, “Now I get it... you were right, Joanie. I wasn't man enough for you before. How could I be... you had a secret but wouldn't share it with me. But now I know it...”
      “I said don't move!” my boss repeated cocking his weapon.
   But the Cannibal didn't listen, instead he turned towards where Nadine lay and whispered almost sweetly, “...Because I taken from you. But it's not enough, I want it ALL!”
      In flash he was on his feet, snapping the handcuffs behind his back in the process.
      But we were faster and opened fire.
     At point blank range, every one of our shots struck home and I watched as the Cannibal jerked with each impact. But he never went down. Instead, he lashed out with superhuman strength and speed. His first blow sent Sheriff Parkes sailing over Nadine and into the pond beyond her, while another sent our backup rolling a good twenty yards in opposite directions.
     Instinctively, I started to turn towards the pond, but my superior was already getting back to his feet, bellowing, “Stay where you are, protect Collins!”
      He was right. At this point I was the only one left to keep the super-powered Cannibal from reaching his target.
     Weapon raised, I wracked my brain for ideas as our perp started towards me. Bullets weren't going to stop this guy, but maybe one in each of his eyes would at least buy us time to regroup...
     Suddenly, Nadine appeared between us. Arms outstretched she stood protectively in front of me.
     I could see her shoulder was finally healing, but it was doing so slowly, as was the spot in her back where the knife had been. Her entire frame trembled for a moment and I feared she might collapse, but she held her ground and spoke.
     “You're scared... confused. This isn't what you expected,” she said gently.
     The Cannibal Killer chuckled, “No I'm not, Joanie. I'm seeing things clearer than ever before. This is how come you never stayed dead. You kept coming back over and over again, taunting me, laughing at me. But now I know how you did it. And now you can't stop me. No one can! I'm like you... only better.”
     Now he started moving towards us, yet Nadine didn't move. Instead she gently reached out a hand and said gently, “We both know what you really want.”
      That made him stop as he stared at her stupidly at her for a moment.
     Behind him, the two deputies he'd thrown were getting to their feet and regrouping so silently, if I hadn't seen them I'd have never known. Still I kept a poker face, so as not to give anything away.
     Yet, without looking away from us the Cannibal Killer pointed at them saying, “And don't expect them to stop me Joanie... because they're going to be the warm up act. Once I'm done with them and the one behind you, I'm going to start on you and not stop...”
      “You're in pain,” Nadine cut in, “Don't let it hold you back, let go.”
     “YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE ONE IN PAIN JOA... UNGH!” Suddenly, the killer froze and began to jerk uncontrollably like a marionette whose strings had gotten tangled.
      “I wasn't talking to you,” Nadine smiled and took a step toward him.
     The look in the Cannibal's eyes changed from hungry rage to horror as she drew closer.  
     Just then the other two deputies rushed forward and tried to tackle him from behind. At the last second the killer spun, grabbed each of them and threw the pair directly at us.
    Unfortunately, Nadine was not fully recovered. In spite of her attempt to catch my fellow deputies, their combined mass and speed knocked her back into me and the four of us went down in a sprawl. By the time any of us were able to get up, the Cannibal was already gone.

night
TO BE CONCLUDED....