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

Friday, September 17, 2021

Nathaniel's E-Journal May 2007 - I'm Now A Published Author

 As I sit here typing my mind is still in a whirl.  The idea that something I've written is actually getting published seems unreal.  Then again a lot of things I've done in my long life feel that way.



The first time I stepped out onto a stage in vaudeville to play a part in one of the Marx Brothers routines I felt the same way.  I'd been helping out in their rehearsals and knew the routine by heart, so when Gummo wasn't able to appear with his brothers one night, I was drafted then and there.  I'm proud to say that I did not suffer stage fright, but that was mostly because I had Julius, Arthur and Leonard with me.  I knew they had my back and I wasn't about to let them down.  In a way, it was like being back in the Union Army, where I knew I had a bunch of guys watching out for me just as much as I was keeping an eye out for them.  When we finished our routine they made sure I took a bow with them.  After that I started finding myself on stage a number of times with some of the other acts who knew me pretty well.

But I digress.  As my second semester taking writing classes was drawing to a close, one of my instructors urged me to try and submit a few of my short stories to a few magazines for publication.  This was in March and I trusted my instructor's judgement and with their help I prepared a cover letter, synopsis and a sample of one of my stories.  Needless to say the results were pretty much what I half expected...


Not to say I wasn't a little hurt, but my instructor was like, "Good, now you're really on your way to being an author."  Needless to say I gave her a very curious look, but nodded and kept trying.  Within weeks the responses, or rather more rejections, came rolling in...


Yet in spite of this, Brian, his family, fellow students, and even other members of the English and Literature faculty kept urging me on.  So I kept at it.  Finally, yesterday, I got a response from of all magazines Playboy, who wanted to publish one of my stories. It was one I submitted on a whim to their college fiction contest last year.  I didn't win mind you, but one of the editors kept it on file because he thought it was really good.  

In any case, somehow they were looking to fill space and he remembered my story and contacted me saying they wanted to run it.  Naturally I said yes so next month, my first published short story will be coming out in Playboy Magazine.  I'm hoping the readers like it, or at least those who read Playboy for the articles, all of two of them.

Still, to have my first published story appear in a magazine of that caliber is an honor.  I'm hoping it will help springboard me into other publications or at least get my name out there.  Or rather my pseudonym Daniel Bachmann.  Bachmann was my mother's maiden name and Daniel was my grandfather's name.   Too many people out there know or heard of Nathaniel Steward over the last few decades who don't know my secret.  So a fake name just seemed more appropriate on this occasion.

So my first published work will be sandwiched somewhere in between naked women and... now I'm jealous.  Time to head out and enjoy some nightlife.  I hear there's plenty of great places here in London, and the lights at night are beautiful.  Who knows, I might get an idea for a few more stories.  Yup... I'm a writer all right.  Always thinking about the next tale.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Nathaniel's E-Journal, August 2005... Beginning A New Chapter Part-II

                                                


Another night and I stand once more in my artist's studio located on the top floor of the building that houses my club "The Crypt".  No one's allowed up here unless I say so, and tonight I wish to be alone with my thoughts.  For two days now I've been wrestling with the idea of trying my hand at writing novels.    

In some ways the idea seems ridiculous.  Me? An author?  

Then another question comes to mind in the form of one word, why?

That's the sticking point for me.  Why would I take up writing?  Because I'm bored and want to try something new that I've never done before?   It wouldn't be the first time.  When I joined vaudeville, it was simply to keep myself busy and working behind the scenes as a stagehand at night seemed ideal.  But then I started to get to know the performers like Julius, Arthur, Herbert and Leonard... better known as the Marx Brothers.  Their range of talents fascinated me.  The number of instruments they could play, or the snappy patter they should spout on a moments notice never ceased to amaze me.  Plus, they seemed to sense the feeling of being 'lost' and 'adrift' in me, which made them reach out so I could be a part of their comeraderie.  But it didn't stop there.  Others in the troupe welcomed me as well, like "Fatty" (Roscoe Arbuckle), the Keatons, Harry and Bess Houdini, the lovely and sweet Mae West and so many others...




Before I knew what was happening they'd be teaching me all kinds of skills and even dragging me out on stage to help out in their acts.  I could write endless stories about those days and the ones that came before.  

My days on the battlefield while serving in the Union Army.  So many stories were lost there that only I know about.  The hopes and fears of my brothers in blue, as well as some of those who wore the rebel gray.  In 167 years of walking this world, I've not forgotten a single person who I've met, good or bad, I remember them.  I also remember the stories they shared, the sweethearts they pursued and the outcomes.  

So many stories to choose from, but where would I begin?  

I brought up the idea of my taking up writing to Brian and his family last night at dinner.  Much to my surprise no one laughed.  Instead they eagerly supported the venture.  Brian in particular urged me to take a couple of creative writing courses at the college where he teaches history.  "We've got some really good instructors there and they could really help you hone your skills?" Brian pointed out.  "I've taken a couple of them and they were really helpful.  Of course, you'll need to decide on a genre to write in.  Agents and publishers like to represent someone who has a specific kind of novel."

"You should write romance," his daughter Lisa suggested with a twinkle in her eye as she looked at me.  Even though she's only a child I have a feeling she's developing a crush on me.  I've seen that look before in girls her age and even younger, over the decades.  But only one ever managed to land me, but she was extremely persistent.  

Even now I can feel her eyes on me after seven decades.  Looking up I find myself staring into a pair of dark eyes, forever captured in oil.  Dark hair frames those eyes along with the lovely face and strong chin.  "Magda," I whisper and smile.

Our time together was not nearly as long as either of us had hoped, but it was magical.  Our first meeting and her prolonged pursuit for my love could fill several volumes.  Her persistence paid off and after three years she became my wife at the young age of sixteen.  

As I stand there lost in thought, the sounds of music reaches my ears from several floors below.  The Crypt is now open and is already filling up with the usual crowd.  Even from here I can sense the whirl of emotions and life down there.  Laughter, sorrow, broken hearts, lust, hopes for love...  

A flash of light through the window catches my eye.  After several nights of gathering clouds it looks as rain is finally drawing near.  I make my way up the stairs and onto the roof of the building to watch the approaching storm.



I see lightning in the distance over my hometown, it's going to be a good one.  But instead of retreating back inside, I stay where I am and feel the breeze on my face and close my eyes.  I can feel the storm's energy on the wind and without thinking, several lines of words describing the feeling come to mind.  Some of the words are trite, but they still help paint a picture within my head.


Suddenly my eyes shoot open as realization sinks in.  Painting a picture, but with words instead of oils or acrylics!   No pencils, no paintbrushes, just words that form an image or a scene within the readers mind.  That's what an author does. But they don't just paint one picture, they paint a whole series of images, coupled with emotions and thoughts.  Yet, I can still use my skills as a painter as well.  Illustrations and book covers... yes.  

And I have so much material to draw upon.  My own experiences as well as those of people who's memories lives I keep alive within me.  I've shared their stories countless times with descendants so they are never forgotten.  

But what kind of stories to write? 

From down in the alley I hear the sound of raised voices.  Looking over the edge I see a young couple having a heated argument.  The boy is obviously breaking up with the girl and leaves her in the alley alone.  But she does not remain that way for long.  Three others, friends of hers arrive and comfort her.  One of them is a young man who obviously has feelings of his own for her.  But instead of being foolish and declaring his affections, he merely gives her the support and comfort of the friend she needs right now.  

But I can sense a change in her.  It's not big, but her gratitude to him and the two girls with him is obvious.  I hear her say she wishes more guys were like him as they step inside.  Perhaps something will come of it eventually.  

However the thing that gets me most is the image that forms in my mind.  Just like the other night down in the club, I could see other figures, superimposed over the trio.  Their outfits changed several times within the span of a few seconds.  I saw flappers, soldiers, suits, gowns, hippies, but their actions were all the same and leading towards one thing... romance.

"Love Across Time..." I murmur as the first drops of rain start hitting my head.  

Why not?  I've seen and experienced it so many times in the last fifteen decades.  Oh, the settings and ways one behaved have changed over time, but the feelings never do.  

Feeling elated at the idea, I spread my arms wide and let the rain and story ideas pour over me.  


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I'm Being Featured Over On a Blog...

I'm delighted and honored to say I'm being featured over on the wonderful Aurora Jean Alexander's  Writer's Treasure Chest blog. It is an honor and a pleasure to be in the spotlight and I hope you'll all click on the link below and come check it out.

Aurora Jean Alexander is the author of "The Council of Twelve" series which I have reviewed on our blog about writing. So please give her a little love and follow her blog while you're there. You won't be sorry.

https://aurorajalexander.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/author-spotlight-allan-krummenacker/



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Things I Learned Writing An Anthology - Part I

Last night Helen and I finished the final story for our upcoming anthology.

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     Thank you!  Thank you!  You're all being too kind.  But today's post is not to talk about the anthology itself, as much as what went into making it.  How did it differ from writing full-length novels?  Was it easier?  Was it harder? What was the process like?  Where did we get all the stories for it, etc.?

      Well, for starters, coming up with a decent number of stories was and wasn't hard really.  Helen had been writing stories long before e-books and well before I tried my hand at penning a tale.  I can easily say I learned so much from her earlier attempts at getting published, and let me tell you she got damn close to seeing some of her work in print.  But, that's a tale for another entry.

      What I want to say is that I learned a lot about what to expect when I decided to try  going the traditional published route.  Although in my case, I started shortly after the birth of e-publishing and after 2-3 years of trying to get an agent to represent and hearing over and over again "You've got something here, but you crossed several genres and I wouldn't know what publishing house to try and sell it to."  

      You see, at that time (and this still seems to hold true today) publishers don't like to take risks on unknown authors or mixed genres. They want a straight up "Mystery", "Thriller", "Horror", "Science Fiction", etc.  They're not keen on trying to sell a book that crosses multiple genres like the Para-Earth Series which we classify as "Paranormal/Sci-Fi".
  

      Now some of you may be pointing out that they do it more often these days, but most of those authors are well-known like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J. K. Rowling, etc. who all have proven sales track records.  

       Anyway, getting back to how our upcoming anthology came to be a reality
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      During that 2-3 years I tried to get published the traditional way, more stories were taking shape.  New characters and ideas were forming.  One of them was vampire I called Nathan Eoghan (pronounced Ewan) Steward.  I swore I'd never do a vampire character, unless I could introduce new angle or angles to the character.  Yet I still wanted to keep a lot of the traditional trademark strengths and weaknesses people have come and know and recognize.

      By this time, I had already been blogging for several years and had learned from other writers the concept of giving sneak peeks into upcoming works, and even sharing short stories.  This is done to introduce characters and concepts to prospective readers and build a demand for them.  So, after creating a vampire character that would fit nicely into our paranormal/sci-fi concept, I began doing short stories with Nathan over on a new blog called "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition".    Over the course of 3 years we had a number of tales about Nathan and introduced a number of his friends who appeared with him in "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home".  And we're still making new stories.  And that presented a problem, how many people want to wade through 4-5 years of blog posts to read all those stories?  Furthermore, most of those tales are rough 1st drafts and it shows.

      During this time, I noticed some of my fellow authors who had created short stories on their blogs were bundling them into anthologies and that got us thinking.  With all the stories we'd already created, why couldn't we create an anthology centered around all those stories on the blog?  While it sounded nice and easy, it also didn't feel completely right to me.  While having all those earlier stories put into a more convenient format, shouldn't we give the readers more?  Shouldn't there be new never before seen stories in the collection?  Furthermore, should the stories not be just about Nathan but his friends, and even characters from our first two novels "The Bridge" and "The Ship"? 


    This led to Helen coming up with the idea of recycling some of her earlier works which were firmly established in the realm of the macabre.  With a little reworking and adding scenes, she felt a number of those pieces could easily fit in with our Para-Earth Series, while also giving those unread tales a chance to finally see the light of day.  

      *Now I want to pause and say one thing.  Remember how I told you all, many posts ago, never to toss out your unfinished works, or fragments because you never knew when they might fit into some new idea/concept?  This is a perfect example of why you do that.  You just never know when that day might come.*

      So right there, we had some brand new stories to slip into the anthology.  But we didn't stop there, we went ahead and created several more brand new stories just for the collection itself.  The result?  One third of the tales appearing in this anthology are completely brand new.
  
     Plus, we also added an afterthought following each story, sharing some of the who, what, where, and how each tale came into existence.  We thought it only right to share some of what the writing process can be like and hopefully inspire others to take that next step in whatever creative endeavors they are involved in.  

     Now, seeing how long this entry is getting and knowing there's still a lot more to share, I'm going to end this one here.  I know I covered a lot of background areas today and haven't really gotten to more of the technical and details of actually what went into the building of the anthology.  But rest assured that will be covered in the next installment. 

      Until then take care and keep writing everyone.