Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Just 3 more days until you can get your own copy of the latest installment of our
In the meantime here's one final peek into the first of what we hope will be many paranormal/science fiction anthologies...
"Wolfgang In Sheep's Clothing"
By Helen Krummenacker
For someone who travels so much, I always seem to have trouble getting ready for departure. It’s helpful these days, having my granddaughter on hand to look after the farm, my pets, and the complex organizing of my correspondence. She came to Germany to get a medical degree and is happy to stay with me and help out. There is little enough work-- while we do still produce some crops to send to the local markets, apple and walnut trees require little attention most of the year, and there are people we can hire for that. Mostly, she spends several hours in town working on studies and research, and enjoys the property as a chance to get away.
Still, there are always many details for me to take care of. For instance, my pets take extra attention. They are not the kind of thing you can easily take to the vet. No one has seen a living trilobite, except for in my aquarium, and many of the others have no near relatives that have existed on this Earth. Depending on one’s definition of near. Fluffy, for instance, has many birdlike traits. His usual prey is squirrel, but herons and hawks like them, too, and he largely eats nuts, especially acorns, to get his protein. He also keeps snails and caterpillars from messing up the family garden and rats out of the buildings. Birdlike was a good description for him. One difference in events between two parallel Earths could lead to such wonderful paths in evolution.
The indoor animals were all doing well and the controls for their temperature, humidity, and other such comforts were working fine. Fluffy had noticed me packing and was shadowing me now, wanting plenty of attention before I went away. We played a bit of fetch as I worked and he ran in circles around me out to the barn.
“Wolfgang!” I called out. The pygmy woodland camel was not inside, even though it looked to be a wet day. I assumed he’d decided to forage in the orchard, so I went out that way. Ruefully, I discovered a fence post had been knocked over and had on it some of the brown wool Wolfgang grew.
I quickly ordered Fluffy back. I didn’t need him to get out, too, and start harassing the neighbor’s cat. As bright as a peacock, as large as a turkey, and not exactly a bird, he would be difficult to explain to anyone who got a good look at him.
For that matter, Wolfgang was not easy to explain, but might pass for a rare breed. The question was, where would he be? Following his tracks would help, but only in the softest areas. His feet were wide and kept him from sinking easily. While he was naturally a creature of the forest, he had been raised by me from when he was only about two months old, and I did not believe he would wander far on purpose. However, herd animals seek their kind and, failing that, will seek a good facsimile. Fluffy, for instance, usually spent most of his time among the crows, who were happy to hang around the liminal area between forest and farm to keep their distant, brilliant cousin company.
As for Wolfgang, his closest relatives would be camels or llamas, and neither one was likely to be abundant in the area. On the other hand, llamas did sometimes show up for one reason only. They were terrifically fond of sheep, and guarded them against predators better than a dog.
He wouldn’t, would he? Of course he would. One thing you could trust any pet to do, no matter what their species, was to gravitate to exactly the activity that would be sure to cause chaos. At least it was autumn, and no chance of a shearing taking place. With a sigh, I headed out to Snyder’s, the nearest farm with sheep.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Once more, with the permission of Nathan and the rest of the cast here at the Vampyre Blogs, the author has a few words about what you can expect to see here in the coming year:
As the New Year draws closer, I have been thinking a great deal about my writing and in particular about "The Vampyre Blogs - I: Coming Home". As you can see just from the title I've begun making changes. I wanted to make it clear to anyone not already familiar with this blog, that this first book is the beginning of a series that will continue for some time to come. Or at least, that is my hope. Nathan and company have already assured me that they have many stories they want share both on the blog and in book form, so I feel safe to say that this series will continue to grow.
Currently, I've finally begun work on the cover of the book. I know a number of you are already familiar with this image that I made using Adobe Photoshop:
While interesting, it also shows that I did not have a completely clear idea of where the story was going to go when I began writing about Nathan and his friends. But since I've had the chance to tell so many short stories here on the blog, as well as finish a first draft of the novel, I have a much clearer vision of the kind of image I wanted for the book. Plus, a number of readers who are already familiar with my other two novels "The Bridge" and "The Ship" expressed a desire for me to continue rendering the covers myself as I have for those novels. I always work in soft pastels, but had a difficult time coming to grips with what the image should look likefor this book. I wanted it to come from the story itself, a scene that takes place which not only catches the eye but captures the imagination. Here is a sneak peak of the cover as I continue to work on it:
Rest assured there will be quite a bit more tweaking to the piece and reworking the foreground colors. But I am very pleased with how I captured the fall leaves on the ground and the family plot located in the back of Nathan's family manor. As for the doll... well that would be telling at this point, but rest assured its presence is a foreshadowing of things to come in the story. However, I will share with you that the manor is not quite as empty as Nathan has believed for the last 150 years...
Anyway, the next thing I wanted to share with you all is the fact that my name will not be the only one appearing on the book cover. For some time my wife Helen has been my biggest supporter and helper in more ways than one. Not only have I used her for a sounding board, but she has also played a critical role in the scientific aspects of the Para-Earth Series (which this book and blog are part of). It has been through her vast knowledge of science and fiction that I've been able create Nathan's condition, as well as coming up with visions of what some of the other Para-Earths are like: the kind of life forms that evolved for instance and why it happened.
But most important of all, she created a character who you've met on this blog before. Professor Otto Hofstadter,was a character she literally dreamed up one night, long before I settled on the idea of doing a vampyre piece. In the dream, one of the main characters from "The Bridge", Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, encountered him at a crime scene crouching over a dead body. Of course in the dream Veronica had no idea that this strange little man who appeared to be in his 50's had nothing to do with the victim's death. So it was only natural that she drew her weapon and told Otto to freeze and put his hands in the air. She was totally unprepared for Otto to put a finger to the side of his nose and do a back-flip out of the window behind him and nail the landing two stories below. Furthermore, she certainly wasn't expecting this strange older man to race across the lawn, jumping over objects and the fence like an Olympic athlete and disappear into the night.
As for Helen, she only had one name for the fellow when she woke up "The Professor". Since then she's fleshed Otto's history and personality out quite a bit, and he plays a pivotal role in the upcoming novel itself. So it is only right, in my opinion, that her name will appear alongside mine on the cover of the book and all those that follow in "The Vampyre Blogs" saga of my Para-Earth Series.
We have plans for Otto in stories of his own as well and will be partnering him with two of the supporting characters from my second novel "The Ship". I'm hoping to have Otto share a couple of his own stories here on the blog as well, so keep an eye out for them because he has a number of good stories (and sometimes, embarrassing ones) about Nathan. I hope you'll find him as fascinating and amusing as I have.
So now you know what to expect in the coming year and those that will follow. As I've said before, Nathan and company, have many adventures to share with us all and I for one am looking forward to them.
I do not know if I'll have time to post another entry here before New Year's Eve, but in case I don't I wish to leave you all with this image...