Category: About Writing



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!


At the beginning of this year, I made a post listing my plans for this year. And as the end of the year draws closer, let’s take a look at how things went, shall we?

1- Re-work, re-edit, and re-release “The Bridge” in a special 10th Anniversary version.

RESULTS: As of today, this project is just shy of 2/3’s of the way finished. So, it’s well on target for being re-released in 2023. Admittedly, I had hoped to have it completed and ready to release in January 2023, but I’ll settle for getting it out before the coming year is over.

2 – Get a complete 1st draft of “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which takes up mere weeks after the end of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

RESULTS: Well… the first draft is under way, so that’s something. Right? Please tell me I’m right. I’m feeling guilty over here.

3 – Release the first volume of “The Pass” trilogy, which I wrote with my old high school friend Rich Caminiti, with some fantastic illustrations by the talented Gabrielle Callan. We will be releasing this book in hardback (yes, your read that right) and e-book formats.NOTE: This one is a definite. The book is already written Gabrielle just getting the last of the artwork completed along with the cover

RESULTS: (cricket noises) Health and other complications slowed us down on this one. However, we do have a hardback “Proof Copy” that Rich and I have been going over together and finding a number of issues that we are correcting. However, there is no doubt that we will get the first book of the trilogy out in 2023. So, keep an eye out for this new and exciting tale to arrive in the coming months.

4 – Rich and I will be working on the 2nd and 3rd drafts of the second installment of “The Pass” trilogy with hopes of releasing that book in 2023.
*The 1st draft is already completed so we have high hopes of getting this to happen*

RESULTS: (even more cricket noises) Mind you, the 1st draft of the 2nd book is still completed, and we will be working on the 2nd and 3rd drafts as we get the 1st book out in 2023.

5 – Record and release Helen’s 1st solo anthology “Forever W. I. T. C. H. Hunting”, which is actually a spinoff from her Forever Detective Series and will feature characters from that series as well as a few new faces who will be appearing in future installments of The Forever Detective books.

RESULTS: The book itself was released and the actual title is “W. I. T. C. H. Hunters Forever”.  As far as the audiobook goes, I’ve recorded 2-3 of the stories, but I still have a ways to go on the others.  But, an audiobook version will be coming in 2023 (hopefully by May if not sooner). We’ll see what happens.

6 – I hope to begin recording “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” with the help of Helen to bring more variety of voices for your listening pleasure.

RESULTS: I have actually gotten several entries recorded already, but I still have a long ways to go before it will be finished. But 2023 will hopefully see the audiobook come to life by September, just in time for the Halloween season. 

7 – We may start adding some podcasts occasionally to this blog and maybe even to YouTube. We have the equipment and the ability to do it, so you may actually get to see and hear us once in a while.

RESULTS: The great thing about saying “We may start…” is that it didn’t promise anything actually happening. Which is fortunate because we had a lot on our plate already for this year, and many new issues arose that needed our attention first. So although this did not come to pass, we do have plans and will be taking our first steps to make this happen in 2023. We’ll see what happens.

8 – Finally, I’m starting to look into voiceover work opportunities for myself this coming year. I’m already on LinkedIn and have seen opportunities becoming more numerous, as well as over on Audible. There are apparently opportunities here in and around Santa Cruz, so I may be trying out for a few here and there. It all depends on time and how many spoons I can spare without burning myself out.

RESULTS: I did look into things more and discovered that one of the most important things I needed to really start applying for some of these opportunities are some “Demo” recordings which act as a portfolio/resume’ for voice actors. And that is something I do not have. Also, it is not something I can really do on my own at home with the equipment I have, which is fine for Audiobooks, but not for “Demos”. So as 2022 approaches its end, I have gone back to taking Voiceover classes to further develop my skills, as well as getting support, scripts and eventually professionally done “Demo” recordings. So before 2023 is out, I WILL be auditioning for voiceover work professionally.

So, overall I didn’t do too bad, right?

Ooo… tough crowd! 

Alright, I’ll level with you folks. Since September I’ve been dealing with a health issue that is still being investigated to find the cause and how to deal with it. I started having an elevated heart rate where even resting I was at 100 beats per minute. After MRI’s and cardiograms, they have ruled out my heart itself being the problem, but they have discovered a couple of other issues that could be triggering this and are diving deeper to find the answers. Currently, medication has my heart at a more normal level, but I’m suffering dizziness and fatigue to the point I’ve been on FMLA since September.  

This fatigue has slowed me down on a number of fronts, including writing and blogging (obviously, since I haven’t posted as often as I’d like this year). But I’m hanging in there, so no worries. I have been doing some writing and recording, just not as much as I would really like to be doing. But it is happening, nonetheless. So your patience is appreciated.

On the plus side, I did release not one but two video narrations on YouTube, in case you missed them. One of them is my presentation of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, complete with me supplying all the voices along with images I found on the internet to give you all a picture book experience as I narrate the entire novella as it was written and can be found below:

Plus I did the same thing for one of Helen’s short stories from her recently published short story collection “W. I. T. C. H. Hunter’s Forever” which is a spinoff from her Forever Detective Series starring her detective/vampire Rafael Jones (who does make a brief appearance in one of the stories). This tale is also a Christmas themed story, involving none other than the legendary demon Krampus. Which can be viewed here at:

Once again, I had a lot of fun supplying the voices and gathering images from across the internet to bring a more enjoyable view/listening experience to the audience. 

I will probably be doing more YouTube presentations of stories written by Helen and myself, as well as some little known (but highly entertaining) ghost stories I have found in Public Domain, including one tale from Lord Dunsany, who was a huge influence to the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos, H. P. Lovecraft.

So, there’s quite a bit on the horizon for 2023 and we hope you’ll stick with us and check out our work and help spread the word. Because there’s no better advertising than word of mouth. 

Thanks for all your continued support throughout this year, and we’ll see you again soon.


Yesterday I was scrolling through YouTube and ran across something that really caught my eye.

Yes, I’m one of those people who when the Halloween season rolls around, I break out all kinds of horror movies, especially the black and white ones. And I freely admit that I’ve watched this classic gem many times. 

However, it wasn’t the full movie that was being advertised. Instead, this was a 40-minute video about ‘deleted’ scenes from this movie, which immediately caught my attention. Pausing only to grab a cup of tea, I sat down for a good viewing and was not disappointed. Now, I’m not saying that they had actual footage that was left out of the final cut, but what they did have took me completely by surprise.

For those who are less familiar with the old universal black and white monster films, I’ll give you a quick rundown here. This video covered the actors who played Frankenstein’s monster. 

For the first 3 films it was Boris Karloff who had been handpicked by the director James Whale, even though Bela Lugosi was originally intended to play the role. However, Lugosi thought he’d be playing Dr. Frankenstein not the creature, so when they went with Karloff instead, he was not overly disappointed. Now the story arc between these 3 films was pretty well connected. The first movie involved the creature’s creation and subsequently being villainized by villagers because of his appearance and an accidental drowning of a young girl (please keep in mind the creature had the mind of a child for the most part and didn’t understand that tossing a little girl into the water who did not know how to swim was a mistake).  Then he was hunted by the villagers and his creator and left to die in a fire.

The second movie took right up where the first left off with the creature surviving and wandering the woods where he seeks companionship and after saving a young woman from drowning, he is again hunted by villagers. Eventually he makes friends with a blind hermit who teaches him to talk and be happy, only to have this taken away as well by frightened angry people. By the end of the film he and another mad doctor force Dr. Frankenstein to make him a mate, who rejects him. The creature then proceeds to try and destroy himself. saying he and his ‘bride’ belong dead, not among the living.

So you see a real continuity in the character throughout these films. Good editing really helps the stories feel cohesive. In the 3rd film the monster no longer speaks, but it is clear he suffered more damage from the explosion and has only one friend, Igor the hunchback who is a wicked creature himself and takes advantage of the monster being easily guided or misguided in this case. 

In the 4th movie Igor is still leading the monster (now played by Lon Chaney Jr as Karloff felt he was too old to handle the physical demands of playing the monster), continuing to rely on the creature’s needy nature for a friend, to do bad things. Yet, at points, the creature shows kind and compassion side. At one point when he’s wandered off on his own, he helps a little girl retrieve her balloon from a tall building. Later in the film, after locating one of the sons of the original Dr. Frankenstein, Igor convinces the man to correct his father’s mistake by giving the creature a new brain. Young Dr. Frankenstein agrees and plans to use the brain of a recently killed colleague. Only Igor interferes by working with the doctor’s assistance to have his own brain placed inside the monster’s indestructible body. The result is the monster is now able to speak, in Igor’s voice, and is cleverer and more dangerous than ever before. However, there is a problem, due to a mismatch in their chemistry, and the Igor/creature becomes blind and lashes out starting another fire that seemingly destroys all within the building.

So up to this point we have a good continuity with explanations throughout the series of films. However, the next movie “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” is where it all goes downhill as far as continuity is concerned. In this movie, the creature is not able to speak anymore for some reason. Also, the way Bela Lugosi (who finally got another chance to play the creature, as Lon Chaney was playing the Wolf Man of course in the film) moves about the sets one would think that maybe the monster may still be blind? Neither of these facts are explained in the movie and of course another scientist is introduced who goes ahead and tries to put the monster back to full strength, with the intention of then siphoning off the lifeforce of both the creature and the wolf man to put an end to each of them. Of course, angry villagers blow up a dam nearby while the two monsters are battling it out inside the lab thus apparently destroying both once again… until the 5th movie. 

Yet for years I asked myself, why the sudden change in continuity? What happened? Well yesterday, I got my answers, which brings me back to the deleted scenes video. Those answers, which I’m about to share has left me more than a little sad for what happened in the studio’s editing room.

The host of the video explains that a copy of the original script, which was used in the film, has been on the internet for some time and held all the answers to my questions. In the original shooting of the movie, the monster (played by Bela Lugosi) DID speak! Also, he was still talking in the Igor voice. Furthermore, he was still blind as well, which explained by Bela moved the way he did (as if he couldn’t see properly) throughout most of the movie.

There were also some great dialogues between the monster and Lawrence Talbot (the Wolf Man), sharing their thoughts and feelings, as well as each other’s desires. The monster, wanted to be restored to full strength hoping he’d get his eyesight back, as well as planning to make others fear him and leave him alone, or allow him to take power over entire villages, cities, even countries. Again, we see the sinister intellect and drive of Igor’s brain at work. And as I said before, they find a doctor who is supposed to help them both. Lying to the creature, he promises to bring him back to full strength while planning to actually the lifeforce out of both to destroy the creature and to allow Talbot to end his curse of lycanthropy.

Sounds like the original cut was great, right? So what happened? 

The test audiences loved the film, the story, the action… but they had one little problem. That problem was Lugosi’s accent. Folks thought it was kind of weird to hear the Frankenstein monster talking in a Hungarian accent. So, the studio panicked and went back to re-edit the movie removing all of Bela’s dialogue. Even in the scenes that remained we can see his lips moving as if he were talking, but instead of reshooting all his scenes they either cut or simply removed his part of the soundtrack.

This to me was a grave mistake. As I’d said earlier, growing up I felt a serious disconnect between the “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” and all the earlier films, so it was clearly apparent to others. Yet, because it was the first time in movie history two legendary creatures crossed paths in the same film, it did quite well at the box office, spawning 2 more films in the Frankenstein series, with the creature continuing to be mute and less sympathetic for the most part. 

Still that interruption in the continuity of the Frankenstein films, is very jarring, I have heard this many times especially coming from viewers in modern day who watch them all and left wondering what happened to the monster’s personality and ability to speak.

And of course, the culprit was too much editing! A danger that every person who is writing a series must be careful of. Your readers want continuity, as well as unanswered questions and plot points from earlier books. The audience becomes invested in those characters and situations, so they want to see things get resolved at some point in the books and definitely before series is brought to an end. 

So, we must be extremely careful when it comes to those edits. Whether you’re doing the editing or have hired someone else, remember to think long and hard about what’s being suggested you cut or change. Yes, it may slow down the process of getting the book published, but your readers are counting on you to deliver a solid tale that fits in nicely with the rest of your series. Because believe me, if you don’t, the same word of mouth that helps bring more readers to your work, can also drive new customers away. 

That’s all for today. Take care and keep writing and recording my friends.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

For those who have never watched the original Universal Frankenstein Films here the titles in order:   

FRANKENSTEIN (1931)    BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939)
GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)
FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943)
HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944)
HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945) – in spite of the title, this is considered part of the franchise since it     directly follows the events of House of Frankenstein. It is also considered the final film in the series.

And for anyone who wishes to check out the YouTube Video with the ‘Deleted Scenes’ here is the link:


In my last entry I explained how I had settled on the idea of Parallel Realities for the premise of the series. But what could I do with it that was new and different? Well as Doctor Who would say, “This is where things get a bit tricky.”   

 We all know that a lot of choices are man-made, but events are also a major player in our world and our lives.  There’s an old school of thought that says, for whatever choices we make another alternate timeline exists where a version of ourselves exists who follows the path not taken.  I began pondering this concept and asked myself, “What if not just choice could lead to a parallel reality?  What if events that didn’t happen in our reality, did happen in another reality?  And what might be the consequences and effects of that event?”  This idea really intrigued me and I began to think about the concept on a much LARGER and OLDER scale…

 Current theory says that that moon we all know and love was made as a result of an event that took place in Earth’s very early childhood, long before the first dinosaurs or any life-forms evolved.  At the time our planet was much bigger than we know it to be now and it was hot and molten.  Then another planet called Thea crashed into our world and literally knocked the stuffing out of us.  Debris was scattered into space and floated there for centuries while the two worlds slowly fused into the size and shape we know now.  As for the debris, caught in the new Earth’s gravity it circled around our world and slowly coalesced and formed the moon we all know and love.  This also explains why moon rocks brought back by our visits showed the same compositions as are found here on Earth.


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With this thought in mind, suddenly all the beings and entities I had been thinking about writing suddenly became more real to me.  They weren’t aliens from other worlds, or magical demons from other dimensions, they were Earth beings.  Just not from this reality.  They came from alternate Earths where either the creation of the moon or some other kind of cosmic event (an asteroid that missed us in this reality, actually struck and brought some microbes, or some other kind of calamity) changed that other Earth’s development which in turn altered what kind of life might or might not evolve.  I quickly realized that the possibilities were endless and that I wouldn’t have to limit myself to just one alternate version of Earth.  I’d have dozens or hundreds available for storylines…  In that moment I came up with the phrase Para-Earths.

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Of course this led to new questions from Helen such as how do these beings slip out of their versions of Earth and into ours?  Do people from our Earth wind up slipping into those alternate earths?  Are the beings from these Para-Earths malevolent, friendly, or simply following basic instinct like herbivores and carnivores, etc.


As for the how they manage to intrude into our reality I proposed thinking of reality as a tree with loads of branches.  If you actually look closely you will find that branches of course give birth to new branches and in turn to the same, and so on.  Yet a number of these branches will rub up against each other at one time or another. 


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Now if you picture Earth as we know it to be one branch, and one of those Para-Earths as another branch, they too can brush up against each other and a doorway opens between the two.  In my writings, this is a naturally occurring phenomenon that occurs every so often.  The reason no one notices is that it doesn’t always happen when someone’s around to see it, from either this Earth or the Para-Earth that is brushing up against us.  Sort of like the old “If a tree falls down in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” concept.  Even though no one witnessed it, the event happens.  But occasionally someone is there and they see something strange in the woods or out of the corner of their eye.  However, the timing of the opening can be short or long so by the time that person who saw something out of the corner of their eye can turn to focus on what caught their attention the event is already over.  Other times, they stare and stare, or maybe they walk towards it and suddenly the doorway closes and they’re left wondering if they need glasses or to stop drinking.


Our first two stories (“The Bridge” and “The Ship”) focused on two occasions when many years ago two openings lasted long enough for strange beings from two different Para-Earths entered our world and got stuck here.

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​​ The third book of the Para-Earth Series, called “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, wound up becoming the first Young Adult (or Y A) novel of the series. Originally it was planned to be simply a continuation the overall series, but early readers pointed out that two of the main characters were teenagers and did a majority of the storytelling. So Helen and I decided to make “The Vampyre Blogs”, and any future installments a Y A branch of the Para-Earth Series.

In this novel, we decided to focus on a man from our Earth being the one who briefly landed in a Para-Earth reality, and the consequences of his encountering a particular type of life form that would forever change his existence, even after he returned to his own world. 

Thanks to the introduction of the characters from “The Vampyre Blogs” we were able to create an anthology of short stories in “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”.

As the name implies, the stories focus mostly on the characters from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home.” However, it also allowed us to bring in some familiar faces from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, cementing the idea that both series do take place in the same reality. This anthology, also allowed us to lay the groundwork for new recurring characters that would appear in future installments of both the regular series and the YA books.      

Of course there are many more stories to come.  Helen and I are currently working on a second anthology that will still mainly focuses on characters from “The Vampyre Blogs”, but will also feature characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  The collection is currently titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Two For the Road”. 


As for plans of any major crossover where all the main characters from both sides of the series come together, we’re pleased to say there is one currently being developed.  

In the meantime, Helen and I hope you enjoy the stories we’ve already put before you.  Let each tale open your imagination and fill it with wonder.  There are rules and science behind a lot of the lifeforms you will encounter in these books, and we will do our best to explain them.  In fact, we will be eventually adding another section to the blog called “Encyclopedia Para-Earth” or something along those lines where Helen will go into the science aspects of our series, exploring certain creatures we use and their real-life counterparts from the real world.


We’d also like you all to keep in mind that not every Para-Earth being we introduce to you and our characters will be hostile. Some are simply strangers in a strange world, and just because their appearance may be monstrous, does not mean they are.  In some cases, you may find yourselves being introduced to lifeforms that have become the stuff of legends in our reality.   So strap in and join the adventure, you never know who or what you might meet along the way.

Until next time, keep writing!

You can find our books (with the exception of “The Bridge” which is still being reworked but will return soon) at these online stores:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Krummenacker/e/B00B1W8TEU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allan-Krummenacker/e/B00B1W8TEU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B074CFSCLB?binding=kindle_edition&ref=dbs_dp_rwt_sb_pc_tukn

BARNES AND NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Allan%20Krummenacker%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/1383

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=allan%20krummenacker&ac=1&acp=allan%20krummenacker&ac.author=allan%20krummenacker&sort=PublicationDateDesc

APPLE: https://books.apple.com/us/author/allan-krummenacker/id594053831


With the 10 year anniversary mark of the release of our first book “The Bridge” on the horizon (next year to be precise), we thought it might be nice to share with you all just how this journey began.  Where did the ideas for the Para-Earth Series come from?  Who and what inspired the concept?  And finally, for those who haven’t had the opportunity to actually read any of the books but are curious to know more, what IS a Para-Earth?  To answer all these questions, let’s begin with a familiar opening from a very familiar television show from the 1960’s…

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“Submitted for your approval…” these are the opening words written and spoken for the Twilight Zone by its creator Rod Serling.  In that place, people found themselves facing death, adventure, revelation, terror, or even worse… themselves.   So in the spirit of the late Mr. Serling, today’s entry is submitted for the approval of all our readers (whoever and wherever you may come from) as I guide you through the process of how the Para-Earth Series came into being.


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In the early 1900’s Mr. Howard Phillip Lovecraft (often referred to as HP Lovecraft) created a series of stories that would come to be known as the Cthulhu Mythos.  In these tales, the audience was introduced to beings from not only outer space, and some cases out of time.  Some of these creatures were here on Earth long before man ever took his first breath.  Yet as familiar as the names of Great Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlothep and others, these were actually only a part of his fantastic imagination. 

Wizards, alchemy and magic also played a large part of his writings. So did tales where human nature reverting to something more primitive and sinister, without help or influence from Cthulhu and his kin.   

Mr. Lovecraft also dabbled in tales of science such as the ultraviolet wave machine that revealed things of such malice and horror that it was only by the saving grace of a barrier neither we nor they saw, that kept us safe. 


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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, more well-known for his famous detective Sherlock Holmes, also dabbled in tales of the incredible.  In one story he created a jungle in the air where beings existed among the clouds (mind you this was the time of bi-planes and early mono-planes when aviation was still taking its early steps into adulthood).  In this setting, many of these creatures were merely curious, while others seemed almost playful.  But like any jungle, this setting had predators.  Luckily these ‘air jungles’ were in pockets scattered above us, which was why most flying machines of his day passed untouched and safe.  But occasionally… well you get the idea.

 All of these stories, along with many others were floating in my head when I first conceived my fictional reality.  I knew I wanted to create something that had numerous possibilities for expansion, yet still have a thread that connected all the stories that were to come.  There were to be intrusions into our reality, but why and where from eluded me. 

My brain kept going back to Mr. Lovecraft’s tale of the ultraviolet wave machine that revealed beings existing side-by-side to us, just out of sight by laws of reality we never suspected.  This held a lot of promise, but I felt as if I were intruding upon the works of a great man who cast a shadow as large, or even larger, than Great Cthulhu himself.

Then I read an introduction in one of the Lovecraft collection of stories, by Robert Bloch, another great writer I truly admire.  I quickly learned that Mr. Bloch was not only a contemporary of Lovecraft, but a friend.  And in this introduction he extrapolated upon the various aspects of Lovecraft’s own life and how they became part of his writing world.  One of those aspects was dreams. 

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In that instant, I thought about some dreams of my own.

Now I don’t know if I’m an ‘experienced dreamer’ like Lovecraft’s Randolph Carter or just an average one.  But time and again there are certain types of dreams we all seem to share at some point.  Those are dreams where we are living a very different life from the one we know in our waking hours. In these dreams, family and friends are readily recognizable to us.  We’ll even meet some who were merely part of our childhood, and long since parted ways.  Yet in these dreams they can show up and we know everything about them as if we never parted. In fact, an entire life’s history is known to us in these dreams where we are single, married to our real-life partners, or to someone you never would have thought of as a love interest.  In other cases you might be in love or married to someone you’ve never even met, but in that dream and in that moment, you know everything about them.  Then we wake up, back in our beds in this reality.  Naturally the dreams fade from memory and we’re sometimes left with feelings of having lost something, while at the same time we wonder, ‘Where did all of that come from?  Was it the burrito?  The pizza and the late night talk show circuit?’

In my case I began to wonder if maybe it was something more…

The realism in those dreams, at least in my case, were so remarkable that I could wake up with a feeling of having had a breathtaking experience, or even a terrifying one.  Sights and even touch seemed so real to the point that if something unexpected or unnerving happens I would react physically and jolt myself awake. 


​​

I then began to wonder aloud about the theory of parallel realities.  One school of thought is that for every choice we don’t make here, it’s made elsewhere.  So I began to wonder, what if a part of our mind (which is still vastly uncharted) had slipped over to one of those parallel worlds and we were inside the version of ourselves that lived there.  This would explain why we seem to have a full set of memories in the dream and know those who appear, even though in ‘the real world’ we’ve never met those people.  In short, what if we were getting a chance to see and know what had happened if we had made those other choices.

At this point, my imagination was really getting fired up.  Some kind of parallel reality setting held a lot of possibilities for me.  However, it is also an area that has been explored so many times in books, short stories, movies and TV.  What could I bring that would be knew and fascinating for readers?  If I were to aim in this direction it had to be something new and different, something audiences had never encountered before.TO BE CONTINUED…

*In the meantime you can find our books at these online stores:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MFAGI7H/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

AmazonUK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MFAGI7H/ref=series_rw_dp_sw/260-5035469-8373252

Smashwords (Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo, PDF)https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/1383

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Allan%20Krummenacker%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall


With the holidays over and all audio recording projects edited and out there, Helen and I have finally had time to settle down and work on rewriting the first book in our Para-Earths series “The Bridge”. As you know from previous entries, the last ‘edited’ files that we published got corrupted without our knowledge, so when I found out I took it down from all sites (which is why you cannot find it now). But rest assured work has begun and some ‘technical’ changes are being made to the new edition which will be released next year 2023. Originally I planned on re-releasing it this year as a special 10th anniversary edition, only to discover that while I put a 2012 copyright year in the original version, it never actually reached Amazon or any of the other outlets until 2013.  So to keep with calling it the 10th Anniversary edition, we all have to wait a little longer.


However, I’m not actually bothered by this delay. Because reworking the book, I’m discovering a lot of things I’d forgotten that were in the book itself.    

Yes, I know that sounds hard to believe, but when you’ve gotten a couple of other books under your belt, plus you’ve been providing voices for other books, some details kind of fall into the dark corners of your memory. So I’m actually kind of grateful for the opportunity to see the story with fresh eyes after so much time has passed. This time I’m trying to look at the book from a reader’s perspective, instead of as one of the authors and really see some of the errors that were made the first time around, in addition to the corruptions of the file itself.


I think most writers look back on their earlier work (especially when it’s part of an ongoing series) with a mix of pride as well as thoughts like, “Ooo… I could’ve done a better job on that section…” or “Gee, that idea was good at the time but I wound up fleshing it out so much more in later years…” And that’s where Helen and I are at, especially me since I did the majority of the actual writing at the time. Simply put, the more you write, the more your style matures and that’s something you will be seeing in this 10th Anniversary edition.


Mind you, we’re not rewriting every single word or scene. But we will be making adjustments and possibly making certain areas ‘cleaner’ for you the readers. It will also make things easier for me and Helen when we start the audio recording part of the project.  

Yes, you read that right, we’re going to be releasing an Audible version of “The Bridge” as part of the 10th Anniversary release.

And for those who are Audible fans, yes this means that the rest of the Para-Earths Series will also be getting turned into Audiobooks as well. How soon? That depends on a couple of factors. The first being: getting Helen used to the microphone and software to the point she feels more satisfied with her voice performances. I think she’s pretty good, but like any artist, she’s her own worst critic. Secondly, I’m also considering enlisting the help of a few other vocal talents to help fill some of the character slots. While I have and impressive repertoire of  voices I can do (at last count I made a list of over 100 voices, and the list is still growing), and Helen is slowly coming on board, there are limits to what we can do really effectively on our own.

But getting back to the topic of  “The Bridge”, being reminded of all that had taken place in this first story, I’m discovering new pathways to take the upcoming books in the series. You see, part of the reason things have slowed down on “The Door” so much is, I keep finding myself hitting pockets of writer’s block that I haven’t been able to fully get around. And now I think part of the reason for all that writer’s block has been a part of my brain has been telling me I need to go back to the original source material to find the correct path forward. 

So this ‘rewrite’ is actually serving more than one purpose, and I feel much more at ease with the whole thing. I don’t see it as much as ‘correcting mistakes’, but a chance to polish the book that made brought the entire series to life, as well as finding how to keep the series growing and be consistent.

That’s all for now. So until next time, take care, stay safe, and keep writing and recording my friends.


 A whole year of planning, working, sweating, and it still wasn’t enough. 

For those who are wondering, I’m referring to my unabridged dramatic reading of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. My plan was to unveil the finished project as a picture book on YouTube. Besides spending hours recording voices, some sound effects, finding music in public domain, as well as dozens of images (also in the public domain) created over the last 150 years since the book’s creation… and I still couldn’t quite get it across the Finish Line. At least not in time for this Christmas. 

All I have left to do is film an opening and closing to the project, but between work and other audio and writing projects, I just couldn’t do it justice this year. 

Now some of you might be asking yourselves, why? Why was this so important to you?  After all, there are so many versions available of the story available on YouTube, streaming services, Blue-Ray, DVD, etc. 

Well the answer is, none of them are ‘complete’. There are a number of powerful speeches and even scenes that more often than not, wind up on the cutting room floor. There have also been new scenes created and added to the films that cannot be found in the original story at all. After having read the book cover to cover myself a few years back, I started finding myself reading certain scenes with a variety of different voices for each character. And yes, this is when I really started taking the idea of doing voice over work more seriously. I was having so much fun with these characters and that it took me a while to realize I was drawing upon techniques and skills I learned in my l theater class during my last year of high school. I learned so much in that one year, and I have often found myself regretting I hadn’t taken the class sooner and then taken one of the more advanced classes afterwards. Still, I thank my lucky stars and my teacher Mrs. Nina Pfeffer for all her patience and guidance. I learned so much from her.

So after Helen convinced me to bring her books to life in audio, I went back to the idea of doing the same for Mr. Scrooge and company. Helen often refers to me as her “Voice Time Machine”, since I can do so many voices of actors who are no longer with us, which allows her to ‘cast’ the characters from her books and helps her in turn bring them more to life in her writing. And believe me I drew upon a lot of voices of actors both living and dead, to my project. 

And in spite of having a whole year to work on “A Christmas Carol” I could not anticipate back and hip problems which kept me from my ‘recording studio’ and sitting at the desk to edit either images/audio recordings for weeks at a time. 

Then of course there were other projects that needed my attention as well. I’m wrapping up my 3rd audiobook narration as I write. I also created a couple of book covers over the last 12 months, as well as feeding 3 blogs with material as well. One of those is “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” where I’ve been writing short stories involving our Para-Earths vampyre Nathan and his friends.  

Link: https://www.thevampyreblogs.com/ (Blogger site) 

         https://thevampyreblogs.blog/ (WordPress site – same content as the Blogger site, but I                     know some people find WordPress easier to work with)

With so much going on, I can’t feel too bad about not finishing my “A Christmas Carol” project. There’s only so many hours in the day, and only so much of me…

Therefore my New Year’s Resolution will be to keep being ambitious, but give myself leeway to scale back and not be too hard on myself if I can’t get all that I want to done. 


And I do have plans for this coming year, oh yes indeed. Here’s a little list:

1- Re-work, re-edit, and re-release “The Bridge” in a special 10th Anniversary version.

2  – Get a complete 1st draft of “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which takes up mere weeks after
      the end of  “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

 3 – Release the first volume of “The Pass” trilogy, which I wrote with my old high school friend Rich
      Caminiti, with some fantastic illustrations by the talented Gabrielle Callan. We will be releasing 
      this book in hardback (yes, your read that right) and e-book formats. 

NOTE: This one is a definite. The book is already written Gabrielle just getting the last of the artwork completed along with the cover

4 – Rich and I will be working on the 2nd and 3rd drafts of the second installment of “The Pass” trilogy      with hopes of releasing that book in 2023.         

*The 1st draft is already completed so we have high hopes of getting this to happen*

5 – Record and release Helen’s 1st solo anthology “Forever W. I. T. C. H. Hunting”, which is actually a spinoff from her Forever Detective Series and will feature characters from that series as well as a few new faces who will be appearing in future installments of The Forever Detective books.

6 – I hope to begin recording “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” with the help of Helen to bring more variety of voices for your listening pleasure.

7 – We may start adding some podcasts occasionally to this blog and maybe even to YouTube. We have
      the equipment and the ability to do it, so you may actually get to see and hear us once in a while.

8 – Finally, I’m starting to look into voiceover work opportunities for myself this coming year. I’m 
      already on LinkedIn and have seen opportunities becoming more numerous, as well as over on
      Audible. There are apparently opportunities here in and around Santa Cruz, so I may be trying 
      out for a few here and there. It all depends on time and how many spoons I can spare without 
      burning myself out.

So there you have it everyone. We’ll see how much I actually accomplish, but time and life will tell. I’m not sure how easy the new year will be starting out with our regular jobs as we’re having labor issues with management this time around. So there’s a strong possibility of disruptions in our lives in the coming month. So if I go quiet for a while, you’ll know why.

We’ll see what happens. But in the meantime, we hope the holiday season has been treating you well and that you all have a joyful and wondrous New Year come the end of this week.

Stay safe, and keep writing and recording dear friends.


For some time Helen and I have been considering adding some new things to this blog. After I did the series of how to record audiobooks, I still got a number of requests for more details about creating Chain Commands, where do I find such-and-such function on my ACX, etc. And I realized that perhaps some more detailed visuals such as videos where I’m actually recording an audiobook, then sharing my computer screen so people could see exactly how I remove unwanted sounds, mistakes, and even adjust the recording to meet ACX approval requirements would prove more helpful.

At the same time, Helen started asking about doing some videos with us interviewing each other (as authors, and in my case a voiceover artist), as well as having other people guest on podcast-like videos for a question and answer session. She also brought up the topic of not just bringing authors on, but bloggers, artists and creative folks who would like to share their work and thought processes along with some demonstrations.

I thought this all made sense. After all the name of the blog is the Musings of 2 Creative Minds, talking and sharing with other creative minds seems like a good fit. So we’re asking all of you, our readers and followers, to please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If the overall response is a resounding “Yes”, we’ll see about getting things set up to begin in January. (I originally thought about sooner, but the holiday season is fast approaching and we have a lot planned out already, and so do most folks so beginning the new year off with a bang seems more appropriate).

We’re looking forward to hearing what you all have to say. So until next time take care, stay, safe and keep writing and recording everyone!


 Hello everyone, we hope you’ve all been doing well. It’s been quite a week around here, or a couple of them actually. Both Helen and I got our 2nd Moderna shots, and both of us felt pretty crummy in the following days. Unfortunately, in my case a nerve problem in my back became exacerbated to the point that I’ve not been to work all this past week, and next week isn’t looking to great either. My doctor is trying to line me up with an MRI to see what’s going on. 

But in the meantime, I tried to take my mind off my discomfort by being busy. In this case it meant finishing the final edits on the collaboration with my high school friend Rich Caminiti, and lo and behold… the 2nd draft is now finished and in the hands of beta-readers. 

If you’re wondering what the book is about, here’s a little hint:

Was it just bad luck and weather that doomed the Donner Party in 1846, or was it something ‘else’, something evil and powerful? And is it still there waiting to help bring about the fall of the Union army during the final years of the Civil War?

Conspiracy and Intrigue meet Asian mythology, Native American folklore, and something as old as Earth itself in the first installment of this epic trilogy that spans the continent and distant shores.

From the initial responses people are finding the story… well, here’s a few quotes “Amazing!”, “I’ve never read anything like it before… it’s incredible”, “When can I buy a finished copy?”

So Rich and I are feeling pretty good about it so far, but we still have to wait for people to finish reading the first book and give us the rest of their feedback. Plus, a third/final draft will still need to be completed after we’ve heard back from everyone, and especially our editor. The book will also contain pen and ink drawings by the fabulous Gabrielle Callan who supplied the image you see above. You can find more of her work at this link:

https://www.gabriellecallan.com/

But my achievements did not end there. I also completed the edits and submitted my third narrator job to ACX (which is the gateway to getting it onto Audible) just 4 days ago. The book in question is my wife’s 3rd novel from her 5-star rated “Forever Detective” book series;

Rafael Jones is always a little out of his depth in rural settings, but he’s not just a detective, he’s also undead. He can’t ignore the call from the Saratoga County coroner when she mentions the bite marks found on several drowning victims during the spring and summer of 1947.

However, he knows his weaknesses (sunlight, running water, and a woeful lack of country manners), so he isn’t working alone. His slowly developing powers and quick wits may not be a match for something old, strong in magic, and completely cursed.

The entire series can be found at Amazon in Kindle, Paperback, and Audible at:


The Forever Detective Series

But the fun didn’t stop there, yes there is still more to report:

I also finished editing the first “Stave” (chapter) of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. This is the same project I’ve mentioned before where I read/dramatize the unabridged version of the classic tale. The first chapter weighs in at between 40 and 45 minutes long, and the next 3 chapters will probably be coming in at the same length. The final chapter will be shorter, but not enough to leave the viewer unsatisfied.

Viewer? That’s right. I will be releasing this project on YouTube complete with images from public domain and copyright-free sources (who I will be crediting of course), to give you all an enjoyable experience this Christmas. I will also be making a strictly audio version for those who might be interested as well. 

So for someone who has been having difficulty being on his feet even for short periods, I’ve been pretty productive for the last week. In fact, I’m still kind of shaking my head just writing this. I think setting myself some goals of what I specifically wanted to accomplish this year has been paying off. It’s helped me keep focus better, otherwise I’d be jumping from one project in process to another, while getting very few actually finished.

Well, this is only April so let’s see what else I can get done in the coming months.

Helen has been busy too, having completed her fourth novel in the Forever Detective series. This one is a Christmas tale titled “Forever Festive” and will be coming out in November. This one involves her private detective/turned vampire Rafael Jones heading home to spend the holidays with his folks, who haven’t seen him since he got back from the war trials over in Nuremberg. Besides trying to figure out how to keep his condition a secret, he’s also got a new missing person case that’s literally Heaven sent. After all, who else does a Guardian Angel turn to for help in finding one of their charges who is suddenly being hidden from their angelic sight?

We’ve already got a cover design in mind and will be working on that in the coming days and weeks, while her book is gone over by her editor/proofreader. And yes, I will be turning that into an audio as well so it too can be available in time for the Christmas season.

She is also working on an anthology for her spin-off series ” W I T C H Hunters” which is an organization that has been mentioned to Rafael more than once. These tales will involve members who have actually appeared in the “Forever Detective Series”, or have been mentioned in passing. But in these tales we will get to meet and see them in action. Several of the tales are already completed and more are well under way. So stay tuned for more on this front.

That is all I have for now, my back is hurting and I need down time. But we will be updating you on more very soon.
So until next time, stay tuned and keep writing/recording my friends.

Blooper Reel Time


As you all know, I’ve been busy recording audiobooks at home. I’ve already gotten “Forever’s Too Long”, my wife Helen’s first solo novel, published on Audible where it received a 5-star review. So of course I was eager to turn another of her books into audio as well.  So I began recording her second book “Forever Haunted”. 

Now having shared on this blog all the technical aspects that I use to record the books, I thought it might be fun to share one or two… um… a few? Oh hell, I make a LOT of mistakes and I run into some other ‘obstacles’ that I thought might help prepare you all for some of what you might encounter. 

So, here’s the first (of what I suspect will be a growing library) of my blooper outtakes…

Now remember folks, “We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical…” Sorry, I’m slipping into the “Outer Limits” show.

Anyway, you get the idea. We control how we edit our work. We can re-record, adjust the quality of the recording, cut out the ‘oops’ moments, etc. You can make a hundred mistakes, and yet still end up with a really clean product that people will enjoy.

And remember, “Never give up and never surrender….” oh, great now I’ve slipped into “Galaxy Quest”.

Keep writing and recording my friends. And yes, there will be more about the technical aspects of recording will be coming soon.

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