Tag Archive: #author



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:


Our first novel in the Para-Earth Series, is going to get a complete rewrite! 

Yes, you are reading that correctly. You’re eyes are not playing tricks on you. I know earlier this year I said I was going to try and clean up “The Bridge”, but the further I got into reading it, the more I saw just how messed up it had gotten.
But before I go further, a little history lesson.


“The Bridge” was the first book I ever released, so naturally there were a lot of rookie mistakes made in it, which were pointed out to me early on in the reviews (even though those same reviews gave it 4 and 5 stars). But I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were problems with my baby. I call it that, because I did all the writing and did not credit my wife for all the help she gave me in developing the story. So I tried going back and fixing the errors only to wind up with mixed results.


A third attempt was made, which still seemed plagued with problems. Finally, a few years ago, my editor and I went back to the beginning together and went cover to cover fixing everything wrong we could find. At that point, I also added Helen’s name onto the cover to give her the proper credit she deserved because she too had a hand in the revision. With this new ‘clean’ copy I submitted the new file to Createspace and all was well in the land… NOT!

At about this same time was when Createspace was absorbed by Amazon and the files of all books put out by Createspace were moved to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Now keep in mind Createspace had 2-3 different files already for “The Bridge” and unfortunately, not only did the most recent ‘clean’ file not be the one that was moved over to KDP, the formatting went (as the late great Terry Pratchett would say) Wahooney-shaped. 


Alas I only found out about this problem late last year when I decided it was time to start putting all of our Para-Earth Books onto Audible. Naturally, I chose the first book in the series to narrate and begin this process. I barely got through the Prologue before I realized what had happened and proceeded to beat a rhythm of despair using my head and my desk.

Naturally, I had backed up the last ‘clean’ copy of the book, and went in search of it, so I could upload that version onto KDP. Alas, when my last desktop began to breath its last, my efforts to transfer files that had been in MS Word 97 did not convert into the latest version cleanly and were totally unusable. Even my trusty trick of using memory sticks failed me, as the stick in question somehow managed to latch onto a stray magnet (the retracted metal end of the stick was the part that found the magnet) and everything on it was totally lost.


I quickly pulled down “The Bridge” from every outlet starting with KDP and it has remained missing in action ever since. Since then I finally got around to trying to re-edit the book only to find the deeper I went the more screwed up things had become. So yesterday after spending two hours trying to mark errors in the latest printed version, I came to realize that my writing style had changed drastically as well and I was finding it harder and harder to read the story. Finally, I set the book aside and thought about rewriting the entire book from the beginning. But I spoke with Helen about it last night before I did anything. Her thoughts mirrored my own. 

Now before I go further, let me point out that Helen is a much more experienced writer than I am. She was writing short stories years before I tried my hand, and she got damn close several times to being published. In each case, the editors where like “We love your style… but this story isn’t quite us. Please send us more…”  Which was quite encouraging. But this was around the same time that Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers were taking the world by storm and many of the magazines that wanted to see more from her wound up folding and being lost to history.


But it was her writing experience and expertise, as well as sharp ideas that helped me to develop and shape “The Bridge” in the first place. At the time she hadn’t wanted her name on the book, but after work began on “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” I finally convinced her to help write parts of it that her name finally appeared on one of the books. After that she and I began talking about how much she had truly contributed to both “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, and she felt some credit was due her on those as well. So I happily added her name to the covers of both. 


Now with the decision made to rewrite “The Bridge” she suggested that she have more of a hand in the rewriting process and I readily agreed. Since we are aiming to release it next year, which will be the 10th anniversary of the book’s original release, we may be adding a few scenes and dialogue in some sections. The book itself will resemble the original in almost all respects, while being a more “clean and polished” version, with a few additions which will make this 10th Anniversary Edition something special. 


I also want to point out that anyone who already had a copy of “The Bridge” in your Kindle will have the 10th Anniversary Edition replacing it without any cost to you. If you don’t get it, let us know and we will make sure you get the new version absolutely free! This isn’t money-grab situation, this is correcting mistakes that I’ve tried repeatedly to fix.  


And as I’ve mentioned before, there will be an audio version of the 10th Anniversary Edition being released and made available on Audible, Amazon, Itunes (which includes Apple).


So there’s much work to do, but I’ll try to keep posting as regularly as possible. Until then, take care everyone and keep writing.


Sorry for the long delay in posting here, but as you’re about to find out we’ve been VERY busy.

First off I am proud to announce Helen’s 2nd solo book “Forever Haunted” is now live on audio at both Audible and Amazon for just $17.46 or 1 Audible Credit. Once again I am the voice of her main character Rafael Jones (along with every other character). This is my 2nd full audiobook narration and I’m thrilled to help bring her characters to life once more. And yes I am still “Chief, Cook, and Bottlewasher” for the audio. The recording and editing process took longer than I’d hoped, but I learned some new tricks (through trial and error) that I will be sharing with you all in future posts. I’ve gotten things down to a checklist I keep on hand for myself of how to edit the audios for pacing speed, volume, pauses, etc. which I did not do the first time when I recorded “Forever’s Too Long”.  And with the amount of time that passed between that audiobook and this one, I forgot a lot of editing techniques/tricks that I had to relearn and change. 


Again, I will be sharing a number of those tips and tricks with you in the very near future.  In the meantime here is some more about the new Audiobook:


Bookcover Blurb:Life isn’t easy, but it’s easier than adjusting to being dead. Rafael Jones is still learning about his new diet, powers, and limitations when he’s asked to certify that a house isn’t haunted. But when it turns out to have the ghost of a murdered flapper, his new mission is to locate the missing gangster who killed her, the magic mirror that helped the killer disappear, protect his client, and stop a new string of murders.Magic and mystery collide in the summer of 1947, and our detective is digging up answers to questions going back as far as the end of WWI.


Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Haunted-Detective-Book/dp/B08XZRC84S/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Audible Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Forever-Haunted-Audiobook/B08XZQ7TCW?qid=1615055966&sr=1-2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=83218cca-c308-412f-bfcf-90198b687a2f&pf_rd_r=Y853QBMXKK8YE0H638Z6

And of course, here is an audio sample:

In addition to getting “Forever Haunted” edited and sent to Audible, I have already begun recording her the third book in her ever-growing series, titled “Forever in Deep”

I’m pleased to say I’m already about 1/3rd of the way through with the recordings, and most of it is already edited. Lord, am I so glad I wrote down those editing notes to myself, it goes much quicker now, but that’s something that comes with experience.


I’ve also been busy with getting the 2nd draft of “The Pass” (my collaboration with Rich Caminiti) to the final stages. I have only to insert a few scenes into it, and that will be going out to beta-readers for inspection and comments. Once we’ve heard back from them, we will begin the 3rd and final draft, with hopes for an October release later this year.


“But what about the Para-Earths Series?” I hear some of you ask. Well, work has been continuing on both “The Door” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”.  Admittedly, the work has been slow on both of them, but they are still happening. I’m also in the process of getting some of the completed novels prepared for audio recording so they can join the ranks of Audible. But of course, everything takes time and there are only so many hours in the day. And of course with m Fibromyalgia, I have only so many “spoons” to work with in a day. So I ask that you all please be patient. I might be recruiting a couple of more voices for the Para-Earth books to make them more of an ensemble cast recording, but we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been so slack on getting new postings up. The narrator work takes a lot of time and energy, but I have already been approached more than once about voiceover work for other people, which would be paying jobs for me. Which would be most welcome. I do hope that my audio narrations will lead to bigger things like some voiceover work for animations, podcasts, or streaming series. One never knows. But time will tell.


And now I must get back to writing and recording. So until next time, which I promise won’t be too long, stay safe and keep recording and writing my friends.

%d bloggers like this: