Tag Archive: blog



Okay, in my last entry I disclosed I was working on a vampire novel.  Now this is a genre that has been done and redone so many times it’s unbelievable.  And almost every time there are new twists and turns added to it that they barely seem to resemble the traditional vampires that Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee made legendary in Hollywood.  Today we have vampires that just totally ooze sex appeal, can sparkle in daylight instead of turning to dust, can have sex and produce offspring, are either monsters or saints, etc.  And they are still as popular as ever in spite of all the changes to the original legend.

Now I’m not just talking about Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”.  That was not the first vampire story.  There were many others. If you ever get the opportunity check out “The Penguin Book Of Vampire Stories” and you’ll see ones that predate Mr. Stoker’s work by quite a few years.  But in that collection you’ll also meet other kinds of vampires: snow vampires, ones who hide inside portratis, aliens on different planets, etc.  In this collection there are creatures of all sorts and shapes that are still called vampires.

This brings me to today’s subject.  How can you breathe new life into a genre that has been written about so many times over?  Well that’s up to the writer.  As in the case of Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer and others, they tweek the original vampire concept to suit their story ideas.  Sometimes they provide and explanation about why their creations don’t adhere to all the old legends, sometimes not.

So, you may be thinking, “Okay Allan, how are you going to ‘tweek’ the vampire concept and make it fresh and different?  What changes are you going to make to the traditional weaknesses and rules?”

Here’s my answer.  All the traditional rules of garlic, being welcomed into a place, avoid sunlight, shape-shift, control minions, etc. will be in effect.  So where am I making the change?  Simple, my vampire is NOT undead.

At this point I’m sure a number of you are thinking if he’s not undead then he can’t be supernatural.  So how can all those limitations and vulnerabilities still apply to him?  That’s where the creative writing process comes in.  All of these things will be addressed in the story.  And it won’t just be about a biography about my vampire.  There will be dangers.  The internet allows people access to a lot of information.  And this story will be taking place in modern day.  So there will be suspicious townspeople, cops on the hunt, the threat of discovery, a ghost, and villains (human and otherwise) to be battled.

So there you have it.  A new take on a much used subject.  But instead of changing all the rules, I’m working with them and making new reasons for why they apply.  And in doing so, I’m hoping that a number of you are already really intrigued and are looking forward to checking the story out when it’s ready.  If this is the case, then I’ve succeeded in breathing new life and interest into a genre that has been worked and reworked many times over.  And it can be done with so many other genres such as fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, you name it.

So what genre or legendary creature/being have you thought about working on?  Is there one close to your heart that’s been done a lot already?  If so, how can you make it new and interesting?  Are there rules for how it behaves or can be dealt with and what are the explanations behind it?  Is there a new way to approach these things?  Give us a new spin on it that still makes sense and intrigues us.

I’d love to hear from you and so would other people who read this blog.  Leave comments below and tell us a little about what you are working on or have in mind.  Be careful not to give your whole idea away.  Just leave tantalizing hints that will get us revved up to check your work out as soon as it’s ready.

Until next time,  keep writing.


Well, a new month has begun and here I am already doing another entry about writing.  This is what happens when the muse takes hold and has something to say.  I hope you all enjoy today’s installment.

Yesterday, against my better judgement, I started writing a second book.  Mind you  I’m still working on “The Ship” which is the sequel to my first novel “The Bridge”.  But I was having troubles with “The Ship”.  I was making progress, but it was so slow I was going crazy at times.  I would write over a 1000 words in one day and then dump about half of them because they weren’t moving the plot along or really helping develop the characters as much.  I kept what did seem to be working and built on that the next day.  Sometimes this is one way of dealing with Writer’s Block for me.

Then yesterday, something else happened.  An idea for a different book that is part of my Para-Earth series started gelling like no one’s business.  It had sat on the back-burner for so long now it was boiling over.  Scenes and characters started coming to life to such an extent I had only one of three options:

A) Start writing the book

B) Leave it alone and hope I don’t forget all this great stuff that was coming up

C) Start taking notes and outlining the damn thing for later.

I tried opting for C but next thing I knew I had written the opening scene of the book and was plunging forward with the project.  Tentatively I’m calling it “The Vampire Blogs”.  And as a homage to Bram Stoker who gave us “Dracula” I’m doing it as a series of journal and blog entries.  I’m choosing this route because I knew I wanted to do the entire book in the 1st person perspective.  Now most 1st person narratives stick with just one character throughout the entire story. This is a great device for a mystery or thriller because the audience can only know as much as the main character.  So when he/she gets surprised by something they didn’t know, so are we.

However, I knew from the start I’d need to be showing the audience what was going on in several different people’s heads while using the 1st person voice.  So how was I going to pull that off without confusing the hell out of my readers?  I turned to my “Spare Brain”, my wife Helen who is more well read than me, and asked for advice.  She told me that from what she could recall it had been done before but that it could be tricky.  Then she struck on the idea of paying homage to Mr. Stoker and instead of just letters and journals, use blogs and journals on the internet since I was using a modern day setting.  This was a masterstroke on her part.  I now had a clear path of how to switch heads and keep the “I” voice without confusing the audience.  The other thing I loved was the fact that I could build more suspense by letting the audience know things that only some of the characters were aware of.  Nothing gets an audience going like seeing some of what’s coming and realizing the characters don’t have a clue about it yet.  Plus you can still surprise your audience at times because they don’t necessarily know everything about the characters or the situation.  They know only what your characters have shared with them so far.

“THE BRIDGE” is coming….


Just got the word today from Createspace, I have finally formatted the interior of the book, the cover art, the back cover, the spine, etc. to their specifications and it’s is now PRINTABLE!  I know there’s a lot of stuff I just mentioned that some of you may not be familiar with, but you can find out more about it in detail on my other blog:

“Musings Of A Creative Mind” at:  http://allankrummenacker.blogspot.com/

That blog is all about the process of writing.  Now I will be adding things to take into consideration while making your own e-books.

But here, I want to wax a little philosophically.   It hit me after I saw the e-mail saying the book was ready for my final review proof that a lot of my life experiences are coming together in this venture.  I’ve been an artist ever since I was in junior high school, and now those talents came into play in creating this book.

I’m also going to have to start marketing and getting my novel and myself known by going to Libraries, bookstores, contacting local radio stations, and newspapers as well to get the word out as well.  A lot of those same skills I used back in my days of being a Realtor/Mortgage Loan Officer.

But it doesn’t stop there.  I’m going to be considered self-employed by Uncle Sam and anything I make off this book the US Government and the IRS are going to want a piece of come next year.  So now I’ll be tracking all my expenses in relation to selling my book.  Now automatically, Createspace is going to keep 30% of whatever I make off each sale and set it aside for me for tax purposes next year.  But what about my ordering physical copies so I can mail signed copies to those who want ones like that?  What about going to conventions or giving talks?  Heck, even the gas I use going to the post office and back are expenses I need to keep track of in order to claim them on my tax return.  Again, I did all of that before when I was in real estate.

My years of being part of the sci-fi fan community is also coming into play.  I’m going to be offering myself as a speaker at those conventions and trying to sell some copies in person as well.  I have a large network of friends in that community and this book is going to be right up their alley too.  And I know a number of them will be only too willing to help me spread the word and find other venues to spread my work around.

In all it feels like so many aspects of my life are suddenly coming together in this writing venture, and it give me hope.  I can’t help wondering if somehow all I’ve done in the past has been leading up to this career.  And maybe I’m just full it and have just got a head full of  “WOW I’m being published…” and everything seems rosy and I need to take some glasses off.  Who knows?  Time will tell.  But as long as I’m ready to fight and work to make this pay off and spread the word, I’ll hope for the first part to be the truth.

Anyway, thanks for your time and I’ll be posting again soon.  Hopefully with news that the book is ready for sale.  In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of other work to do still.  Like setting up the Createspace store that automatically comes with signing up and publishing with them.  I’m planning on some other items besides having just the novel available.  Some T-shirts and mugs with quotes and images will be available there too.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping.  Stay tuned everyone and thanks for following me.  This journey is FAR from over, it’s only just beginning a new stage…


By now,  you all know I’ve been working on the book cover for my Paranormal/Mystery/Sci-Fi novel “THE BRIDGE”.   It’s been an interesting experience, which I do not recommend it for everyone unless you’re an artist yourself.  It has it’s pros and cons.  In my case I love having way more control over the creation of the image that is going to basically be my “Introductory Handshake” to the world.  Remember, this is going to be my debut novel and I want to catch peoples attention who have no idea what to expect when they first see the cover.

Now, I’ve seen images used on books that I thought were interesting but did not always have all that much to do with what actually happened in the story itself.  In fact, I’m sad to say, there were a few where the image was more interesting looking than the story.  But what really got me on occasion was where there was some kind of really cool scene on the cover that never appears in the story.  I felt cheated in a way.  Oh the story might have been a good one, but part of me really felt frustrated by that ‘missing scene’.  Now, I know we all want to capture the audiences imagination and interest, but I want to make sure I’m being fair about it.

Now in my case, since the title of my novel is “THE BRIDGE” I could’ve just gone with a bridge from around the right time-frame as the one in that appears in my story.  But while picturesque, I wanted to add some clues as to what or who the reader may encounter on that bridge.   So I decided to add a figure and one in particular stood out in my mind, the “White Lady”.   She is a ghostly figure who haunts the bridge, supposedly searching for the baby she lost from it many years ago.   But by the same token I wanted to raise some questions in the viewer’s eyes.  Why does her hair seem to flow and move like Medusa’s?  Is she even human?  Are we seeing some kind of Gorgon?  Or is she something much more unique and different?

We all need to get  the viewers attention by capturing their interest in some subtle or intriguing manner with our book covers.  Mind you, not all covers have to be like the old movie posters of Star Wars where we see the tall and impressive Darth Vader looming in the background while Luke and company (who appear much smaller at the bottom) are racing to meet the HUGE threat overshadowing them.  It depends on the story itself.  It can be subtle with an intriguing character who somehow catches our interest with their good looks or pose.  Or can be even more subtle, a building or structure that evokes emotions or a memory that draws the audience towards it.

I’m learning that a lot goes into the creation of a book cover.  Luckily I’ve had years of artistic training to draw upon to help me reason out what kind of image I wanted to use.  Who or what the ‘star’ of the image was going to be and what kind of backdrop or stage would be helping frame it.

Well, the cover is nearing what I hope will be the final stages.  Here’s where it stands now, I hope you enjoy it and that this entry has given you all some good ideas of what to keep in mind when making or getting someone else to make the cover of your book.   Take care.

20121218_182356

Why The Video Posts Allan?


Greetings all.  I’m sure everyone has been noticing I’ve been putting up more and more videos lately as opposed to my usual entries.  Well, part of the reason for this was to get more traffic to come to my Vlog on YouTube.  But there is another reason.

Those of you who watched the video on my last entry: https://akrummenacker.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/another-entry-about-character-creating/will already know what I’m about to say.  I have a chronic pain condition.  The doctor who diagnosed me gave me a sad smile as he said, “The good news is that it won’t kill you.  But you’ll be in pain the rest of your life.”  The condition is known as Fibromyalgia and based on my own research over the years and from speaking with experts, I’ve had this since childhood.  I’ve always suffered pain more readily and easier than my peers back in grade school.  No one ever believed me when I told them how much I hurt especially after one of the numerous bully assaults because of my apparent weakness and vulnerability.  I was never good at sports even when I tried my damnedest to get good.  My muscles never responded correctly.  I was clumsy and awkward and on rare days when I was feeling ‘good’ I was able to excel in ways no one could believe.  But then a day or so later I’d be back to my usual lower performing standards no matter how HARD I tried to push myself.  I was tired a lot as well, which comes with being in pain.

Now let me point out that the pain levels I normally experience are the kind of low (somethings off but it’s not going to get in my way) kind of thing.  They can take their toll but I’ve found exercise routines that really work for me without exacerbating the pain.  I’ve taken a lot of dance and have learned a lot of core and endurance building exercises that have helped a lot.  But even these are no match for when the Fibromyalgia comes out of its remission stage and goes into “FLARE”.

During “Flare” the pain levels shoot up and my motor skills become clumsy and awkward.  I feel terribly drained and even have to resort to using a walking stick to get around (even inside my home).  Even putting my thoughts together can be difficult, as if I were trapped in a fog which is why this particular symptom is referred to as FIBROFOG.  Overall, it’s like having a terrible case of the flu with the deep body aches and fatigue, without the high temp or other symptoms.

Now, what does all this have to do with the videos?  Simple.  I have limited energy reserves during these periods.  And what little I feel up to doing is getting through my college classes and my daily life period.  I budget my reserves and try to focus on writing my novels as best I can (the Fibrofog can mess me up on that front something fierce and I can’t really write some days even though I want to).  During periods like the one I’m going through now, it’s easier to sit and talk rather than type.  And since I don’t want to neglect all of you who’ve been so kind and generous with your comments and views, I’ve been resorting to the videos.

So, now you know what’s really been going on.  I hope you all understand and I hope this particular ‘Flare’ will soon pass.  Until it does please bear with me.  I will still be posting in one form or the other.

In the meantime I’m going to take advantage of my being a writer to bring up another subject.  In my earlier entries I talked about giving your characters skills, hobbies, talents you have or someone you know has to help make them more real to your readers.  The same still holds true with bad stuff.  Losing a loved one, a bad childhood, an unhappy relationship, or having a health condition.

Now I’ve already started using my personal knowledge of dealing with Fibromyalgia with one of the characters in my novels.  Her name is Cassandra Elliott, a billionaire heiress with a heart of gold.  With looks, beauty and money, she would seem to have it all.  But Epstein-Barr plagues her, depriving her of love of dance and other activities by making her bed-ridden for days or weeks at a time.  She hates the feeling of helplessness and being an invalid at times.  But how she deals with her condition helps shape the person she’s become and her drive to be as normal as possible especially around her new love interest.

We’re all shaped by our experiences.  Good or bad, how we react to them helps make us the people we are.  So look into your own life sometimes for sources of material to help shape and make your characters into real people.  People your readers can relate to and want to keep reading about and cheer on.

Thanks for reading, sorry this post is so long, but I felt it necessary to address some of the concerns I’ve been reading in the comment sections or in private messages.  Take care everyone and I hope to have another entry up shortly.


From my writing blog comes a warning.  There’s a new type of writer’s block out there.  Click the link below to learn how to recognize and deal with it:

http://allankrummenacker.blogspot.com/2012/09/stealth-writers-block.html


Hello Everyone.  Sorry for the long delays between posts.  I’m still sharing my laptop with my wife, plus my new job has been keeping me very busy.  I was supposed to have 2 days off in a row this week, then I was told that I had to come in on one of those 2 days to get more training.  Wasn’t happy about it, but I understand the reason.  The trainer is going to be leaving shortly and our time together is drawing to a close very quickly.  HOPEFULLY… things will become a little more steady and regular in a couple of weeks and I can schedule myself to work on my blogging.  So please be patient.

 
In the meantime, I have been able to get some work in on novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Currently it is sitting at about 65,000 words still, but that’s because I had to go back and look over some earlier portions of the book and do some serious cutting and re-editing.  I’m trying to aim for about 120-140,000 words for the first draft.  The final draft will come in under 100,000 words.  So why the high count you say for the first draft?  Simple, the way I write I want to get the main story down and all the characters on board, as well as all the most interesting actions sequences.  Then when I go to work on the 2nd draft, it’s to start cutting down the word count to something more manageable and acceptable to any potential agents/publishers.  For new authors you have to keep it below 100,000 or even 80-90,000 words to even get considered.  You don’t have a track record of proven sales behind you to get them to cut you some slack on the length.  Look at the length of the first Harry Potter book compared to the later ones and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

 

Also, I love editing my work to see how many times I repeated the same idea since it takes me weeks and months to complete a story.  I have a nasty habit of coming up with the same idea or concept in several different places of the book.  So then I have to decide where does it work the best or at all.  So keeping the draft down to 120-140,000 words is much more manageable to edit for me.  My first novel “THE BRIDGE” was a real monster when I completed the 1st draft.  That one weighed in at 198,000 words.  Then I went and did my research and found out about the length it should be.  If I recall correctly I found a quiet corner in the closet and sobbed hysterically for 2 hours.  Cutting 100,000 words was not easy but I did it.  AND it was worth it.  The final draft that I sent to the agent was much leaner and better paced than the 1st one.  Plus it’s gotten their attention and I’m just waiting for further word on it and what happens next.

 

Oh, I also just recently found out on another front that we’ll be moving soon.  Probably towards the end of July so packing has also been keeping me occupied as well.  I hope to post  here again in a week or so and I’ll give you all another sample of novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Until then, take care everyone and thanks for reading.


Another lovely surprise, I was given another award for my blogging.  This time it’s the “Inspiring Blog Award.  And I want to start with a big thank you to the person who nominated me Raani York whose blog you can find at this Link:

http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/

I strongly urge you to go check her blog out, she’s a lot of fun and very insightful in what she writes about.

Next, I’m to share 7 things about myself.  So here goes…

1-I’m an adopted child.

2-I was born and raised on Long Island in New York.

3-I have been studying various forms of dance since my 41st birthday (Ballroom, Jazz, Ballet, and Improv)

4-I’m preparing to start a VLOG in addition to my blogging

5-I am a big fan of science fictions shows, especially Doctor Who.

6-I met my wife of 23 years at a Doctor Who Fan Club in Sacramento.  (Our 23rd anniversary is coming up on June 17th).

7-I have been on television while playing the MASTER, a villain from Doctor Who, for the Sacramento PBS station that had run Doctor Who.  I was usually harrassing the people doing the pitching during pledge break weeks to help raise money for the station.

Finally, I’d like to nominate the following blogs for this award as well:

1-http://firestone2012.wordpress.com/

2-http://blackinkwhitepaper.wordpress.com/

3-http://katebrauning.com/

4-http://vampiremaman.wordpress.com/

5-http://chocolatesandraspberries.com/author/gurostuan/

6-http://authorabbywood.com/

7-http://tgayer.wordpress.com/

8-http://billchance.org/

9-http://www.iansrutter.co.uk/blog/

10-http://creaturewiththeatombrain.net/

11-http://dain54.wordpress.com/

12-http://deenar116.wordpress.com/

13-http://vanessagrassi.com/

14-http://joehinojosa.wordpress.com/

15-http://anilbalan.com/

All of these people’s blogs have inspired me.  I hope they inspire you too.  Take care everyone and thanks for reading.  I’ll do my best to keep things interesting here.


This took me totally by surprise and I’m very flattered and honored.  I hadn’t thought my blogging was having such an effect on people.  I want to thank Red and Flame at http://firestone2012.wordpress.com/ for nominating me in the first place.    Now in accordance with the rules of the award I’m supposed to reveal 7 facts about myself so here goes.

1 – Was a foster child at the age of 8 months and adopted at the age of 4 years by the Krummenackers.

2 – I studied and performed magic illusions in my teens and still have a lot of my equipment and skills.

3 – I’ve been taking dance lessons (mostly in Ballroom and Improvisational Dance) since I turned 41.

4 – I played violin in grade school and a little guitar in high school.

5 – Studied to be a Physical Therapist back in 1982 only to drop out, I was getting too emotionally overwrought over the people I couldn’t help.

6 – Went back to college 2 years ago and got my A. S. in Human Services

7 – Met my wife of 23 years at a Doctor Who Fan Club, I dressed up as the MASTER and harrassed people on the phones and giving the pledge pitches during Pledge Breaks during Doctor Who for our local PBS station for 3 years.

NEXT…

I’d like to nominate the following Bloggers who I follow for this award:

1 – http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/

2 – http://joehinojosa.wordpress.com/

3 – http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

4 – http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

5 – http://thoughtsfromaliteraryagent.blogspot.com/

6 – http://www.rachellegardner.com/

7 – http://hellfireherald.blogspot.com/

8 – http://flashesinthedark.com/

9 – http://querytracker.blogspot.com/

10 – http://carsonbuckingham.blogspot.com/

11 – http://www.iansrutter.co.uk/blog/

12 – http://jerrihines.blogspot.com/

13 – http://geistwrite.blogspot.com/

14 – http://vampiremaman.wordpress.com/

15 – http://www.scarletblack-author.blogspot.com/

These are just a few of the many bloggers who’ve had an impact on me.  I know there’s more of you out there, but I only had so much room.  But please keep it up all of you.  I love reading your insights and stories.  Take care and thanks again everyone.


I’m really excited everyone.  Today is my very FIRST guest blog about writing.  For someone who’s not yet been published, this is a big thing for me.  You can find it at 10 Day Book Club. The link is below, I hope you all get to check it out.

http://10daybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/story-ideas-a-walk-through-life/

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